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adjusted and proportioned, as not to “outstep the modesty of nature,” or to injure the whole. It is this combination of features, this composition of parts, which in poetry, as well as in the other fine arts, displays the talents of a master. Where there exists in the character some leading trait, or passion, to which all other affections are subordinate, the task is far less difficult to execute; since we have, as it were, a centre given to which inferiour principles of action converge. Hence, the hero of a play, to whom the poet has assigned some simple object, which must affect every source of conduct, may be a character really much easier to delineate, than one whose part appears to be of secondary consequence. Iago evinces more labour and genius than Othello; and Shylock than Antonio. In the same manner, Falstaff
exhibits the talents of the poet more than any other personage introduced. It may here be observed, that history, unless very remote and obscure, must cramp the faculties of the poet, and confine his range of invention. As it was often the fate of Shakspeare, to have no other model than the stiff forms afforded by the pencil of the historian, or frequently the bare outline of the annalist, so he ever considered them, (as, to the poet, they certainly should be) as the basis on which imagination is at liberty to raise a splendid superstrueture. It is from this consideration that we learn to estimate the merit of Shakspeare in his historical plays; some of which show how much may be done by the poet, even where the
subject and its particulars are nei- .
ther distant nor obscure.
“An Account of King Charles II.d's Escape from the Battle of Worcester, till his landing in France, dictated to Samuel Pepys, esq. (Secretary of the Admiralty) by the King himself; at the request of the Duke of York, taken down in short Hand by Mr. Pepys, on Sunday, October 3d, and Tuesday, October 5th, 1680, and afterwards transcribed by him at length.”
[The following Narrative is copied from one taken from the original manuscript, in Mr. Pepys's library, given to Magdalen college, in Cambridge.]
AFTER that the battle was so absolutely lost as to be beyond hope of recovery, I began to think of the best way of saving myself; and the first thought that came into my head, was, that if I possibly could, I would get to London as soon, if not sooner, than the news of our defeat could get there; and it being near dark, I talked with some, especially with my lord Rochester (then Wilmot) about their opinions; which would be the best way for me to escape, it being impossible, as I thought, to get back into Scotland. I found them mightily distracted, and their opinions different very much of the possibility of getting to Scotland, but not one agreeing with
Vol. IV. 3 F
mine for going to London, saving my lord Wilmot; and the truth is, I did not impart my design of going to London to any but my lord Wilmot. But we had such a number of beaten men with us (of the horse) that I strove, as soon as ever it was dark, to get from them; and though I could not get them to stand by me against the enemy, I could not get rid of them, now I had a mind to it.
So we (that is my I'd duke of Buck", Luderdale, Derby, Wilmot, Tom Blake, duke Darcy, and several others of my servants) went along northward towards Scotland; and at last we got about sixty that were gentlemen and officers, and slipt away out of the high road that goes to Lancashire, and kept on to the right hand, letting all the beaten men go along the great road. And ourselves not knowing very well
which way to go, for it was then too late for us to get to London on horseback, riding then directly for it, nor could we do it, because there was yet many people of quality with us, that I could not get rid of. So we rode through a town short of Woolverhampton, between that and Worcester, and went through. There being a troop of the enemy's there that night, we rode very quietly through the town, they having nobody to watch, nor they suspecting us no more than we did them, which I learnt afterwards from a country fellow. We went that night about twenty-five miles, to a place called White Lady, hard by Tong Castle, by the advice of Mr. Gifford, where we stopt and got some little refreshment of bread and cheese, such as we could get, it being just beinning to be day. This White #. was a private house that Mr. Gifford, who was a Shropshire man, had told me belonged to honest people that lived thereabouts, and just as we came thither, there came in a country fellow that told us, there was 3000 of our horse hard by Tong Castle, upon the heath, all in disorder, under David Lesely, and some other of the general officers; upon which, some of the people of quality that were with me, were very anxious that I should go to him, and endeavour to get into Scotland, which I thought was absolutely impossible, knowing very well that the country would all rise upon us, and that the men who had deserted me, when they were in good order, w” not stand to me when they had been beaten. This made me take the resolution of puting myself into disguise, and endeavouring to get on foot to London in a country fellow’s habbit, with a pair of ordinary gray cloth breeches, and lethern doublet, and a green jerkin, which I took in the house of White Ladies. I also cut my hair very short, and flung my cloths into a privy house, that nobody might
see that any body had been strips ping themselves. I acquainted none with my resolution of going to London but my l’u Wilmot, they all desireing me not to acquaint them what I intended to do, because they knew not what they might be forced to confess; on which consideration, they all with one voice beg” me not to tell them what I intended to do; (so all the persons of quality, and officers, who were with me, except my l’4 Wilmot, with whom a place was agreed upon for metting at London, if we escap'd, and who endeavoured to go on horseback, in regard, as I think, of his being too big to go on foot) were resolved to go and join the 3000 horse, thinking to get away with them to Scottland. But as I did before believe, they were not marched more than six, after they got to them, but they were routed by a single troop of horse, which shews my opinion was not wrong in not sticking to men who had run away. As soon as I was disguised, I took with me a country fellow, whose name was Rich'd Penderell, whom Mr. Gifford had undertaken to answer for to be an honest man; he was a Roman Catholick, and I chose to trust them, because I knew they had hiding holes for priests, that I thought I might make use of in case of necd. I was no sooner gone (but the next morning after the battle, and broad day) out of y's house with this country fellow, but being in a great wood, I set myself at the edge of the wood, near the highway, that was there the better to see who came after us, and wether they made any search after the runaways; I immediately saw a troop of horse coming by, which I conceived to be the same troop that broak our 3000 horse. But it did not look like a troop of the army’s but of the militia, for the fellow before it did not look at all like a soldier. In the wood I stayed all day, without meat or drink, and by great good fortune it rained all
the time, which hindered them, as I believe, from coming into the wood to search for men that might be fled thither; and one thing is remarkable enough, that those with whom I have since spoke of them that joined with the horse upon the heath, did say, that it rained little or nothing with them all the day, but only in the wood where I was, this contributing to my safety. As I was in the wood, I talked with the fellow about going to London, and asking him many questions about what gentlemen he knew, I did not find that he knew any one of quality in the way towards London; and y'e truth is, my mind changed as I lay in the wood, as I resolv’d to think of another way of making my escape,
which was to get over the Severn, ,
into Wales, and get either to Swansea, or some other of the sea-port towns, that I knew had commerce with France, to the end that I might get over that way, as being a way that I thought none would suspect my taking; besides that, I remember several honest gentlemen that were of my acquaintance in Wales. So that night, as soon as it was dark, Rich'd Penderell and I took our journey on foot towards the Severn, intending to pass over at a ferry half way between Shrewsberry and Bridnorth; but as we were going in the night, we came by a mill, where I heard some people talking (mem” that I had got some bread and cheese the night before at one of the Penderell’s houses, I not going in) and as we conceived it was about twelve or one o’clock at night, and the country fellow desired me not to answer if any body should ask me any questions, because I had not got the accent of the country, but as we came to the mill, we c’d see the miller, as I believe, sitting at the mill-door, he being in white cloths; it being a very dark night, he call'd out: Who goes there, upon which R" Penderell answered, Neighbours going
home, or some such like words; whereupon the miller cried out, If you be neighbours stand, or else I'll knock you down; upon which, we believing there was company in the house, yo fellow bid me follow him close, and he run to a gate that went up a dirty lane, up a hill, and opening the gate, the miller cried out, Rogues, rogues, and thereupon some men came out of the mill after us, who I believe were soldiers. So we fell a running, both of us up the lane, as long as we c’d run, it being very deep and very dirty, till at last I bid him leap over a hedge and lye still, to hear if any body followed us, which we did, and continued lying down upon the ground about half an hour, when hearing nobody come, we continued our way over to the village upon the Severn, where the fellow told me there was an honest gentleman, one Mr. Woolf lived in that town, where I might be in great salety, for that he had hiding holes for priests. But I c” not go on till I knew a little of his mind, wether he w’d receive so dangerous a guest as me, and therefore stayed in a field under a hedge, by a great tree, commanding him not to say it was I, but only to ask Mr. Woolf wether he w” receive an English gentleman, a person of quality, to hide him all the next day, till we c” travel again by night, for I durst not go but by night, Mr. Woolf, when the country fellow had told him that it was one that had escaped from the battle of Worcester, said, that for his part it was so dangerous a thing to harbour any body that was known, that he w'd not venture his neck for any man, unless it was for the king himself; upon which R". Penderell very indiscreetly, and without my leave, told him it was I, upon which Mr. Woolf reply'd, he sh" be very glad to venture all he had in the world to secure me. Upon which Rd. Peuderell came and told me what he had done, at which I was a little troubled, but then there was no remedy, the day being just coming on, and I must either venture that, or run some greater danger. So I came into the house a back way, where I found Mr. Woolf, an old gentleman, who told me he was very sorry to see me there, because there was two company’s of the militia foot at that time in arms in the town, and keept a guard at the ferry, to examine every body that came that way, in expectation of catching some that might be making their escape that way, and that he durst not put me into any of the hiding holes of his house, because they had been discovered, and consequently if any search sh'd be made, they w'd certainly repair to those holes; and that therefore, I had no other way of security, but to go into his barn, and there lye behind his corn and hay. So after he had given us some cold meat, that was ready, we, without making any bustle in the house, went and lay in the barn all the next day; when, towards evening, his son, who had been a prisoner at Shrewsberry, an honest man, who had been released and came home to his father's house, and as soon as ever it began to be a little darkish, Mr. Woolf and his son brought us some meat into the barn, and there we discoursed with them wether we might safely get over the Severn into Wales, which they advised me by no means to venture upon, because of the strict guards that were kept all along the Severn, where any passage c’d be found, for preventing any body’s escaping that way into Wales. Upon which, I took a resolution of going that night the same way back again to Penderell’s house, where I knew I sh’d hear some news what was become of my l’d Wilmot, and resolved again upon going to London. So we set out as soon as it was dark, but as we came by the mill again, we had no mind to be questioned a second time there, and
therefore asking R'd Penderell if he could swim or no, and how deep the river was, he told me it was a scurvy river, not easy to be passed in all places, and that he co” not swim. So I told him that y” river, being but a little one, I w” undertake to help him over, upon which we went over some closes to the river side, and entering the river first to see wether I myself c'4 go over, who knew how to swim, found it was but a little above my middle, and thereupon taking Rich'd Penderell by the hand, I helped him over. Which being done, we went on our way to one of the Penderells brother's (his house being not far from White Ladies) who had been guide to my l’” Wilmot, and we believed by that time might be come back again. For my l’d Wilmot intended to go to London upon his own horse. When I came to this house, I inquired where my l” Wilmot was, it being now towards morning, and having traveled these two nights on foot. Penderell’s brother told me, he had conducted him to a very honest gentleman's house, one Mr. Whitgrave's, not far from Woolverhampton, a Roman Catholick; I asked him what news, he told me there was one major Carles in the house, who was that country man, whom I knowing, he having been a major in our army, and having made his escape thither, a Roman Catholick also, I sent for him into the room were I was, and consulting him what we sh” do the next day, he told me, that it w” be dangerous for me either to stay in that house, or to go into the wood (there being a great wood hard by Boscobell) that he knew but one way how to pass the next day, and that was, to get up into a great oak in a pretty plain place, where we might see round about us, for the enemy w'd certainly search all the wood for people that had made their escape. Which proposition of his, I approving, we (that is to say Carles and I went and carried up some victualls, for the whole day, viz, some bread, cheese, and small beer, and nothing else) and got up into a great oak that had been lopt some three or four years ago, and being grown out again very bushy and thick, co’d not be seen thro’, and here we stay’d all the day; and I having in the mean time sent Penderell’s brother to Mr. Whitgrave's, to know wether my l’d Wilmot was there or no, and had word bro’t me that night that my l’d was there; that there was a very secure hiding hole in Mr. Whitgrave's house, and that he desired me to come thither to him. (Memorandum) that whilst we were in the tree we saw soldiers going up and down in the thickest of the wood, searching for persons that had escaped, we seeing them now and then peep out of the wood. That night, Rich'd Penderell and I went to Mr. Whitgrave's, about seven miles off, where I found the gentleman of the house and an old grandmother of his, and father Hudleston, who had then the care of bringing up two young gentlemen, who I think were sir John Preston and his brother, they being boys. Here I spoke with my l’d Wilmot, and sent him away to Col. Lanes, about five or six miles off, to see what means c’d be found for my escaping towards London; who told my l’d, after some consultation thereon, that he had a sister that had a very fair pretence for going hard by Bristol to a cousin of her’s, that was married to one Mr. Norton, who lived two or three miles beyond Bristol, on the Somersetshire side, and she might carry me there as her man, and from Bristol I might find shipping to get out of England. So the next night I went away to Col. Lanes, where I changed my cloths into a little better habbit, like a serving man, being a kind of gray cloth suit, and the next day
* Mrs. Lane and I took our journey
towards Bristol, resolving to lye at a place called Long Marston, in the vale of Evesham. But we had not gone two hours on our way, but yo mare I rode on cast a shoe, so we were forced to ride to get another shoe at a scattering village whose name begins with something like Long , and as I was holding my horses foot, I asked ye smith What news 2 he told me there was no news since that good news (that he knew of) of y” beating those rogues the Scots. I asked him Were there none of the English taken that joined with y'e Scots : he answered, That he did not hear that that rogue Charles Stuart was taken, but some of the others were taken, but not Charles Stuart. I told him that if that rogue was taken, he deserved to be hanged
more than all the rest, for bringing
in the Scots. Upon which he said, I spoke like an honest man; and so we parted. Here it is to be noticed, that we had in company with us Mrs. Lane's sister, who was married to one Mr. , she being then going to my l’d Pagett’s, hard by Windsor, so we were to part, as accordingly we did, at Stratford upon Avon.
But a mile before we came there, we espied upon y” way a troop of horse, whose riders were alighted, and their horses eating some grass by the way-side, straying there, as I thought, while their muster-master was providing their quarters. Mrs. Lane's sister's husband, who went along with us as far as Stratford, seeing this troop of horse just in our way, said, that for his part he would not go by them, for he had been once or twice beaten by some of the parlimt soldiers, and he w”d not run the venture again; I hearing him say so, beg'a Mrs. Lane, softly in her ear, that we might not turn back but go on, for that the enemy w’d certainly send after us to inquire who we were, if they sh’d see us return. But all she c” say in the