Page:The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift, Volume 16.djvu/61

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HENRY THE FIRST.

1132. The empress Maude was now happily delivered of a son, who was afterward king of England by the name of Henry the Second: and the king calling a parliament, had the oath of fealty repeated by the nobles and clergy to her and her issue; which, in the compass of three years, they all broke or forgot.

1134. I think it may deserve a place in this history to mention the last scene of duke Robert's life; who, either through the poorness or greatness of spirit, having outlived the loss of his honour, his dominions, his liberty, his eyesight, and his only son, was at last forced to sink under the load of eighty years, and must be allowed for the greatest example either of insensibility, or contempt of earthly things, that ever appeared in a sovereign, or private person. He was a prince hardly equalled by any in his time for valour, conduct, and courtesy; but his ruin began from the easiness of his nature, which whoever knew how to manage, were sure to be refused nothing they could ask. By such profusion he was reduced to those unhappy expedients of remitting his rights for a pension, of pawning his towns, and multiplying taxes, which brought him into hatred and contempt with his subjects; neither do I think any virtue so little commendable in a sovereign, as that of liberality where it exceeds what his ordinary revenues can supply: where it passes those bounds, his subjects must all be oppressed to show his bounty to a few flatterers, or he must sell his towns, or basely renounce his rights, by becoming pensioner to some powerful prince in the neighbourhood; all which we have lived to see per-

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