Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

the quick, yet so chaste in the motion as therein cesco. In that I am stopped from thy sight, I is seen as in a mirror courtesy tempered with a am deprived of the chiefest organ of my life, virtuous disdain; her countenance is the very having no sense in myself perfect, in that I map

of modesty, and, to give thee a more near want the view of thy perfection, ready with sormark, if thou findest her in the way, thou row to perish in despair, if, resolved of thy conshalt see her more liberal to bestow, than thou stancy, I did not triumph in hope. Therefore pitiful to demand; her name is Isabel; to now rests it in thee to salve all these sores, and her from me shalt thou carry a letter, folded up provide medicines for these dangerous maladies, every way like thy passport, with a greasy back- that, our passions appeased, we may end our side, and a great seal. If cunningly and closely harmony in the faithful union of two hearts. thou canst thus convey unto her the tenure of Thou seest love hath his shifts, and Venus' my mind, when thou bringest me an answer, quiddities' are most subtle sophistry; that he I will give thee a brace of angels.” The poor which is touched with beauty, is ever in league woman was glad of this proffer, and thereupon with opportunity. These principles are proved promised to venture a joint, but she would by the messenger, whose state discovers my further him in his loves; whereupon she fol- restless thoughts, impatient of any longer relowed him to his chamber, and the whiles 3 pulse. I have therefore sought to overmatch he writ a letter to this effect.

thy father in policy, as he overstrains us in jealousy, and seeing he seeks it, to let him find

a knot in a rush. As therefore I have sent thee Signor Francesco to Fair Isabel :

the sum of my passions in the form of a passport, When I note, fair Isabel, the extremity of

so return me a reply wrapped in the same paper,

that as we are forced to cover our deceits in thy fortunes, and measure the passions of my love, I find that Venus hath made thee constant

one shift, so hereafter we may unite our loves to requite my miseries; and that where the

in one sympathy: Appoint what I shall do to greatest onset is given by fortune, there is

compass a private conference. Think I will

account of the seas as Leander, of the wars as strongest defence made by affection; for I heard that thy father, suspicious, or rather

Troilus, of all dangers as a man resolved to jealous, of our late-united sympathy, doth watch

attempt any peril, or break any prejudice for like Argus over Io, not suffering thee to pass

thy sake. Say when and where I shall meet beyond the reach of his eye, unless," as he

thee; and so, as I begun passionately, I break thinks, thou shouldest overreach thyself.

off abruptly. Farewell. His mind is like the tapers in Janus' temple,

Thine in fatal resolution, that, set once on fire, burn till they consume

Seigneur Francesco. themselves; his thoughts like the sunbeams, that search every secret. Thus watching thee

After he had written the letter, and despatched he overwaketh himself; and yet I hope pro

the messenger, her mind was so fixed on the fiteth as little as they which gaze on the flames

brace of angels? that she stirred her old stumps of Ætna, which vanish. out of their sight in

till she came to the house of Seigneur Fregoso, smoke.

who at that instant was walked abroad to take I have heard them say, fair Isabel, that, as

view of his pastures. She no sooner began her the diamonds are tried by cutting of glass, the

method of begging with a solemn prayer

and topaz by biding the force of the anvil, the sethin pater noster but Isabel, whose devotion was wood by the hardness, so women's excellence

ever bent to pity the poor, came to the door, is discovered in their constancy. Then, if the

to see the necessity of the party, who began to period of all their virtues consist in this, that

salute her thus: “Fair mistress, whose virtues they take in love by months, and let it slip by

exceed your beauties (and yet I doubt not but minutes, that, as the tortoise, they creep pe

you deem your perfection equivalent with the detentim, and, when they come to their rest,

rarest paragons in Britain), as your eye receives will hardly be removed, I hope thou wilt

the object of my misery, so let your heart have confirm in thy loves the very pattern of feminine

an insight into my extremities, who once was loyalty, having no motion in thy thoughts,

young, and then favoured by fortunes, now old but fancy,' and no affection, but to thy Fran

and crossed by the destinies, driven, when I am

weakest, to the wall, and, when I am worst, 2a slang phrase * meanwhile 'cautiously love

a

1 subtleties 'gold coins worth 138. 4d. each

i tenor

* lest

forced to hold the candle. Seeing, then, the of all his actions with partiality. Francesco, faults of my youth hath forced the fall of mine though he be young and beautiful, yet his age, and I am driven in the winter of mine years revenues are not answerable to his favours: to abide the brunt of all storms, let the plenty the cedar is fair, but unfruitful; the Volgo a of your youth pity the want of my decrepit bright stream, but without fish; men covet state; and the rather, because my fortune was rather to plant the olive for profit, than the once as high as my fall is now low. For proof, alder for beauty; and young gentlewomen sweet mistress, see my passport, wherein you should rather fancy to live, than affect to lust, shall find many passions and much patience.” for love without lands is like to a fire without At which period, making a curtsey, her very fuel, that for a while showeth a bright blaze rags seemed to give Isabel reverence. She, and in a moment dieth in his own cinders. hearing the beggar insinuate with such a sen- Dost thou think this, Isabel, that thine eye sible preamble, thought the woman had had may not surfeit so with beauty, that the mind some good parts in her, and therefore took her shall vomit up repentance? Yes, for the faircertificate, which as soon as she had opened, and est roses have pricks, the purest lawns their that she perceived it was Francesco's hand, she moles, the brightest diamonds their cracks, smiled, and yet bewrayed' a passion with a and the most beautiful men of the most imperblush. So that, stepping from the woman, she fect conditions; for Nature, having care to went into her chamber, where she read it over polish the body so far, overweens herself in with such pathetical? impressions as every her excellency, that she leaves their minds immotion was intangled with a dilemma; for, perfect. Whither now, Isabel; into absurd on the one side, the love of Francesco, grounded aphorisms? What, can thy father persuade more on his interior virtues than his exterior thee to this, that the most glorious shells have beauties, gave such fierce assaults to the bul- not the most orient margarites,' that the purest wark of her affection, as the fort was ready to flowers have not the most perfect favours, that be yielded up, but that the fear of her father's men, as they excel in proportion of body, so displeasure armed with the instigations of they exceed in perfection of mind? Is not nature drave her to meditate thus with her- nature both curious and absolute, hiding the self:

most virtuous minds in the most beautiful “Now, Isabel, Love and Fortune hath covertures? Why, what of this, fond girl? brought thee into a labyrinth; thy thoughts Suppose these premises be granted, yet they are like to Janus' pictures, that present both infer no conclusion; for suppose he be beautipeace and war, and thy mind like Venus' ful and virtuous, and his wit is equal with his anvil, whereon is hammered both fear and parentage, yet he wants wealth to maintain hope. Sith, then, the chance lieth in thine love, and therefore, says old Fregoso, not own choice, do not with Medea see and allow worthy of Isabel's love. Shall I, then, tie my of the best, and then follow the worst: but of affection to his lands or to his lineaments? two extremes, if they be Immediata, choose to his riches or his qualities? Are Venus' that may have least prejudice and most profit. altars to be filled with gold or loyalty of hearts? Thy father is aged and wise, and many years Is the sympathy of Cupid's consistory: united hath taught him much experience. The old in the abundance of coin? Or the absolute fox is more subtil than the young cub, the buck perfection of constancy? Ah, Isabel, think more skilful to choose his food than the young this, that love brooketh no exception of want, fawns. Men of age fear and foresee that that where Fancy“ displays her colour there which youth leapeth at with repentance. If, always either plenty keeps her court, or else then, his grave wisdom exceeds thy green wit, Patience so tempers every extreme, that all and his ripened fruits thy sprouting blossoms, defects are supplied with content." Upon think if he speak for thy avail, as his principles this, as having a farther reach, and a deeper are perfect, so they are grounded on love and insight, she stepped hastily to her standish, nature. It is a near collop, says he, is cut out and writ him this answer: of the own flesh; and the stay of thy fortunes, is the staff of his life. No doubt he sees with Isabel to Francesco, Health! a more piercing judgment into the life of Francesco; for thou, overcome with fancy, censurest

Although the nature of a father, and the duty thy letters, yet I received them, for that thou in suspense; thus, briefly: Be upon Thursday art Francesco and I Isabel, who were once pri- next at night hard by the orchard under the vate in affection, as now we are distant in places. greatest oak, where expect my coming, and But know my father, whose command to me provide for our safe passage; for stood all the is a law of constraint, sets down this censure, world on the one side, and thou on the other, that love without wealth is like to a cedar tree Francesco should be my guide to direct me without fruit, or to corn sown in the sands, that whither he pleased. Fail not, then, unless withereth for want of moisture; and I have thou be false to her that would have life fail, reason, Francesco, to deem of snow by the ere she falsify faith to thee. whiteness, and of trees by the blossoms. The

of a child might move me resolutely to reject i disclosed ? emotional a since that which o slice

pearls ? beauties assembly + love 6 inkstand

Not her own, because thine, old man, whose words are oracles, tells me that

Isabel. love that entereth in a moment, fieth out in a minute, that men's affections is like the dew

As soon as she had despatched her letter, she upon a crystal, which no sooner lighteth on, came down, and delivered the letter folded in but it leapeth off; their eyes with every glance form of a passport to the messenger, giving make a new choice, and every look can com- her after her accustomed manner an alms, mand a sigh, having their hearts like saltpeter, and closely clapped her in the fist with a brace that fireth at the first, and yet proveth but of angels. The woman, thanking her good a flash; their thoughts reaching as high as master and her good mistress, giving the house cedars, but as brittle as rods that break with

her benison, hied her back again to Francesco, every blast. Had Carthage been bereft of so whom she found sitting solitary in his chamber. famous a virago,' if the beauteous Trojan had No sooner did he spy her but, flinging out of been as constant as he was comely? Had his chair, he changed colour as a man in a the Queen of Poetry been pinched with so doubtful ecstasy what should betide; yet conmany passions, if the wanton ferryman had

ceiving good hope by her countenance, who been as faithful as he was fair? No, Fran- smiled more at the remembrance of her reward cesco, and therefore, seeing the brightest blos

than at any other conceit, he took the letter soms are pestered with most caterpillars, the and read it, wherein he found his humour so sweetest roses with the sharpest pricks, the fitted that he not only thanked the messenger fairest cambrics with the foulest stains, and but gave her all the money in his purse, so that men with the best proportion have commonly she returned so highly gratified as never after least perfection, I may fear to swallow the hook, she was found to exercise her old occupation. lest I find more bane in the confection than

But, leaving her to the hope of her housewifery, pleasure in the bait. But here let me breathe, again to Francesco, who, seeing the constant and with sighs foresee mine own folly. Women, affection of his mistress, that neither the sour poor fools, are like to the harts in Calabria, looks of her father, nor his hard threats could that knowing Dictannum to be deadly, yet affright her to make change of her fancy, that browse on it with greediness; resembling the no disaster of fortune could drive her to make fish Mugra, that seeing the hook bare, yet shipwreck of her fixed affection, that the blusswallows it with delight; so women foresee, tering storms of adversity might assault, but yet do not prevent, knowing what is profitable, not sack, the fort of her constant resolution, yet not eschewing the prejudice. So, Fran- he fell into this pleasing passion: "Women," cesco, I see thy beauties, I know thy want, quoth he, “why, as they are heaven's wealth, and I fear thy vanities, yet can I not but allow so they are earth's miracles, framed by nature of all

, were they the worst of all, because I to despite beauty; adorned with the singularity find in my mind this principle: “ in Love is no of proportion, to shroud the excellence of all lack.” What? should I, Francesco, covet to perfection; as far exceeding men in virtues as dally with the mouse when the cat stands by, ihey excel them in beauties; resembling angels or fill my letter full of needless ambages & when in qualities, as they are like to gods in permy father, like Argus, setteth a hundred eyes fectness, being purer in mind than in mould, to overpry my actions. While I am writing, and yet made of the purity of man; just they thy messenger stands at the door praying. are, as giving love her due; constant, as holdTherefore, lest I should hold her too long in ing loyalty more precious than life; as hardly her orisons, or keep thee, poor man, too long to be drawn from united affection as the sala

manders from the caverns of Ætna. Tush," circumlocutions

quoth Francesco, "what should I say? They be women, and therefore the continents of to themselves? One of the Fathers, in great all excellence.” In this pleasant humour he severity, called poesy vinum dæmonum,' bepassed away the time, not slacking his business cause it filleth the imagination; and yet it for provision against Thursday at night; to is but with the shadow of a lie. But it is not the care of which affairs let us leave him and the lie that passeth through the mind, but the return to Isabel, who, after she had sent her lie that sinketh in and settleth in it, that doth letter, fell into a great dump, entering into the hurt; such as we spake of before. But the consideration of men's inconstancy, and howsoever these things are thus in men's deof the fickleness of their fancies, but all these praved judgments and affections, yet truth, meditations did sort to no effect; whereupon which only doth judge itself, teacheth that the sitting down, she took her lute in her hand, and inquiry of truth, which is the love-making or sung this Ode:

woman

2 why

2

wooing of it, the knowledge of truth, which is the presence of it, and the belief of truth, which

is the enjoying of it, is the sovereign good of FRANCIS BACON (1561-1626) human nature. The first creature of God,

in the works of the days, was the light of the ESSAYS

sense; the last was the light of reason; and his

Sabbath work ever since, is the illumination of I. OF TRUTH

his Spirit. First he breathed light upon the What is Truth? said jesting Pilate; and

face of the matter or chaos; then he breathed would not stay for an answer. Certainly there

light into the face of man; and still he breatheth be that delight in giddiness, and count it a

and inspireth light into the face of his chosen. bondage to fix a belief; affecting free-will in

The poet? that beautified the sect that was thinking, as well as in acting. And though

otherwise inferior to the rest, saith yet excelthe sects of philosophers of that kind be gone,

lently well: It is a pleasure to stand upon the yet there remain certain discoursing wits which

shore, and to see ships tossed upon the sea; a are of the same veins, though there be not so

pleasure to stand in the window of a castle, and much blood in them as was in those of the

to see a battle and the adventures thereof below: ancients. But it is not only the difficulty and

but no pleasure is comparable to the standing labour which men take in finding out of truth; upon the vantage ground of Truth, (a hill not nor again that when it is found it imposeth

to be commanded, and where the air is always upon men's thoughts; that doth bring lies in

clear and serene,) and to see the errors, and favour; but a natural though corrupt love of wanderings, and mists, and tempests, in the the lie itself. One of the later school of the

vale below; so always that this prospect be Grecians examineth the matter, and is at a

with pity, and not with swelling or pride. stand to think what should be in it, that men

Certainly, it is heaven upon earth, to have a should love lies, where neither they make for

man's mind move in charity, rest in provipleasure, as with poets, nor for advantage, as

dence, and turn upon the poles of truth. with the merchant; but for the lie's sake. But

To pass from theological and philosophical I cannot tell: this same truth is a naked and

truth, to the truth of civil business; it will be open day-light, that doth not show the masks

acknowledged even by those that practise it and mummeries and triumphs of the world,

not, that clear and round dealing is the honour half so stately and daintily as candle-lights.

of man's nature; and that mixture of falsehood Truth may perhaps come to the price of a

is like allay in coin of gold and silver, which pearl, that showeth best by day; but it will

may make the metal work the better, but it not rise to the price of a diamond or carbuncle,

embaseth it. For these winding and crooked that showeth best in varied lights. A mixture

courses are the goings of the serpent; which of a lie doth ever add pleasure. Doth any

goeth basely upon the belly, and not upon the man doubt, that if there were taken out of

feet. There is no vice that doth so cover a men's minds vain opinions, flattering hopes,

man with shame as to be found false and perfalse valuations, imaginations as one would,

fidious. And therefore Montaigne saith pretand the like, but it would leave the minds of a

tily, when he inquired the reason, why the number of men poor shrunken things, full of

word of the lie should be such a disgrace and melancholy and indisposition, and unpleasing

such an odious charge? Saith he, If it be well weighed, to say that a man lieth, is as much to over and over. It is no less worthy to observe, say, as that he is brave towards God and a how little alteration in good spirits the apcoward towards men. For a lie faces God, proaches of death make; for they appear to and shrinks from man. Surely the wickedness be the same men till the last instant. Augustus of falsehood and breach of faith cannot possibly Cæsar died in a compliment; Livia, conjugii be so highly expressed, as in that it shall be nostri memor, vive et vale:1 Tiberius in disthe last peal to call the judgments of God upon simulation; as Tacitus saith of him, Jam the generations of men; it being foretold, that Tiberium vires et corpus, non dissimulatio, when Christ cometh, he shall not find faith deserebant: ? Vespasian in a jest: Ut puto upon the earth,

I containers

devil's-wine

2 Lucretius : Epicureans "alloy

Deus fio:3 Galba with a sentence; Feri, si

ex re sit populi Romani;* holding forth his II. OF DEATH

neck: Septimius Severus in despatch; Adeste Men fear Death, as children fear to go in the

si quid mihi restat agendum: 6 and the like.

Certainly the Stoics bestowed too much cost dark; and as that natural fear in children is increased with tales, so is the other. Certainly,

upon death, and by their great preparations the contemplation of death, as the wages of

made it appear more fearful. Better saith he, sin and passage to another world, is holy and

qui finem vitæ extremum inter munera ponat religious; but the fear of it, as a tribute due

naturæ.?

It is as natural to die as to be born; unto nature, is weak. Yet in religious medi

and to a little infant, perhaps, the one is as tations there is sometimes mixture of vanity painful as the other. He that dies in an earnand of superstition. You shall read in some

est pursuit, is like one that is wounded in hot of the friars' books of mortification, that a

blood; who, for the time, scarce feels the hurt; man should think with himself what the pain

and therefore a mind fixed and bent upon is if he have but his finger's end pressed or

somewhat that is good doth avert the dolours tortured, and thereby imagine what the pains

of death. But above all, believe it, the sweetof death are, when the whole body is corrupted

est canticle is, Nunc dimittis; 8 when a man and dissolved; when many times death pass

hath obtained worthy ends and expectations. eth with less pain than the torture of a limb:

Death hath this also; that it openeth the gate for the most vital parts are not the quickest

to good fame, and extinguisheth envy. Exof sense.' And by him that spake only as a

tinctus amabitur idem.' philosopher and natural man, it was well said, Pompa mortis magis terret, quam mors ipsa.?

IV. OF REVENGE Groans and convulsions, and a discoloured face, and friends weeping, and blacks, and obsequies,

Revenge is a kind of wild justice; which the and the like, show death terrible. It is worthy

more man's nature runs to, the more ought the observing, that there is no passion in the

law to weed it out. For as for the first wrong, mind of man so weak, but it mates : and mas

it doth but offend the law; but the revenge of ters the fear of death; and therefore death is

that wrong putteth the law out of office. Cerno such terrible enemy when a man hath so

tainly, in taking revenge, a man is but even many attendants about him that can win the

with his enemy; but in passing it over, he is combat of him.

Revenge triumphs over death; superior; for it is a prince's part to pardon. Love slights it; Honour aspireth to it; Grief

And Salomon, I am sure, saith, It is the glory fieth to it; Fear pre-occupateth it; nay we

of a man to pass by an offence. That which is read, after Otho the emperor had slain him

past is gone, and irrevocable; and wise men self, Pity (which is the tenderest of affections)

have enough to do with things present and to provoked many to die, out of mere compassion

come; therefore they do but trifle with them. to their sovereign, and as the truest sort of

selves, that labour in past matters. There is followers. Nay Seneca adds niceness and satiety: Cogitá quamdiu eadem feceris; mori

1 Farewell, Livia, and forget not the days of our

marriage. 2 His powers of body were gone, but his velle, non tantum fortis, aut miser, sed etiam

power of dissimulation still remained. I think I am fastidiosus potest. A man would die, though

becoming a god. * Strike, if it be for the good of Rome. he were neither valiant nor miserable, only 6 Make haste, if there is anything more for me to do. upon a weariness to do the same thing so oft & Juvenal 7 Who accounts the close of life as one

of the benefits of nature. 8 See Luke, 2: 29. sensation ? It is the accompaniments of death same man that was envied while he lived, shall be that are frightful rather than death itself. 8 conquers

loved when he is gone.

The

« AnteriorContinuar »