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and having an inclination also to reading, and no delight in the conversation of those he was obliged to work with, he generally spent all the time he had to spare in reading by himself.
Sir Thomas said, "You are now old, and almost past your labour; I will give you the running of my kitchen as long as you live." He answered, "Sir, you have a numerous family; I have been used to live retired; give me leave to build a house of one room for myself, in such a field, and there, with your good leave, I will live and die." Sir Thomas granted his request; he built his house, and there continued to his death.
I suppose (though my lord did not mention it) that he went to eat in the family, and then retired to his hut. My lord said, that there was no park at that time; but, when the park was made, that house was taken into it, and continued standing till his (my lord's) father pulled it down. But," said my lord. "I would as soon have pulled down this house;" meaning Eastwell Place.
I have been computing the age of this Richard Plantagenet when he died, and find it to be about 81. For Richard III. was killed August 23, 1485, which, subtracted from 1550, there remains 65, to which add 16 (for the age of Richard Plantagenet at that time), and it makes 81. But, though he lived to that age, he could scarcely enjoy his retirement in his little house above two or three years, or a little more. For I find, by Philpot, that Sir Thomas Moyle did not purchase the estate of Eastwell till about the year 1543 or 4. We may, therefore, reasonably suppose that, upon his building a new house on his purchase, he could not come to live in it till 1546, but that his workmen were continued to build the walls about his gardens, and other conveniences off from the house. And till he came to live in the house he could not well have an opportunity of observing how Richard Plantagenet retired with his book. So that it was probably towards the latter end of the year 1546 when Richard and Sir Thomas had the fore-mentioned dialogue together. Consequently, Richard, could not build his house, and have it dry enough for him to live in till the year 1547. So that he must be 77 or 78 years of age before he had his writ of ease.
61.-IMITATION OF HORACE.
[THERE was a controversy going on some twenty years ago whether Pope was a poet. He was not a poet in the sense in which we speak of Spenser, or Dante, or Milton; but, unless we narrow the realms of poetry somewhat strangely, the author of the most pointed and dazzling satire, conveyed in the most harmonious verse, must take his rank amongst the great masters. Are the portraits of Titian or Vandyke not works of art, because they have not the high imagination of the frescoes of the Sistine Chapel or the Cartoons? Alexander Pope was born in 1688; died in 1744.]
What and how great, the virtue and the art
Hear Bethel's sermon, one not versed in schools,
If then plain bread and milk will do the feat,
Oldfield, with more than harpy throat endued,
The robin-red-breast till of late had rest,
To one that was, or would have been, a peer.
And humbly live on rabbits, and on roots:
But on some lucky day (as when they found
Is what two souls so generous cannot bear:
He knows to live, who keeps the middle state, And neither leans on this side, nor on that;