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This notice of the character of Prince Henry was first printed by Birch in his edition of Bacon's works, 1763, from a manuscript in the Harleian Collection (1893, fo. 75.); the only copy I have met with. It is written in a hand of the time; I think in that of one of Bacon's own people. At any rate there can be no doubt as to the authorship: it bears all the marks of Bacon's style; of which it is one of the best specimens. Birch conjectured that it was intended to be sent to De Thou for use in his history, as the memorial of Elizabeth had been. This is very probable. But I am not aware that anything is known about it, beyond what it carries on its face. Neither does it seem to require any explanation or illustration; unless it be worth while to say that the rumour mentioned in the last sentence the rumour that Prince Henry died by poison — was revived during the trial of the murderers of Sir Thomas Overbury, and obtained for a while an importance which it did not deserve, from some dark words prematurely dropped by Sir Edward Coke. It seems that Franklin, the apothecary who was concerned in in the poisoning of Overbury, finding himself condemned to death, began to talk of certain dreadful disclosures which he could make if he liked; how more were to be poisoned than were yet known; how the Earl and Countess of Somerset had the most aspiring minds that ever were heard of; how the Earl never loved the Prince nor the Lady Elizabeth; how strange it was that the King kept an outlandish physician about his person and the person of the Prince deceased; “thereon ” he said “ lieth a long tale; ” how he knew things he was ashamed to speak of; and lastly (to come to the point) how“ he could make one discovery that should deserve his life:” with other things of the same kind -- devices of a condemned man to put VOL. VI.
off the day of his hanging. On the strength of these hints, and (strange to say) before he had made further inquiry, Coke gave out a mysterious intimation in open court of iniquities not yet brought to light, “which he knew of;" and even added a direct allusion to the death of the Prince, as a mystery concerning which “he knew somewhat.” Hearing such things from the oracle on the Bench, the people naturally looked for the revelation of some new horror; and when nothing came, they as naturally supposed that it had been for some mysterious reason hushed up, and so betook themselves to strange conjectures, which begot a brood of strange rumours. But I believe the whole truth is that when Franklin's disclosures came to be investigated, it was found (as might have been expected) that there was nothing in them. Several examinations may be seen in the State Paper Office, taken down in Coke's own hand, evidently suggested by the information of Franklin, and aiming to elicit evidence in corroboration of it; but they come to nothing whatever, beyond a few vague rumours and old wives' stories. These papers sufficiently explain the only thing connected with Prince Henry's death which ever required explanation, namely what it was that Coke “ knew” about it. What he said was quite enough to account for all the rest.
HENRICUM PRINCIPEM WALLIÆ
ELOGIUM FRANCISCI BACONI.'
Henricus primogenitus regis magnæ Britanniæ, princeps Walliæ, antea spe beatus, nunc memoria felix, diem suum obiit 6. Nov. anno 1612. Is magno totius regni luctu et desiderio extinctus est, utpote adolescens, qui animos hominum nec offendisset nec satiasset. Excitaverat autem propter bonam indolem multiplices apud plurimos omnium ordinum spes, nec ob brevitatem vitae frustraverat. Illud inprimis accessit, quod in causa religionis firmus vulgo habebatur; prudentioribus quoque hoc animo penitus insederat, adversus insidias conjurationum (cui malo ætas nostra vix remedium repperit) patri eum instar præsidii et scuti fuisse; adeo ut et religionis et regis apud populum amor in eum redundaret, et in æstimationem jacturæ merito annumeraretur.
Erat corpore validus et erectus, staturâ mediocri, decora membrorum compage, incessu regio, facie oblongâ et in maciem inclinante, habitu plenior, vultu composito, oculorum motu magis sedato quam forti. Inerant quoque et in fronte severitatis signa, et in ore nonnihil fastus. Sed tamen si quis ultra exteriora illa penetraverat, et eum obsequio debito et sermone tempestivo deliniverat, utebatur eo benigno et facili, ut alius longe videretur colloquio quam aspectu; talisque prorsus erat qui faman sui facile excitaret moribus dissimilem. Laudis et gloriæ fuit proculdubio appetens, et ad omnem speciem boni et auram decoris commovebatur; quod adolescenti pro virtutibus est. Nam et arma ei in honore erant ac viri militares; quin et
IN HENRICUM PRINCIPEM WALLIÆ ELOGIUM.
ipse quiddam bellicum spirabat; et magnificentiæ operum (licet pecuniæ alioquin satis parcus) deditus erat; amator insuper antiquitatis et artium; literis quoque plus honoris attribuit quam temporis. In moribus ejus nihil laudandum magis fuit, quam quod in omni genere officiorum probe institutus videbatur et congruus. Filius regi patri mire obsequens, etiam reginam multo cultu demerebat, erga fratrem indulgens ; sororem vero unice amabat, quam etiam ore (quantum potuit virilis forma ad eximiam virginalem pulchritudinem collata) referebat. Etiam magistri et educatores pueritiæ ejus (quod raro fieri solet) magna in gratia apud euin manserant; sermonel vero obsequii idem exactor et memor; denique in quotidiano vitæ genere, et assignatione horarum ad singula vitæ munia, magis quam pro ætate constans atque ordinatus. Affectus ei inerant non nimium vehementes, et potius æquales quam magni. Etenim de rebus amatoriis mirum in illa ætate silentium, ut prorsus lubricum illud adolescentiæ suæ tempus in tanta fortuna et valetudine satis prospera absque aliquâ insigni notâ amorum transigeret. Nemo reperiebatur in aulâ ejus apud eum præpotens, aut in animo ejus validus ; quin et studia ipsa quibus capiebatur maxime, potius tempora patiebantur quam excessus, et magis repetita erant per vices, quam quod extaret aliquod unum quod reliqua superaret et compesceret; sive ea moderatio fuit, sive in natura non admodum præcoci, sed lente? maturesente, non cernebantur adhuc quæ prævalitura erant. Ingenio certe pollebat, eratque et curiosus satis et capax ; sed sermone tardior et tanquam impeditus ; et tamen si quis diligenter observaverat ea quæ ab eo proferebantur, sive quæstionis vim obtinebant sive sententiæ, ad rem omnino erant, et captum non vulgarem arguebant; ut in illa loquendi tarditate et raritate, judicium ejus magis suspensum videretur et anxium, quam infirmum aut hebes. Interim audiendi miris modis patiens, etiam in negotiis quæ in longitudinem porrigebantur, idque cum attentione et sine tædio; ut raro animo peregrinaretur, aut fessa mente aliud ageret, sed ad ea quæ dicebantur aut agebantur animum adverteret atque applicaret; quod magnam ei (si vita suppetiisset) prudentiam spondebat. Certe in illius principis natura plurima erant obscura, neque judicio cujuspiam patefacienda, sed tempore, quod ei præreptum est; attamen
sermonem in MS.
2 lentó in MS.
quæ apparebant optima erant, quod famæ satis est. Mortuus est ætatis anno decimo nono, ex febre contumaci, quæ ubique a magnis et (insulanis) fere insolitis siccitatibus ac fervoribus orta, per æstatem populariter grassabatur, sed raro funere; dein sub autumnum erat facta lethalior. Addidit famia, atrocior (ut ille ait) erga dominantium exitus, suspicionem veneni. Sed cum nulla ejus rei extarent indicia, præsertim in ventriculo, quod præcipue a veneno pati solet, is sermo cito evanuit.