« EelmineJätka »
Clarendon, banished by Charles II., died at Rouen. The defence of the virtuous magistrate, whose writings, in conjunction with those of Falkland, had secured the triumph of the royal cause, was condemned to be burnt by the common hang
Milton, half proscribed, descended in utter blindness to the tomb.
Dryden, towards the close of his life, was compelled to sell his talents piece-meal, to support existence. "Little cause have I," said he, "to bless my stars for being born an Englishman; it is quite enough for one century that it should have neglected a Cowley, and seen Butler starved to death."
Otway, at a later period, choked himself in voraciously swallowing the morsel of bread thrown to him to relieve his hunger.
What were not the sufferings of Savage composing at street corners, writing his verses on scraps of paper picked out of the kennel, expiring in a prison, and leaving his corpse to the pity of a gaoler, who defrayed the expense of his interment!
Chatterton, after being many days without food, destroyed himself by poison.
In the cloisters of the cathedral of Worcester,
the stranger's notice is attracted by a sepulchral slab, without date, without a prayer, without a symbol; its only inscription is the word "Miserrimus." Could this unknown, this nameless "Miserrimus," have been any other than a man of genius?
END OF THE STUARTS.
AFTER the death of his brother, James II. ventured to attempt, in behalf of the Romish church, what his father had failed to accomplish in behalf of Episcopacy. He fancied that he could bring about a change in the religion of the state, as easily as Henry VIII. had done before him; but the English nation was no longer the nation of the Tudors; and if James had distributed among his subjects all the property of the church of England, he would not have made a single proselyte to the Catholic religion. His greatest error was that of having sworn, when he ascended the throne, what he had no intention to keep rulers have not always been saved by the observance of oaths; a departure from them has frequently brought about their ruin.
James, naturally a cruel man, found an executioner ready at his command; Jefferies had commenced his misdeeds towards the close of the reign
of Charles II. at the trial which brought Russell and Sidney to the scaffold. This man, who after Monmouth's attempt caused upwards of two hundred and fifty persons to be executed in the west of England, was not devoid of some sense of justice a virtue which fails to attract notice in a good man shines conspicuously in a wicked man.
Holland had long been the focus of the intrigues of the various English parties; the emissaries of these parties were then under the protection of Mary, James's eldest daughter, and consort of the Prince of Orange, a man for whom we feel no admiration, and who, nevertheless, did admirable things. James, though often warned by Louis XIV. disregarded all advice; William's fleet put to sea, and he landed with thirteen thousand men at Broxholme, in Torbay.
To his great astonishment, he found nobody there; he waited ten days in vain. What was James doing during these ten days? Nothing. He had an army of twenty thousand men, which would at first have fought under his banners; but he remained irresolute. Sunderland, his minister, betrayed him; he was abandoned by Prince George of Denmark, his son-in-law, and by Anne his favourite daughter, in the same manner as his daughter Mary, and William, his other son-in-law, had turned against him. Solitude began to spread
around the monarch who had separated himself from the national opinion. James asked advice of the Earl of Bedford, the father of Lord Russell, beheaded during the preceding reign at the instigation of James. "I had once a son," replied the old man, "who might have afforded you assistance."
James fled, and landed at Ambletuse, on the 2nd of January, 1689; baneful guest that he was, he taught exile to those hearths the altar of which he clasped. Where are the ashes of Louis XIV? Where are his descendants?
For the rest, what matters it? Lord Russell, embracing his lady for the last time, said to her, "This flesh you now feel will in a few hours be stiff in death." What space is filled in the world and in this page by the generations of which I have been treating? On my return to France, in 1800, I was travelling one night in the diligence; the vehicle made a slight jerk, which we scarcely felt it had run over a drunken pea-. sant stretched across the road: we had crushed out a human life, and the wheel had only been raised a few lines from the ground. The Franks, our forefathers, slaughtered the Romans taken by surprise, in the midst of a feast held at Metz; within the last quarter of a century our soldiers have waltzed at the convent of Alcobaça with the skeleton of Ines de Castro; sorrows and pleasures,