« PoprzedniaDalej »
and, by it, inextricable confusions and civil wars upon the nation. But here's at last an end of him. And where 's now the fruit of all that blood and calamity, which his ambition has cost the world? Where is it? Why, his son (you will say) has the whole crop: I doubt, he will find it quickly blasted; I have nothing to say against the gentleman, or any living of his family; on the contrary, I wish him better fortune than to have a long and unquiet possession of his master's inheritance. Whatsoever I have spoken against his father, is that which I should have thought (though decency, perhaps, might have hindered me from saying it) even against mine own, if I had been so unhappy, as that mine, by the same ways, should have left me three kingdoms."
Here I stopt; and my pretended protector, who, I expected, would have been very angry, fell a laughing; it seems at the simplicity of my discourse, for thus he replied: "You seem to pretend extremely to the old obsolete rules of virtue and conscience, which makes me doubt very much whether from this vast prospect of three kingdoms you can show me any acres of your own. But these are so far from making you a prince, that I am afraid your friends will never have the contentment to see you so much as a justice of peace in your own country. For this, I perceive, which you call virtue, is nothing else but either the frowardness of a Cynic, or the laziness of an Epicurean. I am glad you allow me at least artful dissimulation and unwearied diligence in my hero; and I assure you, that he, whose life is constantly drawn by those two, shall never be misled out of the way of greatness. But I see you are a pedant and Platonical statesman, a theoretical commonwealth's-man, an Utopian dreamer. Was ever riches gotten by your golden mediocrities? or the supreme place attained to by virtues that must not stir out of the middle? Do you study Aristotle's politics, and write, if you please, comments upon them: and let another but practise Machiavel: and let us see then which of you two will come to the greatest preferment. If the desire of rule and superiority be a virtue (as sure I am it is more imprinted in human nature than any of your lethargical morals; and what is the virtue of any creature, but the exercise of those powers and inclinations which God has infused into it!) if that (I say) be virtue, we ought not to esteem any thing vice, which is the most proper, if not the only, means of attain-ing of it:
It is a truth so certain, and so clear,
Hence, coward fears; for the first blood so spilt,
One brother's death, what do I mean to name,
He would have gone on, I perceived, in his blasphemies, but that by God's grace I became so bold, as thus to interrupt him: “ I understand now perfectly (which I guessed at long before) what kind of angel and protector you are, and, though your style in verse be very much mended since you were wont to deliver oracles, yet your doctrine is much worse than ever you had formerly (that I heard of) the face to publish; whether your long practice with mankind has increased and improved your malice, or whether you think us in this age to be grown so impudently wicked, that there needs no more art or disguises to draw us to your party."
"My dominion (said he hastily, and with a dreadful furious look) is so great in this world, and I am so powerful a monarch of it, that I need not be ashamed that you should know me; and,
? This compliment was intended, not so much to the foregoing, as to the following verses; of which the author had reason to be proud, but,
A remarkable testimony to the blameless as being delivered in his own person, could not se sharacter of Richard Cromwell. properly make the paneygric. HURD.
that you may see I know you too, I know you to be an obstinate and inveterate malignant ; and for that reason I shall take you along with me to the next garrison of ours; from whence you shall go to the Tower, and from thence to the court of justice, and from thence you know whither." I was almost in the very pounces of the great bird of prey :
When, lo, ere the last words were fully spoke,
The frowns, with which he strook the trembling fiend,
All smiles of human beauty did transcend;
Across his breast an azure ruban went,
Or were, could not, alas! by me be known,
(Robb'd, as he thinks unjustly, of his prize) Whom unawares the shepherd spies, and draws The bleating lamb from out his ravenous jaws: The shepherd fain himself would he assail, But fear above his hunger does prevail,
THE liberty of a people consists in being governed by laws which they have made themselves, under whatsoever form it be of government: the liberty of a private man, in being master of his own time and actions, as far as may consist with the laws of God and of his country. Of this latter only we are here to discourse, and to enquire what estate of life does best seat us in the possession of it. This liberty of our own actions, is such a fundamental privilege of human nature, that God himself, notwithstanding all his infinite power and right over us, permits us to enjoy it, and that
He knows his foe too strong, and must be gone; He grins, as he looks back, and howls as he goes
BY WAY OF ESSAYS,
VERSE AND PROSE.
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 his providence nor eternal decree to break or infringe it. Now for our time, the same God, to whom we are but tenants at will for the whole, requires but the seventh part to be paid to him, as a small quit-rent, in acknowledgment of his title. It is man only that has the impudence to demand our whole time, though he never gave it, nor can restore it, nor is able to pay any considerable value for the least part of it. This birthright of mankind above all other creatures, some are forced by hunger to sell, like Esau, for bread and broth: but the greatest part of men make such a bargain for the delivery-up of themselves
as Thamar did with Judah; instead of a kid, the necessary provisions for human life, they are contented to do it for rings and bracelets. The great dealers in this world may be divided into the ambitious, the covetous, and the voluptuous; and that all these men sell themselves to be slaves though to the vulgar it may seem a stoical paradox, will appear to the wise so plain and obvious, that they will scarce think it deserves the labour of argumentation.
"This man (says he, as most of you may well remember) had many artificial touches and strokes, that looked like the beauty of great virtues; his intimate conversation was with the worst of men, and yet he seemed to be an admirer and lover of the best; he was furnished with all the nets of lust and luxury, and yet wanted not the arms of labour and industry: neither do I believe that there was ever any monster of nature, composed out of so many different and disagreeing parts. Who more acceptable, sometimes, to the most honourable persons: who more a favourite to the most infamous? who, sometimes, appeared a braver champion; who; at other times, a bolder enemy to his countrey? who more dissolute in his pleasures? who more patient in his toils? who more rapacious in robbing? who more profuse in 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
Let us first consider the ambitious; and those, both in their progress to greatness, and after the attaining of it. There is nothing truer than what Sallust says, Dominationis in alios servitium suum mercedem dant; they are content to pay so great a price, as their own servitude, to purchase the domination over others. The first thing they must resolve to sacrifice, is their whole time; they must never stop, nor ever turn aside whilst they are in the race of glory, no not like Atalanta for golden apples. Neither indeed can a man stop himself if he would when he is in this
scribe the character which Cicero 4 gives of this noble slave, because it is a general description of all ambitious men, and which Machiavel perhaps would say ought to be the rule of their life and actions:
Pray, let us but consider a little, what means servile things men do for this imaginary food. We cannot fetch a greater example of it, than from the chief men of that nation which boasted most of liberty. To what pitiful baseness did the noblest Romans submit themselves, for the obtaining of a pretorship, or the consular dignity! They put on the habit of suppliants, and ran about on foot, and in dirt, through all the tribes, to beg voices; they flattered the poorest artisans; and carried a nomenclator with them, to whisper in their ear every man's name, lest they should mistake it in their salutations; they shook the hand and kissed the cheek of every popular tradesman; they stood all day at every market in the public places, to show and ingratiate themselves to the rout; they employed all their friends to solicit for them; they kept open tables in every street; they distributed wine,and bread, and money, even to the vilest of the people. En Romanos rerum dominos 3! Behold the masters of the world begging from door to door! This particular humble way of greatnesssistance of fortune, to have been as great as his
retain it with great complaisance, to communicate all things to them, to watch and serve all the occasions of their fortune, both with his money, and his interest, and his industry; and, if need were, not by sticking at any wickedness whatsoever that might be useful to them, to bend and turn about his own nature and laveer with every wind: to live severely with the melancholy, merily with the pleasant, gravely with the aged, wantonly with the young, desperately with the bold, and de. bauchedly with the luxurious: with this variety and multiplicity of his nature-as he had made a collection of friendships with all the most wicked and restless of all nations; so, by the artificial simulation of some virtues, he made a shift to enshare some honest and eminent persons into his familiarity. Neither could so vast a design as the destruction of this empire have been undertaken by him, if the immanity of so many vices had not been covered and disguised by the appearances of some excellent qualities."
I see, methinks, the character of an AntiPaul, "who became all things to all men," that he might destroy all; who only wanted the as
is now out of fashion; but yet every ambitious person is still in some sort a Roman candidate. He must feast and bribe, and attend and flatter, and adore many beasts, though not the beast with many heads. Catiline, who was so proud that he could not content himself with a less power than Sylla's, was yet so humble, for the attaining of it, as to make himself the most contemptible of all servants; to be a public bawd, to provide whores,and something worse for all the young gentlemen of Rome, whose hot lusts and courages, and heads, he thought he might make use of. And since I happen here to propose Catiline for my instance (though there be thousand of examples for the same thing) give me leave to tran
friend Cæsar was a little after him. And the ways of Cæsar to compass the same ends (I mean till the civil war, which was but another manner of setting his country on fire) were not unlike these, though he used afterwards his unjust dominion with more moderation than I think the other would have done. Sallust therefore, who was well acquainted with them both, and with many such like gentlemen of his time, says, "that it is the nature of ambition, to make men lyars and cheaters; to hide the truth in their breasts, and show, like jugglers, another thing in their mouths: to cut all friendships and enmities to the measure of their own interest; and to make a good countenance without the help of a good will." And can there be freedom with this perpetual constraint? what is it but a kind of
4 Orat. pro, M. Calio. 5 De Bell. Catil. c. x.
'Fragm. ed. Mattaire, p. 116. Virg. Georg. i. 514.
3 Virg. Æn. i. 282.
rack, that forces men to say what they have no mind to!
I have wondered at the extravagant and bar-wealth. barous stratagem of Zopirus, and more at the praises which 1 find of so deformed an action; who, though he was one of the seven grandees of Persia, and the son of Megabises, who had freed before his country from an ignoble servitude, slit his own nose and lips, cut off his own ears, scourged and wounded his whole body, that he might, under pretence of having been mangled so inhumanly by Darius, be received into Babylon (then besieged by the Persians) and get into the command of it by the recommendation of so cruel a sufferance, and their hopes of his endeavouring to revenge it. It is great pity the Babylonians suspected not his falsehood, that they might have cut off his hands too, and whipt him back again. But the design succeeded; he betrayed the city, and was made governor of it. What brutish master ever punished his offending slave with so little mercy,as ambition did this Zopirus? and yet how many are there in all nations, who imitate him, in some degree, for a less reward; who, though they endure not so much corporal pain for a small preferment or some honour (as they call it), yet stick not to commit actions, by which they are more shamefully and more lastingly stigmatised! But you may say, though these be the most ordinary and open ways to greatness, yet there are narrow, thorny, and little-trodden paths too, through which some men find a passage by virtuous industry. I grant, sometimes they may; but then that industry must be such,as cannot consist with liberty, though it may with honesty.
Thou art careful, frugal, painful; we commend a servant so, but not a friend.
Well then, we must acknowledge the toil and drudgery which we are forced to endure in this ascent; but we are epicures and lords when once we are gotten up into the high places. This is but a short apprenticeship, after which we are made free of a royal company. If we fall in love with any beauteous woman, we must be content that they should be our mistresses whilst we woo them as soon as we are wedded and enjoy, it is we shall be the masters.
I am willing to stick to this similitude in the case of greatness: we enter into the bonds of it, like those of matrimony: we are bewitched with the outward and painted beauty, and take it for better or worse, before we know its true nature and interior inconveniences. A great fortune (says Seneca) is a great servitude; but many are of that opinion which Brutus imputes (I hope untruly) even to that patron of liberty, his friend Cicero: "We fear (says he to Atticus) death, and banishment, and poverty, a great deal too much. Cicero, I am afraid, thinks these to be the worst of evils; and, if he have but some persons, from whom he can obtain what he has a mind to, and others who will flatter and worship him, seems to be well enough contented with an honourable servitude, if any thing indeed ought to be called honourable in so base and contumelious a condi
This parenthesis does honour to the writer's sense, as well as candour, HURD.
tion." This was spoken as became the bravest man who was ever born in the bravest commonBut with us generally, no condition passes for servitude, that is accompanied with great riches, with honours, and with the service of many inferiors. This is but a deception of the sight through a false medium; for if a groom serve a gentleman in his chamber, that gentleman a lord, and that lord a prince; the groom, the gentleman, and the lord, are as much servants one as the other; the circumstantial difference of the one's getting only his bread and wages, the second a plentiful, and the third a su perfluous estate, is no more intrinsical to this inatter, than the difference between a plain, a rich, and gaudy livery. I do not say, that he who sells his whole time and his own will for one hundred thousand is not a wiser merchant than he who does it for one hundred pounds; but I will swear they are both merchants, and that he is happier than both, who can live contentedly without selling that estate to which he was born. But this dependance upon superiors is but one chain of the lovers of power:
Let us begin with him by break of day: for by that time he is besieged by two or three hundred suitors; and the hall and antichambers (all the out-works) possessed by the enemy: as soon as his chamber opens, they are ready to break into that, or to corrupt the guards, for entrance. This is so essential a part of greatness, that whosoever is without it, looks like a fallen favourite, like a person disgraced, and condemned to do what he pleases all the morning. There are some who, rather than want this, are contented to have their rooms filled up every day with murmuring and cursing creditors, and to charge bravely through a body of them to get to their coach. Now I would fain know which is the worst duty, that of any one particular person who waits to speak with the great man, or the great man's, who waits every day speak with all company.
Aliena negotia centum
a hundred businesses of other men (many unjust, and most impertinent) fly continually about his head and cars, and strike him in the face like Dorres. Let us contemplate him a little at another special scene of glory, and that is his
table. Here he seems to be the lord of all nature: the earth affords him her best metals for his
dishes, her best vegetables and animals for his food; the air and sea supply him with their choicest birds and fishes; and a great many men, who look like masters, attend upon him; and yet, when all this is done, even all this is but table d'hoste; it is crowded with people for whom he cares not, with many parasites and some spies, with the most burthensome sort of guests, the endeavourers to be witty.
7 Hor. 3 Od. iv. 79.
But every body pays him great respect; every boly commends his meat, that is, his money; every body admires the exquisite dressing and ordering of it, that is, his clerk of the kitchen, or his cook; every body loves his hospitality, that is, his vanity. But I desire to know why the honest inn-keeper, who provides a public table for his profit, should be but of a mean profession; and he, who does it for his honour, a munificent prince. You will say, because one sells, and the other gives: nay, both sell, though for different things; the one for plain money, the other for I know not what jewels, whose value is in custom and in fancy. If then his table be made "a snare" (as the Scripture 9 speaks) to his liberty," where can he hope for freedom? There is always, and every where, some restraint upon him. He is guarded with crowds, and shackled with formalities. The half hat, the whole hat, the half smile, the whole smile, the nod, the embrace, the positive part-enjoy them 3;" it is only sure, that he himself ing with a little bow, the comparative at the mid- neither shall nor can enjoy them. He is an indidle of the room, the superlative at the door; and, gent, needy slave; he will hardly allow himself if the person be pan huper sebastus, there is a hy- clothes and board-wages: persuperlative ceremony then of conducting him to the bottom of the stairs, or to the very gate: as if there were such rules set to these Leviathans, as are to the sea, "Hitherto shalt thou go, and no further."
Perditur hæc inter misero lux 2, Thus wretchedly the precious day is lost.
How many impertinent letters and visits must he receive, and sometimes answer both too as impertinently! He never sets his foot beyond his threshold, unless, like a funeral, he have a train to follow him; as if, like the dead corpse, he could not stir, till the bearers were all ready. "My life (says Horace, speaking to one of these magnificos) is a great deal more easy and commodious than thine, in that I can go into the market, and cheapen what I please, without being wondered at; and take my horse and ride as far as Tarentum, without being missed." It is an unpleasant constraint to be always under the sight and observation, and censure, of others; as there may be vanity in it, 10 methinks there should be vexation, too, of spirit: and I wonder how princes can endure to have two or three hundred men stand gazing upon them whilst they are at dinner, and taking notice of every bit they cat. Nothing seems greater and more rdly than the multitude of domestic servants; but even this too, if weighed seriously, is a piece of servitude; unless you will be a servant to them (as many men are) the trouble and care of yours in the government of them all, is much more than that of every one of them in their observance of you. I take the profession of a school-master to be one of the most useful, and which ought to be of the most honourable in a commonwealth; yet certainly all his fasces and tyrannical authority over so many boys takes away his own liberty more than theirs.
I do but slightly touch upon all these particulars of the slavery of greatness: I shake but a few of their outward chains; their anger, hatred,
! Job xxxviii. 11.
Ps. lxix. 22.
jealousy, fear, envy, grief, and all the et cætera of their passions, which are the secret, but constant, tyrants and torturers of their life, I omit here, because, though they be symptoms most frequent and violent in this disease, yet they are common too in some degree to the epidemical disease of life itself.
But the ambitious man, though he be so many ways a slave (o toties servus!) yet he bears it bravely and heroically; he struts and looks big upon the stage; he thinks himself a real prince in his masking-habit, and deceives too all the foolish part of his spectators: he is a slave in saturnalibus. The covetous man is a downright servant, a draught-horse without bells or feathers: ad metalla damnatus, a man condemned to work in mines, which is the lowest and hardest condition of servitude; and, to increase his misery, a worker there for he knows not whom : "He heapeth up riches, and knows not who shall
Unciatim vix de demenso suo,
He defrauds not only other men, but his own genius; he cheats himself for money. But the servile and miserable condition of this wretch is so apparent, that I leave it, as evident to every man's sight, as well as judgment.
It seems a more difficult work to prove that the voluptuous man too is but a servant: what can be more the life of a freeman, or, as we say ordinarily, of a gentleman, than to follow nothing but his own pleasures? Why, I will tell you who is that true freeman, and that true gentleman, not he who blindly follows all his pleasures (the very name of follower is servile); but he who rationally guides them, and is not hindered by outward impediments in the conduct and enjoyment of them. If I want skill or force to restrain the beast that I ride upon, though I bought it, and call it my own, yet in the truth of the matter, I am at that time rather his man, than he my horse. The voluptuous men (whom we have fallen upon) may be divided, I think, into the lustful and luxurious, who are both servants of the belly; the other, whom we spoke of before, the ambitious and the covetous, were xaxà Ingiaɣ, evil wild beasts: these are yaçigns ágyai, slow bellies, as our translation renders it, but the word agyal (which is a fantastical word, with two directly opposite significations) will bear as well the translation of quick or diligent bellies; and both interpretations may be applied to these men. Metrodorus said, "that he had learnt înfăg yassi xagilesbai, to give his belly just thanks for all his pleasures." This, by the calumniators of Epicurus's philosophy, was objected as one of the most scandalous of all their sayings; which, according to my charitable understanding, may admit a very virtuous sense, which is, that he thanked his own belly for that moderation, in the
3 Ps. xxxxix. 6.
4 Phorm. Act I. Sc. i. ver. 43.