1790 ca. ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Francis Rous the Elder

William Cole, Collectanea for Athenae Cantabrigienses, 1780 ca; Restituta or ... English Literature Revived 4 (1816) 425-26.



Mr. Rous, one of the Long Parliament, and by them made Provost or Master of Eton College. He abode in that Parliament, and helped to change the government into a commonwealth, and to destroy the negative voice in the Kings and Lords: was also of the Little Parliament, and their Speaker; who, when the good things came to be done which were formerly declared for, (and for not doing of which the old Parliament was pretendedly dissolved) being an "old bottle," and not fit to bear that "new wine," without putting it to the question, left the chair, and went with his fellow "old bottles" to White Hall, to surrender their power to the General, which he, as Speaker, and they by signing a parchment or paper pretended to do. 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, (his salary for both places 1500 per annum). Good old man! and well he deserved it; for he ventured hard. He was also of the Parliament since; and being an aged, venerable man (all exceptions set aside) may be counted worthy to be taken out of the house, to have a negative voice in the other house, over all who shall question him for what he hath done, and over all the people of these lands besides, though he would not suffer it in the King or Lords.

I saw a good half-length picture of him in the Provost of Eton's Lodge in 1774, with a high crowned hat, and mace lying by him.