« AnteriorContinuar »
hard with labor, and her heart soft with pity; and when winter evenings fall early, sitting at her merry wheel, she sings defiance to the giddy wheel of fortune. She doth all things with so sweet a grace, it seems ignorance will not suffer her to do ill, being her mind is to do well. She bestows her year's wages at next fair ; and in choosing her garments, counts no bravery in the world like decency. The garden and bee-hive are all her physic and surgery, and she lives the longer for it. She dares go alone and unfold sheep in the night, and fears no manner of ill, because she means none; yet, to say truth, she is never alone, but is still accompanied with old songs, honest thoughts, and prayers, but short ones; yet they have their efficacy, in that they are not palled with ensuing idle cogitations. Lastly, her dreams are so chaste, that she dare tell them; only a Friday's dream is all her superstition; that she conceals, for fear of anger. Thus lives she; and all her care is, she may die in the springtime, to have her store of flowers stuck upon her winding-sheet.
James Howell was an intelligent traveller, and miscellaneous writer. In his travels, he became acquainted with a great many modern languages, and laid up a store of observations tipon men and manners. He was imprisoned in the Fleet, in the time of Charles I., and there composed and translated a variety of works. His Familiar Letters are more known than any of his works, and they are considered the first specimens of epistolary literature in our language.
(From "Instruclions for Foreign Travel.”]
TALES OF TRAVELLERS. Others have a custom to be always relating strange things and wonders of the humor of Sir John Mandeville, and they usually present them to the hearers through multiplying-glasses, and thereby cause the thing to appear far greater than it is in itself; they make mountains of mole-hills, like Charentonbridge echo, which doubles the sound nine times. Such a traveller was he that reported the Indian fly to be as big as a fox, China birds to be as big as some horses, and their mice to be as big as monkeys ; but they have the wit to fasten this far enough
off, because the hearer had rather believe it than make a voyage so far off, to disprove it.
Every one knows the tale of him who reported he had seen a cabbage under whose leaves a regiment of soldiers were sheltered from a shower of rain. Another, who was no travel. ler, yet the wiser man, said he had passed by a place where there were four hundred braziers, making of a cauldron, — two hundred within, and two hundred without, beating the nails in; the traveller asking for what use that huge cauldron was, he told him, “ Sir, it was to boil your cabbage.”
Such another was the Spanish traveller, who was so habituated to hyperbolize and relate wonders, that he became ridiculous in all companies, so that he was forced, at last, to give orders to his man, when he fell into any excess in this way, and report anything improbable, he should pull him by the sleeve. The master, falling into his wonted hyperboles, spoke of a church in China that was ten thousand yards long; his man' standing behind, and pulling him by the sleeve, made him stop suddenly. The company asking, “I pray, sir, how broad might that church be?” he replied, “ But a yard broad; and you may thank my man for pulling me by the sleeve, - else I had made it four square for you."
THOMAS DEKKER. -1638. Dekker was for a time connected with Jonson, in writing plays. but they afterwards became bitter enemies. He was also the author of several small prose works of a satirical and humorous cast. The following is from one entitled the Gull's Horn-book, in which he assumes the character of a guide to the fashionable follies of the town, but only with the design of exposing them to ridicule.
AGAINST FINE CLOTHES. Good clothes are the embroidered trappings of pride, and good cheer the very root of gluttony. Did man, think you, come wrangling into the world about no better matters, than all his lifetime to make privy searches in Birchen-lane for whalebone doublets, or for pies of nightingale's tongues in Heliogabalus, his kitchen? No, no! the first suit of apparel that ever mortal man
put on came neither from the mercer's shop nor the merchant's warehouse. Adam's bill would have been taken then sooner than a knight's bond now; yet was he great in nobody's books, for satins and velvets. The silkworms had something else to do, in those days, than to set up looms, and be free of the
His breeches were not of so much worth as King Stephen's, that cost but a poor noble; for Adam's holiday hose and doublet were of no better stuff than plain fig-leaves, and Eve's best gown of the same piece. There went but a pair of shears between them. An antiquary of this town has yet some of the powder of those leaves to show. Tailors there were none, of the twelve companies; their hall, that now is larger than some dorfes
among the Netherlands, was then no bigger than a Dutch butcher's shop; they must not strike down their customers with large bills; Adam cared not an apple-paring for their lousy hems. There was then neither the Spanish slop, nor the skipper's galligaskin, nor the Danish sleeve, nor the French standing collar; your treble-quadruple ruffs, nor your stiffnecked rabatos, that have more arches for pride than can stand under five London bridges, durst not then set themselves out in point; for the patent for starch could by no means be signed. Fashion was then counted a disease, and horses died of it; but
thanks to folly, it is held the only rare physic, and the purest golden asses live upon it.
Was the author of a work of merit, entitled Resolves — Divine, Moral and Political. Of his personal history, nothing of consequence is known. This work was published about 1628.
LIMITATION OF HUMAN KNOWLEDGE. LEARNING is like a river, whose head being far in the land, is, at first rising, little, and easily viewed; but, still as you go, it gapeth with a wider bank; not without pleasure and delightful winding, while it is on both sides set with trees, and the beauties of various flowers. But still, the further
follow it, the deeper and broader it is, till at last it inwaves itself in the
unfathomed ocean; there you see more water,
shore no end of that liquid, fluid vastness. In many things we may sound nature, in the shallows of her revelations. We may trace her to her second causes; but beyond them, we meet with nothing but the puzzle of the soul, and the dazzle of the mind's dim eyes. While we speak of things that are, that we may dissect, and have power and means to find the causes, there is some pleasure, some certainty. But when we come to metaphysics, to long-buried antiquity, and into unrevealed divinity, we are in a sea which is deeper than the short reach of the line of man. Much may be gained by studious inquisition; but more will ever rest, which man cannot discover.
WILLIAM CHILLINGWORTH. 1602—1644. This author is distinguished as a religious controversialist. He had, at an early age, a love for disputation, in which he attained great skill. But this occasioned in him such a habit of doubting, that his opinions became unsettled on all subjects, and for a time he was argued into a belief of the doctrines of Popery ; concerning which, he himself says, “I know a man, who of a moderate Protestant turned a Papist, and, on the day that he did so, was convicted in conscience that his yesterday's opinion was in error. The same man, afterwards, upon better consideration, became a doubting Papist, and of a doubting Papist a confirmed Protestant. And yet this man thinks himself no more to blame, for all these changes, than a traveller, who, using all diligence to find the right way to some remote city, did yet mistake it, and after find his error and amend it. Nay, he stands upon his justification so far, as to maintain that his alterations, not only to you, but also from you, by God's mercy, were the most satisfactory actions to himself that ever he did, and the greatest victories that ever he obtained over himself, and his affections, in those things which in this world are most precious."
His most famous eontroversial work is entitled, The Religion of the Protestants a Safe Way to Salvation.
The following is from one of a collection of sermons preached before Charles I.
AGAINST DUELLING. But how is this doctrine of the forgiveness of injuries received in this world? What counsel would men—and those none of the worst - give thee, in such a case? How would the soberest, discreetest, well-bred Christian advise thee? Why, thus: If thy brother or thy neighbor have offered thee an injury or an
affront, forgive him? By no means; thou art utterly undone, and lost in reputation with the world, if thou dost forgive him. What is to be done, then? Why, let not thy heart take rest; let all other business and employment be laid aside, till thou hast his blood. How? A man's blood for an injurious, passionate spirit — for a disdainful look! Nay, that is not all, - that thou mayest gain among men the reputation of a discreet, well-tempered murderer, be sure thou killest him, not in passion, when thy blood is hot and boiling with the provocation; but proceed with as great temper and settledness of reason, with as much discretion and preparedness, as thou wouldst to the communion. After several days' respite, that it may appear it is thy reason guides thee, and not thy passion, invite him kindly and courteously into some retired place, and there let it be determined whether his blood or thine shall satisfy the injury.
O, thou holy Christian religion! Whence is it that thy children have sucked this inhuman, poisonous blood — these
raging fiery spirits ? For if we shall inquire of the heathen, they will say, they have not learned this from us;
or of the Mahometans, they will answer, We are not guilty of it. Blessed God! that it should become a most sure, settled course, man to run into danger and disgrace with the world, if he shall dare to perform a commandment of Christ, which is as necessary for him to do, if he have any hopes of attaining heaven, as meat and drink is for the maintaining of life!
That ever it should enter into Christian hearts, to walk so curiously and exactly contrary unto the ways of God! That whereas he sees himself, every day and hour almost, contemned and despised by thee, who art his servant, his creature, upon whom he might, without all possible imputation of unrighteousness, pour down all the vials of his wrath and indignation; yet he, notwithstanding, is patient and long-suffering towards thee, hoping that his long-suffering may lead thee to repentance, and beseeching thee daily, by his ministers, to be reconciled unto him; and yet, thou, on the other side, for a distempered, passionate speech, or less, should take upon thee to send thy neighbor's soul, or thine own, or likely both, clogged and oppressed, with