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THE REPLY OF THE SQUIRE.
WANDERING Hermit, storming Soldier, and hollow Statesman, the inchanting orators of Philautia, which have attempted by your high charms to turn resolved Erophilus into a statue deprived of action, or into a vulture attending about dead bodies, or into a monster with a double heart; with infinite assurance, but with just indignation, and forced patience, I have suffered you to bring in play your whole forces. For I would not vouchsafe to combat you one by one, as if I trusted to the goodness of my breath, and not the goodness of my strength, which little needeth the advantage of your severing, and much less of your disagreeing. Therefore, first, I would know of you all what assurance you have of fruit whereto you aspire?
You, Father, that pretend to truth and knowledge, how are you assured that you adore not vain chimaras and imaginations? that, in your high prospect, when you think men wander up and down, that they stand not indeed still in their place? and it is some smoke or cloud between you and them, which moveth, or else the dazzling of your own eyes? Have not many, which take themselves to be inward coun sellors with nature, proved but idle believers, which told us tales, which were no such matter? And, Soldier, what security have you for these victories and garlands which you promise to yourself? Know you not of many, which have made provision of laurel for the victory, and have been fain to exchange it with cypress for the funeral? of many which have bespoken fame to sound their triumphs, and have been glad to pray her to say nothing of them, and not to discover them in their flights?
Corrupt Statesman, you that think by your engines and motions to govern the wheel of fortune; do you not mark, that clocks cannot be long in temper? that jugglers are no longer in request, when their tricks and slights are once perceived? Nay, do you not see, that never any man made his own cunning and prac
tice, without religion and moral honesty, his foundation, but he overbuilt himself, and in the end made his house a windfall? But give ear now to the comparison of my master's condition, and acknowledge such a difference, as is betwixt the melting hail-stone and the solid pearl. Indeed it seemeth to depend, as the globe of the earth seemeth to hang, in the air; but yet it is firm and stable in itself. It is like a cube, or a die-form, which, toss it or throw it any way, it ever lighted upon a square. Is he denied the hopes of favours to come? he can resort to the remembrance of contentments past. Destiny cannot repeal that which is past. Doth he find the acknowledgement of his affection small? he may find the merit of his affection the greater. Fortune cannot have power over that which is within. Nay, his falls are like the falls of Antæus; they renew his strength. His clouds are like the clouds of harvest, which make the sun break forth with greater force. His wanes are changes like the moon's, whose globe is all light towards the sun, when it is all dark towards the world; such is the excellency of her nature, and of his estate. Attend, you beadsman of the muses, you take your pleasure in a wilderness of variety; but it is but of shadows. You are as a man rich in pictures, medals, and crystals. Your mind is of the water, which taketh all forms and impressions, but is weak of substance. Will you compare shadows with bodies, picture with life, variety of many beauties with the peerless excellency of one? the element of water with the element of fire? And such is the comparison between knowledge and love.
Come out, man of war; you must be ever in noise. You will give laws, and advance force, and trouble nations, and remove land-marks of kingdoms, and hunt men, and pen tragedies in blood: and that, which is worst of all, make all the virtues accessary to bloodshed. Hath the practice of force so deprived you of the use of reason, as that you will compare the interruption of society with the perfection of society? the conquest of bodies with the conquest of
spirits? the terrestrial fire, which destroyeth and dissolveth, with the celestial fire, which quickeneth and giveth life? And such is the comparison between the soldier and the lover.
And as for you, untrue Politique, but truest bondman to Philautia, you, that presume to bind occasion, and to overwork fortune, I would ask you but one question. Did ever any lady, hard to please, or disposed to exercise her lover, injoin him so good tasks and commandments, as Philautia exacteth of you? While your life is nothing but a continual acting upon a stage; and that your mind must serve your humour, and yet your outward person must serve your end; so as you carry in one person two several servitudes to contrary masters. But I will leave you to the scorn of that mistress, whom you undertake to govern; that is, to fortune, to whom Philautia hath bound you. And yet, you commissioner of Philautia, I will proceed one degree farther: if I allowed both of your assurance, and of your values, as you have set them, may not my master enjoy his own felicity; and have all yours for advantage? I do not mean that he should divide himself in both pursuits, as in your feigning tales towards the conclusion you did yield him; but because all these are in the hands of his mistress more fully to bestow, than they can be attained by your addresses, knowledge, fame, fortune. For the Muses, they are tributary to her majesty for the great liberties they have enjoyed in her kingdom, during her most flourishing reign; in thankfulness whereof they have adorned and accomplished her majesty with the gifts of all the sisters. What library can present such a story of great actions, as her majesty carrieth in her royal breast by the often return of this happy day? What worthy author or favourite of the muses, is not familiar with her? Or what language, wherein the muses have used to speak, is unknown to her? Therefore, the hearing of her, the observing of her, the receiving instructions from her, may be to Erophilus a lecture exceeding all dead monuments of the muses. For Fame, can all
the exploits of the war win him such a title, as to have the name of favoured and selected servant of such a queen? For Fortune, can any insolent politique promise to himself such a fortune, by making his own way, as the excellency of her nature cannot deny to a careful, obsequious, and dutiful servant? And if he could, were it equal honour to obtain it by a shop of cunning, as by the gift of such a hand?
Therefore Erophilus's resolution is fixed: he renounceth Philautia, and all her inchantments. For her recreation, he will confer with his muse: for her defence and honour, he will sacrifice his life in the wars, hoping to be embalmed in the sweet odours of her remembrance. To her service will he consecrate all his watchful endeavours, and will ever bear in his heart the picture of her beauty; in his actions, of her will; and in his fortune, of her grace and favour.
TO SIR THOMAS EGERTON, LORD KEEPER OF THE
GREAT SEAL. (a)
May it please your honourable good Lordship,
Of your lordship's honourable disposition, both generally and to me, I have that belief, as what I think, I am not afraid to speak: and what I would speak, I am not afraid to write. And therefore I have thought to commit to letter some matter, whereunto [which] I have been [conceived] led [into the same] by two motives: the one, the consideration of my own estate; the other, the appetite, which I have to give your lordship some evidence of, the thoughtful and voluntary desire which is in me, to merit well of your most honourable lordship: which desire in me
(a) From the original draught in the library of Queen's College, Oxford, Arch. D. 2. the copy of which was communicated to me by Thomas Tyrwhytt, Esq. clerk of the honourable House of Commons. Sir William Dugdale, in his Baronage of England, vol. II. p. 438, has given two short passages of this letter transcribed by him from the unpublished original.
hath been bred chiefly by the consent I have to your great virtue come in good time to do this state pleasure; and next by your loving courses held towards me, especially in your nomination and inablement of me long since to the solicitor's place, as your lordship best knows. Which your two honourable friendships I esteem so much [in so great sort] as your countenance and favour in my practice, which are somewhat to my poverty; yet I count them not the best [greatest] part of the obligation, wherein I stand bound to you.
And now, my lord, I pray you right humbly, that you will vouchsafe your honourable licence and patience, that I may express to you, what in a doubtful liberty I have thought fit, partly by way of praying your help, and partly by way of offering my good will; partly again by way of pre-occupating your conceit, lest you may in some things mistake.
My estate, to confess a truth to your lordship, is weak and indebted, and needeth comfort; for both my father, though I think I had greatest part in his love to all his children, yet in his wisdom served me in as a last comer; and myself, in mine own industry, have rather referred and aspired to virtue than to gain whereof I am not yet wise enough to repent me. But the while, whereas Solomon speaketh that want cometh first like a wayfaring man, and after like an armed man, I must acknowledge to your lordship myself to [be] in primo gradu; for it stealeth upon me. But for the second, that it should not be able to be resisted, I hope in God I am not in that case; for the preventing whereof, as I do depend upon God's providence all in all, so in the same his providence I see opened unto me three not unlikely expectations of help: the one my practice; the other some proceeding in the queen's service; the third [the] place I have in reversion; which, as it standeth now unto me, is but like another man's ground reaching upon my house, which may mend my prospect, but it doth not fill my barn.