Page images

it with her; and accordingly having, with difficulty, persuaded some watermen to attempt the. passage, they both got into the boat. Just as they put off, Mr. Marvell threw his gold-headed cane on shore, to some friends who attended at the water side, telling them, that as he could not suffer the young lady to go alone, and, as he apprehended, the consequence might be fatal, if he perished, he desired them to give that cane to his son, and bid him remember his father. Thus he, armed with innocence, and his fair charge with filial duty and affection, cheerfully set forward, to meet their inevitable fate; for the boat was overset, and they were lost.

“ The lady whose excessive fondness had plunged her daughter and friend into this terrible condition, went the same afternoon into her garden, and seated herself in an arbour, from whence she could view the water, and while, with no small anxiety, she beheld the tempestuous state it was in, she saw (or rather thought she saw) a most lovely boy with flaxen hair come into the garden; who making directly up to her, said, “Madam, your daughter is safe now.' The lady greatly surprized, said,

said, “ My pretty dear, how did you know any thing of my daughter, or that she was in danger ?' Then bidding him stay there, slie arose and went into the house, to look for a pretty piece of new money, to reward him with ; but on her return into the garden, the child was gone, and on examining her family about him, she found


nobody but herself had seen him, nor could they recollect

any child in the neighbourhood which answered her description. This gave her some suspicion of her misfortune, which was soon after confirmed, with the additional aggravation, that her friend was involved in the same accident, and of course, his family greater sufferers, she having only lost her pleasure, they their support; and thinking herself bound by every tie, to make all the retaliation in her power, she sent for our author, charged herself with the expense of his future education, and at her death left him her whole fortune."

Being thus in better circumstances than he would have been if his father had lived, he went abroad as far as Constantinople, where he resided as secretary to the English ambassador. In 1653, we find him in England, employed by Cromwell, as tutor to some relation of his; He was also assistant to Milton in the office of Latin Secretary. He was representative for his native town in the parliament which called home the king. This trust he discharged with strict integrity and fidelity, and was highly esteemed by his constituents, to whom he constantly sent a particular account of every proceeding of the House of Commons, with his own opinion thereon. A conduct so respectful, together with his general obliging deportment towards them, did not fail to endear him to their affection, and they were not wanting on their side to express their sense of it, by allowing him

[graphic][subsumed][merged small]

an honourable pension the whole time he represented them.*

He seldom spoke in the house, but he had great influence on many of the members; and Prince Rupert esteemed him so highly that he frequently paid him private visits. When the prince voted in the House of Peers according to the sentiments of Marvell, which he often did, it was commonly said by the court party, that “he had been with his tutor."

Our author attacked Dr. Parker, afterwards Bishop of Oxford, and a zealous advocate for arbitrary power, in a witty piece entituled “The Rehearsal transprosed," of which Swift says, “we still read Marvell's answer to Parker, with pleasure, though the book it answers be sunk long


On account of his poetical satires against the debaucheries of the court, Marvell was obliged to conceal the place of his abode, to prevent being assassinated, his life having been often threatened,

Notwithstanding this opposition, Charles tho second took great delight in his conversation, and tried all means to gain him over to his side, but in vain; his inflexible steadiness was proof against all temptations, either of his own distresses, or of

* This was the last instance of a member of parliament being paid for his services by his constituents. † Tale of a Tub.


« PreviousContinue »