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always, as it were, with that three-headed dog Cerberus. The war, which we make with fortune, is of two sorts, and either of them fear ful, yet both to be undertook ; the one needeth reins to curb and keep back the affections, and the other comfort; here the swelling of the mind must be suppressed, there weariness and travel must be refreshed and eased. For I think it a matter of more labour for a man to govern himself in prosperity, than in adversity; to which I am the rather drawn to condescend, because I find in myself this saying to be true, that, insidiosior est fortuna blanda quam minar; which thing also experience and example maketh manifest. For many there have been which have suffered many griefs, as poverty, banishment, imprisonment, death, and lamentable diseases worse than death, with a patient and quiet mind; but few or none åt all could be found, which lived contented with their riches, with their honours, with their principalities, but that still they affected more, and never were satisfied. Others likewise, which in all respects seemed sufficiently fortified against all the assaults of fortune, and whom no threats could ever vanquish, pleasure hath. How many Roman Emperors, how many foreign Princes, being plucked from their regal thrones, either by the hands of their enemies, or their own countrymen, have lost both their government, and life? Neither doth antiquity only afford us these, but our age also hath brought some forth, little inferior to those which, have been banished, taken captives, slain in war, beheaded at home, and, that which is most vile to utter, killed with chains, and horribly quartered. Again, such is the inconstancy of man, that, if by any adverse fortune thou art brought into adversity, why then those which were, but now no longer, thy friends, will wonder at thee, as a pro- . digious monster, sent from afar; and then thou thyself shalt not be able to determine within thyself, whether first thou mightest bewail the loss of friends or the loss of goods. But these things I omit, and hasten to those whereof I intend to treat, which, in man's life, are inost uncertain, and most miserable,
THE Aourishing time of youth is termed by many philosophers the first vain hope of man,' which hath and will deceive thousands. This Rower in a moment withereth; and who can call that perfect, unto which much is wanting? Yea, that little which it hath is most uncertain. Neither, in respect that it is far from old-age, is it therefore not near death; for, amongst the many parts of our life, that is most subject to dangers, which too much security maketh unprovided. Nothing is so near unto life as death, which then, when it seemeth to be furthest off, is at hand: wheresoever you betake yourself, it is at your heels, and ready to execute her terror upon you: nothing more
fleeting than youth, nothing more moveable; for the time of it is unstable, it fieth away by little and little without any noise; yea, when we sleep, and are at our pastimes, Death creepeth upon us. 0! if the speediness of time, and the brevity of this our life, were as well known in the beginning of it, as it is in the end, then would we not let loose the reins of our affections unto so many unlawful concupiscences as we do. This time is not only incredulous, and not seen in the differences of causes, but also so much carried away with self-love, as that it scorneth and rejecteth good admonitions, being, as Solomon saith, the first step to folly. Wherefore nothing doth detect and lay open unto us the errors which are in youth, so well as old-age; which Tertullian, in his Apologeticum, bringeth in excellently, speaking to young men, saying: Ye have not marked and given attention to that which ye ought, and was requisite, set down unto you by the greyheads; but have been carried away with all manner of voluptuous living; the inconveniencies of which, if any would in time diligently consider, that man should be like a tree planted by the rivers of waters (whereof David maketh mention) that will bring forth its fruit in due season ; whose leaf shall not fade, and whatsoever he shall do shall prosper. This age, since it first began, bath continual motion, and never resteth; but, as one day thrusteth on another, and as one water is driven with the consequent, so runneth this, and, as Cicero saith, rolat, or as Maro,
Celeres neque commovet alas ; And, as they, which are carried in a ship, oftentimes, besides their expectation, are arrived upon a coast ; even so young men come upon their ends, when they think upon nothing less than it. But some, perhaps, will say, that no part is so much distant from the end as the beginning: true it is, and then it would be rightly so, if all in general might live in indifferent spaces; but now by many ways and more often youth dieth, whereby it cometh to pass, that, for the most part, he is more near his end, which seemeth to be furthest off. In a word, the greatest felicity in a moment is obscured, and nothing ought to be desired by those which are of a stout courage, which hath not long continuance. Awake from sleep, thou young man, for it is high time to open thy heavy eyes; accustom thyself now at length to meditate upon heavenly things, to love and desire them, and, on the contrary side, to despise those which are momentary; learn of your own accord to depart from them, because they cannot long abide with you, and in your mind forsake them, lest you be forsaken. For they err, which say, that youth is stable and permanent; there is nothing more voluble than time: time is a chariot, upon which all ages arc carried, and therefore there can be no long continuance of any onc thing,
AND, as youth, so the beauty of the body is frail, in regard that it both cometh and vanisheth away with time; which, if it could consist still, and have no motion, then, perhaps, beauty might do the like; but, being grounded upon a weak foundation, it fieth away like a shadow, and cannot long abide. Accidents may perish, although the subject standeth ; and, it falling, they must needs fall: but, amongst all the qualities which vanish away with man's body, nothing is more swift than beauty, which, like a flower, being in the hands of those which admire and praise it, fadeth : a small frost will nip it, and a little wind will beat it down, or on a sudden it is trod under feet of those which pass by it. To conclude: rejoice and boast of it as much as thou wilt, behold, the time cometh, and that speedily, which with a thin veil will cover thee; and then death will shew of what worth the beauty of a living man is; and not only death, but old-aye also, and the space of a few years, or the sudden sickness of one day. For there is no external thing, which, by standing or continuing, is not consumed and brought to nothing; neither hath any thing ever affected a man with such joy at the beginning, as it hath with grief at the departure. These things (unless I am deceived) the fair Roman Prince Domitian sometime tried; who, writing to his friend, I would have you know, said he, that nothing is more grateful unto a man than beauty, and nothing more short. But, admit this gift of nature were durable, why then I see no rcason, why that superficial comeliness, for the coverture of so base a skin, should have any thing else besides to obscure so many filthy and horrible things, which do nothing else but flatter and delude the senses. Therefore it is great praise and commendation for a man or woman to be delighted with those goods which are certain and true, which are not false and deceitful : for, if the form and stature of thy body is elegant and neat, why then thou hast a mask for thy face, snare for thy feet, and lime for thy feathers, which will so intangle thee, as that thou shalt hardly escape ; thou shalt not be able to put a difference between truth and falshood; thou shalt not have the power to be any ways yirtuous ; for beauty hath detained many from embracing honesty, and hath thrust them into the contrary headlong. Nothing is more to be admired at, than the vanity of this evil; for, with how many delights and pleasures are young men delighted? What labours do they not undergo ! What dangers do they not heap upon their own heads, that being not fair labour to appear! How unmindful are they, through the desire of this, of their own health and safety! How much time in trimming them up is vainly spent! And how many honest, profitable, and necessary things in the mean time are neglected ! Enjoy, therefore, this thy short and frail good, this thy vain and foolish joy, which will
take both rest and time from thee; which will daily torment thee; which will afford thee matter of labuur sufficient, causes of dangers enough; which will set on fire thy affections, and finally procure thee more hate than love; not, perhaps, amongst women, but amongst men daily thou shalt be suspected. Thy wife also will be jealous over thee, seeing that no one thing giveth more suspicion of mistrust, than it. The comeliness of thy face and colour shall be altered ; thy golden hair shall perish, and grey shall succeed; thy cheeks and fair forehead shall be full of wrinkles, and an obscure mist shall darken thy chrystal eyes; thy ivory teeth shall in such manner be defiled with filth, as that they shall not only be of another colour, but the tenor of them likewise shall be changed; thy straight neck and nimble shoulders shall be bowed ; thy throat shall be rumpled, and, when thou shalt see thy lean hands, together with thy withered feet, thou wilt immediately say, they were none of thine; and, in a word, the day will come, wherein thou shalt not know thyself in a glass. All these things (lest thou mightest not say, that thou wast foretold, and so be astonished at the sight of them) I tell thee, will fall upon thee sooner than thou art aware: What shall I say more in brief, that that which Apuleius Medaurensis did? Expecta paulisper, & non erit. Oh, how much better were it, that the beauty of the mind were answerable to that of the body, how sweeter would it be, and more certain, subsisting by her laws in the comeliness of good behaviour, and fit disposing of her qualities ! that is to be desired; and for that we must labour, which neither Jong iniquity of time can terrify, nor sickness extinguish, no not death itself. If we would so endeavour, then should we be truly fortunate, and seem more notable by our beauty, and our virtue more gracious. For that without virtue doth not so much grace, as it doth disgrace the mind; yea, very often bringeth it into danger. Finally, Why should we glory in that which is neither ours, nor can long continue with us? If we have it, then it is, as our health, subject daily unto many diseases, against which, old age is armed with a thousand kinds of griefs, envying the prosperity thereof: against which, pleasure displayeth her banners, and against which, we must, as with a familiar friend, contend. O how much better had it been for nature to have made thee deformed, she then would have asswaged the fury of thy violent affections, and brought thee to such a pass, as that thou shouldest have said, that she had given thee not that wherewith thou oughtest to be delighted, but that from which, as by a conduit-pipe, thou mightest derive many virtuous profits unto thy self; she would have adorned thee with that, which sickness could not infringe, which age could not impeach, and which death could not have touched! Beauty hath made many adulterous, but few or none at all chaste. It hath drawn many, through the inticements of pleasure, to an infamous death. To be brief, and not to hold you overlong, know this, that, by the deformity of the body, the mind is not defiled, but by the comeliness of the mind the body is adorned : This, therefore, would not disgrace thee, but would lay open, by virtue, a way for thy further honour. If nature had born Helena ill-favoured, or (that I may speak of men) Paris, perhaps then Troy would have stood. Amongst all other things virtue hath this property, it may be gotten, but not taken away: and, when other things are at the arbitrement of fortune, only virtue is free from her laws, and shineth more bright, by how much fortune maketh resistance.
OF all those things which either I have read or heard, nothing ever pleased me so much as that of the Poet, virtute decet non sanguine niti : and, indeed, so it behoveth every one which will rightly be termed noble to do. For to boast of our pedigree which we fetch from others, and not bestowed upon us for our descris, is a thing very ridiculous, and their worthiness is the mark of degenerate successors: neither doth any thing so much make evident the blots and spots of posterity, as the splendor and glory of predecessors. And, unless you can fetch true praise from yourself, expect it not from others; for it is an especial good thing, that others should be known by you, and not you by others. But from whence is your nobility drawn (for your forefathers had never been noble, if they had not done something worthy of commendation,) Is it from the excellency of your blood ? Why then every man should be honoured alike, seeing that, in a man. ner, every man's blood is of one and the self-same colour: and, if at any time any one is found more perspicuous than another, the cause of that is health, and not nobility. But perhaps you will say, that the excellency of your parentage is great: I answer, that your baseness, by reason of that, may be greater. For I confess, that you receive from your parents both a body and a patrimony; but he, who hath true nobility, very seldom or never doth translate it over unto his progeny: and be, who is not endued with it at some times seeth it abide in those which must afterwards succeed him. How famous had Cæsar been for the renown which he received from his father? And how base was the son of African, who, if he might have been noble by tradition, had sufficiently been adorned with it? But his father, by reason of too much affection, did not only not illustrate him, but received by him a wonderful eclipse of his own glory. Whereby it appeareth, that that, which inheritance hath most precious, is darkened by the judg. ment and disposition of him who is the successor. A thousand such could I rehease, if I had time, or that it were expedient, who, tho' they descended from a noble race, yet were most obscure. If you would live privately sequestered from all troubles, you cannot, because that benefit is taken away by those which daily accompany you, which daily publish abroad your gallant sports, your stately living, your beautiful wife, your brave children, and, in a word, which make inquisition after all your exercises, after all the manner of your life: so that there is nothing you speak or do, which is not delivered out abroad, be it never so good, or never so bad ; and these are the fruits