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purchased us ; liberty, which is the nurse of all great wits ; this is that which hath rarified and enlightened our spirits like the influence of heaven ; this is that which hath enfranchised, enlarged, and lifted up our apprehensions degrees above themselves. Ye cannot make us now less capable, less knowing, less eagerly pursuing of the truth, unless ye first make yourselves, that made us so, less the lovers, less the founders of our true liberty. We can grow ignorant again, brutish, formal, slavish, as ye found us ; but you then must first become that which ye cannot be, oppressive, arbitrary, and tyrannous, as they were from whom ye have freed us.
That our hearts are now more capacious, our thoughts more erected to the search and expectation of greatest and exactest things, is the issue of your own virtue propagated in us; ye cannot suppress that, unless ye reinforce an abrogated and merciless law, that fathers may dispatch at will their own children. And who shall then stick closest to yo, and excite others ? not he who takes up arms for coat and conduct, and his four nobles of Dangelt. Although I dispraise not the defence of just immunities, yet love my peace better, if that were all. Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties,
191.-THE VISION OF OLIVER CROMWELL.
COWLEY. [ABRAHAM COWLEY, who at one time was ranked amongst the greatest of our poets, is now read by few. He is a curious relic of that school of poetry which rejected simplicity AS beneath the dignity of verse, and aimed at expressing the most extravagant thoughts in the most hyperbolical language. Wit and learning he undoubtedly had; but in his poetry his learning becomes pedantry and his wit affectation. He was the son of a grocer in Fleet Street, and was born in 1018. The works of Spenser, which he says used to lie in his mother's parlour, were the delight of his boyhood, and made him an early poet. He was educated at Westminster School, and at Trinity College, Cambridge; and having adhered to the royal cause, left his country for ten years. At the Restoration he obtained a beneficial lease of crown lands at Chertsey, where he died in 1607. His prose writings, unlike his poetry, are elegant without exaggeration.]
I was interrupted by a strange and terrible apparition; for there appeared to me (arising out of the earth as I conceived) the figure of a man taller than a giant, or indeed than the shadow of any giant in the evening. His body was naked, but that nakedness adorned, or rather deformed, all over with several figures, after the manner of the ancient Britons, painted upon it; and I perceived that most of them were the representation of the late battles in our civil wars, and (if I be not much mistaken) it was the battle of Naseby that was drawn upon his breast. His eyes were like burning brass; and there were three crowns of the same metal (as I guessed), and that looked as red-hot, too, upon his head. He held in his right hand a sword that was yet bloody, and nevertheless the motto of it was Pax quæritor bello; and in his left hand a thick book, on the back of which was written, in letters of gold, Acts, Ordinances, Protestations, Covenants, Engagements, Declarations, Remonstrances, &c.
Though this sudden, unusual, and dreadful object might have quelled a greater courage than mine, yet so it pleased God (for there is nothing bolder than a man in a vision) that I was not at all daunted, but asked him resolutely and briefly 'What art thou ?' And he said, 'I am called the north-west principality, his highness, the protector of the commonwealths of England, Scotland, and Ireland, and the dominions belonging thereunto, for I ain that angel to whom the Almighty has committed the government of those three kingdoms, which thou seest from this place.' And I answered and said, 'If it be so, sir, it seems to me that for almost these twenty years past your highness has been absent from your charge : for not only if any angel, but if any wise and Lonest man had since that time been our governor, we should not have wandered thus long in these laborious and endless labyrinths of confusion ; but either not have entered at all into them, or at least have returned back ere we had absolutely lost our way; but, instead of your highness, we have had since such a protector as was his predecessor Richard III, to the king, his nephew; for he presently slew the Commonwealth which he pretended to protect, and set up himself in the place of it; a little less guilty, indeed, in one respect, because the other slew an innocent, and this man did but murder a murderer. Such a protector we have had as we would have been glad to have changed for an enemy, and rather received a constant Turk than this every month's apostate ; such a protector as man is to his flocks which he shears, and sells, or devours himself ; and I would fain know what the wolf, which he protects him from, could do more ? Such a protector-and, as I was proceeding, methought, his highness seemed to put on a displeased and threatening countenance, as men use to do when their dearest friends happen to be traduced in their company ; which gave me the first rise of jealousy against him ; for I did not believe that Cromwell, aiaong all his foreign correspondence, had over held any with angels. However, I was not hardened enough yet to venture a quarrel with him then ; and therefore (as if I had spoken to the protector himself in Whitehall) I desired him, that his highness would please to pardon me, if I had unwittingly spoken anything to the disparagement of a person whose relations to his highness I had not the honour to know.' At which he told me, that he had no other concernment for his late highness, than as he took him to be the greatest man that ever was of the English nation, if not (said he) of the whole world; which gives me a just title to the defence of his reputation, since I now account myself, as it were, a naturalized English angel, by having had so long the management of the affairs of that country. And pray, countryman,' said he, very kindly, and very flatteringly, 'for I would not have you fall into the general error of the world, that detests and decries so extraordinary a virtue ; what can be more extraordinary than that a person of mean birth, no fortune, no eminent qualities of body, which have sometimes, nor of mind, which have often, raised men to the highest dignities, should have the courage to attempt, and the happiness to succeed in, so improbable a design, as the destruction of one of the most ancient and most solidly founded monarchies upon the earth? that he should have the power or boldness to put his prince and master to an open and infamous death; to banish that numerous and strongly allied family; to do all this under the name and wages of a parliament; to trample upon them, too, as he pleased, and spurn them out of doors when he grew weary of them; to raise up a new and unheard-of monster out of their ashes; to stifle that in its very infancy; and set up himself above all things that ever were called sovereign in England ; to oppress all his enemies by arms, and all his friends afterwards by artifice ; to serve all parties patiently for awhile, and to command them victoriously at last ; to overrun each corner of the three nations, and to overcome with equal facility both the riches of the south and the poverty of the north ; to be feared and courted by all foreign princes, and adopted a brother to the gods of the earth ; to call together parliaments with a word of his pen, and scatter them again with the breath of his mouth ; to be humbly and daily petitioned, that he would please to be hired, at the rate of two millions a-year, to be the master of those who had hired him before to be their servant ; to have the estates and lives of three kingdoms as much at his disposal, as was the little inheritance of his father, and to be as poble and liberal in the spending of them ; and lastly (for there is no end of all the particulars of his glory), to bequeath all this with ono word to his postority ; to die with peace at home and triumph abroad, to be buried among kings, and with more than regal solemnity, and to leave a name. behind him not to be extinguished but with the whole world; which, as iu is now too little for his praises, so might have been, too, for his conquests, if the short line of his human life could have been stretched out to the extent of his immortal designs?
CLARENDON. It was a very proper answer to him who asked, Why any man should be delighted with beauty? that it was a question that none but a blind man could ask ; since any beautiful object dotlı so much attract the sight of all men, that it is in no man's power not to be pleased with it. Nor can any aversion or malignity towards the object irreconcile the eyes from looking upon it; as a man who hath an envenomed and mortal hatred towards another who hath a graceful and beautiful person, cannot hinder his eye from being delighted to behold that person, though that delight is far from going to the heart; as no man's malice towards an excellent musician can keep his ear from being pleased with his music. No man can ask how or why men came to be delighted with peace, but he who is without nat bowels; who is deprived of all those affections, which can only make life pleasant to him. Peace is that harmony in the state, that health is in the body. No honour, no profit, no plenty, can make him happy who is sick with a fever in his blood, and with defluxions and aches in his joints and bones; but health restored gives a relish to the other blessings, and is very merry without them. No kingdom can flourish or be at ease in which there is no peace; which only makes men dwell at home, and enjoy the labour of their own hands, and improve all the advantages which the air, the climate, and the soil administers to them; and all which yield no comfort where there is no peace.
God himself reckons health the greatest blessing he can bestow upon mankind, and peace the greatest comfort and ornament he can confer upon states; which are a multitude of men gathered together. They who delight most in war are so ashamed of it, that they pretend to desire nothing but peace—that their heart is set upon nothing else. When Cæsar was engaging all the world in war, he wrote to Tully, “There was nothing worthier of an honest man than to have contention with nobody.” It was the highest aggravation that the prophet could fipd out in the description of the greatest wickedness, that “The way of peace they knew not;" and the greatest punishment of all their crookedness and perverseness was, that " They should not know peace.” A greater curse cannot befall the most wicked nation than to be deprived of peace. There is nothing of real and substantial comfort in this world but what is the product of peace; and whatsoever we may lawfully and innocently take delight in, is the fruit and effect of peace. The solemn service of God, and performing our duty to him in the service of regular devotion, which is the greatest business of our life, and in which we ought to take most delight, is the issue of peace.
War breaks all that order, interrupts all that devotion, and even cxtinguishes all that zeal, which peace had kindled in us; lays waste the dwelling-place of God as well as of man; and introduces and propagates opinions and practice as much against heaven as against earth, and erects a deity that delights in nothing but cruelty and blood. Are we pleased with the enlarged commerce and society of large and opulent cities, or with the retired pleasures of the country? Do we love stately palaces, and noble houses, or take delight in pleasant groves and woods, or fruitful gardens, which teach and instruct nature to produce and bring forth more fruits, and flowers, and plants, than her own store can supply lier with? All this we owe to peace, and the dissolution of this peace disfigures all this beauty, and in a short time covers and buries all this order and delight in ruin and rubbish. Finally, have we any content, satisfaction, and joy, in the conversation of each other, in the knowledge and understauding of those arts aud sciences, which more adorn mankind, than all those buildings and plantations do the fields and grounds on which they stand? Even this is the blessed effect and legacy of peace; and war lays our natures and manners as waste as our gardens and our habitations; and we can as easily preserve the beauty of the one, as the integrity of the other, under the cursed jurisdiction of drums and trumpets.
“ If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men," was one of the primitive injunctions of Christianity, Rom. xii. 18; and comprehends pot only particular and private men, (though no doubt all gentle and peaceable nations are most capable of Christiat precepts, and most affected with them, but kings and princes themselves. St. Paul knew well
, that the peaceable inclinations and dispositions of subjects could do little good, if the sovereign princes were disposed to war; but if they desire to live peaceably with their neighbours, their subjects cannot but be happy. And the pleasure that God himself takes in that temper needs no other manifestation, than the promise our Saviour makes to those who contribute towards it, in his Sermon upon the Mount, “ Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God,” Matt. v. 9. Peace must needs be very acceptable to him, when the instruments towards it are crowned with such a full measure of blessing; and it is no hard matter to guess whose children they are, who take all the pains they can to deprive the world of peace, and to subject it to the rage and fury and desolation of war. If we had not the woful experience of so many hundred years, we should hardly think it possible that men, who pretend to embrace the gospel of peace, should be so unconcerned in the obligation and effects of it; and when God looks upon it as the greatest blessing he can pour down upon the heads of those who please him best and observe his commands, “ I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid,” Lev. xxvi. 6, that men study nothing more than how to throw off and deprive themselves and others of this his precious bounty; as if we were void of all natural reason, as well as without the elements of religion; for nature itself disposes us to a love of society, which cannot be preserved without peace. A whole city on fire is a spectacle full of horror, but a whole kingdom on fire must be a prospect much more terrible; and such is every kingdom in war, where nothing flourishes but rapine, blood, and murder, and the faces of all men are pale and ghastly, out of the sense of what they have done, or of what they have suffered, or are to endure. The reverse of all this is peace, which in a moment extinguishes all that fire, binds up all the wounds, and restores to all faces their natural vivacity and beauty. We cannot make a more lively representation and emblem to ourselves of hell, than by the view of a kingdom in war; where there is nothing to be seen but destruction and fire, and the discord itself is a great part of the torment; nor a more sensible reflection upon the joys of heaven, than as it is all quiet and peace, and where nothing is to be discerned but consent and harmony, and what is amiable in all the circumstances of it. And, as far as we may warrantably judge of the inhabitants of either climate, they who love and cherish discord among men, and take delight in war, have large mansions provided for them in that region of faction and disagreement; so we may presume, that they who set their hearts upon peace in this world, and labour to promote it in their several stations amongst all men, and who are instruments to prevent the breach of it amongst princes and states, or to renew it when it is broken, have infallible title to a place and mansion in heaven; where there is only peace in that perfection that all other blessings are comprehended in it, and a part of it.
SPENSER, the great master of personification, thus paints the genius of the season :
Then came the Autumn all in yellow clad,
And in his hand a sickle he did hold,
reap the ripen’d fruits the which the earth had yold. One who had a rare talent for imitation has caught the quaint phraseology of the elder poets with something like accuracy ;—but the modern antique is palpable:
When Autumn bleak and sun-burnt do appear,
When all the hills with woody seed is white,
When the fair apple, rudde as even sky,
Then, be the even foul, or even fair,
Methinks my hearte's joy is stained with some care. CHATTERTON. Rich and golden as the fruits of Autumn, are the following stanzas of one of the true poets of times not long past:
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness !
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun ;
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run ;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
For summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thy hair soft lifted by the winnowing wind ;
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers ;
Steady thy laden head across a brook ;
Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours.