Page images

and Rome, from henceforward, was never without a master,

[Trinity College Scholarships, 1835.]

62. He was ordered by the Queen to make an inroad into England. There, after some slight engagements, in which the English had the worst, the Scotch and French came in as far as Newcastle and returned loaded with spoil, which the French divided among themselves, allowing the Scots no share of it. An English priest was taken, who bore the disgrace of his country so heavily, that he threw himself on the ground, and would not eat nor so much as open his eyes, but lay thus prostrate till he died. This the French, who seldom let their misfortunes afflict them, looked on with great astonishment. But at that time the English had fortified Inchkeith an island in the Frith, and put eight hundred men into it. Seventeen days after that, Dessie brought his forces from Leith and recovered it: having killed four hundred English, and forced the rest to surrender.

[Classical Tripos, 1835.]

63. THIS Tudor, who boasteth himself to have overthrown a tyrant, hath ever since his first entrance into his usurped reign, put little in practice, but tyranny and the feats thereof. For King Richard, our unnatural uncle, although desire of rule did blind him, yet in his other actions (like a true Plantagenet) was noble and loved the honour of the realm and the contentment and comfort of his nobles and people. But this our mortal enemy (agreeable to the meanness of his birth) hath trodden under foot the honour of this nation; selling our best confederates for money, and making merchandize of the blood, estates, and fortunes of our peers and sub

[ocr errors]

jects, by feigned wars, and dishonourable peace, only to enrich his coffers. Nor unlike hath been his hateful misgovernment and evil deportments at home.

[Classical Tripos, 1835.] 64. THE Epicureans did conceit and boast, that having by their atheistical explications of natural effects and common causes here discarded the belief and dread of religion, they had a strong foundation for tranquillity of mind, had driven away all the causes of grief and fear, so that nothing then remained troublesome or terrible unto us; and consequently what, said they, could forbid but that we should be entirely contented, glad and happy ? Nos exæquat victoria cælo – No God then surely can be more happy than we. But their attempt in many respects was vain and lame: they presumed of a victory which it is impossible to obtain-and supposing they had got it, their triumph would not have been so glorious, their success would not have been so great, as they pretended. For seeing no Epicurean discourse can baffle the potent arguments which persuade religion, since the being and providence of God have proofs, so clear and valid, that no subtlety of man can so far evade them, as wholly to be freed from doubt and suspicion of their truth; it is impossible that any con

. sidering man in this cause against religion should suppose himself to have acquired an absolute and secure victory, or that he should thence reap substantial fruit of comfort.

[King's College, 1835.] 65. STUDIES serve for delight, for ornament, and for ability. The chief use for delight, is in privateness and retiring; for ornament, is in discourse ; and for ability, is in the judgment and disposition of business, for expert men can execute, and perhaps judge of particulars, one by one ; but the general counsels, and the plots and marshalling of affairs come best from those that are learned.

To spend too much time in studies, is sloth; to use them too much for ornament, is affectation; to make judgment wholly by their rules, is the humour of a scholar: they perfect nature, and are perfected by experience: for natural abilities are like natural plants, that need pruning by study; and studies themselves do give forth directions too much at large, except they be bounded in by experience. Crafty men contemn studies, simple men admire them, and wise men use them; for they teach not their own use: but that is a wisdom without them, and above them, won by observation. Read not to contradict and confute, nor to believe and take for granted, nor to find talk and discourse, but to weigh and consider. Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested ; that is, some books are to be read only in parts; others to be read, but not curiously; and some few to be read wholly and with diligence and attention. Some books also may be read by deputy, and extracts made of them by others; but that would be only in the less important arguments and the meaner sort of books. Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man, and writing an exact man; and, therefore, if a man write little, he had need have a great memory: if he confer little, he had need have a present wit: and if he read little, he had need have much cunning, to seem to know that he doth not. Histories make men wise; poets, witty; the mathematics, subtile; natural philosophy, deep; moral, grave; logic and rhetoric, able to contend.

[Trinity College Fellowships, 1835.]


66. INDOLENCE is therefore one of the vices from which those whom it once infects are seldom reformed. Every other species of luxury operates upon some appetite that is quickly satiated, and requires some concurrence of art or accident which every place will not supply; but the desire of ease acts equally at all hours, and the longer it is indulged is the more increased. To do nothing is in every man's power; we can never want an opportunity of omitting duties. The lapse to indolence is soft and imperceptible, because it is only a mere cessation of activity; but the return to diligence is difficult, because it implies a change from rest to motion, from privation to reality. Of this vice, as of all others, every man who indulges it is conscious: we all know our own state, if we could be induced to consider it, and it might perhaps be useful to the conquest of all these ensnarers of the mind, if, at certain stated days, life was reviewed. Many things necessary are omitted, because we vainly imagine that they may be always performed; and what cannot be done without pain will for ever be delayed, if the time of doing it be left unsettled. No corruption is great but by long negligence, which can scarcely prevail in a mind regularly and frequently awakened by periodical remorse. He that thus breaks his life into parts, will find in himself a desire to distinguish every stage of his existence by some improvement, and delight himself with the approach of the day of recollection, as of the time which is to begin a new series of virtue and felicity.

[Clare Hall, 1836.)

67. THE houses were full of dying women and children, the streets with old men gasping out their last breath. The bodies remained unburied, for either the

emaciated relatives had not strength for the melancholy duty, or in the uncertainty of their own lives, neglected every office of kindness or charity. Some, indeed, died in the act of burying their friends, others crept into the cemeteries, lay down on a bier, and expired. There was no sorrow, no wailing ; they had not strength to moan; they sate with dry eyes, and mouths drawn up into a kind of bitter smile. Those who were more hardy looked with envy on those who had already breathed their last, Many died, says the historian, with their eyes steadily fixed on the Temple. There was a deep and heavy silence over the whole city, broken only by the robbers as they forced open houses to plunder the dead, and in licentious sport dragged away the last decent covering from their bodies; they would even try the edge of their swords on the dead. The soldiers, dreading the stench of the bodies, at first ordered them to be buried at the expense of the public treasury; as they grew more numerous, they were thrown over the walls into the ravines below.

[Classical Tripos, 1836.]

68. HE that goeth about to persuade a multitude, that they are not so well governed as they ought to be, shall never want attentive and favourable hearers ; because they know the manifold defects whereunto every kind of regiment is subject : but the secret lets and difficulties, which in public proceedings are innumerable and inevitable, they have not ordinarily the judgment to consider. And because such as openly reprove supposed disorders of State, are taken for principal friends to the common benefit of all, and for men that carry singular freedom of mind; under this fair and plausible colour, whatsoever they utter, passeth for good and current.

« PreviousContinue »