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73. YOUTH, THE TIME FOR IMBIBING VIRTUOUS PRINCIPLES. Youth, as it is most liable to be corrupted by vice, so it is most capable of being imbued with virtue; then nature is soft and pliable, so as easily to be moulded into any shape, ready to admit any stamp impressed thereon; then the mind is a pure table, in which good principles may be fairly engraven, without rasing out any former ill prejudices; then the heart being a soil free of weeds, the seeds of goodness being cast therein will undisturbedly grow and thrive. If we do then imbibe false conceptions or have bad impressions made on our minds, it will be hard afterwards to expel or to correct them. Passion is then very fluid and moveable, but, not being impetuously determined any way, may easily be derived into the right channel. Then the quickness of our wit, the briskness of our fancy, the freshness of our memory, the vigour of our affections, the lusty and active mettle of our spirits, being applied to virtuous studies and endeavours, will produce most noble fruits; the beauty of which will adorn us, the sweetness will please us, so as to leave on our minds a perpetual relish and satisfaction in goodness.
74. OF TRANSLATION. Translation is a Province every body thinketh himself qualified to undertake, but very few are found equal to it: The mechanic Rules, the common Laws, which are to be observed, are very seldom obeyed; and sometimes a Translation may prove a very bad one, where these are most strictly regarded. Too scrupulous an observation of Rules spoileth all sorts of writings: it maketh them stiff and formal; it betrayeth a weak and pedantic Genius, and such nice Writers are fitter to make Transcribers than Translators.
The first qualification of a good Translator is an exact Understanding, an Absolute Mastery of the Language he translateth from, and the Language he translateth to: we are not only required to understand our own, and a foreign Tongue as Critics and Grammarians, we must not only be perfect Masters of each separately, but we must more especially study the Relation and Comparison between them. In this do lie the great Art and Difficulty of Translating; and not being able to reach the full Compass, the Differences, the Proprieties and Beauties of one Language, is the Foundation of all faulty Rendering into Another.
75. REMONSTRANCE WITH LEVELLERS. Ye pretend to a commonwealth. How amend ye it by killing of gentlemen, by spoiling of gentlemen, by imprisoning of gentlemen? A marvellous tanned commonwealth. Why should ye hate them for their riches, or for their rule? Rule, they never took so much in hand as ye do now. They never resisted the king, never withstood his council, be faithful at this day, when ye be faithless, not only to the king whose subjects ye be, but also to your lords whose tenants ye be. Is this your true duty-in some of homage, in most of fealty, in all of allegiance—to leave your duties, go back from your promises, fall from your faith, and contrary to law and truth, to make unlawful assemblies, ungodly companies, wicked and detestable camps, to disobey your betters, and to obey your tanners, to change your obedience from a king to a Ket, to submit yourselves to traitors, and break your faith to your true king and lords?
If riches offend you, because ye would have the like, then think that to be no commonwealth but envy to the commonwealth. Envy it is to appair another man's estate, without the amendment of your own; and to have no gentlemen, because ye be none yourselves, is to bring down an estate and to mend none. Would ye have all alike rich? That is the overthrow of all labour, and utter decay of work in this realm. For who will labour more, if, when he hath gotten more, the idle shall by lust, without right, take what him list from him under pretence of equality with him? This is the bringing in of idleness which destroyeth the commonwealth, and not the amendment of labour which maintaineth the conmonwealth.
SIR J. CHEEKE
76. CICERO, WHY HORACE AND VIRGIL MAKE NO MENTION OF HIM. The odium of Cicero's death fell chiefly on Antony; yet it left a stain of perfidy and ingratitude also on Augustus; which explains the reason of that silence which is observed about him by the writers of that age; and why his name is not so much as mentioned either by Horace or Virgil. For though his character would have furnished a glorious subject for many noble lines, yet it was no subject for court poets; since the very mention of him must have been a satire on the prince, especially while Antony lived, among the sycophants of whose court it was fashionable to insult his memory by all the methods
of calumny that wit and malice could invent: nay Virgil, on an occasion that could hardly fail of bringing him to his mind, instead of doing justice to his merit, chose to do an injustice rather to Rome itself, by yielding the superiority of eloquence to the Greeks, which they themselves had been forced to yield to Cicero.
PANEGYRIC OF FOX, MOVER OF THE EAST INDIA BILL. And now, having done my duty to the bill, let me say a word to the author. I should leave him to his own noble sentiments, if the unworthy and illiberal language with which he has been treated, beyond all example of parliamentary liberty, did not make a few words necessary; not so much in justice to him, as to my own feelings. I must say, then, that it will be a distinction honourable to the age, that the rescue of the greatest number of the human race that ever were so grievously oppressed, from the greatest tyranny that was ever exercised, has fallen to the lot of abilities and dispositions equal to the task; that it has fallen to one who has the enlargement to comprehend, the spirit to undertake, and the eloquence to support, so great a measure of hazardous benevolence. His spirit is not owing to his ignorance of the state of men and things; he well knows what snares are spread about his path, from personal animosity, from court intrigues, and possibly from popular delusion. But he has put to hazard his ease, his security, his interest, his power, even his darling popularity, for the benefit of a people whom he has never seen. This is the road that all heroes have trod before him. He is traduced and abused for his supposed motives. He will remember, that obloquy is a necessary ingredient in the composition of all true glory: he will remember, that it was not only in the Roman customs, but it is in the nature and constitution of things, that calumny and abuse are essential parts of triumph. These thoughts will support a mind, which only exists for honour, under the burden of temporary reproach. He is doing indeed a great good; such as rarely falls to the lot, and almost as rarely coincides with the desires, of any man. Let him use his time. Let him give the whole length of the reins to his benevolence. He is now on a great eminence, where the eyes of mankind are turned to him. He may live long, he may do
much. But here is the summit. He never can exceed what
he does this day.
78. REGULATION OF DESIRES. But since perfection is in fact not attainable by man, we must proceed in a less elevated strain, and consider what is practicable, and give such rules as may be of use in the regulation of conduct. Man's sensations and desires form a very considerable part of his constitution. By these he is influenced in all he does, and upon the nature of these his happiness in a great degree depends. We certainly ought to commend the most virtuous sort of life, not merely because it is most conducive to good character, but because, if steadily and uniformly pursued from youth upwards, it far exceeds any other in those particulars which are the objects of universal desire, in the attainment of pleasure and the exemption from pain. This indeed is evidently the case where a man's desires are well regulated. But by what means this just regulation of desire is effected, whether by the power of some inherent and connate faculties, or by the light of experience, may require some consideration.
79. THE LACTEAL SYSTEM. It is not very easy to conceive a more evidently prospective contrivance, than that which, in all viviparous animals, is found in the milk of the female parent. At the moment the young animal enters the world, there is its maintenance ready for it. The particulars to be remarked in this economy are neither few nor slight. We have, first, the nutritious quality of the fluid, unlike, in this respect, every other excretion of the body; and in which nature hitherto remains unimitated, neither cookery nor chymistry having been able to make milk out of grass: we have, secondly, the organ for its reception and retention: we have, thirdly, the excretory duct, annexed to that organ: and we have, lastly, the determination of the milk to the breast, at the particular juncture when it is about to be wanted. We have all these properties in the subject before us: and they are all indications of design. The last circumstance is the strongest of any. If I had been to guess beforehand, I should have conjectured, that at the time when there was an extraordinary demand for nourishment in one part of the system there would be the least likelihood of a redundancy to supply another part.
The advanced pregnancy of the female has no intelligible tendency to fill the breasts with milk. The lacteal system is a constant wonder: and it adds to other causes of our admiration, that the number of the teats or paps in each species is found to bear a proportion to the number of the young. In the sow, the bitch, the rabbit, the cat, the rat, which have numerous litters, the paps are numerous, and are disposed along the whole length of the belly; in the cow and mare, they are few. The most simple account of this, is to refer it to a designing Creator.
80. THE TWO ANTONINES. Titus Antoninus Pius has been justly denominated a second Numa. The same love of religion, justice and peace was the distinguishing characteristic of both princes. But the situation of the latter opened a much larger field for the exercise of those virtues. Numa could only prevent a few neighbouring villages from plundering each others' harvests. Antoninus diffused order and tranquillity over the greater part of the earth. His reign is marked by the rare advantage of furnishing very few materials for history; which is, indeed, little more than the register of the crimes, follies and misfortunes of mankind. In private life, he was an amiable, as well as a good man. He enjoyed with moderation the conveniences of his fortune; and the benevolence of his soul displayed itself in a cheerful serenity of temper.
The virtue of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus was of a severer and more laborious kind. It was the well-earned harvest of many a learned conference, of many a patient lecture, and many a midnight lucubration. At the age of twelve years he embraced the rigid system of the Stoics, which taught him to submit his body to his mind, his passions to his reason; to consider virtue as the only good, vice as the only evil, all things external as things indifferent. His Meditations, composed in the tumult of a camp, are still extant; and he even condescended to give lessons of philosophy, in a more public manner than was perhaps consistent with the modesty of a sage, or the dignity of an emperor. But his life was the noblest commentary on the precepts of Zeno. He was severe to himself, indulgent to the imperfection of others, just and beneficent to all mankind. War he detested, as the disgrace and calamity of human nature; but when the necessity of a just defence called upon him