« AnteriorContinuar »
we may fay) a domestic favourite ; but finding him (as it should seem) by nature little ftu. dious and contemplative, the chose rather to endue him with conversive qualities and ornaments of youth, as dancing, fencing, and the like; not without aim, then, perchance, (though far off) at a courtier's life; to which lessons he had such a dextrous proclivity, as his teachers were fain-to restrain his forward. ness; to the end that his brothers, who were under the same training, might hold pace with him.
About the age of eighteen, he travelled into France, where he improved himself well in the language, for one that had so little gramatical foundation : but more in the exercises of that nobility, for the space of three years, and yet came home in his natural plight, without affected forms (the ordinary disease of travellers). After his return, he passed again one whole year (as before) at Goodby, under the wing and counsels of his mother : and then was forward to become a suitor at London to Sir Roger Ashton's daughter, a gentleman of the bed-chamber to king James, and master of the robes. About which time, he fell into intrinsical society with Sir John Greham, then one of the gentlemen of his majesty's privychamber : who, I know not upon what-lu.. minaries he espied in his face, diffuaded him from marriage, and gave him rather encouragement to woo fortune in court. Which advice sunk well into his fancy; for within some
while, the king had taken upon certain glances (whereof the first was at Apthorpe, in a progress) such liking of his person, that he refolved to make him a malter-piece, and to mould him, as it were, platonically to his own idea. Neither was his majesty content only to be the architect of his fortune, without putting his gracious hand likewise to fome part of the work itself. Insomuch as it pleafed him to defcend, and to avail his goodness even to the giving of his foresaid friend, Sir John Greham, secret directions, how, and by what degrees he should bring him into favour. But this was quickly discovered by him, who was then as yet in some poffeffion of the king's heart. For there is nothing more vigilant, nothing more jealous than a favourite, especially towards the waining-time and fuspect of fatiety. So as many arts were ased to discuss the beginning of new affection. All which, notwithstanding, there was conveyed to Mr. Villiers an intimation of the king's pleasure to wait, and to be sworn his servant; and shortly after, his cup-bearer at large ; and the summer following he was admitted into ordinary. After which time favours came thick upon him (liker main showers, than sprinkling drops or dews) for the next St. George's-day he was knighted, and made gentleman of the king's bed-chamber; and the very fame day had an annual penfion given him, for his beta ter support, of one, thousand pounds, out of the court of wards.
At At New-year's-tide following, the king chose him master of the horse. After this he was installed of the most noble order. And in the next Auguft he created him baron of Whaddon, and viscount Villiers. In January of the same year, he was advanced earl of Buckingham, and fworn here of his majesty's privy-council; as if a favourite wete not so before.
The March ensuing, he attended the king into Scotland, and was likewise sworn a counfellor in that kingdom; where he carried himfelf with fingular sweetness of temper, as it behoved him, being new in favour, and foc. ceeding one of their own, to study a moderate ftile among those generous fpirits.
About New-year's-tide, after his return from thence, (for those beginnings of years were very propitious to him, as if kings did chuse remarkable days to inaugurate their favours, that they may appear acts as well of the times, as of the will) he was created mar. quis of Buckingham, and made lord-admiral of England ; chief-justice in eyre of all the parks and forests on the south side of Trent; master of the King's-bench office, (none of the unprofitable pieces); head steward of Weft. minster, and constable of Windsor-castle.
But these offices and dignities already re. hearsed, and those of the like nature, which shall after be set down in their place, were but the facings, or fringes, of his greatness,
in comparison of that trust which his moft gracious master did cast upon him in the oneand-twentieth year of his reign, when he made him the chief concomitant of his heir apparent, and only son, Charles, prince of Wales, in a journey of much adventure, and which (to Thew the strength of his privacy) had been before not communicated with any other of his majesty's most reserved counsellors at home, being carried with great closeness, liker a business of love than fate; as it was in the first intendment.
They began their motion in the year 16:3, on Tuesday the eighteenth of February, from the marquiss his house of late purchase, at New Hall in Essex, setting out with disguised beards, andwith borrowed names of Thomas and John Smith. And then attended with none, but Sir Richard Greham, master of the horse to the marquiss, and of inward trust about him. When they passed the river against Gravesend, for lack of flver, they were fain to give the ferry.man a piece of two-and-thirty Thillings, which truck the poor fellow into fuch a melting tenderness, that fo good genclemen should be going (for so he suspected) about some quarrel beyond sea, as he could not forbear to acquaint the officers of the town with what had befallen him, who sent presently poft for their stay at Rochefter, through which they were passed before any intelligence could arrive. On the brow of the hill beyond that city, they were somewhat perplexed by espyVOLV. F
ing the French ambassador, with the king's coach, and other attending him, which made them baulk the beaten road, and teach poft hackneys to leap hedges.
At Canterbury, whither fonie voice (as it should feem) was run on before, the mayor the town came himself to feize on them, as they were taking fresh horses, in a blunt man ner, alledging first a warrant to stop them, from the council, next from Sir Lewis Lewk. ner, master of the ceremonies, and lastly from Sir Henry Manwaring, then lieutenat of Do. ver Castle.' At all which confused fiétions, the marquiss bad no leisure to laugh, but thought beft to dismask his beard, and fo 'told him, that he was going covertly with such fight company, to take a secret view (being admiral) of the forwardness of his majefty's fleet, which was then in preparation on the narrow feas : this, with much ado, did somewhat handsomely heal the disguisement. On the way afterwards, the baggage post boy, who had been at court, got (I know not how) a glimmering who they were ; but his mouth was easily hut To Dover, through bad horses and those petty impediments, they came not before fix at night ; where they found Sir Francis Cottington, then secretary to the prince, now baron of Hanworth, and Mr. Endymion Porter, who had been sent before to provide a vessel for their transportation. The foresaid knight was conjoined for the nearness of his place on the prince's affairs;