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As soon as Cavendish had seen the last rites performed over the remains of his master, he speeded to London, there to receive his despatch from the council. He was sent for by the king, and had a long audience with him. The account which he has left of it enables us to take a very near view of this extraordinary monarch.
“And the next day, being Saint Nicholas day, I was sent for, being in Mr. Kingstone's chamber there in the courte, to come to the king; whom I found shooting at the roundes in the Parcke, on the backside of the garden. And perceiving him occupied in shoting, thought it not good to trouble him: but leaning to a tree, attending there untill he had made an ende of his disporte. And leaning there, being in a great study, what the matter should be that his grace should send for me, at the laste the king came sodenly behind me, and clapped me upon the shoulder; and when I perceived him, I fell upon my knee. And he, calling me by name, sayd unto me, I will,' quoth he, make an ende of my game, and then I will talk with you;' and so departed to the marke where he had shot his arrowe. And when he came there they were meeting of the shott that lay upon the game, which was ended that shote,
“ Then delivered the king his bowe unto the yeoman of his bowes, and went his waies inwarde; whom I followed ; howbeit he called for Sir John Gage, then his vice chamberlaine, with whome he talked, untill he came to the posterne gate of his garden; the which being open against his comyng, he entered; and then was the gate shute after him, which caused me to go my waies.
And ere ever I was past halfe a paire of butt-lengths, the gate, opened againe, and Mr. Norris called me againe, commanding me to come unto the kinge, who stoode behinde the doore in a night gowne of russet velvet, furred with sables; before whom I kneeled downe, being there with him all alone the space of an houre or more, during which season he examined me of diverse weighty matters, concerning my lord cardinall, wishing rather than twenty thousand pounds that he had lived. He examined me of the fifteen hundred poundes, which Mr. Kingstone moved to my lord before his deathe, as I have before rehersed. “Sir,' sayd I, • I thinke that I can tell your grace partly where it is, and who hathe it.' Yea, can you ? quoth the king ;' then I pray you tell me, and you shall doe me much pleasure, and it shall not be unrewarded.' Sir,' sayd I, • if it please your highness, after the departure of David Vincent from my lord at Scroby, who had the custody thereof, leaving the same with my lord in diverse baggs, he delivered the same unto a certaine priest safely to kepe to his use.' • Is this true?' quoth the king. Yea, sir,' quoth I, without all doubt. The priest shall not be able to deny it in my presence, for I was at the delivery thereof; who hath gotten diverse other rich ornaments into his hands, the which be not rehersed or registered in any of my lord's books of inventory, or other writings, whereby any man is able to charge him therewith, but only I.' Well then,' quoth the king, let me alone, and kepe this geare secrete betweene yourselfe and me, and let no man knowe thereof; for if I heare any more of it, then I knowe by whom it came out. Howbeit,' quoth he, three may
kepe counsell, if two be awaye; and if I knewe that my cap were privy to my counsell, I would cast it in the fire and burne it. And for your truthe and honesty ye shall be our servant, and be in the same rome with us, wherein you were with your old master. Therefore goe your waies unto Sir John Gage our vice chamberlain, to whom have I spoken already to give you your oathe, and to admit you our servaunt in the sayd roome; and then goe to my lord of Norfolke, and he shall pay you your whole yeares wages, which is ten poundes, is it not so ?" quoth the king. Yea, forsoothe,' quoth I, and I am behinde for three quarters of a yeare of the same wages.' That is true,' quoth the king, “therefore ye shall have your whole yeares wages, with our rewarde delivered you by the duke of Norfolke:' promising me furthermore, to be my singular good lord, whensoever occasion should serve. And thus I departed from the kinge.”
After this, both Kingston and Cavendish are examined before the counsel, touching the last words of the Cardinal. It seems his enemies were jealous even of his dying speech, some report of which had been made by the messenger who carried the news of his death to the court. Kingston, and Cavendish also, acting under the advice of the former, were both too cautious to disclose any thing which might have given offence, fearing lest the reporters of disagreeable news might come in for some share of the disgust it would create. The king does not appear to have fulfilled his promise, of taking Cavendish into his service; or else Cavendish himself was unwilling to enter it. All he requested was a cart and horse to carry his property into his own country. The king instantly granted him six of the best horses he could pick from his late lord's, and a cart horse, together with a cart, his arrears of ten pounds, and a reward of twenty. With this wealth Cavendish returned to his native country, to reflect and moralize on the fate of the great man whose eyes he had just closed; and, to use his own words
Thus ENDED THE LIFE OF THE RIGHT TRIUMPHANT CARDINAL OF ENGLAND, ON WHOSE SOULE JESUS HAVE MERCY! AMEN.
Art. II. Nosce Teipsum. This Oracle, expounded in Two
Elegies. 1-Of Human Knowledge. 2~Of the Soul of Man and the Immortalitie thereof-Hymns of Astræa, in Acrosticke Verse. Orchestra ; or, a Poem of Dancing, in a Dialogue between Penelope and one of her Woers : not finished.-By Sir J. Davies. London, 1622; 8vo.
The poet, lawyer, and statesman, whose poems are the subject of this article, was born about the year 1570. At an early age he became a commoner of Queen's College, Oxford ; and having taken his degree of Bachelor of Arts, he entered himself of the Middle Temple, was sometime afterwards called to the bar, and sat in the last parliament of Queen Elizabeth. He was, in 1603, successively appointed, first, Solicitor, and then Attorney-General, in Ireland, by James the First, whose good opinion he had gained by his poem of Nosce Teipsum. He was afterwards made Serjeant at Law, was knighted, and subse. quently appointed the King's Serjeant. He was next elected representative of the county of Fermanagh; and after a violent struggle between the Roman Catholic and Protestant parties, was chosen Speaker of the House of Commons. In 1616 he returned to England, and continued to practise as a barrister, being frequently associated as one of the judges of assize. He died in the year 1626, after having received a promise of being made Chief Justice of England, if he was not actually appointed, but before he entered upon the duties of the office.
The principal poem of Sir John Davies, both in the dignity and importance of the subject, and also in length, is his “ Nosce Teipsum ; or, The Immortality of the Soul" one of the earliest philosophical poems in our language. It appears to have been the production of his younger days, the dedication to Queen Elizabeth bearing date in 1592, when he was not much more than twenty-two years of age; although there is no edition now known to exist prior to that of 1599. His biographers, however, generally affirm that it was not written until 1598; but this is an opinion irreconcileable with the date of the dedication, unless we suppose, that part of the poem, with the dedication, was written in 1592, and the remainder completed in 1598.
The poem commences with an introduction on the corruption of human reason, and the insufficiency of human knowledge, from which we quote the following lines on the rarity of self-knowledge, and the use of affliction in teaching it.
“ For this, few know themselves : for merchants broke
View their estate with discontent and pain,
Their flowing waves into themselves again.
Pleasing and fair, agreeable and sweet,
That with herself, the mind can never meet.
And threat the feebler sense with sword and fire,
And to herself she gladly doth retire.
As spiders touch'd, seek their web's inmost part;
As bees in storms back to their hives return;
As men seek towns, when foes the country burn.
If aught can teach us aught, affliction's looks
(Making us pry into ourselves so near) Teach us to know ourselves beyond all books,
Or all the learned schools that ever were.
This mistress lately pluck'd me by the ear,
And many a golden lesson hath me taught;
Reform’d my will and rectify'd my thought.
So do the winds and thunders cleanse the air:
So working leas settle and purge the wine :
So doth the fire the drossy gold refine.”
He thus describes the manner in which the soul is united to, and exercises her powers in, the body.
“ But how shall we this union well express?
Naught ties the soul, her subtlety is such ;
Yet no part toucheth, but by virtue's touch.
Then dwells she not therein, as in a tent;
Nor as a pilot in his ship doth sit;
Nor as the wax retains the print in it;
Nor as a vessel water doth contain;
Nor as one liquor in another shed;
Nor as a voice throughout the air is spread;
But as the fair and cheerful morning light
Doth here and there her silver-beams impart,
To the transparent air, in all, and ev'ry part:
Still resting whole, when blows the air divide;
Abiding pure, when th' air is most corrupted ;
And when the air is toss'd, not interrupted;
So doth the piercing soul the body fill,
Being all in all, and all in part diffus'd ;
Not forc'd, encounter'd, troubled, or confus'd.
And as the sun above the light doth bring,
Though we behold it in the air below :
Though in the body she her pow'rs do show.
Difforent, in divers places ev'ry day;
Here flow'ry Spring-tide, and there winter gray.
Melts wax, dries clay, makes flow'rs, some quick, some dead; Makes the Moor black, the European white;
Th’ American tawny, and th’ East-Indian red :
Being only one, and to one body ty’d,
And so are her effects diversify'd.”
He endeavours to establish the immortality of the soul, by various arguments, founded, amongst other things, upon the motions or aspirations of the soul towards eternity; from which we extract a few stanzas, as a specimen of both his poetry and his reasoning.
" And as the moisture, which the thirsty earth
Sucks from the sea, to fill her empty veins,
And runs a lymph along the grassy plains :
From whose soft side she first did issue make :
Her flow'ry banks unwilling to forsake :
Yet nature so her streams doth lead and carry,
As that her course doth make no final stay,
Within whose wat’ry bosom first she lay.