Obrazy na stronie
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customary appetites of it, which can only give a
man liberty and happiness in this world. Let
this suffice at present to be spoken of those great
triumviri of the world; the covetous man, who
is a mean villain, like Lepidus; the ambitious,
who is a brave one, like Octavius; and the vo-
luptuous, who is a loose and debauched one, like
Mark Antony:

Quisnam igitur liber? Sapiens, sibíque impe-
riosus s :

Not Oenomaus, who commits himself wholly
to a charioteer, that may break his neck; but
the man,

Who governs his own course with steady hand;
Who does himself with sovereign power com-
mand;

Whom neither death nor poverty does fright;
Who stands not aukwardly in his own light
Against the truth; who can, when pleasures
knock

Loud at his door, keep firm the bolt and lock;
Who can, though Honour at his gate should stay
In all her masking cloaths, send her away,
And cry, "Be gone, I have no mind to play."

If you

This, I confess, is a freeman: but it may be said, that many persons are so shackled by their fortune, that they are hindered from enjoyment of that manumission which they have obtained from virtue. I do both understand, and in part fee!, the weight of this objection; all I can answer to it is, that we must get as much liberty as we can, we must use our utmost endeavours, and, when all that is done, be contented with the length of that line which is allowed us. ask me, in what condition of life I think the most allowed; I should pitch upon that sort of people, whom King James was wont to call the happiest of our nation, the men placed in the country by their fortune above an high constable, and yet beneath the trouble of a justice of peace; in a moderate plenty, without any just argument for the desire of increasing it by the care of many relations; and with so much knowledge and love of piety and philosophy (that is, of the study of God's laws, and of his creatures) as may afford him matter enough never to be idle, though without business; and never to be melancholy, though without sin or vanity.

I shall conclude this tedious discourse with a prayer of mine in a copy of Latin verses, of which I remember no other part; and (pour faire bonne bouche) with some other verses upon the same subject:

Magne Deus, quod ad has vitæ brevis attinet
horas,

Da mihi, da panem libertatemque, nec ultrà
Sollicitas effundo preces: si quid datur ultrà,
Accipiam gratus; si non, contentus abibo.

For the few hours of life allotted me,
Give me (great God!) but bread and liberty,

5 Hor. 2 Sat. vii. 83.
Virg. Georg. ii. 7.

I'll beg no more: if more thou'rt please to give,
I'll thankfully that overplus receive:
If beyond this no more be freely sent,
I'll thank for this and go away content.

MARTIAL, Lib. I. Ep. lvi.

Vota tui breviter, &c.

WELL then, sir, you shall know how far extend
He does not palaces nor manors crave,
The prayers and hopes of your poetic friend.
Would be no lord, but less a lord would have;
The ground he holds, if he his own can call,
He quarrels not with Heaven because 'tis small :
Let gay and toilsome greatness others please,
He loves of homely littleness the ease.
Can any man in gilded rooms attend,
And his dear hours in humble visits spend,
When in the fresh and beauteous fields he may
With various healthful pleasures fill the day?
If there be nian (ye gods !) I ought to hate,
Dependance and attendance be his fate :
Still let him busy be, and in a crowd,
And very much a slave, and very proud :
Thus he perhaps powerful and rich may grow;
No matter, O ye gods! that I'll allow:
But let him peace and freedom never see;
Let him not love this life, who loves not me!

MARTIAL, Lib. II. Ep. liii.

Vis fieri liber? &c.

WOULD you be free? 'Tis your chief wish you

say;

Come on; I'll show thee, friend, the certain way;
If to no feasts abroad thou lov'st to go,
While bounteous God does bread at home bestow;
If thou the goodness of thy cloaths dost prize
By thine own use, and not by others' eyes;
If (only safe from weathers) thou canst dwell
In a small house, but a convenient shell;
If thou, without a sigh, or golden wish,
Canst look upon thy beechen bowl and dish;
If in thy mind such power and greatness be,
The Persian king's a slave compar'd with thee.

MARTIAL, Lib. II. Ep. Ixviii.

Quod te nomine ? &c.

THAT I do you with humble bows no more,
And danger of my naked head, adore;
That I, who" Lord and master," cry'd crewhile,
Salute you, in a new and different style,
By your own name, a scandal to you now;
Think not that I forget myself or you :
By loss of all things, by all others sought,
This freedom, and the freeman's hat, is bought.
A lord and master no man wants, but he
Who o'er himself has no authority;
Who does for honours and for riches strive,
And follies, without which lords cannot live.
If thou from fortune dost no servant crave,
Believe it, thou no master need'st to have.

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'Tis morning; well; I fain would yet sleep on;
You cannot now; you must be gone
To court, or to the noisy hall :

Besides, the rooms without are crowded all;
The stream of business does begin,
And a spring-tide of clients is come in.
Ah cruel guards, which this poor prisoner keep!
Will they not suffer him to sleep?
Make an escape; out at the postern flee,
And get some blessed hours of liberty:
With a few friends, and a few dishes, dine,

And much of mirth and moderate wine. To thy bent mind some relaxation give, And steal one day out of thy life to live. Oh happy man (he cries) to whom kind Heaven Has such a freedom always given ! Why, mighty madman, what should hinder thee From being every day as free?

In all the free born nations of the air,
Never did bird a spirit so mean and sordid bear,
As to exchange his native liberty
Of soaring boldly up into the sky,
His liberty to sing, to perch, or fly.

When, and wherever he thought good,
And all his innocent pleasures of the wood,
For a more plentiful or constant food.

Nor ever did ambitious rage
Make him into a painted cage,

Or the false forest of a well-hung room,
For honour, and preferment, come.
Now, blessings on you all, ye heroic race,

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He's no small prince who every day
Thus to himself can say ;

Now will I sleep, now eat, now sit, now walk,
Now meditate alone, now with acquaintance talk;
This I will do, here I will stay,

Or, if my fancy call me away,
My man and I will presently go ride
(For we, before, have nothing to provide,
Nor, after, are to render an account)
To Dover, Berwick, or the Cornish mount,
If thou but a short journey take,
As if thy last thou wert to make,
Business must be dispatch'd, ere thou canst part,
Nor canst thou stir, unless there be

A hundred horse and men to wait on thee,
And many a mule and many a cart;
What an unwieldly man thou art!
The Rhodian Colossus so

A journey, too, might go.

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The bondman of the cloister so,

All that he does receive does always owe;
And still, as time comes in, it goes away
Not to enjoy, but debts to pay.
Unhappy slave, and pupil to a bell,
Which his hours-work, as well as hours, does tell!
Unhappy, till the last, the kind releasing knell.
If life should a well-order'd poem be,

(In which he only hits the white Who joins true profit with the best delight) The more heroic strain let others take,

Mine the Pindaric way I'll make; [free, The matter shall be grave, the numbers loose and It shall not keep one settled pace of time, In the same tune it shall not always chime, Nor shall each day just to his neighbour rhyme; A thousand liberties it shall dispense, And yet shall manage all without offence

Or to the sweetness of the sound, or greatness of

the sense; Nor shall it never from one subject start, Nor seek transitions to depart, Nor its set way o'er stiles and bridges make, Nor through lares a compass take,

As if it fear'd some trespass to commit.
When the wide air's a road for it.
So the imperial cagle does not stay

Till the whole carcase he devour,
That's fallen into his power:
As if his generous hunger understood
That he can never want plenty of food,
He only sucks the tasteful blood;
And to fresh game flies cheerfully away ;
To kites, and meaner birds, he leaves the mangled
prey.

Tu mihi curarum requies, tu nocte vel atra
Lumen, & in solis tu mihi turba locis *.

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

Seneca Epist. lxxxvi.

With thee for ever I in woods could rest,
Where never human foot the ground has prest,
Thou from all shades the darkness canst exclude,
And from a desert banish solitude.

And yet our dear self is so wearisome to us, that we can scarcely support its conversation for an 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 of a very unsociable humour 3:

II.

OF SOLITUDE.

NUNQUAM minus solus, quam cum solus, is now
become a very vulgar saying. Every man,
and almost every boy, for these seventeen hun-
dred years, has had it in his mouth. But it was
at first spoken by the excellent Scipio, who was
without question a most eloquent and witty per-
son, as well as the most wise, most worthy, most
happy, and the greatest of all mankind. His
meaning, no doubt, was this, that he found more
satisfaction to his mind, and more improvement
of it, by solitude than by company; and, to
show that he spoke not this loosely or out of va-
nity, after he had made Rome mistress of almost
the whole world, he retired himself from it by a
voluntary exile, and at a private house, in the
middle of a wood, near Linternum', passed the
remainder of his glorious life no less gloriously.
This house Seneca went to see so long after with
great veneration; and, among other things, de-
scribes his baths to have been of so mean a struc-
ture, that now, says he, the basest of the peo-
ple would despise them, and cry out, "Poor
Scipio understood not how to live." What an au-
thority is here for the credit of retreat! and happy
had it been for Hannibal, if adversity could have
taught him as much wisdom as was learnt by
Scipio from the highest prosperities. This would
be no wonder, if it were as truly as it is colourably
and wittily said by Monsieur de Montagne,
"That ambition itself might teach us to love soli-
tude; there is nothing does so much hate to have
companions." It is true, it loves to have its el-
bows free, it detests to have company on either
side; but it delights above all things in a train
behind, aye, and ushers too before it. But the
greatest part of men are so far from the opinion
of that noble Roman, that if they chance at any
time to be without company, they are like a be-
calmed ship; they never move but by the wind of
other men's breath, and have no oars of their own
to steer withal. It is very fantastical and contra-
dictory in human nature, that men should love
themselves above all the rest of the world, and
yet never endure to be with themselves. When
they are in love with a mistress, all other persons
are importunate and burthensome to them.
Tecum vivere amem, tecum obeam lubens,
they would live and die with her alone.

Odi, & amo: quare id faciam fortasse requiris,
Nescio; sed fieri sentio, & excrucior.

I hate, and yet I love thee too;
How can that be? I know not how ;
Only that so it is I know;

And feel with torment that 'tis so.

It is a deplorable condition, this, and drives a man sometimes to pitiful shifts, in seeking ho to avoid himself.

The truth of the matter is, that neither he who is a fop in the world, is a fit man to be alone; nor he who has set his heart much upon the world, though he have never so much understanding; so that solitude can be well fitted, and sit right, but upon a very few persons. They must have enough knowledge of the world to see the vanity of it, and enough virtue to despise all vanity; if the mind be possessed with any lust or passions, a man had better be in a fair, than in a wood alone. They may, like petty thieves, cheat us perhaps, and pick our pockets, in the midst of company; but, like robbers, they use to strip and bind, or murder us, when they catch us alone. This is but to retreat from men, and fall into the hands of devils. It is like the punishment of parricides among the Romans, to be sowed into a bag, with an ape, a dog, and a

serpent.

The first work therefore that a man must do, to make himself capable of the good of solitude, is, the very eradication of all lusts; for how is it possible for a man to enjoy himself, while his af fections are tied to things without himself? In the second place, he must learn the heart and get the habit of thinking; for this too, no less than wellspeaking, depends upon much practice; and cogitation is the thing which distinguishes the solitude of a god from a wild beast. Now because the soul of man is not by its own nature or observation furnished with sufficient materials to work upon, it it is necessary for it to have continual recourse to learning and books for fresh supplies, so that the solitary life will grow indigent, and be ready to starve, without them; but if once we be thoroughly engaged in the love of letters, instead of being wearied with the length of any day, we shall only complain of the shortness of our whole life.

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O vita, stulto longa, sapienti brevis 4!

O life, long to the fool, short to the wise!

The first minister of state has not so much business in public, as a wise man has in private if the one have little leisure to be a'one, the other has less leisure to be in company; the one has but part of the affairs of one nation, the other all the works of God and nature, under his consideration. There is no saying shocks me so much as that which I hear very often, "That a man does not know how to pass his time." It would have been but ill-spoken by Methusalem in the nine hundred sixty-ninth year of his life; so far it is from us, who have not time enough to attain to the utmost perfection of any part of any science, to have cause to complain that we are forced to be idle for want of work. But this, you will say, is work only for the learned; others are not capable either of the employments or divertisements that arrive from letters. I know they are not; and therefore cannot much recommend solitude to a man totally illiterate. But, if any man be so unlearned, as to want entertainment of the little intervals of accidental solitude, which frequently occur in almost all conditions (except the very meanest of the people, who have business enough in the necessary provisions for life), it is truly a great shame both to his parents and himself; for a very small portion of any ingenious art will stop up all those gaps of our time: either music, or painting, or designing, or chymistry, or history, or gardening, or twenty other things, will do it usefully and pleasantly; and if he happen to set his affections upon poetry (which I do not advise him too immoderately), that will over-do it; no wood will be thick enough to hide him from the importunities of company or business, which would abstract him from his beloved.

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But that is not to deceive the world, but to deceive ourselves, as Quintilian says 9, vitam fallere, to draw on still, and amuse, and de'ceive, our life, till it be advanced insensibly to the fatal period, and fall into that pit which nature hath prepared for it. The meaning of all this is no more than that most vulgar saying, Bene qui latuit, bene vixit, He has lived well, who has lain well hidden; which, if it be a truth, the world (I will swear) is sufficiently deceived for my part, I think it is, and that the pleasantest condition of life is, in incognito. What a brave privilege is it, to be free from all contentions, from all envying or being envyed, from receiving and from paying all kind of ceremonies! It is, in my mind, a very delightful pastime, for two good and agreeable friends to travel up and down together, in places where they are by nobody known, nor know any body. It was the case of Æneas and his Achates, when they walked invisibly about the fields and streets of Carthage. Venus herself,

A vail of thicken'd air around them cast, That none might know, or see them, as they pass'd '.

The common story of Demosthenes' confession, that he had taken great pleasure in hearing of a tanker-woman say, as he passed, "This is that Demosthenes," is wonderfully ridiculous from so solid an orator. I myself have often met with that temptation to vanity (if it were any); but am so far from finding it any pleasure, that it only makes me run faster from the place, till I get, as it were, out of sight-shot. Democritus relates, and in such a manner as if he 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 Epicurus lived there very well, that is, lay hid many years in his gardens, so fainous since

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that time, with his friend Metrodorus: after whose death, making in one of his letters a kind commemoration of the happiness which they two had enjoyed together, he adds at last, that he thought it no disparagement to those great felicities of their life, that, in the midst of the most talked-of and talking country in the world, they had lived so long, not only without fame, but almost without being heard of. And yet, within a very few years afterward, there were no two names of men more known, or more generally celebrated. If we engage into a large acquaintance and various familiarities, we set open our gates to the invaders of most of our time: we expose our life to a quotidian ague of frigid impertinences, which would make a wise man tremble to think of. Now, as for being known much by sight, and pointed at, I cannot comprehend the honour that lies in that; whatsoever it be, every mountebank has it more than the best doctor, and the hangman more than the lord chief justice of a city. Every creature has it, both of nature and art, if it be any ways extraordinary. It was as often said, "This is that Bucephalus," or, "This is that Incitatus," when they were led prancing through the streets, as, "This is that Alexander," or, "This is that Domitian ;" and truly, for the latter, I take Incitatus to have been a much more honourable beast than his master, and more deserving the consulship, than he the empire.

us.

I love and commend a true good-fame, because it is the shadow of virtue: not that it doth any good to the body which it accompanies, but it is an efficacious shadow, and, like that of St. Peter, cures the diseases of others. The best kind of glory, no doubt, is that which is reflected from honesty, such as was the glory of Cato and Aristides; but it was harmful to them both, and is seldom beneficial to any man, whilst he lives; what it is to him after his death, I cannot say, because I love not philosophy merely notional and conjectural, and no man who has made the experiment has been so kind as to come back to iuform Upon the whole matter, I account a person who has a moderate mind and fortune, and lives in the conversation of two or three agreeable friends, with little commerce in the world besides, who is esteemed well enough by his few neighbours that know him, and is truly irreproachable by any body; and so, after a healthful quiet life, before the great inconveniencies of old-age, goes more silently out of it than he came in (for I would not have him so much as cry in the exit): this innocent deceiver of the world, as Horace calls him, this muta persona, I take to have been more happy in his part, than the greatest actors that fill the stage with show and noise, nay, even than Augustus himself, who asked, with his last breath, whether he had not played his farce very well,

SENECA, EX THYESTE, ACT II. CHOR,
Stet quicumque volet potens, &c.

Upon the slippery tops of human state,
The gilded pinnacles of fate,

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