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Next day (being St. John Port Lat. one of their Foundation-days as they call it, as well as
just now of happy departure. This therefore that follows, you may depend upon as certain, for indeed I cannot affirm any thing of myself, who did but set out from home the morning next to that fatal night. He was in company with Sir Newton that night till about 8 o'clock, and then retired, telling him he had business at home (which was to prepare himself for the blessed Sacrament next morning, this being Ascension-eve). Accordingly having examined himself (as was found by a paper of his own writing) and prayed for devotion in celebrating those mysteries (as may be seen by the books that were found open on his desk), it pleased Almighty God then and there to take him to himself, and that he should die such a death, as he had (I doubt not) often desired, in that prayer of Dr. Whichcot, which I wrote for him into his Nelson ; when he was neither unprepared, nor his accounts unready; when he was in a perfect renunciation of the guise of this mad and sinful world, and not being tormented by a lingering sickness; for in all probability he was taken away in an instant, having not made the least noise, not even so much as to be heard by his good neighbour Mr. Roper. The time he died, happy for him, unhappy for all that knew him, is supposed to be about 9 or 10 o'clock on Wednesday night. His body was interred in the chancel of Allhallows church on Friday night, and his funeral very decently performed the Sunday night following. There was within the College-walls a very great attendance of Fellows and Scholars, yea, and Fellow-commoners too (who are generally negligent at these times), but a much greater multitude expected the bier at the gates; for, having the week before performed public exercise in the schools with great applause, his death was more universally taken notice of, and sadly lamented too, as may be seen by the ingenious elegies which people so freely made on this occasion; some of which, I hope, will ere long be sent you. The Master, when I was with him yesterday to write my Rediit, told me, he hoped I should continue in health, though he could not but own the great loss befallen both myself and the College; so, enquiring after your health, dismissed me. After which I went to Mr. Baker, who desired me to give his service to you, and tell you that he joined in bewailing the loss of such an ornament to the College; whither (though I was in the town on Friday in the afternoon) I came not before Saturday, but no nearer the chamber than Mr. Roper's door, and cannot find in my heart to go any higher. I have, indeed, no relish for the College, and should not abide it, were it not for some good friends, whom I am very much obliged to. But after six weeks I shall have kept my term; and then I hope to see you again, and take a little school-burthen off from you; which, I am sure, must lie heavy, when such a sad addition comes to it; and whatever alterations I find in myself, I am pretty sure they
Holy Thursday) his death was not so soon discovered as otherwise it might have been. He was then alone, his brother and his other chamber-fellow being in the country; and though he was asked after by several, because missed at the public communion that day, where all were obliged to be present; yet it passed off without farther enquiry till after evening prayer, when his dear friend (with whom he had last conversed, and very cheerfully, as he said, though he complained his head was out of order) asked the bed-maker whether he lay at home that night; and she answering no, he, knowing his constant regularity in that and all other particulars, bid her go and tell Mr. Roper, whose mind immediately misgave him; and going up and forcing open the study-door, he found him sitting in his chair, cold and stiff, and so leaning back that the chair lay against the door, his candle by him unlighted (as was supposed) that he might be the more retired and undisturbed; his officium Eucharisticum open before him, with a paper in it, containing the abstract of that week, from Sunday-morning to the end of that day, Wednesday; his Nelson, Common Prayer-book, and others lying by it.
He had left papers in three several places of his Nelson, which shewed what parts he had last made use of; the first was at the prayers for Trinity Sunday, the second in the preparation for death on Easter-eve, and the third in the examination of
are in no less degree at home on such an occasion. Pray, Sir, give my duty to my mother. * Your obedient son,
Philir BONWICKE. “P.S. Mr. Roper desired me to give his service to you, and beg your pardon for not writing according to promise, for he is in no condition to do it. On Wednesday night he received an account of the death of Dr. Turner, president of Corpus Christi, Oxon. his best friend in the world; and on Thursday had the shock of finding my dear brother's dead body in his study. He desired me also to tell you, that he thinks his death proceeded from an extravasation of blood upon his lungs, occasioned from winding up the clock that day, which he had not done for a week before."
himself on all Fridays in the year. That he had finished his sacramental preparation according to the method of the Officium Eucharisticum, may be gathered from his having consecrated (as it appeared he had) and set apart what he designed for the Offertory the next day; which is one of the last things to be done according to that book, that charity may crown the devotions of the day. And in such charities, out of his little stock, he had expended in three years and about eight months, the whole time from his admission at St. John's to his death, about 41. Nor did his charity exert itself only in alms-giving, but in all the other branches of it, particularly in that of hoping the best, and judging the best of others. Of which, among other instances that might be given, take this of July 7, 1713; which being a State Holy-day, he absented himself from the public prayers; but his brother was present at them. However, for this he condemned him not, but thus charitably expressed himself in a letter to his father that day: “ I dare say my brother would not have gone, had he thought he could not lawfully."
He shewed his great charity for souls, in the care he took to instruct some of the meanest Collegeservants in the principles of religion and piety, and helping them to good books for that purpose; a charity which exceeds all corporal ones, as much as the soul is superior to the body *.
* He continued the same early riser, that he had been all along, to the last day of his life; and the Sunday before his death, when he was obliged to keep in on account of his illness, and having been let blood the day before, he was found rising at half an hour after 6, though sick at that very time, and immediately betaking himself to his prayers. And indeed it is wonderful to consider, that he who had such an infirm body, so often ailing, would not indulge in that ease, which any one but himself would have judged necessary. He went on in this time in reading “Echard's Roman History;" “ Dr. Hammond on the New Testainent,” whom by this time he had gone almost quite, through; Terence, Tully, and Hebrew psalms. He read also " Fontenelle's Plurality of Worlds," "Appian's Roman History" in Greek, “ Hooker's Ecclesiastical Polity,” (as appears by the abstract he made out of each) and Whiston's Astronomy. He
The Cambridge Muses were not wanting in their condolence on this promising young man's death. Several copies of verses were transmitted to his father. Of the two which are here selected, the first was printed, in the former edition of this Work, from the original MS. preserved by Mr. Bowyer.
Ode on the Death of AMBROSE BONWICKE.
But, through the tumult of my breast
With too officious love opprest,
It will sufhce
Shall I complain
Alas! what have I said ?
And blessed are the dead :
I'm the unhappy, who remain
In darkness and obscurity :
Whilst thou, let loose, dost roam the realms above, And view'st in brightest day the wondrous works of Jove.
Those things from thee no longer hidden are,
made one Greek theme, one copy of Latin verses, two theses, one Latin, and one Greek declamation, besides the public exercises at the school, which his brother in his letter took notice of.
Oh! Oh! what discoveries
Make thy enlighten'd eyes!
Thou pity'st, when I try
Alas! too deep the pit,
Of trouble and of woe,
Common to all below :
Thou with a pitying eye
Thus a happy mariner
(The Gods have seal'd for good) Brought safe to shore by some propitious star, Beholds his comrades sinking in the flood.
Will neither prayers nor tears atone
For thy return?
And must thy head,
No distinction have,
But moulder in the grave,
Shall we no more dispute ?