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cares of life, till it be half spent, and still increase them, as that decreases.
What is there among the actions of beasts so illogical and repugnant to reason? When they do any thing, which seems to proceed from that which we call reason, we disdain to ajlow them that perfection, and attribute it only to a natural instinct: and are not we fools, too, by the same kind of, instinct? If we could but learn to " number our days" (as we are taught to pray that we might), we should adjust much better our other accounts; but, whilst we never consider an end of them, it is no wonder if our carets for them be without end too. Horace advises very wisely, and in excellent good words,
— Spatio brevi Spera longam reseces—*
From a short life cut off all hopes that grow too. long. They must be pruned away like suckers, that choke the mother plant, and hinder it from bearing fruit. And in another place, to the same sense,
Vitae summa brevis spem nos vetat inchoare longamf;
which Seneca does not mend, when he says, "Oh f quanta dementia est spes longas inchoantium !" Bui
• 1 Carm. xi. 6. f Ibid. iv. 15.
he gives an example there of an acquaintance of his, named Senecio, who, from a very mean beginning, by great industry in turning about of money through all ways of gain, had attained to extraordinary riches, but died on a sudden, after having supped merrily, " in ipso actu bene1 cedentium rerum, in ipso procurrentis fortunae impetu," in the full course of his good fortune, when she had a high tide, and a stiff gale, and all her sails on; upon which occasion he cries, out of Virgil*,.
"Insere nunc, Meliboee, pyros; pone ordine vites !'*
Go graff thy orchards, and thy vineyards plant;
For this Senecio I have no compassion, because he was taken, as we say, in ipso facto, still labouring in the work of avarice; but the poor rich man in St. Luke (whose case was not like this) I could pity, methinks, if the Scripture would permit me; for he seems to have been satisfied at last, he confesses he had enough for many years, he bids his soul take its ease; and yet for all that, God says to him, "Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee; and the things thou hast laid up, who shall . they belong tof I" Where shall we find the causes
* Buc. i. 74. f Luke xii. 20.
of thjs bitter" reproach and terrible judgment? We may find, I think, two; and God, perhaps, sa\v more. First, that he did not intend true rest to hi* soul, but only to change the employments of it from avarice to luxury; his design is, to eat, and to drink, and to be merry. Secondly, that he went on too long before he thought of resting; the fullness of his old barns had not sufficed him, he would stay till he was forced to build new ones: and God meted out to him in the same measure; since he would have more riches than his life could contain, God destroyed his life, and gave the fruits of it to another.
Thus God takes away sometimes the man from his riches, and no less frequently riches from the man: what hope can there be of such a marriage, where both parties are so fickle and uncertain f by what bonds can such a couple be kept long together?
Why dost thou heap up wealth, which thou must quit,
Or, what is worse, be left by it? Why dost thou load thyself, when thou 'rt to fly,
Oh man, ordain'd to die?
Why dost thou build up stately rooms on high,
Thou sow'st and plantest, but no fruit must see,
Suppose, thou fortune couldst to lameness bring,
And clip or pinion her wing;
As not to cut off thy entail; ,
Yet death at all that subtilty will laugh;
Death will that foolish gardener mock, Who does a slight and annual plant engraff
Upon a lasting stock.
Thou dost thyself wise and industrious deem;
A mighty husband thou wouldst seem; Fond man ! like a bought slave, thou all the while
Dost but for others sweat and toil.
Officious fool! that needs must meddling be
For when to future years thou' extend'st thy cares,
Ev'n aged men, as if they truly were
Children again, for age prepare; Provisions for long travel thev design,
In the last point of their short line.
Wisely the ant against poor winter hoards
The stock, which summer's wealth- affords t
In grashoppers, that must at autumn die,
Of power and honour the deceitful light
If it of life the whole small time would stay,
Like lightning, that, begot but in a cloud
(Though shining bright, and speaking loud),
Whilst it begins, concludes its violent race,
Oh scene of fortune, which dost fair appear
Proud poverty, that tinsel braver}' wears!
Be prudent, and the shore in prospect keep;
In a weak boat trust not the deep; Plac'd beneath envy, above envying rise j
Pity great men, great things despise.
The wise example of the heavenly lark,
Thy fellow-poet, Cowley, mark; Above the clouds let thy proud musick sound,
Thy humble nest build on the ground.