Page images

Archbishop Laud heard of Taylor, and made him preach before him; but after praising him highly, objected to his youth.

Jeremy Taylor respectfully begged his grace to pardon that fault, 'as, if he lived, he would amend it.'

The archbishop, however, thought that Taylor's time would be better employed at All Souls College, Oxford, where he sent him, giving him a fellowship, and saying, as his reason for this piece of patronage, 'that he might have time, books, and company, to complete himself in those several parts of learning into which he had made so fair an entrance.'

He was made chaplain to Charles the First ; and in March 1636, Juxon, Bishop of London, presented him to the living of Uppingham, in Rutlandshire.

He resided here till 1642, and married, during the time, Phoebe Langsdale, by whom he had seven children. In 1642, when Charles the First went to Oxford, Jeremy Taylor was commanded to attend him as his chaplain, at the same time receiving a doctor's degree. Probably in conse

quence of this mark of the king's favour, the Parliament sequestered his living; and in the year 1644 we hear of his retiring into Wales. His patron and friend, the Earl of Carbery, lived at a place called Golden Grove, his ancestral seat in Carmarthenshire, and Taylor naturally sought a quiet retreat with him at the decline of the king's cause.

In his capacity as chaplain to the king he had frequently followed the army, and it was about this time that he was taken prisoner in the victory gained by the Parliamentary army at the siege of Cardigan Castle, on the 4th of February 1644.

His first wife had died at Uppingham before he left it, and he had mårried again. When the war broke out in Wales, his troubles began again; and he thus describes them to his patron, Lord Hatton of Kirby, who had resided near him at Uppingham:

'In the great storm which dashed the vessel of the church into pieces, he had been thrown on the coast of Wales; and in a little boat thought to have enjoyed that rest and quietness, which in England, in a far greater, he could not hope for.

"I cast anchor," he wrote, "thinking to ride safely; the storm followed me with so impetuous violence that it broke a cable, and I lost my anchor.""

He appears, while a prisoner, to have been treated with great kindness, and to have occupied the period of his captivity by study and writing. In August 1647, when King Charles was allowed to see his chaplains, Jeremy Taylor, in a parting interview with him, received as a token of the king's regard, his watch, and a few pearls and rubies off the ebony case in which Charles kept his Bible.

When released from captivity, Taylor's pecuniary circumstances appear to have been very bad; and he kept a small school, in a Welsh village called Lanfihangel, in partnership with Nicholson, afterwards Bishop of Gloucester. Taylor, while turning his talents and activity to account, in providing by his hard work for the support of his family, also wrote several very valuable works on theology; and he lived there till the year 1654, when he appears to have visited London, and then to have been suspected by the Parliamentary army

of joining in some of the numerous conspiracies to restore the monarchy.

He does not appear to have been really implicated, and his imprisonment at Chepstow Castle was not a long or a severe one.

His second wife's property was partially instrumental in softening his punishment; added to which, his amiable manners, talents, and piety, seem ever to have conciliated even those who were his enemies.

His second wife was a certain Mrs. Johanna Bridges, a lady of large fortune and beauty, and reputed to be related to the king, and to resemble him.

When a prisoner at Chepstow, he writes, 'I have now that liberty that I can receive any letters, and send any; for the gentlemen under whose custody I am, as they are careful of their charges, so they are civil to my person.' He employed all his time in writing and study; and, after his release, the fruits of his well-spent hours in prison were published.

We may draw an instructive comparison between Marten and Taylor, and derive a useful

lesson in contemplating the latter, softening, by industry and application, the irksome life of a prisoner, and, unlike Marten, bending with submission to his fate. On the Restoration, Charles the Second made him Bishop of Down and Connor, and he resided chiefly in Ireland, till his death in 1667. He died of fever, in the fifty-fifth year of his age, and is buried in Dromore Cathedral; and with his death I must end my story of Chepstow Castle.

« PreviousContinue »