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itself, kills the image of God, as it were, in the eye. Many a man lives a burden to the earth; but a good book is the precious life-blood of a master spirit, embalmed and treasured up on purpose to a lise beyond life. 'Tis true no age can restore a life, whereof
perhaps there is no great loss; and revolutions of ages do not oft recover the loss of a rejected truth, for the want of which whole nations fare the worse.
We should be wary, therefore, what persecution we raise against the living labours of public men, how spill that seasoned life of man, preserved and stored up in books; since we see a kind of homicide
be thus committed, sometimes a kind of martyrdom; and if it extend to the whole impression, a kind of massacre, whereof the execution ends not in the slaying of an elemental life, but strikes at that ethereal and soft essence, the breath of reason itself, slays an immortality rather than a life.
If, therefore, ye be loath to dishearten utterly and discontent, not the mercenary crew and false pretenders to learning, but the free and ingenuous sort of such as evidently were born to study and love learning for itself, not for lucre, or any other end, but the service of God and of truth, and perhaps that lasting fame and perpetuity of praise which God and good men have consented shall be the reward of those whose published labours advance the good of mankind; then know, that so far to distrust the judgment and honesty of one who hath but a common repute in learning, and never yet offended, as not to count him fit to print his mind without a tutor and examiner, lest he should drop a schism, or something of corruption, is the greatest displeasure and indignity, to a free and knowing spirit, that can be put upon him.
What advantage is it to be a man, over it is to be a boy at school, if we have only escaped the ferula to come under the fescue of an imprimatur ?--if serious and elaborate writings, as if they were no more than the theme of a grammar lad under his pedagogue, must not be uttered without the cursory eyes of a temporizing and extemporizing licenser? He who is not trusted with his own actions, his drift not being known to be evil, and standing to the hazard of law and penalty, has no great argument to think himself reputed in the commonwealth wherein he was born for other than a fool or a foreigner.
When a man writes to the world, he summons up all his reason and deliberation to assist him; he searches, meditates, is industrious, and likely consults and confers with his judicious friends; after all which is done, he takes himself to be informed in what he writes, as well as any that writ before him ; if in this, the most consummate act of his fidelity and ripeness, no years, no industry, no former proof of his abilities can bring him to that state of maturity, as not to be still mistrusted and suspected, unless he carry all his considerate diligence, all his midnight watchings, and expense of Palladian dil, to the hasty view of an unleisured licenser, perhaps much his younger, perhaps far his inferior in judgment, perhaps one who never knew the labour of book-writing; and if he be not repulsed, or slighted, must appear in print like a puny with his guardian, and his censor's hand on the back of his title, to be his bail and surety that he is no idiot or seducer: it cannot be but a dishonour and derogation to the author, to the book, to the privilege and dignity of learning.
And how can a man teach with authority, which is the life of teaching; how can he be a doctor in his book, as he ought to be or else had better be silent, whenas all he teaches, all he delivers, is but under the tuition, under the correction of his patriarchal licenser, to blot or alter what precisely accords not with the hidebound humour which he calls his judgment ? When every acute reader, upon the first sight of a pedantic license, will be ready with these like words to ding the book a quoit's distance from him, I hate a pupil teacher, I endure not an instructor that comes to me under the wardship of an overseeing fist.
Lords and Commons of England ! consider what nation it is whereof ye are, and whereof ye are the governors ; a nation not slow and dull, but of a quick, ingenious and piercing spirit; acute to invent, subtile and sinewy to discourse, not beneath the reach of any point that human capacity can soar to. Methinks I see in my mind a noble and puissant nation rousing herself like a strong man after sleep, and shaking her invincible locks; methinks I see her as an eagle mewing her mighty youth, and kindling her undazzled eyes at the full mid-day beam; purging and unscaling her long-abused sight at the fountain itself of heavenly radiance; while the whole noise of timorous and flocking birds, with those also that love the twilight, futter about, amazed at what she means.
Though all the winds of doctrine were let loose to play upon the earth, so Truth be in the field, we do injuriously, by licensing and prohibiting, to misdoubt her strength. Let her and falsehood grapple; who ever knew Truth put to the worse in a free and open encounter? Her confuting is the best and surest suppressing. What a collusion is this, whenas we are exhorted by the wise man to use diligence, " to seek for wisdom as for hidden treasures," early and late, that another order shall enjoin us to know nothing but by statute! When a man hath been labouring the hardest labour in the deep mines of knowledge, hath furnished out his findings in all their equipage, drawn forth his reasons, as it were a battle ranged, scattered and defeated all objections in his way, calls out his adversary into the plain, offers him the advantage of wind and sun, if he please, only that he may try the matter by dint of argument; for his opponents then to skulk, to lay ambushments, to keep a narrow bridge of licensing where the challenger should pass, though it be valour enough in soldiership, is but weakness and cowardice in the wars of Truth. For who knows not that Truth is strong, next to the Almighty? She needs no policies, nor stratagems, nor licensings, to make her victorious ; those are the shifts and the defences that error uses against her power; give her but room, and do not bind her when she sleeps.
(Cowley is no less distinguished as a prose writer than as a poet. Indeed, since his death, his prose writings have been rising in repute, while his poetry has gone entirely out of fashion. “No author,” says Dr. Johnson, “ ever kept his verse and his prose at a greater distance from each other. His thoughts are natural, and his style has a smooth and placid equability, which has never yet obtained its due commendation. Nothing is far.
sought or hard-laboured; but all is easy without feebleness, and familiar without grossness.” The character of Cromwell, which is here quoted, has been inuch admired. It is given by Hume in the History of England, but with some mutilations..]
Vision of Oliver Cromwell.
I was interrupted by a strange and terrible appari tion; for there appeared to me (arising out of the earth as I conceived) the figure of a man, taller than a giant, or indeed than the shadow of any giant in the evening. His body was naked, but that nakedness adorned, or rather deformed, all over with several figures, after the manner of the ancient Britons, painted upon it; and I perceived that most of them were the representation of the late battles in our civil wars, and (if I be not much mistaken) it was the battle of Nasehy that was drawn upon his breast. His eyes were like burning brass; and there were three crowns of the same metal (as I guessed), and that looked as red-hot, too, upon his head. He held in his right hand a sword that was yet bloody, and nevertheless, the motto of it was Pax quæritur bello :* and in his left hand a thick book, upon the back of which was written in letters of gold, Acts, Ordinances, Protestations, Covenants, Engagements, Declarations, Remonstrances, &c.
Though this sudden, unusual, and dreadful object might have quelled a greater courage than mine, yet so it pleased God (for there is nothing bolder than a man in a vision) that I was not at all daunted, but asked him resolutely and briefly, “What art thou ?" And he said, “ I am called the north-west principality, his high
* Peace is sought in war.