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Argutis reditura cibos immittere nidis
And lulls them with her melancholy fong. Varus a Roman knight, a companion of Lucius Vicinius, and an excellent smell-feait, making himself every where welcome by his witty, and often bitter jests, cried out,
And Buta now prepares for sleep.
Jam sua pastores ftabulis armenta locarunt,
filent darkness o'er the world was spread : cried the fame Varus, what does Montanus fazy? It is now night; I will
go then, and give good-morrow to Buta. Nothing was more notorious than this life which Buta led, so contrary to all rule; and in which many, as I said, indulged themselves at that time.
Now the reason of men's living in this preposterous manner, is, not because they think the night itself hath any thing more pleasing in it; but because nothing delights them that is obvious and common;
and because light is generally burthensome to a bad conscience; and because they who value every thing, according to the price it bears, be it great or small, disdain the light, which costs them nothing.
Moreover these luxurious gentlemen desire to be talked of as long as they live; if nothing is said of them, they think they lose their labour, and live to no purpose; accordingly they are angry with themselves, if they have done nothing to raise a report. Many divour all their goods ; others waste them upon harlots. To gain any credit among tliem, a man must not only commit some lascivious, but some notable folly. In a city fo busily employed as this, a common fin will not be thought a story worth telling Z. z 2
I have heard Albinovanus, (an excellent story-teller) (5) fay, that he lived but a few doors from Spurius Papinius, who was one of these night-owls. Sometimes, said he, about the third hour of the night I lave heard the twang of whips (i). I ask what is the matter? and I am told, that Papinius is calling his servants to account. About the fixth hour of the night, I hear a loud bawling: what is this for? I say. W'by, Papinius is only exercising his voice. About the eighth hour of the night, I hear the rattling of wheels ; and, when I ask what it means, am told, that Papinius is going to take the air. Towards break of day the whole house is in an uproar ; the pages are called, and the butlers and the cooks are running up and down; what now ? says I. Papinius is just come out of the bath, and calls for some broth and mulled wine. What ? and did his suppers exceed the expences of the day? No; for notwithstanding all this he lived very frugally: be spent nothing, but the night. Therefore to some who called Papinius a sordid and covetous wretch, faid Albinovanus, you may as well call him lychnobius, a lamplighter.
You must not wonder, Lucilius, that you find so many peculiarities in vice. Vice hath various and innumerable appearances; the several kinds of it cannot be comprehended. The observance of what is right is simple and uniform; but wrong is manifold, and puts on whatever shape you please. The same may be said of the manners of those who follow Nature: they are always free and easy, and scarce ever know any difference: but the depraved, and such as turn aside therefrom, not only differ from other mortals, but even among themselves.
The principal cause however of this disease, seems to be the disdain of common life; as they distinguish themselves from others by their dress, by the elegance of their entertainments, and by the smartness of their equipage; so would they likewise differ from them in the observation and disposal of time. They scorn to fin in a low and customary manner, who expect infamy for their reward (k). And this is what they all ambitiously covet; who live, as I may say, retrograde. But let us, my Lucilius, maintain the life which Nature prescribes, nor ever decline from it: to those who follow her all things are easy, and readily provided ; but to those who are continually thwarting her, life is nothing else but rowing against the stream.
(a) Lipfius does not recollect this to be said any where by Cato, but that Cicero makes mention of such sots; qui solem, ut aiunt, nec occidentem unquam viderint, nec orientem, &c. who are carried away from their meals, and cram themselves next day, over yesterday's crudities, who boast of never having seen the sun rising or setting, and who are beggars, having spent their patrimony. Cic. de Fin. U. 8.
(6) Juita fibi faciunt] See Ep. xii. Pincian reads it busta. They are digging their own graves. (c) Plutarch. Quet. Conviv. 8. 9. (d) Seneca Frag. in Thyeste,-nulla culminibus mcis
Imposita nutat sylva.
Nor on my boufetop nods a sylvan scene. Sen. Controv. v. 5. Aiunt in summis culminibus mentita nemora et navigalium piscinarum freta. They have not only groves on the top of their houses but even fishponds.
(e) So Tacitus speaking of Petronius-Illi dies per fomnum, nox officiis et oblectamentis vitæ transigebatur. He pafed his days in sleep, and his nights in the duties and recreations of life. And Lampridius of Heliogabalus, Trajecit et dierum actus noctibus et nocturnos diebus, estimans hoc inter instrumenta luxuriæ ; ita ut fero de fomno furgeret, et salutari inciperet, mane autem dormire inceptaret. He transferred the proper actions of the day to night, and of the night to day, looking upon this as an inftance of luxury; so that he would rise from flep expecting a salutation, and in the morning fall asleep. So Horace speaking of one Tegellius,
Noctes vigilabat ad ipsum
No mortal from himself could differ more. Duncomb. (f) Seneca, the father, likewise mentions him, Controv. i. 7. Montanus Julius, qui comes fuit, quique egregius poeta) as an agreeable companion and an excellent poet. He wrote both Heroic Poems and Elegies, according to Ovid. de Pont. 1. 4.
Quique vel imparibus numeris, Montane, vel æquis
Sufficis, et gemino carmine nonnen habes.
Et cædens longi relegit transacta dinrni.
She bids them, in the Devil's name, begone. Dryden. (A) So Tacitus most elegantly of Mefalina, the wife of Nero. Nomen tamen matrimonii concu. pivit, ob magnitudinem infamiæ, cujus apud prodigos, novissima voluptas eft.
-S. i. 3. 17.
TIRED, Lucilius, with a disagreeable rather than a long journey, came to my house at Alba late at night. I found nothing ready, but myself. I stretched therefore my weariness on the couch; and began to reflect with myself; that nothing is grievous, but what may be endured with patience; nothing intolerable, but what we make so by discontent. My baker has got no bread; but the porter has got some; as likewise the farmers and the ploughmen. Yes, coarse bread! Stay a little, and you will think it fine enough; hunger will soon render it as soft and delicate, as what is made of the finest wheat-flower. We should not eat therefore 'till this incites us. Well then I will wait, and not eat before I can get white bread, or can relish brown.
It is very necessary to accustom ourselves to live upon a little. Many difficulties, both with regard to time and place, intervene, and hinder the rich and great themselves from their usual repast (a): no one can have at all times what he pleases : but it is always in a man's power to have no mind to that which he knows he cannot have, and chearfully to make use of what he has. A great part of liberty consists in an orderly good-tempered appetite, that can brook a delay, and even contumely. You cannot imagine what great pleasure I take in finding that my weariness can cure itself: I want not unction nor a bath: I ask no other remedy but that of time : for, what labour hath contracted, rest will soon disperse; and a supper at such a time, whatever it may be, will be more delicious than a public feast in the capitol (6).
I have sometimes made trial of my mind, by way of surprize; as it is then more sincerely and truly made. For when the mind is prepared and hath enjoined itself patience, it will not so easily appear how strong and firm it is. Those are the surest proofs of it that are made extempore : when it looks upon an inconvenience, not only with an equal, but with a pleasant eye; falls not into a passion, nor is litigious: when it supplies itself, with what might have been expected, only by not defiring it; and thinks that somewhat indeed is wanting to habit and custom, but nothing absolutely to itself. There are many things, which we knew not to be superfluous before we wanted them; for we used them, not because we had need of them, but because we had them. And how many things do we seek to get, only because others have them, and especially some of our acquaintance ?
example. Neither are we governed by reason, but led away by custom. If such a thing is done but by few, we regard it not; nor think of following them therein ; but when it becomes the fashion, we cannot but follow it; as if it were the more fit because more frequent; and error, when 'tis become public, usurps the place of right. Men cannot travel now but with a troop of Numidian horse (c), or a string of running footmen, before them. It is thought scandalous to have no one to clear the way; and not to shew by a great dust they raise, that a gentleman is coming. All have now their mules to carry their glasses, made of crystal and transparent pebble, cut by the hands of the greatest artists. All have the faces of their minions marked, left the sun or the cold should hurt their tender skin. It is thought a shame there should be any among this tribe, whose face is not so fair as to need no paint (d).
Now these are the men, Lucilius, with whom we must avoid all conference. These are they who teach vice, and propagate it from one to another. They have been thought the worst of men who only carry tales from one to another; but these men carry vices. Indeed the conversation of such men is exceedingly hurtful; for though it may not affect us at first, yet it will leave certain feeds in the mind, which, even when we have took off these our companions, will abide with us, to our great detriment. As when we have heard a concert of