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serable an end; but only cried out,“Alas! what pity it is, that so excellent a musician should perish in this manner *!” His uncle Claudius spent half his time at playing at dice; and that was the main fruit of his sovereignty. I omit the madnesses of Caligula's delights, and the execrable sordidness of those of Tiberius. Would one think that Augustus, himself, the highest and most fortunate of mankind, a person endowed too with many excellent parts of nature, should be so hard put to it sometimes for want of recreations, as to be found playing at nuts and bounding-stones, with little Syrian and Moorish boys, whose company he took delight in, for their prating and their wantonness ?
Was it for this that Rome's best blood he spilt,
With so much falsehood, so much guilt ?
Her merchandise (I fear) is all in toys;
His new-created Deity,
But we must excuse her for this meagre enter> tainment; she has not really wherewithal to make
« Qualis artifex perco !". Sueton. Nero.
such feasts as we imagine. Her guests must be contented sometimes with but slender cates, and with the 'same cold meats served over and over again, even till they become nauseous.
When you have pared away all the vanity, what solid and natural contentment does there remain, which may not be had with five hundred pounds a-year : Not so many servants or horses; but a few good ones, which will do all the business as well: not so many choice dishes at every meal; but at several meals all of them, which makes them both the more healthy, and the more pleasant: not so rich garments, nor so frequent changes ; but as warm and as comely, and so frequent change too, as is every jot as good for the master, though not for the taylor or valet-de-chambre : 'not such a stately palace, nor gilt rooms, or the costliest sorts' of tapestry; but a convenient brick house, with decent wainscot, and pretty forest-work hangings. Lastly (for I omit all other particulars, and will end with that which I love most in both conditions), not whole woods cut in walks, nor vast parks," nor fountain or cascadegardens; but herb, and flower, and fruit gardens, which are more useful, and the water every whit as clear and wholesome, as if it darted from the breasts of a marble nymph, or the urn of a river-god. * If, for all this, you like better the substance of that former estate of life, do but consider the inse-" parable accidents of both : servitude, disquiet, danger, and most commonly guilt, inherent in the one;
in the other liberty, tranquillity, security, and innocence. And when you have thought upon this, you will confess that to be, a truth which appeared to you, before, but a ridiculous paradox, that a low fortune is better guarded and attended than an high one. If, indeed, we look only upon the fou, rishing head of the tree, it appears a most beautiful object,
sed quantum vertice ad auras " Æthereas tantum radice in Tartara tendit
As far up towards heaven the branches grow,
? Another horrible disgrace to greatness is, that it is for the most part in pitiful want and distress : what a wonderful thing is this! Unless it degene, rate into avarice, and so cease to be greatness, it falls perpetually into such necessities, as drive it into all the meanest and most sordid ways of bor, rowing, cozenage, and robbery:.
This is the case of almost all great men, as well as of the poor king of Cappadocia: they abound with slaves, but are indigent of money. The ancient Roman emperors, who had the riches of the whole world for their revenue, had wherewithal to live (one would have thought) pretty well at ease, and to have been exempt from the pressures of extreme poverty. But yet with most of them it was much otherwise ; and they fell perpetually into such mia serable penury, that they were forced to devour or squeeze most of their friends and servants, to cheat with infamous projects, to ransack and pillage all their provinces. This fashion of imperial grandeur is imitated by all inferior and subordinate sorts of it, as if it were a point of honour. They must be cheated of a third part of their estates, two other thirds they must expend in vanity; so that they remain debtors for all the necessary provisions of life, and have no way to satisfy those debts, but. out of the succours and supplies of rapine : “ As riches increase (says Solomon), so do the mouths that devour them *.” The master mouth has no more than before. The owner, methinks, is like Ocnus in the fable, who is perpetually winding a rope of hay, and an ass at the end perpetually eats
* Virg. Georg. ii. 291. .!:
$ Hon 1 Ep. vi. 39.
Out of these inconveniencies arises naturally one more, which is, that no greatness can be satisfied or contented with itself: still, if it could mount up' a little higher, it would be happy; if it could gain but that point, it would obtain all its desires : but
* Eccl. v. 11.
yet at last, when it is got up to the very top of the Pic of Teneriff, it is in very great danger of breaking its neck downwards, but in no possibility of ascending upwards into the seat of tranquillity above the moon. The first ambitious men in the world, the old giants, are said to have made an heroical attempt of scaling heaven in despite of the gods: and they cast Ossa upon Olympus, and Pelion upon Ossa : two or three mountains more, they thought, would have done their business : but the thunder spoilt all the work, when they were come up to the
third story :
And what a noble plot was cross'd !
A famous person of their offspring, the late giant of our nation, when, from the condition of a very inconsiderable captain, he had made himself lieutenant-general of an army of little Titans, which was his first mountain, and afterwards general, which was his second, and after that, absolute tyrant of three kingdoms, which was the third, and almost touched the heaven which he affected, is believed to have died with grief and discontent, because he could not attain to the honest name of a king, and the old formality of a crown, though he had before exceeded the power by a wicked usurpation. If he could have compassed that, he would perhaps have wanted something else that is necessary to felicity,