« AnteriorContinuar »
Subtle as lightning, bright, and quick, and fierce, and draw up all bridges against so numerous an
Gold through doors and walls did pierce. enemy.
The truth of it is, that a man in much business To blow up towns, a golden mine did spring, must either make himself a knave, or else the
He broke through gates with his petar; world will make him a fool: and, if the injury 'Tis the great art of peace, the engine 'tis of war; went no farther than the being laught at, a wise And feets and armies follow it afar:
man would content himself with the revenge of The ensign 'tis at land, and 'tis the seaman's star. retaliation ; but the case is much worse, for these
civil cannibals too, as well as the wild ones, not Let all the world slave to this tyrant be,
only dance about such a taken stranger, but at Creature to this disguised deity,
last devour him. A sober man cannot get too Yet it shall never conquer me.
soon out of drunken company, though they be A guard of virtues will not let it pass.
never so kind and merry among themselves ;it is And wisdom is a tower of stronger brass.
not unpleasant only, but dangerous, to himn. The Muses' laurel, round my temples spread, Do ye wonder that a virtuous man should love Does from this lightning's force secure my bead: to be alone? It is hard for him to be otherwise ; Nor will I lift it up so high,
he is so, when he is among ten thousand : neither As in the violent meteor's way to lie.
is the solitude so uncomfortable to be alone withWealth for its power do we honour and adore ? out any other creature, as it is to be alone in the The things we hate, ill-fate and death, have midst of wild beasts. Man is to man all kind of more.
beasts; a fawning dog, a roaring lion, a thieving
fox, a robbing wolf, a dissembling crocodile, a From towns and courts, camps of the rich and treacherous decoy, and a rapacious vulture. The great,
civilist, methinks, of all nations, are those whom The vast Xerxean army, I retreat;
we account the most barbarous ; there is some And to the small Laconic forces fly,
moderation and good-nature in the ToupinamWhich holds the straits of poverty.
baltians, who eat no men but their enemies, whilst Cellars and granaries in vain we fill,
we learned and polite and Christian Europeans, With all the bounteous Summer's store, I like so many pikes and sharks, prey upon every If the mind thirst and hunger still :
thing that we can swallow. It is the great boast The poor rich man's emphatically poor.
of eloquence and philosophy, that they first conSlaves to the things we too much prize, gregated men dispersed, united them into socieWe masters grow of all that we despise.
ties, and built up the houses and the walls of cities.
I wish they could unravel all they had woven; A field of corn, a fountain, and a wood,
that we might have our woods and our innocence Is all the wealth by nature understood.
again, instead of our castles and our policies. They The monareh, on whom fertile Nile bestows have assembled many thousands of scattered peo
All which that grateful earth can bear, ple into one body: it is true, they have done so; Deceives himself, if he suppose
they have brought them together into cities to That more than this falls to his share. cozen, and into armies to murder, one another : Whatever an estate does beyond this afford, they found them hunters and fishers of wild creaIs not a rent paid to the lord :
tures : they have made them hunters and fishers But is a tax illegal and unjust,
of their bretheren : they boast to have reduced Exacted from it by the tyrant Lust.
them to a state of peace, when the truth is, they Much will always wanting be,
have only taught them an art of war : they have To him who much desires. Thrice happy he framed, I must confess, wholesome laws for the To whom the wise indulgency of Heaven,
restraint of vice, but they raised first that devil, With sparing hand, but just enough has given. which now they conjure and cannot bind : though
there were before no punishments for wickedness, yet there was less committed, because there were
no rewards for it. VIII.
But the men, who praise philosophy from this
topic, are much deceived: let oratory answer THE DANGERS OF AN HONEST MAN for itself, the tinkling perhaps of that may unite
a swarm ; it never was the work of philosophy to IN MUCH COMPANY.
assemble multitudes, but to regulate only, and
govern them, when they were assembled; to make Je twenty thousand naked Americans were not the best of an evil, and bring them, as much able to resist the assaults of but twenty well-armed as is possible, to unity again. Avarice and amSpaniards, I see little possibility for one honest bition only were the first builders of towns, and man to defend himself against twenty thousand founders of empire; they said, “ Go to, let us knaves who are all furnished cap à pe', with the build us a city and a tower whuge top may reach defensive arms of world y prudence, and the offen- / unto Heaven, and let us make us a name, lest sive too of craft and malice. He will find no less we be scattered abroad upon the face of the odds than this against him, if he have much to do | earth 9." What was the beginning of Rome, the in human affairs. The only advice therefore which metropolis of all the world? Wnat was it, but a Ican give him is to be sure not to venture his concourse of thieves, and a sanctuary of crwnia person any longer in the open campaign, to retreat and entrench himself, to stop np all avenues,
• Gen. xi. 4. VOL. VII.
nals? It was justly named by the augury of no the cleanly; the sight of folly and impiety, less than twelve vultures, and the founder cement- | vexatious to the wise and pious. ed his walls with the blood of his brother. Not Lucretius ?, by his frvour, though a good poet, unlike to this was the beginning even of the first was but an ill-natured man, when he said, it was town too in the world, and such is the original delightful to see other men in a great storm : and sin of most cities: their actual increase daily no less ill-natured should I think Democritus, with their age and growth; the more people, the who laughed at all the world, but that he retired more wicked all of them ; every one brings in bis himself so much out of it, that we may perceive part to inflame the contagion: which becomes he took no great pleasure in that kind of nirth. at last so universal and so strong, that no pre I have been drawn twice or thrice by company cepts can be sufficient preservatives, nor any to go to Bedlam, and have seen others very much thing secure our safety, but flight from among delighted with the fantastical extravagancy of the infected.
so many various madnesses; which upon me We ought, in the choice of a situation, to re wrought so contrary an effect, that I always gard above all things the healthfulness of the returned, not only melancholy, but even sick place, and the healthfulness of it for the mind, with the sight. My compassion there was perrather than for the body. But suppose (which | haps too tender, for I meet a thousand madmen is hardly to be supposed) we had antidote enough abroad, without any perturbation; tho', to weigh against this poison; nay, suppose further, we the matter justly, the total loss of reason is less were always and at all points armed and provid-deplorable than the total depravation of it. An ed, both against the assaults of hostility, and exact judge of human blessings, of riches, hothe mines of treachery, it will yet be but an un- nours, beauty, even of wit itself, should pity the comfortable life to be ever in alarms; though abuse of them, more than the want. we were compassed round with fire, to defend Briefly, though a wise man could pass never ourselves froin wild beasts, the lodging would be so securely through the great roads of human unpleasant, because we must always be obliged life, yet he will meet perpetually with so many to watch that fire, and to fear no less the defects objects and occasions of compassion, grief, shame, of our guard, than the diligences of our enemy. anger, hatred, indigviation, and all passions but The sum of this is, that a virtuous man is in dan envy (for he will find nothing to deserve that), ger to be trod upon and destroyed in the crowd that he had better strike into some private path; of his contraries, nay, which is worse, to be chan | nay, go so far, if he could, out of the common ged and corrupted by them; and that it is im- | way, ut nec facta audiat Pelopidarum; that possible to escape both these inconveniencies, he might not so much as hear of the actions of without so much caution as will take away the the sons of Adam. But, whither shall we fly whole quiet, that is the happiness, of his life. then ? into the deserts, like the ancient hermits?
Ye see then, what he may lose; but, I pray, what can he get there?
-Quà terra patet, fera regnat Erinnys,
In facinus jurâsse putes—3
One would think that all mankind had bound What should a man of truth and honesty do at themselves by an oath to do all the wickedness Rome? he can neither understand nor speak the they can ; that they had all (as the scripture language of the place; a naked man may swim speaks) “ sold themselves to sin :"the difference
in the sea, but it is not the way to catch fish only is, that some are a little more crafty (and · there; they are likelier to devour him, than he / but a little, God knows) in making of the bargain. them, if he bring no nets, and use no deceits. I I thought, when I first went to dwell in the counthink therefore it was wise and friendly advice, try, that without doubt I should have met there which Martial gave to Fabian, when he met him with the simplicity of the old poetical golden age; newly arrived at Rome:
I thought to have found no inhabitants there,
but such as the shepherds of sir Phil. Sydney Honest and poor, faithful in word and thought; in Arcadia, or of Monsienr d'Urfé upon the banks What has thee, Fabian, to the city brought? of Lignon ; and began to consider with myself, Thou neither the buffoon nor bawd canst which way I might recommend no less to posteplay,
rity the happiness and innocence of the men of Nor with false whispers th' innocent betray: Chertsea : but to confess the truth, I perceived Nor corrupt wives, nor from rich beldams get quickly, by infallible demonstrations, that I was A living by thy industry and sweat;
still in Old England, and not in Arcadia or La Nor with vain proinises and projects cheat, Forrest ; that, if I could not content myself with Nor bribe or flatter any of the great. | any thing less than exact fidelity in buman conBut you 're a man of learning, prudent, just; versation, I had almost as good go back and seek A man of courage, firm, and fit for trust. for it ia the Court, or the Exchange, or WestWhy you may stay and live unenvied here; minster-ball, I ask again, then, whither shall we But (faith) go back, and keep you where you fly, or what shall we do? The world may so come were.
in a man's way, that he cannot choose but salute
it; he must take heed, though, not to go a whorNay, if nothing of all these were in the case, ing after it. If, by any lawful vocation, or just yet the very sight of uncleanness is loathsome to
» Lucr. lib. ii. 1 Juv. Sat. ii. 41.
3 Ovid. Metam. i. 241.
necessity, men happen to be married to it, I can coxcomb? A man, who is excessive in his pains only give them St. Paul's advice: “ Brethren, and diligence, and who consumes the greatest the time is short; it remains, that they, that part of his time in furnishing the remainder have wives, be as though they had none. - But with all conveniences and even superfluities, is I would that all men were even as I myself 4.” to angels and wise men no less ridiculous; he does
In all cases, they must be sure, that they do | as little consider the shortness of his passage, that mundum ducere, and not mundo nubere. They he might proportion his cares accordingly. It is, must retain the superiority and headship over it: alas, so narrow a strait betwixt the womb and happy are they, who can get out of the sight of the grave, that it might be called the Pas de Vie, this deceitful beauty, that they may not be led | as well as that the Pas de Calais. so much as inty temptation ; who have not only | We are all & phuecos (as Pindar calls us), creaquitted the metropolis, but can abstain from ever
tures of a day, and therefore our Saviour bounds seeking the next market-town in their country.
our desires to that little space: as if it were very probable that every day should be our last, we are taught to demand even bread for no longer a
time. The Sun ought not to set upon our coveCLAUDIAN'SOLD MAN OF VERONA. tousness, no more than upon our anger ; but, as
toGod Almighty a thousand years are as one day, DE SENE VERONENSI, QUI SUBURBIUM NUNQUAM
so, in direct opposition, one day to the covetous EGRESSUS EST.
man is as a thousand years; tam brevi fortis
jaculatur ævo multa, so far he shoots beyond FELIX, qui patriis, &c.
his butt: one would think, he were of the opinion of the Millenaries, and hoped for so long a reign
upon Earth. The patriarchs before the flood, Happy the man, who bis whole time doth bound Within th' enclosure of his little ground.
who enjoyed almost such a life, made, we are
sure, less stores for the maintaining of it; they, Happy the man, whorn the same humble place
who lived nine hundred years, scarcely provided (Th' hereditary cottage of his race) Prom his first rising infancy has known,
for a few days; we, who live but a few days,
provide at least for nine hundred years. What And by degrees sees gently bending down,
a strange alteration is this of human life and With natural propension, to that earth Which both preserv'd his life, and gave him birth.
manners! and yet we see an imitation of it in
every man's particular experience; for we begin Hinn no false distant lights, by fortune set,
not the cares of life, till it be half spent, and Could ever into foolish wanderings get.
still increase them, as that decreases. He never dangers either saw or fear'd:
What is there among the actions of beasts so The dreadful storms at sea he uever heard.
illogical and repugnant to reason? When they He never heard the shrill alarms of war,
do any thing, which seems to proceed from that Or the worse noises of the lawyers' bar.
which we call reason, we disdain to allow them No change of consuls marks to him the year,
that perfection, and attribute it only to a natural The change of seasons is his calendar.
instinct : and are not we fools, too, by the same The cold and heat, winter and summer shows;
kind of instinct? If we could but learn to “ numAutumn by fruits, and spring by flowers, he knows
ber our days" (as we are taught to pray that we He measures time by land-marks, and has found
might), we should adjust much better our other For the whole day the dial of his ground.
accounts; but, whilst we never consider an end A neighbouring wood, born with himself, he sees,
of them, it is no wonder if our cares for them be And loves his old contemporary trees.
without end, too. Horace advises very wisely, He'as only heard of near Verona's name,
and in excellent good words,
from a short life cut off all hopes that grow too The voyage, life, is longest made at home.
long. They must be pruned away like suckers, that choak the mother-plant, and hinder it from
bearing fruit. And in another place, to the same IX.
sense, THE SHORTNESS OF LIFE, AND UN. Vitæ summa brevis spem nos vetat inchoare
longam ; CERTAINTY OF RICHES.
which Seneca does not mend, when he says If you should see a man, who were to cross from Oh! quanta dementia est spes longas inchoanDaver to Calais, run about very busy and soli- tium ! but he gives an example there of an accitous, and trouble bimself many weeks before in quaintance of his, named Senecio, who, from a making provisions for his voyage, would you com- | very mean beginning, by great industry in turnmend him for a cautious and discreet person, ing about of money through all ways of gain, had or laugh at him for a timorous and impertinent attained to extraordinary riches, but died on a
sudden, after having supped merrily, in ipso | Thou dost thyself wise and industrious deem; actu benè cedentium rerum, in ipso procurrentis A mighty husband thou would'st seem; fortunæ impetu, in the full course of his good | Fond man I like a bought slave, thou all the while fortune, when she had a high tide, and a stiff Dost but for others sweat and toil. gale, and all her sails on ; upon which occasion he cries, out of Virgil?,
Officious fool! that needs must meddling be
In business, that concerns not thee! Insere nunc, Melibæe, pyros; pone ordine For when to future years thou' extend'st thy vites !
Thou deal'st in other men's affairs.
Children again, for age prepare ;
Provisions for long travel they design, For this Senecio I have no compassion, because In the last point of their short line. he was taken, as we say, in ipso facto, still labouring in the work of avarice; but the poor rich man Wisely the ant against poor winter hoards in St Luke (whose case was not like this) I could. The stock, which summer's wealth affords : pity, methinks if the Scripture would permit In grasshoppers, that must at autumn die, me; for he seems to have been satisfied at last, How vain were such an industry ! he confesses he had enough for many years, he bids his soul take its ease; and yet for all that, of power and honour the deceitful light God says to him, “ Thou fool, this night thy Might half excuse our cheated sight, svul shall be required of thee; and the things If it of life the whole small time would stay thou hast laid up, who shall they belong to 8” | And be our sunshine all the day ; Where shall we find the causes of this bitter reproach and terrible judgment? We may find, I Like lightning, that, begot but in a cloud think, two; and God, perhaps, saw more. First, (Though shining bright, and speaking that he did not intend true rest to his soul, but
loud) only to change the employments of it from ava- / Whilst it begins, concludes its violent race, rice to luxury; his design is, to eat, and to drink, And where it gilds, it wounds the place. and to be merry. Secondly, that he went on too long before he thought of resting; the fullness Oh scene of fortune, which dost fair appear of his old barns had not sufficed him, he would Only to men that stand not near! stay till he was forced to build new ones : and | Proud poverty, that tinsel bravery wears ! God meted out to him in the same measure ; since And, like a rainbow, painted tears ! he would have more riches than his life could contain, God destroyed his life, and gave the | Be prudent, and the shore in prospect keep ; fruits of it to another.
In a weak boat trust not the deep; Thus God takes away sometimes the man from Plac'd beneath envy, above envying rise; his riches, and no less frequently riches from the Pity great men, great things despise. man : what hope can there be of such a marriage, where both parties are so fickle and uncertain | The wise example of the heavenly lark, by what bonds can such a couple be kept long Thy fellow-poet, Cowley, mark; together?
Above the clouds let thy proud music sound,
Thy humble nest build on the ground. Why dost thou beap up wealth, which thou must
Or, what is worse, be left by it? [quit, Why dost thou load thyself, when thou 'rt to Ay, Oh man, ordain'd to die?
Why dost thou build up stately rooms on high,
Thou who art under ground to lie ?
For Death, alas! is sowing thee.
THE DANGER OF PROCRASTINA
A Letter to Mr. S. L.
Suppose, thou Fortune couldst to tameness bring,
ss bring, And clip or pinion her wing; Suppose, thou could'st on Pate so far prevail,
As not to cut off thy entail ;
Yet Death at all that subtilty will laugh;
Death will that foolish gardener mock, Who does a slight and annual plant engraff
Upon a lasting stock,
I am glad that you approve and applaud my design of withdrawing myself from all tumult and business of the world, and consecrating the little rest of my time to those studies, to which Nature had so motherly inclined me, and from which For. tune, like a step-mother, has so long detained me. But nevertheless (you say, which but is ærugo mera, a rust which spoils the good metal it grows upon. But you say) you would ad. vise me not to precipitate that resolution, but to stay a while longer with patience and complaisance, till I had gotten such an estate as might afford me (according to the saying of that per
son, whom you and I love very much, and would | Begin, be bold, and venture to be wise ;
um. This were excellent advice to Joshua, who Does on a river's bank expecting stay, could bid the Sun stay too. But there is no fooling Till the whole stream, which stopt him, should with life, when it is once turned beyond forty.
be gone, The seeking for a fortune then, is but a desperate That runs, and as it runs, for ever will run on. after-ganie : it is a hundred to one, if a man fing two sixes and recover all ; especially, if his | Cæsar (the man of expedition above all others) hand be no luckier than mine. .
was so far from this folly, that whensoever, in a There is some help for all the defects of for- journey, he was to cross any river, he never went tune ; for, if a man cannot attain to the length of one foot out of his way for a bridge, or a ford, or a his wishes, be may have his remedy by cutting of ferry; but fung himself into it immediately, and them shorter. Epicurus writes a letter to Ido swam over : and this is the course we ought to meneus (who was then a very powerful, wealthy, | imitate, if we meet with any stops in our way to and, it seems, bountiful person) to recommend to happiness. Stay, till the waters are low; stay, him, who had made so many men rich, one Py till some boats come by to transport you ; stay, thocles, a friend of his, whom he desired might be till a bridge be built for you ; you had even as made a rich man too; “but I entreat you that good stay till the river be quite past. Persius you would not do it just the same way as you have (who, you use to say, you do not know whether done to many less deserving persons, but in the he be a good poet or no, because you cannot un. most gentlemanly manner of obliging him, which derstand him, and whom therefore, I say, I know is not to add any thing to his estate, but to take to be not a good poet) has an odd expression of something from his desires."
these procrastinators, which, methinks, is full of The sum of this is, that, for the uncertain hopes fancy : of some conveniences, we ought not to defer the execution of a work that is necessary; especially, Jam cras hesternum consumpsimus ; eccc aliud when the use of those things, which we would Egerit hos annos.
[cras stay for, may otherwise be supplied; but the loss Our yesterday's to morrow now is gone. of time, never recovered: nay, farther yet, though And still a new to morrow does come on ; we were sure to obtain all that we had a mind to, We by to morrows draw up all our store, though we were sure of getting never so much Till the exhausted well can yield no more. by continuing the game, yet, when the light of life is so near going out, and ought to be so And now, I think, I am even with you, for precious, le jeu ne vaut pas la chandelle, the l' your otium cum dignitate, and festina lente, play is not worth the expense of the candle : and three or four other more of your new Latin after having been long tost in a tempest, if our sentences : if I should draw upon you all my masts be standing, and we have still sail and forces out of Seneca and Plutarch upon this subtackling enough to carry us to our port, it is no lject, I should overwhelm you ; but I leave those, matter for the want of streamers and top-gal- as Triarii, for your next charge. I shall only lants;
give you now a light skirmish out of an epigramutere velis,
inatist, your special good friend ; and so, vale. Totos pande sinus-9
A gentleman in our late civil wars, when his
MARTIAL, Lib. V. Epigr. lix. quarters were beaten up by the enemy, was taken prisuder, and lost his life afterwards, only by
Cras te victurum, cras dicis, Posthume, sem. staying to put on a band, and adjust his periwig: he would escape like a person of quality, or not at all, and died the noble martyr of ceremony and
TO MORROW you will live, you always cry: gentility. I think, your counsel of festina
In what far country does this morrow lie, lente is as ill to a man who is flying from the world, as it would have been to that unfortunate
That 'tis so mighty long ere it arrive? well-bred gentleman, who was so cautious as not
Beyond the Indies does this morrow live ?
"Tis so far fetch'd this morrow, that I fear to fly undecently from his enemies ; and there
"Twill be both very old and very dear. fore I prefer Horace's advice before yours,
To morrow I will live, the fool does say : sapere aude,
To day itself's too late ; the wise liv'd yesterday. IncipeBegin; the getting out of doors is the greatest part of the journey. Varro' teaches us that Latin proverb, portam itineri longissimam
Martial, Lib. II. Epigr. XC. esse: but to return to Horace,
Quinctiliane, vagæ moderator summe juven—Sapere aude:
to, đc. Incipe vivendi rectè qui prorogat horam, Rusticus expectat, dum labitur annis : at ille WONDER not, sir, (you who instruct the town Labitur, & labetur in omne volubilis ævum?.” In the true wisdom of the sacred gown)
That I make haste to live, and cannot hold · Juv. i. 150. ' Lib. 1. Agric. » 1 Ep. in 4 1. Patiently out till I grow rich and olde