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The Earl's affection for his wife, and regret for her loss, even till his death *, were extremne t.
John, third Earl of Bridgewater, died 23rd May, 1716, aged sixty-one.
His son Scroop, fourth earl, having married Lady Elizabeth Churchill, one of the coheirs of the famous John, Duke of Marlborough, was raised to a dukedom 18th June, 1720 : she died however in her twenty-sixth year, before this promotion, on 22nd March, 1714. The duke died 11th January, 1745 ; his eldest son John, by his marriage with Lady Rachel Russell, succeeded, and died 26th February, 1748, aged twenty-one. He was succeeded by his only brother, Francis, third and last duke, who died ummarried, 1803, aged sixty-seven. This was the celebrated founder of canal navigation.
General John William Egerton, grandson of Henry, bishop of Hereford, who died 1746, fifth son of John, third Earl of Bridgewater, succeeded to the earldom. His father was Bishop of Durham, and married, in 1748, Lady Anne Sophia Gray, daughter of Henry, last Duke of Kent of that family : he died 1823, and was succeeded by his brother, the Rev. Francis Henry Egerton, who died at Paris, unmarried, 1829.
Lady Louisa Egerton I, born 30th April, 1723, sister of the whole blood to the last Duke of Bridgewater, married 28th March, 1748, Granville Levison, afterwards Earl Gower, and created Marquis of Stafford, whose son by her, the second Mar. quis of Stafford, was latterly created Duke of Sutherland, and was father of the present Duke of Sutherland and of Lord Francis Gower, on whom the Duke of Bridgewater entailed a large portion of his immense property, in consequence of which he has now assumed the name of Egerton.
Sophia Egerton, sister of the last two earls, married Sir Abraham Hume, bart., and left two daughters, of whom one married the Earl of Brownlow, and was mother of the present Lord Alford ; and the other married Mr. Charles Long, created Lord Farnborough ; but without issue.
I would not have gone into these dry genealogical details, if the title had not now disappeared from the modern peerages.
On the illustrious founder of canal navigation, a great national benefactor, it is unnecessary to enlarge : perhaps he did not take the literary turn of his ancestors, which, if not more useful, would have been more congenial to the pursuits which I admire. He was a man of retired, and somewhat eccentric habits ; and wrapped up exclusively in the mighty works which he was meditating, and carrying on. He was not a man of visionary talents; and cared little, I believe, about the history of his ancestors, or the glories of past times : he felt no interest in the curious library S, amassed by his forefathers, nor in the long galleries of the portraits of the great chancellor's Elizabethan contemporaries. His ancient mansion of Ashridge, which before the Reformation had been a monastery, he suffered to fall to decay, inhabiting only a few rooms in the porter's lodge Il.
See, in “Censura Literaria," an account of George Wither's “ Hallelujah," with the manuscript notes of this Earl's own copy.
f I have mentioned the funeral certificate by the heralds: their inaccuracy is always proverbial. The earl survived his son Thomas a year; yet though the son's marriage and issue are given, no notice is taken of his death. I found it in a memorandum in an account-book of his widow. Afterwards I found, by Clutterbuck's “ History of Hertfordshire,” that he was buried at Little Gadsden, in the family vault. His widow, Esther Busby, survived till 1724.
# The first Duke of Bridgewater had a daughter by his first lady, who first married Wriothesly Russell, third Duke of Bedford, who died 1732, without issue; and afterwards William Villiers, Earl of Jersey, from which marriage the present Earl of Jersey is descended.
$ From the use of this library Mr. Todd derived a great part of his bibliographical knowledge in old English poetry, and of the predecessors and contemporaries Milton: many of the volumes had probably gone through the hands of the illustrious poet.
! I visited it in August 1789, and took a hasty list of the portraits. See“ Topographer," 1789, 1720. 8vo. four vols.
General John Egerton, who succeeded to the ea Bridgewater estates, inherited none of the old fam manners chillingly cold, and a reserved pride, mi sarcasm, which was apt to give great offence: he ties, and would never do any thing out of rule or of Ashridge most magnificently, but was fond of of his habits. He never had any children, but I widow for her life, who still enjoys it.
His brother and successor, Francis Henry Eger and rector of the rich family living of Whitchurch of the last years of his life he resided at Paris, hav Ducs de Noailles, between the Rue St. Honoré and at a great expense, and in much pomp. He was brother: an admirable classical scholar, a great lo genius, and fitful acts of generosity and munificen were so singular as only to be accounted for by t By his will he became a public benefactor, enri Museum, and leaving a large sum to be expended of what have since appeared under the title of tl delighted in the history of his family, and the glo be printed a translation of “ Comus," in Italian v many other privately-printed gifts to literature. both vain and proud : but let his learning, his veil his foibles.
Lord Francis Gower, now Egerton, who repre portion of the Bridgewater property, with the libra and other reliques, embellishes his descent by genius, and his devotion to the Muses.
Thus has passed away the male line of this illi Mr. Todd's note, in his Milton, upon the subject, apologize for my substituting in its room another the early connexion of Milton with this house, ar mask of “ Comus," I venture to hope that it will n is nothing unless it stimulates to accomplish the nurse high pursuits, and to cherish high emotions his honours—who relies only on reflected glory cipher.
* I believe that only five males are now living, who a were Egertons, of whom my brother and myself are two. paternal grandmother ; the same is the case with Mr. Ege
THE RIGHT HONOURABLE“ JOIIN LORD VISCOUNT BRACLY,
SON AND HEIR APPARENT TO THE EARL OF BRIDGEWATER, &c.b MY LORD,
Tus poem, which received its occasion of birth from yourself and others of your noble family, and much honour from your own person in the performance, now returns again to make a finall dedication of itself to you. Although not openly
aeknowledged by the author', yet it is a legitimate offspring, so lovely, and so much f desired, that the often copying of it hath tired my pen to give my severall friends
satisfaction, and brought me to a necessity of producing it to the publike view ; and now to offer it up in all rightfull devotion to those fair hopes, and rare endowments of your much promising youth, which give a full assurance, to all that know you, of a future excellence. Live, sweet Lord, to be the honour of your name, and receive this as your own, from the hands of him, who hath by many favours been long obliged to your most honoured parents; and as in this representation your attendant Thyrsis, so now in all reall expression Your faithfull and most humble servant,
H. LAWES d. • This is the dedication to Lawes's edition of the Mask, 1637, to which the following motto was prefixed, from Virgil's second Eclogue:
Eheu! quid volui misero mihi? floribus austrum
This motto is delicately chosen, whether we consider it as being spoken by the author himself, or by the editor. If by the former, the meaning, I suppose, is this :—" I have, by giving way to this publication, let in the breath of public censure on these early blossoms of my poetry, which were before secure in the hands of my friends, as in a private enclosure.” If we suppose it to come from the editor, the application is not very different ; only to floribus we must then give an encomiastic sense. The choice of such a motto, so far from vulgar in itself, and in its application, was worthy Milton.-HURD.
b The first brother in the Mask.-T, WARTON.
& This dedication does not appear in the edition of Milton's poems, printed in 1673, when Lord Brackley, under the title of Earl of Bridgewater, was still living. Milton was perhaps unwilling 1
to own his early connexions with a family, conspicuous for its unshaken loyalty, and now highly patronised by King Charles II.-T. WARTON.
Milton in his edition of 1673 omitted also the letter written by Sir Henry Wootton : yet it has pot been supposed that, by withdrawing the letter, he intended any disrespect to the memory of his learned friend; nor might the dedication perhaps have been withdrawn through any unwillingness to own his early connexions with the Egerton family: it might have been inex. pedient for him at that time openly to avow them; but he would not, I think, forget them. He had lived in the neighbourhood of Ashridge, the seat of the Earl of Bridgewater: for his father's house and lands at Horton near Colnbrook, in Buckinghamshire, were held under the earl, before whom “ Comus” was acted. Milton afterwards lived in Barbican, where the earl had great property, as well as his town residence, Bridgewater-house : and though Dr. Johnson observes that Milton “ had taken a larger house in Barbican for the reception of scholars," it is not improbable that he might have been accommodated with it rent-free, by that nobleman, who, it may be supposed, would gladly embrace an opportunity of having in his neighbourhood the admirable author of " Comus," and of promoting his acquaintance with that finished scholar, who, being “willing," says his nephew Phillips, “ to impart his learning and knowledge to his relations, and the sons of gentlemen who were his intimate friends," might afford to his family at least the pleasure of his conversation, if not to some of them the advantage of his instruction. This dedication does not appear in Tickellis and Fenton's editions of Milton's poetical works. It was restored by Dr. Newton.-TODD.
Henry Lawes, who composed the music for “ Comus," and performed the combined characters of the Spirit and the shepherd Thyrsis in this drama, was the son of Thomas Lawes, a vicar choral of Salisbury cathedral: he was perhaps at first a choir-boy of that church. With his brother William, he was educated in music under Giovanni Coperario, (supposed by Fenton, in his notes on Waller, to be an Italian, but really an Englishman under the plain name of John
THE COPY OF A LETTER WRITTEN BY SIR HENRY WOOTTON, TO THE
AUTHOR, UPON THE FOLLOWING POEM.
From the Colledge, this 13. of April, 160€. It was a special favour, when you lately bestowed upon me here the first taste of your acquaintance, though no longer then to make me know that I wanted more time to value it, and to enjoy it rightly; and in truth, if I could then have imagined your farther stay in these parts, which I understood afterwards by Mr. H.', I would have been bold, in our vulgar phrase, to mend my draught (for you left me with an extreme thirst) and to have begged your conversation again, joyntly with your said learned friend, at a poor meal or two, that we might have banded together som good authors of the ancient time ; among which, I observed you to have been familiar.
Since your going, you have charged me with new obligations, both for a very kinde letter from you dated the sixth of this month, and for a dainty peece of entertainment which came therwith : wherin I should much commend the tragical parts, if the lyrical did not ravish me with a certain Dorique delicacy in your songs and odes; wherunto I must plainly confess to have seen yet nothing parallel in our language : ipsa mollities h. But I must not omit to tell you, that I now
Cooper,) at the expense of Edward, Earl of Hertford. In January 1625, he was appointed pistoler, or epistoler, of the royal chapel ; in November following he became one of the gentle men of the choir of that chapel ; and soon afterwards, clerk of the cheque, and one of the owurt. musicians to King Charles I.
Cromwell's usurpation put an end to masks and music: and Lawes, being dispossessed of all his appointments, by men who despised and discouraged the elegances and ornaments of life, chiefly employed that gloomy period in teaching a few young ladies to sing and play on the lute. Yet he was still greatly respected : for before the troubles began, his irreproachable life, ingenuous deportment, engaging manners, and liberal connexions, had not only established bis character, but raised even the credit of his profession. Wood says, that his most beneficent friends, during his sufferings for the royal cause, in the rebellion and afterwards, were the ladies Alice and Mary, the Earl of Bridgewater's daughters before mentioned ; but in the year 1660, he was restored to his places and practice; and had the happiness to compose the coronation anthem for the exiled monarch. He died in 1652, and was buried in Westminster Abbey. Of all the testimonies paid to his merit by his contemporarics, Milton's commendation in the thirteenth Sonnet, and in some of the speeches of " Comus," must be esteemed the most bonour able; and Milton's praise is likely to be founded on truth. Milton was no specious or nocasional flatterer; and at the same time was a skilful performer on the organ, and a judge of music : and it appears probable, that even throughout the rebellion, he had continued his friendship for Lawes ; for, long after the king was restored, he added the sonnet to Lawes in the new edition of his Poems, printed under his own direction, in 1673. Nor has our author only complimented Lawes's excellences in music; for in “Comus," having said that Thyrsis, with his " soft pipe,” and “smooth-dittied song," could " still the roaring winds and hush the waving woods, he adds, v. 88, “nor of less faith : " and he joins his worth with his skill, Son. xiii. v. 5.-Topn.
e April 1638. Milton had communicated to Sir Henry his design of seeing foreign countries, and had sent him his “Mask.” He set out on his travels soon after the receipt of this letter. See the account of his life.-Topp.
f Mr. H. Mr. Warton, in his first edition of “ Comus," says, that Mr. IL WAS "perhaps Milton's friend, Samuel Hartlib, whom I have seen mentioned in some of the pamphlets of this period, as well acquainted with Sir Henry Wootton:" but this is omitted in the second editina Mr. Warton perhaps doubted his conjecture of the person. I venture to state, from a copy of the "Reliquiæ Wottonianæ" in my possession, in which a few notes are written, (probably soun after the publication of the book, 3rd edit. in 1672,) that the person intended was the sever memorable" John Hales. This information will be supported by the reader's recollecting vir Henry's intimacy with Mr. Hales: of whom Sir Henry says, in one of his letters, that be gases his learned friend the title of bibliotheca ambulans, "the walking library." See “Reliq. Wutia.“ 3rd edit. p 475.-Todd.
8 The tragical part. Sir Henry, now provost of Eton college, was himself a writer of English odes, and with some degree of elegance: he had also written a tragedy, while a young student at Queen's-college, Oxford, called “ Tancredo," acted by his fellow-students. See his Life, by Walton, p. 11. He was certainly a polite scholar, but on the whole a mixed and desultóry character: he was now indulging his studious and philosophic propensities at leisurc. Milton, wb this letter was written, lived but a few miles from Eton.-T. WARTON.
b Ipsa mollities. Thus Fletcher's “ Faithful Shepherdess" is characterised by Cartwright, “ where softness reigns." Poeins, p. 209. ed. 1651, But Sir Henry's conceptions did not react to
onely owe you thanks for intimating unto me (how modestly soever) the true artificer. For the work itself I had viewed som good while before with singular delight, baving received it from our common friend Mr. R.i in the very close of the late R.'s poems, printed at Oxford, wherunto it is added (as I now suppose) that the accessory might help out the principal, according to the art of stationers, and to leave the reader con la bocca dolce.
Now, sir, concerning your travels, wherin I may chalenge a little more priviledge of discours with you ; I suppose you will not blanch Paris in your way; therefore I have been bold to trouble you with a few lines to Mr. M. B.', whom you shall easily find attending the young Lord S.", as his governour ; and you may surely receive from him good directions for the shaping of your farther journey into Italy, where he did reside by my choice som time for the king, after mine own recess from Venice.
I should think that your best line would be thorow the whole length of France to Marseilles, and thence by sea to Genoa, whence the passage into Tuscany is as diurnal as a Gravesend barge: I hasten, as you do, to Florence, or Sienna, the rather to tell you a short story from the interest you have given me in your safety.
At Siena I was tabled in the house of one Alberto Scipioni, an old Roman courtier in dangerous times, having bin steward to the Duca di Pagliano, who with all his family were strangled, save
this onely man that escaped by foresight of the tempest : with him I had often much chat of those affairs ; into which he took pleasure to look back from his native harbour ; and at my departure toward Rome (which had been the centre of his experience) I had wonn confidence enough to loeg his advice, how I might carry myself securely there, without offence of others, or of mine own conscience. Signor Arrigo mio, sayes he, i pensieri stretti, et il riso sciolto, will go safely over the whole world ; of which Delphian oracle (for so I have found it) your judgement doth need no commentary ; and therefore, sir, I will commit you with it to the best of all securities, Gods dear love, remaining Your Friend as much at command as any of longer date,
HENRY WOOTTON m.
POSTSCRIPT. SIR,—I have expressly sent this my foot-boy to prevent your departure without som acknowledgement from me of the receipt of your obliging Letter, having my self through som busines, I know not how, neglected the ordinary conveyance. In any part where I shall understand you fixed, I shall be glad, and diligent, to entertain you with home novelties; even for some fomentation of our friendship, too soon interrupted in the cradle the higher poetry of Comus:" he was rather struck with the pastoral mellifluence of its lyric measures, which he styles “a certain Dorique delicacy in the songs and odes,” than with its graver and niore majestic tones, with the solemnity and variety of its peculiar vein of original invention. This drama was not to be generally characterised by its songs and odes: nor do I know that softness and sweetness, although they want neither, are particularly characteristical of those passages, which are most commonly rough with strong and crowded images, and rich in personification. However, the song to Echo, and the initial strains of Comus's invitation, are much in the style which Wootton describes.-T. WARTON. * Mr. R. I believe “Mr. R.” to be John Rouse, Bodley's librarian.
« The late R." is unqnestionably Thomas Randolph, the poet.-T. WARTON.
Mr. M. B. Mr. Michael Branthwaite, as I suppose; of whom Sir Henry thus speaks in one of his letters, “ Reliq. Wotton." 3rd edit. p. 546.- Mr. Michael Branthwaite, heretofore his majestie's agent in Venice, a gentleman of approved confidence and sincerity.-TODD.
* Lord 8. The son of Lord Viscount Scudamore, then the English ambassador at Paris, by whose notice Milton was honoured, and by whom he was introduced to Grotius, then residing at Paris also, as the minister of Sweden.-TODD.
Signor, &c. Sir Henry seems to have been very fond of recommending this advice to bis friends, who were about to travel. See “Reliq. Wotton." 3rd edit. p. 356, where he relates to another correspondent his intimacy with Scipioni, and his maxim, “ Gli pensieri stretti, et il viso sciolto: that is, as I use to translate it, . Your thoughts close, and your countenance loose.' that moral antidote which I imparted to Mr. B. and his fellow-travellers, having a particular interest in their well-doingy." Milton, however, neglecting to observe the maxim, incurred great danger, by disputing against the superstition of the church of Rome within the verge of the Vatican -TODD.
in Milton mentions this letter of Sir Henry Wootton for its elegance, in his “Defensio secunda popull Anglicani."-T. WARTON. 1 In the cradle. He should have said in its cradle." See the beginning of the letter.-T.Warton.