« 上一頁繼續 »
as when our conscience beareth us good witness; and the wise man saith, The substance of a man is full good when sin is not in a man's conscience. Afterward, in getting your riches and in using them, ye must have great business and great diligence that your good name be always kept and conserved; for Solomon saith, that better it is and more it availeth a man to have a good name than to have great riches; and Therefore he saith in another place, Do great diligence (saith he) in keeping thy friends and thy good name, for it shall longer abide with thee than any treasure, be it ever so precious: and certainly he should not be called a gentleman that, after God and a good conscience all things left, doth not his diligence and business to keep his good name; and Cassidore saith, that it is a sign of a gentle heart, when a man loveth and desireth to have a good name.
SIR THOMAS MORE.
(1480-1535.) (Sır THOMAS MORE, the celebrated Lord Chancellor under Henry VIII., perished on the scaffold for opposing the wishes of that arbitrary monarch in reference to the divorce of Catherine.
The literary productions of More are party in Latin and partly in English: he adopted the former language probably from taste, the latter for the purpose of reaching the commonality. Besides some epistles and other minor writings, he wrote, in Latin, a curious philosophical work under the title of Utopia, which, describing an imaginary pattern country and people, has added a word to the English language, every scheme of national improvement founded on theoretical views being since then termed Utopian. The most of the English writings of More are pamphlets on the religious controversies of his day, and the only one wbich is now of value is A History of Edward V., and of his Brother, and of Richard III., which Mr. Hallan considers as the first English prose work free of vulgarism and pedantry.
The following passages from the Utopia, are from the translation by Bishop Burnet.]
The Utopian idea of Pleasure. There are many things that in themselves have nothing that is truly delighting : on the contrary, they have a good deal of bitterness in them; and yet by our perverse appetites after forbidden objects, are not only ranked among the pleasures, but are made even the greatest designs of life. Among those who pursue these sophisticated pleasures, the Utopians reckon those whom I mentioned before, who think themselves really the better for having fine clothes, in which they think they are doubly mistaken, both in the opinion that they have of their clothes, and in the opinion that they have of themselves; for if you consider the use of clothes, why should a fine thread be thought better than a coarse one? And yet that sort of men, as if they had some real advantages beyond others, and did not owe it wholly to their mistakes, look big, and seem to fancy themselves to be the more valuable on that account, and imagine that a respect is due to them for the sake of a rich garment, to which they would not have pretended if they had been more meanly clothed; and they resent it as an affront, if that respect is not paid them. It is also a great folly to be taken with these outward marks of respect, which signify nothing; for what true or real pleasure can one find in this, that another man stands bare, or makes legs to him? Will the bending another man's
thighs give you any ease? And will his head's being bare cure the madness of yours? And yet it is wonderful to see how this false notion of pleasure bewitches many, who delight themselves with the fancy of their nobility, and are pleased with this conceit, that they are descended from ancestors who have been held for some successions rich, and that they have had great possessions; for this is all that makes nobility at present; yet they do not think themselves a whit the less noble, though their immediate parents have left none of his wealth to them; or though they themselves have squandered it all away. The Utopians have no better opinion of those who are much taken with gems and precious stones, and who account it a degree of happiness next to a divine one, if they can purchase one that is very extraordinary, especially if it be of that sort of stones that is then in greatest request; for the same sort is not at all times of the same value with all sorts of people; nor will men buy it, unless it be dismounted and taken out of the gold. And then the jeweller is made to give good security, and required solemnly to swear that the stone is true, that by such an exact caution, a false one may not be bought instead of a true; whereas if you were to examine it, your eye could find no difference between that which is counterfeit and that which is true; so that they are all one to you, as much as if you were blind. And can it be thought that they who heap up an useless mass of wealth, not for any use that it is to bring them, but merely to please themselves with the contemplation of it, enjoy any true pleasure in it? The delight they find is only a false shadow of joy.
Those are no better whose error is somewhat different from the former, and who hide it, out of the fear of losing it; for what other name can fit the hiding it in the earth, or rather the restoring it to it again, it being thus cut off from being useful, either to its owner or to the rest of mankind ? And yet the owner having hid it carefully, is glad, because he thinks he is now sure of it. And in case one should come to steal it, the owner, though he might live perhaps ten years after that, would all that while after the theft, of which he knew nothing, find no difference between his having it or losing it, for both ways it was equally useless to him.
Among those foolish pursuers of pleasure, Utopians reckon all those that delight in hunting, or birding, or gaming: of whose madness they have only heard, for they have no such things among them.
Thus though the rabble of mankind looks upon these, and all other things of this kind which are indeed innumerable, as pleasures ; the Utopians, on the contrary, observing that there is nothing in the nature of them that is truly pleasant, conclude that they are not to be reckoned among pleasures. For though these things may create some tickling in the senses (which seems to be a true notion of pleasure), yet they reckon that this does not arise from the thing itself, but from a depraved custom, which may so vitiate a man's taste, that bitter things may pass for sweet; but as a man's sense when corrupted, either by a disease or some ill habit, does not change the nature of other things, so neither can it change the nature of pleasure.
They reckon up several sorts of these pleasures, which they call true ones; some belong to the body, and others to the mind. The pleasures of the mind lie
in knowledge, and in that delight which the contemplation of truth carries with it; to which they add the joyful reflections on a well-spent life, and the assured hopes of a future happiness. They divide the pleasures of the body into two sorts; the one is that which gives our senses some real delight, and is performed, either by the recruiting of nature, and supplying those parts on which the internal heat of life feeds; and that is done by eating or drinking: Or when nature is eased of any surcharge that oppresses it. There is another kind of this sort of pleasure, that neither gives us anything that our bodies require, nor frees us from anything with which we are over-charged; and yet it excites our senses by a secret unseen virtue, and by a generous impression, it so tickles and affects them, that it turns them inwardly upon themselves; and this is the pleasure begot by music.
Another sort of bodily pleasure is, that which consists in a quiet and good constitution of body, by which there is an entire healthiness spread over all the parts of the body not allayed with any disease. This, when it is free from all mixture of pain, gives an inward pleasure of itself, even though it should not be excited by any external and delighting object; and although this pleasure does not so vigorously affect the sense, nor act so strongly upon it, yet, as it is the greatest of all pleasures, so almost all the Utopians reckon it the foundation and basis of all the other joys of life; since this alone makes one's state of life to be easy and desirable ; and when this is wanting, a man is really capable of no other pleasure.
They look upon indolence and freedom from pain, if it does not rise from perfect health, to be a state of stu