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and proceeding by words of which each has able; but these mountainous monuments may syllable more than the former; as,

"O deus, æternæ stationis conciliator."


And after this manner pursuing the hint, he mentions many other restrained methods of versifying, to which industrious ignorance has sometimes voluntarily subjected itself.

stand, and are like to have the same period with the earth."

In the next, he answers two geographical questions; one concerning Troas, mentioned in the Acts and Epistles of St. Paul, which he determines to be the city built near the ancient Ilium; and the other concerning the Dead Sea, of which he gives the same account with other writers. His next attempt is "On Languages, and par- Another letter treats "Of the Answers of the ticularly the Saxon Tongue." He discourses Oracle of Apollo, at Delphos," to Croesus, King with great learning, and generally with great just-of Lydia. In this tract nothing deserves notice, ness, of the derivation and changes of languages; but, like other men of multifarious learning, he receives some notions without examination. Thus he observes, according to the popular opinion, that the Spaniards have retained so much Latin as to be able to compose sentences that shall be at once grammatically Latin and Castilian: this will appear very unlikely to a man that considers the Spanish terminations; and Howell who was eminently skilful in the three provincial languages, declares, that after many essays he never could effect it.*

more than that Browne considers the oracles as evidently and indubitably supernatural, and founds all his disquisition upon that postulate. He wonders why the physiologists of old, having such means of instruction, did not inquire into the secrets of nature; but judiciously concludes, that such questions would probably have been vain ; "for in matters cognoscible, and formed for our disquisition, our industry must be our Oracle, and reason our Apollo."

The pieces that remain are, " A Prophecy concerning the future State of several Nations ;" in which Browne plainly discovers his expectation to be the same with that entertained lately with more confidence by Dr. Berkeley, "that America will be the seat of the fifth empire ;" and "Museum clausum, sive Bibliotheca abscondita;" in which the author amuses himself with imagining the existence of books and curiosities, either never being or irrevocably lost.

The principal design of this letter is to show the affinity between the modern English and the ancient Saxon; and he observes very rightly, that, "though we have borrowed many substantives, adjectives, and some verbs, from the French; yet the great body of numerals, auxiliary verbs, articles, pronouns, adverbs, conjunctions, and prepositions, which are the distinguish-in ing and lasting parts of a language, remain with us from the Saxon.

These pieces I have recounted as they are ranged in Tenison's collection, because the editor has given no account of the time at which any of them were written. Some of them are of little value, more than as they gratify the mind with the picture of a great scholar, turning his learning into amusement; or show upon how great a variety of inquiries the same mind has been successfully employed.

To prove this position more evidently, he has drawn up a short discourse of six paragraphs, in Saxon and English; of which every word is the same in both languages, excepting the terminations and orthography. The words are indeed Saxon, but the phraseology is English; and, I think, would not have been understood by Bede or Elfric, notwithstanding the confidence of our author. He has, however, sufficiently proved his position, that the English resembles its paternal" language more than any modern European dialect.

There remain five tracts of this collection yet unmentioned; one, "Of artificial Hills, Mounts, or Barrows in England," in reply to an interrogatory letter of E. D. whom the writers of the Biographia Britannica suppose to be, if rightly printed, W. D. or Sir William Dugdale, one of Browne's correspondents. These are declared by Browne, in concurrence, I think, with all other antiquaries, to be for the most part funeral monuments. He proves, that both the Danes and Saxons buried their men of eminence under piles of earth," which admitting (says he) neither ornament, epitaph, nor inscription, may, if earthquakes spare them, outlast other monuments; obelisks have their term, and pyramids will tum

Howell, in his Instructions for Foreign Travel asserts directly the reverse of what Johnson here ascribes to him: "I have beaten my brains (he says) to make one se tence good Italian and congruous Latin, but could never do it; but in Spanish it is very feasible, as, for example, in this stanza:

Infausta Græcia tu paris gentes
Lubricas, sed amicitias dolosas
Machinando fraudes cautilosas
Ruinando animas innocentes,

which is good Latin enough; and yet is vulgar Spanish,
intelligible by every plebeian."

The other collection of his posthumous pieces, published in octavo, London, 1722, contains, Repertorium; or, some Account of the Tombs and Monuments in the Cathedral of Norwich :" where, as Tenison observes, there is not matter proportionate to the skill of the antiquary.

The other pieces are "Answers to Sir William Dugdale's Inquiries about the Fens; a letter concerning Ireland; another relating to Urns newly discovered; some short strictures on different subjects; and a letter to a friend, on the death of his intimate friend," published singly by the author's son in 1690.

There is inserted in the Biographia Britannica, "A letter containing instructions for the study of Physic;" which, with the essays here offered to the public, completes the works of Dr. Browne.

a man,

To the life of this learned man there remains little to be added, but that in 1665, he was chosen honorary fellow of the college of physicians, as "Virtute et literis ornatissimus,❞—eminently embellished with literature and virtue: and, in 1671, received, at Norwich, the honour of knighthood from Charles II. a prince, who, with many frailties and vices, had yet skill to discover excellence, and virtue to reward it with such honorary distinctions at least as cost him nothing, yet, conferred by a king so judicious and so much beloved, had the power of giving merit new lustre and greater popularity.

Thus he lived in high reputation, till in his seventy-sixth year he was seized with a colic,

which, after having tortured him about a week, put an end to his life at Norwich, on his birthday, October 19th, 1682.* Some of his last words were expressions of submission to the will of God, and fearlessness of death.

those of many other eminent men, in "a translation of Plutarch's Lives." He was first censor, then elect, and treasurer of the college of physi cians; of which, in 1705, he was chosen president, and held his office till in 1708, he died in a He lies buried in the church of St. Peter Man- degree of estimation suitable to a man so variouscroft, in Norwich, with this inscription on a murally accomplished, that King Charles had honoured monument, placed on the south pillar of the altar:

M. S.

Hic situs est THOMAS BROWNE, M. D.
Et miles.

Anno 1605, Londini natus ;
Generosa familia apud Upton
In agro Cestriensi oriundus.
Schola primum Wintoniensi, postea
In Coll. Pembr.

Apud Oxonienses bonis literis
Haud leviter imbutus ;

In urbe hac Nordovicensi medicinam
Arte egregia, et felici successu professus;
Scriptis quibus tituli, RELIGIO MEDICI
Per orbem notissimus.

Vir prudentissimus, integerrimus, doctissimus;
Obit Octob. 19, 1682.
Pie posuit mostissima conjux
Da. Doroth. Br.

Near the foot of this pillar

Lies Sir Thomas Browne, knt. and doctor in physic,
Author of Religio Medici, and other learned books,
Who practised physic in this city 46 years,
And died Oct. 1682, in the 77th year of his age.
In memory of whom,

Dame Dorothy Browne, who had been his affectionate
Wife 47 years, caused this monument to be

Besides this lady, who died in 1685, he left a son and three daughters. Of the daughters nothing very remarkable is known: but his son Edward Browne, requires a particular mention.

him with this panegyric, that "he was as learned as any of the college, and as well-bred as any of the court."

Of every great and eminent character, part breaks forth into public view, and part lies hid in domestic privacy. Those qualities, which have been exerted in any known and lasting perform ances, may, at any distance of time, be traced and estimated; but silent excellencies are soon forgotten; and those minute peculiarities which discriminate every man from all others, if they are not recorded by those whom personal knowledge enables to observe them, are irrecoverably lost. This mutilation of character must have happened, among many others, to Sir Thomas Browne, had it not been delineated by his friend, Mr. Whitefoot, "who esteemed it an especial favour of Providence, to have had a particular acquaintance with him for two-thirds of his life." Part of his observations I shall therefore copy.

"For a character of his person, his complexion and hair was answerable to his name; his stature was moderate, and a habit of body neither fat not lean, but evodoкos.

"The horizon of his understanding was much larger than the hemisphere of the world: all that was visible in the heavens he comprehended so well, that few that are under them knew so much: he could tell the number of the visible stars in his horizon, and call them all by their names that had any; and of the earth he had such a minute and exact geographical knowledge, as if he had been by Divine Providence ordained surveyor-general of the whole terrestrial orb, and its products, minerals, plants, and animals. He was so curious a botanist, that, besides the specifical distinctions, he made nice and elaborate observations, equally useful as entertaining.

"In his habit of clothing, he had an aversion to all finery, and affected plainness both in the fashion and ornaments. He ever wore a cloak or boots, when few others did. He kept himself always very warm, and thought it most safe so to do, He was born about the year 1642; and, after though he never loaded himself with such a mul having passed through the classes of the school at titude of garments, as Suetonius reports of AuNorwich, became bachelor of physic at Cam-gustus, enough to clothe a good family. bridge; and afterwards removing to Merton Col'ege, in Oxford, was admitted there to the same degree, and afterwards made a doctor. In 1668, he visited part of Germany; and in the year following made a wider excursion into Austria, Hungary, and Thessaly; where the Turkish sultan then kept his court at Larissa. He afterwards passed through Italy. His skill in natural history made him particularly attentive to mines and metallurgy. Upon his return he published an account of the countries through which he had passed; which I have heard commended by a learned traveller, who has visited many places after him, as written with scrupulous and exact veracity, such as is scarcely to be found in any other book of the same kind. But whatever it may contribute to the instruction of a naturalist, I cannot recommend it as likely to give much pleasure to common readers; for whether it be that the world is very uniform, and therefore he who is resolved to adhere to truth will have few novelties to relate; or that Dr. Browne was, by the train of his studies, led to inquire most after those things by which the greatest part of mankind is little affected; a great part of his book seems to contain very unimportant accounts of his passage from one place where he saw little, to another where he saw no more.

Upon his return, he practised physic in London; was made physician first to Charles II. and afterwards, in 1682, to St. Bartholomew's Hospital. About the same time he joined his name to

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"His memory, though not so eminent as that of Seneca or Scaliger, was capacious and tenacious, insomuch as he remembered all that was remarkable in any book that he had read; and not only knew all persons again that he had ever seen at any distance of time, but remembered the circumstances of their bodies, and their particular discourses and speeches.

"In the Latin poets he remembered every thing that was acute and pungent; he had read most of the historians, ancient and modern, wherein his observations were singular, not taken notice of by common readers; he was excellent company when he was at leisure, and expressed more light than heat in the temper of his brain.

"He had no despotical power over his affec tions and passions, (that was a privilege of origi nal perfection, forfeited by the neglect of the use of it,) but as large a political power over them as any Stoic, or man of his time; whereof he gave

so great experiment, that he hath very rarely been he expressed in few words. I visited him near known to have been overcome with any of them. his end, when he had not strength to hear or speak The strongest that were found in him, both of much; the last words which I heard from him the irascible and concupiscible, were under the were, besides some expressions of dearness, that control of his reason. Of admiration, which is he did freely submit to the will of God, being withone of them, being the only product either of ig-out fear: he had often triumphed over the king norance or uncommon knowledge, he had more and less than other men, upon the same account of his knowing more than others; so that though he met with many rarities, he adinired them not so much as others do.

"He was never seen to be transported with mirth, or dejected with sadness; always cheerful but rarely merry, at any sensible rate; seldom heard to break a jest; and when he did, he would be apt to blush at the levity of it: his gravity was natural, without affectation.

"His modesty was visible in a natural habitual blush, which was increased upon the least occasion, and oft discovered without any observable


of terrors in others, and given many repulses in the defence of patients; but, when his own turn came, he submitted with a meek, rational, and religious courage.

"He might have made good the old saying of Dat Galenus opes, had he lived in a place that could have afforded it. But his indulgence and liberality to his children, especially in their travels, two of his sons in divers countries, and two of his daughters in France, spent him more than a little. He was liberal in his house-entertainments and in his charity; he left a comfortable, but no great estate, both to his lady and children, gained by his own industry.

"Such was his sagacity and knowledge of all history, ancient and modern, and his observations thereupon so singular, that it hath been said by them that knew him best, that if his profession, and place of abode, would have suited his ability, he would have made an extraordinary man for the privy council, not much inferior to the famous Padre Paulo, the late oracle of the Venetian state.

"They that knew no more of him than by the briskness of his writings, found themselves deceived in their expectation, when they came in his company, noting the gravity and sobriety of his aspect and conversation; so free from loquacity or much talkativeness, that he was sometimes difficult to be engaged in any discourse; though when he was so, it was always singular, and "Though he were no prophet, nor son of a pronever trite or vulgar. Parsimonious in nothing phet, yet in that faculty which comes nearest it but his time, whereof he made as much improve- he excelled, i. e. the stochastic, wherein he was ment, with as little loss as any man in it: when seldom mistaken as to future events, as well pubhe had any to spare from his drudging practice, helic as private; but not apt to discover any prewas scarce patient of any diversion from his study; so impatient of sloth and idleness, that he would say he could not do nothing.

"Sir Thomas understood most of the European languages; viz. all that are in Hutter's Bible, which he made use of. The Latin and Greek he understood critically; the Oriental languages, which never were vernacular in this part of the world, he thought the use of them would not answer the time and pains of learning them; yet had so great a veneration for the matrix of them, viz. the Hebrew, consecrated to the oracles of God, that he was not content to be totally ignorant of it; though very little of his science is to be found in any books of that primitive language. "And though much is said to be written in the derivative idioms of that tongue, especially the Arabic, yet he was satisfied with the translations, wherein he found nothing admirable.

sages or superstition."

It is observable, that he, who in his earlier years had read all the books against religion, was in the latter part of his life averse from controversies. To play with important truths, to disturb the repose of established tenets, to subtilize objections, and elude proof, is too often the sport of youthful vanity, of which maturer experience commonly repents. There is a time when every man is weary of raising difficulties only to task himself with the solution, and desires to enjoy truth without the labour or hazard of contest. There is, perhaps, no better method of encountering these troublesome irruptions of skepticism, with which inquisitive minds are frequently harassed, than that which Browne declares himself to have taken: "If there arise any doubts in my way I do forget them; or at least defer them, till my better settled judgment, and more manly reason be able to resolve them: for I perceive, every man's reason is his best Edipus, and will, upon a reasonable truce, find a way to loose those bonds, wherewith the subtilties of error have enchained our more flexible and tender judgments."

The foregoing character may be confirmed and enlarged by many passages in the "Religio Medici ;" in which it appears, from Whitefoot's testimony, that the author, though no very sparing panegyrist of himself, had not exceeded the truth, with respect to his attainments or visible qualities.

"In his religion he continued in the same mind which he had declared in his first book, written when he was but thirty years old, his Religio Medici, wherein he fully assented to that of the church of England, preferring it before any in the world, as did the learned Grotius. He attended the public service very constantly, when he was not withheld by his practice; never missed the sacrament in his parish, if he were in town; read the best English sermons he could hear of, with liberal applause; and delighted not in controversies. In his last sickness, wherein he continued about There are, indeed, some interior and secret a week's time, enduring great pain of the colic, virtues, which a man may sometimes have withbesides a continual fever, with as much patience out the knowledge of others; and may sometimes as hath been seen in any man, without any pre-assume to himself, without sufficient reasons for tence of Stoical apathy, animosity, or vanity of his opinion. It is charged upon Browne, by Dr. not being concerned thereat, or suffering no im- Watts, as an instance of arrogant temerity, that, peachment of happiness.-Nihil agis, dolor. after a long detail of his attainments, he declares

"His patience was founded upon the Christian himself to have escaped "the first and father-sin philosophy, and a sound faith of God's providence, of pride." A perusal of the "Religio Medici" and a meek and holy submission thereunto, which I will not much contribute to produce a belief of the


author's exemption from this father-sin: pride is a vice, which pride itself inclines every man to find in others, and to overlook in himself.

As easily may we be mistaken in estimating our own courage, as our own humility; and therefore, when Browne shows himself persuaded, that "he could lose an arm without a tear, or with a few groans be quartered to pieces," I am not sure that he felt in himself any uncommon powers of endurance; or, indeed, any thing more than a sudden effervescence of imagination, which, uncertain and involuntary as it is, he mistook for settled resolution.

"That there were not many extant, that in a noble way feared the face of death less than himself," he might likewise believe at a very easy expense, while death was yet at a distance; but the time will come to every human being, when it must be known how well he can bear to die; and it has appeared that our author's fortitude did not desert him in the great hour of trial.

It was observed by some of the remarkers on the "Religio Medici," that "the author was yet alive, and might grow worse as well as better;" it is therefore happy, that this suspicion can be obviated by a testimony given to the continuance of his virtue, at a time when death had set him free from danger of change, and his panegyrist from temptation to flattery.

But it is not on the praises of others, but on his own writings, that he is to depend for the esteem of posterity; of which he will not easily be deprived while learning shall have any reverence among men; for there is no science in which he does not discover some skill; and scarce any kind of knowledge, profane or sacred, abstruse or elegant, which he does not appear to have cultivated with success.

His exuberance of knowledge, and plenitude of ideas, sometimes obstruct the tendency of his reasoning and the clearness of his decisions; on whatever subject he employed his mind, there started up immediately so many images before him, that he lost one by grasping another. His memory supplied him with so many illustrations, parallel or dependent notions, that he was always starting into collateral considerations: but the spirit and vigour of his pursuit always gives delight; and the reader follows him, without reluctance, through his mazes, in themselves flowery and pleasing, and ending at the point originally in view.

"To have great excellences and great faults, magnæ virtutes, nec minora vitia, is the poesy," says our author, "of the best natures." This poesy may be properly applied to the style of Browne; it is vigorous, but rugged; it is learned, but pedantic; it is deep, but obscure; it strikes, but does not please; it commands, but does not allure: his troops are harsh, and his combinations uncouth. He fell into an age in which our language began to lose the stability which it had obtained in the time of Elizabeth; and was considered by every writer as a subject on which he might try his plastic skill, by moulding it according to his own fancy. Milton, in consequence of this encroaching license, began to introduce the Latin idiom: and Browne, though he gave less disturbance to our structures in phraseology, yet poured in a multitude of exotic words; many, indeed, useful and significant, which, if rejected, must be supplied by circumlocution, such as commensality for the state of many living at the same

| table; but many superfluous, as a paralogical for
an unreasonable doubt; and some so obscure,
that they conceal his meaning rather than explain
it, as arthritical analogies, for parts that serve some
animals in the place of joints.

His style is, indeed, a tissue of many languages;
a mixture of heterogeneous words, brought to-
gether from distant regions, with terms originally
appropriated to one art, and drawn by violence
into the service of another. He must, however,
be confessed to have augmented our philosophical
diction; and in defence of his uncommon words
and expressions, we must consider, that he had
uncommon sentiments, and was not content to
express in many words that idea for which any
language could supply a single term.

But his innovations are sometimes pleasing, and his temerities happy: he has many verba ardentia, forcible expressions, which he would never have found but by venturing to the utmost verge of propriety; and flights which would never have been reached, but by one who had very little fear of the shame of falling.

There remains yet an objection against the writings of Browne, more formidable than the animadversions of criticism. There are passages from which some have taken occasion to rank him among deists, and others among atheists. It would be difficult to guess how any such conclusion should be formed, had not experience shown that there are two sorts of men willing to enlarge the catalogue of infidels.

It has been long observed, that an atheist has no just reason for endeavouring conversions; and yet none harass those minds which they can influence with more importunity of solicitation to adopt their opinions. In proportion as they doubt the truth of their own doctrines, they are desirous to gain the attestation of another understanding: and industriously labour to win a proselyte, and eagerly catch at the slightest pretence to dignify their sect with a celebrated name.*

The others become friends to infidelity only by unskilful hostility; men of rigid orthodoxy, cautious conversation, and religious asperity. Among these, it is too frequently the practice, to make in their heat concessions to atheism, or deism, which their most confident advocates had never dared to claim, or to hope. A sally of levity, an idle paradox, an indecent jest, an unreasonable objec tion, are sufficient, in the opinion of these men, to efface a name from the lists of christianity, to exclude a soul from everlasting life. Such men are so watchful to censure, that they have seldom much care to look for favourable interpretations of ambiguities, to set the general tenor of life against single failures, or to know how soon any slip of inadvertency has been expiated by sorrow and retraction; but let fly their fulminations, without mercy or prudence, against slight offences or casual temerities, against crimes never committed, or immediately repented.

The infidel knows well what he is doing. He is endeavouring to supply, by authority, the deficiency of his arguments; and to make his cause less invidious, by showing numbers on his side: he will, therefore, not change his conduct, till he reforms his principles. But the zealot should re

*Therefore no heretics desire to spread

Their wild opinions like these Epicures.
For so their staggering thoughts are computed,
And other men's assent their doubt assures.

collect, that he is labouring by this frequency of excommunication, against his own cause, and voluntarily adding strength to the enemies of truth. It must always be the condition of a great part of mankind to reject and embrace tenets upon the authority of those whom they think wiser than themselves; and, therefore, the addition of every name to infidelity in some degree invalidates that argument upon which the religion of multitudes is necessarily founded.

Men may differ from each other in many religious opinions, and yet all may retain the essentials of christianity; men may sometimes eagerly dispute, and yet not differ much from one another: the rigorous persecutors of error should, therefore, enlighten their zeal with knowledge, and temper their orthodoxy with charity; that charity, without which orthodoxy is vain; charity that "thinketh no evil," but "hopeth all things," and "endureth all things."

Whether Browne has been numbered among the contemners of religion by the fury of its friends, or the artifice of its enemies, it is no difficult task to replace him among the most zealous professors of christianity. He may, perhaps, in the ardour of his imagination, have hazarded an expression, which a mind intent upon faults may interpret into heresy, if considered apart from the rest of his discourse; but a phrase is not to be opposed to volumes; there is scarcely a writer to be found, whose profession was not divinity, that has so frequently testified his belief of the sacred writings, has appealed to them with such unlimited submission, or mentioned them with such unvaried reverence.

amined all, he finds himself obliged, by the principles of grace, and the law of his own reason, to embrace no other name but this:" who to specify his persuasion yet more, tells us, that "he is of the Reformed religion; of the same belief our Saviour taught, the apostles disseminated, the fathers authorised, and the martyrs confirmed;" who, though "paradoxical in philosophy, loves in divinity to keep the beaten road; and pleases himself that he has no taint of heresy, schism, or error:" to whom, "where the Scripture is silent, the Church is a text; where that speaks, 'tis but a comment ;" and who uses not "the dictates of his own reason, but where there is a joint silence of both: who blesses himself, that he lived not in the days of miracles, when faith had been thrust upon him; but enjoys that greater blessing, pronounced to all that believe and saw not." He cannot surely be charged with a defect of faith, who "believes that our Saviour was dead, and buried, and rose again, and desires to see him in his glory:" and who affirms that "this is not much to believe ;" that "we have reason to owe this faith unto history ;" and that "they only had the advantage of a bold and noble faith, who lived before his coming; and upon obscure prophecies, and mystical types, could raise a belief." Nor can contempt of the positive and ritual parts of religion be imputed to him, who doubts, whether a good man would refuse a poisoned eucharist; and "who would violate his own arm, rather than a church."

The opinions of every man must be learned from himself: concerning his practice, it is safest to trust the evidence of others. Where these It is, indeed, somewhat wonderful, that he testimonies concur, no higher degree of historical should be placed without the pale of christianity, certainty can be obtained; and they apparently who declares, "that he assumes the honourable concur to prove, that Browne was a zealous adstyle of a christian," not because it is "the reli-herent to the faith of Christ, that he lived in obegion of his country," but because "having in his dience to his laws, and died in confidence of his riper years and confirmed judgment seen and ex- mercy.


Ir often happens to writers, that they are known | Kirby Wiske, (or Kirby Wicke,) a village near only by their works; the incidents of a literary Northallerton, in Yorkshire, of a family above life are seldom observed, and therefore seldom recounted: but Ascham has escaped the common fate by the friendship of Edward Graunt, the learned master of Westminster-school, who devoted an oration to his memory, and has marked the various vicissitudes of his fortune. Graunt either avoided the labour of minute inquiry, or thought domestic occurrences unworthy of his notice: or, preferring the character of an orator to that of an historian, selected only such particulars as he could best express or most happily embellish. His narrative is therefore scanty, and I know not by what materials it can now be amplified.

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the vulgar. His father, John Ascham, was housesteward in the family of Scroop; and in that age, when the different orders of men were at a greater distance from each other, and the manners of gentlemen were regularly formed by menial services in great houses, lived with a very conspicuous reputation. Margaret Ascham, his wife, is said to have been allied to many considerable families, but her maiden name is not recorded. She had three sons, of whom Roger was the youngest, and some daughters; but who can hope, that of any progeny more than one shall deserve to be mentioned? They lived married sixty-seven years, and at last died together almost on the same hour of the same day.

Roger, having passed his first years under the care of his parents, was adopted into the family of Antony Wingfield, who maintained him, and

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