1690 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Francis Rous the Elder

Anthony Wood, Athenae Oxonienses (1690-91; 1721) 2:231-33.



FRANCIS ROUS, a younger Son of Sir Anth. Rous, Knight, by Elizab. his first Wife, Daughter of Tho. Southcote, Gent. was born at Halton in Cornwall, and at 12 Years of Age became a Commoner of Broadgates Hall, an. 1591, where continuing under a constant and severe Discipline, took the Degree of Bach. of Arts; which Degree being compleated by Determination, he went afterwards, as it seems, to the Inns of Court, tho' some there be that would need persuade me that he took Holy Orders, and became Minister of Saltash in his own Country. Howsoever it is, sure I am, that being esteemed a Man of Parts, and to be soley devoted to the puritanical Party, he was elected by the Men of Truro in his own Country to serve in Parliaments held in the latter end of K. James, and in the Reign of K. Ch. I. In 1640 also he was elected again for that Corporation, to serve in that unhappy Parliament which began at Westminster 3 Nov. wherein, seeing how violently the Members thereof proceeded, he put in for one, and shew'd himself with great Zeal an Enemy to the Bishops, Prerogative, and what not, to gain the Populacy, a Name, and some hopes of Wealth which was dear unto him. In 1643 he forwarded and took the Covenant, was chosen one of the Assembly of Divines, and for the Zeal he had for the Holy Cause, he was by Authority of Parliament made Provost of Eton Coll. near Windsor the same Year, in the place of Dr. Rich. Steuart who then followed, and adhered to, his Sacred Majesty. In the said Parliament he afterwards shew'd himself so active, that he eagerly helped to change the Government into a Commonwealth, and to destroy the negative Voice in the King and Lords. In 1653 he was by the Authority of Ol. Cromwell nominated a Member of the Little Parliament that began to sit at Westm. 4 July, and was thereupon elected the Speaker, but with a collateral Vote that he should continue in the Chair no longer than for a Month, and in Decemb. the same Year he was nominated one of Oliver's Council. But when the good things came to be done, which were solemnly declared for, (for the not doing of which the Long Parliament was dissolved) "He as as an old Bottle, being not fit to leave that new Wine, without putting it to the Question, he left the Chair, and went with his Fellow old Bottles to Whitehall, to surrender their Power to General Cromwell, which he, as Speaker, and they by signing a Parchment or Paper, pretended to do" [Second Narrative of the late Parliament so called, &c. printed 1658. p. 17]. The colourable Foundation for this Apostacy, upon the Monarchical Foundation, being thus laid, and the General himself (as Protector) seated thereon, he became one of his Council, and trusted with many matters, as first and prime Tryer or Approver of public Preachers, and the Year after a Commissioner for the County of Cornwall, for the Ejection of such whom they then called scandalous and ignorant Ministers and School-Masters. Afterwards he sate in the following Parliaments under Oliver, and being an aged and venerable Man, was accounted worthy to be taken out of the H. of Commons, to have a negative Voice in the other House, that is, the House of Lords, over all that should question him for what he had done, and over all the People of the Land besides, tho' he would not suffer it in the King and Lords. This Person, who was usually stiled by the Loyal Party the old illiterate Jew of Eaton, and another Proteus, hath diverse things (especially of Divinity) extant, wherein much Enthusiastical Canting is used, the Titles of which follow.

The Art of Happiness, consisting of three Parts, whereof the first searcheth out the Happiness of Man. The second, &c. Lond. 1619. oct. at which time the author lived at Lanrake in Cornwall.

The Diseases of the Time attended by their Remedies. Lond. 1622. oct.

Oyl of Scorpions. The Miseries of of these Times turned into Medicines and curing themselves. Lond. 1623. oct.

Testis Veritatis. The Doctrine of K. James of the Ch. of England, plainly shewed to be one in the Points of Predestination, Free-will, and Certainty of Salvation. Lond. 1626. qu.

Discovery of of the Grounds, both Natural and Politic, of Arminianism — Printed with Test. Veritatis.

The only Remedy that can cure a People when all other Remedies fail. Lond. 1627. in tw.

The Heavenly Academy. Lond. 1638. in tw. dedicated to John lord Roberts of Truro.

Catholic Charity: complaining and maintaining that Rome is uncharitable to sundry eminent Parts of the Cath. Church, and especially to Protestants, and is therefore Uncatholic: and so a Romish Book called Charity mistaken, though undertaken by a second, is it self a Mistaking. Lond. 1641. oct.

Meditations, endeavouring the Edification and Reparation of the House of God.

The great Oracle. Even the main Frame and Body of the Scriptures, resolving the Question, Whether in Mans Free-Will and common Grace stands the Safety of Man, and the Glory of God in Man's Safety.

The Mystical Marriage: or, Experimental Discoveries of the heavenly Marriage between a Soul and her Saviour. Lond. 1653. in tw. All which treatises, in number eleven, were reprinted in one folio at Lond. 1657, under the title of The Works of Francis Rous, Esq. Or Treatises and Meditations dedicated to the Saints, and to the excellent throughout the three Nations. Before which works is the picture of the author, aged 77 years, an. 1656, engraven by the curious hand of Will. Faithorne.

Dr. Barlow has noted this Fr. Rous, provost of Eaton, to have been the author of

The Lawfulness of obeying the present Government,proposed by one that loves all Presbyterians, Lovers of Truth and Peace. Lond. 1649. qu. 2 sh.

Parliamentary speeches, as (1.) Sp. concerning the Goods, Liberties, and Lives of his Maj. Subjects, &c. Lond. 1641. in one sh. in qu. (2.) Sp. before the Lords in the upper House 16th, of March 1640, against Dr. Jo. Cosin, Dr. Roger Manwearing, and Dr. Will. Beale, upon the Complaint of Mr. Pet. Smart. Lond. 1641. in one sh. in qu. (3.) Sp. in the H. of Commons against making Dr. Jo. Prideaux, Dr. Th. Winniff, Dr. R. Holdsworth, and Dr. Hen. King, Bishops, till a settled Government in Religion was established. Lond. 1642. in one sh. in qu.

Mella Patrum: nempe omnium quorum per prima nascentis & patientis Ecclesiae tria Secula, usque ad Pacem sub Constantino divinitus datam, Scripta prodierunt, atque adhuc minus dubiae Fidei supersunt. Lond. 1650. in a thick large oct.

Interiora Regni Dei. Lond. 1665. in tw. He also translated The Psalms of David into English Metre. Lond. 1646. oct. This translation, tho' ordered by the house of commons to be printed 4 Nov. 1645, yet, if I am not mistaken, all or most of it was printed in 1641. The said psalms were also turned into metre by Will. Barton. — pr. by order of parl. 1645. oct. Our Author Rous gave way to fate at Acton near London, on the seventh Day of January in sixteen hundred fifty and eight, and was buried on the 24th of that Month in Eaton Coll. Church, near to the entrance of that Chappel joyning thereunto, formerly built by Rog. Lupton Provost of the said College, Mr. Oxenbridge preaching his Funeral Sermon. Soon after were hanged up over his Grave a Standard, Pennon, &c. and other Ensigns relating to Barons, containing in them the Arms of the several Matches of his Family. All which continuing there till 1661, were then pulled down with scorn by the Loyal Provost and Fellows, and thrown aside as Tokens and Badges of damn'd Baseness and Rebellion. Those of his Party did declare openly to the World at his Death, that "he needed no Monument besides his own printed Works and the Memorials of his last Will, to convey his Name to Posterity. And that the other Works of his Life were Works of Charity, wherein he was most exemplary, as the poor in many parts would, after the loss of him, tell you, &c." The Poet of Broadgate's called Ch. Fitz-Geffrey, did celebrate his Memory while he was of that House, and after his Death Pembroke College (built in the place of Broadb.) did the like for his benefaction to the Members thereof.