Not needlessly to confound the herald with the historian, and begin a relation by a pedigree, I shall content myself to inform you, that the immediate parents of our Philaretus were, of the female sex, [Catharine, daughter of Sir Geoffry Fenton] a woman, that wanted not beauty, and was rich in virtue, and on the father's side, that Richard Boyle, earl of Corke, who, by God's blessing on his prosperous industry, from very inconsiderable beginnings, built so plentiful and so eminent a fortune, that his prosperity has found many admirers, but few parallels.
He was born the 14th child of his father (of which five women, and four men, do yet survive) in the year 16267, upon St. Paul's conversion day1, at a country-house of his father's, called Lismore, then one of the noblest seats and greatest ornaments of the province of Munster, in which it stood; but now so ruined by the sad fate of war, that it serves only for an instance and a lecture of the instability of that happiness, that is built upon the uncertain possession of such fleeting goods, as itself was.
To be such parents' son, and not their eldest, was a happiness, that our Philaretus would mention with great expressions of gratitude; his birth so suiting his inclinations and designs; that, had he been permitted an election, his choice would scarce have altered God's assignment. For as on the one side, a lower birth would have too much exposed him to the inconveniences of a mean descent, which are too notorious to need specifying; so on the other side, to a person, whose humour indisposes him to the distracting hurry of the world, the being born heir to a great family is but a glittering kind of slavery, whilst obliging him to a public entangled course of life, to support the credit of his family, and tying him from satisfying his dearest inclinations, it often forces him to build the advantages of his house upon the ruins of his own contentment.
A man of mean extraction is seldom admitted to the privacy and secrets of great ones promiscuously, and scarce dares pretend to it, for fear of being censured saucy, or an intruder; and titular greatness is ever an impediment to the knowledge of many retired truths, that cannot be attained without familiarity with meaner persons, and such other condescentions, as fond opinion, in great men, disapproves and makes disgraceful.
But now our Philaretus was born in a condition, that neither was high enough to prove a temptation to laziness, nor low enough to discourage him from aspiring. And certainly to a person, that affected so much an universal knowledge, and arbitrary vicissitudes of quiet and employments, it could not be unwelcome to be of a quality, that was a handsom stirrup to preferment, without an obligation to court it, and which might at once both protect his higher pretensions from the guilt of ambition, and secure his retiredness from contempt.
When once Philaretus was able, without danger, to support the incommodities of a remove, his father, who had a perfect aversion for their fondness, who use to breed their children so nice and tenderly, that a hot sun, or a good shower of rain, as much endangers them, as if they were made of butter, or of sugar, sends him away from home, and commits him to the care of a country nurse, who by early inuring him, by slow degrees, to a coarse but cleanly diet, and to the usual passions of the air, gave him so vigorous a complexion, that both hardships were made easy to him by custom, and the delights of conveniences and ease were endeared to him by their rarity.
Some few years after this, two great disasters befel Philaretus; the one was the decease of his mother, whose death would questionless have excessively afflicted him, had but his age permitted him to know the value of his loss; for he would ever reckon it amongst the chief misfortunes of his life, that he did never know her, that gave it him, her free and noble spirit (which had a handsom mansion to reside him) added to her kindness and sweet carriage to her own, making her so hugely regretted by her children, and so lamented by her husband, that not only he annually dedicated the day of her death to solemn mourning for it, but burying in her grave all thoughts of after marriage, he rejected all motions of any other match, continuing a constant widower till his death.
The second misfortune, that befel Philaretus, was his acquaintance with some children of his own age, whose stuttering habitude he so long counterfeited, that at last he contracted it; possibly a just judgment upon his derision, and turning the effects of God's anger into the subject matter of his sport. Divers experiments, believed the probablest means of cure, were tried with as much successlessness as diligence; so contagious and catching are men's faults, and so dangerous is the familiar commerce of those condemnable customs, that being imitated but in jest, come to be learned and acquired in earnest.
But to show, that these afflictions made him not less the object of heaven's care, he much about this time escaped a danger, from which he owed his deliverance wholly to providence, being so far from contributing to it himself, that he did his endeavour to oppose it: for waiting on his father up to Dublin, there to expect the return of his eldest brother (then
p.7landed out of England, with his new wife, the earl of Cumberland's heir)2 as they were to pass over a brook, at that time suddenly by immoderate showers swelled to a torrent, he was left alone in a coach, only with a foot-boy, where a gentleman of his father's very well horsed accidentally espying him, in spite of some others and his own unwillingness and resistance, (they not believing his stay dangerous) carried him in arms over the rapid water, which proved so much beyond expectation both swift and deep, that horses with their riders were violently hurried down the stream, which easily overturned the unloaded coach, the horses (after by long struggling they had broke their harness) with much ado saving themselves by swimming.
As soon as his age made him capable of admitting instruction, his father by a Frenchman, and by one of his chaplains, had him taught both to write a fair hand, and to speak French and Latin, in which, especially the first, he proved no ill proficient, adding to a reasonable forwardness in study a more than usual inclination to it.
This studiousness observed in Philaretus endeared him very much unto his father, who used highly to commend him both for it and his veracity, of which latter he would often give him this testimony, that he never found him in a lie in all his life-time. And indeed lying was a vice both so contrary to his nature, and so inconsistent with his principles, that as there was scarce any thing he more greedily desired than to know the truth, so was there scarce any thing he more perfectly detested, than not to speak it: which brings into my mind a foolish story I have heard him jeered with by his sister my lady Ranelagh, how she having given strict order to have a fruit-tree preserved for his sister-in-law, the lady Dungarvan, then big with child, he accidentally coming into the garden, and ignoring the prohibition, did eat half a score of them, for which being chidden by his sister Ranelagh, (for he was yet a child) and being told by way of aggravation, that he had eaten half a dozen plumbs, Nay truly, sister, (answers he simply to her) I have eaten half a score. So perfect an enemy was he to a lie, that he had rather accuse himself of another fault, than be suspected to be guilty of that. This trivial passage I have mentioned now, not that I think, that in itself it deserves a relation, but because as the sun is seen best at his rising and his setting, so men's native dispositions are clearliest perceived, whilst they are children, and when they are dying. And certainly these little sudden accidents are the greatest discoverers of men's true humours; for whilst the inconsiderateness of the thing affords no temptation to dissemble, and the suddenness of the time allows no leisure to put disguises on, men's dispositions do appear in their true genuine shape, whereas most of those actions, that are done before others, are so much done for others; I mean most solemn actions are so personated, that we may much more probably guess from thence, what men desire to seem, than what they are; such publick format acts much rather being adjusted to men's designs, than flowing from their inclinations.
Philaretus had now attained, and somewhat past the eighth year of his age, when his father (who supplied what he wanted in scholarship himself, by being both a passionate affecter, and eminent patron of it) ambitious to improve his early studiousness, and considering, that great men's children breeding up at home tempts them to nicety, to pride, and idleness, and contributes much more to give them a good opinion of themselves, than to make them deserve it, resolves to send over Philaretus in the company of Mr. F. B.3 his elder brother, to be bred up at Eton college near Windsor, whose provost at that time was Sir Henry Wotton, a person, that was not only a fine gentleman himself, but very well skilled in the art of making others so, betwixt whom and the earl of Corke an ancient friendship had been constantly cultivated by reciprocal civilities. To him therefore the good old earl recommends Philaretus, who having laid a week at Youghall for a wind, when he first put to sea, was by a storm beaten back again, not only a taste, but an omen of his future fortune. But after eight days further stay, upon the second summons of a promising gale, they went aboard once more, and (though the Irish coasts were then sufficiently infested with Turkish gallies) having by the way touched at Ilford-combe, and Minehead, at last they happily arrived at Bristol.
Philaretus, in the company of his brother, after a short stay to repose and refresh themselves at Bristol, shaped his journey directly for Eton college, where a gentleman of his father's, sent to convey them thither, departing, recommended him to the especial care of Sir Henry Wotton, and left with him, partly to instruct, and partly to attend him, one R. C. one that wanted neither vices, nor cunning to dissemble them; for though his primitive fault was only a dotage upon play, yet the excessive love of that goes seldom unattended with a train of criminal retainers; for fondness of gaming is the seducingest lure to ill company, and that the subtlest pander to the worst excesses. Wherefore our Philaretus deservedly reckoned it, both amongst the greatest and the unlikeliest deliverances he owed providence, that he was protected from the contagion of such precedents; for though the man wanted not a competency of parts, yet perverted abilities make men but like those wandring fires, philosophers call ignes fatui, whose light ssrves not to direct, but to seduce the credulous traveller, and allure him to follow them in their deviations. And it is very true, that during the minority of judgment, imitation is the regent in the foul, and those, that are least capable of reason, are most swayed by example. A blind man will suffer himself to be led, though by a dog, or a child.
Not long our Philaretus staid at school, ere his master, Mr. Harrison, taking notice of some aptness, and much willingness, in him to learn, resolved to improve them both by all the gentlest ways of encouragement; for he would often dispense from his attendance at school, at the accustomed hours, to instruct him privately and familiarly in his chamber. He would often as it were cloy him with fruit and sweetmeats, and those little dainties, that age is greedy of, that by preventing the want, he might lessen both his value and desire of them. He would sometimes give him unasked play-days, and oft bestow upon him such balls, and tops, and other implements of idleness, as he had taken away from others, that had unduly used them. He would sometimes commend others before him, to rouse his emulation, and oftentimes give him commendations before others, to engage his endeavours to deserve them. Not to be tedious, he was careful to instruct him in such an affable, kind, and gentle way, that he easily prevailed with him to consider studying, not so much as a duty of obedience to his superiors, but as the way to purchase for himself a most delightsom and invaluable good. In effect, he soon created in Philaretus so strong a passion to acquire knowledge, that what time he could spare from a scholar's task, which his retentive memory made him not find uneasy, he would usually employ so greedily in reading, that his master would sometimes be necessitated to force him out to play, on which, and upon study, he looked, as if their natures were inverted. But that, which he related to be the first occasion, that made him so passionate a friend to reading, was, the accidental perusal of Quintus Curtius, which first made him in love with other than pedantick books, and conjured up in him that unsatisfied appetite of knowledge, that is yet as greedy, as when it first was raised. In gratitude to this book, I have heard him hyperbolically say, that not only he owed more to Quintus Curtius, than Alexander did; but derived more advantage from the history of that great monarch's conquests, than ever he did from the conquests themselves.
Whilst our youth was thus busied about his studies, there happened to him an accident, that silence must not cover: for being one night gone to bed, somewhat early, whilst his brother was conversing with some company by the fire-side, without giving them the least warning or summons to take heed, a great part of the wall of their chamber, with the bed, chairs, books, and furniture of the next chamber over it, fell down, at unawares, upon their heads. His brother had his band torn about his neck, and his coat upon his back, and his chair crushed and broken under him; but by a lusty youth, then accidentally in the room, was snatched from out the ruins, by which Philaretus had, in all probability, been immediately oppressed, had not his bed been curtained by a watchful providence, which kept all heavy things from falling on it; but the dust the crumbled rubbish raised was so thick, that he might there have been stifled, had not he remembred to wrap his head in the fleece, which served him as a strainer, through which none but the purer air could find a passage. So sudden a danger, and hasty an escape, Philaretus would sometimes mention, with expressions both of gratitude and wonder. To which he would add the relation of divers other almost contemporary deliverances: of these, one was, that, being fallen from his horse, the beast ran over him, and trod so near his throat, as within less than two inches of it to make a hole in his band, which he long after reserved for a remembrancer. Another was, that riding through a town, upon a nag of his own, whose starting quality he never observed before, his horse, upon a sudden fright, rose bolt upright upon his hinder feet, and falling rudely backward with all his weight against a wall, had infallibly crushed his rider into pieces, if, by a strange instinct, he had not cast himself off at first, and was quit of it for a slight bruise. The last was, Philaretus being newly recovered of a flux, the doctor had prescribed him a refreshing drink: the fellow, that should administer it, instead of it, brings him a very strong vomit, prepared and intended for another. Philaretus was that morning visited by some of his school-fellows, who (as he was not ill beloved amongst them) presented him with some sweet-meats, which having eaten, when afterwards he would have eaten his breakfast, his stomach, whether out of squeamishness, or divination, forced him to render it again. To which lucky accident the physician ascribed his escape from the apothecary's error; for in the absence of those, that tended him, his physick cast him into hideous torments, the true cause of which he never dreamed of, and remained long unconjectured, until the effects betrayed it; for after a long struggling, at last the drink wrought with such violence, that they feared, that his life would be disgorged together with his potion. This accident made him long after apprehend more from the physicians, than the disease, and was possibly the occasion, that made him afterwards so inquisitively apply himself to the study of physick, that he might have the less need of them, that profess it. But Philaretus would not ascribe any of these rescues unto chance, but would be still industrious to perceive the hand of heaven in all these accidents; and indeed he would profess, that in the passages of his life, he had observed so gracious and so peculiar a conduct of providence, that he should be equally blind and ungrateful, should he not both discern and acknowledge it.
Philaretus having now for some two years been a constant resident at Eton (if you except a few visits, which, during the long vacations, he made his sister my lady Goring4 at Lewes in Sussex) when about Easter he was sent for up to London to see his eldest brother the lord Dungarvan, where being visited with a tertian ague, after the queen's and others doctors remedies had been successlessly assayed, at last he returned again to Eton to derive that health from a good air and diet, which physic could not give him. Here to divert his melancholy, they
p.9made him read the state adventures of Amadis de Gaule, and other fabulous and wandring stories, which much more prejudiced him, by unsettling his thoughts, than they could have advantaged him, had they affected his recovery; for meeting in him with a restless fancy, then made more susceptible of any impressions by an unemployed pensiveness, they accustomed his thoughts to such a habitude of roving, that he has scarce ever been their quiet master since, but they would take all occasions to steal away, and go a-gadding to objects then unseasonable and impertinent; so great an unhappiness it is for persons, that are born with such busy thoughts, not to have congruent objects proposed to them at first. It is true, that long time after Philaretus did in a considerable measure fix his volatile fancy, and reclaim his thoughts, by the use of all those expedients he thought likeliest to fetter, or at least to curb the roving wildness of his wandring thoughts. Amongst all which the most effectual way he found to be the extraction of the square and cube roots, and especially those more laborious operations of algebra, which both accustom and necessitate the mind to attention, by so entirely exacting the whole man, that the smallest distraction, or heedlessness, constrains us to renew our trouble, and rebegin the operation. Six weeks had Philaretus been troubled with his ague, when he was freed from it by an accident, which is no slender instance of the force of imagination; for the physician having lent him a purge, to give (as he said) the fatal blow to the disease, our Philaretus had so perfect an aversion to all physic, and had newly assayed it so unsuccessfully, that his complaints induced the maid servants of the house he lodged in (partly out of complaisance to him, and partly out of a belief, that physic did but exasperate his disease) unknown to him, to pour out the portion, and fill the vial with syrup of stewed prunes, a liquor so resembling it, that Philaretus (see the force of fancy!) swallowed it with the same reluctancy, and found the taste as loathsome as if it had been the purge; but being after acquainted with the cousenage, whether it was, that his sickness (as having already reached its period) would have expired of itself, or that his mirth dispatched it, I pretend not to determine; but certain it is, that from that hour to this, agues and he have still been perfect strangers, and he had much ado to refrain from laughter, when going to thank and reward the doctor for his recovery, he found it wholly ascribed to the efficacy of the portion he had never swallowed, but in imagination.
He had now served well near half an apprenticeship at school, when there arrived intelligence of his father's being landed in England, and gone to Stalbridge, a place in Dorsetshire then newly purchased by him. Thither Philaretus accompanies his sister the countess of Kildare to wait upon him. The good old earl welcomed him very kindly, for whether it were to the custom of old people (as Jacob doted most on Benjamin and Joseph) to give their eldest children the largest proportions of their fortunes, but the youngest the greatest share of their affections; to a likeness observed in Philaretus, both to his father's body and his mind; or, as it seems most likely, to his never having lived with his father to an age, that might much tempt him to run in debt, and take such other courses to provoke his dislike, as in his elder children he severely disrelished; to which if these causes the effect is to be ascribed, it is not my talk to resolve, but certain it is, that from Philaretus's birth, untill his father's death, he ever continued very much his favourite. But after some weeks enjoyment of the summer diversions at Stalbridge, when his father removed to London, he left him by the way at Eton college, from whence at his return in the West, some few months after, he took him absolutely away, after Philaretus had spent in that school (then very much thronged with young nobility) not much beneath four years, in the last of which he forgot much of that Latin he had got, for he was so addicted to more solid parts of knowledge, that he hated the study of bare words naturally, as something, that relished too much of pedantry to consort with his disposition and designs; so that by the change of his old courteous schoolmaster for a new rigid fellow, losing those encouragements, that had formerly subdued his aversion to verbal studies, he quickly quitted his Terence and his grammar, to read in history their gallant acts, that were the glory of their own, and the wonder of our times. And indeed it is a much nobler ambition to learn to do things, that may deserve a room in history, than only to learn, how congruously to write such actions in the gown-men's language.
As soon as Philaretus was arrived at Stalbridge, his father assigned the care of teaching him to one Mr. W. Douch, then parson of that place, and one of his chaplains; and, to avoid the temptations to idleness, that home might afford, made him both lodge and diet where he was taught, though it were not distant from his father's house above twice a musket-shot. This old divine instructing our youth both with care and civility, soon brought him to renew his first acquaintance with the Roman tongue, and to improve it so far, that in that language he could readily enough express himself in prose, and began to be no dull proficient in the poetic strain; which latter he was naturally addicted to, resenting a great deal of delight in the conversation of the Muses, which nevertheless he ever since that time forbore to cultivate; not out of any dislike or undervaluing of poetry, but because in his travels having by discontinuance forgot much of the Latin tongue, he afterwards never could find time to redeem his losses by a serious study of the ancient poets. And then for English verses, he said, they could not be certain of a lasting applause, the changes of our language being so great and sudden, that the rarest poems within few years will pass for obsolete; and therefore he used to liken the writers in English verse to ladies, that have their pictures drawn with the
p.10clothes now worn, which, though at present never so rich, and never so much in fashion, within a few years hence will make them look like anticks. Yet did he at idle hours write some few verses, both in French and Latin, and many copies of amorous, merry, and devout ones in English; most of which, uncommunicated, the day he came of age, he sacrificed to Vulcan, with a design to make the rest perish by the same fate, when they came within his power, though amongst them were many serious copies, and one long one, amongst the rest, against wit profanely or wantonly employed; those two vices being ever perfectly detested by him in others, and religiously declined in all his writings.
About this time also Philaretus began to be taught some skill in the music, both of the voice, and hand; but the discouragement of a bad voice quickly persuaded him to desist. It was now the spring of the year, when news was brought to Stalbridge of the approach of his sister, the lady Goring, and in her company two of his brothers, the lords of Kinelmeaky5 and of Broghill6, then newly returned from their three years' travels. In their company arrived one Mr. Marcombes, a French gentleman, who had been their governor, and behaved himself so handsomly in that relation, that the old earl removed Philaretus (his brother lying sick at a doctor's house) to his own house again, and intrusted his whole education with this gentleman. He was a man, whose garb, his mien, and outside, had very much of his nation, having been divers years a traveller and a soldier; he was well fashioned, and very well knew, what belonged to a gentleman. His natural were much better than his acquired parts, though divers of the latter he possessed, though not in an eminent, yet in a very competent degree. Scholarship he wanted not, having in his greener years been a professed student in divinity; but he was much less read in books than men, and hated pedantry as much as any of the seven deadly sins. Thrifty he was extremely, and very skilful in the flights of thrift; but less out of avarice, than a just ambition, and not so much out of love to money, as a desire to live handsomly at last. His practical sentiments in divinity were most of them very sound; and if he were given to any vice himself, he was careful by sharply condemning it, to render it uninfectious, being industrious, whatsoever he were himself, to make his charges virtuous. Before company he was always very civil to his pupils, apt to eclipse their failings, and set off their good qualities to the best advantage; but in his private conversation he was cynically disposed, and a very nice critick both of words and men; which humour he used to exercise so freely with Philaretus, that at last he forced him to a very cautious and considerate way of expressing himself, which after turned to his no small advantage. The worst quality he had was his choler, to excesses of which he was excessively prone; and that being the only passion, to which Philaretus was much observed to be inclined, his desire to shun clashing with his governor, and his accustomedness to bear the sudden sallies of his impetuous humour, taught our youth so to subdue that passion in himself, that he was soon able to govern it habitually and with ease; the continuance of which conquest he much acknowledged to that passage of St. James, For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.
James 1. 20.And he was ever a strict observer of that precept of the apostle, Let not the sun go down upon your wrath; for continued anger turns easily to malice; which made him, upon occasion of this sentence of St. Paul, to say, that anger was like the Jewish manna, which might be wholesom for a day or two, but if it were kept long, it would breed worms, and corrupt. With this new governor our Philaretus spent the greatest part of the summer, partly in reading and interpreting the Universal History, written in Latin, and partly in familiar kind of conversation in French, which Philaretus found equally diverting and instructive, which was as well consonant to the humour of his tutor as his own.
About this time his eldest brother, the lord of Dungarvan, having at his own charges raised a gallant troop of horse for the king's service in the Scotch expedition, his father sent two other of his sons, Kinelmeaky and Broghill, to accompany him in that service, and designed Philaretus for the same employment; but the sickness of his next elder brother, Mr. Francis whom he was to go along with in that voyage, defeated all our young man's greedy hopes. During his stay at Stalbridge all that summer, his father, to oblige him to be temperate, by freely giving him the opportunity to be otherwise, trusted him with the keys of all his gardens and orchards.
And indeed Philaretus was little given to greediness, either in fruits or sweetmeats; in the latter he was almost abstemious, and in the former he was very moderate; so valuing such niceties and dainties, that though he enjoyed them with delight, he could want them without the least regret. During this pleasing season, when the intermission of his studies allowed Philaretus leisure for recreations, he would very often steal away from all company, and spend four or five hours alone in the fields, and think at random, making his delighted imagination the busy scene, where some romance or other was daily acted; which, though imputed to his melancholy, was in effect but an usual excursion of his yet untamed habitude of roving, a custom (as his own experience often and sadly taught him) much more easily contracted, than destroyed.
Towards the end of this summer, the kingdom having now attained a seeming settlement by the king's pacification with the Scots, there arrived at Stalbridge Sir Thomas Stafford, gentleman usher to the queen, with his lady, to visit their old friend, the earl of Cork, with whom, ere they departed, they concluded a match betwixt his fourth son, Mr. F. B. and E. Killegrew daughter to my lady Stafford by Sir K. and then a maid of honour, both young and handsom. To make his addresses to this lady, Mr. F. was sent (and Philaretus in his
p.11company) before up to London, whither within few weeks they were followed by the earl and his family, of which a great part lived at (the lady Stafford's house) the Savoy; the rest (for his family was much encreased by the accession of his daughters, the countess of Barrimore and the lady Ranelagh, with their lords and children) were lodged in the adjacent houses, but took their meals in the Savoy, where the old earl kept so plentiful a house, that in months his accompts for bare house-keeping exceeded [gap: extent: one word] pounds.
Not long after his arrival, Philaretus's brother having been successful in his addresses to his mistress, was, in the presence of the king and queen, publickly married at court, with all that solemnity, that usually attends matches with maids of honour. But to render this joy as short as it was great, Philaretus and his brother were within four days after commanded away for France, and after having kissed their majesty's hands, they took a differing farewel of all their friends; the bridegroom extremely afflicted to be so soon deprived of a joy, which he had tasted but just enough of to encrease his regrets, by the knowledge of what he was forced from; but Philaretus as much satisfied to see himself in a condition to content a curiosity, to which his inclinations did passionately addict him. With these differing resentments of their father's commands, accompanied by their governor, two French servants, and a lacquey of the same country, upon the end of October, 1638, they took post for Rye in Sussex, where the next day hiring a ship, though the sea were not very smooth, a prosperous puff of wind did safely by the next morning blow them into France.
After a short refreshment at Dieppe, they travelled through Normandy to the chief city of it, Rouën; but by the way received advertisement of a robbery freshly committed in a wood, they must traverse by night; but judging the fear of being apprehended would deter the robbers from a sudden return to the same place, after so recent a crime, the company quietly continued on their journey to Rouën, and arrived safely at it; where, amongst other singularities, Philaretus took much notice of a great floating bridge, which rising and falling as the tide-water does, he used to resemble to the vain amorists of outward greatness, whose spirits relent all the floods and ebbs of that fortune it is built on. From Rouën they passed to Paris, and having spent some time in visiting that vast chaos of a city, they shaped their course for Lyons, where, after nine days unintermitted travel, they arrived, having by the way (besides divers considerable places) passed by the town of Moulins (here famed enough for the fine tweezes it supplies us with) a part of the French Arcadia, the pleasant Pays de Forest, where the marquis d'Urfé was pleased to lay the scene of the adventures and amours of that Astrea, with whom so many gallants are still in love, so long after both his and her decease: being also by the way usefully diverted by the company of two Polonian princes, who had as well a right unto that title by their virtue and their education, as their birth.
After some stay at Lyons (a town of great resort, and no less trading, but fitter for the residence of merchants than of gentlemen) they traversed those lofty mountains, that formerly belonging to the duke of Savoy, were now by stipulation (in exchange of the marquisate of Saluzzo) devolved to the French king; and having by the way beheld that famous place, where the swiftest and one of the noblest rivers of Europe, the Rhosne, is so streightned betwixt two neighbour rocks, that it is no such large stride to stand on both his banks, the third day after their departure from Lyons, they arrived safely at Geneva, a little commonwealth, which their early embracing and constant profession of the reformed religion, together with that peculiar care of providence, in so long and so unlikely a preservation, has rendred very much the theme, not only of discourse, but some degree of wonder.
Philaretus's instructions commanding him a long stay in this place, his governor (having both a wife and children in the town) provided him lodgings and entertainment in his own house, and at set hours taught him both rhetoric and logic, whose elements (not the expositions) Philaretus wrote out with his own hand; though afterwards he esteemed both those arts, as they are vulgarly handled, not only unseasonably taught, but obnoxious to those inconveniences, and guilty of those defects, he does fully particularize in his Essays. After these slighter studies, he fell to learn the mathematics, and in a few months grew very well acquainted with the most useful part of arithmetic, geometry, with its subordinates, the doctrine of the sphere, that of the globe, and fortification; in all which being instructed by a person, that had a greater regard for his scholar's proficiency, than the gains he might derive from the common tedious and dilatory way of teaching, he quickly grew so enamoured of those delightful studies, that they very often proved both his business and his diversion in his travels, and he afterwards improved his opportunities to the attainment of a more than ordinary skill in divers of them. He also frequently conversed with a voluminous, but excellent French book, called, Le Monde, which so judiciously informs its readers, both of the past and present condition of all those states, that now possess our globe, and by a delectable and instructive variety not only satisfies men's curiosity, but so copiously supplies them with matter, both of curious and serious discourse, that he used to say of that book, that it was worth its title, which means, The World.
But to employ his body, as well as his mind, because Philaretus's age was yet unripe for so rude and violent an exercise as the great horse, he spent some months in fencing, and ten or twelve in learning to dance, the former of which exercises he ever as much affected, as he contemned the latter. His recreations, during his stay at Geneva, were sometimes mall7 ,
p.12tennis, (a sport he ever passionately loved) and, above all, the reading of romances, whose perusal did not only extremely divert him, but (assisted by a total discontinuance of the English tongue) in a short time taught him a skill in French somewhat unusual to strangers. In effect, before he quitted France, he attained a readiness in the language of that country, which enabled him, when he made concealment his design, to pass for a native of it, both amongst them that were so, and amongst foreigners also; and in all his writings, whilst he was abroad, he still made use of the French tongue, not out of any intention to improve his knowledge in it, but because it was that he could express himself best in.
But during Philaretus's residence at Geneva, there happened to him an accident, which he always used to mention as the considerablest of his whole life. To frame a right apprehension of this, you must understand, that though his inclinations were ever virtuous, and his life free from scandal, and inoffensive, yet had the piety he was master of already so diverted him from aspiring unto more, that Christ, who long had lain asleep in his conscience (as he once did in the ship) must now, as then, be waked by a storm. For at a time, which (being the very heat of summer) promised nothing less, about the dead of night, that adds most terror to such accidents, Philaretus was suddenly waked in a fright with such loud claps of thunder (which are oftentimes very terrible in those hot climes and seasons) that he thought the earth would owe an ague to the air, and every clap was both preceded and attended with flashes of lightning so frequent and so dazzling, that Philaretus began to imagine them the sallies of that fire, that must consume the world. The long continuance of that dismal tempest, where the winds were so loud, as almost drowned the noise of the very thunder, and the showers so hideous, as almost quenched the lightning, ere it could reach his eyes, confirmed Philaretus in his apprehensions of the day of judgment's being at hand. Whereupon the consideration of his unpreparedness to welcome it, and the hideousness of being surprised by it in an unfit condition, made him resolve and vow, that if his fears were that night disappointed, all his further additions to his life should be more religiously and watchfully employed. The morning came, and a serener cloudless sky returned, when he ratified his determination so solemnly, that from that day he dated his conversion, renewing, now he was past danger, the vow he had made, whilst he believed himself to be in it; that though his fear was (and he blushed it was so) the occasion of his resolution of amendment, yet at least he might not owe his more deliberate consecration of himself to piety to any less noble motive, than that of its own excellence.
Thus had this happy storm an operation upon Philaretus, resembling that it had upon the ground; for the thunder did but terrify, and blasted not; but with it fell such kind and genial showers, as watered his parched and almost withered graces, and reviving their greenness, soon rendered them both flourishing and fruitful. And though his boiling youth did often very earnestly solicit to be employed in those culpable delights, that are usual in, and seem so proper for that season, and have repentance adjourned till old age; yet did its importunities meet ever with denials, Philaretus ever esteeming, that piety was to be embraced, not so much to gain heaven, as to serve God with. And I remember, that being once in company with a crew of mad young fellows, when one of them was saying to him, what a fine thing it were, if men could sin securely all their life time, by being sure of leisure to repent upon their death-beds; Philaretus presently replied, that truly for his part he should not like sinning, though on those terms, and would not all that while deprive himself of the satisfaction of serving God, to enjoy so many years fruition of the world. In effect it is strange, that men should take it for an inducement to an action, that they are confident, that they shall repent of it. But Philaretus himself having sufficiently discoursed that point of early piety, in the sixth treatise of his Christian Gentleman, I shall at present not only add to the arguments you may find there alledged, that he used to say, that it was a kind of meanness in devotion, to consider the very joys of the other life more as a condition, than a recompense. But (as when in summer we take up our grass-horses into the stable, and give them store of oats, it is a sign, that we mean to travel them) our P. soon after he had received this new strength, found a new weight to support; for spending some of the spring in a visit to Chambery, the chief town of Savoy; Aix famed for its baths; Grenoble, the head town of Dauphiné, and residence of a parliament, his curiosity at last led him to those wild mountains, where the first and chiefest of the Carthusian abbies does stand seated; where the devil taking advantage of that deep raving melancholy, so sad a place, his humour, and the strange stories and pictures he found there of Bruno, the father of that order, suggested such strange and hideous thoughts, and such distracting doubts of some of the fundamentals of Christianity, that, though his looks did little betray his thoughts, nothing but the forbiddenness of self-dispatch hindered his acting it. But after a tedious languishment of many months in this tedious perplexity, at last it pleased God, one day he had received the sacrament, to restore unto him the withdrawn sense of his favour. But though since then Philaretus ever looked upon these impious suggestions, rather as temptations to be suppressed, than doubts to be resolved; yet never after did these fleeting clouds cease now and then to darken the clearest serenity of his quiet, which made him often say, that injections of this nature were such a disease to his faith, as the tooth-ach is to the body; for though it be not mortal, it is very troublesom. And however, as all things work together to them that love
p.13God Philaretus derived from this anxiety the advantage of groundedness in his religion: for the perplexity his doubts created obliged him, to remove them, to be seriously inquisitive of the truth of the very fundamentals of Christianity, and to hear what both Turks, and Jews, and the chief sects of Christians could alledge for their several opinions; that so, though he believed more than he could comprehend, he might not believe more than he could prove, and not owe the stedfastness of his faith to so poor a cause, as the ignorance of what might be objected against it. He said (speaking of those persons, that want not means to enquire, and abilities to judge,) that it was not a greater happiness to inherit a good religion, than it was a fault to have it only by inheritance, and think it the best, because it is generally embraced, rather than embrace it, because we know it to be the best. That though we cannot always give a reason for what we believe, we should be ever able to give a reason why we believe it. That it is the greatest of follies to neglect any diligence, that may prevent the being mistaken, where it is the greatest of miseries to be deceived. That how dear soever things taken up on the score are sold, there is nothing worse taken up upon trust than religion, in which he deserves not to meet with the true one, that cares not to examine whether or no it be so.
And now Philaretus having spent one and twenty months in Geneva, about the middle of September 1641 departed towards Italy, and having traversed Switzerland, and by the way seen Lausanne (an academy seated upon the great Genevan lake) Zurich, and Soleurre, the heads of Cantons wearing the same name, and wandered seven or eight days amongst those hideous mountains, where the Rhosne takes it source, and he saw the Rhine but a brook; he at length arrived at the Valtollina, a spacious valley walled round with the steep Alpes, but so delicious, and (especially in that season) so crowned with all that Ceres and Bacchus are able to present, that it deserved to be the motive, but not the stage of those late wars it has occasioned betwixt the rival crowns of France and Spain. There Philaretus had the curiosity to visit, the place on which stood Piur, a pleasant little town, once esteemed for its deliciousness, but now much more and more meritedly famous for its ruin, which happened some two dozen of years hence, by the sudden and unexpected fall of a neighbouring hill upon it, which struck the whole town so deep into the ground, that no after-search by digging has ever prevailed to reach it. Having visited the singularities of this earthly paradise, Philaretus and his company began to climb that mountain of the Alpes, which denominated from a town, that is seated upon its foot, is usually called, La montagna di Morbegno. The hill was eight miles in ascent, and double that number downwards. It was then free from snow; but all the neighbouring hills, where store of crystal is digged, like perpetual penitents, do all the year wear white. Upon the top of this hill, which is entirely uninhabited, Philaretus had the pleasure to see the clouds, which they passed through in their descent, beneath them darkning the middle of the mountain, while on the top they had a clear serenity. But notwithstanding the fairness of the day, they spent it all in traversing this hill, at the height of which they left the Grisons territory, and at the bottom entered a village belonging to that of the Venetians; but having passed through such a purgatory as the Alpes to their Italian paradise, I cannot but suppose them somewhat weary, and so my pen obliged to let them and itself take some short rest.
Philaretus being thus entred into the vast and delicious plains of Lombardy, traversed the greatest part of that rich province, and having stayed the stomach of his curiosity with the observables of Bergamo, Brescia, Verona, Vincenza, and Padua (a famous university, but more peculiarly devoted to Aesculapius than Minerva's arts) he gave it a full meal at Venice, where the great concourse of foreign nations numerously resorting thither for trade or nobler business, presents the senses with a no less pleasing than constant variety. From Venice returning through Padua, and passing through Bologna and Ferrara (towns, whose names allow me to spare their characters) he at last arrived at Florence, with a determination (having disposed of the horses he rode on from Geneva thither) to pass the winter there. Florence is a city, to which nature has not grudged a pleasing situation, and in which architecture has been no niggard either of cost or skill, but has so industriously and sumptuously improved the advantages liberally conferred by nature, that both the seat and buildings of the town abundantly justify the title the Italians have given it of Fair. Here Philaretus spent much of his time in learning of his governor (who spake it perfectly) the Italian tongue, in which he quickly attained a native accent, and knowledge enough to understand both books and men; but to speak and express himself readily in that language was a skill, he ever too little aspired to acquire. The rest of his spare hours he spent in reading the modern history in Italian, and the new paradoxes of the great star-gazer Galileo, whose ingenious books, perhaps because they could not be so otherwise, were confuted by a decree from Rome; his highness the Pope, it seems, presuming, and that justly, that the infallibillity of his chair extended equally to determine points in philosophy, as in religion, and loth to have the stability of that earth questioned, in which he had established his kingdom. Whilst Philaretus lived at Florence, this famous Galileo died8 within a league of it, his memory being honoured with a celebrating epitaph, and a fair tomb erected for him at the publick charges; but before his death being long grown blind, to certain friers (a tribe, whom for their vices and impostures he long had hated) that reproached him with his blindness, as a just punishment of
p.14heaven incensed for being so narrowly pried into by him, he answered, that he had the satisfaction of not being blind, till he had seen in heaven what never mortal eyes beheld before. But to return to Philaretus, the company of certain Jewish rabbins, who lodged under the same roof with him, gave him the opportunity of acquainting himself with divers of their arguments and tenets, and a rise of further disquisitions in that point. When carnaval was come (the season, when madness is so general in Italy, that lunacy does for that time lose its name) he had the pleasure to see the tilts maintained by the Great Duke's brothers, and to be present at the gentlemen's balls. Nor did he sometimes scruple, in his governor's company, to visit the famousest Bordellos, whither resorting out of bare curiosity, he retained there an unblemished chastity, and still returned thence as honest as he went thither, professing, that he never found any such sermons against them, as they were against themselves; the impudent nakedness of vice clothing it with a deformity, description cannot reach, and the worst of epithets cannot but flatter. But though Philaretus were no fuel for forbidden flames, he proved the object of unnatural ones; for being at that time in the flower of youth, and the cares of the world having not yet faded a complexion naturally fresh enough, as he was once unaccompanied diverting himself abroad, he was somewhat rudely pressed by the preposterous courtship of two friers, whose lust makes no distinction of sexes, but that, which its preference of their own creates, and not without difficulty and danger forced a scape from those gowned Sodomites, whose goatish heats served not a little to arm Philaretus against such people's specious hypocrisy, and heightened and fortified in him an averseness for opinions, which now the religieux discredit as well as the religion.
Philaretus having thus spent the winter in Florence, towards the end of March began his journey to Rome; and having passed thorough and seen the singularities of Sienna, Montefiascone, and some other remarkable places in his passage, at the end of five days he safely arrived at that imperious theme of fame, which destinated to some kind or other of universal monarchy, is now no less considerable by its present superstition, than formerly by its victorious arms; the modern Popes bringing it as high a veneration as the ancient Caesars, and the Barberine bees flying as far as did the Roman eagles. The more conveniently to see the numerous rarities of this universal city, Philaretus, to decline the distracting intrusions and importunities of English Jesuits, passed for a Frenchman, which neither his habit nor language much contradicted. Under this notion he delightfully payed his visits to what in Rome and the adjacent villages most deserved them, and amongst other curiosities and antiquities had the fortune to see the Pope at chapel, with the Cardinals, who severally appearing mighty princes, in that assembly looked like a company of common friers. Here Philaretus could not chuse but smile to see a young churchman, after the service ended, upon his knees carefully with his feet sweep into his handkerchief the dust, his holiness's gouty feet had by treading on it consecrated, as if it had been some miraculous relick. Nor was Philaretus negligent to procure the Latin and Tuscan poems of this Pope, whose name Urbanus his actions did not belie, he having more of the gentleman in him, than his pontifical habit would seem to let him wear. A poet he was, and a [...]
[...] He never found the Pope less valued than in Rome, nor his religion fiercelier disputed against than in Italy; and sometimes added, that he ceased to wonder, that the Pope should forbid the sight of Rome to protestants, since nothing could more confirm them in their religion.
Philaretus having in a short time surveyed the principal rarities of this proud mistress of the world, was unwillingly driven thence by his brother's disability to support the encreasing heats, which there prove often insupportable to strangers, the neighbouring country being very scorched, and barren, and uninhabited. Wherefore he took his way back towards Florence, by that delicious valley that ennobles Perugia, and passing by Pistoia came to Florence, where, after a short repose, they descended the river Arno into Pisa, and from thence to Livorno, where in a Felucca, with a good wind, they ventured, for expedition's sake, some fifteen or sixmiles into the sea, and coasting along the country, still near the shore for fear of sudden storms, they each night lay in some town, drawing their boat ashore (which was not uneasy in regard of the inconsiderable tides of the Mediterranean there) and soon, though not without danger, reached proud Genoa. [...]
[...] The next day Philaretus prosecuted his journey, and passing by Monaco (a very strong place, then newly betrayed by the prince to the French) and by Meatone, a little principality belonging to the same prince, and stopping a while at Nizza, a place extremely and meritoriously famous for that strength, which nature and art have emulously given it, by night they landed at Antibe, one of the towns of France, that most approaches Italy.
The morning, that succeeded Philaretus's arrival at Antibe, he left it to cross the country to Marseilles, but he was welcomed into France, by an accident, which was very hazardous, and might have proved tragical. During the whole time of his being a traveller, or resident in Italy, Philaretus had religiously adhered to his [...]
[...] English gentlemen thinking it as much better as safer to take off their hats, than to venture their heads, complimented with the crucifix; but Philaretus, without the least act of superstition, though not without ill words, and worse menaces, ventured and past boldly thorough them all, as ever resolving, that the soul should not more transcend the body in its own value, than in his esteem. This danger thus happily escaped, Philaretus continues his
p.15way to Marseilles, where the third day he arrived, with intent there to expect bills of exchange promised to be then sent thither, to enable him to prosecute his future travels. His detention here was shortned by his visits of so excellent a harbour for gallies and small vessels. [...] Town every night like it assured with lock and key. Here Philaretus had the pleasure to see the French king's fleet of gallies put to sea, and about two thousand poor slaves tug at the oar to row them.