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into which lie might be in danger of running, either by attaching too much felf-approbation to his person and parts, or indulging in the insignificant superciliousness fo often observed in young men of high patronage.
Possibly the acute Doctor had seen in young HerBERT an indication of these errors ; indeed Mr. Walton (from whom these memoirs are taken) allows the excrescency to have existed, but discriminating Nevil de tected it, and it should seem effectually removed it. He was made Minor Fellow 1609, Bachelor of Arts 1611. Major Fellow of the College 1615, and in that year was also made Master of Arts, being then in the 22d year of his age.
Mr. HERBERT was now well known, and a va. cancy happening in the Oratorship he was, 1619, chosen Orator for the University, in which place he continued eight years, discharging it with ability unsurpassed by any of his predecessors or successors, for, in addition to the sweçtest urbanity of temper, and elegance of manners, he was bleft by nature with a fine fancy, and a piercing though civil wit, which were all ornamented by his acquired learning, and set forth to the greatest advantage by the winning graces of eloquence.
The writer of the Life of Mr. Herbert speaks highly of his fitness for the employment of Orator by " the notable occasion” offered him through “ King James's sending to the University of Cambridge his book called Basilicon Doran; and their Orator was to acknowledge this great honour, and return their gratitude to his Majesty for such a condescension; at the close of which letter he writ,
Quid Vaticanum Bodleianumq; objiciis, hospes ?
Unicus eft nobis Bibliotheca Liber. This letter was writ in fuch excellent Latin, was so full of conceits, and all the expressions were so suited
to the genius of the King, that he inquired the Orator's name, and then asked William Earl of Pembroke if he knew him ? whose answer was, “ That he knew him very well; and that he was his kinsman, but he loved him more for his learning and virtue, than for that he was of his name and family.” At which answer the King smiled, and asked the Earl leave, “that he might love him too; for he took him to be the Jewel of that Univerlity."
This quotation from our biographical predecessor we chose to give as a sample of the taste of that archpedant James, and of the false genius which, under the pedandic regimen of that Solomon, had usurped the place of wit, sense, learning, and even religion itself, ihrough all orders of the community. We make this observation out of respect to the memory of HERBERT, requesting equally the admirers of talte to recollect the school in which HERBERT was formed, and the lovers of sound divinity not to forget that as the Presbyterian Monarch had the strongest penchant for the Papal Hiararchy, so the Religion of the times was absurdly mixed with parade and nonsense.
Soon after Mr. HERBERT's letter, “ full of conceits,” had “ the great honor” of James's approbation, a countryman of the Monarch's, Mr. Andrew Melvin, having returned red-hot from Geneva, gave our author many opportunities to attempt to ward off the shafts, with which Melvin's wit attacked the ceremonies, &c. of the Church of England, of which James, a true apostate, was outrageously enamoured, as were likewise all the clergy. “This Mr. Melvin was a man of learning, and was the master of a great wit; a wit full of knots and clenches; a wit sharp and satirical ; exceeded, I think, by none of that nation, but their Buchanan. At Mr. in's return hither, he writ and scattered in Latin many pieces of his wit against our altars, our prayers, and our public worship of God; in which Mr.
Herbert took himself to be so much concerned, that as fast as Melvin writ and scattered them, Mr. Herbert writ and scattered answers, and reflections of the fame sharpness upon bim and them ; I think to the satisfaction of all unengaged persons." Melvin was after this thrown into the Tower, but the verses of his antagonist were judged by Dr. Dupont, Dean of Peterborough, not undeserving a more than ephemeral existence ; he collected and printed them, as an honorable memorial to his friend Mr. HERBERT, and the cause he undertook.
James was fond of hunting, and frequently came into the neighbourhood of Cambridge to pursue his favourite sport. This produced several royal visits to the University, at each of which Mr. HERBERT, in his capacity of Orator, offered him the applauses and gratulations of the body he represented. This introduced him not only to the notice, but likewise the favor of the King, and he had foon an order to attend the Court at Royston, where, after a discourse with him, his Majefty declared to his kinsman the Earl of Pembroke, i “ Tyat he found the Orator's learning and wisdom were much above his age or wit.” The year after the King was attended to Cambridge by the great Bacon, Lord Verulam, and the learned Bishop Andrews, both of whom commenced an intimate friendship with the Orator, and such was the opinion Lord Bacon had of his judgment, that he usually desired his approbation before he would send any of his works to the press, and paid him the compliment of dedicating to him, as the best judge of Divine Poetry, his English Version of some of the Psalms,
And the Bishop had soon an opportunity of expressing the high opinion he entertained of his friend, for a goodnatured debate having taken place between Mr. HERBERT and himself on some Theological doctrines, the former soon after sent him some excellent aphorisms in a letter written in Greek, which was so .
remarkable for the language and matter, that the Bishop ever after carried it in his bosom, and took no small pleasure in exhibiting it among the circles of his learned friends.
Mr. HERBERT knew what value to put upon a free intercourse with the wise and learned.
Among his friends ranked Dr. Donne, and Sir Henry Wotton. The former a little time before his death, presented to each of his intimate friends a seal with the figure engraved on it of Christ crucified, on an Anchor, allusive to an expression he often used, Crux mihi anchora.
At Mr. HERBERT's death, these verses were found wrapt up with that feal given him by the Doctor,
When my dear Friend could write no more,
This Anchor keeps my Faith, that me secure. But about this time he would probably have made fhipwreck of his faith, notwithstanding the confidence expressed, had not divine Providence kept him in port, for he made frequent essays to launch into the world, in the moft treacherous bottom. His two preceding Orators were Sir Robert Nanton and Sir Francis Netherfei. T'he former had been made Secretary of State, and the latter Secretary to the Queen of Bohemia. Mr. Hero BER I therefore made himself master of the Italian, Spanish and French tongues, and trudged after the Court, « seldom looking towards Cambridge unless the King was there, and then he never failed.”
“ Though he fought the Secretaryship, all he could however obtain from James was a finecure of 120l. per annum." Perhaps to a person of Mr. HERBERT's literary and polished mind, this gift was ideally inhanced by having been once held by the great Sir Philip Sidaey, a small token of gard from his Royal Mistress Elizabeth.
Mr. HERBERT wished to quit the University altogether, for added to a strong inclination to improve
himself by travelling, he had a delicate habit inclined
The way that takes the town :
And wrapt me in a gown.
Not fimp'ring all mine age:
Melt and diffolve my rage ;
In my unhappiness;
Into more sicknesses.
None of my books will shew :
For then sure I should grow