ePub 版
[ocr errors]

But sometimes age may pleasant things behold, Were joyful, when the flower of noble blood
And nothing that offends : He should have told Crowded their dwellings, and attending stood,
This not to age, but youth, who oftener fee Like oracles their counsels to receive,
What not alone offends, but hurts, than we:

How in their progress they fhould act, and live. That I in him, which he in age, condemn'd, And they whose high examples youth obeys, That us it renders odious and contemn'd.

Are not despised, though their strength decays, He knew not virtue, if he thought this truth; And those decays (to speak the naked truth, For youth delights in age, and age in youth. Though the defects of age) were crimes of youth. What to the old can greater pleasure be,

Intemperate youth (by fad experience found)
Than hopeful and ingenuous youth to fee; Ends in an age imperfect and unsound.
When they with reverence follow where we lead, Cyrus, though ag'd (if Xenophon say true);
And in strait paths by our directions tread! Lucius Metellus (whom when young I knew)
And ev'n my conversation here I See,

Who held (after his second consulate)
As well receiv'd by you, as yours by me. Twenty-two years the high pontificate;
'Tis disingenuous to accuse our age

Neither of these, in body or in mind, Of idleness, who all our powers engage

Before their death the least decay did find. In the fame studies, the fame course to hold; I speak not of myself, though none deny Nor think our reason for new arts too old.

To age, to praise their youth, the liberty : Solon the fage his progrefs never ceas'd,

Such an unwasted strength I cannot boast, Bat ftill his learning with his days increas'd;

Yet now my years are eighty-four almoft : And I with the fame greediness did seek, And though from what it was my ftrength is far, As water when I thirst, to swallow Greek; Both in the first and second Punic war, Which I did only learn, that I might know Nor at Thermopylæ, under Glabrio, Those great examples which I follow now; Nor when I consul into Spain did go; And I have heard that Socrates the wise,

But yet I fcel no weakness, nor hath fength Learn'd on the lute for his last exercise.

Of winters quite enervated my strength;
Though many of the ancients did the same, And I, my guest, my client, or my friend,
To improve knowledge was my only aim. Still in the courts of justice can defend :

Neither must I that proverb's truth allow,
“ Who would be ancient, must be early so."
I would be youthful ftill, and find no nced

To appear old, till I was so indeed.
THE SECOND PART. And yet you fee my hours not idle are,

Though with your strength I cannot mine comint' our ,

pare; “ weak.”

Not therefore him the better man I count, I grieve no more my youthful strength to want, Milo, when entering the Olympic game, Than, young, that of a bull or elephant; With a huge ox upon his shoulder came. Then with that force content which nature gave, Would you the force of Milo's body finds Nor am I now displeas'd with what I have. Rather than that of Pythagoras's mind? When the young wrettlers at their sport grew The force which nature gives with care retain, warm,

But, when decay'd, 'tis folly to complain; Old Milu wept, to fee his naked arm;

In age to wish for youth is full as vain, And cry'd, 'twas dead: Trifler, thine heart, and As for a youth to turn a child again. head,

Simple and certain nature's ways appear, And all that's in them (not thy arm) are dead; And the sets forth the seasons of the year. This folly every looker-on derides,

So in all parts of life we find her truth, To glory only in thy arms and sides.

Weakness to childhood, rashness to our youth; Our gallant ancestors let fall no tears,

To elder years to be discreet and grave, Their strength decreasing by increasing years. Then to old age maturity she gave. But they advanc'd in wisdom every hour,

(Scipio) you know, how Masliniffa bears And made the commonwealth advance in power. His kingly port at more than ninety years; But orators may grieve, for in their fides, When marching with his foot, he walkstill night; Rather than heads, their faculty abides;

When with his horse, he never will alight; Yet I have heard old voices loud and clear,

Though cold, or wet, his head is always bare; And still my own sometimes the senate hear.

So hot, so dry, his aged members are. When th' old with smooth and gentle voices plead, You see how exercise and temperance They by the ear their well-pleas'd audience lead. Ev'n to old years a youthful strength advance, Which, if I had not strength enough to do, Our law (because from age our ftrength retires) I could (my Lælius, and my Scipio)

No duty which belongs to ftrength requires. What's to be done, or not be done, instruct,

But age doth many men so feeble make,
And to the maxims of good lise conduct,

That they no great design can undertake;
Cneius and Publius Scipio, and (that man Yet, that to age not lingly is apply'd,
Of men) your grandfire the great African, But to all man's infirmities belide.

[ocr errors]

That Scipiu, who adopted you, did fall

Into such pains, he had no health at all;
Who else had equal'd Africanus' parts,

OW must I draw my forces 'gainst that hoft
Exceeding him in all the liberal arts :
Why should those errors then imputed be

O thou moft high transcendent gift of age ! To age alone, from which our youth's not free?

Youth from its folly thus to disengage. Every disease of age we may prevent,

And now receive from me that most divine Like those of youth, by being diligent.

Oration of that noble Tarentine, When fick, such moderate exercise we use,

Which at Tarentum I long since did hear; And diet, as our vital heat renews;

When I attended the great Fabius there. And if our body thence refreshinent finds

Ye gods! was it man's nature, or his sate, Then must we also exercise our minds.

Betray'd him with sweet pleasure's poison'd If with continual oil we not supply

bait ? Our lamp, the light for want of it will die:

Which he, with all designs of art or power, Though bodies may be tir'd with exercise,

Doth with unbridled appetite devour: No weariness the mind could e'er surprize.

And as all poisons seek the noblest part, Czcilius the comedian, when of age

Pleasure possesses first the head and heart; He represents the follies on the stage;

Intoxicating both, by them, she finds, They're credulous, forgetful, diffolute,

And burns the facred temples of our minds. Neither those crimes to age he doth impute,

Furies, which reason's divine chains had bound, But to old men to whom those crimes belong. (That being broken) all the world confound. Lost, petulance, rashness, are in youth more Luft, murder, treason, avarice, and hell strong,

Itself broke loose, in reason's palace dwell: Than age, and yet young men those vices hate, Truth, honour, justice, temperance, are fled, Who virtuous are, discreet, and temperate :

All her attendants into darkness led. And so what we call dotage, seldom breeds

But why all this discourse? when pleasure's rage In bodies, but where nature lows the seeds. Hath conquer'd reason, we mult treat with age. There are five daughters, and four gallant fons, Age undermines, and will in time surprize In whom the blood of noble Appius runs,

Her strongest forty, and cut off all supplies;
With a most numerous family beside;

And, join'd in league with strong necellity,
Whom he alone, though old and blind, did guide, Pleasure mult fly, or else by famine die.
Yet his clear-lighted mind was still intent, Flaminius, whom a consulship had grac’d,
And to his business like a bow stood bent :

(Then censor) from the senate I displac'd; By children, servants, neighbours, so esteem'd, When he in Gaul, a consul, made a feast, He not a master, but a monarch seem'd.

A beauteous courtczan did him request All his relations his admirers were,

To see the cutting off a prisoner's head; His sons paid reverence, and his servants fear; This crime I could not leave unpunished, The order and the ancient discipline

Since by a private villainy he stain'd Of Romans did in all his actions thinc.

That public honour, which at Rome he gain'd. Authority kept-up old age secures,

Then to our age (when not to pleasures bent). Whose dignity as long as life endures.

This seems an honour, not disparagement. Something of youth I in old age approve, We, not all pleasures, like the Stoics, hate; But more the marks of age in youth I love. But love and seek those which are moderate. Who this observes, may in his body find

(Though divine Plato thús of pleasures thought, Decrepit age, but never in his mind.

They us, with hooks and baits, like fishes caught) The leven volumes of my own reports,

When quæstor to the gods, in public halls
Whercin aru all the pleadings of our courts; I was the first who set up festivals
All noble nionuments of Greece are come

Not with high tastes our appetites did force,
Unto my hands, with those of ancient Rome. But fill'd with conversation and discourse;
The pontificial, and the civil law,

Which feasts Convivial Meetings we did name : I study still, and thencc orations draw,

Not like the ancient Greeks, who, to their shame, And to confirm my memory, at night,

Callid it a Computation, not a feast; What I hear, see, or do, by day, I still recite. Declaring the worst part of it the best. These exercises for my thoughts I find,

Those entertainments I did then frequent' These labours are the chariots of my niind. Sometimes with youthful heat and merriment: To serve my friends, the senate I frequent, But now I thank my age, which gives me eale And there, what I before digested, vent.

From those excefles; yet myself I please Which only from my strength of mind procecds,

With cheerful talk to entertain my guests, Not any outward force of body needs:

(Discourses are to age continual feasts) Which, if I could not do, I should delight The love of meat and wine they recompense, On what I would to ruminate at night.

And cheer the mind, as much as those the sense. Who in such practices their minds engage,

I'm not more pleas'd with gravity among Nor fear nor think of their approaching age;

The ag'd, than to be youthful with the young; Which by degrees invisibly doth creep :

Nor 'gainst all pleasures proclaim open war, Nor do we seem to die, but fall asleep.

To which, in age, fome natural motions are.

And still at my Sabinum I delight

But thou, dear vine, forbid'at me to be long, To treat my neighbours till the depth of night. Although thy trunk be neither large nor frong, But we the sense of gust and pleasure want, Nor can thy head (not helpt) itself sublime, Which youth at full possesses, this I grant; Yet, like a serpent, a tall tree can climb; But age fecks not the things which youth re- Whate'er thy many fingers can entwine, quires,

Prove thy support, and all its strength is thine. Ant no man needs that which he not desires. Though nature gave not legs, it gave thee hands, When Sophocles was ask'd, if he deny'd By which thy prop the proudeft cedar stands: Himself the use of pleasures, he reply'd,

As thou haft hands, fo hath thy offspring wings I humbly thank th' immortal gods, who me And to the highest part of mortals springs. From that fierce tyrant's inlolence set free. But left thon should’st consume thy wealth in vain, But they, whom presling appetites constrain, And starve thyself to feed a numerous train, Grieve when they cannot their desires obtain. Or like the bee (sweet as thy blood) design'd Young men the use of pleasure understand, To be destroy'd to propagate his kind, As of an ohject new, and near at hand :

Left thy redundant and superfluous juice Though this itands more remote from age's sight Should fading leaves instead of fruits produce, Yet they behold it not without delight : The pruner's hand, with letting blood, must As ancient soldiers, from their duties eas'd,

quench With sense of honour and rewards are pleas'd ; Thy heat, and thy exuberant parts retrench : So from anıbitious hopes and lusts relealt, Then from the joints of thy prolific ftem Delighted with itself, our age doft rest

A swelling knot is raised (call’d a gem), No part of life's more happy, when with bread Whence, in short space, itself the cluster shows, Of ancient knowledge, and new learning fed. And from earth's moisture mixt with sun-beans All youthsul pleasures by degrees niuft cease:

grows. But those of age ev’n with our years increase. l'th'spring, like youth, it yields an acid tate, We love not loaded buards, and goblets crown'd, But summer doth, like age, the fourncís waste; But free from surfeits our repose is found.

Then cloath'd with leaves, from heat and cold When old Fabricius to the Samnites went,

fecure, Ambaffador, from Rome to Pyrrhus sent, Like virgins, sweet, and beauteous, when mature. He heard a grave philofopher maintain, On fruits, flowers, herbs, and plants, I long could That all the actions of our life were vain,

dwell, Which with our sense of pleasure not conspir'd; At once to please my eye, my tafte, my smell; Fabricius the philosopher desir'd,

My walks of trees, all planted by my hand, That he to Pyrrhus would that maxim teach, Like children of my own begetting stand. And to the Samnites the fame doctrine preach; To tell the several natures of each earth, Then of their conqueft he should doubt no more, What fruits from each most properly take birth: Whom their own pleasures overcame before. And with what arts to enrich every mold, Now into rustic matters I must fall,

The dry to moisten, and to warm the cold. Which pleasure seems to me the chief of all, But when we graft, or buds inoculate, Age no impediment to those can give,

Nature by art we nobly meliorate; Who wisely by the rules of nature live. As Orpheus' music wildest beasts did tame, Earth (though our mother) cheerfully obeys From the sour crab the sweetest apple came : All the commands her race upon her lays. The mother to the daughter goes to school, For whatsoever from our hand she takes,

The species changed, deth her laws o'er-rule; Greater or less, a vast return she makes.

Nature herself doth from herself depart, Nor am I only pleas'd with that resource, (Strange transmigration!) by the power of at. But with her ways, her method, and her force : How little things give law to great! we ice The feed her hofom (hy the plough made fit) The small bud captivates the greatest tree. Receives, where kindly she embraces it,

Here even the power divine we imitate, Which, with her yenuine warmth diffus'd and And seem not to beget, but to create. sprcad,

Much was I pleas'd with fowls and beasts, the Sends forth betimes a green and tender head, Then gives it motion, life, and nourishment, For food and profit, and the wild for game. Which from the root through nerves and veins Excuse me when this pleasant suring I touch, are sent,

(For age, of what delights it, speaks too much) Streight in a hollow sheath upright it grows, Who twice victorious Pyrrhus conquered, And, form receiving, doth itfelf disclose : The Sabines and the Samnites captive led, Drawn up in ranks and files, the bearded spikes Great Curius, his remaining days did fpend, Guard it from birds, as with a stand of pikes. And in this happy life his triumphs end. When of the vine I speak, I seem inspir’d, My farm stands near, and when I there retire, And with delight, as with her juice, am fir'd; His and that age's temper I admire : At nature's god-like power I stand amaz'd, The Samnites chiefs, as hy his fire he fate, Which fuch vast bodics hath from atoms rais'd. With a vast sum of gold on hinı did wait; The kernel of a grape, the fig's small grain, Return, said he, your gold I nothing weigh, Can cloath a mountain, and v'ershade a plain : When those, who can command it, me obey :


N ;

This my assertion proves, he may be old,

So age's gravity may seem fevere, And yet not fordid, who refuses gold.

But nothing harsh or bitter ought t' appear. In fummer to fit still, or walk, I love,

Of age's avarice I cannot see Ncar a cool fountain, or a shady grove.

What colour, ground, or reason there should be : What can in winter render more delight, Is it not folly, when the way we ride Than the high fun at noon, and fire at night? Is short, for a long voyage to provide ? While our old friends and neighbours feast and To avarice some title youth may own, play,

To reap in autumn what the spring had fown; And with their harmless mirth tạrn night to day, And with the providence of bees, or ants, Unpurchas'd plenty our full tables loads,

Prevent with summer's plenty, winter's wants,
And part of what they lent, return t'our gods. But age scarce fows, till death stands by to reap,
That honour and authority which dwells And to a stranger's hand transfers the heap;
With age, all pleasures of our youth excels. Afraid to be so once, she's always poor,
Observe, that I that age have only prais'd

And to avoid a mischief makes it sure.
Whose pillars were on youth's foundations rais'd, Such madness, as for fear of death to dic,
And that (for which I great applause receiv d) 1s, to be poor for fear of poverty.
As a true maxim hath been since believ'd.
That most unhappy age great pity needs,
Which to defend itself new matter pleads;
Not from grey hairs authority doth flow,

Nor from bald heads, nor from a wrinkled brow,
But our past life, when virtuously spent,

OW against (that which terrifies our age)
Must to our age those happy fruits present.
Those things to age niost honourable are,

To her, grim death appears in all her shapes, Which easy, common, and but light appear,

The hungry grave for her due tribute gapes. Salutes, consulting, compliment, resort,

Fond, foolish man! with fear of death surpriz'd, Crouding attendance to, and from the court .

Which either should be wilh'd for, or despis'd; And not on Rome alone this honour waits,

This, if our fouls with bodics death destroy; But on all civil and well-govern'u frates.

That, if our fouls a second life enjoy. Lysander pleading in his city's praise,

What else is to be fcar'd; when we shall gain From thence his strongest arguments did raise,

Eternal lise, or have no sense of pain ? That Sparta did with honour age support,

The youngest in the morning are not sure, Paying them just refpect at stage, and court.

That till the night their life they can secure, But at proud Athens youth did age out-face,

Their age stands more expos'd to accidents Nor at the plays would rise, or give them place.

Than ours, nor common care their fate prevents: When an Athenian stranger of great age

Death's force (with terror) against nature strivce, Arriv'd at Sparta, climbing up the stage,

Nor one of many to ripe age arrives: To him the whole alicmbly rose, and ran

Froia this ill fate the world's disorders rise, To place and ease this old and reverend man,

For if all men were old they would be wise ; Who thus his thanks returns, Th' Athenians know Years and experience our forefathers taught, What's to be done ; but what they know, not do.

Them under laws, and into cities brought : Here our great senate's orders ) may quete,

Why only should the fear of death belong The first in age is still the first in vote.

To age, which is as common to the young? Nor honour, nor high birth, nor great command

Your hopeful brothers, and my fon, to you la competition with great years may stand.

(Scipio) and me, this maxim makes too true : Why hould our youth's short traulicnt pleasures But vigorous youth may his gay thoughts creat

To inany years,



must not expect; With age's lasting honours to compare?

But when he fees his airy hopes decciv'd; On the world's stage, when our applause grows

With grief he says, Who this would have believ'd? high,

We happier are than they, who but desir'd For acting here life's tragic-comedy,

To poffefs that, which we long since acquir'd. 'The lookers-on will say we act not well,

What if our age to Nestor's could extend? Unless the last the fornier scenes cxccl:

"Tis vain to think that lasting, which muit end; But age is froward, uncasy, fcrutinons,

And when 'tis past, not any part remains Hard to be pleas’d, and parfimonious;

Thercof, but the reward which virtue gains. But all those errors from our manncrs rise, Days, months, and years, like running waters flow, Not from our years; yet some morofities

Nor what is post, nor wlrat's to come, we know : We must expeå lince jealousy belongs

Our date, how fort foe'er, must us content; To age of scorn, and tender sense of wrongs:

When a good actor doth his part present,
Yet those are mollify'd, or not discern'u,

In every act he our attention draws,
Wherc civil arts and manners have been learn'd: That at the last he may find just applause ;
So the Twins humours, in our Terence, are

So (though but short) yet we must learn the t'nlike, this harsh and rude, that smooth and fair. of virtue, on this stage to act our part; Our nature here is not unlike our wine,

True wisdom muft our actions so direct, Some forts, when old, continue brisk and fine;

Not only the last plaudit to expect : VOL. II,



Yet grieve ro more, though long that part should | The great Marcellus (who restored Rome) laft,

His greatest foes with hunour did iptomb. Than husbandmen, because the spring is paft. Their lives how many of our legions threw 'The spring, like youth, fresh biofloms doth pro Into the breach? whence no return they knew: duce,

Must then the wise, the old, the learned, fear But autumn makes them ripe, and fit for use: What not the rude, the young, th' unlearn'd So age a mature melowness doch let

forbear? On the green promises of youthful heat.

Satiety from all things else doth come, All things which nature did ordain arc good, Then life muft to itself grow wearifome. And so must be receiv'd and underltood.

Those trifes wherein children take delight Age, like ripę apples, on carth's bosom drops, Grow nauseous to the young man's appetite; While force our youth, like fruits untimely, crops; And from those gaieties our youth requires The sparkling frame of our warm blood expires, To exercise their minds, our age retires. As when huge streams are pur'd on raging fires; And when the last delights of age fhall die, But age unforc'd falls by her own confent, Life in itself will find satiety. As coals to alhes, when the spirit's spent; Now you, my friends, my sense of death fhall hear, Therefore to death I with such joy resort, Which I can well describe, for he stands Dear. As feamcn from a tempeft to thtir port. Your father, Lælius, and your's, Scipio, Yet to that port ourselves we niult not force, My friends, and men of honour, I did know; Before our pilot, nature, steers our course. As certainly as we must die, they live Let us the causes of our fear condemn,

That life which juftly miay that name receive: Then death at his approach we shall contemr.. Till from these prisons of our filesh relcas'd, Though to our heat of youth our age seems Our souls with heavy burthens lie oppress'd; cold,

Which part of man from heaven falling down, Yct, when resolv'd, it is more brave and bold. Earth, in her low abyss, doth hide and drown, Thus Solon tu Pififtratus reply'd,

A place fo dark to the celestial light, Demanded, on what succnur he rely'd,

And pure eternal fire's quite opposite. When with a few he boldly did engage; The Gods through human bodies did disperse He said, he took his courage from his age. An heavenly soul, to guide this universe; Then death seems welcome, and our nature kind, That man, when he of heavenly bodies faw When leaving us a perfe& fense and inind, The order, might from thence a pattern draw: She (like a workman in his science skill'd) Nor this to me did my own dictates show, Pulls down with case, what her own hand did But to the old philosophers I owe. build.

I heard Pythagoras, and those who came That art wbich knew to join all parts in one, With him, and from our country took their name; Makes the least violent lcparation.

Who never doubted but the bcams divine, Yet though our ligaments betimes grow weak, Deriv'd from Gods, in mortal breasts did shine. We muit not force them till themselves they Nor from my knowledge did the ancients hide break.

What Socrates declar'd, the hour he dy'd; Pythagoras bids us in our flation stand, He th' inmortality of fouls proclaim’d, Till God, our general, fhall us disband.

(Whom th' oracle of men the wifeft nam'd.) Wife Solon dying, with'd his friends might grieve, Why should we doubt of that, whereof our sense That in their nicmories he still might live. Finds demonstration from cxperience ? Yet wiser Ennius gave command to all

Our minds are here, and there, below, above; His friends, not to bewail his suneral;

Nothing that's mortal can fo (wiftly move. Your tears for such a death in vain you spend, Our thoughts to future things their flight dired, Which trait in immortality Mall end.

And in an inflant all that's past collect. In death if there be any sense of pain,

Reafon, remembrance, wit, inventive art, But a short space, to age it will remain.

No nature, but inmortal, can impart. On which, without my fears, my wishes wait, Man's foul in a perpetual motion flows, But timorous youth on this should meditate : And to no outward cause that notion owes; Who for light pleasure this advice rejects,

And therefore that, no end can overtake, Finds little, when his thoughts he recollects. Because our niinds cannot themselves forfake. Our death (though not its certain date) we know; And since the matter of our soul is

pure, Nor whether it may be this night or no : And simple, which no mixture cau endure How then can they contented live, who fear Of parts, which not among themselves agree; A danger certain and none knows how near. Therefore it never can divided be. They err, who for the fear of death dispute, And nature shews (v:hout philofophy) Our gallant actions this mistake confute. What cannot be divided, cannot die. Thee, Brutus, Rome's first martyr liniuft name, We evin in carly infancy discern, The Curtii bravely div'd the gulph of flame : Knowledge is born with babes before they learn; Attilius sacrific'd himself, to save

Ere they can speak, they find so many ways That faith, which to his barbarous foes he gave; To serve their turn, and see niorc arts than days: With the two Scipio's did thy uncle fall,

Before their thoughts they plainly can express, Rather than fly from conquering Hannibal. The words and things thcy know are numberless,

« 上一頁繼續 »