Imágenes de páginas
[ocr errors][merged small]

those of Agesilaus ; "I do not believe ', says be, that Xeno

phon himself, if he were now living, though he was al"lowed to write whatever pleased him, to the Advantage of Agefilaus, would dare to bring them into Compari

fon. Where he speaks of comparing Lysander to Sylla, « There is “, says be, no Comparison, either in the Num• ber of Victories, or in the Hazard of Battles ; for Lya

fander only won two Naval Victories, &c.' This is not to derogate from the Romans ; for, having only simple named them with the Greeks, he can have done them no Injury, whatever Disparity soever there may be betwixt them: And Plutarch does not weigh them intirely one against another ; there is no Preference in the main ; he only compares the Pieces and Circumstances one after another, and judges of every one separately; wherefore, if any one would convince him of Partiality, he ought to pick out some one of those particular Judgments, or say, in general, that he was mistaken in comparing such a Greek to such a Roman, when there were others more fit, and better resembling to be parallelled.

[ocr errors]

The Story of SPURIN A.

[ocr errors]

HILOSOPHY thinks she has not ill imployed

her Talent, when she has given the Sovereignty of the Soul, and the Authority of checking our Whether the Appetites to Reason. Of these, they who

amorous Appejudge, that there are none more violent than tites are the thole which Love breeds, are of the Opinion, oft violent. < that they seize both Body and Soul, and possess the

whole Man;' so that Health itself depends upon them, and is the Medicine sometimes constrained to pimp for them : But it might be faid, on the contrary, that the Mixture of the Body brings an Abatement and Weaken

Mm 3


* In the Comparison of Pompey with Agesilami.

In his Comparison of Sylla and Lyfander,

ing to them, for such Desires are subject to Satiecy, and capable of material Remedies. Many being determined to rid their Souls from the con

tinual. Alarms of this Appetite, have made Means used to

Use of Incision and Amputation of the restmortify them.

less and unruly Members : Others have subdued their Force and Ardour, by the frequent Application of cold Things, as Snow and Vinegar : The Sackcloths of our Ancestors were used for this purpose, which was a Cloth woven of Horse-hair, whereof some made Shirts, and others Girdles to torture their Reins. A Prince, not long ago, told me, That, in his Youth,

upon a solemn Festival in the Court of King Francis I, ” where every-body was finely dressed, he would needs

put on his Father's Hair Shirt, which was still kept in the House ;' but, how great foever his Devotion was, « he had not Patience to wear it till Night, and was fick

long Time after ; adding withal, That he did not * think there could be any youthful Heat fo fierce, that

the Use of this Receipt would not mortify ;' and yet, perhaps, he never tried the most violent ; for Experience Thews us, that such Emotions often happen under coarse beggarly Cloaths, and that a Hair Shirt does not always render those innocent that wear it. 1

Xenocrates proceeded with greater Severity in this Af. How Xeno fair ; for his Disciples, to make trial of his crates preserv.. Continency, having flipped Lais, that beaued bis Conti tiful and famous Courtezan, into his Bed,

quite naked, Xenocrates finding, without the Charms of her Beauty, and her alluring Philtres, that, in Spite of his Reason, and phủlosophical Rules, there was a War rising in his Flesh, he caused those Members of his to be burned, that he found consenting to this Rebellion: Whereas the Passions, which wholly reside in the Soul, as Ambition, Avarice, and the rest, find the Reason much more to do, because it cannot there be relieved but by its own Means ; neither are those Appetites capable of Sa. tiety, but grow sharper, and increase by Fruition.

Thę Diog, Lacre, in the Life of Xenocrates, lib, iv, fect. 71


[ocr errors]

The sole Example of Julius Cæfar may suffice to de monstrate to us the Disparity of those Appe

Cæsar's Exam. tites, for never was Man more addicted to

ple a Proof amorous Delights: Of which one Proof; the that Ambitione delicate Care he took of his Person, to that is harder to be Degree as to use the most lascivious Means to tamed thar

Love. that End, which were then practised, viz. to have che Hairs of his Body twitched off by Pincers, and to be daubed all over with Perfumes of the extremeft Cu. riosity; and he was a beautiful Person in himself, of a fair Complexion, Tall and Sprightly, Full-faced, with brisk hazle Eyes, if we may believe Suetonius'; for the Statues, that we see at Rome, do not, in all Points, answer this Description. Besides his Wives, which he four Times changed, without reckoning the Amours of his Childhood with Nicomedes, King of Bithynia, he had the Maidenhead of the renowned Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt, witness the little Cæfario that he had by her. He also made love to Eunoe, Queen of Mouritania ; and, at Rome, to Pothumia, the Wife of Servius Sulpitius ; to Lollia, the Wife of Gabinius ; to Tortulla, the Wife of Crafus ; and even to Mutia, Wife to the Great Pompey; which was the Reason, the Roman Historians say, that she was repudiated by her Husband, which Plutarch owns he did not know : And the Curio's, both Father and Son, afterwards reproached Pompey, when he married Cæsar's Daughter, “That he . had made himself Son-in-Law to a Man who had made • him a Cuckold, and one that he himself was wont to

call Ægystus h. Besides all these, he kept Servilia, Cato's Sister, and Mother to Marcus Brutus, from whence every one believes the great Affection he had to Brutus did proceed, by reason that he was born at a Time when his Birth was likely to happen. So that I have Reason, methinks, to take him for a Man extremely given to this Debauch, and of a very amorous Constitution : But the other Paflion of Ambition, with which he was also exceedingly in

fected, f In the Life of Julius Cæfar, fe&t. 45. & Plutarch in the Life of Cafàr, c. 13. fe&t. 5o.

Suetonius's in Cafar's Life, fect. 250.

Mm 4


fected, arising in him to contend with the former, foon compelled it to give way.

And here calling to mind Mabomet, who subdued Con. The Example fantinople, and totally exterminated the Greof Mahomet cian Name, I do not know where these twa anomber Proof. Passions are so evenly balanced, being equally an indefatigable Lecher and Soldier ; but where they both meet in his Life, and joftle one another, the quarrelsome Passion always gets the better of the amorous Passion : And this, tho' it was out of its natural Şeason, did not regain an absolute Sovereignty over the other, till he came to be very old indeed, and unable to undergo the Fatigues of War.

What is related, for a contrary Example, of Ladisaus, A notable Ex. King of Naples, is very remarkable ; that, ample, proving being a great Captain, Valiant and AmbiLove to be tious, he proposed to himself, for the princiJaronger than

pal End of his Ambition, the Execution of Ambition.

his Pleasure, and the Enjoyment of some rare Beauty, which he obtained, and thereby his Death ; for having, by a close and tedious Siege, reduced the City of Florence to so great Distress, that the Inhabitants were glad to capitulate ; he was content to set them free, provided they would deliver up to him a most beautiful Virgin, whoin he had heard of in their Ciry. They were forced to yield her to him, and by a private Injury to avert the public Ruin. She was the Daughter of a Physician of Eininence in his Time, who, finding himself involved in fo foul a Necessity, resolved upon a high Attempt; for as every one was setting a Hand to trick up his Daughter, and to adorn her with Ornaments and Jewels, to render her agreeable to this new Lover ; he also gave her a Handkerchief, most richly wrought, and of an exquisite Perfume, (an Implement they never go without in those Parts) which she was to make Use of in their first Approaches. This Handkerchief, which he bad the Art to poison, coming to be rubbed between the chafed Flesh and open Pores, both of the one and the other, so suddenly infused its Poison, that their warm Sweat


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

foon turned into a cold Sweat, and they expired in one another's Arms,

But I return to Cæfar : His Pleasures never made him steal one Minute, nor turn one Step aside from Occasions that offered for its Aggran- of Love never

The Pleasures disement. That Passion was fo fovereign in hindered Cæhim, over all the rest, and with such ab- far's Views of solute Authority poffeffed his Soul, that it aggrandifing

him felf. guided him at Pleasure. In earnest, it troubles me, when (as to every Thing else) I consider the Greatness of this Man, and the 'wonderful Parts where with he was endued, learned to such a Degree, in all sorts of Knowledge, that there is hardly any one Science of which he has not written : He was so great an Orator, that many have preferred his Eloquence to that of Cicero ; and he, I conceive, did not think himself inferior to him in that particular ; for his two Anti-Cato's were chiefly writ to counter-balance the Eloquence that Cicero had expended in his Cato. As to the rest, was ever Soul so vigilant, so active, and so patient of Labour as his ? And, doubtless, it was embellished with many rare Seeds of Virtue, I mean, Innate and Natural, and not put on.

He was singularly sober, and so far from being delicate in his Diet, that Oppius relates, how that,

His fingular ' having one Day at Table physical, instead

Sobriety. • of common Oil, in some Sauce set before

him, he eat heartily of it, that he might not put his « Entertainer out of Countenancei. Another Time he caused his Baker to be whipped, for serving him with a finer fort of Bread than common. Cato himself was wont to say of him, " That he was the first fober Man that * took a Course to ruin his Country.' And as to the fame Cato's calling him, one Day, Drunkard, it fell out thus : Being both of them in the Senate, at a Time when Cataline's Conspiracy was in Question, of which Cæfar was suspected, one came and brought him a Letter sealed up: Cato, a believing that it was some Intelligence from the Conspirators, called to him to deliver it into his

• Hand,' i Cæsar's Life by Suetonius. * Plutarch in the Life of Cate of Utica, ch.7.

« AnteriorContinuar »