صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

triumph of sailing up the Thames, and burning all the shipping in the river. Upon this disastrous occasion, he commanded the land forces, and though heavily advanced in years, yet were his exertions as bold, and his bearing as fearless as ever. When at Chatham it was apprehended, that the enemy would attempt a landing, he advanced into the hottest of their fire, and set the most powerful example of duty and resistance ; and when expostulated with upon the danger to which he thus exposed himself, and importuned to retire, he quietly answered, “Had I been afraid of a bullet, I should have left this trade long ago.”

This service may be said to have been the conclusion of his public life, and it was greatly owing not only to his counsel, but to his conduct, that so daring an enterprize was so formidably resisted. For a short time he filled the office of Lord High Treasurer, and then finally retreating from the fatigues of place and authority, spent the close of his life, enjoying the confidence of his sovereign, and the affection of his countrymen, in calm and happy privacy. His last illness was long and painful: he languished until his sixty-third year, and expired at Newhall, in Essex, on the 3d of January, 1680.

Monk, Duke of Albemarle, left an only son, with whom his title was extinguished. Both father and son were buried in a vault under the North aisle of Henry VII.'s Chapel, the descent to which is marked by a closet, containing an effigy of the general in armour. At his death his means were very affluent; he had a landed estate of 15,0001. a year, and 60,0001. in personal property. This wealth was amassed first by the grateful bounty of his sovereign, and afterwards by his own frugal use of it. Plain in habit, as clear in sense, he lived during the period of his greatest prosperity with the same honest manner, and unassuming ease, by which he was originally enabled to advance both his fame and his fortune. This moderation, which should only have added fresh matter to the praises of his eulogy, was made an ungenerous means for reproaching the purity of his memory; and some writers, with Bishop Burnet at their head, accused him of avarice. So unfounded a charge upon so unexceptionable a character, only affords another instance of how far the rancour of political partisanship can be blinded to the perversion of facts and the abuse of truth. Neither have there been wanting men to question his genius: these, because his speech was modest, and his carriage reserved, would deny him the praise of uncommon ability, and underrate the merit of his life. But such envy carries the best antidote in its absurdity: Monk's talents were not the less solid, because not the most shining. It is idle to think of arranging the manners of genius, for by its finest essence, the endowment is ever capricious, uncertain, and incalculable.

A word or two are now to be added, descriptive of Monk's monument:--it stands near the waxen effigy of Charles II., at the extremity of the south aisle of Henry VII.'s Chapel; and, by some strange perversion of vanity, or an equally, culpable fatality of neglect, is only inscribed with the names of the trustees who placed it, although a fine free basement left ample room for either epitaph or eulogy. The only information given to the reader by the marble is simply th at, Grace, Countess of Granville, John, Earl of Gower, and Bernard Granville, Esq. erected this monument, pursuant to the will of Christopher, Duke of Albemarle. The sculptor thus employed was Schæmakers:-on one side of a curiously ornamented column he has represented the general in armour, holding a baton in one hand, and with the other leaning on his sword; and at the contrary side a female figure, recumbent in grief over a medallion of his son Christopher. The general's face is in good likeness, and finely wrought: the design is relieved by various devices emblematical of war; but in its general aspect, presents no very striking beauties either of conception or execution.

THE LADY ARABELLA.

In the same grave with the unfortunate Mary Queen of Scots, is also placed the coffin of an equally hapless lady, who for reasons of state, heartless as those which embittered the reign and crimsoned the death of the former, was long and early doomed to a condition of similar cruelty and wrong; and who, at last, expired under circumstances nearly as tragical, and certainly as unjust. The same causes wrought the destruction of both the one and the other; and yet, while the fate of the beautiful Queen of Scots is universally known, and unanimously commiserated, the adversity of her persecuted kinswoman is but seldom mentioned, and receives but little sympathy. There is not a stone, nor even a line in the abbey to commemorate her talents, or her sufferings; and not even her name is mentioned, nor the spot of her interment specified in those pages, which are exclusively dedicated to the dead of this ancient temple. In some measure to atone for this neglect, and save the present work from at least one reproach, which has been reasonably applied to others on the same subject, the following brief notice cannot prove uninteresting.

The Lady Arabella, as she has been commonly styled, was the only child of Charles Stuart, Earl of Lennox, who was the younger brother of Henry, Earl of Darnley, the infatuated husband of Mary Queen of Scots. Arabella was thus first cousin of our James I., and therefore stood, until he had a family, next heir after him to the throne of England, as both of them derived the blood that constituted the right from the second marriage of Margaret, daughter of Henry VII. This propinquity to the crown occasioned the engaging subject of this sketch a care-worn life, and one of the most afflicting of deaths. Her father died while she was yet an infant, and she became, by con

sequence, a more easy victim to the controul of Queen Elizabeth, whose depth of policy never lost sight of the dissensions that might be sown by hereditary claims to her sovereignty, and never spared a pain to prevent them from ripening into effect. Born in the year 1577, the Lady Arabella was held in constant restraint, or rather under actually forcible tutelage, by Elizabeth, who refused to allow her, when a girl, to be joined in a marriage, proposed through the King of Scotland, by which a kinsman, the Duke of Lennox, sought her hand. So important was her alliance esteemed, that after this, the Pope is said to have entered into a plan for uniting her to the Duke of Savoy, and then advancing both to the English crown, in order to prevent the increase of power which must ensue upon the accession of James I. These projects, however, never drew near any point of realization; so that whatever jealousy they might have excited on the one side, and whatever constraint they might have occasioned on the other, no violence was attempted, and the last mentioned King mounted the throne undisturbed. That the Lady Arabella might now be allowed to consider herself a free woman seemed probable, when suddenly a conspiracy of English nobles was discovered, who, indignant at the Scotch succession, had plotted the death of James, and the enthronement of Arabella in his stead. No co-operation on her part with these measures, and no privacy to these views, were either proved or suspected ; but, notwithstanding, she was for a time confined to her house, and distressed by many privations. The certainty of her innocence did not permit of any long enforcernent of this arbitrary treatment; and, as if to make amends for the injustice, she was awhile particularly favoured by the vacillating James. He gave her an enlarged pension, a new service of plate, and a thousand marks to clear her debts, Still past suspicions were obnoxiously harboured, and the fears excited by that conspiracy precipitated her ruin.

It was soon after discovered that she had married herself privately with the young Seymour, grandson to the Earl of Hertford; and both he and she were forth with committed to close custody in the tower. There the young couple, upon the presumption of no greater offence than that they had loved, and at the impulse of the passion contracted their hopes and fortunes, were left to pine in separate dungeons. Towards the end of the year, however, by the force of artifice, and the conciliation of money, they succeeded in establishing, first a means of communication, and soon a means of escape. The plot succeeded; and by different routes both the Lady Arabella and her husband passed the tower moat, and reached the shipping down the Thames. There some terrible misunderstanding of their directions prevented them from meeting and the result unfortunately was, that Seymour set sail for the continent in one vessel, and reached his point of destination in safety; while his wife, attired in man's apparel, and embarked on board another ship, vainly tarried for him until she was retaken. Conducted back to her prison in the tower, a rigorously close confinement ensued for years, until at length her senses proved unable to endure the distraction of her sufferings. She went mad, and in that state expired, a sort of martyr to love, on the 27th of September, 1615, aged 38. Her death was a royal murder, and, as if to make the story of her misfortunes more affecting, she was endowed with beauty, and had a natural liveliness of intelligence, highly improved by a superior education. Of her attainments in this latter respect, sufficient proof is extant in the manuscripts of her 'productions, still in the possession of the Hertford family, and the copies of her letters printed in the Harleian Collection. These papers establish the fact of decided talents, and conspicuous study. The moderns have been rather unkind to the fame of the Lady Arabella ; and while they have wasted both their eulogy upon the qualities, and their condolence upon the adversities of Lady Jane Seymour and Mary Queen of Scots, have appeared insensible of her sufferings, and unmindful of her virtues. But the immaculateness of Mary Queen of Scots is at best equivocal ; and Lady Jane Seymour was weak enough to join overtly in treason ; while no offence, moral or political, can be charged to the Lady Arabella. It would seem from this contrariety, that misfortune, to be preserved for the tribute of that pity it deserves, must be steeped in blood. Our ancestors, however, were neither unmindful of the sorrows of the Lady Arabella, nor sparing of condolement. Her name forms the title, and her life supplies the incidents, of many a ballad - from one of which the following lines will serve as a specimen :

« السابقةمتابعة »