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his beard, 'for that,' he said, 'had committed no treason.' These were his last words, after which his head was immediately severed from his body.
When the Emperor Charles V heard of his death, he said to Sir Thomas Elliot, the ambassador from England to his court, 'My lord ambassador, we understand that the king your master has put to death his faithful servant, and grave and wise counsellor, Sir Thomas More.' The ambassador answered that lie had heard nothing of it. 'Well,' resumed the Emperor, 'it is too true; and this we will say, that if we had been master of such a servant, of whose abilities ourself have had these many years no small experience, we would rather have lost the best city in our dominions, than so worthy a counsellor.'
7.—THOMAS A BUCKET.
This haughty prelate was born in London, in the year 1119, and was the son of Gilbert a merchant, and Matilda, a Saracen lady, who is said to have fallen in love with him when he was a prisoner to her father in Jerusalem. Thomas received the first part of his education at Merton Abbey in Surrey, whence he went to Oxford, and afterwards studied at Paris. In 1159, he made a campaign with King Henry to Toulouse, having in his own pay 1200 horse, besides a retinue of 700 knights or gentlemen. For further particulars respecting Becket we refer to T.T. for 1814, pp. 166-172, and T.T. for 1815, p. 220.
Swithin was promoted to holy orders by Helmstan, Bishop of Winchester, at whose death, in 852, King Ethclwolf granted him the see. In this he continued eleven years, and died in 868. For some remarks on the popular saying respecting St. Swithin, see our former volumes.
*16. 1820.—MIRAGE IN ENGLAND.
One of those very singular and curious atmospherical phenomena, which are occasionally seen among the Hartz Mountains in Hanover, and have once or twice been observed on Souter Fell, in Cumberland, has been seen in Huntingdonshire.— About half-past four o'clock on Sunday morning, July 16th, the sun was shining in a cloudless sky, and the light vapours arising from the river Ouse were hovering over a little hill near St. Neots, when suddenly the village of Great Paxton, its farmhouses, barns, dispersed cottages, trees, and its different grass-fields, were clearly and distinctly visible in a beautiful aerial picture, which extended from east to west about four hundred yards. Nothing could exceed the astonishment and admiration of the spectator, as he looked at this surprising phenomenon from a gentle declivity in an opposite direction at a distance of half a mile, or his regret at its disappearance in about ten minutes.—(Cambridge Chronicle, July 21, 1820.)
20. SAINT MARGARET.
She was born at Antioch, and was the daughter of a Pagan priest. Olybius, president of the East, under the Romans, wished to marry her; but finding that Margaret was a Christian, he postponed his intended nuptials until he could prevail on her to renounce her religion. Our saint, however, was inflexible, and was first tortured, and then beheaded, in the year 278.
*21. 1663.—LORD WILLIAM RUSSELL EXECUTED,
On a scaffold erected in Lincoln's-Inn fields. He died with great resolution, protesting his innocence and ignorance of any design against the king's person, or of any contrivance to alter the government. In the paper he left behind, or verbatim, he said, that he died a true and sincere Protestant, and in the communion of the church of England, though he could never yet comply with or give up to all the heights of some people. A little before his death he sent a trusty messenger to Mr. Baxter, with his hearty thanks for his book, entitled 'Dying Thoughts', and said that it had made him better acquainted with the other world than he was before, and not a little contributed to his relief and support, and to the fitting him for what he was to go through.
This day was first dedicated to the memory of St. Mary Magdalen, by King Edward VI; and in his Common Prayer, the Gospel for the day is from St. Luke, chap, vii, verse 36. Our reformers, however, upon a more strict inquiry, finding it doubtful whether this woman, mentioned in the Gospel, was really Mary Magdalen, thought it prudent to discontinue the festival.
James was surnamed the Great, either on account of his age, being esteemed older than the other James, or for some particular honour conferred upon him by our Lord. He was by birth a Galilean, and partner with Peter in fishing, from which our Lord called him to be one of his disciples: Mark i, 19, 20. Of his ardent zeal, no other proof is necessary than his becoming the victim of Herod Agrippa. The Spaniards esteem James their tutelar saint.
*25. 1762.—PENSION TO JOHNSON
of three hundred pounds, granted by his late Majesty. He was then styled 'Mr. Samuel Johnson, a gentleman well known in the literary world.'—Dodsley's Annual Register, vol. v, p. .
She was the mother of the Virgin Mary, and the wife of Joachim her father. Her festival is celebrated by the Latin church.
*26. 1680.—EARL OF ROCHESTER DIED, MT. 32.
He was one of the most profligate men of that profligate age, and died one of the most distinguished of penitents. Bishop Burnet, who attended him in his last illness, wrote an account of his case, in \all volume, entitled 'Some Passages of the Life and Death of the Right Honourable John Earl of Rochester;' a work which Dr. Johnson said, ' the Critic ought to read for its elegance, the Philosopher for its arguments, and the Saint for its piety.' On his death-bed he was very anxious that all his profligate writings and pictures should be destroyed, and every thing done to counteract the effects of his bad example. A modern dramatist, however, has • brought him forward with his equally profligate associate the Duke of Buckingham, exercising their pranks, as a subject of good humour and complacency. We consider this as an act of unkindness, and a sin against the dead.
*JULY, 1793.—ROBERT CLARE BORN.
This Northamptonshire peasant, whose poems have recently been classed, and we think deservedly, with the productions of Burns and of Bloomfield, was born at Helpstone, a village most unpoetically situated at the easternmost point of Northamptonshire, adjoining the Lincolnshire fens. He learnt to spell of the village schoolmistress, and before he was six years old, was able to read a chapter in the Bible. At the age of twelve he assisted in the laborious employment of threshing; the boy, in his father's own words, was weak but willing, and the good old man made a flail for him somewhat suitable to his strength. When his share of the day's toil was over, he eagerly ran to the village school under the belfry, and in this desultory and casual manner gathered his imperfect knowledge of language, and skill in writing. At the early period of which we are speaking, Clare felt the poetic oestrum. He relates, that twice or thrice in the winter weeks it was his office to fetch a bag of flour from the village of Maxey, and darkness often came on before he could return. The state of his nerves corresponded with his slender frame. The tales of terror with which his mother's memory shortened the long nights re-, turned freshly to his fancy the next day; and to be
guile the way and dissipate his fears, he used to walk back with his eyes fixed immoveably on the ground, revolving in his mind some adventure ' without a ghost in it,' which he turned into verse; and thus, he adds, he reached the village of Helpstone often before he was aware of his approach.
The clouds Which had hung so heavily over the youth of Clare, far from dispersing, grew denser and darker as he advanced towards manhood. His father, who had been the constant associate of his labours, became more and more infirm, and he was constrained to toil alone, and far beyond his strength, to obtain a mere subsistence. It was at this cheerless moment he composed ' What is Life V in which he has treated a common subject with an earnestness, a solemnity, and an originality, deserving of all praise: some of the lines have a terseness of expression and a nervous freedom of versification not unworthy of Drummond, or of Cowley.
And what is Life?—An hour-glass on the run,
A mist, retreating from the morning sun,
Its length?—A minute's pause, a moment's thought.
That in the act of seizing shrinks to nought.
That robs each floweret of its gem,—and dies;
Which stings more keenly through the thin disguise.
And what is Death?—Is still the cause unfound?
A long and lingering sleep, the weary crave.
Nowhere at all, save Heaven, and the grave.
A thing to be desired it cannot be;
Gives proof sufficient of its vanity.
To teach unthankful mortal how to prize
Until he's called to claim it in the skies.