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one whole day, under a cloud often, and sometimes weeping great and little showers, and sets quickly: so is a man's reason and his life.”
passage puts one in mind of the rising dawn and kindling skies in one of Claude's landscapes. Sir Thomas Brown has nothing of this rich finishing and exact gradation. The genius of the two men differed, as that of the painter from the mathematician. The one measures objects, the other copies them. The one shews that things are nothing out of themselves, or in relation to the whole : the one, what they are in themselves, and in relation to us.
Or the one may be said to apply the telescope of the mind to distant bodies; the other looks at nature in its infinite minuteness and glossy splendour through a solar microscope.
In speaking of Death, our author's style assumes the port and withering smile of the King of Terrors. The following are scattered passages on this subject.
“ It is the same harmless thing that a poor shepherd suffered yesterday or a maid servant to-day; and at the same time in which you die, in that very night a thousand creatures die with you, some wise men, and many fools; aud the wisdom of the first will not quit hin, and the folly of the latter does not make him unable to die.”
“ I have read of a fair young German gentleman, who, while living, often refused to be pictured, but put off the importunity of his friends' desire by giving way that after a few days' burial, they might send a painter to his vault, and if
they saw cause for it, draw the image of his death unto the life. They did so, and found his face half-eaten, and his midriff and back-bone full of serpents; and so he stands pictured among
his armed ancestors." “ It is a mighty change that is made by the death of every person, and it is visible to us, who are alive. Reckon but from the sprightfulness of youth and the fair cheeks and full eyes of childhood, from the vigorousness and strong flexure of the joints of five and twenty, to the hollowness and dead paleness, to the loathsomeness and horror of a three days' burial, and we shall perceive the distance to be very great and very strange. But so have I seen a rose newly springing from the clefts of its bood, and at first it was fair as the morning, and full with the dew of heaven, as the lamb's fleece; but when a ruder breath had forced open its virgiu modesty, and dismantled its too youthful and unripe retirements, it began to put on darkness and to decline to softness and the symptoms of a sickly age, it bowed the head and broke its stalk, and at night, having lost some of its leaves, and all its beauty, it fell into the portion of weeds and outworn faces. So does the fairest beauty change, and it will be as bad with
and then what servants shall we have to wait upon us in the grave ? What friends to visit us? What officious people to cleanse away the moist and unwholesome cloud reflected upon our faces from the sides of the , weeping vaults, which are the longest weepers for our funerals ?”
“ A man may read a sermon, the best and most passionate that ever man preached, if he shall but enter into the sepulchres of kings. In the same Escurial where the Spanish princes live in greatness and power, and decree war or peace, they bave wisely placed a cemetery where their ashes and their glory shall sleep till time shall be no more: and where our kings have been crowned, their ancestors lie interred, and they must walk over their grandsires' head to take his crown. There is an acre sown with royal seed, the copy of the great
est change from rich to naked, from cieled roofs to arched coffins, from living like Gods to die like men. There is enough to cool the flames of lust, to abate the heights of pride, to appease the itch of covetous desires, to sully and dash out the dissembling colours of a lustful, artificial, and imaginary beauty. There the warlike and the peaceful, the fortunate and the miserable, the beloved and the despised princes mingle their dust, and pay down their symbol of mortality, and tell all the world that when we die, our ashes shall be equal to kings, and our accounts easier, and our pains for our crimes shall be less. To my apprehension, it is a sad
* The above passage is an inimitably fine paraphrase of some lines on the tombs in Westminster Abbey by F. Beaumont. It shows how near Jeremy Taylor's style was to poetry, and how well it weaves in with it.
"Mortality, behold, and fear,
What a charge of flesh is here!
and state Buried in dust, once dead by fate."
record which is left by Athenæus concerning Ninus the great Assyrian monarch, whose life and death is summed up in these words : “ Ninus the Assyrian had an ocean of gold, and other riches more than the sand in the Caspian sea; he never saw the stars, and perhaps he never desired it; he never stirred up the holy fire among the Magi; nor touched his God with the sacred rod according to the laws: he never offered sacrifice, vor worshipped the deity, nor administered justice, nor spake to the people; nor numbered them: but he was most valiant to eat and driuk, and having mingled bis wines, he threw the rest upon the stones.
This man is dead: behold his sepulchre, and now hear where Ninus is. Sometime I was Ninus, and drew the breath of a living man, but now am nothing but clay. I have nothing but what I did eat, and what I served to myself in lust is all my portion: the wealth with which I was blessed, my enemies meeting together shall carry away, as the mad Thyades carry a raw goat. I am gone to hell: and when I went thither, I neither carried gold nor horse, nor silver chariot. I that wore a mitre, am now a little heap of dust.”
He who wrote in this manner also wore a mitre, and is now a heap of dust; but when the name of Jeremy Taylor is no longer remembered with reverence, genius will have become a mockery, and virtue an empty shade!
THE SPIRIT OF ANCIENT AND MODERN LITERA
TURE-ON THE GERMAN DRAMA, CONTRASTED WITH THAT OF THE AGE OF ELIZABETH.
BEFORE I proceed to the more immediate subject of the present Lecture, I wish to say a few words of one or two writers in our own time, who have imbibed the spirit and imitated the language of our elder dramatists. Among these I
may reckon the ingenious author of the Apostate and Evadne, who in the last-mentioned play, in particular, has availed himself with much judgment and spirit of the tragedy of the Traitor by old Shirley. It would be curious to hear the opinion of a professed admirer of the Ancients, and captious despiser of the Moderns, with respect to this production, before he knew it was
of an old play. Shirley himself lived in the time of Charles I. and died in the beginning of Charles II.*; but he had formed his style on
* He and his wife both died from fright, occasioned by the great fire of London in 1665, and lie buried in St. Giles's church-yard.