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Royalty Restored or London under Charles II
Chapter I.
by Molloy, J. Fitzgerald

Cromwell is sick unto death.--Fears and suspicions.--Killing no Murder.--A memorable storm.--The end of all.--Richard Cromwell made Protector.--He refuses to shed blood.--Disturbance and dissatisfaction.--Downfall of Richard.--Charles Stuart proclaimed king.--Rejoicement of the nation.--The king comes into his own. --Entry into London.--Public joy and satisfaction.

On the 30th of January, 1649, Charles I. was beheaded. In the last days of August in the year of grace 1658, Oliver Cromwell lay sick unto death at the Palace of Whitehall. On the 27th day of June in the previous year, he had, in the Presence of the Judges of the land, the Lord Mayor and Aldermen of the City, and Members of Parliament assembled at Westminster Hall, seated himself on the coronation chair of the Stuarts, assumed the title of Lord Protector, donned a robe of violet velvet, girt his loins with a sword of state, and grasped the sceptre, symbolic of kingly power. From that hour distrust beset his days, his nights were fraught with fear. All his keen and subtle foresight, his strong and restless energies, had since then been exerted in suppressing plots against his power, and detecting schemes against his life, concocted by the Republicans whose liberty he had betrayed, and by the Royalists whose king he had beheaded.

Soon after he had assumed the title of Lord High Protector, a most daring pamphlet, openly advocating his assassination, was circulated in vast numbers throughout the kingdom. It was entitled "Killing no Murder," and was dedicated in language outrageously bold to His Highness Oliver Cromwell. "To your Highness justly belongs the honour of dying for the people," it stated, "and it cannot but be an unspeakable consolation to you, in the last moments of your life, to consider with how much benefit to the world you are likely to leave it. It is then only, my lord, the titles you now usurp will be truly yours; you will then be, indeed, the deliverer of your country, and free it from a bondage little inferior to that from which Moses delivered his, you will then be that true reformer which you would now be thought; religion shall then be restored, liberty asserted, and Parliaments have those privileges they have sought for. All this we hope from your Highness's happy expiration. To hasten this great good is the chief end of my writing this paper; and if it have the effects I hope it will, your Highness will quickly be out of the reach of men's malice, and your enemies will only be able to wound you in your memory, which strokes you will not feel."

The possession of life becomes dearest when its forfeiture is threatened, and therefore Cromwell took all possible means to guard against treachery--the only foe he feared, and feared exceedingly. "His sleeps were disturbed with the apprehensions of those dangers the day presented unto him in the approaches of any strange face, whose motion he would most fixedly attend," writes James Heath, gentleman, in his "Chronicles," published in 1675. "Above all, he very carefully observed such whose mind or aspect were featured with any chearful and debonair lineaments; for such he boded were they that would despatch him; to that purpose he always went secretly armed, both offensive and defensive; and never stirred without a great guard. In his usual journey between Whitehall and Hampton Court, by several roads, he drove full speed in the summer time, making such a dust with his life-guard, part before and part behinde, at a convenient distance, for fear of choaking him with it, that one could hardly see for a quarter of an hour together, and always came in some private way or other." The same authority, in his "Life of Cromwell," states of him, "It was his constant custom to shift and change his lodging, to which he passed through twenty several locks, and out of which he had four or five ways to avoid pursuit." Welwood, in his "Memoirs," adds the Protector wore a coat of mail beneath his dress, and carried a poniard under his cloak.

Nor was this all. According to the "Chronicle of the late Intestine War," Cromwell "would sometimes pretend to be merry, and invite persons, of whom he had some suspicion, to his cups, and then drill out of their open hearts such secrets as he wisht for. He had freaks also to divert the vexations of his misgiving thoughts, calling on by the beat of drum his footguards, like a kennel of hounds to snatch away the scraps and reliques of his table. He said every man's hand was against him, and that he ran daily into further perplexities, out of which it was impossible to extricate, or secure himself therein, without running into further danger; so that he began to alter much in the tenour of his former converse, and to run and transform into the manners of the ancient tyrants, thinking to please and mitigate his own tortures with the sufferings of others."

But now the fate his vigilance had hitherto combated at last overtook him in a manner impossible to evade. He was attacked by divers infirmities, but for some time made no outward sign of his suffering, until one day five physicians came and waited on him, as Dr. George Bate states in his ELENCHUS MOTUUM NUPERORUM. And one of them, feeling his pulse, declared his Highness suffered from an intermittent fever; hearing which "he looked pale, fell into a cold sweat, almost fainted away, and orders himself to be carried to bed." His fright, however, was but momentary. He was resolved to live. He had succeeded in raising himself to a position of vast power, but had failed in attaining the great object of his ambition--the crowned sovereignty of the nation he had stirred to its centre, and conquered to its furthest limits. Brought face to face with death, his indomitable will, which had shaped untoward circumstances to his accord with a force like unto fate itself, now determined to conquer his shadowy enemy which alone intercepted his path to the throne. Therefore as he lay in bed he said to those around him with that sanctity of speech which had cloaked his cruellest deeds and dissembled his most ambitious designs, "I would be willing to live to be further serviceable to God and his people."

As desires of waking hours are answered in sleep, so in response to his nervous craving for life he had delusive assurances of health through the special bounty of Providence. He was therefore presently able to announce he "had very great discoveries of the Lord to him in his sickness, and hath some certainty of being restored;" as Fleetwood, his son-in-law, wrote on the 24th of August in this same year.

Accordingly, when one of the physicians came to him next morning, the High Protector said, "Why do you look sad?" To which the man of lore replied evasively, "So it becomes anyone who had the weighty care of his life and health upon him." Then Cromwell to this purpose spoke: "You think I shall die; I tell you I shall not die this bout; I am sure on't. Don't think I am mad. I speak the words of truth upon surer grounds than Galen or your Hippocrates furnish you with. God Almighty himself hath given that answer, not to my prayers alone, but also to the prayers of those who entertain a stricter commerce and greater intimacy with him. Ye may have skill in the nature of things, yet nature can do more than all physicians put together, and God is far above nature." The doctor besought him to rest, and left the room. Outside he met one of his colleagues, to whom he gave it as his opinion their patient had grown light-headed, and he repeated the words which Cromwell had spoken. "Then," said his brother- physician, "you are certainly a stranger in this house; don't you know what was done last night? The chaplain and all their friends being dispersed into several parts of the palace have prayed to God for his health, and they all heard the voice of God saying, 'He will recover,' and so they are all certain of it."

"Never, indeed, was there a greater stock of prayers going on for any man," as Thurlow, his secretary, writes. So sure were those around him that Providence must hearken to and grant the fulfilment of such desires as they thought well to express, that, as Thomas Goodwin, one of Cromwell's chaplains, said, "We asked not for the Protector's life, for we were assured He had too great things for this man to do, to remove him yet; but we prayed for his speedy recovery, because his life and presence were so necessary to divers things then of great moment to be despatched." When this Puritanical fanatic was presently disappointed, Bishop Burnet narrates "he had the impudence to say to God, 'Thou hast deceived us.'"

Meanwhile the Protector lay writhing in pain and terror. His mind was sorely troubled at remembrance of the last words spoken by his daughter Elizabeth, who had threatened judgments upon him because of his refusal to save the King; whilst his body was grievously racked with a tertian fever, and a foul humour which, beginning in his foot, worked its way steadily to his heart. Moreover, some insight regarding his future seemed given to him in his last days, for he appeared, as Ludlow, his contemporary, states, "above all concerned for the reproaches he saw men would cast upon his name, in tramping upon his ashes when dead."

On the 30th of August his danger became evident even to himself, and all hope of life left him. For hours after the certain approach of death became undeniably certain, he remained quiet and speechless, seemingly heedless of the exhortation and prayers of his chaplains, till suddenly turning to one of them, he whispered, "Tell me, is it possible to fall from grace?" The preacher had a soothing reply ready: "It is not," he answered. "Then," exclaimed this unhappy man, whose soul was red with the blood of thousands of his countrymen, "I am safe, for I know I was once in grace." Anon he cries out, whilst tossing wildly on his bed, "Lord, although I am a miserable and a wretched creature, I am in covenant with Thee through grace, and I may and will come to Thee for Thy people. Pardon such as desire to trample upon the dust of a poor worm. And give us a good night if it be Thy pleasure. Amen."

It was now the 2nd of September. As the evening of that day approached he fell into a stupor, and those who watched him thought the end had come.

Within the darkened chamber in Whitehall all was silence and gloom; without all was tumult and fear. Before the gates of the palace a turbulent crowd of soldiers and citizens had gathered in impatient anxiety. Those he had raised to power, those whose fortunes depended on his life, were steeped in gloom; those whose principles he had outraged by his usurpation, those whose position he had crushed by his sway, rejoiced at heart. Not only the capital, but the whole nation, was divided into factions which one strong hand alone had been able to control; and terror, begotten by dire remembrances of civil war and bloodshed, abode with all lovers of peace.

As evening closed in, the elements appeared in unison with the distracted condition of the kingdom. Dark clouds, seeming of ominous import to men's minds, gathered in the heavens, to be presently torn asunder and hurried in wild flight by tempestuous winds across the troubled sky. As night deepened, the gale steadily increased, until it raged in boundless fury above the whole island and the seas that rolled around its shores. In town houses rocked on their foundations, turrets and steeples were flung from their places; in the country great trees were uprooted, corn-stacks levelled to the ground, and winter fruits destroyed; whilst at sea ships sank to rise no more. This memorable storm lasted all night, and continued until three o'clock next afternoon, when Cromwell expired.

His body was immediately embalmed, but was of necessity interred in great haste. Westminster Abbey, the last home of kings and princes, was selected as the fittest resting-place for the regicide. Though it was impossible to honour his remains by stately ceremonials, his followers were not content to let the occasion of his death pass with-out commemoration. They therefore had a waxen image of him made, which they resolved to surround with all the pomp and circumstances of royalty. For this purpose they carried it to Somerset House--one of the late King's palaces--and placed it on a couch of crimson velvet beneath a canopy of state. Upon its shoulders they hung a purple mantle, in its right hand they placed a golden sceptre, and by its side they laid an imperial crown, probably the same which, according to Welwood, the Protector had secretly caused to be made and conveyed to Whitehall with a view to his coronation. The walls and ceiling of the room in which the effigy lay were covered by sable velvet; the passages leading to it crowded with soldiery. After a few weeks the town grew tired of this sight, when the waxen image was taken to another apartment, hung with rich velvets and golden tissue, and otherwise adorned to symbolize heaven, when it was placed upon a throne, clad "in a shirt of fine Holland lace, doublet and breeches of Spanish fashion with great skirts, silk stockings, shoe-strings and gaiters suitable, and black Spanish leather shoes." Over this attire was flung a cloak of purple velvet, and on his head was placed a crown with many precious stones. The room was then lit, as Ludlow narrates, "by four or five hundred candles set in flat shining candlesticks, so placed round near the roof that the light they gave seemed like the rays of the sun, by all which he was represented to be now in a state of glory." Lest, indeed, there should be any doubt as to the place where his soul abode, Sterry, the Puritan preacher, imparted the information to all, that the Protector "now sat with Christ at the right hand of the Father."

But this pomp and state in no may overawed the people, who, by pelting with mire Cromwell's escutcheon placed above the great gate of Somerset House gave evidence of the contempt in which they held his memory. After a lapse of over two months from the day of his death, the effigy was carried to Westminster Abbey with more than regal ceremony, the expenses of his lying-in-state and of his funeral procession amounting, as stated by Walker and Noble, to upwards of L29,000. "It was the joyfullest funeral I ever saw," writes Evelyn, "for there were none that cried but dogs, which the soldiers hooted away with a barbarous noise, drinking and taking tobacco as they went."

A little while before his death Cromwell had named his eldest surviving son, Richard, as his successor, and he was accordingly declared Protector, with the apparent consent of the council, soldiers, and citizens. Nor did the declaration cause any excitement, "There is not a dog who wags his tongue, so profound is the calm which we are in," writes Thurlow to Oliver's second son, Henry, then Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. But if the nation in its dejection made no signs of resistance, neither did it give any indications of satisfaction, and Richard was proclaimed "with as few expressions of joy as had ever been observed on a like occasion." For a brief while a stupor seemed to lull the factious party spirit which was shortly to plunge the country into fresh difficulties. The Cromwellians and Republicans foresaw resistless strife, and the Royalists quietly and hopefully abided results.

Nor had they long to wait. In the new Parliament assembled in January, 1659, the Republicans showed themselves numerous and bold beyond measure, and hesitated to recognise Richard Cromwell as successor to the Protectorate. However, on the 14th of the following month the Cromwellians gained the upper hand, when Richard was confirmed in his title of "Lord Protector, and First Magistrate of England, Scotland, and Ireland, with all the territories depending thereon." Further discussion quickly followed. "One party thinks the Protectorate cannot last; the other that the Republican cannot raise itself again; the indifferent hope that both will be right. It is easy to foretell the upshot," writes Hyde. The disunion spread rapidly and widely; not only was the Parliament divided against itself, but so likewise was the army; and the new Protector had neither the courage nor the ability to put down strife with a strong hand. Richard Cromwell was a man of peaceful disposition, gentle manners and unambitious mind, whom fate had forced into a position for which he was in no way fitted. By one of those strange contradictions which nature sometimes produces, he differed in all things from his father; for not only was he pleasure-loving, joyous, and humane, but he was, moreover, a Royalist at heart, and continued in friendship with the Cavaliers up to the period of his proclamation as Protector. It has been stated that, falling on his knees, he entreated his father to spare the life of Charles I.; it is certain he remained inactive whilst the civil wars devastated the land; and there is evidence to show that, during the seven months and twenty-eight days of his Protectorship, he shrank from the perpetration of cruelty and crime. Accordingly, when those who had at first supported his authority eventually conspired against him, he refrained from using his power to crush them. At this his friends were wrath. "It is time to look about you," said Lord Howard, speaking with the bluntness of a friend. "Empire and command are not now the question. Your person, your life are in peril. You are the son of Cromwell; show yourself worthy to be his son. This business requires a bold stroke, and must be supported by a good head. Do not suffer yourself to be daunted. I will rid you of your enemies: do you stand by me, and only back my zeal for your honour with your name; my head shall answer for the consequences."

Colonel Ingoldsby seconded the advice Lord Howard gave, but Richard Cromwell hearkened to neither. "I have never done anybody any harm, and never will," said he. "will not have a drop of blood spilt for the preservation of my greatness, which is a burden to me." At this Lord Howard was indignant. "Do you think," he asked, "this moderation of yours will repair the wrong your family has committed by its elevation? Everybody knows that by violence your father procured the death of the late king, and kept his sons in banishment: mercy in the present state of affairs is unreasonable. Lay aside this pussillanimity; every moment is precious; your enemies spend the time in acting which we waste in consulting." "Talk no more of it," answered the Protector. "I am thankful for your friendship, but violent counsels suit not with me."

The climax was at hand; his fall was but a question of time. "A wonderfull and suddaine change in ye face of ye publiq," writes Evelyn, on the 25th of April, 1659. "Ye new Protector Richard slighted; several pretenders and parties strove for the Government; all anarchy and confusion. Lord have mercy on us!"

Before the month of May had expired, the House of Commons commissioned two of its members to bid Richard Cromwell leave the palace of Whitehall, and obtain his signature to a deed wherein he acknowledged complete submission to Parliament. His brief inglorious reign was therefore at an end. "As with other men," he wrote to the House of Commons, "I expect protection from the present Government: I do hold myself obliged to demean myself with all the peaceableness under it, and to procure, to the utmost of my power, that all in whom I have any interest to do the same." He retired into Hampshire, where he dwelt as a private gentleman. His brother Henry resigned his position as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and settled in Cambridgeshire. From this time the name of Cromwell was no longer a power in the land.

During two years subsequent to the death of Oliver the government of England underwent various changes, and the kingdom suffered many disorders; until, being heartily sick of anarchy, the people desired a king might once more reign over them. accordingly, they turned their eyes towards the son of him whom "the boldest villany that ever any nation saw" had sent to the block. And the time being ripe, Charles Stuart, then an exile in Breda, despatched Sir John Grenville with royal letters to both Houses of Parliament, likewise to the Lord Mayor of London and members of the Common Council, to Monk, commander of the forces, and Montagu, admiral of the fleet. These letters were received with so universal a joy and applause, that Parliament forthwith ordained Charles Stuart should be proclaimed "the most potent, mighty, and undoubted King of England, Scotland and Ireland." Moreover, both Houses agreed that an honourable body of Commissioners, all men of great quality and birth, should be sent to the king with letters, humbly begging his majesty would be pleased to hasten his long-desired return into England. And because they knew full well the royal exchequer was empty, Parliament ordered these noble gentlemen to carry with them a present of fifty thousand pieces of gold to the king, together with ten thousand to his brother of York, and five thousand to his brother of Gloucester. Nor was the City of London backwards in sending expressions of loyalty and tokens of homage and devotion; to evince which twenty valiant men and worthy citizens were despatched with messages of goodwill towards him, and presents in gold to the amount of twelve thousand pounds.

And presently Admiral Montagu arriving with his fleet upon the coast of Holland, awaited his majesty near Scheveling; and all things being in readiness the king with his royal brothers and a most noble train set sail for England.

It came to pass that on the 25th day of May, 1660, a vast concourse of nobility, gentry, and citizens had assembled at Dover to meet and greet their sovereign king, Charles II., on his landing. On the fair morning of that day a sound of cannon thundering from the castle announced that the fleet, consisting of "near forty sail of great men-of-war," which conveyed his majesty to his own, was in sight; whereon an innumerable crowd betook its joyful way to the shore. The sun was most gloriously bright, the sky cloudless, the sea calm. Far out upon the blue horizon white-winged ships could be clearly discerned. By three o'clock in the afternoon they had reached the harbour, when the king, embarking in a galley most richly adorned, was rowed to shore. Then cannon roared once more from the castle, and were answered from the beach; bells rang from church towers, and a mighty shout went up from the hearts of the people.

In the midst of these rejoicings Charles II. landed, and the gallant General Monk, who had been mainly instrumental in bringing his royal master to the throne without loss of blood, now fell upon his knees to greet his majesty. The king raised the general from the ground, embraced and kissed him. Then the nobility hastened to pay their duty likewise, and the Mayor and Aldermen of Dover presented him with a most loyal address. And presently, with the roar of cannon, the clangour of bells, the sound of music, and the shouts of a great multitude ringing in his ears, the king advanced on his way towards Canterbury. At the gates of this ancient city he was met by the mayor and aldermen, and was presented by them with a golden tankard, Here he spent the following day, which being Sunday, he went with a great train to the cathedral, where service according to the Church of England, long disused by the Puritans, was restored, to the satisfaction of many.

Setting out from Canterbury on Monday, the 29th of May--which was, moreover, the anniversary of his birth--he journeyed to Blackheath, where he reviewed the forces drawn up with great pomp and military splendour to greet him, and bestowed many gracious expressions on them. Then, having received assurances of their loyal homage through their commander, Colonel Knight, he turned towards London town. And the nearer he approached, the more dense became crowds thronging to meet him; the fields on either side the long white road being filled with persons of all conditions, who cheered him lustily. As he passed they flung leaves of trees and sweet May flowers beneath his horse's feet, and waved green boughs on high, And when he came to St. George's Fields, there was my lord mayor in his robes of new velvet, wearing his collar of wrought gold, and attended by his aldermen in brave apparel likewise. Going down on his knees my lord mayor presented the king with the city sword, which his majesty with some happy expressions of confidence gave back into his good keeping, having first struck him with it upon the shoulder and bade him rise up Sir Thomas Allen. Whereon that worthy man rose to his feet and conducted the king to a large and richly adorned pavilion, and entertained him at a splendid collation, it being then one of the clock. And being refreshed his majesty set forth again, and entered the city, which had never before shown so brave and goodly an appearance as on this May day, when all the world seemed mad with joy.

From London Bridge even to Whitehall Palace the way was lined on one side by the train-bands of the city, and on the other by the city companies in their rich livery gowns; to which were added a number of gentlemen volunteers, all in white doublets, commanded by Sir John Stanel. Across the streets hung garlands of spring flowers that made the air most sweet, and at the corners thereof were arches of white hawthorn in full bloom, bedecked with streamers of gay colours. From wooden railed balconies, jutting windows, and quaint gables hung fair tapestries, rich silks, and stuffs of brilliant hues; and from the high red chimneys, grey turrets, and lofty spires, floated flags bearing the royal arms of England, and banners inscribed with such mottoes as loyalty and affection could suggest. The windows and galleries were filled with ladies of quality in bright dresses; the roofs and scaffolding, with citizens of all classes, who awaited with eager and joyous faces to salute their lord and king.

And presently, far down the line of streets, a sound was heard of innumerable voices cheering most lustily, which every minute became nearer and louder, till at last a blare of trumpets was distinguished, followed by martial music, and the tramp and confusion of a rushing crowd which suddenly parted on all sides. Then there burst on view the first sight of that brave and glorious cavalcade to the number of twenty thousand, which ushered the king back unto his own. First came a troop of young and comely gentlemen, three hundred in all, representing the pride and valour of the kingdom, wearing cloth of silver doublets and brandishing naked swords which flashed in the sunlight. Then another company, less by a hundred in number, habited in rich velvet coats, their footmen clad in purple liveries; and next a goodly troop under the command of Sir John Robinson, all dressed in buff coats with cloth of silver sleeves, and green scarves most handsome to behold. These were followed by a brave troop in blue doublets adorned with silver lace, carrying banners of red silk fringed with gold. Then came trumpets, and seven footmen in sea-green and silver liveries, bearing banners of blue silk, followed by a troop in grey and blue to the number of two hundred and twenty, and led by the most noble the Earl of Northampton. After various other companies, all brave in apparel, came two trumpets bearing his majesty's arms, followed by the sheriffs' men in red cloaks and silver lace, and by a great body of gentlemen in black velvet coats with gold chains. Next rode six hundred brave citizens, twelve ministers, the king's life guards, led by Sir Gilbert Gerrard, the city marshals with eight footmen, the city waits and officers, the sheriffs and aldermen in scarlet gowns, the maces and heralds in great splendour, the lord mayor carrying a naked sword in his strong right hand, the Duke of Buckingham, and General Monk, soon to be created Duke of Albermarle.

Now other heralds sound their trumpets with blasts that make all hearts beat quicker; church bells ring far louder than before; voices are raised to their highest pitch, excitement reaches its zenith, for here, mounted on a stately horse caparisoned in royal purple and adorned with gold, rides King Charles himself; on his right hand his brother of York, on his left his brother of Gloucester. Handkerchiefs are waved, flowers are flung before his way, words of welcome fall upon his ear, in answer to which he bows with stately grace, smiles most pleasantly, and gives such signs of delight as "cheared the hearts of all loyal subjects even to extasie and transportation." Last of all came five regiments of cavalry, with back, breast, and head piece, which "diversified the show with delight and terrour." John Evelyn stood in the Strand and watched the procession pass, when that worthy man thanked God the king had been restored without bloodshed, and by the very army that had rebelled against him. "For such a restauration was never mention'd in any history ancient or modern, since the returne of the Jews from the Babylonish captivity; nor so joyfull a day and so bright ever seene in this nation, this hapning when to expect or effect it was past all human policy."

For full seven hours this "most pompous show that ever was" wound its way through the city, until at nine of the clock in the evening it brought his majesty to the palace of Whitehall, where the late king had "laid down his sacred head to be struck off upon a block," almost twelve years before. Then the lord mayor and his aldermen took their goodly leave, and the king entered into the banquet hall, where the lords and commons awaited him, and where an address was made to him by the Earl of Manchester, Speaker to the House of Peers, congratulating him on his miraculous preservation and happy restoration to his crown and dignity after so long and so severe a suppression of his just right and title. Likewise his lordship besought his majesty to be the upright assertor of the laws and maintainer of the liberties of his subjects. "So," said the noble earl, "shall judgment run down like a river, and justice like a mighty stream, and God, the God of your mercy, who hath so miraculously preserved you, will establish your throne in righteousness and peace." Then the king made a just and brief reply, and retired to supper and to rest.

The worthy citizens, however, were not satisfied that their rejoicements should end here, and "as soon as night came," says Dr. Bate, "an artificial day was begun again, the whole city seeming to be one great light, as, indeed, properly it was a luminary of loyalty, the bonfires continuing till daybreak, fed by a constant supply of wood, and maintained with an equal excess of gladness and fewel." Wine flowed from public fountains, volleys of shot were discharged from houses of the nobility, drums and other musical instruments played in the streets, citizens danced most joyfully in open places, and the effigy of Cromwell was burned, together with the arms of the Commonwealth with expressions of great delight.


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