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I walk not here with more delight, Than ever, after the most happy fight, In triumph to the capitol I rode, To thank the gods, and to be thought, myself, almost
SINCE we cannot attain to greatness (says the sieur de Montaigne), let us have our revenge by railing at it:" this he spoke but in jest. . I believe he desired it no more than I do, and had less reason ; for he enjoyed so plentiful and honourable a fortune in a most excellent country, as allowed him all the real conveniencies of it, separated and purged from the incommodities. If I were but in his condition, I should think it hard measure, without be ing convinced of any crime, to be sequestered from it, and made one of the principal officers of state. But the reader may think that what I now say is of small authority, because I never was, nor ever shall be, put to the trial : I can therefore only make my protestation,
If ever I more riches did desire
wish so mean as to be great;
I know very many men will despise, and some pity me, for this humour, as a poor-spirited fellow; but I am content, and, like Horace, thank God for being so.
Dî bene fecerunt, inopis me quódque pusilli
I confess, I love littleness almost in all things. A little convenient estate, a little cheerful house, a little company, and a very little feast; and, if I were ever to fall in love again (which is a great passion, and, therefore, I hope, I have done with it) it would be, I think, with prettiness, rather than with majestical beauty. I would neither wish that my mistress, nor my fortune, should be a bona roba, nor, as Homer uses to describe his beauties, like a daughter of great Jupiter for the stateliness and largeness of her person; but, as Lucretius
Parvula, pumilio, Xapítar mix, tota merum salt.
* 1 Sat. iv. 17.
+ Lucr. iv. 1155.
Where there is one man of this, I believe there are a thousand of Senecio's mind, whose ridiculous affectation of grandeur Seneca the elder * describes to this effect : Senecio was a man of a turbid and confused wit, who could not endure to speak any but mighty words and sentences, till this humour grew at last into so notorious a habit, or rather disease, as became the sport of the whole town: he would have no servants, but huge, massy fellows ; no plate or household-stuff, but thrice as big as the fashion : you may believe me, for I speak it without raillery, his extravagancy came at last into such a madness, that he would not put on a pair of shoes, each of which was not big enough for both his feet: he would eat nothing but what was great, nor touch any fruit but horse-plums and pound-pears: he kept a concubine that was a very giantess, and made her walk too always in chiopins, till, at last, he got the surname of Senecio Grandio, which, Mes. sala said, was not his cognomen, but his cognomentum: when he declaimed for the three hundred Lacedæmonians, who alone opposed Xerxes's army of above three hundred thousand, he stretched out his arms, and stood on tiptoes, that he might appear the taller, and cried out, in a very loud voice; “I rejoice, I rejoice."-We wondered, I remember, what new great fortune had befallen his eminence.
« Xerxes (says he) is all mine own. He, who took away the sight of the sea, with the canvas veils of so inany
* Suasoriarum Liber. Suas. 11.
ships”—and then he goes on so, as I know not what to make of the rest, whether it be the fault of the edition, or the orator's own burley way of nonsense.
This is the character that Seneca gives of this hyperbolical fop, whom we stand amazed at; and yet there are very few men who are not in some things, and to some degrees, Grandios. thing more common than to see our ladies of quas lity wear such high shoes as they cannot walk in without one to lead them; and a gown as long again as their body, so that they cannot stir to the next room without a page or two to hold it up ? I may safely say, that all the ostentation of our grandees is, just like a train, of no use in the world, but horribly cumbersome and incommodious. What is all this but a spice of Grandio ? How tedious would this be, if we were always bound to it! I do believe there is no king, who would not rather be deposed, than endure every day of his reign all the ceremonies of his coronation. · The mightiest princes are glad to fly often from these majestick pleasures (which is, methinks, no small disparagement to them), as it were for refuge, to the most contemptible divertisements and mean, est recreations of the vulgar, nay, even of children. One of the most powerful and fortunate princes* of
Louis XIII.-The duke de Luynes, the constable of France, is said to have gained the favour of this powerful and fortunate prince by training up singing birds for him. Aron.
the world, of late, could find out no delight so satisfactory as the keeping of little singing birds, and hearing of them, and whistling to them. What did, the emperors of the whole world ? If ever any men had the free and full enjoyment of all human greatness (nay, that would not suffice, for they would be gods too), they certainly possessed it: and yet one of them, who styled himself lord and god of the earth, could not tell how to pass his whole day pleasantly, without spending constantly two or three hours in catching flies, and killing them with a bodkin, as if his godship had been Beelzebub One of his predecessors, Nero (who never put any bounds, nor met with any stop to his appetite), could divert himself with no pastime more agreeable, than to run about the streets all night in a disguise, and abuse the women, and affront the men whom he met, and sometimes to beat them, and sometimes to be beaten by them: this was one of his imperial nocturnal pleasures. His chiefest in the day was, to sing and play upon a fiddle, in the habit of a minstrel, upon the publick stage : he was prouder of the garlands that were given to his divine voice (as they called it then) in those kind of prizes, than all his forefathers were, of their triumphs over nations: he did not at his death complain, that so mighty an emperor, and the last of all the Cæsarean race of deities, should be brought to so shameful and mi
* Beelzebub signifies the Lord of flies. Cowley.