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118. JOSEPH HALIA 1574-1656. (Manual, p. 186.)

(For his Poetry, see page 57.)

THE PLEASURE OF STUDY. I can wonder at nothing more than how a man can be idle, but of all others, a scholar; in so many improvements of reason, in such sweetness of knowledge, in such variety of studies, in such importunity of thoughts: other artisans do but practise, we still learn; others run still in the same gyre to weariness, to satiety; our choice is infinite; other labors require recreation; our very labor recreates our sports; we can never want either somewhat to do, or somewhat that we would do. How numberless are the volumes which men have written of arts, of tongues! How endless is that volume which God hath written of the world! wherein every creature is a letter, every day a new page. Who can be weary of either of these? To find wit in poetry; in philosophy profoundness; in mathematics acuteness; in history wonder of events; in oratory sweet eloquence; in divinity supernatural light and holy devotion; as so many rich metals in their proper mines; whom would it not ravish with delight? After all these, let us but open our eyes, we cannot look beside a lesson, in this universal book of our Maker, worth our study, worth taking out. What creature hath not his miracle? what event doth not challenge his observation? How many busy tongues chase away good hours in pleasant chat, and complain of the haste of night! What ingenious mind can be sooner weary of talking with learned authors, the most harmless and sweetest companions? Let the world contemn us; while we have these delights we cannot envy them; we cannot wish ourselves other than we are. Besides, the way to all other contentments is troublesome; the only recompense is in the end. But very search of knowledge is delightsome. Study itself is our life; from which we would not be barred for a world. How much sweeter then is the fruit of study, the conscience of knowledge? In comparison whereof the soul that hath once tasted it, easily contemns all human comforts.

119. Owen FELTHAM. Circa 1610–1677. (Manual, p. 186.)

SEDULITY AND DILIGENCE. There is no such prevalent workman as sedulity and diligence. A man would wonder at the mighty things which have been done by degrees and gentle augmentations. Diligence and moderation are the best steps whereby to climb to any excellency. Nay, it is rare if there be any other way. The heavens send not down their rain in floods, but by drops and dewy distillations. A man is neither good, nor wise, nor rich, at once : yet softly creeping up these hills, he shall every day better his prospect; till at last he gains the top. Now he learns a virtue, and then he damns' a vice. An hour in a day may much profit a man in his study, when he makes it stint and custom. Every year something laid up, may in time make a stock great. Nay, if a man does but save, he shall increase; and though when the grains are scattered, they be next to nothing, yet together they will swell the heap. He that has the patience to attend small profits, may quickly grow to thrive and purchase: they be easier to accomplish, and come thicker. So, he that from everything collects somewhat, shall in time get a treasury of wisdom. And when all is done, for man, this is the best way. It is for God, and for Omnipotency, to do mighty things in a moment: but, degreeingly to grow to greatness, is the course that He hath left for man.

1 Used in the Latin sense of damno, to condemn, to renounce.

120. SIR THOMAS OVERBURY. 1581-1613. (Manual,

p. 186.)

A FAIR AND HAPPY MILKMAID

Is a country wench, that is so far from making herself beautiful by art, that one look of hers is able to put all face-physic out of countenance. She knows a fair look is but a dumb orator to commend virtue, therefore minds it not. All her excellences stand in her so silently, as if they had stolen upon her without her knowledge. The lining of her apparel, which is herself, is far better than outsides of tissues; for though she be not arrayed in the spoil of the silkworm, she is decked in innocence, a far better wearing. She doth not, with lying long in bed, spoil both her complexion and conditions : nature hath taught her too, immoderate, sleep is rust to the soul; she rises therefore with Chanticlere, her dame's cock, and at night makes the lamb her curfew. In milking a cow, and straining the teats through her fingers, it seems that so sweet a milk-press makes the milk whiter or sweeter; for never came almond-glore or aromatic ointment on her palm to taint it. The golden ears of corn fall and kiss her feet when she reaps them, as if they wished to be bound and led prisoners by the same hand that felled them. Her breath is her own, which scents all the year long of June, like a new-made haycock. She makes her hand hard with labor, and her heart soft with pity; and when winter evenings fall early, sitting at her merry wheel, she sings defiance to the giddy wheel of fortune. She doth all things with so sweet a grace, it seems ignorance will not suffer her to do ill, being her mind is to do well. She bestows her year's wages at next fair, and in choosing her garments, counts no bravery in the world like decency. The garden and beehive are all her physic and surgery, and she lives the longer for it. She dares go alone and unfold sheep in the night, and fears

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no manner of ill, because she means none; yet, to say truth, she is never alone, but is still accompanied with old songs, honest thoughts, and prayers, but short ones; yet they have their efficacy, in that they are not palled with ensuing idle cogitations. Lastly, her dreams are so chaste, that she dare tell them; only a Friday's dream is all her superstition; that she conceals for fear of anger. Thus lives she, and all her care is, she may die in the spring-time, to have store of flowers stuck upon her winding-sheet.

CHAPTER XI.

John Milton. 1608–1674. (Manual, p. 187-205.)

121. FROM THE HYMN OF THE NATIVITY.

It was the winter wild,
While the heaven-born child

All meanly wrapt in the rude manager lies;
Nature, in awe to him,
Had doffed her gaudy trim,

With her great Master so to sympathize;
It was no season then for her
To wanton with the sun, her lusty paramour.
No war, or battle's sound
Was heard the world around,

The idle spear and shield were high up hung,
The hookéd chariot stood
Unstained with hostile blood;

The trumpet spake not to the arméd throng;
And kings sat still with awful eye,
As if they surely knew their sovereign Lord was by.

But peaceful was the night,
Wherein the Prince of Light

His reign of peace upon the earth began:
The winds, with wonder whist,
Smoothly the waters kissed,

Whispering new joys to the mild ocean,
Who now hath quite forget to rave,
While birds of calm sit brooding on the charméd wave.

The stars, with deep amaze,
Stand fixed in steadfast gaze,

Bending one way their precious influence;
And will not take their flight,
For all the morning light,

Or Lucifer, that often warned them thence;
But in their glimmering orbs did glow,
Until their Lord himself bespake, and bid them go.

The shepherds on the lawn,
Or e'er the point of dawn,

Sat simply chatting in a rustic row;
Full little thought they than,
That the mighty Pan

Was kindly come to live with them below;
Perhaps their loves, or else their sheep,
Was all that did their silly thoughts so busy keep.

When such music sweet
Their hearts and ears did greet,

As never was by mortal finger strook;
Divinely-warbled voice
Answering the stringéd noise,

As all their souls in blissful rapture took :
The air, such pleasures loath to lose,
With thousand echoes still prolongs each heavenly cluse.

The oracles are dumb,
No voice or hideous hum

Runs through the archéd roof in words deceiving.
Apollo from his shrine
Can no more divine,

With hollow shriek the steep of Delphos leaving.
No nightly trance, or breathéd spell,
Inspires the pale-eyed priest from the prophetic cell.

The lonely mountains o'er
And the resounding shore,

A voice of weeping heard and loud lament;
From haunted spring and dale,
Edged with poplar pale,

The parting Genius is with sighing sent:
With flower-inwoven tresses torn,
The Nymphs, in twilight shade of tangled thickets, mourn.

In consecrated earth,
And on the holy hearth,

The Lars and Lemures moan with midnight plaint;
In urns and altars round,
A drear and dying sound

Affrights the Flamens at their service quaint;
And the chill marble seems to sweat,
While each peculiar power foregoes his wonted seat.

But see, the Virgin blessed
Hath laid her Babe to rest;

Time is, our tedious song should here have ending:

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