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This Hymn was made by Sir Henry Wotton, when he was an Ambassador at Venice, in the Time of a great Sickness there.
Eternal Mover, whose diffused glory,
To shew our groveling reason what thou art,
For, what are we but lumps of walking clay?
Why should we swell? whence should our spirits rise?
Thou then, our strength, Father of life and death,
To whom our thanks, our vows, ourselves we owe;
Accept these lines which from thy goodness flow:
Let these poor notes ascend unto thy throne.
Where Majesty doth sit with Mercy crown'd;
Well then, my soul, joy in the midst of pain;
That Christ that conquer'd hell, shall from above With greater triumph yet return again,
And conquer his own justice with his love;
Commanding earth and seas to render those
Now have I done: now are my thoughts at peace,
And now my joys are stronger than my grief:
Walton says, "That at Sir Henry Wotton's first going ambassador into Italy, his cousin, Sir Albert Morton, went his secretary: and am next to tell you, that Sir Albertus died, Secretary of State to our late < king; but, cannot, am not able to express the sorrow that possessed Sir Henry Wotton, at his first hearing the news that Sir Albertus was by death lost to him and this world; and yet, the reader may partly guess by these following expressions: the first in a letter to his Nicholas Pey, of which this that followeth is a part:
'And, my dear Nick, when I had been here almost
a fortnight, in the midst of my great contentment, I received notice of Sir Albertus Morton his departure out of this world, who was dearer to me, than mine own being in it; what a wound it is to my heart, you that knew him, and know me, will easily believe: but, our Creator's will must be done, and unrepiningly received by his own creatures, who is the Lord of all Nature, and of all fortune, when he taketh to himself now one, and then another, till that expected day, wherein it shall please him to dissolve the whole, and wrap up even the heaven itself as a scroll of parchment! This is the last philosophy that we must study upon earth; let us, therefore, that yet remain here, as our days and friends waste, reinforce our love to each other; which of all virtues, both spiritual and moral, hath the highest privilege, because death itself cannot end it. And my good Nick,' ffc.
"This is a part of his sorrow thus expressed to his Nick. Pey: the other part is in this following elegy, of which the reader may safely conclude, it was too hearty to be dissembled."
Tears at the Grave of Sir Albertus Morton, (who was buried at
Silence (in truth) would speak my sorrow best,
O my unhappy lines! you that before
This is that sable stone, this is the cave,
Here will I paint the characters of Woe,
Where though I mourn my matchless loss alone,
But is he gone? and live I rhyming here,
Dwell thou in endless light, discharged soul;
I cannot find a better place for adding the following affecting letter:
"A late Letter written towards the end of Lent, by Sir Henry Wotton, Procoit of his Majesty's College at Eton.
"To the Right Worthy, his ever truly honoured, Sir Edmund Bacon, Knight and Baronet, touching the Loss of Friends, and final Resignation of ourselves.
"all the faculties of my mind, (if they had ever been of any value), and all the strength of my body, must yield to the seignory and sovereignty of time over us. But the last thing that will die, or decay in me, is the remembrance, how, amidst that inestimable contentment which I enjoyed (as all others do) in the benefit and pleasure of your conversation, (being then with you at Redgrave in Suffolk, both your delightful mansion and philosophical retreat, where you are best, because there you are most yourself, though every where well imparted to your friends), I was then surprised with an advertisement from court, of the death of Sir Albertus Morton, my dear nephew, in the vernality (as I may term it) of his employments and fortunes under the best king and master of the world. And how no great time after (as adversities are seldom solitary) there succeeded in the same place the departure of my no less dear niece, your long, and I dare say, your still beloved consort, (for love and life are not conterminable), as well appeareth by your many
tender expressions of that disjuncture, and by that monument of your own excellent invention, which you have raised to her memory.
"This, Sir, ever freshly bleeding in me, and withal revolving often in my retired thoughts, how I have long since overlived my loving parents, all mine uncles, brothers and sisters, besides many of mine especial friends and companions of my youth, who have melted away before me; and that I am now myself arrived near those years which lie in the suburbs of oblivion, being the sole masculine branch of my good father's house in the county of Kent: so as that poor name and reputation which my ancestors have heretofore sustained by God's permission, must expire and vanish in my unworthiness: I say, Sir, again and again, debating often these circumstances with myself, (and truly not without the common weaknesses and passions of humanity, from which I am of all men least exempted), an extreme desire did lately assail me to entertain between my other private studies, some such discourse as might work upon mine own mind, and at least abstract awhile, if not elevate, my cogitations above all earthly objects. Whereupon, towards the end of this last Lent (a time of contracted thoughts) I fell to think of that theme, which I have now entituled, "The Loss of Friends, and f■nal Resignation of ourselves." Intending, though it be the highest and uttermost point of Christian philosophy, to familiarize it between us as much as I can, and to address it in form of a letter to yourself. For, with whom can I treat of this matter more properly, being both of us almost precisely of equal age, and by the love which you are pleased to bear me, all joy in the fruition, and all grief in the privation of friends common between us? Now, Sir," fyc.