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Wood quaintly expresses it, "the happiness of his pen, both in poetry and prose, doth declare.”

The fortunes of Overbury now become mixed up with those of the powerful Earl of Somerset, some of the events of whose early career we must briefly bring before the reader.

Robert Carr was descended from an ancient Scottish family,* and had spent some years in France, acquiring the necessary qualifications of a courtier. Some writers have asserted, that he had been a favourite of King James in Scotland, and at the coronation was made a Knight; but this is not the fact. Sir Robert Carr, who was made a Knight of the Bath at the coronation, was afterwards created Earl of Ancram; he was related to Somerset. Robert Carr hard certainly been a royal page before the accession of James to the throne of England; he was, however, a mere child at the time, and many years must have elapsed before his re-introduction at court in 1606.

The circumstances attending the establishment of his favour with the king, are graphically describer by Sir Anthony Weldon, whose “Court of King James " is worthy of much inore credit than is commonly assigned to it.

He was the son of Carr, of Fernihurst, a faithful servant of Queen Mary of Scotland, and frequently mentioned in her letters.

+ Woods calls this book "a most notorious libel ;" Rapin "A satire ;” and Dr. Campbell asserts “that the notions and evidence it contains are of no value at all.” Mr. Brewer, the recent erlitor vf Bishop Gooxlınan's Court of King James the first, calls Weldon an infamous writer," and "a monster of impurity.But in spite of those learned

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“There was there," says the knight, "a young gentleman, master Robert Carre, who had his breeding in France, and was newly returned from travel, a gentleman very handsome and well bred, and one that was observed to spende his time in serious studies, and did accompany himselfe with none but men of such eminences, as by whom he might be bettered. This gentleman, the Scots so wrought it, that they got him a groom's place of the Bedchamber, and was very well pleasing to all. He did more than any other associate himselfe with Sir Thomas Overbury, a man of excellent parts, (but those made him proude, over-valuing himselfe, and writers, recent discoveries fully confirm the truth of Welilon's statements.

Sir Anthony Weldon was of ancient family, originally of Weltilen, in Northumberland. Hugh Weltden, second son of Simon Weltden, of Weltden, temp. Henry VI., was sewer to Henry VII. His second son Edward was Master of the Household to Henry VIII. and ownel the manor of Swanscombe in Kent, where he settled. His son Anthony was Clerk of the Spicery, and afterwards promoted to be Clerk of the Green Cloth to Qucen Elizabeth, in which office he died. His eldest son, Sir Ralph Wellon, died in the same office to King James, 1009, at. 64; and Sir Ralph's younger brother Anthony, who died 1613, was Clerk of the Kitchen to both Queen Elizabetli and King James, which office he surrendered to his nephew, Sir Anthony, (son of Sir Ralph), our author, 2nd James. (See his cpitaph in Swanscombe Church, printed in Thorpe's Registrum Roffense, p. 1005; and Hastel's Kent, second edition, 8vo. vol. ii. pp. 411, 412.)

These particulars are derived from Sir E. Brydges' Meinoirs of the Peers of England, during the Reign of James the First: 8vo. 1802, p. 106. They are not included in Sir W. Scott's notice of the author, prefixed to his reprint of Weldon's Court of King James. (See Secret History of the Court of James the First: 8v0. Edinburgh, 1811, vol. i. p. 301.)

under-valuing others, and was infected with a kind of insolency.) With this gentleman spent he most of his time, and drew the eyes of the court, as well as the affection of his master upon him; yet very few, but such as were the curious observers of those times, could discern the drawing of the king's affection ; until upon a coronation day, riding in with the Lord Dingwell to the tilt-yard, his horse fell with him, and brake his legy. He was instantly carried into master Rider's house, at Charing Cross, and the news as instantly carried to the king, having little desire to see the triumph, but much desired to have it ended ; and no sooner ended, but the king went instantly to visit him, and after, by his daily visiting and mourning over him, taking all care for his speedy recovery, made the daybreak of his glory appeare, every courtier now concluding bim actually a favourite."

Thc fortunes of Robert Carr rose rapidly from this hour. On Christmas-eve 1607, he was knighted, and sworn a Gentleman of the Bed Chamber. In 1610, he was created Lord Carr, of Bransprath, and Viscount Rochester, and advanced to be Lord High Treasurer of Scotland. Shortly after, he was made a Knight of the Garter. In 1614, he was created Earl of Somerset, and appointed Lord Chamberlain of the Household, and at the death of Salisbury, he became first Minister.

During these successive steps to nobility, Somerset (for we shall now call him by that title) was not neglectful of Overbury, with whom he had formed an acquaintance very carly in life. The origin of this friendship is thus related by old Sir Nicholas Overbury, (Overbury's father,) who, in 1637, dictated certain things to his grandson, Nicholas Ollisworth, of Porton, relative to his unfortunate son :

“When Sir Tho. Overbury was a little past 20 yeares old, hee and Jolin Guilby, his father's chiefe clerke, were sent (upon a voyage of pleasure) to Edinburgh, with 601. between them. There Thom. mett with Sir Wm Cornwallis, one who knew him in Queene's Colledge at Oxford. Sr Wm commended him to diverse, and among the rest to Robin Carr, then page to earle of Dunbarre : so they two came along to England together, and were great friends."*

The circumstances respecting Overbury's introduction at court are not recorderl, but it was doubtless through the influence of his powerful friend, who is said to have looked upon him as "an oracle of direction.” He seems to have been well adapted for success, and to have been of a bold carriage and aspiring temper. Sir Nicholas has recorded of his son, “That when Sir Thomas was made sewer to the King, his Mitts walking in the privy garden,

* This interesting notice is derivel from Ailditional MS., No. 15,470, in the British Museum. It is entitled " A Buoke touching Sir Thomas Overvury who was mur. thered by l'oison in the Tower of London, the i5th day of Sepiember, 1013, being the 32nd year of his age.' It contains the proceeilings of the divorce of the Earl and Countess of Essex; the trials of Weston, Mrs. Turner, Franklin, and Helwysse, or Elwys; the Earl and Countess of Somerset's arraignients; a ballad on the same parties, not fit for publication ; and “Notes taken A.D. 16:37, from the mouth of Sir Nicholas Overbury, the father of Sir Thomas." It is altogether a inost valuable MS., and well deserving of publication.

shewed him to the Queene saying, Looke you, this is iny newe sewer; and queene Anne answered, 'Tis a prety young fellow."

On the 19th of June, 1608, Overbury received the honour of knighthood at Greenwich, and shortly afterwards his father, who was a Bencher of the Middle Temple, was made one of the Judges of Wales. In the beginning of the following year, Sir Thomas Overbury visited France and the Low Countries, and penned his “ Observations upon the state of the Seventeen Provinces," reprinted in the following pages. Shortly after his return he was spoken of as likely to be employed in a diplomatic capacity, * but the appointment did not take place.

Overbury was now looked upon as one of thic rising stars of the court, and the wits and poets of the day were anxious to do him homage. Foremost among them was Ben Jonson, who thus cpigramatized his friend :

TO SIR THOMAS OVERBURY.
“So Phæbus make me worthy of his bays,
As but to speak thee, Overbury's praise :
So where thou liv’st, thou mak’st life understood,
Where, what makes others great, doth keep thee good !
I think, the fate of court thy coming crav'd,
That the wit there and manners might be sav'd:
For since, what ignorance, what pride is tied !
And letters, and humanity in the steall!

* The Rev. John Sandford, writing to Sir Thomas Edmondes, (London, March 6, 1610,) says, “The ambas. sador to be sent from hence is diversly spoken of: soine say Sir Henry lotion, lately arrived in court; others suspect Mr. George Calvert, who came to London on Sunday last ; of late Sir Thomas Overbury, a great favourite of Sir Robert Car, bath been inentioned."--The Court pud Times of James I.: 8vo. 1819, vol. i. p. 108.

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