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IMAGINARY CONVERSATIONS.

Avoid a mistake in attributing to the writer any opinions in this book but what are spoken under his own name. The

introduction of characters now or recently existing has been censured ; but among the relics of antiquity the censurer probably has been gratified at finding an allusion to the contemporaries of the authors: let him ve consistent and acquiescent, and believe that the dialogues now before him may be also among the relics of antiquity. A few public men of small ability are introduced, to show better the proportions of the great ; as a painter would situate a beggar under a triumphal arch, or a camel against a pyramid.

RICHARD I. AND THE ABBOT OF BOXLEY. THE abbot of Boxley was on his road to Haguenau tue, never shall by force, and I pray to God never

in search of Richard, and the appearance of the may by fortune, what will remain to our country church-tower in the horizon had begun to accele- but the bitter recollection of her extinguished rate his pace, when he perceived a tall pilgrim at glory? I would not be regretted at so high a a distance, waving his staff toward some soldiers price : I would be better than the gone, presumpwho would have advanced before him: they drew tuous as is the hope, but may the coming be better back.

than I! Abbot, I have given away thrones, but “ He may know something of the Lion-heart,” | never shall they be torn from me: rather than said the abbot, spurred his horse onward, and in this, a king of England shall bend before an an instant threw himself at the pilgrim's feet, who emperor of Germany*, but only to rise up again raised and embraced him affectionately,

in all his majesty and strength. Abbot. O my king! my king! the champion of Abbot. God grant it! Abandoning a king like our faith at the mercy of a prince unworthy to hold his stirrup! the conqueror of Palestine led * Opinions have changed on most things, and greatly on forth on foot ! a captive! a captive of those he titles and dignities. A consul is appointed to reside in a

seaport: a Roman senator was often, in political weight commanded and protected! Could Saladin see

and in landed property, beneath the level of an English it

gentleman ; yet not only a Roman senator, but a Roman Richard. The only prince in the universe who citizen, held himself superior to kings. It might well be would draw his sword for me against the ruffian permitted our Richard to assume a rank above any of Austria. He alone is worthy to rescue me potentate of bis age. If almanacks and German court

calendars are to decide on dignities, the emperors of who hath proved himself worthy to fight me. Morocco and Austria shall precede the kings of England: I might have foreseen this insult. What senti- learned men have thought otherwise. On this subject ment of magnanimity, of honour, of humanity, hear Leonardo Aretino. ever warmed an Austrian bosom?

“Quid eniin mea refertquemadmodum barbari loquantur, Tell me, declare to me, abbot, speak it out at quos neque corrigere possum si velim, neque magnopere

De rege tamen et imperatore idem once ... is this the worst of my misfortunes? sentio quod tu, et jampridem ridens barbariem istam, Groans burst from me; they cleave my heart; my hoc ipsum notavi atque redargui. Tres enim gradus own English, I hear, have forsaken me: my bro-majorum dignitatum apud Romanos, de quorum principe ther John is preferred to me... I am lost indeed. loquimur, fuere: rex, dictator, imperator. What nation hath ever witnessed such a succession suprema omnium potestas rex est; post regem verò

secundum tenuit dignitatis locum dictatura ; post dictaof brave kings, two hundred years together, as have turam imperium tertio gradu consequitur. Hujusce rei reigned uninterruptedly in England ? Example probatio est. quod Octaviano imperatori optime se gerenti formed them, danger nurtured them, difficulty Senatus Populusque Romanus dignitatem augere, pro instructed them, peace and war in an equal imperatore dictatorem facere decrevit, quod ille non degree were the supporters of their throne. If recepit, sed flexo genu recusavit

, quasi majoris statās

majorisque invidiæ dignitatem existimans, Imperatoris John succeed to me, which he never can by vir. I nomen modicum ac populare, si ad Dictatoris fastigium

Ex his

B

Richard, we abandon our fathers and children, to contend with him and to love him. Look now our inheritance and name : far from us be for toward the Holy Alliance. Philip swore upon the ever such ignominy! May the day when we Evangelists to abstain from aggression in my become the second people upon carth, Almighty absence. Collecting an army on the borders of God! be the day of our utter extirpation ! Normandy, he protests that his measures are

Richard. I yet am king, yea, king am I more pacific, invokes heaven against usurpers, and than ever, who even in this condition rule over invades the province. He would persuade me, hearts like thine.

no doubt, that a squadron of horse on the low Genii and angels move and repose on clouds; grounds is a preventive of agues, and a body of the same do monarchs, but on less compact ones, archers on the hills a specific for a fever. Ay, and scarcely firm enough for a dream to pillow on. abbot, and his bishops lead him forth and light Visions of reluctant homage from crowned heads, him on: his nobility follows him with alacrity and of enthusiastic love from those who keep and applause. In the whole extent of France them so, have passed away from me, and leave there is neither sword nor crozier unsullied by no vacancy. One thought commemorative of my perjury. Where upon earth was there ever a country, and characteristic of my countrymen, is people so ready to swear and to forswear, to fight worth them all.

and to fly? Equally enthusiastic in opposite Abbot. Here are barely, I reckon, more than causes, and embracing them without breathing three-score men; and, considering the character betwixt, their enthusiasm is always in proportion both of their prince and of their race, I cannot to their number. A Frenchman, like a herring, but believe that the scrip across my saddlebow loses his course when he loses his company, and contains a full receipt for the discharge of my his very instinct (in truth he has little else) forsovran. Certain I am that little is left unto him sakes him. The bravest kings with him are those of the prize he made in the caravan of Egypt. who cast down conscience the most readily, and

Richard. The gold and silver were distributed those whose appetites are the most grovelling are among my soldiers; for the only prizes worthy the best. As in the black-puddings of our coun. of me were Saladin and Jerusalem. I have no try-folk, if blood is wanting, it must be made out hesitation in esteeming Saladin not only above all by fat*. the potentates now living, which of a truth is Abbot. Times ought to be very quiet, and nalittle, but, from what hath been related to me, tions very prosperous, when rulers are valued above all who have ever reigned; such is his like bears and porpoises for their fur and grease. wisdom, his courage, his courtesy, his fidelity; The perfidy of a rival may justly have excited the and I acknowledge that if I had remained to disdain, but ought never to have turned aside the conquer him, I would have restored to him the arms, of Richard. The cause of truth and rightwhole of his dominions, excepting Palestine. And eousness is thine, O king! and when hast thou the crown of Palestine which of the crusaders deserted what thou hast once upholden ? should wear? which among them could have Richard. Saladin was defeated and Jerusalem worne it one twelvemonth? I would do nothing would have fallen; but God will forgive me if, in vain; no, not even for glory. The Christian leaving his bones and sepulchre to his own care princes judged of me from their own worthless- and protection, I chastise a disloyal rather than a ness : Saladin judged of me from himself: to loyal enemy. them he sent pearls and precious stones, to me Abbot. I wish my liege could have taken him figs and dates; and I resolved from that moment prisoner, that he might have saved such a soul by comparetur. Majorem vero esse regiam potestatem quam infusing into it the true faith under baptism. dictaturam ex eo potest intelligi, quia Julius Cæsar, Dic- Richard. Ay, that indeed were well. Tunnytator cum esset, affectavit Regem fieri."

fish under oil, men under baptism, those alone of The dignity of a sovran does not depend on the title he both creatures are worth a November melon. So possesses, which he may with equal arrogance and indiscretion assume, but on the valour, the power, the wealth, said the bishop of Hermopolis one day after the civilisation, of those he governs, This view of the dinner; and I wish he could have kept awake subject the Aretine bas not taken.

and sober, to edify us more at large thereupon. Rank pretends to fix the value of everyone, and is the A word in your ear, my abbot. Saladin lives most arbitrary of all things. Roman knights, correspond. in a country where prophet comes after prophet, ing for the most-part in condition with our wealthier yeomanry and inferior esquires, would have disdained to and each treads out the last vestige from the be considered as no better or more respectable than the sand. I am afraid it would not hold. kings they hired. In our days, an adventurer to whom a Abbot. Better as it is then. petty prince or his valet has given a pennyworth of ribbon, looks proudly and disdainfully on anyone who has nothing

Richard. There are many in foreign parts who else in his button-hole than the button.

* The ancient fare of our kings differed from that of the Few authors are sounder than Plutarch; and no remark commonality in plenteousness only. If Richard did not of his more judicious than the following on Juba; at dress his own dinner, like Achilles, he knew at least the which however there is not a deputy-commissary or composition of the few plain dishes then in use. Indeed under-secretary who would not laugh.

the black pudding was of such moment that it shook the “ His son, named algo Juba, was carried in triumph whole christian world. Michael Cellularius, patriarch of while yet a child : and truly most happy was his impri. Constantinople, condemned the Bishop of Rome, Leo IX. sonment, by which, barbarian as he was, he came to be for eating unleavened bread in the eucharist, and blacknumbered among the most learned writers."

pudding at home.

cannot be brought to comprehend how a sprinkle | penitence, avaricious of another's wealth under of water should prepare a man's eternal happi- vows of poverty, and jealous of another's glory in ness*, or the curtailment of a cuticle his eternal the service of their God. Is this Christianity ? and misery.

is Saladin to be damned if he despises it? Abbot. Alas, my liege, society is froth above Before I joined my worthy brotherhood of the and dregs below, and we have hard work to keep faith, I was tossed about among the isles and islets, the middle of it sweet and sound, to communicate which in some places are so thickly set, you may right reason and to preserve right feelings. In almost call them sea-stars. voyages you may see too much and learn too little. A sailor's story is worth little without a tempest: The winds and waves throw about you their mu- I had enough of one to save my credit at the tability and their turbulence. When we lose fireside and in the bower. sight of home, we lose something else than that The despot or emperor of Cyprus* (I forget which schoolboys weep for.

his title) threw into prison the crew of an Richard. By the keenness of your eye, compas- English vessel wrecked on his coast; and, not sionate as it is, I discover, my good abbot, that you contented with this inhumanity, forbade the have watched and traced me from the beginning princess of Navarre my spouse, and the queen of my wanderings. Let me now tell my story of Sicily who attended her, to take refuge from to confession another time. I sailed along the the storm in any of his ports. I conquered his realms of my family: on the right was England, dominions, with the loss, on my part, of a dinner, on the left was France : little else could I discover two men, and a bridle. He was brought before than sterile eminences and extensive shoals. me. My emperor had an aversion to iron in every They fled behind me : so pass away generations; form : therefore I adorned his imperial feet with so shift and sink and die away affections. In the a silver chain, and invited him to the festivities wide ocean I was little of a monarch: old men of my nuptials with Berengere, followed by her guided me, boys instructed me; these taught me coronation as queen of Cyprus. We placed his the names of my towns and harbours, those showed daughter under the protection of Janet, knowing me the extent of my dominions : one cloud, that her sweet temper and courtesy, and reminding dissolved in one hour, covered them.

her that a lady of rank rises one step higher by I debark in Sicily, place my hand upon the misfortune. She hath exchanged the cares of a throne of Tancred, and fix it. Again we sail, and crown for the gaiety of a court, and I hope that within a day or two behold, as the sun is setting, what she lost as princess she will gain as woman. the solitary majesty of Crete, mother of a religion, I intend to place her suitably in marriage, and her it is said, that lived two thousand years. Onward, dowry shall be what my treasury is at the time. and many bright specks bubble up along the blue Albot. We have only to consider now what lies Egean ; islands, every one of which, if the songs before us. Could not my liege have treated with and stories of the pilots are true, is the monument the Duke of Austria ? of a greater man than I am. We leave them afar Richard. Yes, had he been more nearly my off ... and for whom? For creatures of less equal. I punished his neglect of discipline : it import than the sea-mews on their cliffs ; men became in his power to satiate his revenge. Henry praying to be heard and fearing to be understood, is mercenary in the same degree, but perhaps less ambitious of another's power in the midst of perfidious, certainly less irritated and hostile. * If Richard had lived a few centuries later, he would land: none can forget that I treated him as a

No potentate can forgive the superiority of Engsurely have been less a freethinker than we hear he was. Fra Sebastiano di Giesu related to Pietro della Valle, that trooper and dependent, and that the features of a Persian male-witch (stregone) taken in the fact of witch my contempt were too broad for any mask in all craft, was asked whether he could eat the heart of a the rich wardrobe of dissimulation. Henry alone Portuguese captain, in the same manner as he had just is capable of ensuring my return. I remember eaten the heart of a cucumber : that is, merely by looking the fate of Robert; and if I am not presently in at it. He replied in the negative; for that the Franks had in the breast something like a corslet, of such hard- London, I may be in Cardiff. ness that no witchery could penetrate it; wbich, beyond Those who have abandoned me must ransom doubt, says Pietro, can be nothing else than the virtue of me; I myself will dictate the conditions, and baptism, the armour of faith, and the privilege of being they shall be such as no emperor of Germany can sons of the Church. This honest traveller falls, in almost every letter, on some unlucky comparison between the

refuse. idolatry of his native country and of those he visits.

Ride on with me. “ It appears," says he, “that a great part of the worship paid to their idols, consists in nothing but music and

* Isaac the usurper of Cyprus styled himself emperor. singing, &c. to pass the time gaily and luxuriously." He † Queen of Sicily. speaks of the right reverend their fly-flappers as “ making # Emperor is the title usually given to the heads of the a wind and driving off the flies from the idols in the palan-Germanic league : but in fact there never was an emperor quin, offering that obsequiousness which we use tovard of Germany. Adrien Valois, in a letter to Albert Portner, The Pope, with fans made from the tails of white peacocks. writes thus: “Legi Conringii librum de finibus Imperii And there were not wanting about the idols many of their Germanici, cujus libri titulum jure quis arguat; nullum Idigious, and many many torches, with the splendour enim imperium Germanicum fuit unquam, nullum whereof the night was lighted up." Who would not est hodieque ; nec imperator etiamsi in Germania sedem imagine this description to have rather been made by a babeat, Germanorum imperator est, sed, ut ipse se Hindoo in Rome, than by a Roman in Hindostan ? more majorum appellat, rex Germaniæ et Romanorum

never.

LORD BROOKE AND SIR PHILIP SIDNEY. Brooke. * I come again unto the woods and unto Brooke. In truth I did; for no otherwise the the wilds of Penshurst, whither my heart and the good household would have it. The birds met friend of my heart have long invited me.

me first, affrightened by the tossing up of caps; Sidney. Welcome, welcome! How delightful and by these harbingers I knew who were coming. it is to see a friend after a length of absence! When my palfrey eyed them askance for their How delightful to chide him for that length of clamorousness, and shrank somewhat back, they absence, to which we owe such delight.

quarrelled with him almost before they saluted Brooke. I know not whether our names will be me, and asked him many pert questions. What a immortal ; I am sure our friendship will. For pleasant spot, Sidney, have you chosen here for names sound only upon the surface of the earth, meditation ! a solitude is the audience-chamber of while friendships are the purer, and the more God. Few days in our year are like this: there ardent, the nearer they come to the presence of is a fresh pleasure in every fresh posture of the God, the sun not only of righteousness but of love. limbs, in every turn the eye takes. Ours never has been chipt or dimmed even here,

Youth! credulous of happiness, throw down and never shall be.

Upon this turf thy wallet, stored and swoln Sidney. Let me take up your metaphor. Friend- With morrow.morns, bird-eggs, and bladders burst, ship is a vase which, when it is flawed by heat or That tires thee with its wagging to and fro: violence or accident, may as well be broken at

Thou too wouldst breathe more freely for it, Age !

Who lackest heart to laugh at life's deceit. once ; it can never be trusted after. The more graceful and ornamental it was, the more clearly It sometimes requires a stout push, and somedo we discern the hopelessness of restoring it to times a sudden resistance, in the wisest men, not its former state. Coarse stones, if they are frac- to become for a moment the most foolish. What tured, may be cemented again; precious ones, have I done? I have fairly challenged you, so

And now, Greville, seat yourself under much my master. this oak; since, if you had hungered or thirsted Sidney. You have warmed me: I must coola little from your journey, you would have renewed the and watch myopportunity. So now, Greville, return alacrity of your old servants in the hall.

you to your invitations, and I will clear the ground imperator." Here we see the rex is before the imperator: for the company; for Youth, for Age, and whatif in the patents of Charles the fifth it is otherwise, the ever comes between, with kindred and dependreason is that the title of king is applied to the dominion encies, Verily we need no taunts like those in of several states which his ancestors had acquired more your verses : here we have few vices, and conserecently. Valois proceeds: “Si tamen Romanorum imperator vocari debet qui urbi Romæ non imperat, et ab quently few repinings. I take especial care that episcopo ecclesiæ Romanæ, Roma, ac senatus populique my young labourers and farmers shall never be idle, Romani sententià, dudum desiit consecrari.” This letter and I supply them with bows and arrows, with is not printed among the works of Valvis or his brother, bowls and ninepins, for their Sunday evening*, but is of unquestionable authenticity, and may be found lest they drink and quarrel. In church they are entire in the Amenitales Literariæ of Schelhorn, Tom. V. p. 542. Valois was a good scholar, but he errs in taught to love God ; after church they are prachis latinity when he objects to the expression imperium tised to love their neighbour; for business on workGermanicum. for that expression would be correct whether days keeps them apart and scattered, and on Germany were governed by a king, an emperor, an aris- market-days they are prone to a rivalry bordering tocracy, or a democracy. The Roman state was just as much imperium Romanum under the consuls and tribunes

on malice, as competitors for custom. Goodness as under Tiberius or Caligula. The justice of the remark does not more certainly make men happy than made by Valois is proved by the patents of Charles V, happiness makes them good. We must distin. which always began, “Carolus V, diviná favente clementia, guish between felicity and prosperity : for prosRomanorum Imperator Augustus, ac rex Germania, His perity leads often to ambition, and ambition to paniarum, utriusque Siciliæ, Hierusalem, Hungariæ, &c." The late emperor of Austria formally laid down a title disappointment: the course is then over ; the which never belonged to him : he and all his ministers wheel turns round but once ; while the re-action were ignorant of this, and it may be doubted whether of goodness and happiness is perpetual. there was a statesman in Europe who knew it.

Brooke. You reason justly and you act rightly. Lord Brooke is less known than the personage with whom he converses, and upon whose friendship he had the * Censurable as this practice may appear, it belonged to virtue and good-sense to found his chief distinction, On the age of Sidney. Amusements were permitted the English his monument at Warwick, written by himself, we read on the seventh day, nor were they restricted until the that he was servant of Queen Elizabeth, counsellor of puritans gained the ascendancy. Even labour on certain King James, and friend of Sir Philip Sidney. His style occasions was not only allowed but enjoined. By an order is stiff, but his sentiments are sound and manly. The of Edward VI. the farmer was encouraged to harvest upon same house produced another true patriot, slain in the the Sunday, and in the same article it is called a great civil wars by a shot from Lichfield minster. Clarendon, offence to God to be scrupulous and superstitious in forewithout any ground for his assertion, says there is reason going such operations. Aylmer, bishop of London, used to to believe he would have abandoned his party and princi- play at bowls after the service; and, according to Strype, ples. The family is extant : a member of it was created when the good prelate was censured for it, he replied that Earl of Warwick by George II. for services as Lord of the the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Bedchamber.

Sabbath.

*

Piety, warm, soft, and passive as the ether round, ment of our practices and the adornment of our the throne of Grace, is made callous and inactive nature, one would imagine we were dragging by kneeling too much : her vitality faints under Time along by force, and not he us. We may in rigorous and wearisome observances. A forced some measure frame our minds for the reception match between a man and his religion sours his of happiness, for more or for less; we should temper, and leaves a barren bed.

however well consider to what port we are steerSidney. Desire of lucre, the worst and most ing in search of it, and that even in the richest general country vice, arises here from the neces- its quantity is but too exhaustible. It is easier sity of looking to small gains; it is however but to alter the modes and qualities of it, than to the tartar that encrusts economy.

increase its stores. There is a sickliness in the Brooke. I fear Avarice less from himself than firmest of us, which induceth us to change our from his associates, who fall upon a man the side, though reposing ever so softly; yet, wittingly fiercest in old-age. Avarice (allow me to walk or unwittingly, we turn again soon into our old three paces further with Allegory) is more unlovely position. Afterward, when we have fixed, as we than mischievous, although one may say of him imagine, on the object most desirable, we start that he at last

extravagantly; and, blinded by the rapidity of Grudges the gamesome river-fish its food,

our course toward the treasure we would seize And shuts his heart against his own life's blood. and dwell with, we find another hand upon the Sidney. We find but little of his handywork lock ... the hand of one standing in shade. among the yeomanry, nor indeed much among 'tis Death ! those immediately above. The thriving squires are Brooke. There is often a sensibility in poets pricked and pinched by their eagerness to rival in which precipitates 'em thither. expenditure those of somewhat better estate ; for, The winged head of Genius snakes surround, as vanity is selfishness, the vain are usually ava- As erewhile poor Medusa's. ricious, and they who throw away most, exact We however have defences against the shafts of most. Penurious men are oftener just than the vulgar, and such as no position could give. spendthrifts.

Sidney. God hath granted unto both of us Brooke. O that anything so monstrous should hearts easily contented, hearts fitted for every exist in this profusion and prodigality of blessings! station, because fitted for every duty. What The herbs, elastic with health, seem to partake of appears the dullest may contribute most to our sensitive and animated life, and to feel under genius : what is most gloomy may soften the my hand the benediction I would bestow on seeds and relax the fibres of gaiety.

We enjoy them. What a hum of satisfaction in God's the solemnity of the spreading oak above us : creatures ! How is it, Sidney, the smallest do perhaps we owe to it in part the mood of our seem the happiest ?

minds at this instant : perhaps an inanimate Sidney. Compensation for their weaknesses and thing supplies me, while I am speaking, with their fears; compensation for the shortness of whatever I possess of animation. Do you imagine their existence. Their spirits mount upon the that any contest of shepherds can afford them the sunbeam above the eagle; and they have more same pleasure as I receive from the description of enjoyment in their one summer than the elephant it; or that even in their loves, however innocent in his century.

and faithful, they are so free from anxiety as I Brooke. Are not also the little and lowly in our am while I celebrate them ? The exertion of species the most happy?

intellectual power, of fancy and imagination, Sidney. I would not willingly try nor over- keeps from us greatly more than their wretchedcuriously examine it. We, Greville, are happy ness, and affords us greatly more than their in these parks and forests : we were happy in my enjoyment. We are motes in the midst of close winter-walk of box and laurustine. In our generations: we have our sunbeams to circuit earlier days did we not emboss our bosoms with and climb. Look at the summits of the trees the daffodils, and shake them almost unto shed around us, how they move, and the loftiest the ding with our transport! Ay, my friend, there most : nothing is at rest within the compass of is a greater difference, both in the stages of life our view, except the grey moss on the park-pales. and in the seasons of the year, than in the con- Let it eat away the dead oak, but let it not be ditions of men : yet the healthy pass through the compared with the living one. seasons, from the element to the inclement, not only Poets are in general prone to melancholy; yet unreluctantly but rejoicingly, knowing that the the most plaintive ditty hath imparted a fuller worst will soon finish, and the best begin anew ; joy, and of longer duration, to its composer, and we are desirous of pushing forward into every than the conquest of Persia to the Macedonian. stage of life, excepting that alone which ought A bottle of wine bringeth as much pleasure as the reasonably to allure us most, as opening to us acquisition of a kingdom, and not unlike it in the Via Sacra, along which we move in triumph kind : the senses in both cases are confused and to our eternal country. We labour to get through perverted. the moments of our life, as we would to get through Brooke. Merciful heaven ! and for the fruition a crowd. Such is our impatience, such our hatred of an hour's drunkenness, from which they must of procrastination, in everything but the amend- awaken with heaviness, pain, and terror, men

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