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THE COUNTRY MOUSE.
Behind a hanging, in a spacious room
(The richest work of Mortclake's noble loom) A Paraphrase upon Horace, Book II. Sat. vi. They wait a while, their wearied liinbs to resto
Till silence should invite them to their feast. Ar the largest foot of a fair hollow tree,
“ About the hour that Cynthia's silver light Close to plough'd ground, seated commodiously, Had touch'd the pale meridies of the night;" His ancient and hereditary house,
At last, the various supper being done, There dwelt a good substantial country mouse;
It happen'd that the company was gone Frugal, and grave, and careful of the main,
Into a room remote, servants and all, Yet one who once did nobly entertain
To please their noble fancies with a ball. A city mouse, well-coated, sleek, and gay,
Our host leads forth his stranger, and does find A mouse of high degree which lost his way,
All fitted to the bounties of his mind. Wantonly walking forth to take the air,
Still on the table balf-Gill'd dishes stood, And arriv'd carly, and belighted, there,
And with delicious bits the floor was strew'd. For a day's lodging: the good hearty host
The courteous mouse presents him with the best;
And both with fat varieties are blest. (The ancient plenty of his hall to boast) Did all the stores produce, that might excite,
Th’industrious peasant every where does range, With various tastes, the courtier's appetite.
And thanks the Gods for his life's happy change. Fitches and beans, peason and oats, and wheat,
Lo! in the midst of a well-freighted pye, And a large chesnut, the delicious meat [eat. They both at last glutted and wanton lie; Which Jove himself, were he a mouse, would When, see the sad reverse of prosperous fate, And, for a haut goust, there was mixt with these
And what fierce storms on mortal glories wait! The swerd of tacon, and the coat of cheese :
With hideous noise down the rude servants come, The precious reliques which, at harvest, he
Six dogs before run barking into th' room; Had gather'd from the reaper's luxury.
The wretched gluttons fly with wild affright, “ Freely” (said be) “ fall on, and never spare,
And hate the fullness, which retards their flight, The bounteous gods will for to morrow care."
Our trembling peasant wishes now, in vain, And thus at ease, on beds of straw, they lay,
That rocks and mountains cover'd him again; And to their genius sacrific'd the day:
Oh, how the change of his poor life he curst! Yet the nice guest's Epicurean mind,
“ This, of all lives” (said he)“ is sure the worsts (Though breeding made him civil seem and kind) Give me again, ye gods, my cave and wood ! Despis’d this country feast; and still his thought with peace, let tares and acorns be my food!" Upon the cakes and pies of London wrought. “ Your bounty and civility” (said he), “ Which I'm surpris'd in these rude parts to see, Shows that the gods have given you a mind
A PARAPHRASE UPON The 10th EPISTLE OF THE Too noble for the fate which here you find.
First Book of HORACE.
HORACE TO FUSCUS ARISTIUS.
Health, to the lover of the city, thee; And taste the generous luxury of the court,
A difference in our souls, this only proves ; Where all the mice of quality resort;
In all things else, we agree like married doves. Where thousand beauteous shes about you move, But the warm nest and crowded dove house thugi And, by high fare, are pliant made to love. Dost like; I loosely fly from bough to bough, We all, ere long, must render up our breath ; And rivers drink, and all the shining day No cave or hole can shelter us from death. Upon fair trees or mossy rocks I play; Since life is so uncertain, and so short,
In fine, I live and reign, when I retire I.et 's spend it all in feasting and in sport. From all that you equal with Heaven admire Come, worthy sir, come wiih me and partake Like one at last from the priest's service ficd, All the great things that mortals happy make." Loathing the honied cakes, I long for bread. Alas! what virtue hath sufficient arms
Would I a house for happiness erect, T'oppose bright honour, and soft pleasure's Nature alone should be the architect, charms :
She'd build it more convenient than great, What wisdom can their magic force repel ? And doubtless in the country choose her seat; It draws this reverend hermit from his cell. Is there a place doth better helps supply It was the time, when witty poets tell,
Against the wounds of Winter's cruelty ? " That Phoebus into Thetis' bosom fell :
Is there an air, that gentlier does assuage She blush'd at first, and then put out the light,
The mad celestial Dog's, or Lion's, rage? And drew the modest curtains of the night." Is it not there that sleep (and only there) Plainly the truth to tell, the Sun was set, Nor noise without, nor cares within, does fear! When to the town our wearied travellers get : Does art through pipes a purer water bring, To a lord's house, as lordly as can be,
Than that, which Nature strains into a spring) Made for the use of pride and luxury,
Can all your tap'stries, or your pictures show They come; the gentle courtier at the door More beauties, than in herbs and flowers do Stops, and will hardly enter in before: “ But 'tis, sir, your command, and being so, Fountains and trees our wearied pride do please I'ma sworn t'obedience; and so in they go." Ev'n in the midst of gilded palaces,
And in your towns, that prospect gives delight, The specious inconveniences, that wait
By fools desir'rl, by wicked men possest.
praise) The man who changes gold for burnish'd brass, The old Coryo an yeoman pass'd his days; Or small right gems for larger ones of glass, Thus his wise life Abdolonymus spent : Is not, at length, rrore certain to be made Th' ambassadors, which the great emperor scnt. Rid culous, and wretched by the trade,
To offer him a cmwn, with wonder found Than he, who sells a solid goo1, to buy
The reverend gardener hoeing of his ground; The painted goods of pride and vanity.
Unwillingly, and slow, and discontent, If thou be wise, no glorious fortune choose, From his lov'd cottage to a thrope he went; Which 'tis but pain to keep, yet grief to lose! And oft be stopt, in his triumphant way: For, when we place ev'n trifles in the heart, And oft look'd back, and oft was heard to say. With trifles too, unwillingly we part.
Not without sighs, Alas! I there forsake An humble roof, plain bed, and homely board, A happier kingdom than I go to take ! More clear, untainted pleasures do afford, Thus Aglais (a man unknown to mer, Than all the tumult of vain greatness brings But the gods knew, and therefore lov'd him then) To kings, or to the farourites of kings.
Thus liv'd obscurely then without a name, The horned deer, by nature arm'd so well, Aglaüs, now consiun'd t' eternal fame. Did with the horse in cominon pasture dwell, For Gyges, the rich king, wicked and great, And, when they f ught, the field it always wan, Presum'd, at wise Apollo's Del;phic seat [eve, Till the ambitious horse hegg'd help of man, Presum'd, to ask, “ Oh thou, the whole world's And took the bridle, and thenceforth did reign See'st thou a man that happier is than I?” Bravely alone, as lord of all the plain ;
The god, who scoru'd to flatter man, reply'd, But never after conld the rider get
“Aglaüs bappier is.” But Gyges cry'd, From off his back, or from his mouth the bit. In a proud rage, “Who can that Aglaüs be! So they, who poverty too much do fear,
We have heard, as yet, of no such king as he.” l'avoid that weight, a greater Luthen bear; And true it was, through ihe whole Earth around That they might power above their equals have, No king of such a name was to be found. To cruel masiers they theinselves enslave. “ Is some old hero of that pame alive, For gold, their liberty exchang'd we see,
Who his high race does from the gods derive! That fairest flower which crowns humanity 3. Is it some mighty general, that has done And all this mischief does upon them light, Wonders in fight, and god-like honours won ? Only, because they know not how, aright, Is it some man of endless wealth?” said he. That great, but secret, happiness to prize, “ None, none of these.” “Who can this Aglais That 's laid up in a little, for the wise :
After long starch, and rain inquiries past, (be: That is the best and easiest estate,
In an obscure Arcadian vale at last Which to a man sits close, but not too strait; (Th’ Arcadian life has always shady been) 'Tis like a shoe ; it pinches and it burns,
Near Sopho's town (which he but once had seen) Too narrow ; and too large, it overturns.
This Aglaüs, who monarch's envy drew,
With his own hands, in his own little ground. Chide and reproach, despise and laugh at me. So, gracious God! (if it may lawful be, Money was made, not to command our will, Among those foolish gods to mention thee) But all our lawful pleasures to fulfil :
So let me act, on such a private stage,
This quiet port let my tosi vessel gain;
THE COUNTRY LIFE.
Lib. IV. Plantarum,
To J. Evelyn, Esquire.
NEVER had any other desire so strong and so
like to covetousness, as that one which I have * The poet, as usual, expresses his own feeling : had always, that I might be master at last of a but he does more, he expresses it very classically. small house and large garden, with very inocea The allusion is to the ancient custom of wearing rate conveniences joined to them, and there de. wreaths or garlands of flowers, on any occasion of dicate the remainder of my life only to the cula joy and festivity. Hord.
ture of them, and study of nature ;
And there (with no design beyond my wall) whole ( recommend to mankind the search of that feo and entire to lie,
licity, which you instruct them how to find and In no unactive ease, and no unglorious poverty. to enjoy.
I am gone
Or as Virgil has said, shorter and better for me Happy art thou, whom God does bless that I might there
With the full choice of thine own happiness;
And happier yet, because thou 'rt blest Studiis florere ignobilis oti 4 :
With prudence, how to choose the best :
In books and gardens thou hast plac'd aright (though I could wish that he had rather said, (Things, which thou well dost understand; nobilis oti, when he spoke of his own.) But And both dost make with thy laborious hand) several accidents of my ill-fortune have disap- Thy noble, innocent delight; pointed me hitherto, and do still, of that feli-And in thy virtuous wife, where thou again dost city; for though I have made the first and
mect hardest step to it, by abandoning all ambitions Both pleasures more refind and sweet ; and hopes in this world, and by retiring from the The fairest garden in her looks, noise of all business and alınost company, yet I
And in her mind the wisest books, stick still in the inn of a hired house and garden, Oh, who would change these soft, yet solid joys, among weeds and rubbish ; and without that For empty shows and senseless noise ; pleasantest work of human industry, the im- And all which rank ambition breeds, provement of something which we call (not very Which seem such beauteous flowers, and are properly, but yet we call) our own.
such poisonous weeds ? ont froin Sodom, but I am not yet arrived at my little Zoar. “O let me escape thither (is it not When God did man to his own likeness make, a little one?) and my soul shall live.” I do not As inuch as clay, though of the purest kind, look back yet; but I have been forced to stop, By the great potter's art refin'd, and make too many halts. You may wonder, Could the divine impression take, sir, (for this seeins a little too extravagant and He thought it fit to place him, where pindarical for prose) what I mean by all this
A kind of Heaven too did appear, preface; it is to let you know, that though I As far as Farth could such a likeness bear: have missed, like a chymist, my great end, yet That man no happiness might want, I account my affections and endeavours well re- Which Earth to her first master could afford, warded by something that I have met with by
did a garden for him plant the by; which is, that they have procured to By the quick hand of his omnipotent word. me some part in your kindness and esteem; and As the chief help and joy of human life, thereby the honour of having my name so ad- He gave him the first gift; first, ev'n before a vantageously recommended to posterity, by the
wife. epistle you are pleased to prefix to the most useful book that has been written in that kinds, For God, the universal architect, and which is to last as long as months and T had been as easy to erect years.
A Louvre or Escurial, or a tower Among many other arts and excellencies, That might with Heaven communication hold, which you enjoy, I am glad to find this favour- As Babel rainly thought to do of old : ite of mine the most predominant; that you
He wanted not the skill or power ; choose this for your wife, though you have In the world's fabric those were shown, hundreds of other arts for your concubines; And the materials were all his own. though you know them, and beget sons upon But well he knew, what place would best agree them all (to which you are rich enough to allow With innocence and with felicity; great legacies), yet the issue of this seeins to be And we elsewhere still seek for them in vain; designed by you to the main of the estate; you If any part of either yet remain, have taken most pleasure in it, and bestowed If any part of either we expect, most charges upon its education : and I doubt This may our judgment in the search direct; not to sce that book, which you are pleased to God the first gården made, and the first city promise to the world, and of which you have
Cain. given us a large earnest in your calendar, as accomplished, as any thing can be expected O blessed shades! O gentle, cool retreat from an extraordinary wit, and no ordinary ex- From all th’immoderate heat, penses, and a long experience. I know nobody In which the frantic world does burn and sweat! that possesses more private happiness than you This does the Lion-star, ambition's rage ; do in your garden; and yet no inan, who makes This avarice, the Dog-star's thirst, assuage ; his happiness more public, by a free communi- Every where else their fatal power we see, cation of the art and knowledge of it to others. They make and rule man's wretched destipy : All that I myself am able yet to do, is only to They neither set, nor disappear,
But tyrannize o’er all the year; 4 Virg. Georg. iv. 564.
Whilst we ne'er feel their flame or influence S Mr. Evelyn's Kalendarium hortense; de
here. dicated to Mr Cowley-The title explains the The birds that dance from bough to bough, propriety of the compliment, that this book was And sing above in every tree, to last as long as months and years. HURD.
Are not from fears and cares more free
Than we, who lie, or sit, or walk, below, When the great Hebrew king did almost strain And should by right be singers too.
The wondrous treasures of his wealth and brain, What prince's choir of music can excel
His royal southern guest to entertain; That, which within this shade does dwell? Though she on silver floors did tread, To which we nothing pay or give;
With bright Assyrian carpets on them spread, They, like all other poets, live
To hide the metal's poverty; Without reward, or thanks for their obliging Though she look'd up to roofs of gold, pains:
And nought around her could behold 'Tis well if they become not prey :
But silk and rich embroidery,
And Babylonish tapestry,
Though Ophir's starry stones met every where But to our plants, art's music too,
her cye; The pipe, theorbo, and guittar, we owe;
Though she herself and her gay host were drest The lute itself, which once was green and mute, With all the shiniog glories of the East;
When Orpheus strook th' inspired Inte, When lavish Art her costly work had done, The trees danc'd round, and understood
The honour and the prize of bravery By sympathy the voice of wood.
Was by the garden from the palace won;
And every rose and lily there did stand These are the spells, that to kind sleep invite,
Better attir'd by Nature's hand 7. And nothing does within resistance make, The case thus judg'd against the king we sce, Which yet we moderately take;
By one, that would not be so rich, though wiser Who would not choose to be awake,
far than he. While he's encompast round with such delight, To th' ear, the nose, the touch, the taste, and Nor does this happy place only dispense sight!
Such various pleasures to the sense ; When Venus would her dear Ascanius keep 6
Here health itself does live, A prisoner in the downy bands of sleep,
That salt of life, which docs to all a relish give, She odorous herbs and flowers beneath him Its standing pleasure, and intrinsic wealth, spread,
The body's virtue, and the soul's goud-fortune, As the most soft and sweetest bed; [head.
health. Not her own lap would more have charm'd his The tree of life, when it in Eden stood, Who, that has reason, and his smell,
Did its immortal head to Heaven rear; Would not among roses and jasinine dwell, It lasted a tall cedar, till the flood; Rather than all his spirits choak
Now a small thorny shrub it does appear ;
Nor will it thrive too every where :
"Tis only here an ever-green. The earth itself breathes better perfumes here, If, through the strong and beauteous fence Than all the female men, or women, there,
Of temperance and innocence, Not without cause, about them bear.
And wholesome labours, and a quiet mind,
Any diseases passage find, When Epicurus to the world had taught,
They must not think here to assail That pleasure was the chiefest good, A land unarmed or without a guard ; (And was, perhaps, i’ th’ right, if rightly under- They must fight for it, and dispute it hard,
His life he to his doctrine brought, [stood) Before they can prevail: And in a garden 's shade that sovereign pleasure Scarce any plant is growing here, scught :
Which against death some weapon does not Whoever a true epicure would be,
bear. May there find cheap and virtuous luxury.
Let cities boast, that they provide Vitellius's table, which did hold
For life the oruaments of pride ; As many creatures as the ark of old;
But 'tis tbe country and the field,
That furnish it with statf and shield.
Where does the wisdom and the power divine Than Nature's liberality,
In a more bright and sweet reflection shine: Help'd with a little art and industry,
Where do we finer strokes and colours see Allows the meanest gardener's board.
Of the Creator's real poetry,
Than when we with attention look
We all, like Moses, should espy
Evin in a bush the radiant Deity. Plac'd the third story high in all her luxury. But we despise these his inferior ways
(Though no less full of miracle and praise) : But with no sense the garden does comply,
Upon the flowers of Heaven we gaze; None courts, or flatters, as it does, the eye.
The stars of Earth no wonder in us raise,
Though these perhaps do, more than they, purged from the incommodities. If I were bort The life of mankind sway.
in his condition, I should think it hard measure, Although no part of mighty Nature be
without being convinced of any crime, to be sea More stor'd with beanty, power and mystery; questered from it, and made one of the principal Yet, to encourage human industry,
officers of state. But the reader may think that God has so order'd, that no other part
what I now say is of small authority, because I Such space and such dominion leaves for Art.
never was, nor ever shall be, put to the trial: 1
can therefore only make my protestation, We no-where Art do so triumphant see, As when it grafts or buds the tree:
If ever I more riches did desire In other things we count it to excel,
Than cleanliness and quiet do require : If it a docile scholar can appear
If e'er ambition did my fancy cheat, To Nature, and but imitate her well;
With any wish, su mean as to be gicat; It over-rules, and is her master, here.
Continue, Heaven, still from me to remove It imitates her Maker's power divine,
The humble blessings of that life I love. And changes her sometimes, and soinetimes does refine :
I know very many men will despise, and some It does, like grace, the fallen tree restore pity me, for this humour, as a poor-spirited fel. Toits blest state of Paradise before:
low; but I am content, and, like Horace, thank Who would not joy to see his conquering hand God for being so. O’er all the vegetable world command ? And the wild giants of the wood receive
Di bene fecerunt, inopis mé quódque pusilli What law he's pleas'd to give ?
Finxerunt animi 8.
I confess, I love littleness almost in all things,
A little convenient estate, a little cheerful house, The golden fruit, that worthy is Of Galatea's purple kiss :
a little company, and a very little feast; and, if I He does the savage hawthorn teach
were ever to fall in love again (which is a great To bear the medlar and the pear :
passion, and therefore, I hope, I have done with He bids the rustic plum to rear
it) it would be, I think, with prettiness, rather A noble trunk, and be a peach.
than with majestical beauty. I would neither Ev'n Daphne's coyness he does mock,
wish that my mistress, nor my fortune, should be And weds the cherry to her stock,
a bona roba, nor, as Homer uses to describe his Though she refus'd Apollo's suit;
beauties, like a daughter of great Jupiter for the Ev'n she, that chaste and virgin trec,
stateliness and largeness of her person ; but, as Now wonders at herself, to see
Lucretius says, That she's a mother made, and blushes in her Farvola, pumilio, Xazítw usa, tota merum saló. fruit.
Where there is one man of this, I believe there Methinks, I see great Dioclesian walk
are a thousand of Senecio's mind, whose ridiIn the Salonian garden's noble shade,
culous affectation of grandeur Seneca the elder ! Which by his own imperial hands was made: describes to this effect : “Senecio was a man of a I see him smile, methinks, as he does talk turbid and confused wit, who could not endure to With the ambassadors, who come in vain speak any but mighty words and sentences, till T' entice him to a throne again.
this huniour grew at last into so notorious a habit: “IfI,'my friends” (said he) “ should to you show or rather disease, as became the sport of the whole All the delights which in these gardens grow, town : he would have no servants, but huge, masa 'Tis likelier much, that you should with me stay, sy fellows; no plate or household-stuff, but thrice Than 'tis, that you should carry me away: as big as the fashion : you may believe me, for I And trust me not, my friends, if every day, speak it without raillery, his extravagancy came I walk not here with more delight,
at last into such a madness, that he would not put Than erer, after the most happy sight,
on a pair of shoes, each of which was not big In triumph to the Capitol I rode,
enough for both his feet: he would eat nothing To thank the gods, and to be thought myself, but what was great, nor touch any fruit but horsealmost a god.”
plums and pound-pears: be 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 Messala said, was not VI.
his cognomen, but his cognomentum: when be de
claimed for the three hundred Lacedæmonians, OF GREATNESS.
who alone opposed Xerxes's ar ny of above three
hundred thousand, he stretched out his arms, and “ Since we cannot attain to greatness "(says the stood on tiptoes, that he might appear the taller, sieur de Montagne)” let us have our revenge by and cried out in a very loud voice ; 1 rejoice, i railing at it;" this he spoke but in jest. I beliere rejoice.'-We wondered, I remember, what new he desired it no more than I do, and had less rea- great fortune had befallen his eminence, “Xerxes son; for he enjoyed so plentiful and honourable a fortune in a most excellent country, as allowed B 1 Sat. iv, 17.
9 Lucr. iv. 1155. him all the real conveniences of it, separated and I Suasoriarum Liber. Suas, li.