« AnteriorContinuar »
and died. Submission to the will of God and fearlessness of death were among the expressions last on his lips. His burial-place is in the Church of St. Peter, Mancroft, in Norwich, where a mural monument on the south pillar of the altar records his learning and his virtues.
The Rev. John Whitefoot, who lived so many years the constant friend and neighbour of Sir Thomas, was requested to draw up some 16 minutes ” after the death of his old companion. He complied in these fitting and worthy, to-be-remembered words.
“For a character of his person, his complexion and hair were answerable to his name ; his stature was moderate, and habit of body neither fat nor lean, but evrapkos.
“In his habit of clothing, he had an aversion to all finery, and affected plainness both in the fashion and ornaments. He ever wore a cloak, or boots, when few others did. He kept himself always very warm, and thought it most safe so to do, though he never loaded himself with such a multitude of garments as Suetonius reports of Augustus, enough to clothe a good family.
“The horizon of his understanding was much larger than the hemisphere of the world. All that was visible in the heavens he comprehended so well, that few that are under them knew so much. He could tell the number of the visible stars in his horizon, and call them all by their names that had any; and of the earth he had such a minute and exact geographical knowledge, as if he had been by Divine Providence ordained surveyor-general of the whole terrestrial orb, and its products, minerals, plants, and animals. He was so curious a botanist, that, besides the specifical distinctions, he made nice and elaborate observations, equally useful as entertaining
“ His memory, though not so eminent as that of Seneca or Scaliger, was capacious and tenacious, insomuch that he remembered all that was remarkable in any book that he had read, and not only knew all persons again that he had ever seen at any distance of time, but remembered the circumstances of their bodies, and their particular discourses and speeches.
“In the Latin poets he remembered everything that was acute and pungent.
He had read most of the historians, ancient and modern, wherein his observations were singular, nor taken notice of by common readers. excellent company when he was at leisure, and expressed more light than heat in the temper of his brain.
“He had no despotical power over his affec
tions and passions, (that was a privilege of original perfection, forfeited by the neglect of the use of it,) but as large a political power over them as
Stoic or man of his time; whereof he gave so great experiment, that he hath very rarely been known to have been overcome with any of them. The strongest that were found in him, both of the irascible and concupiscible, were under the control of his reason. Of admiration, which is one of them, being the only product either of ignorance or uncommon knowledge, he had more and less than other men, upon the same account of his knowing more than others; so that, though he met with many rarities, he admired them not so much as others do.
“He was never seen to be transported with mirth, or dejected with sadness; always cheerful, but rarely merry, at any sensible rate ; seldom heard to break a jest ; and when he did, he would be apt to blush at the levity of it. His gravity was natural, without affectation.
“His modesty was visible in a natural, habitual blush, which was increased upon the least occasion, and oft discovered without any observable cause.
They that knew no more of him than by the briskness of his writings, found themselves deceived in their expectation when they came in his company, noting the gravity and sobriety
of his aspect and conversation, -- so free from loquacity or much talkativeness, that he was something difficult to be engaged in any discourse, though when he was so, it was always. singular, and never trite or vulgar. Parsimonious in nothing but his time, whereof he made as much improvement with as little loss as any man in it ; when he had any to spare from his drudging practice, he was scarce patient of any diversion from his studies ; so impatient of sloth and idleness, that he would say he could not do nothing
“ Sir Thomas understood most of the European languages; viz. all that are in Hutter's Bible, which he made use of. The Latin and Greek he understood critically. The Oriental languages, which never were vernacular in this part of the world, he thought the use of them would not answer the time and pains of learning them ; yet had so great a veneration for the matrix of them, viz. the Hebrew, consecrated to the oracles of God, that he was not content to be totally ignorant of it, though very little of his science is to be found in any books of that primitive language. And though much is said to be written in the derivative idioms of that tongue, especially the Arabic, yet he was satisfied with the translations, wherein he found nothing admirable.
“ In his religion, he continued in the same mind which he had declared in his first book, written when he was but thirty years old, his Religio Medici,' wherein he fully assented to that of the Church of England, preferring it before any in the world, as did the learned Grotius. He attended the public service very constantly when he was not withheld by his practice, never missed the sacrament in his parish if he were in town, read the best English sermons he could hear of with liberal applause, and delighted not in controversies. In his last sickness, wherein he continued about a week's time, enduring great pain of the colic, besides a continual fever, with as much patience as hath been seen in any man, without any pretence of stoical apathy, animosity, or vanity of not being concerned thereat, or suffering no impeachment of happiness, — Nihil agis, dolor.'
“ His patience was founded upon the Christian philosophy and a sound faith of God's providence, and a meek and holy submission thereunto, which he expressed in few words. I visited him near his end, when he had not strength to hear or speak much; the last words which I heard from him were, besides some expressions of dearness, that he did freely submit to the will of God, being without fear. He had often triumphed over the king of terrors in