Note on the e-text: this Renascence Editions text was provided by Ben R. Schneider, Lawrence University, Wisconsin. It is in the public domain. "Florio's Translation of Montaigne's Essays was first published in 1603. In 'The World's Classics' the first volume was published in 1904, and reprinted in 1910 and 1924." Content unique to this presentation is copyright © 1998 The University of Oregon. For nonprofit and educational uses only.
ROFITABLE thoughts, the more full and solide they are, the more combersome and heavy are they; vice, death, poverty, and diseases, are subjects that waigh and grieve. We must have our minde instructed with meanes to sustaine and combate mischiefes, and furnished with rules how to live well and believe right: and often rouze and exercise it in this goodly study. But to a mind of the common stampe it must be with intermission and moderation; it groweth weake by being continually over-wrested. When I was young I had neede to be advertised and sollicited to keepe my selfe in office: Mirth and health (saies one) sute not so well with these serious and grave discourses. I am now in another state. The conditions of age do but over-much admonish, instruct, and preach unto me. From the excesse of jollity, I am falne into the extreame of severity: more peevish and more untoward. Therefore, I do now of purpose somewhat give way unto licentious allurements; and now and then employ my minde in wanton and youthfull conceits, wherein she recreates hir selfe. I am now but too much setled; too heavy and too ripe. My yeares read me daily a lesson of coldnesse and temperance. My body shunneth disorder and feares it: it hath his turne to direct the minde toward reformation; his turne also to rule and sway; and that more rudely and imperiously. Be I awake or a sleepe, it doth not permit me one hou re but to ruminate on instruction, on death, on patience, and on repentance. As I have heretofore defended my selfe from pleasure, so I now ward my selfe from temperance: it haleth me too far back, and even to stupidity. I will now every way be master of my selfe. Wisdome hath hir excesses, and no lesse need of moderation then follie.So that least I should wither, I varnish and over cloy my selfe with prudence, in the intermissions my evils afoord mee;Mens intenta suis ne siet: usque malis. Ovid. Trist. iv. El. i. 4.I gently turne aside, and steale mine eyes from viewing that tempestuous and cloudy skie I have before me; which (thankes be to God) I consider without feare, but not without contention and study. And ammuse my selfe with the remembrance of past youth-tricks:
Still let not the conceit attend,
The ils that it too much offend.-----animus quod perdidit, optat,That infancy looketh forward, and age backward was it not that which Janus his double visage signified? yeares entrains me if they please: but backward. As far as mine eyes can discerne that faire expired season, by fits I turne them thitherward. If it escape my bloud and veines, yet will I not roote the image of it out of my memory:
Atque in præterita se totas imagine versat. -- Petron. Arb. Sat.
The minde, what it hath lost, doth wish and cast,
And turne and winde in Images forepast.------ hoc est,Plato appoints old men to be present at youthfull exercises, dances, and games, to make them rejoice at the bodies agility and comlinesse of others, which is now no longer in them, and call to their remembrance the grace and favour of that blooming age; and willeth them to give the honour of the victory to that young-man who hath gladded and made most of them mery. I was heretofore wont to note sullen and gloomy daies as extraordinary: now are they my ordinary ones: the extraordinary are my faire and cleere dayes. I am ready to leape for joy, as at the receaving of some unexpected favour, when nothing grieveth me. Let me tickle my selfe, I can now hardly wrest a bare smile from this wretched body of mine. I am not pleased but in conceite an dreaming, by sleight to turne aside the way-ward cares of age: but sure there is need of other remedies then dreaming. A weake contention of arte against nature. It is meere simplicity, as most men do, to prolong and anticipate humane incommodities. I had rather be lesse while olde, then old before my time. I take hold even of the least occasions of relight I can meet withall. I know now by heare-say divers kindes of wise, powerfull and glorious pleasures: but opinion is not of sufficient force over me to make me long for them. I would not have them so stately, lofty, and disdainfully as pleasant, gentle, and ready. A natura discedimus; populo nos damus, nullius rei bono auctori: (Sen. Ep. xcix.) 'We forsake nature; Wee follow the people author of no good.' My Philosophy is in action, in naturall and present, little in conceit. What if I should be pleased to play at cob-nut or whip a top?
Vivere bis, vita posse priore frui. -- Mart. x. Epig. xxiii. 7.
This is the way for any to live twise,
Who can of former life enjoy the price.Non ponebat enim rumores ante salutem. -- Ennius.Voluptuousnesse is a quality little ambitious; it holds it selfe rich enough of it selfe without any accesse of reputation; and is best affected where it is most obscured. That young man should deserve the whip who would spend his time in choosing out the neatest Wine and best sauces. There is nothing I ever knew or esteemed lesse: I now beginne to learne it. I am much ashamed of it, but what can I do with all? and am more ashamed and vexed at the occasions that compell me to it. It is for us to dally, doate, and trifle out the time; and for youth to stand upon nice reputation, and hold by the better end of the staffe. That creepeth towards the world and marcheth toward credite; we come from it. Sibi arma, sibi equos, sibi hastas, sibi clavam, sibe pilam, sibi nationes et cursus habeant: nobis senibus, ex lusionibus multis, talos relinquant, et tesseras: (Cic. De Sene.) 'Let them keeps their armor, their horses, their lances, their polaxes, their tennis, their swimming, and their running; and of their many games, let them put over to us old men the tables and the cardes." The very lawes send us home to our lodgings. I can do no lesse in favour of this wretched condition, whereto my age forceth mee, then furnish it with somewhat to dandle and ammuse it selfe, as it were childehood, for when all is done we fall into it againe. And both wisedome and folly shall have much a do, by enterchange of offices to support and succour me in this calamity of age.
He did not prize what might be said,
Before how all might safe be laid.
Misce stultitiam conciliis brevem. -- Hor. iv. Od. xii. 27.Withal I shun the lightest pricklings; and those which heretofore could not have scratcht me, do now transpearce me. So wilingly my habite doth now begin to apply it selfe to evil; in fragili corpore odiosa omnis offensio est: (Cic. De Sene.) 'all offence is yrkesome to a crased body.'
With short-like-foolish tricks,
Thy gravest counsels mixe.
I have ever beene ticklish and nice in matters of offence; at this present I am more tender and every where open.
Mensque pati durum sustinet ægra nihil. -- Ovid.Pont. i. El. vi. 18.
A sicke minde can endure,
No hard thing for hir cure.
Well may my judgement hinder me from spurning and repining at the inconveniences which nature allots me to indure: from feeling them it cannot. I could finde in my heart to runne from one ende of the world to another, to searche and purchase one yeare of pleasing and absolute tranquillity; I who have no other scope then to live and be mery. Drouzie and stupide tranquillity is sufficiently to be found for me, but it makes me drouzy and dizzie, therefore I am not pleased with it. If there be any body or any good company in the country, in the citty, in France, or any where els, resident, travelling, that likes of my conceites, or whose humours are pleasing to me, they neede but hold up their hand, or whistle in their fiste, and I will store them with Essayes of pithe and substance, with might and maine. Seeing it is the mindes priviledge to renew and recover it selfe on old age, I earnestly advise it to do it; let it bud, blossome, and flourish if it can as Misle-toe on a dead tree. I feare it is a traitor; so straightly is she clasped, and so hard doth she cling to my body, that every hand-while she forsakes me; to follow hir in hir necessities. I flatter her in private, I urge hir to no purpose, in vaine I offer to divert hir from this combination, and bootlesse it is for me to present hir Seneca, or Catullus, or Ladies, or stately dances: if hir companion have the chollicke, it seemes she also hath it. The very powers or faculties that are particular and proper to hir, cannot then rouze themselves: they evidently seeme to be enrheumed: there is no blithnes in hir productions, if there be none in the body. Our schollers are to blame, who serching the causes of our mindes extraordinary fits and motions, besides they ascribe some to a divine fury, to love, to warre-like fiercenesse, to Poesie, and to Wine, if they have not also allotted health her share: a health, youthfull, lusty, vigorous, full, idle, such as heretofore the Aprill of my yeares and security offered me by fittes. That fire of jocondnesse stirreth up lively and bright sparkles in our mind beyond our naturall brightnesse and amongst the most working, if not the most desperate Enthusiasmes or inspirations. Well, it is no wonder if a contrary estate clogge and naile my spirit, and drawe from it a contrary effect.
Et minimæ vires frangere quassa valent. -- Ovid. Trist. iii. El. xi. 22.
Least strength can breake
Things worne and weake.Ad nullum consurgit opus, cum corpore languet. -- Cor. Gal. El. i. 125.And yet would have me beholden to him for lending (as he sayth) much lesse to this consent then beareth the ordinary custome of men. Let us at least, whilst we have time, chase and expell all difficulties from our society.
It to no worke doth rise,
When body fainting lyes.Dum licet obducta solvatur fronte senectus; -- Hor. Epod. xiii. 7.Tetrica sunt amænanda jocularibus: 'Unpleasant things and sowre matters should be sweetned and made pleasant with sportefull mixtures.' I love a lightsome and civill discretion, and loathe a roughnes and austerity of behaviour: suspecting every peevish and way ward countenance.
With wrinckled wimpled forhead let old yeares,
While we may, be resolv'd to merrie cheere.Tristemque vultus tetrici arrogantiam. -- Mart. vii. Epig. lvii. 9.I easily beleeve Plato, who saieth that easie or hard humors are a great prejudice unto the mindes goodnesse or badnesse. Socrates had a constant countenance, but light-some and smyling; not frowardly constant, as old Crassus, who was never seene to laugh. Vertue is a pleasant and buxom quality. Few I know will snarle at the liberty of my writings, that have not more cause to snarle at their thoughts-loosenes. I conforme my-selfe unto their courage, but I offend their eies. It is a well ordered humour to wrest Platos writings and straine his pretended negotiations with Phedon, Dion, Stella, Archeanassa. Non pudeat dicere, quod non pudeat sentire. 'Let us not bee ashamed to speake what we shame not to thinke.' I hate a way ward and sad disposition, that glided over the pleasures of his life, and fastens and feedes on miseries. As flyes that cannot cleave to smooth and sleeke bodies, but seaze and holde on rugged and uneven places; or as Cupping glasses, that affect and suck none but the worst bloud. For my part I am resolved to dare speake whatsoever I dare do: And am displeased with thoughts not to be published. The worst of my actions or condicions seeme not so ugly unto me as I finde it both ugly and base not to dare to avouch them. Every one is wary in the confession; we should be as heedy in the action. The bouldnes of offending is somewhat recompensed and restrained by the bouldnes of confessing. He that should be bound to tell all, should also bind himself to do nothing which one is forced to conceale. God graunt this excesse of my licence draw men to freedom, beyond these cowardly and squeamish vertues, sprung from our imperfections; that by the expence of my immoderation I may reduce them unto reason. One must survay his faultes and study them, ere he be able to repeat them. Those which bide them from others, commonly conceal them also from themselves; and esteme them not sufficiently hidden if themselves see them. They withdraw and disguise them from their owne consciences. Quare vicia confitetur? Quia etiam nunc in illis est, somnium narrare vigilantes est: (SEN. Epist. 53 m.) 'Why doth no man confesse his faults? Because hee is yet in them: and to declare his dreame, is for him that is waking.' The bodies evils are discerned by their increase. And now we find that to be the gout which we termed the rheume or a bruse. The evils of the mind are darkened by their own force; the most infected feeleth them least: Therefore is it that they must often a day be handled, and violently be opened and rent from out the hollow of our bosome. As in the case of good, so of bad offices, only confession is sometimes a satisfaction. Is there any deformity in the error which dispenseth us to confesse the same? It is a paine for me to dissemble, so that I refuse to take charge of other men's secrets, as wanting hart to disavow my knowledge. I can conceale it; but deny it I cannot, without much ado and some trouble. To be perfectly secret, one must be so by nature, not by obligation. It is a small matter to be secret in the Princes service, if one be not also a liar. He that demanded Thales Milesius, whether he should solemnly deny his lechery; had he come to me, I would have answered him, he ought not do it, for a ly is in mine opinion worse than lechery. Thales advised him otherwise, bidding him sweare, thereby to warrant the more by the lesse. Yet was not his counsell so much the election as multiplication of vice. Whereupon we sometimes use this by-word, that we deale wel with a man of conscience, when in counterpoise of vice we propose some difficulty unto him: but when he is inclosed betweene two vices, he is put to a hard choise. As Origen was dealt with al, either to commit idolatry, or suffer himself to be Sodomatically abused by a filthy Egiptian slave that was presented unto him, he yeilded to the first condition, and viciously, saith one. Therefore should not those women be distasted according to their error, who of late protest that they had rather charge their conscience with ten men then one Masse. If it be indiscretion so to divulge ones errors, ther is no danger though it come into example and use; for Ariston said, that 'The winds men feare most are those which discover them.' Wee must tuck up this homely rag that cloaketh our manners. They send their conscience to the stews, and keepe their countenance in order. Even traitors and murtherers observe the laws of complements, and thereto fixe their endevors. So that neither can injustice complaine of incivility nor malice of indiscretion. Tis pitty a bad man is not also a foole, and that decency should cloak his vice. These pargettings belong only to good and sound wals, such as deserve to be whited, to be preserved. In favour of Hugonots, who accuse our auricular and private confession, I confesse my selfe in publike, religiously and purely. Saint Augustine, Origine, and Hippocrates have published their errors of their opinions; I likewise of my maners. I greedily long to make my selfe knowne, nor care I at what rate, so it be truly; or, to say better, I hunger for nothing; but I hate mortally to be mistaken by such as shall happen to know my name. He that doth all for honor and glory, what thinks he to gaine by presenting himselfe to the world in a maske, hiding his true being from the peoples knowledge? Commend a crook-back for his comely stature, he ought to take it as an injury: if you be a coward, and one honoreth you for a valiant man, is it of you he speaketh? you are taken for another: I should like as well to have him glory in the courtesies and lowtings that are shewed him, supposing himselfe to be ring-leader of a troupe when he is the meanest folower of it. Archelaus, King of Macedon, passing through a street, som body cast water upon him, was advised by his followers to punish the party. 'Yea, but,' quoth he, 'who ever it was, he cast not the water upon me, but upon him he thought I was.' Socrates to one that told him he was railed upon and ill spoken of: 'Tush,' said he, 'there is no such thing in me.' For my part, should one commend me to be an excellent Pilote, to be very modest, or most chaste, I should owe him no thanks. Likewise should any man call me traitour, theefe or drunkard, I would deeme my selfe but little wronged by him. Those who misknow themselves may feed themselves with false approbations; but not I, who see and search my selfe into my very bowels, and know full well what belongs unto me. I am pleased to be lesse commended, provided I be better knowne. I may be esteemed wise for such conditions of wisedome that I account meere follies. It vexeth me that my Essayes serve Ladies in liew of common ware and stuffe for their hall; this Chap. wil preferre me to their cabinet: I love their society somewhat private, their publike familiarity wants favor and savor. In farewels we heate above ordinary our affections to the things we forgo. I here take my last leave of this worlds pleasures: loe here our last embraces. And now to our theame. Why was the acte of generation made so naturall, so necessary and so just, seeing we feare to speake of it without shame, and exclude it from our serious and regular discourses we prononce boldly to rob, to murther, to betray and this we dare not but betweene our teeth. Are we to gather by it, that the lesse we breath out in words the more we are allowed to furnish our thoughts with? For words least used, least writen, and least concealed should best be understood, and most generally knowne. No age, no condition are more ignorant of it then of their bread. They are imprinted in each one, without expressing, without voice or figure. And the sexe that doth it most, is most bound to suppresse it. It is an action we have put in the precincts of silence, whence to draw it were an offence: not to accuse or judge it. Nor dare we beare it but in circumlocution and picture. A notable favour, to a criminal offender, to be so execrable, that justice deem it injustice to touch and behold him, freed and saved by the benefit of this condemnations severity. It is not herein as in matters of books, which being once called-in and forbidden, become more saleable and publik? As for me, I will take Aristotle at his word, that bashfallnesse is an ornament to youth, but a reproach to age. These verses are preached in the old schoole, a schoole of which I hold more then of the moderne: her vertues seem greater unto me, her vices lesse.
Of austere countenance,
The sad soure arrogance.
Et habet tristis quoque turba cynædos.
Fidlers are often had,
Mongst people that are sad.[Ceux] qui par trop fuiant Venus estriventI know not who could set Pallas and the Muses at oddes with Venus, and make them cold and slow in affecting of love; as for me, I se no Deities that better sute together, nor more endebted one to another. Who-ever shal go about to remove amourous imaginations from the Muses, shall deprive them of the best entertainement they have, and of the noblest subject of their work and who shall debarre Cupid the service and conversation of Poesie, shall weaken him of his best weapons. By this meanes they caste upon the God of acquaintance, of amitie and goodwill; and upon the Goddesses, protectresses of humanity and justice, the vice of ingratitude, and imputation of churlishnesse. I have not so long beene cashiered from the state and service of this God, but that my memory is still acquainted with the force of his worth and valour.
Faillent autant que ceux qui trop la suivent.
Who strive ore much Venus to shunne, offends
Alike with him that wholy hir intends.
Tu dea, tu rerum naturam sola gubernas,
Nec sine te quicquam dias in luminis oras
Exoritur, neque fit lætum, nec amabile quicquam. -- Lucr. i. 22.
Goddesse, thou rul'st the nature of all things.
Without thee nothing into this light springs,
Nothing is lovely, nothing pleasures brings.------ agnosco veteris vestigia flammæ. -- Virg. Æn. iv. 23.As drie, as sluggish and unwieldy as I am, I feele yet some warme cinders of my passed heate.
I feele, and feeling know,
How my old flames regrow.
There commonly remaine some reliques of shivering and heate after an ague:
Nec mihi deficiat color hic, hyemantibus annis.
When Winter yeares com-on,
Let not this heate be gon.Qual l'alto Ægeo, perche Aquiloneo NotoBut for so much as I know of it, the power and might of this God are found more quick and lively in the shadowe of the Poesie then in their owne essence.
Cessi, che tuto prima il volse e scosse,
Non s'accheta ei pero, ma il suono e 'l moto,
Ritien deli onde anco agitate e grosse.
As graund Ægean Sea, because the voice
Of windes doth cease, which it before enraged
Yet doth not calme, but stil retaines the noise
And motion of huge billowes; unasswaged.Et versus digitos habet. -- Juven. Sat. vi. 197.It representeth a kinde of aire more lovely then love it selfe. Venus is not so faire, nor so alluring, all naked, and quick panting, as she is here in Virgill.
Verses have full effect.
Of fingers to erect.Dixerat, et niveis hinc atque hinc diva lacertisWhat therein I finde to be considered is, that he depainteth her somewhat stirring for a maritall Venus. In this discreete match, appetites are not commonly so fondling, but drowsie and more sluggish. Love disdaineth a man should hold of other then himselfe, and dealeth but faintly with acquaintances begun and entertained under another title as marriage is. Alliances, respects and meanes, by all reason, waigh as much or more as the grace and beauty. A man doth not marry for himselfe, whatsoever he aleageth, but as much or more for his posteritie and families. The use and interest of mariage concerneth our offspring a great way beyond us. Therefore doth this fashion please me, to guide it rather by a third hand, and by anothers sence, then our owne: All which, how much doth it dissent from amorous conventions? Nor is it other then a kinde of incest in this reverend alliance and sacred bond to employ the efforts and extravagant humor of an amorous licentiousness as I thinke to have said else-were. One should (saith Aristotle) touch his wife soberly, discreetly and severely, least that tickling too lasciviously pleasure transport her beyond the bounds of reason. What he speaketh for conscience, Phisitions alledge for health: saying that pleasure excessively whotte, voluptuous and continuall, altereth the seede and hindereth conception. Some other say, besides, that to a languishing congression (as naturally that is) to store it with a convenient and fertile heat, one must but seldome and by moderate intermissions present himselfe unto it.
Cunctantem amplexu molli fovet: Ille repente
Accepit solitam flammam, notusque medullas
Intravit calor, et labe facta per ossa cucurrit
Non secus atque olim tonitru cum rupta corusco
Ignea rima micans percurrit lumine nimbos.-- Virg. Æn. viii. 387.
So said the Goddesse, and with soft embrace
Snow-white arms, the grim-fire doth enchase,
He straight tooke wonted fire, knowne heate at once
His marrow pearc't, ranne through his weakned bones;
As fierie flash with thunder doth divide,
With radient lightning through a storme doth glide.
----- ea verba loquutus,
Optatos dedit amplexus, placidumque petivit
Conjugis infusus gremio per membra soporem. -- Ibid. 404.
A sweet embrace, when he those words had said,
He gave, and his lims pleasing-rest he praid
To take in his wives bosome lolling laid.Quo rapiet sitiens venerem, interjusque recondant. -- Virg. Georg. iii. 137.I see no mariages faile sooner or more troubled then such as are concluded for beauties sake, and hudled up for amorous desires. There are required more solide foundations and more constant grounds, and a more warie marching to it: this earnest youthly heate serveth to no purpose. Those who thinke to honour marriage by joyning love unto it (in mine opinion) doe as those who, to doe vertue a favour, holde that nobilitie is no other thing then Vertue. Indeed, these things have affinitie, but therewithall great difference: their names and titles should not thus be commixt; both are wronged so to be confounded. Nobilitie is a worthy, goodly quality, and introduced with good reason, but inasmuch as it dependeth on others, and may fall to the share of any vicious and worthlesse fellowe, it is in estimation farre shorte of vertue. If it be a vertue, it is artificiall and visible; relying both on time and fortune; divers in forme, according unto countries living and mortall; without birth, as the river Nilus genealogicall and common; by succession and similitude; drawne along by consequence, but a very weake one. Knowledge, strength, goodnesse, beauty, wealth and all other qualities fall within compasse of commerce and communication; whereas this consumeth it selfe in it selfe, of no emploiment for the service of others. One proposed to one of our Kings the choice of two mentors in one office, the one a Gentleman, the other a Yeoman: hee appointed that without respect unto that quality, he who deserved best shold be elected; but were their valour or worth fully alike, the Gentleman should be regarded, this was justlie to give nobilitie her right and ranke. Antigonus, to an unknowne young-man who sued unto him for his fathers charge, a man of valour and who was lately deceased: 'My friend (quoth hee) in such good turnes I waigh not my souldiers noble birth so much as their sufficiencie.' Of truth it should not be herein as with the officers of Spartan kings; Trumpeters, Musitions, Cookes, in whose roome their children succeeded, how ignorant soever, before the best experienced in the trade. Those of Calicut make of their nobility a degree above humane. Marriage is interdicted them, and all other vocations saving warre. Of Concubines they may have as many as they list, and women as many lechardes, without Jealousie one of another. But it is a capital crime and unremissible offence to contract or marry with any of different condition: Nay, they deeme themselves disparaged and polluted if they have but touched them in passing by: And as if their honour were much injured and interressed by it they kil those who approach somewhat too neare them. In such sort that the ignoble are bound to cry as they walke along, like the Gondoliers or Water men of Venice along the streetes, least they should jostle with them: and the nobles command them to what side of the way they please. Thereby do these avoyde an obloquie which they esteeme perpetual, and those an assured death. No continuance of time, no favour of Prince, no office, no vertue, nor any wealth can make a clown to become a gentleman; which is much furthered by this custome, that marriages of one trade with another are strictly forbidden. A Shoo-maker cannot marry with the race of a Carpenter, and parents are precisely bound to traine up orphanes in their fathers trade, and in no other. Thereby the difference, the distinction an d continuance of their fortune is maintained. A good marriage (if any there be) refuseth the company and conditions of love; it endevoureth to present those of amity. It is a sweete society of life, full of constancy, of trust, and an infinite number of profitable and solid offices, and mutuall obligations: No woman that throughly and impartially tasteth the same,
Thirsting to snatch a fit,
And inly harbour it.(Optato quamjunxit lumine tæda -- Catul. Com. Ber. 79.would foregoe her estate to be her husbands master. Be she lodged in his affection as a wife, she is much more honourably and surely lodged. Be a man passionately entangled in any unlawfull lust or love, let them then be damned on whom he would rather have some shame or disgrace to alight; eyther on his lawfull wife, or on his lechard mistris, whose misfortune would afflict him most, and to whom he wisheth greater good or more honour. These questions admit no doubt in an absolute sound [marriage]. The reason we see so few good, is an apparant signe of its worth, and a testimony of its price. Perfectly to fashion and rightly to take it, is the worthiest and best part of our societie. We cannot be without it, and yet we disgrace and vilifie the same. It may be compared to a cage, the birds without dispaire to get in, and those within dispaire to get out. Socrates being demanded whether was most commodeous to take or not to take a wife: 'Which soever a man doth (quoth he), he shall repent it.' It is a match wherto may well be applied the common saying, Homo homini aut Deus, aut lupus: (Eras. Chil. i. cent. i. 69, 70.) 'Man unto man is either a God or a Wolfe,' to the perfect erecting whereof are the concurrences of divers qualities required. It is, now a dayes, found most fit or commodious for simple mindes and popular spirits whom dainties, curiosity and idleness do not so much trouble. Licentious humours, debaushed conceits (as are mine), who hate all manner of duties, bondes, or observances are not so fit, so proper, and so sutable for it.
Whom loves-fire joyned in double band,
With wished light of marriage brand)Et mihi dulce magis resoluto vivere collo. -- Cor. Gal. El. i. 61.Of mine owne disposition, would wisdome it selfe have had me, I should have refused to wed her. But we may say our pleasure; the custome and use of common like overbeareth us. Most of my actions are guided by example, and not by election; yet, did I no t properly envite my selfe unto it, I was led and brought thereunto by strange and unexpected occasions; for, not onely incommodious things, but foule, vicious and inevitable, may by some condition and accident become acceptable and allowed. So vaine is mans posture and defence; and truely I was then drawne unto it, being but ill prepared and more backeward then now I am that have made triall of it. And as licencious as the world reputes me, I have (in good truth) more stricktly observed the lawes of wedlock then either I had promised or hoped. It is no longer time to wince when one hath put on the shackles. A man ought wisely to husband his liberty, but after he hath once submitted himselfe unto bondage, he is to stick unto it by the lawes of common duty, or at least enforce himselfe to keepe them. Those which undertake that covenant to deale therein with hate and contempt, do both injustly and incommodiously; and that goodly rule I see passe from hand to hand among women, as a sacred oracle,
Sweeter it is to me,
With loose necke to live free.Sers ton mary comme ton maistre:which is as much to say, Beare thy selfe toward him with a constrained enemy and distrustfull reverence (a stile of warre, and cry of defiance) is likewise injurious and difficult. I am to milde for such crabbed dessignes. To say truth, I am not yet come to that perfection of sufficiency and quaintnesse of wit, as to confound reason with injustices and laugh or scoffe at each order or rule that jumps not with my humour. To hate superstition, I do not presently cast my selfe into irreligion. If one do not alwaies discharge his duty, yet ought he at least ever love, ever acknowledge it. It is treason for one to marry unless he wed. But go we on. Our Poet describeth a marriage full of accord and good agreement, wherein notwithstanding there is not much loyalty. Did he meane it was not possible to performe loves rights, and yet reserve some rights toward marriage; and that one may bruse it, without altogether breaking it? A servant may picke his masters purse, and yet not hate him. Beauty, opportunity, destiny (for destiny, hath also a hand therin)
Et t'en garde comme un traistre.
Your husband as your master serve yee:
From him as from false friend preserve yee.--------fatum est in partibus illis.have entangled a woman to a stranger, yet peradventure not so absolutely, but that some bond may be left to hold her to her husband. They are two dissignes, having severall and unconfounded pathes leading to them. A woman may yeeld to such a man whom in no case she would have married. I meane not for the conditions of his fortune, but for the qualities of his person. Few men have wedded their sweet hearts, their paramours or mistresses, but have come home by Weeping Crosse, and ere long repented their bargaine. And even in the other world, what an unquiet life leades Jupiter with his wife, whom before he had secretly knowen and lovingly enjoyed? This is as they say, 'to beray the panier, and then put it on your head.' My selfe have seene in some good place love shamefully and dishonestly cured by mariage, the considerations are too much different. We love without disturbance to our selves; two divers and in themselves contrary things. Isocrates said, that the towne of Athens pleased men, even as Ladies doe whom wee serve for affection. Every one loved to come thither, to walke and passe away the time, but none affected to wed it; that is to say: to endenison, to dwell and habituate himselfe therein. I have (and that to my spight and griefe), seene husbands hate their wives, onely because themselves wronged them. Howsoever, wee should not love them lesse for our faults; at least for repentance and compassion they ought to be dearer unto us. These are different ends (saith he), and yet in some sort compatible. Wedlocke hath for his share, honour, justice, profit and constancie, a plaine but more generall delight. Love melts in onely pleasure and truly it hath it more ticklish, more lively, more quaint, and more sharpe, a pleasure inflamed by difficulty; there must be a kinde of stinging, tingling and smarting. It is no longer love, be it once without Arrowes or without fire. The liberality of Ladies is to profuse in marriage, and blunts the edge of affection and desire. To avoide this inconvenience, see the punishment inflicted by the lawes of Lycurgus and Plato. But Women are not altogether in the wrong, when they refuse the rules of life prescribed to the World, forsomuch as onely men have established them without their consent. There is commonly brauling and contention between them and us; and the nearest consent we have with them is but stormy and tumultuous. In the opinion of our Authour, we heerin use them but inconsiderately. After we have knowen, that without comparison they are much more capable and violent in Loves-effects then we, as was testified by that ancient Priest who had beene both man and woman, and tried the passions of both sexes.
Quas sinus abscondit; nam si tibi sidera cassent,
Nil faciet longi mensura incognita nervi. Juven. Sat. ix. 32.
In those parts there is fate, which hidden are;
If then thou be not wrought-for by thy starre,
The measure of long nerves unknowne to nothing serves.Venus huic erat utraque nota: -- Ovid. Meta. iii. 323. Tiros.We have moreover learned by their owne mouth, what tryall was made of it, though in divers ages, by an Emperour and an Empresse of Rome, both skilful and famous masters in lawlesse lust and unruly wantonnesse; for he in one night deflowred ten Sarmatian virgines that were his captives; but shee really did one night night also answer twenty severall assaults, changing her assailants as she found cause to supply her neede to fit her taste,
Of both sortes he knew venery.------adhuc ardens rigidæ tentigine vulvæand that upon the controversie happened in Catalogne betweene a wife and a husband; shee complaining on his over-violence and continuance therein not so much in my conceit, because she was thereby over-labored, (for but by faith I beleeve not miracles), as under this pretext, to abridge and bridle the authority of husbands over their wives, which is the fundamental part of marriage: and to show that their frowning, sullennesse and peevishnesse exceede the very nuptiall bed, and trample under-foote the very beauties, graces and delights of Venus (to whose complaint her husband, a right churlish and rude fellow answered, that even on fasting dayes he must needes do it ten times at least) was by the Queene of Aragon given this notable sentence: by which after mature deliberation of counsel, the good Queen to establish a rule and imitable example unto all posterity, for the moderation and required modesty in a lawfull marriage, ordained the number of sixe times a day as a lawfull, necessary and competent limit. Releasing and diminishing a great part of her sexes neede and desire, to establish (quoth she) an easie forme, and consequently permanent and immutable. Hereupon doctors cry out; what is the appetite and lust of women, when as their reason, their reformation and their vertue, is retailed at such a rate? considering the divers judgement of our desires: for Solon, master of the lawiers schoole alloweth but three times a month because this matrimoniall entercourse should not decay or faile. Now after we beleeved (say I) and preached thus much, we have for their particular portion allotted them continency, as their last and extreame penalty. There is no passion more importunate then this, which we would have them only to resist; not simply as a vice in it self, but as abbomination and execration, and more then irreligion and parricide; whilst we our selves without blame or reproach offend in it at our pleasure. Even those amongst us who have earnestly labored to overcome lust, have sufficiently viewed what difficulty, or rather unresistable impossibilitie they found in it, using neverthelesse materiall remedies, to tame, to weaken and coole the body. And we on the other side would have them sound, healthy, strong, in good liking, wel-fed and chaste together, that is to say, both hot and colde. For marriage, which we averre should hinder them from burning, affords them but smal refreshing, according as our manners are. If they meet with a husband whose force by reason of his age is yet boyling, he will take a pride to spend it else-where.
Et lassata viris, nondum satiata necessit. -- Juven. Sat. vi. 127.Sit tandem pudor, aut eamus in ius,The philosopher Polemon was iustly called in question by his wife, for sowing in a barren fielde the fruit due to the fertile. But if they match with broken stuffe in ful wedlocke, they are in worse case then either virgins or widowes. Wee deeme them sufficiently furnished if they have a man lie by them. As the Romans reputed Clodia Leta a vestall-virgin defloured, whom Caligula had touched, although it was manifestly prooved he had but approached her; But on the contrary, their need or longing is thereby encreased; for but the touch or company of any man whatsoever stirreth up their heate, which in their solytude was husht and quiet, and lay as cinders raked up in ashes. And to the end, as it is likely, to make by this circumstance and consideration their chastitie more meritorious: Boleslaus and Kinge his wife, King and Queene of Poland, lying together, the first day of their mariage vowed it with mutuall consent, and in despight of all wedlocke commoditie of nuptiall delightes maintained the same. Even from their infancy wee frame them to the sports of love: their instruction, behaviour, attire, grace, learning and all their words aimeth onely at love, respects onely affection. Their nurces and their keepers imprint no other thing in them, then the lovelinesse of love, were it but by continually presenting the same unto them, to distaste them of it: my daughter (al the children I have) is of the age wherein the lawes excuse the forwardest to marry . She is of a slowe, nice and milde complexion, and hath accordingly beene brought up by hir mother in a retired and particular manner: so that shee beginneth but now to put-off childish simplicitie. She was one day reading a French booke before me, an obscene word came in her way (more bawdie in sound then in effect, it signifieth the name of a Tree and another thing), the woman that lookes to hir staid her presently, and somwhat churlishly making her step over the same: I let hir alone, because I would not crosse their rules, for I medle nothing with this government: womens policie hath a mysticall proceeding, we must be content to leave it to them. But if I be not deceived, the conversation of twenty lacqueis could not in six moneths have setled in her thoughts, the understanding, the use and consequences of the sound belonging to those filthy sillables as did that good olde woman by her checke and interdiction.
Multis mentula millibus redempta,
Non est hæc tua, Basse, vendidisti. -- Mart. xii. Epig. xcix. 10.Motus doceri gaudet Ionicos.Let them somwhat dispence with ceremonies, let them fal into free libertie of speach; we are but children, we are but gulles, in respect of them, about any such subject. Heare them relate how we sue, how we wooe, how we sollicitie, and how we entertaine them, they will soone give you to understand that we can say, that we can doe, and that we can bring them nothing but what they already knew, and had long before digested without us. May it be (as Plato saith) because they have one time or other beene themselves wanton, licentious and amorous lads? Mine eares hapned one day in a place, where without suspicion they might listen and steale some of their private, lavish and bould discourses; O why is it not lawful for me to repeate them? Birlady (quoth I to my selfe), It is high time indeed for us to go studie the phrases of Amadis, the metaphors of Aretine, and eloquence of Boccace, thereby to become more skilfull, more ready and more sufficient to confront them: surely we bestow our time wel; there is nor quaint phrase nor choise word, nor ambiguous figure, nor patheticall example, nor love-expressing gesture, nor alluring posture, but they know them all better then our bookes: it is a cunning bred in their vaines and will never out of the flesh,
Matura virgo, et fingitur artubus
Jam nunc, et incestos amores
De tenero meditatur ungui. -- Hor. Car. iii. Od. vi. 21.
Maides mariage-ripe straight to be taught delight
Ionique daunces, fram'de by arte aright
In every joynt, and ev'n from their first haire
Incestuous loves in meditation beare.Et mentem Venus ipsa dedit. -- Virg. Georg. iii. 267.which these skill infusing Schoole-mistresses nature, youth, health and opportunitie, are ever buzzing in their eares, ever whispering in their minds: they need not learn, nor take paines about it; they beget it, with them it is borne.
Venus her selfe assign'de
To them both meanes and minde,Nec tantum niveo gavisa est nulla columboHad not this naturall violence of their desires beene somwhat held in awe by feare and honor, wherewith they have beene provided, we had all beene defamed. All the worlds motions bend and yeeld to this conjunction, it is a matter every-where infused; and a Centre whereto all lines come, all things looke. The ordinances of ancient and wise Rome, ordained for the service, and instituted for the behoofe of love, are yet to be seene: together with the precepts of Socrates to instruct courtizans.
Compar, vel si quid dicitur improbius,
Oscula mordenti semper decerpere rostro:
Quantum præcipue multivola est mulier. -- Catul. Eleg. iv. 125.
No pigeons hen, or paire, or what worse name
You list, makes with hir Snow-white cock such game,
With biting bill to catch when she is kist,
As many-mind ed women when they list.Nec non libelli Stoici inter sericosZeno among other laws, ordered also the struglings, the opening of legges, and the actions, which happen in the deflowring of a virgin. Of what sense was the book of Strato the philosopher, of carnall copulation? And whereof treated Theophrastus in those he entitled, one The Lover, the other Of Love? Whereof Aristippus in his volume Of ancient deliciousnesse or sports? What implied or what imported the ample and lively descriptions in Plato, of the loves practised in his dayes? And the lover of Demetrius Phalereus? And Clinias, or the forced lover of Heraclides Ponticus? And that of Antisthenes, of the getting of children, or of weddings? And the other, Of the Master, or of the lover? And that of Aristo, Of amorous exercises? Of Cleanthes, one of love, another of the Art of love? The amorous dialogues of Spherus? And the filthy intolerable, and without blushing not to be uttered fable of Iupiter and Iuno, written by Chrysippus? And his so lascivious fifty Epistles? I will omit the writings of some Philosophers who have followed the sect of Epicurus, protectresse of all maner of sensuality and carnall pleasure. Fifty severall Deities were in times past allotted to this office. And there hath beene a nation found, which to allay and coole the lustfull concupiscence of such as came for devotion, kept wenches of purpose in their temples to be used; and it was a point of religion to deale with them before one went to prayers. Nimirum propter continentiam incontinentia necessaria est, incendium ignibus extinguitur: 'Belike we must be incontinent that we may be continent, burning is quenched by fire.' In most places of the world that part of our body was deified. In that same province some flead it to offer, and consecrated a peece thereof; others offred and consecrated their seed: In another the young men did publikely pierce and in divers places open their yard between flesh and skin, and thorow the holes put the longest and biggest stickes they could endure, and of those stickes made afterwards a fire, for an offring to their Gods, and were esteemed of small vigour and lesse chastity if by the force of that cruell paine they shewed any dismay. Else-where the most sacred magistrate was reverenced and acknowledged by those parts. And in divers ceremonies the portraiture thereof was carried and shewed in pompe and state, to the honour of sundry Deities. The Ægyptian dames in their Bacchanalian feasts wore a wodden one about their necks, exquisitely fashioned, as huge and heavy as every one could conveniently beare: besides that which the statue of their God represented, which in measure exceeded the rest of his body. The maried women here-by, with their Coverchefs frame the figure of one upon their forheads; to glory, themselves with the enjoying they have of it; and comming to be widowes, they place it behind, and hide it under their quoifes. The greatest and wisest matrons of Rome were honoured for offring flowers and garlands to God Priapus. And when their Virgins were maried, they (during the nuptials) were made to sit upon their privities. Nor am I sure whether in my time I have not seene a glimps of like devotion. What meant that laughter-moving, and maids looke-drawing peece our fathers wore in their breeches, yet extant among the Switzers? To what end is at this present day the shew of our formall under our Gascoine hoses? and often (which is worse) above their naturall greatnesse, by falshood and imposture? A little thing would make me believe that the said kinde of garment was invented in the best and most upright ages, that the world might not be deceived, and all men should yeeld a publike account of their sufficiency. The simplest nations have it yet somewhat resembling the true forme. Then was the worke-mans skill instructed, how it is to be made, by the measure of the arme or foot. That good-meaning man, who in my youth, thorowout his great city, caused so many faire, curious and ancient statues to be guelded, lest the sense of seeing might be corrupted, following the advice of that other good ancient man,
Iacere paluillos amant. -- Hor. Epod. viii. 15.
Ev'n Stoicks books are pleas'd
Amidst silke cushions to be eas'd.Flagitii principium est nudare inter cives corpora. -- Cic. Tusc. iv. En.should have considered, how in the mysteries of the good Goddesse, all apparance of man was excluded; that he was no whit neerer, if he did not also procure both horses and asses, and at length nature her selfe to be guelded.
Mongst civill people sinne,
By baring bodies we beginne,Omne adeo qenus in terris, hominumque ferarumque,The Gods (saith Plato) have furnished man with a disobedient, skittish, and tyrannicall member; which like an untamed furious-beast, attempteth by the violence of his appetite to bring all things under his becke. So have they allotted women another as insulting, wilde and fierce; in nature like a greedy, devouring, and rebellious creature, who if when he craveth it, hee bee refused nourishment, as impatient of delay, it enrageth; and infusing that rage into their bodies stoppeth their conduicts, hindreth their respiration, and causeth a thousand kindes of inconveniences; untill sucking up the fruit of the generall thirst, it have largely bedewed and enseeded the bottome of their matrix. Now my law-giver should also have considered that peradventure it were a more chaste and commodiously fruitfull use betimes to give them a knowledgeand taste of the quicke, then according to the liberty and heate of their fantasies suffer them to ghesse and imagine the same. In lieu of true essentiall parts they by desire surmise and by hope substitute others, three times as extravagant. And one of my acquaintance was spoiled by making open shew of his in place, where yet it was not convenient to put them in possession of their more serious use. What harme cause not those huge draughts or pictures, which wanton youth with chalke or coales draw in each passage, wall, or staires of our great houses, whence a cruell contempt of our natural store is bred in them? Who knoweth whether Plato, ordaining amongst other well-instituted Commonwealths, that men and women, old and yoong, should in their exercises or Gymnastickes present themselves naked one to the sight of another, aimed at that or no? The Indian women, who daily without interdiction view their men all over, have at least wherewith to assuage and coole the sense of their seeing. And whatsoever the women of that great kingdome of Pegu say, who from their waist downward, have nothing to cover themselves but a single cloth slith before; and that so straight that what nice modestie or ceremonious decencie soever they seem to affect, one may plainly at each step see what God hath sent them: that it is an invention or shift devised to draw men unto them, and with-draw them from other men or boies, to which unnaturall brutish sinne that nation is wholly addicted: it might be said, they lose more than they get: and that a full hunger is more vehement then one which hath beene glutted, be it but by the eyes. And Livia said, that to an honest woman a naked man is no more then an Image. The Lacedemonian women, more virgin-wives then are our maidens, saw every day the young men of their citie naked at their exercises: themselves nothing precise to hide their thighes in walking, esteeming themselves (saith Plato) sufficiently cloathed with their vertue, without vardingall. But those of whom S. Augustine speaketh, have attributed much to nakednesse, who made a question, whether women at the last day of judgement should rise againe in their proper sex, and not rather in ours, lest even then they tempt us in that holy state. In summe, we lure and every way flesh them: we uncessantly enflame and encite their imagination: and then we cry out, But oh, but oh, the belly. Let us confesse the truth, there are few amongst us that feare not more the same they may have by their wives offences, than by their owne vices; or that cares not more (oh wondrous charity) for his wives, then his own conscience; or that had not rather be a theefe and church-robber, and have his wife a murderer and an heretike, then not more chaste than himselfe. Oh impious estimation of vices! Both wee and they are capable of a thousand more hurtfull and unnaturall corruptions then is lust or lasciviousnesse. But we frame vices and waigh sinnes, not according to their nature, but according to our interest; whereby they take so many different unequall formes. The severity of our lawes makes womens inclination to that vice more violent and faulty then its condition beareth; and engageth it to worse proceedings then is their cause. They will readily offer rather to follow the practise of law, and plead at the barre for a fee, or go to the warres for reputation, then in the midst of idlenesse and deliciousnesse be tied to keepe so hard a Sentinell, so dangerous a watch. See tbey not plainly, how there is neither Merchant, Lawyer, Souldier, or Church-man, but will leave his accounts, forsake his client, quit his glory and neglect his function, to follow this other businesse. And the burden-bearing porter, souterly cobbler and toilefull labourer, all harassed, all besmeared and all bemoiled through travell, labour and trudding, will forget all, to please himselfe with this pleasing sport.
Et genus æquoreum, pecuæs, pictæque volucres,
Infurias ignemque ruunt. -- Virg. Georg iii. 244.
All kindes of things on earth, wilde beast, mankinde,
Field-beasts, faire-fethered fowle, and fish (we finde)
Into loves fire and fury run by kinde.Num tu quæ tenuit dives Achæmenes,I wot not whether Cæsars exploits, or Alexanders atchivements exceed in hardinesse the resolution of a beauteous young woman, trained after our manner in the open view and uncontrolled conversation of the world,sollicited and battered by so many contrary examples, exposed to a thousand assaults and continuall pursuits, yet still holding her selfe good and unvanquished. There is no point of doing more thorny nor more active then this of not doing. I finde it easier to beare all ones life a combersome armour on his backe then a maiden-head. And the vow of virginity is the noblest of all vowes, because the hardest. Diaboli virtus in lumbis est: (Hieron.) 'The divel's master-point lies in our loines,' saith St. Jerome. Surely we have resigned the most difficult and vigorous devoire of mankinde unto women, and quit them the glory of it, which might stead them as a singular motive to opinionate themselves therein, and serve them as a worthy subiect to brave us, and trample under feet that vaine preheminence of valour and vertue we pretend over them. They shall finde (if they but heed it) that they shall thereby not only be highly regarded, but also more beloved. A gallant undaunted spirit leaveth not his pursuits for a bare refusall; so it bee a refusall of chastitie, and not of choise. Wee may sweare, threaten and wailingly complaine; we lie, for we love them the better. There is no enticing lure to wisdome and secret modestie; so it be not rude, churlish, and froward. It is blockishnesse and basenesse to be obstinately willfull against hatred and contempt. But against a vertuous and constant resolution matched with an acknowledging minde, it is the exercise of a noble and generous minde. They may accept of our service unto a certaine measure, and make us honestly perceive how they disdaine us not, for the law which enjoineth them to abhorre us because we adore them, and hate us forsomuch as love them, is doubtlesse very cruell, were it but for its difficultie. Why may they not listen to our offers and not gaine-say our requests, so long as they containe themselves within the bounds of modestie? Wherefore should we imagine they inwardly affect a freer meaning? A Queene of our time said wittily, that 'to refuse mens kinde summons is a testimony of much weaknesse, and an accusing of ones own facility; and that an unattempted Lady could not vaunt of her chastitie.' Honours limits are not restrained so short; they may somewhat be slacked, and withoutoffending somewhat dispensed withall. At the end of his frontiers there is left a free, indifferent, and newter space. He that could drive and force his mistresse into a corner and reduce her into her fort, hath no great matter in him if he be not content with his fortune. The price or honor of the conquest is rated by the difficultie. Will you know what impression your merits, your services and worth have made in her heart? Iudge of it by her behaviour and disposition. Some one may give more that (all things considered) giveth not so much. The obligation of a benefit hath wholly reference unto the will of him that giveth; other circumstances which fall within the compasse of good-turnes, are dumbe, dead and casuall. That little she giveth may cost her more then all her companion hath. If rarenesse be in any thing worthy estimation, it ought to be in this. Respect now how little it is, but how few have it to give. The value of money is changed according to the coine, stampe or marke of the place. Whatsoever the spight or indiscretion of some may upon the excesse of their discontentment make them say: Vertue and truth doe ever recover their advantage. I have knowen some whose reputation hath long time beene impeached by wrong and interessed by reproach, restored unto all mens good opinion and generall approbation without care or art, onely by their constancie, each repenting and denying what he formerly beleeved. From wenches somewhat suspected, they now hold the first ranke amongst honourable ladies. Some told Plato that all the world spake ill of him: 'Let them say what they list,' quoth hee, 'I will so live that Ile make them recant and change their speeches.' Besides the feare of God and the reward of so rare a glory which should incite them to preserve themselves, the corruption of our age enforceth them unto it, and were I in their clothes, there is nothing but I would rather doe then commit my reputation into so dangerous hands. In my time the leasure of reporting and blabbing what one hath done (a pleasure not much short of the act it selfe in sweetnesse) was only allowed to such as had some assured, trustie, and singular friend; whereas now-a-daies the ordinary entertainements and familiar discourses of meetings and at tables are the boastings of favours received, graces obtained, and secret liberalities of Ladies. Verily, it is too great an abjection and argueth a basenesse of heart, so fiercely to suffer these tender, daintie, delicious joyes to be persecuted, pelted, and foraged by persons so ungratefull, so undiscreet, and so giddy-headed. This our immoderate and lawlesse exasperation against this vice, proceedeth and is bred of jealousie; the most vaine and turbulent infirmitie that may afflict mans minde.
Aut pinguis Phryqiæ Mygdonias opes,
Permutare velis crine Liciniæ,
Plenas aut Arabum domos,
Dum fragrantia detorquet ad oscula
Cervicem aut facili sævitia negat,
Quæ poscente magis gaudeat eripi,
Interdum rapere occupet? -- HOR. Car. ii. Od. xii. 21.
Would you exchange for your faire mistresse haire,
All that the rich Achæmenes did hold,
Or all that fertill Phrygias soile doth beare,
Or all th'Arabians store of spice and gold?
Whilst she to fragrant kisses turnes her head,
Or with a courteous coinesse them denies;
Which more then he that speeds she would have sped,
And which sometimes to snatch she formost hies?Quis vetat apposito lumen de lumine sumi?That, and Envie her sister, are (in mine opinion) the fondest of the troupe. Of the latter, I cannot say much; a passion which how effectuall and powerfull soever they set forth, of her good favour she medleth not with me. As for the other I know it only by sight. Beasts have some feeling of it. The shepheard Cratis being fallen in love with a shee Goat, her Bucke for jealousie beat out his braines as hee lay asleepe. Wee have raised to the highest straine the excesse of this moodie feaver, after the example of some barbarous nations: The best disciplines have therewith beene tainted, it is reason, but not carried away by it:
Dent licet assidue, nil tamen inde perit. -- Ovid. Art. Amand. iii. 93.
To borrow light of light, who would deny?
Though still they give, nothing is lost thereby.Ense maritali nemo confossus adulter,Lucullus, Cæsar, Pompey, Anthony, Cato, and divers other gallant men were Cuckolds, and knew it, though they made no stirre about it. There was in all that time but one gullish coxcombe Lepidus, that died with the anguish of it.
Purpureo stygias sanguine tinxit aquas.
With husbands sword yet no adulter slaine,
With purple blood did Stygian waters staine.Ah tum te miserum malique fati,And the God of our Poet, when he surprised one of his companions napping with his wife, was contented but to shame them:
Quæm attractis pedibus patente porta.
Percurrent mugilesque raphanique. -- Catul. Lyr. Epig. xv. 17.
Ah thee then wretched, of accursed fate,
Whom Fish-wives, Redish-wives of base est
ate, Shall scoffing over-runne in open gate.Atque aliquis de dis non tristibus optat,And yet forbeareth not to be enflamed with the gentle dalliances and amorous blandishments she offereth him, complaining that for so slight a matter he should distrust her to him deare-deare affection:
Sic fieri turpis. -- Ovid. Met. iv. 187.
Some of the merier Gods doth wish in heart
To share their shame, of pleasure to take part.Quid causes petis ex alto? fiducia cessitAnd which is more, she becomes a suiter to him in the behalfe of a bastard of hers,
Quo tibi Diva mei -- Virg. Æn. viii. 395.
So farre why fetch you your pleas pedigree?
Whither is fled the trust you had in mee?Arma rogo genitrix nato. -- Ibid. 382.Which is freely granted her: and Vulcan speakes honourably of Aeneas,
A mother for a sonne, I crave,
An armor he of you may have.Arma acri facienda viro. -- Ibid. 441.In truth with an humanity more then humane. And which excesse of goodnesse by my consent shall onely be left to the Gods:
An armour must be hammered out,
For one of courage sterne and stout.Nec divas hominis componier æquum est. -- Catul. Eleg. iv. 141.As for the confusion of children, besides that the gravest law-makers appoint and affect it in their Common-wealths, it concerneth not women with whom this passion is, I wot not how in some sort better placed, fitter seated.
Nor is it meet, that men with Gods
Should be compar'd, there is such ods.Sæpe etiam Iuno maxima coelicolumWhen jealousie once seazeth on thesesilly, weake, and unresisting soules, 'tis pitiful to see how cruelly it tormenteth, insultingly it tyrannizeth them. It insinuateth it selfe under colour of friendship; but after it once possesseth them, the same causes which served for a ground of good-will, serve for the foundation of mortall hatred. Of all the mindes diseases, that is it, whereto most things serve for sustenance, and fewest for remedy. The vertue, courage, health, merit and reputation of their husbands are the firebrands of their despight, and motives of their rage.
Conjugis inculpa flagravit quotidiana. -- Catul. Eleg. iv. 138.
Ev'n Juno, chiefe of Goddesses, oft-time,
Hath growne hot at her husbands daily crime.Nullæ sunt inimicitiæ nisi amoris acerbæ. -- Prop. ii. El. viii. 3.This consuming feaver blemisheth and corrupteth all that otherwise is good and goodly in them. And how chaste or good a huswife soever a jealous woman is, there is no action of hers but tasteth of sharpnesse and smaks of importunity. It is a furious perturbation, a moody agitation, which throwes them into extremities altogether contrary to the cause. The successe of one Octavius in Rome was strange, who, having layen with and enjoied the love of Pontia Posthumia, increased his affection by enjoying her, and instantly sued to mary her;but being unable to perswade her, his extreme passionate love precipitated him into effects of a most cruell, mortall and inexorable hatred, whereupon he killed her. Likewise the ordinary Symptomes or passions of this other amorous disease are intestine hates, slie Monopolies, close conspiracies:
No enmities so bitter prove
And sharpe, as those which spring of love.Notumque, furens quid foemina possit. -- Virg. Æn. v. 6.And a raging spight, which so much the more fretteth it self by being forced to excuse it selfe under pretence of good-will. Now the duty of chastitie hath a large extension and farre-reaching compasse. Is it their will we would have them to bridle? That's a part very pliable and active. It is very nimble and quick-rolling to bee staied. What? If dreames do sometimes engage them so farre as they cannot dissemble nor deny them; It lieth not in them (nor perhaps in chastitie it selfe, seeing she is a female) to shield themselves from concupiscence and avoid desiring. If only their will interesse and engage us, where and in what case are we? Imagine what great throng of men there would bee in pursuit of this privilege, with winged speed (though without eies and without tongue) to be conveied upon the point of every woman that would buy him. The Scythian women were wont to thrust out the eies of all their slaves and prisoners taken in warre, thereby to make more free and private use of them. Oh what a furious advantage is opportunitie ! He that should demand of me what the chiefe or first part in love is, I would answer, To know how to take fit time; even so the second, and likewise the third. It is a point which may doe all in all. I have often wanted fortune, but sometimes also enterprise. God shield him from harme that can yet mocke himselfe with it. In this age more rashnesse is required; which our youths excuse under colour of heat. But should our women looke neerer unto it, they might finde how it rather proceedeth of contempt. I superstitiously feared to offend; and what I love I willingly respect. Besides that, who depriveth this merchandize of reverence, defaceth all luster of it. I love that a man should therein somewhat play the childe, the dastard and the servant. If not altogether in this, yet in some other things I have some aires or motives of the sottish bashfulnesse, whereof Plutarch speaketh; and the course of my life hath diversly beene wounded and tainted by it: a qualitie very ill beseeming my universall forme. And what is there amongst us but sedition and jarring? Mine eyes be as tender to beare a refusall as to refuse; and it doth so much trouble me to be troublesome to others, that where occasions force me or dutie compelleth me to trie the will of any one, be it in doubtfull things, or of cost unto him, I do it but faintly and much against my will but if it be for mine owne private businesse (though Homer say most truly, that in an indigent or needy man, bashfulnesse is but a fond vertue) I commonly substitute a third party, who may blush in my roome: and direct them that employ mee, with like difficulty: so that it hath sometimes befallen me to have the will to deny when I had not power to refuse. It is then folly to go about to bridle women of a desire so fervent and so naturall in them. And when I heare them bragge to have so virgin-like a will and cold mind, I but laugh and mocke at them. They recoile too farre backward. If it be a toothlesse beldame or decrepit grandame, or a young drie pthisicke starveling; if it be not altogether credible, they have at least some colour or apparence to say it. But those which stirre about and have a little breath left them, marre but their market with such stuffe: forsomuch as inconsiderate excuses are no better then accusations. As a Gentleman my neighbour, who was suspected of insufficiencie,
It is knowne what a woman may,
Whose raging passions have no stay.Languidior tenera cui pendens sicula beta,to justifie himselfe, three or foure dayes after his mariage, swore confidently that the night before he had performed twenty courses, which oath hath since served to convince him of meere ignorance, and to divorce him from his wife. Besides, this allegation is of no great worth; for there is nor continencie nor vertue where no resistance is to the contrary. It is true, may one say, but I am not ready to yeeld. The Saints themselves speake so. This is understood of such as boast in good earnest of their coldnesse and insensibility, and would be credited with a serious countenance: for, when it is from an affected looke (where the eyes give words the lie) and from the faltring speech of their profession (which ever workes against the wooll) I allow of it. I am a duteous servant unto plainnesse, simplicity and liberty; but there is no remedie, if it be not meerely plaine, simple, or infantine; it is fond, inept and unseemely for Ladies in this commerce; it presently inclineth and bendeth to impudence. Their disguisings, their figures and dissimulations cozen none but fooles; there lying sitteth in the chaire of honour; it is a by-way, which by a false posterne leads us unto truth. If we cannot containe their imaginations, what require we of them? the effects? Many there be who are free from all strangers communication, by which chastitie may be corrupted and honestie defiled.
Nunquam se mediam sustulit ad tunicam, -- Catul. El. iii. 21.Illud sæpe facit, quod sine teste facit. -- Mart. vii. Epig. lxi. 6.And those whom we feare least are peradventure most to be feared; their secret sins are the worst.
What she doth with no witness to it,
She often may be found to do it.Ofendor moecha simpliciore minus. -- Ibid. vi. Epig. vii. 6.There are effects which without impuritie may lose them their pudicitie, and which is more, without their knowledge. Obstetrix virginis cuiusdam integritatem manu velut explorans, sive malevolentia, sive inscitia, sive casu, dum inspicit, perdidit: 'A Midwife searching with her finger into a certaine maiden's virginity, either for ill will, or of unskilfulnesse, or by chance, whilest shee seekes and lookes into it, shee lost and spoiled it.' Some one hath lost or wronged her virginity in looking or searching for it; some other killed the same in playing with it. Wee are not able precisely to circumscribe them the actions we forbid them: Our law must be conceived under generall and uncertaine termes. The very Idea we forge unto their chastity i ridiculous. For amongst the extremest examples or patternes I have of it, it is Fatua, the wife of Faunas, who, after shee was maried, would never suffer her selfe to be seene of any man whatsoever. And Hierons wife, that never felt her husbands stinking breath, supposing it to be a quality common to all men. It were necessary, that to satisfie and please us, they should become insensible and invisible. Now let us confesse that the knot of the judgement of this duty consisteth principally in the will. There have beene husbands who have endured this accident, not only without reproach and offence against their wives, but with singular acknowledgment, obligation and commendation to their vertue. Some one that more esteemed her honestie then she loved her life, hath prostituted the same unto the lawlesse lust and raging sensuality of a mortall hatefull enemy, thereby to save her husbands life; and hath done that for him which she never could have beene induced to do for her selfe. This is no place to extend these examples; they are too high and over-rich to be presented in this luster: let us therefore reserve them for a nobler seat. But to give you some examples of a more vulgar stampe. Are there not women daily seene amongst us, who for the only profit of their husbands, and by their expresse order and brokage, make sale of their honesty? And in old times Phaulius the Argian, through ambition offred his to King Philip. Even as that Galba, who bestowed a supper on Mecenas, perceiving him and his wife beginne to bandy eie-trickes and signes, of civility shrunke downe upon his cushion, as one expressed with sleepe, to give better scope unto their love: which he avouched as pretily: for at that instant a servant of his, presuming to lay hands on the plate which was on the table, he cried outright unto him: 'How now varlet? seest thou not I sleepe only for Mecenas?' One may be of loose behaviour, yet of purer will and better reformed then another who frameth her selfe to a precise apparance. As some are seene complaine because they vowed chastitie before yeeres of discretion or knowledge, so have I seene others unfainedly bewaile and truly lament that they were vowed to licentiousnesse and dissolutenes before the age of judgement and distinction. The parents leaudnesse may be the cause of it; or the force of impulsive necessity, which is a shrewd counsellor and a violent perswader. Though chastity were in the East Indias of singular esteeme, yet the custome permitted that a maried wife might freely betake her selfe to what man soever did present her an Elephant: and that which some glory to have been valued at so high a rate. Phedon the philosopher, of a noble house, after the taking of his country Elis, professed to prostitute the beauty of his youth to all commers, so long as it should continue, for money to live with and beare his charges. And Solon was the first of Grece (say some), who by his lawes gave women liberty, by the price of their honestie, to provide for their necessities: A custome which Heroditus reporteth to have beene entertained before him in divers commonwealths. And moreover, what fruit yeelds this carefull vexation? For, what justice soever be in this passion, yet should we note whether it harrie us unto our profit or no. Thinkes any man that he can ring them by his industrie?
Pleas'd with a whores simplicity.
Offended with her nicitie.Pone seram, cohibe; sed quis custodiet ipsosWhat advantage sufficeth them not in this so skilfull age? Curiosity is everywhere vicious, but herein pernicious. It is meere folly for one to seeke to be resolved of a doubt, or search into a mischiefe, for which there is no remedie, but makes it worse, but festereth the same: the reproach whereof is increased, and chiefely published by jealousie; and the revenge whereof doth more wound and disgrace our children then it helpeth or graceth us. You waste away and die in pursuit of so concealed a mysterie, of so obscure a verification. Whereunto how piteously have they arrived, who in my time have attained their purpose? If the accuser or intelligencer present not withall the remedy and his assistance, his office is injurious, his intelligence harmefull, and which better deserveth a stabbe then doth a lie. Wee flout him no lesse that toileth to prevent it, then laugh at him that is a Cuckold and knowes it not. The character of cuckoldrie is perpetuall; on whom it once fastneth it holdeth for ever. The punishment bewraieth it more then the fault. It is a goodly sight to our private misfortunes from out the shadow of oblivion or the dungeon of doubt, for to blazon and proclaime them on Tragicall Stages; and misfortunes which pinch us not, but by relation. For (as the saying is) she is a good wife, and that a good marriage, not that is so indeed, but whereof no man speaketh. Wee ought to be wittly-wary to avoid this irksome, this tedious and unprofitable knowledge. The Romans were accustomed, when they returned from any journey, to send home before, and give their wives notice of their comming, that so they might not surprize them. And therefore hath a certaine nation instituted the Priest to open the way unto the Bridegroome, on the wedding day, thereby to take from him the doubt and curiosity of searching in this first attempt, whether shee come a pure virgin to him, or be broken and tainted with any former love. But the world speakes of it. I know a hundred Cockolds which are so honestly and little undecently. An honest man and a gallant spirit is moaned, but not disesteemed by it. Cause your vertue to suppresse your mishap, that honest-minded men may blame the occasion and curse the cause; that he which offends you may tremble with onely thinking of it. And, moreover, what man is scot-free, or who is not spoken of in this sense, from the meanest unto the highest?
Custodes? cauta est, et ab illis incipit uxor. -- Juven. Sat. vi. 247.
Keepe her with locke and key: but from her who shall keepe
Her Keepers? She begins with them, her wits so deepe.------tot qui legionibus imperitavit,Seest then not how many honest men, even in thy presence, are spoken of and touched with this reproach? Imagine then they will be as bold with thee, and say as much of thee else-where. For no man is spared. And even Ladies will scoffe and prattle of it. And what do they now adaies more willingly flout at, then at any wel composed and peaceable mariage? There is none of you all but hath made one Cuckold or other. Now nature stood ever on this point, Kæ mee Ile kæ thee, and ever ready to bee even alwaies on recompences and vicissitude of things, and to give as good as one brings. The long-continued frequence of this accident should by this time have seasoned the bitter taste thereof: It is almost become a custome. Oh miserable passion, which hath also this mischiefe, to be incommunicable.
Et melior quam to multis fuit, improbe, rebus. -- Lucr. iii. 1070.
He that so many bands of men commanded,
Thy better much, sir knave, wasmuch like branded.Fors etiam nostris invidit quæstibus aures. -- Catul. her. Argon. 170.For to what friend dare you entrust your grievances, who, if hee laugh not at them, will not make use of them, as a direction and instruction to take a share of the quarie or bootie to himselfe? As well the sowrenesse and inconveniences, as the sweetnesse and pleasures incident to mariage, are secretly concealed by the wiser sort. And amongst other importunate conditions belonging to wedlocke, this one, unto a babling fellow as I am, is of the chiefest; that tyrannous custome makes it uncomely and hurtfull for a man to communicate with any one all hee knowes and thinkes of it. To give women advice to distaste them from jealousies were but time lost or labour spent in vaine.Their essence is so infected with suspicion, with vanity and curiosity, that we may not hope to cure them by any lawfull meane. They often recover of this infirmitie by a forme of health, much more to be feared then the disease it selfe. For even as some inchantment cannot ridde away an evill but with laying it on another, so when they lose it, they transferre and bestow this maladie on their husbands. And to say truth, I wot not whether a man can endure anything at their hands worse then jealousie; of all their conditions it is most dangerous, as the head of all their members. Pittacus said, that 'every man had one imperfection or other, his wives curst pate was his;' and but for that, he should esteeme himselfe most happy. It must needs be a weightie inconvenience, wherewith so just, so wise and worthy a man, felt the state of his whole life distempered: what shall we petie fellowes doe then? The Senate of Marceille had reason to grant and enroll his request who demanded leave to kill himselfe, thereby to free and exempt himselfe from his wives tempestuous scolding humor; for it is an evill that is never cleane rid away but by removing the whole peece: and hath no other composition of worth, but flight or sufferance; both too-too hard, God knowes. And in my conceit, he understood it right that said, a good mariage might be made betweene a blinde woman and a deafe man. Let us also take heed, lest this great and violent strictnesse of obligation we enjoine them, produce not two effects contrary to our end: that is to wit, to set an edge upon their suiters stomacks, and make women more easie to yeeld. For, as concerning the first point, enhancing the price of the place, we raise the price and endeare the desire of the conquest. Might it not be Venus her selfe, who so cunningly enhanced the market of her ware by the brokage or pandarizing of the lawes? knowing how sottish and tasteless a delight it is, were it not enabled by opinion and endeared by dearnes. To conclude, it is all but hogges flesh, varied by sauce, as said a roguish Flaminius his hoast. Cupid is a roguish God; his sport is to wrestle with devotion and to contend with justice. It is his glory, that his power checketh and copes all other might, and that all other rules give place to his.
Fortune ev'n eares envied,
To heare us when we cried.Materiam culpæ prosequiturque suæ. -- Ovid. Trist. iv. El. i. 34.And as for the second point; should wee not be lesse Cuckolds if we lesse feared to be so; according to womens conditions: whom inhibition inciteth, and restraint inviteth.
He prosecutes the ground,
Where he is faulty found.Ubi velis nolunt, ubi nolis volunt ultro: -- Ter. Eunuc. act. iv. sc. 6.What better interpretation can we finde concerning Messalinas demeanor? In the beginning she made her silly husband Cuckold secretly and by stealth (as the fashion is) but perceiving how uncontrolled and easily she went on with her matches, by reason of the stupidity that possessed him, shee presently contemned and forsooke that course, and began openly to make love, to avouch her servants, to entertaine and favour them in open view of all men; and would have him take notice of it, and seeme to be distasted with it: but the silly gull and senselesse coxcombe awaked not for all this, and by his over-base facility, by which hee seemed to authorize and legitimate her humours, yeelding her pleasures weerish, and her amours tastelesse: what did shee? Being the wife of an Emperour, lustie in health and living; and where? In Rome, on the worlds chiefe theater, at high noone-day, at a stately feast, in a publike ceremonie; and which is more, with one Silius, whom long time before she had freely enjoied, she was solemnly maried one day that her husband was out of the Citie. Seemes it not that she tooke a direct course to become chaste, by the retchlesnesse of her husband? or that she sought another husband, who by jealousie might whet her appetite, and who insisting might incite her? But the first difficultie she met with was also the last. The drowzie beast rouzed himselfe and suddenly started up. One hath often the worst bargaines at the hands of such sluggish logger heads. I have seene by experience, that this extreme patience or long-sufferance, if it once come to be dissolved, produceth most bitter and outragious revenges: for, taking fire all at once, choller and fury hudling all together, becomming one confused chaos, clattereth foorth their violent effects at the first charge.
They will not when you will,
When you will not, they will;
Concessa pudet ire via. -- Lucan. ii. 445.
They are asham'd to passe
The way that granted was.Irarumque omnes effundit habenas. -- Virg. Æn. xii. 499.He caused both her and a great number of her instruments and abettors to be put to death; yea such as could not doe withall, and whom by force of whipping she had allured to her adulterous bed. What Virgill saith of Venus and Vulcan, Lucretius had more sutably said it of a secretly-stolne enjoying betweene her and Mars,
It quite lets loose the raine,
That anger should restraine.-----belli fera munera MavorsWhen I consider this, reiicit, pascit, inhians, molli, fovet, medullas, labefacta, pendet, percurrit, and this noble circumfusa, mother of gentle infusus, I am vexed at these small points and verball allusions, which since have sprung up. To those well-meaning people there needed no sharpe encounter or witty equivocation: their speech is altogether full and massie, with a naturall and constant vigor: they are all epigram, not only taile, but head, stomacke, and feet. There is nothing forced, nothing wrested, nothing limping; all marcheth with like tenour. Contextus totus virilis est, non sunt circa flosculos occupati. The whole composition or text is manly, they are not bebusied about Rhetorike flowers. This is not a soft quaint eloquence, and only without offence; it is sinnowie, materiall, and solid; not so much delighting, as filling and ravishing, and ravisheth most the strongest wits, the wittiest conceits. When I behold these gallant formes of expressing, so lively, so nimble, so deepe, I say not this is to speake well, but to think well. It is the quaintnesse or livelinesse of the conceit that elevateth and puffes up the words. Pectus est quod disertum facit: 'It is a mans owne brest that makes him eloquent.' Our people terme judgement, language; and full conceptions, fine words. This pourtraiture is directed not so much by the hands dexterity as by having the object more lively printed in the minde. Gallus speakes plainly because he conceiveth plainly. Horace is not pleased with a sleight or superficiall expressing, it would betray him; he seeth more cleere and further into matters: his spirit pickes and ransaketh the whole store of words and figures, to shew and present himselfe; and he must have them more then ordinary, as his conceit is beyond ordinary. Plutarch saith that he discerned the Latine tongue by things. Here likewise the sense enlighteneth and produceth the words: no longer windy or spongy, but of flesh and bone. They signifie more then they utter. Even weake ones shew some image of this. For, in Italie, I spake what I listed in ordinary discourses, but in more serious and pithy I durst not have dared to trust to an Idiome which I could not winde or turne beyond it's common grace or vulgar bias. I will be able to adde and use in it somewhat of mine owne. The managing and emploiment of good wits endeareth and giveth grace unto a tongue: not so much innovating as filling the same with more forcible and divers services, wresting, straining and enfolding it. They bring no words unto it, but enrich their owne, waigh-downe and cramme-in their signification and custome; teaching it unwonted motions; but wisely and ingenuously. Which skill how little it is given to all, may plainly bee discerned by most of our moderne French Writers. They are over-bold and scornefull, to shunne the common trodden path: but want of invention and lacke of discretion looseth them. There is nothing to be seene in them but a miserable strained affectation of strange Inke-pot termes; harsh, cold and absurd disguisements, which in stead of raising, pull downe the matter. So they may gallantize and flush it in novelties they care not for efficacie. To take hold of a new farre-fetcht word, they neglect the usuall, which often are more significant, forcible and sinnowie. I finde sufficient store of stuffs in our language, but some defect of fashion. For there is nothing but could be framed of our Hunters gibbrish words or strange phrases, and of our Warriours peculiar tearmes; a fruitfull and rich soile to borrow of. And as hearbes and trees are bettered and fortified by being trans-planted, so formes of speach are embellished and graced by variation. I finde it sufficiently plenteous, but not sufficiently plyable and vigorous. It commonly faileth and shrinketh under a pithy and powerfull conception. If your march therein be far extended, you often feele it droope and languish under you, unto whose default the Latine doth now and then present his helping hand, and the Greeke to some others. By some of these words which I have culled out, we more hardly perceive the Energie or effectuall operation of them, forsomuch as use and frequencie have in some sort abased the grace and made their beauty vulgar. As in our ordinary language we shall sometimes meete with excellent phrases and quaint metaphors, whose blithenesse fadeth through age, and colour is tarnish by too common using them. But that doth nothing distaste those of sound judgement, nor derogate from the glory of those ancient Authors, who, as it is likely, were the first that brought these words into luster, and raised them to that straine. The sciences handle this over finely with an artificiall maner, and different from the vulgar and naturall forme. My Page makes love, and understands it feelingly; Read Leon Hebræus or Ficinus unto him; you speake of him, of his thoughts and of his actions, yet understands he nothing what you meane. I nor acknowledge nor discerne in Aristotle the most part of my ordinary motions. They are clothed with other robes, and shrouded under other vestures for the use of Academicall schooles. God send them well to speed; but were I of the trade, I would naturalize Arte as much as they Artize nature. [Farewell,] Benbo and Equicola. When I write I can well omit the company, and spare the remembrance of books; for feare they interrupt my forme. And in truth good Authours deject me too-too much, and quaile my courage. I willingly imitate that Painter who, having bungler-like drawne and fondly represented some Cockes forbad his boies to suffer any live Cocke to come into his shop. And to give my selfe some luster or grace have rather neede of some of Antinonides the Musicians invention; who, when he was to play any musick , gave order that before or after him, some other bad musicians should cloy and surfet his auditory. But I can very hardly be without Plutark, he is so universall and so full, that upon all occasions, and whatsoever extravagant subject you have undertaken, he intrudeth himselfe into your work, and gently reacheth you a helpe-affording hand, fraught with rare embelishments and inexhaustible of precious riches. It spights me that he is so much exposed unto the pillage of those which haunt him. He can no sooner come in my sight, or if I cast but glance upon him, but I pull some legge or wing from him. For this my dissignement, it much fitteth my purpose that I write in mine owne house, in a wild country, where no man belpeth or releeveth me; where I converse with no body that understands the Latine of his Pater noster, and as little of French. I should no doubt have done it better else where, but then the worke had beene lesse mine, whose principall drift and perfection is to be exactly mine. I could mend an accidentall errour, whereof I abound in mine unwary course; but it were a kinde of treason to remove the imperfections from me, which in me are ordinary and constant. When any body else, or my selfe have said unto my selfe: Thou art too full of figures or allegories; here is a word meerely-bred Gaskoyne; that's a dangerous phrase: (I refuse none that are used in the frequented streets of France, those that will combat use and custome by the strict rules of Grammar do but jest) there's an ignorant discourse, that's a paradoxicall relation: or there's a foolish conceit: thou doest often but dally: one will thinke thou speakest in earnest what thou hast but spoken in jest. Yea (say I), but I correct unadvised, not customarie errors. Speake I not so every where? Doe I not lively display my selfe? That sufficeth: I have my will: All the world may know me by my booke, and my booke by me: but I am of an Apish and imitating condition. When I medled with making of verses (and I never made any but in Latine), they evidently accused the poet I came last from reading. And of my first Essayes, some taste a little of the stranger. At Paris I speake somewhat otherwise then at Montaigne. Whom I behold with attention, doth easily convay and imprint something of his in me. What I heedily consider, the same I usurpe: a foolish countenance, a crabbed looke, a ridiculous manner of speach. And vices more: because they pricke mee, they take fast hold upon mee, and leave nice not, unlesse I shake them off. I have more often beene heard to sweare by imitation then by complexion. Oh injurious and dead-killing imitation: like that of those huge in greatnesse and matchlesse in strength Apes, which Alexander met withall in a certaine part of India: which otherwise it had beene hard to vanquish. But by this their inclination to counterfeit whatsoever they saw done, they afforded the meanes. For, thereby the Hunters learn't in their sight to put on shooes, and tie them with many strings and knots; to dresse their heads with divers strange attires, full of sliding-knots and dissemblingly to rub their eyes with Glew or Bird-lime; so did those silly harmlesse beasts indiscreetly employ their Apish disposition. They ensnared, glewed, entrameled, haltred and shackled themselves. That other faculty of Extempore and wittily representing the gestures and words of another, which often causeth sport and breedeth admiring, is no more in me then in a blocke. When I sweare after mine owne fashion, it is onely by God; the directest of all oathes. They report that Socrates swore by a Dogge; Zeno by that interjection (now a daies used amongst the Italies) Capari; and Pithagoras by water and by aire. I am so apt at unawares to entertaine these superficiall impressions, that if but for three daies together I use myselfe to speake to any Prince with your Grace or your Highnesse, for eight daies after I so forget myselfe, that I shall still use them for your Honour or your Worship: and what I am wont to speake in sport or jest, the next day after I shall speake in good serious earnest. Therefore in writing I assume more unwillingly much beaten arguments, for feare I handle them at others charges. All arguments are alike fertile to me. I take them upon any trifle. And I pray God this were not under-taken by the commandement of a minde as fleeting. Let me begin with that likes me best, for all matters are linked one to another. But my conceit displeaseth me, for somuch as it commonly produceth most foolish dotages from deepest studies, and such as content me on a suddaine, and when I least looke for them; which as fast fleete away, wanting at that instant some holde fast. On horse-backe, at the table, in my bed; but most on horse-backe, where my amplest meditations and my farthest reaching conceits are. My speach is somewhat nicely jealous of attention and silence; if I be in any earnest talke, who interrupteth me, cuts me off. In travell, even the necessity of waies breakes off discourses. Besides that I most commonly travell without company, which is a great helpe for continued reasonings: whereby I have sufficient leasure to entertaine my selfe. I thereby have that successe I have in dreames: In dreaming I commend them to my memory (for what I dream I doe it willingly), but the next morning I can well call to minde what colour they were of, whether blith, sad or strange; but what in substance, the more I labour to finde out, the more I overwhelme them in oblivion. So of casuall and unpremeditated conceits that come into my braine, nought but a vaine image of them remaineth in my memory; so much only as sufficeth unprofitably to make me chafe, spight and fret in pursuite of them. Well, then, leaving bookes aside, and speaking more materially and simply, when all is done I find that love is nothing else but an insatiate thirst of enjoying a greedily desired subject. Nor Venus that good huswife, other then a tickling delight of emptying ones seminary vessels: as is the pleasure which nature giveth us to discharge other parts, which becommeth faulty by immoderation and defective by indiscretion. To Socrates love is an appetite of generation by the mediation of beauty. Now, considering oftentimes the ridiculous tickling or titilation of this pleasure, the absurd giddy, and hare-braind motions wherwith it tosseth Zeno and agitates Cratippus: that unadvised rage, that furious and with cruelty enflamed visage in loves lustfull and sweetest effects: and then a grave, sterne, severe, surly countenance in so fond-fond an action, that one hath pell-mell lodged our joyes and filthes together, and that the supremest voluptuous-nesse both ravisheth and plaineth, as doth sorrow: I beleeve that which Plato saies to be true, that man was made by the Gods for them to toy and play withall.
Armipotens regit, in gremium qui sæpe tuum se
Reiicit, æterno devinctus vulnere amoris:
Pascit amore avidos inhians in te Dea visus,
Eque tuo endet resupini spiritus ore:
Hunc tu Diva tuo recubantem corpore sancto
Circumfusa super, suaveis ex ore loquelas Funde. -- Lucret. i. 33.
Mars, mighty arm'd, rules the fierce feats of armes,
Yet often casts himselfe into thine armes,
Oblig'd thereto by endlesse wounds of love,
Gaping on thee feeds greedy sight with love,
His breath hangs at thy mouth who upward lies,
Goddesse thou circling him, while he so lies,
With thy celestiall body, speeches sweet
Powre from thy mouth (as any Nectar sweet).----- quænam ista jocandi Sæuitia?And that Nature in mockery left us the most troublesome of our actions, the most common: thereby to equall us, and without distinction to set the foolish and the wise, us and beasts all in one ranke; no barrel better Hering. When I imagine the most contemplative and discreetly-wise-men in these tearmes in that humour, I hold him for a cozener, for a cheater to seeme either studiously contemplative or discreetly wise. It is the foulenesse of the peacockes feete which doth abate his pride, and stoope his gloating-eyed tayle:
What cruelty is this, so set on jesting is?-----ridentem dicere verum,Those which in playes refuse serious opinions, do as one reporteth, like unto him who dreadeth to adore the image of a Saint, if it want a cover, an apr one or a tabernacle. We feed full well and drinke like beasts; but they are not actions that hinder the offices of our mind. In those we hold good our advantage over them, whereas this brings each other thought under subjection, and by its imperious authority makes brutish and dulleth all Platoes philosophy and divinity of it. In all other things you may observe decorum and maintaine some decency: all other operations admit some rules of honesty; this cannot onely be imagined, but vicious or ridiculous. See whether for example sake you can but find a wise or discreete proceeding in it. Alexander said that he knew himselfe mortall chiefly by this action and by sleeping; sleepe doth stifle and suppresseth the faculties of our soule, and that both [devoureth] and dissipates them. Surely it is an argument not onely of our originall corruption, but a badge of our vanity and deformity. On the one side nature urgeth us unto it; having thereunto combined, yea fastned the most noble, the most profitable, and the most sensually-pleasing of all her functions; and on the other suffereth us to accuse, to condemne and to shunne it, as insolent, as dishonest and as lewde, to blush at it, and allow, yea and to commend abstinence. Are not we most brutish to terme that worke beastly which begets and which maketh us? Most people have concurred in divers ceremonies of religion, as sacrifices, luminaries, fastings, incensings, offrings, and amongst others, in condemnation of this action. All opinions agree in that, besides the so farre-extended use of circumcision. Wee have peradventure reason to blame our selves for making so foolish a production as man, and to entitle both the deed and parts thereto belonging shamefull (mine are properly so at this instant). The Esseniens, of whom Plinie speaketh, maintained themselves a long time without nurces or swathling clothes by the arrival of strangers that came to their shoares, who seconding their fond humor, did often visit them. A whole nation hazarding rather to consume then engage themselves to feminine embracements, and rather lose the succession of all men then forge one. They report that Zeno never dealt with woman but once in all his life, which he did for civility, least he should over obstinately seeme to contemne the sex. Each one avoideth to see a man borne, but all runne hastily to see him dye. To destroy him we seeke a spacious field and a full light, but to construct him we hide our selves in some darke corner and worke as close as we may. It is our dutie to conceale our selves in making him; it is our glory, and the originall of many vertues to destroy him being framed. The one is a manifest injury, the other a greater favor, for Aristotle saith that in a certaine phrase, where he was borne, to bonifie or benefit was as much to say as to kill one. The Athenians, to equall the disgrace of these two actions, being to cleanse the Ile of Delos and justify themselves unto Apollo forbad within that precinct all buriall and births, Nostri nosmet poenitet; (Ter. Phor.) 'We are weary of our selves.' There are some nations that when they are eating they cover themselves. I know a Lady (yea one of the greatest) who is of opinion that to chew is an unseemly thing, which much empaireth their grace and beauty, and therefore by hir will she never comes abroad with an appetite; And a man that cannot endure one should see him eate, and shunneth all company more when he filleth then when he emptieth himselfe. In the Turkish Empire there are many who to excell the rest will not be seene when they are feeding, and who make but one meale in a weeke, who mangle their face and cut their limmes, and who never speake to anybody, who think to honour their nature by disnaturing themselves: oh fantasticall people that prize themselves by their contempt and mend [by] their empairing. What monstrous beast is this that maks himselfe a horror to himselfe, whom his delights displease, who tyes himselfe unto misfortune? Some there are that conceale their life,
Quid vetat? -- Hor. Ser. i. Sat. ii. 24.
What should forbid thee sooth to say,
Yet be as mery as we may.Exilioque domos et dulcia limina mutant, -- Virg. Georg. ii. 511.and steale it from the sight of other men; That eschew health and shunne mirth as hatefull qualities and harmefull. Not onely divers Sects but many people curse their birth and blesse their death. Some there be that abborre the glorious Sunne and adore the hidious darkenesse. We are not ingenious but to our own vexation; It is the true foode of our spirits force; a dangerous and most unruly implement.
They change for banishment,
The places that might best content,O miseri quorum gaudia crimen habent. -- Cor. Gal. El. i. 188.Alas, poore silly man, thou hast but too-too necessary and unavoidable incommodities, without increasing them by thine owne invention, and are sufficiently wretched of condition without any arte; thou aboundest in reall and essentiall deformities, and need not forge any by imagination. Doest thou find thy selfe too well at ease, unless the moiety of thine ease molest thee? Findest thou to have supplied or discharged al necessary offices wherto nature engageth thee, and that she is idle in thee, if thou bind not thy selfe unto new offices? Thou fearest not to offend hir universall and undoubted lawes, and art mooved at thine owne partiall and fantasticall ones. And by how much more particular, uncertaine, and contradicted they are, the more endevours thou bestowest that way. The positive orders of thy parish tie thee, those of the world do nothing concerne thee. Runne but a little over the examples of this consideration, thy life is full of them. The verses of these two poets, handling lasciviousnesse so sparingly and so discreetly as they do in my conceit, seeme to discover and display it nearer; ladies cover their bosome with networke, priests many sacred things with a vaile, and painters shadow their workes to give them the more luster and to adde more grace unto them. And they say that the streakes of the Sunne and force of the winde are much more violent by reflection then by a direct line. The Egyptian answered him wisely that asked him what he had hidden under his cloake? 'It is,' quoth he, 'hidden under my cloake that thou maiest not know what it is.' But there are certaine other things which men conceale to shew them. Hear this fellow more open:
O miserable they, whose joyes in fault we lay.Et nudam pressi corpus ad usque meum. -- Ovid. Am. i. El. v. 24.Methinkes he baffles me. Let Martiall at his pleasure tuck-up Venus he makes her not by much appeare so wholly. He that speakes all he knows, doth cloy and distaste us. Who feareth to expresse himselfe, leadeth our conceite to imagine more then happily he conceiveth. There is treason in this kind of modesty, and chiefly as these do in opening us so faire a path unto imagination. Both the action and description should taste of purloyning. The love of the Spaniards and of the Italians pleaseth me; by how much more respective and fearefull it is, the more nicely close and closely nice it is, I wot not who in ancient time wished his throat were as long as a Cranes neck that so hee might the longer and more leasurely taste what he swallowed. That wish were more to purpose than this suddaine and violent pleasure: Namely, in such natures as mine, who am faulty in suddainenesse. To stay her fleeting and delay her with preambles, with them all serveth for favour, all is construed to be a recompence, a wink, a cast of the eye, a bowing, a word, or a signe, a becke is as good as a Dew guard. Hee that could dine with the smoake of roste-meat, might he not dine at a cheape rate? would he not soone bee rich? It is a passion that commixeth with small store of solide essence, great quantity of doating vanity and febricitant raving: it must therefore be requited and served with the like. Let us teach Ladies to know how to prevaile, highly to esteeme themselves, to ammuse, to circumvent and cozen us. We make our last charge the first; we shew our selves right French men, ever rash, ever headlong. Wire-drawing their favours and enstalling them by retaile, each one, even unto miserable old age, findes some listes end, according to his worth and merite. He who hath no jovissance but in enjoying, who shootes not but to hit the marke, who loves not hunting but for the prey; it belongs not to him to entermedle with our Schoole. The more steps and degrees there are, the more delight and honour is there on the top. We should bee pleased to bee brought unto it as unto stately Pallaces by divers porches, severall passages, long and pleasant Galleries, and well contrived turnings. This dispensation would in the end redound to our benefite; we should stay on it, and longer love to lie at Racke and Manger, for these snatches and away marre the grace of it. Take away hope and desire, we grow faint in our courses, we come but lagging after. Our mastery and absolute possession is infinitely to bee feared of them. After they have wholy yeelded themselves to the mercy of our faith and constancy, they have hazarded something. They are rare and difficult vertues: so soone as they are ours, we are no longer theirs.
My body I applide, Even to her naked side.-----postquam cupidæ mentis satiata libido est.And Thrasonides, a young Grecian, was so religiously amorous of his love, that having after much suit gained his mistris hart and favour, he refused to enjoy hir, least by that jovissance he might or quench, or satisfie, or languish that burning flame and restlesse heat wherwith he gloried, and so pleasingly fed himselfe. Things farre fetcht and dearly bought are good for Ladyes. It is the deare price makes viands savour the better. See but how the forme of salutations, which is peculiar unto our nation, doth by its facility bastardize the grace of kisses, which Socrates saith, to be of that consequence, waight and danger, to ravish and steale our hearts. It is an unpleasing and injurious custome unto Ladies, that they must afford their lips to any man that hath but three Lackies following him, how unhandsome and lothsome soever he be:
Verba nihil metuere, nihil perjuria curant. -- Catul. Arg. v. 147.
The lust of greedy minde once satisfied,
They feare no words; nor reke othes falsified.Cuius livida naribus caninis,Nor do we our selves gaine much by it: for as the world is divided into foure parts, so for foure faire ones we must kisse fiftie foule: and to a nice or tender stomack, as are those of mine age, one ill kisse doth, surpay one good. In Italy they are passionate and languishing sutors to very common and mercinarie women; and thus they defend and excuse themselves, saying, That even in enjoying there be certaine degrees, and that by humble services they will endevour to obtaine that which is the most absolutely perfect. They sell but their bodyes, their willes cannot be put to sale; that is too free, and too much its owne. So say these, that it is the will they attempt, and they have reason: It is the will one must serve and most solicite. I abhor to imagine mine, a body voide of affection. And me seemeth this frenzie hath some affinity with that boyes fond humor, who for pure love would wantonize with that fayre Image of Venus which Praxiteles had made; or of the furious Ægyptian who lusted after a dead womans corpes, which he was embaulming and stitching up: which was the occasion of the lawe that afterward was made in Ægypt, that the bodies of faire, young, and nobly borne women should be kept three dayes before they should be delivered into the hands of those who had the charge to provide for their funerals and burials. Periander did more miraculously, who extended his conjugall affection (more regular and lawfull) unto the enjoying of Melissa his deceased wife. Seemes it not to be a lunatique humor in the Moone, being otherwise unable to enjoy Endimion her favorite darling, to lull him in a sweete slumber for many moneths together; and feed hirselfe with the jovissance of a boye, that stirred not but in a dreame? I say likewise, that a man loveth a body without a soule when he loveth a body without his consent and desire. All enjoyings are not alike. There are some hecticke, faint and languishing ones. A thousand causes, besides affection and good will, may obtaine us this graunt of women. It is no sufficient testimony of true affection: therein may lurke treason, as elsewhere: they sometime goe but faintly to worke, and as they say with one buttocke
Dependet glacies, rigetque barba?
Centum occurrere malo culilingis. -- Mart. v. Epig. xciv. 10.
From whose dog-nosthrils black-blew Ise depends,
Whose beard frost-hardned stands on bristled ends, &c.Tanquam thura merumque parent; -- Ibid. xi. Epi. civ. 12.I knowe some that would rather lend that then their coach, and who empart not themselves, but that way: you must also marke whether your company pleaseth them for some other respect or for that end onely as of a lustie-strong grome of a stable: as also in what rank and at what rate you are there lodged or valued;
As though they did dispense
Pure Wine and Frankincense.
Absentem marmoreamve putes. -- Ibid. Epig. lxi. 8.
Of Marble you would thinke she were,
Or that she were not present there.-----tibi si datur uniWhat if she eate your bread with the sauce of a more pleasing imagination?
Quo lapide illa diem candidiore notet. -- Catul. Eleg. iv. 147.
If it afforded be to thee alone,
Where by she counts that day of all dayes one.Te tenet, absentes alios suspirat amores. -- Tibul. iv. El. v. 11.What? have we not seene some in our dayes to have made use of this action for the execution of a most horrible revenge, by that meanes murthering and empoysoning (as one did) a very honest woman? such as know Italie will never wonder if for this subject I seeke for no examples elsewhere. For the said nation may in that point be termed Regent of the world. They have commonly more faire women, and fewer foule then we; but in rare and excellent beauties I thinke we match them. The like I judge of their wits, of the vulgar sort they have evidently many more. Blockishnes is without all comparison more rare amongst them: but for singular wits, and of the highest pitch, we are no whit behinde them. Were I to extend this comparison, I might (me thinkes) say, touching valor, that on the other side, it is in regard of them popular and naturall amongst us: but in their hands one may sometimes finde it so compleate and vigorous, that it exceedeth all the most forcible examples we have of it. The mariages of that countrie are in this somewhat defective. Their custome doth generally impose so severe observances and slavish lawes upon wives, that the remotest acquaintance with a stranger is amongst them as capitall as the nearest. Which law causeth that all aproaches prove necessarily substanciall; and seeing all commeth to one reckoning with them, they have an easie choise: and have they broken downe their hedges? Beleeve it, they will have fire: Luxuria ipsis vinculis, sicut fera bestia, irritata, deinde emissa: 'Luxurie is like a wild beast, first made fiercer with tying, and then let loose.' They must have the reynes given them a little.
Thee she retaines, yet sigheth she
For other loves that absent be.Vidi ego nuper equum contra sua frena tenacemThey allay the desire of company by giving it some liberty. It is a commendable custome with our nation that our children are entertained in noble houses there, as in a schoole of nobility to be trained and b rought up as Pages. And 'tis said to be a kinde of discourtesie to refuse it a gentleman. I have observed (for so many houses so many severall formes and orders) that such Ladies as have gone about to give their waiting women the most austere rules, have not had the best successes. There is required more then ordinary moderation: a great part of their government must bee left to the conduct of their discretion: For, when all comes to all, no discipline can bridle them in each point. True it is that she who escapeth safe and unpolluted from out the schoole of fredome, giveth more confidence of hirselfe than she who commeth sound out of the schoole of severity and restraint.
Ore reluctante fulminis ire modo. -- Ovid. Am. iii. El. iv. 13.
I saw, spite of his bit, a resty colt,
Runne head-strong headlong like a thunder-bolt.
Our forefathers framed their daughters countenances unto shamefastnesse and feare (their inclinations and desires alwaies alike), we unto assurance. We understand not the matter. That belongeth to the Sarmatian wenches, who by their lawes may lie with no man, except with their owne hands they have before killed another man in warre. To me that have no right but by the eares, it sufficeth if they retaine me to be of their counsell, following the priviledge of mine age, I then advise both them and us to embrace abstinence, but if this season bee too much against it, at least modestie and discretion. For as Aristippus (speaking to some young men who blushed to see him go into a bawdy house) said, 'The fault was not in entring, but in not comming out again.' She that will not exempt hir conscience, let hir exempt hir name; though the substance bee not of worth, yet let the apparance hold still good. I love gradation and prolonging in the distribution of their favours. Plato sheweth that in all kindes of love, facility and readinesse is forbidden to defendants. 'Tis a trick of greedinesse which it behoveth them to cloake with their arte, so rashly and fond-hardily to yeeld themselves in their distributions of favours, holding a and moderate course, they much better deceive our desires and conceale theirs. Let them ever be flying before us: I meane even those that intend to bee overtaken as the Scithians are wont, though they seeme to runne away they heate us more, and sooner put us to route. Verily according to the lawe which nature giveth them, it is not fit for them to will and desire: their part is to beare, to obay, and to consent. Therefore hath nature bestowed a perpetual capacity; on us a seld and uncertaine ability. They have alwaies their houre, that they may ever be ready to let us enter. And whereas she hath willed our appetites should make apparant shew and declaration, she caused theirs to bee concealed and inward: and hath furnished them with parts unfit for ostentation, and onely for defence. Such prankes as this we must leave to the Amazonian liberty. Alexander the great, marching through Hircania, Thalestris, Queen of the Amazones, came to meet him with thre hundred lances of her sex, all well mounted and compleately armed, having left the residue of a great armie, that followed hir, beyond the neighbouring mountaines. And thus aloud, that all might heare, she bespake him: That the farre-resounding fame of his victories and matchles valour had brought hir thither to see him, and to offer him hir meanes and forces for the advancing and furthering of his enterprises. And finding him so faire, so young and strong, she, who was perfectly accomplished in all his qualities, advised him to lye with hir, that so there might be borne of the most valiant woman in the world, and only valiant man then living, some great and rare creature for posterity. Alexander thanked hir for the rest, but to take leasure for hir last demands accomplishment, he staide thirteene daies in that place, during which he revelled with as much glee, and feasted with as great jollity, as possibly could be devised, in honour and favour of so courageous a Princess. Wee are well-nigh in all things parciall and corrupted Judges of their action, as no doubt they are of ours. I allow of truth as well when it hurts me as when it helps me. It is a foule disorder, that so often urgeth them unto change, and hinders them from setting their affection on any one subject: as wee see in this Goddesse, to whom they impute so many changes and severall friends. But withall it is against the nature of love not to be violent, and against the condition of violence to be constant. And those who wonder at it exclaime it against it, and in women search for the causes of this infirmity, as incredible and unnaturall: why see they not how often without any amazement and exclaiming, themselves are possessed and infected with it? I[t] might happily seeme more strange to find any constant stay in them. It is not a passion meerely corporeall. If no end be found in coveteousnesse, nor limit in ambition, assure your selfe there is nor end nor limit in letchery. It yet continueth after saciety: nor can any man prescribe it or end or constant satisfaction. It ever goeth on beyond its possession, beyond it's bounds. And if constancy be peradventure in some sort more pardonable in them then in us, They may readily alleage against us our ready inclination unto daily variety and new ware; And secondly alleage without us, that they buy a pigge in a poake. Ione, Queene of Naples caused Andreosse her first husband to be strangled and hanged out of the barres of his window, with a corde of Silke and golde woven with her owne hands; because in bed businesse she found neither his members nor endevours answerable the hope shee had conceived of him, by viewing his stature, beauty, youth, and disposition, by which she had formerly beene surprised and abused. That action hath in it more violence then passion; so that on their part at least necessity is ever provided for: on our behalfe it may happen otherwise. Therefore Plato by his lawes did very wisely establish, that before marriages, the better to decide its opportunity, competent Judges might be appointed to make view of young men which pretended the same, all naked: and of maidens but to the waste: in making triall of us, they happily find us not worthy their choise:Experta latus, madidoque simillima loroIt is not sufficient that will keepe a lively course: weakenesse and incapacity may lawfully breake wedlock:
Inguina, nec lassa stare coacta manu
Deserit imbelles thalamos. -- Marti. vii. Epig. lvii. 3.Et quærendum aliunde foret neruosius illudWhy not, and according to measure, an amorous intelligence, more licentious and more active?
Quod posset Zonam soluere virgineam. -- Catul. Eleg. iii. 27.Si blando nequeat superesse labori. -- Virg. Georg. iii. 127.But is it not great impudency to bring our imperfections and weakenesse, in place where we desire to please, and leave good report and commendation behind us? for the little I now stand in need of,
If it cannot outlast, labor with pleasure past.------ ad unumI would not importune any one whom I am to reverence.
Unable to hold out, one onely busie bout,-----fuge suspicari,Nature should have beene pleased to have made this age miserable, without making it also ridiculous. I hate to see one for an inch of wretched vigor, which enflames him but thrice a week, take-on and swagger as fiercely as if he hath some great and lawfull dayes-worke in his belly; a right blast or puffe of winde: and admire his itching, so quick and nimble, all in a moment to be lubberly squat and benummed. This appetite should only belong to the blossom of a prime youth. Trust not unto it, thogh you see it second that indefatigable, full, constant and swelling heate, that is in you: for truly it will leave you at the best, and when you shall most stand in neede of it. Send it rather to some tender, irresolute and ignorant girle, which yet trembleth for feare of the rod, and that will blush at it,
Cuius undenum trepidavit ætas
Claudere lustrum. -- Hor. Car. ii. Od. iv. 22.
Him of suspition clears,
Whom age hath brought well neare
To five and fifty yeare.Indum sanguineo veluti violaverit ostroWho can stay untill the next morrow, and not die for shame, the disdaine of those love sparkling eyes, privie to his faintnesse, dastardise and impertinencie:
Si quis ebur, vel mista rubent ubi lilia, multa
Alba rosa. -- Virg. Æn. xii. 67.
As if the Indian Ivory one should taint
With bloody Scarlet-graine, or Lillies paint,
White entermixt with red with Roses enter-spred.El taciti fecere tamen conuitia vultus: -- Ovid. Am. i. El. vii. 21.he never felt the sweet contentment, and the sense-mooving earnestness to have beaten and tarnished them by the vigorous exercise of an officious and active night. When I have perceived any of them weary of me, I have not presently accused her lightnes: but made question whether I had not more reason to quarrell with nature, for handling me so unlawfully and uncivilly,
The face though silent, yet silent upbraydes it:Si non longa satis, si non bene mentula crassa:and to my exceeding hurt. Each of my pieces are equally mine, one as another: and no other doth more properly make me a man then this. My whole pourtraiture I universally owe unto the world. One wisedome and reach of my lesson is all in truth, in liberty, in essence: disdaining in the catalogue of my true duties, these easie, faint, ordinary and provinciall rules. All naturall; constant and generall; whereof civility and ceremonie are daughters, but bastards. We shall easily have the vices of apparance, when we shall have had those of essence. When we have done with these, we run upon others, if we finde need of running. For there is danger that we devise new offices, to excuse our negligence toward naturall offices, and to confound them. That is so, we see that in places where faults are bewitchings, bewitchings are but faults. That among nations, where lawes of seemelinesse are more rare and slacke, theprimitive lawes of common reason are better observed: The innumerable multitude of so manifold duties, stifling, languishing and dispersing our care. The applying of our selves unto sleight matters, with-draweth us from such as be just. Oh how easie and plausible a course do these sperficiall men undertake, in respect of ours. These are but shadowes under which we shroud, and wherwith we pay one another. But we pay not, but rather heape debt on debt, unto that great and dreadfull judge, who tucks up our clouts and rags from about our privie parts, and is not squeamish to view all over, even to our most inward and secret deformities: a beneficiall decencie of our maidenly bashfulnesse, could it debar him of this tainted discovery. To conclude, he that could recover or un-besot man, from so scrupulous and verball a superstition, should not much prejudice the world. Our life consisteth partly in folly and partly in wisedome. Hee that writes of it but reverently and regularly, omits the better moitie of it. I excuse me not unto my selfe, and if I did, I would rather excuse my excuses then any fault else of mine: I excuse my selfe of certaine humors, which in number I hold stronger then those which are on my side: In consideration of which I will say thus much more (for I desire to please all men, though it be a hard matter: Esse unum hominem accommodatum ad tantam morum ac sermonum et voluntatum varietatem: 'That one man should be applyable to so great variety of manners, speeches and dispositions') that they are not to blame me, for what I cause auctorities received and approved of many ages, to utter: and that it is not reason, they should for want of ryme deny me the dispensation; which ever some of our churchmen usurpe and enjoy in this season, whereof behold here two, and of the most pert and cocket amongst them:
Nimirum sapiunt videntque paruam
Matronæ quoque mentuiam illibenter, -- Lus. Priap. penul. 1. ibid. viii. 4.Rimula dispeream, ni mono qramma tua est.How many others more? I love modestie; nor is it from judgement that I have made choise of this kinde of scandalous speech: 'tis nature hath chosen the same for me; I commend it no more then all formes contrary unto received custome: onely I excuse it: and by circumstances as well generall as particular, would qualifie the imputation. Well, let us proceed. Whence commeth also the usurpation of soveraigne auctority, which you assume unto your selves, over those that favour you to their cost and prejudice,
Un vit d'amy la contents et bien traicte.Si furtiva dedit nigra munuscula nocte, -- Catul. El. iv. 145.that you should immediately invest withall the interest, the coldness and a wedlock authority? It is a free bargaine, why do you not undertake it on those termes you would have them to keepe? There is no prescription upon voluntarie things. It is against forme, yet it is true that I have in my time managed this match (so farre as the nature of it would allow) with as much conscience as any other whatsoever, and not without some colour of justice: and have given them no further testimony of mine affection then I sincerely felt: and have lively displaide unto them the declination, vigor and birth of the same; with the fits and deferring of it: A man cannot alwayes keepe an even pace, nor ever go to it alike. I have bin so sparing to promise, that (as I thinke) I have paid more then either I promised or was due. They have found mee faithfull, even to the service of their inconstancy: I say an inconstancy avowed, and sometimes multiplied. I never broke with them, as long as I had any hold, were it but by a threds-end: and whatsoever occasion they have given me by their ficklenes, I never fell off unto contempt and hatred: for such famliarities, though I attaine them on most shamefull conditions, yet do they bind me unto some constant good-will. I have sometime given them a taste of choller and indiscret impatience, upon occasions of their wiles, sleights, close-convayances, controversies and contestations betweene us; for, by complexion, I am subject to hastie and rash motions, which often empeach my traffick, and marre my bargaines, though but meane and of small worth. Have they desired to essay the liberty of my judgement, I never dissembled to give them fatherly counsell and biting advise, and shewed myselfe ready to scratch them where they itched. If I have given them cause to complaine of me, it hath bin most for finding a love in me, in respect of our moderne fashion, foolishly conscientious. I have religiously kept my word in things that I might easily have bin dispensed with. They then yeelded sometimes with reputation, and under conditions, which they would easily suffer to bee infringed by the conqueror. I have more then once made pleasure in hir greatest efforts strike saile unto the interest of their honor: and where reason urged me, armed them against me, so that they guided themselves more safely and severely by my prescriptions, if they once freely yeelded unto them, then they could have done by their owne. I have as much as I could endevored to take on my selfe the charge and hazard of our appointments, therby to discharge them from all imputation; and ever contrived our meetings in most hard, strange and unsuspected manner, to be the lesse mistrusted, and (in my seeming) the more accessible. They are opened, especially in those parts where they suppose themselves most concealed. Things lest feared are lest defended and observed. You may more securely dare what no man thinks you would dare, which by difficulty becometh easie. Never had man his approches more impertinently genitale. This way to love is more according to discipline. But how ridiculous unto our people, and of how small effect, who better knowes then I? I will not repent me of it: I have no more to lose by the matter.
If she have giv'n by night,
The stolne gift of delight,-----me tabula sacerIt is now high time to speake plainely of it. But even as to another, I would perhaps say: My friend thou dotest, the love of thy times hath small affinity with faith and honesty:
Votiva paries, indicat uvida,
Vestimenta maris Deo. -- Hor. Car. i. Od. v. 13.
By tables of the vowes which I did owe
Fastened thereto the sacred wall doth showe;
I have hung up my garments water-wet,
Unto that God whose power on seas is great.-----hæc si tu postulesAnd yet if I were to beginne anew, it should bee by the very same path and progresse, how fruitlesse soever it might proove unto me, Insufficiency and sottishnesse are commendable in a discommendable action. As much as I separate my selfe from their humour in that, so much I approach unto mine owne. Moreover, I did never suffer my selfe to be wholly given over to that sport; I therewith pleased, but forgot not my selfe. I ever kept that little understanding and discretion which nature hath bestowed on me, for their service and mine; some motion towards it, but no dotage. My conscience also was engaged therein, even unto incontinency and excesse, but never unto ingratitude, treason, malice, or cruelty. I bought not the pleasure of this vice at all rates, and was content with its owne and simple cost. Nullum intra se vitium est: (Sen. Epi. xcv.) 'There is no vice contained in it selfe.' I hate almost alike a crouching and dull lasinesse and a toilesome and thorny working. The one pincheth, the other dulleth mee. I love wounds as much as bruses, and blood wipes as well as dry-blowes. I had in the practice of this solace, when I was fitter for it, an even moderation betweene these two extremities. Love is a vigilant, lively, and blithe agitation: I was neither troubled nor tormented with it; But heated and distempred by it. There wee must make a stay; It is only hurtfull unto fooles. A young man demanded of the Philosopher Panetius, whether it would beseeme a wise man to be in love; Let wise men alone (quoth he) but for thee and me that are not so, it were best not to engage our selves into so stirring and violent a humour, which makes us slaves to others and contemptible unto our selves. He said true, for we ought not entrust a matter so dangerous unto a minde that hath not wherewith to sustaine the approaches of it, nor effectually to quaile the speach of Agesilaus, That wisedome and love cannot live together. It is a vaine occupation ('tis true), unseemely, shamefull and lawlesse: But using it in this manner, I esteeme it wholsome and fit to rouze a dull spirit and a heavy body: and as a physitian experienced, I would prescribe the same unto a man of my complexion and forme, as soone as any other receipt to keepe him awake and in strength, when he is well in yeares; and delay him from the gripings of old age. As long as we are but in the suburbes of it, and that our pulse yet beateth,
Ratione certa facere, nihilo plus agas,
Quam si des operam; ut cum ratione insanias. -- Ter. Eunuc. act. i. sc. 1.
If this you would by reason certaine make,
You do no more then if the paines you take
To be starke mad, and yet to thinke it reason fit.Dum nona canines, dum prima et recta senectus,We had need to bee solicited and tickled, by some biting agitation, as this is. See but what youth, vigour and jollity it restored unto wise Anacreon. And Socrates, when hee was elder then I am, speaking of an amourous object: leaning (saies hee) shoulder to shoulder, and approaching my head unto his, as [we] were both together looking upon a booke, I felt, in truth, a sudden tingling or prickling in my shoulder, like the biting of some beast, which more then five daies after tickled mee, whereby a continuall itching glided into my heart. But a casuall touch, and that but in a shoulder, to enflame, to distemper and to distract a minde, enfeebled, tamed and cooled through age; and of all humane mindes the most reformed. And why not I pray you? Socrates was but a man, and would neither be nor seeme to bee other. Philosophie contends not against naturall delights, so that due measure bee joyned therewith; and alloweth the moderation, not the shunning of them. The efforts of her resistance are employed against strange and bastard or lawlesse ones. She saith that the bodies appetites ought not to be encreased by the minde; and wittily adviseth us, that we should not excite our hunger by saciety; not to stuffe, insteed of filling our bellies: to avoide all jovissance that may bring us to want: and shunne the meat and drink which may make us hungry or thirstie. As in the service of love, shee appoints us to take an object that onely may satisfie the bodies neede without once moving the mind, which is not there to have any doing, but only to follow and simply to assist the body. But have I not reason to thinke that theseprecepts, which (in mine opinion are elsewhere somewhat rigorous) have reference unto a body which doth his office; and that a dejected one, as a weakned stomack, may be excused if he cherish and sustaine the same by arte, and by the entercouse of fantazie, to restore it the desires, the delights and blithnesse, which of it selfe it hath lost. May we not say that there is nothing in us, during this earthly prison, simply corporall, or purely spirituall? and that injuriously we dismember a living man? thatthere is reason we should carrie our selves in the use of pleasure, at least as favourably as we do in the pangs of griefe? For example, it was vehement, even unto perfection, in the soules of Saints, by repentance. The body had naturally a part therein, by the right of their combination, and yet might have but little share in the cause: and were not contented that it should simply follow and assist the afflicted soule: they have tormented the body it selfe with convenient and sharpe punishments; to the end that one with the other, the body and the soule might a vie plunge man into sorrow so much the more saving, by how much the more smarting. In like case, in corporal pleasures, is it not injustice to quaile and coole the minde, and say, it must thereunto be entrained, as unto a forced bond or servile necessity? She should rather hatch and cherish them, and offer and invite it selfe unto them; the charge of swaying rightly belonging to her. Even as in my conceit, it is her part, in her proper delights, to inspire and infuse into the body all sense or feeling which his condition may beare, and indevour that they may be both sweet and healthy for him. For, as they say, 'tis good reason, that the body follow not his appetites to the mindes prejudice or dammage. But why is it not likewise reason that the minde should not follow hers to the bodies danger and hurt? I have no other passion that keeps mee in breath. What avarice, ambition, quarels, sutes in law, or other contentions worke and effect in others who as my selfe have no assigned vacation or certaine leisure, love would performe more commodiously: it would restore me the vigilancy, sobriety, grace and care of my person; and assure my countenance against the wrinckled frowns of age (those deformed and wretched frownes) which else would blemish and deface the same; it would reduce me to serious, to sound and wise studies, whereby I might procure more love, and purchase more estimation: it would purge my minde from despaire of it selfe, and of its use, acquainting the same againe with it selfe: It would divert me from thousands of irksome tedious thoughts, and melancholy carking cares, wherewith the doting idlenesse and crazed condition of our age doth charge and comber us: It would restore and heat, though but in a dreame, the blood which nature forsaketh: It would uphold the drooping chinne, and somewhat strengthen or lengthen the shrunken sinewes, decaied vigour, and dulled lives-blithenesse of silly wretched man, who gallops apace to his ruine. But I am not ignorant how hard a matter it is to attaine to such a commodity: through weakenesse and long experience, our taste is growne more tender, more choise, and more exquisite. We challenge most when we bring least; we are most desirous to choose when we least deserve to be accepted: And knowing our selves to bee such, we are lesse hardy and more distrustfull: Nothing can assure us to be beloved, seeing our condition and their quality. I am ashamed to be in the companie of this greene, blooming and boyling youth;
Dum superest Lachesi quod torqueat, et pedibus me
Porto meis, nullo dextram subeunte bacillo. -- Juven. Sat. iii. 26.
While hoarie haires are new, and ould-age fresh and straight,
While Lachesis hath yet to spin, while I my waight
Beare on my feete, and stand, without staffe in my hand.Cujus in indomito constantior inguine nervus,Why should we present our wretchednesse amid this their jollity?
Quam nova collibus arbor inhæret: -- Hor. Epod. xii. 19.Possint ut juvenes visere fervidiThey have both strength and reason on their side; let us give them place: we have no longer holde fast. This bloome of budding beauty loves not to be handled by such nummed and so clomsie bands, nor would it be dealt-with by meanes purely materiall or ordinary stuffe. For, as that ancient Philosopher answered one that mocked him because hee could not obtaine the favour of a yongling, whom he suingly pursued: 'My friend,' quoth he, 'the hooke bites not at such fresh cheese.' It is a commerce needing relation and mutuall correspondency: other pleasures that we receive may be requitted by recompences of different nature; but this cannot be repaid but with the very same kinde of coyne. Verily, the pleasure I do others in this sport doth more sweetly tickle my imagination then that is done unto me. Now if no generous minde can receive pleasure where he returneth none, it is a base minde that would have all duty and delights to feed with conference those under whose charge he remaineth. There is no beauty, nor favour, nor familiarity so exquisite, which a gallant minde should desire at this rate. Now, if women can do us no good but in pittie, I had much rather not to live at all then to live by almes. I would I had the priviledge to demande of them, in the same stile I have heard some beg in Italy: Fate beno per voi. 'Do some good for your selfe'; or after the manner that Cyrus exhorted his souldiers: 'Whosoever loveth mee, let him follow mee.' Consort your selfe, will some say to me, with those of your owne condition, whom the company of like fortune will yeeld of more easie accesse. Oh sottish and wallowish composition!
Multo non sine risu,
Dilapsam in cineres facem, -- Hor. Car. iv. Od. xiii. 26.
That hot young men may go and see,
Not without sport and mery glee,
Their fire-brands turn'd to ashes be.-----noloXenophon useth for an objection and accusation against Menon, that in his love he dealt with fading objects. I take more sensuall pleasure by onely viewing the mutuall, even-proporcioned and delicate commixture of two yong beauties; or onely to consider the same in mine imagination, then if my selfe should be second in a lumpish, sad and disproporcioned conjunction. I resigne such distasted and fantasticall appetites unto the Emperour Galba, who medled with none but cast, worne, hard-old flesh; And to that poore slave,
Barbam vellere mortito leoni. -- Mar. x. Epig. xc. 9.
I will not pull (though not a fearde),
When he is dead, a Lion's beard.O ego dii faciant talem te cernere possim,And amongst blemishing-deformities, I deeme artificiall and forced beautie to bee of the chiefest. Emanez, a young lad of Chios, supposing by gorgeous attires to purchase the beauty which nature denied him, came to the philosopher Arcesilaus, and asked of him whether a wise man could be in love or no. 'Yes, marrie,' quoth he, 'so it were not with a painted and sophisticate beauty, as thine is.' The fowlenesse of an old knowne woman is, in my seeming not so aged or so ill-favoured as one that's painted and sleeked. Shall I bouldly speake it, and not have my throate cut for my labour? Love is not properly nor naturally in season but in the age next unto infancy.
Charaque mutatis oscula ferre comis,
Amplectique meis corpus non pingue lacertis. -- Ovid. Pont. i. El. v. 49.
Gods graunt I may beholde thee in such case,
And kisse thy chang'd locks with my dearest grace,
And with mine armes thy limmes not fat embrace.Quam si puellarum insereres choro,No more is perfect beauty. For, whereas Homer extends it untill such time as the chinne begins to bud, Plato himselfe hath noted the same for very rare, and the cause for which the Sophister Dion termed youthes budding hayres, Aristogitons and Harmodii is notoriously knowne. In man-hoode I finde it already to bee somewhat out of date, much more in old age.
Mire sagaces falleret hospites.
Discrimen obscurum solutis
Crinibus, ambiguoque vultu. -- Hor. Car. ii. Od. v. 12.
Whom if you should in crue of wenches place,
With haire loose-hanging, and ambiguous face,
Strangely the undiscern'd distinction might
Deceive a thousand strangers of sharpe sight.Importunus enim transuolat aridasAnd Margaret, Queen of Navarre, lengthens much (like a woman) the priviledge of women; Ordaining thirty yeares to be the season for them to change the title of faire into good.The shorter possession we allow it over our lives the better for us. Behold its behaviour. It is a prin-cock boy, who, in his schoole, knows not how far one proceeds against all order: study, exercise, custome and practise, are paths to insufficiency: the novices beare all the sway. Amor ordinem nescit: 'Love knowes or keeps no order.' Surely its course hath more garbe when it is commixt with unadvisednes and trouble: faults and contrary successes give it edge and grace: so it be eager and hungry, it little importeth whether it bee prudent. Observe but how he staggers, stumbleth and fooleth; you fetter and shackle him when you guide him by arte and discretion, and you force his sacred liberty when you submit him to those bearded, grim, and tough-hard hands. Moreover, I often heare them display this intelligence as absolutely spiritual, disdaining to draw into consideration the interest which all the sences have in the same. All serveth to the purpose. But I may say that I have often seen some of us excuse the weaknesse of their minds in favour of their corporall beauties; but I never saw them yet, that in behalfe of the mindes-beauties, how sound and ripe soever they were, would afford an helping hand unto a body that never so little falleth into declination. Why doth not some one of them long to produce that noble Socraticall brood; or breed that precious gem between the body and the mind, purchasing with the price of her thighes a Philosophicall and spirituall breed and intelligence, which is the highest rate she can possibly value them at? Plato appointeth in his laws that he who performeth a notable and worthy exploite in warre, during the time of that expedition, should not be denied a kisse or refused any other amorous favour of whomsoever he shall please to desire it, without respect either of his ill-favourdnes, deformity, or age. What he deemeth so just and allowable in commendation of Military valour, may not the same be thought as lawfull in commendation or some other worth? and why is not some one of them possessed with the humor to preoccupate on hir companions the glory of this chaste love? chaste I may well say:
Qærcus. -- Ibid. iv. Od. xiii. 9.
Importune love doth ever flie
The Okes with withered old-age drie.-----nam si quando ad prælia ventum est,Vices smothered in ones thought are not the woorst. To conclude this notable commentarie, escaped from me by a flux of babling, a flux sometimes as violent as hurtfull,
Ut quondam stipulis magnus sine viribus ignis
In cassum furit. -- Virg. Georg. iii. 98.
If once it come to handy-gripes; as great,
But forcelesse fire in stubble; so his heate
Rageth amaine, but all in vaine.Ut missum sponsi furtivo munere malum,I say that both male and female are cast in one same moulde; instruction and custome excepted, there is no great difference betweene them. Plato calleth them both indifferently to the society of all studies, exercises, charges and functions of warre and peace in his Commonwealth. And the Philosopher Antisthenes took away al distinction betweene their vertue and ours. It is much more easie to accuse the one sexe then to excuse the other. It is that which some say proverbially: Ill may the Kill call the Oven burnt taile.
Procurrit casto virginis e gremio:
Quod miseræ oblitæ molli sub veste locatum,
Dum adventu matris prosilit, excutitur,
Atque illud prono præceps agitur decursu,
Huic manat tristi conscius ore rubor. -- Catul. El. i. 19.
As when some fruit by stealth sent from hir friend,
From chaste lap of a virgin doth descend,
Which by hir, under hir soft aprone plast,
Starting at mothers comming thence is cast:
And trilling downe in haste doth head-long go,
A guilty blush in hir sad face doth flo.