« PreviousContinue »
DMUND WALLER was born on the
third of March, 1605, at Colfhill in Hertfordshire. His father was Robert Waller, Esquire, of Agmondesham in BuckinghamThire, whose family was originally a branch of the Kentish Wallers ; and his mother was the daughter of John Hampden, of Hampden in the same county, and fifter to Hampden, the zealot of rebellion.
His father died while he was yet an infant, but left him a yearly income of three thousand five hundred pounds; which, rating together the value of money and the customs of life, we may reckon more than equivalent to ten thousand at the present time.
He was educated, by the care of his mother, at Eaton; and removed afterwards to King's VOL. 11.
College in Cambridge. He was sent to parliament in his eighteenth, if not in his sixteenth year, and frequented the court of James the First, where he heard a very remarkable conversation, which the writer of the Life prefixed to his Works, who seems to have been well informed of facts, though he may sometimes err in chronology, has delivered as indubitably certain :
" He found Dr. Andrews, bishop of Win"chester, and Dr. Nealc, bishop of Durham,
standing behind his Majesty's chair ; and “ there happened something extraordinary,” continues this writer, " in the conversation “ those prelates had with the king, on which “ Mr. Waller did often reflect. His Majesty “ asked the bishops, “ My Lords, cannot I “ take my subjects money, when I want it, “ without all this formality of parliament?” “ The bishop of Durhain readily answered, “God forbid, Sir, but you should : you are as the breath of our nostrils' Whereupon the “ King turned and said to the bishop of Win“chester, “ Well, my Lord, what fay you?'? "Sir,' replied the bishop, “I have no fkill to judge of parliamentary cases.'
The King " anfwered,