« ForrigeFortsæt »
* Restant felicitates posthumæ duæ, iis quæ vivam comitabantur fere celsiores et augustiores: una successoris, altera memoriæ. Nam successorem sortita est eum, qui licet et mascula virtute et prole, et nova imperii accessione fastigium ejus excedat et obumbret; tamen et nomini et honoribus ejus faveat, et actis ejus quandam perpetuitatem donet: cum nec ex personarum delectu, nec ex institutorum ordine, quicquam magnopere mutaverit: adeo ut raro filius parenti
, tanto silentio, atquæ tam exigua mutatione et perturbatione successerit.” But it was not published during the life of the author; and the praise of Elizabeth, in the Advancement of Learning, is wholly omitted, and certainly not for its want of beauty, in the treatise “ De Augmentis,” published in 1623, where he also omits the passage already cited in this preface. “Then the reign of a queen matched with a foreigner: then of a queen that lived solitary and unmarried, and yet her government so masculine that it had greater impression and operation upon the states abroad than it any ways received from thence;" merely saying, Rursus regnum fæminæ solitariæ et cælibis.” Whatever were the motives by which he was induced to suppress, for a time, the just praise of Elizabeth, he ordered the publication in a will, which he afterwards cancelled, but, in all probability, after some understanding with Dr. Rawley, that the publication should appear, as it did, soon after his death. This appears from Rawley's account.1 "I thought it fitting to intimate, that the discourse, within contained, entitled, A Collection of the Felicities of Queen Elizabeth; was written by his lordship in Latin only, whereof, though his lordship had his particular ends then; yet in regard that I held it a duty, that her own nation, over which she so happily reigned for many years, should be acquainted and possessed with the virtues of that excellent queen, as well as foreign nations, I was induced, many years ago, to put the same into the English tongue; not • ad verbum,' for that had been but flat and injudicious; but, (as far as my slender ability could reach,) according to the expressions which I conceived his lordship would have rendered it in, if he had written the same in English: yet ever acknowledging that Zeuxis, or Apelles' pencil could not be attained, but by Zeuxis, or Apelles himself. This work, in the Latin, his lordship so much affected, that he had ordained, by his last will and testament, to have had it published many years since: but that singular person intrusted therewith, soon after deceased. And therefore it must now expect a time to come forth amongst his“lordship's other Latin works.” And Archbishop Tenison says, “ the third is, a memorial, entitled The Felicities of Queen Elizabeth. This was written by his lordship in Latin only. A person of more good will than ability, translated it into English, and called it in the singular, Her Felicity. But we have also a version, much more accurate and judicious, performed by Doctor Rawley, who was pleased to take that labour upon him, because he understood the value his lordship put upon this work; for it was such, that I find this charge given concerning it, in his last will and testament. In particular, I wish the eulogy which I writ, in Felicem Memoriam Elizabethæ, may be published.""
LIVES OF THE CAESARS.
Of these tracts Tenison says, “ The fifth is, “the Imago Civilis Julii Cæsaris.' The sixth, · Imago Civilis Augusti Cæsaris.' Both of them short personal characters, and not histories of their empire: and written by his lordship in that tongue, which in their time was at its height, and became the language of the world. A while since, they were translated into English, and inserted into the first part of the Resuscitation.”
In the few lines upon the character of Augustus Cæsar, there is a maxim well deserving the deep consideration of every young man of sensibility, apt to be
Misled by fancy's meteor ray,
By passion driven :
Is light from heaven.
says, “ Those persons which are of a turbulent nature or appetite, do commonly pass their youth in many errors ; and about their middle, and then and not before, they show forth their perfections; but those that are of a sedate and calm nature, may be ripe for great and glorious actions ir their youth.” The very same sentiment which he expresses in his Essay on Youth and Age: “Natures that have much heat, and great and violenť desires and perturbations, are not ripe for action till they have passed the meridian of their years ; as it was with Julius Cæsar and Septimus Severus ; of the latter of whom it is said, “Juventutem egit, erroribus, imo furoribus plenam ;' and yet he was the ablest emperor, almost, of all the list: but reposed natures may do well in youth, as it is seen in Augustus Cæsar, Cosmus Duke of Florence, Gaston de Foix, and others.”
HENRY PRINCE OF WALES.
I have selected this piece of biography from the letters, and restored it to what appears to me to he its proper place,' Of this a MS. may be found in the British Museum.
1 Preface to the Resuscitatio.
WISDOM OF THE ANCIENTS.
The antiquities of the first age (except those we find in sacred writ) were buried in oblivion and silence; silence was succeeded by poetical fables : and fables again were followed by the records we now enjoy: so that the mysteries and secrets of antiquity were distinguished and separated from the records and evidences of succeeding times, by the veil of fiction, which interposed itself, and came between those things which perished and those which are extant. I suppose some are of opinion that my purpose is to write toys and trifles, and to usurp the same liberty in applying, that the poets assumed in feigning, which I might do (confess) if I listed, and with more serious contemplation intermix these things, to delight either myself in meditation, or others in reading. Neither am I ignorant how fickle and inconstant a thing fiction is, as being subject to be drawn and wrested any way, and how great the commodity of wit and discourse is, that is able to apply things well, yet so as never meant by the first authors. But I remember that this liberty hath been lately much abused, in that many, to purchase the reverence of antiquity to their own inventions and fancies, have for the same intent laboured to wrest many poetical fables; neither hath this old and common vanity been used only of late, or now and then: for even Chrysippus long ago did, as an interpreter of dreams, ascribe the opinions of the Stoics to the ancient poets: and more sottishly do the chymists appropriate the fancies and delights of poets in the transformations of bodies to the experiments of their furnace. All these things, I say, I have sufficiently considered and weighed : and in them have seen and noted the general levity and indulgence of men’s wits above allegories; and yet for all this, I relinquish not my opinion.
For, first, it may not be that the folly and looseness of a few should altogether detract from the respect due to the parables; for that were a conceit which might savour of profaneness and presumption: for religion itself doth sometimes delight in such veils and shadows; so that whoso exempts them, seems in a manner to interdict all commerce between things divine and human. But concerning human wisdom, I do indeed ingenuously and freely confess, that I am inclined to imagine, that under some of the ancient fictions lay couched certain mysteries and allegories, even from their first invention; and I am persuaded, whether ravished with the reverence of antiquity, or because in some fables I find such singular proportion between the similitude and the thing signified, and such apt and clear coherence in the very structure of them, and propriety of names wherewith the persons or actors in them are ascribed and intituled, that no man can constantly deny but this sense was in the author's intent and meaning, when they first invented them, and that they purposely shadowed it in this sort : for who can be so stupid and blind in the open light, as (when he hears how Fame, after the giants were destroyed, sprang up as their younger sister) not to refer it to the murmurs and seditious reports of both sides, which are wont to fly abroad for a time after the suppressing of insurrections ? Or when he hears how the giant Typhon, having cut out and brought away Jupiter's nerves, which Mercury stole from him and restored again to Jupiter, doth not presently perceive how fitly it may be applied to powerful rebellions, which take from princes their sinews of money and authority: but so that by affability of speech and wise edicts (the minds of their subjects being in time privily, and as it were by stealth reconciled) they recover their strength again? Or when he hears how, in that memorable expedition of the gods against the giants, the braying of Silenus's ass conduced much to the profligation of the giants, doth not confidently imagine that it was invented to show how the greatest enterprises of rebels are oftentimes dispersed with vain rumours and fears.
Moreover, to what judgments can the conformity and signification of names seem obscure ? Seeing Metis, the wife of Jupiter doth plainly signify counsel : Typhon, insurrection : Pan, universality: Nemesis, revenge: and the like. Neither let it trouble any man, if sometimes he meet with historical narrations, or additions for ornament's sake, or confusion of times, or something transferred from one fable to another, to bring in a new allegory; for it could be no otherwise, seeing they were the inventions of men which lived in divers ages, and had also divers ends, some being ancient, others neoterical; some have an eye to things natural, others to moral.
There is another argument, and that no small one neither, to prove that these fables contain certain hidden and involved meanings, seeing some of them are observed to be so absurd and foolish in the very relation that they show, and, as it were, proclaim a parable afar off; for such tales as are probable they may seem to be invented for delight and in imitation of history. And as for such as no man would so much as imagine or relate, they seem to be sought out for other ends: for what kind of fiction is that wherein Jupiter is said to have taken Metis to wife, and perceiving that she was with child, to have devoured her, whence himself conceiving, brought forth Pallas armed out of his head? Truly, I think there was never dream, so different to the course of cogitation, and so full of monstrosity, ever hatched in the brain of man. Above all things this prevails most with me, and is of singular moment; many of these fables seem not to be invented of those by whom they are related and celebrated, as by Homer, Hesiod, and others: for if it were so, that they took beginning in that age, and from those authors by whom they are delivered and brought to our hands, my mind gives me there could be no great or high matter expected, or supposed to proceed from them in respect of these originals. But if with attention we consider the matter, it will appear that they were delivered and related as things formerly believed and received, and not as newly invented and offered unto us. Besides, seeing they are diversely related by writers that lived near about one and the selfsame time, we may easily perceive that they were common things derived from precedent memorials; and that they became various by reason of the divers ornaments bestowed on them by particular relations; and the consideration of this must needs increase in us a great opinion of them, as not to be accounted either the effects of the times, or inventions of the poets, but as sacred relics or abstracted airs of better times, which, by tradition from more ancient nations, fell into the trumpets and Autes of the Grecians. But if any do obstinately contend, that allegories are always adventitially, and as it were by constraint, never naturally and properly included in fables, we will not be much troublesome, but suffer them to enjoy that gravity of judgment which I am sure they affect, although indeed it be but lumpish and almost leaden. And, if they be worthy to be taken notice of, we will begin afresh with them in some other fashion.
There is found among men, and it goes for current, a twofold use of parables, and those, which is more to be admired, referred to contrary ends, conducing as well to the folding up and keeping of things under a veil, as to the enlightening and laying open of obscurities. But, omitting the former, rather than to undergo wrangling, and assuming ancient fables as things vagrant and composed only for delight, the latter must questionless till remain as not to be wrested from us by any violence of wit, neither can any (that is but meanly learned) hinder, but it must absolutely be received as a thing grave and sober, free from all vanity, and exceeding profitable and necessary to all sciences. This is it, I say, that leads the understanding of man by an easy and gentle passage through all novel and abstruse inventions which any way differ from common received opinions. Therefore, in the first ages, (when many human inventions and conclusions, which are now common and vulgar, were new, and not generally known,) all things were full of fables, enigmas, parables, and similes of all sorts; by which they sought to teach and lay open, not to hide and conceal knowledge, especially seeing the understandings of men were in those times rude and impatient, and almost incapable of any subtilties, such things only excepted as were the objects of sense; for, as hieroglyphics preceded letters, so parables were more ancient than arguments: and in these days also, he that would illuminate men's minds anew in any old matter, and that not with disprofit and harshness, must absolutely take the same course, and use the help of similes. Wherefore after all that hath been said, we will thus conclude, the wisdom of the ancients, it was either much or happy: much, if these figures and tropes were invented by study and premeditation; happy, if they, intending nothing less, gave matter and occasion to so many worthy meditations. As concerning my labours, if there be any thing in them which may do good, I will on neither part count them ill bestowed, my purpose being to illustrate either antiquity or things themselves. Neither am I ignorant that this very subject hath been attempted by others: but to speak as I think, and that freely, without ostentation, the dignity and efficacy of the thing, is almost lost by these men's writings, though voluminous and full of pains, whilst not diving into the depth of matters, but skilsul only in certain commonplaces, have applied the sense of these parables to certain vulgar and general things, not so much as glancing at their true virtue, genuine propriety, and full depth. I, if I be not deceived, shall be new in common things; wherefore, leaving such as are plain and open, I will aim at further and riche: inatters.
THE WISDOM OF THE ANCIENTS.
CASSANDRA, OR DIVINATION. describe, “Cato optime sentit, sed nocet interdum
Reipublicæ: loquitur enim tanquam in Republicâ The poets fable, that Apollo being enamoured Platonis, non tanquam in fæce Romuli." Cato of Cassandra, was, by her many shifts and cunning sleights, still deluded in his desire; but yet time damnifies the state, for he speaks as in the
(saith he) judgeth profoundly, but in the mean fed on with hope until such time as she had drawn commonwealth of Plato, and not as in the dregs from him the gift of prophesying; and having by of Romulus. such her dissimulation, in the end attained to that which from the beginning she sought after, at last flatly rejected his suit: who, finding himself so
TYPHON, OR A REBEL. far engaged in his promise, as that he could not Juno, being vexed (say the poets) that Jupiter by any means revoke again his rash gift, and yet had begotten Pallas by himself without her, ear inflamed with an earnest desire of revenge, highly nestly pressed all the other gods and goddesses that disdaining to be made the scorn of a crafty wench, she might also bring forth of herself alone without annexed a penalty to his promise, to wit, that she him; and having by violence and importunity obshould ever foretell the truth, but never be believed; tained a grant thereof, she smote the earth, and so were her divinations always faithful, but at no forthwith sprang up Typhon, a huge and horrid time regarded, whereof she still found the expe- monster. This strange birth she commits to a rience, yea, even in the ruin of her own country, serpent, as a foster-father, to nourish it; who no which she had often forewarned them of, but they sooner came to ripeness of years but he provokes neither gave credit nor ear to her words. Jupiter to battle. In the conflict, the giant, get
This fable seems to intimate the unprofitable ting the upper hand, takes Jupiter upon his shoulliberty of untimely admonitions and counsels : for ders, carries him into a remote and obscure counthey that are so overweened with the sharpness try, and (cutting out the sinews of his hands and and dexterity of their own wit and capacity, as feet) brought them away, and so left him miserably that they disdain to submit themselves to the docu- mangled and maimed; but Mercury recovering ments of Apollo, the god of harmony, whereby to these nerves from Typhon by stealth, restored learn and observe the method and measure of af- them again to Jupiter. Jupiter being again by fairs, the grace and gravity of discourse, the differ- this means corroborated, assaults the monster ences between the more judicious and more vulgar afresh, and at the first strikes him with a thunderears, and the due times when to speak and when to bolt, from whose blood serpents were engendered. be silent; be they never so sensible and pregnant, This monster at length fainting and flying, Jupiter and their judgments never so profound and profit- casts on him the mount Ætna, and with the able, yet in all their endeavours either of persuasion weight thereof crushed him. or perforce, they avail nothing; neither are they of This fable seems to point at the variable fortune any moment to advantage or manage matters, but of princes, and the rebellious insurrection of traido rather hasten on the ruin of all those that they tors in state. For princes may well be said to be adhere or devote themselves unto; and then, at married to their dominions, as Jupiter was to last, when calamity hath made men feel the event Juno; but it happens now and then, that being of neglect, then shall they, too late, be reverenced deboshed by the long custom of empiring and as deep foreseeing and faithful prophets : whereof bending towards tyra y, they endeavour to draw a notable instance is eminently set forth in Marcus all to themselves, and, contemning the counsel Cato Uticensis, who, as from a watch-tower, dis- of their nobles and senators, hatch laws in their covered afar off, and as an oracle long foretold, the own brain, that is, dispose of things by their own approaching ruin of his country, and the plotted fancy and absolute power. The people, repining tyranny hovering over the state, both in the first at this, study how to create and set up a chief of conspiracy, and as it was prosecuted in the civil their own choice. This project, by the secret contention between Cæsar and Pompey, and did instigation of the peers and nobles, doth for the no good the while, but rather harmed the com- most part take his beginning; by whose conmonwealth and hastened on his country's bane; nivance the commons being set on edge, there folwhich M. Cicero wisely observed, and writing to lows a kind of murmuring or discontent in the a familiar friend, doth in these terms excellently state, shadowed by the infancy of Typhon, which
being nursed by the natural pravity, and clownish revenge of which act, Apollo, Jupiter not prohibite malignity of the vulgar sort, (unto princes as in- ing it, shot them to death with his arrows. festuous as serpents,) is again repaired by renewed This fable may be applied to the projects of strength, and at last breaks out into open rebellion, kings, who having cruel, bloody, and exacting which, because it brings infinite mischiefs upon officers, do first punish and displace them; afterprince and people, is represented by the monstrous wards, by the counsel of Tellus, that is of some deformity of Typhon: his hundred heads signify base and ignoble person, and by the prevailing their divided powers, his fiery mouths their in- respect of profit, they admit them into their places flamed intents, his serpentine circles their pesti- again, that they may have instruments in a readilent malice in besieging, his iron hands their mer- ness, if at any time there should need either ciless slaughters, his eagle's talons their greedy severity of execution or accerbity of exaction. rapines, his plumed body their continual rumours, These servile creatures being by nature cruel, and scouts, and fears, and suchlike; and some- and by their former fortune exasperated, and pertimes these rebellions grow so potent, that princes ceiving well what is expected at their hands, do are enforced (transported as it were by the rebels, show themselves wonderful officious in such kind and forsaking the chief seats and cities of the of employments; but being too rash and precipikingdom) to contract their power, and, being de- tate in seeking countenance and creeping into prived of the sinews of money and majesty, be- favour, do sometimes take occasion, from the take themselves to some remote and obscure cor- secret beckonings and ambiguous commands of ner within their dominions ; but in process of their prince, to perform some hateful execution. time, if they bear their misfortunes with modera- But princes abhorring the fact, and knowing well tion, they may recover their strength by the virtue that they shall never want such kind of instruand industry of Mercury, that is, they may, by be- ments, do utterly forsake them, turning them coming affable, and by reconciling the minds and over to the friends and allies of the wronged, to wills of their subjects with grave edicts and gra- their accusations and revenge, and to the general cious speech, excite an alacrity to grant aids and hatred of the people; so that with great applause subsidies whereby to strengthen their authority and prosperous wishes and acclamations towards anew. Nevertheless, having learned to be wise the prince, they are brought rather too late than and wary, they will refrain to try the chance of undeservedly to a miserable end. fortune by war, and yet study how to suppress the reputation of the rebels by some famous
NARCISSUS, OR SELF-LOVE. action, which if it fall out answerable to their expectation, the rebels, finding themselves weak- They say that Narcissus was exceeding fair ened, and fearing the success of their broken and beautiful, but wonderful proud and disdainprojects, betake themselves to some sleight and ful; wherefore despising all others in respect of vain bravadoes like the hissing of serpents, and himself, he leads a solitary life in the woods and at length in despair betake themselves to flight, chases with a few followers, to whom he alone and then when they begin to break, it is safe and was all in all; amongst the rest there follows him timely for kings to pursue and oppress them with the nymph Echo. During his course of life, it the forces and weight of the kingdom, as it were fatally so chanced that he came to a clear founwith the mountain Ætna.
tain, upon the bank whereof he lay down to re
pose himself in the heat of the day; and having THE CYCLOPS, OR THE MINISTERS espied the shadow of his own face in the water, OF TERROR.
was so besotted and ravished with the contem
plation and admiration thereof, that he by no They say the Cyclops, for their fierceness and means possibly could be drawn from beholding cruelty, were by Jupiter cast into hell, and there his image in this glass; insomuch, that by condoomed to perpetual imprisonment; but Tellus tinual gazing thereupon, he pined away to nothing, persuaded Jupiter that it would do well, if being and was at last turned into a flower of his own set at liberty, they were put to forge thunderbolts, name, which appears in the beginning of the which being done accordingly, they became so spring, and is sacred to the infernal powers, painful and industrious, as that day and night they Pluto, Proserpina, and the Furies. continued hammering out in laborious diligence This fable seems to show the dispositions and thunderbolts and other instruments of terror. In fortunes of those, who in respect either of their process of time Jupiter having conceived a dis- beauty or other gift wherewith they are adorned pleasure against Æsculapius, the son of Apollo, and graced by nature, without the help of indusfor restoring a dead man to life by physic, and try, are so far besotted in themselves as that they concealing his dislike because there was no just prove the cause of their own destruction. For it cause of anger, the deed being pious and famous, is the property of men infected with this humour secretly incensed the Cyclops against him, who not to come much abroad, or to be conversant in without delay slew him with a thunderbolt; in civil affairs; specially seeing those that are in