Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

there is a rabble even amongst the gentry; a sort of plebeian heads, whose fancy moves with the same wheel as those; men in the same level with mechanicks, though their fortunes do somewhat gild their infirmities, and their purses compound for their follies. But, as in casting account three or four men together come short in account of one man placed by himself below them, so neither are a troop of these ignorant Doradoes of that true esteem and value as many a forlorn person,

whose condition doth place him' below their feet. Let us speak like politicians; there is a nobility without heraldry, a natural dignity, whereby one man is ranked with another, another filed before him, according to the quality of his desert, and preeminence of his good parts. Though the corruption of these times, and the bias of present practice, wheel another way, thus it was in the first and primitive commonwealths, and is yet in the integrity and cradle of well ordered polities:3 till corruption getteth ground;-ruder desires labouring after that which wiser considerations contemn;-every one having a liberty to amass and heap up riches, and they a licence or faculty to do or purchase any thing.

SECT. II.—This general and indifferent temper of mine doth more nearly dispose me to this noble virtue. It is a happiness to be born and framed unto virtue, and to grow up from the seeds of nature, rather than the inoculations and forced grafts

[ocr errors]

7 a rabble even amongst the gentry;] d'argent, et se moquant de lui à gorge Optime Socrates dixit: “Neque frumen- déployée, dit à ceux qui étoient à l'entum optimum judicamus, quod in pul- tour de lui, “ et je vous prie voyez un cherrimo agro natum est, sed quod com- peu cette masse de terre dorée, qui a etė mode nutrit, neque virum bonum et stu- cuite au soleil."-Fr. Tr. diosum, aut amicum benevolum, qui ge- I him] So in Edts. 1642 and 1686nere clarus, sed qui moribus egregiis all the MSS. and all the other Edis. fuerit. Vid. Stobæum serm. 84, ex vers. read, them.--Ed. Gesner.-M.

2 another] All the MSS. and Edts. 8 their fortunes do somewhat gild, &c.] 1642 read, and.--Ed. Et genus et formam regina pecunia 3 in the integrity and cradle of well donat."

Hor. Epist. 1. i. 6.-M. ordered polities:] “ In those well order9 Doradoes] From the Spanish, Dora- ed polities whose entireness was yet undo, a gilt-head, gilt-poll.-J. W. broken, and their freshness unimpaired."

The epithet is evidently in allusion to Sir Thomas uses integrity in the same the preceding sentence: “ Though their sense in the following passage ;-"who fortunes do somewhat gild their infirmi- go with healthful prayers unto the last ties, &c."-Ed.

scene of their lives, and in the integrity Diogenes, qui ne pouvait souffrir ces of their faculties return their spirit unto gens-là devant ses yeux, voyant une fois God that gave it." Christian Morals un de ces fanfarons, ou de ces galands, p. i, $ 4.-Ed. avec un habit tout chamarré d'or et

of education : yet, if we are directed only by our particular natures, and regulate our inclinations by no higher rule than that of our reasons, we are but moralists; divinity will still call us heathens. Therefore this great work of charity must have other motives, ends, and impulsions. I give no alms to satisfy the hunger of my brother, but to fulfil and accomplish the will and command of my God; I draw not my purse for his sake that demands it, but his that enjoined it; I relieve no man upon the rhetorick of his miseries, nor to content mine own commiserating disposition; for this is still but moral charity, and an act that oweth more to passion* than reason. He that relieves another upon the bare suggestion and bowels of pity doth not this so much for his sake as for his own: for by compassion we make another's misery our own; and so, by relieving them, we relieve ourselves also. It is as erroneous a conceit to redress other men's misfortunes upon the common considerations of merciful natures, that it may be one day our own case; for this is a sinister and politick kind of charity, whereby we seem to bespeak the pities of men in the like occasions. And truly I have observed that those professed eleemosynaries, though in a crowd or multitude, do yet direct and5 place their petitions on a few and selected persons; there is surely a physiognomy, which those experienced and master mendicants observe, whereby they instantly discover a merciful aspect, and will single out a face, wherein they spy the signatures and marks of mercy. For there are mystically in our faces certain characters which carry in them the motto of our souls, wherein he that can read A B C may read our natures. I hold, moreover, that there is a phytognomy, or physiognomy, not only of men, but of plants and vegetables; and in every one of them some outward figures which hang as signs or bushes of their inward forms. The finger of God hath left an inscription upon all his works, not graphical, or composed of letters, but of their several forms, constitutions, parts, and operations, which, aptly joined together, do make one word that doth express their natures. By these letters God calls the stars by their names; and by this alphabet Adam assigned to every creature a name peculiar to its nature. Now, there are, besides these characters in our faces, certain mystical figures in our hands, which I dare not call mere dashes, strokes à la volées or at random, because delineated by a pencil that never works in vain; and hereof I take more particular notice, because I carry that in mine own hand which I could never read of nor discover in another. Aristotle, I confess, in his acute and singular book of physiognomy, hath made no mention of chiromancy:' yet I believe the Egyptians, who were neareraddicted to those abstruse and mystical sciences, had a knowledge therein; to which those vagabond and counterfeit Egyptians did after3 pretend, and perhaps retained a few corrupted principles, which sometimes might verify their prognosticks.

4 passion] In the sense of suffering,bush, 't is true that a good play needs no sympathy.Ed.

epilogue, &c.” 5 direct and] Omitted in all the MSS. To which passage we find in Boswell's and Edts. 1642.- Ed.

Edition of Malone's Shakspeare the fol6 can] MSS.W.& R. read, cannot.-Ed. lowing note:

7 hang as signs or bushes, &c.] In It appears formerly to have been the the epilogue to Shakspeare's As you like custom to hang a tuft of ivy at the door it, occurs the following passage :

of a vintner. I suppose ivy was rather " If it be true that good wine needs no chosen than any other plant, as it has relation to Bacchus. So, in Gascoigne's 8 à la volée] So all the MSS.: but Glass of Government, 1575:

It is the common wonder of all men, how, among so many millions of faces, there should be none alike: now, contrary, I wonder as much how there should be any. He that shall consider how many thousand several words have been carelessly and without study composed out of twenty-four letters; withal, how many hundred lines there are to be drawn in the fabrick of one man; shall easily find that this variety is necessary: and it will be very hard that they shall so concur as to

Edt. 1642 read, a Lavole !-Ed. “Now a days the good wyne necdeth

9 hath made no mention] Edts. 1642 none ivye garland."

read, “hath made mention.”--Ed. Again, in The Rival Friends, 1632:

1 chiromancy :] That Sir Thos. Browne

had no disinclination to listen to the mar"'Tis like the ivy-bush anto a tavern."

vellous must be allowed; but, from the Again, in Summer's Last Will and brief and guarded mention of ChiromanTestament, 1600:

cy in his Vulgar Errors, it may perhaps “Green ivy-bushes at the vintner's be inferred that his attachment to that doors." STERVENS.

sublime science did not subsequently inThe practice is still observed in War- crease. See Vulgar Errors, book v, c. 23. wickshire and the adjoining counties, at -Ed. statute-hirings, wakes, &c. by people who 2 nearer] Edt. 1642 W. reads, never. sell ale at no other time. And hence, I Edt. 1642 C. reads, ever.-- Ed. suppose, the Bush tavern at Bristol, and 3 did after] All the MSS. and Edts. other places. Ritson.- Ed.

1642 read, do yet. -Ed.

make one portrait like another. Let a painter carelessly limn out a million of faces, and you shall find them all different; yea, let him have his copy before him, yet, after all his art, there will remain a sensible distinction: for the pattern or example of every thing is the perfectest in that kind," whereof we still come short, though we transcend or go beyond it; because herein it is wide, and agrees not in all points unto its copy. Nor doth the similitude of creatures disparage the variety of nature, nor any way confound the works of God. For even in things alike there is diversity; and those that do seem to accord do manifestly disagree. And thus is man like God; for, in the same things that we resemble him we are utterly different from him. There was never any thing so like another as in all points to concur; there will ever some reserved difference slip in, to prevent the identity; without which two several things would not be alike, but the same, which is impossible.

Sect. II.-But, to return from philosophy to charity, I hold not so narrow a conceit of this virtue as to conceive, that to give alms is only to be charitable, or think a piece of liberality can comprehend the total of charity. Divinity hath wisely divided the act thereof into many branches, and hath taught us, in this narrow way, many paths unto goodness; as many ways as we may do good, so many ways we may charitable. There are infirmities not only of body, but of soul and fortunes, which do require the merciful hand of our abilities. I cannot contemn a man for ignorance, but behold him with as much pity as I do Lazarus. It is no greater charity to clothe his body than apparel the nakedness of his soul. It is an honourable object to see the reasons of other men wear our liveries, and their borrowed understandings do homage to the bounty of ours. It is the cheapest way of beneficence, and, like the natural charity of the sun, illuminates another without obscuring itself. To be reserved and caitiffs in this

be

4 Let a painter carelessly limn, &c.] ly read, limb, or limbe, for limn.-Ed. MS. W. and Edts. 1642 read, “Let a 5 and caitiff] Omitted in all the MSS. painter carefully limbe out a million of and Edts. 1642.-Ed. faces, and you shall find them all differ- The restricted sense of niggardly, in ent, and after all his art there will remain which this word must be here understood, a sensible distinction from the pattern of can scarcely be supported by the authoevery thing in the perfectest of that kind.” rity of other writers. It is a sense which

All the MSS. and Editions erroneous- neither attaches to chetif nor to cattivo

but a

part of goodness is the sordidest piece of covetousness, and more contemptible than the pecuniary avarice. To this (as calling myself a scholar) I am obliged by the duty of my condition. I make not therefore

my
head

a grave, treasury of knowledge. I intend no monopoly, but a community in learning. I study not for my own sake only, but for theirs that study not for themselves. I envy no man that knows more than myself, but pity them that know less. I instruct no man as an exercise of my knowledge, or with an intent rather to nourish and keep it alive in mine own head than beget and propagate it in his. And, in the midst of all my endeavours, there is but one thought that dejects me, that my acquired parts must perish with myself, nor can be legacied among my honoured friends. I cannot fall out [with] or condemn a man for an errour, or conceive why a difference in opinion should divide an affection;" for controversies, disputes, and argumentations, both in philosophy and in divinity, if they meet with discreet and peaceable natures, do not infringe the laws of charity. In all disputes, so much as there is of passion, so much there is of nothing to the purpose; for then reason, like a bad hound, spends upon a false scent, and forsakes the question first started. And this is one reason why controversies are never determined ; for, though they be amply proposed, they are scarce at all handled; they do so swells with unnecessary digressions; and the parenthesis on the party is often as large as the main discourse upon the subject. The foundations of religion are already established, and the principles of salvation subscribed unto by all. There remain not many controversies worthy a passion, and yet never any dispute it without, not only in divinity but inferiour arts. What a Bargaxouvolania and hot skirmish is betwixt S. and T. in Lucian! How do grammarians hack and slash for the genitive

7

the French and Italian originals of the an affection;] All the MSS. and Edts. word. Might it, in Sir Thomas's days, 1642 read, our affections.Ed. be used provincially in that sense ? Stingy 8 swell] All the MSS. and Edts. 1642 in Norfolk means illnatured; in Johnson read, wander.-Ed. it means covetous.-Ed.

9 there remain, &c.] All the MSS. and 6 treasury] So all the MSS. and Edts. Edts. 1642 read, "there remains not one 1642– this reading has been followed by controversy worth a passion.”Ed. the Latin and French translators, and we i hot skirmish is betwixt S. and T. in venture to adopt it, in opposition to all Lucian) In bis Dialog. judicium vocalium, other Edts. which read treasure.--Ed. where there is a large oration made to

« PredošláPokračovať »