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before the beginning of the parliament; had been one of their teizers to broach those bold high overtures, soberer men were not, at first, willing to be seen in; and had been, as a man most worthy to be confided in, chosen lord lieutenant of one of the most confiding counties, the county of Buckingham (where he had, with great solemnity and pomp, executed their ordinance, in defyance of the King's proclamation) and had subscribed a greater number of horses for their service, upon their propositions, than any other of the same quality ; convinced in his conscience, fled from them, and besought the King's pardon : and, for the better manifesting the tenderness of his compunction, and the horror he had of his former guilt, he frankly discovered whatsoever he had known of their counsels; and aggravated all the ill they had done, with declaring it to be done to worse and more horrid ends, than many good men believed to be possible for them to propose to themselves *.”
A work of many volumes, abounding in sentences as protracted and involved as the above, must necessarily excite fatigue, if not disgust, even in the most patient student. It is not always, however, that the style of Clarendon is
* Clarendon's History, Part i. vol. ii, book v. p. 651, 652, 8vo. edit, of 1720.
thus prolix; he is sometimes, though not frequently, clear and rapid ; and the follow ingaccount of the erection of the King's standard at Nottingham, in 1642, may be considered as a specimen of his best mode of composition.
“ According to the proclamation, upon the twenty-fifth day of August, the standard was erected, about six of the clock in the evening of a very stormy and tempestuous day. The King himself, with a small train, rode to the top of the Castle Hill; Varney, the knight-marshal, who was standard-bearer, carrying the standard, which was then erected in that place, with little other ceremony than the sound of drums, and trumpets: melancholy men observed many ill presages about that time. There was not one regi. ment of foot yet brought thither; so that the train’d-bands, which the sheriff had drawn together, were all the strength the King had for his person, and the guard of the standard. There appear'd no conflux of men in obedience to the proclamation ; the arms and ammunition were not yet come from York, and a general sadness covered the whole town. The standard was blown down the same night it had been set up, by a very strong and unruly wind, and could not be fixed again in a day or two, till the tempest was allayed. This was the melancholy state of the King's affairs, when the standard was set up *.”
Contemporary with Clarendon flourished the acute mathematician and divine, ISAAC BARROW; a man of a vast and comprehensive mind, and of a rich and glowing imagination. As he beheld his subject in the clearest and strongest light, his style is correspondently forcible and expressive; as he revolved it in all its bearings and associations, and deeply felt the emotions which he endeavoured to convey, his composition is copious, vehement, and sublime. To the diction of Barrow sufficient honour has not been given; if he be occasionally incorrect and redundant, he is never tame or obscure; and there is a spirit, an impetuosity and vigour in his language, which powerfully excites and sustains attention.
Though an appearance of negligence in his style be sometimes observable, owing probably to the warmth and profusion of his ideas, it is well known that he paid great attention to the study of his native language. He consequently found it difficult to please himself; and he generally transcribed his sermons three or four times before he was satisfied with their diction. It is to this patient assiduity, this lima labor, that we may ascribe his freedom from that intricacy and pro
* Book v. p. 720.
traction which mark the periods of Clarendon. In Barrow the sentences are perspicuously arranged and divided; seldom, if ever, tedious by their length, and usually closing with cadence and dignity.
The following passage from his sermon on The Duty and Reward of Bounty to the Poor, which was published by himself, and after mature revision, will convey a satisfactory view of the merits of his composition :
“He whose need craves our bounty, whose misery demands our mercy, what is he? He is not truly so mean and sorry a thing, as the disguise of misfortune, under which he appears, doth represent him. He who looks so deformedly and dismally, who to outward sight is so ill bestead, and so pitifully accoutred, hath latent in him much of admirable beauty and glory. He within himself containeth a nature very excellent; an immortal soul, and an intelligent mind, by which he nearly resembleth God himself, and is comparable to angels: he invisibly is owner of endowments rendering him capable of the greatest and best things. What are money and lands? what are silk and fine linen? what are horses and hounds in comparison to reason, to wisdom, to vertue, to religion, which he hath, or (in despight of all misfortune) he may have if he please? He whom you behold so dejectedly sneaking, in so despicable a garb, so destitute of all convenience and comfort, lying in the dust, naked or clad with rags, meager with hunger or pain, he comes of a most high and heavenly extraction : he was born a prince, the son of the greatest King eternal; he can truly call the Sovereign Lord of all the world his father, having derived his soul from the mouth, having had his body formed by the hands of God himself. In this, the rich and poor, as the wise man saith, do meet together ; the Lord is the maker of them all. That same forlorn wretch, whom we are so apt to despise and trample upon, was framed and constituted Lord of the visible world; had all the goodly brightnesses of heaven, and all the costly furnitures of earth created to serve him. Thou madest him, (saith the Psalmist of man) to have dominion over the works of thine hands ; thou hast put all things under his feet. Yea, he was made an inhabitant of Paradise, and possessour of felicities superlative; had immortal life and endless joy in his hand, did enjoy the entire favour and friendship of the Most High. Such in worth of nature and nobleness of birth he is, as a man: and highly more considerable he is, as a christian. For, as vile and contemptible as he looks, God hath so regarded and prized him, as for his sake to descend from heaven, to cloath himself