Page images


by a similar mark of respect to the memory of our admirable Spenser, over whose grave in Westminster Abbey, when more than thirty years had passed without any record of the kind, she placed a handsome monument with a suitable inscription.

Ancestral and filial affection, too, which latter never burnt brighter in any bosom than in that of lady Anne, drew from her several other commemorative tributes of regard: she repaired, for instance, and re-inscribed the tombs of her ancestors at Skipton; she built a monument over the ashes of her father at the same place, and beside the pillar I have already mentioned on last parting with her mother, she erected a statue of that beloved parent at Appleby. Few individuals, indeed, have ever shown stronger marks of gratitude for past love and services than the countess of Pembroke; and, as a striking proof of the assertion, it merits to be told, that when age had broken down her faithful servants, she suffered them not to feel its too frequent attendants, poverty and neglect, but gave them wherewith to close their days in ease and independency.

Of a character thus firmly good, and often great, yet at the same time highly original, and frequently




eccentric, it might naturally be expected that the personal manners and appearance would offer some indications; and, accordingly, the few particulars of the kind which have been handed down to us by tradition, or which may be deduced from her person portrait, are of this description. In her was tall, upright, and dignified, and, if we may judge from her picture at Knowle, with features more indicative of decision and intellectual acuteness than of feminine sweetness and reserve. her manners and dress it is probable that she rather cherished than shunned peculiarity, for bishop Rain"of a humour pleasbow has told us, that she was ing to all, yet like to none; her dress not disliked by any, yet imitated by none." This latter appears to have been after her second widowhood, and when she resided in the North, generally of black serge. Yet these singularities, though somewhat affected, perhaps, are but as dust in the balance, when weighed against what has been uniformly affirmed of this excellent woman, that her charities were almost boundless.

I have thus closed a biographical and historical sketch of the House of Clifford from its first establishment in Craven to its extinction in the same

district, a period of four hundred years, during which we have seen it not only implicated in events of the first national importance, but presenting us, in the history of its own members, with traits of character and vicissitudes of fortune of the most interesting and singular description. It has furnished us, in fact, with many striking features of the manners and customs of our forefathers, and with many extraordinary details of incident and adventure; and, above all, with many moral and prudential lessons, forming altogether a picture alike calculated to gratify the imagination and to improve the heart.


Immortal friends! well pleased on high
The Father has beheld you, while the might
Of adverse Fate with bitter trial proved
Your equal doings.


ONE of the most pleasing, and, at the same time, most interesting circumstances in the early life of Milton, and during the period of his travels on the continent, is his interview with the celebrated Galileo. "There it was," he says, speaking of Italy in his speech for unlicensed printing, "that I found and visited the famous Galileo, grown old, a prisoner to the inquisition, for thinking in astronomy otherwise than the Franciscan and Dominican licensers thought +."

It is probable that the attention of our immortal countryman had been peculiarly directed to this illustrious victim of bigotry and superstition, by the compassionate sympathy of Hugo Grotius, who,

* With slight alteration.

+ Prose Works, vol. i. p. 313.

"Senex is," says

during the very month in which the poet was introduced to him by lord Scudamore, then our ambassador at the court of Paris, thus mentions Galileo in a letter to his friend Vossius. he, "optime de universo meritus, morbo fractus, insuper et animi ægritudine, haud multum nobis vitæ suæ promittit; quare prudentiæ erit arripere tempus, dum tanto doctore uti licet *." old man, to whom the universe is so deeply indebted, worn out with maladies, and still more with anguish of mind, gives us little reason to hope, that his life can be long; common prudence, therefore, suggests to us to make the utmost of the time, while we can yet avail ourselves of such an instructor †.”


Little could be wanting to induce Milton to visit, and, with reverential awe, to offer an unfeigned homage to this truly memorable sufferer in the cause of science. Shortly, therefore, after reaching Florence, he sought out his abode, and found him at his seat near Arcetri, in Tuscany. Galileo in 1639, the period of Milton's visit, was seventy-five years of age; he had been twice imprisoned by the Inquisition at Rome, for the supposed heresy of his * Grotii Epist. 964.

† Hayley's Life of Milton, 4to. p. 37.

« PreviousContinue »