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sured : realities are never mistaken for dreains, though dreams may be mistaken for realities. Moreover I had long been accustomed in sleep to question my perceptions with a wakeful faculty of reason, and to detect their fallacy. But, as well may be supposed, my thoughts that night, sleeping as well as waking, were filled with this extraordinary interview; and when I arose the next morning, it was not till I had called to mind every circumstance of time and place that I was convinced the apparition was real, and that I might again expect it.
THE IMPROVEMENT OF THE WORLD.
On the following evening, when my spiritual visitor entered the room, that volume of Dr. Wordsworth’s Ecclesiastical Biography, which contains his life, was lying on the table beside me. “I perceive,” said he, glancing at the book, “you have been gathering all you can concerning me from my good gossiping chronicler, who tells you that I loved milk and fruit and eggs, preferred beef to young meats, and brown bread to white; was fond of seeing strange birds and beasts, and kept an ape, a fox, a weasel, and a ferret.”
• I am not one of those fastidious readers, I replied, who quarrel with a writer for telling them too much. But these things were worth telling: they show that you retained a youthful palate as well as a youthful heart; and I like you the better both for your diet and your
menagerie. The old biographer, indeed, with the best intentions, has been far from understanding the character which he desired to honour. He seems, however, to have been a faithful reporter, and has done as well as his capacity permitted. I observe that he gives you credit for “ a deep foresight and judgement of the times,” and for speaking in a prophetic spirit of the evils which soon afterwards were “ full heavily felt.”
There could be little need for a spirit of prophecy, Sir Thomas made answer, to foresee troubles which were the sure effect of the causes then in operation, and which were actually close at hand. When the rain is gathering from the south or west, and those flowers and herbs which serve as natural hygrometers, close their leaves, men have no occasion to consult the stars for what the clouds and the earth are telling them ... You were thinking of Prince Arthur when I introduced myself yesterday, as if musing upon the great events which seem to have received their bias from the apparent accident of his premature death.
MONTESINOS. I had fallen into one of those idle reveries in which we speculate upon what might have been. Lord Bacon describes him as “ very studious,
and learned beyond his years, and beyond the custom of great princes.” As this indicates a calm and thoughtful mind, it seems to show that he inherited the Tudor character. His brother took after the Plantagenets; but it was not of their nobler qualities that he partook. He had the popular manners of his grandfather, Edward IV., and, like him, was lustful, cruel, and unfeeling.
SIR THOMAS MORE. The blood of the Plantagenets, as your friends the Spaniards would say, was a strong blood. That temper of mind which (in some of his predecessors) thought so little of fratricide, might perhaps have involved him in the guilt of a parricidal war, if his father had not been fortunate enough to escape such an affliction by a timely death. We might otherwise be allowed to wish that the life of Henry VII. had been prolonged to a good old age. For if ever there was a prince who could so have directed the Reformation as to have averted the evils wherewith that tremendous event was accompanied, and yet to have secured its ad- . vantages, he was the man. Cool, wary, farsighted, rapacious, politic, and religious,..or superstitious if you will, (for his religion had its root rather in fear than in hope,) he was peculiarly adapted for such a crisis both by his good
and evil qualities. For the sake of increasing his treasures and his power, he would have promoted the Reformation; but his cautious temper, his sagacity, and his fear of divine justice would have taught him where to stop.
MONTESINOS. A generation of politic sovereigns succeeded to the race of warlike ones, just in that age of society when policy became of more importance in their station than military talents. Ferdi'nand of Spain, Joam II. whom the Portugueze called the Perfect Prince, Louis XI. and Henry VII. were all of this class. Their individual characters were sufficiently distinct; but the circumstances of their situation stampt them with a marked resemblance, and they were of a metal to take and retain the strong, sharp impress of the age.
SIR THOMAS MORE. The age required such characters; and it is worthy of notice how surely in the order of Providence such men as are wanted are raised up. One generation of these Princes sufficed. In Spain, indeed, there was an exception ; for Ferdinand had two successors who pursued the same course of conduct. In the other kingdoms the character ceased with the necessity for it. Crimes enough were committed by suc