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at his return from Bath, as my lord vice-chamberlain, my lord Clifford, and myself his son, and son-inlaw, and many more can witness : but that, the day before, he swooned on the way, and was taken out of his litter, and laid into his coach, was a truth, out of which that falsehood, concerning the manner of his death, had its derivation, though nothing to the purpose, or to the prejudice of his worth.
SIR Francis Vere was of that antient, and of the most noble extract of the earls of Oxford ; and it may be a question whether the nobility of his house, or the honour of his achievments, might most commend him, but that we have an authentick rule:
Nam genus &
genus & proavos & quæ nos non fecimus ipsi, Vix ea nostra voco.
For though he was an honourable slip of that antient tree of nobility, which was no disadvantage to his virtue, yet he brought more glory to the name of Vere, than he took of blood from the family.
He was, amongst all the queen's swordsmen, inferior to none, but superior to many ; of whom it may be said, to speak much of him were the way to leave out somewhat that might add to his praise, and to forget more than would make to his honour.
I find not that he came much to the court, for he lived almost perpetually in the camp; but, when he died, no man had more of the queen’s favour, and none less envied, for he seldom troubled it with the noise and alarms of supplications ; his way was another fort of undermining.
They report that the queen, as she loved martial men, would court this gentleman, as soon as he appeared in her presence; and surely he was a soldier of great worth and command, thirty years in the fervice of the States, and twenty years over the English in chief, as the queen's general: and he, that had seen the battle of Newport, might there best have taken him and his noble brother *, the lord of Tilbury, to the life.
MY lord of Worcester I have here put last, but not least in the queen's favour; he was of the antient and noble blood of the Beauforts, and of hert grandfather's kin by the mother, which the queen could never forget, especially where there was an incurrence of old blood with fidelity, a mixture which ever sorted with the queen's nature ; and though there might hap somewhat in this house, which might invert her grace, though not to speak of my lord himself but in due reverence and honour, I mean contrariety or suspicion in religion ; yet the queen ever respected his house, and principally his noble blood, whom she first made master of her horse, and then admitted him of her council of state.
In his youth, part whereof he spent before he came to reside at court, he was a very fine gentleman, and the best horseman and tilter of the times, which were then the manlike and noble recreations of the court, and such as took up the applause of men, as well as the praise and commendation of ladies; and when years had abated those exercifes of honour, he grew; then to be a faithful and profound counsellor ; and as I have placed him laft, fo was he the last liver of all her servants of her favour, and had the honour to see his renowned mistress, and all of them, laid in the places of their rests; and for himself, after a life of very noble and remarkable reputation, and in a peaceable old age, a fate that I make the last, and none of my slightest observations, which befel not many of the rest, for they expired like unto a light blown out with the snuff stinking, not commendably extinguished, and with an offence to the standers-by. And thus I have delivered up my poor essay, or little draught of this great princess and her times, with the servants of her state and favour. I cannot say I have finished it, for I know how defective and imperfect it is, as limbed only in the original nature, not without the a&ive blessings, and so left it as a task fitter for remoter times, and the sallies of some bolder pencil to correct that which is amifs, and draw the rest up to life, than for me to have endeavoured it. I took it in consideration, how I might have dashed into it much of the stain of pollution, and thereby have defaced that little which is done ; for I profess I have taken care to master my pen, that I might not err animo *, or of set purpose discolour each or any of the parts thereof, otherwise than in concealment. Haply there are some who will not approve of this modesty, but will censure it for pufillanimity, and, with the cunning artist, attempt to draw their line further out at length, and upon this of mine, which way (with somewhat more ease) it may be effected; for that the frame is ready made to their hands, and then haply I could draw one in the midst of theirs, but that modesty in me forbids the defacements in men departed, their posterity yet remaining, enjoying the merit of their virtues, and do still live in their honour. And I had rather incur the censure of abruption, than to be conscious and taken in the manner, finning by eruption, or trampling on the graves of persons at rest, which living we durst not look in the face, nor make our addresses unto them, otherwise than with due regard to their honours, and reverence to their yirtues.