Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

consume a whole crop of their kind at one harvest- have never been more tired with any reading than home. Shame upon those light ones who carol with dissertations upon happiness, which seems at the feast blood ! and worse upon those not only to elude inquiry, but to cast unmerciful graver ones who nail upon their escutcheon the loads of clay and sand and husks and stubble name of great. Ambition is but Avarice on stilts along the high road of the inquirer. Theologians and masked. God sometimes sends a famine, and moralists, and even sound philosophers, talk sometimes a pestilence, and sometimes a hero, mostly in a drawling and dreaming way about it. for the chastisement of mankind; none of them He who said that virtue alone is happiness, would surely for our admiration. Only some cause like have spoken more truly in saying that virtue unto that which is now scattering the mental fog alone is misery, if alone means singly; for, beyond of the Netherlands, and is preparing them for the a doubt, the virtuous man meets with more oppofruits of freedom, can justify us in drawing the sites and opponents than any other, meets with sword abroad.

more whose interests and views thwart his, and Sidney. And only the accomplishment of our whose animosities are excited against him, not purpose can permit us again to sheathe it: for, only by the phantom of interest, but by envy. the aggrandisement of our neighbour is nought of Virtue alone cannot rebuff them; nor can the detriment to us; on the contrary, if we are honest virtuous man, if only virtuous, live under them, and industrious, his wealth is ours. We have I will not say contentedly and happily, I will say, nothing to dread while our laws are equitable at all. Self-esteem, we hear, is the gift of virtue, and our impositions light: but children fly from the golden bough at which the gates of Elysium mothers who strip and scourge them.

fly open : but, alas! it

oftener, I am afraid, the Brooke. Across the hearse where homebred Lawlies dead portion of the strong-minded, and even of the Strides Despotism, and seems a bloated boy,

vain, than of the virtuous. By the constant Who, while some coarse clown drives him, thinks he exertion of our best energies, we can keep down drives,

many of the thorns along the path of life; yet Shouting, with blear bluff face, give way, give way!

some will thwart us, whether we carry our book We are come to an age when we ought to read with us or walk without it, whether we cast our and speak plainly what our discretion tells us is eyes on earth or on heaven. He who hath fit: we are not to be set in a corner for mockery given the best definition of most things, hath and derision, with our hands hanging down given but an imperfect one here, informing us motionless, and our pockets turned inside-out. that a happy life is one without impediment to

Sidney. Let us congratulate our country on her virtue.* A happy life is not made up of negatives. freedom from debt, and on the economy and Exemption from one thing is not possession of disinterestedness of her administrators; men another. Had I been among his hearers, and altogether of eminent worth, afraid of nothing could have uttered my sentiments in the presence but of deviating from the broad and beaten path of so mighty a master, I would have told him of illustrious ancestors, and propagating her glory that the definition is still unfound, like the in far-distant countries, not by the loquacity of thing. mountebanks or the audacity of buffoons, nor A sound mind and sound body, which many by covering a tarnished sword-knot with a trim think all-sufficient, are but receptacles for it. shoulder-knot, but by the mission of right learned, Happiness, like air and water, the other two grave, and eloquent embassadors. Triumphantly great requisites of life, is composite. One kind and disdainfully may you point to others. of it suits one man, another kind another. The While the young blossom starts to light,

elevated mind takes in and breathes out again And heaven looks down serenely bright

that which would be uncongenial to the baser, On Nature's graceful form ;

and the baser draws life and enjoyment from that While bills and vales and woods are gay,

which would be putridity to the loftier. Wise or And village voices all breathe May, Who dreads the future storm ?

unwise, who doubts for a moment that contentWhere princes smile and renates bend,

ment is the cause of happiness? Yet the inverse What mortal e'er foresaw his end,

is true: we are contented because we are happy, Or fear'd the frown of God ?

and not happy because we are contented. Well Yet has the tempest swept them off,

regulated minds may be satisfied with a small porAnd the oppressed with bitter scoff Their silent marble trod.

tion of happiness; none can be happy with a small To swell their pride, to quench their ire,

portion of content. In fact, hardly anything Did venerable Laws expire

which we receive for truth, is really and entirely

so, let it appear as plain as it may, and let its Faith in their presence veiled her head,

appeal be not only to the understanding, but to Patience and Charity were dead,

the senses; for our words do not follow them And Hope beyond the skies.

exactly; and it is by words we receive truth and But away, away with politics : let not this city- express it. stench infect our fresh country-air.

I do not wonder that in the cloud of opinions Brooke. To happiness then, and unhappiness too, and of passions (for where there are many of since we can discourse upon it without emotion.

* Aristoteles says in his Ethics, and repeats it in his I know not, Philip, how it is, but certainly Il Polity, ti dai novce srov sives Tòv zat agerinn áriusodrotor.

And sterner forms arise ;

the one, there are usually some of the other) complaining. I have indeed heard the soldier the clearer view of this subject should be inter- of our enemy scream at receiving a wound; cepted : rather is it to be marvelled at, that no I never heard ours. Shall the uneducated be plain reasoning creature should in his privacy worthy of setting an example to the lettered ? have argued thus :

If we see, as we have seen, young persons of some “I am without the things which do not promise, yet in comparison to us as the colt is to render those who possess them happier than I the courser, raised to trust and eminence by a am: but I have those the absence of which powerful advocate, is it not enough to feel ourwould render me unhappy ; and therefore the selves the stronger men, without exposing our having of them should, if my heart is a sound limbs to the passenger, and begging him in proof one and my reason unperverted, render me con- to handle our muscles? Those who distribute tent and blest! I have a house and garden of offices, are sometimes glad to have the excuse of my own; I have competence; I have children. merit; but never give them for it. Only one Take away any of these, and I should be sorrow. subject of sorrow, none of complaint, in respect ful, I know not how long: give me any of those to court, is just and reasonable; namely, to be which are sought for with more avidity, and I rejected or overlooked when our exertions or expedoubt whether I should be happier twenty-four rience might benefit our country. Forbidden to hours. He who has very much of his own, unite our glory with hers, let us cherish it at always has a project in readiness for somewhat home the more fondly for its disappointment, and of another's: he who has very little, has not even give her reason to say afterward, she could have the ground on which to lay it. Thus one sharp wished the union. He who complains deserves angle of wickedness and disquietude is broken off what he complains of. from him."

Religions, languages, races of men, rise up, Sidney. Since we have entered into no contest flourish, decay; and just in the order I assign or competition, which of us shall sing or sermon- to them. O my friend ! is it nothing to think ize the other fast asleep, and since we rather that this hand of mine, over which an insect throw out than collect ideas on the subject of our is creeping, and upon which another more conversation, do not accuse me of levity, I am loathsome one ere long will pasture, may hold certain you will not of irreligion, if I venture to forth to my fellow men, by resolution of heart say that comforts and advantages, in this life, in me and perseverance, those things which appear at first sight to be distributed by some shall outlive the least perishable in the whole airy fantastic Beings, such as figure in the stories dominion of mortality ? Creatures, of whom the of the East. These generally choose a humpback best and weightiest part are the feathers in slave or inconsiderate girl to protect and counte- their caps, and of whom the lightest are their nance: in like manner do we observe the ill- words and actions, curl their whiskers and their informed mind and instable character most lips in scorn upon similar meditations. immediately under the smiles of Fortune and the Let us indulge in them; they are neither weak guidance of Prosperity; who, as the case is with nor idle, having been suckled by Wisdom and lovers, are ardent and attached in proportion as taught to walk by Virtue. We have never thrown they alight upon indifference and inconstancy. away the keepsakes that Nature has given us, nor

Brooke. Yes, Happiness doats on her works bartered them for toys easily broken in the and is prodigal to her favourite. As one drop of public paths of life. water hath an attraction for another, so do feli- Brooke. Argue then no longer about courts and cities run into felicities. This course is marked discontents: I would rather hear a few more by the vulgar with nearly the same expression as verses; for a small draught increases the thirst of I have employed upon it: men say habitually a the thirsty. run of luck. And I wish that misfortunes bore Sidney. To write as the ancients have written, no resemblance to it in their march and tendency; without borrowing a thought or expression from but these also swarm and cluster and hang one them, is the most difficult thing we can achieve in from another, until at last some hard day deadens poetry. I attempt no composition which I foresee all sense in them, and terminates their existence. will occupy more than an hour or two, so that I

Sidney. It must be acknowledged, our unhap- can hardly claim any rank among the poets; yet piness appears to be more often sought by us, having once collected, in my curiosity, all the Incoand pursued more steadily, than our happiness. cations to Sleep, ancient and modern, I fancied it What courtier on the one side, what man of possible to compose one very differently; which, genius on the other, has not complained of un- if you consider the simplicity of the subject and worthiness preferred to worth? Who prefers it? the number of those who have treated it, may his friend ? no: himself? no surely. Why then appear no easy matter. grieve at folly or injustice in those who have no concern in him, and in whom he has no concern?

Sleep! who contractest the waste realms of Night,

None like the wretched can extol thy powers: We are indignant at the sufferings of those who bear

We think of thee when thou art far away, bravely and undeservedly; but a single cry from We hold thee dearer than the light of day, them breaks the charm that bound them to us. And most when Love forsakes us wish thee ours : The English character stands high above

O hither bend thy flight!

Silent and welcome as the blessed shade

generous affections, by such studies and pursuits Alcestis to the dark Thessalian hall,

as best furnish the mind for their reception. When Hercules and Death and Hell obey'd Her husband's desolate despondent call.

How many, who have abandoned for public life What fiend would persecute thee, gentle Sleep,

the studies of philosophy and poetry, may be Or beckon thee aside from man's distress?

compared to brooks and rivers, which in the Needless it were to warn thee of the stings

beginning of their course have assuaged our thirst, That pierce my pillow, now those waxen wings

and have invited us to tranquillity by their bright Which bore me to the sun of happiness,

resemblance of it, and which afterward partake Have dropt into the deep.

the nature of that vast body whereinto they run, Brooke. If I cannot compliment you, as I lately its dreariness, its bitterness, its foam, its storms, complimented a poet on the same subject, by its everlasting noise and commotion! I have saying, May all the gods and goddesses be as pro- known several such ; and when I have innocently pitious to your Incocation, let me at least congratu- smiled at them, their countenances seemed to late you that everything here is fiction.

say, “I wish I could despise you : but alas! I am a Sidney. There are sensible men who would call runaway slave, and from the best of mistresses to me to an account for attempting to keep up with the worst of masters; I serve at a tavern where every the ancients, and then running downhill among hour is dinner-time, and pick a bone upon a silver the moderns, and more especially for expatiating dish.” And what is acquired by the more fortunate in the regions of Romance. The fastidious and among them? they may put on a robe and use a rigid call it bad taste : and I am afraid they have designation which I have no right to : my cook Truth for their prompter. But this, I begin to and footman may do the same: one has a white suspect, is rather from my deficiency of power apron, the other has red hose ; I should be quite and judgment, than because the thing in itself is as much laughed at if I assumed them. A sense wrong.

Chivalry in the beginning was often of inferior ability is painful: this I feel most at intemperate and inhumane: afterward the term home: I could not do nearly so well what my became synonymous with valorous courtesy. domestics do; what the others do I could do Writers, and the Public after them, now turn it better. My blushes are not at the superiority into ridicule. But there is surely an incentive to I have given myself, but at the comparison I must noble actions in the deference we bear toward our go through to give it. ladies ; and to carry it in my bosom is worth to

Two poets cannot walk or sit together easily me all the applauses I could ever receive from my while they have any poetry about them : they prince. If the beloved keep us from them farther must turn it out upon the table or the grass or than arm's length for years together, much indeed the rock or the road-side. I shall call on you we regret that our happiness is deferred, but presently; take all I have in the meanwhile. more that theirs is. For pride, and what is better

At last thou goest, breezy March ! than pride, our pure conscience tells us, that God

Again beneath heaven's brighter arch would bestow on us the glory of creating it; of all The birds that shun our winters, fly: terrestrial glory far the greatest.

O'er every pathway trip along Brooke. To those whose person and manners,

Light feet, more light with frolic song,

And eyes glance back, they know not why. and exalted genius, render them always and

Say, who is that of leaf so rank, everywhere acceptable, it is pleasing to argue in

Pushing the violet down the bank this fashion.

With hearted spearhead glossy-green? Sidney. Greville ! Greville! it is better to

And why that changeface mural box suffer than to lose the power of suffering. The Points at the myrtle, whom he mocks, perception of beauty, grace, and virtue, is not Regardless what her cheer hath been? granted to all alike. There are more who are The fennel waves her tender plume; contented in an ignoble union on the flat beaten Mezereons cloth'd with thick perfume,

And almonds, urge the lagging leaf : earth before us, than there are who, equally dis

Ha! and so long then have I stood regarding both unfavourable and favourable

And not observ'd thee, modest bud, clamours, make for themselves room to stand on Wherefrom will rise their lawful chief! an elevated and sharp-pointed summit, and thence

O never say it if perchance to watch the motions and scintillations, and occa- Thou crown the cup or join the danco, sional overcloudings, of some bright distant star. Neither in anger nor in sport ; Is it nothing to have been taught, apart from the

For Pleasure then would pass me by,

The Graces look ungraciously, vulgar, those graceful submissions which afford us

Love frown, and drive me from his court. a legitimate pride when we render them to the worthy? Is there no privilege in electing our Brooke. Considering the chances and changes own sovran? no pleasure in bending heart and of humanity, I wish I were as certain that Pleasure soul before her? I will never believe that age will never pass you by, as I am that the Graces itself can arrest so vivid an emotion, or that his will never look on you ungraciously. deathbed is hard or uneasy, who can bring before Sidney. So little am I ashamed of the hours it even the empty image he has long (though in | I spend in poetry, even a consciousness that the vain) adored. That life has not been spent idly poetry itself is bad never leads me to think the which has been mainly spent in conciliating the l occupation is. Foliage, herbage, pebbles, may

put in motion the finer parts of the mind; and Many frail leaves shall yet lie pullid, although the first things it throws off be verses,

Many frail hopes in death-bed lullid,

Or ere this outcast heart be school'd and indifferent ones, we are not to despise the

By all its pains. cultivator of them, but to consider him as possessing the garden of innocence, at which the Sidney. Let me hope that here is only great body of mankind looks only through the gate.

A volant shadow, just enough to break In the corner formed by the court-wall, shel

The sleeping sunbeam of soft idleness. tered and sunny, I found, earlier in the season

Brooke. When a woman hath ceased to be quite than usual, a little rose-bud, which perhaps owed the same to us, it matters little how different its existence to my cutting the plant in summer,

she becomes. when it began to intrude on the path, and had wetted the legs of the ladies with the rain it held. ment but your own, and this can never be yours.

Sidney. Hush! I will hear from you no sentiNone but trifling poetry could be made out of Variations there are of temperature in the finest this, yet other than trifling pleasure was.

season; and the truest heart has not always the Brooke. Philip, I can give you only spoiled flowers for unspoiled and unopened ones : will you to be pardoned, we might appear to be more per

same pulsations. If we had nothing to pardon or accept them?

fect than we are, but we should in fact be less so. Sidney. Gladly. Brooke. On what occasion and for whom my grieves and forgives. Whatever there may be

Self-love is ungenerous and unforgiving; love verses were composed, you may at once discover. Deem it enough for me to premise in elucidation, lying hid under those leaves and blossoms, shall

rest there until our evening walk; we having that women have no favour or mercy for the silence always chosen the calmest hours of the most their charms impose on us. Little are they aware beautiful days for our discourses on love and of the devotion we are offering to them, in that religion. Something of emotion, I can not doubt, state whereinto the true lover is ever prone to fall

, arose in your breast as you were writing these and which appears to them inattention, indiffer- simple lines; yet I am certain it was sweet and ence, or moroseness. We must chirp before them solacing. Imagination should always be the coneternally, or they will not moisten our beaks in our fident, for she is always the calmer, of Passion, cages. They like praise best, we thanksgiving.

where Wisdom and Virtue have an equally free Sidney. Unfold the paper.

What are you admittance. smiling at? Brooke. The names of the speakers. I call one is much the best time for them) all these disqui

Let us now dismiss until evening comes (which Poet," the other Lady.” How questionably the sitions, and let us talk about absent friends. former ! how truly the latter! But judge.

Brooke. We must sit up late if I am to tell you Poet. Thus do you sit and break the flow'rs That might have lived a few short hours,

Sidney. While the weather is so temperate and And lived for you! Love, who o'erpowers My youth and me,

genial, and while I can be out-of-doors, I care not Shows me the petals idly shed,

how late I tarry among Shows me my hopes as early dead,

Night airs that make tree-shadows walk, and sheep In vain, in vain admonished

Washed white in the cold moonshine on grey cliffs. By all I see. Lady. And thus you wbile the noon away, Our last excess of this nature was nearer the sea, Watching me strip my flowers of gay

where, when our conversation paused awhile in Apparel, just put on for May,

the stillness of midnight, we heard the distant And soon laid by! Cannot you teach me one or two

waves break heavily. Their sound, you remarked, Fine phrases ? if you can, pray do,

was such as you could imagine the sound of Since you are grown too wise to woo

a giant might be, who, coming back from traTo listen I.

vel unto some smooth and level and still and Poet. Lady, I come not here to teach,

solitary place, with all his armour and all his But learn, the moods of gentle speech ; Alas ! too far beyond my reach

spoils about him, casts himself slumberously down Are happier strains.

to rest.

of all yours.

KING HENRY IV. AND SIR ARNOLD SAVAGE. Sarage. I obey the commands of my liege. Sarage. I am now in the house of the greatest

Henry. 'Tis well : thou appearest more civil man upon earth; I was then in the house of the and courteous, Sir Arnold Savage, than this greatest nation. morning in another place, when thou declaredst Henry. Marry! thou speakest rightly upon unto me, as speaker of the Commons, that no both points; but the latter, I swear unto thee, subsidy should be granted me until every cause of pleaseth me most. And now, Savage, I do tell public grievance were removed.*

thee with like frankness, I had well-nigh sent a * The words reported by Hakewell, De modo tenendi score of halberts among your worshipful knights Parliamentum.

and sleek wool-staplers, for I was sore chafed; and, if another had dealt with me in such wise, I should the best and most necessary things in the world have straightway followed my inclination. Thou to batter down your enemy's walls with. knowest I am grievously let and hindered in my Henry. What may they be ? you must find them. projected war, by such obstinacy and undutiful- Sarage. Sir, you have found them, and must ness in my people. I raised up the House of keep them : they are the hearts of your subCommons four years ago, and placed it in opposi-jects. Your horse will not gallop far without tion to my barons, with trust and confidence that, them, though you empty into his manger all the by the blessing of Christ and his saints, I might garners of Surrey. Wars are requisite, to dimi. be less hampered in my complete conquest of nish the power of your Barons, by keeping them France. This is monstrous : Parliament speaks long and widely separate from the main body of too plainly and steps too stoutly for a creature of retainers, and under the ken of a stern and steady four years' growth.

prince, watching their movements, curbing their Sarage. God forbid that any king of England discourses, and inuring them to regular and sharp should achieve the conquest of all France. Pa- discipline. In general they are the worthless tience, my liege and lord! Our Norman ances- exalted by the weak, and dangerous from wealth tors, the most warlike people on whose banners ill acquired and worse expended. The whole the morning sun ever lighted, have wrested the people is a good king's household; quiet and sceptre from her swaddling kings, and, pushing orderly when well treated, and ever in readiness them back on their cushions and cupboards, have to defend him against the malice of the disapbeen contented with the seizure of their best and pointed, the perfidy of the ungrateful, and the largest province. The possession of more serfs usurpation of the familiar. Act in such guise, would have tempted them to sit down in idleness, most glorious Henry, that the king may say my and no piece of unbroken turf would have been people, and the people may say our king : I then left for the play-ground of their children in arms. will promise you more, passing any computation, William the Conqueror, the most puissant of than I refused you this morning; the enjoyment knights and the wisest of statesmen, thought fit of a blessing, to which the conquest of France in to set open a new career, lest the pride of his comparison is as a broken flagstaff ... self-approchivalry should be troublesome to him at home. bation in government and security in power. A He led them forth against the brave and good Norman by descent, and an Englishman by birth Harold, whose armies had bled profusely in their and inheritance, the humiliation of France is war against the Scot. Pity that such blood as the requisite to my sense even of quiet enjoyment. Saxon should ever have been spilt !* but hence Nevertheless I can not delude my understanding, are the titledeeds to our lands and tenements, the on which is impressed this truth, namely, that perpetuity of our power and dominion.

the condition of a people which hath made many Henry. To preserve them from jeopardy, I conquests, doth ultimately become worse than that must have silver in store; I must have horses and of the conquered. For, the conquered have no armour, and wherewith to satisfy the cravings of longer to endure the sufferings of weakness or the the soldier, always sharp, and sharpest of all after struggles of strength; and some advantages are fighting

usually holden forth to keep them peaccable and Sarage. My liege must also have other things, contented : but under conquering prince the which escaped his recollection.

people are shadows, which lessen and lessen as he Henry. Store of hides, and of the creatures that mounts in glory, until at last they become, if I were within them ; store of bacon ; store of oats may reasonably say it and unreprovedly, a thing and barley, of rye and good wheaten corn ; hemp, of nothing, a shapeless form. shipping, masts, anchors; pinetree and its pitch It is my office and my duty to provide that from the Norwegian, yewtree from Corse and this evil, in the present day, do not befall us; and Dalmat. Divers other commodities must be pro- that our late descendants, with the same incitecured from the ruler of the Adriatic, from him ments to bravery, the same materials and means who never was infant nor stripling, whom God of greatness, may deserve as well of your family, took by the right-hand and taught to walk by my liege, as we have deserved of you. himself the first hour. Moreover I must have Henry. Faith! I could find it in my heart, Sir instruments of mine own device, weighty, and Arnold, to clip thine eagle's claws and perch thee exceeding costly ; such as machinery for beating somewhere in the peerage. down walls, Nothing of these have escaped my Sarage. Measureless is the distance between my knowledge or memory, but the recital of some liege and me; but I occupy the second rank befits a butler or sutler or armourer, better than among men now living, forasmuch as, under the a king:

guidance of Almighty God, the most discreet and Sarage. And yet methinks, sir, there are others courageous have appointed me, unworthy as I am, which you might have mentioned and have not, to be the great comprehensive symbol of the the recital of which would befit a king, rather English people. than sutler, butler, or armourer: they are indeed

Writers differ on the first appointment of Speaker in the * The Danes under Harold were not numerous, and House of Commons, for want rather of reflection than of there were few vestiges of the Britons out of Wales and inquiry. The Saxons had frequently such chiefs; not

always, nor regularly. In the reign of William Rufus

Cornwall.

« AnteriorContinuar »