« EelmineJätka »
Nor can I think such life in vain is lent,
Which for our country and our friends is spent,
Hence from an inn, not from my home, I pass,
Since Nature meant us here no dwelling-place.
Happy when I, from this turinoil set free, 235
That peaceful and divine assembly see;
Not only those I nam'd I there shall greet,
But my own gallant virtuous Cato meet,
Nor did I weep when I to ashes turn'd
His belov'd body, who should mine have burn'd.
I in my thoughts beheld his soul ascend, 241
Where his fix'd hopes our interview attend.
Then cease to wonder that I feel no grief
From Age, which is of my delights the chief,
My hopes, if this assurance hath deceiv'd, 245
(That I man's soul inmortal have believ'd,)
And if I err, no pow'r shall dispossess
My thoughts of that expected happiness.
Tho' some minute philosophers pretend 249
That with our days our pains and pleasures end.
If it be so I hold the safer side,
For none of them my error shall deride;
And if hercafter no rewards appear,
Yet virtue bath itself rewarded here,
If those who this opinion have despis’d, 255
And their whole life to pleasure sacrific'd,
Should feel their error, they, when undeceiv'd,
Too late will wish that me they had believ'd,
If souls no immortality obtain,
Tis fit.oựr bodies should be out of pain, 260
The game uneasiness which ev'ry thing
Gives to our nature life must also bring.
Good acts, if long, seem tedious; so is Age,
Acting too long upon this earth, her stage.
Thus much for Age, to which when you arrive,
That joy to you which it gives me 'twill give. 266
TO TIE FOLLOWING TRANSLATION.
Going this last summer to visit the Wells, I took
an occasion (by the way) to wait upon an ancient and honourable friend of mine, whoin I found diverting his (then solitary) retirement with the Latin original of this translation, which (being out of print) I had never seen before. When I looked upon it, I saw that it had formerly passed through two learned hands, not without approbation, which were Ben Johnson and Sir Kenelm Digby: but I found it (where I shall never find myself) in the service of a better master, the Earl of Bristol, of whom I shall say no more: for I love not to improve the honour of the living by impairing that of the dead; and my own profession hath taught me not to erect new superstructures upon an old ruin. He was pleased to recommend it to me for my companion at the Wells, where I liked the entertainment it gave me so well, that I undertook to redeem it from an obsolete English disguise, wherein an old Monk had clothed it, and to
make as becoming a new vest for it as I could. The author was a person of quality in Italy, his
name Mancini, which family matched since
with the sister of Cardinal Mazarine; he was contemporary to Petrarch and Nantuan, and not long before Torquato Tasso, which shews that the age they lived in was not so unlearned
as that which preceded or that which followed. The author wrote upon the four cardinal virtues ;
but I have translated only the two first, not to turn the kindness I intended to him into an injury; for the two last are little more than repetitions and recitals of the first; and (to make a just excuse for him) they could not well be otherwise, since the two last virtues are but descendants from the first, Prudence being the true mother of Temperance, and true Forticude the child of Justice.
WISDOM's first progress is to take a view
What's decent or indecent, false or true.
He's truly prudent who can separate
Honest from vile, and still adhere to that:
Their difference to measure, and to reach, 5
Reason well rectify'd must Nature teach ;
And these high scrutinies are subjects fit
For man's all-searching and inquiring wit;
That search of knowledge did from Adam flow;
Who wants it, yet abhors his wants to show. 10
Wisdom of what herself approves makes choice
Nor is led captive by the common.voice.
Clear-sighted Reason Wisdom's judgment leads,
And Sense, ber vassal, in her footsteps treads.
That thou to Truth the perfect way may'st know,
To thee all her specific forms I'll show,
He that the way to honesty will learn,
First what's to be avoided must discern.
Thyself from flatt'ring Self-conceit defend,
Nor what thou dost not know, to know pretend. 20
Some secrets deep in abstruse darkness lie;
To search them thou wilt need a piercing eye.
Nor rashly therefore to such things assent,
Which undeceiv'd thou after may'st repent:
Study and time in these must thee instruct, 25
And others' old experience may conduct.
Wisdom herself her ear doth often lend
To counsel offer'd by a faithful friend.
In equal scales two doubtful matters lay, [weigh.
Thou may'st choose safely that which most doth
'Tis not secure this place or that to guard, 31
If any other entrance stand unbarr'd.
He that escapes the serpent's teeth may fail,
If he himself secures not from his tail.
Who saith 'Who could such ill events expect?' 35
With shame on bis own counsels doth reflect.
Most in the world doth self-conceit deceive,
Who just and yood whate'er they act believe.
To their wills wedded, to their errors slaves,
No manihe them) they think himself behaves. 40
This stiff-neck’a pride nor art nor force can hend,
Nor high-flown hopes to Reason's lure descend.