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that none but his father would keep such a bird
in a cage.
The philosophic firmness and heroism of his mind, in the view of death, appears in the epigram which he wrote, a little before his end, in an allusion to the expiring light of a candle. It is as follows:
may fear to die, but courage stout, Rather than live in snuff, will be put out.
As an illustration of this epigram, a very
intelligent and industrious writer relates this anecdote.
The earl of Clare, Sir Walter's old friend and companion in arms, informed him that Gondamor, his greatest enemy and prosecutor, had expressed an inclination to make suit to the king to spare his life, provided Raleigh would intreat him to do it. After a little pause, our hero gave this answer to his friend, 'I am yet neither so old, nor so infirm, but I could be content to live ; and therefore this would I do, if I was sure it would do my business : but if it fail, then I lose both
life and my
and both those I will not part with.'*
The heroism of Raleigh was not a stoical apathy or a constitutional indifference; but the firmness
Collins's Hist. Coll. 1759, folio, page 10.
of a mind conscious of its rectitude, and habitually prepared for the common lot of humanity. To the coolest fortitude and the most deterinined bravery, was joined in him a tender and feeling heart, alive to all the social relations, and the gentle sympathies of human nature. Of bis courage we have an evidence in the whole bistory of his chequered and interesting life ; of his sensi-, bility, the following letter to his wife, after his condemnation, is an affecting testimony.
“ You shall receive, my dear wife, my last words, in these my last lines. My love I send you, that you may keep it, when I am dead; and my counsel, that you may remember me when I am no more. I would not with will present you sorrows, dear Bess, let them go into the grave with me, and be buried in the dust ; and seeing that it is not the will of God, that I should see you any more, bear my destruction patiently, and with a heart like yourself. First, I send you all the thanks which my heart can conceive, or my words express, for your many travels and cares for me ; which, though they have not taken effect, as you wished, yet my debt to you is not the less; but
it I never shall in this world. Secondly, I beseech you, for the love you living, that you do not hide yourself many days ; but by your travels, seek to help my miserable fortunes, and the right of my poor child. Your mourning cannot avail me, that am but dust.
Thirdly, you shall understand that my lands were conveyed, bona fide, to my child; the writings were drawn at Midsummer was twelvemonth, as divers can witness ; and I trust my blood will quench their malice, who desired my slaughter, that they will not seek also to kill
yours, with extreme poverty. To what friend to direct you, I know not; for all mine have left me in the true time of trial. Most sorry I am that, being thus surprized by death, I can leave you no better estate. God hath prevented all my determinations ; that great God who worketh all in all! If you can live free from want, care for no more, for the rest is but vanity. Love God, and begin betimes ; in him you shall find true, everlasting, and endless comfort. When you have travelled and wearied yourself, with all sorts of worldly cogitations, you shall sit down by sorrow in the end. Teach your son also to serve and fear God whilst he is young, that the fear of God may grow up in him ; then will God be an husband to you, and a father to him ; a husband and a father that can never be taken from you. Bailie oweth me a thousand pounds, and Adrian six hundred. In Jersey and Guernsey also I have much owing me. Dear wife, I beseech you, for my soul's sake, pay all poor men.
When I am dead, no doubt, you shall be much sought unto, for the world thinks I was very rich. Have a care of the fair pretences of men, for no greater misery can befal you in this life, than to become
a prey unto the world, and after to be despised. I speak, God knows, not to dissuade you from marriage, for it will be best for you, both in respect of God and of the world. As for me, I am no more yours, nor you mine : death bath cut us asunder, and God hath divided me from the world, and you from me. Remember your poor child, for his father's sake, who loved you in his happiest estate. I sued for my life, but God knows, it was for you, and yours, that I desired it. Now you know, my dear wife, that your child is the child of a true mạn ; who, in his own respect, despiseth death, and his misshapen and ugly forms. I cannot write much ; God knows how hardly I steal this time, when all sleep ; and it is also time for me to separate my thoughts from the world. Beg my dead body, which living, was denied you ; and either lay it in Sherborne, or in Exeter church, by my father and mother. I can say no more ; time and death calleth me away. The everlasting God, powerful, infinite, and inscrutable God Almighty, who is goodness itself, the true light and life, keep you and yours, and have mercy upon me, and forgive my persecutors and false accusers, and send us to meet in his glorious kingdom. My dear wife, farewell ; bless my boy; pray for me ; and let my true God hold you both in his arms.
Yours that was,
The end of this great man was correspondent to the tenor of his life. Though he was weakened by až ague, he mounted the scaffold with, out terror, and addressed the audience in a very eloquent discourse, after which he entreated lord Arundel to beseech the king that he would prevent the publication of such pamphlets as might tend to asperse his memory—a nice regard to his reputation being bis ruling passion to the last. He then said, 'I have a long journey to go, and therefore must take my leave.' Having pulled off his coat, be desired the executioner to shew bini the axe, and perceiving that he hesitated to comply, Sir Walter said, with the spirit of an old Roman, 'I pray thee let me see it, dost thou think that I am afraid of it.' He then looked with a serene smile towards the sheriff, and extending the fatal instrument in his hand, observed this is a sharp medicine, but it is a sound cure for all diseases.' He next intreated the spectators to pray to God that 'HE would graciously vouchsafe to strengthen and assist him in the hour of death. The executioner now fell upon his knees, and according to a ridiculous custom, entreated his forgiveness, when Raleigh, laying his hand upon his shoulder, said, “it is granted.' Being asked in what manner he would extend himself on the block, he answered, ‘so the heart be right, it is no matter how the head lies.' As he stooped to prepare himself for the last stroke, his own eloak was spread under him. After a short and