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“ At least with that Greek Sage still make us cry,
Not to be born, or, being born, to dy."

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King gives his marginal quotation in Latin ; and I do not

; know from which of the many Greek writers who have the saying he meant to cite it ;* but it was a common proverb in his day. Bodenham has it in the “ Garden of the Muses" (p. 214, ed. 1610);

“Better not be, thent being, soone to die." The Variations are taken from Farnaby (=A),—MS. Rawl. P. 117 (=B),—and Mr. Pickering's MS. (=C).Those of the Ashmole MS. and of Mr. Collier's MS. (where the poem is transcribed) are either too inaccurate or too trifling to need mention.]

HE World's a bubble, and the life of man

Less than a span ; * In his Conception wretched, from the womb,

So to the Tomb ;[5] [C]urst from his Cradle, and brought up to years

With Cares and Fears.
Who then to frail Mortality shall trust,
But limns on Water, or but writes in Dust.

Yet, whilst with sorrow here we live opprest,

What life is best ?


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* See the parallel passages in Grotius on Eccles, iv. 3, and Dav, in Cic. Tusc. D. i. 48. The origin of the phrase was ascribed by Aristotle to Silenus, who bestowed it on his captor, King Midas. In that curious farrago of undigested information, Heywood's " Hierarchie of the Blessed Angels," we find both this proverb and its opposile, pp. 1[4]5, 384.—The Epigram of Posidippns was translated into English verse by Sir John Beaumont, and into Latin by Buchanan, Grotins, and several others.

+ The word stands for either “then” or “than." I understand it here in the former sense,


Courts are but only superficial Schools,

To dandle Fools :
The rural part is turned into a Den

Of savage Men:
And where's a City from foul vice so free,
But may be term'd the worst of all the three?



Domestick Cares afflict the Husband's bed,

Or pain[s] his Head :
Those that live single, take it for a curse,

Or do things worse :
These would have Children:—those that have
them, [m]one,

Or wish them gone :
What is it, then, to have, or have no Wife,
But single thraldom, or a double strife ?

[25] Our own Affections still at home to please,

Is a Disease :
To cross the Seas to any foreign soil,

Peril and toil : Wars with their noise affright us; when they cease, [30]

We're worse in peace:
What then remains, but that we still should cry
For being born, and, being born, to die?

FRA. LORD Bacon.

(VARIATIONS.-5. Rel. Wotton. and B. Nurst' —. It is ‘Curst in A C. In MS. Ashm. Crost'-'the cradle'-A.-6. care' -C.-7. doth trust'-B.-8. “But limmes the water'-ABC. and doth wright-B.-9. “Yet since'-A. Yet while'-C.

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• Yet whilst wee wretched liue wih cares opprest-B.-11. hee but-B. only' omitted in BC.-13. parts are'-AC. 'parts. bee'-B. "to a Denn'-C.-15. from all vice'-A C. that Citty'-B.–16. “May not be called-B.-17. "afflicts'-B C. and Rel. Wotton, eds. 1651-4.-18. In Rel. Wotton, ed. 1672, it is pain'-; but the word “Cares' in the preceding line would lead us to expect the plural; and "pains' is found in A B C. as well as in Rel. Wotton. eds. 1651-4.-19. "They that'-C.-21. Some would'—A B. “Some wish for children, they y' have them, moane'-C. “mone' also in A B.-In Rel. Wotton, and MS. Ashm. none.'—24. 'double life'C.-26. That's a'—B.-27. sea'-A.-28. perills'-A.—29.'affrights’-C. andó us’omitted. -31. 'but mortall men may crye'—B.–32. 'Not to be borne, or being borne to dye'-A BC. Birkhead has an odd note on the line, pointing out that the author should have said, “Not to have been borne' &c. Perhaps Walton thought so too, and therefore altered it.]

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[The signature Ignoto has, of course, brought this piece also into the editions of Sir Walter Raleigh's Poems (Lee Priory ed. p. 18. Oxford ed. viii. 704). Brydges remarks; _“These lines are quaint; but contain a powerful compression of thought. Unfortunately, they recall to us Shakespeare's celebrated passage on the same subject.” (p. 66.) In this case, as in those already mentioned, we must have better evidence before Raleigh's claim can be allowed. Mr. Freeman thought them“ decidedly in Wotton's style.” (p. 257.)

A similar piece is ascribed to Raleigh in Mr. Pickering's MS. (fol. 113, vo.) which it may be right to quote, although it has been in print before ;* —

“ What is our Life ? the play of passion ;-
Our mirth,—the Musick of Diuision ;-
Or Mothers wombes the Tyreing houses be,
Where we are drest for lines short comedie;
The Earth ye Stage,–Heauen the Spectator is,-
Who sitts and veiwes, whosoere doth Act amiss;
The graues, which byde vs from ye scorching Sunn,

* It is imperfectly printed in Cens. Lit. ii. 103, second ed., from Gibbons's “ First set of Madrigals and Mottets," &c. 1612.


Are like drawne Curtaines (when +) ye play is done;
Thus playeing post wee to or latest rest;
And then we die in earnest, not in Jest.

Sr W: R;"

The authority of a single MS. is scarcely sufficient to prove that Raleigh wrote these lines; but it is at least more weighty evidence than the word Ignoto.]


JAN'S Life's a Tragedy:-his Mother's

Womb (From which he enters) is the tiring Room ;

This spacious Earth the Theater; and the

That Countrey which he lives in :—Passions, Rage,
Folly, and Vice are Actors :—The first cry
The Prologue to th' ensuing Tragedy :
The former Act consisteth of dumb shows;
The second, he to more Perfection grows;
I'th' third he is a Man, and doth begin
To nurture vice, and act the deeds of sin ;
I' th' fourth declines ; l' th' fifth, Diseases clog
And trouble him then Death's his Epilogue.


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+ So the copy in Cens. Lit.-In MS. 'till.'—The curtains were formerly suspended from an iron rod, and opened in the centre. They were therefore drawn apart for tbe performance, and drawn together at its close.

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