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vation, be exalted to a degree beyond what their poffeffor presumes to believe. There is scarce any man but has found himself able, at the instigation of neceffity, to what in a state of leisure and deliberation he would have concluded impossible, and some of our fpecies have fignalized themselves by such acthievements, as prove that there are few things above human hope.

It has been the policy of all nations to preserve, by fome public monuments, the memory of those who have ferved their country by great exploits; there is the same reafon for continuing or reviving the names of those, whose extensive abilities have dignified humanity. An honeft emulation may be alike excited, and the philofopher's curiofity may be enflamed by a catalogue of the works of Boyle or Bacon, as Themistocles was kept awake by the trophies of Miltiades.

Among the favourites of nature that have from time to time appeared in the world, enriched with various endowments and contrarieties of excellence, none feems to have been more exalted above the common rate of humanity, than the man known about two centuries ago by the appellation of the Admirable Crichton; of whose history, whatever we may fupprefs as surpaffing credibility, yet we shall, upon inconteftible authority, relate enough to rank him among prodigies.

“ Virtue," says. Virgil, " is better accepted when “ it comes in a pleasing form :" the person of Crichton was eminently beautiful ; but his beauty was confiftent with such activity and strength, that in fencing he would fpring at one bound the length of twenty feet upon his antagonist, and he used the sword in either hand with such force and dexterity, that scarce any one had courage to engage him.

Having Audied at St. Andrew's in Scotland, he went to Paris in his twenty-first year, and affixed on the gate of the college of Navarre, a kind of challenge to the learned of that university to dispute with him on a certain day: offering to his opponents, whoever they · should be, the choice of ten languages, and of all the faculties and sciences. On the day appointed, three thousand auditors assembled, when four doctors of the church and Gfty masters appeared against him ; and one of his antagonists confesses, that the doctors were defeated ; that he gave proofs of knowledge above the reach of man; and that a hundred years passed with out food or fleep, would not be sufficient for the attainment of his learning. After a disputation of nine hours, he was presented by the president and professors with a diamond and a purse of gold, and dismissed with repeated acclamations.

From Paris he went away to Rome, where he made the same challenge, and had in the presence of the pope and cardinals-the same success. · Afterward he contract. ed at Venice an acquaintance with Aldus Manutius, by whom he was introduced to the learned of that city : then visited Padua, where he engaged in another pub. lic disputation, beginning his performance with an extemporal poem in praise of the city and the afsembly then present, and concluding with an oration equally unpremeditatd, in commendation of ignorance.

He afterwards published another challenge, in which he declared himfelf ready to detect the errors of 'Ariftotle and all his commentators, either in the common forms of logic, or in any which his antagonists fhould propose of a hundred different kinds of verse.



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These acqui'itions of learning, however ftupendous, were not gained at the expence of any pleasure which youth generally indulges, or by the omission of any accomplishment in which it becomes a gentleman to excel : he practised in great perfection the arts of drawing and painting; he was an eminent performer in both vocal and instrumental music; he danced with uncommon gracefulness, and on the day after his disa putation at Paris exhibited his skill in horsemanship before the court of France, where, at a public match of tilting, he bore away the ring upon his lance fifteen times together.

He excelled in domestic games of less dignity and reputation ; and in the interval between his challenge and disputation at Paris, he spent so much of his time at cards, dice, and tennis, that a lampoon was fixed upon the gate of the Sorbonne, directing those that would fee this monfter of erudition, to look for him at the tavern.

So extensive was his acquaintance with life and man. ners, that in an Italian comedy, composed by himself, and exhibited before the court of Mantua, he is said to have perfonated fifteen different characters ; in all which he might fucceed without difficulty, since he had such

power of retention, that once hearing an ora. tion of an hour, he would repeat it exactly, and in the recital follow the speaker through all his variety of tone and gesticulation.

Nor was his skill in arms less than in learning, or his courage inferior to his skill: there was a prizefighter at Mantua, who travelling about the world, according to the barbarous custom of that age, as a general challenger, had defeated the most celebrated


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many parts of Europe ; and in Mantua, where he then refided, had killed three that appeared against him. The duke repented that he had granted him his protection; when Crichton looking on his finguinary success with indignation, offered to take fifteen hundred pistoles, and mount the stage against him. The duke, with some reluctance, consented, and on the day fixed the combatants appeared : their weapon seems to have been fingle rapier, which was then newly introduced in Italy. The prize-fighter advance ed with great violence and fierceness, and Crichton contented himself calmly to ward his passes, and suffered him to exhaust his vigour by his own fury. Crichton then became the assailant, and pressed upon him with such force and agility, that he thrust him thrice through the body, and saw him expire : he then divided the prize he had won among the widows whose husbands had been killed.

The death of this wonderful man I Mould be willing to conceal, did I not know that every reader will in. quire curiously after that fatal hour, which is common to all human beings, however diftinguiihed from each other by nature or by fortune.

The duke of Mantua having received so many proofs of his various merit, made him tutor to his fon Vincentio di Gonzaga, a prince of loose manners and turbulent disposition. On this occafiun it was, that he composed the comedy in which he exhibited so

many different characters with exact propriety. But his ho. nour was of short continuance; for as he was one night in the time of Carnival rambling about the streets, with his guitar in his hand, he was attacked by fix


men marked. Neither his courage nor his skill in this exigence deserted him ; he opposed them with fuch: activity and spirit, that he foon dispersed them, and difarmed there leader, who throwing off his mafk, discovered himself to be the prince his pupili Crichton falling on his knees, took his own sword by the point, and presented it to the prince, who immediately seized it, and instigated, as some fay, by jealousy, according to others, only by drunken fury and brutal resentment, thrust him through the heart.

Thus was the admirable Crichton brought into that: ftate, in which he could excel the meaneft of mankind only by a few empty honours paid to his memory : the court of Mantua testified their esteem by a public mourning; the contemporary wits were profuse of their encomiums, and the palaces of Italy were adorned with pi&tures, representing him op horseback, with a lance in one hand and a book in the other...

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