Page images
PDF
EPUB

experience, that in fo many ages as are gone over the world, there has been but here and there a man found, who has been able worthily to recount the actions of great heroes, and potent ftates; can any man have fo good an opinion of his own talents, as to think himself capable to reach thefe glorious and wonderful works of Almighty God, by any language, by any ftyle of his? Which enterprife, though fome of the most eminent perfons in our commonwealth have prevailed upon me by their authority to undertake, and would have it be my bufinefs to vindicate with my pen against envy and calumny (which are proof against arms) thofe glorious performances of theirs, (whofe opinion of me I take as a very great honour that they fhould pitch upon me before others to be ferviceable in this kind to thofe moft valiant deliverers of my native country; and true it is, that from my very youth, I have been bent extremely upon fuch fort of ftudies, as inclined me, if not to do great things myself, at least to celebrate thofe that did) yet as having no confidence in any fuch advantages, I have recourfe to the divine affiftance; and invoke the great and holy God, the giver of all good gifts, that I may as fubftantially, and as truly, difcourfe and refute the faucinefs and lies of this foreign declamator, as our noble generals piously and fuccefsfully by force of arms broke the king's pride, and his unruly domineering, and afterwards put an end to both by inflicting a memorable punishment upon himself, and as thoroughly as a single perfon did with eafe but of late confute and confound the king himself rifing as it were from the grave, and recommending himself to the people in a book published after his death, with new artifices and allurements of words and expreffions. Which antagonist of mine, though he be a foreigner, and, though he deny it a thousand times over, but a poor grammarian; yet not contented with the falary due to him in that capacity, chofe to turn a pragmatical coxcomb, and not only to intrude in ftateaffairs, but into the affairs of a foreign ftate: though he brings along with him neither modefty, nor understanding, nor any other qualification requifite in fo great an arbitrator, but faucinefs, and a little grammar only. Indeed

if

if he had published here, and in English, the fame things as he has now wrote in Latin, fuch as it is, I think no man would have thought it worth while to return an answer to them, but would partly defpife them as common, and exploded over and over already, and partly abhor them as fordid and tyrannical maxims, not to be endured even by the most abject of flaves: nay, men that have fided with the king, would have had these thoughts of his book. But fince he has fwoln it to a confiderable bulk, and difperfed it amongst foreigners, who are altogether ignorant of our affairs and conftitution; it is fit that they who mistake them, fhould be better informed; and that he, who is fo very forward to speak ill of others, fhould be treated in his own kind. If it be afked, why we did not then attack him fooner, why we fuffered him to triumph fo long, and pride himself in our filence? For others I am not to anfwer; for myself I can boldly fay, that I had neither words nor arguments long to feek for the defence of fo good a caufe, if I had enjoyed fuch a measure of health, as would have endured the fatigue of writing. And being but weak in body, I am forced to write by piecemeal, and break off almost every hour, though the fubje&t be fuch as requires an unintermitted study and intenfenefs of mind. But though this bodily indifpofition may be a hindrance to me in fetting forth the juft praifes of my moft worthy countrymen, who have been the faviours of their native country, and whofe exploits, worthy of immortality, are already famous all the world over; yet I hope it will be no difficult matter for me to defend them from the infolence of this filly little scholar, and from that faucy tongue of his, at leaft. Nature and laws would be in an ill cafe, if flavery fhould find what to fay for itfelf, and liberty be mute and if tyrants fhould find men to plead for them, and they that can mafter and vanquish tyrants, should not be able to find advocates. And it were a deplorable thing indeed, if the reafon mankind is endued withal, and which is the gift of God, fhould not furnish more arguments for men's prefervation, for their deliverance, and, as much as the nature of the thing will bear, for making them equal to one another, than for their oppreffion,

preffion, and for their uttter ruin under the domineering power of one fingle perfon. Let me therefore enter upon this noble caufe with a cheerfulness, grounded upon this affurance, that my adverfary's caufe is maintained by nothing but fraud, fallacy, ignorance and barbarity; whereas mine has light, truth, reafon, the practice and the learning of the beft ages of the world, of its fide.

But now, having faid enough for an introduction, fince we have to do with critics; let us in the firft place confider the title of this choice piece: "Defenfio Regia pro Car. Primo, ad Car. Secundum: a Royal Defence (or the king's defence) for Charles the Firft, to Charles the Second." You undertake a wonderful piece of work, whoever you are; to plead the father's caufe before his own fon a hundred to one but you carry it. But I fummon you, Salmafius, who heretofore fculked under a wrong name, and now go by no name at all, to appear before another tribunal, and before other judges, where perhaps you may not hear thofe little applaufes, which you ufe to be fo fond of in your school. But why this royal defence dedicated to the king's own fon? We need not put him to the torture; he confeffes why. "At the king's charge," fays he. O mercenary and chargeable advocate! could you not afford to write a defence for Charles the father, whom you pretend to have been the beft of kings, to Charles the fon, the most indigent of all kings, but it must be at the poor king's own charge? But though you are a knave, you would not make yourself ridiculous, in calling it the king's defence; for you having fold it, it is no longer yours, but the king's indeed: who bought it at the price of a hundred jacobuffes, a great fum for a poor king to difburfe. I know very well what I fay and it is well enough known who brought the gold, and the purfe wrought with beads: we know who faw you reach out greedy fifts, under pretence of embracing the king's chaplain, who brought the prefent, but indeed to embrace the prefent itself, and by accepting it to exhaust almost all the king's treafury.

But now the man comes himself, the door creaks; the actor comes upon the stage.

In

In filence now, and with attention wait,
That ye may learn what th' Eunuch has to prate.
Terent.

For whatever the matter is with him, he blufters more than ordinary. "A horrible meffage had lately struck our ears, but our minds more, with a heinous wound concerning a parricide committed in England in the perfon of a king, by a wicked confpiracy of facrilegious men." Indeed that horrible meffage muft either have had a much longer fword than that which Peter drew, or those ears must have been of a wonderful length, that it could wound at fuch a diftance; for it could not so much as in the leaft offend any ears but those of an afs. For what harm is it to you, that are foreigners? are any of you hurt by it, if we amongft ourselves put our own enemics, our own traitors to death, be they commoners, noblemen, or kings? Do you, Salmafius, let alone what does not concern you: for I have a horrible meffage to bring of you too; which I am mistaken if it strike not a more heinous wound into the ears of all grammarians and critics, provided they have any learning and delicacy in them, to wit, your crowding fo many barbarous expreffions together in one period in the person of (Ariftarchus) a grammarian; and that fo great a critic as you, hired at the king's charge to write a defence of the king his father, fhould not only fet fo fulfome a preface before it, much like thofe lamentable ditties that ufed to be fung at funerals, and which can move compaffion in none but a coxcomb; but in the very firft fentence fhould provoke your readers to laughter with fo many barbarifms all at once. "Perfona regis," you cry. Where do you find any fuch Latin? or are you telling us fome tale or other of a Perkin Warbec, who taking upon him the person of a king, has, forfooth, committed fome horrible parricide in England? which expreffion, though dropping carelefly from your pen, has more truth in it than you are aware of. For a tyrant is but like a king upon a ftage, a man in a vizor, and acting the part of a king in a play; he is not really a king. But as for thefe gallicims, that are fo frequent in your book, I won't lafh you for them myfelf, for I am not at leifure; but shall

deliver

deliver you over to your fellow grammarians, to be laughed to fcorn and whipped by them. What follows is much more heinous, than what was decreed by our fupreme magiftracy to be done to the king, fhould be faid by you to have been done" by a wicked confpiracy of facrilegious perfons." Have you the impudence, you rogue, to talk at this rate of the acts and decrees of the chief magiftrates of a nation, that lately was a most potent kingdom, and is now a more potent commonwealth? Whofe proceedings no king ever took upon him by word of mouth, or otherwife, to vilify and fet at nought. The illuftrious ftates of Holland therefore, the genuine offspring of thofe deliverers of their country, have defervedly by their edict condemned to utter darkness this defence of tyrants, fo pernicious to the liberty of all nations; the author of which every free state ought to forbid their country, or to banish out of it; and that state particularly that feeds with a ftipend fo ungrateful and fo favage an enemy to their commonwealth, whofe very fundamentals, and the caufes of their becoming a free state, this fellow endeavours to undermine as well as ours, and at one and the fame time to fubvert both; loading with calumnies the moft worthy afferters of liberty there, under our names. Confider with yourselves, ye moft illuftrious ftates of the United Netherlands, who it was that put this afferter of kingly power upon fetting pen to paper? who it was, that but lately began to play Rex in your country? what counfels were taken, what endeavours ufed, and what disturbances enfued thereupon in Holland? and to what pafs things might have been brought by this time? How flavery and a new mafter were ready prepared for you; and how near expiring that liberty of yours, afferted and vindicated by fo many years war and toil, would have been ere now, if it had not taken breath again by the timely death of a certain rafh young gentleman. But our author begins to strut again, and to feign wonderful tragedies; "whomfoever this dreadful news reached (to wit, the news of Salmafius's parricidial barbarifins) all of a fudden, as if they had been ftruck with lightning, their hair stood an end, and their tongues clove to the roof of

their

« EelmineJätka »