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HENRY THE SECOND'S CHARACTER.
EXTRACTED FROM THE MONKS.
(Hard to gather his character from such bad authors.]
A wise prince, to whom other princes referred their differences, and had ambassadors from both empires, east and west, as well as others, at once in his court.
Strong and brawny body, patient of cold and heat, big head, broad breast, broken voice, temperate in meat, using much exercise, just stature, forma elegantissima, colore subruro, oculis glaucis, sharp wit, very great memory, constancy in adversity and in felicity, except at last he yielded, because almost forsaken of all; liberal, imposed few tributes, excellent soldier, and fortunate, wise and not unlearned. His vices: mild and promising in adversity, fierce and hard, and a violator of faith in prosperity; covetous to his domestics and children, although liberal to soldiers and strangers, which turned the former from him; loved profit more than justice; very lustful, which likewise turned his sons and others from him. Rosamond and the labyrinth at Woodstock. Not very religious; mortuos milites lugens plus quam vivas amans, largus in publico. parcus in privato. Constant in love and hatred, false to his word, morose, a lover of ease. Oppressor of nobles, sullen, and a delayer of justice ; verbo varius et versutus
used churchmen well after Becket's death; charitable to the poor, levied few taxes, hated slaughter and cruelty. A great memory, and always knew those he once saw.
Very indefatigable in his travels backward and forward to Normandy, &c. of most endless desires to increase his dominions.
* * * * *
CAPTAIN JOHN CREICHTON.
FROM HIS OWN MATERIALS,
DRAWN UP AND DIGESTED BY
DR J. SWIFT, D. S. P. D.
The Printer's Advertisement sufficiently explains the purpose of these Memoirs, which form a most extraordinary picture of the times in which they were written. That a soldier of fortune, like Creichton, bred up, as it were, to the pursuit of the unfortunate fanatics, who were the objects of persecution in the reigns of Charles II. and James II., should have felt no more sympathy for them than the hunter for the game which he destroys, we can conceive perfectly natural: Nor is it to be wondered at that a man of letters, overlooking the cruelty of this booted apostle of prelacy in the wild interest of bis narrations, should have listened and registered the exploits which he detailed. But what we must consider as shocking and even disgusting, is the obvious relish with which these acts are handed down to us in Swift's own narrative. The best apology is, that the reporter assumed the tone and spirit of the original hero, and that any trait of remorse, or penitence, would have utterly injured the authenticity of the Memoirs. If, however, the generous and freeborn spirit of Swift could regard with complacence the pitiless slaughter of those ignorant and miserable enthusiasts, merely because they were enemies to the hierarchy, it is a striking instance how humanity and liberality may be hoodwinked by prejudices of education, interest, and political faction.
The Memoirs of Captain John Creichton were first printed in duo. decimo, without publisher's name or place of publication, in 1731, and bore on the title, to be “ written by himself.”