Michael Drayton.

Universal classics library (Volume 10) online

. (page 21 of 34)
Online LibraryMichael DraytonUniversal classics library (Volume 10) → online text (page 21 of 34)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

dear child, and with thee and those blessed saints like
thee, glorify the Redeemer of the world to all eternity!

It was in the 19th year of her age that this sickness
happened to her. An accident contributed to this disease ;
she had an apprehension of it in particular, which struck
her but two days before she came home, by an impru-
dent gentlewoman whom she went with Lady Falkland
to visit, who, after they had been a good while in the
house, told them she has a servant sick of the smallpox
(who indeed died the next day): this my poor child

2i6 DIARY OF SAYKS court

acknowledged made an impression on her spirits There
were four gentlemen of quality offering to treat with me
about marriage, and I freely gave her her own choiee,
knowing her discretion. She showed great indifference
to marrying at all, for truly, says she to her mother
(the other day), were I assured of your life and my dear
father's, never would I part from you; I love you and
this home, where we serve God, above all things, nor
ever shall I be so happy; I know and consider the vicis-
situdes of the world, I have some experience of its vani-
ties, and but for decency more than inclination, and that
you judge it expedient for me, I would not change my
condition, but rather add the fortune you design me to
my sisters, and keep up the reputation of our family
This was so discreetly and sincerely uttered that it could
not but proceed from an extraordinary child, and one
who loved her parents beyond example.

At London, she took this fatal disease, and the occasion
of her being there was this: my Lord Viscount Falk-
land's Lady having been our neighbor ( as he was Treas-
urer of the Navy), she took so great an affection to my
daughter, that when they went back in the autumn to
the city, nothing would satisfy their incessant importu-
nity but letting her accompany iny Lady, and staying
some time with her; it was with the greatest reluctance I
complied. While she was there, my Lord being musical,
when I saw my Lady would not part with her till Christ-
mas, I was not unwilling she should improve the oppor-
tunity of learning of Signor Pietro, who had an admirable
way both of composure and teaching. It was the end of
February before I could prevail with my Lady to part
with her; but my Lord going into Oxfordshire to stand
for Knight of the Shire there, she expressed her wish to
come home, being tired of the vain and empty conversa-
tion of the town, the theaters, the court, and trifling
visits which consumed so much precious time, and made
her sometimes miss of that regular course of piety that
gave her the greatest satisfaction. She was weary of
this life, and I think went not thrice to Court all this
time, except when her mother or I carried her. She did
not affect showing herself, she knew the Court well, and
passed one summer in it at Windsor with Lady Tuke,
one of the Queen's women of the bedchamber (a most

i685 JOHN EVELYN 217

virtuous relation of hers ) ; she was not fond of that
glittering scene, now become abominably licentious,
though there was a design of Lady Rochester and Lady
Clarendon to have made her a maid of honor to the
Queen as soon as there was a vacancy. But this she did
not set her heart upon, nor indeed on anything so much
as the service of God, a quiet and regular life, and how
she might improve herself in the most necessary accom-
plishments, and to which she was arrived at so great a

This is the little history and imperfect character of my
dear child, whose piety, virtue, and incomparable endow-
ments deserve a monument more durable than brass and
marble. Precious is the memorial of the just. Much I
could enlarge on every period of this hasty account, but
that I ease and discharge my overcoming passion for the
present, so many things worthy an excellent Christian
and diitiful child crowding upon me. Never can I say
enough, oh dear, my dear child, whose memory is so
precious to me!

This dear child was born at Wotton, in the same house
and chamber in which I first drew my breath, my wife
having retired to my brother there in the great sickness
that year upon the first of that month, and the very hour
that I was born, upon the last: viz, October.

1 6th March, 1685. She was interred in the southeast
end of the church at Deptford, near her grandmother and
several of my younger children and relations. My desire
was she should have been carried and laid among my own
parents and relations at Wotton, where I desire to be in-
terred myself, when God shall call me out of this uncer-
tain transitory life, but some circumstances did not permit
it. Our vicar. Dr. Holden, preached her funeral sermon
on Phil. i. 21. ¬Ђ For to me to live is Christ, and to die
is gain,* upon which he made an apposite discourse, as
those who heard it assured me (for grief suffered me not
to be present), concluding with a modest recital of her
many virtues and signal piety, so as to draw both tears
and admiration from the hearers. I was not altogether
unwilling that something of this sort should be spoken, for
the edification and encouragement of other young people.

Divers noble persons honored her funeral, some in per-
son, others sending their coaches, of which there were

2i8 DIARY OF SAVES court

six or seven with six horses, viz, the Countess of Sunder-
land, Earl of Clarendon, Lord Godolphin, Sir Stephen
Fox, Sir William Godolphin, Viscount Falkland, and
others. There were distributed among her friends about
sixty rings.

Thus lived, died, and was buried the joy of my life, and
ornament of her sex and of my poor family ! God Al-
mighty of his infinite mercy grant me the grace thank-
fully to resign myself and all I have, or had, to his
divine pleasure, and in his good time, restoring health
and comfort to my family : " teach me so to number my
days, that I may apply my heart to wisdom,** be pre-
pared for my dissolution, and that into the hands of my
blessed Savior I may recommend my spirit! Amen!

On looking into her closet, it is incredible what a num-
ber of collections she had made from historians, poets,
travelers, etc., but, above all, devotions, contemplations,
and resolutions on these contemplations, found under her
hand in a book most methodically disposed ; prayers, med-
itations, and devotions on particular occasions, with many
pretty letters to her confidants; one to a divine (not
named) to whom she writes that he would be her ghostly
father, and would not despise her for her many errors
and the imperfections of her youth, but beg of God to
give her courage to acquaint him with all her faults, im-
ploring his assistance and spiritual directions. I well
remember she had often desired me to recommend her
to such a person ; but I did not think fit to do it as yet,
seeing her apt to be scrupulous, and knowing the great
innocency and integrity of her life.

It is astonishing how one who had acquired such sub-
stantial and practical knowledge in other ornamental parts
of education, especially music, both vocal and instru-
mental, in dancing, paying and receiving visits, and neces-
sary conversation, could accomplish half of what she has
left; but, as she never affected play or cards, which con-
sume a world of precious time, so she was in continual
exercise, which yet abated nothing of her most agreeable
conversation. But she was a little miracle while she lived,
and so she died!

26th March, 1685. I was invited to the funeral of Cap-
tain Gunman, that excellent pilot and seaman, who had
behaved himself so gallantly in the Dutch war. He died

i685 JOHN EVELYN 219

of a gangrene, occasioned by his fall from the pier of
Calais. This was the Captain of the yacht carrying the
Duke (now King) to Scotland, and was accused for not
giving timely warning when she split on the sands, where
so many perished; but I am most confident he was no
ways guilty, either of negligence, or design, as he made
appear not only at the examination of the matter of fact,
but in the vindication he showed me, and which must
needs give any man of reason satisfaction. He was a
sober, frugal, cheerful, and temperate man; we have few
such seamen left.

8th April, 1685. Being now somewhat composed after
my great affliction, I went to London to hear Dr. Tenison
(it being on a Wednesday in Lent) at Whitehall. I ob-
served that though the King was not in his seat above in
the chapel, the Doctor made his three congees, which
they were not used to do when the late King was absent,
making then one bowing only. I asked the reason ; it was
said he had a special order so to do. The Princess of
Denmark was in the King's closet, but sat on the left hand
of the chair, the Clerk of the Closet standing by his
Majesty's chair, as if he had been present.

I met the Queen Dowager going now first from White-
hall to dwell at Somerset House.

This day my brother of Wotton and Mr. Onslow were
candidates for Surrey against Sir Adam Brown and my
cousin. Sir Edward Evelyn, and were circumvented in
their election by a trick of the Sheriff's, taking advan-
tage of my brother's party going out of the small village
of Leatherhead to seek shelter and lodging, the afternoon
being tempestuous, proceeding to the election when they
were gone; they expecting the next morning; whereas
before and then they exceeded the other party by many
hundreds, as I am assured. The Duke of Norfolk led Sir
Edward Evelyn's and Sir Adam Brown's party. For this
Parliament, very mean and slight persons ( some of them
gentlemen's servants, clerks, and persons neither of rep-
utation nor interest) were set up; but the country would
choose my brother whether he would or no, and he missed
it by the trick above mentioned. Sir Adam Brown was
so deaf, that he could not hear one word. Sir Edward
Evelyn was an honest gentleman, much in favor with his


loth April, 16S5. I went early to Whitehall to hear
Dr. Tillotson, Dean of Canterbury, preaching on Eccles.
ix. i8. I returned in the evening, and visited Lady
Tuke, and found with her Sir George Wakeman, the
physician, whom I had seen tried and acquitted, among
the plotters for poisoning the late King, on the accusa-
tion of the famous Gates; and surely I believed him

14th April, 1685. According to my custom, I v/ent to
London to pass the holy week.

17th April, 1685. Good Friday. Dr. Tenison preached
at the new church at St. James, on i Cor. xvi. 22, upon
the infinite love of God to us, which he illustrated in
many instances. The Holy Sacrament followed, at which
I participated. The Lord make me thankful! In the
afternoon. Dr. Sprat, Bishop of Rochester, preached in
Whitehall chapel, the auditory very full of Lords, the
two Archbishops, and many others, now drawn to town
upon occasion of the coronation and ensuing Parliament.
I supped with the Countess of Sunderland and Lord
Godolphin, and returned home.

23d April, 1685. Was the coronation of the King and
Queen. The solemnity was magnificent as is set forth
in print. The Bishop of Ely preached; but, to the sor-
row of the people, no Sacrament, as ought to have been.
However, the King begins his reign with great expec-
tations, and hopes of much reformation as to the late
vices and profaneness of both Court and country. Having
been present at the late King's coronation, I was not
ambitious of seeing this ceremony.

3d May, 1685. A young man preached, going chaplain
with Sir. J. Wiburn, Governor of Bombay, in the East

7th May, 1685. I was in Westminster Hall when Gates,
who had made such a stir in the kingdom, on his reveal-
ing a plot of the Papists, and alarmed several Parliaments,
and had occasioned the execution of divers priests,
noblemen, etc., was tried for perjury at the King's
bench ; but, being very tedious, I did not endeavor to see
the issue, considering that it would be published. Abun-
dance of Roman Catholics were in the hall in expectation
of the most grateful conviction and ruin of a person who
bad been so obnoxious to them, and as I verily

i685 JOHN EVELYN 221

believe, had done much mischief and great injury to several
by his violent and ill-grounded proceedings ; while he was
at first so unreasonably blown up and encouraged, that
his insolence was no longer sufferable.

Mr. Roger L' Estrange (a gentleman whom I had long
known, and a person of excellent parts, abating some
affectations) appearing first against the Dissenters in
several tracts, had now for some years turned his style
against those whom (by way of hateful distinction) they
called Whigs and Trimmers, under the title of " Observa-
tor,** which came out three or four days every week, in
which sheets, under pretense to serve the Church of Eng-
land, he gave suspicion of gratifying another party, by
several passages which rather kept up animosities than
appeased them, especially now that nobody gave the
least occasion.*

loth May, 1685. The Scots valuing themselves exceed-
ingly to have been the first Parliament called by his
Majesty, gave the excise and customs to him and his
successors forever; the Duke of Queensberry making elo-
quent speeches, and especially minding them of a speedy
suppression of those late desperate Field-Conventiclers
who had done such unheard of assassinations. In the
meantime, elections for the ensuing Parliament in Eng-
land were thought to be very indirectly carried on in
most places. God grant a better issue of it than some
expect !

i6th May, 1685. Gates was sentenced to be whipped
and pilloried with the utmost severity.

2ist May, 1685. I dined at my Lord Privy Seal's with
Sir William Dugdale, Garter King-at-Arms, author of
the ** MoNASTicoN * and other learned works; he told me
he was 82 years of age, and had his sight and memory
perfect. There was shown a draft of the exact shape
and dimensions of the crown the Queen had been crowned
withal, together with the jewels and pearls, their weight
and value, which amounted to ;j^ioo,658 sterling, attested

* In the first Dutch war, while Evelyn was one of the Commissioners
for sick and wounded, L'Estrange in his

Online LibraryMichael DraytonUniversal classics library (Volume 10) → online text (page 21 of 34)