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That ought to be above such fancies,
As far as above ordinances?

A breach of oath is double,
And either way admits a scruple,
And may be, exparte of the maker,
More criminal than th' injured taker;
For that he strains too far a vow
Will break it, like an o'er-bent bow;
And he that made and forc'd it, broke it;
Not he that for convenience took it.

Will not fear, favour, bribe and grudge,
The same case sev'ral ways adjudge?
As seamen, with the self-same gale,
Will sev'ral different courses sail ?


Does not in chanc'ry ev'ry man swear
What makes best for him in his answer?


Do not your juries give their verdict
As if they felt the cause, not heard it?
And as they please, make matter of fact?
Run all on one side, as they're packt?
Nature has made man's breast no windows
To publish what he does within doors,
Nor what dark secrets there inhabit,
Unless his own rash folly blab it.


He that imposes an oath, makes it,
Not he that for convenience takes it:
Then how can any man be said

To break an oath he never made?

These reasons may, perhaps, look oddly
To th' wicked, though th' evince the godly.
Hudibras, Part II., Canto 2.

AND if you make a question on't,
I'll pawn my soul that I have done't;
And he that makes his soul his surety,
I think does give the best security,

Quoth she, Some say, the soul secure
Against distress and forfeiture,

Is free from action, and exempt
From execution and contempt;
And to be summon'd to appear
In th' other world's illegal here;
And therefore few make any account
Int' what incumbrances they run't:
For most men carry things so even
Between this world, and hell, and heaven,
Without the least offence to either

They freely deal in all together.

Hudibras, Part III., Canto 1.


LORD, with what care hast thou begirt us round!
Parents first season us: then schoolmasters
Deliver us to laws; they send us bound
To rules of reason, holy messengers,
Pulpits and Sundays, sorrow dogging sin,
Afflictions sorted; anguish of all sizes,
Fine nets and stratagems to catch us in,
Bibles laid open, millions of surprises,
Blessings beforehand, ties of gratefulness,
The sound of glory ringing in our ears;
Without our shame, within our consciences;
Angels and grace, eternal hopes and fears.

Yet all these fences and their whole array,
One cunning bosom sin blows quite away.


How oft the sight of means to do ill deeds,
Makes deeds ill done!

King John. Act IV.

AT hand was Satan; ready ere men need,
If once they think, to make them do the deed.

FAIRFAX. Tasso, Book IV


Virtue's guard is Labour-ease her sleep.

FAIRFAX. Tasso, Book II.

I HAVE seen it quoted from Aristotle, that the end of labour is to gain leisure. It is a great saying. We have in modern times a totally wrong view of the matter. Noble work is a noble thing, but not all work. Most people seem to think that any business is in itself something grand: that to be intensely employed, for instance, about something which has no truth, beauty, or usefulness in it, which makes no man happier or wiser, is still the perfection of human endeavour, so that the work be intense. It is the intensity not the nature of the work that men praise. You see the extent of this feeling in little things. People are so ashamed of being caught for a moment idle, that if you come upon the most industrious servants or workmen, whilst they are standing looking at something which interests them, or fairly resting, they move off in a fright, as if they were proved, by a moment's relaxation, to be neglectful of their work. Yet it is the result that they should mainly be judged by, and to which they should appeal. But amongst all classes, the working itself, incessant working, is the thing deified. Now what is the end and object of most work? provide for animal wants. Not a contemptible thing by any means, but still it is not all in all with man. Moreover in those cases where the pressure of bread-getting is fairly past, we do not often find men's exertions lessened on that account. enter into their minds as motives, ambition, a love of hoarding, or a fear of leisure, things which in moderation may be defended or even justified, but which are not so peremptory, and upon the face of them excellent, that they at once dignify excessive labour. The truth is, that to work insatiably requires much less mind than to work judiciously, and less courage than to refuse work that cannot be done honestly. For a hundred men whose appetite for work can be driven on by vanity, avarice, ambition, or a mistaken notion of advancing their families, there is about one who is desirous of expanding his own nature, and the nature of others in all directions, of cultivating many pursuits, of bringing himself and those around him in contact with the universe in many points; of being a man, and not a machine. Friends in Council.




IF as a flower doth spread and die,
Thou wouldst extend me to some good,
Before I were by frost's extremity

Nipt in the bud;

The sweetness and the praise were thine:
But the extension and the room,

Which in thy garland I should fill, were mine—
At thy great doom.



BUT first, and chiefest, with thee bring,

Him that yon soars on golden wing,
Guiding the fiery-wheeled throne,
The Cherub Contemplation;
And the mute silence hist along,
'Less Philomel will deign a song,
In her sweetest saddest plight,
Smoothing the rugged brow of night,
While Cynthia checks her dragon yoke
Gently o'er the accustom'd oak.

Sweet bird, that shunn'st the noise of folly,

Most musical, most melancholy!

Thee, chauntress, oft the woods among,

I woo, to hear thy even-song';
And missing thee, I walk unseen
On the dry smooth-shaven green,
To behold the wandering Moon
Riding near her highest noon,
Like one that had been led astray
Through the heaven's wide pathless way;
And oft, as if her head she bow'd,
Stooping through a fleecy cloud,
Oft, on a plat of rising ground,
I hear the far-of curfew sound,
Over some wide water'd shore,
Swinging slow with sullen roar :
Or if the air will not permit,
Some still removed place will fit

As when fayre Cynthia in darksome night

Is in a noyous cloud enveloped,

Where she may find the substance thin and light
Brakes forth her silver beames, and her bright hed
Discovers to the world discomforted;
Of the poor traveiler that went astray,
With thousand blessings she is herted.

Faëry Queen.

Where glowing embers through the room
Teach light to counterfeit a gloom;
Far from all resort of mirth,
Save the cricket on the hearth,
Or the bellman's drowsy charm,

To bless the doors from nightly harm.


LADIES, though to your conquering eyes
Love owes her chiefest victories,
And borrows those bright arms from you
With which he does the world subdue,
Yet you yourselves are not above
The empire, nor the griefs, of love.
Then wrack not lovers with disdain,
Lest Love on you revenge their pain;
You are not free because you're fair;
The boy did not his mother spare.
Beauty's but an offensive dart;
It is not armour for the heart.


Il Penseroso.


FAR am I from denying in theory, full as far is my heart from withholding in practice (if I were of power to give or to withhold) the real rights of men. In denying their false claims of right, I do not mean to injure those which are real, and are such as their pretended rights would totally destroy. If civil society be made for the advantage of man, all the advantages for which it is made become his right. It is an institution of beneficence; and law itself is only beneficence acting by a rule. Men have a right to live by that rule; they have a right to justice, as between their fellows, whether their fellows are in politic function, or in ordinary occupation. They have a right to the fruits of their industry and to the means of making their industry fruitful. They have a right to the acquisition of their parents; and to the nourishment and improvement of their offspring; to instruction in life, and to consolation in death. Whatever each man can separately do, without trespassing upon others, he has a right to do for himself; and he has a right to a fair portion of all which society, with all its combinations of skill and force, can do in its favour. In this

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