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more sweetness both in phrase and in thought. There is far more love for men in him than there was in Milton, and a refined and devout nature seems to pervade much of what he wrote. His images are not so grand, possibly not so vivid, as those of Milton, but they are no less beautiful. His learning was hardly less than that of Milton, but his classical allusions are apt to be from familiar stories about people instead of from the more profoundly significant tales of mythology. Of course controversial theology deals in dry abstractions and artificial dialectics, but Bishop Taylor continually views it from the human side and lights up even his arguments with illustrations of human interest and great poetic beauty. Our limits allow but two quotations, the first of which is from the well-known passage on prayer.
Prayer is the peace of our spirit, the stillness of our thoughts, the evenness of our recollection, the seat of our meditation, the rest of our cares, and the calın of our tempest; prayer is the issue of a quiet mind, of untroubled thoughts; it is the daughter of charity and the sister of meekness; and he that prays to God with an angry, that is with a troubled and discomposed spirit is like him that retires into a battle to meditate and sets up his closet in the out-quarters of an army, and chooses a frontier garrison to be wise in. Anger is a perfect alienation of the mind from prayer, and therefore is contrary to that attention which presents our prayers in a right line to God. For so I have seen a lark rising from his bed of grass, and soaring upward, singing as he rises, and hopes to get to heaven and climb above the clouds; but the poor bird was beaten back with the loud sighings of an eastern wind, and his motion made irregular and inconstant, descending more at every breath of the tempest than it could recover by the libration and frequent weighing of his wings, till the little creature was forced to sit down and pant, and stay till the storm was over; and then it made a prosperous flight and did rise and sing as if it had learned music and motion from an angel as he passed sometimes through the air about his ministries here below. So is the prayer of
a good man : when his affairs have required business, and his business was a matter of discipline, and his discipline was to pass upon a sinning person, or had a design of charity, his duty met with the infirmities of a man, and anger was his instrument, and the instrument became stronger than the prime agent, and raised a tempest, and overruled the man, and hen his prayer was broken, and his thoughts were troubled, and his words went up toward a cloud, and his thoughts pulled them back again, and made them without intention.”
THE AGE OF DISCRETION
We must not think that the life of a man begins when he can feed himself or walk alone, when he can fight or beget his like, for so is he contemporary with a camel or a cow; but he is first a man when he comes to a certain steady use of reason, according to his proportion; and when that is, all the world of men can not tell precisely. Some are called at age at fourteen, some at one-and-twenty, some never; but all men late enough; for the life of a man comes upon him slowly and insensibly. But as when the sun approaching toward the gates of the morning, he first opens a little eye of heaven and sends away the spirits of darkness and gives light to a cock and calls up the lark to matins, and by and by gilds the fringes of a cloud and peeps over the eastern hills, thrusting out his golden horns like those which decked the brows of Moses when he was forced to wear a vail because himself had seen the face of God; and still, while a man tells the story, the sun gets up higher and higher till he shows a fair face and a full light, and then he shines one whole day, under a cloud often and weeping great and little showers and sets quickly: so is a mau's reason and his life.
Sir Thomas Browne, 1605-1682.
Sir Thomas Browne received his bachelor's degree from Pembroke College, Oxford, took up the profession of
medicine, and in 1636 settled in Norwich. His books are “ Religio Medici,” “Pseudodoxia Epi
demica or Inquiry into Vulgar Errors,” “The Garden of Cyrus,” and “Hydriotaphia, or Urn Burial.” In richness of metaphor and quaint dignity of diction, and tendency to illustrate mystical and philosophical spec
ulations by concrete imagery, he is thoroughly Elizabethan. He was entirely unmoved by the political and religious dissensions of the stormy times in which he lived - his books were printed between 1612 and 1658. It is only by reason of date that we can call him a writer of the Puritan period, whereas Milton in his prose works, at least, and in “ Paradise Lost” is Puritan in tone of thought and temper. The “Urn Burial ” was prompted by the unearthing at Norwich in 1658 of some Roman cinerary urns, and deserves the adjectives “magnificent” and “ majestic.” It embodies reflections on the shortness of life, the triumphant power of death and time, and the temporary nature of all human greatness. The diction is excessively Latinized, but marked by such beautiful and solemn cadences that the book merits the title of prose poem. His writings are more loved by those who have a delicate perception of the beautiful in a quaint and oldfashioned form, than those of any other prose writer except, possibly, Charles Lamb. The impress of a genial and serious personality gives all that he wrote a unique attraction which the lovers of letters from his day to this have not been slow to feel.
“For my life it is a miracle of thirty years, which to relate were not a history but a piece of poetry, and would sound to common ears like a fable. For the world I count it not an inn but a hospital, and a place not to live but to die in. The world that I regard, is myself; it is but the microcosm of mine own frame that I cast my eye on for the other I use it like the globe and turn it round sometimes for my recreation. ... The earth is a point not only in respect of the heavens above us, but of that heavenly and celestial part within us. The mass of flesh that circumscribes me, limits not my mind. The surface that tells the heavens it hath an end, cannot persuade I have any. ... Whilst I study to find how I am a microcosm or little world, I find myself something more than the great. There is surely
a piece of divinity in us, something that was before the heavens and owes. no homage to the sun. Nature tells me I am the image of God as well as Scripture. He that understands not this much, hath not his introduction or first lesson, and hath yet to begin the alpnabet of
But the iniquity of oblivion blindly scattereth her poppy, and deals with the memory of men without distinction to merit of perpetuity. Who can but pity the founder of the pyramids ?
Erostratus lives that burnt the Temple of Diana; he is almost lost that built it. Time hath spared the epitaph of Adrian's horse; confounded that of himself. In vain we compute our felicities by the advantage of our good names, since bad have equal durations; and Thersites is like to live as long as Agamemnon. Who knows whether the best of men be known, or whether there be not more remarkable persons forgot than any that stand remembered in the known account of time? Without the favour of the everlasting register, the first man had been as unknown as the last, and Methuselah's long life had been his only chronicle.
“Oblivion is not to be hired. The greater part must be content to be as though they had not been; to be found in the register of God, not in the record of men. Twenty-seven names make up the first story, and the recorded names ever since contain not one living century. The number of the dead long exceedeth all that shall live. The night of time far exceedeth the day, and who knows when was the Equinox ? Every hour adds unto that current arithmetic, which scarce stands one moment. And since death must be the Lucina of life, and even pagans could doubt whether thus to live were to die; since our longest sun sets at right declensions, and makes but winter arches, and therefore it cannot be long before we lie down in darkness, and have our light in ashes; since the brother of death daily haunts us with dying mementos, and time, that grows old itself, bids us to hope no long duration, diuturnity is a dream and folly of expectation.” — Urn Burial.
“Thus there are two books from whence I collect my divinity: besides that written one of God, another of his servant nature, that universal and public' manuscript that lies expansed unto the eyes of all; those that never saw him in the one have discovered him in the other. This was the Scripture and Theology of the heathens; the natural motion of the Sun made them more admire him than its
supernatural station did the children of Israel; the ordinary effect of nature wrought more admiration in them than in the other all his miracles : surely the heathens knew better how to join and read these mystical letters than we Christians, who cast a more careless eye on those common hieroglyphics and disdain to suck divinity from the flowers of nature. Nor do I so forget God as to adore the name of nature; which I define not, with the schools, to be the principle of motion and rest, but that straight and regular line, that settled and constant course the wisdom of God hath ordained the actions of his creatures according to their several kinds.” — Religio Medici.
Izaak Walton was born at Stafford and followed the business of a linendraper in London. When the civil
war broke out he retired from business and Izaak Walton, bought some land near his birthplace and 1593-1683.
went to live there, but, as Anthony Wood says, he spent most of his time in the families of the eminent clergymen of England by whom he was much beloved." The first edition of the “ Compleat Angler” came out in 1653, but the author continued to add to it in a leisurely way, so that the last edition in 1676 is nearly twice as long as the first one was. Between 1640 and 1678 he wrote the lives of Dr. John Donne, Sir Henry Wotton, Richard Hooker, George Herbert, and Bishop Sanderson, all of them men of characters somewhat akin to his own. The “Compleat Angler” will always remain an English classic and a delightful book because it is pervaded by the simple unostentatious piety and unaffected kindliness of the author. It is full of the spirit of rural England in the old days. It is but a short and scrappy book, but one or two passages are of singular beauty, and a quiet charm hangs over all of it which is perhaps greater in an old edition than in one of the modern, artistic, illustrated ones.
Walton represents one of the most attractive types of writers, simple-minded