« PreviousContinue »
nificant thing than it was the day before; which is one great advantage I get by living in this country, where there is nothing I shall be sorry to lose. But my greatest misery is recollecting the scene of twenty years past, and then all on a sudden dropping into the present. I remember, when I was a little boy, I felt a great fish at the end of my line, which I drew up almost on the ground, but it dropt in, and the disappointment vexes me to this very day; and I believe, it was the type of all my future disappointments. I should be ashamed to say this to you, if you had not a spirit fitter to bear your own misfortunes than I have to think of them. Is there patience left to reflect, by what qualities wealth and greatness are got, and by what qualities they are lost?
[Classical Tripos, 1841.)
106. It is difficult to ascertain, and easy to exaggerate, the influence of the climate of ancient Germany over the minds and bodies of the natives. Many writers haye supposed, that the rigorous cold of the north was favourable to long life and generative vigour, that the women were more fruitful, and the human species more prolific, than in warmer and more temperate climes. We may assert, with greater confidence, that the keen air of Germany formed the large and masculine limbs of the natives, who were, in general, of a more lofty stature than the people of the south, gave them a kind of strength better adapted to violent exertions than to patient labour, and inspire them with constitutional bravery, which is the result of nerves and spirits. The severity of a winter campaign, that chilled the courage of the Roman troops, was scarcely felt by these hardy children of the north, who in their turn were unable to resist the summer heats, and dissolved away in languor and sickness under the beams of an Italian sun.
[St John's College, 1841.]
107. As he was of a most incomparable gentleness, application, and even submission to good, and worthy, and entire men, so he was naturally (which could not but be more evident in his place, which objected him to another conversation and intermixture than his own election would have done) "adversus malos injucundus ;" and was so ill a dissembler of his dislike and disinclination to ill men, that it was not possible for such not to discern it. When there was any overture or hope of peace, he would be more erect and vigorous, and exceedingly solicitous to press any thing which he thought might promote it; and sitting among his friends, often, after a deep silence and frequent sighs, would, with a shrill and sad accent, ingeminate the word Peace, Peace; and would passionately profess, “that the very agony of the war, and the view of the calamities and desolation the kingdom did and must endure, took his sleep from him, and would shortly break his heart." This made some think, or pretend to think, “that he was so much enamoured on peace, that he would have been glad the king should have bought it at any price;" which was a most unreasonable calumny. As if a man, that was himself the most punctual and precise in every circumstance that might reflect upon conscience or honour, could have wished the king to have committed a trespass against either.
[Trinity College Scholarships, 1841.]
108. In this doubt of all sides, the night, the common friend to wearied and dismayed armies, parted
them; and then the king caused his cannon, which were nearest the enemy's, to be drawn off; and with his whole forces himself spent the night in the field, by such a fire as could be made of the little wood, and bushes which grew thereabouts, unresolved what to do the next morning; many reporting, “that the enemy was gone;" but when the day appeared, the contrary was discovered; for then they were seen standing in the same posture and place in which they fought, from whence the earl of Essex, wisely, never suffered them to stir all that night; presuming reasonably, that if they were drawn off never so little from that place, their numbers would lessen, and that many would run away.
When the lieutenant-general was, with his party, near the town, he apprehended a fellow, who confessed, upon examination, “that he was
a spy, and sent by the governor to bring intelligence of their strength and motion.” When all men thought, and the poor fellow himself feared, he should be executed, the lieutenantgeneral caused his whole party to be ranged in order in the next convenient place, and bid the fellow look well upon them, and observe them, and then bid him return to the town, and tell those that sent him, what he had seen, and withal that he should acquaint the magistrates of the town," that they should do well to treat with the garrison, to give them leave to submit to the king; that if they did so, the town should not receive the least prejudice: but if they compelled him to make his way,
, and enter the town by force, it would not be in his power to keep his soldiers from taking that which they should win with their blood;" and so dismissed him.
[St Peter's College, 1841.]
109. It is very hard, that because you do not get my letters, you will not let me receive yours, who do receive them. I have not had a line from you these five weeks. Of your honours and glories Fame has told me; and for aught I know, you may be a veldt-marshal by this time, and despise such a poor cottager as me, Take notice, I shall disclaim you in my turn, if you are sent on a command against Dantzick, or to usurp a new district in Poland. I have seen no armies, kings or empresses, and cannot send you such august gazettes ; nor are they what I want to hear of. I like to hear you are well and diverted. For my part, I wish you was returned to your plough. Your Sabine farm is in high beauty. I have lain there twice within this week, going to and from a visit to G. Selwyn near Gloucester: a tour as much to my taste as yours to you. For fortified towns I have seen ruined castles. What can I tell you more? Nothing. Every body's head but mine is full of elections. I had the satisfaction at Gloucester, where G. Selwyn is canvassing, of reflecting on my own wisdom: Suave mari magno turbantibus æquora ventis, etc.
I am certainly the greatest philosopher in the world, without ever having thought of being so: always employed, and never busy; eager about trifles, and indifferent to every thing serious. Well, if it is not philosophy, at least it is content. I am as pleased here with my own nutshell, as any monarch you have seen these two months astride his eagle —not but I was dissatisfied when I missed you at Park-place, and was peevish at your being in an Aulic chamber. Adieu! They tell us from Vienna that the peace is made between Tisiphone and the Turk: Is it true ?
[Trinity College, 1841.)
110. He who performs his duty driven to't
By fear of punishment, while he believes
[Corpus Christi College, 1841.]
111. He endeavoured to prove the motion made by Bell to be a vain device, and perilous to be treated of; since it tended to the derogation of the prerogative imperial, which whoever should attempt so much as in fancy, could not, he said, be otherwise accounted than an open enemy. For what difference is there between saying that the Queen is not to use the privilege of the crown, and saying that she is not Queen ? And though experience has shown so much clemency in Her Majesty, as might, perhaps, make subjects forget their duty; it is not good to sport or venture too much with Princes. He reminded them of the fable of the hare, who, upon the proclamation that all horned beasts should depart the court, immediately fled, lest his ears should be construed to be horns; and by this apologue he seems to insinuate, that even those who heard or permitted such dangerous speeches, would not themselves be entirely free from danger. He desired them to beware, lest, if they meddled farther with these matters, the Queen might look to her own power; and finding herself able to