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A Paraphrase upon HORACE, Book II. Sat. vi.
Ar the largest foot of a fair hollow tree,
Close to plough'd ground, seated commodiously,
His ancient and hereditary house,
There dwelt a good substantial country mouse;
Frugal, and grave, and careful of the main,
Yet one who once did nobly entertain
A city mouse, well-coated, sleek, and gay,
A mouse of high degree which lost his way,
Wantonly walking forth to take the air,
And arriv'd early, and belighted, there,
For a day's lodging: the good hearty host
(The ancient plenty of his hall to boast)
Did all the stores produce, that might excite,
With various tastes, the courtier's appetite.
Fitches and beans, peason and oats, and wheat,
And a large chesnut, the delicious meat
Which Jove himself, were he a mouse, would
And, for a haut goust, there was mixt with these
The swerd of bacon, and the coat of cheese:
The precious reliques which, at harvest, he
Had gather'd from the reaper's luxury.
66 Freely" (said he) " fall on, and never spare,
The bounteous gods will for to morrow care."
And thus at ease, on beds of straw, they lay,
And to their genius sacrific'd the day:
Yet the nice guest's Epicurean mind,
(Though breeding made him civil seem and kind)
Despis'd this country feast; and still his thought
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
Too noble for the fate which here you find.
Why should a soul, so virtuous and so great,
Lose itself thus in an obscure retreat?
And taste the generous luxury of the court,
Where all the mice of quality resort;
Where thousand beauteous shes about you move,
And, by high fare, are pliant made to love.
We all, ere long, must render up our breath;
No cave or hole can shelter us from death.
Since life is so uncertain, and so short,
Let's spend it all in feasting and in sport.
Come, worthy sir, come with me and partake
All the great things that mortals happy make."
Alas! what virtue bath sufficient arms
T'oppose bright honour, and soft pleasure's
Behind a hanging, in a spacious room
(The richest work of Mortclake's noble loom)
They wait a while, their wearied limbs to rest,
Till silence should invite them to their feast.
"About the hour that Cynthia's silver light
Had touch'd the pale meridies of the night;"
At last, the various supper being done,
It happen'd that the company was gone
Into a room remote, servants and all,
To please their noble fancies with a ball.
Our host leads forth his stranger, and does find
All fitted to the bounties of his mind.
What wisdom can their magic force repel? It draws this reverend hermit from his cell. It was the time, when witty poets tell, "That Phoebus into Thetis' bosom fell: She blush'd at first, and then put out the light, And drew the modest curtains of the night." Plainly the truth to tell, the Sun was set, When to the town our wearied travellers get : To a lord's house, as lordly as can be, Made for the use of pride and luxury, They come; the gentle courtier at the door Stops, and will hardly enter in before: "But 'tis, sir, your command, and being so, I'm sworn t' obedience; and so in they go." &
Still on the table balf-fill'd dishes stood,
And with delicious bits the floor was strew'd.
The courteous mouse presents him with the best,
And both with fat varieties are blest.
Th' industrious peasant every where does range,
And thanks the Gods for his life's happy change.
Lo! in the midst of a well-freighted pye,
They both at last glutted and wanton lie;
When, see the sad reverse of prosperous fate,
And what fierce storms on mortal glories wait!
With hideous noise down the rude servants come,
Six dogs before run barking into th' room;
The wretched gluttons fly with wild affright,
And hate the fullness, which retards their flight,
Our trembling peasant wishes now, in vain,
That rocks and mountains cover'd him again;
Oh, how the change of his poor life he curst!
"This, of all lives" (said he)" is sure the worst
Give me again, ye gods, my cave and wood!
With peace, let tares and acorns be my food!"
HORACE TO FUSCUS ARISTIUS.
Let savage beasts lodge in a country den;
You should see towns, and manners know, and HEALTH, from the lover of the country, me,
A PARAPHRASE UPON THE 10th EPISTLE OF THE FIRST BOOK OF HORACE.
Health, to the lover of the city, thee;
A difference in our souls, this only proves;
In all things else, we agree like married doves.
But the warm nest and crowded dove house the
Dost like; I loosely fly from bough to bough,
And rivers drink, and all the shining day
Upon fair trees or mossy rocks I play;
In fine, I live and reign, when I retire
From all that you equal with Heaven admire &
Like one at last from the priest's service fled
Loathing the honied cakes, I long for bread.
Would I a house for happiness erect,
Nature alone should be the architect,
She'd build it more convenient than great,
And doubtless in the country choose her seat;
Is there a place doth better helps supply
Against the wounds of Winter's cruelty?
Is there an air, that gentlier does assuage
The mad celestial Dog's, or Lion's, rage?
Is it not there that sleep (and only there)
Nor noise without, nor cares within, does fear?
Does art through pipes a purer water bring,
Than that, which Nature strains into a spring
Can all your tap'stries, or your pictures show
More beauties, than in herbs and flowers do
Fountains and trees our wearied pride do please, Ev'n in the midst of gilded palaces,
And in your towns, that prospect gives delight,
Which opens round the country to our sight.
Men to the good, from which they rashly ily,
Return at last; and their wild luxury
Does but in vain with those true joys contend,
Which Nature did to mankind recommend.
The man who changes gold for burnish'd brass,
Or small right gems for larger ones of glass,
Is not, at length, more certain to be made
Ridiculous, and wretched by the trade,
Than he, who sells a solid good, to buy
The painted goods of pride and vanity.
If thou be wise, no glorious fortune choose,
Which 'tis but pain to keep, yet grief to lose!
For, when we place ev'n trifles in the heart,
With trifles too, unwillingly we part.
An humble roof, plain bed, and homely board,
More clear, untainted pleasures do afford,
Than all the tumult of vain greatness brings
To kings, or to the favourites of kings.
The horned deer, by nature arm'd so well,
Did with the horse in cominon pasture dwell,
And, when they fought, the field it always wan,
Till the ambitious horse begg'd help of man,
And took the bridle, and thenceforth did reign
Bravely alone, as lord of all the plain;
But never after could the rider get
From off his back, or from his mouth the bit.
So they, who poverty too much do fear,
T'avoid that weight, a greater burthen bear;
That they might power above their equals have,
To cruel masters they themselves enslave.
For gold, their liberty exchang'd we see,
That fairest flower which crowns humanity 3.
And all this mischief does upon them light,
Only, because they know not how, aright,
That great, but secret, happiness to prize,
That 's laid up in a little, for the wise:
That is the best and easiest estate,
Which to a man sits close, but not too strait;
'Tis like a shoe; it pinches and it burns,
Too narrow; and too large, it overturns.
My dearest friend! stop thy desires at last,
And chearfully enjoy the wealth thou hast:
And, if me still seeking for more you see,
Chide and reproach, despise and laugh at me.
Money was made, not to command our will,
But all our lawful pleasures to fulfil :
Shame and woe to us, if we our wealth obey;
The horse doth with the horseman run away.
Lib. IV. Plantarum.
BLAST be the man (and blest he is) whom e'er
(Plac'd far out of the roads of hope or fear)
A little field, and little garden, feeds:
The field gives all that frugal Nature needs;
The wealthy garden liberally bestows
All she can ask, when she luxurious grows.
The poet, as usual, expresses his own feeling: but he does more, he expresses it very classically. The allusion is to the ancient custom of wearing wreaths or garlands of flowers, on any occasion of joy and festivity. HURD.
Th' ambassadors, which the great emperor sent,
To offer him a crown, with wonder found
The reverend gardener hoeing of his ground;
Unwillingly, and slow, and discontent,
From his lov'd cottage to a throne he went;
And oft he stopt, in his triumphant way:
And oft look'd back, and oft was heard to say.
Not without sighs, Alas! I there forsake
A happier kingdom than I go to take!
Thus Aglaus (a man unknown to men,
But the gods knew, and therefore lov'd him then)
Thus liv'd obscurely then without a name,
Aglaüs, now consign'd t' eternal fame.
For Gyges, the rich king, wicked and great,
Presum'd, at wise Apolio's Delphic seat [eve,
Presum'd, to ask, "Oh thou, the whole world's
See'st thou a man that happier is than I?"
The god, who scorn'd to flatter man, reply'd,
"Aglaüs happier is." But Gyges cry'd,
In a proud rage, "Who can that Aglaus be!
We have heard, as yet, of no such king as he."
And true was, through the whole Earth around
No king of such a name was to be found.
"Is some old hero of that name alive,
Who his high race does from the gods derive?
Is it some mighty general, that has done
Wonders in fight, and god-like honours won?
Is it some man of endless wealth?" said he.
"None, none of these." "Who can this Aglaüs
After long search, and vain inquiries past, [be:
In an obscure Arcadian vale at last
(Th' Arcadian life has always shady been)
Near Sopho's town (which he but once had seen)
This Aglaus, who monarch's envy drew,
Whose happiness the gods stood witness to,
This mighty Aglaüs, was labouring found,
With his own hands, in his own little ground.
So, gracious God! (if it may lawful be,
Among those foolish gods to mention thee)
So let me act, on such a private stage,
The last dull scenes of my declining age;
After long toils and voyages in vain,
This quiet port let my tost vessel gain;
Of heavenly rest, this earnest to me lend,
Let my life sleep, and learn to love her end
To J. EVELYN, Esquire.
I NEVER had any other desire so strong and so like to covetousness, as that one which I have had always, that I might be master at last of a small house and large garden, with very inoderate conveniences joined to them, and there dedicate the remainder of my life only to the culture of them, and study of nature;
And there (with no design beyond my wall) whole [ recommend to mankind the search of that fe licity, which you instruct them how to find and to enjoy.
and entire to lie,
In no unactive ease, and no unglorious poverty.
Or as Virgil has said, shorter and better for me that I might there
Studiis florere ignobilis oti 4:
(though I could wish that he had rather said,
nobilis oti, when he spoke of his own.)
several accidents of my ill-fortune have disap-
pointed me hitherto, and do still, of that feli-
city; for though I have made the first and
hardest step to it, by abandoning all ambitions
and hopes in this world, and by retiring from the
noise of all business and almost company, yet I
stick still in the inn of a hired house and garden,
among weeds and rubbish; and without that
pleasantest work of human industry, the im-
provement of something which we call (not very
properly, but yet we call) our own.
I am gone
out from Sodom, but I am not yet arrived at my
little Zoar. "O let me escape thither (is it not
a little one?) and my soul shall live." I do not
look back yet; but I have been forced to stop,
and make too many halts. You may wonder,
sir, (for this seems a little too extravagant and
pindarical for prose) what I mean by all this
preface; it is to let you know, that though I
have missed, like a chymist, my great end, yet
I account my affections and endeavours well re-
warded by something that I have met with by
the by; which is, that they have procured to
me some part in your kindness and esteem; and
thereby the honour of having my name so ad-
vantageously recommended to posterity, by the
epistle you are pleased to prefix to the most
useful book that has been written in that kind 5,
and which is to last as long as months and
Happy art thou, whom God does bless
With the full choice of thine own happiness;
And happier yet, because thou 'rt blest
With prudence, how to choose the best:
In books and gardens thou hast plac'd aright
(Things, which thou well dost understand ;
And both dost make with thy laborious hand)
Thy noble, innocent delight;
And in thy virtuous wife, where thou again dost
Both pleasures more refin'd and sweet;
The fairest garden in her looks,
And in her mind the wisest books.
4 Virg. Georg. iv. 564.
5 Mr. Evelyn's Kalendarium hortense; dedicated to Mr Cowley-The title explains the propriety of the compliment, that this book was to last as long as months and years. HURD.
Oh, who would change these soft, yet solid joys,
For empty shows and senseless noise;
And all which rank ambition breeds,
Which seem such beauteous flowers, and are
such poisonous weeds?
When God did man to his own likeness make,
As much as clay, though of the purest kind,
By the great potter's art refin'd,
Could the divine impression take,
He thought it fit to place him, where
A kind of Heaven too did appear,
As far as Earth could such a likeness bear:
That man no happiness might want,
Which Earth to her first master could afford,
He did a garden for him plant
By the quick hand of his omnipotent word.
As the chief help and joy of human life,
He gave him the first gift; first, ev'n before a
For God, the universal architect,
"I had been as easy to erect
A Louvre or Escurial, or a tower
Among many other arts and excellencies, which you enjoy, I am glad to find this favour-As ite of mine the most predominant; that you choose this for your wife, though you have hundreds of other arts for your concubines; though you know them, and beget sons upon them all (to which you are rich enough to allow great legacies), yet the issue of this seems to be designed by you to the main of the estate; you have taken most pleasure in it, and bestowed most charges upon its education: and I doubt not to see that book, which you are pleased to promise to the world, and of which you have 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 expenses, and a long experience. I know nobody that possesses more private happiness than you do in your garden; and yet no inan, who makes his happiness more public, by a free communication of the art and knowledge of it to others. All that I myself am able yet to do, is only to
That might with Heaven communication hold,
Babel vainly thought to do of old:
He wanted not the skill or power;
In the world's fabric those were shown,
And the materials were all his own.
But well he knew, what place would best agree
With innocence and with felicity;
And we elsewhere still seek for them in vain;
If any part of either yet remain,
If any part of either we expect,
This may our judgment in the search direct;
God the first garden made, and the first city
From all th' immoderate heat,
In which the frantic world does burn and sweat!
This does the Lion-star, ambition's rage;
This avarice, the Dog-star's thirst, assuage;
Every where else their fatal power we see,
They make and rule man's wretched destiny:
They neither set, nor disappear,
But tyrannize o'er all the year;
Whilst we ne'er feel their flame or influence
The birds that dance from bough to bough,
And sing above in every tree,
Are not from fears and cares more free
When Venus would her dear Ascanius keep 6 A prisoner in the downy bands of sleep,
As the most soft and sweetest bed; [head. Not her own lap would more have charm'd his Who, that has reason, and his smell, Would not among roses and jasmine dwell, Rather than all his spirits choak With exhalations of dirt and smoke,
That salt of life, which does to all a relish give,
She odorous herbs and flowers beneath him Its standing pleasure, and intrinsic wealth,
The body's virtue, and the soul's good-fortune,
And all th' uncleanness which does drown, In pestilential clouds, a populous town? The earth itself breathes better perfumes here, Than all the female men, or women, there, Not without cause, about them bear.
When Epicurus to the world had taught,
That pleasure was the chiefest good,
(And was, perhaps, i' th' right, if rightly under-
His life he to his doctrine brought, [stood)
And in a garden 's shade that sovereign pleasure
When the great Hebrew king did almost strain The wondrous treasures of his wealth and brain, His royal southern guest to entertain;
Though she on silver floors did tread,
With bright Assyrian carpets on them spread,
To hide the metal's poverty;
Though she look'd up to roofs of gold.
And nought around her could behold
But silk and rich embroidery,
And Babylonish tapestry,
And wealthy Hiram's princely dye;
Though Ophir's starry stones met every where
Though she herself and her gay host were drest
With all the shining glories of the East;
When lavish Art her costly work had done,
The honour and the prize of bravery
Was by the garden from the palace won;
And every rose and lily there did stand
Better attir'd by Nature's hand 7.
The case thus judg'd against the king we see,
By one, that would not be so rich, though wiser
far than he.
Whoever a true epicure would be,
May there find cheap and virtuous luxury.
Vitellius's table, which did hold
As many creatures as the ark of old;
That fiscal table, to which every day
All countries did a constant tribute pay,
Could nothing more delicious afford
Than Nature's liberality,
Help'd with a little art and industry,
Allows the meanest gardener's board.
The wanton taste no fish or fowl can choose,
For which the grape or melon she would lose;
Though all th' inhabitants of sea and air
Be listed in the glutton's bill of fare,
Yet still the fruits of earth we see Plac'd the third story high in all her luxury.
But with no sense the garden does comply, None courts, or flatters, as it does, the eye.
6 Virg. Æn. i. 695.
Nor does this happy place only dispense Such various pleasures to the sense; Here health itself does live,
Where does the wisdom and the power divine
In a more bright and sweet reflection shine?
Where do we finer strokes and colours see
Of the Creator's real poetry,
Than when we with attention look
Upon the third day's volume of the book?
If we could open and intend our eye,
We all, like Moses, should espy
Ev'n in a bush the radiant Deity.
But we despise these his inferior ways
(Though no less full of miracle and praise) :
Upon the flowers of Heaven we gaze;
The stars of Earth no wonder in us raise,
7 Matth. vi. 29.
Though these perhaps do, more than they,
The life of mankind sway.
Although no part of mighty Nature be
More stor'd with beauty, power and mystery;
Yet, to encourage human industry,
God has so order'd, that no other part
Such space and such dominion leaves for Art.
We no-where Art do so triumphant see,
As when it grafts or buds the tree:
In other things we count it to excel,
If it a docile scholar can appear
To Nature, and but imitate her well;
It over-rules, and is her master, here.
It imitates her Maker's power divine,
And changes her sometimes, and sometimes does
It does, like grace, the fallen tree restore
To its blest state of Paradise before:
Who would not joy to see his conquering hand
O'er all the vegetable world command?
And the wild giants of the wood receive
What law he's pleas'd to give?
He bids th' ill-natur'd crab produce
The gentler apple's winy juice,
The golden fruit, that worthy is
Of Galatea's purple kiss:
He does the savage hawthorn teach
To bear the medlar and the pear:
He bids the rustic plum to rear
A noble trunk, and be a peach.
Ev'n Daphne's coyness he does mock,
And weds the cherry to her stock,
Though she refus'd Apollo's suit;
Ev'n she, that chaste and virgin trec,
Now wonders at herself, to see
That she's a mother made, and blushes in her
Methinks, I see great Dioclesian walk
In the Salonian garden's noble shade,
Which by his own imperial hands was made:
I see him smile, methinks, as he does talk
With the ambassadors, who come in vain
purged from the incommodities. If I were but in his condition, I should think it hard measure, without being convinced of any crime, to be se questered 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: ! can therefore only make my protestation,
"SINCE We cannot attain to greatness "(says the sieur de Montagne)" 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 conveniences of it, separated and
If ever I more riches did desire
Than cleanliness and quiet do require:
If e'er ambition did my fancy cheat,
With any wish, so mean as to be great;
Continue, Heaven, still from me to remove
The humble blessings of that life I love.
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.
T'entice him to a throne again.
"IfI, my friends" (said he) "should to you show
All the delights which in these gardens grow,
"Tis likelier much, that you should with me stay,
Than 'tis, that you should carry me away:
And trust me not, my friends, if every day,
I walk not here with more delight,
Than ever, after the most happy sight,
In triumph to the Capitol I rode,
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 lather disease, as became the sport of the whole town: he would have no servants, but huge, mas sy 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
To thank the gods, and to be thought myself, but what was great, nor touch any fruit but horse
almost a god."
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 Messala 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; 1 rejoice, I rejoice.'-We wondered, I remember, what new great fortune had befallen his eminence. Xerxes
Di bene fecerunt, inopis mé quódque pusilli
Finxerunt animi 8.
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 says,
Farvola, pumilio,Xagirov μla, tota merum sal §.