Page images
PDF
EPUB

I shall give one short extract more from this intelligent writer. When the lord Archon bad completely organized the commonwealth of Oceano, he abdicated the magistracy. The following remarks appear to be founded in deep political wisdom.

The senate, as struck with astonishment, continuing silent; men upon so sudden an accident being altogether unprovided of what to say, till the Archon withdrawing, and being almost at the door, divers of the knights flew from their places, offering as it were to lay violent hands on him, while he escaping left the senate with the tears in their eyes, as children that had lost their father; and to rid himself of all farther iinportunity, retired to a country house of his, being remote and very private, insomuch that no man could tell for some time what was become of him. Thus the law-maker happened to be the first object and reflection of the law made: for as liberty of all things is the most welconie to a people, so is there nothing more abhorrent from their nature than ingratitude. We, accusing the Roman people of this crime against some of their greatest benefactors, as Camillus, heap mistake upon mistake; for being not 30, competent judges of what belongs to liberty as they were, we take upon us to be more competent judges of virtue. And whereas virtue, for being a

1

[merged small][ocr errors]

vulgar thing among them, was of no less rate thiari
jewels are with such as wear the most; we are sell-
ing this precious stone, which we have ignorantly
raked out of the Roman ruins, at such a rate as the
Switzers did that which they took in the baggage of
Charles of Burgundy. For that Camillus had stood
more firrn against the ruin of Rome, than her capitol,
was acknowledged';, but on the other side, that he
stood as firm for the patricians against the liberty of
the people, was as plain : wherefore he never wanted
those of the people that would die at his foot in the
field, nor that would withstand him to his beard in
the city. An example in which they that think Ca-
millus had wrong, neither do themselves right nor
the people of Rome; who in this signify no less than
that they had a scorn of slavery beyond the fear of
ruin, which is the height of magnanimity. The like
might be shewn by other examples objected against
this and other popular governments, as in the banish-
ment of Aristides the Just from Athens, by the os-
tracism, which first was no punishment, nor ever un-
derstood for so much as a disparagement; but tended
only to the security of the commonwealth, through
the removal of a citizen (whose riches or power with
a party was suspected) out of harm's way for the
space
of ten
years,

neither to the diminution of his estate, or honour. And next, though the virtue of Aristides might in itself be unquestioned, yet for him

under the name of the Just, to become universal umpire of the people in all cases, even to the neglect of the legal ways and orders of the commonwealth, approached so much to the prince, that the Athenians; doing Aristides no wrong, did their government no more than right in removing him; which therefore is not so probable to have come to pass, as Plutarch presumes, through the envy of Themistocles, seeing Aristides was far more popular than Themistocles, who soon after took the same walk upon a worse occasion,

a

The Oceana was dedicated to Oliver Cromwell, who after perusing it, said, “The gentleman would like to trepan me out of my power ; but what I have got by the sword, I will not quit for a little paper shot.”

Harrington was the author of several other compositions, all of a political nature; but as the whole of his works have been collected in one volume 4to, by Mr. Toland, and are consequently accessible to most readers, it were needless to specify them.

VOL. 111.

CLEIVELAND.

JOHN CLEIVELAND, poet and royalist, was born in 1613, at Loughborough, in Leicestershire. In 1627, he entered at Christ's College, Cambridge, where, in 1631, he took the degree of bachelor of arts. About three years after, he was elected fellow of St. John's College, in the same university, and, in 1635, proceeded master of arts. He was both tutor and rhetoric reader in his college.

On the breaking out of the civil wars, he is said to have been the first champion in verse for the royal cause, in which he exerted all his influence and interest. He was at length seized at Norwich, 1655, as "a person of great abilities," adverse and dangerous to the reigning government, and sent prisoner to Yarmouth; but on sending a humble petition to the lord protector, he was again set at liberty. Hc after

wards became member of a club of wits and royalists in London, of which Butler, the wellknown author of Hudibras, was a member. He died in 1658.

Cleiveland is most remembered as a witty poet; he is mentioned, in conjunction with Donne, by Johnson, in his Life of Cowley, as being at the head of what he calls the metaphy

His

prose consists only of two or three small pieces, of which the most amusing is the character of a Diurnal-maker. A part of it will furnish an adequate specimen of his manner; it abounds in the quaintest wit, such as distinguishes his poetry. The Diurnals were news-papers of the parliament side, resembling modern court-gazettes.

sical poets.

a

The Character of a Diurnal-maker.

A diurnal-maker is the sub-almoner of history, Queen Mab's Register; one whom, by the same figure that a north-country pedlar is a merchant-man, you may style an author : it is the like over-reach of language, where every thin tinder-cloaked quack is doc

when a clumsy cobler usurps the attribute of our English peers, and is vamped a translator; list him a'writer, and you sinother Geoffrey in swabberslops ;

TR

tor;

« PreviousContinue »