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the equally beautiful and fantastic visions of Milt and Cowley. Structures like these, raised in the tra quillity of an enthusiastic mind, can only retain th purity and lustre in the serene and unclouded atm sphere of truth and virtue. With the Perpetual Parliament was printed the Da Lantern. Finding the season to be one of considerab danger, he availed himself of his Lantern, which enabl him to walk out without being seen, and to afford lig wherever he found it desired. About the same time put into the hands of Cromwell a Declaration tending the settlement of the Government. Of our poet's pol tical intimacy with the Protector, a curious and interes ing account is contained in the Cordial Confection. Aft alluding to the Declaration, he thus goes on with th narrative :“This overture being made at a time when his feal and hazards were very great, though that Discourse wo very large, he, with much seeming contentment, heard m read it over to the last word; and then protested, accord ing to his usual manner, that it answered to his heal as the shadow of his face in the glass (then hanging befor him in the room) answered to his face; and pretende that he would publish that Declaration, and act accord ingly, as soon as he, with one in whose discretion h much confided, had considered what alteration it migh need (or words to that effect), and then received it o me, promising to return it, with his final resolution within a week. “At the week's end, or thereabout, he or Mr. Thurloe then Secretary (who seemed also to approve thereof) delivered back unto me my papers, and the Protector' answer, which then was, 'That he himself, togethe.
beautiful and fi Structures like these,
the equally and Cowley. quility of an en purity and lustre in the serene an
sphere of truth and virt". With the Perpetual Parliament was printed the Dirk to be one of considenk
| | Lantern. Finding the season danger, he aralled himself of his Lantern, which duo out without being seen, and to aford ight nd it desired About the same time he | put into the hands of Cromwell a Declaration tendo" ; the settlement of the Government Of our poets plk
| tical intimacy with the Protector,” curious and in ing account is contained in the (orial (oftco After alluding to
the Declaration, he thus goes on" narrative:
...This orerture being ” and hazards wer.” grea very large, he, with much s read it orer.” the last word; and ing to his usual mannel, that it answere soluorosHosace in the glass (then hanging him in the room) answered to his face; that he would publish that Declaration, and act sco as soon as * with one in who discretion he confided had considered what alteration it might need (or words to that effect), and the received it 1116, promising th his final resolution,
j wherever he fou
answer, which then
antastic visions of Milton
with the sai days o: o and myself, would within alteration, or o to see what verbally might a few that being done o addition would be : require ... jo and ji. thereof. But ..". order the occasion jo to his own o,apostadetriment; yet at hath since befallen to th ge, and adherence to * many months togeth e public OSet at t ance; gave 2. g (wherein o: o: of the of do.", . of his when I came *. and his papers lay) to hitehall . to: i. me often to his o and appointe ith me concerni e; so i. days wherein ...
ing a li - ys in perform - e sai
:::::::::::::::: purposed never to giving him back the key . i. mind that business. H wait again upon him, in ls closet, me, excusing his d o with very respect, relation to clock next morni elays, assured me that o words to despatch that . he would send for his S six of the any other o he intended, before he jo and appointed hour, toto his presence. I came . admit past three in the nas them also put off until ore the till past four, and o ternoon; at which time o a little were gone forth in en hearing that he and his j to depart and lose a coach to take the air, I ecretary as I was leaving th no more time on that ..". on ame hour in • room, one informed me * and and his Secretary which I was appointed wo at about broken by the -£o necks were both in : him tector's usurping the o: t
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 t executed the supreme office at that time.”
This little poem was the “Vaticinium Casuale, or a Raj ture for the late Miraculous Deliverance of his Highnes the Lord Protector from a desperate danger. The poe who felt the ludicrous situation of his hero, attempte to elevate the dignity of the modern coachman by comparison with the charioteer of the Olympic game But his Rapture contained something more valuab than flattery. He did not hesitate to remind Cromwe of the nature of his office, and of the penalty which woul hereafter be exacted for every act of injustice.
“After this,” continues Wither, “he (Cromwell) calle on me again, as if his mind had not been wholly change and referred the said Papers to his Privy Council, wi referred them to a Sub-Committee, of which Sir Gilbe Pickering being one, gave it a high approbation, and wi pleased to say he did not flatter me; but from that tim forward I heard no more of it. Another service I di which much tended to his and the public safety, where Sir Gilbert Pickering is privy likewise; and in cor sideration of the fore-mentioned services, the said Pri tector, having without my asking that, or any thing els (but to be relieved according to justice from my oppre: sions which I could not obtain) gave me the Statute Offic and afterwards made it of little worth unto me, becaus' as I conceive, I exprest my thankfulness for it by do claring unto him those truths which he was not willin to hear of.”
Sir Gilbert Pickering was one of the Protector's council, but he is remembered with more interest as the kinsman and early patron of Dryden. During Wither's frequent visits to the closet at Whitehall, and the table of Cromwell, it is not improbable that he may have met the illustrious Milton, who had been made Latin Secretary in the spring of 1649, and his connexion with Sir Gilbert Pickering was likely to introduce him into the society of Dryden. No mention of either, however, occurs in any of his works.
The poem called the Protector, published in 1655, in which Wither illustrated the dignity of the office, and, as he thought, “rationally” proved it the most honourable of all titles, contributed to awaken the gratitude of Cromwell. Of this poem, we discover from a MS. note, a second impression enlarged appeared in 1656, probably containing a tribute of thanks to Oliver for the appointment to the Statute Office. Of the nature of this situation I am not able to give any account; it was, I conclude, synonymous with the Record Office bestowed upon Prynne after the Restoration.
The titular distinction of the New Governor is known to have been the subject of frequent discussion; and Wither, on the 7th of October, 1657, attempted to clear up the difficulty by a Suddain Flash, showing why the style of Protector should be continued. Our poet was not the only offerer of this grateful incense. Waller had already hailed the elevation of the “Lord Protector" with what has been pronounced by Johnson, with little justice, his famous panegyric. Of the author of the Ram'er, it is the writer's wish to speak with the respect due to his lofty intellect, his Christian philosophy, and his dignified morality; but from some of his poetical
decisions he may be pardoned for appealing. Wal has long enjoyed a prominent place among the Briti poets, to the exclusion of more deserving candidat Prior had said, that Denham and Waller improved o versification, and Dryden perfected it; and subseque critics have admitted the assertion without hesitatio Yet Wither showed a mastery over the language loi before Denham or Waller had printed a line; and ev from his most negligent works might be extracted lin equal, if not superior, to anything in Waller's panegyr If we may credit Wood, the favour of Cromwell w not limited to the gift of the Statute Office. The il natured antiquary says, that he made the poet Majo General of all the horse Pond foot in the county of Surre in which employment “he licked his fingers suf ciently, gaining thereby a great odium from the generol loyalists." The institution of Major-Generals, and th division of England and Wales into districts immediate under their military jurisdiction, was a scheme worth of the usurper. From the decrees of these marti 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 “licked his fingers,” it was not in the capacity of Major-General. Colonel Kelsey was appointed Major General of Kent and Surrey, and Colonel Goffe filled the same situation in Hampshire. On the 3rd of September, 1658, Cromwell died, and
* Godwin's History of the Commonwealth, vol. iv., p.242.