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SYL V A.
ERUM, et sententiarum, quasi "ran dicta a
arborum nascentium indiscriminatim multitudinem Sylvam dicere: ità etiam libros suos in quibus varice et diverse materia opuscula temere congesta erant, Sylvas appellabant antiqui, Timber-trees.
AS THEY HAVE FLOWED OUT OF HIS DAILY READINGS ;
OR HAD THEIR REFLUX TO HIS PECULIAR
NOTION OF THE TIMES :
Tecum habita, ut nôris quam sit tibi curta supellex.
Pers. Sat, 4.
DISCOVERIES.] From the fol. 1641. These are among “the last drops of Jonson's quill.” A few occasional remarks of an early date may, perhaps, be found here; but there is internal evidence that the greater number of them were made subsequently to 1630, when he was prest by extremities, and struggling with want and disease for breath.
Those who derive all their knowledge of Jonson from the commentators on Shakspeare, will not (if they should condescend to open these pages,) be unprofitably employed in comparing the manly tone, the strong sense, the solid judgment, the extensive learning, the compressed yet pure and classical diction of the declining poet, with the dull
, cold, jejune, pompous and parasitical pedantry of Hurd and others, whom they have been called on to admire, principally, as it should seem, for the supercilious and captious nature of their criticisms on his labours.
JORTUNA.-I11 fortune never crush'd
that man, whom good fortune deceived not. I therefore have counselled my friends, never to trust to her fairer side,
though she seemed to make peace with them: but to place all things she gave them, so as she might ask them again without their trouble ; she might take them from them, not pull them ; to keep always a distance between her, and themselves. He knows not his own strength, that hath not met adversity. Heaven prepares good men with crosses; but no ill can happen to a good man.
Contraries are not mixed. Yet, that which happens to any man, may to every man.
But it is in his reason what he accounts it, and will make it.
Casus.-Change into extremity is very frequent,
As when a beggar suddenly grows rich, he commonly becomes a prodigal ; for to obscure his former obscurity, he puts on riot and excess.
Consilia.—No man is so foolish, but may give another good counsel sometimes; and no man is so wise, but may easily err, if he will take no other's counsel, but his own. But very few men are wise by their own counsel ; or learned by their own teaching. For he that was only taught by himself,“ had a fool to his master.
Fama.-A Fame that is wounded to the world, would be better cured by another's apology, than its own : for few can apply medicines well themselves. Besides, the man that is once hated, both his good, and his evil deeds oppress him. He is not easily emergent.
Negotia.-In great affairs it is a work of difficulty to please all. And oft-times we lose the occasion of carrying a business well, and thoroughly, by our too much haste. For passions are spiritual rebels, and raise sedition against the understanding.
Amor Patria.—There is a necessity all men should love their country: he that professeth the contrary, may be delighted with his words, but his heart is there.
Ingenia.—Natures that are hardened to evil you shall sooner break, than make straight; they are like poles that are crooked and dry; there is no attempting them.