Obrázky na stránke

These are all the particulars we have been able to collect of the life of this heroic gentleman, Sir Anthony Sherley, whose adventures have more the air of an Arabian story or oriental fiction, than that of real life. Born at a period when the spirit of chivalry yet lingered in the land, he united daring enterprize with political knowledge and statesman-like acquirements. He belonged to that glorious race of men, who seem to have been raised up but to dazzle the world with their brightness for a few years, and to make it regret that they have left no descendants.

Sir Anthony was of a grave and imposing exterior, and of a dignified and commanding deportment. Elevated in sentiment, noble in heart, and undaunted in resolution, he had a singular power of attracting the attention, and securing the affections of men. He was bold in the conception, and prompt in the execution, of what he undertook; and whatever was connected with it—whatever was likely to contribute to its success, he seized with eagerness, and improved with diligence and caution. As a traveller, he did not, like some of a different sort, exercise his judgment on the superficial appearances of things, and tell of the wonders which he saw; but he looked into the perfections and defects of governments, and investigated the forms of states.

We have only space to say a few words of his two brothers. When Sir Anthony was about to depart from Persia, the king requested, in a very complimentary style, that his brother, Robert, might stay behind. The wish of Shah-Abbas was no sooner expressed, than Robert, with great frankness and alacrity, acceded to it, and he accordingly remained at the Persian court with five of his companions. Two years having elapsed, and no tidings received of this important embassy, the king began to regard Robert more unfavourably than he had hitherto done, but he soon found means to regain the royal favour. He obtained freedom of conscience throughout the Persian dominions for all Christians; and the king, as a still greater token of his affection, bestowed his niece* upon him in marriage. Three successive Persian ambassadors were afterwards despatched to the princes of Christendom; and lastly, Robert Sherley himself, who came as ambassador to James the First in 1612, with the offer of a free commerce with Persia. He was accompanied by his wife, Teresia, who, during her residence in England, brought him a son, to whom the queen stood godmother, and Prince Henry godfather. He left his child in England, and set out with his lady on his return to Persia, and


says, she was sister to one of the king's sultanas.

Fuller says, died on the voyage.* Sir Anthony draws a fine character of his brother, Robert, which we should have introduced, but for the reason before-mentioned.

Sir Thomas Sherley was knighted in 1589, and,“ heing ashamed.” says Fuller, " to see the trophies and achievements of his two younger brothers worn like flowers in the breasts of princes, whilst he himself withered upon the stalk he grew on, left his aged father, and, as it is said, a fair inheritance in Sussex, and forthwith undertook several voyages into foreign parts, to the great honor of his nation, but small enrichment of himself.”

Although this article has extended to an unusual length, we close it with reluctance, obliged, as we are, to omit, for want of room, many things which might have assisted the reader in estimating the true motives of the enterprize above related, as well as the character of this illustrious fraternity.

[Our readers will observe that the following communication is not in the usual form of our articles. We have, however, determined to admit it into our pages, as well from a regard to the value of its contents, as that we think it


stand in the place of a pattern, as it were, for similar papers. On receiving the following letter, it occurred to us that there might be many possessors of remarkable books, who, unwilling to undertake a formal memoir, still would not hesitate to compose a slight notice of them, containing some extracts and a few necessary observations, Such is the nature of this paper, which we trust will excite the less industrious, or the more engaged, lovers of old literature among our readers, to the composition of similar

Should this be the case, they will find a place in the last pages of each number.-Ed.] ART. XIII. Image of Gouvernance, by Sir Thomas Elyote. London, 4to. 1541. Mr. Editor, Sir,

Your well-planned Review of old literature seems calculated to display the masculine powers of intellect possessed by our learned and industrious forefathers. The high toned sentiment and the condensed thought which so often pervades the writings of early authors deserves to be contrasted


* The Preacher's Travels, Lond. 1611–Baker's ChroniclesFuller's Worthies.

with the flippant and diluted vanity of many modern scribes, a class of men who, following the business of book-making, to meet the demands of universal education, are reducing the dignity of printed tutorship to an idle recreation.-I submit the following extracts from The Image of Gouvernance, translated out of Greke into Englyshe by Sir Thomas Elyote, Knight. Anno 1556. 4to. This learned, virtuous, and public-spirited man seems to have devoted his life to the diffusion of useful knowledge, and to the improvement of morals. He was a distinguished person in the court of Henry VIII.--the Juvenal of his day. The following account of his own writings is taken from his preface to the Image of Gouvernance.

“And I dooe neyther dispute nor expounde holy scripture, yet in suche workes as I have and entend to sette foorth, my poore talent shall be, God willyng, in suche wyse bestowed, that noe man's consience shall be therewith offended. My boke called the Gouvernour instructyng men such vertues as shall be expedient for theim, whiche shall have auctoritee in a weale publicke. The Doctrinall of Princes, whiche are but the counsailes of wise Isocrates, inducyng into noble men's wittes honest opinions. The Education of Children, which also I translated out of the wise Plutarche, makyng men and women, whiche will folowe those rules, to be well worthy to be fathers and mothers. The little Pasquill, although he be merie and plaine, teaching as wel servauntes how to be faiethfull unto theyr maisters, as also maisters howe to be circumspect in espiying of flaterers.--Semblablie, the office of a good counsailour, with magnanimitee or good courage in tyme of adversitee, maie bee aparantly founden in mie boke called, Of the Knowlage belongynge to a Wise Man. In readyng the sermon of Sainct Cyprian, by me translated, the devout reader shall find no little comfort in plagues or calamitees. The Banket of Sapience is not fastidiouse, and in litle roume sheweth oute of holie scripture many wise sentences. The Castell of Health, beynge truely read, shall longe preserve men (beyng some Phisicions never so angrie) from perillouse sickenesse. My little boke called the Defence of Good Women, not onely confoundeth villainous reporte, but also teacheth good wyves to knowe well theyr duitees. My Dictionarie declaryng Latine by Englyshe, by that tyme that I have performed it, it shall not onely serve for children, as men have excepted it, but also shall be commodious for them which perchaunce shall be well learned. And this

present boke which I have named, “The Image of Gouvernance,' shall be to all them which will read it sincerely, a veraie true paterne wherby they maie shape all theyr procedynges.'

The pious fiction under which this learned knight makes his own thoughts public is given in the following preface:

“ As I late was serсhyng among my bokes to fynde some argument in the redynge whereof I mought recreate my spyrites, beynge almost fatigate with the longe studie about the correctyng and ampliatyng of my Dictionarie, I happened to finde certaine quayres of pa

[ocr errors]

per, wherin were conteigned the actes and sentences notable of the most noble Emperour Alexander, for his wisedome and gravitee called Severus, which boke was fyrste written in the Greke tongue by his secretairie named Encolpius, and by good chaunce was lente unto me by a gentill man of Naples called Pudericus. Wherefore with all diligence I endeavoured myselfe whiles I had leysour to translate it into Englyshe; all be it, I could not exactly performe mine enterprise as I mought have done if the owner had not importunately called for his boke.'

It is unnecessary to tell the scholar that no such author as Encolpius ever existed, or to acquaint the reader that the tenour of all our worthy knight's writings was insidiously directed against the glaring vices of his own court, Such bold and open execration of the vices of Heliogabalus, and the continued contrast between him and Severus, would have been too obviously meant against Henry the Eighth and his companions if the story had not assumed the character of reality as to other times.

His 3rd Chapter is “ of the monstruous lyvynge of the Emperoare Varius Heliogabalus, whereby the citie of Rome was corrupted."

“ Macrinus the Emperoure for his avarice and tyrannie beinge abandoned, (or rather betrayed) of his owne people, and slayne with his sonne Diadumenus, (who in beautie and goodly stature excelled all men of his tyme,)” Varius Heliogabalus was advaunced unto the empire by the whole consente of the senate and people of Rome, who gave hasty credence to all reportes that were made to the honour and praise of their newe princes, (such is the appetites of men which bee meeved anone with credulitee; for suche thynges as they desyre, they couvette to here of, and doe delite in newe thynges, though falsely reported.) But as soone as Heliogabalus was come to Rome, he immediately declared his beastly nature, by insuynge vices moste abominable and advancynge the favourers and haunters of the same vices, and inforcynge with all his studie and puissance to exterminate out of the citie of Rome all vertue and honestie, from whence a littell before all the worlde received doctrine and examples of honour, concernyng as well vertuous maners as martialt prowess. Firste, in lecherie this Heliogabalus was so insatiable, that not onely he exercised that vice openly in common baines and bordell houses with sundry women of divers degrees and countries, but also he had ordained a senate of common harlottes.—He also promoted to the greattest dignities of the publicke weale common bawdes, notable ribauldes, solicitours, and furtherers of dishonest appetites, often tymes cokes and devisers of lecherous confections and sawces. Semblablie by 'suche persones he solde dignitees, auctoritees, and offices. He also elected into the senate most vile personages not havyng regarde to any age, gentillnesse of bloud, merite, possessions, or substaunce."--His glutonie was almoste equall to his lechery. Whan Heliogabalus sojourned nygh to the sea, he wolde never be served with sea fyshe, but being in place fardistant from the sea, he caused all his householde to be served with most delicate sea fishe. It abhorreth me io expresse his beastly lyvying, all be it I doe not tel every thyng that I have redde of hym, as well for that it shall bee to good men odiouse to here, as also it moughte happen to incende the

wanton. “ The greattest roumes and affaires of the Empyre, he committed to minstrels, plaiers of enterludes and disardes. His bondemen and most vile servauntes, as they excelled in abomination, so preferred he theim to the governaunce of realms and provinces. Also of his rabell of brothelles to some he gave the rule and gouvernance of the youth of the citie, some he made rulers of the senate, to other he gave soveraintee over all theim that were gentilmen.”—But “ this monstruous Emperour desiring the distruction of Alexander, procured his owne deathe, agreable with his abominable luxury; for his owne servauntes and souldiours, whiche were prepared for the garde of his persone, dreadyng lest the people makynge insurrection that they shoulde bee parteners of his mischeevous ende, beyng tediouse of his abominations, conspired to delyver the common weyle of hym.”

“ This was the worthy and convenient ende of this most beastly and uncleane monster, who with the emperours Nero, Caligula, Domitian, and Commodus, his predecessours, was a notable and commodious example to all princes succeeding, to declare, that notwithstanding their majestie and puissance, they for their vices abbominable were first hated, and afterwarde slaine and dishonoured by their propre subjectes.

Immediately after the deathe of Heliogabalus, the senate and people of Rome beying surprised with incredible joye, used all diligence and spede that Aurelius Alexander mought foorthwith as verie Emperoure receive all auctoritee and honour.

“ After that, Alexander by the consente of the senate and people was stablished in the imperiall auctoritee, and for his excellente goodnesse was moste ardently beloved of the multitude, also the remembraunce of Heliogabalus and his adherentes for their destestable vices beyinge every where hated, and with detestacion abhorred. This noble yonge emperour takynge then oportunitee to restore the publyke weall to her pristinall fourme, with the majestie imperiall, late violated, and wel nighe perished, through the negligence of the saide monster; fyrste purged his own palace, excludynge out of his owne courte and all offices, dishonest and infamed personages, and by no meanes woulde suffer to bee in his householde anye other than by all menne shoulde be thought necessarie. Moreover he openly protested, makyng an other, that he woulde never have a superfluouse noumbre of servauntes, to theen tent that he woulde not greeve the publiyke weall with his provision; saying, “ that Emperour is a shrewde pupiee that feedeth, with the bowels of his commons, men whiche be not necessarie, nor yet profitable to the weall publyke."

“ All his lyfe was a perfecte exaumple of temperaunce, арраrayle was wonderfull cleane, but not to sumptuouse; semblable moderacion the empresse his wife observed : finally, duryng his time he used


« PredošláPokračovať »