« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
'Lands about it. It being a very cold Day when he *made his Will, he left for Mourning, to every Man 'in the Parish, a great Frize-Coat, and to every •Woman a black Riding-hood. It was a most mov'ing Sight to see him take leave of his poor Servants, commending us all for our Fidelity, whilst we were ‘not able to speak a Word for weeping. As we 'most of us are grown Gray-headed in our Dear 'Master's Service, he has left us Pensions and Legacies, which we may live very comfortably upon, the ‘remaining part of our Days. He has bequeath'd a ‘great deal more in Charity, which is not yet come to 'my Knowledge, and it is peremptorily said in the ‘Parish, that he has left Mony to build a Steeple to the Church; for he was heard to say some time ago, 'that if he lived two Years longer, Coverly Church 'should have a Steeple to it. The Chaplain tells 'every body that he made a very good End, and 'never speaks of him without Tears. He was bur‘ied, according to his own Directions, among the 'Family of the Coverly's, on the Left Hand of his father Sir Arthur. The Coffin was carried by Six of his Tenants, and the Pall held up by Six of the Quorum: The whole Parish follow'd the Corps with 'heavy Hearts, and in their Mourning Suits, the ‘Men in Frize, and the Women in Riding Hoods. “Captain SENTRY, my Master's Nephew, has taken ‘Possession of the Hall-House, and the whole Estate.
1. Steele in The Spectator for November 24, 1712, makes a sort of postscript to this whole affair of Sir Roger by producing a letter from Captain Sentry, written from Coverley Hall, Worcestershire, in which he says : “I am come to the succession of the estate of my honored kinsman, Sir Roger de Coverley ; and I assure you I find it no easy task to keep up the figure of
When my old Master saw him a little before his *Death, he shook him by the Hand, and wished him 'Jcy of the Estate which was falling to him, desiring ‘him only to make good Use of it, and to pay the several Legacies, and the Gifts of Charity which he told him he had left as Quitrents upon the Estate. “The Captain truly seems a courteous Man, though 'he says but little. He makes much of those whom 'my Master loved, and shows great Kindness to the ‘old House-dog, that you know my poor Master was 680 fond of. It would have gone to your Heart to have heard the Moans the dumb Creature made on 'the Day of my Master's Death. He has ne'er joyed 'himself since; no more has
'Twas the 'melancholiest Day for the poor People that ever “happened in Worcestershire. This being all from,
'P. S. My Master desired, some Weeks before 'he died, that a Book which comes up to you by the master of the fortune which was so handsomely enjoyed by that honest plain man. I cannot (with respect to the great obliga-, tions I have, be it spoken) reflect upon his character, but I am confirmed in the truth which I have, I think, heard spoken at the club, to wit, that a man of a warm and well-disposed heart with a very small capacity, is highly superior in human society to him who with the greatest talents, is cold and languid in his affections. But alas ! why do I make a difficulty in speaking of my worthy ancestor's failings ? His little absurdities and incapacity for the conversation of the politest men are dead with him, and his greater qualities are even now useful to him. I know not whether by naming those disabilities I do not enhance his merit, since he has left behind him a reputation in his country which would be worth the pains of the wisest man's whole life to arrive at."
Carrier should be given to Sir Andrew Freeport, 'in his Name.'
This Letter, notwithstanding the poor Butler's Manner of writing it, gave us such an Idea of our good old Friend, that upon the reading of it there was not a dry Eye in the Club. Sir Andrew opening the Book, found it to be a Collection of Acts of Parliament. There was in particular the Act of Uniformity, with some Passages in it marked by Sir Roger's own Hand. Sir Andrew found that they related to two or three Points, which he had disputed with Sir Roger the last time he appeared at the Club. Sir Andrew, who would have been merry at such an Incident on another Occasion, at the sight of the old Man's Hand-writing burst into Tears, and put the Book into his Pocket. Captain Sentry informs me, that the Knight has left Rings and Mourne ing for every one in the Club.
JOHN MILTON was born in the heart of London, Decem. ber 9, 1608. His father was born very near the time of Shakespeare's birth, and was a student at Oxford in his youth. It was while he was a student that England was wavering between Catholicism and Protestantism. The poet's grandfather held to the old order, and when his son was found leaning toward the new he disinherited him, and left him to his own devices. Thereupon the student went up to London, and shortly established himself as a scriv. ener, a term applied to men at that time who were copyists of legal documents, law stationers, and draftsmen also of legal papers. Milton the scrivener prospered, married, and had three children who lived, a daughter and two sons, John Milton being younger than his sister and seven years older than his brother.
Thus the poet came of a father who sympathized with the new order of things, and who was a contemporary of Shakespeare. Shakespeare died when Milton was eight years old, but Milton was nearly thirty when Ben Jonson, who was more widely known than Shakespeare in his day, died, and he was eighteen years old when Bacon died. Milton's youth, therefore, was contemporaneous with the closing years of the august period of English dramatic poetry, and the glory of the spacious days of the great Queen Elizabeth was still within the near memory of men.