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heartiest feeder thriee as many meals. For those actions which enter into a man, rather than issue out of him, and therefore defile not, God uses not to captivate under a perpetual childhood of prescription, but trusts him with the gift of reason to be his own chooser; there were but little work left for preaching, if law and compulsion should grow so fast upon those things which heretofore were governed only by exhortation. Solomon informs us, that much reading is a weariness to the flesh; but neither he nor other inspired author tells us that such, or such, reading is unlawful: yet certainly, had God thought good to limit us herein, it had been much more expedient to have told us what was unlawful, than what was wearisome. As for the burning of those Ephcsian books' by St. Paul's converts; 'tis replied the books were magic, the Syriac so renders them. It was a private act, a voluntary act, and leaves us to a voluntary imitation: the men in remorse burnt those books which were their own; the magistrate by this example is not appointed: these men practised the books, another might perhaps have read them in some sort usefully. Good and evil we know in the field of this world grow up together almost inseparably; and the knowledge of good is so involved and interwoven with the knowledge of evil, and in so many cunning resemblances hardly to be discerned, that those confused seeds which were imposed upon Psyche as an incessant labour to cull out, and sort asunder, were not more intermixed. It was from out the rind of one apple tasted, that the knowledge of good and evil, as two twins cleaving together, leaped forth into the world. And perhaps this is that doom which Adam fell into of knowing good and evil, that is to say of knowing good by evil. As therefore the state of man now is, what wisdom can there be to choose, what continence to forbear without the knowledge of evilf He that can apprehend and consider vice with all her baits and seeming pleasures, and yet abstain, and yet distinguish, and yet prefer that which is truly better, he is the true warfaring Christian. I cannot praise a fugitive and cloistered virtue, unexercised and unbreathed, that never sallies out and sees her adversary, but slinks out of the race, where that immortal garland is to be run for, not without dust and heat.t Assuredly we bring not innocence into the world, we bring impurity much rather; that which purifies us is trial, and trial
T Actt xlx, 19.
t Tills is one—but only one—of the noble sentiments so nobly expressed, which make the Arcopagitica one of the most prized documents In our literature,
is by what is contrary. That virtue therefore which is but a youngling in the contemplation of evil, and knows not the utmost that vice promises to her followers, and rejects it, is but a blank virtue, not a pure; her whiteness is but an excremental' whiteness; which was the reason why our sage and serious poet Spenser, whom I dare be known to think a better teacher than Scotus or Aquinas," describing true temperance under the person of Guion,i° brings him in with his palmer through the cave of Mammon, and the bower of earthly bliss, that he might see and know, and yet abstain. Since therefore the knowledge and survey of vice is in this world so necessary to the constituting of human virtue, and the scanning of error to the confirmation of truth, how can we more safely, and with less danger scout into the regions of Bin and falsity than by reading all manner of tractates and hearing all manner of reason! And this is the benefit which may be had of books promiscuously read.
IZAAK WALTON (1593-1683)
THE COMPLETE ANGLER
From Chapter IV. Of The Trout, And How To Fish Fob Him. And Of The Milkmaid's Song
Venator.* Trust me, master, I see now it is a harder matter to catch a trout than a chub; for I have put on patience, and followed you these two hours, and not seen a fish stir, neither at your minnow nor your worm.
Piscator. Well, scholar, you must endure worse luck some time, or you will never make a good angler. But what say you nowt There is a trout now, and a good one too, if I can but hold him, and two or three turns more will tire him. Now you see he lies still, and the sleight is to land him. Beach me that landing-net; so, Sir, now he is mine own. What say you now? is not this worth all my labour and your patience f
Ten. On my word, master, this is a gallant trout: what shall we do with hunt
Pise. Marry, e'en eat him to supper: we'H go to my hostess, from whence we came; she told me, as I was going out of door, that my
s surface 10 Faerie Queene, Bk. II.
» Scholastic p h 11 o s o phers.
* The Complete Angler Is In the form of a dialogue, chiefly between a fisherman, PUcator, and a scholar-hunter, Venator.
brother Peter, a good angler and a cheerful companion, bad sent word tbat he would lodge there to-night, and bring a friend with him. My hostess has two beds, and 1 know you and I may have the best: we'll rejoice with my brother Peter and his friend, tell tales, or sing ballads, or make a catch,* or find some harmless sport to content us and pass away a little time, without offence to God or man.
Fen. A match,2 good master, let's go to that house; for the linen looks white and smells of lavender, and I long to lie in a pair of sheets that smell so. Let's be going, good master, for I am hungry again with fishing.
Pi*c. Nay, stay a little, good scholar. I caught my last trout with a worm; now I will put on a minnow, and try a quarter of an hour about yonder trees for another; and so walk towards our lodging. Look you, scholar, thereabout we shall have a bite presently or not at alL Have with you, Sir! o' my word I have hold of him. Oh! it is a great logger-headed chub; come hang him upon that willow twig, and let's be going. But turn out of the way a little, good scholar, towards yonder high honeysuckle hedge; there we'll sit and sing, whilst this shower falls so gently upon the teeming earth, and gives yet a sweeter smell to the lovely flowers that adorn these verdant meadows.
Look! under that broad beech-tree I sat down, when I was last this way a-fishing. And the birds in the adjoining grove seemed to have a friendly contention with an echo, whose dead voice seemed to live in a hollow tree, near to the brow of that primrose hill. There I sat viewing the silver streams glide silently towards their centre, the tempestuous sea; yet sometimes opposed by rugged roots and pebblestones, which broke their waves, and turned them into foam. And sometimes I beguiled time by viewing the harmless lambs; some leaping securely in the cool shade, whilst others sported themselves in the cheerful sun; and saw others craving comfort from the swollen udders of their bleating dams. As I thus sat, these and other sights had so fully possessed my soul with content, that I thought, as the poet hath happily expressed it,
"I was for that time lifted above earth.
As I left this place, and entered into the next field, a second pleasure entertained me; 'twas a handsome milkmaid, that had not yet attained so much age and wisdom as to load
t a singing "round" > a bargain
her mind with any fears of many things that will never be, as too many men too often do; but she cast away all care, and sang like a nightingale: her voice was good, and the ditty fitted for it: it was that smooth song which was made by Kit Mariow, now at least fifty years ago; and the milkmaid's mother sang an answer to it, which was made by Sir Walter Raleigh in his younger days.
They were old-fashioned poetry, but choicely good, I think much better than the strong lines that are now in fashion in this critical age. Look yonder! on my word, yonder they both be a-milking again. I will give her the chub, and persuade them to sing those two songs to us.
Ood speed you, good woman! 1 have been a-fishing, and am going to Bleak Hall to my bed, and having caught more fish than will sup myself and my friend, I will bestow this upon you and your daughter, for I use to sell none.
Milk-W. Marry, God requite you, Sir, and we'll eat it cheerfully; and if you come this way a-fishing two months hence, a2 grace of God, I'll give you a syllabub of new verjuice," in a new-made hay-cock, for it, and my Maudlin shall sing you one of her best ballads; for she and I both love all anglers, they be such honest, civil, quiet men: in the meantime will you drink a draught of red cow's milkf you shall have it freely.
Pise. No, I thank you; but, I pray, do us a courtesy that shall stand* you and your daughter in nothing, and yet we will think ourselves still something in your debt; it is but to sing us a song that was sung by your daughter when I last passed over this meadow, about eight or nine days since.
Milk-W. What song was it, I prayf Was it "Come, Shepherds, deck your heads"! or, "As at noon Dulcina rested "I or, "Phillida flouts me"f or "Chevy Chace"f or, "Johnny Armstrong"t or, "Troy Town"t
Pise. No, it is none of those; it is a song that your daughter sang the first part, and you sang the answer to it.
Milk-W. Oh, I know it now. I learned the first part in my golden age, when I was about the age of my poor daughter; and the latter part, which indeed fits me best now, but two or three years ago, when the cares of the world began to take hold of me: but you shall, God willing, hear them both, and sung as well as we can, for we both love anglers. Come, Maudlin, sing the first part to the gentlemen
2 by the
3 whipped cream and grape-Juice « cost
with a merry heart, and I'll sing the second, when you have done.
THE MILKMAID'S SONO
Come, live with me, and be my love, etc.t
Fen. Trust me, master, it is a choice song, and sweetly sung by honest Maudlin. I now see it was not without cause that our good Queen Elizabeth did so often wish herself a milkmaid all the month of May, because they are not troubled with fears and cares, but sing sweetly all the day, and sleep securely all the night; and without doubt, honest, innocent, pretty Maudlin does so. I'll bestow Sir Thomas Overbury's milkmaid's wish upon her, "That she may die in the spring, and being dead, may have good store of flowers stuck round about her winding-sheet.''J
From Chapter XXI. A Sermon On Content
PUcator. Let me tell you, scholar, that Diogenes walked on a day, with his friend, to see a country fair; where he saw ribbons and looking-glasses, and nut-crackers, and fiddles, and hobby-horses, and many other gimcracks; and, having observed them, and all the other finnimbrunsi that make a complete country fair, he said to his friend, "Lord, how many things are there in this world of which Diogenes hath no need!" And truly it is so, or might be so, with very many who vex and toil themselves to get what they have no need of. Can any man charge God that He hath not given him enough to make his life happy? No, doubtless; for nature is content with a little. And yet you shall hardly meet with a man that complains not of some want; though he, indeed, wants nothing but his will; it may be, nothing but his will of his poor neighbour, for not worshipping or not flattering him: and thus, when we might be happy and quiet, we create trouble to ourselves. I have heard of a man that was angry with himself because he was no taller; and of a woman that broke her looking-glass because it would not show her face to be as young and handsome as her next neighbour's was. And I knew another to whom God had given health and plenty, but a wife that nature had made peevish, and her husband's riches had made purse-proud; and must,
t For this song, see p. 146.
t The mother then sines the answer, which may be found on p. 146. Overbury's milk-maid Is one of the most famous of his "Characters;" see Eng. Lit., p. lf>3. note.
I Walton appears to have coined this word. It Is found only here.
because she was rich, and for no other virtue, sit in the highest pew in the church; which being denied her, she engaged her husband into a contention for it, and at last into a lawsuit with a dogged neighbour who was as rich as he, and had a wife as peevish and purseproud as the other; and this law-suit begot higher oppositions, and actionable^ words, and more vexations and law-suits; for you must remember that both were rich, and must therefore have their wills. Well, this wilful, purseproud law-suit lasted during the life of the first husband; after which his wife vext and chid, and chid and vext till she also chid and vext herself into her grave; and so the wealth of these poor rich people was curst into a punishment, because they wanted meek and thankful hearts; for those only can make us happy. I knew a man that had health and riches, and several houses, all beautiful, and ready furnished, and, would often trouble himself and family to be removing from one house to another; and being asked by a friend why he removed so often from one house to another, replied, "It was to find content in some one of them." But his friend, knowing his temper, told him, if he would find content in any of his houses, he must leave himself behind him; for content will never dwell but in a meek and quiet Boui. And this may appear, if we read and consider what our Saviour says in St. Matthew's Gospel; for He there says: "Blessed be the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.—Blessed be the pure in heart, for they shall see God.—Blessed be the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.'' And, "Blessed be the meek, for they shall possess the earth." Not that the meek shall not also obtain mercy, and see God, and be comforted, and at last come to the kingdom of heaven; but in the meantime he, and he only, possesses the earth as he goes towards that kingdom of heaven, by being humble and cheerful, and content with what his good God has allotted him. He has no turbulent, repining, vexatious thoughts that he deserves better; nor is vext when he sees others possest of more honour or more riches than his wise God has allotted for his share; but he possesses what he has with a meek and contented quietness, such a quietness as makes his very dreams pleasing, both to God and himself.
My honest scholar, all this is told to incline you to thankfulness; and to incline you the more, let me tell you, that though the prophet
• 1 affording cause for legal action
David was guilty of murder and, indeed, of many other of the most deadly sins, yet he was said to be a man after God's own heart, because he abounded more with thankfulness than any other that is mentioned in holy Scripture, as may appear in his book of Psalms; where there is such a commixture of his confessing of his sins and unworthiness, and such thankfulness for God's pardon and mercies, as did make him to be accounted, even by God Himself, to be a man after His own heart. And let us, in that, labour to be as like him as we can; let not the blessings we receive daily from God make us not to value or not praise Him because they be common; let us not forget to praise Him for the innocent mirth and pleasure we have met with since we met together. What would a blind man give to see the pleasant rivers, and meadows, and flowers, and fountains, that we have met with since we met together? I have been told, that if a man that was born blind could obtain to have his sight for but only one hour during his whole life, and should, at the first opening of his eyes, fix his sight upon the sun when it was in its full glory, either at the rising or setting of it, he would be so transported and amazed, and so admire the glory of it, that he would not willingly turn his eyes from that first ravishing object, to behold all the other various beauties this world could present to him. And this, and many other like blessings, we enjoy daily. And for most of them, because they be so common, most men forget to pay their praises; but let not us, because it is a sacrifice so pleasing to Him that made that sun and us, and still protects us, and gives us flowers and showers, and stomachs and meat, and content and leisure to go a-fishing.
JOHN BUNYAN (1628-1688)
From THE PILGRIM'S PROGRESS*
Christian- Flees From The City Of
As I walked through the wilderness of this world, I lighted on a certain place where was a den.i and I laid me down in that place to sleep; and as I slept I dreamed a dream. 1
i Bedford Jail (See Eng. hit., p. 159).
• "The PilgrlnTs Progress from This World to That which Is to come: Delivered under the Similitude of a Dream, wherein is Discovered the manner of his setting out. his Dangerous Journev. and safe Arrival at the Desired Country." Title of the first edition, 1678, whence our text Is taken.
dreamed, and behold, I saw a man clothed with rags standing in a certain place, with his face from his own house, a book in his hand, and a great burden upon his back. I looked and saw him open the book, and read therein; and as he read, he wept and trembled; and not being able longer to contain, he brake out with a lamentable cry, saying, '' What shall I dot"
I saw also that he looked this way, and that way, as if he would run; yet he stood still, because, as I perceived, he could not tell which way to go. 1 looked then, and saw a man named Evangelist coming to him, and [he] asked, "Wherefore dost thou eryf"
He answered, "Sir, I perceive, by the book in my hand, that I am condemned to die, and after that to come to judgment; and I find that I am not willing to do the first, nor able to do the second.''
Then said Evangelist, "Why not willing to dio, since this life is attended with so many evilsf" The man answered, "Because I fear that this burden that is upon my back will sink mc lower than the grave, and I shall fall into Tophet.2 And Sir, if I be not fit to go to prison, I am not fit (I am sure) to go to judgment, and from thence to execution; and the thoughts of these things make me cry."
Then said Evangelist, "If this be thy condition, why standest thou still f" He answered, '' Because I know not whither to go.'' Then he gave him a parchment roll, and there was written within, "Fly from the wrath to come.''
The man therefore read it, and, looking upon Kvangelist very carefully, said, '' Whither must
1 fly 2'' Then said Evangelist, pointing with his finger over a very wide field, '' Do you see yonder wicket gate}" The man said, "No." Then said the other, "Do you see yonder shining light?" He said, "I think I do." Then said Evangelist, "Keep that light in your eye, and go up directly thereto, so shalt thou see the gate; at which when thou knockest, it shall be told thee what thou shalt do."
So I saw in my dream that the man began to run. Now he had not run far from his own door, but his wife and children, perceiving it, began to cry after him to return; but the man
"The Pilgrim's Progress is composed in the lowest style of English without slang or false grammar. If you were to polish it. you would at once destroy the reality of the vision. For works of imagination should be written In very plain language; the more purely Imaginative they are the more necessary It Is to be plain." —Coleridge.
put his fingers in his ears and ran on, crying, "Life! lifel eternal life!" So he looked not behind him, but fled towards the middle of the plain.
The neighbors also came out to see him run; and as he ran, some mocked, others threatened, and some cried after him to return. Now among those that did so, there were two that were resolved to fetch him back by force. The name of the one was Obstinate, and the name of the other Pliable. Now by this time the man was got a good distance from them; but, however, they were resolved to pursue him, which they did, and in a little time overtook him. Then said the man, "Neighbors, wherefore are you comet" They said, "To persuade you to go back with us.'' But he said, "That can by no means be. You dwell," said he, "in the City of Destruction (the place also where I was born): 1 see it to be so; and dying there, sooner or later, you will sink lower than the grave, into a place that burns w ith fire and brimstone: be content, good neighbors, and go along with me."
What, said Obstinate, and leave our friends and our comforts behind us!
Yes, said Christian (for that was his name), because that all is not worthy to be compared with a little of that that I am seeking to enjoy; and if you will go along with me, you shall fare as I myself; for there, where I go, is enough and to spare. Come away, and prove my words.
Obst. What are the things you seek, since you leave all the world to find themf
Chr. I seek an inheritance, incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away; and it is laid up in heaven, and fast there, to be bestowed, at the time appointed, on them that diligently seek it. Read it so, if you will, in my book.
Obst. Tush, said Obstinate, away with your book: will you go back with us or no 1
Chr. No, not I, said the other, because 1 have laid my hand to the plough.
Obst. Come then, neighbor Pliable, let us turn again, and go home without him: there is a company of these craz 'd-headed coxcombs, that when they take a fancy by the end, are wiser in their own eyes than seven men that can render a reason.
Then said Pliable, Don't revile; if what the good Christian says is true, the things he looks after are better than ours: my heart inclines to go with my neighbor.
Obst. What, more fools still! Be ruled by me, and go back; who knows whither such a
brain-sick fellow will lead youf Go back, go back, and be wise.
Chr. Come with me, neighbor Pliable; there are such things to be had which I spoke of, and many more glories besides. If you believe not me, read here in this book; and for the truth of what is expressed therein, behold, all is confirmed by the blood of Him that made it.
Pli. Well, neighbor Obstinate, said Pliable, I begin to come to a point; 1 intend to go along with this good man, and to cast in my lot with him; but, my good companion, do you know the way to this desired placet
Chr. I am directed by a man, whose name is Evangelist, to speed me to a little gate that is before us, where we shall receive instruction about the way.
Pli. Come then, good neighbor, let us be going. Then they went both together.
Obst. And I will go back to my place, said Obstinate: I will be no companion of such misled, fantastical fellows.
Now I saw in my dream, that when Obstinate was gone back, Christian and Pliable went talking over the plain; and thus they began their discourse.
Chr. Come, neighbor Pliable, how do you dot I am glad you are persuaded to go along with me; and had even Obstinate himself but felt what I have felt of the powers and terrors of what is yet unseen, he would not thus lightly have given us the back.
Pli. Come, neighbor Christian, since there is none but us two here, tell me now further, what the things are, and how to be enjoyed, whither we are going.
Chr. I can better conceive of them with my mind, than speak of them with my tongue: but yet, since you are desirous to know, I will read of them in my book.
Pli. And do you think that the words of your book are certainly truet
Chr. Yes, verily; for it was made by him that cannot lie.
Pli. Well said; what things are theyt
Chr. There is an endless kingdom to be inhabited, and everlasting life to be given us, that we may inhabit that kingdom forever.
Pit. Well said; and what elset
Chr. There are crowns of glory to be given us; and garments that will make us shine like the sun in the firmament of heaven.
Pli. This is excellent; and what elset
Chr. There shall be no more crying, r.or sorrow; for he that is owner of the place will wipe all tears from our eyes.