Obrazy na stronie
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Who keep your primitive powers and rights so
ODE UPON LIBERTY.
Though men and angels fell.

[well,

Of all material lives the highest place
FREEDOM with Virtue takes her seat; To you is justly given;
Her proper place, her only scene,

And ways and walks the nearest Heaven.
Is in the golden mean,

Whilst wretched we, yet vain and proud, think fit She lives not with the poor nor with the great.

To boast, that we look up to it. The wings of those Necessity has clipt,

Ev'n to the universal tyrant, Love, And they 're in Fortune's bridewell whipt

You homage pay but once a year : To the laborious task of bread;

None so degenerous and unbirdly prove,
These are by various tyrants captive led.

As his perpetual yoke to bear;
Now wild Ambition with imperious force None, but a few unhappy household fowl,
Rides, reins, and spurs, them like th' unruly

Whom human lordship does control:
horse;

Who from their birth corrupted were
And servile Avarice yokes them now, By bondage, and by man's example here.

Like toilsome oxen to the plough;
And sometimes Lust, like the misguided light,

He's no small prince who every day
Draws them through all the labyrinths of night.

Thus to himself can say ; Ifany few among the great there be

Now will I sleep, now eat, now sit, now walk, From these insulting passions free,

Now meditate alone, now with acquaintance talk; Yet we ev'n those, too, fetter'd see

This I will do, here I will stay,
By custom, business, crowds, and formal decency; Or, if my fancy call me away,
And, wheresoe'er they stay, and wheresoe'er they My man and I will presently go ride
go,

(For we, before, have nothing to provide, Impertinences round them flow :

Nor, after, are to render an account) These are the small uneasy things

To Dover, Berwick, or the Cornish mount, Which about greatness still are found,

If thou but a short journey take, And rather it molest than wound:

As if thy last thou wert to make, Like gnats, which too much heat of summer Business must be dispatch’d, ere thou canst part, brings ;

Nor canst thou stir, unless there be Bat cares do swarm there, too, and those have

A hundred horse and men to wait on thee, As, when the honey goes tõo open lie, [stings:

And many a mule and many a cart; A thousand wasps about it fly:

What an unwieldly man thou art ! Nor will the master ev'n to share admit;

The Rhodian Colossus so The master stands aloof, and dares not taste of A journey, too, might go. it.

Where honour,or where conscience, does not bind, Tis morning; well; I fain would yet sleep on; Nor other law shall shackle mé; You cannot now; you must be gone

Slave to myself I will not be,
To court, or to the noisy hall :

Nor shall my future actions be confin'd
Besides, the rooms without are crowded all; By my own present mind.
The stream of business does begin,

Who by resolves and vows engag'd does stand And a spring-tide of clients is come in.

For days, that yet belong to Fate, Ah cruel guards, which this poor prisoner keep! Does, like an unthrift, mortgage his estate, Will they not suffer him to sleep?

Before it falls into his hand : Make an escape ; out at the postern flee,

The bondman of the cloister so, And get some blessed hours of liberty :

All that he does receive does always owe; With a few friends, and a few dishes, dine,

And still, as time comes in, it goes away And much of mirth and moderate wine.

Not to enjoy, but debts to pay. To thy bent mind some relaxation give,

Unhappy slave, and pupil to a bell, And steal one day out of thy life to live. Which his hours-work, as well as hours, does tell! Oh happy man (he cries) to whom kind Heaven Unhappy, till the last, the kind releasing knell. Has such a freedom always given !

If life should a well-order'd poem be, Why, mighty madman, what should hinder thee (In which he only hits the white From being every day as free?

Who joins true profit with the best delight)

The more heroic strain let others take, In all the free born nations of the air,

Mine the Pindaric way I'll make; (free, Never did bird a spirit so mean and sordid bear,

The matter shall be grave, the numbers loose and As to exchange his native liberty

It shall not keep one settled pace of time, Of soaring boldly up into the sky,

In the same tune it shall not always chime, His liberty to sing, to perch, or fly.

Nor shall each day just to his neighbour rhyme; When, and wherever he thought good,

A thousand liberties it shall dispense, And all bis innocent pleasures of the wood,

And yet shall manage all without offence For a more plentiful or constant food.

Or to the sweetness of the sound, or greatness of Nor ever did ainbitious rage

the sense; Make him into a painted cage,

Nor shall it never from one subject start, Or the false forest of a well-hung room,

Nor seek transitions to depart, For honour, and preferment, come.

Nor its set way o'er stiles and bridges make, Now, blessings on you all, ye heroic race,

Nor through lanes a compass take,

As if it fear'd some trespass to commit.

Tu mihi curarum requies, tu noete vel atrå
When the wide air 's a road for it.

Lumen, & in solis tu mihi turba locis *.
So the imperial eagle does not stay
Till the whole carcase he devour,

With thee for ever I in woods could rest,
That's fallen into his power:

Where never human foot the ground has prest, As if his generous hunger understood

Thou from all shades the darkness canst exclude, That he can never want plerity of food,

And from a desert banish solitude. He only sucks the tasteful blood; And to fresh game flies cheerfully away; And yet our dear self is so wearisome to us, that To kites, and meanerbirds, he leaves the mangled we can scarcely support its conversation fur an prey.

hour together. This is such an odd temper of mind, as Catullus expresses towards one of his

mistresses, whom we may suppose to have been II.

of a very unsociable humour 3; OF SOLITUDE. Nunquam minus solus, quam cum solus, is now

Odi, & amo: quare id faciam fortasse requiris

Nescio; sed fieri sentio, & excrucior. become a very vulgar saying. Every man, and almost every boy, for these seventeen hun I hate, and yet I love thee too; dred years, has had it in his mouth. But it was

How can that be? I know not how; at first spoken by the excellent Scipio, who was

Only that so it is I know; without question a most eloquent and witty per And feel with torment that 'tis so. son, as well as the most wise, most worthy, most happy, and the greatest of all mankind. His

It is a deplorable condition, this, and drives a meaning, no doubt, was this, that he found more man sometimes to pitiful shifts, in seeking boy satisfaction to his mind, and more improvement to avoid himself. of it, by solitude than by company; and, to The truth of the matter is, that neither be show that he spoke not this loosely or out of va- who is a fop in the world, is a fit man to be alone nity, after he had made Rome mistress of almost nor he who has set his heart much upon the world, the whole world, he retired himself from it by a though he have never so much understanding; voluntary exile, and at a private house, in the so that solitude can be well fitted, and sit right, middle of a wood, near Linternum', passed the but upon a very few persons. They must have remainder of his glorious life no less gloriously enough knowledge of the world to see the vanity This house Seneca went to see so long after with of it, and enough virtue to despise all vanity; if great veneration; and, among other things, de- the mind be possessed with any lust or passions, scribes his baths to have been of so mean a struc

a man had better be in a fair, than in a puoi ture, that now, says he, the basest of the peo- alone. They may, like petty thieves, cheat us ple would despise them, and cry out, “ Poor perhaps, and pick our pockets, in the midst of Scipio understood not how to live." What an au

company; but, like robbers, they rise to strip thority is here for the credit of retreat! and happy and bind, or murder us, when they catch us had it been for Hannibal, if adversity could have alone. This is but to retreat fivm men, and fall taught him as much wisdom as was learnt by into the hands of devils. It is like the punishScipio from the highest prosperities. This would ment of parricides among the Ronans, to be be no wonder, if it were as truly as it is colourably sowed into a bag, with an ape, a dug, and a and wittily said by Monsieur de Montagne,

serpent. “ That ambition itself might teach us to love soli The first work therefore that a man must do, tude; there is nothing does so much hate to have to make himself capable «f the good of solitude, companions.” It is true, it loves to have its el is, the very eradication of all luşts ; for how is it bows free, it detests to have company on either possible for a man to enjoy himself, while his afside ; but it delights above all things in a train fections are tied to things without himself? In the behind, aye, and ushers too before it. But the second place, he must learn the heart and get the greatest part of men are so far from the opinion habit of thinking ; for this too, no less than wellof that noble Roman, that if they chance at any speaking, depends upon much practice; and com time to be without company, they are like a be- gitation is the thing which distinguishes the sudicalmed ship; they never move but by the wind of tude of a god from a wild beast. Row because other men's breath, and have no oars of their own the soul of man is not by its own nature or obserto steer withal. It is very fantastical and contra- vation furnished with sufficient materials to work dictory in human nature, that men should love upon, it it is necessary for it to bare eontimual rethemselves above all the rest of the world, and course to learning and books. for fresh supplies, yet never endure to be with themselves. When

so that the solitary life will grow indigent, and they are in lore with a mistress, all other persons be ready to starve, without them; but if once yra are importunate and burthensome to them. be thoroughly engaged in the love of letters, ir Tecum vivere amem, tecum obeam lubens, stead of being wearied with the length of any day, they would live and die with her alone.

we shall only complain of the shortness of ow

whole life, Sic ego secretis possum bene vivere sylvis, Quà nulla humano sit via trita pede.

1 4 Tibull. xiii. 9. • Seneca Epist. lxxxvi.

3 De amore suo, lxsäi.

Ovita, stulto longa, sapienti brevis 4! With all their wanton boughs dispute,

And the more tuneful birds to both replying, O life, long to the fool, short to the wise ! Nor be myself, too, mute, The first minister of state has not so much a silver stream shall roll his waters near, business in public, as a wise man has in Gilt with the Sun-beams here and there ; private : if the one have little leisure to be On whose enamell’d bank I'll walk, a one, the other has less leisure to be in com- And see how prettily they smile, and hear pany ; the one has but part of the affairs of one How prettily they talk. nation, the other all the works of God and nature, under his consideration. There is no Ah wretched and too solitary he, saying shocks me so much as that which I hear Who loves not his own company ; very often, “That a man does not know how to He'll feel the weight of 't many a day, pass his time." It would have been but ill-spoken Unless he call in sin or vanity by Me.husalem in the nine hundred sixty-ninth To help to bear't away. year of his life ; so far it is from us, who have not time enough to attain to the utmost perfection Oh Solitude, first state of human-kini ! of any part of any science, to have cause to com Which blest remain'd, till man did find plain that we are forced to be idle for want of work. Ev'n his own belper's company. But this, you will say, is work only for the learn- As soon as two alas ! together join'd, ed; others are not capable either of the employ The serpent made up three. Inents or divertisements that arrive from letters. I know they are not; and therefore cannot much Tho' God himself, through countless ages, thee recommend solitude to a man totally illiterate. His sole companion

chose to be, But, if any man be so unlearned, as to want en Thee, sacred Solitude, alone, tertainment of the little intervals of accidental Before the brauchy head of number's tree solitude, which frequently occur in almost all Sprang from the trunk of one. conditions (except the very meanest of the people, who have business enough in the necessary Thon (tho' men think thine an unactive part) jnovisions for life), it is truly a great shame both Dost, break and time th' unruly heart, to his parents and himself; for a very small por Which else would know no settled pace, tion of auy 'ingenious art will stop up all those Making it move, well-manag'd by thy art, gaps of our time: either music, or painting, or With swiftness and with grace. designing, or chymistry, or history, or gardening, or twenty other things, will do it usefully and Thon the faint beams of reason's scatter'd light pleasantly; and if he happen to set bis affections

Dost, like a burning-glass, unite; upon poetry (which I do not advise him too im

Dost multiply the feeble heat, moderately), that will over-do it ; no wood will And fortify the strength, till thou dost bright be thick enough to hide him from the importuni And noble fires beget. ties of company or business, which would abstract him from his beloved.

Whilst this hard truth I teach, methinks, I see

The monster London laugh at me; - qui me gelidis in vallibus Hæmi

I should at thee too, foolish city! Sistat, & ingeuti ramorum protegat umbrâs? If it were fit to laugh at misery;

But thy estate 1 pity.
Hail, old patrician trees, so great and good!

Let but thy wicked men from out thee goo
Hail, ye plebeian under-wood!

And all the fools that crowd thee so,
Where the poetic birds rejoice,

Even thou who dost thy millions boast,
And for their quiet nests and plenteous food

A village less than Islington wilt grow,
Pay, with their grateful voice.

A solitude almost.
Hail, the poor Muses richest manor-seat !
Ye country-houses, and retreat,

111.
Which all the happy gods so lore,
That for you oft they quit their bright and great

OF OBSCURITY. metropolis above.

NÂm neque divitibus contingunt gaudia solis ; Here Nature does a house for me erect, Nec vixit malè, qui natus moriensque fefelNature the wisest architect,

lit 6. Who those fond artists does despise

God made not pleasures only for the rich; Tbat can the fair and living trees neglect; Nor have those men without their share too liv'd, Yet the dead timber prize.

Who both in life and death the world deceiv'd. Here let me, careless and unthoughtful lying, This seems a strange sentence, thus literally Hear the soft winds, above me flying, translated, and looks as if it were in vindication of

the men of business (for who else can deceive the 440vita, misero longa, felici brevis!" s Virg. Georg. ii. 489.

6 Hor. 1 Ep. xvii. 9. TOL VII.

world?); whereas it is in commendation of those that time, with his friend Metrodorus : after who live and die so obscurely, that the world whose death, making in one of his letters a kind takes no notice of them. This Horace calls commemoration of the happiness which they two deceiving the world, and in another place uses had enjoyed together, he adds at last, that he the same phrase},

thought it no disparageinent to those great fe

licities of their life, that, in the midst of the - Secretum iter & fallentis semita vitæ. most talked-of and talking country in the world, The secret tracts of the deceiving life.

they had lived so long, not only without fame,

but almost without being heard of. And yet, It is very elegant in Latin, but our English within a very few years afterward, there were word will hardly bear up to that sense; and no two names of men more known, or more getherefore Mr. Broom translates it very well nerally celebrated. If we engage into a large

acquaintance and various familiarities, we set Or from a life led, as it were, by stealth. open our gates to the invaders of most of our

time: we expose our life to a quotidian ague of Yet we say in our language, a thing deceives our frigid impertinences, which would make a wise sight, when it passes before us unperceived; man tremble to think of. Now, as for being and we may say well enough, out of the same known much by sight, and pointed at, I cannot author,

comprehend the honour that lies in that; wbat

soever it be, every mountebank has it more Sometimes with sleep, sometimes with wine, than the best doctor, and the hangman more we strive

than the lord chief justice of a city. Every The cares of life and troubles to deceive. creature has it, both of nature and art, if it be

any ways extraordinary. It was as often said, But that is not to deceive the world, but to de- "This is that Bucephalus,” or, “ This is that ceive ourselves, as Quintilian says ), vitam Incitatus," when they were led prancing through fallere, to draw on still, and amuse, and de- the streets, as, “This is that Alexander,” or, ceive, our life, till it be advanced insensibly to " This is that Domitian;" and truly, for the the fatal period, and fall into that pit which latter, I take Incitatus to have been a much more nature hath prepared for it. The meaning of all honourable beast than his master, and more this is no more than that most vulgar saying, deserving the consulship, than he the empire. Bene qui latuit, bene vixit, He has lived

I love and commend a true good-famne, be well, who has lain well hidden; which, if it because it is the shadow of virtue: not that it a truth, the world (I will swear) is sufficiently doth any good to the body which it accompanies, deceived: for my part, I think it is, and that but it is an efficacious shadow, and, like that of the pleasantest, condition of life is, in incognito. St. Peter, cures the diseases of others. The best What a brave privilege is it, to be free froin all kind of glory, no doubt, is that which is reflected contentions, from all envying or being envyed, from honesty, such as was the glory of Cato and from receiving and from paying all kind of ce- Aristides; but it was harmful to them both, ani remonies! It is, in my mind, a very delightful is seldom beneficial to any man, whilst he lives; pastime, for two good and agreeable friends to what it is to him after his death, I cannot say, travel up and down together, in places where because I love not philosophy merely notional and they are by nobody known, nor know any body. conjectural, and no man who has made the experiIt was the case of Æneas and his Achates, when ment has been so kind as to come back to inform they walked invisibly about the fields and us. Upon the whole matter, I account a person streets of Carthage. Venus herself,

who has a moderate mind and fortune, and lives

in the conversation of two or three agreeable A vail of thicken'd air around them cast, friends, with little commerce in the world besides, That none might know, or see them, as they who is esteemed well enough by his few peighpass'd!.

bours that know him, and is truly irreproachable

by any body; and so, after a healthful quiet life, The common story of Demosthenes' confession,' before the great inconveniencies of old-age, goes · that he had taken great pleasure in hearing of a more silently out of it than he came in (for I would

tanker-woman say, as he passed, " This is that not have him so much as cry in the exit): this . Demosthenes," is wonderfully ridiculous from innocent deceiver of the world, as Horace calls so solid an orator. I myself bave often met him, this muta persona, I take to bave been with that temptation to vanity (if it were any); more happy in his part, than the greatest actors but am so far from finding it any pleasure, that that fill the stage with show and noise, nay, it only makes me run faster from the place, even than Augustus himself, who asked, with till I get, as it were, out of sight-shot. Demo- his last breath, whether he had not played his critus relates, and in such a manner as if he farce very well. gloried in the good fortune and commodity of it, that, when he came to Athens, nobody there did so much as take notice of him; and Epipurus lived there very well, that is, lay hid Seneca, EX THYESTE, ACT II...CHOR, many years in his gardens, so fainous since

Stet qu cumque volet potens, &c. Hor. 1 Ep. xviii. 103. 8 Sat. vii. 114. Upon the slippery tops of human state, 9 Declam, de Apib, ! Virg. Æn. i. 415. The gildel pinnacles of fate,

Let others proudly stand, and, for a while very nigh to those of a philosopher. There is The giddy danger to beguile,

no other sort of life that affords so many branchWith joy, and with disdain, look down on all, es of praise to a panegyrist: The utility of

Til their beads turn, and down they fall. it to a man's self; the usefulness, or rather Me, O ye gods, on earth, or else so near

necessity, of it to all the rest of mankind; the That I no fall to earth may fear,

innocence, the pleasure, the antiquity, the And, Oye gods, at a good distance seat

dignity. From the long ruins of the great.

The utility (I mean plainly the lucre of it) Here, wrapt in th' arms of Quiet let me lie; is not so great, now in our nation, as arises Quiet, companion of Obscurity!

from merchandise and the trading of the city, Here let my life with as much silence slide, from whence many of the best estates and chief

As time, that measuies it, does glide, honours of the kingdom are derived: we have Nor let the breath of infamy, or fame,

no men now fetched from the plough to be made From town to town echo about my name.

lords, as they were in Rome to be made conNur let my homely death embroider'd be suls and dictators; the reason of which I conWith scutcheon or with elegy.

ceive to be from an evil custom, now grown as An old plebeian let me die,

strong among us as if it were a law, which is, Alas! all then are such as well as I.

that no men put their children to be bred-up To him, alas, to him, I fear,

apprentices in agriculture, as in other trades, The face of death will terrible appear,

but such who are so poor, that when they come Who, in his life flattering his senseless pride, to be men, they have not wherewithal to set up By being known to all the world beside,

in it, and so can only farm some small parcel of Does pot himself, when he is dying, know, ground, the rent of which devours all but the Nor what he is, nor whither he 's to go.

bare subsistence of the tenant: whilst they who are proprietors of the land are either too proud,

or, for want of that kind of education, too igIV.

norant, to improve their estates, though the

means of doing it be as easy and certain in this, OF AGRICULTURE.

as in any other track of commerce. If there

were always two or three thousand youths, for The first wish of Virgil (as you will find anon

seven or eight years, bound to this profession, by his verses) was to be a good philosopher;

that they might learn the whole art of it, and the second, a good husbandman: and God

afterwards be enabled to be masters in it, by a (whom he seemed to understand better than

moderate stock; I cannot doubt but that we tnost of the most learned heathens) dealt with

should see as many aldermen's estates made in lim, just as he did with Solomon ; because he

the country, as now we do out of all kind of prayed for wisdom in the first place, he added

merchandizing in the city. There are as many all things else, which were subordinately to be

ways to be rich, and, which is better, there is desired. He made him one of the best philo no possibility to be poor, without such neglisophers, and best husbandmen; and, to adorn

gence as can neither have excuse nor pity : for and communicate both those faculties, the best

a little ground will without question feed a little poet: he made him, besides all this, a rich man,

family, and the superfluities of life (which are and a man who desired to be no richer

now in some cases by custom made almost ne

cessary) must be supplied out of the superO fortunatus nimium, & bona qui sua novit! abundance of art and industry, or contemped by

as great a degree of philosophy. To be a husbandman, is but a retreat from the

As for the necessity of this art, it is evident city; to be a philosopher, from the world; or

enough, since this can live without all others, rather, a retreat from the world, as it is man's,

and no one other without this. This is like into the world, as it is God's.

speech, without which the society of men canBut, since nature denies to most men the

not be preserved: the others like figures and capacity or appetite, and fortune allows but to

tropes of speech, which serve only to adorn it. a very few the opportunities or possibility, of

Many nations have lived, and some do still, applying themselves wholly to philosophy, the

without any art but this : not so elegantly, i best mixture of human affairs that we can make,

confess, but still they live ; and almost all the are the employments of a country life. It is, other arts, which are here practised, are beas Columella 2 calls it, Res sine dubitatione

holden to this for most of their materials. proxima, & quasi consanguinea sapientiæ, the

The innocence of this life is the next thing nearest neighbour, or rather next in kindred, to for which I commend it; and if husbandmen philosuphy. Varro says, the principles of it are preserve not that, they are much to blame, for the same which Ennius made to be the principles no men are so free from the temptations of ini. of all nature, Earth, Water, Air, and the Sun. It | quity. Thiey live by what they can get by indoes certainly comprehend more parts of phi.

dustry from the carth; and others, by what losophy, than any one profession, art, or science, they can catch by craft from men. They live in the world besides : and therefore Cicero says3, upon an estate giren them by their mother; and the pleasures of a husbandman, mibi ad sae others, upon an estate cheated from their brepientis vitam proxime videntur accedere, come

thren. They live, like sheep and kine, by the

allowances of nature : and others, like wolves ? Läb. I. ci 3 De Senect.

and foxes, by the acquisitions of rapine. And

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