« AnteriorContinuar »
riage is ordained a remedy for unlawful concupiscence; and natural concupiscence seemeth as a spur to marriage. But when men have at hand a remedy more agreeable to their corrupt will, marriage is almost expulsed. And therefore there are with you seen infinite men that marry not, but chuse rather a libertine and impure single life, than to be yoked in marriage; and many that do marry, marry late, when the prime and strength of their years is past. And when they do marry, what is marriage to them but a very bargain; wherein is sought alliance, or portion, or reputation, with some desire (almost indifferent) of issue; and not the faithful nuptial union of man and wife, that was first instituted. Neither is it possible, that those that
. have cast away so basely so much of their strength, should greatly esteem children, (being of the same matter) as chaste men do. So likewise during marriage is the case much amended, as it ought to be if those things were tolerated only for necessity: no, but they remain still as a very affront to marriage. The haunting of those dissolute places, or resort to curtesans, are no more punished in married men than in batchelors. And the depraved custom of change, and the delight in meritricious embracements, (where sin is turned into art) maketh marriage a dull thing, and a kind of imposition or tax. They hear you defend these things, as
done to avoid greater evils; as advoutries, deflouring of virgins, unnatural lust, and the like. But they say, this is a preposterous wisdom; and they call it Lot's offer, who to save his guests from abusing, offered his daughters: nay, they say farther, that there is little gained in this; for that the same vices and appetites do still remain and abound; unlawful lust being like a furnace, that if you stop the flames altogether it will quench ; but if you give it any vent, it will rage; as for masculine love, they have no touch of it; and yet there are not so faithful and inviolate friendships in the world again as are there; and to speak generally, (as I said before) I have not read of any such chastity in any people as theirs. And their usual saying is, that whosoever is unchaste cannot reverence himself: and they say, that the reverence of a man's self, is, next to religion, the chiefest bridle of all vices. And when he had said this, the good Jew paused a little ; whereupon I far more willing to hear him speak on, than to speak myself; yet thinking it decent, that upon his pause of speech I should not be altogether silent, said only this; that I would say to him, as the widow of Serepta said to Elias; that he was come to bring to memory our sins; and that I confess the righteousness of Bensalem, was greater than the righteousness of Europe. At which speech he bowed bis head, and went on in this
manner: they have also many wise and excellent laws touching marriage. They allow no polygamy. They have ordained that none do intermarry, or contract, until a month be past from their first interview. Marriage without consent of parents they do not make void, but they mulct it in the inberitors : for the children of such marriages are not admitted to inherit above a third part of their parents inheritance. I have read in a book of one of your men, of a feigned commonwealth, where the married couple are permitted, before they contract to see one another naked. This they dislike; for they think it a scorn to give a refusal after so familiar a knowledge: but because of many hidden defects in men and womens bodies, they have a more civil way: for they have near every town a couple of pools, (which they call Adam and Eve's pools) where it is permitted to one of the friends of the man, and another of the friends of the woman, to see them severally bathe naked.
And as we were thus in conference, there came one that seemed to be a messenger, in a rich huke, that spake with the Jew : whereupon he turned to me and said, you will pardon me, for I am commanded away in haste. The next morning he came to me again joyful, as it seemed, and said ; there is word come to the governor of the city that one of the fathers of Solomon's house will be
hete this day seven-night: we have seen none of them this dozen years. His coming is in state; but the cause of his coming is secret. I will provide you, and your fellows, of a good standing to see his entry. I thanked him, and told him, I was most glad of the news. The day being come, he made his entry.
He was a man of middle stature and age, comely of person, and had an aspect as if he pitied men.
He was cloathed in a robe of fine black cloath, with wide sleeves and a cape. His under garment was of excellent white linen down to the foot, girt with a girdle of the same; and a sindon or tippet of the same about his neck. He had gloves that were curious, and set with stone; and shoes of peach-coloured velvet. His neck was bare to the shoulders. His hat was like a helmet, or Spanish Montera; and his locks curled below it decently: they were of colour brown. His beard was cut round, and of the same colour with his hair somewhat lighter. He was carried in a rich chariot without wheels, litter-wise, with two horses at either end, richly trapped in blue velvet. embroidered ; and two footmen on each side in the like attire. The chariot was all of cedar, gilt and adorned with crystal; save that the fore-end had pannels of saphires, set in borders of gold, and the hinder-end the like of emeralds of the Peru colour. There was also a sun of gold,
radiant upon the top, in the midst; and on the top
WIE, Ded in