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the equally beautiful and fantastic visions of Milto
with the said Secretary and myself, would within a few days examine it over to see what verbally might require alteration, or what addition would be necessary; and that being done, he would then, without fail, make order for the publication thereof." But afterwards he apostatized from that resolution, to his own disadvantage, and the occasion of what hath since befallen to the public detriment; yet pretended many months together a firm adherence to what he had seemingly resolved on, keeping me all that time in attendance; gave me the key of his closet at the end of the Shield Gallery in Whitehall (wherein his books and his papers lay) to retire unto when I came thither; carried me often to his own table; frequently discoursed with me concerning my proposal, and appointed many set days wherein to review the said papers, but failed always in performance; wherewith I, being a little discontented, told him I thought his mind was changed, and giving him back the key of his closet, purposed never to wait again upon him, in relation to that business. He then, with very respective words to me, excusing his delays, assured me that at six of the clock next morning, he would send for his Secretary and despatch that which he intended, before he would admit any other person into his presence. I came before the appointed hour, but was them also put of until a little past three in the afternoon; at which time I attended till past four, and then hearing that he and his Secretary were gone forth in a coach to take the air, I purposed to depart and lose no more time on that occasion; and as I was leaving the room, one informed me that about the same hour in which I was appointed to attend him and his Secretary, their necks were both in hazard to be broken by the Protector's usurping the office of his
coachman, and that they were both brought in so hu that their lives were in danger. Of that imprudent, not disgraceful, attempt, misbeseeming his person, endeavoured to prevent as much dishonour as I mig by a little poem, as I thought it my duty, in regard executed the supreme office at that time.”
This little poem was the “Vaticinium Casuale, or a Ra ture for the late Miraculous Deliverance of his Highne the Lord Protector from a desperate danger. The po who felt the ludicrous situation of his hero, attempt to elevate the dignity of the modern coachman by comparison with the charioteer of the Olympic gam But his Rapture contained something more valuat than flattery. He did not hesitate to remind Cromw of the nature of his office, and of the penalty which wou hereafter be exacted for every act of injustice.
“After this,” continues Wither, “he (Cromwell) call on me again, as if his mind had not been wholly chang and referred the said Papers to his Privy Council, w referred them to a Sub-Committee, of which Sir Gilb Pickering being one, gave it a high approbation, and v pleased to say he did not flatter me; but from that ti forward I heard no more of it. Another service I d which much tended to his and the public safety, wher. Sir Gilbert Pickering is privy likewise; and in co sideration of the fore-mentioned services, the said P tector, having without my asking that, or any thing el (but to be relieved according to justice from my oppr sions which I could not obtain) gave me the Statute Off and afterwards made it of little worth unto me, becau as I conceive, I exprest my thankfulness for it by claring unto him those truths which he was not will to hear of."
Sir Gilbert Pi Pickerin council, but he i g was one of the kinsman . is remembered with more ... s frequent o: patron of Dryden. Durin wo the of 8. - to the closet at Whitehall ..". ither's the iustion ". not improbable that to my e table tary in the . - Iilton, who had been made i. o: met Gilbert o. of 1649, and his connexion o cere. society of . was likely to introduce him i ith Sir - ryden. No menti - into the o: in any of his works ntion of either, however e Doe - s which W. o the Protector, published in 16 as he thou i. ustrated the dignity of the offi 55, in 4 & - * * o able of all *. rationally” proved it the most i. and, Cromwell o contributed to awaken the n Onoura second im f this poem, we discover from * of containin ". enlarged appeared in 1656 ... note, Inent to i. so of thanks to Oliver for th o tion I am not . office of the nature of . clude, synon able to give any account; it w 1S situaPrynne as ymous with the Record office be as, I con#. ter the Restoration stowed upon t - - - - - to have t o distinction of the New Governor i Wither, on o tle subject of frequent * known up the o 7th of October, 1657, o and style of j '. o Flash, showing o not the should be continued. () e had o: . of this grateful o: o: with what * . the elevation of the “Lord Prot aller - - - s been prono ector" justice, hi pronounced by Johnson, with li Ram'er, o o: panegyric of the .." little due to his lof e writer s wish to speak with o: of the his dignifio ty intellect, his Christian phil e respect morality ; but from some of .*. and tical
decisions he may be pardoned for appealing: Wallel has long enjoyed a prominent place among the Britisl poets, to the exclusion of more deserving candidates Prior had said, that Denham and Waller improved ou versification, and Dryden perfected it; and subsequen critics have admitted the assertion without hesitation Yet Wither showed a mastery over the language lon before Denham or Waller had printed a line; and eve from his most negligent works might be extracted line equal, if not superior, to anything in Waller's panegyri
If we may credit Wood, the favour of Cromwell wo not limited to the gift of the Statute Office. The ill natured antiquary says, that he made the Poet Major General of all the horse pnd foot in the county of Surrey in which employment “he licked his fingers suffi ciently, gaining thereby a great odium from the generou loyalists." The institution of Major-Generals, and th division of England and Wales into districts immediatel, under their military jurisdiction, was a scheme worth. of the usurper. From the decrees of these martia judges there was no appeal. They sent whom the pleased to prison, says one of their founder's warmes admirers, and confined them where they pleased” Among the victims of this oppressive regulation, wa the celebrated Jeremy Taylor, who suffered a confine ment of some months in Chepstow Castle. But Wood' statement respecting Wither is unfounded. If the poe ..icked his fingers," it was not in the capacity of 1 Major-General. Colonel Kelsey was appointed Major General of Kent and Surrey, and Colonel Goffe filles the same situation in Hampshire.
On the 3rd of September, 1658, Cromwell died, and
• Godwin's History of the Commonwealth, vol. iv., p.242.