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again rekindle the flames of war, made Edward employ various means to get possession of his person ; and at length he was betrayed into his hands by sir John Monteith, his friend, whom he had made acquainted with the place of his concealment. The king immediately ordered Wallace to be carried in chains to London : to be tried as a rebel and traitor, though he had never made submission, or sworn fealty to England, and to be executed on Towerhill, which was accordingly done, Aug. 23, 1305. This, says Hume, was the unworthy fate of a hero, who, through a course of many years, bad, with signal conduct, intrepidity, and perseverance, defended, against a public and oppressive enemy, the liberties of his native country.'
WALLAEUS. See WALÆUS.
WALLER (EDMUND), an eminent English poet, was born March 3, at Colshill in Hertfordshire. His father was Robert Waller, esq. of Aginondesham, in Buckinghamshire, whose family was originally a branch of the Wallers of Spendhurst in Kent; and his mother was the daughter of John Hampden, of Hampden in the same county, and sister to the celebrated patriot Hampden. 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 Eton ; and removed afterwards to King's college in Cambridge. He was sent to parliament in his eighteenth, if not in bis sixteenth year, and frequented the court of James the first. His political and poetical life began nearly together. In bis eighteenth year he wrote a poem that appears first in his works, on the prince's escape at St. Andero ; a piece which shewed that he attained, by a felicity like instinct, a style which perhaps will never be obsolete; and that, “ were we to judge only by the wording, we could not know what was wrote at twenty, and what at fourscore." fris versification was, in his first essay, such as it appears in his last performance. He had already formed such a system of metrical harmony * as he never afterwards much needed, or much endeavoured, to improve,
* “ He had grammar learning from Bigge, of Wickham, say (who was the information of Mr. Dobson, bis' schoolefellow, and of the same minister of Market Wickham, who formc) that he little thought then he taught a private schoole there, and would have been so rare a poet : he was (he told me) a good schoolmaster, was wont to inake his exercise for and had been bred at Eaton coll, him.” Aubrey, in " Lellers of Emi. schoole, I bave heard Mr. Tbo. pent Persons," 1813, 3 vols. 8vo.
1 Henry's and Hume's Histories of England.
The next poem is supposed by Fenton to be the address “ To the Queel" on her arrival; but this is doubtful, and we have no date of any other poetical production before that which the murder of the duke of Buckingham occasioned. Neither of these pieces that seem to carry their own dates could have been the sudden effusion of fancy. In the verses on the prince's escape, the prediction of his marriage with the princess of France must have been written after the event; in the other, the promises of the king's kindness to the descendants of Buckingham, which could not be properly praised till it had appeared by its effects, shew that time was taken for revision and improvement. It is not kuown that they were published till they appeared Jong afterwards with other poems.
Waller was not one of those idolaters of praise who cultivate their minds at the expence of their fortunes. Rich as he was by inheritance, he took care early to grow richer, by marrying Mrs. Banks, a great heiress in the city, whom the interest of the court was employed to obtain for Mr. Crofts. Having brought him a son, who died young, and a daughter, who was afterwards married to Mr. Dormer of Oxfordshire, she died in childbed, and left him a widower of about five and twenty, gay and wealthy, to please himself with another marriage.
Being too young to resist beauty, and probably too vain to think himself resistible, he fixed his heart, perhaps half fondly and half ambitiously, upon the lady Dorothea Sidney, eldest daughter of the earl of Leicester, whom he courted by all the poetry in which Sacharissa is celebrated; and describes her as a sublime predominating beauty, of lofty charms, and imperious influence; but she, it is said, rejected his addresses with disdain. She married, in 1639, the earl of Sunderland, who died at Newbury in the royal cause; and, in her old age, meeting somewhere with Waller, asked him, when he would again write such verses
* “ When he was a briske young essay.' I have severall times heard sparke, and Arst studyed poetry, 'Me. bim say, that he cannot versify whep thought," said he, I never sawe a hc will; but when the fitt comes upon good copie of English verses : they him, he does to easily.” Aubrey, an want smoothnesse; then I began to before.
upon her;“When you are as young, madam," said he," and as handsome, as you were then.” In this part of his life it was that he was known to Clarendon, among the rest of the men who were eminent in that age for genius and literature. From the verses written at Penshurst, it has been collected that he diverted his rejection by Sacharissa by a voyage; and his biographers, from his poem on the Whales, think it not improbable that he visited the Bermudas; but it seems much more likely that he should amuse himself with forming an imaginary scene, than that so important an incident, as a visit to America, should have been left floating in conjectural probability. Aubrey gives us a report that some time between the age of twenty-three and thirty, “he grew mad," but did not remain long in this unhappy state; and be seems to think that the above disappointment might have been the cause. It is remarkable that Clarendon ins sinuates something of this kind as having happened to hini, when taken up for the plot hereafter to be mentioned. The bistorian's words are, “ After Waller had, with incredible dissimulation, acted such a remorse of conscience, bis trial was put off out of Christian compassion, till he might recover his understanding." Neither of these perhaps is decisive as to the fact, but the coincidence is striking.
From his twenty-eighth to his thirty-fifth year, he wrote bis pieces on the reduction of Sallee; on the reparation of St. Paui's; to the King on his navy; the panegyric on the Queen mother; the two poems to the earl of Northumber, Jand; and perhaps others, of which the time cannot be discovered. When he had lost all hopes of Sacharissa, he looked round him for an easier conquest, and gained a lady of the family of Bresse, or Breaux." The time of his marriage is not exactly known. It has not been discovered that his wise was won by his poetry ; vor is any thing told of her, but that she brought him many children. He doubtless, says Johnson, praised some whom he would have been afraid to marry, and perhaps married one whom he would have been ashamed to praise. Many qualities contribute to domestic happiness, upon which puetry has no colours to bestow; and many airs and sallies may delight imagination, which be who fatic's them never can approve. There are charms made only for distant admiration. No spectacle is nobler than a blaze. Of this wife, however, his biográphers have recorded that she gave him five sons and eight daughters, and Aubrey says that she was beautiful and very prudent.
During the long interval of parliament, he is represented as living among those with whom it was most honourable to converse, and enjoying an exuberant fortune with that independeuce of liberty of speech and conduct which wealth ought always to produce. Being considered as the kinsman of Hampden, he was therefore supposed by the , courtiers not to favour them; and when the parliament was called in 1640, it appeared that his political character had not been mistaken. The king's demand of a supply produced from him a speech full of complaints of national grievances, and very vehement; but while the great position, that grievances ought to be redressed before supplies are granted, is agreeable enough to law and reason, Waller, if his biographer may be credited, was not such an enemy to the king, as not to wish his distresses lightened ; for he relates, “that the king sent particularly to Waller, to second his demand of some subsidies to pay off the army; and sir Henry Vane objecting against first voting a supply, because the king would not accept unless it came up to his proportion, Mr. Waller spoke earnestly to sir Thomas Jermyn, comptroller of the household, to save bis master from the effects of so bold a falsity: · for,' he said, “I am but a country gentleman, and cannot pretend to know the king's mind: but sir Thomas durst not contradict the secretary ; and his son, the earl of St. Alban’s, afterwards told Mr. Waller, that his father's cowardice ruined the king."
In the Long Parliament, which met Nov. 3, 1640, Waller represented Aymondesbam the third tiine; and was considered by the discontented pariy as a man sufficiently trusty and acrimonious to be employed in managing the prosecution of Judge Crawley, for his opinion in favour of ship.money; and his speech shews that he did not disappoint their expectations. He was probably the more ardent, as his uncle Hampden had been particularly engaged in the dispute, and, by a sentence which seems generally to be thought unconstitutional, particularly injured. He was not however a bigot to his party, nor adopted all their opinions. When the great question, whether episcopacy ought to be abolisbed, was debated, he spoke against the innovation with great coolness, reason, and Grmness; and it is to be lainented that he did not act with spirit and uniformity. When the Commons began to set the royal authority 'at open defiance,' Waller is said to have withdrawn
from the House, and to have returned with the king's permission ; and, when the king set up his standard, he sent him a thousand broad-pieces. He continued, however, to sit in parliament; but spoke,” says Clarendon," with great sharpness and freedom, which, now there was no danger of being out-voted, was not restrained ; and therefore used as an argument against those who were gone upon pretence that they were not suffered to deliver their opinion freely in the House, which could not be believed, when all men knew what liberty Mr. Waller took, and spoke every day with impunity against the sense and proceedings of the House."
Waller, as he continued to sit, was one of the commissioners nominated by parliament to treat with the king at Oxford : and when they were presented, the king said to him, “ Though you are the last, you are not the lowest, por the least in my favour.” Whitlock, another of the commissioners, imputes this kind compliment to the king's knowledge of the plot, in which Waller appears afterwards to have been engaged against the parliament. Fenton, with equal probability, believes that this attempt to promote the royal cause arose from bis sensibility of the king's tenderness. Of Waller's conduct at Oxford we have no account. The attempt, just mentioned, known by the name of Waller's plot, was soon afterwards discovered.
Waller had a brother-in-law, Tomkyos, who was clerk of the queen's council, and had great influence in the city. Waller and he, conversing with great confidence, told both their own secrets and those of their friends :, and, surveying the wide extent of their conversation, imagined that they found in the majority of all ranks great disapprobation of the violence of the Commons, and unwillingness to continue the war. They knew that many favoured the king, whose fear concealed their loyalty : and they imagined that, if those who had these good intentions could be informed of their own strength, and enabled by intel. ligence to act together, they might overpower the fury of sedition, by refusing to comply with the ordinance for the twentieth part, and the other taxes levied for the support of the rebel army, and by uniting great numbers in a petition for peace.
They proceeded with great caution. Three only met in one place, and no man was allowed to impart the plot to more than two others ; so that, if any