Page images

the same friend to both fortunes;

but more zealous only in the bad, where his help was the most wanted, and his services the most disinterested; looking upon it not as a friendship, but a sordid traffic and merchandize of benefits, where good offices are to be weighed by a nice estimate of gain and loss. He calls gratitude the mother of virtues; reckons it the most capital of all duties; and uses the words, grateful and good, as terms synonymous, and inseparably united in the same character. His writings abound with sentiments of this sort, as his life did with the examples of them; so that one of his friends, in apologizing for the importunity of a request, observes to him with great truth, that the tenor of his life would be a sufficient excuse for it; since he had established such a custom, of doing every thing for his friends, that they no longer requested, but claimed a right to command him....... His manner of living was agreeable to the dignity of his character; splendid and noble: his house was open to all the learned strangers and philosophers of Greece and Asia; several of whom were constantly entertained in it, as part of his family, and spent their whole lives with him. His levee was perpetually crowded with multitudes of all ranks; even Pompey himself not disdaining to frequent it. The greatest part came, not only to pay their compliments, but to attend him on days of business to the Senate or the Forum; where upon any debate or transaction of moment, they constantly waited to conduct him home again: but on ordinary days, when these morning visits were over, as they usually were before ten, he retired to his books, and shut himself up in his library, without seeking any other diversion, but what his children afforded to the short intervals of his leisure. [Trinity College Fellowships, 1846.]

162. AND as for the disgraces which learning receiveth from politicians, they be of this nature; that learning doth soften men's minds, and makes them more unapt for the honour and exercise of arms; that it doth mar and pervert men's dispositions for matter of government and policy; or at least that it doth divert men's travails from action and business, and bringeth them to a love of leisure and privateness; and that it doth bring into states a relaxation of discipline, whilst every man is more ready to argue, than to obey and execute. Out of this conceit Cato, surnamed the Censor, one of the wisest men indeed that ever lived, when Carneades the philosopher came in embassage to Rome, and that the young men of Rome began to flock about him being allured with the sweetness and majesty of his eloquence and learning, gave counsel in open senate, that they should give him his despatch with all speed, lest he should infect and inchant the minds and affections of the youth, and at unawares bring in an alteration of the manners and customs of the state. Out of the same conceit or humour did Virgil, turning his pen to the advantage of his country and the disadvantage of his own profession, make a kind of separation between policy and government, or between arts and sciences, in the verses so much renowned, attributing and challenging the one to the Romans, and leaving and yielding the other to the Grecians. So likewise we see that Anytus, the accuser of Socrates, laid it as an article of charge and accusation against him, that he did with the variety and power of his discourses and disputations withdraw young men from the reverence to the laws and customs of their country; and that he did profess a dangerous and pernicious science, which was to make the worse matter seem the better, and to suppress truth by force of eloquence and speech, [Pitt Scholarship, 1847.]

163. This year also those who managed any money for the king in the wars, or otherwise, were by the Cardinal's command called in question. Among whom some by bribery, and some by cunning escaped; others being condemned in great sums : so that the Cardinal might be said to have in him so much of a good servant, as he willingly suffered none other to deceive his master. To accompany this severity also, he caused perjury to be rigorously punished; wherein I can never enough commend him: all other treacheries extending, for the most part, but to the depriving of life, possessions, or good name; but this such a one, as without much labour may take away all together. Some courts also were erected in favour of poor people, against the oppression of the great; which at the beginning were much frequented; but at last, the people receiving many delays and dissatisfactions in their suits, every one left them, and went to the common law; as fearing under this pretence, an innovation. I must not deny unto the Cardinal, yet, the attribute of just in all affairs of public judicature, whereof (if we may believe authors) he was ever apparently studious. Therefore, when disorders were committed, he severely punished, unless the parties found means to make their private peace. [Classical Tripos, 1847.]

164. LET them consider well what are the characters which they bear among their enemies. Our friends often flatter us, as much as our own hearts. They either do not see our faults, or conceal them from us, or soften them by their representations, after such a manner that we think them too trivial to be taken notice of. An adversary, on the contrary, makes a stricter search into us, discovers every flaw and imperfection in our tempers; and though his malice may set them in too strong a light, it has generally some ground for what it advances. A friend exaggerates a man's virtues, an enemy inflames his crimes. A wise man should give a just attention to both of them so far as they tend to the improvement of the one, and the diminution of the other.

(Classical Tripos, 1847.]

165. Thus, upon an inquiry into the whole matter, they reckon that all our actions, and even all our virtues, terminate in pleasure, as in our chief end and greatest happiness; and they call every motion or state, either of body or mind, in which nature teaches us to delight, a pleasure. And thus they cautiously limit pleasure only to those appetites to which nature leads us; for they reckon that nature leads us only to those delights to which reason as well as sense carries us, and by which we neither injure any other person, nor let go greater pleasures for it, and which do not draw troubles on us after them; but they look upon those delights which men, by a foolish though common mistake, call pleasure, as if they could change the nature of things, as well as the use of words, as things that not only do not advance our happiness, but do rather obstruct it very much, because they do so entirely possess the minds of those that once go into them with a false notion of pleasure, that there is no room left for truer and purer pleasures.

[Clare Hall Scholarships, 1847.]

166. In the last days of pope Eugenius the Fourth,

two of his servants, the learned Poggius and a friend, ascended the Capitoline Hill; reposed themselves among the ruins of columns and temples; and viewed from that commanding spot the wide and various prospect of desolation. The place and the object gave ample scope for moralizing on the vicissitudes of fortune, which spares neither man nor the proudest of his works, which buries empires and cities in a common grave; and it was agreed, that in proportion to her former greatness, the fall of Rome was the more awful and deplorable. Her primæval state, such as she might appear in a remote age, when Evander entertained the stranger of Troy, has been delineated by the fancy of Virgil. This Tarpeian rock was then a savage and solitary thicket; in the time of the poet, it was crowned with the golden roofs of a temple; the temple is overthrown, the gold has been pillaged, the wheel of fortune has accomplished her revolution, and the sacred ground is again disfigured with thorns and brambles. [Magdalene College Scholarships, 1847.]

167. THERE was reason to suppose, from the appearances upon opening the body, that, in the course of nature, he might have attained, like his father, to a good old age. Yet he cannot be said to have fallen prematurely whose work was done; nor ought he to be lamented, who died so full of honours, and at the height of human fame. The most triumphant death is that of the martyr; the most awful that of the martyred patriot; the most splendid that of the hero in the hour of victory: and if the chariot and the horses of fire had been vouchsafed for Nelson’s translation, he could scarcely have departed in a brighter blaze of glory. He has left us, not indeed his mantle of inspiration, but a name and

« PreviousContinue »