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Your spirit is true Roman! But your's greater
That fears not death, nor yet the manner of it.”
Of the characters equidistant from Temperance, the Epicure and the Anchorite, we can afford to give but one, which is only inferior, if at all, to the Sir Epicure Mammon of Randolph's father-in-poetry, “ Old Ben.”
“O now for an eternity of eating!
Fool was he that wish'd but a crane's short neck;
Give me one, Nature, long as is a cable,
Or sounding-line, and all the way a palate
To taste my meat the longer. I would have
My senses fast together; Nature envied us
In giving single pleasures; let me have
My ears, eyes, palate, nose, and touch, at once
Enjoy their happiness ; lay me in a bed
Made of a summer's cloud; to my embraces
Give me a Venus, hardly yet fifteen,
Fresh, plump, and active; she that Mars enjoy'd
Is grown too stale : and then, at the same instant
My touch is pleas’d, I would delight my sight
With pictures of Diana and her nymphs,
Naked and bathing, drawn by some Apelles;
By them some of our fairest virgins stand,
That I may see whether 'tis art or nature
Which heightens most my blood and appetite.
Nor cease I here. Give me the seven orbs
To charm my ears with their celestial lutes,
To which the angels that do move those spheres
Shall sing some amorous ditty; nor yet here
Fix I my bounds; the sun himself shall fire
The phenix's nest to make me a perfume,
While I do eat the bird, and eternally
Quaff off eternal nectar. These, single, are
But torments; but together, O together!
Each is a paradise. Having got such objects
To please the senses, give me senses too
Fit to receive those objects: give me therefore
An eagle's eye, a blood-hound's curious smell,
A stag's quick hearing ; let my feeling be
As subtle as the spider's, and my taste
Sharp as a squirrel's: then I'll read the Alcoran,
And what delights that promises in future,
I'll practise in the present."
Colax still continues through the play to prove each party in the right. He thus answers the Epicure.
“ Ii shows you a man of soft moving clay,
Not made of flint; Nature has been bountiful
To provide pleasures, and shall we be niggards
At plenteous boards? He's a discourteous guest
That will observe a diet at a feast.
When Nature thought the earth alone too little
To find us meat, and therefore stor'd the air
With winged creatures, not contented yet,
She made the water fruitful to delight us.
Nay, I believe the other element, too,
Doth nurse some curious dainty for man's food;
If we would use the skill to catch the Salamander :
Did she do this to have us eat with temperance?
Or when she gave so many different odours
Of spices, unguents, and all sorts of flowers,
She cry'd not-stop your noses : would she give us
So sweet a quire of wing'd musicians
To have us deaf? or when she plac'd us here,
Here in a paradise, where such pleasing prospects,
So many ravishing colours, entice the eye,
Was it to have us wink? when she bestow'd
So powerful faces, such commanding beauties
On many glorious nymphs, was it to say,
Be chaste and continent ? Not to enjoy
All pleasures, and at full, were to make Nature
Guilty of that she ne'er was guilty of,
A vanity in her works.”
We shall quote next the extremes of Meekness. The quarrelsome Orgilus, and the patient Aorgus.
Org. Persuade me not, he has awak'd a fury
That carries steel about him, dags and pistols!
To bite his thumb at me!
Aor. Why should not any man
Bite his own thumb ?
Org. At me! wear I a sword
To see men bite their thumbs-Rapiers and daggers-
He is the son of a whore.
Aor. That hurts not you.
Had he bit your's, it had been some pretence
T have mov'd his anger; he may bite his own
And eat it too.
Org. Muskets and cannons !--eat it?
If he dare eat it in contempt of me,
He shall eat something else too that rides here;
I'll try his ostridge stomach.
Aor. Sir, be patient.
Org. You lie in your throat, and I will not.
Aor. To what purpose is this impertinent madness?
Pray be milder.
Org. Your mother was a whore, and I will not put it up.
Aor. Why should so slight a toy thus trouble you?
Org. Your father was hang'd, and I will be reveng'd.
Aor. When reason doth in equal balance poise
The nature of two injuries, your's to me
Lies heavy, when that other would not turn
An even scale, and yet it moves not me;
My anger is not up.
Org. But I will raise it;
You are a fool !
Aor. I know it, and shall I
for a truth?
Org. You are besides
An arrant knave!
Aor. So are my betters,
Org. I cannot move him-O my spleen, it rises;
For very anger I could eat my knuckles.
Aor. You may, or bite your thumb, all's one to me.
Org. You are a horn'd beast, a very
Aor. 'Tis my wife's fault, not mine; I have no reason
Then to be angry for another's sin.”
The whole of this play is particularly well worth reading ; and as we can thus recommend the whole (a rare instance in Randolph), we feel less compunction at leaving much that is good behind, and in closing our article with the proud Lady Philotimia, “ of too great nicety in her attire,” and her sluggish and indolent husband.
“ Phil. What mole drest me to day? O patience!
Who would be troubl’d with these mop-ey'd chambermaids?
There's a whole hair on this side more than t other,
I am no lady else! come on, you
Was ever Christian madam so tormented
To wed a swine as I am! make you ready.
Luparus. I would the tailor had been hang'd for me,
That first invented clothes-0 Nature, Nature !
More cruel unto man than all thy creatures !
Calves come into the world with doublets on,
And oxen have no breeches to put off:
The lamb is born with her frieze coat about her:
Hogs go to bed in rest, and are not troubled
With pulling on their hose and shoes i'th' morning,
With gartering, girdling, trussing, buttoning,
And a thousand torments that afflict humanity.
Phil. To see her negligence! she hath made this cheek
By much too pale, and hath forgotten to whiten
The natural redness of my nose; she knows not
What 'tis wants dealbation. O fine memory!
If she has not set me in the self-same teeth
That I wore yesterday, I am a Jew;
Does she think that I can eat twice with the same,
Or that my mouth stands as the vulgar does ?
What! are you snoring there; you'll rise, you sluggard,
And make you ready.
Lup. Rise, and make you ready!
To works of that, your happy birds make one;
They, when they rise, are ready. Blessed birds !
They, fortunate creatures ! sleep in their own clothes,
And rise with all their feather-beds about them.
Would nakedness were come again in fashion ;
I had some hope then when the breasts went bare,
Their bodies too would have come to it in time.
Phil. Beshrew her for't, this wrinkle is not filld.
go and wash-you are a pretty husband.
Lup. Our sow ne'er washes, yet she has a face,
Methinks, as cleanly, madam, as your's is,
durst wear your own.
Colax. Madam Superbia,
You're studying the ladies' library,
The looking-glass; 'tis well: so great a beauty
Must have her ornaments. Nature adorns
The peacock's tail with stars : 'tis she attires
The bird of paradise in all her plumes;
She decks the fields with various flowers; 'tis she
Spangled the heavens with all those glorious lights,
Spotted the ermin's skin, and arm’d the fish
In silver mail. But man she sent forth naked,
Not that he should remain so, but that he,
Endu'd with reason, should adorn himself
every one of these. The silk-worm is Only man's spinster, else we might suspect That she esteem'd the painted butterfly
Above her master-piece. You are the image
Of that bright goddess, therefore wear the jewels
Of all the east; let the red sea be ransack'd
To make you glitter; look on Luparus,
Your husband, there, and see how in a sloven
All the best characters of divinity,
Not yet worn out in man, are lost and buried.
Phil. I see it to my grief, pray counsel him.
Colax. This vanity in your nice lady's humours,
Of being so curious in her toys and dresses,
Makes me suspicious of her honesty.
These cobweb-lawns catch spiders. Sir, believe it;
You know, that those do not commend the man,
But 'tis the living; though this age prefer
A cloak of plush, before a brain of art.
You understand what misery 'tis to have
No worth but that we owe the draper for ;
No doubt you spend the time your lady loses
In tricking up her body, to clothe the soul.
Lup. To clothe the soul? must the soul too be cloth'd ?
I protest, sir, I had rather have no soul
Than be tormented with the clothing of it.”
ART. V.- The History of Britain, that part especially now called
England. From the first Traditional Beginning, continued to the Norman Conquest, collected out of the Ancientest and best Authors thereof." By John Milton. London, 1677.
Some apology may be thought necessary for making a work so accessible as the present the subject of criticism. The truth is, however, that it is a work which very few read, and which has for the greater part no attractions for the generality of readers; there are, nevertheless, a few passages of story and sentiment, which are calculated to be universally interesting ; and it is with the purpose of separating these from the other matter, and presenting them to the reader in a collected form, that we have adopted it as the subject of an article.
In reading the latter works of Milton, it is impossible not to be struck with the different view there given of the author's feelings and state of mind, from that exhibited in his earlier