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Spoken by WINNIFREDE.
I am a widow still, and must not sort
FAME'S MEMORIAL, &c.
This poem, which, if not the earliest, is yet among the earliest of our author's productions, was published in 4to, 1606, by Christopher Purset, with the following title: “Fame's Memorial, or the Earl of Devonshire' deceased; with his honourable Life, peaceful End, and solemn Funeral.”
quis talia fando Mirmydonum, Dulopumue, aut duri miles Ulissi Temperet à lachrimis?
' The Earl of Devonshire.] Charles Blount, eighth Lord Mountjoy. He was a man of great eminence; and while a commoner, (for he did not succeed to the title till 1594,) followed the profession of arms with honour, and held a coinmand in the fleet which defeated the Spanish Armada. His extraordinary njerits did not escape the quick eye of Elizabeth, who gave him various tokens of her favour, and thus exposed him to the “envy” of Essex, with whom, as the author of Aulicus Coq. says, he stood in competition for fame. In 1600, the Queen constituted him Lörd Lieutenant of Ireland, when he repulsed the Spaniards with great bravery at Kinsale. In truth, the whole of his conduct with regard to that agitated country, was meritorious in the highest degree, and as such fully acknowledged by her, as well as by James, who, on his accession, conferred on him the same important office; and very shortly afterwards, (July, 1603,) made him a Knight of the Garter, and created him Earl of Devonshire. Certainly,” says his secretary Morrison," he was beautiful in his person, as well as valiant; and learned as well as wise.” And Camden styles him “a person famous for conduct, and so eminent in courage and learning, that, in these respects, he had no superior, and but few equals.”
It is distressing to pursue his history. About two years after liis prosperous career in Ireland, (Dec. 25, 1605,) he married Lady Rich, with whom, probably, he had never ceased to converse ; and, by this one step, which, according to our notions, and probably to his own, was calculated to repair, in some measure, the injury which the lady's character had sustained, ruined both her and hinself. There is something in this which is not easily explained. While the Earl maintained an adulterous commerce with the lady, all went smoothly; but the instant he married her, he lost the protection of the Court, and the estimation of the public. “ The King,” says Sanderson, “ was so much displeased thereat, as it broke the Earl's heart; for his Majesty told him that he had purchased a fair woman with a black soul.” Hearts are not always broken in the way supposed; but there was more than enough to depress the lofty spirit of this great Earl in the sudden blow given to his reputation. He died a few months after his marriage, “soon and early,” as Chamberlaine says, " for his years (fortythree), but late enough for himself: and happy had he been if he had gone two or three years since, before the world was weary of him, or that he had left his scandal behind bim."
I have elsewhere noticed, (Jonson, vol. vii. p. 19.) the obloquy which Laud brought on himself by marrying this ill-starred couple; an act which is recorded in his Diary as the greatest misfortune of his life. The head and front of his offending, as far as my conjecture reaches, is to be sought in that obscurity which yet hangs over this transaction. He apparently believed, with many others, that the lady had been divorced from her husband; and may have subsequently discovered that she had merely withdrawn from him by mutual consent.
THE RIGHTLY RIGHT HONOURABLE LADY,
THE LADY PENELOPE,
COUNTESS OF DEVONSHIRE.
Most NOBLE LADY.
HAD the blessings whilombestowed, and too soon deprived, been as permanent as they were glorious; the world had not then had such a general cause of just sorrow to bewail, nor I of particular grief to inscribe, the
Nor 1 of particular grief, &c.] It is not very easy to discover what is meant by particular grief, in this place. Ford admits that he is altogether unknown to the Countess; and it nowhere appears that he had any personal acquaintance with the deceased Earl. But leaving this, it may be proper to say, that the Lady Penelope here addressed was the daughter of Walter, first Earl of Essex, and the beloved sister of Robert, the unfortunate favourite of Elizabeth, and the victim of her fears and jealousies. There was a family intimacy between the Devereuxes and the Mountjoys, which seems to have facilitated the meetings of this beautiful young creature with Sir Charles Blount, and led, as in the usual mode, to a mutual attachment, and a promise of marriage. In those “ blessed days,” marriages among the great were not quite so easily managed as at present; the Queen regarded the state with a strange mixture of envy and spleen; and the accursed Court of Wards eternally troubled “ the current of true love." Lady Penelope was forced, with a heart full of affection for Mountjoy, into the arms of Lord Rich, a man whom she appears to have regarded with peculiar aversion. Thus far she was more sinned against than sinning; but she seems to have thought her private engagement of a more binding character than ber vow at the altar; and the usual consequences followed. After a few miserable years with Lord Rich, she deserted him partly or wholly, and renewed her connection with her first lover, to whom she bore several children. There must have been something peculiar in this lady's case;