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(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 burley 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 degrees, Grandios. Is any thing 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 to two 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 a spicc 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.
playing at dice; and that was the main fruit of
Was it for this that Rome's best blood he spilt
His new-created Deity,
With nuts, and bounding-stones, and boys The mightiest princes are glad to fly often from But we must excuse her for this meagre enterthese majestic pleasures (which is, methinks, no tainment; she has not really wherewithal to make small disparagement to them) as it were for refuge such feasts as we imagine. Her guests must be to the most contemptible divertisements and meancontented sometimes with but slender cates, and est recreations of the vulgar, nay, even of chil- with the same cold meats served over and over dren. One of the most powerful and fortunate again, even till they become nauseous. When princes2 of the world, of late, could find out no you have pared away all the vanity, what solid delight so satisfactory, as the keeping of little and natural contentment does there remain, which singing birds, and hearing of them, and whistling may not be had with five hundred pounds a year? to them. What did the emperors of the whole Not so many servants or horses; but a few good world? If ever any men had the free and full ones, which will do all the business as well: not enjoyment of all human greatness (nay that so many choice dishes at every meal; but at sewould not suffice, for they would be gods too), veral meals all of them, which makes them both they certainly possessed it: and yet one of them, the more healthy, and the more pleasant; not so who styled himself lord and god of the earth, rich garments, nor so frequent changes; but as could not tell how to pass his whole day pleasantly, warm and as comely, and so frequent change too, without spending constantly two or three hours as is every jot as good for the master, though not in catching of flies, and killing them with a bod- for the taylor or valet de chambre: not such a kin, as if his godship had been Beelzebub 3. One stately palace, nor gilt rooms, or the costliest sorts of his predecessors, Nero, (who never put any of tapestry; but a convenient brick house, with bounds, nor met with any stop to his appetite) decent wainscot, and pretty forest-work hangings. could divert himself with no pastime more agree-Lastly (for I omit all other particulars, and will able, 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 4!" His uncle Claudius spent half his time at
* Louis XIII.-The Duke de Luynes, the Constable of France, is said to have gained the favour of this powerful and fortunate prince by training up singing birds for him. ANON.
3 Beelzebub signifies the lord of flies. COWLEY.
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 an high one. If, indeed, we look only upon the flourishing head of the tree, it appears a most beautiful object,
-sed quantum vertice ad auras Ætherias, tantum radice in Tartara tendit,
5 Virg. Georg. ii. 291.
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 necessitics, as drive it into all the meanest and most sordid ways of borrowing, cozcnage, and robbery:
Mancipiis locuples, eget æris 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 them 7." The master mouth has no more than before. The owner, methinks, is like Ocnus 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 gain but that point, it would obtain all its desires; but yet at last, when it is got up to the very top of the Pic of Teneriff, 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 spoilt all the work, when they were come up to the third story:
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 want of the title of an emperor or a god. The reason of this is, that greatness has no reality in nature, being 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; every thing is little, and every thing is great, according as it is diversely compared. There may be perhaps some village 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 any thing); and choose rather to be the first man of the village, than second at Rome. Our country is called Great Britany, 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 truly imitated.
Ev'n so in the same land,
[stand; Poor weeds, rich corn, gay flowers, together Alas! Death mows down all with an impartial hand.
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 ex
And all ye men, whom greatness does so please, cuse to God, or angels, or rational men, for his Ye feast, I fear, like Damocles:
If ye your eyes could upwards move (But ye, I fear, think nothing is above) Ye 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 t' admit the image of it, Sleep.
Sleep, is a god too proud to wait in palaces,
The meanest country cottages:
'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,
Nor tremble, though two comets should appear;
Whether he fortunate shall be;
Let Mars and Saturn in the heavens conjoin,
If of your pleasures and desires no end be found,
What would content you? who can tell?
Ye strive for more, as if ye lik'd 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
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, nor for any farther end or 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
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; ay, 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 gentleman-like correction, than that which was given it by one line of Ovid:
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 are public provisions 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, ių regard of their quality. I might be endless against them, but I am almost choaked with the super-abundance of the matter; too much plen
ty 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 merchaut, 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, knockt 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's style. But hold, ye, whom no fortune e'er endears, Gentlemen, malecontents, and mutineers, Who bounteous Jove so often cruel call, Behold, Jove's now resolv'd 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 generat Jove's abused case, By Jove I'd cudgel this rebellious race: But he 's too good; be all, then, as ye were; However, make the best of what ye 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 main
The prudent pismire does this lesson teach,
He cheerfully does his past labours eat:
O, does he so your wise example, th' ant,
In thy vast barns millions of quarters store;
Do you within the bounds of nature live,
Than I do from a small one? If your will
To some great river for it must you go,
And must be kept with reverence; as if thou
Paraphrase on HORACE, B. III. Od. xvi.
A TOWER of brass, one would have said,
All further jealous care;
And, when he slept, his rest was deep: But Venus laugh'd to see and hear him sleep. She taught the amorous Jove
A magical receipt in love,
Which arm'd him stronger, and which help'd him
Subtle as lightning, bright, and quick, and fierce,
The ensign 'tis at land, and 'tis the seaman's star.
Let all the world slave to this tyrant be,
Yet it shall never conquer me.
A guard of virtues will not let it pass.
As in the violent meteor's way to lie.
and draw up all bridges against só numerous an
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 laught 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
From towns and courts, camps of the rich and treacherous decoy, and a rapacious vulture. The
The vast Xerxean army, I retreat;
Which holds the straits of poverty.
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,
That more than this falls to his share.
Much will always wanting be,
To him who much desires. Thrice happy he
civilist, 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 every thing 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 bretheren: 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
THE DANGERS OF AN HONEST MAN | for itself, the tinkling perhaps of that may unite
IN MUCH COMPANY.
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 pé, with the defensive arms of worldy 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 Ican 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,
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 9." What was the beginning of Rome, the metropolis of all the world? What was it, but a concourse of thieves, and a sanctuary of crimi
9 Gen. xi. 4.