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And each petition for a ponyard fears.
But I am left no refuge, 'lesse to know
The depth of horror can no further go.
[Draws his sword.
No, I will live-live, till divellop'd guilt
Act V. A gentle and tender melancholy is diffused over the affecting reflections, in the soliloquies of Vanlore, a noble gentleman, but of low fortune, to whom his rival, a rich simpleton, is preferred by the father of Theocrine.
“ Van. How purblind is the world, that such a monster,
The scholar stews his catholique brains for food.
Act I. Scene I.
The following lines, addressed by Oroandes to Eurione, are exquisitely beautiful.
“The morning pearls,
Oroandes says to Zannazarro, when in rebellion :
“ Nobility, like heaven's bright plannets, waits
ART. VII. The Felicitie of Man, or, his Summum Bonum. Written by Si R. Barckley, KTM In coeli summum permanet arce bonum.
Boeth. de Cons. Philos. lib. 3. London : Printed by R. Y. and are sold by Rich. Roystone, at his shop in Ivie Lane. 1631. Small 4to, pp. 717.
Of this author, or his book, we have not been able to find any notice or account whatever. It is a quarto, of a pretty good thickness,-is rare, and purports to be an ethical treatise on human happiness, consisting of six books. In the first, the author offers to prove, and by example to shew, that felicity consists not in pleasure, -In the second, not in riches,-In the third, not in honour and glory,—In the fourth, not in moral virtue, or in the action of virtue, after the academicks and peripateticks, nor in philosophical contemplation - In the fifth, he declares his own opinion of the happiness of this life —and in the sixth, he shews, wherein consists the true felicity and SUMMUM BONUM of man, and the way to attain it. To establish these several propositions by examples, Sir Richard Barckley has wandered over all the fields of ancient and modern history, and culled every story, every anecdote, every narrative, and almost every maxim, that could by any means be made applicable to his purpose, and some that could not ;-he has visited every spring that would yield a flower or an extraordinary weed on its green margin, and has ransacked every sequestered nook and secret place, to collect materials : for this “one special purpose” he has, he says, “ walked into the muses' garden, and perusing divers sorts of things, applied by the authors to divers uses, has gathered together some of those, which he thought most fit to serve his purpose ; and although they were good as they lay scattered, yet being gathered together and applied to some special use, they are made more profitable than as they lay dispersed.”
It is in fact a garner filled with the most amusing and best histories, and little narrations, told in the author's own words, and occasionally enlarged, but in perfect keeping and consistency.-Many of them are related from memory, and thereby have attained something of the freedom and spirit of originals. We have often thought, that a collection of all the old stories of antiquity, as they are scattered about Herodotus, Diogenes Laertius, Ælian, and other writers of that description, if re-told in the spirit of modern times, and with a genuine feeling of their truth and beauty, might make a very pleasing little volume.* The book before us has not the elastic vivacity, nor the pensive sweetness, which should both be main features in such a work. There is, indeed, a heaviness and clumsiness about the unknown knight's production, which would prevent its ever being a prime favourite with us; yet we cannot help frequently admiring the lumbering sort of dexterity with which he brings his artillery of tales and anecdotes to bear upon the true “ Summum Bonum.” Though we are inclined to attach very little importance to Sir Richard as an ethical writer, we lament the scarcity of this most amusing storehouse of fact and fiction. Sir Richard is not a man troubled with scepticism,
* Since writing the above, we have seen some numbers of a small weekly publication, entitled “ The Indicator," by Leigh Hunt, the author of Rimini; which in a great measure comes up to the idea here expressed, and which, if continued with the same luxuriance of fancy and the same hearty feeling for the humane and the beautiful, will form, when finished, an exquisite addition to our periodical library.
that which has been handed down, he opens his heart to and straight transfers to his book-devils, angels, saints, popes, kings, and sages, chase each other through his pages-he is no respecter of authorities in books, having as much regard, or rather a preference for the marvellous, when the moral is equally
The following legend is retailed with some power of forcible representation.
“ Pope Sylvester the Second, called before, Gilbert, a Frenchman borne, came by the popedom, as Platina, Nauclerus, Benno, the Cardinall, and others report, by the help of the divell. In his youth he became a monke: but forsaking the monastery, he followed the divell, to whom he had wholly given himselfe, and went to Hispalis, a citie in Spaine, for learning's sake: where his hap was to insinuate himself into the favour of a Saracen philosopher, skilfule in magicke. In this man's house he saw a book of necromancy, which he was desirous to steale away. But the booke being very warily and safely kept by the Saracen's daughter, with whom he had familiar acquaintance, at last he wan her favour, that he might secretly take it away, and reade it over. Which when he had gotten into his possession, with promise to deliver it againe, he determined to depart thence, fearing neverthelesse what danger he might fall into, by his theft. After he had escaped this danger, being overcome with ambition, and a divellish desire to rule, he obtained first by corruption, the archbishopricke of Reymes, and afterward that of Ravenna, and at last the popedom, as is sayd before, by the helpe of the divell; upon condition that after his death, he should be wholly his, by whose subtilty he had attained to that high dignitie. And although in his popedome he dissembled his necromancy, yet he kept in a secret place a brasen head, of whom he received answere of such things as he was disposed to demand of the divell. At length when this Gilbert, desirous to reigne long, asked the divell how long he should live pope, the wicked spirit answered him cunningly after his maner, that if he came not to Jerusalem, he should live long. And as it happened him to say masse, after he had reigned four years and somewhat more, in a church called the holy crosse at Jerusalem, he fell suddenly into an extreame fever, and knew by the rumbling and noyse of the divell, (who looked for performance of his promise) that his time was come to dye: but he falling into an earnest repentance, and openly confessing his impietie and familiarity with the divell to the people, bewailed his grievous offence committed against God, and exhorted all men to beware of ambition, and the subtiltie of the divell, and to lead an honest and godly life. When he perceived that death approached, he desired that his hands and tongue might be cut off, because with them he had blasphemed God, and sacrificed to the divell, and then that his mangled carkase, as it had deserved, might be layd in a cart, and the horses driven forth without any guide, and where they did of their owne accord stay, that there his body might be buried. All which things being done, the horse's stayed when they came against a church of Lateran, where they tooke him forth and buried him: whereby men conjecture, that through his repentance God shewed him mercy. Neverthelesse, whatsoever became of his soule, the divell would not leave his old acquaintance with his body in many years after. For their writers report, that a little before the death of many Popes that succeeded him, his bones should be heard to rattle, and his tombe would sweate. By which signes men knew that a Pope would shortly dye. But if a common custome had not altered the case, and qualified the greatnesse of the fault, it would have seemed strange, that they which professe themselves to bee vicars of Christ, should bee so familiarly acquainted with the divell. For there were eighteene Popes necromancers, one succeeding another, as some write.”
We think the reader will be pleased with Sir Richard's mode of dishing up this story.
There was a disputation on a time between this Solon, who was married and had one onely sonne, a towardly young man, and Thales another of the sages, that was unmarried ; which estate was better, marriage or a single life : Solon commended matrimony, Thales preferred the other: and when he perceived that he could not perswade Solon by reason and argument to be of his opinion, he practised this device. When their talke was ended, being both at Thales his house, Thales went forth and caused one to faine an errand to him, and say as he had instructed him, as though hee came from Athens, where Solon's dwelling was: this man like a stranger, as these two wise men were talking together within the house, knocketh at the doore; Thales letteth him in: the man faineth a message to him from a friend of his at Athens : Solon hearing him say that hee came from Athens, went forth of the next roome to him, and asked what newes at Athens ? Little newes (quoth he) but as I came forth of the city, I saw the senatours and principall men of Athens going to the buriall of a young man. Solon going into the other roome againe, and musing who this should bee, being in some doubt lest peradventure it should bee his sonne, commeth forth to him againe, and asked him whether he knew who it should be that was dead ? He answered that he had forgotten his name, but it was the onely sonne of a notable man in Athens, and that for the reverence and love that they did beare to his father, all the nobilitie and principal men of the city went to his buriall. Then Solon greatly confused and troubled in minde, goeth from him againe, fearing his owne sonne, and being farre out of quiet, returneth to aske him, whether he could not call to remembrance the name of this young man's father, if he heard it reckoned ? He answered, that he thought he could remember his name, if he might heare it againe. And after Solon had reckoned up the names of a great many of the principall men of the city, and the other denying them to be the man, he came at last to his own name, and asked whether he were not called Solon? And when the other affirmed that to be the name of the father of this young man that was dead, Solon cryeth out upon his onely sonne, and maketh great lamentation; he teareth his haire, and beateth his head against the wall, and doth all things that men use to do in ca