Page images

and honour. Both as buyers and sellers, we regard not how good a thing is, but what it will fetch upon fale. Profit is all; incited by this we are both pious and impious; we follow what is right and fit, so long as there are any hopes of gaining thereby, but are easily drawn into vice, when it promiseth a greater advantage. Our parents originally instilled into us a veneration for gold and silver. And this principle, being fowed in our minds when young, strikes a deep root, and grows up with us: and then, all the world, in other respects of different opinions, agree herein : this they are ever gaping after themselves ; this they wish for to all their relatives; and this, as the greatest of all human things, when they would appear grateful, they consecrate and offer up to the Gods. In short, the manners of men are such, that poverty is a cursed disgrace, and consequently despised by the rich, and hateful

to the poor.

To this besides are added the ingenious labours of the poets, who are for ever inflaming this affection in us, by recommending riches as the only ornament and honour of life. According to them it seems, that the immortal Gods cannot bestow greater blessings, nor have greater themselves :

Regia solis erat sublimibus alta columnis
Clara micante auro.---(0v. Met. ii. 1.)
The sun's bright palace on high columns rais’d,

With burnish'd gold, and flaming rubies blaz'd.
And behold his chariot,

Aureus axis erat, temo aureus, aurea summæ
Curvatura rotæ, radiorum argenteus ordo. (107.)
A golden axle did the work uphold,
Gold was the beam, the wheels were orb'd with gold:

The spokes in rows of silver.---Sewell. Lastly, the age they would have thought to be the best and happiest, is styled the Golden. Nor are there wanting those among the tragic poets, ts, who barter innocence, health and reputation, for gold,

(k) Sine me vocari peffimum, ut dives vocer.
An dives omnes quærimus; nemo an bonus.


Non quare, et unde; quid habeat, tantum rogant.
Ubique tanti quisque, quantum habuit, fuit.
Quid habere nobis turpe fit, quæris? nihil.
Aut dives opto vivere, aut pauper mori.
Bene moritur, qui dum moritur, lucrum facit.
Pecunia ingens generis humani bonum.
Cui non voluptas matris, aut blandæ poteft
Par esse prolis, non facer meritis parens.
Tam dulce fi quid Veneris in vultu micat
Meritò illa amores cælitum atque hominum movet.
Let me be rich, and call me what you please.---
But is he rich ? all cry. Not, is be good ?
They ask not, why? or whence ? but what he has.
Esteem in all, is measur’d by the purs.
Say, what 'tis fcandalous to have? why, nothing.
If rich, I wih to live; if poor, to die.
'Tis be dies well, who can enrich his beir.
Money's the greatest blessing man can have.
Not the fweet pleasure that a mother feels,
Or children give, or a diferving fire;
Nor ev’n the sparkling beauty of the fair,

Can rival this delight of gods and men. When the latter part of these verses were recited in a tragedy of Euripides, the whole audience rose up tumultuously; and with greit resentment condemned the actor, author, and poetry. Lut Euripides fprung upon

the stage, and humbly begged their patiunce, 'til they should see the catastrophe of the wretch who had made this extraordinery speech. It was Bellerophons (V.) (?), who here, from poctical justice, mit with that condign punishment, which every guilty wretch feels in his own breast. For avarice never escapes with impunity. - what floods of tears, what inceffunt toil does she exact from her devotzés! How miserable does she make those who only live in expectition! How much more miserable those, who have obtained their fundust wishes ? For behold! what anxieties and daily cares attend on men, according to their several polieslions! Money is often poífelled with greater torment


than that by which it was acquired, What bitter fighs do their losses create? which heavy as they fell upon them, still feel heavier. Lastly, though fortune should take nothing from them, whatever she denies them further, is deemed a loss.

think any

But all men think such a one bappy, they call him rich, and wish themfelves in his condition. It may be so. What then? Do you one can be in a worse condition, than the man who is envied by others, and wretched in himself? I oniy wish that all who are greedy of wealth, would seriously and honestly confer with the rich themselves. I wish that all who gape after titles and honours would consult the ambitious; and such as have reached the first state of dignity! Truly, I believe, they would change their minds; as the great themselves do, who are still hunting after something, and condemning what they before admired. For no one is contented with his own happiness, tho' it flows in upon him to his wish. Still do they complain of their wrong designs, and unhappy success, and had much rather be what they were before,

Therefore it is philosophy alone that can give this truly valuable blessing; to do nothing that requires repentance. And this folid happinefs, which no tempest can shake, is not to be conferred, by the study of apt and well-chosen words, or a sweet fluency of discourse : let it flow as it will, so that the mind be calm and composed; so long as this continues truly great, and firm in its own consequence, neglectful of the opinion of others; and enjoys complacency in those very things, that to others are displeasing. Such a one estimates his proficiency in life by his conduct; and rightly judgeth that his knowledge is to be valued according to his not knowing, either how to covet, or how to fear.

Α Ν Ν Ο.


(a) Et veluti fignes] So the Greeks, lvonudiev.-T 2.23 avata di útróinta Tão fuzão 6s CtIos tvorjadrójeve. Bafil. The Latins say ponere figna.

Non eft mihi tempus aventi
Ponere figna novis præceptis.-Hor. S. ii. 4. 1.

I have not leisure now, to mark new rules. (6) De capsulâ totos] Lipsius. al. tortos. Scaliger reads it, Descapulatos, and applies it to those who affect a loose robe, or undress.

E Muit effuso queis toga laxa finu. Tibull. 1.
Malthinus tunicis demiffis ambulat.

Hor. S. i. 2. 25. Walks with his gown below his heels. (c) Oratio vultus eft animi.] Much the same with what he had said in the foregoing Epistle, Talis est oratio, qualis vita. So Democritus ap. Laert. calls, Speech, ti's wron 78 618, than which says Erasmus nothing can be more juft. Man is known by his speech as brazen vefsels by their ringing. And to this Perfius alludes,

Sonat vitium percussa maligne
Respondet viridi non cocta fidelia limo. ii. 21.
A flaw is in thy ill-bak'd vefel found,

'Tis bollow, and returns a jarring found. Dryden. There is another sentence in Latin to the same purpose.

Tale ingenium, qualis oratio. See Erasm. p. 1456. To which Terence alludes.-Nam mihi quale ingenium habeas, fuit indicium oratio. Heautor. We say in English, speech is the picture of the mind.

(d) Si circumtonfa elt] Varro in Fragm. Alii sunt circumton si et torti atque unetuli, ut mangonis videantur esse servi; others are fo trimmed and curled, that you would take them for the slaves upon sale.

(e) Ut fas fit vidifre) So in Livy, 1. 1. Proculus, at the fight of Romulus, (supposed to have been made a God) venerebundus adftitit, precibus petens, ut contra intueri fas esset. It was the general opinion of all nations that no one can see God; according to that of the Evangelist-No man kath feen God at any time.

In a Note (in my translation) of Vida's hymns, (published in 1725) I have observed, That when the Shechinah, or divine glory filled the tabernacle, Mofes could not enter therein but upon peril of his life. Exod. xl.


Nor could the Priests afterwards enter the temple that was built by Solomon, when the glory of the Lord had filled that house. ii. Chron. vii. 1. We understand therefore by his appearance to Jacob, Mofes, &c. Gen. xxxii. 30. Exod. xxiv. 20, &c. that somewhat was obvious to their senses that plainly discovered the more immediate presence of God; so that they could no more doubt of it, than of one talking with them face to face; not that there was any fimilitude, whereby idolatry might pretend to reprelent him. Deut. iv. 15. Job, iv. 16. i. John, iv. 12.

(f) So the Prophet Isaiah, To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? faith the Lord; I am full of the burnt-offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; I delight not in the blood of bullocks or of lambs, or of he goats, &c. Walı ye, make ye clean, put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes ; ce aje io do evil; learn to do well ; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed; judge the VOL. II.



[ocr errors]

XV. 22.

fatherless, plead for the widow.-Come now, let us reason together, saith the Lord; though your fins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they fall be as wool. 15. i.

In burnt-offerings and facrifices thou hast had no pleasure. Heb. x. 6. See i. Sam.
Pf. xl. 6. li. 16. Il. lxvi. 3. Heb. xv. 6.

Matth. xii. 7. (8) Æruginofi animi veternum] al. ærumnofi. But Gronovius asks what connection there can be between malitiam, and ærumnofi, iniquity, and the being unfortunate? They are ærumnofi, who undergo great hardships, which they did not deserve, as Hercules, Ulysses, Regulus ; let the paradoxical Stoics dispute what they please, concerning the last. This word, ærumnofus, belongs to Fortune, not to any fault or vice in the man. He therefore reads aruginofi, and supports it from the following:

Hic nigræ fuccus loliginis, hæc eft
Ærugo mera. Hor. S. 1. 4. 100.

Envy's werd
Thus Moots unfeen, and choaks fair friendship's feed. Duncomb.

- Hæc animos ærugo-
Cum semel imbuerit-Hor. A. P. 331.
When this baje ruft bath crufted o'er their fouls. Creech.

miserâque ærugine captus

Adlatras nomen -Mart. ii. 61. (6) Braeteata felicitas] Vett. Glof. Bratteam, feu Bra&team, tenuem auri argentique laminam; a thin plate of gold or silver. Bracteatum lacunar. Sidon. i. 10. Mentis aureæ di&tum bracteatum. Plin. Paneg -Vid. Juret, ad Symm. I. i. Ep. 16.

(i) Alluding to what King Antigonus said to a certain woman admiring his felicity, O mulier fi scias quantum mali fub fascia ifta (diademate) lateat, nec humi jacentem tollas : 0 woman, if thou didA know what affli&tions lie under this diadem, you would not floop to take it off the ground. (4) Sine me vocari.] — Gronovius reads it, fino me, as

- Popolus me fibilat, at mihi plaudo
Ipse domi. Hor. S. i. 1. 66.
Let the poor fools hiss me, where'er I come,

I bless myself, to see my bags at home. Creech. These verses are said to be taken from different places, the latter from the Greek of Euripides. ap. Stob. Serm. 89.

χρυσε, δεξίωμα κάλλιστον βροτόις,
Ως δε μητηρ ηδονας τοιας έχει
Ου παιδες άνθρωποισιν, ο φιλος πατήρ,
' 'Ει δ' ή Κυπρις τοιέτον οφθαλμοίς ορα
Ου θαύμ έρωτας μυριες αυτήν τρεφe.

Pecunia, &c. (1) Lipfius observes, that if Seneca means here the poet's Belleropbon, (Hor. Od. iii. 7. 15.) he cannot see what gold has to do in the case. Bellerophou was punished for his pride and ambition.


« EelmineJätka »