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appear, but that truth may everywhere be sacred : and as the reader is more concerned at one man's
si dicere audeat, ne quid veri non audeat fortune than those of many, so likewise the writer is historicus'-r that a historian should never dare to more capable of making a perfect work if he confine speak falsely, or fear to speak what is true']; that he himself to this narrow compass. The lineaments, neither incline to superstition, in giving too much features, and colourings of a single picture may be hit credit to oracles, prophecies, divinations, and prodi- exactly ; but in a history-piece of many figures, the gies, nor to irreligion, in disclaiming the Almighty general design, the ordonnance or disposition of it, Providence; but where general opinion has prevailed the relation of one figure to another, the diversity of of any miraculous accident or portent, he ought to the posture, habits, shadowings, and all the other relate it as such, without imposing his opinion on our graces conspiring to a uniformity, are of so difficult belief. Next to Thucydides in this kind, may be performance, that neither is the resemblance of partiaccounted Polybius, amongst the Grecians ; Livy, cular persons often perfect, nor the beauty of the though not free from superstition, nor Tacitus from piece complete ; for any considerable error in the ill nature, amongst the Romans; amongst the modern parts renders the whole disagreeable and lame. Thus, Italians, Guicciardini and Davila, if not partial; but then, the perfection of the work, and the benefit above all men, in my opinion, the plain, sincere, un- arising from it, are both more absolute in biography affected, and most instructive Philip de Comines, than in history. All history is only the precepts of amongst the French, though he only gives his history moral philosophy reduced into examples. Moral phi. the humble name of Commentaries. I am sorry I losophy is divided into two parts, ethics and politics; cannot find in our own nation, though it has produced the first instructs us in our private offices of virtue, some commendable historians, any proper to be ranked the second in those which relate to the management with these. Buchanan, indeed, for the purity of his of the commonwealth. Both of these teach by arguLatin, and for his learning, and for all other endow- mentation and reasoning, which rush as it were into ments belonging to a historian, might be placed the mind, and possess it with violence : but history amongst the greatest, if he had not too much leaned rather allures than forces us to virtue. There is noto prejudice, and too manifestly declared himself a thing of the tyrant in example; but it gently glides party of a cause, rather than a historian of it. Ex-into us, is easy and pleasant in its passage, and, in one cepting only that (which I desire not to urge too far word, reduces into practice our speculative notions ; on so great a man, but only to give caution to his therefore the more powerful the examples are, they readers concerning it), our išle may justly boast in are the more useful also, and by being more known, him a writer comparable to any of the moderns, and they are more powerful. Now, unity, which is defined, excelled by few of the ancients.
lis in its own nature more apt to be understood than Biographia, or the history of particular men's lives, multiplicity, which in some measure participates of comes next to be considered; which in dignity is in infinity. The reason is Aristotle's. ferior to the other two, as being more confined in Biographia, or the histories of particular lives, though action, and treating of wars and councils, and all circumscribed in the subject, is yet more extensive in other public affairs of nations, only as they relate to the style than the other two; for it not only compre. him whose life is written, or as his fortunes have a hends them both, but has somewhat superadded, which particular dependence on them, or connexion to them. neither of them have. The style of it is various, acAll things here are circumscribed and driven to a cording to the occasion. There are proper places in point, so as to terminate in one; consequently, if the it for the plainness and nakedness of narration, which action or counsel were managed by colleagues, some is ascribed to annals; there is also room reserved for part of it must be either lame or wanting, except it the loftiness and gravity of general history, when the be supplied by the excursion of the writer. Herein, actions related shall require that manner of expreslikewise, must be less of variety, for the same reason ; sion. But there is, withal, a descent into minute cirbecause the fortunes and actions of one man are re- cumstances and trivial passages of li lated, not those of many. Thus the actions and natural to this way of writing, and which the dignity achievements of Sylla, Lucullus, and Pompey, are of the other two will not admit. There you are conall of them but the successive parts of the Mithri- | ducted only into the rooms of state, here you are led datic war; of which we could have no perfect image, into the private lodgings of the hero; you see him in if the same hand had not given us the whole, though his undress, and are made familiar with his most priat several views, in their particular lives.
vate actions and conversations. You may behold a Yet though we allow, for the reasong above alleged, Scipio and a Lælius gathering cockle-shells on the that this kind of writing is in dignity inferior to his shore, Augustus playing at bounding stones with boys, tory and annals, in pleasure and instruction it equals, and Agesilaus riding on a hobby-horse among his or even excels, both of them. It is not only com children. The pageantry of life is taken away; you mended by ancient practice to celebrate the memory see the poor reasonable animal as naked a of great and worthy men, as the best thanks which made him; are made acquainted with his passions posterity can pay them, but also the examples of and his follies, and find the demi-god a man. Pluvirtue are of more vigour when they are thus con- tarch himself has more than once defended this kind tracted into individuals. As the sunbeams, united of relating little passages ; for, in the Life of Alexin a burning-glass to a point, have greater force than ander, he says thus: 'In writing the lives of illustrious when they are darted from a plain superficies, so the men, I am not tied to the laws of history; nor does virtues and actions of one man, drawn together into a it follow, that, because an action is great, it therefore single story, strike upon our minds a stronger and manifests the greatness and virtue of him who did it; more lively impression than the scattered relations of but, on the other side, sometimes a word or a casual jest many men and many actions; and by the same means betrays a man more to our knowledge of him, than a that they give us pleasure, they afford us profit too. battle fought wherein ten thousand men were slain, For when the understanding is intent and fixed on a or sacking of cities, or a course of victories.' In ansingle thing, it carries closer to the mark; every part other place, he quotes Xenophon on the like occasion : of the object sinks into it, and the soul receives it • The sayings of great men in their familiar discourses, unmixed and whole. For this reason Aristotle com- and amidst their wine, have somewhat in them which mends the unity of action in a poem ; because the is worthy to be transmitted to posterity. Our author mind is not capable of digesting many things at once, therefore needs no excuse, but rather deserves a comnor of conceiving fully any more than one idea at a mendation, when he relates, as pleasant, some sayings time. Whatsoever distracts the pleasure, lessens it; l of his heroes, which appear (I must confess it) very
cold and insipid mirth to us. For it is not his mean- 'To conclude this act with the most rumbling piece ing to commend the jest, but to paint the man; be- of nonsense spoken yetsides, we may have lost somewhat of the idiotisin of “To flattering lightning our feigned smiles conform, that language in which it was spoken ; and where the Which, backed with thunder, do but gild a storm." conceit is couched in a single word, if all the signi- | Conform a smile to lightning, make a smile imitate fications of it are not critically understood, the grace lightning, and flattering lightning; lightning, sure, is a and the pleasantry are lost.
threatening thing. And this lightning must gild a But in all parts of biography, whether familiar or storm. Now, if I must conform my smiles to lightstately, whether sublime or low, whether serious orning, then my smiles must gild a storm too: to gild merry, Plutarch equally excelled. If we compare him with smiles is a new invention of gilding. And gild a to others, Dion Cassius is not so sincere; Herodian, a storm by being backed with thunder. Thunder is part lorer of truth, is oftentimes deceived himself with of the storm ; so one part of the storm must help to what he had falsely heard reported; then, the time of wild another part, and help by backing; as if a man his emperors exceeds not in all above sixty years, so
would gild a thing the better for being backed, or that his whole history will scarce amount to three l having a load upon his back. So that here is gilding lives of Plutarch. Suetonius and Tacitus may be by con forming, smiling, lightning, backing, and thuencalled alike either authors of histories or writers of l dering. The whole is as if I should say thus : I will lives; but the first of them runs too willingly into make my counterfeit smiles look like a flattering obscene descriptions, which he teaches, while he re- horse, which, being backed with a trooper, does lates ; the other, besides what has already been noted but gild the battle. I am mistaken if nonsense is of him, often falls into obscurity; and both of them not here pretty thick sown. Sure the poet writ these have made so unlucky a choice of times, that they two lines aboard some smack in a storm, and, being are forced to describe rather monsters than men; and sea-sick. spewed up a good lump of clotted nonsense their emperors are either extravagant fools or tyrants, at once and most usually both. Our author, on the contrary, as he was more inclined to commend than to dispraise,
I The controversies in which Dryden was frequently has generally chosen such great men as were famous
engaged, were not in general restrained within the for their several virtues ; at least such whose frailties
bounds of legitimate discussion. The authors of those or vices were overpoised by their excellences : such days descended to gross personalities. There was.' from whose examples we may have more to follow than says Sir Walter Scott, 'during the reign of Charles to shun. Yet, as he was impartial, he disguised not | II., a semi-barbarous virulence of controversy, even the faults of any man, an example of which is in the upon abstract points of literature, which would be life of Lucullus, where, after he has told us that the now thought injudicious and unfair, even by the double benefit which his countrymen, the Chæroneans, newspaper advocates of contending factions. A
eived from him, was the chiefest motive which he critic of that time never deemed he had so effechad to write his life, he afterwards rips up his luxury,
tually refuted the reasoning of his adversary, as and shows how he lost, through his inismanagement, when he had said something disrespectful of his bis authority and his soldiers' love. Then he was talents, person, or moral character. Thus, literary more happy in his digressions than any we have contest was embittered by personal hatred, and named. I have always been pleased to see him, and truth was so far from being the object of the his imitator Montaigne, when they strike a little outcombatants, that even victory was tasteless unless of the common road; for we are sure to be the better obtained by the disgrace and degradation of the for their wandering. The best quarry lies not always antagonist.'* in the open field : and who would not be content to follow a good huntsman over hedges and ditches,
SIR WILLIAM TEMPLE. when he knows the game will reward his pains! But SIR WILLIAM TEMPLE, a well-known statesman if we mark him more narrowly, we may observe that I and miscellaneous writer, possesses a high reputation the great reason of his frequent starts is the variety | as one of the chief polishers of the English language. of his learning; he knew so much of nature, was so He was the son of Sir John Temple, master of the vastly furnished with all the treasures of the mind, | Rolls in Ireland in the reigns of Charles I. and II.. that he was uneasy to himself, and was forced, as I
and was born in London in 1628. He studied at may say, to lay down some at every passage, and to
Cambridge under Cudworth as tutor; but being inscatter his riches as he went: like another Alexander
tended for public life, devoted his attention chiefly to or Adrian, he built a city, or planted a colony, in
the French and Spanish languages. After travelling every part of his progress, and left behind him some
for six years on the continent, he went to reside memorial of his greatness. Sparta, and Thebes, and
with his father in Ireland, where he represented Athens, and Rome, the mistress of the world, he has
the county of Carlow in the parliament at Dublin discovered in their foundations, their institutions,
in 1661. Removing, two years afterwards, to Engtheir growth, their height; the decay of the three
land, the introductions which he carried to the first, and the alteration of the last. You see those
leading statesman of the day speedily procured several people in their different laws, and policies,
him employment in the diplomatic service. He was and forms of government, in their warriors, and senators, and demagogues. Nor are the ornaments of
sent, in 1665, on a secret mission to the bishop of poetry, and the illustrations of similitudes, forgotten
Munster, and performed his duty so well, that on by him ; in both which he instructs, as well as pleases;
his return a baronetcy was bestowed on him, and he or rather pleases, that he may instruct.
was appointed English resident at the court of
Brussels. The peace of western Europe was at Dryden was exceedingly sensitive to the criticisms
this time in danger from the ambitious designs of of the paltry versifiers of his day. Among those
Louis XIV., who aimed at the subjugation of the who annoyed him was Elkanah Settle, a now for
Spanish Netherlands. Temple paid a visit to the gotten rhymer, with whom he carried on a violent
Dutch governor, De Witt, at the Hague, and with war of ridicule and abuse. The following is an
great skill brought about, in 1668, the celebrated amusing specimen of a criticism by Dryden on
triple alliance between England, Holland, and Settle's tragedy, called “The Empress of Morocco,'
Sweden, by which the career of Louis was for a which seems to have roused the jealousy and indig
time effectually checked. In the same year he renation of the critic :
* Scott's Life of Dryden, Sect. til
ceived the appointment of ambassador at the Hague, which strongly disposed him to avoid risks of every where he resided in that capacity for about twelve kind, and to stand aloof from those departments of
public business where the exercise of eminent courage and decision was required. His character as a patriot is therefore not one which calls for high admiration; though it ought to be remarked, in his favour, that as he seems to have had a lively consciousness that neither his abilities nor dispositions fitted him for vigorous action in stormy times, he probably acted with prudence in with. drawing from a field in which he would have only been mortified by failure, and done harm instead of good to the public. Being subject to frequent attacks of low spirits, he might have been disabled for action by the very emergencies which demanded the greatest mental energy and self-possession. As a private character, he was respectable and decorous: his temper, naturally haughty and unamiable, was generally kept under good regulation ; and among his foibles, vanity was the most prominent.
The works of Sir William Temple consist chiefly of short miscellaneous pieces. His longest production is Observations upon the United Provinces of the Netherlands, composed during his first retirement at Sheen. This is accounted a masterpiece of its kind, and,
when compared with his Essay on the Original and Sir William Temple.
Nature of Government, written about the same time,
shows that he had much more ability as an observer months, on terms of intimacy with De Witt, and and describer, than as a reasoner on what he saw. also with the young Prince of Orange, afterwards Besides several political tracts of temporary interest, William III. of England. The corrupt and wavering he wrote Essays on Ancient and Modern Learning; principles of the English court having led to the the Gardens of Epicurus; Heroic Virtue ; Poetry; recall of Temple in 1669, he retired from public Popular Discontents; Health and Long Life. In business to his residence at Sheen, near Richmond, these are to be found many sound and acute obserand there employed himself in literary occupations vations expressed in the perspicuous and easy, but and gardening. In 1674, however, he with some not very correct or precise language, for which he reluctance consented to return as ambassador to is noted. His correspondence on public affairs has Holland ; in which country, besides engaging in also been published. various important negotiations, he contributed to Of all his productions, that which appears to us, bring about the marriage of the Prince of Orange in matter as well as composition, the best, is a letter with the Duke of York's eldest daughter Mary. to the Countess of Essex on her excessive grief occaThat important and popular event took place in sioned by the loss of a beloved daughter. As a spe1677. Having finally returned to England in 1679, cimen of eloquent, firm, and dignified, yet tender Temple was pressed by the king to accept the ap- and affectionate expostulation, it is probably unpointment of secretary of state, which, however, he equalled within the compass of English literature. persisted in refusing. Charles was now in the ut- This admirable piece will be found among the most perplexity, in consequence of the discontents extracts which follow. and difficulties which a long course of misgovern. The style of Sir William Temple is characterised ment had occasioned ; and used to hold long conver- by Dr Blair as remarkable for its simplicity. In sations with Temple, on the means of extricating point of ornament and correctness,' adds that critic, himself from his embarrassments. The measure he rises a degree above Tillotson; though, for coradvised by Sir William was the appointment of a rectness, he is not in the highest rank. All is easy privy council of thirty persons, in conformity with | and flowing in him ; he is exceedingly harmonious; whose advice the king should always act, and by smoothness, and what may be called amenity, are the whom all his affairs should be freely and openly distinguishing characters of his manner; relaxing debated ; one half of the members to consist of the sometimes, as such a manner will naturally do, into great officers of state, and the other of the most in-a prolix and remiss style. No writer whatever has fluential and wealthy noblemen and gentlemen of the stamped upon his style a more lively impression of country. This scheme was adopted by Charles, and his own character. In reading his works, we seem excited great joy throughout the nation. The hopes engaged in conversation with him ; we become of the people were, however, speedily frustrated by thoroughly acquainted with him, not merely as an the turbulent and unprincipled factiousness of some author, but as a man, and contract a friendship for of the members. Temple, who was himself one of him. He may be classed as standing in the middle the council, soon became disgusted with its proceed between a negligent simplicity and the highest ings, as well as those of the king, and, in 1681, degree of ornament which this character of style finally retired from public life. He spent the re- admits.'* In a conversation preserved by Boswell, mainder of his days chiefly at Moor Park, in Surrey, Dr Johnson said, that .Sir William Temple was where Jonathan Swift, then a young man, resided the first writer who gave cadence to English prose : with him in the capacity of amanuensis. After the before his time, they were careless of arrangement, Revolution, King William sometimes visited Temple and did not mind whether a sentence ended with an in order to consult him about public affairs. His important word or an insignificant word, or with death took place in 1698, at the age of sixty-nine. what part of speech it was concluded.'t This Throughout his whole career, the conduct of Sir William Temple was marked by a cautious regard
* Blair's Lectures, Lect. 19. for his personal comfort and reputation; a quality |
+ Boswell's Life of Johnson, vol. iii.
remark, however, has certainly greater latitude is, in comparison with those that have been drawn than Johnson would have given it if published by in the circle of your knowledge; if you think how few himself. It is true that some of Temple's produc- are born with honour, how many die without name or tions are eminently distinguished by harmony and children, how little beauty we see, how few friends we cadence; but that he was the first who introduced hear of, how much poverty, and how many diseases the latter, will not be admitted by any one who is there are in the world, you will fall down upon your familiar with the prose of Drummond, Cowley, knees, and, instead of repining at one affliction, will Dryden, and Sprat.
| admire so many blessings as you have received at the
hand of God. [Against E.ccessive Grief. * ]
To put your ladyship in mind of what you are, and
of the advantages which you have, would look like a The honour which I received by a letter from your design to flatter you. But this I may say, that we ladyship was too great not to be acknowledged ; yet I will pity you as much as you please, if you will tell doubted whether that occasion could bear me out in us who they are whom you think, upon all circumthe confidence of giving your ladyship any further stances, you have reason to envy. Now, if I had a trouble. But I can no longer forbear, on account of master who gave me all I could ask, but thought fit the sensible wounds that have so often of late been to take one thing from me again, either because I given your friends here, by the desperate expressions used it ill, or gave myself so much over to it as to in several of your letters, respecting your temper of neglect what I owed to him, or to the world ; or, permind, your health, and your life; in all which you haps, because he would show his power, and put me must allow them to be extremely concerned. Per- / in mind from whom I held all the rest, would you haps none can be, at heart, more partial than I ain to think I had much reason to complain of hard usage, whatever regards your ladyship, nor more inclined to and never to remember any more what was left me, defend you on this very occasion, how unjust and un- never to forget what was taken away! kind soever you are to yourself. But when you throw It is true you have lost a child, and all that could away your health, or your life, so great a remainder of be lost in a child of that age; but you have kept one your own family, and so great hopes of that into which child, and you are likely to do so long; you have the you are entered, and all by a desperate melancholy, assurance of another, and the hopes of many more. upon an event past remedy, and to which all the mor- You have kept a husband, great in employment, in tal race is perpetually subject, give me leave to tell | fortune, and in the esteem of good men. You have you, madam, that what you do is not at all consistent kept your beauty and your health, unless you hare either with so good a Christian, or so reasonable and destroyed them yourself, or discouraged them to stay great a person, as your ladyship appears to the world with you by using them ill. You have friends who in all other lights.
are as kind to you as you can wish, or as you can give I know no duty in religion more generally agreed them leave to be. You have honour and esteem from on, nor more justly required by God Almighty, than all who know you; or if ever it fails in any degree, it a perfect submission to his will in all things; nor do is only upon that point of your seeming to be fallen I think any disposition of mind can either please him out with God and the whole world, and neither to more, or becomes us better, than that of being satis care for yourself, nor anything else, after what you fied with all he gives, and contented with all he takes have lost. away. None, I am sure, can be of more honour to You will say, perhaps, that one thing was all to God, nor of more ease to ourselves. For, if we con- you, and your fondness of it made you indifferent to sider him as our Maker, we cannot contend with him ; everything else. But this, I doubt, will be so far from if as our Father, we ought not to distrust him; so justifying you, that it will prove to be your fault as that we may be confident, whatever he does is intended well as your misfortune. God Almighty gave you all for good; and whatever happens that we interpret the blessings of life, and you set your heart wholly otherwise, yet we can get nothing by repining, nor upon one, and despise or undervalue all the rest : is save anything by resisting.
this his fault or yours? Nay, is it not to be very unBut if it were fit for us to reason with God Almighty, thankful to Heaven, as well as very scornful to the and your ladyship's loss were acknowledged as great rest of the world ? is it not to say, because you have as it could have been to any one, yet, I doubt, you lost one thing God has given, you thank him for nowould have but ill grace to complain at the rate you thing he has left, and care not what he takes away! have done, or rather as you do; for the first emotions is it not to say, since that one thing is gone out of the or passions may be pardoned ; it is only the continu- | world, there is nothing left in it which you think can ance of them which makes them inexcusable. In this deserve your kindness or esteem? A friend makes me world, madain, there is nothing perfectly good ; and a feast, and places before me all that his care or kind. whatever is called so, is but either comparatively with ness could provide : but I set my heart upon one dish other things of its kind, or else with the evil that is | alone, and, if that happens to be thrown down, I scorn mingled in its composition; so he is a good man who all the rest ; and though he gends for another of the is better than men commonly are, or in whom the same kind, yet I rise from the table in a rage, and good qualities are more than the bad; so, in the say, 'My friend is become my enemy, and he has done course of life, his condition is esteemed good, which is me the greatest wrong in the world.' Have I reason, better than that of most other men, or in which the madam, or good grace in what I do? or would it be good circumstances are more than the evil. By this come me better to eat of the rest that is before me, measure, I doubt, madam, your complaints ought to and think no more of what had happened, and could be turned into acknowledgments, and your friends not be
not be remedied ? would have cause to rejoice rather than to condole Christianity teaches and commands us to moderate with you. When your ladyship has fairly considered our passions; to temper our affections towards all things how God Almighty has dealt with you in what he has below; to be thankful for the possession, and patient given, you may be left to judge yourself how you have under the loss, whenever he who gave shall see fit to dealt with him in your complaints for what he has take away. Your extreme fondness was perhaps as taken away. If you look about you, and consider displeasing to God before as now your extreme afflicother lives as well as your own, and what your lottion is; and your loss may have been a punishment
for your faults in the manner of enjoying what you * Addressed to the Countess of Essex in 1674, after the death had. It is at least pious to ascribe all the ill that of her only daughter.
I befalls us to our own demerits, rather than to injustice in God. And it becomes us better to adore the might, by the course of years and accidents, become issues of his providence in the effects, than to inquire the most miserable herself; and a greater trouble to into the causes ; for submission is the only way of her friends by living long, than she could have been reasoning between a creature and its Maker; and con- by dying young. tentment in his will is the greatest duty we can pre- ! Yet after all, madam, I think your loss so great, tend to, and the best remedy we can apply to all our and some measure of your grief so deserved, that, misfortunes.
would all your passionate complaints, all the anguish But, madam, though religion were no party in your of your heart, do anything to retrieve it; could tears case, and for so violent and injurious a grief you had water the lovely plant, so as to make it grow again nothing to answer to God, but only to the world and after once it is cut down; could sighs furnish new yourself, yet I very much doubt how you would be breath, or could it draw life and spirits from the acquitted. We bring into the world with us a poor, wasting of yours, I am sure your friends would be so needy, uncertain life; short at the longest, and un- far from accusing your passion, that they would quiet at the best. All the imaginations of the witty encourage it as much, and share it as deeply, as they and the wise have been perpetually busied to find out could. But alas! the eternal laws of the creation the ways to revive it with pleasures, or to relieve it extinguish all such hopes, forbid all such designs; with diversions; to coinpose it with ease, and settle it nature gives us many children and friends to take with safety. To these ends have been employed the them away, but takes none away to give them to us institutions of lawgivers, the reasonings of philoso-again. And this makes the excesses of grief to be phers, the inventions of poets, the pains of labouring, universally condemned as unnatural, because so much and the extravagances of voluptuous men. All the in vain ; whereas nature does nothing in vain: as unworld is perpetually at work that our poor mortal | reasonable, because so contrary to our own designs : lives may pass the easier and happier for that little for we all design to be well and at ease, and by grief time we possess them, or else end the better when we | we make ourselves troubles most properly out of the lose them. On this account riches and honours are dust, whilst our ravings and complaints are but like coveted, friendship and love pursued, and the virtues arrows shot up into the air at no mark, and so to no themselves admired in the world. Now, madam, is purpose, but only to fall back upon our own heads it not to bid defiance to all mankind, to condemn and destroy ourselves. their universal opinions and designs, if, instead of Perhaps, madam, you will say this is your design, passing your life as well and easily, you resolve to or, if not, your desire ; but I hope you are not yet só pass it as ill and as miserably as you can? You grow far gone or so desperately bent. Your ladyship knows insensible to the conveniences of riches, the delights | very well your life is not your own, but His who lent of honour and praise, the charms of kindness or friend- it you to manage and preserve in the best way you ship; nay, to the observance or applause of virtues can, and not to throw it away, as if it came from theinselves; for who can you expect, in these excesses some common hand. Our life belongs, in a great of passions, will allow that you show either temper-measure, to our country and our family: therefore, ance or fortitude, either prudence or justice? And as by all human laws, as well as divine, self-murder has for your friends, I suppose you reckon upon losing ever been agreed upon as the greatest crime; and it their kindness, when you have sufficiently convinced is punished here with the utmost shame, which is all them they can never hope for any of yours, since you that can be inflicted upon the dead. But is the crime have left none for yourself, or anything else.
much less to kill ourselves by a slow poison than by a Passions are perhaps the stings without which, it is sudden wound? Now, if we do it, and know we do said, no honey is made. Yet I think all sorts of men it, by a long and continual grief, can we think ourhave ever agreed, they ought to be our servants and selves innocent? What great difference is there, if not our masters; to give us some agitation for enter we break our hearts or consume them, if we pierce tainment or exercise, but never to throw our reason them or bruise them ; since all terminates in the same out of its seat. It is better to have no passions at all, death, as all arises from the same despair? But what than to have them too violent; or such alone as, in if it does not go so far; it is not, indeed, so bad as it stead of heightening our pleasures, afford us nothing might be, but that does not excuse it. Though I do but vexation and pain.
not kill my neighbour, is it no hurt to wound him, or In all such losses as your ladyship’s has been, there to spoil him of the conveniences of life? The greatest is something that common nature cannot be denied ; crime is for a man to kill himself: is it a small one there is a great deal that good nature may be al- | to' wound himself by anguish of heart, by grief, or lowed. But all excessive and outrageous grief or despair; to ruin his health, to shorten his age, to delamentation for the dead was accounted, among the prive himself of all the pleasure, ease, and enjoyment ancient Christians, to have something heathenish; of life? and, among the civil nations of old, to have something Next to the mischiefs which we do ourselves, are barbarous : and therefore it has been the care of the those which we do our children and our friends, who first to moderate it by their precepts, and of the lat- deserve best of us, or at least deserve no ill. The ter to restrain it by their laws. When young chil child you carry about you, what has it done that you dren are taken away, we are sure they are well, and should endeavour to deprive it of life almost as soon escape much ill, which would, in all appearance, have as you bestow it!-or, if you suffer it to be born, that befallen them if they had stayed longer with us. Our you should, by your ill-usage of yourself, so much kindness to them is deemed to proceed from com- impair the strength of its body, and perhaps the very mon opinions or fond imaginations, not friendship or temper of its mind, by giving it such an infusion of esteem; and to be grounded upon entertainment rather melancholy as may serve to discolour the objects and than use in the many offices of life. Nor would it disrelish the accidents it may meet with in the compass from any person besides your ladyship, to say mon train of life? Would it be a small injury to my you lost a companion and a friend of nine years old ; lord Capell to deprive him of a mother, from whose though you lost one, indeed, who gave the fairest prudence and kindness he may justly expect the care hopes that could be of being both in time and erery- of his health and education, the forming of his body, thing else that is estimable and good. But yet that and the cultivating of his mind; the secds of honour itself is very uncertain, considering the chances of and virtue, and the true principles of a happy life! time, the infection of company, the snares of the How has Lord Essex deserved that you should deworld, and the passions of youth: so that the most prive him of a wife whom he loves with so much pasexcellent and agreeable creature of that tender age sion, and, which is more, with so much reason ; who