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dum ducere, and not mundo nubere. They must retain the superiority and headship over it: happy are they who can get out of the sight of this deceitful beauty, that they may not be led so much as into temptation; who have not only quitted the metropolis, but can abstain from ever seeing the next market-town in their country.
CLAU DIAN'S OLD MAN OF VERONA.
De Sene Veronensi, qui suburbium nunquam egressus est.
“ Felix, qui patrüs," 8c.
HAPPY the man, who his whole time doth bound
No change of consuls marks to him the year,
THE SHORTNESS OF LIFE, AND UNCER
TAINTY OF RICHES.
you should see a man, who were to cross from Dover to Calais, run about very busy and solicitous, and trouble himself many weeks before in making provisions for his
commend him for a cautious and discreet person, or laugh at him for a timorous and impertinent coxcomb? A man, who is excessive in his pains and diligence, and who consumes the greatest part of his time in furnishing the remainder with all conveniencies and even superfluities, is to angels and wise men no less ridiculous; he does as little consider the shortness of his passage, that he might proportion his cares accordingly. It is, alas, so narrow a straight betwixt the womb and the grave, that it might be called the Pas de Vie, as well as that the Pas de Calais.
We are all iphuepos (as Pindar calls us), creatures of a day, and therefore our Saviour bounds our desires to that little space; as if it were very probable that every day should be our last, we are taught to demand even bread for no longer a time. The sun ought not to set upon our covetousness, no more than upon our anger; but as, to God Almighty, a thousand
years are as one day, so, in direct opposition, one day to the covetous man is as a thousand years ; tam brevi fortis jaculatur ævo multa," so far he shoots beyond his butt: one would think, he were of the opinion of the Millenaries, and hoped for so long a reign upon earth. The patriarchs before the flood, who enjoyed almost such a life, made, we are sure, less stores for the maintaining of it; they, who lived nine hundred years, scarcely provided for a few days; we, who live but a few days, provide at least for nine hundred years. What a strange alteration is this of human life and manners! and yet we see an imitation of it in every man's particular experience; for we begin not the
cares of life, till it be half spent, and still increase them, as that decreases.
What is there among the actions of beasts so illogical and repugnant to reason ? When they do any thing, which seems to proceed from that which we call reason, we disdain to allow them that perfection, and attribute it only to a natural instinct : and are not we fools, too, by the same kind of instinct ? If we could but learn to “ number our days” (as we are taught to pray that we might), we should adjust much better our other accounts; but, whilst we never consider an end of them, it is no wonder if our cares for them be without end too. Horace advises very wisely, and in excellent good words,
From a short life cut off all hopes that grow too long. They must be pruned away like suckers, that choke the mother plant, and hinder it from bearing fruit. And in another place, to the same sense,
Vitæ summa brevis spem nos vetat inchoare
which Seneca does not mend, when he says, quanta dementia est spes longas inchoantium !" But
* 1 Carm. xi. 6.
+ Ibid. iv. 15.
he gives an example there of an acquaintance of his, named Senecio, who, from a very mean beginning, by great industry in turning about of money through all ways of gain, had attained to extraordinary riches, but died on a sudden, after having supped merrily, “ in ipso actu benè cedentium rerum, in ipso procurrentis fortunæ impetu,” in the full course of his good fortune, when she had a high tide, and a stiff gale, and all her sails on ; upon which occasion he cries, out of Virgil*,
“'Insere nunc, Melibæe, pyros; pone ordine vites !"
Go, Melibæus, now,
For this Senecio I have no compassion, because he was taken, as we say, in ipso facto, still labouring in the work of avarice; but the poor rich man in St. Luke (whose case was not like this) I could pity, methinks, if the Scripture would permit me; for he seems to have been satisfied at last, he confesses he had enough for many years, he bids his soul take its ease; and yet for all that, God says to him, “ Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee;, and the things thou hast laid up, who shall they belong tot!" Where shall we find the causes
* Buc, i. 74.
+ Lukc xii. 20.