« PreviousContinue »
ON WOMAN'S INCONSTANCY.
I lov'd thee once, I'll love no more,
Nothing could have my love o'erthrown,
That if thou might elsewhere inthral;
When new desires had conquer'd thee,
And prostitute affection so,
Since we are taught no prayers to say
Yet do thou glory in thy choice,
The height of my disdain shall be,
A begging to a beggar's door.-Sir R. Ayton.
In Orpheus's theatre, all beasts and birds assembled; and, forgetting their several appetites, some of prey, some of game, some of quarrel, stood all sociably together, listening unto the airs and accords of the harp; the sound whereof no sooner ceased, or was drowned by some louder noise, but every beast returned to his own nature; wherein is aptly described the nature and condition of men, who are full of savage and unreclaimed desires of profit, of lust, of revenge: which, as long as they give ear to precepts, to laws, to religion, sweetly touched with eloquence and persuasion of books, of sermons, of harangues, so long is society and peace maintained; but if these instruments be silent, or sedition and tumult make them not audible, all things dissolve into anarchy and confusion.-Lord Bacon.
AGAINST FINE CLOTHES.
Good clothes are the embroidered trappings of pride, and good cheer the very root of gluttony. Did man, think you, come wrangling into the world about no better matters, than all his lifetime to make privy searches in Birchin Lane for whalebone doublets, or for pies of nightingales' tongues in Heliogabalus his kitchen? No, no; the first suit of apparel that ever mortal man put on, came neither from the mercer's shop nor the merchant's warehouse: Adam's bill would have been taken then, sooner than a knight's bond now; yet was he great in nobody's books for satin and velvets. The
silk-worms had something else to do in those days than to set up looms, and be free of the weavers. His breeches were not so much worth as King Stephen's, that cost but a poor noble; for Adam's holiday hose and doublet were of no better stuff than plain fig-leaves, and Eve's best gown of the same piece; there went but a pair of shears between them. An antiquary of this town has yet some of the powder of those leaves to show. Tailors then were none of the twelve companies; their hall, that now is larger than some dorfes among the Netherlanders, was then no bigger than a Dutch butcher's shop: they durst not strike down their customers with large bills: Adam cared not an apple-paring for their lousy hems. There was then neither the Spanish slop, nor the skipper's galligaskin, nor the Danish sleeve, nor the French standing collar: your treble-quadruple ruffs, nor your stiff-necked rabatos, that have more arches for pride than can stand under five London bridges, durst not then set themselves out in point; for the patent for starch could by no means be signed. Fashion was then counted a disease, and horses died of it; but now, thanks to folly, it is held the only rare physic, and the purest golden asses live upon it. Thomas Decker.
BOOKS AND SHIPS COMPARED.
If the invention of the ship was thought so noble, which carrieth riches and commodities from place to place, and consociateth the most remote regions in participation of their fruits, how much more are letters to be magnified, which, as ships, pass through the vast seas of time, and make ages so distant participate of the wisdom, illuminations, and inventions, the one of the other!-Lord Bacon.
THE STRENGTH OF KINGS.
They say that the goodliest cedars which grow on the high mountains of Libanus thrust their roots between the clefts of hard rocks, the better to bear themselves against the strong storms that blow there. As nature has instructed those kings of trees, so has reason taught the kings of men to root themselves in the hardy hearts of their faithful subjects; and as those kings of trees have large tops, so have the kings of men large crowns, whereof, as the first would soon be broken from their bodies, were they not underborne by many branches, so would the other easily totter, were they not fastened on their heads with the strong chains of civil justice and of martial discipline.— Sir W. Raleigh.
Hangs out his bush to show he has not good wine; for that, the proverb says, needs it not. He had rather sell bad wine than good, that stands him in no more; for it makes men sooner drunk, and then they are the easier over-reckoned. By the knaveries he acts above-board, which every man sees, one may easily take a measure of those he does under-ground in his cellar; for he that will pick a man's pocket to his face, will not stick to use him worse in private, when he knows nothing of it. He does not only spoil and destroy his wines, but an ancient reverend proverb, with brewing and racking, that says, "In vino veritas; for there is no truth in his, but all false and sophisticated; for he can counterfeit wine as cun
ningly as Apelles did grapes, and cheat men with it, as he did birds. He is an Antichristian cheat, for Christ turned water into wine, and he turns wine into water. He scores all his reckonings upon two tables, made like those of the Ten Commandments, that he may be put in mind to break them as oft as possibly he can; especially that of stealing and bearing false witness against his neighbour, when he draws him bad wine, and swears it is good, and that he can take more for the pipe than the wine will yield him by the bottle a trick that a Jesuit taught him to cheat his own conscience with. When he is found to over-reckon notoriously, he has one common evasion for all, and that is, to say it was a mistake by which he means that he thought they had not been sober enough to discover it; for if it had passed, there had been no error at all in the case.Samuel Butler.
FEAR OF DEATH.
Ay, but to die, and go we know not where;
The weariest and most loathed worldly life,
To what we fear of death.