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structed in grammar-learning in Oxford, he became a gentleman commoner of University College in the beginning of 1617, aged fifteen years, where, and in public, giving a manifestation of his pregnant mind, had the degree of Bachelor of Arts conferred upon him in the latter end of the year 1619. Afterwards he went to one of the Inns of Court, travelled into France, and on his return married a lady of considerable worth ; but with whom, it is said, he never afterwards lived."*
In the beginning of the year 1640, "he was elected one of the knights for Berks, to serve in the parliament that began at Westminster the 13th of April; and again, though not legally, in October, to serve in the parliament that began at the same place on the 3d of November following. We shall not enter into his political actions on the great theatre of public life—as they are to be found in all the histories of England, from the reign of Charles I. to the Restoration—but content ourselves with noticing those parts of it which are more peculiarly interesting to the traveller in Monmouthshire, namely, the manner in which he passed his time, with occasional anecdotes, during his confinement in the castle of Chepstow.
Wood, an ultra-royalist, gives the following character of him :—"He was a man of good natural parts—was a boon familiar, witty, and quick with repartees—was exceeding happy in apt instances, pertinent and very biting; so that his
company, being deemed incomparable by many, would have been acceptable to the greatest persons, only he would be drunk too soon, and so put an end to all their mirth for the present. At length, after all his rogueries, acted for near twenty years together, were passed; he was at length called to account for that grand villany, of having a considerable hand in murdering his prince, of which being easily found guilty, he was not to suffer the loss of his life, as others did, but the loss of his estate, and perpetual imprisonment, for that he came in upon the proclamation of surrender. So that, after two or three removes from prison to prison, he was at length sent to Chepstow Castle, where he continued another twenty years, not in wantonness, riotousness, and villany, but in confinement and repentance, if he had so pleased.”
“ This person—who lived very poor, and in a shabbeel condition in his confinement, and would be glad to take a pot of ale from any one that would give it to him—died with meat in his mouth, that is, suddenly, in Chepstow Castle (as before mentioned), in September, 1680; and was, on the 9th day of the same month, buried in the church of Chepstow. Some time before he died he made the epitaph, by way of acrostic, on himself, which is engraved on the stone which now covers his remains."
On the contrary, it is said by other writers that he was affectionately attended by his wife and daughters during his incarceration in Chepstow Castle.
Mrs. Williams—" wife of the person who had the care of the castle, and who died in 1798, at a very advanced age-well knew and was intimately acquainted with the women who waited and attended on Harry Marten during his confinement in the castle. They were two sisters, and their maiden name was Vick.
“From what I could learn, I am of opinion that the early part of Marten's confinement was rather rigorous; for whatever Mrs. Williams mentioned had always a reference to the latter part of it; and in this conjecture I am supported by her remark, that though he had two daughters living, they were not indulged with sharing their father's company in prison till near the close of his life. In the course of years, political rigour against him began to wear away, and he was permitted not only to walk about Chepstow, but to have the constant residence of his family, in order to attend upon him in the castle. This indulgence at last extended itself so far, as to permit him to visit any family in the neighbourhood, his host being responsible for his safe return to the castle at the hour appointed.
“One anecdote of Marten, as mentioned by Mrs. Williams, I shall here repeat. Among other families who showed a friendly attention to the prisoner, were the ancestors of the present worthy possessor of St. Pierre, near Chepstow. To a large company assembled round the festive dinner-board Marten had been invited. Soon after the cloth was removed, and the bottle put into gay circulation, Mr. Lewis, in a cheerful moment, jocularly said to Marten, ·
Harry, suppose the times were to come again in which you passed your life, what part would you act in them?' ' The part I have done,' was his immodiate reply. "Then, sir,' says Mr. Lewis, “I never desire to see you at my table again ;' nor was he ever after invited.*
“Great credibility," says our authority,"deserves to be attached to this story, as containing Marten's political opinion at that day; and, to support a belief in it, the late Rev. J. Birt, canon of Hereford, thus speaks of him, in his letter to the Rev. J. Gardner, prefixed to his “ Appendix to the History of Monmouthshire :'-—'Henry Marten, one of the incendiary preachers during the great rebellion, was, at the Restoration, imprisoned for life at Chepstow, and buried there. As far as I can recollect, he died as he lived, with the fierce spirit of a republican.' The Rev. Mr. Birt, who died at the advanced age of ninety-two, held distinguished preferment in the neighbourhood of Chepstow, and had been in the habits of intimate acquaintance with all the first families in the county.
* This anecdote does credit to Marten's spirit, and then revenged himself by a petty inhospitality. It very little to Mr. Lewis, “who first violated the rules was punishment enough, surely, for poor Marten to of good breeding towards a man who, at the very time, have been imprisoned for twenty years, without havwas expiating what power had made a crime, and ing to accept a dinner on such terms."
MARTEN-HIS DEATH AND EPITAPH.
His testimony might therefore be said to stamp the anecdote with the sanction of truth, without seeking for farther evidence.
“Of his personal appearance, a friend of mine—on the authority of the late Mr. Harry Morgan, attorney at Usk, whose father had been in Marten's company, and by whom he had been informed of it-says that Mr. Morgan described him, in general terms, as 'a smart, active little man, and the merriest companion he ever was in company with in his life.' Wood praises his social qualities, and talent for conversation; but that he lived in a shabbeel condition, and would take a pot of ale from any one that would give it to him,' may be doubted; unless he meant that the kindness shown to him by the families in and near Chepstow admitted such an interpretation.*
“Let us attend him to the grave. It is hardly possible to admit that such a a mind as that of Marten would have penned—much less to suppose that he would have wished to have engraved on his tomb—the wretched doggerel that goes under the name of his “Epitaph,' and which is said to have been written by him during his confinement in the castle. Not the smallest circumstance respecting his funeral is left on record; and whether his obsequies were marked with public procession, or whether he retired to the grave unnoticed and unregarded, tradition has not preserved the slightest memorandum."
His biographer might, without difficulty, have concluded that-in those times, at all events—an imprisoned rebel would not be permitted to have any but the most private funeral. All that we are certain of is, that he was buried in the chancel of the church of Chepstow; and that, on a large stone from the Forest of Dean, is still to be traced the following “Epitaph, written on himself,” by way of acrostic, but now much defaced :
A true Englishman,
H ere or elsewhere-all's one to you, to me-
Old Antony Wood was not likely to speak well have known of the anecdote with Mr. Lewis, or, at of any regicide, and from the hypothetical way in least, as much as it indicates.—See his character as which he speaks of Marten's penitence, he seems to given by MR. CARLYLE.
My time was spent in serving you, and you;
Having retired to that asylum which is the common lot of humanity, his ashes were for some years permitted to rest in peace. But at length a clergyman of the name of Chest, we are told, was appointed to the vicarage of Chepstow, who, glowing with admiration for those principles of the constitution which he considered had been subverted, openly declared that the bones of a regicide should never pollute the chancel of that church of which he was vicar, and immediately ordered the corpse to be disinterred, and removed to the place where it now reposes, in the middle of the north transept, and over it the stone is placed that bears the epitaph before mentioned.
About this time, as Heath informs us, “there came to reside at Chepstow a person of the name of Downton, who afterwards married a daughter of the Rev. Mr. Chest; but, whatever affection he might cherish for the lady, the father was one unceasing object of his ridicule and contempt; and when the vicar died, he publicly satyrised him in the following lines :
Here lies at rest, I do protest,
One Chest within another;
Who says so of the other ?!"
Marten's apartment, as we have said, was in “the first story of the eastern tower, or keep; for this part of the building contained only a single room on each floor, if we except those near the top. Could he have detached from his recollection the idea of Sterne's starling—' I can't get out, I can't get out—the situation might have been chosen out of remembrance or tenderness to the rank he had formerly held in society; for though it bore the name of a prison, it was widely different from the generality of such places. The room measured fifteen paces long, by twelve paces wide, and was very lofty. On one side, in the centre, was a fire-place, two yards wide; and the windows, which were spacious, and lighted both ends of the apartment, gave an air of cheerfulness not frequent in such buildings. In addition to this, he could enjoy from its windows some of the sweetest prospects in Britain. This apartment continues to
* As no such epitaph was at all likely to be per- not more likely that these lines were composed by mitted to be engraven on the tombstone, if Marten some quaint “Old Mortality" of the Cromwell school, was even allowed a tombstone, until after the Revolu- than by the subject of them ?- Correspondent tina, which took place nine years after his death, is it
HARRY MARTEN-SOUTIIEY'S INSCRIPTION.
bear the name of 'Marten's Room' to this day, and few travellers enter the castle without making it an object of their attention.”
“Marten,” says Mr. Seward, “was a striking instance of the truth of Roger Ascham's observation, who, in his quaint and pithy style, says-—' Commonlie, men, very quick of wit, be very light of conditions. In youth, they be readie scoffers, privie mockers, and over light and merrie. In age they are testie, very waspish, and always over miserable; and yet few of them come to any great age, by reason of their miserable life when young; and a great deal fewer of them come to show any great countenance, or beare any great authority abroade, in the world; but either they live obscurely, men wot not how, or dye obscurely, men mark not when."
“ In the dining-parlour of St. Pierre, near Chepstow, there hung,” in the time of the writer, "a painting, said to be of Harry Marten. He is represented at three-quarters length, in arniour. In his right hand he holds a pistol, whích he seems about to discharge ; while with the left he grasps the hilt of his sword. Behind him is a page, in the act of tying on a green sash; the whole conveying an idea that the person was about to undertake some military enterprise. Judging from the picture, the likeness appears to have been taken when Marten was about forty-five years of age. He there seems of thin or spare habit, with a high forehead, long visage; his hair of a dark colour, and flowing over the right shoulder. The cravat round the neck does not correspond with the age in which he lived, being tied in the fashion of modern times. There is a great deal of animation and spirit in his countenance, characteristic of the person it is said to represent.”+
Having adverted to Mr. Southey's “ Inscription,” and its parody by George Canning, we subjoin the following copies from the originals. The first, by Southey, is thus headed :
For thirty years secluded from mankind,
* How Mr. Seward or Mr. Heath could have applied mour, being Cromwell's major-general over the county this quotation to Marten, it is difficult to imagine. of Surrey, in which command his conduct was marked
| Here follows a disquisition on the genuineness of by the most flagrant rapacity; so that the picture the picture, which concludes :—“Such is the account must have been brought to St. Pierre, and not painted attached to this picture, which, after what has been during his residence in Monmouthshire. If, therefore, said, does not positively prove it to be the portrait of the picture must be received as the portrait of Harry Henry Marten; but I am the more inclined to assent Marten, I am led to believe thai, when his family came to the traditionary evidence, because it has all the cha to share in his confinement, they brought it with them racter of such a man. It further seems to have been to Chepstow, and, after Marten's decease, gave it to taken while he was in the army, from his wearing ar Mr. Lewis's ancestors. It is in the finest preservation."