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Something at cheerful intervals was due
To them, whom we despoil, and then despise :
(For in those days "were giants in our lands !'')
The midnight-lamp, in crystal case enclos'd, Beams bright; nor is to winds nor rains expos'd:
A watch-tow'r to the wand'rers of mankind;
Who tread the foolish round their fathers trod And,'midst hte's errours, hit on death's by-road 5. 'Midst racking pains 16 his mind was calm and
Patience and cheerfulness to him were giv’n ;
When crowns were doubtful, and when num-
As honour prompted, or self-int'rest veer'd,
11 Academic is used in the Horatian sense of (For mists at once enlarge and multiply;)
Atque inter sylvas Academni quærere verum.
12 Edwyn Sandys, archbishop of York, was one of the first eminent reformers, not only of our holy religion, (which almost every person knows) but of our language (which circumstance few persons are apprized of). His sermons (the time when he preached them being duly considered) may be looked upon as a master-piece of eloquence and fine writing. They were chiefly preached between the years 1550 and 1576.
His son George (and here let me be understood to refer chiefly to his Paraphrase on Job) knew the true harmony of the English heroic couplet long before Denham and Waller took up the pen; and preserved that harmony more uniformly. Variety perhaps was wanting; which Dryden afterwards supplied, but not till he came to the forty-fifth year of his age; namely, till the time he published Aurengzebe.
13 Bishop Hugh Latimer (whom I quote only by memory, not having the original at hand) says, in one of his sermons preached at St. Paul's Cross, abont the year, "that tho' his father possessed no more than 40 acres of free land, or thereabouts, yet he had always something to give to the poor, and now and then entertained his friends;-that he portioned out three daughters, at 51. a piece, and bred up a son at the university; (otherwise adds he,) I should not have had the honour of appearing in this pulpit before the king's majesty."
Note, The original edition says acres, which must be an errour of the press, instead of 40 acres. Old Latimer lived in good repute about the year 1470, in which year his son Hugh was
Our hero paus'd-and, weighing either side,
Except with charity, and Heav'n alone.
Cui vix certaverit ulla
2 Esdras, ch. xii, v. 42. 19 Isaiah xlix, v. 2. "A polished shaft in the quiver of God."
20 When judge Jeffr**s came to Taunton assizes, in the year 1685, to execute his commission upon the unfortunate people concerned in Monmouth's rebellion, the person here spoken of, being minister of St. Mary Magdalen's church at Taunton, waited on him in private, and remonstrated much against his severities. The judge listened to him calmly, and with some attention; and, though he had never seen him before, advanced him in a few months to a prebendal stall in the cathedral church of Bristol.
21 See Sandys's Paraphrase on Job, where Satan arises in form of an exhalation.
sometimes would to thy cottage tend; An artful enemy, but seeming friend: Conscious of having plann'd thy worldly fate 22, He could not love thee, and he durst not hate. But then seraphic Ken was all thy own; And he 23, who long declin'd Ken's vacant throne, Begging with earnest zeal to be deny'd;By worldlings laught at, and by fools decry'd: Dodwell was thine, the humble and resign'd; Nelson, with Christian elegance of mind; And he 24, whose tranquil mildness from afar Spoke him a distant, but a brilliant star. These all forsook their homes-Nor sigh'd nor wept;
Mammon they freely gave, but God they kept. Ah, look on honours with Macarius' eyes, Snares to the good, and dangers to the wise!
In silence for himself, for friends in tears, He wander'd o'er the desert forty 25 years. The cloud and pillar (or by night or day) Reviv'd his heart, and ascertain'd the way 26. His sandals fail'd not; and his robes untorn Escap'd the bramble and entangling thorn 27. Heav'n purify'd for him th' embitter'd well 28, And manna from aërial regions fell 29. At length near peaceful Pisgah 30 he retir'd, And found that rest his pilgrimage requir'd : Where, as from toils he silently withdrew, Half Palestina 31 open'd on his view: "Go, pious hermit," groves and mountains cry'd: "Enter, thou faithful servant," Heav'n reply'd. Mild as a babe reclines himself to rest, And smiling sleeps upon the mother's breast, Tranquil, and with a patriarch's hopes, he gave His soul to Heav'n, his body to the grave; And with such gentleness resign'd his breath, That 'twas a soft extinction, and not death.
22 Bishop Ken used to say, that king William and queen Mary would gladly have permitted the non-juring bishops and clergy (who had just before signalized themselves in a steady opposition to popery) to have enjoyed their preferments till death, upon their parole of honour given, that they would never disturb the government; which favour would have been thankfully accepted of, and complied with, by the aforesaid bishops, &c.; but somebody here alluded to (at least as Macarius thought) traversed their majesties' gracious intentions. In proof of this, bishop Ken performed the funeral service over Mr. Kettlewell in the year 1695, and prayed for king William and queen Mary.
23 Dr. George Hooper. N. B. It must here also be remembered, that Dr. Beveridge, refused to succeed bishop Ken in 1691, and then the offer was made to R. Kidder, D. D.
24 Mr. John Kettlewell, vicar of Coleshill in Warwickshire.
25 See Exodus, passim.
Hebr. ch. iii, v. 17.
26 Exod. ch. xiii, v. 21.
27 Deut. ch. viii, v. 4.
Psalm xcv, v. 10.
28 Waters of Marah. Exod. ch. xv, v. 25—
29 Ibid. ch. xvi, v. 15 and 35.
30 Deut. xxxiv, v. 1.
31 Palestina is the Scripture word for Palestine.
Happy! who thus, by unperceiv'd decay,
Accept this verse, to make thy mem❜ry live,
Isaiah twice, ch, xiv, v. 29, 31. Exod. ch. xv, Spain, &c.
Manlian family, and was one of the first persons of Rome in fortunes and dignity. He received his education at Athens; after which he was thrice consul, and always renowned for his eloquence in the senate. He was upon all occasions inflexibly honest and veracious. His book entituled the Consolation of Philosophy, may be looked upon as a master-piece of fine writing. The poetry of it is equal to most compositions in the Angustan age; and that even in the classical purity of style: but something which manifests the declension of the Roman language may be discovered in the prose part.
In his prose writings he made Aristotle his model; and, like him, is always clear, though concise: leaving an infinite fund for the mind of the reader to work upon. Many works pass under his name: some are genuine; and some are looked upon as supposititious. This book of Philosophical Consolation (from which a large part of the present epistle is extracted) has been universally admired in all ages, insomuch that there are many more fine manuscripts extant of it, than of Virgil, Horace, and Cicero, all taken together. The work we here speak of has been the particular delight and study of princes and good politicians. Chaucer translated it into our language, and afterwards it was translated by queen Elizabeth, &c.
Boetius had two wives: the first was Helpés a Sicilian', whose conjugal affection is celebrated by him in an epitaph still extant. His second wife (to whom the following letter is supposed to be addressed) was Rusticiana, the daughter of Symmachus, a Roman senator and consul; one of the most virtuous, learned, and amiable persons of that age. As to Rusticiana, historians give her all perfections of mind and body. By her Boetius had several children and two of his sons when young had the honour to be publicly carried to the senate-house in a consular chair, by way of extraordinary compliment to their father. When Theodoric the Goth made himself master
of the kingdom of Italy, he wisely made choice of Boetius to be the director of his councils, and governed for many years to the universal satisfaction of his subjects. From
Edward Philips, who writ one of the best accounts we have of the poets, ancient and modern, says, "some authors assèrt that Helpés was daughter of a Sicilian king, and that she writ hymns in honour of the apostles after she embraced christianity."
Philips's authority carries weight with it: for Milton was the instructor of his youthful studies, and afterwards revised the work we here allude to; Philips's mother being Milton's sister.
Philips's book was published in 12mo, 1665, and entituled Theatrum Poetarum. One Winstanley, a barber, transcribed the lives of the English poets from our author's work almost verbatim, and published them in 1687. A most notorious plagiarism; it being but 22 years after the Theatrum Poetarum was published.
a principle of self-interest he had long concealed his inclination for Arianism; but a se. ries of prosperous government made him ambitious, self-confident, and jealous of Boetius's glory. In addition to this, the Gothic chieftains that belonged to him were uneasy to see all power in the hands of a Roman; and one of them in particular, named Trigilla, having gained a new and great ascendancy over the king, contrived our statesman's ruin, by suborning false witnesses, and devising treasonable letters between him and Justin, emperor of the east.
Boetius was first banished to Pavia, and after four years confinement privately executed in prison. His father-in-law, Symmachus, incurred the same fate. Theodoric soon afterwards died with remorse, under all the agonies of a disturbed mind.
It has been looked upon by many good christians as no small misfortune, that Boetius in his Consolation has not derived his arguments from divine wisdom as well as prophane philosophy. One may perceive here and there several hints taken from Scripture, but nothing as I remember, in totidem verbis: yet his general belief of Christianity has never been suspected, nor even his orthodoxy; for he writ an express treatise on the consubstantiality of the Trinity, which is still preserved, and looked upon to be genuine.
These circumstances induced me to conclude this epistle in a manner not unworthy of our philosopher, and highly agreeable to his imitator.
It has often been thought, that a second part added to Boetius's Consolation, written in the same manner of a vision, and consisting of verse and prose interchangeably, where Divine Wisdom is introduced as the speaker and comforter, would afford us one of the finest and most instructive works that could be composed. The sieur de Ceriziers, almoner to Louis the XIIlth, made an attempt of this kind about the year 1636, and executed it with some degree of success.
Boetius was commented upon by no less a person than Thomas Aquinas, who was one of the clearest and purest writers of his time. This shows the esteem in which the scholastic ages held him.
In our country king Alfred was the first wh translated the Consolation of Philosophy, and this translation is still extant. Chaucer, as we have already hinted, gave us another ver. sion; and a third, I think, was published by the monks of Tavistock, at the second press that was established in England. A fourth translation was made (as some say) by queen. Elizabeth; and one or too more preceded the version published by lord Preston.
I have nothing farther to add, but that my wor thy friend, to whom this elegy is addressed, will be pleased to bear in memory these beautiful verses of antiquity; which may be applied (not improperly) both to him and me.
Nos facta aliena canendo Vergimur in senium; propriis tu pulcher ab annis
Ipse canenda geres, patriæque exempla parabis; Poscit avus: præstatque domi novisse triumphos
Jamque vale, & penitùs noti tibi vatis amorem Corde exire veta.
FROM BOETIUS TO HIS WIFE RUSTICIANA.
And it came to pass from the time that he (Potiphar) had made him over-seer in his house, and over all that he had, that the Lord blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake; and the blessing of the Lord was upon all he had in the house and in the field.
Gen. ch. xxxix, v. 5.
Eliot, to whom kind Nature did impart
Hear what Boetius to his consort writes.
O wife, more gentle than the western breeze, Which (loath to part) dwells whisp'ring on the
Chaste as th' lamb th' indulgent pastor leads
Weep not to read these melancholy strains ; Change courts for cells, and coronets for chainsNo greatness can be lost, where God remains!
Say, what avails me, that I boast the fame And deathless honours of the Manlian name; Th' unsoil'd succession of renown'd descent, Equal to time's historical extent +? One of my ancestors receiv'd his doom There, where he sav'd the liberties of Rome! Did not another plunge into the wave The Gaulish champion, and his country save? Did not a third, (and harder was his fate) Make his own child a victim for the state? And did not I my wealth and life consume, To bless at once Theodoric and Rome?But all is cancell'd and forgotten since ; Past merits were reproaches to my prince!
As my own glory serv'd to ruin me, Thy birth from Symmachus avails not thee: Thy meekness, prudence, beauty, innocence,
Mark well the man, and Heav'n thy labour Thy knowledge, and thy virtues, gave offence.
RUSTICIANA, loveliest of thy kind,
All-bounteous God, how gracious was the care
Th' assistant angel she, th' assistance thine.
When excellence is eminent, like thine,
Our eyes are dazzled with too bright a shrine; Death must the medium give, that makes it mildly shine.
What visionary hope the wretch beguiles, Who founds his confidence on princes' smiles? True to their int'rest, mindless of their trust, Convenient is the regal term for just. The plant, my cultivating hands had made A spreading tree, oppress'd me with its shade; Ambition push'd forth many a vig'rous shoot, And rancid jealousy manur'd the root:. Ingratitude a willing heart misled, And sycophants the growing mischief fed,
Till th' Arian sophist 5 crept thro' all restraint; The tempter ply'd him, and there split the
Th' assassin-hand which Odoácer slew,
From a fat earth, and form'd for bulk, not use;
If errours purely human are forgiv'n,
Fore-warn'd my prince of arbitrary sway,
Monarchs, sometimes, discard thro' fear, or hate, [state; Those, whose good sense and virtues poize the So mariners, when storms the ocean sweep, Commit their guardian-ballast to the deep.
Methinks, in these my solitudes, I hear Tricilla whisp'ring in the tyrant's ear 8, "Assert the glories which are all thy own; And lop the branch that over-shades the throne;" When he and malice know, I taught no more Than ev'ry righteous statesman taught before. I show'd my prince 9- The first of regal arts Was to reign monarch of the people's hearts:
(Swift to encourage, eager to redress,
But mostly that, which persecutes the soul:
And when frou his exalted cage he sees
power and abundance of people under their command; but exert their authority and power in a very different manner: for the former seeks only the good of those whom he governs, and hazards all, even bis life, that they may live in peace and safety." He then gives the contrast of their characters in more full detail.
Synesius Bishop of Cyrené to the Emperor
10 Ovid. Met. XV, v. 482.
"A saying of Constantius Chlorus, the father of Constantine the Great.
12 The character of a just and pious prince is finely marked by Isaiah, ch. xvi, v. 5. “In mercy shall the throne be established, and he shall sit upon it in truth, in the tabernacle of David; judging and seeking judgment, and hasting righteousness."
13 Much to this purpose is a passage in the Son of Sirach:-"As long as thou livest, and hast breath in thee, give not thyself over to any. In all thy works keep to thyself the pre-eminence,
and leave not a stain in thine honour."
Ecclus. ch. xxxiii.
14 Quæ canit altis garrula ramis
Boet. de Consolat. L. III. Metr. 2.