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that he had broached opinions bold, far beo yond the average sentiments of the age. He was aware, too, that the clergy had not quite forgotten their old games of fire and faggot, and that they might one day make a bonfire of him; and he would very wisely have chosen
l to turn Turk rather than martyr, and have submitted to the sacred rite of circumcision in preference to being burnt alive. His terror was so great and so habitual, that he would never suffer himself to be left alone in the house of the earl of Devonshire; but when the family moved, would always go with them. He was thus removed on his deathbed, from Chatsworth to Hardwick.
Hobbes, it is said, was never a great reader. If we consider his intellectual superiority, and the great age to which he lived, he had read little. On this subject he was, accustomed to say, “If I had read as much as other
I people, I should have been as ignorant as they."
On account of the freedom of his creed, the memory of Hobbes has been much traduced and blackened by the malicious misrepresentations of bigotry. In respect of theology, he
acknowledged a belief in a supreme intelli. gence; but said, that he thought too reverend. ly of him to believe his nature could be comprehended by human understanding. After establishing a due reverence for this great being, whose mysterious operation pervades, directs, and animates all nature, he thought, that men may be much better employed in discharging their social and civil duties, than in idle speculations on subjects which have no relation to this life. Of this conduct he himself furnished an example. He had a warm interest in the welfare of his country, was conscientiously faithful in his friendships, beneficent to his kindred, and benevolent to all. He had, however, his faults as well as other men. He was so tenacious of his opinions, particularly at last, when indeed it was most venial, that he could not easily brook contra, diction. Whenever any persons, curious of seeing him, were introduced by the earl, he stipulated as a preliminary, that they should not contradict the old man. His moral charac. ter, as given by lord Clarendon, ought not to be omitted. “ Mr. Hobbes (says he) is one of the most ancient acquaintance I have in
the world; and of whom I have always had a great esteem, as a man, who besides his eminent parts, learning, and knowledge, hath been always looked upon as a man of probity, and of a life free from scandal.”
THOMAS MAY, poet and historian, was descended of an ancient family at Mayfield, in Sussex, and born in 1595. Having received his juvenile education near home, he afterwards entered at Sidney College, Cambridge, where he proceeded batchelor of arts in 1612. About three years after, he became a member of Gray's Inn; and was soon introduced to the acquaintance of some of the principal courtiers and wits of his time--as sir Kenelm Digby, sir Richard Fanshaw, sir John Suckling, sir Aston Cokaine, Thomas Carew, Endymion Porter, Ben Jonson, and others of higher quality : for he was countenanced by Charles and his queen.
He subsequently conceived a disgust at the court, however, probably from a disappointment in his expectation of being successor to * Ben Jonson as poet-laureat, William d’Avenant being appointed in his stead. We afterwards find him in the republican army commanded by Fairfax, and in the post of a secretaryship under the parliament. He died in 1650.
1. May first appeared, in a literary character, as a poet and dramatist. He also translated Virgil's Georgics, with annotations; as likewise, “ Select Epigrams of Martial." But his most important translation was that of " Lucan's Pharsalia," with a “Continuation" of that poem, in English and Latin, to the death of Julius Cæsar.
2. By his inajesty's command, he wrote a metrical history of “The Reign of Henry the Second;" to which he added in prose, “The De
“ scription of Henry II, with a short Survey of the Changes of his Reign.” Also, “ The single and comparative Characters of Henry and Richard, his Sons,"
3. But his most considerable work is “The History of the Parliament of England;" which may be considered rather as a brief history of the “ Civil Wars” which arose during its sitting. He represents this work as a task im