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It is a business especially incumbent on him to be careful of his ways, that they may have good influence on others, who are apt to look on him as their guide and pattern.
He should labour and study to be a leader unto virtue, and a notable promoter thereof; directing and exciting men thereto by his exemplary conversation ; encouraging them by his countenance and authority ; rewarding the goodness of meaner people by his bounty and favour; he should be such a gentleman as Noah, who preached righteousness by his words and works before a profane world.
Such particular affairs hath every person of quality, credit, wealth, and interest, allotted to him by God, and laid on him as duties; the which to discharge faithfully will enough employ a man, and doth require industry, much care, much pains; excluding sloth and negligence : so that it is impossible for a sluggard to be a worthy gentleman, virtuously disposed, a charitable neighbour, a good patriot, a good husband of his estate ; anything of that, to which God, by setting him in such a station, doth call him.
Thus is a gentleman obliged to industry in respect of God, who justly doth exact those labours of piety, charity, and all virtue from him. Farther,
2. He hath also obligations to mankind, demanding industry from him, on accounts of common humanity, equity, and ingenuity; for,
How can he fairly subsist on the common industry of mankind, without bearing a share thereof? How can he well satisfy himself to dwell statelily, to feed daintily, to be finely clad, to maintain a pompous retinue, merely on the sweat and toil of others, without himself rendering a compensation, or making some competent returns of care and pain redounding to the good of his neighbour?
How can he justly claim or reasonably expect from the world the respect agreeable to his rank, if he doth not by worthy performances conduce to the benefit of it? Can men be obliged to regard those from whom they receive no good ?
If no gentleman be tied to serve the public, or to yield help in sustaining the common burdens, and supplying the needs of mankind, then is the whole order merely a burden, and an offence to the world; a race of drones, a pack of ciphers in the commonwealth, standing for nothing, deserving no consideration or regard : and if any are bound, then all are; for why should the whole burden lie on some, while others are exempted ?
It is indeed supposed that all are bound thereto, seeing that all have recompenses publicly allowed to them on such considerations; divers respects and privileges peculiar to the order, grounded on supposition, that they deserve such advantages by conferring notable benefit on the public, the which indeed it were an arrogance to seek and an iniquity to accept for doing nothing.
It is an insufferable pride for any man to pretend or conceit himself to differ so much from his brethren, that he may be allowed to live in ease and sloth, while the rest of mankind are subject to continual toil and trouble. Moreover,
3. A gentleman is bound to be industrious for his own sake; it is a duty which he oweth to himself, to his honour, to his interest, to his welfare. He cannot without industry continue like himself, or maintain the honour and repute becoming his quality and state, or secure himself from contempt and disgrace; for to be honourable and slothful are things inconsistent, seeing honour does not grow, nor can subsist without undertaking worthy designs, constantly pursuing them, and happily achieving them; it is the fruit and reward of such actions which are not performed with ease.
External respect and a semblance of honour, for the sake of public order, may be due to an exterior rank or title: but to pay this, is not to honour the person, but his title; because it is supposed that men of real worth and use do bear it; or lest, by refusing it to one, the whole order may seem disrespected: but yet true honour or mental esteem is not due on such accounts; nor is it possible to render it unto any person who doth not by worthy qualities and good deeds appear to merit it.
Nor can a gentleman without industry uphold his real interests against the attempts of envy, of treachery, of flattery, of sycophantry, of avarice, to which his condition is obnoxious : to preserve his wealth and estate, which are the supports of his quality, he must endure care and pains; otherwise he will by greedy harpies and crafty lurchers be rifled or cozened of his substance; it will of itself go to wreck, and be embezzled by negligence.
He cannot without industry guard his personal welfare from manifold inconveniences, molestations, and mischiefs; idleness itself will be very troublesome and irksome to him. His time will lie on his hands as a pestering incumbrance. His mind will be infested with various distractions and distempers; vain and sad thoughts, foul lusts, and unquiet passions will spring up therein as weeds in a neglected soil. His body will languish and become destitute of health, of vigour, of activity, for want of due exercise. All the mischiefs which naturally do spring from sloth and stupidity will seize on him.
4. Thus, on various accounts, a gentleman is engaged to business, and concerned to exercise industry therein: we may add, that indeed the very nature of gentility, or the true notion of a gentleman, doth imply so much.
For what, I pray, is a gentleman, what properties hath he, what qualities are characteristical or peculiar to him, whereby he is distinguished from others, or raised above the vulgar? Are they not especially two, courage and courtesy? which he that wanteth is not otherwise than equivocally a gentleman, as an image or a carcass is a man; without which, gentility in a conspicuous degree is no more than a vain show, or an empty name: and these plainly do involve industry, do exclude slothfulness; for courage doth prompt boldly to undertake, and resolutely to despatch great enterprises and employments of difficulty: it is not seen in a flaunting garb, or strutting deportment; not in hectorly, ruffian-like swaggering or huffing; not in high looks or big words ; but in stout and gallant deeds, employing vigour of mind and heart to achieve them: how can a man otherwise approve himself courageous, than by signalizing himself in such a way?
And for courtesy, how otherwise can it be well displayed than in sedulous activity for the good of men ? It surely doth not consist in modish forms of address, or complimental expressions, or hollow professions, commonly void of meaning or sincerity; but in real performances of beneficence, when occasion doth invite, and in waiting for opportunities to do good; the which practice is accompanied by some care and pain, adding a price to it; for an easy courtesy is therefore small, because easy, and may be deemed to proceed rather from ordinary humanity, than from gentle disposition; so that, in fine, he alone doth appear truly a gentleman who hath the heart to undergo hard tasks for public good, and willingly taketh pains to oblige his neighbours and friends.
5. The work indeed of gentlemen is not so gross, but it may be as smart and painful as any other. For all hard work is not manual; there are other instruments of action beside the plough, the spade, the hammer, the shuttle : nor doth every work produce sweat and tiring of body: the head may work hard in contrivance of good designs; the tongue may be very active in dispensing advice, persuasion, comfort, and edification in virtue; a man may bestir himself in “ going about to do good :” these are works employing the cleanly industry of a gentleman.
6. In such works it was that the truest and greatest pattern of gentility that ever was did employ himself. Who was that? Even our Lord himself; for he had no particular trade or profession : no man can be more loose from any engagement to the world than he was; no man had less need of business or pains-taking than he ; for he had a vast estate, being “ heir of all things,” all the world being at his disposal; yea, infinitely more, it being in his power with a word to create whatever he would to serve his need, or satisfy his pleasure; omnipotency being his treasure and supply; he had a retinue of angels to wait on him, and minister to him; whatever sufficiency any man can fancy to himself to dispense with his taking pains, that had he in a far higher degree: yet did he find work for himself, and continually was employed in performing service to God, and imparting benefits to men; nor was ever industry exercised on earth comparable to his.
Gentlemen, therefore, would do well to make him the pattern of their life, to whose industry they must be beholden for their salvation: in order whereto we recommend them to his grace.
37.-FLOWERS. It has been objected to Milton that in his · Lycidas' he enumerates among “vernal flowers" many of those which are the offspring of Midsummer, and of a still more advanced season. The passage to which the objection applies is the following :
“ Ye Valleys low, where the mild whispers rise
Of shades, and wanton winds, and gushing brooks,
With cowslips wan that hang the pensive head,
To strow the laureat hearse where Lycid lies.” A little consideration will show that Milton could distinguish between the flowers of Spring and the flowers of Summer. The “Sicilian Muse” is to “ call the vales, and bid them hither cast their bells, and flow'rets of a thousand hues." There were not only to be cast the “ quaint enamellid eyes” of “ vernal flowers,” but “every flower that sad embroidery wears;” or, in the still clearer language of the original manuscript of the poem, “ every bud that sorrow's livery wears." The “ vernal flowers" were to indicate the youth of Lycidas; the flowers of “sorrow's livery” were emblems of his untimely death. The intention of Milton is distinctly to be traced in his first conception of the passage. After the “ rathe (early] primrose,” we have,
“And that sad flower that strove
To write his own woes on the vermeil grain." This is the hyacinth, the same as “the tufted crow-toe.” He proceeds with more of sorrow's livery :
“Next add Narcissus, that still weeps in vain." Then come “the woodbine,” and “the pansy freak'd with jet.” In the original passage “ the musk-rose" is not found at all. Milton's strewments for the bier of Lycidas, we hold, are not confined to vernal flowers, and therefore it is unnecessary to elevate Shakspere at the expense of Milton : “ While Milton and the other poets had strung together in their descriptions the blossoms of Spring and the flowers of Summer, Shakspere has placed in one group those only which may be found in bloom at the same time.”* The writer alludes to the celebrated passage in the · Winter's Tale,' where Perdita, at the summer sheep-shearing, bestows the “ flowers of middle summer” upon her guests “ of middle age,” and wishes for “some flowers o' the spring” that might become the “time of day” of her fairest virgin friends :
* Patterson on the Insects mentioned by Shakspere.