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around them such a luminous and lambent halo of sparkling quaintness, shining upon and playing about the matter of his thoughts, and inspirited them with such omnipresent jocularity and humour, that, of all the biographical writers of his age, he is, in our opinion, infinitely the best. After the perusal of the more polished, but certainly not more agreeable biographers of modern times, we always recur with renewed gusto and avidity to the Lives of our excellent author, as to a feast more substantial, without being less delicious.
The work which we have selected as the subject of this review is as well calculated to evince the justice of the foregoing remarks as any of his lucubrations. Perhaps, upon the whole, it is the best of his works; and certainly displays, to better advantage than any, his original and vigorous powers of thinking. It consists of two parts--the Holy and the Profane State: the former proposing examples for imitation; and the latter their opposites, for our abhorrence. Each contains characters of individuals in every department of life, as “ the father," "husband,” “ soldier,” and “ divine;" lives of eminent persons, as illustrative of these characters; and general essays. In his conception of character he has followed Bishop Earle * and Sir Thomas Overbury, but his manner of writing is essentially different. This species of composition was very near akin to what has been called the school of metaphysical poetry, sprung up into existence about the same time, and went out of fashion along with it. It was composed of the same materials, and regulated by nearly the same principles. Did our limits allow us, we do not know a more interesting and yet undeveloped subject for speculation than the concurrent and dependant styles of prose and poetry which prevailed from the accession of James I. till after the Restoration, and which were in truth all referable to one original. At present we can only observe that the care of the writers of characters was to crowd together the most motley assemblage of ideas in the smallest possible space; to concentrate, in one series of links, the most multitudinous spangles of conceit; to pour forth all the subject presented in one close intertexture of ideas, which received at once point from their wit and smartness from their brevity. By these means the thoughts are often so much compressed as to produce obscurity, or at least are defrauded of their due quantum of verbal clothing. Their very multitude produces confusion, and we are
. * It is somewhat singular that Fuller's Holy and Profane States is not mentioned in the Appendix to Mr. Bliss's admirable edition of Bishop Earle's Characters. We have seen this remark made before in a very elegant and interesting book, entitled Bibliographiana.
prevented from taking notice of each particularly by their cluster and conglomeration, and by the rapidity with which they alternately approach and recede. Thought succeeds thought; the most recondite metaphors are squeezed into an epithet or an adjective; one point is elbowed out by another, “like pricks upon the fretful porcupine,” till in mental dizziness and distraction we are obliged to bring our perusal of the book to an end. Of this method of writing, Butler's Hudibras is an enlarged specimenthat ever-standing monument of the lavish prodigality of wit. It may at first appear rather surprising that Fuller, fond as he was of pointed quaintness, and with such exuberance of images as he was possessed of, should have deserted this popular style of character-writing, and introduced in the stead of its curt and contracted sharpness, his own more easy, but less ambitious, diffuseness. But this, we think, may easily be accounted for. His intellectual plenitude was too great to submit to the tight braces and bandages of composition; and he had, besides, too much of the gossip about him to be untinctured with the usual appurtenance of the gossip, prolixity. He was also too wise to turn or torture his natural flow of mind into a new fashion, or to apply to it any such Chinese methods of artificial restraint. Thus his characters are written with an expository diffuseness, and seem sometimes rather a commentary upon characters of the foregoing description than others of the same species. If they do not exhibit the same perpetual display of wit and co-acervation of metaphor, they have much more easiness and variety, and much less stiffness and strained obscurity. They have just as much point as is necessary to render them striking, and just as much force of expression as is necessary to energize their diffuseness. They flow on enriched with many an interesting story, and many a profound reflection. Few will, we think, refuse to consider Fuller's method as the most judicious and agreeable, as his thoughts swell out to their full and healthy growth; and his illustrations receive their due modicum of relation, without being obscured by their density, or rendered ricketty by their compression.
We will now proceed to our extracts from the book, which will, we have no doubt, fully justify our character of Fuller. The great difficulty is in the selection, as all the parts of the volume are almost equally good. The first we shall give is the Character of the good Master..
" The good Master. “ He is the heart in the midst of his household, primum vivens et ultimum moriens, first up and last abed; if not in his person, yet in his providence. In his carriage he aimeth at his own and his servants' good, and to advance both.
“ He overseeth the works of his servants. One said, That the dust that fell from the master's shooes was the best compost to manure ground. The lion, out of state, will not run whilest any one looks on him; but some servants, out of slothfulnesse, will not run except some look upon them, spurred on with their master's eye. Chiefly he is careful exactly to take his servants' reckonings. If their master takes no account of them, they will make small account of him, and care not what they spend who are never brought to an audit.
« He provides them victuals, wholesome, sufficient, and seasonable. He doth not so allay his servants' bread, or debase it so much, as to make that servants' meat which is not man's meat. He alloweth them also convenient rest and recreation, whereas some masters, like a bad conscience, will not suffer them to sleep that have them. He remembers the old law of the Saxon king, Ina: “If a villain work on Sunday by his lord's command, he shall be free.'
“ The wages he contracts for he duly and truly pays to his servants. The same word in the Greek, ios, signifies rust and poison ; and some strong poyson is made of the rust of mettals, but none more venomous than the rust of mony in the rich man's purse unjustly detained from the labourer, which will poison and infect his whole estate.
“ He never threatens his servant, but rather presently corrects him. Indeed conditional threatnings, with promise of pardon on amendment, are good and useful. Absolute threatnings torment more, reform lesse, making servants keep their faults, and forsake their masters: wherefore herein he never passeth his word, but makes present payment, lest the creditour run away from the debtour.
• In correcting his servant, he becomes not a slave to his own passion; not cruelly making new indentures of the flesh of his apprentice. To this end he never beats him in the height of his passion. Moses being to fetch water out of the rock, and commanded by God only to speak to it with his rod in his hand, being transported with anger smote it thrice. Thus some masters, which might fetch penitent tears from their servants with a chiding word (onely shaking the rod withal for terrour), in their fury strike many blows which might better be spared. If he perceives his servant incorrigible, so that he cannot wash the black-moore, he washeth his hands of him, and fairly puts him away.
“ He is tender of his servant in sickness and age. If crippled in his service, his house is his hospital : yet how many throw away those dry bones out of which themselves have suckt the marrow! It is as usual to see a young serying-man an old beggar as to see a light horse, first from the great saddle of a nobleman, to come to the hackneycoach, and at last die in drawing a carre. But the good master is not like the cruel hunter in the fable, who beats his old dogge because his toothlesse mouth let go the game; he rather imitates the noble nature of our Prince Henry, who took order for the keeping of an old English mastiffe which had made a lion run away. Good reason, good service in age should be rewarded. Who can, without pity and plea
sure, behold that trusty vessel which carried Sir Francis Drake about the world?
“ Hitherto our discourse hath proceeded of the carriage of masters toward free covenant-servants, not intermedling with their behaviour towards slaves and vassals, whereof we onely report this passage: when Charles the Fifth, Emperour, returning with his fleet from Algier, was extremely beaten with a tempest, and their ships overloaden, he caused them to cast their best horses into the sea, to .save the life of many slaves, which, according to the market price, were not so much worth. Are there not many, that, in such a case, had rather save Jack the horse, then Jocky the keeper? And yet those who first called England the purgatory of servants, sure did us much wrong: purgatory, itself, being as false in the application to us, as in the doctrine thereof; servants, with us, living generally in as good conditions as in any other countrey. And well may masters consider how easie a transposition it had been for God, to have made him to mount into the saddle that holds the stirrup, and him to sit down at the table who stands by with a trencher."
The following character of the good School Master is admirable for its justness and good sense. Fuller seems to have set a proper value on the labours of this estimable class of men.
“ The good School Master. . “ There is scarce any profession in the common-wealth more necessary, which is so slightly performed. The reasons whereof I conceive to be these: first, young scholars make this calling their refuge, yea, perchance, before they have taken any degree in the university, commence school masters in the country, as if nothing else were required to set up this profession but only a rod and a ferula. Secondly, others who are able use it onely as a passage to better preferment, to patch the rents in their present fortune, till they can provide a new one, and betake themselves to some more gainful calling. Thirdly, they are disheartned from doing their best with the miserable reward which in some places they receive, being masters to their children and slaves to their parents. Fourthly, being grown rich they grow negligent, and scorn to touch the school but by the proxie of the usher. But see how well our school master behaves himself.
“His genius inclines him with delight to his profession. Some men had as lieve be school boyes as school masters, to be tyed to the school, as Cooper's Dictionary and Scapula's Lexicon are chained to the desk therein; and though great scholars, and skilful in other arts, are bunglers in this : but God of his goodness hath fitted several men for several callings, that the necessity of church and state, in all conditions, may be provided for. So that he who beholds the fabrick thereof, may say, God hewed out the stone, and appointed it to lie in this very place, for it would fit none other so well, and here it doth most excellent.' And thus God mouldeth some for a school master's life, undertaking it with desire and delight, and discharging it with dexterity and happy success.
“He studieth his scholars' natures as carefully as they their books; and ranks their dispositions into several forms. And though it may seem difficult for him in a great school to descend to all particulars, yet experienced school masters may quickly make a grammar of boyes' natures, and reduce them all (saving some few exceptions) to these general rules.
"1. Those that are ingenious and industrious. The conjunction of two such planets in a youth presage much good unto him. To such a lad a frown may be a whipping, and a whipping a death; yea, where their master whips them once, shame whips them all the week after. Such natures he useth with all gentleness.
“2. Those that are ingenious and idle. These think with the hare in the fable, that running with snails (so they count the rest of their school-fellows) they shall come soon enough to the post, though sleeping a good while before their starting. Oh, a good rod would finely take them napping.
“3. Those that are dull and diligent. Wines the stronger they be, the more lees they have when they are new. Many boys are muddy-headed till they be clarified with age, and such afterwards prove the best. Bristol diamonds are both bright, and squared, and pointed by nature, and yet are soft and worthless; whereas orient ones in India are rough and rugged naturally. Hard, rugged, and dull natures of youth acquit themselves afterwards the jewells of the countrey, and, therefore, their dulness at first is to be borne with, if they be diligent. That school master deserves to be beaten himself, who beats nature in a boy for a fault. And I question whether all the whipping in the world can make their parts which are naturally sluggish, rise one minute before the hour nature hath appointed...
“4. Those that are invincibly dull, and negligent also. Correction may reform the latter, not amend the former. All the whetting in the world can never set a rasour's edge on that which hath no steel in it. Such boyes he consigneth over to other professions. Shipwrights and boat-makers will choose those crooked pieces of timber which other carpenters refuse. Those may make excellent merchants and mechanicks which will not serve for scholars.;
“He is able, diligent, and methodical, in his teaching; not leading them rather in a circle than forwards. He minces his precepts for children to swallow, hanging clogs on the nimbleness of his own soul, that his schollars may go along with him.
“He is and will be known to be an absolute monarch in his school, If cockering mothers proffer him money to purchase their son's exemption from his rod, (to live, as it were, in a peculiar,out of their master's jurisdiction) with disdain he refuseth it, and scorns the late custome in some places of commuting whipping into money, and ransoming boyes from the rod at a set price. If he hath a stubborn youth, correctionproof, he debaseth not his authority by contesting with him, but fairly, if he can, puts him away before his obstinacy hath infected others.
“ He is moderate in inflicting deserved correction. Many a school master better answereth the name παιδοθείσης than παιδαγωγός, rather tearing his scholars’ flesh with whipping than giving them good