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Sir Henry Wotton 'A Parallel of Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, and George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham (1633?)'

British Library, Additional MS 22591, ff. 306r-311r


The Parralell of Robert Deuoreux Earle off Essex, and George Villiers Duke of Buc:kingha[m], written by S[i]r He[nry] Wootton K[nigh]t

Some observations by waye of Parrarell in the Tyme of theire Estates of Favour

Amongst those Historicall imployments wherevnto I haue devoted my Later yeeres (For I read that ould men live more by memorye, then by hope, Mee thought it would bee A little tyme not ill spent, to Conferr the Fortunes & natures of theis two Personages, of soe late knowledge, wherein, I intend to doe them right, w[i]th the Truthe thereof and my selfe, w[i]th this Freedome

The begin[n]ing of the Earle of Essex I must Attribute whollie (or in greate parte) to my Lord of Leicester / But yet as an Introducer or Support[e]r, not as A Teacher, For as I goe along, it will easilye appeare, that he neither lived nor dyed by his discipline, Allwayes certaine it is, that he drew him First into the Fatall Circle / From A kind of resoolved privatenes att his house at Lawychies in Southe Wales, where after [th]e Accademicall life, hee had taken such a Tast of the Rurall, as I haue heard him saye, and vpo[n] any Flashes and Fumes of Mellanchollie, or Traverses of discontent, But in A Sereene, and quiett moode, that he could well haue bent his mynde to A retyred Course / About w[hi]ch Tyme the saide Earle of Leicester bewrayed A meaning to place him in [th]e Queenes Favour, w[hi]ch was diverslye interpreted by such as thought that greate Artizan of Courte, to doe nothing by Chaunce, nor much by affection / Some therefore were of opinion, that Feelinge more and more in himselfe the weight of Tyme, and being allmost tyred (yf there be A Satietye in power) with that Assiduous attendance, and intensive Circumspection, w[hi]ch A long indulgent Fortune did require, hee was growne not vn willing, For his owne Ease, to bestowe handsomelye, vpo[n] anoth[e]r some parte of the paynes & p[er]happs of the Envye

Others conceyved rather, that having before for [th]e same ende, either brought in, or lett in S[i]r Walter Rawleighe and haueing Found him such an Apprentice, as knew well enoughe, howe to sett vp for himselfe / Hee nowe meant to Allay him w[i]th this young Earle; whoe had yett taken noe Stronge impressions For though the said S[i]r Walter Raleighe, was A litle before this (whereof I nowe speake) by occasio[n], much fallen from his former Splender in Courte / yett hee still continued in some Lustre of A Favored man, like highe Billowes that sincke by degrees, even when the winde is downe that first stirred them

Thus ran the discourse At that Tyme at pleasure / yett I am not Ignorant, that there was some good while, a very Stiffe aversation in my Lord of Essex, from applying himselfe to306v to the Earle of Leicester For what secreet conceipt I knowe not But howsoever that humor was Mollified by Tyme and by his Mother / And to the Courte he came vnder his Lee

The Duke of Buckingham had another kinde of Germinatio[n], and surelye had he bine reckoned among the Sponte Nascentes, For he sprange w[i]thout any helpe / by A Certeyne Congeniall Composure (as wee maye terme it) to the liking of our Late Sou[er]aigne, and Maister of ever blessed Memorye, whoe taking him into his regard, taught him more and more to please him selfe and Moulded him (as it were Platonicallye) to his owne Idea, delighting first in the Choice of the Materyalls (because he found him susceptible of good Forme) and afterwards by degres, as great Architects vse to doe, in the workemanship of his Regall hande / Nor Staying here, after he had hardened and polished him about 10: yeeres in the Schoole of Observance (For soe A Courte is) and in [th]e Furnace of Tryall about himselfe (For hee was A Kinge [tha]t could p[er]vse men, as well as Bookes) he made him the Associate of his heyre Apparant (together w[i]th the now Lord Cotttington (As an Adiuncte of singuler experience, and Trust) in Forraigne Travell, and in A Busines of Love, and of noe Equall hazard, yf the Tendernes of our Zeale, did nott then deceive vs / enoughe (the world must confesse) to kindle affectio[n] betweene the distantest Conditions / Soe as by varyous, & inward Conversac[i]on Abroade / Besydes that before, and after at home, w[i]th the most Constant and best natures Prince (Bona Si Sua Norint) that ever anye Nation enioyed

This Duke nowe becomes soundlye seized of Favor, as it were by discent / thoughe the Condic[i]on of that Estate / be como[n] lye noe more / then a Tenancye at will, or at most for [th]e liffe, of the First Lorde, and rarelye transmitted, w[hi]ch I haue breifly Sett downe. w[i]thout looking behind the vayle of the Temple, I meane into [th]e Secrett of highe Inclinac[i]ons, since euen Satyricall inclinac[i]ons Poetts whoe are otherwise of soe Lycentious Fancye / Butt yett in this pointe, Modest enough to co[n]fesse [the]ir ignora[n]ce.

Nescio quid certe Est / quod me tibi temperat Astu[m]

And theise were both their Springings, and Imprimeings, as I maye call them /

In the Profluence, on proceedings of their Fortunes, I obserue likwise not onlye much difference betweene them; But in the Earle, not A little fro[m] himselfe /

First, all his hopes of Advancem[en]t had like to haue beene Strangled all most in the verye Cradle, by throwing himselfe in to Portugall voyage, w[i]thout the Queenes consent, or soe much of her knowledge / whereby hee left his Freindes, & dependa[n]t[es] neere Sixe Monthes in desperate suspence, what would become of him / And to Speake Truthe, not w[i]thout Good reason /

For First, they might well Consider, that hee was himselfe not well plumed in Favor, For such A Flight / Besydes [tha]t nowe he wanted A Lord of Leicester att home / (For he was dead in the yeere before) to smoothe his Absence, and to quench the practizes of Courte / Butt above all, it laye open to everye mans discourse, that thoughe the bare offence of his Soveraigne and mistrisse, was to greate A Venture, yett much more, when shee might (as in this Case) haue Fayrelye discharged his disple sure, vppon her Lawes / Notwithstanding A noble reporte cominge home before him, at his retourne all was Cleared, and307r and this excursion Esteemed, but A Sally of youthe / Nay, he grewe everye daye, more and more in her graces. Conceipt whether such intermissions as theis doe sometymes foment Affection, or that having Comitted A Fault, hee became more obsequious, and plyant, to redeeme it / or [tha]t yett shee had not received into her royall breast, anye shaddowes of poppularitye /

There was another tyme, long after, when S[i]r Fulke Grevill late Lord Brooke, (A man in Apparance intrinsecall with him, or at least admitted to his Melanchollye howers) eith[e]r belike espying some wearines in the Queene, or p[er]happs with little change in the worde thoughe more in the daunger some marckes towards him, aand working vppo[n] the pr[e]sent matter (as he was dextrous, and Close, had allmosr superinduced into Favour the Earle of Southampton) w[hi]ch yett, being tymelye discou[er]ed / My Lord of Essex choose to evaporate his thoughts in A Sonnet (being his Com[m]on waye, to be sunge before the Queene, as it was, by one Hales, in whose voyce, shee tooke some pleasure, whereof the Complott (mee thinkes) had as much of [th]e Hermitt / as of the Poett

And if thou shouldest by hir, be now forsaken Shee made thie harte, to Strong for to be shaken

As if hee had been Casting one Eye backe to his Former retyrednes / But all this likewise quicklye vanyshed, & A good while after, there was Fayer weather overhead / Yett Still I knowe not howe, like A gathering of Clowdes, till towardes his latter tyme (when his humors grewe Tarte) as being nowe in the Lees of Favors, it brake, into certeyne Suddayne Recesses / Sometymes from the Courte to Wannestead / Other whiles to Greenew[i]ch; Often to his owne Chamber doores shutt, visitts forbidden, and (w[hi]ch was worse) divers Contestacons betweene, w[i]th the Queene her selfe / All preambles of Ruyne, wherew[i]th, though nowe, and then he did wring out of her Ma[jes]tye some pettye Contentm[en]t[es] (As if A Man would presse sower grapes) yett in the meane Tyme / was forgotten the Cou[n]cell of A wise, and att that Tyme Propheticall Freinde, whoe tould him, that such Courses as theis, were like whott watters, w[hi]ch helpe at a Punge / Butt yett if they be vsed, will spoyle the Stomacke /

On the Dukes parte, wee haue noe such Abrupt Streames, and Precipes as theis / But A Fayer, Fluentt, and vnifforme Course, vnder both Kinges / And surelye, as there was in his naturall Constituc[i]on A marveylous equallitie (whereof I shall Speake afterwardes) soe there was an Image of itt, in his Fortune, Run[n]ynge (yf I borrowe an Auncient Comparison) as Smoothlye as A Numerous verse, till certaine Rubbs in Parlyament, where of I am induced to speake, something by the verye Subiect w[hi]ch I handle to saye some what soe Farr, as shall conserne [th]e difference, betweene their Tymes

Whilst my Lord of Essex stood in Favour, [th]e Parlyam[en]t[es] were calme Naye I ffinde it A true observac[i]on, that there was noe Impeachm[en]t of anye Noble Man, by the Com[m]ons fro[m] the Raigne of Hen[ry]: 6: till the 18: of K[ing] James / Nor anye Intervenient President, of that Nature, not that some thinge or other could bee wanting to be saide, while men are men, For (not to goe higher) wee are taught easilye soe much by the verye Ballads, and Libells of [th]e Leicestrian time but About the aforesaide yeere, manye yonge Ones, beinge Chosen307v Chosen into the Lower House, more then had bine vsuall in greate Councells , (whoe (thoughe of the weakest winges, are the highest Flyers) there arose A Certaine vnfortunate and vnfruitefull Spirritts in some p[er]sons, not soweing, but pric kinge out every Stone in [th]e Feild, rath[e]r the[n] te[n]ding to [th]e gen[er]all harvest

And thus farr the Considerac[i]on of the Nature of [tha]t Tyme hath transported mee

Now on the other Syde I must w[i]th like libertie obserue to waightie and Matchfull Solicitudes (as I maye call them), w[hi]ch kept the Earle in extreeme and continuall Caution, (like A Bow Still bent) whereof the Dukes Thoughts were absolutelye free

First he was to wrastle w[i]th A Queenes declyning, or rather w[i]th her verye setting Age, (as wee maye terme itt) w[hi]ch (besydes other Respects) is comonlye even of it selfe the more vmbracious and appe[e]hensiue / As for the most part all horizons are charged w[i]th certaine vapours toard[es][th]e evening

The other was A Matter of more circumstances. Standinge thus /

All Princes especiallie whom God hath not blessed w[i]th w[i]th Naturall Issue, are (by wisedome of State) some what Shye of their Successors, And (to speake w[i]th due Reu[er]aunce) there maye bee reasonablye supported in Queenes Regnant a little p[ro]portion of Tendernes [tha]t waye more then in Kinges /

Now there were in Course Two names of Power & all most of Faction / The Essexian and Cicillian with theire Adherent[es], both well enoughe Enioying the pr[e]sent, & yett both looking for the Future / And therefore both houlding correspo[n] dencie w[i]th the Principall in Scotland, and both received Advertisem[en]t[es] and Instructions either from them or ymediatlye from the kinge himselfe as indubiture heire of this Imperiall Crowne

But least they might detect One another, this was miste riouslye Carryed by severall Instrum[en]t[es] and Conducts, And on the Essexian syde in truthe w[i]th Infinite hazard / For Sir Robt Cicill whoe was secretarye of State did disposse the publique Addresses, had prompter & safer co[n]veyance, where vpon I cannot but relate a memorable passage on eith[e]r Syde

The Earle of Essex had accomodated one Mr. Anthonye Baccon in A p[ar]tic[i]on of his house) and had assigned him a noble enterteinement / This was A Gentlemen of impotent Feete, but of A Nimble Head, and throughe his hinderance, all the Intelligence w[i]th Scottland, whoe being of A Provident Nature contrarye to his Brother the Late viscount St Albones, and well knowing the Advantage of A daungerous Secret, would manye tymes most cun[n]inglie lett fall some wordes, as if he would mend much his Fortune vnder the Cicilians, to whom he was neere in Blood) one whoe had made (as he was not vnwilling should be beleived) some greate proffers to wynne him awaye, w[hi]ch once or twice hee pressed soe farr, and with such tokens of discontentment[es] to my Lord Henrye Howard, aft[e]rward[es] Earle of North[amp]to[n] whoe was of the partie and stood himselfe w[i]th much umbrage w[i]th the Queene. The he Flyes pr[e]sentlye to my Lord of Essex, w[i]th whom he was comonly Primae admissionis by his Bed syde everye morning and tells him that vnlesse [tha]t Gentleman were pr[e]sentlye Satisfyed w[i]th some round Som[m]e, all would be vented / This tooke the Earle att that tyme, ill provided (as indeed oftentymes his coffers were lowe) wherevpo[n] hee308r hee was faine Suddainelye to giue him Essex house, which the good old Ladye Walsingham did afterward[es] disingage out of her owne Store, w[i]th 2500 li, and before he had distilled 1500 li at another Tyme by the Same skill. Soe that hee maye rate this one secret as it was finelye handled at 4000 li in present monye besydes at least 1000 li of an[n]uall Pention to A private & bedrid Gent[le]woma[n], what would hee haue gotten if he had bine able to goe about his owne Busynes

There was another Accident of the same nature on the Cicilian Syde, much more pleasant and lesse Charitable, For it Cost nothinge but witt

The Queene haueing For A Good while not heard any thinge from Scottland, and being thirstie of newes, it fell out that her ma[jes]ty, going to take the Ayre towwards the Heathe (the Court being then at Greenewich, And Mr Secretarye Cicill then attending her, A Post came crossing by and blew his horne, the Queene outt of Curiositie asked from whence the dispatch came, And being answred fro[m] Scotland Shee Stopt her Coatche and calls for [th]e Packett

The Secretarye (allthoughe he knewe there were some Lett[e]rs from his Correspondent[es] (w[hi]ch to discover had bine as soe many Serpent[es]) yett made more shew of dilligence then of doubt to obey her, and asks some that were by Forsooth in great hast for a Knife to cutt vpp the Packett (For otherwise p[er]happs he might haue opened A little appr[e]hencion) But in the meane Tyme approching w[i]th the Packett in his hand, att A prettie distrance, from the Queene, hee tould her it looked and smelled Illfavour’dlye com[m]ing out of the Filthie Budgett, and that it should be fitt first to open it and Ayre it, because he knewe shee was averse from ill Sents /

And soe being dismissed home he gott leasure Enoughe by this Seasonable Shifte to Sever what hee would not haue seene /

These two accidents preciselye true and knowne to few, I haue reported as not alltogither extravagant from my purpose to shew howe the Earle stood in certeine perplexities wherew[i]th [th]e Dukes dayes were not distracted / And this hath beene (as it were) in the historicall parte touching the difference betweene them in [th]e riseing and Flowinge of theire Fortunes

I will nowe consider theire Severall endowments both of person & of Mynde, and then A Little of theire Actions and ende,

The Earle was a pretty deale the Taller and muche the Stronger and of the Abler Bodye &c, but the Duke had the neater Lymbes, and of the Freer deliverye / he was allsoe [th]e vprighter and of the more comelye Motions, For the Earle did bend A Little in the Necke, though rather forward then downe ward / And hee was soe farr from being A good Dauncer, that he was noe gratfull goer / If wee touche p[ar]ticulers, The Duke excelled in [th]e daintines of his Legg and Foote / and the Earle in the Incomp[ar]able Fairenes and Fine Shape of his handes, w[hi]ch thoughe it be but A Feminate praise hee tooke it from his Father / For theire generall haire, the Earle had the more Closer and more reserved Countynance being by Nature some what Cogitatiue / And (w[hi]ch was strang) never more then at Meales, when others were least / In soe much that he was wont to make this observation of himselfe, [tha]t to salue Knottye Busynes, w[hi]ch Combered his Mynde, one of his Ablest howers was when hee had cloaked his First appetite with Two or three Morsells, after w[hi]ch he satt vsuallye for a good while Sylent, yet hee would playe well and willinglye at some tyme of greatest Attention, w[hi]ch shewed that when hee listed he could silence308v silence his Thoughts

The Duke on the other syde, even in the mydst of soe many diversions had Continuallye A verye pleasant and vacant Face (as I maye well call it) proceeding (noe doubt) from a singuler assurance in his temper / And yet I must heere giue him A rarer Elogie w[hi]ch the malignantest Eye cannot denye him / That certainelye never man of his place and power did entertaine greatnes more Fami lierlye nor whose lookes were lesse tainted w[i]th his felicity, where in I insist the rather because this in my Judgment was one of his greatest vertues and victoryes over himselfe /

But to proceed in the Attyreing and ornament of theire bodyes / The Duke had A Fine vnaffected politenes, and vpon occasion costlye as in his Legations The Earle as hee grew more and more attentiue to matter / Soe lesse and lesse Curious of Clothing, in soe much as I remember those about him had a co[n]ceipt That possiblye sometymes when he went vp to the Queene he might scant knowe what he had onn / For this was his Mannor his Cha[m]ber being Com[m]onlye Stived w[i]th Freindes or Suitors of one kinde or other / when he was vpp he gaue his Leggs, Armes & Brests to his ordinarye Servants to button and dresse him w[i]th little heed, his head and Face to his Barber, his Eyes to his Letters and Eares to Petitions, and many Tymes all at once /

Then the Gent[leman] of his Roabes throwing A Cloake over his Shoulders, hee would make A Stepp into his Clossett, and after Short prayer he was gone, onlye in his Bathes he was somew[ha]t dilicate / For pointe of Dyett and Luxurie they were both verye ordinary in their Appetites, Especiallye the Earle, whoe was by nature of soe different A Taste / as I must tell a rare thing of him (thoughe it be but A homelye Note) that he would stopp in the middest of any phisicall potion, and after he had lickt his Lippes, drinke of the Rest / but I am wearie of such sleighte animadversions

To come then to the Inward Furniture of their myndes, the Earle was of A good Erudition, hauing beene placed at study in Cambridge verye young by the Lord Burleigh his Guardyan w[i]th affectionate and deliberate Care vnder the oversight of Docter Whitgift then M[aste]r of Trynitie Colledge, and aft[e]r Arch Bishopp of Canterburye, A man (by the waye surelye of a most reverent sacred memorye (as I maye well saye) even of [th]e primatiue temper, when the Church by lowlynes of Spirritt did Florish in highe thexamples, w[hi]ch I haue incerted as a dew Recordation of his vertues, haueing beene muche obleiged vnto him for manye Favors in Former Tymes

About sixteene yeeres of his Age (For thither he came at Twelue) hee tooke the Formalitie of M[aste]r of Arts, and kept his publique Acts / And heere I must not smother what I haue receaved by Constant Informac[i]on / That his owne Father dyed w[i]th A very Cold Conceipt of him, some saye with more affection to his Second Sonne Walter Devoreux, whoe was indeed a Dyamond of his Tyme, and both of A hardye & delicate mixture / But it Seemes the Earle like certaine vigitables did Budd, and open Slowlye /

Nature sometymes delighting to playe an after game as well as Fortune w[hi]ch had both theire Turnes and Tydes in his Course /

The Duke was Illiterate, yet had learned in A Court, First to lift A question well, and to supplye his owne defects by [th]e drawing or flowing vnto him of the best Instruments of experience & knowledge from whom he had A sweete and attractiue manner to sucke what might be for the publique, as his own proper vse / So as the lesse309r lesse hee was favoured by the muses, he was [th]e More by [th]e Graces

To Consider them in theire owne naturalls I conceiue [th]e Earles Intellectuall Facultyes to haue bine his Strongest p[ar]te, and in the Duke his practicall / Yett all knowe that he likewise at the First was muche vnder the expectac[i]on of his after proofe, such a sober Influence there is in the Soveraigne aspect / For other abillityes of discourse or penn, the Earle was A verye accute and sound speaker when he would intend it, and for his writtings, they were beyond example, especiallie in his Familiar letters, and in thing[es] of delight in Courte, when hee would intermitt his serious habits, as maye be yett seene in his impressisns and inventions of Vntertainement. And aboue all in his darlinge peece of Love, and selfe Love / his Stile was an Ellegant perspicuitie, rich of phrase, but seldome anye bold metaphors, and soe Farr from tumour, that it rather wanted A little Elevac[i]on

The Dukes deliuery of his mynde I conceiue not to haue bine soe sharpe as Sollid, and againe not soe Solyd and deepe as prertinent and opposite to the Tymes and Occasions

The Earle I account more liberall, and the Duke more mag nificent / For I doe not remember that my Lord of Essex in all his liffe Tyme did either build or adorne any house / The Queene perchance spending his Tyme, and himselfe his meanes, or oth[e]r wise more inclyning to popular wayes, For wee know [th]e people are more apt to applaud house keepers, then house raisers

They were both great cherishers of Schollers & Devines, but it Seemes the Earle had obteyned of himselfe one singul[a]r poynte, that he could depart his affections betweene two extreames, For thoughe hee bore allwayes A kinde of Filiall Reu[er]ence towards Docter Whitgifte both before and after hee was Bishopp / yett on the other Syde he did not A little love and tender Mr Cartwright / thoughe I thincke truelye w[i]th large distinction betweene the Person and the Cause, howsoever hee was taxed with other Endes in respect of that Partie /

They were both Faire Spoken gent[lemen], not prone & eagerly to detract openlye from any Man / And in this the Earle hath bine most fully blemished in our vulgar Storye / onelye against one man hee had forswor[n]e all patience / Namelye Henrye Lorde Cobham, and would call him per Excellentium, [th]e Sichophant, as if it had beene the Embleme of his name, even to the Queene her selfe, though of noe small insinuation w[i]th her and one Lady likewise (that I maye civillye spare to nominate for her Sexe Sake, whom he vsed to terme the Spider of the Courte / Yett generallie in the sensitive parte of their Nature, The Earle was the worse Philosopher being A greate recenter, & a weake dissembler of the least disgrace, and there in likewise no good Pupill to my Lord of Leicester whoe was want to put vp his passions in his Pockett

In the growth of their Fortunes the Duke was A little the Swifter and much the greater, For from A you[n]g[e]r brothers meane Estate he rose to the highest degree whereof a Subiect was capeable either in Tytle or trust / therein I must co[n]fesse much morr conformeable to Charles Branden vnder Henry [th]e Eight whoe was equall vnto him in both

For matter of Donatiue and D{}icions of Substance, I doe nott beleeve that the Duke did much exceed him (all considered) vnd[e]r both K[ing]s

For that w[hi]ch the Earle of Essex had receiued from her Ma[jes]tye besydes the Fees of his offices and the disposing of great somes in her Armies, was about the Tyme of his Arraignem[en]t (when Faultes vse to be agravated w[i]th pr[e]cedent benefices) valued at 3: hundred thousand poundes sterling in free guift to his owne vse, by the Earle309v Earle of Dorcett the Lord Treasurer, whoe was A wise man & A Strict Computest, and not ill affected towards him / And yet it is worthie of Note in the Margent of both Tymes, That the one was p[ro]secuted w[i]th Spleene, and the other w[i]th Murmur, so vneue[n] A Measure is popular Judgment

I cannot heere omitt betweene them A great difference in Establishing both their Fortunes and Fames

For the First, the Duke had A Care to introduce into neere place at Courte Divers of his Confident Servaunt[es], and into high place verye Sound and grave personages / whereas (excepte A Pentioner or Two) wee can scant name any one advanced of the Earles breeding but S[i]r Thomas Smithe haueing bine his Secretarye, whoe yett came never further (thoughe marryed into A noble house) then to be clarke of the Cou[n]cell & Register of [th]e Parlym[en]t

Note that the Earle ment to stand alone like A Substance, (For hee was not soe ill A Gramarian in Courte) but the Truthe is in this pointe, The Cicillians kept him shorte, as verye well knowing that there by vppon verye little Absence or disassitude hee would be Subiect to take cold at his Backe

For the other in the Man[n]aging of their Fames, I noate between them A direct Contrarye wisedome, For the Earle proceeded by waye of Appologie, w[hi]ch he wrote and dispersed w[i]th his owne hande att large, thoughe till his going into Ireland they were but Ayrerie obiections / But of the Duke this I knowe, That one havinge offered for his Ease to doe him that kinde of Service, he refused w[i]th A prettye kinde of thankfull Scorne, saying that he would trust his owne good Intentions, w[hi]ch God knewe, and leave to him the p[ar]doning of his Errors / And that hee sawe noe Fruite of Appollogies, But the Multiplying of Discourse / w[hi]ch surelye was a well Settled Maxime / And / For myne owne perticuler, thoughe I am obnoxious to his memorye, in the profession of Tacitus, Neq[ue] Iniura Neq[ue] Benficio, save that hee shewed mee an Ordinary good Countenance, and if I were, yett I would Distinguishe betweene gratitude and Truthe, and I must beare him, his Testimonye, that in A Comission layd vppon mee, by Soveraigne Comaund, to exami[n]e A Ladye about A Certaine Filthie Accusation grounded vpon nothinge, but A Fewe Single names, taken vpp by A foote man in A Kennell, and Straight Baptised / A liste of such, as the Duke had appointed to be ymprissoned at home (himselfe being then in Spayne) I founde it to be the most malitious, and Frantique su[r]mise and the most Contrarye to his Generous Nature, that I thincke had ever bene brewed from the begin[n]ing of the world, howsoev[e]r Cou[n]tenanced by A Libellous Pamphlett, of A Fugitive Phisic[i]on even in pointe / And yett of this neither, would the Duke suffer anye Answere to be made, or on his behalfe / Soe confident hee was, to his owne Principles /

In their Millitarie Services, the Charactors of the Earles Imployments were theis

His Forwardest was that of Portugall afore mentioned

The Saddest, that of Rhone, where he lost his deare Brother

His Fortunatest Peece I esteeme, the Taking Cales, Cades, Males / and noe lesse modest / For there hee wrote w[i]th his owne hand, A Censure of his Omissions / His Iealiousest imploym[en]t was to the Releife of Callice / Beseiged by the Cardinall Archduke

About w[hi]ch there passed, then betweene the Queene, and [th]e French kinge, much Arte / His Iourney to the Azores, was the best, For the discou[er]ye310r discoverye of the Spanish weaknes / And otherwise almost a Saving voyage His Blackest, was that to Ireland ordeyned to bee the Sepulcher of his Father, and the gulffe of his owne Fortunes / But the First in 88: at Tilburye Campe, was in my Iudgment the verye poyson of all that Followed / For there while the Queene Stood in doubte of a Spanish Invasion (thoughe it proved but A Morrice daunce) vpon our waves) shee made him in Feilde Com[m]au[n]der of the Cavalrye, as he was before in Courte: and much graced him openlye, in veiwe of the Soldiers, and people, even above my Lord of Leicester, vppon w[hi]ch the truthe is, from thence Forthe, he Flies to Fast /

The Dukes Imployem[en]t abroade of this Nature, was onlye [th]e accio[n] of Rhee, of w[hi]ch I must note some what For the honor of our Country and of his Ma[jes]t[ies] Tymes, and of them, that perished, and Survived / And to redeeme it generallie from Misvnderstanding / Therefore after delligent inquirye amongst the wyest, and indifferentest Men of that Action, I dare pronounce, that all Circu[m]stances pondered, A Tumultuarye Landing on our p[ar]te w[i]th about 1000: in the whole / On theirs readye to receyve vs, w[i]th 200: Horse w[i]th neere 2000: Foote, and watching their best Tyme of Advantage, none of their Foote being discovered by vs, before, nor soe much as suspected, and only some of their Horse discryed Stragling, but not in anye Bulke or Bodye Theire Cavalrie, was A Troope of Bissoigniers, mounted in hast, But the greater parte gent[le]men of Families, and of pickt Resoluc[i]o[n], and suche as charged home, both in Fronte, and on both Flanckes into the verye Sea, About sixe Score of their very 200 horse Strowed vppon the Sande, and none of them, but one killed by A greate Shott / And after this, theire Foote likewise coming on to Chardge, till not likeing the Busines, they Fell to Flinging of Stones, & soe walked awaye /

I saye theis thinges layd togither, wee haue reason to repute it a greate Impression, vppon an vnknowne place, and a Noble Argument, that vppon Occasion, wee haue not lost our Au[n]tient vigor onelye / I could wishe, that the Duke, whoe then in the Animatinge of the Soldiers, shewed them verye Emynent Assurance had afterwardes remembred that Rule of Apelles, Manum de Tabula, But he was greadye of honor, and hott, vpon the publique Endes, & to Confident in the p[ro]speritie of begin[n]ings / as some where, Pollibius that greate Critticque of warre, Observeth of young Leaders, whom Fortune hath not before deceived in this their Millitary Care / and dispensac[i]on of Reward and punishment There were verye Few Remarkable Occasions, vnder the Duke, saving his Continuall vigillancie, and voluntarye hazard of his p[er]son / And kindnes to the Soldiers: both from his owne Table, and purse / For there could be few, disorders w[i]thin an Island, where his Troopes had noe Scope to disband / And the Inferior Com[m]au[n]ders were still in his sight

In the Earle, wee haue two examples of his Severitie / The one in the Island vioage, where hee threwe A Soldier, w[i]th his owne handes out of A Shipp / The other in Ireland, where he decimated certaine Troopes, that had runn awaye / Renewing A peece of the Romane discipline / On the other Syde, wee haue manye of his Lenitye And one of his Facillitie, when hee did Conyve att the bould e[n]t[e]rprise of S[i]r Walter Raleighe, whoe, before his owne Arryvall, at Fyall, had landed there against his precise Com[m]aundment att w[hi]ch tyme, hee lett fall a Noble worde, For being pressed by one, whose name I neede not remember, that att least, he would putt him vppon A Martiall Courte. that I would doe, said hee, if he were my frende /


And nowe I am draweing, towardes the last Acte of them both, which was written in the Booke of necessitie / At the Earles End, I was Abroad, but when I came home, thoughe little was lefte For Writters to gleane, From Iudges / yett I spent some Curiositye to searche, what it might bee, that could precipitate him, in to Suche A Prodigious Catastiophe (and I must according to my professed Freedome, deliver a Circu[m]stance or two, of some weight in [th]e Truth of that Storye, w[hi]ch was neither discovered att his Arraignement nor after in any of his private Confessions /

There was amongst his neerest attendance, one Henry Cuffe, A man of Secrett Ambitions endes, of his owne, & of p[ro]porc[i]onate Councells, Smoothered vnder the habitt of A Scholler, & Slubbered over, w[i]th A certayne Rude, and Clownishe Fellowe, that had the Assemblau[n]ce of Integritye

This Person, not above Five or Sixe weekes before my Lordes Fatall eruption into the Cittie, was by the Earles Speciall Comaund Suddainelye discharged from all further attendance, or Accesse vnto him, out of an Inwarde displeasure then taken, against his sharpe & importunate Infussions, and out of A Glymeringe Fore sight, that hee would proue the verye Instrument of his Ruyne /

I must add heerevnto, that about the same Tyme, My Lord had receyved from the Countisse of Warwicke, A Ladye powerable in the Courte, and indeed A virtuous vser of her power, the best Advice, that I ever thincke was given him, From either Sex / that when he was Free from restrainte, hee would Closelye take any Lodginge in Greenew[i]ch, And sometymes when the Queene we[n]t abroade in A good humor, whereof shee would giue him Notice, hee should come, and humble himselfe before her, in the Feild, This Cou[n]cell suncke much into him, and for some dayes, hee had resolved itt / But in the meane tyme, throughe the Intercession of the Earle of Southampton, whom Cuffe had gayned, he was Restored to my Lord[es] Eare / and soe working vpon the disgraces, and vppon vayne Foundations of vulgar Breathe / Spunne out the Fynall distruction of his M[aste]r, and himselfe / And allmost of his Restorer, yf his pardon had not bine wonne by Inches

True it is that the Earle in West[min]ster hall, did in generall disclose the Euill perswasions of this Man: But the p[ar]ticulers w[hi]ch I haue related of his dismission, and Restituc[i]on, hee buryed in his Brest / For some Reasonns Apparent enoughe, indeed, as I coniecture, not to exasperate the Case of my Lord of South[hamp]ton though he might there w[i]th peradventure A little haue mollified his owne /

The whole reporte I had by infallible meanes, From the p[er]son himselfe, that both brought the Advice Fro[m] the Aforesaid excellent Ladye, and carryed the discharge to Cuffe, whoe in A private cha[m]ber was Strucken there with into A Sounde, allmost dead to the Earthe, As if hee had Fallen fro[m] some highe Steeple, Such Turretts of hope, hee had built in his owne Fancye

Touching, the Dukes Suddaine Peryod, howe others haue pr[e]se[n]ted it to their Fancyes, I cannot determyne, For my part I must p[ro]test From my Soule, that I never call it to mynde, w[i]thout A deepe & double astonishment of my discourse and reason

First at the verye horror, and Attrocitye of the Facte, in A Christian Courte, and vnder soe Moderate A governem[en]t But much more, at the impudencie of the pr[e]tence, whereby a desp[er]ate and discontented Assassinate, would after the p[er]petrac[i]on, haue honested A meere private Revenge / as by precedent Circumstances, is Evident enoughe, w[hi]ch I know not vpo[n] what publique Respects, and would fayne, haue given it A Paryam[en]tary Cou[er], howsoever


Thus theis two great Peeres were disrobed of their Glorye Th’one by Iudgm[en]t And th’other by violence, w[hi]ch was [thei]r finall disruptio[n]

Now after this Shorte Contemplac[i]on of their {} Diversities For muche more might haue beene spoken, But that I was Fitter For A Rapsedie, then A Comentarye

I am lastlye desirous to take A Sumarye veiwe of their Conformities, w[hi]ch I verelye beleeve, wilbe founde, as manye thoughe perchance heeded by Fewe / As are extant, in anye of the Au[n]tient Paralells

They both Slept longe in the Armes of Fortune

They were both of Au[n]tient Bloode, and of Forrayne extracc[i]ons

They were bothe of Straight, and Goodlye Stature, and of able and Active Bodyes

They weere bothe Industrious, Assiduous, and intentive, to their Endes

They were bothe Privye Cou[n]sellors, and imployed at home, in the Secrettest, and waightiest Affayres of the Courte & State /

They were both, likewise Comaunded Abroade in Cheiffe, as well by Sea, as by Lande

Both Masters of the Horse att home / Both Chosen Chau[n]cellors of the same vniversitye, Namelye Cambridge

They were both indubitablye Stronge, and highe mynded men, yett of Sweete, and Accessable nature, allmost equally delighting in the Presse and Affluence of dependors and Sutors which are allwayes the Burres, and sometimes the Bryers of Favourites

They were both Maryed to verye vertuous Ladyes, & sole heyres, and left yssue of either Sexe, and both their wives converted to Contrarye Religions

They were both in themselves, excellent and rare examples of Temperance, and Sobrietie / But, neither of them of Co[n]tine[n]cye

Lastlye as they had both beene Sub[jec]te (as all greatnes, & sple[n]der is to certaine Obliquyes of their Acc[i]ons, They both (Concluded theire Earthlye Felicitye, in vnnaturall Endes, and w[i]th no great distance of Tyme, in the Space either of Liffe or Favour /

And soe haueing discharged this poore Exercise of my pen, according to my knowledge, and Realtie / Lett, vs Comitt, theis two Noble Peeres to their Eternall Rest, w[i]th their Memorable Abillityes, remayning in Fewe, and theire Compassionable infirmities Com[m]on to all. /



No introduction.


British Library, Additional MS 22591, ff. 306r-311r,

Languages: English, Latin

Creation date: 1633?


Other Witnesses

Seventeenth Century Print Exemplars

  • Sir Henry Wotton, A Parallell betweene Robert late Earle of Essex, and George late Duke of Buckingham (1641) [Wing W3647]
  • Sir Henry Wotton, Reliquiæ Wottonianæ (1651) [Wing W3648], pp. 1–36
  • Sir Henry Wotton, Reliquiæ Wottonianæ (1654) [Wing W3649], pp. 3–36
  • Sir Henry Wotton, Reliquiæ Wottonianæ (1672) [Wing W3650], pp. 161–183
  • Sir Henry Wotton, Reliquiæ Wottonianæ (1685) [Wing W3651], pp. 161–183

Modern Print Exemplars

  • Somers Tracts (2nd ed.), vol. 4, pp. 154–165

Selected Criticism

No bibliography

Keywords (Text Type)

    Keywords (Text Topics)

    • Sir Walter Ralegh

    Transcribed by: