« PoprzedniaDalej »
tues; but I have translated only the two first,
not to turn the kindness I intended to him into
an injury; for the two last are little more
than repetitions and recitals of the first; and
(to make a just excuse for him) they could
not well be otherwise, since the two last vir-
tues are but descendants from the first; Pru-
dence being the true mother of Temperance,
and true Fortitude the child of Justice.
WISDOM's first progress is to take a view
What's decent or indecent, false or true.
He's truly prudent, who can separate
Honest from vile, and still adhere to that;
Their difference to measure, and to reach,
Reason well rectify'd must Nature teach.
And these high serutinies are subjects fit
For man's all-searching and inquiring wit;
That search of knowledge did from Adam flow;
Who wants it, yet abhors his wants to show.
Wisdom of what herself approves, makes choice,
Nor is led captive by the common voice.
Clear-sighted Reason, Wisdom's judgment leads,
And Sense, her vassal, in her footsteps treads.
That thou to Truth the perfect way may'st
Those who are generous, humble, just, and wise,
Who not their gold, nor themselves idolize;
To form thyself by their example learn
(For many eyes can more than one discern);
But yet beware of counsels when too full,
Number makes long disputes and graveness
Though their advice be good, their counsel
Tis not secure this place or that to guard,
If any other entrance stand unbarr'd;
He that escapes the serpent's teeth may fail,
If he himself secures not from his tail.
Who saith, Who could such ill events expect?
With shame on his own counsels doth reflect.
Most in the world doth self-conceit deceive,
Who just and good, whate'er they act believe;
To their wills wedded, to their errours slaves,
No man (like them) they think himself behaves.
This stiff-neck'd pride nor art nor force can bend,
Nor high-flown hopes to Reason's lure descend.
Fathers sometimes their children's faults re-
With pleasure, and their crimes with gift re-
Ill painters, when they draw, and poets write,
Virgil and Titian (self-admiring) slight;
Then all they do, like gold and pearl appears,
And other actions are but dirt to theirs.
They that so highly think themselves above
All other men, themselves can only love;
Keason and virtue, all that man can boast
O'er other creatures, in those brutes are lost.
Observe (if thee this fatal error touch,
Thou to thyself contributing too much).
To thee all her specific forms I'll show;
He that the way to honesty will learn,
First what's to be avoided must discern.
Thyself from flattering self-conceit defend,
Nor what thou dost not know, to know pretend.
Some secrets deep in abstruse darkness lie;
To search them thou wilt need a piercing eye.
Nor rashly therefore to such things assent,
Which undeceiv'd, thou after may'st repent;
Study and time in these must thee instruct,
And others old experience may conduct.
Wisdom herself her ear doth often lend
To counsel offer'd by a faithful friend.
In equal seales two doubtful matters lay,
Thou may'st choose safely that which most doth But more delight in easy matters find.
Learn to live well, that thou may'st die so too;
To live and die is all we have to do:
The way (if no digression's made) is even,
And free access, if we but ask, is given.
Then seek to know those things which make us
And having found them, lock them in thy
Inquiring then the way, go on, nor slack,
But mend thy pace, nor think of going back.
Some their whole age in these inquiries waste,
And die like fools before one step they've past.
'Tis strange to know the way, and not t' advance,
That knowledge is far worse than ignorance.
The learned teach, but what they teach, not do,
And standing still themselves, make others go.
In vain on study time away we throw,
When we forbear to act the things we know.
The soldier that philosopher well blam'd,
Who long and loudly in the schools declaim'd;
"Tell" (said the soldier)" venerable sir,
Why all these words, this clamour, and this stir
Why do disputes in wrangling spend the day?
Whilst one says only yea, and t'other nay."
"Oh," said the doctor, "we for wisdom toil'd,
For which none toils too much": the soldier
Yet length still loses opportunities :
Debate destroys dispatch; as fruits we see
Rot, when they hang too long upon the tree;
In vain that husbandman his seed doth sow,
If he his crop not in due season mow,
A general sets his army in array
In vain, unless he fight, and win the day.
'Tis virtuous action that must praise bring forth,
Without which slow advice is little worth.
Yet they who give good counsel, praise deserve,
Though in the active part they cannot serve:
In action, learned counsellors their age,
Profession, or disease, forbids t' engage.
Nor to philosophers is praise deny'd,
Whose wise instructions after-ages guide;
Yet vainly most their age in study spend;
No end of writing books, and to no end :
Beating their brains for strange and hidden
Whose knowledge, nor delight nor profit brings:
Themselves with doubt both day and night per
Nor gentle reader please, or teach, but vex.
Books should to one of these four ends conduce,
For wisdom, piety, delight, or use.
What need we gaze upon the spangled sky?
Or into matter's hidden causes pry,
To describe every city, stream, or hill
I' th' world, our fancy with vain arts to fill?
What is 't to hear a sophister, that pleads,
Who by the ears the deceiv'd audience leads?
If we were wise, these things we should not mind,
"You're grey and old, and to some pious use
This mass of treasure you should now reduce:
But you your store have hoarded in some bank,
For which the infernal spirits shall you thank."
Let what thou learnest be by practice shown,
'Tis said that Wisdom's children make her known.
What's good doth open to th' inquirer stand,
And itself offers to th' accepting hand;
All things by order and true measures done,
Wisdom will end, as well as she begun.
Let early care thy main concerns secure,
Things of less moment may delays endure:
Men do not for their servants first prepare,
And of their wives and children quit the care;
Yet when we 're sick, the doctor's fetcht in haste,
Leaving our great concernment to the last.
When we are well, our hearts are only set
(Which way we care not) to be rich or great :
What shall become of all that we have got?
We only know that us it follows not;
And what a trifle is a moment's breath,
Laid in the scale with everlasting death!
What's time, when on eternity we think?
A thousand ages in that sea must sink;
Time's nothing but a word, a million
Is full as far from infinite as one.
To whom thou much dost owe, thou much must pay,
Think on the debt against th' accompting-day;
God, who to thee reason and knowledge lent,
Will ask how these two talents have been spent.
Let not low pleasures thy high reason blind,
He's mad, that seeks what no man e'er could
Why should we fondly please our sense, wherein
Beasts us exceed, nor feel the stings of sin?
What thoughts man's reason better can become,
Than th' expectation of his welcome home?
Lords of the world have but for life their lease,
And that too (if the lessor please) must cease.
Death cancels Nature's bonds, but for our deeds
(That debt first paid) a strict account succeeds;
If here not clear'd, no suretyship can bail
Condemned debtors from th' eternal jail.
Christ's blood's our balsam; if that cure us
Him, when our judge, we shall not find severe;
His joke is easy when by us embrac'd,
But loads and galls, if on our necks 'tis cast.
Be just in all thy actions; and if join'd
With those that are not, never change thy mind:
If aught obstruct thy course, yet stand not still,
But wind about, till you have topp'd the hill;
To the same end men several paths may tread,
As many doors into one temple lead;
And the same hand into a fist may close,
Which instantly a palm expanded shows:
Justice and faith never forsake the wise,
Yet may occasion put him in disguise;
Not turning like the wind, but if the state
Of things must change, he is not obstinate;
Things past, and future, with the present weighs,
Nor credulous of what vain rumour says.
Few things by wisdom are at first believ'd :
An easy ear deceives, and is deceiv'd:
For many truths have often past for lies,
And lies as often put on truth's disguise:
As flattery too oft like friendship shows,
So them who speak plain truth we think our foes.
No quick reply to dubious questions make,
Suspense and caution still prevent mistake.
When any great design thou dost intend,
Think on the means, the manner, and the end
All great concernments must delays endure;
Rashness and haste make all things unsecure ;
And if uncertain thy pretensions be,
Stay till fit time wear out uncertainty;
But if to unjust things thou dost pretend,
Ere they begin let thy pretensions end.
Let thy discourse be such, that thou may'st give
Profit to others, or from them receive :
Instruct the ignorant; to those that live
Under thy care, good rules and patterns give;
Nor is 't the least of virtues, to relieve
Those whom afflictions or oppressions grieve.
Commend but sparingly whom thou dost love:
But less condemn whom thou dost not approve;
Thy friend, like flattery, too much praise doth
And too sharp censure shows an evil tongue :
But let inviolate truth be always dear
To thee; e'en before friendship, truth prefer.
Than what thou mean'st to give, still promise less;
Hold fast thy power thy promise to increase.
Look forward what 's to come, and back what's
Thy life will be with praise and prudence grac❜d:
What loss or gain may follow thou may'st guess,
Thou then wilt be secure of the success;
Yet be not always on affairs intent,
But let thy thoughts be easy and unbent:
When our minds' eyes are disengag'd and free,
They clearer, farther, and distinctly see;
They quicken sloth, perplexities untie,
Make roughness smooth, and hardness mollify;
And though our hands from labour are releas'd,
Yet our minds find (ev'n when we sleep) no rest.
Search not to find how other men offend,
But by that glass thy own offences mend;
Still seek to learn, yet care not much from whom,
(So it be learning) or from whence it come.
Of thy own actions others' judgments learn ;
Often by small, great matters we discern.
Youth, what man's age is like to be, doth show;
We may our ends by our beginnings know.
Let none direct thee what to do or say,
Till thee thy judgment of the matter sway.
Let not the pleasing many thee delight, [right.
First judge, if those whom thou dost please, judge
Search not to find what lies too deeply hid,
Nor to know things, whose knowledge is for-
Nor climb on pyramids, which thy head turn round
Standing, and whence no safe descent is found:
In vain his nerves and faculties he strains
To rise, whose raising unsecure remains :
They whom desert and favour forwards thrust,
Are wise, when they their measures can adjust.
When well at ease, and happy, live content,
And then consider why that life was lent.
When wealthy, show thy wisdom not to be
To wealth a servant, but make wealth serve thee.
Though all alone, yet nothing think or do,
Which nor a witness nor a judge might know.
The highest hill is the most slippery place,
And Fortune mocks us with a smiling face;
'TIS the first sanction Nature gave to man, Each other to assist in what they can ; Just or unjust, this law for ever stands, All things are good by law which she commands; The first step, man towards Christ must justly live,
Who t'us himself, and all we have, did give ; In vain doth man the name of just expect, If his devotions he to God neglect; So must we reverence God, as first to know Justice from him, not from ourselves, doth flow; God those accepts, who to mankind are friends, Whose justice far as their own power extends ; In that they imitate the Power divine; The Sun alike on good and bad doth shine And he that doth no good, although no ill, Does not the office of the just fulfil. Virtue doth man to virtuous actions steer, 'Tis not enough that he should vice forbear; We live not only for ourselves to care, Whilst they that want it are deny'd their share. Wise Plato said, the world with men was stor❜d, That succour each to other might afford; Nor are those succours to one sort confin'd, But several parts to several men consign'd. He that of his own stores no part can give, May with his counsel or his hand relieve. If fortune make thee powerful, give defence 'Gainst fraud, and force, to naked innocence: And when our justice doth her tributes pay, Method and order must direct the way: First to our God we must with reverence bow; The second honour to our prince we owe; Next to wives, parents, children, fit respect, And to our friends and kindred, we direct: The we must those who groan beneath the weight Of age, disease, or want, commiserate : 'Mongst those whom honest lives can recommend, Our justice more compassion should extend ; To such, who thee in some distress did aid, Thy debt of thanks with interest should be paid: As Hesiod sings, spread waters o'er thy field, And a most just and glad increase 'twill yield. But yet take heed, lest doing good to one, Mischief and wrong be to another done; Such moderation with thy bounty join, That thou may'st nothing give, that is not thine; VOL. VIL.
That liberality's but cast away, Which make us borrow what we cannot pay: And no access to wealth let rapine bring; Do nothing that's unjust, to be a king. Justice must be from violence exempt, But fraud's her only object of contempt. Fraud in the fox, force in the lion dwells; But justice both from human hearts expels ; But he's the greatest monster (without doubt) Who is a wolf within, a sheep without. Nor only ill injurious actions are, But evil words and slanders bear their share. Truth justice loves, and truth injustice fears, Truth above all things a just man reveres : Though not by oaths we God to witness call, He sees and hears, and still remembers all; And yet our attestations we may wrest, Sometimes to make the truth more manifest; If by a lye a man preserve his faith, He pardon, leave, and absolution hath ; Or if I break my promise, which to thee Would bring no good, but prejudice to me. All things committed to thy trust conceal, Nor what's forbid by any means reveal. Express thyself in plain, not doubtful words, That ground for quarrels or disputes affords : Unless thou find occasion, hold thy tongue; Thyself or others, careless talk may wrong. When thou art called into public power, And when a crowd of suitors throng thy door, Be sure no great offenders 'scape their dooms; Small praise from len'ty and remissness comes: Crimes pardon'd, others to those crimes invite, Whilst lookers-on severe examples fright: When by a pardon'd murderer blood is spilt, The judge that pardon'd hath the greatest guilt; Who accuse rigour, make a gross mistake, One criminal pardon'd may an hundred make: When justice on offenders is not done, Law, government, and commerce, are o'erthrown; As besieg'd traitors with the foe conspire, T' unlock the gates, and set the town on fire. Yet lest the punishment th' offence exceed, Justice with weight and measure must proceed: Yet when pronouncing sentence seem not glad, Such spectacles, though they are just, are sad; Though what thou dost, thou ought'st not to repent,
Yet human bowels cannot but relent:
Rather than all must suffer, some must die;
Yet Nature must condole their misery.
And yet, if many equal guilt involve,
Thou may'st not these condemn, and those absolve.
Justice, when equal scales she holds, is blind,
Nor cruelty, nor mercy, change her mind;
When some escape for that which others die,
Mercy to those, to these is cruelty,
A fine and slender net the spider weaves,
Which little and light animals receives;
And if she catch a common bee or fly,
They with a piteous groan and murmur die;
But if a wasp or hornet she entrap,
They tear her cords like Sampson, and escae
So like a fly the poor offender dies,
But, like the wasp, the rich escapes and flies.
Do not, if one but lightly thee offend,
The punishment beyond the crime extendi
Or after warning the offence forget;
So God himself our failings doth remit.
Expect not more from servants than is just,
Reward them well, if they observe their trust;
Nor them with cruelty or pride invade,
Since God and Nature them our brothers made!
If his offence be great, let that suffice;
If light, forgive, for no man 's always wise.
THE PROGRESS OF LEARNING.
My early mistress, now my ancient Muse, That strong Circæan liquor cease t' infuse, Wherewith thou didst intoxicate my youth, Now stoop with dis-inchanted wings to truth: As the dove's flight did guide Æneas, now May thine conduct me to the golden bough; Tell (like a tall old oak) how Learning shoots To Heaven her branches, and to Hell her roots.
WHEN God from earth form'd Adam in the East,
He his own image on the clay imprest;
As subjects then the whole creation came,
And from their natures Adam them did name;
Not from experience, (for the world was new)
He only from their cause their natures knew.
Had memory been lost with innocence,
We had not known the sentence, nor th' offence;
'Twas his chief punishment to keep in store
The sad remembrance what he was before;
And though th' offending part felt mortal pain,
Th' immortal part its knowledge did retain.
After the flood, arts to Chaldæa fell,
The father of the faithful there did dwell,
Who both their parent and instructor was;
From thence did learning into Ægypt pass:
Moses in all th' Ægyptian arts was skill'd,
When heavenly power that chosen vessel fill'd;
And we to his high inspiration owe,
That what was done before the flood, we know.
From Egypt, arts their progress made to Greece,
Wrapt in fable of the Golden Fleece.
Musæus first, then Orpheus, civilize
Mankind, and gave the world their deities;
To many gods they taught devotion,
Which were the distinct faculties of one;
Th' Eternal Cause, in their immortal lines,
Was taught, and poets were the first divines:
God Moses first, then David did i spire,
To compose anthems for his heavenly quire;
To th' one the style of friend he did impart,
On th' other stamp the likeness of his heart:
And Moses, in the old original,
Even God the poet of the world doth call.
Next those old Greeks, Pythagoras did rise,
Then Socrates, whom th' oracle call'd wise;
The divine Plato moral virtue shows,
Then his disciple Aristotle rose,
Flying from thence, to Italy it came,
And to the realm of Naples gave the name,
Till both their nation and their arts did come
A welcome trophy to triumphant Rome;
Then wheresoe'er her conquering eagles fled,
Arts, learning, and civility were spread;
And as in this our microcosm, the heart
Heat, spirit, motion, gives to every part;
So Rome's victorious influence did disperse
All her own virtues through the universe.
Here some digression I must make, t' accuse
Thee, my forgetful and ingrateful Muse:
Couldst thou from Greece to Latium take thy
And not to thy great ancestor do right?
I can no more believe old Homer blind,
Than those, who say the Sun hath never shin'd
wherein he liv'd was dark, but he
Could not want sight, who taught the world to
They who Minerva from Jove's head derive,
Might make old Homer's skull the Muses' hive;
And from his brain, that Helicon distil,
Whose racy liquor did his offspring fill.
Nor old Anacreon, Hesiod, Theocrite,
Must we forget, nor Pindar's lofty flight.
Old Homer's soul, at last from Greece retir'd,
In Italy the Mantuan swain inspir'd.
When great Augustus made war's tempest cease,
His halycon days brought forth the arts of peace;
He still in his triumphant chariot shines,
By Horace drawn, and Virgil's mighty lines.
'Twas certainly mysterious that the name
Of prophets and of poets is the same;
What the Tragedian wrote, the late success
Declares was inspiration, and not guess:
As dark a truth that author did unfold,
As oracles or prophets e'er foretold:
"At last the ocean shall unlock 3 the bound
Of things, and a new world by Tiphys found;
Then ages far remote shall understand
The isle of Thule is not the farthest land."
Sure God, by these discoveries, did design
That his clear light through all the world should
Who Nature's secrets to the world did teach,
Yet that great soul our novelists impeach;
Too much manuring fill'd that field with weeds,
While sects, like locusts, did destroy the seeds;
The tree of knowledge, blasted by disputes,
Produces sapless leaves instead of fruits;
Proud Greece all nations else barbarians held,
Boasting her learning all the world excell'd.
But the obstruction from that discord springs The prince of darkness made 'twixt Christian kings;
That peaceful age with happiness to crown, From Heaven the Prince of Peace himself came down;
Then the true Sun of Knowledge first appear'd,
And the old dark mysterious clouds were clear'd,
The heavy cause of th' old accursed flood
Sunk in the sacred deluge of his blood.
His passion, man from his first fall redeem'd;
Once more to Paradise restor❜d we seem'd;
Satan himself was bound, till th' iron chain
Our pride did break, and let him loose again.
Still the old sting remain'd, and man began
To tempt the serpent, as he tempted man;
Then Hell sends forth her furies, Avarice, Pride,
Fraud, Discord, Force, Hypocrisy their guide:
Though the foundation on a rock were laid,
The church was undermin'd, and then betray'd;
Though the apostles these events foretold,
Yet even the shepherd did devour the fold:
3 The Prophecy.
The fisher to convert the world began,
The pride convincing of vain-glorious man;
But soon his followers grew a sovereign lord,
And Peter's keys exchang'd for Peter's sword,
Which still maintains for his adopted son
Vast patrimonies, though himself had none;
Wresting the text to the old giants' sense,
That Heaven, once more, must suffer violence.
Then subtle doctors scriptures made their prize,
Casuists, like cocks, struck out each other's eyes;
Then dark distinctions reason's light disguis'd,
And into atoms truth anatomiz'd.
Then Mahomet's crescent, by our feuds increast,
Blasted the learn'd remainders of the East:
That project, when from Greece to Rome it came,
Made mother Ignorance Devotion's dame;
Then, he whom Lucifer's own pride did swell,
His faithful emissary, rose from Hell
To possess Peter's chair, that Hildebrand,
Whose foot on mitres, then on crowns did stand,
And before that exalted idol, all
(Whom we call gods on Earth) did prostrate fall.
Then darkness Europe's face did overspread,
From lazy cells, where Superstition bred,
Which, link'd with blind Obedience, so increast,
That the whole world, some ages, they opprest;
Till through those clouds the Sun of Knowledge
And Europe from her lethargy did wake;
Then first our monarchs were acknowledged here,
That they their churches' nursing fathers were.
When Lucifer no longer could advance
His works on the false ground of ignorance,
New arts he tries, and new designs he lays,
Then his well studied master-piece he plays;
Loyola, Luther, Calvin, he inspires,
And kindles with infernal flames their fires,
Sends their forerunner, (conscious of th' event)
Printing, his most pernicious instrument !
Wild controversy then, which long had slept,
Into the press from ruin'd cloysters leapt.
No longer by implicit faith we err,
Whilst every man's his own interpreter ;
No more conducted now by Aaron's rod,
Lay-elders, from their ends create their God;
But seven wise men the ancient world did know,
We scarce know seven who think themselves not
When man learn'd undefil'd religion,
We were commanded to be all as one ;
Fiery disputes that union have calcin'd,
Almost as many minds as men we find,
And when that flame finds combustible earth,
Thence fatuus fires and meteors take their
Legions of sects and insects come in throngs;
To name them all would tire a hundred tongues.
Such were the Centaurs of Ixion's race,
Who a bright cloud for Juno did embrace;
And such the monsters of Chimæra's behind,
Lions before, and dragons were behind.
Then from the clashes between popes and
Debate,like sparks from flints' collision, springs; As Jove's loud thunder-bolts were forg'd by heat,
The like our Cyclops on their anvils beat;
All the rich mines of Learning ransack'd are,
To furnish ammunition for this war;
Uncharitable zeal our reason whets, And double edges on our passions sets; 'Tis the most certain sign the world's accurst, That the best things corrupted, are the worst: 'Twas the corrupted light of knowledge, hurl'd Sin, death, and ignorance, o'er all the world; That Sun, like this,. (from which our sight we have)
Gaz'd on too long, resumes the light he gave; And when thick mists of doubts obscure his
Our guide is errour, and our visions dreams. 'Twas no false heraldry, when Madness drew Her pedigree from those who too much knew; Who in deep mines for hidden knowledge toils, [coils;
Like guns o'er-charg'd, breaks, misses, or reWhen subtle wits have spun their thread too fine,
"Tis weak and fragile like Arachne's line :
True piety, without cessation tost
By theories, the practic part is lost,
And like a ball bandy'd 'twixt pride and wit,
Rather than yield, both sides the prize will quit ;
Then whilst his foe each gladiator foils,
The atheist looking on, enjoys the spoils.
Through seas of knowledge we our course ad-
Discovering still new worlds of ignorance;
And these discoveries make us all confess
That sublunary science is but guess.
Matters of fact to man are only known,
And what seems more is mere opinion;
The standers-by see clearly this event,
All parties say they're sure, yet all dissent;
With their new light our bold inspectors press
Like Cham, to show their father's nakedness,
By whose example after-ages may
Discover, we more naked are than they :
All human wisdom, to divine, is folly;
This truth the wisest man made melancholy ;.
Hope, or belief, or guess, gives some relief,
But to be sure we are deceiv'd, brings grief:
Who thinks his wife is virtuous, though not
Is pleas'd, and patient, till the truth he know. Our God, when Heaven and Earth he did create,
Form'd man, who should of both participate;
If our lives' motions theirs must imitate,
Our knowledge, like our blood, must circulate..
When like a bridegroom from the east, the
Sets forth, he thither, whence he came, doth
Into earth's spungy veins the ocean sinks,
Those rivers to replenish which he drinks;
So learning, which from reason's fountain springs
Back to the source, some secret channel brings.
'Tis happy when our streams of knowledge flow
To fill their banks, but not to overthrow.
OF OLD AGE.
CATO, SCIPIO, LÆLIUS.
SCIPIO TO CATO.
THOUGH all the actions of your life are crown'd With wisdom, nothing makes them more 16