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wonder that diseases multiply? Count the cooks. All study is given over; the professors of the liberal arts fit in some lonely corner without an audience; the schools of rhetoric and philosophy are quite deserted; while the taverns and cook-Mops are full: what a crowd of young fellows surround the hearth.of some spendthrift? I pass by the troops of poor boys, natives or foreign, distinguished by their nation, and complexions, and ranged according to their size, their age, and even their hair, those who have lank and straight locks not being admitted among the curled: I omit likewise the crew of bakers and confectioners, and other serving men whose business it is, at a sign given (g), to bring in the supper. Good gods! what a number of men does one belly employ!
But can you think those mushrooms (a tasteful poyson) do not secretly and gradually operate, though no bad effect is immediately perceived from them? Do you think that the summer-ice does not chill, and by degrees make the liver callous? or that thofe oysters, a most inert kind of flesh in itself, being fattened with mud, engender not viscous and muddy humours? or that foy (b), or the pickle made of the gravy
of unwholesome fith, does not burn up the entrails with its faline and poyfonous particles? or that those strong loups which are swallowed down hot from the fire, can without doing any prejudice, be extinguished in the bowels ? How filthy and pestilent are their belches! How do they loth themselves, while disgorging their last furfeit! Know, that such eatables as the luxurious are now fond of, may putrefy, but digest not.
I remember to have heard of a famous dish (i), into which a lickerish glutton, hastening his own destruction, was wont to gather all the dainties that were used to be served up at the tables of great men; all kinds of shell-fish, cockels, muscles, and oysters with their beards cut off, are intermixed with fea-urchins (k), and poulets crimped and boned; no one can now eat of a single dish (1), they must all be mingled together, and such an hotch-potch prepared for supper, as we may fuppofe made in the belly after a full meal. For my part, I expe& foon that the vi&tuals will be served up already chewed: for there is but little difference in having things so mangled and mashed together, and having a cook perform the office of our teeth.
It is thought tedious to indulge the taste with one thing after another; all things must be set on together and disguised with one flavour: it would be too much trouble to reach out the hand for any particular thing; every thing must come on at once: the garnishing of many dishes must unite, and be blended together; and let those, who say that all this is by way of grandeur and oftentation, know, that the fame excesses are committed not only in public but in private. Tho' a man sups alone, upon one mess of soup, it is compounded of various ingredients, that used to serve for so many dishes; but now there must be no difference between oysters and muscles; and fea-crabs must be mixed, and cooked up with mullets; fo that the fight of it, if thrown up again, could not be more confused, (as I before observed). Now, as these viands are thus mixed and confounded, no single disorder can be supposed to arise therefrom, but several, unaccountable, different, and multiplied diseases, against which physic hath begun to arm herself, with many remedies founded on obfervations and experiments,
The same I say of philosophy-it was once of a more simple nature, among those whose fins were not so enormous, but curable with slight and easy remedies. Against such a degeneracy and corruption of manners as now reigns, every thing is to be tried; and I wish that even so, this dreadful malady may be overcome. We play the madmen not only in private, but in public: we forbid homicide, and single Naughters; but wars, and the slaughter of nations, seem most glorious mischief. Neither avarice nor cruelty know any bounds; these however when exercised by stealth, as it were, and by single persons, are less hurtful and less monstrous: but what shall we say when by the decrees of the senate, and cdicts of the Government, those heinous offences are committed and publickly commanded, which are condemned in the practice of a private nan? as such things when committed by the soldiery are applauded, for which other men would suffer death? Ought not men, the mildest of animals by nature, to be ashamed of rejoicing in the blood of one another; and not only in waging unnecessary wars,
but delivering them down for posterity to carry on; when dumb and savage beasts have peace among themselves? Against so potent and general a madness philosophy is obliged to take more pains, and to assume to herself strength in proportion to the strength of those against whom it is applied
It was an easy matter in former days to chide an accidental sot, and reprove such as luxuriously coveted mere dainty food; the mind was easily brought back to frugality, that had wandered but a little
way therefrom: Nunc manibus rapidis opus est, nunc arte magistra.
Virg. E. 442. But now there's need of forceful strength, and well-experienced art. Pleasure is fought out in every quarter : no vice keeps within its own fphere. Luxury runs headlong into avarice; juftice and honesty are quite forgot; nothing is thought base and scandalous where the gain is sweet: man, that facred animal, (m), man, I say is killed in mere jest and sport; and whom it was thought impiety to instruct in the science of defence, is now exposed naked and unarmed, as if it was a pleasing spectacle only to see him butchered 6).
In this perversity therefore of manners, something stronger than usual is required to throw off the inveterate evil; we must apply decrees and maxims; that the received persuasion of false opinions may first be rooted out: to these if we add precepts, consolations, and exhortations, they will probably prevail; they are ineffe&tual of themfelves; if we would set men free from their bonds, and deliver them from the entanglement of evil; we must inform them what is evil, and what is good; they must be taught that all things, except virtue, are liable to a change of appellation, being sometimes good and sometimes bad: as the first bond of a soldier is the military oath, to follow his standard, and to think it a fin to desert; every thing else is easily Vol. II.
obtained, and the word of command readily obeyed, by all such as know themselves bound by this obligation; so among those whom you would conduct to an happy life, the first foundation must be laid in virtue. Let rhem reverence her to a degree of superstition ; let them love her, and resolve rather to die than live without her.
But have not
some without fuch discipline, and curious instructions proved good men, and made great proficiency in the school of virtue, while obedient only to bare precepts ? No doubt of it; but this hath been owing to an happy disposition and good natural parts, which in a moment apprehended their duty in the falutary pursuit of what is right and fit. For, as the immortal Gods never learned virtue, nor had any need to learn it, being by nature perfectly good; so, some men, being endowed with an excellent genius, give due attention to the lectures of morality, and as soon as they hear of virtue, readily embrace her. From whence some naturally catch at every thing that is good, and without culture bring forth fruit: whereas it requires great pains to rub off the rust from the minds of those who are dull of apprehension, or have long laboured under some evil habit: but how necessary the maxims of philosophy are, as well in bringing to perfection such as are prone to good, as in assisting the weaker, and dispossessing them of prejudice, and false opinions, you will learn from what follows.
Thcre are certain inclinations within, which make us slow and lazy in some affairs, and light and rash in other : nor can this rashness be restrained, nor this sluggishness enlivened, unless the causes of them are first cut off, viz. false admiration and false fear : so long as these possess the mind, you may tell a man what duty he owes his father, what to his children, what to friends and what to strangers; but avarice will turn his endeavours another way: he will know, that he ought to fight for his country, but fear will dissuade him : he will know, that without grudging, he must do all he can, to serve a friend, but ease and pleasure will forbid him: he will know, that it is a most grievous injury to a wife, to keep a mistress, but heedless lust will incite him. It will avail nothing therefore to give precepts, unless
every bar to such precepts be first removed; no more than it will to
That the mind may duly attend to the precepts given, it must first be free. Suppose any one to do a right thing, he will not do fo continually, nor act uniformly; because he knows not a reason for it. Some things may happen to be right, either by chance or custom, but he still wants a rule whereby to square his actions, and to have assurance that they are right: you can never depend upon a man, from his being casually good, that he will always continue so. Besides, precepts perhaps will inform you what you ought to do, but not the manner of doing it; and without this, they will not bend to virtue.
But a man that follows good advice, will certainly do what he ought
Tiberius Cæfar ordered that a mullet of an extraordinary size, (why should I not mention the weight, to make gluttons gape? it weighed four pounds and an half,) which was sent him for a present, to be carried into the market, and fold, saying, I should be much mistaken, my friends, if either Appius or P. Octavius buy not this fish. The thing fell out beyond his expectation : these very two men bid upon one another for it: Ostavius got it, and not only the filh, but great glory A a 2