« AnteriorContinuar »
3. HABITS OF THE GREEK PHILOSOPHERS. (FROM“ A TRAGICAL COMEDY OF ALEXANDER AND CAMPASPE,” PUBLISHED
IN 1584.) MELIPPUS (one of Alexander's attendants).—I had never such ado' (so much trouble) to warn scholars (i.e. learned men, philosophers) to come before a king. First I came to Chrysippus, a tall, lean, old, mad-man, willing (ordering) him presently (immediately) to appear before Alexander.
He stood staring in my face, neither moving his eyes nor his body. I urging him to give some answer, he took up a book, sat down again and said nothing. Melissa, his maid, told me it was his manner, and that oftentimes she was fain? (obliged) to thrust meat (food) into bis mouth, for that he would rather starve “then study. Well, thought I, seeing bookish men are so blockish, and great clerks (learned men) such simple courtiers, I will neither be partaker of their commons (provisions) nor their commendations. From thence I came to Plato and to Aristotle, and to divers other (others), none refusing to come, saving (except) an old, obscure (mean-looking) fellow, who sitting in à tub turned towards the sun, read Greek to a young boy. Him when I willed (ordered) to appear before Alexander, he answered, If Alexander would faina see me, let him come to me; whatsoever it be, let him come to me. Why, said I, he is a king; he answered, Why, I am a philosopher. Why (well), but he is Alexander ; “I”4 (ay), but I am Diogenes.
was half angry to see one so crooked in his shape, to be so crabbed in his sayings. So, going my way, I said,
(1) Ado, probably the p.p. of A.S. dón, to do, p.p. gedón; in Sem. Sax. ydon or ydo, corrupted into ado, and used as a noun. “Much ado about nothing” means much done, &c. See note 5, p. 68.
(2) Fain, fr. A.S. fægn, glad. The common meaning is glad or gladly, as in the second instance above, but the first usage, that of “obliged or compelled,” is more rare. It would appear to mean glad, as an alternative from something worse. “She was glad or willing to thrust," &c., rather than that he should starve. Bacon speaking of one who did not receive help that he had expected, adds, “So that in effect (in fact) he was fain to do all things himself."
(3) Commons. This word for provisions is still used at Cambridge and Oxford, meaning “the provision which each member in a society takes at the common meal.”—Richardson.
(4) 1, ay. In the original editions of Shakspere, and other writers of this time, we continually find “I” for ay. In “Two Gentlemen of Verona":“ Proteus. But what said she ? did she nod ?-Speed. I.-Proteus. Nod, I! why that's noddy,” &c.
Thou wilt repent it, if thou comest not to Alexander. Nay, emiling answered he, Alexander may repent it if he come not to Diogenes; virtue must be sought, not offered. And so, turning himself to his cell, he grunted I know not what, like a pig under a tub. But I must be gone; the philosophers are coming. (Exit.)
4. ALEXANDER, HEPHÆSTION, DIOGENES.
(FROM THE SAME WORK.) ALEXANDER.—Diogenes. DIOGENES. - Who calleth ?
ALEX.-Alexander. How happened it that you would not come out of your tub to my palace ?
Diog.–Because it was as far from my tub to your palace, as from your palace to my tub.
ALEX.– Why then ? Dost thou owe no reverence to kings ?
Drog.-Because I would have none of Diogenes' mind, but Diogenes.
ALEX.—If Alexander have anything that may pleasure Diogenes, let me know, and take it.
Diog.—Then take not from me that (what) you cannot give me, the light of the world (i.e. stand out of the sun).
ALEX. - What dost thou want?
ALEX.—Hephæstion, were I not Alexander, I would wish to be Diogenes.
HEPHÆSTION.—He is dogged but discreet? (discriminative); I cannot tell how sharp, with a kind of sweetness; full of wit (intelligence), vet too wayward.
ALEX.—Diogenes, when I come this way again, I will both see thee and confer (converse) with thee.
1. DEFENCE OF ESTABLISHED THINGS
(FROM "THE LAWS OF ECCLESIASTICALL POLITIE,” PUBLISHED IN 1594.)
He that goeth about to persuade a multitude that they are not 80 well governed as they ought to be, shall never want (be without) attentive and favourable hearers; because they know the manifold defects whereunto every kind of " regiment (government) is subject; but the secret lets (hindrances) and difficulties, which, in public proceedings, are innumerable and inevitable, they have not ordinarily the judgment to consider. And because such as openly reprove supposed disorders of state
(1) Discreet, fr. Lat. discernere, to perceive separately and distinctly, p.p. discretus. This word was first used in reference to things or actions, not, as now, almost altogether to persons. In Piers Ploughman we have “penaunce discrit," and in Spenser, "advice discrete,” both nieaning, judicious. Chaucer has “A wife, discrete in all here (her) wordes and here dedes," which is the modern sense.
(2) “ The finest, as well as the most philosophical, writer of the Elizabethan age is Hooker. The first book of the Ecclesiastical Polity is, at this day, one of the masterpieces of English eloquence. His periods, indeed, are generally much too long and too intricate; but portions of them are often beautifully rhythmical. His language is rich in English idiom, without vulgarity, and in words from Latin sources, without pedartry.”—Hallam, “ Introd. to Literature of Europe,” ii. 198.
“Hooker's style is almost without a rival for its sustilined dignity of march; but that which makes it most remarkable is its union of all this learned gravity and earnestness, with a flow of genuine, racy English, almost as little tinctured with pedantry as the most familiar popular writing."--Craik, “ History of the English Language and Literature," i. 612.
(3) Regiment, fr. Lat. regimentum, government. It is used by Gower, who speaks of "good rule and good regiment." Tyndale also speaks of Christ's intending “not to disanull the temporal reyiment.” Knox denounced the reign of Mary Queen of Scots in a treatise on “The monstrous regiment of women."
are taken for principal especial) friends to the common benefit of all, and for men that carry singular freedom of mind; under this fair and plausible colour, whatsoever they utter passeth for good and current. That which wanteth (is wanting) in the weight of their speech, is supplied, by the aptness of "mens.” minds to accept and believe it. Whereas, on the other side, if we maintain things that are established, we have not only to strive with contend against) a number of heavy prejudices deeply rooted in the hearts of men, who think that herein we serve the time' (serve our cun interests), and speak in favour of the present state, because thereby we either hold or seek preferment; but also to bear (we have to bear) such exceptions as minds so averted beforehand (so prejudiced) usually take against that which they are loth should be poured into them.
Albeit although), therefore, much of that (what, we are to speak in this present cause may seem to a number perhaps tedious, perhaps obscure, dark, and intricate (for many talk of the truth, which never sounded the depth from whence it springeth; and, therefore, when they are led thereunto, they are soon weary, as men drawn from those beaten paths wherewith they have been “inured ") (to which they have been accustomed); yet this may not so far prevail as to cut off (hinder our discussing) that which the matter itself requireth, howsoever the nice humour (critical ca rice of some be therewith pleased or no. They unto whom we shall seem tedious are in no wise injured by us, because it is in their own hands to spare (withhold) that labour which they are not willing to “indure.”
(1) We serve the time. i.e. we obey the fluctuating interests of time, rather than the dictates of inflexible principle; we consult interest rather than duty. The noun time-serrer exactly represents this idea.
(2) Obscure; dark. These words are thus distinguished:-That is obscure which is not clear; that is dark which is without light. What is obscure we can see, but
We remove the darkness by letting in the light; we clear up the obscurity by dissipating the cloudy medium.
(3) Weary, &c. The second metaphor introduced in this parenthesis is unconnected with the first, and seems to halt somewhat. Men do not necessarily get weary because they are drawn from the beaten paths to which they are accustomed.
(4) Nice humour. Humour, as used at this time, seems to mean an accidental or casual mood of the mind, caprice, whim. Shakspere has
“ An effect of humour, Which sometime hath his (its) hour with every man.” (“Julius Cæsar.") The word had not yet acquired its modern sense. Sir W. Temple subsequently speaks of it as a “word peculiar to our language, and hard to be expressed in any other.”
not well; what is dark we cannot see at all.
And if any complain of obscurity, they must consider, that in these matters it cometh no otherwise to pass “then” in sundry the works (various works) both of art and also of nature, where that which hath greatest force (influence) in the very things we see, is, notwithstanding, itself oftentimes not seen. The stateliness of houses, the goodliness of trees, when we behold them, delighteth the eye; but that foundation, which beareth up the one, that root which “ministreth”) unto the other nourishment and life, is in the bosom of the earth concealed ; and if there be at any time occasion to search into it, such labour is then more necessary “then” pleasant, both to them which undertake it, and for the lookers-on. In like “ maner” the use and benefit of good laws, all that live under them may enjoy with delight and comfort, albeit (although the grounds and first original causes from whence they have “ sprong” be unknown, as to the greatest part of men they are. But when they who withdraw their obedience pretend that the laws which they should obey are corrupt and vicious; for better examination of their quality, it behoveth? (it is right or proper for) the very foundation and root, the highest well spring and fountain of them, to be discovered (laid open). Which, because we are not oftentimes accustomed to do, when we do it, the pains we take are more needful a great deal “then" acceptable, and the matters which we handle seem, by reason of newness (till the mind grow better acquainted with them), dark, intricate, and unfamiliar.
2. THE LAW OF NATURE.3
(FROM THE SAME WORK.) This “worlds” first creation, and the preservation since of things created, what is it but only so far forth a manifestation by execution of what the eternal law of God is concerning things natural? And as it cometh to pass in a kingdom rightly ordered, that after a law is once published, it presently (imme
(1) That root, &c. Observe the aptness and beauty of the word ministreth.
(2) Behoveth, fr. A.S. behofan, to be fit, to have need of. Used impersonally, behoveth means, it concerns, it is necessary, as Lat. oportet. The word is now obsolete.
(3) The argument of this beautiful passage is, that the phenomena of nature are the outward expressions of an unseen and executive will; the things that Nature is said to do being performed by Divine art, using Nature as an instrument.