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- DICKORY CRONKE - 6/7 -
down, and the water that runs under it shall be tinctured with the blood of two notorious malefactors, whose unexpected death shall make mighty alterations in the present state of affairs, and put a stop to the ruin of a nation, which must otherwise have been unavoidable.
8. 1723 begins with plots, conspiracies, and intestine commotions in several countries; nor shall Great Britain itself be free from the calamity. These shall continue till a certain young prince shall take the reins of government into his own hands; and after that, a marriage shall be proposed, and an alliance concluded between two great potentates, who shall join their forces, and endeavour, in good earnest, to set all matters upon a right foundation.
9. This year several cardinals and prelates shall be publicly censured for heretical principles, and shall narrowly escape from being torn to pieces by the common people, who still look upon them as the grand disturbers of public tranquillity, perfect incendiaries, and the chief promoters of their former, present, and future calamities.
10. In 1724-5 there will be many treaties and negociations, and Great Britain, particularly, will be crowded with foreign ministers and ambassadors from remote princes and states. Trade and commerce will begin to flourish and revive, and everything will have a comfortable prospect, until some desperadoes, assisted by a monster with many heads, shall start new difficulties, and put the world again into a flame; but these shall be but of short duration.
11. Before the expiration of 1725, an eagle from the north shall fly directly to the south, and perch upon the palace of a prince, and first unravel the bloody projects and designs of a wicked set of people, and then publicly discover the murder of a great king, and the intended assassination of another greater than he.
12. In 1726, three princes will be born that will grow up to be men, and inherit the crowns of three of the greatest monarchies in Europe.
13. About this time the pope will die, and after a great many intrigues and struggles, a Spanish cardinal shall be elected, who shall decline the dignity, and declare his marriage with a great lady, heiress of one of the chief principalities in Italy, which may occasion new troubles in Europe, if not timely prevented.
14. In 1727, new troubles shall break out in the north, occasioned by the sudden death of a certain prince, and the avarice and ambition of another. Poor Poland seems to be pointed at; but the princes of the south shall enter into a confederacy to preserve her, and shall at length restore her peace, and prevent the perpetual ruin of her constitution.
15. Great endeavours will be used about this time for a comprehension in religion, supported by crafty and designing men, and a party of mistaken zealots, which they shall artfully draw in to join with them; but as the project is ill-concerted, and will be worse managed, it will come to nothing; and soon afterwards an effectual mode will be taken to prevent the like attempt for the future.
16. 1728 will be a year of inquiry and retrospection. Many exorbitant grants will be reassumed, and several persons who thought themselves secure will be called before the senate, and compelled to disgorge what they have unjustly pillaged either from the crown or the public.
17. About this time a new scaffold will be erected upon the confines of a certain great city, where an old count of a new extraction, that has been of all parties and true to none, will be doomed by his peers to make his first appearance. After this an old lady who has often been exposed to danger and disgrace, and sometimes brought to the very brink of destruction, will be brought to bed of three daughters at once, which they shall call Plenty, Peace, and Union; and these three shall live and grow up together, be the glory of their mother, and the comfort of posterity for many generations.
This is the substance of what he either writ or extracted from his papers in the interval between the loss of his speech and the return of his fit, which happened exactly at the time he had computed.
Upon the approach of his fit, he made signs to be put to bed, which was no sooner done but he was seized with extreme agonies, which he bore up under with the greatest steadfastness, and after a severe conflict, that lasted near eight hours, he expired.
Thus lived and thus died this extraordinary person; a person, though of mean extraction and obscure life, yet when his character comes to be fully and truly known, it will be read with pleasure, profit, and admiration.
His perfections at large would be the work of a volume, and inconsistent with the intention of these papers. I will, therefore, only add, for a conclusion, that he was a man of uncommon thought and judgment, and always kept his appetites and inclinations within their just limits.
His reason was strong and manly, his understanding sound and active, and his temper so easy, equal, and complaisant, that he never fell out, either with men or accidents. He bore all things with the highest affability, and computed justly upon their value and consequence, and then applied them to their proper uses.
A LETTER FROM OXFORD
Being informed that you speedily intend to publish some memoirs relating to our dumb countryman, Dickory Cronke, I send you herewith a few lines, in the nature of an elegy, which I leave you to dispose of as you think fit. I knew and admired the man; and if I were capable, his character should be the first thing I would attempt.
AN ELEGY, IN MEMORY OF DICKORY CRONKE, THE DUMB PHILOSOPHER.
Vitiis nemo sine nascitur; optimus ille est, Qui minimus urgetur.--HORACE.
If virtuous actions emulation raise, Then this good man deserves immortal praise. When nature such extensive wisdom lent, She sure designed him for our precedent. Such great endowments in a man unknown, Declare the blessings were not all his own; But rather granted for a time to show What the wise hand of Providence can do. In him we may a bright example see Of nature, justice, and morality; A mind not subject to the frowns of fate, But calm and easy in a servile state. He always kept a guard upon his will And feared no harm because he knew no ill. A decent posture and an humble mien, In every action of his life were seen. Through all the different stages that he went, He still appeared both wise and diligent: Firm to his word, and punctual to his trust, Sagacious, frugal, arable, and just. No gainful views his bounded hopes could sway, No wanton thought led his chaste soul astray. In short, his thoughts and actions both declare, Nature designed him her philosopher; That all mankind, by his example taught, Might learn to live, and manage every thought. Oh! could my muse the wondrous subject grace, And, from his youth, his virtuous actions trace; Could I in just and equal numbers tell How well he lived, and how devoutly fell, I boldly might your strict attention claim, And bid you learn, and copy out the man.
J. P. Exeter College, August 25th, 1719.
The occasion of this epitaph was briefly thus:- A gentleman, who had heard much in commendation of this dumb man, going accidentally to the churchyard where he was buried, and finding his grave without a tombstone, or any manner of memorandum of his death, he pulled out his pencil, and writ as follows:-
PAUPER UBIQUE JACET.
Near to this lonely unfrequented place, Mixed with the common dust, neglected lies The man that every muse should strive to grace, And all the world should for his virtue prize. Stop, gentle passenger, and drop a tear, Truth, justice, wisdom, all lie buried here.
What, though he wants a monumental stone, The common pomp of every fool or knave, Those virtues which through all his actions shone Proclaim his worth, and praise him in the grave. His merits will a bright example give, Which shall both time and envy too outlive.
Oh, had I power but equal to my mind, A decent tomb should soon this place adorn, With this inscription: Lo, here lies confined
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