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I hope, I may affirm (without any offence to the great) that sheep and kine are very useful, and that wolves and foxes are permicious creatures. They are, without dispute, of all men the most quiet, and least apt to be inflamed to the disturbance of the commonwealth; their manner of life inclines them, and interest binds them, to love peace ; in our late mad and miserable civil wars, all other trades, even to the meanest, set forth whole troops, and raised up some great commanders, who became famous and mighty for the mischiefs they had done: but I do not remember the name of any one husbandman, who had so considerable a share in the twenty years ruin of his country, as to deserve the
curses of his countrymen.
And if great delights be joined with so much innocence, I think it is ill done of men, not to take them here, where they are so tame, and ready at hand, rather than hunt for them in courts and cities, where they are so wild, and the chase so troublesome and dangerous.
We are here among the vast and noble scenes of nature; we are there among the pitiful shifts of policy; we walk here in the light and open ways of the divine bounty; we grope there in the dark and confused labyrinths of human malice : our senses are here feasted with the clear and genuine taste of their objects; which are all sophisticated there, and for the most part overwhelmed with their contraries. Here pleasure looks, methinks, like a beautiful, constant, and modest wife; it is there an impudent, fickle, and painted harlot. Here is harmless and cheap plenty; there guilty and expenceful luxtury.
I shall only instance in one delight more, the most natural and best-natured of all others, a perpetual companion of the husbandman; and that is, the satisfaction of looking round about him, and seeing nothing but the effects and improvements of his own art and diligence; to be always gathering of some fuits of it, and at the same time to behold others ripening, and others budding: to see all his fields and gardens covered with the beauteous creatures of his own industry; and to see, like God, that all his works are good :
—Hinc atque hinc glomerantur Oreades; ipsi Agricolae tacitum pertentant gaudia pectus 4.
on his heart-stringsa secret joy does strike.
The antiquity of his art is certainly not to be contested by any other. The three first men in the world, were a gardener, a ploughman, and a grazier; and if any man object that the second of these was a murtherer, l desire he would consider, that as soon as he was so, he quited our profession, and turred builder. It is for this reason, I suppose, that locclesiasticus 5 forbids us to hate husbandry; “because,” says he, “the Most High has created it.” We are all born to this art, and taught by mature to nourish our bodies by the same earth out of which
they were made, and to which they must return, and pay at last for their sustenance. Behold the original and primitive nobility of all those great persons, who are too proud now, not only to till the ground, but almost to tread upon it. We may talk what we please of lilies, and lions rampant, and spread eagles, in fields d’or or d'argent; but, if heraldry were guided by reason, a plough in a field arable would be the most noble and ancient arms. All these considerations make me fall into the wonder and complaint of Columella, bow it should come to pass that all arts or sciences (for the dispute, which is an art, and which a science, does not belong to the curiosity of us husbandmen), metaphysic, physic, morality, mathematics, logic, rhetoric, &c. which are all, I grant, good and useful faculties, (except only metaphysic, which I do not know whether it be any thing or no) but even vaulting, fencing, dancing, attiring, cookery, carving, and such-like vanities, should all have public schools and masters; and yet that we should neversee or hear of any man, who took upon him the profession of teaching this so pleasant, so virtuous, so profitable, so honourable, so necessary art. A man would think, when he is in serious humour, that it were but a vain, irrational, and ridiculous thing for a great company of men and women to run up and down in a room together, in a hundred several postures and figures, to no purpose, and with no design; and therefore dancing was invented first, and only pratised anciently, in the ceremonics of the heathen religion, which consisted all in mommery and madness: the latter being the chief glory of the worship, and accounted divine inspiratin: this, I say, a severe man would think; though I dare not determine so far against so customary a part, now, of good-breeding. And yet, who is there among our gentry, that does not entertain a dancing-master for his children, as soon as they are able to walk? But, did ever any father provide a tutor for his son, to instruct him betimes in the nature and improvements of that land which he intended to leave him * That is at least a superfluity, and this a defect, in our manner of education: and therefore I could wish (but cannot in these times unuch hope to see it) that one college in each university were erected, and appropriated to this study, as well as there are to medicine and the
civil law: there would be no need of making a
body of scholars and fellows, with certain ondowments, as in other colleges; it would suffice, if, after the manner of halls in oxford, there were only four professors constituted (for it would be too much work for ouiy oue master, or principal, as they call him there) to teach these four parts of it: First, Aration, and all things relating to it. Secondly, Pasturzse. Thirdly, Gardens, Orchards, Vineyards, and Woods. Fourthly, all parts of Rural Oeconomy; which would contain the government of Bees, Swine, Poultry, Decoys, Ponds, &c. and all that which Varro calls villaticas pastiones, together with the sports of the field (which ought to be looked upon not only as Pleasures, but as parts of house-keeping), and the domestical conservation and uses of all that is brought in by industry abroad. The business of these professors should not be, as is commonly practised in other arts, only to read pompous and superficial lectures, out of Virgil's Georgics, Pliny, Varro, or Columella; but to instruct their pupils in the whole method and course of this study, which might be run through perhaps with diligence in a year or two; and the continual succession of scholars, upon a moderate taxation for their diet, lodging, and learning, would be a sufficient constant revenue for maintenance of the house and the professors, who should be men not chosen for the ostentation of critical literature, but for solid and experimental knowledge of the things they teach; such men, so industrious and public-spirited, as I conceive Mr. Hartlib" to be, if the gentleman be yet alive: but it is needless to speak further of my thoughts of this design, unless the present disposition of the age allowed more probability of bringing it into execution. What I have further to say of the country life, shall be borrowed from the poets, who were always the most faithful and affectionate friends to it. Poetry was born among the shepherds.
Nescio quá matale solum dulcedine Musas Ducit & immemores non finitesse sui’.
The Muses still love their own native place; *Thas secret charms, which nothing can deface.
The truth is, no other place is proper for their work; one might as well undertake to dance in a crowd, as to make good verses in the midst of noise and tumult.
As well might corn, as verse, in cities grow;
In vain the thankless glebe we plough and sow:
Against th' unnatural soil in vain we strive;
'Tis not a ground, in which these plants will thrive.
it will bear nothing but the nettles or thorns of satire, which grow most naturally in the worst earth; and therefore almost all poets, except those who were not able to eat bread without the bounty of great men, that is, without what they could get by flattering of them, have not only withdrawn themselves from the vices and vanities of the grand world,
pariter vitiísque jocisque Altius humanis exeruere caput",
into the innocent happiness of a retired life; but have commended and adorned nothing so much by their ever-living poems. Hesiod was the first or second poet in the world that remains yet
*A gentleman, of whom it may be enough to say, that he had the honour to live in the friendship of Mede and Milton. The former of these great men addressed some letters to him, and the latter, his “Tractate on Education.” Hump. 7 Ovid. 1 Ep. ex Pont. iii. 35. * Ovid. Fast, i. 300.
extant (if Homer, as somethink, preceded him, but I rather believe they were contemporaries); and he is the first writer too of the art of husbandry: “he has contributed (says Columella) not a little to our profession;” I suppose, he means not a little honour, for the matter of his instructions is not very important; his great antiquity is visible through the gravity and simplicity of his stile. The most acute of all his sayings concerns our purpose very much, and is couched in the reverend obscurity of an oracle IIMécy #w.torv waylos, The half is more than the whole. The occasion of the speech is this; his brother Perseus had, by corrupting some great men, (8aaixia; *çopáys, great bribe-eaters he calls them) gotten from him the half of his estate. It is no matter (says he); they have not done me so much prejudice as they imagine:
This I conceive to have been honest Hesiod's meaning. From Homer we must not expect much concerning our affairs. He was blind, and could neither work in the country, nor enjoy the pleasures of it; his helpless poverty was likeliest to be sustained in the richest places; he was to delight the Grecians with fine tales of the wars, and adventures of their ancestors; his subject removed him from all commerce with us, and yet, methinks, he made a shift to show his goodwill a little. For, though he could do us no homour in the person of his hero Ulysses (much less of Achilles), because his whole time was consumed in wars and voyages; yet he makes his father Laertes a gardenerall that while,and seeking his consolation for the absence of his son in the pleasure of planting and even dunging his own grounds. Ye see he did not contemn us peasants; nay, so far was he from that insolence, that he always styles Eumaeus, who kept the hogs, with wonderful respect, 37 y ité:tov, the divine swineherd: he could have done no more for Menelaus or Agamemnon. And Theocritus (a very ancient poet, but he was one of our own tribe, for he wrote nothing but pastorals) gave the same epithet to an husbandman,
had written before whole books of pastorals and georgics, could not abstain in his great and imperial poem from describing Evander, one of his best princes, as living just after the homely manner of an ordinary countryman. He seats him in a throne of maple, and lays him but upon a bear's-skin; the kine and oxen ate lowing in his court-yard; the birds under the eves of his window call him up in the morning; and when he goes abroad, only two dogs go along with him for his guard: at last, when he brings AEneas into his royal cottage, he makes him say this memorable compliment, greater than ever yet was spoken at the Escurial, the Louvre, or our Whitehall:
Haec (inquit) limina victor Alcides subiit, haec illum regia cepit: Aude, hospes, contemmere opes: & te quoque dignum Finge Deo rebúsque veni non asper egenis ".
This humble roof, this rustic court (said he)
The next man, whom we are much obliged to, both for his doctrine and example, is the next best poet in the world to Virgil, his dear friend Horace; who, when Augustus had desired Maecenas to persuade him to come and live domestically and at the same table with him, and to be secretary of state of the whole world under him, or rather jointly with him, for he says, utmos in epistolis scribendis adjuvet, could not be tempted to forsake his Sabin, or Tiburtin manor, for so rich and so glorious a trouble. There was never, I think, such an example as this il. the world, that he should have so much moderation and courage as to refuse an offer of such greatness, and the emperor so much generosity and goodnature as not to be at all offended with his refusal, but to retain still the same kindness, and express it often to him in most friendly and familiar letters, part of which are still extant. If I should produce all the passages of this excellent author upon the several subjects which I treat of in this book, I must be obliged to translate half his works; of which I may say more truly than in my opinion he did of Homer,
I shall content myself upon this particular theme with three only, one out of his Odes, the other out of his Satires, the third out of his Epistles; and shall forbear to collect the suffrages of all other poets, which may be found scattered up and down through all their writings, and especially in Martial's. But I must not omit to make some excuse for the bold undertaking of my own unskilful pencil upon the beauties of a face that has been drawn before by so many great onasters; especially, that I should dare to do it in
Latin verses (though of another kind), and have the confidence to translate them. I can only say, that I love the matter, and that ought to cover many faults; and that I run not to contend with those before me, but follow to applaud them.
A Translation out of WIRGIt. Georg. Lib. II. 458.
On happy (if his happiness he knows) The country swain, on whom kind Heavenbestows At home all riches, that wise nature needs; whom the just earth with easy plenty feeds. 'Tis true, no morning tide of clients comes, And fills the painted channels of his rooms, Adoring the rich figures, as they pass, In tapestry wrought, or cut in living brass; Noris his wool superfluously dy’d . With the dear poison of Assyrian pride: Nor do Arabian perfumes vainly spoil The native use and sweetness of his oil. .. Instead of these, his calm and harmless life. . Free from th' alarms of fear, and storms of strife, Does with substantial blessedness abound, And the soft wings of Peace cover him round: Throughartless grots the murmuringwaters glides Thick trees both against heat and cold provide: From whence the birds salute him; and his ground With lowing herds and bleating sheep does sound; And all the rivers and the forests migh, Both food and game, and exercise, supply. Here a well-harden'd, active youth we see, Taught the great art of cheerful poverty. Here, in this place alone, there still do shine Some streaks of love, both human and divine; From hence Astraea took her flight, and here Still her last footsteps upon Earth appear. 'Tis true, the first desire, which does control All the inferior wheels that move my soul, Is, that the Muse me her high-priest would make, Into her holiest scenes of mystery take, And open there, to my mind's purged eye, Those wonders, which to sense the gods deny: How in the Moon such change of shapes is found. The Moon, the changing world's eternal bound; What shakes the solid Earth, what strong disease Dares trouble the firm centre's ancient ease; What makes the sea retreat, and what advance “(Varieties too regular for chance);" What drives the chariot on of winter's light, And stops the lazy waggon of the might. But, if my dull and frozen blood deny To send forth spirits, that raise a soul so high, In the next place, let woods and rivers be My quiet, though inglorious, destiny. In life's cool vale let my low scene be laid; Cover me, gods, with Tempe's thickest shade. Happy the man, I grant, thrice happy, he, Who can through gross effects their causes see: Whose courage from the deeps of knowledge
Nor vainly fears inevitable things;
They unconcern'd, from their safe distant seat,
HoR. Epon. ODE 11.
* Harry the man, whom bounteous gods allow
With his own hands paternal grounds to plough
He runs the mazes of the nimble hare,
His well-mouth'd dogs' glad concert rends the
Trile countrar Mouse.
A Paraphrase upon Horace, Book II. Sat. vi.
Ar the largest foot of a fair hollow tree, Close to plough'd ground, seated commodiously, His ancient and hereditary house, There dwelt a good substantial country mouse; Frugal, and grave, and careful of the main, Yet one who once did nobly entertain A city mouse, well-coated, sleek, and gay, A mouse of high degree which lost his way, Wantonly walking forth to take the air, And arriv'd early, and belighted, there, For a day's lodging: the good hearty host (The ancient plenty of his hall to boast) Did all the stores produce, that might excite, With various tastes, the courtier's appetite. Fitches and beans, peason and oats, and wheat, And a large chesnut, the delicious meat seat. Which Jove himself, were he amouse, would And, for a haut goust, there was mixt with these The swerd of bacon, and the coat of cheese: The precious reliques which, at harvest, he Had gather'd from the reaper's luxury. “Freely” (said he) “fall on, and never spare, The bounteous gods will for to morrow care.” And thus at ease, on beds of straw, they lay, And to their genius sacrific'd the day: Yet the nice guest's Epicurean mind, (Though breeding made him civil seem and kind) Despis’d this country feast; and still his thought Upon the cakes and pies of London wrought. “Your bounty and civility” (said he), “Which I’m surpris'd in these rude parts to see, Shows that the gods have given you a mind Too noble for the fate which here you find. Why should a soul, so virtuous and so great, Lose itself thus in an obscure retreat 2 Let savage beasts lodge in a country den; You should see towns, and manners know, and men ; And taste the generous luxury of the court, Where all the mice of quality resort; Where thousand beauteous shes about you move, And, by high fare, are pliant made to love. We all, ere long, must render up our breath; No cave or hole can shelter us from death. Since life is souncertain, and so short, Let's spend it all in feasting and in sport. Come, worthy sir, come with me and partake All the great things that mortals happy make.” Alas! what virtue hath sufficient arms To oppose bright honour, and soft pleasure's charms: What wisdom can their magic force repel? It draws this reverend hermit from his cell. It was the time, when witty poets tell, “That Phoebus into Thetis' bosom fell : She blush'd at first, and then put out the light, And drew the modest curtains of the night.” Plainly the truth to tell, the Sun was set, When to the town our wearied travellers get: To a lord's house, as lordly as can be, Made for the use of pride and luxury, They come; the gentle courtier at the door Stops, and will hardly enter in before: “But 'tis, sir, your command, and being so, I'm sworn to obedience; and so in o go.”
Behind a hanging, in a spacious room (The richest work of Mortclake's noble loom) They wait a while, their wearied limbs to rest, Till silence should invite them to their feast. “About the hour that Cynthia's silver light Had touch'd the pale meridies of the night;" At last, the various supper being done, It happen'd that the company was gone Into a room remote, servants and all, To please their noble fancies with a ball. Our host leads forth his stranger, and does find All fitted to the bounties of his mind. Still on the table half-fill'd dishes stood, And with delicious bits the floor was strew'd. The courteous mouse presents him with the best, And both with fat varieties are blest. Th’industrious peasantevery where does range, And thanks the Gods for his life's happy change Lo! in the midst of a well-freighted pye, They both at last glutted and wanton lie; When, see the sad reverse of prosperous fate, And what fierce storms on mortal glories wait! With hideous noise down the rude servants come, Six dogs before run barking into th’ room; The wretched gluttons fly with wild affright, And hate the fullness, which retards their flight. Our trembling peasant wishes now, in vain, That rocks and mountains cover'd him again; Oh, how the change of his poor life he curst! “This, of all lives” (said he) “is sure the worsts Give me again, ye gods, my cave and wood With peace, let tares and acorns be my food!"
A PARAPHRase upon The 10th Epistle of TKE Fiasr Book of Horace.
hortace to Fuscus Artistius.
Hearth, from the lover of the country, me, Health, to the lover of the city, thee; A difference in our souls, this only proves; In all things else, we agree like married doves. But the warm nest and crowded dove house tho Dost like; I loosely fly from bough to bough, And rivers drink, and all the shining day Upon fair trees or mossy rocks I play; In fine, I live and reign, when I retire From all that you equal with Heaven admirel Like one at last from the priest's service fled, Loathing the homied cakes, I long for bread. Would I a house for happiness erect, Nature alone should be the architect, She’d build it more convenient than great, And doubtless in the country choose her seat; Is there a place doth better helps supply Against the wounds of Winter's cruelty? Is there an air, that gentlier does assuage The mad celestial Dog's, or Lion's, rage 2 Is it not there that sleep (and only there) Nor noise without, nor cares withm, does fear? Does art through pipes a purer water bring, Than that, which Nature strains into a spring? Can all your tap'stries, or your pictures show More beauties, than in herbs and flowers do grow Fountains and trees our wearied pride do pleast, Ev’n in the midst of gilded palaces,