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The Stoic afterwards told Marcellinus^ * That it would not
* be indecent, as what is left on our Tables, when we have
* dined, is given to the Waiters, so, Life being ended, to
* distribute something to those who have been our Ser
* vants.' Now Marcellinus was of a free and liberal Spirit; he therefore divided a certain Sum of Money among his Attendants, and made them easy. As to the rest, he had no Need of Steel, nor of Blood: He was resolved to go out of this Life, and not to run out of it; not to escape from Death, but to try it: And, to give himself Leisure to parly with it, having forsaken all manner of Nourishment, the third Day following, when he had caused himself to be sprinkled with warm Water, he fainted by Degrees, and not without some kind of Pleasure, as he himself declared. In Earnest, such as have been acquainted with these Faintings, proceeding from Weakness, do fay, that they are therein sensible of no manner of Pain, but rather feel a kind of Delight, as in a Passage to Sleep and Rest: These are Deaths studied and digested.
But, to the End that Cato only may furnilh out the whole Example of Virtue, it seems as if his Death bravely good Destiny had put his ill one into his confronted by Hand, with which he gave himself the Blow •, Cat0* seeing he had the Leisure to confront and struggle with Death, reinforcing his Courage in the highest Danger, instead of slackening it. And, if I had been to represent him in his loftiest Station, I should have done it in the Posture of one tearing out his bloody Bowels, rather than with his Sword in his Hand, as did the Statuaries of his Time: For this second Murder would have been much more furious than the first.
'C H A P. XIV. ".. • .
Hoiv the Mind hampers itself.
VT'MS a pleasant Imagination, to fancy a Mind exact:J[ ly balanced betwixt two equal Desires: For, H ~ tie Mind c^ou':)t'e^s' xX- can never pitch upon either, isdctmmned forasmuch as the Choice and Application in its Choice would manifest an Inequality of Value; and betivixt two were we set betwixt the Bottle and the Ham, ■Things ind.fe- with an equaJ Appetite to Drink and to Eat, there would, doubtless, be no Remedy, but to die for Thirst and Hunger. To provide against this Inconvenience, the Stsics, when they are asked, 4 Whence 'this Election in the Soul, of two indifferent Things, 'does proceed, (so as, out of a great Number of Crowns, 'rather to take one than another, there being no Rea'son to incline us to such a Preference)1 make Answer,
* That this Movement of the Soul is extraordinary and 'irregular; that it enters into us by a strange, acciden
* tal, and fortuitous Impulse.' It might rather, methinks, be said, that nothing presents itself to us wherein there is not some Difference, how little soever; and that, either by the Sight or Touch, there is always some Choice, which, tho' it be imperceptibly, tempts and attracts us. Whoever likewise shall presuppose a Packthread equally strong throughout, it is utterly impossible it should break; for, where will you have the Fracture to begin? And that it should break all together is not in Nature. Whoever also should hereunto join the Geometrical Propositions, that, by the Certainty of their Demonstrations, conclude the Contained to be greater than the Containing, the Center to be as great as the Circumference, and that should find out two Lines incessantly approaching each other, with no Possibility of their ever meeting; and the Philosopher's Stone, and the Quadrature of the Circles where Reason and the Effect are so opposite, might, peradventure, draw some Argument to prove it, to support
port this bold Saying ot Pliny \ Solum certum nihil est certiy et homine nihil miserius aut superbius. That it is only certain there is nothing certain, and that nothing is more miserable or proud than Man.
Thai our Dejires are augmented by the Difficulty of obtaining them.
THERE is no Reason that has not its contrary, fay the Wisest of Philosophers. I sometimes ruminate on the excellent Saying urged by one of the Ancients for the Contempt of Life; 'No Good can bring 'Pleasure, unless it be That for the Loss of which we c are prepared:' In <equo est dolor amiffœ rei, et timor amittendæ sj The Grief of having lost a Thing, and the Fear of losing it, are equal. Meaning, by that, that the Fruition of Life cannot be truly pleasant to us, if we are in Fear of losing it.
It might, however, be said, on the contrary, that we grasp and embrace this Good the more closely and affectionately, the less assured we are of holding it, and the more we fear to have it taken from us; for it is evident, that as Fire burns with greater Fury when Cold comes to mix with it, so our Wills are more sharpened by being opposed:
Si nunquam Danaen habuiffet ahenea turris.,
And that there is nothing, in Nature, so contrary to our Taste as the Satiety which proceeds from Facility •, nor any Thing that so much whets it, as Rarity and Diffi
C c 3 culty.
r Plin. lib. ii. c. 7. 'Senec. Ep, 98, « Ovid. Am. lib. ii
El, 19. v. 27.
culty. ° Omnium rerum voluptas ipfo quo debet fugare periculo crescit. The Pleasure of every Thing increases by the very Danger that should deter us from it.
Calla nega, satiatur amor nisi gaudia torquent v.
i. e. Galla deny, be not too eas'ly gain'd, For. Love will glut with Joys too soon obtain'd.
To keep Love in Breath, Lycurgus made a Decree, that the married People of Lacedœmonia mould never enjoy one another, but by Stealth •, and that it should be as great a Shame for them to be taken in Bed together, as with others. The Difficulty of Assignations, the Danger of Surprise, and the Shame of the next Day.
Et languor., et Jilentium,
Et latere petitus imo fpiritus x.
i. t. The Languor, Silence, and the far-feteh'd Sighs.
These are what give the Haut-gout to the Sauce: How many very wantonly pleasant Sports arise from the cleanly and modest Way of speaking of the Works of Love? The Pleasure itself seeks to be heightened with Pain.: It is much sweeter when it smarts, and excoriates. - The Courtezan Flora said, * She never lay with Pompey y, but * that she made him carry off the Prints of her Teeth.'
£>uod petiere, premunt arfle, faciuntque dolorem
And And so it is in every Thing: Difficulty gives all Things their Valuation. The People of the Marquisate of Ancona, most chearfully make their Vows to St. James de Compostelfo, and those of Galicia to our Lady of Lores to; they make wonderful Boasts, at Liege, of the Baths of Lucca, and in Tuscany of those of the Spa: There are few Romans seen in the Fencing-School at Rome, which is full of French: The great Cato also, like we, was out of Conceit with his Wife while she was his, and longed for her when in the Possession of another. I turned out an old Stallion into the Paddock, because he was not to be governed when he smelt a Mare •, the Facility presently sated him, with Regard to his own, but on the Sight of strange Mares, and of the first that passed by his Pasture, he would again fall to his importunate Neighings, and his furious Heats, as before. Our Appetite contemns, and passes by what it has in Possession, to run after what it has not.
u Sen. de Ben. lib. vii. c. 9. w Mart. lib. iv. F.pig. 38. x Hor.
E'pod. Ode xi v. 13. y Plutarch in the Lifjr of 1'empej, c. t. * Lucr. lib. iv. v. 1072, bV.
Transvolat in medio posita, et sugientia captat *.
Thou scorn'st that Lass thou may'st with Ease enjoy,
To forbid us any Thing, is to make us eager for it.
nifi tu servare puellam
Incipis, incipiet definere ejfe mea c.
If thou no better guard tha,t Girl of thine,
To give it wholly up to us, is to beget a Contempt of it. in us: Want, and Abundance, relapse into the lame Inconvenience.
Tibi quod superest, mihi quod desit, dolet d.
C c 4 i. e.
1 Herat, lib. i. Sat. 2. v. 108. b Mr. Francis. c Ovid. Amor. lib. ii. El. 19. v. 47. d Terent. Phormio, Act i. Sc. 3. v. 3^ . ..