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AUG -8 1935
OR, THE WORLD WELL LOST.'
TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE
KIVETON, IN YORKSHIRE ;
MAJESTY'S MOST HONOURABLE PRIVY COUNCIL,
The gratitude of poets is so troublesome a virtue to great men, that you are often in danger of your own benefits; for you are threatened with some Epistle, and not suffered to do good in quiet, or to compound for their silence whom you have
' All For Love was represented at the Theatre Royal, and first printed in 1678. Our author has told us, that it is the only play he wrote for himself: the rest were given to the people." It is (says Dr. Johnson) by universal consent accounted the work in which he hasadmitted the fewest improprieties of style or character."
2 Of the rise and character of this nobleman, who was born in 1631, and died in his 81st year in 1712, Burnet
obliged. Yet I confess I neither am nor ought to be surprised at this indulgence; for your Lordship has the same right to favour poetry which the great and noble have ever had :
Carmen amat, quisquis carmine digna gerit. There is somewhat of a tie in nature betwixt those who are born for worthy actions, and those who
gives the following account :-“ As soon as Lord Clifford saw he must lose the white staff, (June 1673,] he went to the Duke of Buckingham, who had contributed much to the procuring it for him, and told him he brought him the first notice that he was to lose that place to which he had helped him; and that he would assist him to procure it to some of his friends. After they had talked round all that were in any sort capable of it, and had found great objections to every one of them, they at last pitched on Sir Thomas Osborne, a gentleman of Yorkshire, whose estate was much sunk. He was a very plausible speaker, but too copious, and could not easily make an end of his discourse. He had been always among the high Cavaliers ; and missing preferment, he had opposed the Court much, and was one of Lord Clarendon's bitterest enemies. He gave himself great liberties in discourse, and did not seem to have any regard to truth, or so much as to the appearances of it; and was an implacable enemy: but he had a peculiar way to make his friends depend on him, and to believe he was true to them. He was a positive and undertaking man: so he gave the King much ease, by assuring him all things would go according to his mind in the next session of parliament; and when his hopes failed him, he had always some excuse ready to put the miscarriage upon. And by this means he got into the highest degree of confidence with the King, and maintained it the longest of all that ever served him.” MEMOIRS, i. 490.
can transmit them to posterity; and though ours be much the inferior part, it comes at least within the verge of alliance. Nor are we unprofitable members of the commonwealth, when we animate others to those virtues which we copy and describe from
you. It is indeed their interest, who endeavour the subversion of governments, to discourage poets and historians; for the best which can happen to them is to be forgotten ; but such who, under Kings, are the fathers of their country, and by a just and prudent ordering of affairs preserve it, have the same reason to cherish the chroniclers of their actions, as they have to lay up in safety the deeds and evidences of their estates; for such records are their undoubted titles to the love and reverence of afterages. Your Lordship’s administration has already taken up a considerable part of the English annals ;, and many of its most happy years are owing to it. His Majesty, the most knowing judge of men, and the best master, has acknowledged the ease and benefit he receives in the incomes of his treasury, which you
found not only disordered, but exhausted. All things were in the confusion of a chaos, without form or method, if not reduced beyond it, even to annihilation; so that you had not only to separate the jarring elements, but (if that boldness of expression might be allowed me) to create them. Your enemies had so embroiled the management of your office, that they looked on your advance
ment as the instrument of your ruin; and as if the clogging of the revenue and the confusion of accounts which you found in your entrance, were not sufficient, they added their own weight of malice to the publick calamity, by forestalling the credit which should cure it. Your friends on the other side were only capable of pitying, but not of aiding you; no farther help or counsel was remaining to you but what was founded on yourself, and that indeed was your security; for your diligence, your constancy, and your prudence, wrought more surely within, when they were not disturbed by any outward motion. The highest virtue is best to be trusted with itself, for assistance only can be given by a genius superiour to that which it assists; and it is the noblest kind of debt when we are only obliged to God and nature. This then, my Lord, is your just commendation, that you have wrought out yourself a way to glory by those very means that were designed for your destruction ; you have not only restored, but advanced the revenues of your Master, without grievance to the subject; and as if that were little yet, the debts of the Exchequer, which lay heaviest both on the crown and on private persons, have by your conduct been established in a certainty of satisfaction. An action so much the more great and honourable, because the case was without the ordinary relief of laws; above the hopes of the afflicted; and beyond the narrowness of the treasury to redress, had it been managed by a less