« AnteriorContinuar »
instar præsidii et scuti fuisse, adeo ut et religionis et regis apud populum amor in eum redundaret, et in æstimationem jacturæ merito annumeraretur. Erat corpore validus et erectus, statura mediocri, decora membrorum compage, incessu regio, facie oblonga et in maciem inclinante, habitu plenior, vultu composito, oculorum motu magis sedato quam forti. Inerant quoque et in fronte severitatis signa, et in ore nonnihil fastus. Sed tamen si quis ultra exteriora illa penetraverat, et eum obsequio debito et sermone tempestivo deliniverat, utebatur eo benigno et facili, ut alius longe videretur colloquio quam aspectu, talisque prorsus erat, qui famam sui excitaret moribus dissimilem. Laudis et gloriæ fuit procul dubio appetens, et ad omnem speciem boni et auram decoris commovebatur; quod adolescenti pro virtutibus est. Nam et arma ei in honore erant ac viri militares; quin et ipse quiddam bellicum spirabat; et magnificentiæ operum, licet pecuniæ alioquin satis parcus, deditus erat amator insuper antiquitatis et artium. Literis quoque plus honoris attribuit quam temporis. In moribus ejus nihil laudandum magis fuit, quam quod in omni genere officiorum probe institutus credebatur et congruus filius regi patri mire obsequens, etiam reginam multo cultu demerebat, erga fratrem indulgens; sororem vero unice amabat, quam etiam, quantum potuit virilis forma ad eximiam virginalem pulchritudinem collata, referebat. Etiam magistri et educatores pueritiæ ejus, quod raro fieri solet, magna in gratia apud eum manserant. Sermone vero obsequii idem exactor et memor. Denique in quotidiano vitæ genere, et assignatione horarum ad singula vitæ munera, magis quam pro ætate constans atque ordinatus. Affectus ei inerant non nimium vehementes, et potius æquales quam magni. Etenim de rebus amatoriis mirum in illa ætate silentium, ut prorsus lubricum illud adolescentiæ suæ tempus in tanta fortuna, et valetudine satis prospera, absque aliqua insigni nota amorum transigeret. Nemo reperiebatur in aula ejus apud eum præpotens, aut in animo ejus validus : quin et studia ipsa, quibus capiebatur maxime, potius
tempora patiebantur quam excessus, et magis repetita erant per vices, quam quod extaret aliquod unum, quod reliqua superaret et compesceret, sive ea moderatio fuit, sive in natura non admodum præcoci, sed lente maturescente, non cernebantur adhuc quæ præ-. valitura erant. Ingenio certe pollebat, eratque et curiosus satis et capax, sed sermone tardior et tanquam impeditus: tamen si quis diligenter observaverat ea, quæ ab eo proferebantur, sive quæstionis vim obtinebant sive sententiæ, ad rem omnino erant, et captum non vulgarem arguebant; ut in illa loquendi tarditate et raritate judicium ejus magis suspensum videretur et anxium, quam infirmum aut hebes. Interim audiendi miris modis patiens, etiam in negotiis, quæ in longitudinem porrigebantur; idque cum attentione et sine tædio, ut raro animo peregrinaretur aut fessa mente aliquid ageret, sed ad ea, quæ dicebantur, aut agebantur, animum adverteret atque applicaret ; quod magnam ei, si vita suppetiisset, prudentiam spondebat. Certe in illius principis natura plurima erant obscura, neque judicio cujuspiam patefacienda, sed tempore, quod ei præreptum est. Attamen quæ apparebant, optima erant, quod famæ satis est. Mortuus est ætatis suæ anno decimo nono ex febri contumaci, quæ ubique a magnis et insulanis fere insolitis siccitatibus ac fervoribus orta per æstatem populariter grassabatur, sed raro funere; dein sub autumnum erat facta lethalior. Addidit fama atrocior, ut ille (b) ait, erga dominantium exitus suspicionem veneni. Sed cum nulla ejus rei extarent indicia, præsertim in ventriculo, quod præcipue a veneno pati solet, is sermo cito evanuit.
(b) Tacit. Annal. 1. iv. 11.
The following translation is an attempt, for the sake of the English reader, to give the sense of the original, without pretending to reach the force and conciseness of expression peculiar to the great writer as well as to the Roman language.
HENRY Prince of Wales, eldest son of the king of Great Britain, happy in the hopes conceived of him, and now happy in his memory, died on the 6th of Nov. 1612, to the extreme concern and regret of the whole kingdom, being a youth, who had neither offended nor satiated the minds of men. He had by the excellence of his disposition excited high expectations among great numbers of all ranks; nor had through the shortness of his life disappointed them. One capital circumstance added to these was the esteem, in which he was commonly held, of being firm to the cause of religion: and men of the best judgment were fully persuaded, that his life was a great support and security to his father from the danger of conspiracies; an evil, against which our age has scarce found a remedy; so that the people's love of religion and the king overflowed to the prince; and this consideration deservedly heightened the sense of the loss of him. His person was strong and erect; his stature of a middle size; his limbs well made; his gait and deportment majestic; his face long and inclining to leanness; his habit of body full; his look grave, and the motion of his eyes rather composed than spirited. In his countenance were some marks of severity, and in his air some appearance of haughtiness. But whoever looked beyond these outward circumstances, and addressed and softened him with a due respect and seasonable discourse, found the prince to be gracious and easy; so that he seemed wholly different in conversation from what he was in appearance, and in fact raised in others an opinion of himself very unlike what his manner would at first
have suggested. He was unquestionably ambitious of commendation and glory, and was strongly affected by every appearance of what is good and honourable; which in a young man is to be considered as virtue. Arms and military men were highly valued by him; and he breathed himself something warlike. He was much devoted to the magnificence of buildings and works of all kinds, though in other respects rather frugal; and was a lover both of antiquity and arts. He shewed his esteem of learning in general more by the countenance which he gave to it, than by the time which he spent in it. His conduct in respect of morals did him the utmost honour; for he was thought exact in the knowledge and practice of every duty. His obedience to the king his father was wonderfully strict and exemplary: towards the queen he behaved with the highest reverence: to his brother he was indulgent; and had an entire affection for his sister, whom he resembled in person as much as that of a young man could the beauty of a virgin. The instructors of his younger years (which rarely happens) continued high in his favour. In conversation he both expected a proper decorum, and practised it. In the daily business of life, and the allotment of hours for the several offices of it, he was more constant and regular than is usual at his age. His affections and passions were not strong, but rather equal than warm. With regard to that of love, there was a wonderful silence considering his age, so that he passed that dangerous time of his youth, in the highest fortune, and in a vigorous state of health, without any remarkable imputation of gallantry. In his court no person was observed to have any ascendant over him, or strong interest with him and even the studies, with which he was most delighted, had rather proper times assigned them, than were indulged to excess, and were rather repeated in their turns, than that any one kind of them had the preference of, and controlled the rest: whether this arose from the moderation of his temper, and that in a genius not very forward, but ripening by slow degrees,
it did not yet appear what would be the prevailing object of his inclination. He had certainly strong parts, and was endued with both curiosity and capacity; but in speech he was slow, and in some measure hesitating. But whoever diligently observed what fell from him either by way of question or remark, saw it to be full to the purpose, and expressive of no common genius. So that under that slowness and infrequency of discourse, his judgment had more the appearance of suspense and solicitude to determine rightly, than of weakness and want of apprehension. In the mean time he was wonderfully patient in hearing, even in business of the greatest length; and this with unwearied attention, so that his mind seldom wandered from the subject, or seemed fatigued, but he applied himself wholly to what was said or done which (if his life had been lengthened) promised a very superior degree of prudence. There were indeed in the prince some things obscure, and not to be discovered by the sagacity of any person, but by time only, which was denied him; but what appeared were excellent, which is sufficient for his fame.
He died in the 19th year of his age of an obstinate fever, which during the summer, through the excessive heat and dryness of the season, unusual to islands, had been epidemical, though not fatal, but in autumn became more mortal. Fame, which, as Tacitus says, is more tragical with respect to the deaths of princes, added a suspicion of poison: but as no signs of this appeared, especially in his stomach, which uses to be chiefly affected by poison, this report soon vanished.
TO THE KING.
May it please your Majesty,
ACCORDING to your highness's pleasure signified by my lord chamberlain, (a) I have considered of
(a) Thomas Howard, earl of Suffolk.