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I KNOW not how I fhall offend in dedicating my unpolished lines to your lordship, nor how the world will cenfure me for choofing fo ftrong a prop to support so weak a burthen: only, if your honour seem but pleased, I account myself highly praised, and vow to take advantage of all idle hours, till I have honoured you with some graver labour. But if the first her of my invention prove deformed, I fhall be forry, it had to noble a godfather, and never after ear fo barten and', for fear it yield me still so bad a harvest. I leave it to your honourable furvey, and your honour to your heart's content; which I wish may always answer your own with, and the world's hopeful expectation.
Your Honour's in all duty,
I -ear fo barren a land,] To ear, is to plow. See Vol. VII. p. 435, MALONE.
and your honour-] This was formerly the ufual mode of addrefs to noblemen. So, in a letter written by Sir Francis Bacon to Robert, lord Cecil, July 3, 1603: "Laftly, for this divulged and almost prostituted title of knighthood, I could without charge, by your bonour's mean, be content to have it,-." Birch's Collection, p. 24. MALONE. MEMOIRS
THE THIRD EARL OF SOUTHAMPTON.
F the nobleman to whom Shakspeare has addreffed the only
culars are known. However, the circumstances, of his having been the most intimate friend of Robert earl of Effex, and, according to tradition, the liberal benefactor of our poet, have endeared his memory to pofterity. His grandfather Thomas, the firft earl, was lord chancellor in the time of King Henry VIII. and one of his executors. His father Henry, who died in 1583, was a Roman Catholick, and a ftrenuous partizan of Mary queen of Scots. Our great poet's patron was born in 1573. In December, 1585, he became a member of Saint John's college in Cambridge 3, and was admitted to the degree of bachelor of arts in 1589, after a refidence of four years in the university, "where (fays a contemporary writer 4,) he fpent his time in the ftudie of good letters, andaffer confirmed that ftudie with travaile and foraigne obfervation
He accompanied lord Effex as a volunteer in the expedition to Cadiz ta 596 and, in the following year, he was appointed captain of heatland, one of Queen Elizabeth's beft fhips, (for in thofe ties the rft obility, though not bred to the fea, occafionally feived the navy,) and acted as vice-admiral of the firft quadron in the fleet that failed against the Azores. In that expedition, happening, with only three of the Queen's fhips and a few merchant-men, to fall in with thirty five fail of Spanish gons, laden with the treasures of South America, he funk.one of them, difperfed feveral others that were afterwards taken, and drove the reft into a bay of the island of Tercera, which was then unaffailable.-After the English had taken and spoiled the town of Villa Franca, the enemy finding that most of them were gone aboard their fhips, and that only the earls of Effex and Southampton, with a few others, remained on fhore, came down upon them with all their force, but were received with fuch fpirit, that many of the
3 In the book of matriculation, which my friend Dr. Farmer very obligingly examined at my requeft, is the following entry: "Hen. Comes Sowthampton, impubes 12°. an."St. John's Coll. Dec. 11. 1585.
HONOUR IN HIS PERFECTION, or a Treatife in commendation of the vertues and renowned vertuous undertakings of the illuftrious and heroick princes, Henrie earle of Oxenforde, Henrie earle of Southamptop, and Robert carle of Eflex. By G. M.[Gervais Markham.] 4to. 1624. Spaniards