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thoughts, much less on the desires of his heart, then he did more seriously consider it; and remembered that Almighty God was pleased in a dream to reveal and to assure Monica, the mother of St. Austin, " That he, her son, for whom she wept so bitterly, and prayed so much, should at last become a Christian?.” This, I believe, the good Dean considered; and considering also that Almighty God (though the causes of dreams be often unknown) hath even in these latter times also, by a certain illumination of the soul in sleep, discovered many things that human wisdom could not foresee; upon these considerations he resolved to use so prudent a remedy by way of prevention, as might introduce no great inconvenience either to himself or to his nephew. And to that end he wrote the Queen, (it was Queen Mary,) and besought her, - That she would cause his nephew, Thomas Wotton, to be sent for out of Kent; and that the Lords of her Council might interrogate him in some such feigned questions, as might give a colour for his commitment into a favourable prison; declaring that he would acquaint her Majesty with the true reason of his request, when he should next become so happy as to see and speak to her Majesty."
It was done as the Dean desired; and in prison I must leave Mr. Wotton, till I have told the reader what followed.
At this time a marriage was concluded betwixt our Queen Mary, and Philip, King of Spain; and though this was concluded with the advice, if not by the persuasion of her Privy Council, as having many probabilities of advantage to this nation; yet divers persons of a contrary persuasion did not only declare against it, but also raised forces to oppose it; believing (as they said) it would be a means to
1 St. Austin's Confessions.
bring England to be under a subjection to Spain, and make those of this nation slaves to strangers.
And of this number, Sir Thomas Wyat, of Boxley Abbey in Kent, (betwixt whose family and the family of the Wottons there had been an ancient and entire friendship,) was the principal actor; who having persuaded many of the nobility and gentry (especially of Kent) to side with him, and he being defeated and taken prisoner, was legally arraigned and condemned, and lost his life; so did the Duke of Suffolk and divers others, especially many of the gentry of Kent, who were there in several places executed as Wyat's assistants.
And of this number, in all probability, had Mr. Wotton been, if he had not been confined; for, though he could not be ignorant that “ Another man's treason makes it mine by concealing it,” yet he durst confess to his uncle, when he returned into England, and then came to visit him in prison, “That he had more than an intimation of Wyat's intentions;" and thought he had not continued actually innocent, if his uncle had not so happily dreamed him into a prison; out of which place, when he was delivered by the same hand that caused his commitment, they both considered the dream more seriously, and then both joined in praising God for it; - That God, who ties himself to no rules, either in preventing of evil, or in showing of mercy to those, whom of good pleasure he hath chosen to love."
And this dream was the more considerable, because that God, who in the days of old did use to speak to his people in visions, did seem to speak to many of this family in dreams; of which I will also give the reader one short particular of this Thomas Wotton, whose dreams did usually prove true, both in foretelling things to come, and discovering things past; and the particular is this.- This Thomas, a
little before his death, dreamed that the University Treasury was robbed by townsmen and poor scholars, and that the number was five; and being that day to write to his son Henry at Oxford, he thought it worth so much pains, as by a postscript in his letter, to make a slight inquiry of it. The letter (which was writ out of Kent, and dated three days before) came to his son's hands the very morning after the night in which the robbery was committed; and when the City and University were both in a perplexed inquest of the thieves, then did Sir Henry Wotton show his father's letter, and by it such light was given of this work of darkness, that the five guilty persons were presently discovered and apprehended, without putting the University to so much trouble as the casting of a figure.
And it may yet be more considerable, that this Nicholas and Thomas Wotton should both (being men of holy lives, of even tempers, and much given to fasting and prayer) foresee and foretel the
very days of their own death. Nicholas did so, being then seventy years of age, and in perfect health. Thomas did the like in the sixty-fifth year of his age; who being then in London (where he died), and foreseeing his death there, gave direction in what manner his body should be carried to Bocton; and though he thought his uncle Nicholas worthy of that noble monument which he built for him in the Cathedral Church of Canterbury; yet this bumble man gave direction concerning himself, to be buried privately, and especially without any pomp at his funeral.
This is some account of this family, which seemed to be beloved of God.
But it may now seem more than time that I return to Sir Henry Wotton at Oxford; where, after his optique lecture, he was taken into such a bosom
friendship with the learned Albericus Gentilis, (whom I formerly named,) that, if it had been possible, Gentilis would have breathed all his excellent knowledge, both of the mathematics and law, into the breast of his dear Harry, for so Gentilis used to call him: and though he was not able to do that, yet there was in Sir Henry such a propensity and connaturalness to the Italian language, and those studies whereof Gentilis was a great master, that the friendship between them did daily increase, and proved daily advantageous to Sir Henry, for the improvement of him in several sciences during his stay in the University.
From which place, before I shall invite the reader to follow him into a foreign nation, though I must omit to mention divers persons that were then in Oxford, of memorable note for learning, and friends to Sir Henry Wotton; yet I must not omit the mention of a love that was there begun betwixt him and Dr. Donne, sometime Dean of St. Paul's; a man of whose abilities I shall forbear to say any thing, because he who is of this nation, and pretends to learning or ingenuity, and is ignorant of Dr. Donne, deserves not to know him. The friendship of these two I must not omit to mention, being such a friendship as was generously elemented; and as it was begun in their
youth, and in an University, and there maintained by correspondent inclinations and studies, so it lasted till age and death forced a separation.
In Oxford he stayed till about two years after his father's death ; at which time he was about the twenty-second year of his age; and having to his great wit added the ballast of learning, and knowledge of the arts, he then laid aside his books, and betook himself to the useful library of travel, and a more general conversation with mankind; employing the remaining part of his youth, his industry,
and fortune, to adorn his mind, and to purchase the rich treasure of foreign knowledge; of which, both for the secrets of nature, the dispositions of many nations, their several laws and languages, he was the possessor in a very large measure; as I shall faithfully make to appear, before I take my pen from the following narration of his life.
In his travels, which was almost nine years before his return into England, he stayed but one year in France, and most of that in Geneva, where he became acquainted with Theodore Beza, (then very aged,) and with Isaac Casaubon, in whose house, if I be rightly informed, Sir Henry Wotton was lodged, and there contracted a most worthy friendship with that man of rare learning and ingenuity.
Three of the remaining eight years were spent in Germany, the other five in Italy, (the stage on which God appointed he should act a great part of his life;) where both in Rome, Venice, and Florence, he became acquainted with the most eminent men for learning and all manner of arts; as picture, sculpture, chymistry, architecture, and other manual arts, even arts of inferior nature; of all which he was a most dear lover, and a most excellent judge.
He returned out of Italy into England about the thirtieth year of his age, being then noted by many both for his person and comportment; for indeed he was of a choice shape, tall of stature, and of a most persuasive behaviour; which was so mixed with sweet discourse and civilities, as gained him much love from all persons with whom he entered into an acquaintance.
And whereas he was noted in his youth to have a sharp wit, and apt to jest; that, by time, travel, and conversation, was so polished, and made so useful, that his company seemed to be one of the delights of mankind; insomuch, as Robert, Earl of