網頁圖片
PDF

Who keep your primitive powers and rights so
ODE UPON Liberty.
Though men and angels fell.

[well,

Of all material lives the highest place .FREEDOM with Virtue takes her seat; To you is justly given; Her proper piace, her only scene,

And ways and walks the nearest Heaven. Is in the golden mean,

Whilst wretched we, yet vain and proud, think fit She lives not with the poor nor with the great. To boast, that we look up to it. The wings of those Necessity has clipt,

Ev'n to the universal tyrant, Love, And they 're in Fortune's bridewell whipt

You homage pay but once a year: To the laborious task of bread;

None so degenerous and unbirdly prove, These are by various tyrants captive led.

As his perpetual yoke to bear; Now wild Ambition with imperious force

None, but a few unhappy household fowl, Ridcs, reins, and spurs, them like th' unruly Whom human lordship does control: horse ;

Who from their birth corrupted were
And servile Avarice yokes them now, By bondage, and by man's example here.

Like toilsome oxen to the plough;
And sometimes Lust, like the misguided light, He's no small prince who every day
Draws them through all the labyrinths of night. Thus to himself can say ;
If any few among the great there be

Now will I sleep, now eat, now sit, now walk, From these insulting passions free,

Now meditate alone, now with acquaintance talk; Yet we ev'n those, too, fetter'd see

This I will do, here I will stay,
By custom, business,crowds, and formal decency; | Or, if my fancy call me away,
And, wheresoe'er they stay, and wheresoe'er they | My man and I will presently go ride
go,

(For we, before, have nothing to provide, Impertinences round them flow :

Nor, after, are to render an account) These are the small uneasy things

To Dover, Berwick, or the Cornish mount. Which about greatness still are found,

If thou but a short journey take, And rather it molest than wound:

As if thy last thou wert to make, Like gnats, which too much heat of summer | Business must be dispatch'd, ere thou canst part, brings;

Nor canst thou stir, unless there be But cares do swarm there, too, and those have

A hundred horse and men to wait on thee, As, when the boney goes too open lie, (stings: And many a mule and many a cart; A thousand wasps about it fly :

What an unwieldly man thou art ! Nor will the master ev'n to share admit;

The Rhodian Colossus so The master stands aloof, and dares not taste of A journey, too, might go, it.

Where honour,or where conscience, does not bind, Tis morning; well; I fain would yet sleep on;

Nor other law shall shackle me; You cannot now ; you must be gone

Slave to myself I will not be,
To court, or to the noisy hall :

Nor shall my future actions be confin'd
Besides, the rooms without are crowded all; · By my own present mind.
The stream of business does begin,

Who by resolves and vows engag'd does stand And a spring-tide of clients is come in.

For days, that yet belong to Fate, Ah cruel guards, which this poor prisoner keep ! | Does, like an unthrift, mortgage his estate, Will they not suffer him to sleep?

Before it falls into his hand : Make an escape; out at the postern flee,

The bondman of the cloister so, And get some blessed hours of liberty :

All that he does receive does always owe; With a few friends, and a few dishes, dine,

And still, as time comes in, it goes away And much of mirth and moderate wine.

Not to enjoy, but debts to pay. To thy bent mind some relaxation give,

Unhappy slave, and pupil to a bell, And steal one day out of thy life to live.

Which his hours-work, as well as hours, does tell ! Oh happy man (he cries) to whom kind Heaven

Unhappy, till the last, the kind releasing knell. Has such a freedom always given !

If life should a well-order'd poem be, Why, mighty madman, what should hinder thee

(In which he only hits the white From being every day as free?

Who joins true profit with the best delight)

The more heroic strain let others take, In all the free born nations of the air,

Mine the Pindaric way I'll make; (free, Never did bird a spirit so mean and sordid bear, The matter shall be grave, the numbers loose and As to exchange his native liberty

It shall not keep one settled pace of time, Of soaring boldly up into the sky,

In the same tune it shall not always chimne, His liberty to sing, to perch, or fly.

Nor shall each day just to his neighbour rhyme; When, and wherever he thought good,

| A thousand liberties it shall dispense, And all his innocent pleasures of the wood, And yet shall manage all without offence For a more plentiful or constant food.

Or to the sweetness of the sound, or greatness of Nor ever did ainbitious rage

the sense; Make him into a painted cage,

Nor shall it never from one subject start, Or the false forest of a well-hung room,

Nor seek traasitions to depart, For honour, and preferinent, come.

Nor its set way o'er stiles and bridges make, Now, blessings on you all, ye heroic race,

Nor through lares a com ass lake,

II.

As if it fear'd some trespass to commit.

| Tu mihi curarum requies, tu nocte vel atra • When the wide air 's a road for it.

Lumen, & in solis tu mihi turba locis".
So the imperial eagle does not stay
Till the whole carcase he devour,

With thee for cver I in woods could rest,
That's fallen into his power:

Where never human foot the ground has prest, As if his generous hunger understood

Thou from all sbades the darkness canst exclude, That he can never want plenty of food,

And from a desert banish solitude.
He only sucks the tasteful blood;
And to fresh game (ies cheerfully away;

And yet our dear self is so wearisome to us, that To kites, and meaner birds, he leaves the mangled we can scarcely support its conversation for an prey.

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 3 : OF SOLITUDE.

Odi, & amo: quare id faciam fortasse requiris. NUNQUAM minus solus, quam cum solus, is uow

Nescio; sed fieri sentio, & excrucior. become a very vulgar saying. Every man, and almost every boy, for these seventeen hun

I hate, and yet I love thee too; dred years, has had it in his mouth. But it was

How can that be? I know not how ; at first spoken by the excellent Scipio, who was

Only that so it is I know; without question a most eloquent and witty per

And feel with torment that 'tis so. son, as well as the most wise, most worthy, most happy, and the greatest of all mankind. His

It is a deplorable condition, this, and drives a meaning, no doubt, was this, that he found more

man sometimes to pitiful shifts, in seeking hos satisfaction to his mind, and more improvement

to avoid hinself. of it, by solitude than by company; and, to

The truth of the matter is, that neither he · show that he spoke not this loosely or out of va

who is a fop in the world, is a fit man to be alone; nity, after he had made Rome mistress of almost

nur he who has set his heart much upon the world, the whole world, he retired himself from it by a though he have never so much understanding; voluntary exile, and at a private house, in the so that solitude can be well fitted, and sit right, middle of a wood, near Linternum', passed the but upon a very few persons. They must have remainder of his glorious life no less gloriously.

enough knowledge of the world to see the vanity This house Seneca went to see so long after with

of it, and enough virtue to despise all vanity; if great veneration; and, among other things, de

the mind be possessed with any lust or passions, scribes his baths to have been of so mean a struc

a man had better be in a fair, than in a wood ture, that now, says he, the basest of the peo

alone. They may, like petty thieves, cheat us ple would despise them, and cry out, “ Poor

perhaps, and pick our pockets, in the midst of Scipio understood not how to live.” What an au

company; but, like robbers, they use to strip thority is here for the credit of retreat! and happy Land bind, or murder us, when they catch is had it been for Hannibal, if adversicv could have

| alone. This is but to retreat from men, and fall taught him as much wisdom as was learnt by into the bands of devils. It is like the punishScipio from the highest prosperities. This would

ment of parricides among the Roinans, to be be no wonder, if it were as truly as it is colourably

sowed into a bag, with an ape, a dug, and a and wittily said by Monsieur de Montagne,

serpent. . « Tbat ambition itself might teach us to love soli. The first work therefore that a man must do, tude; there is nothing does so much hate to have to make hiinselt capable f the good of solitude, companions.” It is true, it loves to have its el

is, the very eradication of all lusts ; for how is it bows free, it detests to have company on either

| possible for a man to enjoy himself, while his afside; but it delights above all things in a train fections are tied to things without himself? In the behind, aye, and ushers too before it. But the

... But the second place, he must learn the heart and get the greatest part of men aje so far from the opinion habit of thinking : for this too, no less than wellof that noble Roman, that if they chance at any I speaking, depends upon much practice ; and cotime to be without company, they are like a be- gitation is the thing which distinguishes the soli. calmed ship; they never move but by the wind of l tude of a rod from a wild beast. Now because other men's breath, and have no oars of their own the soul of man is not by its own nature or obser. to steer withal. It is very fantastical and contra- | vation furnished with sufficient materials to work dictory in human nature, that men should love | upon, it it is necessary for it to have continual retheinselves above all the rest of the world, and course to learning and books for fresh suwplies, yet never endure to be with themselves. When so that the solitary life will grow indigent, and they are in love with a mistress, all other persons

be ready to starve, without them ; but if once we are importunate and burthensome to them.

be thoroughly engaged in the love of letters, inTecum vivere amem, tecum obeam lubens,

stead of being wcaried with the length of any day, they would live and die with her alone.

we shall only complain of the shortness of ou

whole life. Sic ego secretis possum bene vivere sylvis, Quà nulla humano sit via trita pede.

2 4 Tibull. xiii. 9. Seneca Epist. lxxxvi,

3 De amore sho, !xxxüi.

O vita, stulto longa, sapienti brevis 4!

With all their wanton boughs dispute,

| And the more tuneful birds to both replying, O life, long to the fool, short to the wise ! Nor be myself, too, mute.

The first minister of state has not so much A silver stream shall roll his waters near, business in public, as a wise man has in Gilt with the Sun-beams here and there; private : if the one have little leisure to be On whose enamellid bank I'll walk, alone, the other has less leisure to be in com- | And see how prettily they smile, and hear pany ; the one has but part of the affairs of one

How prettily they talk. nation, the other all the works of God and mature, under his consideration. There is no Ah wretched and too solitary he, saying shocks me so much as that which I hear Who loves not his own company; very often, “ That a man does not know how to He'll feel the weight of 't many a day, pass his time.” It would have been but ill-spoken | Unless he call in sin or vanity by Mechusalem in the nine hundred sixty-ninth

To help to bear't away. year of his life ; so far it is from us, who have not time enough to attain to the utmost perfection Oh Solitude, first state of human-kind ! of any part of any science, to have cause to com

Which blest remain'd, till man did find plain that we are forced to be idle for want of work,

Ev'n his own helper's company. But this, you will say, is work only for the learn

| As soon as two alas ! together join'd, ed; others are not capable either of the employ

The serpent made up three. ments or divertisements that arrive from letters. I know they are not; and therefore cannot much Tho' God himself, through countless ages, thee recommend solitude to a man totally illiterate. . His sole companion chose to be, But, if any man be so unlearned, as to want en Thee, sacred Solitude, alone, tertainment of the little intervals of accidental Before the branchy head of number's tree solitude, which frequently occur in almost all

Sprang from the trunk of one, conditions (except the very meanest of the people, who have business enough in the necessary Thou (tho' men think thine an unactive part) provisions for life), it is truly a great shame both Dost, break and time th' unruly heart, to his parents and himself ; for a very small por

Which else would know no settled pace, tion of any ingenious art will stop up all those | Making it move, well-manag'd by thy art, gaps of our time: either music, or painting, or With swiftness and with grace. designing, or chymistry, or history, or gardening, or twenty other things, will do it usefully and Thou the faint beams of reason's scatter'd light pleasantly ; and if he happen to set his affections Dost, like a burning-glass, unite; upon poetry (which I do not advise him too im Dost multiply the feeble heat, moderately), that will over-do it ; no wood will | And fortify the strength, till thou dost bright be thick enough to hide him from the importuni And noble fires beget. ties of company or business, which would abstract him from his beloved.

Whilst this hard truth I teach, methinks, I see.

The monster London laugh at me; - O qui me gelidis in vallibus Hæmi

I should at thee too, foolish city! Sistat, & ingeuti ramorun protegat umbrâs ?

If it were fit to laugh at misery;

But thy estate I pity.
Hail, old patrician trees, so great and good! Let but thy wicked men from out thee go,
Hail, ye plebeian under-wood !

And all the fools that crowd thee so,
Where the poetic birds rejoice,

Even thou who dost thy millions boust,
And for their quiet nests and plenteous food

A village less than Islington wilt grow,
Pay, with their grateful voice.

A solitude almost.
Hail, the poor Muses' richest manor-seat !
Ye country-houses, and retreat,

III.
Which all the happy gods so love,
That for you oft they quit their bright and great

OF OBSCURITY.
metropolis above.

Nam neque divitibus contingunt gaudia solis ; Here Nature does a house for me erect,

Nec vixit malè, qui natus moriensque fefel. Nature the wisest architect,

lit. Who those fond artists does despise

God made not pleasures only for the rich; That can the fair and living trees neglect;

Nor have those men without their share too liv'd, Yet the dead timber prize.

Who both in life and death the world deceiv'd. Here let me, careless and unthoughtful lying, This seems a strange sentencc, thus literally Hear the soft winds, above me flying,

translated, and looks as if it were in vindication of

the men of business (for who else can deceive the 4“) vita, misero longa, felici brevis !" SVirg. Georg. ii. 459.

• Hor. 1 Ep. xvii. % VOLA VIE

[ocr errors]

world?); whereas it is in commendation of those that time, with his friend Metrodorus: after who live and die so obscurely, that the world whose death, making in one of his letters a kind takes no notice of them. This Horace calls commemoration of the happiness which they two deceiving the world; and in another place uses had enjoyed together, he adds at last, that he the same phrase",

thought it no disparagement to those great fe.

licities of their life, that, in the midst of the - Secretum iter & fallentis semita vitæ. most talked-of and talking country in the world, The secret tracts of the deceiving life.

they had lived so long, not only without fame,

but almost without being heard of. And yet, It is very elegant in Latin, but our English within a very few years afterward, there were word will hardly bear up to that sense; and no two names of men more known, or more getherefore Mr. Broom translates it very well nerally celebrated. If we engage into a large

acquaintance and various familiarities, we set Or from a life led, as it were, by stealth. open our gates to the invaders of most of our

time: we expose our life to a quotidian ague of Yet we say in our language, a thing deceives our frigid impertinences, which would make a wise sight, when it passes before us unperceived; man tremble to think of. Now, as for being and we may say well encugh, out of the same known much by sight, and pointed at, I cannot author,

comprehend the honour that lies in that; what

socver it be, every mountebank has it more Sometimes with sleep, sometimes with wine, than the best doctor, and the hangman more we strive

than the lord chief justice of a city. Every The cares of life and troubles to deceive. creature has it, both of nature and art, if it be

any ways extraordinary. It was as often said, But that is not to deceive the world, but to de “This is that Bucephalus," or, “ This is that ceive ourselves, as Quintilian says), vitam | Incitatus,” when they were led prancing through fallere, to draw on still, and amuse, and de the streets, as, “This is that Alexander," or, ceive, our life, till it be advanced insensibly to | - This is that Domitian;" and truly, for the the fatal period, and fall into that pit which latter, I take Incitatus to have been a much more nature hath prepared for it. The meaning of all honourable beast than his master, and more this is no more than that most vulgar saying, deserving the consulship, than he the empire. Bene qui latuit, bene vixit, He has lived I love and commend a true good-fame, bewell, who has lain well hidden; which, if it be cause it is the shadow of virtue: not that it a truth, the world (I will swear) is sufficiently doth any good to the body which it accompanies, deceived: for my part, I think it is, and that but it is an efficacious shadow, and, like that of the pleasantest condition of life is, in incognito. St. Peter, cures the diseases of others. The best What a brave privilege is it, to be free from all kind of glory, no doubt, is that which is reflected contentions, from all envying or being envyed, from honesty, such as was the glory of Cato and from receiving and from paying all kind of ce | Aristides; but it was harmful to them both, and remonies! It is, in my mind, a very delightful is seldom beneficial to any man, whilst he lives; pastime, for two good and agreeable friends to what it is to him after his death, I cannot say, travel up and down together, in places where because I love not philosophy merely notionaland they are by nobody known, nor know any body. conjectural, and no man who has made the experiIt was the case of Æneas and his Achates, whenment has been so kind as to come back to inform they walked invisibly about the fields and us. l'pon the whole matter, I account a person streets of Carthage. Venus herself,

who has a moderate inind and fortune, and lives

in the conversation of two or three agreeablo A vail of thicken'd air around them cast, friends, with little commerce in the world besides, That none might know, or see them, as they who is esteemed well enough by his few neigh

bours that know him, and is truly irreproachable

by any body; and so, after a healthful quiet life, The common story of Demosthenes' confession, before the great inconveniencies of old-age, goes that he had taken great pleasure in hearing of a more silently out of it than he came in (for I would tanker-woman say, as he passed, “ This is that not have bim so much as cry in the exit): this Demosthenes," is wonderfully ridiculous from innocent deceiver of the world, as Horace calls So solid an orator. I myself have often met him, this muta persona, I take to have been with that temptation to vanity (if it were any); more happy in his part, than the greatest actors but am so far from finding it any pleasure, that that fill the stage with show and noise, nay, it only makes me run faster from the place, even than Augustus himself, who asked, with till I get, as it were, out of sight-shot. Demno- his last breath, whether he had not played his critus relates, and in such a manner as if he farce very well. 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 Seneca, Ex THYESTE, ACT 11. C'HOR, many years in his gardens, so famous since

Stet quicumque volet potens, &c. • Hor, 1 Ep. xviii. 103. 8 Sat, vji. 114. Upon the slippery tops of human state,

Declam, de Apib. Virg. Æn. i. 415. || The gilded pinnacles of fate,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Let others proudly stand, and, for a while | very nigh to those of a philosopher. There is The giddy danger to beguile,

no other sort of life that affords so many branchWith joy, and with disdain, look down on all, es of praise to a panegyrist: The utility of

Till their heads turn, and down they fall. it to a man's self; the usefulness, or rather Me, O ye gods, on earth, or else so near

necessity, of it to all the rest of mankind; the That I no fall to earth may fear,

innocence, the pleasure, the antiquity, the And, Oye gods, at a good distance seat

dignity. From the long ruins of thc great.

The utility (I mean plainly the lucre of it) Here, wrapt in th' arms of Quiet let me lie; is not so great, now in our nation, as arises Quiet, companion of Obscurity!

from merchandise and the trading of the city, Here let my life with as much silence slide, from whence many of the best estates and chief

As time, that measui ez it, does glide, honours of the kingdom are derived: we have Nor let the breath of infamy, or fame,

no men now fetched from the plough to be made From town to town echo about my name.

lords, as they were in Rome to be made conNor let my homely death embroider'd be

suls and dictators; the reason of which I conWith scutcheon or with elegy.

ceive to be from an evil custom, now grown as An old plebeian let me die,

strong among us as if it were a law, which is, Alas! all then are such as well as I.

that no men put their children to be bred-up To him, alas, to him, I fear,

apprentices in agriculture, as in other trades, The face of death will terrible appear,

but such who are so poor, that when they come Who, in his life flattering his senseless pride, to be men, they have not wherewithal to set up By being known to all the world beside,

in it, and so can only farm some small parcel of Does not himself, when he is dying, know,

ground, the rent of which devours all but the Nor what he is, nor whither he 's to go.

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, OF AGRICULTURE.

as in any other track of commerce. If there

were always two or three thousand youths, for THF. first wish of Virgil (as you will find anon

seven or eight years, bound to this profession, by his verses) was to be a good philosopher; )

cond philosopher: that they might learn the whole art of it, and tbe second, a good husbandman: and God

and God afterwards be enabled to be masters in it, by a (whom he seemed to understand better than moderate stock; I cannot doubt but that we most of the most learned heathens) dealt with should see as many aldermen's estates made in him, just as he did with Solomon; because he

the country, as now we do out of all kind of prayed for wisdom in the first place, he added

merchandizing in the city. There are as many all things else, which were subordinately to be

ways to be rich, and, which is better, there is desired. He made him one of the best philo no possibility to be poor, without such neglisophers, and best husbandmen; and, to adorn | gence as can neither have excuse nor pity : for and communicate both those faculties, the best a little ground will without question feed a little poet: he made him, besides all this, a rich man,

family, and the superfluities of life (which are and a man who desired to be no richer

now in some cases by custom made almost ne

cessary) must be supplied out of the superO fortunatus nimium, & bona qui sua novit!

abundance of art and industry, or contemned by

as great a degree of philosophy. To be a husbandman, is but a retreat from the 1 As for the necessity of this art, it is evident city; to be a philosopher, from the world; or

enough, since this can live without all others, rather, a retreat from the world, as it is man's,

and no one other without this. This is like into the world, as it is God's.

speech, without which the society of men canBut, since nature denies to most men the not be preserved: the others like figures and capacity or appetite, and fortune allows but to tropes of speech, which serve only to adorn it, a very few the opportunities or possibility, of Many nations have lived, and some do still. applying themselves wholly to philosophy. 'the without any art but this : not so elegantly, I best mixture of human affairs that we can make, confess, but still they live ; and almost all the are the employments of a country life. It is other arts, which are here practised, are beas Columella a calls it. Res sine dubitatione | holden to this for most of their materials. proxima & masi consanguinen sapientize the The innocence of this life is the next thing nearest neighbour, or rather next in kindred, to for which I commend it; and if husbandmen philosophy. Varro says, the principles of it are preserve not that, they are much to blame, for the same which Ennius made to be the principles no men are so free from the temptations of ini. of all nature, Earth, Water, Air, and the Sun. It quity. They live by what they can get by indoes certainly comprehend more parts of phi.dustry from the earth; and others, by what losophy, than any one profession, art, or science,

they can catch by craft from men. 'They live in the world besides : and therefore Cicero says), | upon an estate given them by their mother; and the pleasures of a husbandman, mihi ad sa others, upon an estate cheated from their brepientis vitam proxime videntur accedere, come

thren. They live, like sheep and kine, by the

allowances of nature : and others, like wolves ? Lib. I. c. i ? De Sencet. and foxes, by the acquisitions of rapine. And

« 上一頁繼續 »