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• experienced only the smiles of fortune; and that, by an ill-grounded fondness for life I may not run the hazard of seeing that goddess change her countenance towards nie, I voluntarily quit the light, while yet I take pleasure in beholding it, leaving behind me two daughters, and seven grandsons, to respect my memory. She then turned about to her family, and exhorted them to live in peace and unity, and having recommended the care of her household, and the worship of her domestic deities, to her elder daughter, she, with a steady hand, took the glass that was filled with poison. When she had it, she addressed her prayer to Mercury, and having besought him to facilitate her passage to the better part of the receptacle of departed spirits, she, with wonderful alacrity, drank off the deadly draught. When this was done, with the same composure and steadiness of mind she signified in what manner the poison wrought; how the lower parts of her body became cold and senseless by degrees, and when the noble parts began to feel the infection, she called her daughter to do the last office, by closing her eyes. As for us, says Valerius, who were almost stupified at the sight of so strange a spectacle, she dismissed us with weeping eyes. For the Romans thought compassion no way incompatible with fortitude.”
We have already referred to the law of Cea. There was a custom also at Marseilles, it seems, which is worthy of being recorded with it. The “ magistrates,” it is said,
“ Kept constantly in their own custody an efficacious poison, which none were allowed to use, till, by a memorial setting forth the reasons which inclined them to quit the world, they obtained the permission of the senate of this city, which consisted of six hundred, to make use of this method of leaving the light of the sun behind them. Upon their presenting such a petition, the senate examined their reasons, with such an equal temper or medium, as neither indulged a rash passion for dying, or opposed a just desire of quitting this earthly stage; whether such persons wanted to free themselves from the persecutions of ill fortune, or were not willing to run the hazard of losing, in case they had enjoyed them, good Fortune's smiles. Such was this senate's rule; they did not pretend to constrain any person to poison themselves, but then they gave them the liberty to do this, if they would, whenever they judged it proper. Consequently, no one could kill himself in due form, and according to law, in those days at Marseilles, unless the government had first permitted him by a public approbation, founded on the perusal and serious consideration of the motives inducing him to such an action.”
Our author then proceeds to discuss the great question as to the possibility of prolonging life, and brings forward fact and fable, reason and figure, in support of it, in a way that is altogether agreeable, if not entirely convincing. He is for beginning “ by times;" and thus he illustrates hisdoctrine :
" The owner of a house well situated, elegantly furnished, and affording variety of prospects, that please the eye, and cheer the mind, is always intent upon keeping it in repair, and does not put off or delay sending for masons and carpenters, till it is on the very point of tumbling about his ears. He knows that all things will decay in time, but he knows that industry and art may make it a long time first, and therefore by wise precautions he strengthens one weak place, supports another, and removes that pressure that might endanger a third ; by this means, with little labour, and without any clatter, he keeps things in tolerable order, and lives in it with ease and decency, till such time as his lease expires, and even then quits his tenement in no rotten or despicable condition.”
able to relieme argument. Cohaus
He then goes on to speak of “ Asclepiades the Persian,” who “looked upon a physician as ignorant of his profession who could not defend himself from diseases; and this notion he supported by his own example.”—(Our author does not mention how long the Persian's patients lived.) He quotes Roger Bacon, also, in favour of long life, and extracts from Boerhaave as to the effect of vegetable odours; and, finally, refers to Pliny, regarding an Indian nation at the source of the Ganges, “ who have no mouths, but are nourished with sweet savours.”
In one instance, our good Dr. Cohausen is very classical and lively. After some argument he thinks, we suppose, that it is desirable to relieve the dryness of his style with a little of the imaginative and fantastical; and, accordingly, he puts on the robe of Plato; and thus, as he says, he enacts the-Athenian.
“ When the blooming Thysbe, whom the graces adorn, and the muses instruct, converses with the good old Hermippus, her youth invigorates his age, and the brisk flame that warms her heart communicates its heat to his; so often as the lovely virgin breathes, the kindly vapours Ay off full of the lively spirits that swim in her purple veins ; these old Hermippus greedily drinks in, and as spirits quickly attract spirits, so they are presently mingled with the blood of the old man. Thus the vapour, which but a moment before was expelled by the brisk beating of the heart of Thysbe, is communicated by the æther to Hermippus, and passing through his heart, serves to invigorate his blood, so that almost without a metaphor, we may say, the spirits of Thysbe give life to Hermippus. For what is there more easy to apprehend, than that the active spirits of this brisk and blooming maid should, when received from the air, thaw the frozen juices of her aged friend, and thereby give them a new force and a freer passage ; and thus Hermippus possessing at once the strength his nature retains, and borrowing fresh spirits from the lovely Thysbe, what wonder that he, who enjoys two sorts of life, should live twice as long as another man?"
Leaving the fanciful now, our author proceeds to facts.
We hear of Gorgias, who, when he was 108 years old, being asked how he could support the burden of life so long, replied, that “he regretted nothing that he had done, and felt nothing of which he could reasonably complain. “My youth,” said he, “ cannot accuse me, nor can I accuse my old age"-Of Isocrates, who published a book at 94–Of Xenophilus, the Pythagorean, who taught a numerous train of students till he was 104_Of Leonicanus, who read his lectures at 96—(Fuseli is little short of this)—and others. Among these is the celebrated Marshal and Duke de Schomberg, of whom our author gives the following pleasant account.
“Frederick Armand de Schomberg, one of the greatest officers in the last century, and who, by his personal merit, raised himself higher than any man of his time, for he was marshal of France, generalissimo of the troops of the elector of Brandenburgh, duke and grandee of Portugal, duke and peer both in England and Ireland, and knight of the garter, at the time of his decease. Every body knows that he was killed at the battle of the Boyne, after passing that river on horseback, and bringing up a regiment that had fallen into some confusion, with all the vigour and spirit of a young man. He was then fourscore and two, and yet very hearty, active, and capable of fatigue, nor was he more remarkable for his military accomplishments than for his polite and easy behaviour; he was wont to say, that when he was young he conversed with old inen to gain experience, and when he was old he delighted in the company of young men to keep up his spirits. This is the reason that I mention him, for he was in nothing more distinguished than by this disposition. His person was agreeable, he made a fine figure on horseback, he danced and walked well, and was so far from feeling any of the incommodities of age, either in body or mind, that in point of dress, exercise, and sprightly humour, he came nothing short of the company he kept. The winter before he was killed in Ireland, he was walking in the park with abundance of young officers about him, and being met by a grave English nobleman, he could not help telling the marshal, that he was surprized to see him in such company; • Why so, my lord,'
replied Schomberg, don't you know that a good general always : makes his retreat as late as he can?'”
Several instances are mentioned (more particularly one of a French nobleman, p. 53), in which the advice of Hermippus seems to have been resorted to. We will, at present, quote only one, which rather favours our author's theory.
“ All the world hath heard of Mr. Calverley, who kept a board ing-school for young ladies in Queen-square. He maintained his health, his vigour, his cheerfulness, his good sense, and his good humour, to upwards of a hundred, and would say merrily when he heard men forty years younger than himself coughing, groaning, and complaining; . What a troublesome thing it is to be plagued with old
folks l' This gentleman, after he parted with his school, did not survive long, and it is said he was himself of opinion, that he might not only have lived, but have enjoyed life, some years longer, if he had not quitted business.”
The following is a short account of two persons celebrated amongst ourselves, viz. Old Parre, and the Countess of Desmond.
“ This Parre was born at Winnington, in the county of Salop, in 1483, passed his youth there, in very hard labour, and which is as remarkable, in sobriety and chastity. At fourscore, he married his first wife Jane, by whom he had two children, neither of which were long lived, or showed any extraordinary signs of strength; the first died at the age of a month, and the second lived but a few years. At an. 102 he became enamoured of Katherine Milton, whom he got with child, and did penance in the church for it. Some months before he died, the Earl of Arundel brought him up to London, and presented him to King Charles I., but through the change of air, and in his manner of living, he died soon after; though it was believed he might have survived many years, if he had remained in his own country, and led the same life he was wont to do. This man was overgrown with hair, and during the latter part of his life, slept very much. In the same country lived the famous Couotess of Desmond, whose age was unknown to herself, but extremely well supported by the authority of others; since from deeds, settlements, and other indisputable testimonies, it appeared clearly, that she was upwards of an hundred and forty, according to the computation of the great Lord Bacon, who knew her personally, and remarks this particularity about her, that she thrice changed her teeth. We have it on the credit of Alexander Benedictus, that there was a lady of his acquaintance, who at the age of fourscore had a complete new set of teeth, and though her hair had all fallen off before, yet, at the same time she cut her teeth, it grew again, of like colour and strength as at first.”
As we have some regard for our readers, (and the subject,) we refrain from quotations in which we are somewhat inclined to indulge ourselves. We pass over the Abbess of Monviedro; and by the Indian, who lived to the age of 370 years! who changed his hair and teeth four times !! and had, in the course of his life, 700 wives !!!—We forbear to speak of the Indian (American) chief, who was the father of five generations, or of his father, who was, asmay be supposed, still older:—We avoid all particulars of the astrologers, La Brosse, Antiochus, Tiburtus, and the rest'; and come at once to our friends, the hermetic philosophers.
In order to give our readers some idea of these people, we shall, in the first place, quote what is said of some of the most famous. Our first extract is well known; it having been VOL. VII. PART 1.
the foundation of Mr. Godwin's celebrated fiction of Saint Leon.
“ There happened, in the year 1687, an odd accident at Venice, that made a very great stir then, and which I think deserves to be secured from oblivion. The great freedom and ease with which all persons, who make a good appearance, live in that city, is known sufficiently to all who are acquainted with it; such will not therefore be surprised, that a stranger, who went by the name of Signor Gualdi, and who made a considerable figure there, was admitted into the best company, though nobody knew who, or what he was. He remained at Venice some months, and three things were remarked in his conduct. The first was, that he had a small collection of fine pictures, which he readily showed to any body that desired it; the next, that he was perfectly versed in all arts and sciences, and spoke on every subject with such readiness and sagacity, as astonished all who heard him; and it was in the third place observed, that he never wrote or received any letter; never desired any credit, or made use of bills of exchange, but paid for every thing in ready money, and lived decently, though not in splendor. This gentleman met one day at the coffee-house with a Venetian nobleman, who was an extraordinary good judge of pictures : he had heard of Signor Gualdi's collection, and in a very polite manner desired to see them, to which the other very readily consented. After the Venetian had viewed Signor Gualdi's collection, and expressed his satisfaction, by telling him, that he had never seen a finer, considering the number of pieces of which it consisted; he cast his eye by chance over the chamber-door, where hung a picture of this stranger. The Venetian looked upon it, and then upon him. This picture was drawn for you, sir, says he to Signor Gualdi, to which the other made no answer, but by a low bow. You look, continued the Venetian, like a man of fifty, and yet I know this picture to be of the hand of Titian, who has been dead one hundred and thirty years; how is this possible? It is not easy, said Signor Gualdi, gravely, to know all things that are possible; but there is certainly no crime in my being like a picture drawn by Titian. The Venetian easily perceived by his manner of speaking, that he had given the stranger offence, and therefore took his leave. He could not forbear speaking of this in the evening to some of his friends, who resolved to satisfy themselves by looking upon the picture the next day. In order to have an opportunity of doing so, they went to the coffee-house about the time that Signor Gualdi was wont to come thither, and not meeting with him, one of them, who had often conversed with him, went to his lodgings to enquire after him, where he heard, that he set out an hour before for Vienna. This affair made a great noise, and found a place in all the newspapers of that time.”
The reader may now take his account of Flamel, a famous man in his time, unless, indeed, he be, not (like Shakespeare) “ a man for all time.”
“ Amongst the hermetic philosophers, who are allowed to have attained the highest secrets of science, Nicholas Flamel, of Paris, has been always reckoned one of the most considerable, and his right to