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Heat of the Ligatures and Plaisters, might very well have brought some gouty Humour upon this Dissembler in Martial.
Reading, in Froijfard % the Vow of a Company of young Ridiculous English Gallants, • to carry their left Eyes Venn of feme 'bound up till they were arrived in France^ young Engljsli « and had performed some notable Exploit Calient,. « against us:' I have often been tickled,
with the Conceit of its befalling them as it did the beforenamed Roman, and that they found they had but one Eye apiece when they returned to their Mistresses, for whole Sakes they had entered into this ridiculous Vow.
Mothers have Reason to rebuke their Children, when "Tb proper to ^ey counterfeit having but one Eye, Squinthinder CbU- Jng, Lameness, or other such personal Dedrenfrom coun- fe;:s; for, besides that their Bodies, being ter/etting per- t]ien fQ tencjer) mav De subject to take an ill jona eje s. gentj Fortune, I know not how, sometimes seems to delight to take us at our Word; and 1 have heard several Instances of People who have become really sick, by only feigning to be so, I have always used, whether on Horseback, or on Foot, to carry a Stick in my Hand, and so as to affect doing it with a Grace. Many have threatened me, that this affected Hobbling would, one Day, be turned into Necessity, that is, 'that I should * be the first of my Family to have the Gout.'
But Jet us lengthen this Chapter, and etch it out with Instance of a another Piece, concerning Blindness. Pliny Idem tvL reports of one, « that dreaming he was blind, w" deprived 'sound himself so next Day, without any ef tight in his c preCeding Malady V The Force of Imagination might assist in this Case, as I have said elsewhere, and Pliny seems to be of, the fame OpU nion; but it is more likely, that the Motions the Body felt within (whereof the Physicians, if they please, may find out the Cause) which took away his Sight, were the Occasion of his Dream.
« Vol. I, c. 19. » Nat. JHist, lib. vii. c. 50,
Let us add another Story, of much the fame Nature, which Seneca relates, in one of his Epistlese. ^, « Wo_ '■ You know, fays be, writing to Lucilius, man,'whofell that Harpajie, my Wife's Fool, is thrown blind, found upon my Family as an hereditary Charge, **js *£'*the for I have naturally an Aversion to those j„°"tlat it 'Zas Monsters *, and, if I have a mind to too dark .• A laugh at a Fool, I need not seek him far, Resemblance of I can laugh at myself. This Fool has sud- ^^"V denly lost her Sight: I tell you a strange, but a very true Thing; she is not sensible that she is blind, but eternally importunes her Keeper to take her Abroad, because she says my House is dark: But, believe me, that what we laugh at in her, happens to every one of us: No one knows himself to be avaricious. Besides, the Blind call for a Guide, but we wander of our own Accord. I am not ambitious, we fay, but a Man cannot live otherwise at Rome: I am not wasteful, but the City requires a great Expence: 'Tis not my Fault if I am Choleric; and, if I have not yet established any certain Course of Life, 'tis the Fault of Youth. Let us not look Abroad for our Disease, 'tis in us, and planted in our Intestines: And our not perceiving ourselves to be sick even renders us more hard to be cured: If we do not betimes begin to dress ourselves, when shall we have done with so many Wounds and Evils that afflict us? And yet we have a most pleasant Medicine in Philosophy •, of all others, we are not sensible of the Pleasure till after the Cure; this pleases and heals at the fame Time.' This is what Seneca fays, who has carried me from my Subject j but 'tis a Digression not unprofitable.
f Ep. 50.
C H 4 P. XXVI.
TA C ITU S f reports, that, amongst certain Barbarian Kings, their Manner was, when they would make a firm Obligation, to join their right scrtnuMthe Hands close together, and twist each other's Thumbs, Thumbs i and when, by Force of Pressure,
■wounding the Blood appeared in the Ends, they lightly
them, and Jud- ^^^ them witn fome ftarp Instrument,
in? the Blood. F , ,. _ . . . r *
and mutually lucked them. Physicians fay, 'that the Thumb is the Master-finger Etymology of * °f eac^ Hand, and that the Latin EtymotheLatin Word ' logy is derived from Polkre l.' The Greeks Pollex, fir called it «M»^£if, as who should fay, another Thumb. fja)t^ And ic feem^ that the Latins also
sometimes take it, in this Sense, for she whole Hand >
Sed nee vocibus excitata blandis,
When the j,. was at R a Signification of Fa
V bumbs denot- , ° . . . ,
fdFavour,and vour> to tum down, and clap in the
Fautor titroque tuum laudabit pollice ludum '.
find of Disfavour tq lift them up, and thrust them outward j
converso pollice vulgi
Quemlibet occidunt populariter \
f Annal. lib. xii.
* This seems to be taken from Maeroiiui's Saturn, lib. yii. c 13, who took it, in his Turn, from Atticus Cas ito. h Mart. lib. xii. Epig. 99. v. 8, 9. 1 Horat, lib. i. Ep. 18. v, 66. k Jnvf Sat. iii. y. 36.
i. e. The Vulgar, with up-lifted Thumbs, ^
Kill each one that before them comes ',
The Romans exempted from War all such as were maim7 ed in the Thumbs, as Persons not able to _, . bear Arms. Augustus confiscated the Estate cJ0ffthe°ir of a Roman Knight, 'who had maliciously Thumbs, -why 4 cut off the Thumbs of two young Children punijhed by the
* he had, to excuse them from going into Romans
c the Armies m ;' and, before him, the Senate, in the Time of the Italian War, condemned Caius Valienus to perpetual Imprisonment, and confiscated all his Goods,
* for having purposely cut off the Thumb of his left 'Hand, to exempt himself from that Expedition ".'
Some one, I have forgot who, having won a Naval Battle, 'cut off the Thumbs of all his van- Thumbs of the
* quifhed Enemies, to render them incapable vanjuijbed E
* of Fighting, and of handling the Oar.' "emycutoff. The Athenians also caused the Thumbs of those of Ægina to be cut off, 'to deprive them of the Preference in the
* Art of Navigation ".' And, in Lacedœmonia^ Pedagogues chastised their Scholars by biting their Thumbs.
Q H A P. XXVII.
Cowardise the Mother of Cruelty.
IH A V E often heard it said, 'That Cowardise is the 'Mother of Cruelty;' yet I have found, Cruelty the by Experience, that that malicious and in- common Effea humane Animosity and Fierceness is usually «f Cowardise. accompanied with a feminine Faintness. I have seen the
most most cruel People, and upon frivolous Occasions, very apt to cry. Alexander, the Tyrant of Pberes, durst not be a Spectator of Tragedies on the Theatre, for Fear lest his Subjects should fee him weep at the Misfortunes of Hecuba and Andromache ? j 'tho' he himself caused so many
1 This was a metaphorical Manner of Speech, taken from the Arena. When a Gladiator was thrown in Fighting, the People asked his Life, byturning down their Thumbs, or his Death by lifting them up.
■ Suet, in Cæsar. Augusto, sect. 24.
"Val. Max. lib. v. c. 3. sect. 3.
0 Jdcm, ibid. lib. ix. in Externis, sect. g.
• People every Day to be cruelly murdered.' Is it net Meanness of Spirit, that renders them so pliable to all Extremities? Valour (whose Effect is only to be exercised against Resistance,
Nee nifi bellantis gaudet cervice juvenci \
neither, unless it fight,
In conquering a Bull does he delight.)
stops when he fees the Enemy at its Mercy; but Pusillanimity, to fay, that it was also in the Action, not having Courage to meddle in the first Act, rushes into the se-, cond, of Blood and Massacre. The Murders in Victories are commonly performed by the Rascality, and Officers of the Baggage •, and that which causes so many unheardof Cruelties, in domestic Wars, is, ' that the Dregs of
• the People are flushed in being up to the Elbows in 4 Blood, and ripping up Bodies that lie prostrate at their
Feet, having no Sense of any other Valour.'
Et lupus, et turpes instant morientibus ursi,
None but the Wolves, the filthy Bears, and all
Like cowardly Curs, that, in the House, worry and tear in Pieces the Skins of wild Beasts, which they durst not attack in the Field. What is it, in these Times of ours, that causes our mortal Quarrels? And how comes it, that, where our Ancestors had some Degree of Revenge, we now begin with the last Degree, and that, at the first
t Plutarch in the Life of Pelopidas, ch. 15.
'Qaud. ad Hadrianum, v. 30.
'Ovid. Trist. lib. iii. Eleg. 5. v. 35.