Page images
PDF
EPUB

12. The glorious names of Henry the Fifth and Queen Elizabeth gave the knight great opportunities of shining and of doing justice to Sir Richard Baker, who, as our knight observed with some surprise, had a great many kings in him whose monuments he had not seen in the Abbey. For my own part, I could not 110 but be pleased to see the knight show such an honest passion for the glory of his country, and such a respectful gratitude to the memory of its princes.

13. I must not omit that the benevolence of my good old friend, which flows out towards every one he converses with, made him 115 very kind to our interpreter, whom he looked upon as an extraordinary man ; for which reason he shook him by the hand at parting, telling him that he should be very glad to see him at his lodgings in Norfolk Buildings, and talk over these matters with him more at leisure.

120

IV.--SIR ROGER PASSETH AWAY (Spectator No. 517). 1. We last night received a piece of ill news at our club, which very sensibly afflicted every one of us. I question not but my readers themselves will be troubled at the hearing of it. To keep them no longer in suspense, Sir Roger de Coverley is dead. He departed this life at his house in the country, after a few s weeks' sickness. Sir Andrew Freeport has a letter from one of his correspondents in those parts that informs him the old man caught a cold at the county sessions as he was very warmly promoting an address of his own penning, in which he succeeded according to his wishes. But this particular comes from a Whig 10 justice of peace who was always Sir Roger's enemy and antagonist. I have letters both from the chaplain and Captain Sen

106, 107. Henry T. reigned 1413-1422; moment he quitted it), he said Elizabeth reigned 1558-1603.

to a friend, with a certain warmth

in his expression which he was 4. Sir Roger de Coverley is dead. A not often guilty of, “I'll kill Sir

contemporary writer says: “Vr. Roger, that nobody else may
Addison was so fond of this murder him.'"
character that a little before he 8, 9. promoting, sustaining in a speech.
laid down the Spectator (fore- 12, 13. Captain Sentrey, Sir Roger's
seeing that some nimble gentle-

nephew and heir (see below, man would catch up his pen the line 63).

trey which mention nothing of it, but are filled with many particulars to the honor of the good old man. I have likewise a letter from the butler, who took so much care of me last summer when 15 I was at the knight's house. As my friend the butler mentions, in the simplicity of his heart, several circumstances the others have passed over in silence, I shall give my reader a copy of his letter without any alteration or diminution :

“HONORED SIR,-Knowing that you was my old master's good 20 friend, I could not forbear sending you the melancholy news of his death, which has afflicted the whole country, as well as his poor servants, who loved him, I may say, better than we did our lives. I am afraid he caught his death the last county sessions, where he would go to see justice done to a poor widow woman 25 and her fatherless children that had been wronged by a neighboring gentleman ; for you know, sir, my good master was always the poor man's friend. Upon his coming home, the first complaint he made was that he had lost his roast-beef stomach, not being able to touch a sirloin * which was served up according to 30 custom ; and you know he used to take great delight in it. From that time forward he grew worse and worse, but still kept a good heart to the last. Indeed, we were once in great hope of his recovery, upon a kind message that was sent him from the widow* lady whom he had made love to the forty last years of his life ; 35 but this only proved a lightning before death. He has bequeathed to this lady, as a token of his love, a great pearl necklace and a couple of silver bracelets set with jewels, which belonged to my good old lady his mother ; he has bequeathed the fine white gelding that he used to ride a-hunting upon to his chaplain, because 40 he thought he would be kind to him ; and has left you all his books. He has, moreover, bequeathed to the chaplain a very pretty tenement* with good 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 frieze * coat, and to every woman a black rid- 45 ing-hood. It was a most moving 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 comfortly upon 50 the remaining part of our days. He has bequeathed 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 money to build a steeple to the church ; for he was heard to say some time ago that if he lived two years longer, Coverley Church should have a 55 steeple to it. The chaplain tells everybody that he made a very good end, and never speaks of him without tears. He was buried, according to his own directions, among the family of the Coverlies, 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 60 the quorum :* the whole parish followed the corpse with heavy hearts, and in their mourning suits — the men in frieze and the women in riding-hoods. Captain Sentrey, my master's nephew, has taken possession of the Hall-house and the whole estate. When my old master saw him a little before his death, he shook 65 him by the hand, and wished him joy of the estate which was falling to him, desiring him only to make a good use of it, and to pay the several legacies, and the gifts of charity which he told

20. Honored Sir, etc. Notice the ad-34, 35. widow lady, etc. A hint of a

mirable art with which the youthful heart disappointment, character of the honest butler and of a “perverse beautiful is assumed, and the delicate widow," the occasion whereof lights and shades of expression appears in the first slight sketch suitable to the character.

of Sir Roger by Steele.'

1“It is said he keeps himself a bachelor by reason he was crossed in love by a perverse beautiful widow of the next county to him. Before this disappointment, Sir Roger was what you call a fine gentleman, had often supped with my Lord Rochester and Sir George Etherege, fought a duel upon his first coming to town, and kicked Bully Dawson in a public coffee-house for calling him youngster. But being ill-used by the above-mentioned widow, he was very serious for a year and a half; and though, his temper being nat. urally jovial, he at last got over it, he grew careless of himself, and never dressed afterwards."

43. tenement. In England, a house count of the death of Falstaff

depending on a manor (the (Shakespeare's Henry V. act ii.

land belonging to a nobleman). scene 3): "'A made a finer end, 45. frieze, coarse woollen cloth.

and went away, an it had been 56, 57. he made a very good end. Com

any christom child." pare with Dame Quickly's ac. 61. quorum, the justice-court.

him he had left as quit-rents upon the estate. The captain, truly, seems a courteous man, though he says but little. He makes 70 much of those whom my master loved, and shows great kindnesses to the old house-dog that you know my poor master was so 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 never joyed himself since; no more has any of us. 'Twas 75 the melancholiest day for the poor people that ever happened in Worcestershire. This is all from, “Honored sir, your most sorrowful servant,

“ EDWARD BISCUIT. “P.S.—My master desired, some weeks before he died, that a 80 book which comes up to you by the carrier should be given to Sir Andrew Freeport, in his name.”

2. 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 An-85 drew, 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 go club. Sir Andrew, who would have been merry at such an incident on another occasion, at the sight of the old man's handwriting burst into tears, and put the book into his pocket. Captain Sentrey informs us that the knight has left rings and mourning for every one in the club.

95

69. quit-rent, a rent reserved, in the sent and consent” to every

grant of land, by the payment thing contained in the revised of which the tenant is quieted Prayer-book, and to receive oror quitted from all other ser dination from a bishop. In one vice.

day it threw out three thousand 87. Act of Uniformity. This act, or law, ministers from the benefices

was passed by the English Par. they held.
liament in 1662, during the reign 93. burst into tears, etc. The circum-
of Charles II. It required all stance of the book is noted by
clergymen holding benefices to all critics as an irresistible
declare their “unfeigned as-1 stroke of nature.

[ocr errors][merged small][graphic][merged small]

DR. JOHNSON'S PARALLEL BETWEEN POPE AND DRY

DEN. 1. Pope professed to have learned his poetry from Dryden, whom, whenever an opportunity was presented, he praised through his whole life with unvarying liberality; and perhaps his char

From Johnson's Lives of the Poets.

« PreviousContinue »