Catherine Drinker Bowen recounts the story Edward Coke told at the ceremony of his investiture as judge in 1606. From the conclusion:

"The young man... accepted the judgeship. But he told no one, and, pretending that he was about to leave the country, invited his friends to a farewell banquet. 'It is true,' he told the assembled company, 'that I purpose, as I must, to take leave of you all and to be a stranger to my dearest friends and nearest allies. Thus must I depart from you and yet continue amongst you. For I am appointed to be a judge, and in the seat of Justice I must forget the remembrance of your former friendships and acquaintance. In the person of a judge, with respect to keep my conscience clear, I must with equity and uprightness administer justice unto you all.'
'And this,' finished Coke, looking out upon his own dear friends and kinsfolk assembled in Norfolk's venerable Castle of Blancheflower, 'this is my cause also! For by the love and favor of my gracious master, King James, I am, sine precatione, vel precatio... - without price or request - freely called unto this great office and sent to be a judge amongst my kinsfolk and familiar friends, even in the bosom of my native country. I must therefore, as the young Roman did, take leave of all former acquaintance, and do that which is just unto all estates and degrees, without partiality.'"

["If justice in her equal course were stopped - Coke went on, pointing his moral - it was the poor who would be drowned and overwhelmed, 'whilst great and wealthy men, like hills and mountains, build their stations sure. Justice withheld, only the poorer sort are those who smart.'"]

- The Lion and the Throne, pp. 247-248


The artist is devoted to the Art as such, the good poet is devoted to the Word as such, just as the good judge is devoted to the Law and the Law alone. (Note the process of estrangement/duty/reconcilement illustrated here.)

No comments: