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She, on the same demand, spares no protesting, and the gods must witness, that otherwise to express her thoughts she knew not, but that she loved him above all creatures ;' and so receives an equal reward with her sister. But Cordelia, the youngest, though hitherto best beloved, and now before her eyes the rich and present hire of a little easy soothing, the danger also, and the loss likely to betide plain dealing, yet moves not from the solid purpose of a sincere and virtuous answer. Father,' saith she, “ my love towards you, is as my duty bids; what should a father seek, what can a child promise more? they who pretend beyond this, flatter.' When the old man, sorry to hear this, and wishing her to recal those words, persisted asking, with a loyal sadness at her father's infirmity, but something on the sudden, harsh, and glancing rather at her sisters, than speaking her own mind, “ Two ways only,' saith she, I have to answer what you require me; the former, your command is, I should recant; accept then this other which is left me; look how much you have, so much is your value, and so much I love you.' · Then hear thou, ' quoth Lear now all in passion, what thy ingratitude hath gained thee; because thou hast not reverenced thy aged father equal to thy sisters, part in .my kingdom, or what else is mine, reckon to have none. And without delay, gives in marriage his other daughters, Gonorill to Maglaunus, duke of Albania ; Regan to Henninus, duke of Cornwall; with them in present half his kingdom ; the rest to follow at his death. In the mean while, fame was not sparing to divulge the wisdom and other graces of Cordelia, insomuch that Aganippus, a great king in Gaul, (however he came by his Greek name), seeks her to wife, and nothing altered at the loss of her dowry, receives her gladly in such manner as she was sent him. After this, king Lear, more and more drooping with years, became an easy prey to his daughters and their husbands, who now by daily encroachment had seized the whole kingdom into their hands: and the old king is put to sojourn with his eldest daughter, attended only by threescore knights. But they in a short while grudged at, as too numerous and disorderly for continual guests, are reduced to thirty. Not brooking that affront, the old king betakes him to his second daughter : but there also discord soon arising between the servants of differing masters in one family, five only are suffered to attend him. Then back again he returns to the other, hoping that she, his eldest, could not but have more pity on his gray hairs: but she now refuses to admit hiin, unless he be content with one only of his followers. At last, the remembrance of his youngest, Cordelia, comes to his thoughts; and now acknowledging how true her words had been, though with little hope from whom he had so injured, be it but to pay her the last recompence she can have from him, his confession of her wise forewarning, that so perhaps his misery, the proof and experiment of her wisdom, might something soften her, he takes his journey into France. Now might be seen a difference between the silent or down-right spoken affection of some children to their parents, and the talkative obsequiousness of others, while the hope of inheritance over-acts them, and on the tongue's end enlarges their duty. Cordelia, out of mere love, without the suspicion of expected reward, at the message only of her father in distress, pours forth true filial tears. And not enduring either that her own, or any other
should see him in such forlorn condition as his messenger declared, discreetly appoints one of her trusted servants, first to convey him privately toward some good sea town, there to array him, bathe him, cherish him, furnish him with such attendance and state, as beseemed his dignity. That then, as from his first landing, he might send word of his arrival to her husband Aganippus. Which done, with all mature and requisite contrivance, Cordelia, with the king her husband, and all the barony of his realm, who then first had news of his passing the sea, go out to meet him; and after all honourable and joyful entertainment, Aganippus, as to his wife's father and his royal guest, surrenders him, during his abode there, the power and disposal of his whole dominion: permitting his wife Cordelia to go with an army, and set her father upon his throne. Wherein her piety so prospered, as that she vanquished her impious sisters with those dukes; and Lear again, as saith the story, three years obtained the crown.
To whom dying, Cordelia, with all regal solemnities, gave burial in the town of Leicester. And then, as right heir succeeding, and her husband dead, ruled the land five years in peace : until Marganus and Gunedagius, her two sisters' sons, not bearing that a kingdom should be governed by a woman, in the unseasonablest time to raise that quarrel against a woman so worthy, make war against her, depose her, and imprison her; of which impatient, and now long unexercised to suffer, she there, as is related, killed herself.”
We omit a great deal of what follows, concluding that our readers will not be much interested to know that “ Cunedagius govern'd with much praise many years, about the time that Rome was built;" or that he was succeeded by “ Rivallo his son, wise also and fortunate; save what they tell us of three daies raining blood, and swarmes of stinging flies, whereof men dy'd.” We pass over the story of Ferrex and Porrex, as sufficiently known; and the quarrels and reconciliation of Brennus and Belinus, afterwards the conquerors of Gaul and Italy, contain nothing interesting. The following is the passage on which Wordsworth founded his “ Artegal and Elidure."
“ Gorbonian, the eldest of his five sons, than whom a juster man lived not in his age, was a great builder of temples, and gave to all what was their due; to his gods, devout worship; to men of desert, honour and preferment; to the commons, encouragement in their labours and trades, defence and protection from injuries and oppressions, so that the land flourished above her neighbours; violence and wrong seldom was heard of. His death was a general loss: he was buried in Trinovant. Archigallo, the second brother, followed not his example; but depressed the ancient nobility, and by peeling the wealthier sort, stuffed his treasury, and took the right way to be deposed. Elidure, the next brother, surnamed the Pious, was set up in his place; a mind so noble, and so moderate, as almost is incredible to have been ever found. For having held the sceptre five years, hunting one day in the forest of Calater, he chanced to meet his deposed brother, wandering in mean condition, who had been long in vain beyond the seas, importuning foreign aids to his restorement; and was now in a poor habit, with only ten followers, privately returned to find subsistence among his secret friends. At the unexpected sight of him, Elidure himself, also then but thinly accompanied, runs to him with open arms; and after many dear and sincere welcomings, conveys him to the city Alclud; there hides him in his own bed-chamber. Afterwards faining himself sick, summons all his peers as about greatest affairs; where admitting them one by one, as if his weakness endured not the disturbance of more at once, causes them willing, or unwilling, once more to swear allegiance to Archigallo. Whom, after reconciliation made on all sides, he leads to York; and from his own head, places the crown on the head of his brother. Who thenceforth, vice itself dissolving in him, and forgetting her firmest hold with the admiration of a deed so heroic, became a true converted man; ruled worthily ten years, died, and was buried in Caerleir. Thus was a brother saved by a brother, to whom love of a crown, the thing that so often dazzles and vitiates mortal men, for which thousands of nearest blood have destroyed each other, was, in respect of brotherly dearness, a contemptible thing."
The rest of the book is little more than a catalogue of names. By this time,” says our author, “ like one who had set out on his way by night, and travail'd through a region of smooth or idle dreams, our history now arrives on the confines, where day-light and truth meet
us with a clear dawn, representing to our view, though at a far distance, true colours and shapes.” The second book, accordingly, begins as follows:
“ I am now to write of what befell the Britons from fifty-three years before the birth of our Saviour, when first the Romans came in, till the decay and ceasing of that empire; a story of much truth, and for the first hundred years and somewhat more, collected without much labour. So many and so prudent were the writers, which those two, the civilest and the wisest of European nations, both Italy and Greece, afforded to the actions of that puissant city. For worthy deeds are not often destitute of worthy relaters: as by a certain fate, great acts and great eloquence have most commonly gone hand in hand, equaling and honouring each other in the same ages. 'Tis true, that in obscurest times, by shallow and unskilful writers, the indistinct noise of many batles and devastations of many kingdoms overrun and lost, hath come to our ears. For what wonder, if in all ages, ambition, and the love of rapine, hath stirred up greedy and violent men to bold attempts in wasting and ruining wars, which, to posterity, have left the work of wild beasts and destroyers, rather than the deeds and monuments of men and conquerors? But he, whosé just and true valour uses the necessity of war and dominion, not to destroy but to prevent destruction, to bring in liberty against tyrants, law and civility among barbarous nations, knowing that when he conquers all things else, he cannot conquer time or detraction, wisely conscious of this his want, as well as of his worth, not to be forgotten or concealed, honours and hath recourse to the aid of eloquence, his friendliest and best supply; by whose immortal record, his noble deeds, which else were transitory, becoming fixed and durable against the force of years and generations, he fails not to continue through all posterity, over envy, death, and time, also victorious. Therefore, when the esteem of science and liberal study, waxes low in the common wealth, we may presume, that also there all civil virtue and worthy action is grown as low to a decline : and then eloquence, as it were consorted in the same destiny, with the decrease and fall of virtue, corrupts also and fades, at least resigns her office of relating, to illiterate and frivolous historians, such as the persons themselves both deserve and are best pleased with ; whilst they want either the understanding to choose better, or the innocence to dare invite the examining and searching style of an intelligent and faithful writer, to the survey of their unsound exploits, better befriended by obscurity than fame.”
The struggles between the Britons and Romans are related by our patriotic historian in a congenial spirit; we shall only, however, extract part of his account of the manners of the ancient Britons, for the sake of some characteristic observations it contains.
“But at Cæsar's coming hither, such likeliest were the Britons, as the writers of those times, and their own actions represent them, in courage and warlike readiness to take advantage by ambush or sudden onset, not inferior to the Romans, nor Cassibelan to Cæsar, in weapons, arms, and the skill of encamping, embattling, fortifying, overmatched; their weapons were a short spear and light target, a sword also by their side, their fight sometimes in chariots fanged at the axle with iron scythes, their bodies most part naked, only painted with woad in sundry figures, to seem terrible, as they thought; but pursued by enemies, not nice of their painting, to run into bogs, worse
wild Irish, up to the neck, and there to stay many days, holding a certain morsel in their mouths, no bigger than a bean, to suffice hunger: but that receipt, and the temperance it taught, is long since unknown among us: their towns and strong holds were spaces of ground fenced about with a ditch, and great trees felled overthwart each other; their buildings within were thatched houses for themselves and their cattle. In peace, the upland inhabitants, besides hunting, tended their flocks and herds, but with little skill of country affairs; the making of cheese they commonly knew not, wool or flax they spun not, gardening and planting many of them knew not; clothin they had none, but what the skins of beasts afforded them, and that not always; yet gallantry they had, painting their own skins with several portraitures of beast, bird, or flower, A vanity which hath not yet
left removed only from the skin to the skirt, behung now with as many coloured ribands and gewgaws.'"
The second book concludes with the separation of Britain from the Roman empire. This gives occasion to the following reflections, with which the third book opens.
“ This third book having to tell of accidents, as various and exemplary as the intermission or change of government hath any where brought forth, may deserve attention more than common, and
it with like benefit to them who can judiciously read : considering especially, that the late civil broils had cast us into a condition not much unlike to what the Britons then were in, when the imperial jurisdiction departing hence, left them to the sway of their own councils; which times, by comparing seriously with these later, and that confused anarchy with this interreign, we may be able from two such remarkable turns of state, producing like events among us, to raise a knowledge of ourselves both great and weighty, by judging hence what kind of men the Britons generally are in matters of so high enterprise, how by nature, industry, or custom, fitted to attempt or undergo matters of so main consequence: for if it be a high point of wisdom in every private man, much more is it in a nation to know itself; rather than be puffed up with vulgar flatteries and encomiums, for want of self-knowledge, to enterprise rashly and come off miserably in great undertakings. The Britons thus, as we heard, being left without protection from the empire, and the land in a manner emptied of all her youth, consumed in wars abroad, or not caring to return home, themselves through long subjection, servile in mind, slothful of body, and with the use of arms unacquainted, sustained but ill for many years the violence of those barbarous invaders, who now daily grew upon them. For although at first greedy of change, and to be thought the leading nation to freedom from the empire, they seemed a while to bestir them with a shew of diligence in their new affairs, some secretly aspiring to rule, others adoring the name of liberty, yet so soon as they felt by proof the weight of what it was to govern well themselves, and what was wanting within them, not stomach or the love of licence, but the wisdom, the virtue, the labour, to use and maintain true liberty, they soon remitted their heat, and shrunk more wretchedly under the burden of their own liberty, than before under a foreign yoke."
In the fourth book, the incident by which Edwin, king of Northumbria, is said to have been finally converted to the Christian religion, is thus related.
“But while he still deferred, and his deferring might seem now to have past the maturity of wisdom to a faulty lingering, Paulinus, by revelation, as was believed, coming to the knowledge of a secret,