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Pride and ambition here
Ah, lovely thief, what wilt thou do? Only in far-fetched metaphors appear;
What, rob me of Heaven too? Here naught but winds can hurtful mur Thou even my prayers dost steal from murs scatter,
5 And naught but Echo flatter.
And I, with wild idolatry, The gods, when they descended, hither Begin to God, and end them all to thee. From heaven did always choose their way: And therefore we may boldly say
Is it a sin to love, that it should thus That 'tis the way, too, thither.
Like an ill conscience, torture us?
Whate'er I do, where e'er I go, 10 How happy here should I
(None guiltless e'er was haunted so) And one dear She live, and embracing die! Still, still, methinks thy face I view, She who is all the world, and can exclude And still thy shape does me pursue, In deserts solitude.
36 As if not you me, but I had murdered you. I should have then this only fear: Lest men, when they my pleasures see, From books I strive some remedy to take, Should hither throng to live like me,
But thy name all the letters make; 16 And so make a city here.
Whate'er 'tis writ, I find that there,
Me blest for this let no man hold;
For I, as Midas did of old,
Perish by turning everything to gold. Foolish Prater, what do'st thou
What do I seek, alas, or why do I
Attempt in vain from thee to fly?
For making thee my deity
I give thee then ubiquity. 25 There his knife had done but well.
My pains resemble hell in this:
The divine presence there too is, In thy undiscovered nest
But to torment men, not to give them Thou dost all the winter rest,
CHARLES SACKVILLE, EARL OF Had'st thou all the charming notes
To all you ladies now at land
We men at sea indite;
But first would have you understand
How hard it is to write:
The Muses now, and Neptune too, Nothing half so sweet or fair,
We must implore to write to youNothing half so good can'st bring,
With a fa, la, la, la, la! Though men say, “Thou bring'st the spring?”
For though the Muses should prove kind,
And fill our empty brain,
Yet if rough Neptune rouse the wind 10
To wave the azure main,
Roll up and down our ships at sea-
With a fa, la, la, la, la!
Then if we write not by each post, 15 | Think then how often love we've made Think not we are unkind;
To you, when all those tunes were playedNor yet conclude our ships are lost
With a fa, la, la, la, la!
05 With a fa, la, la, la, la!
When we for hopes of honor lose
Our certain happiness:
Ourselves more worthy of your love
With a fa, la, la, la, la!
70 Than e'er they did of old;
25 But let him know it is our tears
And now we've told you all our loves, Bring floods of grief to Whitehall stairs, And likewise all our fears, With a fa, la, la, la, la!
In hopes this declaration moves
Some pity for our tears: Should foggy Opdam chance to know Let's hear of no inconstancyOur sad and dismal story,
30 We have too much of that at seaThe Dutch would scorn so weak a foe,
With a fa, la, la, la, la!
SIR THOMAS BROWNE (1605–1682) With a fa, la, la, la, la!
From HYDRIOTAPHIA or Let wind and weather do its worst,
URN BURIAL Be you to us but kind; Let Dutchmen vapor, Spaniards curse, Now since these dead bones have No sorrow we shall find;
already outlasted the living ones of Me'Tis then no matter how things go, 40 thusaleh, and, in a yard under ground Or who's our friend, or who's our foe and their walls of clay, outworn all the With a fa, la, la, la, la!
strong and specious buildings above it;
and quietly rested under the drums and To pass our tedious hours away
tramplings of three conquests: what We throw a merry main,
prince can promise such diuturnity unto Or else at serious ombre play; 45 his relics, or might not gladly say,
But why should we in vain Each other's ruin thus pursue?
Sic ego componi versus in ossa velim? (10 We were undone when we left you
Time, which antiquates antiquities, and With a fa, la, la, la, la!
hath an art to make dust of all things,
hath yet spared these minor monuments. But now our fears tempestuous grow 50 In vain we hope to be known by open And cast our hopes away,
and visible conservatories, when to be Whilst you, regardless of our woe,
unknown was the means of their continuaSit careless at a play,
tion, and obscurity their protection. If Perhaps permit some happier man
they died by violent hands, and were To kiss your hand, or flirt your fan- 55 thrust into their urns, these bones beWith a fa, la, la, la, la!
come considerable, and some old (20
philosophers would honor them, whose When any mournful tune you hear
souls they conceived most pure, which That dies in every note,
were thus snatched from their bodies, As if it sighed with each man's care and to retain a stronger propension unto For being so remote,
them; whereas they weariedly left a lan2 a game of cards. I guishing corpse, and with faint desires of
reunion. If they fell by long and aged de- | relics, they had not so grossly erred in the cay, yet wrapped up in the bundle of time, art of perpetuation. But to subsist in they fall into indistinction, and make but | bones, and be but pyramidally extant, is a one blot with infants. If we begin to (30 fallacy in duration. Vain ashes, which, die when we live, and long life be but a in the oblivion of names, persons, times prolongation of death, our life is a sad and sexes, have found unto themselves composition; we live with death, and a fruitless continuation, and only arise die not in a moment. How many pulses unto late posterity as emblems of mortal made up the life of Methuselah, were vanities, antidotes against pride, vainwork for Archimedes: common counters glory, and madding vices! Pagan vain-[90 sum up the life of Moses his man. Our glories, which thought the world might days become considerable, like petty | last forever, had encouragement for amsums, by minute accumulations; where bition; and finding no Atropos unto the numerous fractions make up but small (40 | immortality of their names, were never round numbers; and our days of a span damped with the necessity of oblivion. long, make not one little finger.
Even old ambitions had the advantage of If the nearness of our last necessity | ours in the attempts of their vain-glories, brought a nearer conformity into it, there who acting early, and before the probable were a happiness in hoary hairs, and no meridian of time, have by this time found calamity in half-senses. But the long great accomplishment of their de- (100 habit of living indisposeth us for dying; | signs, whereby the ancient heroes have when avarice makes us the sport of death, already out-lasted their monuments and when even David grew politicly cruel, mechanical preservations. But in this and Solomon could hardly be said to 150 latter scene of time we cannot expect such be the wisest of men. But many are too mummies unto our memories, when ambiearly old, and before the date of age. tion may fear the prophecy of Elias; and Adversity stretcheth our days, misery Charles the Fifth can never hope to live makes Alcmena's nights, and time hath no within two Methuselahs of Hector. wings unto it. But the most tedious And therefore restless inquietude for being is that which can unwish itself, the diuturnity of our memories unto (110 content to be nothing, or never to have present considerations seems a vanity albeen, which was beyond the malcontent most out of date, and superannuated of Job, who cursed not the day of his life, piece of folly. We cannot hope to live but his nativity; content to have so (60 so long in our names as some have done far been, as to have title to future being, in their persons. One face of Janus holds although he had lived here but in an ! no proportion to the other. 'Tis too late hidden state of life, and as it were an to be ambitious. The great mutations of abortion.
the world are acted, or time may be too What song the Sirens sang, or what short for our designs. To extend our memname Achilles assumed when he hid ories by monuments, whose death we (120 himself among women, though puzzling daily pray for, and whose duration we questions, are not beyond all conjecture. cannot hope without injury to our exWhat time the persons of these ossuaries pectations in the advent of the last day, entered the famous nations of the 170 were a contradiction to our beliefs. We, dead, and slept with princes and coun whose generations are ordained in this sellors, might admit a wide solution. But setting part of time, are providentially who were the proprietaries of these bones, taken off from such imaginations; and, or what bodies these ashes made up, were being necessitated to eye the remaining a question above antiquarism; not to be particle of futurity, are naturally conresolved by man, nor easily perhaps by stituted unto thoughts of the next (130 spirits, except we consult the provincial world, and cannot excusably decline the guardians, or tutelary observators. Had consideration of that duration which they made as good provision for their maketh pyramids pillars of snow, and all names as they have done for their (80 l that's past a moment.
Circles and right lines limit and close register the first man had been as unall bodies, and the mortal right-lined | known as the last, and Methuselah's (190 circle must conclude and shut up all. long life had been his only chronicle. There is no antidote against the opium | Oblivion is not to be hired. The greater of time, which temporally considereth all part must be content to be as though they things: our fathers find their graves (140 had not been, to be found in the register in our short memories, and sadly tell us of God, not in the record of man. Twentyhow we may be buried in our survivors. seven names make up the first story beGrave-stones tell truth scarce forty years. fore the flood, and the recorded names Generations pass while some trees stand, ever since contain not one living century. and old families last not three oaks. To The number of the dead long exceedeth be read by bare inscriptions, like many all that shall live. The night of time (200 in Gruter, to hope for eternity by enig far surpasseth the day, and who knows matical epithets or first letters of our when was the equinox? Every hour names, to be studied by antiquaries who adds unto that current arithmetic, which we were, and have new names given (150 | scarce stands one moment. And since us like many of the mummies, are cold death must be the Lucina of life, and consolations unto the students of per even pagans could doubt whether thus petuity, even by everlasting languages. to live were to die; since our longest sun
To be content that times to come sets at right descensions, and makes but should only know there was such a man, winter arches, and therefore it cannot be not caring whether they knew more of long before we lie down in darkness, (210 him, was a frigid ambition in Cardan, and have our light in ashes; since the disparaging his horoscopal inclination brother of death daily haunts us with and judgment of himself. Who cares dying mementos, and time, that grows to subsist like Hippocrates' patients, (160 old in itself, bids us hope no long duration: or Achilles' horses in Homer, under naked | diuturnity is a dream and folly of exnominations, without deserts and noble pectation. acts, which are the balsam of our mem Darkness and light divide the course ories, the entelechia and soul of our sub- of time, and oblivion shares with memory sistences? To be nameless in worthy a great part even of our living beings; we deeds exceeds an infamous history. The slightly remember our felicities, and (220 Canaanitish woman lives more happily the smartest strokes of affliction leave without a name, than Herodias with one. but short smart upon us. Sense endureth And who had not rather have been the no extremities, and sorrows destroy us good thief, than Pilate?
(170 or themselves. To weep into stones are But the iniquity of oblivion blindly fables. Afflictions induce callosities; misscattereth her poppy, and deals with the eries are slippery, or fall like snow upon memory of men without distinction to | us, which notwithstanding is no unhappy merit of perpetuity. Who can but pity stupidity. To be ignorant of evils to the founder of the pyramids? Herostra- come, and forgetful of evils past, is a tus lives that burnt the temple of Diana; merciful provision in nature, whereby (230 he is almost lost that built it. Time hath | we digest the mixture of our few and evil spared the epitaph of Adrian's horse, days, and our delivered senses not relapsconfounded that of himself. In vain we ing into cutting remembrances, our sorcompute our felicities by the advan- (180 rows are not kept raw by the edge of tage of our good names, since bad have repetitions. A great part of antiq equal durations; and Thersites is like to contented their hopes of subsistency with live as long as Agamemnon. Who knows a transmigration of their souls,-a good whether the best of men be known, or i way to continue their memories; while whether there be not more remarkable having the advantage of plural succespersons forgot, than any that stand re- | sions, they could not but act some- (240 membered in the known account of time? thing remarkable in such variety of beings, Without the favor of the everlasting and enjoying the fame of their passed
selves, make accumulation of glory unto happy frustration; and to hold long subtheir last durations. Others, rather than sistence, seems but a scape in oblivion. be lost in the uncomfortable night of But man is a noble animal, splendid nothing, were content to recede into the in ashes, and pompous in the grave, 1300 common being, and make one particle of solemnizing nativities and deaths with the public soul of all things, which was equal lustre, nor omitting ceremonies of no more than to return into their unknown bravery in the infamy of his nature. and divine original again. Egyp- (250 | Life is a pure flame, and we live by an tian ingenuity was more unsatisfied, con | invisible sun within us. A small fire triving their bodies in sweet consistencies sufficeth for life; great flames seemed to attend the return of their souls. But too little after death, while men vainly all was vanity, feeding the wind, and affected precious pyres, and to burn folly. The Egyptian mummies, which like Sardanapalus. But the wisdom of Cambyses or time hath spared, avarice funeral laws found the folly of prodigal (310 now consumeth. Mummy is become mer blazes, and reduced undoing fires unto chandise, Mizraim cures wounds, and the rule of sober obsequies, wherein few Pharaoh is sold for balsams.
could be so mean as not to provide wood, In vain do individuals hope for im- [260 pitch, a mourner, and an urn. mortality, or any patent from oblivion, Five languages secured not the epitaph in preservations below the moon; men of Gordianus. The man of God lives have been deceived even in their flat | longer without a tomb than any by one, teries above the sun, and studied conceits invisibly interred by angels, and adjudged to perpetuate their names in heaven. to obscurity, though not without some The various cosmography of that part marks directing human discovery. [320 hath already varied the names of con Enoch and Elias, without either tomb or trived constellations; Nimrod is lost in burial, in an anomalous state of being, are Orion, and Osiris in the dog-star. While the great examples of perpetuity in their we look for incorruption in the heav- (270 long and living memory, in strict account ens, we find they are but like the earth; being still on this side death, and having durable in their main bodies, alterable in a late part yet to act upon this stage of their parts: whereof, beside comets and earth. If in the decretory term of the new stars, perspectives begin to tell tales; world we shall not all die, but be changed, and the spots that wander about the sun, according to received translation, the with Phæthon's favor, would make clear last day will make but few graves; (330 conviction.
at least quick resurrections will anticThere is nothing strictly immortal ipate lasting sepultures. Some graves but immortality. Whatever hath no be will be opened before they be quite closed, ginning may be confident of no end- (280 | and Lazarus be no wonder, when many which is the peculiar of that necessary that feared to die shall groan that they essence that cannot destroy itself—and can die but once. The dismal state is the highest strain of omnipotency, to be the second and living death, when life so powerfully constituted, as not to suffer puts despair on the damned; when men even from the power of itself. All others shall wish the coverings of mountains, have a dependent being and within the not of monuments, and annihilations (340 reach of destruction. But the sufficiency shall be courted. of Christian immortality frustrates all While some have studied monuments, earthly glory, and the quality of either others have studiously declined them, and state after death makes a folly of post- (290 some have been so vainly boisterous that humous memory. God, who can only they durst not acknowledge their graves; destroy our souls, and hath assured our wherein Alaricus seems most subtle, who resurrection, either of our bodies or names had a river turned to hide his bones at hath directly promised no duration. the bottom. Even Sylla, that thought Wherein there is so much of chance, that himself safe in his urn, could not prevent the boldest expectants have found un- | revenging tongues, and stones thrown (350