« 上一頁繼續 »
January 14.-Sunday, towards morning I dreamed, that the Bishop of Lincoln came, I know not whither, with iron chains but returning loosed from them, leaped on horseback, and went away; neither could I overtake him." p. 38.
January 16.-I dreamed that the King went out to hunt; and that when he was hungry, I brought him on the sudden into the house of my friend, Francis Windebank. While he prepareth to eat, I, in the absence of others, presented the cup to him after the usual manner. I carried drink to him; but it pleased him not. I carried it again, but in a silver cup thereupon, his Majesty said, you know that I always drink out of glass. I go away again, and awoke." p. 38. "July 7.--Saturday night, I dreamed that I had lost two teeth. The Duke of Buckingham took the Isle of Rhée." p. 41.
"January 24.-Friday, at night I dreamed that my father (who died forty-six years since) came to me; and, to my thinking, he was as well and as cheerful as ever I saw him. He asked me, what I did here? and after some speech, I asked him, how long he would stay with me? he answered, he would stay till he had me away with him. I am not moved with dreams; yet I thought fit to remember this." p. 57.
Upon the whole, we do not think that this work is calculated to diminish any of the prejudices which we had entertained against the political character of the author, or to inspire us with any respect for his talents. Making all possible allowances for the difficulties of his public situation, we can see in him nothing more than a man with very ordinary abilities for government, under the guidance of a very defective judgement. A comparison has sometimes been instituted between Laud and Wolsey; but never, certainly, was a more unfortunate comparison made. True, both rose from a very humble rank in life to the first station in the kingdom; both were churchmen; both were ambitious; both unfortunate. But Wolsey seems to have been a man of talents equal to his fortunes; talents to which Laud could make no pretension; while, on the other hand, Laud was the undoubted possessor of virtues to which Wolsey appears to have been an utter stranger.
We have spoken, without reserve, the sentiments which we entertain as to the public conduct of our author, and feel no desire to qualify the censures we have pronounced. At the same time, however, we look with feelings of shame and abhorrence upon that infamous proceeding, misnamed a trial, by which Laud was brought to the scaffold. That both he and Strafford had shown themselves unfit for power, by the indiscreet and arbitrary use they made of it, we are fully convinced; but not less strong is our conviction, that neither Strafford nor Laud, in the plenitude and wantonness of their authority, ever committed such an outrage upon the laws as that by which they died.
ART. V.-The Cure of Old Age and Preservation of Youth, by Roger Bacon, a Franciscan Friar; translated out of Latin by Richard Browne, M.L. Col. Med. Lond. 1683.
A Physical Account of the Tree of Life, by Edw. Madeira Arrais. 1683.
Sure Methods of attaining a Long and Healthful Life, with the Means of correcting a Bad Constitution, by Lewis Cornaro; translated from the Italian. 1737.
Hermippus Redivivus, or the Sage's Triumph over Old Age and the Grave; wherein a Method is laid down for prolonging the Life and Vigour of Man. 1749.
A Delineation of the particular History of Life and Death, with a view to preserve Health and retard Old Age, by Francis Bacon, Baron of Verulam, Viscount St. Alban's. 1778.
We do not know how it may be with our readers; but for our own parts, we confess that we are very willing to be-that is, to remain, to exist, as long as circumstances and the fates will permit. We should have no objection to bargain for some five hundred years (we don't like to be unreasonable), provided we might during that time write-and be read. This may seem a little derogatory-a little like an admission of mere, common, human infirmity, which we, of editorial nature, should not be too forward to allow. For an editor, as he is in numerals more than a man, so ought he to be superior in a freedom from the ordinary infirmities--prejudice, ignorance, haste, death, and the like. The only excuse which we have to offer for contesting this position is, that it is-true. Like other people of great pretensions, kings, poets, warriors, philosophers, popular preachers, and inventors of "patent" medicines,-so editors of reviews and magazines die off and decay. The "brief candles" of their lives (from a farthing upwards) shed for a time a little light, and show a good deal of vapouring-they are puffed-they struggle--and at last, like all others, go out. Of course, they leave the world in darkness.
For our own particular parts, having admitted very readily our mortality (Mrs. Malaprop would call it our morality) and frailty, we may the less scrupulously lay claim to some qualities which our readers will be pleased to throw into the opposite scale. We have our weakness (good nature),-but we think, that we are entitled also to some credit for common sense and
sincere opinion. We do not certainly wait till every other periodical work has tasted and approved the relish of a book, and then come forth with our own flat speculations on obvious matters, founded upon the wisdom or mistakes of our betters. We do not consider our literary" repository" (to use good Mr. Ackerman's phrase), as a place of refuge for dull rebuses, and charades which must always remain a riddle. We do not correspond with ourselves, nor insert all the letters we receive, in order to show our own want of wit. We are not (we hope) prolix beyond all our contemporaries, yet eternally falling short of the mark. We do not pique ourselves on possessing an obituary, with every "Thomson" and "Johnson" faithfully set down, their mark and livelihood. (We know that the world does not care to hear of such unprofitable matters.) We have no account of West Lambeth Church. We have no epitaphs, original or from the Elegant Extracts, that can beguile, with their bad grammar, the muscles of our readers for a moment. We leave our friends to enjoy the quiet range of all abbeys and parish churches, from the Sid to the Tyne. A mermaid comes to Wapping, a pitchfork is transmuted into Neptune's trident, and of these we have no record.-If our readers can forgive us such omissions, we are content. We will in turn endeavour to lead them now and then from the dusty and beaten road of learning, over green and cheerful paths," by forest side or fountain," and show them bright things which the growth of later ages has hidden, but which nothing can ever destroy.
Having premised thus much, we will proceed to consider. our subject. And here let not the courteous reader, or rather the good matter-of-fact reader, dispute with us at the outset. Let him not deny to our wish of five hundred years its possible accomplishment. We ourselves are not "true believers" in the Eastern fashion. We do not credit all things good, bad, and indifferent. Yet, although we have some lurking doubts about the philosopher's stone, and even the elixir vita, we believe that something material may be done to prolong our lives, and save our age from the common penalties of pain and premature decay. We do not here refer to Dr. Brodum, who instructs us how to arrive at a cordial old age; nor to Dr. Solomon. (his gentle spirit will forgive us)-nor to his balm; neither have we in our immediate thoughts (though we respect his labours) Sir John Sinclair, who tells us, that the road to longevity is not paved with hard dumplings, nor watered very plentifully by either whiskey or wine.
Much no doubt may be done for our inveterate lovers of life, by air, and exercise, and diet. The grand nostrums certainly startle us sometimes, as well by their audacity as by the number of exceptions who daily die off in defiance of the
VOL. VII. PART I.
perpetual life poured into them. There is no knowing what to do with such rebels against their own immortality. We vent our spleen against them at first; but in the end we are obliged to inquire into the specific. Then our misgiving commences. We discover that there is something (or nothing) in it, which argues against its universal character. We deny its virtues ; and from one solitary instance insist upon the incompetency of all possible elixirs. This is not fair dealing. Much less fair is it to go further still, and argue, that life itself is not to be, even by any means, prolonged. Proverbs, as well as facts, should teach us better.
Senhor, may you live A THOUSAND YEARS!"-Such used to be a Spaniard's wish; nay it is so even now. It has grown into a proverb. It is hallowed by constant use. Shall we believe that it is merely jocose, chimerical? It may sound a little rhetorical, a little exaggerated; but we have no doubt that it is meant sincerely, and (what is more to the purpose) considered as not utterly impossible.-May you live a thousand years! It sounds like a magnificent blessing, full and musical. What a prodigal utterance must he have had who first spoke it! What an antipathy to arithmetic and fractions! We talk of a fine old age of three-score and ten years-It is contemptible. "What employment have we here," that could be ended so soon? What science could be mastered? what paradox made plain? what star surely tracked in its finer wanderings? what, in short, can we do that is worth doing, in so poor a fragment of time?
Once, our fathers were a mighty people. The men before the flood and after had their thousand years allotted to them, and they were wise and happy. They were patriarchs, and saw through the long file of their generations, blessing and blessed. It is true, that the taint of the first murder was upon them, and all were not free from error; yet it was not with them as with us, who, sickly and degenerate, fall into the earth before our time, and die in the morning of our wisdom. They read the stars, and "commerced with the skies." Heaven opened its bright gates, and disclosed to their seers its wondrous secrets. Dumb nature obeyed them, and spoke. The rock burst, and gave forth its waters. The great sea bared its heart, and let them pass. They had visions radiant as day, gorgeous as the rainbow,-sights, of which words are but the shadow. They had angels for their companions; and they heard the word of God-and lived.
O fortunatos nimium, sua si bona nôrint,
The assertions as to the long lives of the patriarchs cannot
be explained away on the ground of mere trope or figure; nor even by different methods of calculating time. Neither is it only a Jewish story, credited in Judæa. The old Chaldean, Egyptian, and Chinese authors speak of the great ages of those who lived in early times: and Pliny and Xenophon admit their testimony without hesitation. Whether longevity is to be ascribed to some peculiar providence is another question. Perhaps much may be attributed to simplicity of living, and something to freedom from hereditary disease.-Some of the most learned of the Jews have considered, that a certain term of life was actually fixed by the Creator, beyond which it was impossible to live. The Chaldeans, and perhaps others, believed, that life depended on the stars. The Greeks admitted the unalterable will of fate (this last differs little from our own notions of the prescience of the Deity): but that a certain term of three-score and ten or four-score years should be fixed and known as the decree of God, seems hardly consistent with our general ideas either of his wisdom or beneficence.
Whether Nature has so fashioned the crazy tenement of man, that it will endure the storms of a thousand winters, we cannot pretend to say. Here our experience fails us; and theory supplies little but conjecture. But that life may be improved, that youth may be prolonged, and age made less infirm, and death retarded, we conscientiously believe. Certain animals are known to outlive the ordinary term of man's life; yet we do not know that any thing has been discovered in their structure to account for such excelling longevity. The stag, the elephant, the eagle, the parrot, the viper, are notorious livers. And in the year 1497, in a fish-pond in Suabia, a carp, of prodigious size, was found, which had in its ear a ring of copper, with these words in Latin: "I am the first fish that was put into this pond, by the hands of Frederick the Second, governor of the world, the 5th October, 1230." So that this carp must have lived two hundred and sixty-seven years. In this last case, the parallel may not be quite so straight, as with animals who breathe the same atmosphere with man; though we know of nothing which leads us to suppose, that fishes in general attain a greater age than birds or quadrupeds, living in a different element.
But, lest such instances should be deemed insufficient, we may observe, that there are cases of such extreme longevity among ourselves, as to justify a hope that the ordinary term of life may be at least considerably extended. The most famous physicians, in particular, were also famous livers. Hippocrates lived to the age of 104.-Asclepiades, the Persian, to 150.Galen, in complete health, to 104. (Such men, the author of