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sage to the throne. That therefore which we pray may be happy, auspicious, and fortunate to our orthodox commonwealth, and to all Christendom, with free and unanimous votes, none opposing, all consenting and applauding, by the right of our free election, notwithstanding the absence of those which have been called and not appeared; We being led by no private respect, but having only before our eyes the glory of God, the increase of the ancient catholic church, the safety of the commonwealth, and the dignity of the Polish nation and name, have thought fit to elect, create, and name, JOHN in Zolkiew and Złoczew Sobietski, supreme marshal general of the kingdom, general of the armies, governor of Neva, Bara, Strya, Loporovient, and Kalussien, most eminently adorned with so high endowments, merits, and splendour, to be KING of Poland, grand duke of Lithuania, Russia, Prussia, Mazovia, Samogitia, Kyovia, Volhinia, Padlachia, Podolia, Livonia, Smolensko, Severia, and Czerniechovia, as we have elected, created, declared, and named him: I, the aforesaid bishop of Cracovia, (the archiepiscopal see being vacant,) exercising the office and authority of primate, and by consent of all the states, thrice demanded, opposed by none, by all and every one approved, conclude the election; promising faithfully, that we will always perform to the same most serene and potent elect prince, lord JOHN the Third, our king, the same faith, subjection, obedience, and loyalty, according to our rights and liberties, as we have performed to his blessed ancestor, as also that we will crown the same most serene elect in the next assembly at Cracovia, to that end ordained, as our true king and lord, with the regal diadem, with which the kings of Poland were wont to be crowned; and after the manner which the Roman Catholic church beforetime hath observed in anointing and inaugurating kings, we will anoint and inaugurate him; yet so as he shall hold fast and observe first of all the rights, immunities both ecclesiastical and secular, granted and given unto us by his ancestor of blessed memory; as also these laws, which we ourselves in the time of this present and former interreign, according to the right of our liberty, and better preservation of the commonwealth, have established. And if, moreover, the most serene elect will bind himself by an oath, to perform the conditions concluded with those persons sent by his majesty before the exhibition of this present
decree of election, and will provide in best manner for the performance of them by his authentic letters; which decree of election we, by divine aid desirous to put in execution, do send by common consent, to deliver it into the hand of the most serene elect, the most illustrious and reverend lord bishop of Cracovia, together with some senators and chief officers, and the illustrious and magnificent Benedictus Sapieha, treasurer of the court of the great dukedom of Lithuania, marshal of the equestrian order; committing to them the same degree of intimating an oath, upon the aforesaid premises, and receiving his subscription; and at length to give and deliver the same decree into the hands of the said elect, and to act and perform all other things which this affair requires: in assurance whereof the seals of the lords senators, and those of the equestrian order deputed to sign, are here affixed.
Given by the hands of the most illustrious and reverend father in Christ, the lord Andrew Olszonski, bishop of Culma and Pomisania, high-chancellor of the kingdom, in the general ordinary assembly of the kingdom, and great dukedom of Lithuania, for the election of the new king. Warsaw, the twenty-second day of May, in the year of our Lord sixteen hundred and seventy-four.
In the presence of Franciscus Praskmouski, provost of Guesna, abbot of Sieciethovia, chief secretary of the kingdom; Joannes Malachowski, abbot of Mogila, referendary of the kingdom, &c.; with other great officers of the kingdom and clergy, to the number of fourscore and two. And the rest, very many great officers, captains, secretaries, courtiers, and inhabitants of the kingdom, and great dukedom of Lithuania, gathered together at Warsaw to the present assembly of the election of the kingdom and great dukedom of Lithuania. Assistants at the solemn oath taken of his sacred majesty on the fifth day of the month of June, in the palace at Warsaw, after the letters-patents delivered upon the covenants, and agreements, or capitulations, the most reverend and excellent lord Francisco Bonvisi, archbishop of Thessalonica, apostolic nuncio; count Christopherus a Scaffgotsch, Cæcareus Tussanus de Forbin, de Jason, bishop of Marseilles in France, Joannes free-baron Hoverbec, from the marquis of Brandenburg, ambassadors, and other envoys
and ministers of state.
EDITOR'S PRELIMINARY REMARKS.
THESE Epistles, originally written in Latin, are here given in the very elc. gant translation of Mr. Fellowes, of Oxford, who, in most instances, has happily and with much feeling entered into and expressed the views of Milton. For nobleness of sentiment, and lofty dignity of thought, no letters with which I am acquainted surpass these. They commence in youth, and, few, alas! as they are, carry us forward to a period not far removed from the writer's death. It seems to me impossible to peruse them without the deepest interest. They open to us, though doubtless much too little, a view into the every-day frame of mind, and household habits, of our great poet; and few, perhaps, will read these valued fragments of his inner life, without experiencing the sincerest regret that there should be no more of them, without perceiving with sorrow the number of the leaves decrease, and the end approaching, of what, to all who love, as I do, the memory of this great and good man, must be an enjoyment of the most perfect and exalted nature.
To his Tutor, THOMAS YOUng.
THOUGH I had determined, my excellent tutor, to write you an epistle in verse, yet I could not satisfy myself without sending also another in prose, for the emotions of my gratitude, which your services so justly inspire, are too expansive and too warm to be expressed in the confined limits of poetical metre; they demand the unconstrained freedom of prose, or rather the exuberant richness of Asiatic phraseology: though it would far exceed my power accurately to describe how much I am obliged to you, even if I could drain dry all the sources of eloquence, or exhaust all the topics of discourse which Aristotle or the famed Parisian logician has collected. You complain with truth that my letters have been very few and very short; but I do not grieve at the omission of so pleasureable a duty, so much as I rejoice at having such a place in your regard as makes you anxious often to hear from me. I beseech you not to take it amiss, that I have not now written to you for more than three years; but with your usual benignity to impute it rather to circumstances than to inclination. For Heaven knows, that I regard you as a parent, that I have always treated you with the utmost respect, and
that I was unwilling to teaze you with my compositions, And I was anxious that if my letters had nothing else to recommend them, they might be recommended by their rarity. And lastly, since the ardour of my regard makes me imagine that you are always present, that I hear your voice and contemplate your looks; and as thus (which is usually the case with lovers) I charm away my grief by the illusion of your presence, I was afraid when I wrote to you the idea of your distant separation should forcibly rush upon my mind; and that the pain of your absence, which was almost soothed into quiescence, should revive and disperse the pleasurable dream. I long since received your desirable present of the Hebrew Bible. I wrote this at my lodgings in the city, not, as usual, surrounded by my books. If, therefore, there be anything in this letter which either fails to give pleasure, or which frustrates expectation, it shall be compensated by a more elaborate composition as soon as I return to the dwelling of the muses.
London, March 26, 1625.
To ALEXANDER GILL.
I RECEIVED your letters and your poem, with which I was highly delighted, and in which I discover the majesty of a poet, and the style of Virgil. I knew how impossible it would be for a person of your genius entirely to divert his mind from the culture of the muses, and to extinguish those heavenly emotions, and that sacred and ethereal fire which is kindled in your heart. For what Claudian said of himself may be said of you, your "whole soul is instinct with the fire of Apollo." If, therefore, on this occasion, you have broken your own promises, I here commend the want of constancy which you mention: I commend the want of virtue, if any want of virtue there be. But in referring the merits of your poem to my judgment, you confer on me as great an honour as the gods would if the contending musical immortals had called me in to adjudge the palm of victory; as poets babble that it formerly fell to the lot of Imolus, the guardian of the Lydian mount. I know not whether I ought to congratulate Henry Nassau more on the capture of the city, or the compo
sition of your poems. For I think that this victory produced nothing more entitled to distinction and to fame than your poem. But since you celebrate the successes of our allies in lays so harmonious and energetic, what may we not expect when our own successes call for the congratulations of your muse? Adieu, learned sir, and believe me greatly obliged. by the favour of your verses.
London, May 26, 1628.
To the same.
IN my former letter I did not so much answer yours as deprecate the obligation of then answering it; and therefore at the time I tacitly promised that you should soon receive another, in which I would reply at length to your friendly challenge. But, though I had not promised this, it would most justly be your due, since one of your letters is full worth two of mine, or rather, on an accurate computation, worth a hundred. When your letter arrived, I was strenuously engaged in that work concerning which I had given you some obscure hints, and the execution of which could not be delayed. One of the fellows of our college, who was to be the respondent in a philosophical disputation for his degree, engaged me to furnish him with some verses, which are annually required on this occasion; since he himself had long neglected such frivolous pursuits, and was then intent on more serious studies. Of these verses I sent you a printed copy, since I knew both your discriminating taste in poetry, and your candid allowances for poetry like mine. If you will in your turn deign to communicate to me any of your productions, you will, 1 can assure you, find no one to whom they will give more deight, or who will more impartially endeavour to estimate their worth. For as often as I recollect the topics of your conversation, (the loss of which I regret even in this seminary of erudition,) I cannot help painfully reflecting on what advantages I am deprived by your absence, since I never left your company without an increase of knowledge, and always had recourse to your mind as to an emporium of literature. Among us, as far as I know, there are only two or three, who without any acquaintance with criticism or philosophy,