Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

sorum conditionibus quibuscumque. Si plebeii magnatum animos gererent, de servilibus quibusque officiis actum penitùs esset: omnes nempe imperare vellent; vivere posset nemo. Et, si magnatibus inesset sordidum mancipiorum ingenium, actum itidem esset de ordine et obsequio; quia nemo sic quidem imperitare noverit. Nunc verò, ex hâc morum discordiâ, eruit ordinavitque Deus optimam regiminis et pacis harmoniam: eò nimirum, quòd necessarius utriusque sortis in se invicem nexus, cogat unumquemque, proprium, in quo positus est, ordinem usque sustinere; eaque præstare officia, quæ ad sui reique publicæ tutelam maximè expedierint. Ut itaque inferiorum est, Deo benedicere, ob superiorum merita et potestatem; ita neque minùs superioribus incumbit, ob inferiorum humilitatem et observantiam, gratias ipsi habere maximas; quique mediæ conditionis sunt, pares, utrorumque nomine, referre oportet.

CIV. De perspecillis suis,

ISTA ego intueor, non ut objecta, sed ut adjumenta: neque, ut in ipsis visio mea terminetur, sed per ista transeat; eorumque adminiculo, alia quædam visu digna clariùs conspicetur.

Multa hujusmodi specula habet anima, usurpatque. Per Creaturarum speculum, ad potentiam ac sapientiam Creatoris fertur oculus: per Scripturas, ad magnum redemptionis mysterium, cœlestisque hæreditatis gloriam: per Dei Beneficia, ad immensam ipsius miserecordiam; per Judicia, ad justitiam ejusdem incomprehensibilem. Verùm, ut mea hæc perspecilla facultatem in oculo supponunt, nec mihi cæco possunt visum impertire, sed lippienti tantùm clariorem reddere; ita, neque possunt ista Creaturarum, Scripturarum, Beneficiorum, Judiciorumve specula, potestatem mihi indere beatifica illa objecta quovismodo apprehendendi, nisi et oculum fidei habuero, cui ista demum præsententur. Certè hæc qualiacunque auxilia infideli, pariter se habent ac cæco perspecilla. Ut naturales oculi, sic etiam et spirituales, suos habent caliginis gradus. Pessimè autem de ætate meâ merui, si, dum defecerint paulatim naturales isti ocelli, altera illa spiritualis acies non et perspicacior indies et firmior evaserit: etsi, ubi me vel optimè habuero, nunquam non perspecillis mihi opus erit, donec tandem videro, uti videor ipse.

CV. Visis atomis in solis radiis.

QUAM inquieto. cursu atomi istæ minutulæ, sursum deorsum, in radiis solaribus motitantur; dum fixi interim hærent montes, nec unquam, nisi motâ terrâ ipsâ, moveri solent!

Sic levia ac operosa ingenia nunquam non agitantur, multo cum laboris dispendio, fructu penè nullo; dum solida et profunda delitescunt, nec, nisi necessitate quâdam impellente, pro

upon extreme occasions. Were the motion of these little atoms as useful as it is restless, I would rather be a mote than a mountain.

CVI. On the sight of a bladder.

EVERY thing must be taken in his meet time: let this bladder alone till it be dry, and all the wind in the world cannot raise it up; whereas now it is new and moist, the least breath fills, and enlarges it.

It is no otherwise in ages and dispositions. Inform the child in precepts of learning and virtue, while years make him capable; how pliably he yieldeth! how happily is he replenished with knowledge and goodness! Let him alone, till time and ill example have hardened him; till he be settled in a habit of evil, and contracted and clung together with sensual delights; now he becomes utterly indocible. Sooner may that bladder be broken, than distended.

CVII. On a man sleeping.

I Do not more wonder at any man's art, than at his, who professes to think of nothing, to do nothing: and I do not a little marvel at that man, who says he can sleep without a dream. For, the mind of man is a restless thing: and, though it give the body leave to repose itself, as knowing it is a mortal and earthly piece; yet itself, being a spirit, and therefore active and indefatigable, is ever in motion. Give me a sea, that moves not; a sun, that shines not; an open eye, that sees not: and I shall yield there may be a reasonable soul, that works not. It is possible, that, through a natural or accidental stupidity, a man may not perceive his own thoughts; as sometimes the eye or ear may be distracted not to discern his own objects; but, in the mean time, he thinks that, whereof he cannot give an account: like as we many times dream, when we cannot report our fancy, I should more easily put myself to school unto that man, who undertakes the profession of thinking many things at once. Instantany motions are more proper for a spirit, than a dull rest. Since my mind will needs be ever working, it shall be my care, that it may always be well employed.

CVIII. On the sight of a death's-head.

I WONDER at the practice of the ancient both Greeks and Romans, whose use was, to bring up a death's-head, in the midst of their feasts; on purpose, to stir up their guests to drink harder, and to frolic more: the sight whereof, one would think, should have rather abated their courage; and have tempered their jollity.

deunt. Esset modò atomorum motus iste utilis æquè ac inquietus, atomus ego quàm mons esse malim.

CVI. Conspectâ vesicâ recente.

SUUM unicuique rei tempus oportunum est: vesica ista, ubi semel peraruerit, nullo quantovis flatu distenditur; recens jam et humida, intumescit illico tota, halituque vel lenissimo dila

tatur.

Neque aliter se habet cum hominum indole ac ætate. Si puerum adhuc tenellum literarum virtutisque præceptis institueris, mirum quàm facilem se geret! quàm suaviter eruditionem ac pietatem omnem imbibit! Sine illum modò, donec longiore tempore pravoque exemplo induruerit; donec malis se habitibus obfirmaverit, et vitiosis cupiditatibus contractus quasi compressusque fuerit; nunc indocilis fit penitissimè. Citiùs jam vesica ista rumpi sanè, quam distendi poterit.

CVII. Viso quodam dormiente.

NULLIUS ego artem miror magis, quàm illius, qui nihil cogitare profitetur, nihilque agere: sed et illius, qui se absque ullo insomnio dormire posse ait. Siquidem, irrequieta res est animus humanus: qui, licet corpori det veniam, mortali quidem illi ac terrenæ moli, ut quieti indulgeat; ipse tamen, spiritualis cùm sit, eoque nomine activus et indefessus, continuo motu agitatur. Da mihi mare, tranquillum undique et immotum; solem, qui non luceat; oculum apertum, qui nihil tamen videat: ego concedam identidem animam rationalem esse posse otiosam. Possibile quidem est homini, ex naturali sive accidentariâ forsan stupiditate, cogitationes suas proprias non sentire; uti et adeò distrahi aliquando contingat oculum auremve, ut proprium sibi objectum neuter percipiat; interea tamen, illud vel hic cogitat, cujus fortasse rationem reddere non potest: quemadmodum sæpiùs ita elabuntur nobis insomnia, ut phantasmata nostra postea repetere et revocare nequeamus. Illi ego me potiùs in disciplinam tradiderim, qui plura simul cogitandi artem profitetur. Motus instantanei spiritibus magis conveniunt, quàm plumbea quædam quies ac pigritia. Cùm anima mea nunquam non agere aliquid gestiat, curæ mihi erit, ut semper benè agendo occupetur.

CVIII. Viso cranio humano.

MIROR ego antiquorum cùm Græcorum tùm Romanorum morem, quibus solenne erat, media inter epula, mortui cranium convivis apponere; eo quidem fine, ut discumbentes liberiùs genio indulgerent, et ad pocula hilaritatemque solutiores ferrentur: quod quidem spectaculum, ut mihi videtur, terrorem potiùs incutere; et, si quod aliud, luxuriantibus frænum injicere potuisset.

But however it was with them, who believed there was nothing after death; that the consideration of the short time of their pleasures and being, spurred them on to a free and full fruition of that mirth and excess, which they should not long live to enjoy : yet to us, that are Christians; and therefore, know that this short life doth but make way for an eternity of joy or torment afterwards, and that after the feast we must account of a reckoning; there cannot be a greater cooler for the heat of our intemperate desires and rage of our appetites, than the meditation of the shortness of life and the certainty of death. Who would over-pamper a body, for the worms? Who would be so mad, as to let himself loose to that momentary pleasure of sin, which ere long must cost him everlasting pain and misery? For me, methinks this head speaks no other language, than this: "Lose no time: thou art dying: do thy best: thou mayest do good but a while; and shalt fare well for ever."

CIX. On the sight of a left-handed man.

It is both an old and easy observation, that, however the senses are alike strong and active on the right side and on the left; yet that the limbs on the right side are stronger than those of the left, because they are more exercised than the other: upon which self-same reason it must follow, that a left-handed man hath more strength in his left arm than in his right.

Neither is it otherwise in the soul. Our intellectual parts grow vigorous with employment; and lauguish with disuse. I have known excellent preachers and pregnant disputants, that have lost these faculties with lack of action; and others, but meanly qualified with natural gifts, that have attained to a laudable measure of abilities by improvement of their little. I would rather lack good parts, than that good parts should lack me. Not to have great gifts, is no fault of mine: it is my fault, not to use them.

CX. On the sight of an old, unthatched cottage.

THERE cannot be a truer emblem of crazy old age: mouldered and clay walls; a thin, uncovered roof; bending studs; dark and broken windows; in short, a house ready to fall on the head of the indweller.

The best body is but a cottage: if newer and better timbered, yet such as age will equally impair, and make thus ragged and ruinous; or, before that, perhaps casualty of fire, or tempest,

Verùm, quicquid illi demum fecerint, qui nihil amplius post mortem superesse crediderunt; ideoque breve cogitantes ævum et voluptatum et vitæ suæ, incitârunt se, eo quidem acriùs, ad liberiorem libidinis suæ usum prosecutionemque, quò minùs diutulè illâ frui liceret: nobis certè, qui Christiani sumus; eoque nomine, haud ignari vitam hanc breviculam ad futuram gaudii vel pœnarum æternitatem viam sternere, sed et sumptuum quoque rationem à nobis post epulas tandem exposcendam; nihil est quod libidinis æstum magis temperare possit impetumve appetituum cohibere, quàm ut de vitæ fragilitate mortisque certitudine seriò semper meditemur. Ecquis ventrem saginare vellet, ut vermibus epulum instruat? Ecquis ita desiperet, ut momentaneis peccati blandimentis, eâ quidem lege, ut pœnas in æternum duraturas deinceps luat, se totum addiceret? Me quod spectat, videor mihi audire cranium hoc, haud aliter quàm sic me allocutum: "Ne quid temporis prodigas: et tu moriturus es: optimis quibusque operam impendas: non licebit diu benefacere; sic age, ut benè valeas æternùm.”

CIX. Ad conspectum scævæ cujusdam.

VETUS est facilisque observatio illa, utut sensus dexteriores sinisterioresque æquè activi vegetique sint; membra tamen dextravorsum posita sinistris aliquantò esse fortiora, quia scilicet sæpiùs magisque exercentur: unde etiam sequitur, quòd cui manus sinistra magis in usu est, eidem et brachium sinistrum dextro dexterius validiusque sit.

Neque aliter in animâ se habet. Facultates nostræ intellectuales exercitio plùs roborantur; otio verò languescunt. Novi ipse concionatores egregios disputatoresque acutissimos, qui tamen utrique hoc, quicquid erat artis, desuetudine paulatim perdiderunt; alios verò, indole quidem mediocres, qui frequenti exercitio ita demum auxerint, ut non contemnendum utriusque facultatis modum fuerint assecuti. Malo mihi desint egregiæ animi dotes, quàm ut ego illis desim. Carere istis, mihi vitio non erit: vitio certè est, non benè uti.

CX. Conspecto tuguriolo pauperculo vetere, nudato tegmine stramineo caducoque.

INFIRMÆ senectutis aptius emblema cogitari non potest: ecce enim parietes lutosi, jamque modò in pulverem abituri; tectum rarius, detectumque; recurvata statumina; obscuræ fractæque fenestræ; domus, denique, tota in domini sui caput illico rui

tura.

Corpus vel validissimum casa vilis est tenuisque : si recentiore et meliore ligno constructa, qualem tamen tempus æquè facilè corrumpet, istâque non minùs sordidam ac laciniosam relinquet; et, quæ forsan incendio, tempestatibus, hostiumque

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »