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and one in English, forming his answer to a friend who had censured him for wasting his life in literary pursuits, and had urged him to forsake his study for some of the active occupations of the world. This letter, of which Dr. Birch has published the rough and the corrected draught from the author's MSS. in the library of Trinity college, Cambridge, concludes with a very impressive sonnet; and is particularly interesting for the view which it gives to us of the writer's delicacy of principle and of the high motives which actuated his bosom. The reader, as I persuade myself, will thank me for communicating it.
“ Besides that in sundry other respects I must acknowledge me to profit by you whenever we meet, you are often to me, and were yesterday especially, as a good watchman to admonish that the hours of the night pass on, (for so I call my life as yet obscure and unserviceable to mankind,) and that the day with me is at hand, wherein Christ commands all to labour while there is light. Which because I am persuaded you do to no other purpose than out of a true desire that. God should be honoured in
every one, I therefore think myself bound, though unasked, to give you account, as oft as occasion is, of this my tardy moving, aca cording to the precept of my conscience which, I firmly trust, is not without God. Yet now I will not strain for any set apology, but only refer myself to what my mind shall have at any time to declare herself at her best ease. But if you think, as you said, that too much love of learning is in fault, and that I have given up myself to dream away my years in the arms of studious retirement, like Endymion with the moon, as the tale of Latmus goes; yet consider, that if it were no more but the mere love of learning, whether it proceeds from a principle bad, good, or natural, it could not have held out thus long against so strong opposition on the other side of every kind. For if it be bad, why should not all the fond hopes that forward youth and vanity are fledge with, together with gain pride and ambition, call me forward more powerfully than a poor regardless and unprofitable sin of curiosity should be able to withhold me, whereby a man cuts himself off from all action, and becomes the most helpless pusillanimous and unweaponed creature in the world, the most unfit and unable to do that
which all mortals most aspire to, either to be useful to his friends or to offend his enemies. Or if it be to be thought a natural proneness, there is against that a much more potent inclination inbred, which about this time of a man's life sollicits most, the desire of house and family of his own, to which nothing is esteemed more helpful than the carly entering into credible employment, and nothing hindering than this affected solitari
And though this were enough, yet there is to this another act, if not of pure yet of refined nature, no less available to dissuade prolonged obscurity, a desire of honour and repute and immortal fame seated in the breast of every true scholar, which all make haste to by the readiest ways of pubJishing and divulging conceived merits, as well those that shall as those that never shall obtain it. Nature therefore would presently work the more prevalent way, if there were nothing but this inferior bent of herself to restrain her. Lastly, the love of learning, as it is the pursuit of something good, it would sooner follow the more excellent and supreme good known and presented, and so be quickly diverted from the empty and fantastic chace of shadows and notions to the solid good flowing from due and timely
obedience to that command in the gospel set out by the terrible seizing of him that hid the talent. It is more probable therefore, that not the endless delight of speculation, but this very consideration of that. great commandment does not press forward, as soon as many do, to undergo, but keeps off with a sacred reverence and religious advisement how best to undergo; not taking thought of being late, so it give advantage to be more fit; for those that were latest lost nothing, when the master of the vineyard came to give each one his hire. And here I am come to a stream-head, copious enough to disburden itself like Nilus at seven mouths into an ocean. But then I should also run into a reciprocal contradiction of ebbing and flowing at once, and do that, which I excuse myself for not doing, ‘preach and not preach.' Yet that you may see that I am something suspicious of myself and do take notice of a certain belatedness in me, I am the bolder to send you some of my nightward thoughts some while since, because they come in not altogether unfitly, made up in a Petrarchian stanza, which I told you of. " How soon hath time, the subtle thief of youth, Stolen on his wing my three and twentieth year! My basting days fly on with full career;
But my late spring no bud or blossom shew'th.
That I to manhood am arrived so near,
That some more timely-happy spirits indu'th,
It shall be still in strictest measure even
To that same lot, however mean or high,
All is, if I have grace to use it so,
By this I believe you may well repent of having made mention at all of this matter; for if I have not all this while won you to this, I have certainly wearied you of it. This therefore alone may be a sufficient reason for me to keep me as I am, lest, having thus tired you singly, I should deal worse with a whole congregation and spoil all the patience of a parish: for I myself do not only see my own tediousness, but now grow offended with it that has hindered me thus long from coming to the last and best period of my letter, and that which must now chiefly work my pardon, that I am your true and unfeigned friend.”
On his taking the degree of master of arts in 1632," having taken that of bachelor, as we
n In a little poem “ De Idea Platonica," written by our author while he was at the University, there is a most striking personification of Eternity