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the equally beautiful and fantastic visions of Milte and Cowley. Structures like these, raised in the trai quillity of an enthusiastic mind, can only retain the 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 consideral 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 Guvernment. Of our poet's po tical intimacy with the Protector, a curious and intere ing account is contained in the Cordial Confection. Afi alluding to the Declaration, he thus goes on with narrative :
“This overture being made at a time when his fer and hazards were very great, though that Discourse w very large, he, with much seeming contentment, heard i read it over to the last word; and then protested, accoi ing to his usual manner, that it answered to his he as the shadow of his face in the glass (then hanging befo him in the room) answered to his face; and pretend that he would publish that Declaration, and act acco ingly, as soon as he, with one in whose discretion much confided, had considered what alteration it mig need (or words to that effect), and then received it me, promising to return it, with his final resoluti within a week.
• At the week's end, or thereabout, he or Mr. Thur) then Secretary (who seemed also to approve there delivered back unto me my papers, and the Protecte answer, which then was,—That he himself, toget
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 por 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 game But his Rapture contained something more valuab 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 change 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 fatter 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 willi to hear of."
endeavoured to prevent as much dishonour as I might by a little poem, as I thought it my duty, in regard be erecuted the supreme office at that time."
This little poem was the 'Vaticinium Casuale, or a Rap ture for the late Miraculous Deliverance of his Highness the Lord Protector from a desperate danger.' The poet, who felt the ludicrous situation of his hero, attempted
to elevate the dignity of the modern coachman by a than Aattery. He did not hesitate to remind Cromwell
of the nature of his office, and of the penalty which would and referred the said Papers to his Privy Council, who referred them to a Sub-Committee, of which Sir Gilbert
comparison with the charioteer of the Olympic games.
hereafter be exacted for every act of injustice.
forward I heard no more of it. Another service I did,
coachman, and that they were both brought in so burt that their lives were in danger
. Of that imprudent
, if pot disgraceful , attempt, misbeseeming his person,
But his Rapture contained something more valuable
Sir Gilbert Pickering was one of the Protector's council, but he is remembered with more interest as the kinsroan 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 honour. able 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 appoint. ment to the Statute Office, Of the nature of this situation I ani not able to give any account; it was, I conclude, synonyinous 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 bailed 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
"After this, "continues Wither," he (Cromwell) called on me again, as if his mind had not been wholly changed,
Pokering being one, gave it a high approbation, and was
to say he did not flatter me; but from that time
which much tended to his and the public safety, whereto Sir Gilbert Pickering is privy likewise; and in consideration of the fore-mentioned services, the said Protetor, baving without my asking that, or any thing else. but to be relieved according to justice from my oppressions which I could not obtain) gave me the Statute Ofice, and afterwards made it of little worth unto me, because, w I conceive, I exprest my thankfulness for it by de. claring unto him those truths which be was not willing hear of,"
decisions he may be pardoned for appealing. Walle: has long enjoyed a prominent place among the Britis) 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 long before Denham or Waller had printed a line; and ever from his most negligent works might be extracted line equal, if not superior, to any thing in Waller's panegyric
If we may credit Wood, the favour of Cromwell wa. 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 pad foot
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 worthy 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 “ 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 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.