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afraid of it: this makes me naturally love a soldier, and honour those tattered and contemptible regiments, that will die at the command of a sergeant. For a pagan there may be some motives to be in love with life; but for a Christian to be amazed at death, I see not how he can escape this dilemma, that he is too sensible of this life, or hopeless of the life to come.
Some divines count Adam thirty years old at his creation, because they suppose him created in the perfect age and stature of man. And surely we are all out of the computation of our age, and every man is some months elder than he bethinks him; for we live, move, have a being, and are subject to the actions of the elements, and the malice of diseases, in that other world, the truest microcosm, the womb of our mother. For besides that general and common existence we are conceived to hold in our chaos, and whilst we sleep within the bosom of our causes, we enjoy a being and life in three distinct worlds, wherein we receive most manifest graduations. In that obscure world and womb of our mother, our time is short, computed by the moon; yet longer than the days of many creatures that behold the sun, ourselves bein gnot yet without life, sense, and reason; though for the manifestation of its actions, it awaits the opportu
for some of which he was indebted to the writing of his history. (Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. X. 40.) No doubt: whoever is happy, owes much of it to assiduous employment. The idle only are truly miserable. (See Montaigne, Essais, liv. I. chap. 19.)-Ed.
nity of objects, and seems to live there but in its root and soul of vegetation. Entering afterwards upon the scene of the world, we arise up and become another creature, performing the reasonable actions of man, and obscurely manifesting that part of divinity in us, but not in compliment and perfection till we have once more cast our secondine, that is, this slough of flesh, and are delivered into the last world, that is, that ineffable place of Paul, that proper ubi of spirits. The smattering I have of the philosopher's stone (which is something more than the perfect exaltation of gold) hath taught me a great deal of divinity, and instructed my belief, how that immortal spirit, and incorruptible substance of my soul may lie obscure, and sleep awhile within this house of flesh. Those strange and mystical transmigrations that I have observed in silk-worms, turned my philosophy into divinity. There is in these works of nature, which seem to puzzle reason, something divine, and hath more in it than the eye of a common spectator doth discover. (92)
I am naturally bashful, nor hath conversation, age, or travel, been able to effront or enharden me; yet I have one part of modesty which I have seldom discovered in another, that is, (to speak truly,) I
(92) I would that all studies had this end !-But many of us appear to be led by our philosophy as far as possible from religion. Assuredly in learning,
am not so much afraid of death, as ashamed thereof. It is the very disgrace and ignominy of our natures, that in a moment can so disfigure us, that our nearest friends, wife and children(93) stand afraid and start at us. The birdsand beasts of the field, that before in a natural fear obeyed us, forgetting all allegiance, begin to prey upon us. This very conceit hath in a tempest disposed and left me willing to be swallowed up in the abyss of waters; wherein I had perished unseen, unpitied, without wondering eyes, tears of pity, lectures of mortality, and none had said, Quantum mutatus ab illo! Not that I am ashamed of the anatomy of my parts, or can accuse nature for playing the bungler in any part of me, or my own vicious life for contracting any shameful disease upon me, whereby I might not call myself as wholesome a morsel for the worms as any.
Some, upon the courage of a fruitful issue, wherein, as in the truest chronicle, they seem to
(93) And yet, who has not witnessed the terrible beauty of death? who has not, in some degree, felt, what poetry only can describe ?
"He who hath bent him o'er the dead
Have swept the lines where beauty lingers,)
The rapture of repose that's there,
That fires not, wins not, weeps not now,
Some moments, aye, one treacherous hour,
outlive themselves, can with greater patience away with death. This conceit and counterfeit subsisting in our progenies, seems to be a mere fallacy, unworthy the desires of a man, that can but conceive a thought of the next world; who, in a nobler ambition should desire to live in his substance in heaven, rather than his name and shadow in the earth. And therefore at my death I mean to take a total adieu of the world, not caring for a monument, history, or epitaph, not so much as the memory of my name(") to befound anywhere, but in the universal register of God. I am not yet so cynical, as to approve the testament() of Diogenes, nor do I altogether allow that rhodomontade of Lucan;
Cœlo tegitur, qui non habet urnam.
He that unburied lies wants not his hearse,
but commend, in my calmer judgment, those ingenuous intentions that desire to sleep by the urns of their fathers, and strive to go the nearest way
(94) Upon this it will suffice to recall the remark of that ancient author, who said he had always noticed that philosophers put their names to the works which they wrote on the contempt of fame; which was the case also with Sir Thomas Browne. Apart from affectation, the confession of our great contemporary poet might be made by every man who meddles with composition:
"I too would be remembered in my line,
(95) Who willed his friend not to bury him, but hang him up with a staff in his hand, to fright away the crows.
unto corruption. I do not envy the temper of crows and daws, nor the numerous and weary days of our fathers before the flood. If there be any truth in astrology, I may outlive a jubilee. As yet I have not seen one revolution of Saturn, nor hath my pulse beat thirty years;(9) and yet, excepting one, have seen the ashes, and left under-ground, all the kings of Europe; have been contemporary to three emperors, four grand signors, and as many popes. Methinks I have outlived myself, and begin to be weary of the sun; I have shaken hands with delight. In my warm blood and canicular days, I perceive I do anticipate the vices of age; the world to me is but a dream or mock show, and we all therein but pantaloons and antics, to my severer contemplations. (97)
It is not, I confess, an unlawful prayer to desire to surpass the days of our Saviour, or wish to outlive that age wherein he thought fittest to die; yet if (as divinity affirms) there shall be no grey hairs in heaven, but all shall rise in the perfect state of
(96) That is, he was not thirty years old when the first rough draught of this work was thrown upon paper; but he had advanced considerably beyond that age, I believe, before it saw the light.-ED.
(97) In the mouth of Diogenes, ensconsed in his tub, this would not have sounded amiss; but, though the author professes to have grown old before his time, it excites a smile to hear a young physician under thirty boasting of having "shaken hands with delight," and of the world's being dream, or mock show," to his "severer judgment." He lived, we know, to be on better terms with the world, to taste of much delight, and to discover that, among mankind, there are some who should not be esteemed mere pantaloons.—ED.