« AnteriorContinuar »
So wretched, that, if Pharaoh could divine,
ment, assembled 21st March, 1680-1, and dissolved on the 28th of the same month. All these parliaments refused supplies to the crown, until they should obtain security, as they termed it, for the Protestant religion.
* The famous astrologer Lilly is here mentioned ironically. In his "Strange and wonderful prophecy, being a relation of many universal accidents that will come to pass in the year 1681, according to the prognostications of the celestial bodies, as well in this our English nation, as in parts beyond the seas, with a sober caution to all, by speedy repentance, to avert the judgments that are impendent," I find "an account of the great stream of light, by some termed a blazing star, which was seen in the south-west on Saturday and Sunday, the 11th and 12th of this instant December, between six and seven in the evening, with several judicial opinions and conjectures on the same." But the comet, mentioned in the text, may be that which is noticed in " A strange and wonderful Trinity, or a Triplicity of Stupendous Prodigies, consisting of a wonderful eclipse, as well as of a wonderful comet, and of a wonderful conjunction, now in its second return; seeing all these three prodigious wonders do jointly portend wonderful events, all meeting together in a strange harmonious triangle, and are all the three royal heralds successively sent from the King of Heaven, to sound succeeding alarms for awakening a slumbering world. Beware the third time." 4to. London, 168%. This comet is said to have appeared in October 1682. Various interpretations were put upon these heavenly phenomena, by Gadbury, Lilly, Kirkby, Whalley, and other Philo-maths, who were chiefly guided in their predictions by their political attachments. Some insisted they meant civil war, others foreign conquest; some that they presaged the downfal of the Turk, others that of the Pope and French King; some that they foretold dearth on the land, and others, the fertility of the king's bed, by the birth of a son, to the exclusion of the Duke of York.
"Tis not our want of wit that keeps us poor;
*This was one of the numerous devices used by the partizans of Monmouth to strengthen his interest: "A relation was published, in the name of one Elizabeth Freeman, afterwards called the Maid of Hatfield, setting forth, That, on the 24th of January, the appearance of a woman all in white, with a white veil over her face, accosted her with these words: Sweetheart, the 15th day of May is appointed for the royal blood to be poisoned. Be not afraid, for I am sent to tell thee.' That on the 25th, the same appearance stood before her again, and she having then acquired courage enough to lay it under the usual adjuration, in the &c. it assumed a more glorious shape, and said in a harsher tone of voice: 'Tell King Charles from me, and bid him not remove his parliament, and stand to his council:' adding, 'do as I bid you. That on the 26th it appeared to her a third time, but said only, do your message.' And that on the next night, when she saw it for the last time, it said nothing at all.
"Those who depend upon the people for support, must try all manners of practices upon them; and such fooleries as these sometimes operate more forcibly than expedients of a more rational kind. Care was, besides, taken, to have this relation attested by Sir Joseph Jordan, a justice of the peace, and the rector of Hatfield, Dr Lee, who was one of the king's chaplains: Nay, the message was actually sent to his majesty, and the whole forgery very officiously circulated all over the kingdom."-RALPH's Review of the Reigns of Charles II. and James II. Vol. I. p. 562.
The Tories, according to the custom of that time, endeavoured to turn this apparition against those who invented it, and pub-lished an ironical account of its appearance to Lady Gray, the supposed mistress of the Duke of Monmouth.-See RALPH, ibid. and this Work, Vol. IX. p. 276.
+"Heraclitus Ridens" was a paper published weekly, by L'Estrange, on the part of the court, and answered by one called "Democritus" on that of the Whigs.
Such are the authors, who have run us down,
Is worn to rags, and scribbled out of fashion;
Let each knight-errant, who has wrong'd a dame, Throw down his pen, and give her, as he can, The satisfaction of a gentleman.
FIRST APPEARANCE AT THE DUKE'S THEATRE AFTER HIS RETURN FROM SCOTLAND.
SPOKEN BY MR SMITH, 21st APRIL, 1682.
The Duke's return from Scotland, and the shock which it gave to the schemes of Shaftesbury and the Exclusionists, has been men tioned at length in the Notes to the Second Part of Absalom and Achitophel," Vol. ix. p. 402. The passage upon which the note is given, agrees with this Prologue, in representing the secret enemies of the Duke of York as anxiously pressing forwards to greet his return :
While those that sought his absence to betray,
Vol. ix. p. 344.
The date of the Prologue, and the name of the speaker, are marked on a copy in Mr Luttrell's collection.
IN those cold regions which no summers cheer,
The longing crowds to frozen mountains run,
And curse the bright successor of the year.
A tyrant's power in rigour is exprest;