Greville, Fulk

, lord Brooke, an ingenious writer, was the eldest son of sir Fulk Greville, of Beauchamp-court (at Alcaster) in Warwickshire, and born there in 1554. It is conjectured, that he was educated at the school in Shrewsbury; whence he was removed to Cambridge, and admitted a fellow-commoner at Trinitycollege; and some time after, making a visit to Oxford, he became a member of that university, but of what college is not certain. Having completed his academical | studies, he travelled abroad to finish his education and Upon his return, being well accomplished, was introduced to the court of queen Elizabeth by his uncle Robert Greville, where he was esteemed a most ingenious person, and particularly favoured by the lovers of arts and sciences. He was soon nominated to some beneficial employment in the court of marches of Wales by his kinsman, sir Henry Sidney, then lord-president of that court and principality.

Our author was not then above twenty-two years of age, so that this post may be esteemed an honourable attestation of his merit. But the nature of it did not please him; his ambition prompted him to another course of life. He had already made some advances in the queen’s favour, had attained a competent familiarity with the modern languages, and some expertness in the martial exercises of those times; these were qualifications for a foreign employment, which was more agreeable to the activity of his temper, and promised a quicker access to some of the first posts in the state. In reality he was so eager to advance his fortune in this line, that to gratify his desire, he ventured to incur his royal mistress’s displeasure, and made several attempts in it, not only with, but even without her majesty’s consent. Out of many of these we have an account of the few following from his own pen. First, when the two mighty armies of Don John and the duke Casimire were to meet in the Low-countries, he applied and obtained her majesty’s leave under her own hand, to go thither; but after his horses with all other preparations were shipped at Dover, the queen (who always discouraged these excursions) sent her messenger, sir Edward Dyer, with her mandate to stop him. He was so much vexed at this disappointment, that afterwards, when secretary Walsingham was sent ambassador in 1578, to treat with those two princes, an opportunity of seeing an affair in which so much Christian blood and so many Christian empires were concerned, was so tempting, that he resolved not to risque a denial, and therefore stole away without leave, and went over with the secretary incog. The consequence was, that at his return the queen forbade him her presence for many months. To the same ambition may also be referred his engagement with sir Philip Sidney to accompany sir Francis Drake in his last expedition but one to the WestIndies in 1515, in which they were both frustrated by the same authority. | Again, when the earl of Leicester was sent general of her majesty’s forces the same year, and had given Mr. Greville the command of one hundred horse, “Then I,” to use his own words, “giving my humour over to good order, yet found that neither the intercession of this grandee, seconded with my own humble suit, and many other honourable friends of mine, could prevail against the constant course of this excellent lady (the queen) with her servants, so as I was forced to tarry behind, and for this importunity of mine to change my course, and seem to press nothing before my service about her; this princess of government as well as kingdoms made me live in her court a spectacle of disfavour too long as I conceived.

During his excursions abroad, his royal mistress granted him the reversion of two of the best offices in the court of the marches of Wales, one of which falling to him in 1580, he met with some difficulties about the profits. In this contest he experienced the friendship of sir Philip Sidney, who by a letter written to his father’s secretary, Mr. Molyneux, April 10, 1581, prevailed on him not to oppose his cousin Greville‘ s title in any part or construction of his patents; and a letter of sir Francis Walsingham to the president, the next day, April 11, put an end to the opposition that had been made from another quarter. This office appears to be clerk of the signet to the council of Wales, which is said to have brought him in yearly above 2000l. arising chiefly from the processes which went out of that court, all of which are made out by that officer. He was also constituted secretary for South and North Wales by the queen’s letters patent, bearing date April 25, 1583. In the midst of these civil employments he made a conspicuous figure when the French ambassadors, accompanied by great numbers of their nobility, were in England a second time to treat of the queen’s marriage with the duke of Anjou, in 1581. Tilts and tournaments were the courtly entertainments in those days; and they were performed in the most magnificent manner on this occasion by two noblemen, beside sir Philip Sidney and Fulk Greville, who with the rest behaved so bravely as to win the reputation of a most gallant knight. In 1586 these two friends were separated by the unfortunate death of the former, who be* queathed to his dear friend one moiety of his books.

In 1558 Mr. Greville attended his kinsman, the earl of Essex, to Oxford; and among other persons in that | favourite’s train was created M. A. April 11, that year. In 1558 he was accused to the lords of the council, by a certificate of several gentlemen borderers upon Farickwood in Warwickshire, of having made waste there to the value of 14,000 but the prosecution seems to have been dropped, and, October 1597, he received the honour of knighthood. In the beginning of March the same year, he applied for the office of treasurer of the war; and about two years afterwards, in the 41st of Elizabeth, he obtained the place of treasurer of marine causes for life. In 1599 a commission was ordered to be made out for him as rear-admiral of the fleet, which was intended to be sent forth against another threatened invasion by the Spaniards.

During this glorious reign he frequently represented his county in the house of commons, together with sir Thomas Lacy; and it has been observed that a better choice could not have been made, as both of them were learned, wise, and honest. He continued a favourite of queen Elizabeth to the end of her reign. The beginning of the next opened no less in his favour. At the coronation of James I. July 15, 1603, he was made K. B. and his office of secretary to the council of the court of marches of Wales was confirmed to him for life, by a patent bearing date July 24. In the second year of this king he obtained a grant of Warwick castle. He was greatly pleased with this favour; and, the castle being in a ruinous condition, he laid out at least 20,000l. in repairing it.

He was afterwards possessed of several very beneficial places in the marches court of Wales, and at this time he seems to have confined his views within the limits of these offices. He perceived the measures of government quite altered, and the state waning from the lustre in which he had seen it shine; besides, he had little hopes of being preferred to any thing considerable in the ministry, as he met with some discouragements from sir Robert Cecil, the secretary, and the persons in power. In this position of affairs he seems to have formed some schemes of retirement, in order to write the history of queen Elizabeth’s life. With this view he drew up a plan, commencing with the union of the two roses in the marriage of Henry VII. and had made some progress in the execution of it; but the perusal of the records in the council chest being denied him by the secretary, as he could not complete his work in that authentic and substantial manner which would do | him credit, he broke off the design, and disposed himself to revise the product of his juvenile studies and his poetical recreations with sir Philip Sidney.

During the life of the treasurer Cecil, he obtained no advancement in the court or state; but, in 1615, some time after his death, was made under-treasurer and chancellor of the exchequer; in consequence of which he was called to the board of privy-council. In 1617 he obtained from the king a special charter, confirming all such liberties as had been granted to any of his ancestors in behalf of the town of Alcester, upon a new reserved rent of ten shillings a year; and, in 1620, was created lord Brooke of Beau* champ-court. He obtained this dignity as well by his merit and fidelity in the discharge of his offices as by his noble descent from theNevils, Willoughbys de Brook, and Beauchamps. In September 1621, he was made one of the lords of the king’s bed-chamber; and on this, resigning his post in the exchequer, he was succeeded therein by Richard Weston, afterwards earl of Portland. After the demise of king James, he continued in the privy-council of Charles I. in the beginning of whose reign he founded a historylecture in the university of Cambridge, and endowed it with a salary of lOOl. per annum. He did not long survive this last act of generosity; for, though he was a munificent patron of learning and learned men, he at last fell a sacrifice to the extraordinary outrage of a discontented domestic. The account we have of this fatal event is, that his lordship, neglecting to reward one Ralph Heywood, who had spent the greatest part of his life in his service, this attendant expostulated thereupon with his lordship in his bed-chamber, at Brook-house in Holborn; and, being severely reproved for it, presently gave his lordship a mortal stab in the back with a knife or sword; after which he withdrew into another room, and, locking the door, murdered himself with the same weapon. He died September 30, 1628, and his corpse being wrapt in lead, was conveyed from Brook-house, Holborn, to Warwick; where it was interred on the north side of the choir of St. Mary’s church, there, in his own vault, which had formerly been a chapter-house of the church; and where, upon his monument, there is this inscription: “Fulke Greville, servant to queen Elizabeth, counsellor to king James, and friend to sir Philip Sidney. Tropheum peccati.” He made that dear friend the great exemplar of his life in every thing; | and Sidney being often celebrated as the patron of the muses in general, and of Spenser in particular, so we are told, lord Brooke desired to be known to posterity under no other character than that of Shakspeare’s and Ben Jonson’s master, lord-chancellor Egerton and bishop Overal’s patron. His lordship also obtained the office of clarencieux at arms for Mr. Camden, who very gratefulty acknowledged it in his life-time, and at his death left him a piece of plate in his will. He also raised John Speed from a mechanic to be an historiographer.

His lordship had an inclination to history and poetry. Hence, with respect to the former, it was that lord Bacon submitted his “Life of Henry VII.” to his perusal and animadversions. And his extraordinary kindness to sir William Davenant must be added to other conspicuous evidences of the latter; that poet he took into his family when very young, and was so much delighted with his promising genius, that, as long as the patron lived, the poet had his residence with him, and probably formed the plan of some of his first plays under his lordship’s encouragement, since they were published soon after his death. This noble lord was never married, so that his honour falling by the patent to his kinsman Robert Greville, he directed his estate also by his will to go along with it to the same relation, being next of kin to him.

Notwithstanding lord Orford’s flippant and detracting estimate of lord Brooke’s talents and character, he appears to have cherished a taste for all kinds of polite learning, though, as just noticed, his inclination led him more particularly to poetry and history. Phillips, or Milton, remarks, that in all his poems is observable a close, mysterious, and sententious way of writing, but without much regard to elegance of style or smoothness of verse. His principal works are, 1. “The Life of the renowned sir Philip Sidney,London, 1652, 12mo, rather a kind of dissertation than a life, but sufficiently expressive of his connection with, and attachment to that eminent character. 2. “Certaine learned and elegant workes of the right hon. Fulke lord Brooke, written in his jouth, and familiar exercise with sir Philip Sidney,” Lond. 1633; all the copies extant of this work want twenty-two pages at the beginning. These pages are said to have contained “A treatise on Religion,” and were cancelled, as Mr. Malone (in his History of the | Stage) surmises, by order of archbishop Laud. The rest of the volume consists of poetical treatises and letters, and the tragedies of Alaham and Mustapha. 3. “The Remains of sir Fulk Greville, lord Brooke; being poems of Monarchy and Religion, never before printed,” Lond. 1670, 8vo*.

The Robert Greville, whom we have mentioned as the adopted heir of lord Brooke, was educated by him as became the estate and dignity to which he was to succeed; but when the civil war commenced, he joined the parliament army, in whose cause he had written some treatises, and was killed in battle at Litchfield, in 1643, in the thirtyfilth year of his age. He wrote, i. “The Nature of Tiuth; its union and unity with the soule, which is one in its essence, faculties, acts; one with truth,” Lond. 1641, 12mo, an abstruse piece of metaphysical reasoning, which, however, Mr. (afterwards Dr.) Waliis, professor of geometry, understood so well as to be able to answer it, in 1643. 2. “A Discourse opening the nature of that Episcopacie which is exercised in England,” ibid. 1641, 4to. 3. “Two Speeches, spoken in the Guildhall, London, concerning his majesty’s refusal of a Treaty of Peace,” ibid. 1642. 4. “Answer to the Speech of Philip earl of Pembroke, concerning Accommodation, in the house of lords, Dec. 19, 1642,” printed by order of the house, and reprinted in lord Somers’s tracts; but which appears to have been drawn up by lord Clarendon, as containing the substance of lord Brooke’s sentiments. 5. “Speech at the Election of his captains and commanders at Warwick-castle,London, 1643. 1


Biog. Brit,-r-Lloyd’s State Worthies. Park’s edition of lord Orford’s Royal and Noble Authors. Censura Literaria, vol. I. Lodge’s Illustrations, vo'. II, Ellis’s Specimens. Cooper’s Muses Library. -Lord Clarendon’s Life and History.