Imágenes de páginas
PDF

against offenders? The reason, which can only 1 day, you should see him ranting so wildly, that be given in nature for a necessity of this, is, be- nobody durst come near hiin: to morrow, flinging cause those things are now made crimes, which of cushions, and playing at snowballs, with his were never esteemed so in foriner ages; and there servants. This month, he assembles a parliamust needs be a new court set up to punish that, ment, and professes himself with humble tears which all the old ones were bound to protect and to be only their servant and their minister; the reward. But I am so far from declaiming (as you next month, he swears by the living God, that call it) against these wickednesses (which if I he will turn them out of doors, and he does so, should undertake to do, I should never get to the in his princely way of threatening, bidding them, peroration), that you see I only give a hint of “Turn the buckles of their girdles behind them." some few, and pass over the rest, as things that | The representative of whole, nay of three whole are too many to be numbered, and must only | nations, was in his esteem so contemptible a be weighed in gross, Let any man show me (for, | meeting, that he thought the affronting and exthough I pretend not to much reading, I will pelling of them to be a thing of so little consedefy him in all history) let any man show me quence, as not to deserve that he should advise (I say) an example of any nation in the world with any mortal man about it. What shall we (though much greater than ours) where there call this? boldness or brutishness ? rashness or have, in the space of four years, been made phrensy? There is no name can come up to its 80 many prisoners, only out of the endless jea- and therefore we must leave it without one. lousies of one tyrant's guilty imagination. I Now a parliament must be chosen in the new grant you, that Marius and Sylla, and the ac- manner, next time in the old form, but all cashcursed triumvirate after them, put more people iered still after the newest mode. Now he will to death ; but the reason, I think, partly was, govern by major-generals, now by one house, because in these times that had a mixture of some now by another house, now by no house; nov honour with their madness, they thought it a the freak takes him, and he makes seventy peers more civil revenge against a Roman, to take away of the land at one clap (extempore, and stans his life, than to take away his liberty. But truly I pede in uno); and, to manifest the absolute in the point of murder too, we have little reason power of the potter, he chooses not only the to think that our late tyranny has beeu deficient to worst clay he could find, but picks up even the the examples that have ever been set it in other dirt and mire, to form out of it his vessels of Countries. Our judges and our courts of justice honour. It was said anciently of Fortune, that, have not been idle: and, to omit the whole reign when she had a mind to be merry and to divert of our late king (till the beginning of the war), herself, she was wont to raise up such kind of in which no drop of blood was ever drawn but people to the highest dignities. This son of Forfrom two or three ears, I think the longest tune, Cromwell, (wbo was himself one of the time of our worst princes scarce saw many | primest of her jests) found out the true haut goust more executions, than the short one of our of this pleasure, and rejoiced in the extravagance blest reformer. And we saw, and smelt in our | of his ways, as the fullest deinonstration of his open streets (as I marked to you at first) the uncontroulable sovereignty, Good God! What broiling of human bowels as a burnt-offering of a have we seen ? and what have we suffered ? what Sweet savour to our idol ; but all murdering, and do all these actions signify? what do they say all torturing (though after the subtilest invention aloud to the whole nation, but this (even as of his predecessors of Sicily) is more humane and plainly as if it were proclaimed by heralds through more supportable, than his selling of Christians, the streets of London), “You are slaves and Englishmen, gentlemen ; his selling of them (oh fools, and so I will use you!” monstrous! oh incredible) to be slaves in America. “ These are briefly a part of those merits which If his whole life could be reproached with no you lament to have wanted the reward of more other action, yet this alone would weighi down all kingdoms, and suppose that, if he had lived the multiplicity of crimes in any of our tyrants; longer, he might have had them: which I am so and I dare only touch, without stopping or insist- | far from concurring to, that I believe his seasoning upon, so insolent and so execrable a cruelty, able dying to have been a greater good-fortune for fear of falling into so violent (though a just) to him, than all the victories and prosperities of passion, as would make me exceed that temper | his life. For he seemed evidently (methinks) to and moderation, which I resolve to observe in be near the end of his deceitful glories; his own this discourse with you.

army grew at last as weary of him as the rest of “ These are great calamities; but even these the people; and I never passed of late before his are not the most insupportable that we have en- palace (his, do I call it :- I ask God and the king dured ; for so it is, that the scorn, and mockery, | pardon) but I never passed of late before Whiteand insultings of an enemy, are more painful hall, without reading upon the gate of it, “Mene than the deepest wounds of his serious fury. | Mene, Tekel Upharsin 5." But it pleased God This man was wanton and merry (unwittily and to take him from the ordinary courts of men, and ungracefully merry) with our sufferings: he juries of his peers, to his own high court of justice; loved to say and do senseless and fantastical which being more merciful than ours below, there things, only to show his power of doing or saying is a little room yet left for the hope of his friends, any thing It would ill befitmine, or any civil | if he have any ; though the outward unrepentance mouth, to repeat those words which he spoke of his death afford but small materials for the concerning the most sacred of our English laws, work of charity, especially if he designed even the Petition of Right, and Magna Charta 4. "To then to entail his own injustice upon his children, ! In the case of Coney, before mentioned.

Dan. v. 25.

And, by it, inextricable confusions and civil wars | Hence, coward fears; for the first blood so spilt, upon the nation. But here 's at last an end of | As a reward he the first city built. him. And where 's now the fruit of all that 'Twas a beginning generous and high, blood and calamity, which his ambition has cost | Fit for a grand-child of the Deity. the world? Where is it? Why, his son (you will | So well advanc'd, 'twas pity here he staid ! say) has the whole crop: I doubt, he will find One step of glory more he should have made, it quickly blasted; I have nothing to say against And to the utmost bouinds of greatness gone; the gentleman', or any living of his farnily ; on Had Adam too been kill'd, he might have reign'd the contrary, I wish him better fortune tlan to

alone, have a long and unquiet pussession of his master's One brother's death, what do I mean to name, inheritance. Whatsoever I have spoken against | A small oblation to revenge and fame? his father, is that which I should have thought | The mighty soul'd Abimelec, to shew (though decency, perhaps, might have hindered | What for bigh place a higher spirit can do, me from saying it) even against mine own, if I | A hecatomb alınost of brethren slew, had been so unhappy, as that mine, by the same | And seventy times in nearest blood he dy'd ways, should have left me three kingdoms." (To make it hold) his royal purple pride.

Here I stopt; and my pretended protector, Why do I name the lordly creature man? who, I expected, would have been very angry, The weak, the mild, the coward woman, can, fell a laughing; it seems at the simplicity of my When to a crown she cuts her sacred way, discourse, for thus he replied: “ You seem to All that oppose with manlike courage slay. pretend extremely to the old obsolete rules of So Athaliah, when she saw her son, virtue and conscience, which makes me doubt And with his life her dearer greatness, gone, very much whether from this vast prospect of With a majestic fury slaughter'd all three kingdoms you can show me any acres of Whom high-birth might to high pretences call; your own. But these are so far from making you Since he was dead who all her power sustain'd, a prince, that I am afraid your friends will never Resolu'd to reign alone; resolv'd, and reign'de have the contentment to see you so much as a In vain her sex, in vain the laws, withstood, justice of peace in your own country. For this, In vain the sacred plea of David's blood; I perceive, which you call virtue, is nothing else | A noble and a bold contention, she but either the frowardness of a Cynic, or the (One woman) undertook with Destiny, laziness of an Epicurean. I am glad you allow She topluck down, Destiny to uphold me at least artful dissimulation and unwearied (Oblig'd by holy oracles of old) diligence in my hero; and I assure you, that he, The great Jessaan race on Judah's throne; whose life is constantly drawn by those two, shall Till 'twas at last an equal wager grown, never be misled out of the way of greatness. But Scarce Fate, with much ado, the better got by one, I see you are a pedant and Platonical statesman, | Tell me not, she herself at last was slain ; a theoretical commonwealth's-man, an Utopian | Did she not, first seven years (a life-time,) reign? dreamer. Was crer riches gotten by your golden Seren royal years t' a public spirit will seem mediocrities? or the supreme place attained to More than the private life of a Methusalem. by virtues that must not stir out of the middle? | 'Tis godlike to be great ; and, as they say, Do you study Aristotle's politics, and write, if | A thousand years to God are but a day, you please, comments upon them; and let ano- So a man, when once a crown he wears, ther but practise Machiavel: and let us see then The coronation-day's more than a thousand which of you two will come to the greatest prefer

years.” . ment. If the desire of rulo and superiority be a virtue (as sure I ain it is more imprinted in He would have gone on, I perceived, in his human nature than any of your lethargical morals; blasphemies, but that by God's grace I became and what is the virtue of any creature, but the so bold, as thus to interrupt bim : “ I understand exercise of those powers and inclinations which now perfectly (which I guessed at lorg before) God has infused into it !) if that (I say) be virtue, what kind of angel and protector you are, and, we ought not to esteem any thing vice, which is though your style in verse be very much mended the most proper, if not the only, means of attain | since you were wont to deliver oracles, yet your ing of it:

doctrine is much worse than ever you had former

ly (that I heard of) the face to publish ; whether It is a truth so certain, and so clear,

your long practice with mankind has increased That to the first-born man it did appear;

and improved your malice, or whether you think Did not the mighty heir, the noble Cain,

us in this age to be grown so impudently wicked, By the fresh laws of Nature taught, disdain' that there needs no more art or disguises to draw That (though a brother) any one should be us to your party." A greater favourite to God than he ?

“ My dominion (said he hastily, and with a He strook him down; and so (said he) so fell dreadful furious look) is so great in this world, The sheep, which thou didst sacrifice so well. and I am so powerful a monarch of it, that I need Since all the fullest sheaves, which I could bring, not be ashamed that you should know me; and, Since all were blasted in the offering, Lest God should my next victim too despise, 7 This compliment was intended, not so much The acceptable priest I 'll sacrifice.

to the foregoing, as to the following verses; of

which the author had reason to be proud, but, 6 A remarkable testimony to the blameless as being delivered in his own person, could not so character of Richard Cromwell,

properly make the paney gric. HURD,

that you may see I know you too, I know you to Across his breast an azure ruban went, 'be an obstinate and inveterate malignant ; and for At which a medal hung, that did present, that reason I shall take you along with me to the In wondrous living figures, to the sight, next garrison of ours; from whence you shall go to | The mystic champion's, and old dragon's fight; the Tower, and from thence to the court of justice, And from his mantle's side there shone afar, and from thence you know whither." I was almost A fix'd and, I believe, a real star. in the very pounces of the great bird of prey : In his fair hand (wbat need was there of more :)

No arms, but th’ English bloody cross he bore, When, lo, ere the last words were fully spoke, Which when he tow'rds th' affrighted tyrant bent, From a fair cloud which rather op'd than broke, And some few words pronounc'd (but what they A flash of light, rather than lightning, came,

meant, So swift, and yet so gentle, was the flame. Or were, could not, alas ! by me be known, Upon it rode (and, in his full career,

| Only, I well perceiv'd, Jesus was one) Seem'd to my eyes no sooner there than here) | He trembled, and he roard, and fled away The comeliest youth of all th' angelic race; Mad to quit thus his more than hop'd-for prey. Lovely his shape, ineffable his face.

Such rage inflames the wolf's wild heart and The frowns, with which he strook the trembling eyes fiend,

(Robb'd, as he thinks unjustly, of his prize) All smiles of human beauty did transcend ; Whom unawares the shepherd spies, and draws His beams of locks fell part dishevell’d down, The bleating lamb from out his ravenous jaws: Part upwards curl'd, and form'd a natural crown, The shepherd fain himself would he assail, Such as the British monarchs us'd to wear; But fear above his hunger does prevail, If gold might be compar'd with angels' hair. He knows his foe too strong, and must be gone; His coat and flowing mantle were so bright, | He grins, as he looks back, and howls as he goes They seem'd both made of woven silver light:

[ocr errors]
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

too after a forfeiture made by the rebellion of Adam. He takes so much care for the entire

preservation of it, to us, that he suffers neither OF LIBERTY.

his providence nor eternal decree to break or inThe liberty of a people corsists in being govern- fringe it. Now for our time, the same God, to ed by laws which they have made themselves, whom we are but tenants at will for the whole, under whatsoever form it be of government: the requires but the seventh part to be paid to him, as liberty of a private man, in being master of his a small quit-rent, in acknowledgment of his own time and actions, as far as may consist with title. It is man only that has the impudence to the laws of God and of his country. Of this latter demand our whole time, though he never gave it, only we are here to discourse, and to enquire por can restore it, nor is able to pay any consiwhat estate of life does best: seat us in the posses- derable value for the least part of it. This birthsion of it. This liberty of our own actions, is such right of mankind above all other creatures, some a fundamental privilege of human nature, that are forced by hunger to sell, like Esau, for bread God himself, notwithstanding all his infinite power and broth : but the greatest part of men make and right over us, permitis us to enjoy it, and that such a bargain for the delivery-up of themselves, as Thamar did with Judah ; instead of a kid, the scribe the character which Cicero 4 gives of this necessary provisions for human life, they are con noble slave, because it is a general description of tended to do it for rings and bracelets. The great all ambitious men, and which Machiavel perhaps dealers in this world may be divided into the am- would say ought to be the rule of their life and acbitious, the covetous, and the voluptuous ; and tions : that all these men sell themselves to be slaves “ This man (says he, as most of you may well though to the vulgar it may seem a stoical para remember) had many artificial touches and dox, will appear to the wise so plain and obvious, strokes, that looked like the beauty of great virthat they will scarce think it deserves the labour tues; his intimate conversation was with the of argumentation. rack, that forces men to say what they have notion.” This was spoken as became the bravest mind to!

worst of men, and yet he seemed to be an adLet us first consider the ambitious; and those, mirer and lover of the best; he was furnished with both in their progress to greatness, and after the all the nets of lust and luxury, and yet wanted not attaining of it. There is nothing truer than what | | the arms of labour and industry : neither do I beSallust ' says, Dominationis in alios servitium lieve that there was ever any monster of nature, suum mercedem dant ; they are content to pay composed out of so many different and disagreeing so great a price, as their own servitude, to pur- | parts. Who more acceptable, sometimes, to the chase the domination over others. The first most honourable persons: who more a favourite thing they must resolve to sacrifice, is their whole to the most infamous ? who, sometimes, appeared time; they must never stop, nor ever turn aside a braver champion ; who; at other times, a bolder whilst they are in the race of glory, no not like enemy to his countrey? who more dissolute in Atalanta for golden apples. Neither indeed can his pleasures? who more patient in his toils ? who a man stop himself if he would when he is in this more rapacious in robbing? who more profuse in career:

giving? Above all things, this was remarkable and

admirable in him, the arts he had to acquire the Fertur equis auriga, neque audit currus habe- good opinion and kindness of all sorts of men, to nas.

retain it with great complaisance, to communicate

all things to them, to watch and serve all the ocPray, let us but consider a little, what means | casions of their fortune, both with his money, and servile things men do for this imaginary food. | his interest, and his industry; and, if need were, We cannot fetch a greater example of it, than not by sticking at any wickedness whatsoever that from the chief men of that nation which boasted might be useful to them, to bend and turn about most of liberty. To what pitiful baseness did | his own nature and laveer with every wind : to the noblest Romans submit themselves, for the live severely with the melancholy,merrily with the obtaining of a pretorship, or the consular digni pleasant, gravely with the aged, wantonly with ty! They put on the habit of suppliants, and ran the young, desperately with the bold, and de. about on foot, and in dirt, through all the tribes, bauchedly with the luxurious: with this variety to beg voices; they flattered the poorest arti and multiplicity of his nature as he had made sans; and carried a nomenclator with them, to | a collection of friendships with all the most wickwhisper in their ear every man's name, lest they ed and restless of all nations ; so, by the artificial should mistake it in their salutations; they simulation of some virtues, he made a shift to enshook the hand and kissed the cheek of every share some honest and eminent persons into his popular tradesman; they stood all day at every familiarity. Neither could so vast a design as market in the public places, to show and ingrati the destruction of this empire have been underate themselves to the rout; they employed all taken by him, if the immanity of so many vices their friends to solicit for them; they kept open had not been covered and disguised by the aptables in every street ; they distributed wine,and pearances of some excellent qualities.” bread, and money, even to the vilest of the peo I see, methinks, the character of an Antiple. En Romanos rerum dominos 3 ! Behold Paul, “ who became all things to all men,” that the masters of the world begging from door to he might destroy all; who only wanted the asdoor! This particular humble way of greatness sistance of fortune, to have been as great as his is now out of fashion ; but yet every ambitious friend Cæsar was a little after him. And the person is still in some sort a Roman candidate. ways of Cæsar to compass the same ends (I mean He must feast and bribe, and attend and fatter, till the civil war, which was but another manner and adore many beasts, though not the beast of setting his country on fire) were not unlike with many heads. Catiline,who was so proud that these, though he used afterwards his unjust do. he could not content himself with a less power minion with more moderation than I think the than Sylla's, was yet so humble, for the attaining other would have done. Sallust therefore, who of it, as to make himself the most contemptible of was well acquainted with them both, and with all servants; to be a public bawd, to provide many such like gentlemen of his time, sayss, whores,and something worse for all the young gen “that it is the nature of ambition, to make men tlemen of Rome, whose hot lusts and courages, | lyars and cheaters; to hide the truth in their and heads, he thought he might make use of. breasts, and show, like jugglers, another thing in And since I happen here to propose Catiline for their mouths: to cut all friendships and enmimy instance (though there be thousand of exam- | ties to the measure of their own interest ; and to ples for the same thing) give me leave to tran make a good countenance without the help of a

good will." And can there be freedom with this · Fragm. ed. Mattaire, p. 116.

perpetual constraint? what is it but a kind of * Virg. Georg. i. 514. * Virg. Æn, i. 28%

* Orat. pro. M. Cælio. 5 De Bell. Catil. Co s

[ocr errors]

man who was ever born in the bravest commonI have wondered at the extravagant and bar-wealth. But with us generally, no condition barous stratagem of Zopirus, and more at the | passes for servitude, that is accompanied with praises which I find of so deformed an action; great riches, with honours, and with the service who, though he was one of the seven grandces of of many inferiors. This is but a dečeption of Persia, and the son of Megabises, who had freed the sight through a false medium; for if a grooin before his country from an ignoble servitude, slit serve a gentleman in his chamber, that gentlehis own nose and lips, cut off his own ears, scourg- man a lord, and that lord a prince; the groom, ed and wounded his whole body, that he might, the gentleman, and the lurd, are as much serunder pretence of having been mangled so inhu vants one as the other; the circumstantial difmanly by Darius, be received into Babylon (then ference of the one's getting only his bread and besieged by the Persians) and get into the com wages, the second a plentiful, and tlie third a sumand of it by the recommendation of so cruel a perfluous estate, is no more intrinsical to this sufferance, and their hopes of his endeavouring matter than the difference between a plain a to revenge it. It is great pity the Babylonians rich, and gaudy livery. I do not say, that he suspected not his falsehood, that they might who sells his whole time and his own will for have cut off his hands too, and whipt bim back one hundred thousand is not a wiser mer. again. But the design succeeded; he betrayed chant than he who docs it for one hundred the city, and was made governor of it. What pounds ; but I will swear they are both mer. brutish master erer punished his offending slave chants, and that he is happier than both, who with so little mercy,as ambition did this Zopirus ? | can live contentedly without selling that estate and yet how many are there in all nations, who to which he was born. But this dependance imitate him, in soine degree, for a less reward ; upon superiors is but one chain of the lovers of who, though they endure not so much corporal power: pain for a small preferment or some honour (as

Amatorem trecentæ They call it), yet stick not to commit actions, by which they are more shamefully and inore last

Pirithouin cohibent catena?. ingly stigmatised! But you may say, though Let us begin with him by break of day: for by these be the most ordinary and open ways to that time he is besieged by two or three hundred greatness, yet there are narrow, thomy, and suitors; and the hall and antichambers (all the little-trodden paths too, through which some out-works) possessed by the enemy: as soon as men find a passage by virtuous industry. This chamber opens, they are ready to break into grant, sometimes they may ; but then that in | that, or to corrupt the guards, for entrance, dustry must be such,as cannot consist with liber- This is so essential a part of greatness, that ty, though it may with honesty.

whosoever is without it, looks like a fallen faThou art careful, frugal, painful; we commend vourite, like a person disgraced, and condemned a seryant so, but not a friend.

to do what he pleases all the morning. There Well then, we must acknowledge the toil and are some who, rather than want this, are condrndgery which we are forced to endure in this tented to have their rooms filled up every day ascent ; but we are epicures and lords when once with murmuring and cursing creditors, and to we are gotten up into the high places. This is charge bravely through a body of them to get to but a short apprenticeship, after which we are their coach, Now I would fajn know which is the made free of a royal company. If we fall in love worst duty, that of any one particular person with any beauteous woman, we must be content who waits to speak with the great man, or the that they should be our mistresses whilst we woo | great man's, who waits every day to speak with them : as soon as we are wedded and enjoy, it is all company. we shall be the masters. I am willing to stick to this similitude in the

Aliena negotia centum case of greatness: weentes into the bonds of it, like Per caput, & circa saliunt latus those of matrimony: we are bewitched with the a hundred businesses of other men (many unjust, outward and painted beauty, and take it for bet- |

and most impertinent) fly continually about bis ter or worse, before we know its true nature and

| head and ears, and strike him in the face like interior inconveniences. A great fortune (says Dorres. Let us conte

Dorres. Let us contemplate him a little at Seneca) is a great servitude ; but many are of

another special scene of glory, and that is his that opinion which Brutus imputes (I hope im- table. Here he seems to be the lord of all nature: truly even to that patron of liberty, his friend

the earth affords him her best metals for his Cicero: “We fear (says he to Atticus) death,

dishes, her best vegetables and animals for his and banishment, and poverty, a great deal too

food; the air and sea supply him with their much. Cicero, I am afraid, thinks these to be the

choicest birds and fishes; and a great inany men, worst of evils; and, if he bave but some persons,

who look like masters, attend upon him; and from whom he can obtain what he has a inind to,

yet, when all this is done, even all this is but and others who will flatter and worship him, seems

table d'hoste; it is crowded with people for whoin to be well enough contented with an honourable

he cares not, with many parasites and some servitude, if any thing indeed ought to be called

spies, with the most burthensome sort of guests, honourable in so base and contumelious a condi,

the endeavourers to be witty. • This parenthesis does honour to the writer's , Hor. 3 Od. iv. 79. sense, as well as candour. Hurd.

| Hor. 2 Sat, vi, 34.

« AnteriorContinuar »