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men; courage, intrepidity, vigilance, inflexibility; and though these qualities lay not always under the guidance of a regular and solid judgment, they were accompanied with good parts, and an extensive capacity; and every one dreaded a contest with a man who was never known to yield, or to forgive; and who, in every controversy, was determined to ruin himself, or his antagonist.
A catalogue of his vices would comprehend many of the worst qualities incident to human nature. Violence, cruelty, profusion, rapacity, injustice, obstinacy, arrogance, bigotry, presumption, caprice; but neither was he subject to all these vices in the most extreme degree, nor was he at intervals altogether devoid of virtues. He was sincere, open, gallant, liberal, and capable at least of a temporary friendship and attachment. In this respect he was unfortunate, that the incidents of his times served to display his faults in their full light; the treatment he met with from the court of Rome provoked him to violence; the danger of a revolt from his superstitious subjects seemed to require the most extreme severity. But it must at the same time be acknowledged, that his situation tended to throw an additional lustre on what was great and magnanimous in his cha'racter.
The emulation between the emperor and the French king rendered his alliance, notwithstanding his impolitic conduct, of great importance to Europe. The extensive powers of his prerogative, and the submission, not to say slavish disposition of his parliament, made it more easy
for him to assume and maintain that entire dominion, by which his reign is so much distinguished in English history.
It may seem a little extraordinary, that notwithstanding his cruelty, his extortion, his violence, his arbitrary administration, this prince not only acquired the regard of his subjects, but never was the object of their hatred; he seems even, in some degree, to have possessed their love and affection. His exterior qualities were advantageous, and fit to captivate the multitude; his magnificence and personal bravery, rendered him illustrious to vulgar eyes; and it may be said with truth, that the English in that age were so thoroughly subdued, that, like eastern slaves, they were inclined to admire even those acts of violence and tyranny, which were exercised over themselves, and at their own expense. Hume.
CHARACTER OF EDWARD VI.
THUS died Edward VI. in the sixteenth year of his age. He was counted the wonder of his time; he was not only learned in the tongues and the liberal sciences, but he knew well the state of his kingdom. He kept a table-book, in which he had written the characters of all the eminent men of the nation he studied fortification, and understood the mint well. He knew the harbours in all his dominions, with the depth of the water, and way of coming into them. He understood foreign affairs so well, that the ambassadors who were sent into England published very extraordinary things of him, in all the courts of Europe.
great quickness of apprehension; but being distrustful of his memory, he took notes of every thing he heard (that was considerable) in Greek characters, that those about him might not understand what he writ, which he afterwards copied out fair in the journal that he kept. His virtues were wonderful: when he was made to believe that his uncle was guilty of conspiring the death of the other counsellors, he upon that abandoned him.
Barnaby Fitz Patrick was his favourite; and when he sent him to travel, he writ oft to him to keep good company, to avoid excess and luxury; and to improve himself in those things that might render him capable of employment at his return. He was afterwards made lord of Upper Ossory in Ireland, by queen Elizabeth, and did answer the hopes this excellent king had of him. He was very merciful in his nature, which appeared in his unwillingness to sign the warrant for burning the maid of Kent. He took great
care to have his debts well paid, reckoning that a prince who breaks his faith, and loses his credit, has thrown up that which he can never recover, and made himself liable to perpetual distrust, and extreme contempt. He took special care of the petitions that were given him by poor and oppressed people. But his great zeal for religion crowned all the rest-it was not an angry heat about it that actuated him, but it was a true tenderness of conscience, founded on the love of God and his neighbour. These extraordinary qualities, set off with great sweetness and affability, made him universally beloved by his people. Burnet.
LITERARY ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF LADY JANE
LADY Jane Grey, before she was twelve years old, was mistress of eight languages. She wrote and spoke the English tongue with elegance and accuracy. French, Italian, Latin, and even Greek, she possessed to a perfection as if they were native to her, and she had made some progress in Hebrew, Chaldee, and Arabic. Yet she did not, like some learned ladies I have heard of, in pur suit of these extraordinary acquisitions, fall into any neglect of those more useful and ornamental arts, which are peculiarly to be desired in the female sex. The delicacy of her taste displayed it. self in the variety of her needle-works, and even in the beauty and regularity of her band-writing. She played admirably upon various instruments of music, and accompanied them with a voice peculiarly sweet. What an agreeable picture does this history of the earliest years of lady Jane Grey present to our fancy! Though of noble and royal descent, she did not think that excused her from the performance of her duties, or the cultivation of her mind. She was anxious to improve her moments. She had a delicate complexion, and a regularity and composure of features which expressed the steadiness of her thoughts. She discovered a clearness of apprehension, and a solidity of judgment, which enabled her not only to make herself mistress of languages, but of sciences, so that she thought, spoke, and reasoned upon subjects of the greatest importance, in a manner which surprised every body. With these quali
ties, her good-humour, humility, and mildness were such, that she appeared to derive no pride from all her acquisitions.
It was in the summer 1550, when she was exactly thirteen years of age, that she received a visit at Broadgate from Roger Ascham, schoolmaster to the princess Elizabeth. He had become acquainted with her in the court of king Edward VI. and had been equally struck with the greatness of her attainments, and the sweetness of her character.
When he arrived he found that the marquis and marchioness of Dorset, with all their attendants of either sex, were gone a hunting in the park. Lady Jane however was in her apartment, and when Mr. Ascham was introduced, he found her busy, reading the Phædon of Plato in the original Greek. Astonished at what he saw, after the first compliments, the venerable instructor asked her, why she lost such pastime as there must needs be in the park? At which smiling, she answered,'' I wisse all their sport in the park is but a shadow to that pleasure that I find in Plato. Alas, good folk, they never felt what true pleasure meant!' This naturally leading him to inquire how a lady of her age had attained to this deep knowledge of pleasure, and what had allured her to it, she made the following reply: 'I will tell you, and tell you a troth, which perchance ye will marvel at. One of the greatest benefits that ever God gave me, is that he sent me so sharp and severe parents, and so gentle a schoolmaster. For, when I am in presence either of father or mother, whether I speak, kcep silence, sit, stand, or go, eat,