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TO THE MARQUIS OF BUCKINGHAM.'
My very good Lord,
I HAVE many things to thank your lordship for, since I had the happiness to see you; that your lordship, before your going out of town, sent my memorial to my lord treasurer: that your lordship offered, and received, and presented my petition to the king, and procured me a reference: that your lordship moved his majesty, and obtained for me access to him, against his majesty comes next, which in mine own opinion, is better than if it had been now, and will be a great comfort to me, though I should die next day after that your lordship gave me so good English for my Latin book. My humble request is, at this time, that because my lord treasurer keepeth yet his answer in suspense, though by one, he useth to me, he speaketh me fair, that your lordship would nick it with a word: for if he do me good, I doubt it may not be altogether of his own.
God ever prosper you.
Your Lordship's most bounden
4th of November, 1622.
FR. ST. ALBAN.
MEMORIAL OF ACCESS.
It may please your Majesty,
I MAY now in a manner sing nunc dimittis, now I have seen you. Before methought I was scant in state of grace, but in a kind of utter darkness. And therefore, among other your mercies and favours, I
(a) This paper was written in Greek characters, soon after his access to king James I. which had been promised him in a letter of the marquis of Buckingham, from Newmarket, November 13, 1622.
do principally thank your majesty for this admission of me to kiss your hands.
I may not forget also to thank your majesty for your remission of my fine, for granting of my quietus, and general pardon; and your late recommendation of my debts; favours not small, specially to a servant out of sight, and out of use.
I beseech your majesty to give me leave to tell you what had, in my misfortunes, sustained me. Aristotle says, Old men live by remembrance, young men by hope. And so it is true, that young men live by hope, and fallen men by remembrance. Two remembrances have sustained me: the one, that since I had the prime vote in the lower house, to be first commissioner for the union, until the last assembly of parliament, I was chosen messenger of both houses, in the petitions of religion, which were my two first and last services, having passed a number of services of importance, your majesty never chid me; neither did ever any public service miscarry in my hands. This was the finishing act of my prosperity. The second was of my adversity, which, in few words, is this, that as my fault was not against your majesty; so my fall was not your act; and therefore I hope I shall live and die in your favour.
I have this farther to say in the nature of an humble oblation; for things once dedicated and vowed cannot lose their character, nor be made common. ever vowed myself to your service. Therefore,
First, if your majesty do at any time think it fit, for your affairs, to employ me again publicly upon the stage, I shall so live and spend my time, as neither discontinuance shall disable me, nor adversity shall discourage me, nor any thing that I shall do, give any scandal or envy upon me.
Secondly, if your majesty shall not hold that fit; yet, if it shall please you at any time to ask my opinion, or require my propositions privately by my lord marquis, or any of your counsellors, that is my friend, touching any commission or business; for, as Ovid said, Est aliquid luce patente minus; I shall be glad to be a labourer, or pioneer in your service.
Lastly, and chiefly, because your majesty is an universal scholar, or rather master, and my pen (as I may * it, passed **) gained upon the world, your majesty would appoint me some task, or literary province, that I may serve you calamo, if not consilio.
I know that I am censured of some conceit of mine ability or worth: but, I pray your majesty, impute it to desire, possunt quia posse videntur. And again, I should do some wrong to your majesty's school, if, in sixteen years' access and near service, I should think I had learned, or laid in, nothing.
May it please your majesty, I have borne your image in metal and I shall keep it in my heart, while I live.
That his majesty's business never miscarried in my hands, I do not impute to any extraordinary ability in myself; but to my freedom from particular, either friends, or ends, and my careful receipt of his majesty's directions, being, as I have formerly said to him, but as a bucket and cistern to that fountain; a bucket to draw forth, a cistern to preserve. I may allude to the three petitions of the Litany, Libera nos, Domine; parce mihi, Domine; et exaudi nos, Domine. First, the first, I am persuaded, his majesty had a mind to do it, and could not conveniently in respect of his affairs. For the second, he had done it in my fine and pardon. For the third, I had likewise performed, in restoring to the light of his countenance.
There be mountebanks, as well in the civil body as in the natural. I ever served his majesty with modesty; no shouldering, no undertaking.
Seneca saith, Tam otii debet constare ratio quam negotü. So I make his majesty oblation of both.
For envy, it is an almanack of the last year; and as a friend of mine said, the parliament died penitent towards me.
Of my offences, far be it from me to say, dat veniam corvis, vexat censura Columbas: but I will say that I have good warrant for; they were not the greatest offenders in Israel, upon whom the wall of Shilo fell.
What the king bestowed upon me, will be farther seen, than upon Paul's steeple.
My story is proud, I may thank your majesty ; for I heard him note of Tasso, that he could know which poem he made, when he was in good condition, and which when he was a beggar. I doubt he could make no such observation of me.
My lord hath done many things to shew his greatness. This of mine is one of them, that shews his goodness.
I am like ground fresh. If I be left to myself, I will grow and bear natural philosophy; but if the king will plow me up again, and sow me on, I hope to give him some yield.
Kings do raise and pull down with reason; but the greatest work is reasoning.
For my hap, I seek an otium, and, if it may be, a fat otium.
I am said to have a feather in my head. I God pray some are not wild in their head, that gird not well. I am too old, and the seas are too long, for me to double the Cape of Good Hope.
Ashes are good for somewhat; for lees, for salts. But I hope I am rather embers than ashes, having the heat of good affections, under the ashes of my fortunes.
Your majesty hath power: I have faith. Therefore a miracle may be soon wrought.
I would live to study, and not study to live; yet I am prepared for date obolum Belisario; and I that have borne a bag, can bear a wallet.
For my Pen:
If active, 1. The reconciling of laws.
2. The disposing of wards and generally education of youth.
3. Limiting the jurisdiction of courts, and prescribing rules for every of them.
Reglement of Trade.
If contemplative, 1. Going on with the story of Henry the Eighth.
2. General Treatise of de Legibus et Justitia.
3. The Holy War.
For My Lord of Buckingham.
These I rank high amongst his favours.
To the king of*** that the goodness of his nature may strive with the goodness of his fortune.
He had but one fault, and that is, that you cannot mar him with any accumulating of honours upon him.
Now after this sunshine, and little dew, that save
Whales will overturn your boat, or bark, or of admiral, or other.
For the Prince.
Ever my chief patron.
The work of the Father is creation; of the Son redemption.
You would have drawn me out of the fire; now out of the mire.
To ask leave of the king to kiss the prince's hands, if he be not now present.
Mem. of access.
TO THE LORD VISCOUNT ST. ALBAN.
My most honoured Lord,
SINCE my last to your lordship, I find, by Mr. Johnson, that my lord treasurer is not twice in one mind, or Sir Arthur Ingram not twice in one tale. For Sir Arthur, contrary to his speech but yesterday