Зображення сторінки

And if I shall now be demanded, as once Pompey's poor bondman waso;--(the grateful wretch had been left alone on the sea-shore, with the forsaken dead body of his once glorious lord and master : and, was then gathering the scattered pieces of an old broken boat to make a funeral pile to burn it, which was the custom of the Romans)" Who art thou that alone “ haft the honour to bury the body of Pompey the great* ?” so, who am I that do thus officiously set the Author's memory on fire? I hope the question will prove to have in it, more of wonder than disdain. But wonder indeed the reader may, that I, who profess myself artless, should presume with

my faint light to shew forth his life whose very name makes it illustrious! but be this to the disadvantage of the person represented : Certain I am, it is to the advantage of the beholder, who shall here see the Author's picture in a natural dress, which ought to beget faith in what is spoken; for he that wants skill to deceive, may safely be trusted,

And if the Author's glorious spirit, which now is in heaven, can have the leisure to look down and fee me, the poorest, the meanest of all his friends, in the midst of his officious duty, confident I am, that he will not disdain this well-meant facrifice to his memory : for, whilst his conversation made me and many others happy below, I know his humility and gentleness were then eminent ; and, I have heard divines say, those virtues that were but sparks upon earth, become great and glorious flames in heaven.

Before I proceed further, I am to entreat the reader to take notice, that when Doétor Donne's Sermons were first printed, this was then my excuse for daring to write his life; and, I dare not now appear without it.

· Philip, the freed-man of Pompey, watched the dead body of his master, till the multitude had satisfied their curiosity; and then washing it with sea-water, he wrapt it up in a garmint of his own, and finding some rotten planks of a little fisherman's Loat, he gathered them together for a funeral pile. Lucan has given a long description of Pompey's unhappy deftiny. According to his account, the body was thrown into the sea, and Servius Codrus,, once his quæstor and his friend, brought it to shore, and paid the last honours to it.

E laterriz pavidus decurrit ad æquora Codrus
Quæstor ab Idalio Cinyrææ litore Cypri:
In fauftus magni fuerat comes : ille per umbras
Ausus ferre gradum, victum pictate timorem
Con: pulit, ut mediis quæfirum corpus in undis
Duceret ad terram, traheretq; ad litora magnum.

LUCAN, L, VIII. ver. 720.

Plutarch's Lives.


ASTER John Donne was born in London, in the year 1573, of good

and virtuous parents: and though his own learning and other multiplied merits may justly appear sufficient to dignify both himself and his posterity, yet the reader may be pleased to know, that his father was mafculinely and lineally descended from a very ancient family in Wales, where many of his name now live, that deserve and have great reputation in that country.

By his mother he was descended of the family of the famous and learned Sir Thomas Moor', sometime Lord Chancellor of England; as also from that worthy and laborious Judge Rastall®, who left pofterity the vast statutes of the law of this nation most exactly abridged.

He had his first breeding in his father's house, where a private tutor had the care of him, until the tenth year of his age; and in his eleventh year was sent to the University of Oxford; having at that time a good command both of the French and Latin Tongue. This, and some other of his remarkable abilities, made one then give this censure of him ; That this


I 2

f Fuller's Church History, B. X. p. 112.

: John Raftall, a celebrated printer, married Elizabeth the sister of Sir Thomas Moor. William, their son, was brought up to the bar, and was appointed one of the Justices of the King's Bench in 1558. Upon the demise of Queen Mary, he steadily adhered to his religion, left England, and spent the remainder of his days at Louvain. He published the works of his uncle Sir Thomas Moor in one volume. He also formed a collection of and wrote a comment on the statutes, and a very useful book entitled “ Les Termes de la Ley,” or “ An explication of certain difficult and obscure words and terms of the common laws and statutes of this realm now in use.” The author of several tracts against Bilhop Jewell was John Rastall, who left the Church of England, in which he had been ordained priest, went to Rome, and with this his kinsman was admitted into the society of Jesus.

age had brought forth another Picus Mirandula"; of whom story says, that he was rather born, than made wise by study.

There he remained some years in Hart-Hall', having, for the advancement of his studies, tutors of several sciences to attend and instruct him, till time made him capable, and his learning, expressed in public exercises, declared him worthy to receive his first degree in the schools, which he forbore by advice from his friends, who being for their religion of the Romish persuasion, were conscionably averse to some parts of the oath that is always tendered at those times, and not to be refused by those that expect the titulary honour of their studies.

About the fourteenth year of his age, he was transplanted from Oxford to Cambridgek; where, that he might receive nourishment from both foils, ke stayed till his seventeenth year; all which time he was a most laborious

ftudent, Picus Prince of Mirandula, a duchy in Italy, now the property of the Dukes of Modena, was born in 1463, and having resigned his sovereignty in favour of his nephew, he died in 1494. He is said to have made so wonderful a progress in study, as to understand twentytwo languages at the age of eighteen years, and at the age of twenty-four years to dispute with great success, de omni fcibili, “ Picus Mirandula 32 ætatis anno quo obiit omni disciplinarum genere non modo tinctus, fed plane imbutus erat, ut Encyclopediam Scientiarum jure fibi vindicare potuerit, longiore vitâ plané dignissimus princeps.” (Scaligerana. )-He was honoured with this pompous Epitaph

“ Hic fitus est Picus Mirandula : cætera norunt
“ Et Tagus et Ganges, forfan et Antipodes.”

On which it has been justly remarked, that “ his name, then celebrated in the remoteft cor
“ners of the earth, is now almost forgotten, and his works then studied, admired, and ap-
“plauded, are now mouldering in obscurity.” (Dr. Johnson's works, vol. 2. p. 273.) The
life of this prodigy of learning, written with great elegance of language by John Francis
Prince of Mirandula is inserted in Bates's Vite selectorum, &c. p. 90.

i “He continued for three years at Hart-Hall, which was so called from Elias de Hertford, who lived in the tenth year of Edward the first. An. Dom. 1282. In 1312 it changed its name to Stapledon Hall, but upon the settlement of Exeter College it returned to its former appellation.” (Le Neve. In 1740 it was by a royal charter erected into a college by the name of “Hertford College in the University of Oxford,” to confift of a principal, four senior, and eight junior Fellows.

* To Trinity College in Cambridge, where he was fellow pupil with Mr. Samuel Brook, who succeeded Dr. Leonard Maw in the mastership of that college.

[ocr errors]


student, often changing his studies, but endeavouring to take no degree, for the reasons forinerly mentioned.

About the seventeenth year of his age, he was removed to London, and then admitted into Lincoln's Inn, with an•intent to study the law; where he gave great testimonies of his wit, his learning, and of his improvement in that profession : which never served him for other use than an ornament and self-fatisfaction.

His father died before his admission into the society; and being a merchant, left him his portion in money. (It was 3000l.) His mother and those to whose care he was committed, were watchful to improve his knowledge, and to that end appointed him tutors both in the mathematics, and in all the other liberal sciences, to attend him. But with these arts they were advised to instil into him particular principles of the Romish Church ; of which those tutors profest (though secretly) themselves to be members.

They had almost obliged him to their faith ; having for their advantage, besides many opportunities, the example of his dear and pious parents, which was a most powerful persuasion, and did work much upon him, as he professeth in his preface to his Pseudo-Martyr'; a book of which the reader shall have some account in what follows.

He was now entered into the eighteenth year of his age ; and at that time had betrothed himself to no religion that might give him any

other deno.. mination than a Christian. And reason, and piety had both persuaded him, that there could be no such sin as Schism, if an adherence to some visible : church were not necessary.

About the nineteenth year of his age; he being then unresolved what religion to adhere to, and considering how much it concerned his soul to choose the most orthodox, did therefore (though his youth and health, promised him a long life), to rectify all fcruples that might concern that,

presently 1“I had alonger work to do than many other men : for I was first to blot out certaine impressions of the Romane religion and to wrestle both against the examples and against the reasons, by which some hold was taken, and some anticipations early layde upon my conscience, both by persons who by nature had a power and superiority over my will, and others who by their learning and good life feemed to me justly to claime an interest for the guiding and rectifying of mine understanding in these matters.” (Preface to the Pseudo-martyr, which is pronounced by Mr. Granger to be the most valuable of Donne's prose-writings.)

(Biographical Hif. vel 1. p. 357.)

presently lay aside all study of the law, and of all other sciences that might give him a denomination; and begun seriously to survey and consider the body of divinity", as it was then controverted betwixt the reformed and the Roman Church. And as God's blessed spirit did then awaken him to the search, and in that industry did never forsake him, (they be his own words in his preface to Pseudo-martyr) so he calls the same holy spirit to witness this protestation; that, in that disquisition and search, he proceeded with humility and diffidence in himself; and, by that which he took to be the safest way ; namely, frequent prayers, and an indifferent affection to both parties: and indeed, truth had too much light about her to be hid from so sharp-an inquirer; and, he had too much ingenuity, not to acknowledge he had found her.

Being to undertake this search, he believed the Cardinal Bellarmine" to be the best defender of the Roman cause, and therefore betook himself to the examination of his reasons. The cause was weighty: and wilful delays had been inexcusable both towards God and his own conscience ; he

therefore *In The principal heads of this controversy have been discussed with great ability and candour by the most eminent divines of our church, and particularly by those of them, who lived in the reign of James II. Mr. Pope, in a letter to Bishop Atterbury, tells his Lordship, that when he was fourteen years old, he read the controversies between the two churches. He adds, “ and the consequence was, I found myself a Papist and a Protestant by turns, according to the last book I read.” This, as the writer of his life obferves, is an admirable description of every reader busied in religious controversy, without poffelling the principles on which a right judgment of the points in question is to be regulated.- If Mr. Pope had pursued this inquiry with the same preparatory knowledge, with the fame humble diffidence that attended Dr. Donne, it is reasonable to think that the result of his researches would have been different from what he has represented it.

n Robert Bellarmine, raised to the purple in 1599 by Pope Clement VIII. was born in 1542 and died at Rome in 1621. He was esteemed by the Jesuits as the brightest ornament of their order, and the Protestant writers have always considered him as the most learned advocate of the church of Rome. His great work has been called “ Opus absolutissimum, quod controversiarum fermé omnium corpus dici queat.” The following eulogium is prefixed to a print of him by Bollwert. “ Robertis Bellarminus Politianus Societatis Jesu animi fubmissione

quam purpurâ major :-nec pio minus quam docto in hærefes controversiarum calamo orbi “ notissimus : virtutum ut amator ita cultor omnium. Quam a Mộtre Virgine carnem acce“ perat, quam a facro lavacro innocentiam Deo reddidit : nullius fibi vitâ omni mendacii con-“ fcius: cujus etiam medicam manum in vario morborum genere experti non pauci. Vivere

hic defuit, cælo incepit anno MDCXXI. ætatis fuce LXXIX.

« НазадПродовжити »