תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

centest life traduced : and in such a license of lying, a field so fruitful of slanders, how can there be matter wanting to his laughter ? Hence comes the epidemical infection : for how can they escape the contagion of the writings, whom the virulency of the calumnies hath not staved off from reading ?

XLVI.

Sed seculi morbus.—Nothing doth more invite a greedy reader, than an unlooked-for subject. And what more unlooked-for, than to see a person of an unblamed life made ridiculous, or odious, by the artifice of lying ? but it is the disease of the age : and no wonder

if the world, growing old, begin to be infirm : old age itself is a disease. It is long since the sick world began to doat and talk idly: would she had but doated still ! but her dotage is now broke forth into a madness, and become a mere frenzy.

XLVII. Alastoris malitia.-This Alastor, who hath left nothing unsearched, or unassailed, by his impudent and licentious lying in his aguish writings; (for he was in his cold quaking fit all the while ;) what hath he done more, than a troublesome base cur ? barked and made a noise afar off ; had a fool or two to spit in his mouth, and cherish him with a musty bone ? but they are rather enemies of my fame than me, these barkers.

XLVIII.

Mali Choragi fuere.—It is an art to have so much judgment as to apparel a lie well, to give it a good dressing ; that though the nakedness would shew deformed and odious, the suiting of it might draw their readers. Some love any strumpet (be she never so shop-like or meretricious) in good clothes

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

But these, nature could not have formed them better, to destroy their own testimony, and overthrow their calumny.

XLIX. Hear-say news.—That an elephant, in 1630, came hither ambassador from the great Mogul (who could both write and read) and was every day allowed twelve cast of bread, twenty quarts of Canary sack, besides nuts and almonds the citizens' wives sent him. That he had a Spanish boy to his interpreter, and his chief negociation was, to confer or practise with Archy, the principal fool of state, about stealing hence Windsor-castle, and carrying it away on his back if he can.

[ocr errors]

L.

Lingua sapientis, potius quàm loquentis.-A wise tongue should not be licentious and wandering; but moved, and, as it were, governed with certain reins from the heart, and bottom of the breast : and it was excellently said of that philosopher, that there was a wall or parapet of teeth set in our mouth, to restrain the petulancy of our words; that the rashness of talking should not only be retarded by the guard and watch of our heart, but be fenced in, and defended by certain strengths, placed in the mouth itself, and within the lips. But you shall see some so abound with words, without any seasoning or taste of matter, in so profound a security, as while they are speaking for the most part, they confess to speak they know

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

not what.

Of the two (if either were to be wished) I would rather have a plain downright wisdom, than a foolish and affected eloquence. For what is so furious and Bethlem like, as a vain sound of chosen and excellent words, without any subject of sentence or science mixed ?

LI.

Optanda.-Thersites Homeri.—Whom the disease of talking still once possesseth, he can never hold his peace. Nay, rather than he will not discourse he will hire men to hear him. And so heard, not hearkened unto, he comes off most times like a mountebank, that when he hath praised his medicines, finds none will take them, or trust him. He is like Homer's Thersites.

[ocr errors]

'Αμετροεπής, ακριτόμυθος ; speaking without judgment

or measure.

Loquax magis, quàm facundus,
Satis loquentiæ, sapientiæ parum.
Γλώσσης τοι θησαυρός εν ανθρώποισιν άριστος
Φειδωλής, πλείστη δε χάρις κατα μέτρον ιούσης.
Optimus est homini lingua thesaurus, et ingens
Gratia, quæ parcis mensurat singula verbis.

LII.

Homeri Ulysses.Demacatus Plutarchi.-Ulysses in Homer, is made a long-thinking man, before he speaks; and Epaminondas is celebrated by Pindar, to be a man, that though he knew much, yet he spoke but little. Demacatus, when on the bench he was long silent, and said nothing; one asking him, if it were folly in him, or want of language ? he answered, A fool could never hold his peace. For too much talking is ever the indice of a fool.

Dum tacet indoctus, poterit cordatus haberi;

Is morbos animi namque tacendo tegit." Nor is that worthy speech of Zeno the philosopher to be past over, with the note of ignorance; who being invited to a feast in Athens, where a great e Salust.

i Hesiodus. . Vid. Zeuxidis pict. Serm. ad Megabizum.

h Plutarch.

[ocr errors]

prince's ambassadors were entertained, and was the only person that said nothing at the table; one of them with courtesy asked him, What shall we return from thee, Zeno, to the prince our master, if he asks us of thee? Nothing, he replied, more, but that you found an old man in Athens, that knew to be silent amongst his cups. It was near a miracle to see an old man silent, since talking is the disease of age; but amongst cups makes it fully a wonder.

LIII,

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

Argute dictum.— It was wittily said upon one that was taken for a great and grave man, so long as he held his peace : This man might have been a counsellor of state, till he spoke : but having spoken, not the beadle of the ward. 'Exerubía Pythag. quàm laudabilis ! γλώσσης πρώτων άλλων κράτει θεούς επόμενος. Linguam cohibe, præ aliis omnibus, ad Deorum exemplum. Digito compesce labellum.

Th

LIV.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

Acutius cernuntur vitia quam virtutes. There is almost no man but he sees clearlier and sharper the vices in a speaker, than the virtues. And there are many, that with more ease will find fault with what is spoken foolishly, than that can give allowance to that wherein you are wise silently. The treasure of a fool is always in his tongue, said the witty comic poet;' and it appears not in any thing more than in that nation, whereof one, when he had got the inheritance of an unlucky old grange, would needs sell it;m and to draw buyers, proclaimed the virtues of it. Nothing ever thrived on it, saith he. No owner of it ever died in his bed; some hung, some drowned themselves; some were banished, some starved; the i Vide Apuleium.

Juvenal.

1 Plautus. m Trin. Act. ii. Scen. 4.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

k

trees were all blasted; the swine died of the meazles, the cattle of the murrain, the sheep of the rot; they that stood were ragged, bare, and bald as your hand; nothing was ever reared there, not a duckling, or a goose. Hospitium fuerat calamitatis." Was not this man like to sell it?

LV.

Vulgi expectatio.-Expectation of the vulgar is more drawn and held with newness than goodness; we see it in fencers, in players, in poets, in preachers, in all where fame promiseth any thing; so it be new, though never so naught and depraved, they run to it, and are taken. Which shews, that the only decay, or hurt of the best men's reputation with the people is, their wits have out-lived the people's palates. They have been too much or too long a feast.

LVI.

Claritas patria.-Greatness of name in the father oft-times helps not forth, but overwhelms the son ; they stand too near one another. The shadow kills the growth ; so much, that we see the grandchild come more and oftener to be heir of the first, than doth the second : he dies between ; the possession is the third's.

LVII.

Eloquentia.-Eloquence is a great and diverse thing : nor did she yet ever favour any man so much as to become wholly his. He is happy that can arrive to any degree of her grace. Yet there are who prove themselves masters of her, and absolute lords ; but I believe they may mistake their evidence : for it is one thing to be eloquent in the schools, or in the hall; another at the bar, or in the

Mart. lib. i. ep. 85.

« הקודםהמשך »