« VorigeDoorgaan »
THE VERY GATES
thought of him who could thus powerfully, in his own words, describe the spectacle. I adjoin the translation from “Defensio Populi Anglicani : "
“ I am about to discourse of matters neither inconsiderable nor common, but how a moST POTENT KING, after he had TRAMPLED UPON THE LAWS OF THE NATION, AND GIVEN A
ITS RELIGION, AND OWN WILL AND PLEASURE, was at last subdued in the field by his own subjects, who had undergone a long slavery under him; how afterwards he was cast into prison, and when he gave no ground, either by words or actions, to hope better things of him, he was finally by the SUPREME COUNCIL OF THE KINGDOM CONDEMNED TO DIE, AND BEHEADED BEFORE
THE ROYAL PALACE! I shall like. wise relate (which will much conduce to the easing men's minds of a great superstition) by WHAT RIGHT, especially according to ouR LAW, this JUDGMENT WAS GIVEN, and all these matters transacted; and shall easily defend my valiant and worthy countrymen, (who have extremely well deserved of all subjects and nations in the world,) from the most wicked calumnies both of domestic and foreign railers, and especially from the reproaches of this most vain and empty sophister,* who sets up for a captain and ringleader to all the rest. For what king's majesty, sitting upon an exalted throne, ever shone so brightly as that of the people of England then did, when, shaking off that old superstition, which had prevailed a long time, they gave judgment upon the king himself, or rather upon an enemy who had been their king, caught as it were in a net by his own laws, (who alone of all mortals challenged to himself impunity by a divine right,) and scrupled not to inflict the same punishment upon him, being guilty, which he would have inflicted upon any other? But why do I mention these things as performed by the people, which almost open their voice them. selves, and testify the presence of God throughout? who, as often as it seems good to his infinite wisdom, uses to throw
down proud and unruly kings, exalting themselves above the condition of human nature, and utterly to extirpate them and all their farnily. By his manifest impulse being set on work to recover our almost lost liberty, following him as our guide, and adoring the impresses of his divine power manifested upon all occasions, we went on in no obscure but an illustrious passage, pointed out and made plain to us by God himself. Which things, if I should so much as hope, by any diligence or ability of mine, such as it is, to discourse of as I ought to do, and to commit them so to writing as that perhaps all nations and all ages may read them, it would be a very vain thing in me. For what style can be august and magnificent enough, what man has parts sufficient TO UNDERTAKE SO GREAT A TASK?"*
Be it always remembered that Milton was appointed Latin Secretary before, not after he wrote the “Defensio,” with the salary of two hundred pounds a-year.
At the close of the war, Milton, who had lent his money, according to Dr. Johnson, to the triumphant party, was utterly neglected by Presbyterians and Independants ; but we know he was suddenly called into a high official station by Cromwell.
It is extraordinary that Johnson, in Milton's Life, should have passed over the circum.stance that his Tutor was one of the writers of “ Smectymnuus."
CHEYNELL OVER CHILLINGWORTH'S GRAVE.
The account of Cheynell insulting the remains of the great Chillingworth, would not be believed had not that account been written and published by himself. From the Life in Wood I shall extract this description :
“It must be now known, that, in the beginning of the civil dissensions, our author CHILLINGWORTH suffered much for the King's CAUSE, and being forced to go from place to place for succour, as opportunity served, went at length to
Arundell Castle, in Sussex, where he was in quality of an engineer in that garrison. At length, the castle coming into the hands of the Parliamentarian forces, on the 6th day of January, 1643, he was, by the endeavours of Mr. Franc. Cheynell (about that time Rector of Petworth), made to Sir Will. Waller, the prime governor of those forces, conveyed to Chichester, and there lodged in the bishop's house, because that he, being very sick, could not go to London with the prisoners taken in the said castle. In the said house he remained to his dying day, and, tho' civilly used, yet he was much troubled with the impertinent discourses and disputes of the said Cheynell, which the loyal party of that city looked upon as a shortening of our author's days. He gave way to fate on the 24th of January (or thereabouts), in sixteen hundred forty and three, and the next day his body being brought into the cath, church, accompanied by the said loyal party, was certain service said, but not common prayer, according to the defunct's desire. Afterwards, his body being carried into the cloyster adjoyning, Cheynell stood at the grave ready to receive it, with the author's book of The Religion of Protestants, &c. in his hand : and when the company were all settled, he spoke before them a ridiculous speech concerning the author Chillingworth and that book; and in the conclusion, throwing the book insultingly on the corpse in the grave, said thus: “Get thee gone, then, thou cursed book, which hast seduced so many precious souls ; get thee gone, thou corrupt, rotten book, earth to earth, and dust to dust ; get thee gone into the place of rottenness, that thou may'st rot with thy author, and see corruption. After the conclusion, Cheynell went to the pulpit in the cath. church, and preached a sermon on Luke ix. 60. “Let the dead bury the dead,' &c. while the MALIGNANTS (as he called them) made a shift to perform some parts of the English liturgy at his grave.
* But it seems to appear, from Cheynell's own words, that this was not permitted.
FUNERAL OF KING CHARLES THE FIRST,
IN ST GEORGE'S CHAPEL, WINDSOR. “ A guard was made all along the galleries, and the Banquetting-house: but, behind the soldiers, abundance of men and women crowded in, though with some peril to their persons, to behold the saddest sight that England ever saw. And as his Majesty passed by with a chearful look he heard them pray for him. The soldiers did not rebuke any of them, for, by their silence and dejected faces, they seemed rather afflicted than insulting. There was a passage broke through the wall of the Banquetting-house, by which the King passed unto the scaffold; where, after his Majesty had spoken and declared publicly that he died a Christian according to the profession of the Church of England (the contents of which have been several times printed), the fatal stroke was given by a disguised person. Mr. Herbert during this time was at the door leading to the scaffold, much lamenting, and the Bishop coming from the scaffold with the royal corps, which was immediately coffin'd and covered with a velvet pall, he and Mr. Herbert went with it to the back stairs to have it embalmed; and Mr. Herbert, after the body had been deposited, meeting with the Lord Fairfax, the general, that person asked him, How the King did ? whereupon Herbert, being something astonished at that question, told him that the King was beheaded, at which he seemed much surpriz'd.
“ The royal corps being embalmed and well coffin'd, and all afterwards wrapt up in lead and covered with a new velvet pall, it was removed to St. James's, where was great pressing by all sorts of people to see the King, a doleful spectacle, but few had leave to enter or behold it. Where to bury the King was the last duty remaining. By some historians 'tis said the King spoke something to the Bishop concerning his burial. Mr. Herbert, both before and after the King's death, was frequently in the company with the Bishop, and affirmed that he never mentioned any thing to him of the King's naming any place where he would be buried : nor did Mr. Herbert (who con
stantly attended his Majesty, and after his coming 10 Hurstcastle was the only person in his Bed-chamber) hear him at any time declare his mind concerning it. Nor was it in his lifetime a proper question for either of them to ask, notwithstanding they had oftentimes the opportunity, especially when his Majesty was bequeathing to his royal children and friends, what is formerly related. Nor did the Bishop declare any thing concerning the place to Mr. Herbert, which doubtless he would upon Mr. Herbert's pious care about it; which being duly considered, they thought no place more fit to interr the corps than in the chappel of King Hen. VII. at the end of the church of Westminster-abbey, out of whose loyns King Charles I. was lineally extracted, &c. Whereupon Mr. Herbert made his application to such as were then in power for leave to bury the King's body in the said chappel among his ancestors; but his request was denied, for this reason, that his burying there would attract infinite numbers of all sorts thither, to see where the King was buried ; which, as the times then were, was judged unsafe and inconvenient. Mr. Herbert acquainting tlie Bishop with this, they then resolved to bury the King's body in the royal chappel of St. George within the castle of Windsor, both in regard that his Majesty was sovereign of the most noble Order of the Garter, and that several Kings had been there interr'd, namely, King Henry VI. King Edward IV. and King Henry VIII. &c. Upon which consideration Mr. Herbert made his second address to the Committee of Parliament, who, after some deliberation, gave him an order bearing date the 6th of February, 1648, authorizing him and Mr. Anthony Mildmay to bury the King's body there, which the Governor was to observe.
Accordingly the body was carried thither from St. James's Feb. 7, in a hearse covered with black velvet, drawn by six horses covered with black cloth, in which were about a dozen gentlemen, most of them being such that had waited upon his Majesty at Carisbrook-castle and other places since his Majesty's going from Newcastle. Mr. Herbert shew'd the GoverVOL. I.