The Natural History of Wiltshire eBook

John Aubrey
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 257 pages of information about The Natural History of Wiltshire.

Earl William [the second of that name] was a good scholar, and delighted in poetrie; and did sometimes, for his diversion, write some sonnets and epigrammes, which deserve commendation.  Some of them are in print in a little book in 8vo. intituled “Poems writt by William Earle of Pembroke, and Sir Benjamin Ruddyer, Knight, 1660.” [See ante, page 77.  A new edition of these poems was published by Sir Egerton Brydges in 1817.] He was of an heroique and publick spirit, bountifull to his friends and servants, and a great encourager of learned men.

Philip Earle of Pembroke [the first of that name], his brother, did not delight in books or poetry; but exceedingly loved painting and building, in which he had singular judgment, and had the best collection of any peer in England.  He had a wonderful sagacity in the understanding of men, and could discover whether an ambassadour’s message was reall or feigned; and his Majesty King James made great use of this talent of his.  Mr. Touars, an ingenious gentleman, who understood painting well, and did travell beyond sea to buy rare pieces for his lordship, had a pension of lOOli. per annum.  Mr. Richard Gibson, the dwarfe, whose marriage Mr. Edm.  Waller hath celebrated in his poëms, sc. the Marriage of the Dwarfs, a great master in miniture, hath a pension of an hundred pounds per annum.  Mr. Philip Massinger, author of severall good playes, was a servant to his lordship, and had a pension of twenty or thirty pounds per annum, which was payed to his wife after his decease.  She lived at Cardiffe, in Glamorganshire.  There were others also had pensions, that I have forgot.

[Arthur Massinger, the father of the poet, was attached to the establishment of the Earl of Pembroke; and Gifford, in his Life of Massinger, seems inclined to think that Philip was born at Wilton.  He was baptized in St. Thomas’s Church, Salisbury, 24 Nov. 1583.  His biographers have all been ignorant of the fact above recorded by Aubrey.  A brief memoir of the life of Massinger will be found in Hatcher’s History of Salisbury, p. 619.- J. B.]

William (third) and Philip (third) earles were gallant, noble persons, and handsome; they espoused not learning, but were addicted to field sports and hospitality.  But Thomas Earle of Pembroke has the vertues and good parts of his ancestors concentred in him; which his lordship hath not been wanting to cultivate and improve by study and travell; which make his titles shine more bright.  He is an honour to the peerage, and a glory and a blessing to his country:  but his reall worth best speakes him, and it praises him in the gates.


        Ofgardens:  — Lavington garden, Chelsey garden.

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The Natural History of Wiltshire from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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