« AnteriorContinuar »
mus? 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 ard 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 Inore wicked all of them; every one brings in his 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 abore 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 100 tender, for I meet a thousand madmen is hard!y 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, ho* the mines of treachery, it will yet be but an un- nonrs, 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 from 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, indignation, 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), yer 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 puies—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 io tive 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. thiem, if he bring no nets, and use no deceits. I | I thought, when I first went to dwell in the counthink ticrefore it was wise and friendly advice, i try, that without doubt I should have met there whicir Martial gave to Fabian, when he met him with the simplicity of the old poetical golden age; Newy arrived at Rome :
I thought to have found no inhabitants there,
but such as the shepherds of sir Pbil. Sydney Honest and poor, faithful in word and thought; in Arcadia, or of Monsieur d'Urfé upon the banks What has thee, Fabian, to the city brought? 1 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 promises 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 human conBut you 're a man of learning, prudent, just; | reisation, I had almost as good go back and seek A map of courage, firm, and fit for trust. for it ia the Court, or the Exchange, or WestWhy you may stay and live unenvie-t here; minster-hall. I ask again, then, whither shall we But (faith) go back, and keep you where you Ay, 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. "Juv. Sat, üi. 41.
3 Ovid. Metam. i. 241.
becessity, 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 thouzh they had none. But with all conveniences and even superfluities, is I would that all men were even as I myself4.” 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 beanty, that they may not be led as well as that the Pas de Calais. so much as into temptation ; who have not only We are all è pruegou (as Pindar calls us), crea. quitted the metropolis, but can abstain from ever | tures of a day, and therefore our Saviour bounds seeking the next market-town in their country.
s our desires to that little space: as if it were very probabk that every day should be our last, we are taught to demand even bread for no louger a
time. The Sun ought not to set upon our coveCLAUDIAN SOLD MAN OF VERONA. tousness, no more than upon our anger ; but, as
to God Almighty a thousand years are as one day, DE SEXE VERONENSI, QUI SUBURBIUM NUNQUAM
so, in direct opposition, one day to the covetous EGRESSUS EST.
man is as a thousand years; tam brevi fortis
jaculatúr evo 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 Happy the man, who his whole time doth bound upon Earth. The patriarchs before the flood,
who enjoyed almost such a life, made, we are Within th' enclosure of his little ground.
sure, less stores for the maintaining of it; they, Happy the man, whom the same huinble place
wlio lived nine hundred years, scarcely provided (Th' hereditary cottage of his race)
for a few days; we, who live but a few days, From his first rising infancy has known,
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 Him no false distant lights, by fortune set,
every man's particular experience; for we begin Could ever into foolish wanderings get.
not the cares of life, till it be half spent, and
still increase them, as that decreases. He never dangers either saw or fear'd: The dreadful storms at sea he uever heard.
What is there among the actions of beasts so,
illogical and repugnant to reason? When they He never heard the shrill alarms of war, Or the worse noises of the lawyers' bar.
do any thing, which seems to proceed from that
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 “ num. Autumn 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 bimself, 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 knows it, like the Indies, but by fame.
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.
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 I, you should see a man, who were to cross from Oh! quanta dementia est spes longas inchoanDover to Calais, run about very busy and soli tium ! but he gives an example there of an accitons, 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 ar 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 ! 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 Virgili,
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, suul 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 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 fly,
Oh man, ordain'd to die?
A Letter to Mr. S. L.
Suppose, thou Fortune couldst to tameness bring,
And clip or pinion her wing;
As not to cut off thy entail ;
Death will that foolish gardener mock,
Upon a lasting stock,
Lam glad that you approve and applaud by 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 Fortune, 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 advise 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 ; believe as soon as another inan) cum dignitate oti- | He who defers this work from day to day, 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 tırned 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 Aling 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, he may have his remedy by cutting of ferry; but Aung 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 unmost 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. stay for, may otherwise be supplier ; 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 ue vaut pas la chandelle, the your otium cum dignitate, and festina lente, play is not worth the expense of the candle : Y and three or fuur 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 stilt sail and forces out of Seneca and Plutarch upon this subtackling enough to carry us to our port, it is no ject, I should orerwhelm you ; but I leave those, matter for the want of streamers and top-gal as Triarii, for your next charge. I shall only
give you now a light skirmish out of an epigramlitere velis,
matist, your special good friend; and so, vale. Totos pande sinus-9
A gentleman in our late civil wars, when bis quarters were beaten up by the enemy, was taken
Martial, Lib. V. Epigr. lix. prisoner, and lost his life afterwards, only by
Cras te victurum, cras dicis, Posthume, semstaying to put on a band, and adjust his periwig: he would escape like a person of quality, or not
per; &c. at all, and died the noble martyr of ceremony and gentility. I think, your counsel of festina
TO MORROW you will live, you always cry: lente is as ill to a man who is flying from the
In what far country does this morrow lie, world, as it would have been to that unfortunate
That 'tis so mighty long ere it arrive?
Beyond the Indies does this morrow live? well-bred gentleman, who was so cautious as not to fr undecently from his enemies ; and there
'Tis so far fetch'd this morrow, that I fear
"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. IncipeBeyin ; the getting out of doors is the greatest port of the journey. Varrol teaches us that latin proverb, portain itineri longissimam
Martial, Lib. II. Epigr. xc. , esse : but to return to Horace,
Quinctiliane, vagü moderator summe juven-Sapere aude:
te, &c. Incipe vivenili rectè qui prorogat horam, Rusticus expectat, dum labitur annis : at ille WONDER not, sir, (you who instruct the town Labitur, & labetur in omne volubilis ævuma." In the true wisdom of the sacred gown)
That I make haste to live, and cannot hold ' Juv. j. 150. Lib. 1. Agric. 21 Ep. ii. 4 1. Patiently out till I grow rich and olde
Life for delays and doubts no time does give, but of this part, which here set down (if a rery None ever get made haste enough to live. little were corrected) I should liaidly now be Let him defer it, whose preposterous care
Too low fur envy for contempt too high.
Th’unknowo are better than ill known:
Rumour can ope the grave. Pleasures abroad, the sport of Nature yields, | Acquaintance I would have, but when't depends Her living fountains, and her smiling fields; Not on the number, but the choice, of friends. And then at home, what pleasure is 't to see A little, cleanly, cheerful, family!
Bonks should, not business, entertain the light, Which if a chaste wife crown, no less in her And sleep, as undisturb'd as death, the night. Than fortune, I the gollen mean prefer.
My house a cottage more
For all my use, no luxury.
My garden painted o'er
Thus would I double my life's fading space; XI.
For he, that runs it well, twice runs his race.
And in this true delight,
I would not fear, nor wish, my fate; It is a hard and nice subject for a man to write But boldly say each night, of himself; it grates his own heart to say any To morrow let my sun his beams display, thing of disparagement, and the reader's ears to Orin clouds hide them; I have liv'd to day. bear any thiry of praise from him. There is no danger from me of offending him in this kind; You may see by it, I was even theu acquaintneither my mind, nor my body, nor my fortune, ed with the poets (for the conclusion is taken allow me any materials for that vanity. It is out of Horace3); and perhaps it was the imma. sufficient for my own contentment, that they ture and immoderate love of them, which stampt have preserved me from bcing scandalous or re- first, or rather engraved, these characters in me: markable on the defective side. But, besides
re lik ers cut into the bark of a that, I shall here speak of myself only in rela young tree, which with the tree still grow protion to the subject of these precedent discourses, portionably. But, how this love came to be and shall be likelier thereby to fall into the produced in me so early, is a hard question: I contempt, than rise up to the estimation, of believe, I can tell the particular little chance most people.
that filled my head first with such chimes of As far as my memory can return back into my verse, as have never since left ringing there : for past life, before I knew, or was capable of guess I remember, when I beyin to read, and to take ing, what the world, or the glories or business of some pleasure in it, there was wont to lie in my it, were, the natural affections of my soul gave mother's parlour, (I know not by what accident, me a secret bent of aversion from them, as some for she herself never in her life read any book plants are said to turn away from others, by an but of devotion) but there was wont to lie Spenantipathy imperceptible to themselves, and in ser's works ; this I happened to fall upon, and scrutable to man's understanding. Even when was infinitely delighted with the stories of the I was a very young boy at school, instead of knights, and giants, and monsters, and brave running about on holy-days and playing with my houses, which I found every where there (though fellows, I was wont to steal from them, and iny understanding bad liule to do with all this ;) walk into the fields, either alone with a book, or and, by degrees, with the tinkling of the rhyme with some one companion, if I could find any and dance of the numbers; so that, I think, I of the same temper. i was then, too, so much had read him all over before I was twelve an enemy to al construint, that my masters / years old, and was thus made a poet as imcould never prevail on me, by any persuasions or mediately as a child is made an eunuch. encouragements, to learn without book the com- With these aflections of mind, and my heart mon rules of grammar; in which they dispersed wholly set upon letters, I went to the university, with me alone, because they found I made a but was soou torn from thence by that voleut 'shift to do the usual exercise out of my own read- public storm, which would sufier pothing to stand ing and oiservation. That I was then of the where it did, but rooted up ereiy plant, eren from same mind as I am now (which, I confess, I won- | the princely cedars to me the hyssop. Yet, I had "der at myself) may appear by the latter end of as good fortune as could have befallen me in such an ode, which I made when I was but thirteen a tempest; for I was cast by it into the family of years old, and which was then printed with many other verses. The beginning of it is boyish;
3 3 Od. xxix. 41.