Born: King Louis IX of France, 1215; Julius Cæsar Scaliger, eminent scholar, 1484; George, Lord Anson, navigator, 1697, Shuckborough; Sir Gilbert Elliot, first Earl of Minto, statesman, 1751.
Died: Pierre Danes, eminent French scholar, 1577; William Shakspeare, 1616, Stratford-on-Avon; Maurice de Nassau, Prince of Orange, 1625; Jean Barbeyrac, eminent jurist, 1744; Andrew Baxter, philosophical writer, 1750; Joseph Nollekins, sculptor, 1823, London; Aaron Arrowsmith, geographer, 1823, London; William Wordsworth, poet, 1850; Count de Volney, French philosophical writer, 1820.
Feast Day: St. George, martyr, about 303. St. Ibar, or Ivor, Bishop in Ireland, about 500. St. Gerard, Bishop of Toul, confessor, 994. St. Adalbert, Bishop of Prague, martyr, 997.
If Gibbon's sketch of St. George's career be correct, that martial hero owes his position in the Christian calendar to no merit of his own. Born in a fuller's shop in Epiphania, Cilicia, he contrived to ingratiate himself with those above him by servilely flattering them, and so gradually rose from his original obscurity. A lucrative contract for supplying the army with bacon, proved, under his unscrupulous management, a mine of wealth; but as soon as he had made his fortune, he was compelled to fly the country, to escape the consequences of the discovery of his dishonest practices. He afterwards became a zealous convert to Arianism, and made himself so conspicuous in his new vocation, that he was sent by Constantius to supersede Athanasius in the archbishopric of Alexandria. To satisfy his avarice, the pagan temples were plundered, and the pagan and Christian inhabitants taxed, till the oppression became unendurable. The people rose and expelled the ex-contractor, but he was quickly reinstated by the army of Constantius. The accession of Julian was the signal for retribution.
George and two of his most obnoxious adherents were dragged to prison by the exultant Alexandrians, where they lay for twenty-four days, when the impatience of the people refused to wait longer for revenge. The prison doors were broken open, the archbishop and his friends murdered, and their bodies, after being carried through the city in triumph, thrown into the sea. This death at the hands of the pagans made the tyrant a martyr in the eyes of the Arians, and canonization followed as a matter of course. When the Arians re-entered the church, they brought back their saint with them; and although he was at first received with distrust, the sixth century saw him firmly established as one of the first order. The Crusades added to his renown. He was said to have fought for Godfrey of Bouillon at the battle of Antioch, and appeared to Coeur-de-Lion before Acre as the precursor of victory, and from that time the Cappadocian adventurer became the chosen patron of arms and chivalry. Romance cast its halo around him, transforming the symbolical dragon into a real monster slain in Lybia to save a beautiful maiden from a dreadful death.
Butler, the historian of the Romish calendar, repudiates George of Cappadocia, and will have it that the famous saint was born of noble Christian parents, that he entered the army, and rose to a high grade in its ranks, until the persecution of his co-religionists by Diocletian compelled him to throw up his commission, and upbraid the emperor for his cruelty, by which bold conduct he lost his head and won his saintship. Whatever the real character of St. George might have been, he was held in great honour in England from a very early period. While in the calendars of the Greek and Latin churches he shared the twenty-third of April with other saints, a Saxon Martyrology declares the day dedicated to him alone; and after the Conquest his festival was celebrated after the approved fashion of Englishmen.
In 1344, this feast was made memorable by the creation of the noble Order of St. George, or the Blue Garter, the institution being inaugurated by a grand joust, in which forty of England's best and bravest knights held the lists against the foreign chivalry attracted by the proclamation of the challenge through France, Burgundy, Hainault, Brabant, Flanders, and Germany. In the first year of the reign of Henry V, a council held at London decreed, at the instance of the king himself, that henceforth the feast of St. George should be observed by a double service; and for many years the festival was kept with great splendour at Windsor and other towns. Shakspeare, in Henry VI, makes the Regent Bedford say, on receiving the news of disasters in France:
Bonfires in France I am forthwith to make
To keep our great St. George's feast withal!
Edward VI promulgated certain statutes severing the connection between the 'noble order' and the saint; but on his death, Mary at once abrogated them as 'impertinent, and tending to novelty.' The festival continued to be observed until 1567, when, the ceremonies being thought incompatible with the reformed religion, Elizabeth ordered its discontinuance. James I, however, kept the 23rd of April to some extent, and the revival of the feast in all its glories was only prevented by the Civil War. So late as 1614, it was the custom for fashionable gentlemen to wear blue coats on St. George's day, probably in imitation of the blue mantle worn by the Knights of the Garter.
In olden times, the standard of St. George was borne before our English kings in battle, and his name was the rallying cry of English warriors. According to Shakspeare, Henry V led the attack on Harfleur to the battle-cry of 'God for Harry! England! and St. George!' and 'God and St. George' was Talbot's slogan on the fatal field of Patay. Edward of Wales exhorts his peace-loving parents to
Cheer these noble lords,
And hearten those that fight in your defence;
Unsheath your sword, good father, cry St. George!
The fiery Richard invokes the same saint, and his rival can think of no better name to excite the ardour of his adherents:
Advance our standards, set upon our foes,
Our ancient word of courage, fair St. George,
Inspire us with the spleen of fiery dragons.
England was not the only nation that fought under the banner of St. George, nor was the Order of the Garter the only chivalric institution in his honour. Sicily, Arragon, Valencia, Genoa, Malta, Barcelona, looked up to him as their guardian saint; and as to knightly orders bearing his name, a Venetian Order of St. George was created in 1200, a Spanish in 1317, an Austrian in 1470, a Genoese in 1472, and a Roman in 1492, to say nothing of the more modern ones of Bavaria (1729), Russia (1767), and Hanover (1839).
In all the wide domain of the mythical and marvellous, no legends occur so frequently, or in so many various forms, as those which describe a monstrous winged serpent, or dragon, devouring men, women, and children, till arrested by the miraculous valour or saintly piety of some hero. In nearly all of these legends, a maiden, as the special victim of the monster, and a well, cave, or river, as its dwelling-place, are mixed up with the accessory objects of the main story. The Grecian mythology abounds with such narrations, apparently emblematical of the victory gained by spring over winter, of light over darkness, of good over evil. Nor was this pagan myth antagonistic to the language or spirit of Christianity. Consequently we find a dragon-as the emblem of sin in general, and paganism in particular-vanquished by a saint, a perpetually recurring myth running through all the ancient Christian legends. At first the monster was used in its figurative sense alone; but in the darker ages, the idea being understood literally, the symbol was translated into an acknowledged fact.
In many instances the ravages caused by inundations have been emblematized as the malevolent deeds of dragons. In the seventh century, St. Romanus is said to have delivered the city of Rouen from one of those monsters. The feat was accomplished in this very simple manner. On Ascension day, Romanus, taking a condemned criminal out of prison, ordered him to go and fetch the dragon. The criminal obeyed, and the dragon following him into the city, walked into a blazing fire that had previously been prepared, and was burned to death. To commemorate the event, King Dagobert gave the clergy of Rouen the annual privilege of pardoning a condemned criminal on Ascension day; a right exercised with many ceremonies, till the period of the first Revolution. This dragon, named Gargouille (a water-spout), lived in the river Seine; and as Romanus is said to have constructed embankments to defend Rouen from the overflowing of that river, the story seems to explain itself.
The legends of Tarasque, the dragon of the Rhone, destroyed by St. Martha, and the dragon of the Garonne, killed by St. Martial at Bordeaux, admit of a similar explanation. The winding rivers resembling the convolutions of a serpent, are frequently found to take the name of that animal in common language, as well as in poetical metaphor. The river Draco, in Bithynia, is so called from its numerous windings, and in Italy and Germany there are rivers deriving their names from the same cause. In Switzerland the word drach has been frequently given to impetuous mountain torrents, which, suddenly breaking out, descend like avalanches on the lower country. Thus we can easily account for such local names as Drachenlok, the dragon's hole; Drackenreid, the dragon's march; and the legends of Struth, of Winkelreid, and other Swiss dragon-slayers.
But the inundation theory will not explain all dragon legends. Indeed, it would be as easy for a supernaturally endowed power to arrest the overflowing of a river as to destroy a dragon, admitting there were animals of that description. But such a comparison cannot be applied to the limited power of an ordinary man, and we find not only saints, but sinners of all kinds, knights, convicts, deserters, and outlaws, figuring as dragon-killers. And this may readily be accounted for. In almost every strange object the ignorant man fancies he discovers corroboration of the myths learned in his childhood; and, as different periods and places exhibit different phenomena, legends in course of time are varied by being mixed up with other myths and facts originally unconnected with them. The mediaeval naturalists, too, by recognizing the dragon as a genuine existing animal known to science and travellers, laid a foundation for innumerable varieties of the legend. Thus, at Aix, the fossilized head of an extinct Saurian reptile is shewn as the veritable head of the dragon slain by St. Martha.
In churches at Marseilles, Lyons, Ragusa, and Cimiers, skins of stuffed alligators are exhibited as the remains of dragons. The best authenticated of all the dragon stories is that of the one said to have been killed by Dieudonne, of Gozo, a knight of Rhodes, and afterwards Grand Master of the Order, in the fourteenth century. The head of this dragon was carefully preserved as a trophy at Rhodes, till the knights were driven out of the island. The Turks, respecting bravery even in a Christian enemy, preserved the head with equal care, so that it was seen by Thevenot as late as the middle of the seventeenth century; and from his account it appears to have been no other than the head of a hippopotamus.
Real persons have, in some instances, been made the heroes of legends as wild as that of Perseus. The ignorant, unable to appreciate or even to comprehend the mere idea of literary fame, have ever given a mythical reputation to men of letters. In Italy, Virgil is still spoken of as a potent necromancer; and a sculptured representation of St. George and the dragon on the portal of a church at Avignon has conferred on Petrarch the renown of a dragon-killer. According to the tale, as Petrarch and Laura were one day hunting, they chanced to pass the den of a dragon. The hideous monster, less ravenous than amorous, attacked Laura; but the poet rushing to her assistance, killed the beast with his dagger. If the story be doubted, the narrator triumphantly points to the sculpture as a proof of its correctness; just as the painted representation of a dragon, on the wall of Mordiford church, in Herefordshire, has been innumerable times pointed out as the exact resemblance and memorial of a reptile killed by a condemned criminal in the neighbouring river Lug. To vulgar minds such evidence appears incontrovertible. As a local poet sings
Who has not heard, of Herefordian birth,
Who has not heard, as winter evenings lag on,
That tale of awe to some-to some of mirth
Of Mordiford's most famous huge green dragon?
Who has not seen the figure on its church,
At western end outspread to all beholders,
Where leaned the beggar pilgrim on his crutch
And asked its meaning-body, head, and shoulders?
There still we see the place, and hear the tale,
Where man and monster fought for life and glory;
No one can righteously the facts assail,
For even the church itself puts it before ye.
A fertile source of mythical narrations is found in the ancient names of places; legends being invented to account for the names, and then we are gravely informed that the names were derived from the alleged facts of the legends. Near Dundee, in Forfarshire, there is a well called The Nine Maidens' Well, and adjoining are places named respectively Pittempton, Baldragon, Strathmartin, and Martinstane. From these simple circumstances we have a dragon story, which may be thus abridged. A dragon devoured nine maidens at the well near Pittempton. Martin, the lover of one of the maidens, finding life a burden, determined to kill the reptile, or perish in the attempt. Accordingly, he attacked it with a club, striking the first blow at Strath-pronounced by the country people Strike - martin. The venomous beast was scotched, not killed, by this blow; but as it dragged - Scottice, draiglet - 'its slow length along 'through a morass, the hero of the adventure followed up the attack, and finally killed the monster at Martinstane. The dragon, like other great criminals of the olden time, made a 'last speech, confession, and dying declaration,' in the following words:
I was tempit (tempted) at Pittempton,
Draiglit (draggled) at Baldragon,
Stricken at Strikemartin,
And killed at Martinstane.
The festival of the Rogations, anciently held on the three days preceding Ascension Day, were the prime source of dragon legends. During these days the clergy, accompanied by the church officers and people, walked round the boundaries of their respective parishes; and at certain pre-scribed spots offered up prayers, beseeching blessings on the fruits of the earth, and protection from the malevolent spirit of all evil. To a certain extent, the custom is still observed in many English parishes. In the ancient processions, there was always carried the image of a dragon, the emblem of the infernal spirit, whose overthrow was solicited from heaven, and whose final defeat was attributed to the saint more particularly revered by the people of the diocese or parish. On the third day of the processions, the dragon was stoned, kicked, buffeted, and treated in a very ignominious, if not indecent manner. Thus every parish had its dragon as well as its saint, with a number of dragon localities-the dragon's rock, the dragon's well, &c., so named from being the spots where the dragon was deposited, when the processions stopped for refreshment or prayer.
The processional dragon has descended down even to our own day. Previous to the Municipal Corporations Act of 1835, Snap, the famous Norwich dragon, annually went in procession with the mayor and corporation on the Tuesday preceding the eve of St. John the Baptist. Snap was a magnificent reptile, all glittering in green and gold. He was witty, too, bandying jokes on men and things in general, with his admiring friends in the crowd. Guarded by four whifflers, armed with drawn swords, Snap seemed to be quite at home among the bands and banners of the procession. But, true to his ancient traditionary instincts, though on that important anniversary the cathedral was strewn with rushes to receive the civic dignitaries in the olden manner, Snap never presumed to enter the sacred edifice, but sat upon a stone-the dragon's stone-till the service was concluded, and the procession resumed its onward march. But the act previously referred to has ruthlessly swept away Snap, with all the grand corporate doings and feastings for which the East Anglian city was once so famous. Yet the rabble, affectionately clinging to their time-honored friend the dragon, have more than once attempted to get up a mock Snap, to be speedily put to flight by the 'Move on there!' of a blue-coated policeman. Such are the inevitable changes of time.
He was a man of universal genius, and from a period soon after his own era he has been universally idolized. It is difficult to compare him to any other individual. The only one to whom I can at all compare him is the wonderful Arabian dervise who dived into the body of each [person], and in that way became familiar with the thoughts and secrets of their hearts. He was a man of obscure origin, and, as a player, limited in his acquirements; but he was born evidently with a universal genius. His eye glanced at the various aspects of life, and his fancy portrayed with equal felicity the king on the throne and the clown who cracked his chestnuts at a Christmas fire. Whatever note he took, he struck it just and true, and awakened a corresponding chord in our bosoms.
As is well known, a house in Henley Street, Stratford, is traditionally famous as that in which Shakspeare was born, though the fact has been the subject of considerable doubt. It is but the beginning of the obscurities which rest on the biography of the Bard of Avon. The facts established regarding him by documentary evidence form but a handful: that he was baptized on the 26th of April 1564; that his father was a man of substance, at one time high bailiff' of the burgh, but subsequently fell into difficulties; that he himself, at eighteen, married Anne Hathaway, who was twenty-seven, and who brought him a daughter six months after, and subsequently a daughter and a son together; that, in 1589, he is found as a shareholder in the Blackfriars Theatre in London, afterwards a shareholder in that called the Globe; that, as a writer of plays for these houses, he realized large gains, and in 1597 began to buy houses and land at his native town, to which he latterly retired to spend the evening of his days in comfort and dignity; and that, on the 23rd of April 1616, he died at Stratford, and was buried in the chancel of the parish church, where there is a monument, presenting a portrait bust to his memory.
Such is nearly all we know for certain; it is from the uncertain voice of tradition alone that we hear of his having been apprenticed to a butcher, of his having got into trouble by a deer-stealing adventure, and of his first occupation in London having been that of holding gentlemen's horses at the theatre door. One or two faint allusions to his writings in those of his contemporaries complete the effective materials of what may be by courtesy called the Life of Shakspeare. Let us not forget, however, one other particular to which we should cling with great and affectionate interest, that he was characterised by these con-temporaries as the Gentle Shakspeare. It conveys the idea of a union of amiability and modest dignity, especially pleasing.
Driven to deductions and surmises regarding Shakspeare, we hope that the following remarks may appear allowable. First, we would say that the shade of family misfortune and difficulty which fell upon him in early manhood is sufficient to account for his leaving his native borough. We conceive that, his father being impoverished, and himself feeling anxious for the future of his own little family, he bethought him, as so many young men in similar circumstances still do, of attempting to advance his fortunes in London. An acquaintance with the London players, who we know occasionally visited Stratford, and the impulse of his own genius, probably determined him to the stage. There, in adapting plays which had been written by other persons, he fully discovered his wonderful powers, and was gradually drawn on to write original plays, deriving his subjects from history and from collections of prose tales.
Fortune following on these exertions, his mind took only the firmer hold of Stratford and his loved relatives there. It became the dream of his life to restore his family to the comfort and respectability from which they had fallen-to become, if possible, a man of some consequence there. In this he might be said to resemble Scott, who, comparatively indifferent to literary eclat, concentrated his highest aspirations on founding a laird's family in the county of his race-Roxburghshire. As in Scott's case there was a basis for the idea in the gentle blood of which he was descended, so was there in Shakspeare's. Through at least the mother, Mary Arden, of Wilmcote, if not also through the father, there was a trace of connection with land and birth. It is a highly significant circumstance that, in 1596, when Shakspeare was getting his head above water in London, his father is found applying to the Heralds' College for a coat-of-arms, on the basis of family service to King Henry VII, of official dignity, of the possession of property, and the fact of having married a daughter of Arden of Wilmcote; an application which was extended three years later, to one for the privilege of impaling the Shakspeare arms with those of Arden.
There can of course be no doubt that William the poet prompted these ambitious applications, and designed them for the benefit of himself and his descendants. They take their place with the investments at Stratford as part of the ultimate plan of life which the great poet had in view. Let it be observed that with this conception of his idea of life all the other known and even the negative circumstances are in conformity. He thought not of taking a high place in London-he rather kept retired, and saved money. To this voluntary obscurity it may be attributed that he has passed so notelessly amongst his fellows in the metropolis, and been left so wholly without a biography amongst them. In about ten years from his coming to London-namely in 1597-he was beginning to make his purchases of property in Stratford, and in a few years more he had wholly withdrawn to live like a private gentleman in the handsome house of the New Place-probably the best house in the town-where he lived till the end of his days. Let it be observed - strange that it should not have been observed before!-that this whole course of procedure is peculiar,-stands quite singular among the literary, and still more the theatrical lives of that day, arguing a character in Shakspeare as original and self-dependent as his talents were exalted.
It seems to us to speak strongly for a just and rational view of the ends of life on his part; it shows him as a man whose original healthy tastes had never become spoilt by town life, as one who never allowed himself to be carried away by love of excitement and applause: the smoke of the stage lamps had never smirched him; the homage of the Pembrokes and the Northamptons had never misled him. He desired simply to be a gentleman, living on his own acres, procul a negotiis. It was an idea of life both modest and dignified. We hear not of his seeking any external honours beyond the coat-of-arms. We hear of no ovations at his retirement from the stage; most probably he was too proud a man to undergo a testimonial, even had such things been then fashionable. He had come to town for a purpose, and when that was accomplished, he quietly resumed the calm existence he loved by the banks of that beautiful river of his youth, ever pressing along its green and umbrageous meadows. Could anything be more worthy of 'a gentleman of Nature's making' or of a man of genius?
One of the few certainties about Shakspeare is the date of his baptism, for it is inserted in the baptismal register of his native town of Stratford in the following clear, though. ungrammatical fashion: '1564, April 26th, Gulielmus, filius Joanne s Shakspere.' We know, then, that he was baptized on the 26th of April 1564. When was he born? A fond prepossession in favour of St. George's day has led to an assumption that the 23rd of April might be his natal morn, thus allowing him to be three days old at the time of his baptism; and accordingly it has long been customary to hold festivals in his honour on that day.
The question that first arises here is, Did three days form a customary interval in that age between the birth and baptism of a child? We must answer that there are examples of its doing so. But there are also many instances of a longer interval. Milton, who was born in Shakspeare's lifetime, was baptized when eleven days old. In the case of the family of Thomas Godfrey, the eldest of whom was born in 1609, not one of the fifteen was christened in less than six days from birth, the entire series giving us the following intervals: 13, 6, 8, 15, 11, 12, 14, 21, 13, 10, 14, 10, 18, 15, and 11 days .
There is, however, something like positive, though hitherto almost unnoticed evidence, that the Bard of Avon sang his first song some time before the 23rd of April. It is to be found on his tomb-stone in the legend-' OBIIT ANO. DOI. 1616. AETATIS 53. DIE 23, AP.' As this was inscribed under the care of relatives and contemporaries, it could scarcely but be correct; and, if so, we must accept it as an intimation that, on the 23rd of April 1616, Shakspeare had passed the fifty-two years which would have been exactly his age if he had been born on the 23rd of April 1564, and gone some way into his fifty-third year. In other words, being in his fifty-third year on the 23rd of April 1616, he must have been born some time before the same day in 1564.
The date of the baptism, nevertheless, gives us tolerable assurance that the birthday was one very short while prior to the 23rd; and there is a likelihood that it was the 22nd. 'One only argument,' says Mr. de Quincey, 'has sometimes struck us, for supposing tat the 22nd might be the day, and not the 23rd; which is, that Shakspeare's sole grand-daughter, Lady Barnard, was married on the 22nd of April 1626, ten years exactly from the poet's death; and the reason for choosing this day might have had a reference to her illustrious grandfather's birthday, which, there is good reason for thinking, would be celebrated as a festival in the family for generations.'
The 23rd of April being usually given as the date of the death of Cervantes, a supposition has arisen, and become the subject of some rather puerile remark, that Shakspeare and the illustrious author of Don Quixote died on the same day. It has not heretofore been pointed out that, if Shakspeare died on the day reckoned the 23rd of April in England, and Cervantes on that reckoned the 23rd of April in Spain, these two great, and in some measure kindred geniuses, necessarily did not die on the same day. Spain had adopted the Gregorian calendar on its first promulgation in 1582, and consequently the 23rd day of April in Spain corresponded with the 13th in England; there being at that time ten days' difference between the new and old style. It is to be hoped, then, that we shall have no more carefully-laboured, semi-mystical disquisitions on the now [we believe for the first time] exploded fallacy of Shakspeare and Cervantes having died on the same day.
AN IDEA AND A RHYME
On the title-page of the first folio edition of Shakspeare's plays, there is an engraved portrait of the immortal bard, from the burin of Martin Droeshout, accompanied by some verses written by Ben Jonson, and commencing thus,
The figure that thou here see'st put,
It was for gentle Shakspeare cut;
Wherein the graver had a strife
With nature, to outdo the life.
When Betterton, the English Roscius, possessed the painting, now termed the Chandos portrait of Shakspeare, he allowed Dryden to have a copy taken from it by the pencil of Kneller. The poet paid the painter for his trouble, in flattery, a medium most convenient for Dryden, and, next to coin, the most acceptable to Kneller. In Dryden's poetic epistle to Kneller, on this occasion, we find the following lines:
Such are thy pieces, imitating life
So near, they almost conquer in the strife.
On the publication of the above, the coffee-house critics of the day, uproariously bellowing plagiarism, reviled Dryden for so servilely appropriating the idea and rhyme of Jonson, over-looking the actual fact that Jonson himself had appropriated both from Shakspeare's Venus and Adonis, where we may read:
Look, where a painter would surpass the life,
His art's with nature's workmanship at strife.
The rhyme thus repeated was not suffered to lie idle even, though the original idea was lost sight of. Thus, in an epilogue to the play of the Brothers, written by Cumberland, we find the following allusion to Reynolds's celebrated picture of Garrick, between Tragedy and Comedy-
Who but hath seen the celebrated strife,
Where Reynolds calls the canvas into life,
And 'twixt the tragic and the comic muse,
Courted of both, and dubious which to chose,
Th' immortal actor stands?
And in reference to the very same subject, we find in a Critical Epistle to Sir Joshua Reynolds
Your pencil summoned into life,
For Garrick's choice, the ardent strife.
Both the rhyme and the original idea might be hunted much further, and found in many unexpected places, were the result of sufficient interest to merit further attention here.
HENRY CLIFFORD 'THE SHEPHERD LORD'
The life of Henry Clifford, commonly called the Shepherd Lord, is a striking illustration of the casualties which attended the long and disastrous contest between the Houses of York and Lancaster. The De Cliffords were zealous and powerful adherents of the Lancastrian interest. In this cause Henry's grandfather had fallen at the battle of St. Alban's; and his father at the battle of Towton, that bloody engagement at which nearly 40,000 Englishmen perished by the hands of their fellow-countrymen. But scarcely had the Yorkists gained this victory, which placed their leader on the throne as Edward the Fourth, than search was made for the sons of the fallen Lord Clifford. These were two boys, of whom Henry, the eldest, was only seven years old. But the very name of Clifford was so hated and dreaded by the Yorkists, that Edward, though acknowledged king, could be satisfied with nothing less than the lives of these two boys. The young Cliffords were immediately searched for, but their mother's anxiety had been too prompt even for the eagerness of revenge; they could nowhere be found. Their mother was closely and peremptorily examined about them. She said, 'She had given direction to convey them beyond sea, to be bred up there; and that being thither sent, she was ignorant whether they were living or not.'
This was all that could be elicited from their cautious mother. Certain it is that Richard, her younger son, was taken to the Netherlands, where he shortly afterwards died. But Henry, the elder, and heir to his father's titles and estates, was either never taken out of England; or, if he were, he speedily returned, and was placed by his mother at Lonsborow, in Yorkshire, with a trustworthy shepherd, the husband of a young woman who had been under-nurse to the boy whom she was now to adopt as her foster-son.
Here, in the lowly hut of this humble shepherd, was the young heir of the lordly Cliffords doomed to dwell-to he clothed, fed, and employed as the shepherd's own son. In this condition he lived month after month, and year after year, in such perfect disguise, that it was not till he had attained the fifteenth year of his age that a rumour reached the court of his being still alive and in England. Happily the Lady Clifford had a friend at court, who forewarned her that the king had received an intimation of her son's place of concealment. With the assistance of her then husband, Sir Lancelot Threlkeld, Lady Clifford instantly removed 'the honest shepherd with his wife and family into Cumberland,' where he took a farm near the Scottish Borders. Here, though his mother occasionally held private communications with him, the young Lord Clifford passed fifteen years more, disguised and occupied as a common shepherd; and had the mortification of seeing his Castle and Barony of Shipton in the hands of his adversary, Sir William Stanley; and his Barony of Westmoreland possessed by the Duke of Gloucester, the king's brother.
On the restoration of the Lancastrian line by the accession of Henry the Seventh, Henry Clifford, now thirty-one years old, was summoned to the House of Lords, and restored to his father's titles and estates. But such had been his humble training, that he could neither write nor read. The only book open to him during his shepherd's life was the book of nature; and this, either by his foster-father's instruction, or by his own innate intelligence, he had studied with diligence and effect. He had gained a practical knowledge of the heavenly bodies, and a deep-rooted love for Nature's grand and beautiful scenery.
Among the shepherd-grooms, no mate
Had he-a child of strength and state!
Among the heavens his eye could see
Face of thing that is to be;
And, if man report him right,
He could whisper words of might.
Having regained his property and position, he immediately began to repair his castles and improve his education. He quickly learnt to write his own name; and, to facilitate his studies, built Barden Tower, near Bolton Priory, that he might place himself under the tuition of some learned monks there, and apply himself to astronomy, and other favourite sciences of the period.
Thus this strong-minded man, who, up to the age of thirty, had received no education, became by his own determination far more learned than noblemen of his day usually were, and appears to have left behind him scientific works of his own composition.
His training as a warrior had been equally defective. Instead of being practised from boy-hood to the use of arms and the feats of chivalry, as was common with the youth of his own station, he had been trained to handle the shepherd's crook, and tend, and fold, and shear his sheep. Yet scarcely had he emerged from his obscurity and quiet pastoral life, when we find him become a brave and skilful soldier,-an able and victorious commander. At the battle of Flodden he was one of the principal leaders, and brought to the field a numerous retinue. He died the 23rd of April 1523, being then about seventy years old.
A CELEBRATED JOCKEY
It was said of Tregonwell Frampton, Royal Stud Keeper at Newmarket, and 'Father of the Turf,' that he was 'a thorough good groom, yet would have made a good minister of state, if he had been trained for it.' Frampton was supposed to be better acquainted with the genealogy of the most celebrated horses than any man of his time, for he could reckon up the sires, grandsires, great grandsires, and great-great-grandsires, which he had himself seen. As few genealogists can trace the pedigrees of the most noted running horses for more than ten or twelve descents, it has been regretted that a kind of Heralds' Office was never created for horses, by which Childers in the last, and some of the great racers in the present age, might prove their descent from Bucephalus.
Frampton could choose the best racers equally well, from the thorough English black to the best-bred bay; and 'not a splint, or sprain, or bad eye, or old broken knee, or pinched foot, or low heel, escaped in the choice of a horse.' But the longest heat will come to an end; and even Frampton finished his course, in 1727, aged 86.