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Title: Cowley's Essays
Author: Cowley, Abraham
Language: English
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Transcribed from 1893 Cassell & Company edition by David Price, email

                        CASSELL’S NATIONAL LIBRARY

                                * * * * *


                                * * * * *

                              ABRAHAM COWLEY

                      [Picture: Decorative graphic]

                        CASSELL & COMPANY Limited
                       _LONDON  PARIS  & MELBOURNE_


ABRAHAM COWLEY was the son of Thomas Cowley, stationer, and citizen of
London in the parish of St. Michael le Querne, Cheapside.  Thomas Cowley
signed his will on the 24th of July, 1618, and it was proved on the 11th
of the next month by his widow, Thomasine.  He left six children, Peter,
Audrey, John, William, Katherine, and Thomas, with a child unborn for
whom the will made equal provision with the rest.  The seventh child,
born before the end of the same year, was named Abraham, and lived to
take high place among the English Poets.

The calm spirit of Cowley’s “Essays” was in all his life.  As he tells us
in his Essay “On Myself,” even when he was a very young boy at school,
instead of running about on holidays and playing with his fellows, he was
wont to steal from them and walk into the fields, either alone with a
book or with some one companion, if he could find any of the same temper.
He wrote verse when very young, and says, “I believe I can tell the
particular little chance that filled my head first with such chimes of
verse as have never since left ringing there; for I remember when I began
to read and to take some pleasure in it, there was wont to lie in my
mother’s parlour (I know not by what accident, for she herself never in
her life read any book but of devotion), but there was wont to lie
Spenser’s works.”  The delight in Spenser wakened all the music in him,
and in 1628, in his tenth year, he wrote a “Tragical Historie of Pyramus
and Thisbe.”

In his twelfth year Cowley wrote another piece, also in sixteen stanzas,
with songs interspersed, which was placed first in the little volume of
_Poetical Blossoms_, _by A_. _C._, published in 1633.  It was a little
quarto of thirty-two leaves, with a portrait of the author, taken at the
age of thirteen.  This pamphlet, dedicated to the Dean of Westminster,
and with introductory verses by Cowley and two of his schoolfellows,
contained “Constantia and Philetus,” with the “Pyramus and Thisbe,”
written earlier, and three pieces written later, namely, two Elegies and
“A Dream of Elysium.”  The inscription round the portrait describes
Cowley as a King’s Scholar of Westminster School; and “Pyramus and
Thisbe” has a special dedication to the Head Master, Lambert Osbalston.
As schoolboy, Cowley tells us that he read the Latin authors, but could
not be made to learn grammar rules by rote.  He was a candidate at his
school in 1636 for a scholarship at Cambridge, but was not elected.  In
that year, however, he went to Cambridge and obtained a scholarship at

Cowley carried to Cambridge and extended there his reputation as boy
poet.  In 1636 the “Poetical Blossoms” were re-issued with an appendix of
sixteen more pieces under the head of “Sylva.”  A third edition of the
“Poetical Blossoms” was printed in 1637—the year of Milton’s “Lycidas”
and of Ben Johnson’s death.  Cowley had written a five-act pastoral
comedy, “Love’s Riddle,” while yet at school, and this was published in
1638.  In the same year, 1638, when Cowley’s age was twenty, a Latin
comedy of his, “Naufragium Joculare,” was acted by men of his College,
and in the same year printed, with a dedication to Dr. Comber, Dean of
Carlisle, who was Master of Trinity.  The poet Richard Crashaw, who was
about two years older than Cowley, and, having entered Pembroke Hall in
1632, became a Fellow of Peterhouse in 1637, sent Cowley a June present
of two unripe apricots with pleasant verses of compliment on his own
early ripeness, on his April–Autumn:—

    “Take them, and me, in them acknowledging
    How much my Summer waits upon thy Spring.”

Cowley was able afterwards to help Crashaw materially, and wrote some
lines upon his early death.

In 1639 Cowley took the degree of B.A.  In 1640 he was chosen a Minor
Fellow, and in 1642 a Major Fellow, of Trinity, and he proceeded to his
M.A. in due course.  In March, 1641, when Prince Charles visited
Cambridge, a comedy called “The Guardian,” hastily written by Cowley, was
acted at Trinity College for the Prince’s entertainment.  Cowley is said
also to have written during three years at Cambridge the greater part of
his heroic poem on the history of David, the “Davideis.”  One of the
occasional poems written at this time by Cowley was on the early and
sudden death of his most intimate friend at the University, William
Hervey, to whom he was dearer than all but his brothers and sisters, and,
says Cowley:

       “Even in that we did agree,
    For much above myself I loved them too.”

Hervey and Cowley had walked daily together, and had spent nights in
joint study of philosophy and poetry.  Hervey “had all the light of
youth, of the fire none.”

    “With as much zeal, devotion, piety,
    He always lived as other saints do die.
    Still with his soul severe account he kept,
    Weeping all debts out ere he slept;
    Then down in peace and innocence he lay,
       Like the sun’s laborious light,
       Which still in water sets at night,
    Unsullied with the journey of the day.”

Cowley’s friendship with this family affected the course of his life.  He
received many kindnesses from his friend’s brother John Hervey, including
introduction to Henry Jermyn, one of the most trusted friends of Queen
Henrietta Maria, the friend who was created by her wish Baron Jermyn of
St. Edmondsbury, who was addressed by Charles I. as “Harry,” and was
created by Charles II., in April, 1660, Earl of St. Albans.  He was
described in Queen Henrietta’s time by a political scandal-monger, as
“something too ugly for a lady’s favourite, yet that is nothing to some.”
In 1643 Cowley was driven from Cambridge, and went to St. John’s College,
Oxford.  To Oxford at the end of that year the king summoned a
Parliament, which met on the 22nd of January, 1644.  This brought to
Oxford many peers and Royalists, who deserted the Parliament at
Westminster for the king’s Parliament at Oxford.  It continued to sit
until the 16th of April, by which time the king had found even his own
Parliament to be in many respects too independent.  In 1644 the queen,
about to become a mother, withdrew to Exeter from Oxford, against which
an army was advancing; and the parting at Oxford proved to be the last
between her and her husband.  A daughter was born at Exeter on the 16th
of June.  Within two weeks afterwards the advance of an army towards
Exeter caused the queen to rise from her bed in a dangerous state of
health, and, leaving her child in good keeping, escape to Plymouth, where
she reached Pendennis Castle on the 29th of June.  On the 2nd of July the
king’s forces were defeated at Marston Moor.  On the 14th of July the
queen escaped from Falmouth to Brest.  After some rest at the baths of
Bourbon, she went on to Paris, where she was lodged in the Louvre, and
well cared for.  Jermyn was still her treasurer, her minister, and the
friend for whose counsel she cared most.

It was into the service of this Lord Jermyn that Cowley had been
introduced through his friendship with the Herveys.  He went to Paris as
Lord Jermyn’s secretary, had charge of the queen’s political
correspondence, ciphered and deciphered letters between Queen Henrietta
and King Charles, and was thus employed so actively under Lord Jermyn
that his work filled all his days, and many of his nights.  He was sent
also on journeys to Jersey, Scotland, Flanders, Holland, or wherever else
the king’s troubles required his attendance.  In 1647 Cowley published
his volume of forty-four love poems, called “The Mistress.”  He was
himself no gallant, neither paid court to ladies, nor married.  His love
poetry was hypothetical; and of his life at this time he says: “Though I
was in a crowd of as good company as could be found anywhere; though I
was in business of great and honourable trust; though I ate at the best
table, and enjoyed the best convenience for present subsistence that
ought to be desired by a man of my condition in banishment and public
distresses, yet I could not abstain from renewing my old schoolboy’s wish
in a copy of verses to the same effect:—

    “‘Well, then, I now do plainly see
    This busy world and I shall ne’er agree,’ &c.,

and I never then proposed to myself any other advantage from his
Majesty’s happy restoration, but the getting into some moderately
convenient retreat in the country, which I thought, in that case, I might
easily have compassed, as well as some others who, with no greater
probabilities or pretences, have arrived to extraordinary fortunes.”

In 1654 Queen Henrietta, under influence of a new confessor, had left the
Louvre, and, with the little daughter born at Exeter, taken up her
quarters in a foundation of her own, at Chaillot, for nuns of the
visitation of St. Mary.  Lord Jermyn having little use left for a
secretary in Paris, Cowley in 1656, after twelve years’ service in
France, was sent to England that he might there live in the retirement he
preferred, and with the understanding that he would be able to send
information upon the course of home affairs.  In England he was presently
seized by mistake for another man, and, when his name and position were
known, he was imprisoned, until a friendly physician, Sir Charles
Scarborough, undertook to be security in a thousand pounds for his good
conduct.  In this year, 1656, Cowley published the first folio volume of
his Poems, prepared in prison, and suggested, he said, by his finding,
when he returned to England, a book called “The Iron Age,” which had been
published as his, and caused him to wonder that any one foolish enough to
write such bad verses should yet be so wise as to publish them under
another man’s name.  Cowley thought then that he had taken leave of
verse, which needed less troubled times for its reading, and a mind less
troubled in the writer.  He left out of his book, he said, the pieces
written during the Civil War, including three books of the Civil War
itself, reaching as far as the first battle of Newbury.  These he had
burnt, for, he said, “I would have it accounted no less unlawful to rip
up old wounds than to give new ones.”  “When the event of battle and the
unaccountable Will of God has determined the controversy, and that we
have submitted to the will of the conqueror, we must lay down our pens as
well as arms.”  The first part of this folio contained early poems; the
second part “The Mistress;” the third part “Pindaric Odes;” and the
fourth and last his “Davideis.”

In September of the following year, 1657, Cowley acted as best man to
George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, on his marriage at Bolton Percy, to
Fairfax’s daughter; Cowley wrote also a sonnet for the bride.  In
December he obtained, by influence of friends, the degree of M.D. from
the University of Oxford, and retired into Kent to study botany.  Such
study caused him then to write a Latin poem upon Plants, in six books:
the first two on Herbs, in elegiac verse; the next two on Flowers, in
various measures; and the last two on Trees, in heroic
numbers:—“_Plantarum_, _Libri VI_.”

After the death of Cromwell, Cowley returned to France, but he came back
to England in 1660, when he published an “Ode on His Majesty’s
Restoration and Return,” and “A Discourse by way of Vision concerning the
Government of Oliver Cromwell.”  He was admitted, as Dr. Cowley, among
the first members of the Royal Society then founded; but he was excluded
from the favour of the king.  He had written an “Ode to Brutus,” for
which, said his Majesty, it was enough for Mr. Cowley to be forgiven.  A
noble lord replied to Cowley’s Ode, in praise of Brutus, with an Ode
against that Rebel.  Cowley’s old friend, Lord Jermyn, now made Earl of
St. Alban’s, joined, however, with George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham,
in providing for the poet all that was required to secure to him the
quiet life that he desired.  Provision to such end had been promised him
both by Charles I. and Charles II., in the definite form of the office of
Master of the Savoy, but the post was given by Charles II. to a brother
of one of his mistresses.

Cowley recast his old comedy of “The Guardian,” and produced it in
December, 1661, as “Cutter of Coleman Street.”  It was played for a week
to a full audience, though some condemned it on the supposition it was a
satire upon the king’s party.  Cowley certainly was too pure and
thoughtful to be a fit associate for Charles II. and many of his friends.
The help that came from the Earl of St. Albans and the Duke of
Buckingham, was in the form of such a lease of the Queen’s lands as gave
the poet a sufficient income.  Others who had served little were
enriched; but he was set at ease, and sought no more.  He then made his
home by the Thames, first at Barn Elms, and afterwards at Chertsey, at
which latter place he lived for about a year in the Porch House, that yet
stands.  Cowley was living at Chertsey when a July evening in damp
meadows gave him a cold, of which he died within a fortnight.  That was
in the year 1667, year also of the death of Jeremy Taylor, and of the
birth of Jonathan Swift.

Abraham Cowley is at his truest in these ESSAYS, written during the last
seven years of his life.  Their style is simple, and their thoughts are
pure.  They have, for their keynote, the happiness of one who loves true
liberty in quiet possession of himself.  When he turns to the Latins, his
translations are all from those lines which would have dwelt most
pleasantly upon a mind that to the last held by the devout wish expressed
by himself in a poem of his early youth—(_A Vote_, in “Sylva”):

    “Books should, not business, entertain the light,
    And sleep, as undisturbed as death, the night.
       My house a cottage more
    Than palace, and should fitting be
    For all my use, no luxury.
       My garden, painted o’er
    With Nature’s hand, not Art’s, should pleasures yield,
    Horace might envy in his Sabine field.”

                                                                     H. M.


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 inquire what estate of life
does best suit 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, 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 at 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
neither 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.  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,
career.  _Fertur equis auriga neque audit currus habenas_.”

Pray let us but consider a little what mean, 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 prætorship, 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 Dorninos_!  Behold the
masters of the world beginning from door to door.  This particular humble
way to greatness 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 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 transcribe the character which
Cicero 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.  “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 in 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 country? 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 good
opinion and kindness of all sorts of men, to 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,
merrily with the pleasant, gravely with the aged, wantonly with the
young, desperately with the bold, and debauchedly 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 reckless of all
nations, so, by the artificial simulation of some virtues, he made a
shift to ensnare 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 Anti-Paul, who became all things to
all men, that he might destroy all; who only wanted the assistance of
fortune to have been as great as his 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 afterward 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”
(_Ambitio multos mortales falsos fieri coegit_, _etc._) “to make men
liars 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 good will.”  And can there be freedom
with this perpetual constraint?  What is it but a kind of rack that
forces men to say what they have no mind to?  I have wondered at the
extravagant and barbarous stratagem of Zopirus, and more at the praises
which I 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 a great pity the Babylonians suspected
not his falsehood, that they might have cut off his hands too, and
whipped 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

Well, then, we must acknowledge the toil and drudgery which we are forced
to endure in this assent, 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, ’tis
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 anything, indeed, ought to be called honourable
in so base and contumelious a condition.”  This was spoken as became the
bravest man who was ever born in the bravest commonwealth.  But 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 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 getting only his
bread and wages, the second a plentiful, and the third a superfluous
estate, is no more intrinsical to this matter 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
dependence upon superiors is but one chain of the lovers of power,
_Amatorem trecentæ Pirithoum cohibent catenæ_.  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 anti-chambers (all the outworks) 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 please 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 to speak with all the company.  _Aliena
negotia centum Per caput et circum saliunt latus_: A hundred businesses
of other men (many unjust and most impertinent) fly continually about his
head and ears, and strike him in the face like dors.  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’Hôte.  It is crowded with
people for whom he cares not—with many parasites, and some spies, with
the most burdensome sort of guests—the endeavourers to be witty.

But everybody pays him great respect, everybody commends his meat—that
is, his money; everybody admires the exquisite dressing and ordering of
it—that is, his clerk of the kitchen, or his cook; everybody loves his
hospitality—that is, his vanity.  But I desire to know why the honest
innkeeper who provides a public table for his profits should be but of a
mean profession, and he who does it for his honour a munificent prince.
You’ll 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 speaks) to his liberty, where can
he hope for freedom? there is always and everywhere 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 parting with a little bow, the comparative at the
middle of the room, the superlative at the door; and if the person be
_Pan huper sebastos_, there’s a _Huper superlative_ 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_.  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 hath 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, so, 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 eat.  Nothing seems greater
and more lordly 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 observation of you.  I take the profession of a schoolmaster to be
one of the most useful, and which ought to be of the most honourable in a
commonwealth, yet certainly all his farces 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, jealousy, fear, envy, grief, and all the _et cetera_ 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’s 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 enjoy them; ’tis only that he himself neither shall nor can enjoy
them.  He is an indigent needy slave, he will hardly allow himself
clothes and board wages; _Unciatim vix demenso de suo suum defraudans
Genium comparsit niser_.  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’ll 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 are 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 κακὰ
θηρία, evil wild beasts; these are Γαστέρες ἀργαί, slow bellies, as our
translation renders it; but the word Ἀργαί (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 Ἀληθως γαστρὶ
χαρίζεσθαι, to give his belly just thanks for all his pleasures.”  This
by the calumniators of Epicurus his 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 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 trinmviri of the world;
the covetous man, who is a mean villain, like Lepidus; the ambitious, who
is a brave one, like Octavius; and the voluptuous, who is a loose and
debauched one, like Mark Antony.  _Quisnam igitur Liber_?  _Sapiens_,
_sibi qui Imperiosus_.  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 command;
   Whom neither death nor poverty does fright,
   Who stands not awkwardly 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 clothes, send her away,
   And cry, Begone, I have no mind to play.

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 feel 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.”  If you 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 the 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 boras_,
    _Da mihi_, _da Pancin 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,
   I’ll beg no more; if more thou’rt pleased 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.

_Vota tui breviter_, _etc._

    WELL then, sir, you shall know how far extend,
    The prayers and hopes of your poetic friend.
    He does not palaces nor manors crave,
    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 man, ye gods, I ought to hate,
    Dependence 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.

_Vis fieri Liber_, _etc._

    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,
    Whilst bounteous God does bread at home bestow;
    If thou the goodness of thy clothes 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 compared with thee.

_Quod to nomine_? _etc._

    THAT I do you with humble bows no more,
    And danger of my naked head, adore;
    That I, who lord and master cried erewhile,
    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.



   FREEDOM with virtue takes her seat;
   Her proper place, her only scene,
      Is in the golden mean,
   She lives not with the poor, nor with the great:
   The wings of those, Necessity has clipped,
      And they’re in Fortune’s Bridewell whipped,
      To the laborious task of bread;
   These are by various tyrants captive led.
   Now wild Ambition with imperious force
   Rides, reins, and spurs them like th’ unruly horse;
      And servile Avarice yokes them now
      Like toilsome oxen to the plough;
   And sometimes Lust, like the misguiding light,
   Draws them through all the labyrinths of night.
   If any few among the great there be
      From the insulting passions free,
      Yet we even those too fettered see
   By custom, business, crowds, and formal decency;
   And wheresoe’er they stay, and wheresoe’er they go,
      Impertinences round them flow.
      These are the small uneasy things
      Which about greatness still are found,
      And rather it molest than wound
   Like gnats which too much heat of summer brings;
   But cares do swarm there too, and those have stings:
   As when the honey does too open lie,
      A thousand wasps about it fly
   Nor will the master even to share admit;
   The master stands aloof, and dares not taste of it.


   ’Tis morning, well, I fain would yet sleep on;
      You cannot now; you must be gone
      To Court, or to the noisy hail
   Besides, the rooms without are crowded all;
      The steam of business does begin,
   And a springtide 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 freeborn 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 ye all, ye heroic race,
   Who keep their primitive powers and rights so well
      Though men and angels fell.
   Of all material lives the highest place
      To you is justly given,
      And ways and walks the nearest Heaven;
   Whilst wretched we, yet vain and proud, think fit
      To boast that we look up to it.
   Even to the universal tyrant Love
      You homage pay but once a year;
   None so degenerous and unbirdly prove,
      As his perpetual yoke to bear.
   None but a few unhappy household fowl,
      Whom human lordship does control;
      Who from their birth corrupted were
   By bondage, and by man’s example here.


   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 despatched 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 unwieldy man thou art!
      The Rhodian Colossus so
      A journey too might go.


   Where honour or where conscience does not bind,
      No other law shall shackle me?
      Slave to myself I will not be,
   Nor shall my future actions be confined
      By my own present mind.
   Who by resolves and vows engaged does stand
      For days that yet belong to fate,
   Does like an unthrift mortgage his estate
      Before it falls into his hand;
      The bondman of the cloister so
   All that he does receive does always owe.
   And still as time come in it goes away,
      Not to enjoy, but debts to pay.
   Unhappy slave, and pupil to a bell
   Which his hour’s work, as well as hour’s does tell!
   Unhappy till the last, the kind releasing knell.


   If Life should a well-ordered 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,
   The matter shall be grave, the numbers loose and free.
   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 thorough lanes a compass take
   As if it feared some trespass to commit,
      When the wide air’s a road for it.
   So time imperial eagle does not stay
      Till the whole carcase he devour
      That’s fallen into its 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.


“_Nunquam minus solus_, _quam cum solis_,” is now become a very vulgar
saying.  Every man and almost every boy for these seventeen hundred years
has had it in his mouth.  But it was at first spoken by the excellent
Scipio, who was without question a 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
vanity, 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, describes his bath to
have been of so mean a structure, that now, says he, the basest of the
people would despise them, and cry out, “Poor Scipio understood not how
to live.”  What an authority 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 Montaigne, that ambition itself might teach us to love
solitude: there is nothing does so much hate to have companions.  It is
true, it loves to have its elbows 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 greater 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 becalmed 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 contradictory 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 burdensome to them.  “_Tecum vivere
amem_, _tecum obeam lubens_,” They would live and die with her alone.

   _Sic ego secretis possum benè vevere silvis_
      _Quà nulla humauo sit via trita pede_,
   _Tu mihi curarum requies_, _tu nocte vel atrâ_
      _Lumen_, _et in solis tu mihi terba locis_.

   With thee for ever I in woods could rest,
   Where never human foot the ground has pressed;
   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.

   _Odi et Amo_, _qua nam id faciam ratione requiris_?
         _Nescio_, _sed fieri sentio_, _et 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 how 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 has ever so much understanding; so that solitude can be well
fitted and set 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 sewed 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 affections are tied to things without
himself?  In the second place, he must learn the art and get the habit of
thinking; for this too, no less than well speaking, 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 is necessary for it to have continual resource 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.

      _O vita_, _stulto longa_, _sapienti brevis_!

   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 alone, 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 and
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 the divertisements that arise 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 chemistry, 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 overdo it; no wood will be
thick enough to hide him from the importunities of company or business,
which would abstract him from his beloved.

   —_O quis me geldis sub montibus Hæmi_
   _Sistat_, _et ingenti ramorum protegat umbrâ_?


   Hail, old patrician trees, so great and good!
      Hail, ye plebeian underwood!
      Where the poetic birds rejoice,
   And for their quiet nests and plenteous food
      Pay with their grateful voice.


   Hail, the poor Muses’ richest manor seat!
      Ye country houses and retreat
      Which all the happy gods so love,
   That for you oft they quit their bright and great
      Metropolis above.


   Here Nature does a house for me erect,
      Nature the wisest architect,
      Who those fond artists does despise
   That can the fair and living trees neglect,
      Yet the dead timber prize.


   Here let me, careless and unthoughtful lying,
      Hear the soft winds, above me flying,
      With all their wanton boughs dispute,
   And the more tuneful birds to both replying,
      Nor be myself too mute.


   A silver stream shall roll his waters near,
      Gilt with the sunbeams here and there,
      On whose enamelled bank I’ll walk,
   And see how prettily they smile, and hear
      How prettily they talk.


   Ah wretched, and too solitary he
      Who loves not his own company!
      He’ll feel the weight of’t many a day,
   Unless he call in sin or vanity
      To help to bear’t away.


   Oh solitude, first state of human-kind!
      Which blest remained till man did find
      Even his own helper’s company.
   As soon as two, alas, together joined,
      The serpent made up three.


   Though God himself, through countless ages, thee
      His sole companion chose to be,
      Thee, sacred Solitude alone;
   Before the branchy head of numbers Three
      Sprang from the trunk of One.


   Thou (though men think thine an unactive part)
      Dost break and tame th’ unruly heart,
      Which else would know no settled pace,
   Making it move, well managed by thy art
      With swiftness and with grace.


   Thou the faint beams of Reason’s scattered light
      Dost like a burning glass unite;
      Dost multiply the feeble heat,
   And fortify the strength, till thou dost bright
      And noble fires beget.


   Whilst this hard truth I teach, methinks, I see
      The monster London laugh at me;
      I should at thee too, foolish city,
   If it were fit to laugh at misery.
      But thy estate, I pity.


   Let but thy wicked men from out thee go,
      And the fools that crowd thee so,—
      Even thou, who dost thy millions boast,
   A village less than Islington wilt grow,
      A solitude almost.


   _Nam neque divitibus contingunt gaudia solis_,
   _Nec vixit male_, _qui natus moriensque fefellit_.

   God made not pleasures only for the rich,
   Nor have those men without their share too lived,
   Who both in life and death the world deceived.

THIS seems a strange sentence thus literally translated, and looks as if
it were in vindication of the men of business (for who else can deceive
the world?) whereas it is in commendation of those who live and die so
obscurely, that the world takes no notice of them.  This Horace calls
deceiving the world, and in another place uses the same phrase.

   _Secretum iter et fallentis semita vitæ_.

   The secret tracks of the deceiving life.

It is very elegant in Latin, but our English word will hardly bear up to
that sense, and therefore Mr. Broome translates it very well:

    Or from a life, led as it were by stealth.

Yet we say in our language, a thing deceives our sight, when it passes
before us unperceived, and we may say well enough out of the same author:

    Sometimes with sleep, sometimes with wine we strive
    The cares of life and troubles to deceive.

But that is not to deceive the world, but to deceive ourselves, as
Quintilian says, _Vitam fallere_, To draw on still, and amuse, and
deceive 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’ll 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 envied, 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 anybody.  It
was the case of Æneas and his Achates, when they walked invisibly about
the fields and streets of Carthage, Venus herself

    A veil of thickened air around them cast,
    That none might know, or see them as they passed.

The common story of Demosthenes’s confession that he had taken great
pleasure in hearing of a Tanker-woman say as he passed, “This is that
Demosthenes,” is wonderful 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 famous since 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.  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 ’tis 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 inform
us.  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 anybody; and so after a healthful quiet life, before the great
inconveniences 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 word, 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 2_. _ Chor._
   _Stet quicunque volet_, _potens_,
   _Aulæ culmine lubrico_; _etc._

   Upon the slippery tops of human state,
      The gilded pinnacles of fate,
   Let others proudly stand, and for a while,
      The giddy danger to beguile,
   With joy and with disdain look down on all,
      Till their heads turn, and down they fall.
   Me, O ye gods, on earth, or else so near
      That I no fall to earth may fear,
   And, O ye gods, at a good distance seat
      From the long ruins of the great!
   Here wrapped in the arms of quiet let me lie,
   Quiet, companion of obscurity.
   Here let my life, with as much silence slide,
      As time that measures it does glide.
   Nor let the breath of infamy or fame,
   From town to town echo about my name;
   Nor let my homely death embroidered be
      With scutcheon or with elegy.
      An old plebeian let me die,
   Alas, all then are such, as well as I.
      To him, alas, to him, I fear,
   The face of death will terrible appear;
   Who in his life, flattering his senseless pride
   By being known to all the world beside,
   Does not himself, when he is dying, know;
   Nor what he is, nor whither he’s to go.


THE first wish of Virgil (as you will find anon by his verses), was to be
a good philosopher; the second, a good husbandman; and God (whom he
seemed to understand better than most of the most learned heathens) dealt
with him just as he did with Solomon: because he prayed for wisdom in the
first place, he added all things else which were subordinately to be
desired.  He made him one of the best philosophers, and best husbandmen,
and to adorn and communicate both those faculties, the best poet.  He
made him, besides all this, a rich man, and a man who desired to be no
richer, _O fortunatas nimium et bona qui sua novit_.  To be a husbandman,
is but a retreat from the city; to be a philosopher, from the world; or
rather, a retreat from the world, as it is Man’s—into the world, as it is
God’s.  But since Nature denies to most men the capacity or appetite, and
Fortune allows but to a very few the opportunities or possibility, of
applying themselves wholly to philosophy, the best mixture of human
affairs that we can make are the employments of a country life.  It is,
as Columella calls it, _Res sine dubitatione proxima et quasi
consanguinea sapientiæ_, the nearest neighbour, or rather next in kindred
to Philosophy.  Varro says the principles of it are the same which Ennius
made to be the principles of all nature; earth, water, air, and the sun.
It does certainly comprehend more parts of philosophy than any one
profession, art, or science in the world besides; and, therefore, Cicero
says, the pleasures of a husbandman, _Mihi ad sapientis vitam proxime
videntur accedere_, come very nigh to those of a philosopher.  There is
no other sort of life that affords so many branches of praise to a
panegyrist: The utility of it to a man’s self; the usefulness, or,
rather, necessity of it to all the rest of mankind; the innocence, the
pleasure, the antiquity, the dignity.  The utility (I mean plainly the
lucre of it) is not so great now in our nation as arises from merchandise
and the trading of the city, from whence many of the best estates and
chief honours of the kingdom are derived; we have no men now fetched from
the plough to be made lords, as they were in Rome to be made consuls and
dictators, the reason of which I conceive to be from an evil custom now
grown as strong among us as if it were a law, which is, that no men put
their children to be bred up apprentices in agriculture, as in other
trades, but such who are so poor, that when they come to be men they have
not wherewithal to set up in it, and so can only farm some small parcel
of ground, the rent of which devours all but the bare subsistence of the
tenant; whilst they who are proprietors of the land are either too proud
or, for want of that kind of education, too ignorant to improve their
estates, though the means of doing it be as easy and certain in this as
in any other track of commerce.  If there were always two or three
thousand youths, for seven or eight years bound to this profession, that
they might learn the whole art of it, and afterwards be enabled to be
masters in it, by a moderate stock, I cannot doubt but that we should see
as many aldermen’s estates made in the country as now we do out of all
kind of merchandising in the city.  There are as many ways to be rich;
and, which is better, there is no possibility to be poor, without such
negligence as can neither have excuse nor pity; for a little ground will,
without question, feed a little family, and the superfluities of life
(which are now in some cases by custom made almost necessary) must be
supplied out of the superabundance of art and industry, or contemned by
as great a degree of philosophy.  As for the necessity of this art, it is
evident enough, since this can live without all others, and no one other
without this.  This is like speech, without which the society of men
cannot be preserved; the others like figures and tropes of speech which
serve only to adorn it.  Many nations have lived, and some do still,
without any art but this; not so elegantly, I confess, but still they
have; and almost all the other arts which are here practised are
beholding to them for most of their materials.  The innocence of this
life is in the next thing for which I commend it, and if husbandmen
preserve not that, they are much to blame, for no men are so free from
the temptations of iniquity.  They live by what they can get by industry
from the earth, and others by what they can catch by craft from men.
They live upon an estate given them by their mother, and others upon an
estate cheated from their brethren.  They live like sheep and kine, by
the allowances of Nature, and others like wolves and foxes by the
acquisitions of rapine; and, I hope, I may affirm (without any offence to
the great) that sheep and kine are very useful, and that wolves and foxes
are pernicious 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 expenseful luxury.

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 fruits 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_
   _Agricolæ tacitum pertentant gaudia pectus_.

   On his heart-strings a 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 murderer, I
desire he would consider, that as soon as he was so, he quitted our
profession and turned builder.  It is for this reason, I suppose, that
Ecclesiasticus forbids us to hate husbandry; because, says he, the Most
High has created it.  We were all born to this art, and taught by nature
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, how it should come to pass that all arts or Sciences (for the
dispute, which is an art and which is a science, does not belong to the
curiosity of us husbandmen), metaphysic, physic, morality, mathematics,
logic, rhetoric, etc., which are all, I grant, good and useful faculties,
except only metaphysic, which I do not know whether it be anything 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 never see 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’s 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 practised anciently, in the ceremonies of the
heathen religion, which consisted all in mummery and madness; the latter
being the chief glory of the worship, and accounted divine inspiration.
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 much 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
endowments, 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 only one master, or Principal, as they call
him there) to teach these four parts of it.  First, aration, and all
things relating to it.  Secondly, pasturage; thirdly, gardens, orchards,
vineyards, and woods; fourthly, all parts of rural economy, which would
contain the government of bees, swine, poultry, decoys, ponds, etc., and
all that which Varro calls Villaticas Pastiones, together with the sports
of the field, which ought not to be looked upon only as pleasures, but as
parts of housekeeping, 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 qua natale solum dulcedine musas_
   _Ducit_, _et immemores non sinit esse sui_.

   The Muses still love their own native place,
   ’T has 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 vitiisque 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 extant (if Homer, as some
think, 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 style.  The most acute of all his sayings concerns our
purpose very much, and is couched in the reverend obscurity of an oracle.
Πλέν ἥμισυ παντός.  The half is more than the whole.  The occasion of the
speech is this: his brother Perses had by corrupting some great men
(Βασιλῆας Δωροφάγους, 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.

   Νήπιοι, οὐδ’ ἴσασιν ὅσῳ πλέον ᾕμισυ παντὸς
   Οὐδ’ ὅσον ἐν μαλάχη τε καὶ ἀσφοδέλῳ μεγ’ ὔνειας,
   Κρύψαντες γὰρ ἔχουσι θεοὶ Βίον ἀνθρώποισι.

   Unhappy they to whom God has not revealed
   By a strong light which must their sense control,
   That half a great estate’s more than the whole.
   Unhappy, from whom still concealed does lie
   Of roots and herbs the wholesome luxury.

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 honour 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 gardener all that while, and seeking his
consolation for the absence of his son in the pleasure of planting and
even dunging his own grounds.  Yet, see, he did not contemn us peasants;
nay, so far was he from that insolence, that he always styles Eumæus, who
kept the hogs with wonderful respect, Δῖον ὔφυρβυν, the divine
swine-herd; 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 a husbandman
Εμέιβετο Δῖος ἀγρώτης.  The divine husbandman replied to Hercules, who
was but Δῖος himself.  These were civil Greeks, and who understood the
dignity of our calling.  Among the Romans, we have in the first place our
truly divine Virgil, who, though by the favour of Mæcenas and Augustus he
might have been one of the chief men of Rome, yet chose rather to employ
much of his time in the exercise, and much of his immortal wit in the
praise and instructions of a rustic life; who, though he 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 are lowing in his courtyard, the birds’ under the eaves 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 Æneas
into his royal cottage, he makes him say this memorable compliment,
greater than ever yet was spoken at the Escurial, the Louvre, or our

            _Hæc_, _inquit_, _limina victor_
   _Alcides subiit_, _hæc illum Regia cepit_,
   _Aude_, _Hospes_, _contemnere opes_, _et te quoque dignum_
   _Finge Deo_, _rebusque veni non asper egenis_.

   This humble roof, this rustic court, said he,
   Received Alcides crowned with victory.
   Scorn not, great guest, the steps where he has trod,
   But contemn wealth, and imitate a god.

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 Mecænas 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, “_ut nos in Epistolis scribendis adjuvet_,”) could not be tempted
to forsake his Sabine or Tiburtine Manor, for so rich and so glorious a
trouble.  There was never, I think, such an example as this in 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 good nature 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, “_Qui quid sit
pulchrum_, _quid turpe_, _quid utile_, _quid non_, _plenius_, _et melius
Chrysippo_, _et Crantore dicit_.”  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 masters, 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.


                        _O fortunatus nimium_, _etc._

                       A TRANSLATION OUT OF VIRGIL.

   OH happy (if his happiness he knows)
   The country swain, on whom kind Heaven bestows
   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;
   Nor is his wool superfluously dyed
   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:
   Through artless grots the murmuring waters glide;
   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 nigh,
   Both food and game and exercise supply.
   Here a well-hardened, 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 Astræa 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 purgèd eye
   Those wonders which to sense the gods deny;
   How in the moon such chance 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 night.
   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 unglorious, 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 springs.
   Nor vainly fears inevitable things;
   But does his walk of virtue calmly go,
   Through all th’ alarms of death and hell below.
   Happy! but next such conquerors, happy they,
   Whose humble life lies not in fortune’s way.
   They unconcerned from their safe distant seat
   Behold the rods and sceptres of the great.
   The quarrels of the mighty, without fear,
   And the descent of foreign troops they hear.
   Nor can even Rome their steady course misguide,
   With all the lustre of her perishing pride.
   Them never yet did strife or avarice draw
   Into the noisy markets of the law,
   The camps of gownéd war, nor do they live
   By rules or forms that many mad men give,
   Duty for nature’s bounty they repay,
   And her sole laws religiously obey.
      Some with bold labour plough the faithless main;
   Some rougher storms in princes’ courts sustain.
   Some swell up their slight sails with popular fame,
   Charmed with the foolish whistlings of a name.
   Some their vain wealth to earth again commit;
   With endless cares some brooding o’er it sit.
   Country and friends are by some wretches sold,
   To lie on Tyrian beds and drink in gold;
   No price too high for profit can be shown;
   Not brother’s blood, nor hazards of their own.
   Around the world in search of it they roam;
   It makes e’en their Antipodes their home.
   Meanwhile, the prudent husbandman is found
   In mutual duties striving with his ground;
   And half the year he care of that does take
   That half the year grateful returns does make
   Each fertile month does some new gifts present,
   And with new work his industry content:
   This the young lamb, that the soft fleece doth yield,
   This loads with hay, and that with corn the field:
   All sorts of fruit crown the rich autumn’s pride:
   And on a swelling hill’s warm stony side,
   The powerful princely purple of the vine,
   Twice dyed with the redoubled sun, does shine.
   In th’ evening to a fair ensuing day,
   With joy he sees his flocks and kids to play,
   And loaded kine about his cottage stand,
   Inviting with known sound the milker’s hand;
   And when from wholesome labour he doth come,
   With wishes to be there, and wished for home,
   He meets at door the softest human blisses,
   His chaste wife’s welcome, and dear children’s kisses.
   When any rural holydays invite
   His genius forth to innocent delight,
   On earth’s fair bed beneath some sacred shade,
   Amidst his equal friends carelessly laid,
   He sings thee, Bacchus, patron of the vine,
   The beechen bowl foams with a flood of wine,
   Not to the loss of reason or of strength.
   To active games and manly sport at length
   Their mirth ascends, and with filled veins they see,
   Who can the best at better trials be.
   Such was the life the prudent Sabine chose,
   From such the old Etrurian virtue rose.
   Such, Remus and the god his brother led,
   From such firm footing Rome grew the world’s head.
   Such was the life that even till now does raise
   The honour of poor Saturn’s golden days:
   Before men born of earth and buried there,
   Let in the sea their mortal fate to share,
   Before new ways of perishing were sought,
   Before unskilful death on anvils wrought.
   Before those beasts which human life sustain,
   By men, unless to the gods’ use, were slain.


                     _Beatus ille qui procul_, _etc._

   HAPPY time man whom bounteous gods allow
   With his own hand paternal grounds to plough!
   Like the first golden mortals, happy he,
   From business and the cares of money free!
   No human storms break off at land his sleep,
   No loud alarms of nature on the deep.
   From all the cheats of law he lives secure,
   Nor does th’ affronts of palaces endure.
   Sometimes the beauteous marriageable vine
   He to the lusty bridegroom elm does join;
   Sometimes he lops the barren trees around,
   And grafts new life into the fruitful wound;
   Sometimes he shears his flock, and sometimes he
   Stores up the golden treasures of the bee.
   He sees his lowing herds walk o’er the plain,
   Whilst neighbouring hills low back to them again.
   And when the season, rich as well as gay,
   All her autumnal bounty does display,
   How is he pleas’d th’ increasing use to see
   Of his well trusted labours bend the tree;
   Of which large shares, on the glad sacred days,
   He gives to friends, and to the gods repays.
   With how much joy does he, beneath some shade
   By aged trees, reverend embraces made,
   His careless head on the fresh green recline,
   His head uncharged with fear or with design.
   By him a river constantly complains,
   The birds above rejoice with various strains,
   And in the solemn scene their orgies keep
   Like dreams mixed with the gravity of sleep,
   Sleep which does always there for entrance wait,
   And nought within against it shuts the gate.
      Nor does the roughest season of the sky,
   Or sullen Jove, all sports to him deny.
   He runs the mazes of the nimble hare,
   His well-mouthed dogs’ glad concert rends the air,
   Or with game bolder, and rewarded more,
   He drives into a toil the foaming boar;
   Here flies the hawk to assault, and there the net
   To intercept the travelling fowl is set;
   And all his malice, all his craft is shown
   In innocent wars, on beasts and birds alone.
   This is the life from all misfortune free,
   From thee, the great one, tyrant love, from thee;
   And if a chaste and clean though homely wife,
   Be added to the blessings of this life,—
   Such as the ancient sun-burnt Sabines were,
   Such as Apulia, frugal still, does bear,—
   Who makes her children and the house her care
   And joyfully the work of life does share;
   Nor thinks herself too noble or too fine
   To pin the sheepfold or to milk the kine;
   Who waits at door against her husband come
   From rural duties, late, and wearied home,
   Where she receives him with a kind embrace,
   A cheerful fire, and a more cheerful face:
   And fills the bowl up to her homely lord,
   And with domestic plenty load the board.
   Not all the lustful shell-fish of the sea,
   Dressed by the wanton hand of luxury,
   Nor ortolans nor godwits nor the rest
   Of costly names that glorify a feast,
   Are at the princely tables better cheer
   Than lamb and kid, lettuce and olives, here.


           _A Paraphrase upon Horace_, II _Book_, _Satire_ vi.

   AT the large foot of a fair hollow tree,
   Close to ploughed 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 arrived early, and alighted 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 chestnut, the delicious meat
   Which Jove himself, were he a mouse, would eat.
   And for a haut goust there was mixed with these
   The swerd of bacon, and the coat of cheese,
   The precious relics, which at harvest he
   Had gathered from the reapers’ 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 sacrificed the day.
   Yet the nice guest’s epicurean mind
   (Though breeding made him civil seem, and kind)
   Despised this country feast, and still his thought
   Upon the cakes and pies of London wrought.
   “Your bounty and civility,” said he,
   “Which I’m surprised in these rude parts to see,
   Show 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?
   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 so uncertain 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 the reverend hermit from his cell.
   It was the time, when witty poets tell,
   That Phoebus into Thetis’ bosom fell:
   She blushed 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 some; the gentle courtier at the door
   Stops, and will hardly enter in before;—
   But ’tis, sir, your command, and being so,
   I’m sworn t’ obedience—and so in they go.
   Behind a hanging in a spacious room
   (The richest work of Mortlake’s noble loom)
   They wait awhile their wearied limbs to rest,
   Till silence should invite them to their feast,
   About the hour that Cynthia’s silver light
   Had touched the pale meridies of the night,
   At last, the various supper being done,
   It happened 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-filled dishes stood,
   And with delicious bits the floor was strewed;
   The courteous mouse presents him with the best,
   And both with fat varieties are blest.
   The industrious peasant everywhere does range,
   And thanks the gods for his life’s happy change.
   Lo, in the midst of a well-freighted pie
   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 fulness which retards their flight.
   Our trembling peasant wishes now in vain.
   That rocks and mountains covered him again.
   Oh, how the change of his poor life, he cursed!
   “This, of all lives,” said he, “is sure the worst.
   Give me again, ye gods, my cave and wood;
   With peace, let tares and acorns be my food.”


  _A Paraphrase upon the Eightieth Epistle of the First Book of Horace_.

   HEALTH, 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 thou
   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 admire.
   Like one at last from the priest’s service fled,
   Loathing the honied 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 gentler does assuage
   The mad celestial dog’s or lion’s rage?
   Is it not there that sleep (and only there)
   Nor noise without, nor cares within does fear?
   Does art through pipes a purer water bring
   Than that which nature strains into a spring?
   Can all your tapestries, or your pictures, show
   More beauties than in herbs and flowers do grow?
   Fountains and trees our wearied pride do please,
   Even in the midst of gilded palaces.
   And in your towns that prospect gives delight
   Which opens round the country to our sight.
   Men to the good, from which they rashly fly,
   Return at last, and their wild luxury
   Does but in vain with those true joys contend
   Which nature did to mankind recommend.
   The man who changes gold for burnished brass,
   Or small right gems for larger ones of glass,
   Is not, at length, more certain to be made
   Ridiculous and wretched by the trade,
   Than he who sells a solid good to buy
   The painted goods of pride and vanity.
   If thou be wise, no glorious fortune choose,
   Which ’t is but pain to keep, yet grief to lose.
   For when we place even trifles in the heart,
   With trifles too unwillingly we part.
   An humble roof, plain bed, and homely board,
   More clear, untainted pleasures do afford
   Than all the tumult of vain greatness brings
   To kings, or to the favourites of kings.
   The hornéd deer, by nature armed so well,
   Did with the horse in common pasture dwell;
   And when they fought, the field it always won,
   Till the ambitious horse begged help of man,
   And took the bridle, and thenceforth did reign
   Bravely alone, as lord of all the plain:
   But never after could the rider get
   From off his back, or from his mouth the bit.
   So they, who poverty too much do fear,
   To avoid that weight, a greater burden bear;
   That they might power above their equals have,
   To cruel masters they themselves enslave.
   For gold, their liberty exchanged we see,
   That fairest flower which crowns humanity.
   And all this mischief does upon them light,
   Only because they know not how aright
   That great, but secret, happiness to prize,
   That’s laid up in a little, for the wise:
   That is the best and easiest estate
   Which to a man sits close, but not too strait.
   ’Tis like a shoe: it pinches, and it burns,
   Too narrow; and too large it overturns.
   My dearest friend, stop thy desires at last,
   And cheerfully enjoy the wealth thou hast.
   And, if me still seeking for more you see,
   Chide and reproach, despise and laugh at me.
   Money was made, not to command our will,
   But all our lawful pleasures to fulfil.
   Shame and woe to us, if we our wealth obey;
   The horse doth with the horseman run away.


                         _Libr._ 4, _Plantarum_.

   BLEST be the man (and blest he is) whom e’er
   (Placed far out of the roads of hope or fear)
   A little field and little garden feeds;
   The field gives all that frugal nature needs,
   The wealthy garden liberally bestows
   All she can ask, when she luxurious grows.
   The specious inconveniences, that wait
   Upon a life of business and of state,
   He sees (nor does the sight disturb his rest)
   By fools desired, by wicked men possessed.
   Thus, thus (and this deserved great Virgil’s praise)
   The old Corycian yeoman passed his days,
   Thus his wise life Abdolonymus spent:
   The ambassadors which the great emperor sent
   To offer him a crown, with wonder found
   The reverend gardener hoeing of his ground;
   Unwillingly and slow, and discontent,
   From his loved cottage to a throne he went.
   And oft he stopped in his triumphant way,
   And oft looked back, and oft was heard to say,
   Not without sighs, “Alas!  I there forsake
   A happier kingdom than I go to take.”
   Thus Aglaüs (a man unknown to men,
   But the gods knew, and therefore loved him then)
   Thus lived obscurely then without a name,
   Aglaüs, now consigned to eternal fame.
   For Gyges, the rich king, wicked and great,
   Presumed at wise Apollo’s Delphic seat,
   Presumed to ask, “O thou, the whole world’s eye,
   Seest thou a man that happier is than I?”
   The god, who scorned to flatter man, replied,
   “Aglaüs happier is.”  But Gyges cried,
   In a proud rage, “Who can that Aglaüs be?
   We have heard as yet of no such king as he.”
   And true it was, through the whole earth around
   No king of such a name was to be found.
   “Is some old hero of that name alive,
   Who his high race does from the gods derive?
   Is it some mighty general that has done
   Wonders in fight, and god-like honours won?
   Is it some man of endless wealth?” said he;
   “None, none of these: who can this Aglaüs be?”
   After long search, and vain inquiries passed,
   In an obscure Arcadian vale at last
   (The Arcadian life has always shady been)
   Near Sopho’s town (which he but once had seen)
   This Aglaüs, who monarchs’ envy drew,
   Whose happiness the gods stood witness to,
   This mighty Aglaüs was labouring found,
   With his own hands, in his own little ground.
      So, gracious God (if it may lawful be,
   Among those foolish gods to mention Thee),
   So let me act, on such a private stage,
   The last dull scenes of my declining age;
   After long toils and voyages in vain,
   This quiet port let my tossed vessel gain;
   Of heavenly rest this earnest to me lend,
   Let my life sleep, and learn to love her end.


                       _To J_. _Evelyn_, _Esquire_.

I NEVER had any other desire so strong, and so like to covetousness, as
that one which I have had always, that I might be master at last of a
small house and large garden, with very moderate conveniences joined to
them, and there dedicate the remainder of my life only to the culture of
them and the study of nature.

   And there (with no design beyond my wall) whole and entire to lie,
   In no unactive ease, and no unglorious poverty.

Or, as Virgil has said, shorter and better for me, that I might there
_studiis florere ignobilis otii_, though I could wish that he had rather
said _Nobilis otii_ when he spoke of his own.  But several accidents of
my ill fortune have disappointed me hitherto, and do still, of that
felicity; for though I have made the first and hardest step to it, by
abandoning all ambitions and hopes in this world, and by retiring from
the noise of all business and almost company, yet I stick still in the
inn of a hired house and garden, among weeds and rubbish, and without
that pleasantest work of human industry—the improvement of something
which we call (not very properly, but yet we call) our own.  I am gone
out from Sodom, but I am not arrived at my little Zoar.  “Oh, let me
escape thither (is it not a little one!), and my soul shall live.”  I do
not look back yet; but I have been forced to stop and make too many
halts.  You may wonder, sir (for this seems a little too extravagant and
Pindarical for prose) what I mean by all this preface.  It is to let you
know, that though I have missed, like a chemist, my great end, yet I
account my afflictions and endeavours well rewarded by something that I
have met with by-the-by, which is, that they have produced to me some
part in your kindness and esteem; and thereby the honour of having my
name so advantageously recommended to posterity by the epistle you are
pleased to prefix to the most useful book that has been written in that
kind, and which is to last as long as months and years.

Among many other arts and excellencies which you enjoy, I am glad to find
this favourite of mine the most predominant, that you choose this for
your wife, though you have hundreds of other arts for your concubines;
though you know them, and beget sons upon them all (to which you are rich
enough to allow great legacies), yet the issue of this seems to be
designed by you to the main of the estate; you have taken most pleasure
in it, and bestowed most charges upon its education, and I doubt not to
see that book which you are pleased to promise to the world, and of which
you have given us a large earnest in your calendar, as accomplished as
anything can be expected from an extraordinary wit and no ordinary
expenses and a long experience.  I know nobody that possesses more
private happiness than you do in your garden, and yet no man who makes
his happiness more public by a free communication of the art and
knowledge of it to others.  All that I myself am able yet to do is only
to recommend to mankind the search of that felicity which you instruct
them how to find and to enjoy.


      Happy art thou whom God does bless
   With the full choice of thine own happiness;
      And happier yet, because thou’rt blessed
      With prudence how to choose the best.
   In books and gardens thou hast placed aright,—
      Things which thou well dost understand,
   And both dost make with thy laborious hand—
      Thy noble, innocent delight,
   And in thy virtuous wife, where thou again dost meet
      Both pleasures more refined and sweet:
      The fairest garden in her looks,
      And in her mind the wisest books.
   Oh! who would change these soft, yet solid joys,
      For empty shows and senseless noise,
      And all which rank ambition breeds,
   Which seem such beauteous flowers, and are such poisonous weeds!


   When God did man to his own likeness make,
   As much as clay, though of the purest kind
      By the Great Potter’s art refined,
      Could the Divine impression take,
      He thought it fit to place him where
      A kind of heaven, too, did appear,
   As far as earth could such a likeness bear.
      That Man no happiness might want,
   Which earth to her first master could afford,
      He did a garden for him plant
   By the quick hand of his omnipotent word,
   As the chief help and joy of human life,
   He gave him the first gift; first, even, before a wife.


   For God, the universal architect,
      ’T had been as easy to erect
   A Louvre, or Escurial, or a tower
   That might with heaven communication hold,
   As Babel vainly thought to do of old.
         He wanted not the skill or power,
         In the world’s fabric those were shown,
   And the materials were all his own.
   But well he knew what place would best agree
   With innocence and with felicity;
   And we elsewhere still seek for them in vain.
   If any part of either yet remain,
   If any part of either we expect,
   This may our judgment in the search direct;
   God the first garden made, and the first city, Cain.


   Oh, blessèd shades!  Oh, gentle, cool retreat
      From all the immoderate heat,
   In which the frantic world does burn and sweat!
   This does the lion-star, Ambition’s rage;
   This Avarice, the dog-star’s thirst assuage;
   Everywhere else their fatal power we see,
   They make and rule man’s wretched destiny;
         They neither set nor disappear,
         But tyrannise o’er all the year;
   Whilst we ne’er feel their flame or influence here.
      The birds that dance from bough to bough,
      And sing above in every tree,
      Are not from fears and cares more free,
   Than we who lie, or sit, or walk below,
      And should by right be singers too.
   What prince’s choir of music can excel
      That which within this shade does dwell,
      To which we nothing pay or give—
      They, like all other poets, live
   Without reward or thanks for their obliging pains.
      ’Tis well if they become not prey.
   The whistling winds add their less artful strains,
   And a grave base the murmuring fountains play.
   Nature does all this harmony bestow;
      But to our plants, art’s music too,
   The pipe, theorbo, and guitar we owe;
   The lute itself, which once was green and mute,
      When Orpheus struck the inspirèd lute,
      The trees danced round, and understood
      By sympathy the voice of wood.


   These are the spells that to kind sleep invite,
   And nothing does within resistance make;
      Which yet we moderately take;
      Who would not choose to be awake,
   While he’s encompassed round with such delight;
   To the ear, the nose, the touch, the taste and sight?
   When Venus would her dear Ascanius keep
   A prisoner in the downy bands of sleep,
   She odorous herbs and flowers beneath him spread,
      As the most soft and sweetest bed;
   Not her own lap would more have charmed his head.
   Who that has reason and his smell
   Would not among roses and jasmine dwell,
   Rather than all his spirits choke,
   With exhalations of dirt and smoke,
   And all the uncleanness which does drown
   In pestilential clouds a populous town?
   The earth itself breathes better perfumes here,
   Than all the female men or women there,
   Not without cause, about them bear.


   When Epicurus to the world had taught
      That pleasure was the chiefest good,
   (And was perhaps i’ th’ right, if rightly understood)
      His life he to his doctrine brought,
   And in a garden’s shade that sovereign pleasure sought.
   Whoever a true epicure would be,
   May there find cheap and virtuous luxury.
   Vitellius his table, which did hold
   As many creatures as the Ark of old,
   That fiscal table, to which every day
   All countries did a constant tribute pay,
   Could nothing more delicious afford
      Than Nature’s liberality,
   Helped with a little art and industry,
   Allows the meanest gardener’s board.
   The wanton taste no fish or fowl can choose
   For which the grape or melon she would lose,
   Though all the inhabitants of sea and air
   Be listed in the glutton’s bill of fare;
      Yet still the fruits of earth we see
   Placed the third storey high in all her luxury.


   But with no sense the garden does comply,
   None courts or flatters, as it does the eye;
   When the great Hebrew king did almost strain
   The wondrous treasures of his wealth and brain
   His royal southern guest to entertain,
      Though, she on silver floors did tread,
   With bright Assyrian carpets on them spread
         To hide the metal’s poverty;
      Though she looked up to roofs of gold,
      And nought around her could behold
         But silk and rich embroidery,
         And Babylonian tapestry,
      And wealthy Hiram’s princely dye:
   Though Ophir’s starry stones met everywhere her eye;
   Though she herself and her gay host were dressed
   With all the shining glories of the East;
   When lavish art her costly work had done;
      The honour and the prize of bravery
   Was by the Garden from the Palace won;
   And every rose and lily there did stand
      Better attired by Nature’s hand:
   The case thus judged against the king we see,
   By one that would not be so rich, though wiser far than he.


   Nor does this happy place only dispense
      Such various pleasures to the sense:
         Here health itself does live,
   That salt of life, which does to all a relish give,
   Its standing pleasure, and intrinsic wealth,
   The body’s virtue, and the soul’s good fortune, health.
   The tree life, when it in Eden stood,
   Did its immortal head to heaven rear;
   It lasted a tall cedar till the flood;
   Now a small thorny shrub it does appear;
      Nor will it thrive too everywhere:
      It always here is freshest seen,
      ’Tis only here an evergreen.
      If through the strong and beauteous fence
      Of temperance and innocence,
   And wholesome labours and a quiet mind,
      Any diseases passage find,
      They must not think here to assail
      A land unarmèd, or without a guard;
   They must fight for it, and dispute it hard,
      Before they can prevail.
      Scarce any plant is growing here
   Which against death some weapon does not bear,
      Let cities boast that they provide
      For life the ornaments of pride;
      But ’tis the country and the field
      That furnish it with staff and shield.


   Where does the wisdom and the power divine
   In a more bright and sweet reflection shine?
   Where do we finer strokes and colours see
   Of the Creator’s real poetry,
      Than when we with attention look
   Upon the third day’s volume of the book?
   If we could open and intend our eye,
      We all like Moses should espy
   Even in a bush the radiant Deity.
   But we despise these his inferior ways
   Though no less full of miracle and praise;
      Upon the flowers of heaven we gaze,
   The stars of earth no wonder in us raise,
      Though these perhaps do more than they
         The life of mankind sway.
   Although no part of mighty Nature be
   More stored with beauty, power, and mystery,
   Yet to encourage human industry,
   God has so ordered that no other part
   Such space and such dominion leaves for art.


   We nowhere art do so triumphant see,
      As when it grafts or buds the tree;
   In other things we count it to excel,
   If it a docile scholar can appear
   To Nature, and but imitate her well:
   It over-rules, and is her master here.
   It imitates her Maker’s power divine,
   And changes her sometimes, and sometimes does refine:
   It does, like grace, the fallen-tree restore
   To its blest state of Paradise before:
   Who would not joy to see his conquering hand
   O’er all the vegetable world command,
   And the wild giants of the wood receive
      What laws he’s pleased to give?
   He bids the ill-natured crab produce
   The gentler apple’s winy juice,
      The golden fruit that worthy is,
      Of Galatea’s purple kiss;
      He does the savage hawthorn teach
      To bear the medlar and the pear;
      He bids the rustic plum to rear
      A noble trunk, and be a peach.
      Even Daphne’s coyness he does mock,
      And weds the cherry to her stock,
      Though she refused Apollo’s suit,
      Even she, that chaste and virgin tree,
      Now wonders at herself to see
   That she’s a mother made, and blushes in her fruit.


   Methinks I see great Diocletian walk
   In the Salonian garden’s noble shade,
   Which by his own imperial hands was made:
   I see him smile, methinks, as he does talk
   With the ambassadors, who come in vain,
      To entice him to a throne again.
   “If I, my friends,” said he, “should to you show
   All the delights which in these gardens grow;
   ’Tis likelier much that you should with me stay,
   Than ’tis that you should carry me away;
   And trust me not, my friends, if every day
      I walk not here with more delight,
   Than ever, after the most happy fight,
   In triumph to the Capitol I rode,
   To thank the gods, and to be thought myself almost a god.”


SINCE we cannot attain to greatness, says the Sieur de Montaigne, let us
have our revenge by railing at it; this he spoke but in jest.  I believe
he desired it no more than I do, and had less reason, for he enjoyed so
plentiful and honourable a fortune in a most excellent country, as
allowed him all the real conveniences of it, separated and purged from
the incommodities.  If I were but in his condition, I should think it
hard measure, without being convinced of any crime, to be sequestered
from it and made one of the principal officers of state.  But the reader
may think that what I now say is of small authority, because I never was,
nor ever shall be, put to the trial; I can therefore only make my

   If ever I more riches did desire
   Than cleanliness and quiet do require;
   If e’er ambition did my fancy cheat,
   With any wish so mean as to be great,
   Continue, Heaven, still from me to remove
   The humble blessings of that life I love.

I know very many men will despise, and some pity me, for this humour, as
a poor-spirited fellow; but I am content, and, like Horace, thank God for
being so.  _Dii bene fecerunt inopis me_, _quodque pusilli finxerunt
animi_.  I confess I love littleness almost in all things.  A little
convenient estate, a little cheerful house, a little company, and a very
little feast; and if I were ever to fall in love again (which is a great
passion, and therefore I hope I have done with it) it would be, I think,
with prettiness rather than with majestical beauty.  I would neither wish
that my mistress, nor my fortune, should be a bona roba, nor, as Homer
used to describe his beauties, like a daughter of great Jupiter, for the
stateliness and largeness of her person, but, as Lucretius says,
“_Parvula_, _pumilio_, Χαρίτων μία, _tota merum sal_.”

Where there is one man of this, I believe there are a thousand of
Senecio’s mind, whose ridiculous affectation of grandeur Seneca the elder
describes to this effect.  Senecio was a man of a turbid and confused
wit, who could not endure to speak any but mighty words and sentences,
till this humour grew at last into so notorious a habit, or rather
disease, as became the sport of the whole town: he would have no servants
but huge massy fellows, no plate or household stuff but thrice as big as
the fashion; you may believe me, for I speak it without raillery, his
extravagancy came at last into such a madness that he would not put on a
pair of shoes each of which was not big enough for both his feet; he
would eat nothing but what was great, nor touch any fruit but horse-plums
and pound-pears.  He kept a concubine that was a very giantess, and made
her walk, too, always in a chiopins, till at last he got the surname of
Senecio Grandio, which, Messala said, was not his cognomen, but his
cognomentum.  When he declaimed for the three hundred Lacedæmonians, who
also opposed Xerxes’ army of above three hundred thousand, he stretched
out his arms and stood on tiptoes, that he might appear the taller, and
cried out in a very loud voice, “I rejoice, I rejoice!”  We wondered, I
remember, what new great fortune had befallen his eminence.  “Xerxes,”
says he, “is all mine own.  He who took away the sight of the sea with
the canvas veils of so many ships . . . ” and then he goes on so, as I
know not what to make of the rest, whether it be the fault of the
edition, or the orator’s own burly way of nonsense.

This is the character that Seneca gives of this hyperbolical fop, whom we
stand amazed at, and yet there are very few men who are not, in some
things, and to some degree, grandios.  Is anything more common than to
see our ladies of quality wear such high shoes as they cannot walk in
without one to lead them? and a gown as long again as their body, so that
they cannot stir to the next room without a page or two to hold it up?  I
may safely say that all the ostentation of our grandees is just like a
train, of no use in the world, but horribly cumbersome and incommodious.
What is all this but spice of _grandio_?  How tedious would this be if we
were always bound to it?  I do believe there is no king who would not
rather be deposed than endure every day of his reign all the ceremonies
of his coronation.  The mightiest princes are glad to fly often from
these majestic pleasures (which is, methinks, no small disparagement to
them), as it were for refuge, to the most contemptible divertisements and
meanest recreations of the vulgar, nay, even of children.  One of the
most powerful and fortunate princes of the world of late, could find out
no delight so satisfactory as the keeping of little singing birds, and
hearing of them and whistling to them.  What did the emperors of the
whole world?  If ever any men had the free and full enjoyment of all
human greatness (nay, that would not suffice, for they would be gods too)
they certainly possessed it; and yet one of them, who styled himself
“Lord and God of the Earth,” could not tell how to pass his whole day
pleasantly, without spending constant two or three hours in catching of
flies, and killing them with a bodkin, as if his godship had been
Beelzebub.  One of his predecessors, Nero (who never put any bounds, nor
met with any stop to his appetite), could divert himself with no pastime
more agreeable than to run about the streets all night in a disguise, and
abuse the women and affront the men whom he met, and sometimes to beat
them, and sometimes to be beaten by them.  This was one of his imperial
nocturnal pleasures; his chiefest in the day was to sing and play upon a
fiddle, in the habit of a minstrel, upon the public stage; he was prouder
of the garlands that were given to his divine voice (as they called it
then) in those kind of prizes, than all his forefathers were of their
triumphs over nations.  He did not at his death complain that so mighty
an emperor, and the last of all the Cæsarian race of deities, should be
brought to so shameful and miserable an end, but only cried out, “Alas!
what pity it is that so excellent a musician should perish in this
manner!”  His uncle Claudius spent half his time at playing at dice; that
was the main fruit of his sovereignty.  I omit the madnesses of
Caligula’s delights, and the execrable sordidness of those of Tiberius.
Would one think that Augustus himself, the highest and most fortunate of
mankind, a person endowed too with many excellent parts of nature, should
be so hard put to it sometimes for want of recreations, as to be found
playing at nuts and bounding-stones with little Syrian and Moorish boys,
whose company he took delight in, for their prating and their wantonness?

   Was it for this, that Rome’s best blood he spilt,
   With so much falsehood, so much guilt?
   Was it for this that his ambition strove
   To equal Cæsar first, and after Jove?
   Greatness is barren sure of solid joys;
   Her merchandise, I fear, is all in toys;
   She could not else sure so uncivil be,
   To treat his universal majesty,
   His new created Deity,
   With nuts and bounding-stones and boys.

But we must excuse her for this meagre entertainment; she has not really
wherewithal to make such feasts as we imagine; her guests must be
contented sometimes with but slender cates, and with the same cold meats
served over and over again, even till they become nauseous.  When you
have pared away all the vanity, what solid and natural contentment does
there remain which may not be had with five hundred pounds a year? not so
many servants or horses, but a few good ones, which will do all the
business as well; not so many choice dishes at every meal; but at several
meals all of them, which makes them both the more healthy and dine more
pleasant; not so rich garments nor so frequent changes, but as warm and
as comely, and so frequent change, too, as is every jot as good for the
master, though not for the tailor or valet-de-chambre; not such a stately
palace, nor gilt rooms, nor the costlier sorts of tapestry, but a
convenient brick house, with decent wainscot and pretty forest-work
hangings.  Lastly (for I omit all other particulars, and will end with
that which I love most in both conditions), not whole woods cut in walks,
nor vast parks, nor fountain or cascade gardens, but herb and flower and
fruit gardens, which are more useful, and the water every whit as clear
and wholesome as if it darted from the breasts of a marble nymph or the
urn of a river-god.  If for all this you like better the substance of
that former estate of life, do but consider the inseparable accidents of
both: servitude, disquiet, danger, and most commonly guilt, inherent in
the one; in the other, liberty, tranquillity, security, and innocence:
and when you have thought upon this, you will confess that to be a truth
which appeared to you before but a ridiculous paradox, that a low fortune
is better guarded and attended than a high one.  If indeed, we look only
upon the flourishing head of the tree, it appears a most beautiful

   —_Sed quantum vertice ad auras_
   _Ætherias_, _tantum radice ad Tartara tendit_.

   As far up towards heaven the branches grow,
   So far the root sinks down to hell below.

Another horrible disgrace to greatness is, that it is for the most part
in pitiful want and distress.  What a wonderful thing is this, unless it
degenerate into avarice, and so cease to be greatness.  It falls
perpetually into such necessities as drive it into all the meanest and
most sordid ways of borrowing, cozenage, and robbery, _Mancipiis
locopules_, _eget aris Cappadocum Rex_.  This is the case of almost all
great men, as well as of the poor King of Cappadocia.  They abound with
slaves, but are indigent of money.  The ancient Roman emperors, who had
the riches of the whole world for their revenue, had wherewithal to live,
one would have thought, pretty well at ease, and to have been exempt from
the pressures of extreme poverty.  But yet with most of them it was much
otherwise, and they fell perpetually into such miserable penury, that
they were forced to devour or squeeze most of their friends and servants,
to cheat with infamous projects, to ransack and pillage all their
provinces.  This fashion of imperial grandeur is imitated by all inferior
and subordinate sorts of it, as if it were a point of honour.  They must
be cheated of a third part of their estates, two other thirds they must
expend in vanity, so that they remain debtors for all the necessary
provisions of life, and have no way to satisfy those debts but out of the
succours and supplies of rapine; “as riches increase,” says Solomon, “so
do the mouths that devour it.”  The master mouth has no more than before;
the owner, methinks, is like Genus in the fable, who is perpetually
winding a rope of hay and an ass at the end perpetually eating it.  Out
of these inconveniences arises naturally one more, which is, that no
greatness can be satisfied or contented with itself: still, if it could
mount up a little higher, it would be happy; if it could but gain that
point, it would obtain all its desires; but yet at last, when it is got
up to the very top of the peak of Teneriffe, it is in very great danger
of breaking its neck downwards, but in no possibility of ascending
upwards into the seat of tranquillity above the moon.  The first
ambitious men in the world, the old giants, are said to have made an
heroical attempt of scaling Heaven in despite of the gods, and they cast
Ossa upon Olympus and Pelion upon Ossa, two or three mountains more they
thought would have done their business, but the thunder spoiled all the
work when they were come up to the third storey;

   And what a noble plot was crossed,
   And what a brave design was lost.

A famous person of their offspring, the late giant of our nation, when,
from the condition of a very inconsiderable captain, he had made himself
lieutenant-general of an army of little Titans, which was his first
mountain; and afterwards general, which was his second; and after that
absolute tyrant of three kingdoms, which was the third, and almost
touched the heaven which he affected; is believed to have died with grief
and discontent because he could not attain to the honest name of a king,
and the old formality of a crown, though he had before exceeded the power
by a wicked usurpation.  If he could have compassed that, he would
perhaps have wanted something else that is necessary to felicity, and
pined away for the want of the title of an emperor or a god.  The reason
of this is, that greatness has no reality in nature, but is a creature of
the fancy—a notion that consists only in relation and comparison.  It is
indeed an idol; but St. Paul teaches us that an idol is nothing in the
world.  There is in truth no rising or meridian of the sun, but only in
respect to several places: there is no right or left, no upper hand in
nature; everything is little and everything is great according as it is
diversely compared.  There may be perhaps some villages in Scotland or
Ireland where I might be a great man; and in that case I should be like
Cæsar—you would wonder how Cæsar and I should be like one another in
anything—and choose rather to be the first man of the village than second
at Rome.  Our Country is called Great Britain, in regard only of a lesser
of the same name; it would be but a ridiculous epithet for it when we
consider it together with the kingdom of China.  That, too, is but a
pitiful rood of ground in comparison of the whole earth besides; and this
whole globe of earth, which we account so immense a body, is but one
point or atom in relation to those numberless worlds that are scattered
up and down in the infinite space of the sky which we behold.  The other
many inconveniences of grandeur I have spoken of dispersedly in several
chapters, and shall end this with an ode of Horace, not exactly copied
but rudely imitated.

HORACE.  LIB. 3.  ODE 1.

                      _Odi profanum vulgus_, _etc._


   HENCE, ye profane; I hate ye all;
   Both the great vulgar, and the small.
   To virgin minds, which yet their native whiteness hold,
   Not yet discoloured with the love of gold
         (That jaundice of the soul,
   Which makes it look so gilded and so foul),
   To you, ye very few, these truths I tell;
   The muse inspires my song, hark, and observe it well.


   We look on men, and wonder at such odds
      ’Twixt things that were the same by birth;
   We look on kings as giants of the earth,
   These giants are but pigmies to the gods.
      The humblest bush and proudest oak
   Are but of equal proof against the thunder-stroke.
   Beauty and strength, and wit, and wealth, and power
      Have their short flourishing hour,
      And love to see themselves, and smile,
   And joy in their pre-eminence a while;
      Even so in the same land,
   Poor weeds, rich corn, gay flowers together stand;
   Alas, death mows down all with an impartial hand.


   And all you men, whom greatness does so please,
      Ye feast, I fear, like Damocles.
      If you your eyes could upwards move,
   (But you, I fear, think nothing is above)
   You would perceive by what a little thread
      The sword still hangs over your head.
   No tide of wine would drown your cares,
   No mirth or music over-noise your fears;
   The fear of death would you so watchful keep,
   As not to admit the image of it, sleep.


   Sleep is a god too proud to wait in palaces;
   And yet so humble, too, as not to scorn
      The meanest country cottages;
      His poppy grows among the corn.
   The halcyon sleep will never build his nest
      In any stormy breast.
      ’Tis not enough that he does find
      Clouds and darkness in their mind;
      Darkness but half his work will do,
   ’Tis not enough; he must find quiet too.


   The man who, in all wishes he does make,
      Does only Nature’s counsel take,
   That wise and happy man will never fear
      The evil aspects of the year,
   Nor tremble, though two comets should appear.
   He does not look in almanacks to see,
      Whether he fortunate shall be;
   Let Mars and Saturn in the heavens conjoin,
   And what they please against the world design,
      So Jupiter within him shine.


   If of their pleasures and desires no end be found;
   God to their cares and fears will set no bound.
      What would content you?  Who can tell?
   Ye fear so much to lose what you have got
      As if ye liked it well.
   Ye strive for more, as if ye liked it not.
      Go, level hills, and fill up seas,
   Spare nought that may your wanton fancy please;
      But trust me, when you have done all this,
   Much will be missing still, and much will be amiss.


THERE are two sorts of avarice; the one is but of a bastard kind; and
that is, the rapacious appetite of gain, not for its own sake, but for
the pleasure of refunding it immediately through all the channels of
pride and luxury.  The other is the true kind, and properly so called;
which is a restless and unsatiable desire of riches, not for any further
end of use, but only to hoard, and preserve, and perpetually increase
them.  The covetous man of the first kind is like a greedy ostrich, which
devours any metal, but it is with an intent to feed upon it, and in
effect it makes a shift to digest and excern it.  The second is like the
foolish chough, which loves to steal money only to hide it.  The first
does much harm to mankind, and a little good too, to some few.  The
second does good to none; no, not to himself.  The first can make no
excuse to God, or angels, or rational men for his actions.  The second
can give no reason or colour, not to the devil himself, for what he does:
he is a slave to Mammon without wages.  The first makes a shift to be
beloved; aye, and envied, too, by some people.  The second is the
universal object of hatred and contempt.  There is no vice has been so
pelted with good sentences, and especially by the poets, who have pursued
it with stories and fables, and allegories and allusions; and moved, as
we say, every stone to fling at it, among all which, I do not remember a
more fine and gentlemen-like correction than that which was given it by
one line of Ovid’s.

   _Desunt luxuriæ malta_, _avaritiæ omnia_.

   Much is wanting to luxury; all to avarice

To which saying I have a mind to add one member and render it thus:—

   Poverty wants some, luxury many, avarice all things.

Somebody says of a virtuous and wise man, that having nothing, he has
all.  This is just his antipode, who, having all things, yet has nothing.
He is a guardian eunuch to his beloved gold: _Audivi eos amatores esse
maximos sed nil potesse_.  They are the fondest lovers, but impotent to

   And, oh, what man’s condition can be worse
   Than his, whom plenty starves, and blessings curse?
   The beggars but a common fate deplore,
   The rich poor man’s emphatically poor.

I wonder how it comes to pass that there has never been any law made
against him.  Against him, do I say?  I mean for him, as there is a
public provision made for all other madmen.  It is very reasonable that
the king should appoint some persons (and I think the courtiers would not
be against this proposition) to manage his estate during his life (for
his heirs commonly need not that care), and out of it to make it their
business to see that he should not want alimony befitting his condition,
which he could never get out of his own cruel fingers.  We relieve idle
vagrants and counterfeit beggars, but have no care at all of these really
poor men, who are, methinks, to be respectfully treated in regard of
their quality.  I might be endless against them, but I am almost choked
with the superabundance of the matter.  Too much plenty impoverishes me
as it does them.  I will conclude this odious subject with part of
Horace’s first Satire, which take in his own familiar style:—

   I admire, Mæcenas, how it comes to pass,
   That no man ever yet contented was,
   Nor is, nor perhaps will be, with that state
   In which his own choice plants him, or his fate.
   Happy the merchant! the old soldier cries.
   The merchant, beaten with tempestuous skies
   Happy the soldier! one half-hour to thee
   Gives speedy death or glorious victory.
   The lawyer, knocked up early from his rest
   By restless clients, calls the peasant blest.
   The peasant, when his labours ill succeed,
   Envies the mouth which only talk does feed.
   ’Tis not, I think you’ll say, that I want store
   Of instances, if here I add no more,
   They are enough to reach at least a mile
   Beyond long Orator Fabius his style.
   But hold, you whom no fortune e’er endears,
   Gentlemen, malcontents, and mutineers,
   Who bounteous Jove so often cruel call,
   Behold, Jove’s now resolved to please you all.
   Thou, soldier, be a merchant; merchant, thou
   A soldier be; and lawyer to the plough.
   Change all your stations straight.  Why do they stay?
   The devil a man will change now when he may.
   Were I in General Jove’s abusèd case,
   By Jove, I’d cudgel this rebellious race;
   But he’s too good; be all, then, as you were;
   However, make the best of what you are,
   And in that state be cheerful and rejoice,
   Which either was your fate or was your choice.
   No; they must labour yet, and sweat and toil,
   And very miserable be awhile.
   But ’tis with a design only to gain
   What may their age with plenteous ease maintain;
   The prudent pismire does this lesson teach,
   And industry to lazy mankind preach.
   The little drudge does trot about and sweat,
   Nor does he straight devour all he can get,
   But in his temperate mouth carries it home,
   A stock for winter which he knows must come.
   And when the rolling world to creatures here
   Turns up the deformed wrong side of the year,
   And shuts him in with storms and cold and wet,
   He cheerfully does his past labours eat.
   Oh, does he so? your wise example, the ant
   Does not at all times rest, and plenty want.
   But, weighing justly a mortal ant’s condition,
   Divides his life ’twixt labour and fruition.
   Thee neither heat, nor storms, nor wet, nor cold
   From thy unnatural diligence can withhold,
   To the Indies thou wouldst run rather than see
   Another, though a friend, richer than thee.
   Fond man! what good or beauty can be found
   In heaps of treasure buried under ground?
   Which, rather than diminished e’er to see,
   Thou wouldst thyself, too, buried with them be
   And what’s the difference is’t not quite as bad
   Never to use, as never to have had?
   In thy vast barns millions of quarters store,
   Thy belly, for all that, will hold no more
   Than mine does.  Every baker makes much bread,
   What then?  He’s with no more than others fed.
   Do you within the bounds of Nature live,
   And to augment your own you need not strive;
   One hundred acres will no less for you
   Your life’s whole business than ten thousand do.
   But pleasant ’tis to take from a great store;
   What, man? though you’re resolved to take no more
   Than I do from a small one; if your will
   Be but a pitcher or a pot to fill,
   To some great river for it must you go,
   When a clear spring just at your feet does flow?
   Give me the spring which does to human use,
   Safe, easy, and untroubled stores produce;
   He who scorns these, and needs will drink at Nile,
   Must run the danger of the crocodile;
   And of the rapid stream itself which may,
   At unawares bear him perhaps away.
   In a full flood Tantalus stands, his skin
   Washed o’er in vain, for ever dry within;
   He catches at the stream with greedy lips,
   From his touched mouth the wanton torment slips.
   You laugh now, and expand your careful brow:
   ’Tis finely said, but what’s all this to you?
   Change but the name, this fable is thy story,
   Thou in a flood of useless wealth dost glory,
   Which thou canst only touch, but never taste;
   The abundance still, and still the want does last.
   The treasures of the gods thou wouldst not spare,
   But when they’re made thine own, they sacred are,
   And must be kept with reverence; as if thou
   No other use of precious gold didst know
   But that of curious pictures to delight
   With the fair stamp thy virtuoso sight.
   The only true and genuine use is this,
   To buy the things which nature cannot miss
   Without discomfort, oil, and vital bread.
   And wine by which the life of life is fed,
   And all those few things else by which we live
   All that remains is given for thee to give.
   If cares and troubles, envy, grief, and fear,
   The bitter fruits be which fair riches bear,
   If a new poverty grow out of store,
   The old plain way, ye gods! let me be poor.


                    “_Inclusam Danaen turris ahenea_.”


   A TOWER of brass, one would have said,
   And locks, and bolts, and iron bars,
   And guards as strict as in the heat of wars
   Might have preserved one innocent maidenhood.
   The jealous father thought he well might spare
         All further jealous care;
   And as he walked, to himself alone he smiled
      To think how Venus’ arts he had beguiled;
      And when he slept his rest was deep,
   But Venus laughed to see and hear him sleep.
      She taught the amorous Jove
      A magical receipt in love,
   Which armed him stronger and which helped him more
   Than all his thunder did and his almightyship before.


   She taught him love’s elixir, by which art
   His godhead into gold he did convert;
         No guards did then his passage stay,
         He passed with ease, gold was the word;
   Subtle as lightning, bright, and quick, and fierce,
      Gold through doors and walls did pierce;
   And as that works sometimes upon the sword,
      Melted the maiden dread away,
   Even in the secret scabbard where it lay.
      The prudent Macedonian king,
   To blow up towns, a golden mine did spring;
      He broke through gates with this petar,
   ’Tis the great art of peace, the engine ’tis of war,
      And fleets and armies follow it afar;
   The ensign ’tis at land, and ’tis the seaman’s scar.


   Let all the world slave to this tyrant be,
   Creature to this disguisèd deity,
      Yet it shall never conquer me.
   A guard of virtues will not let it pass,
   And wisdom is a tower of stronger brass.
   The muses’ laurel, round my temples spread,
   Does from this lightning’s force secure my head,
      Nor will I lift it up so high,
      As in the violent meteor’s way to lie.
   Wealth for its power do we honour and adore?
   The things we hate, ill fate, and death, have more.


   From towns and courts, camps of the rich and great,
   The vast Xerxean army, I retreat,
   And to the small Laconic forces fly
      Which hold the straits of poverty.
   Cellars and granaries in vain we fill
      With all the bounteous summer’s store:
   If the mind thirst and hunger still,
      The poor rich man’s emphatically poor.
      Slaves to the things we too much prize,
   We masters grow of all that we despise.


   A field of corn, a fountain, and a wood,
      Is all the wealth by nature understood.
   The monarch on whom fertile Nile bestows
      All which that grateful earth can bear,
         Deceives himself, if he suppose
      That more than this falls to his share.
   Whatever an estate does beyond this afford,
         Is not a rent paid to the Lord;
   But is a tax illegal and unjust,
   Exacted from it by the tyrant lust.
         Much will always wanting be,
         To him who much desires.  Thrice happy he
   To whom the wise indulgency of Heaven,
      With sparing hand but just enough has given.


IF twenty thousand naked Americans were not able to resist the assaults
of but twenty well-armed Spaniards, I see little possibility for one
honest man to defend himself against twenty thousand knaves, who are all
furnished _cap-à-pie_ with the defensive arms of worldly prudence, and
the offensive, too, of craft and malice.  He will find no less odds than
this against him if he have much to do in human affairs.  The only
advice, therefore, which I can give him is, to be sure not to venture his
person any longer in the open campaign, to retreat and entrench himself,
to stop up all avenues, and draw up all bridges against so numerous an
enemy.  The truth of it is, that a man in much business must either make
himself a knave, or else the world will make him a fool: and if the
injury went no farther than the being laughed at, a wise man would
content himself with the revenge of retaliation: but the case is much
worse, for these civil cannibals too, as well as the wild ones, not only
dance about such a taken stranger, but at last devour him.  A sober man
cannot get too soon out of drunken company; though they be never so kind
and merry among themselves, it is not unpleasant only, but dangerous to
him.  Do ye wonder that a virtuous man should love to be alone?  It is
hard for him to be otherwise; he is so, when he is among ten thousand;
neither is the solitude so uncomfortable to be alone without any other
creature, as it is to be alone in the midst of wild beasts.  Man is to
man all kind of beasts—a fawning dog, a roaring lion, a thieving fox, a
robbing wolf, a dissembling crocodile, a treacherous decoy, and a
rapacious vulture.  The civilest, methinks, of all nations, are those
whom we account the most barbarous; there is some moderation and good
nature in the Toupinambaltians who eat no men but their enemies, whilst
we learned and polite and Christian Europeans, like so many pikes and
sharks, prey upon everything that we can swallow.  It is the great boast
of eloquence and philosophy, that they first congregated men dispersed,
united them into societies, and built up the houses and the walls of
cities.  I wish they could unravel all they had woven; that we might have
our woods and our innocence again instead of our castles and our
policies.  They have assembled many thousands of scattered people into
one body: it is true, they have done so, they have brought them together
into cities to cozen, and into armies to murder one another; they found
them hunters and fishers of wild creatures, they have made them hunters
and fishers of their brethren; they boast to have reduced them to a state
of peace, when the truth is they have only taught them an art of war;
they have framed, I must confess, wholesome laws for the restraint of
vice, but they raised first that devil which now they conjure and cannot
bind; though there were before no punishments for wickedness, yet there
was less committed because there were no rewards for it.  But the men who
praise philosophy from this topic are much deceived; let oratory answer
for itself, the tinkling, perhaps, of that may unite a swarm: it never
was the work of philosophy to assemble multitudes, but to regulate only,
and govern them when they were assembled, to make the best of an evil,
and bring them, as much as is possible, to unity again.  Avarice and
ambition only were the first builders of towns, and founders of empire;
they said, “Go to, let us build us a city and a tower whose top may reach
unto heaven, and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon
the face of the earth.”  What was the beginning of Rome, the metropolis
of all the world? what was it but a concourse of thieves, and a sanctuary
of criminals? it was justly named by the augury of no less than twelve
vultures, and the founder cemented his walls with the blood of his

Not unlike to this was the beginning even of the first town, too, in the
world, and such is the original sin of most cities: their actual increase
daily with their age and growth; the more people, the more wicked all of
them.  Every one brings in his part to inflame the contagion, which
becomes at last so universal and so strong, that no precepts can be
sufficient preservatives, nor anything secure our safety, but flight from
among the infected.  We ought, in the choice of a situation, to regard
above all things the healthfulness of the place, and the healthfulness of
it for the mind rather than for the body.  But suppose (which is hardly
to be supposed) we had antidote enough against this poison; nay, suppose,
further, we were always and at all places armed and provided both against
the assaults of hostility and the mines of treachery, it will yet be but
an uncomfortable life to be ever in alarms; though we were compassed
round with fire to defend ourselves from wild beasts, the lodging would
be unpleasant, because we must always be obliged to watch that fire, and
to fear no less the defects of our guard than the diligences of our
enemy.  The sum of this is, that a virtuous man is in danger to be trod
upon and destroyed in the crowd of his contraries; nay, which is worse,
to be changed and corrupted by them, and that it is impossible to escape
both these inconveniences without so much caution as will take away the
whole quiet, that is, the happiness of his life.  Ye see, then, what he
may lose; but, I pray, what can he get there?  _Quid Romæ faciam_?
_Mentiri nescio_.  What should a man of truth and honesty do at Rome? he
can neither understand, nor speak the language of the place; a naked man
may swim in the sea, but it is not the way to catch fish there; they are
likelier to devour him than he them, if he bring no nets and use no
deceits.  I think, therefore, it was wise and friendly advice which
Martial gave to Fabian when he met him newly arrived at Rome.

   Honest and poor, faithful in word and thought;
   What has thee, Fabian, to the city brought?
   Thou neither the buffoon nor bawd canst play,
   Nor with false whispers the innocent betray:
   Nor corrupt wives, nor from rich beldams get
   A living by thy industry and sweat:
   Nor with vain promises and projects cheat,
   Nor bribe or flatter any of the great.
      But you’re a man of learning, prudent, just:
   A man of courage, firm, and fit for trust.
      Why, you may stay, and live unenvied here;
   But, ’faith! go back, and keep you where you were.

Nay, if nothing of all this were in the case, yet the very sight of
uncleanness is loathsome to the cleanly; the sight of folly and impiety
vexatious to the wise and pious.

Lucretius, by his favour, though a good poet, was but an ill-natured man,
when he said, “It was delightful to see other men in a great storm.”  And
no less ill-natured should I think Democritus, who laughed at all the
world, but that he retired himself so much out of it that we may perceive
he took no great pleasure in that kind of mirth.  I have been drawn twice
or thrice by company to go to Bedlam, and have seen others very much
delighted with the fantastical extravagancy of so many various madnesses,
which upon me wrought so contrary an effect, that I always returned not
only melancholy, but even sick with the sight.  My compassion there was
perhaps too tender, for I meet a thousand madmen abroad, without any
perturbation, though, to weigh the matter justly, the total loss of
reason is less deplorable than the total depravation of it.  An exact
judge of human blessings, of riches, honours, beauty, even of wit itself,
should pity the abuse of them more than the want.

Briefly, though a wise man could pass never so securely through the great
roads of human life, yet he will meet perpetually with so many objects
and occasions of compassion, grief, shame, anger, hatred, indignation,
and all passions but envy (for he will find nothing to deserve that) that
he had better strike into some private path; nay, go so far, if he could,
out of the common way, _ut nec facta audiat Pelopidarum_; that he might
not so much as hear of the actions of the sons of Adam.  But, whither
shall we fly, then? into the deserts, like the ancient hermits?

   _Qua terra patet fera regnat Erynnis_.
         _In facinus jurasse putes_.

One would think that all mankind had bound themselves by an oath to do
all the wickedness they can; that they had all, as the Scripture speaks,
sold themselves to sin: the difference only is, that some are a little
more crafty (and but a little, God knows) in making of the bargain.  I
thought, when I went first to dwell in the country, that without doubt I
should have met there with the simplicity of the old poetical golden age:
I thought to have found no inhabitants there, but such as the shepherds
of Sir Philip Sidney in Arcadia, or of Monsieur d’Urfé upon the banks of
Lignon; and began to consider with myself, which way I might recommend no
less to posterity the happiness and innocence of the men of Chertsey: but
to confess the truth, I perceived quickly, by infallible demonstrations,
that I was still in old England, and not in Arcadia, or La Forrest; that
if I could not content myself with anything less than exact fidelity in
human conversation, I had almost as good go back and seek for it in the
Court, or the Exchange, or Westminster Hall.  I ask again, then, whither
shall we fly, or what shall we do?  The world may so come in a man’s way
that he cannot choose but salute it; he must take heed, though, not to go
a whoring after it.  If by any lawful vocation or just necessity men
happen to be married to it, I can only give them St. Paul’s advice:
“Brethren, the time is short; it remains that they that have wives be as
though they had none.  But I would that all men were even as I myself.”

In all cases they must be sure that they do _mundum ducere_, and not
_mundo nubere_.  They must retain the superiority and headship over it:
happy are they who can get out of the sight of this deceitful beauty,
that they may not be led so much as into temptation; who have not only
quitted the metropolis, but can abstain from ever seeing the next market
town of their country.


   HAPPY the man who his whole time doth bound
   Within the enclosure of his little ground.
   Happy the man whom the same humble place
   (The hereditary cottage of his race)
   From his first rising infancy has known,
   And by degrees sees gently bending down,
   With natural propension to that earth
   Which both preserved his life, and gave him birth.
   Him no false distant lights by fortune set,
   Could ever into foolish wanderings get.
   He never dangers either saw, or feared,
   The dreadful storms at sea he never heard.
   He never heard the shrill alarms of war,
   Or the worse noises of the lawyers’ bar.
   No change of consuls marks to him the year,
   The change of seasons is his calendar.
   The cold and heat winter and summer shows,
   Autumn by fruits, and spring by flowers he knows.
   He measures time by landmarks, and has found
   For the whole day the dial of his ground.
   A neighbouring wood born with himself he sees,
   And loves his old contemporary trees.
   Has only heard of near Verona’s name,
   And knows it, like the Indies, but by fame.
   Does with a like concernment notice take
   Of the Red Sea, and of Benacus lake.
   Thus health and strength he to a third age enjoys,
   And sees a long posterity of boys.
   About the spacious world let other roam,
   The voyage Life is longest made at home.


IF you should see a man who were to cross from Dover to Calais, run about
very busy and solicitous, and trouble himself many weeks before in making
provisions for the voyage, would you commend him for a cautious and
discreet person, or laugh at him for a timorous and impertinent coxcomb?
A man who is excessive in his pains and diligence, and who consumes the
greatest part of his time in furnishing the remainder with all
conveniences and even superfluities, is to angels and wise men no less
ridiculous; he does as little consider the shortness of his passage that
he might proportion his cares accordingly.  It is, alas, so narrow a
strait betwixt the womb and the grave, that it might be called the _Pas
de Vie_, as well as the _Pas de Calais_.  We are all ἐφήμειροι as
_Pindar_ calls us, creatures of a day, and therefore our Saviour bounds
our desires to that little space; as if it were very probable that every
day should be our last, we are taught to demand even bread for no longer
a time.  The sun ought not to set upon our covetousness; no more than
upon our anger; but as to God Almighty a thousand years are as one day,
so, in direct opposition, one day to the covetous man is as a thousand
years, _tam brevi fortis jaculatur ævo multa_, so far he shoots beyond
his butt.  One would think he were of the opinion of the _Millenaries_,
and hoped for so long a reign upon earth.  The patriarchs before the
flood, who enjoyed almost such a life, made, we are sure, less stores for
the maintaining of it; they who lived nine hundred years scarcely
provided for a few days; we who live but a few days, provide at least for
nine hundred years.  What a strange alteration is this of human life and
manners! and yet we see an imitation of it in every man’s particular
experience, for we begin not the 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 anything
which seems to proceed from that which we call reason, we disdain to
allow them that perfection, and attribute it only to a natural 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 cares for them be
without end too.  Horace advises very wisely, and in excellent good
words, _spatio brevi spem 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, _Vitæ summa brevis spem nos vetat inchoare
longam_, which Seneca does not mend when he says, _Oh quanta dementia est
spes longas inchoantium_! but 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 bené cedentium rerum_, _in ipso
procurrentis fortunæ 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 Melibæe pyros_, _pone ordine vites_:

   Go to, Melibæus, now,
   Go graff thy orchards and thy vineyards plant;
   Behold the fruit!

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, whom shall they belong to?”  Where shall we find the causes of
this bitter reproach and terrible judgment; we may find, I think, two,
and God perhaps saw more.  First, that he did not intend true rest to the
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 fulness 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; 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,
      O man ordained to die?


   Why dost thou build up stately rooms on high,
      Thou who art underground to lie?
   Thou sow’st and plantest, but no fruit must see;
      For death, alas? is sowing thee.


   Suppose, thou fortune couldst to tameness bring,
      And clip or pinion her wine;
   Suppose thou couldst on fate so far prevail
      As not to cut off thy entail.


   Yet death at all that subtlety 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
      In business that concerns not thee!
   For when to future years thou extend’st thy cares,
      Thou deal’st in other men’s affairs.


   Even aged men, as if they truly were
      Children again, for age prepare,
   Pro visions for long travail they design
      In the last point of their short line.


   Wisely the ant against poor winter hoards
      The stock which summer’s wealth affords,
   In grasshoppers, that must at autumn die,
      How vain were such an industry.


   Of power and honour the deceitful light
      Might half excuse our cheated sight,
   If it of life the whole small time would stay,
      And be our sunshine all the day.


   Like lightning that, begot but in a cloud,
      Though shining bright, and speaking loud,
   Whilst it begins, concludes its violent race,
      And where it gilds, it wounds the place.


   Oh, scene of fortune, which dost fair appear
      Only to men that stand not near.
   Proud poverty, that tinsel bravery wears,
      And like a rainbow, painted tears.


   Be prudent, and the shore in prospect keep,
      In a weak boat trust not the deep.
   Placed beneath envy, above envying rise;
      Pity great men, great things despise.


   The wise example of the heavenly lark.
      Thy fellow poet, Cowley, mark,
   Above the clouds let thy proud music sound,
      Thy humble nest build on the ground.


                       _A letter to Mr_. _S_. _L._

I AM glad that you approve and applaud my design of withdrawing myself
from all tumult and business of the world and consecrating the little
rest of my time to those studies to which nature had so motherly inclined
me, and from which fortune like a step-mother has so long detained me.
But nevertheless, you say—which But is ærugo mera, a rust which spoils
the good metal it grows upon.  But, you say, you would advise me not to
precipitate that resolution, but to stay a while longer with patience and
complaisance, till I had gotten such an estate as might afford me,
according to the saying of that person whom you and I love very much, and
would believe as soon as another man, _cum dignitate otium_.  This were
excellent advice to Joshua, who could bid the sun stay too.  But there’s
no fooling with life when it is once turned beyond forty.  The seeking
for a fortune then is but a desperate after game, it is a hundred to one
if a man fling two sixes and recover all; especially if his hand be no
luckier than mine.  There is some help for all the defects of fortune,
for if a man cannot attain to the length of his wishes, he may have his
remedy by cutting of them shorter.  Epicurus writes a letter to
Idomeneus, who was then a very powerful, wealthy, and it seems bountiful
person, to recommend to him, who had made so many men rich, one
Pythocles, a friend of his, whom he desired to be made a rich man too:
But I entreat you that you would not do it just the same way as you have
done to many less deserving persons, but in the most gentlemanly manner
of obliging him, which is not to add anything to his estate, but to take
something from his desires.  The sum of this is, that for the uncertain
hopes of some conveniences we ought not to defer the execution of a work
that is necessary, especially when the use of those things which we would
stay for may otherwise be supplied, but the loss of time never recovered.
Nay, further yet, though we were sure to obtain all that we had a mind
to, though we were sure of getting never so much by continuing the game,
yet when the light of life is so near going out, and ought to be so
precious, _Le jeu ne vaut pas la chandelle_, the play is not worth the
expense of the candle.  After having been long tossed in a tempest, if
our masts be standing, and we have still sail and tackling enough to
carry us to our port, it is no matter for the want of streamers and
topgallants; _utere velis totes pande sinus_.  A gentleman in our late
civil wars, when his quarters were beaten up by the enemy, was taken
prisoner and lost his life afterwards, only by staying to put on a band
and adjust his periwig.  He would escape like a person of quality, or not
at all, and died the noble martyr of ceremony and gentility.  I think
your counsel of _festina lente_ is as ill to a man who is flying from the
world, as it would have been to that unfortunate well-bred gentleman, who
was so cautious as not to fly undecently from his enemies, and therefore
I prefer Horace’s advice before yours.

                   —_Sapere ande_; _incipe_.

Begin: the getting out of doors is the greatest part of the journey.
Varro teaches us that Latin proverb, _Portam itineri longissimam esse_.
But to return to Horace,

                   —_Sapere aude_;
    _Incipe_.  _Virendi qui recte prorogat horam_
    _Rusticus expectat dum labitur amnis_; _at ille_
    _Labitur_, _et labetur is omne volubilis ævum_.

    Begin, be bold, and venture to be wise;
    He who defers the work from day to day,
    Does on a river’s bank expecting stay,
    Till the whole stream which stopped him should be gone,
    That runs, and as it runs, for ever will run on.

Cæsar (the man of expedition above all others) was so far from this
folly, that whensoever in a journey he was to cross any river, he never
went one foot out of his way for a bridge, or a ford, or a ferry; but
flung himself into it immediately, and swam over; and this is the course
we ought to imitate if we meet with any stops in our way to happiness.
Stay till the waters are low, stay till some boats come by to transport
you, stay till a bridge be built for you; you had even as good stay till
the river be quite past.  Persius (who, you used to say, you do not know
whether he be a good poet or no, because you cannot understand him, and
whom, therefore, I say, I know to be not a good poet) has an odd
expression of these procrastinations, which, methinks, is full of fancy.

    _Jam cras hesterum consumpsimus_, _ecce aliud cras egerit hos annos_.

    Our yesterday’s to-morrow now is gone,
    And still a new to-morrow does come on;
    We by to-morrows draw up all our store,
    Till the exhausted well can yield no more.

And now, I think, I am even with you, for your _otium cum dignitate_ and
_festina lente_, and three or four other more of your new Latin
sentences: if I should draw upon you all my forces out of Seneca and
Plutarch upon this subject, I should overwhelm you, but I leave those as
_triarii_ for your next charges.  I shall only give you now a light
skirmish out of an epigrammatist, your special good friend, and so,

MART.  LIB. 5, EP. 59.

    To-morrow you will live, you always cry;
    In what far country does this morrow lie,
    That ’tis so mighty long ere it arrive?
    Beyond the Indies does this morrow live?
    ’Tis so far-fetched, this morrow, that I fear
    ’Twill be both very old and very dear.
    To-morrow I will live, the fool does say;
    To-day itself’s too late, the wise lived yesterday.

MART.  LIB. 2, EP. 90.

    Wonder not, sir (you who instruct the town
    In the true wisdom of the sacred gown),
    That I make haste to live, and cannot hold
    Patiently out, till I grow rich and old.
    Life for delays and doubts no time does give,
    None ever yet made haste enough to live.
    Let him defer it, whose preposterous care
    Omits himself, and reaches to his heir,
    Who does his father’s bounded stores despise,
    And whom his own, too, never can suffice:
    My humble thoughts no glittering roofs require,
    Or rooms that shine with ought be constant fire.
    We ill content the avarice of my sight
    With the fair gildings of reflected light:
    Pleasures abroad, the sport of Nature yields
    Her living fountains, and her smiling fields:
    And then at home, what pleasure is ’t to see
    A little cleanly, cheerful family?
    Which if a chaste wife crown, no less in her
    Than fortune, I the golden mean prefer.
    Too noble, nor too wise, she should not be,
    No, nor too rich, too fair, too fond of me.
    Thus let my life slide silently away,
    With sleep all night, and quiet all the day.


IT is a hard and nice subject for a man to write of himself; it grates
his own heart to say anything of disparagement and the reader’s ears to
hear anything of praise for him.  There is no danger from me of offending
him in this kind; neither my mind, nor my body, nor my fortune allow me
any materials for that vanity.  It is sufficient for my own contentment
that they have preserved me from being scandalous, or remarkable on the
defective side.  But besides that, I shall here speak of myself only in
relation to the subject of these precedent discourses, and shall be
likelier thereby to fall into the contempt than rise up to the estimation
of most people.  As far as my memory can return back into my past life,
before I knew or was capable of guessing what the world, or glories, or
business of it were, the natural affections of my soul gave me a secret
bent of aversion from them, as some plants are said to turn away from
others, by an antipathy imperceptible to themselves and inscrutable to
man’s understanding.  Even when I was a very young boy at school, instead
of running about on holidays and playing with my fellows, I was wont to
steal from them and walk into the fields, either alone with a book, or
with some one companion, if I could find any of the same temper.  I was
then, too, so much an enemy to all constraint, that my masters could
never prevail on me, by any persuasions or encouragements, to learn
without book the common rules of grammar, in which they dispensed with me
alone, because they found I made a shift to do the usual exercises out of
my own reading and observation.  That I was then of the same mind as I am
now (which I confess I wonder at myself) may appear by the latter end of
an ode which I made when I was but thirteen years old, and which was then
printed with many other verses.  The beginning of it is boyish, but of
this part which I here set down, if a very little were corrected, I
should hardly now be much ashamed.


   This only grant me, that my means may lie
   Too low for envy, for contempt too high.
      Some honour I would have,
   Not from great deeds, but good alone.
   The unknown are better than ill known.
      Rumour can ope the grave;
   Acquaintance I would have, but when it depends
   Not on the number, but the choice of friends.


   Books should, not business, entertain the light,
   And sleep, as undisturbed as death, the night.
      My house a cottage, more
   Than palace, and should fitting be
   For all my use, no luxury.
      My garden painted o’er
   With Nature’s hand, not Art’s; and pleasures yield,
   Horace might envy in his Sabine field.


   Thus would I double my life’s fading space,
   For he that runs it well twice runs his race.
      And in this true delight,
   These unbought sports, this happy state,
   I would not fear, nor wish my fate,
      But boldly say each night,
   To-morrow let my sun his beams display
   Or in clouds hide them—I have lived to-day.

You may see by it I was even then acquainted with the poets (for the
conclusion is taken out of Horace), and perhaps it was the immature and
immoderate love of them which stamped first, or rather engraved, these
characters in me.  They were like letters cut into the bark of a young
tree, which with the tree still grow proportionably.  But how this love
came to be produced in me so early is a hard question.  I believe I can
tell the particular little chance that filled my head first with such
chimes of verse as have never since left ringing there.  For I remember
when I begun to read and to take some pleasure in it, there was wont to
lie in my mother’s parlour.  (I know not by what accident, for she
herself never in her life read any book but of devotion), but there was
wont to lie Spenser’s works; this I happened to fall upon, and was
infinitely delighted with the stories of the knights, and giants, and
monsters, and brave houses, which I found everywhere there (though my
understanding had little to do with all this); and by degrees with the
tinkling of the rhyme and dance of the numbers, so that I think I had
read him all over before I was twelve years old, and was thus made a poet
as immediately as a child is made an eunuch.  With these affections of
mind, and my heart wholly set upon letters, I went to the university, but
was soon torn from thence by that violent public storm which would suffer
nothing to stand where it did, but rooted up every plant, even from the
princely cedars to me, the hyssop.  Yet I had as good fortune as could
have befallen me in such a tempest; for I was cast by it into the family
of one of the best persons, and into the court of one of the best
princesses of the world.  Now though I was here engaged in ways most
contrary to the original design of my life, that is, into much company,
and no small business, and into a daily sight of greatness, both militant
and triumphant, for that was the state then of the English and French
Courts; yet all this was so far from altering my opinion, that it only
added the confirmation of reason to that which was before but natural
inclination.  I saw plainly all the paint of that kind of life, the
nearer I came to it; and that beauty which I did not fall in love with
when, for aught I knew, it was real, was not like to bewitch or entice me
when I saw that it was adulterate.  I met with several great persons,
whom I liked very well, but could not perceive that any part of their
greatness was to be liked or desired, no more than I would be glad or
content to be in a storm, though I saw many ships which rid safely and
bravely in it.  A storm would not agree with my stomach, if it did with
my courage.  Though I was in a crowd of as good company as could be found
anywhere, though I was in business of great and honourable trust, though
I ate at the best table, and enjoyed the best conveniences for present
subsistence that ought to be desired by a man of my condition in
banishment and public distresses, yet I could not abstain from renewing
my old schoolboy’s wish in a copy of verses to the same effect.

   Well then; I now do plainly see,
   This busy world and I shall ne’er agree, etc.

And I never then proposed to myself another advantage from His Majesty’s
happy restoration, but the getting into some moderately convenient
retreat in the country, which I thought in that case I might easily have
compassed, as well as some others, with no greater probabilities or
pretences have arrived to extraordinary fortunes.  But I had before
written a shrewd prophecy against myself, and I think Apollo inspired me
in the truth, though not in the elegance of it.

    Thou, neither great at court nor in the war,
    Nor at th’ exchange shalt be, nor at the wrangling bar;
    Content thyself with the small barren praise,
    Which neglected verse does raise, etc.

However, by the failing of the forces which I had expected, I did not
quit the design which I had resolved on; I cast myself into it _A corps
perdu_, without making capitulations or taking counsel of fortune.  But
God laughs at a man who says to his soul, “Take thy ease”: I met
presently not only with many little encumbrances and impediments, but
with so much sickness (a new misfortune to me) as would have spoiled the
happiness of an emperor as well as mine.  Yet I do neither repent nor
alter my course.  _Non ego perfidum dixi sacramentum_.  Nothing shall
separate me from a mistress which I have loved so long, and have now at
last married, though she neither has brought me a rich portion, nor lived
yet so quietly with me as I hoped from her.

   —_Nec vos_, _dulcissima mundi_
   _Nomina_, _vos Musæ_, _libertas_, _otia_, _libri_,
   _Hortique sylvesque anima remanente relinquam_.

      Nor by me e’er shall you,
   You of all names the sweetest, and the best,
   You Muses, books, and liberty, and rest;
   You gardens, fields, and woods forsaken be,
   As long as life itself forsakes not me.

But this is a very petty ejaculation.  Because I have concluded all the
other chapters with a copy of verses, I will maintain the humour to the

MARTIAL, LIB. 10, EP. 47.

                  _Vitam quæ faciunt beatiorem_, _etc._

    SINCE, dearest friend, ’tis your desire to see
    A true receipt of happiness from me;
    These are the chief ingredients, if not all:
    Take an estate neither too great nor small,
    Which _quantum sufficit_ the doctors call;
    Let this estate from parents’ care descend:
    The getting it too much of life does spend.
    Take such a ground, whose gratitude may be
    A fair encouragement for industry.
    Let constant fires the winter’s fury tame,
    And let thy kitchens be a vestal flame.
    Thee to the town let never suit at law,
    And rarely, very rarely, business draw.
    Thy active mind in equal temper keep,
    In undisturbèd peace, yet not in sleep.
    Let exercise a vigorous health maintain,
    Without which all the composition’s vain.
    In the same weight prudence and innocence take
    _Ana_ of each does the just mixture make.
    But a few friendships wear, and let them be
    By Nature and by Fortune fit for thee.
    Instead of art and luxury in food,
    Let mirth and freedom make thy table good.
    If any cares into thy daytime creep,
    At night, without wines, opium, let them sleep.
    Let rest, which Nature does to darkness wed,
    And not lust, recommend to thee thy bed,
    Be satisfied, and pleased with what thou art;
    Act cheerfully and well the allotted part.
    Enjoy the present hour, be thankful for the past,
    And neither fear, nor wish the approaches of the last.

MARTIAL, LIB. 10. EP. 96.

    ME, who have lived so long among the great,
    You wonder to hear talk of a retreat:
    And a retreat so distant, as may show
    No thoughts of a return when once I go.
    Give me a country, how remote so e’er,
    Where happiness a moderate rate does bear,
    Where poverty itself in plenty flows
    And all the solid use of riches knows.
    The ground about the house maintains it there,
    The house maintains the ground about it here.
    Here even hunger’s dear, and a full board
    Devours the vital substance of the lord.
    The land itself does there the feast bestow,
    The land itself must here to market go.
    Three or four suits one winter here does waste,
    One suit does there three or four winters last.
    Here every frugal man must oft be cold,
    And little lukewarm fires are to you sold.
    There fire’s an element as cheap and free
    Almost as any of the other three.
    Stay you then here, and live among the great,
    Attend their sports, and at their tables eat.
    When all the bounties here of men you score:
    The Place’s bounty there, shall give me more.


    _Hic_, _O viator_, _sub Lare parvulo_
    _Couleius hic est conditus_, _hic jacet_;
       _Defunctus humani laboris_
          _Sorte_, _supervacuâgue vilâ_.

    _Non_ indecora pauperie _nitens_,
    _Et non_ inerti _nobilis_ otio,
       _Vanoque dilectis popello_
          _Divitiis_ animosus hostis.

    _Possis ut illum dicere_ mortuum,
    _En terra jam nunc_ quantula _sufficit_!
       _Exempta sit curis_, viator;
          _Terra sit illa levis_, _precare_.

    _Hic sparge_ flores, _sparge breves_ rosas,
    _Nam vita gaudet mortua floribus_,
       _Herbisque odoratis corona_
          _Vatis adhuc_ cinerem calentem.



   O WAYFARER, beneath his household shrine
      Here Cowley lies, closed in a little den;
   A life too empty and his lot combine
      To give him rest from all the toils of men.

    Not shining with unseemly shows of want,
       Nor noble with the indolence of ease;
    Fearless of spirit as a combatant
       With mob-loved wealth and all its devotees.

    That you may fairly speak of him as dead,
       Behold how little earth contents him now!
    Pray, wayfarer, that all his cares be fled,
       And that the earth lie lightly on his brow.

    Strew flowers here, strew roses soon to perish,
       For the dead life joys in all flowers that blow;
    Crown with sweet herbs, bank blossoms high, to cherish
       The poet’s ashes that are yet aglow.

                                                             HENRY MORLEY.


Page 15.  _Fertur equis_, &c.  From the close of Virgil’s first Georgic:

    said of horses in a chariot race,
    Nor reins, nor curbs, nor threatening cries they fear,
    But force along the trembling charioteer.

                                                   _Dryden’s translation_.

Page 16.  _En Romanos_, &c.  Virgil, Æneid I., when Jove says,

    The people Romans call, the city Rome,
    To them no bounds of empire I assign,
    Nor term of years to their immortal line.

                                                        _Dryden’s Virgil_.

Page 18.  “Laveer with every wind.”  Laveer is an old sea term for
working the ship against the wind.  Lord Clarendon used its noun, “the
schoolmen are the best laveerers in the world, and would have taught a
ship to catch the wind that it should have gained half and half, though
it had been contrary.”

Page 24.  _Amatorem trecentæ Pirithoum cohibent catenæ_.  Horace’s Ode,
Bk. IV., end of ode 4.  Three hundred chains bind the lover, Pirithous:

    Wrath waits on sin, three hundred chains
    Pirithous bind in endless pains.

                                                   _Creech’s Translation_.

Page 25.  _Aliena negotia_, &c.  From Horace’s Satires, sixth of Book II.

Page 25.  _Dors_, cockchafers.

Page 26.  _Pan huper sebastos_.  Lord over All.

Page 27.  _Perditur hæc inter misero Lux_.  Horace, Satires, II., 6.
This whole Satire is in harmony with the spirit of Cowley’s Essays.

Page 29.  _A slave in Saturnalibus_.  In the Saturnalia, when Roman
slaves had licence to disport themselves.

Page 29.  _Unciatim_, &c.  Terence’s Phormio, Act I., scene 1, in the
opening: “All that this poor fellow has, by starving himself, bit by bit,
with much ado, scraped together out of his pitiful allowance—(must go at
one swoop, people never considering the price it cost him the getting).”
_Eachard’s Terence_.

Page 30.  _κακὰ θηρία_, &c.  Paul to Titus, “The Cretans are always
liars, _evil beasts_, _slow bellies_.”

Page 31.  _Quisnam igitur_, &c.  Horace’s Satires, II., 7.  “Who then is
free?  The wise man, who has absolute rule over himself.”

Page 31.  Oenomaus, father of Hippodameia, would give her only to the
suitor who could overcome him in a chariot race.  Suitors whom he could
overtake he killed.  He killed himself when outstripped by Pelops, whom a
god assisted, or, according to one version, a man who took the nails out
of Oenomaus’ chariot wheels, and brought him down with a crash.

Page 41.  _Nunquam minus solus quam cum solus_.  Never less alone than
when alone.

Page 47.  _Sic ego_, &c.  From Tibullus, IV., 13.

Page 51.  _O quis me gelidis_, &c.  From the Second Book of Virgil’s
Georgics, in a passage expressing the poet’s wish:

    Ye sacred Muses, with whose beauty fired,
    My soul is ravished and my brain inspired;
    Whose priest I am, whose holy fillets wear,
    Would you your poet’s first petition hear:
    Give me the ways of wandering stars to know;
    The depths of Heaven above, and Earth below;
    Teach me, &c. . . .
    . . .
    But if my heavy blood restrain the flight
    Of my free soul aspiring to the height
    Of Nature, and unclouded fields of light:
    My next desire is, void of care and strife,
    To lead a soft, secure, inglorious life.
    A country cottage near a crystal flood,
    A winding valley and a lofty wood;
    Some god conduct me to the sacred shades
    Where bacchanals are sung by Spartan maids,
    Or lift me high to Hæmus hilly crown,
    Or in the vales of Tempè lay me down,
    Or lead me to some solitary place,
    And cover my retreat from human race.

                                                   _Dryden’s translation_.

Page 56.  _Nam neque divitibus_.  Horace’s Epistles, I., 18.

Page 58.  Tankerwoman, “water-bearer, one who carried water from the

Page 60.  _Bucephalus_, the horse of Alexander.  Domitian is said to have
given a consulship to his horse _Incitatus_.

Page 60.  The glory of Cato and Aristides.  See the parallel lives in

Page 64.  _O fortunatos nimium_, &c.  Men all too happy, and they knew
their good.

Page 70.  _Hinc atque hinc_.  From Virgil’s Æneid, Book I.

Page 75.  Mr. Hartlib . . . _if the gentleman be yet alive_.  Samuel
Hartlib, a public-spirited man of a rich Polish family, came to England
in 1640.  He interested himself in education and other subjects, as well
as agriculture.  In 1645 he edited a treatise of Flemish Agriculture that
added greatly to the knowledge of English farmers, and thereby to the
wealth of England.  He spent a large fortune among us for the public
good.  Cromwell recognised his services by a pension of £300 a year,
which ceased at the Restoration, and Hartlib then fell into such
obscurity that Cowley could not say whether he were alive or no.

Page 75.  _Nescio qua_, &c.  Ovid.  Epistles from Pontus.

Page 76.  _Pariter_, &c.  Ovid’s Fasti, Book I.  Referring to the happy
souls who first looked up to the stars, Ovid suggests that in like manner
they must have lifted their heads above the vices and the jests of man.
Cowley has here turned “locis” into “jocis.”

Page 80.  _Ut nos in Epistolis scribendis adjuvet_.  That he might help
us in writing letters.

Page 81.  _Qui quid sit pulchrum_, &c.  Who tells more fully than
Chrysippus or Crantor what is fair what is foul, what useful and what

Page 92.  _Swerd of bacon_, skin of bacon.  First English _sweard_.  So
green sward is green surface covering.

Page 100.  The Country Life is a translation from Cowley’s own Latin Poem
on Plants.

Page 105.  Evelyn had dedicated to Cowley his Kalendarium Hortense.

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