Imágenes de páginas

Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man ! and therefore, if a man write little, he had need have great memory; if he confer little, he had need have a present wit; and if he read little, he had need have much cunning, to seem to know that he doth not. Histories make men wise ; poets, witty; the mathematics, subtle; natural philosophy, deep; moral, grave; logic and rhetoric, able to contend studies

so influence the manners ;” nay, there is no stand or impediment in the wit, but may be wrought out by fit studies ; like as diseases of the body may have appropriate exercises-bowling is good for the stone and reins, shooting for the lungs and breast, gentle walking for the stomach, riding for the bead, and the like ; so, if a man's wit be wandering, let him study the mathematics, for in demonstrations, if his wit be called away never so little, he must begin again; if his wit be not apt to distinguish or find differences, let him study the schoolmen, for they are hairsplitters ; if he be not apt to beat over matters, and to call upon one thing to prove and illustrate another, let him study the lawyers' cases—so every defect of the mind may have a special receipt.


1608—1674. From Areopagitica :* a Speech for the Liberty of Unlicensed

Printing, to the Parliament of England.And that we are to hope better of all these supposed sects and schisms, and that we shall not need that solicitude, honest perhaps though over-timorous, of them that vex in his behalf, but shall laugh in the end, at those malicious applauders of our differences, I have these reasons to persuade me.

First, when a city shall be as it were besieged and blocked about, her navigable river infested, inroads and incursions round, defiance and battle oft rumoured to be marching up even to her walls and suburb trenches, that then the people, or the greater part, more than at other times, wholly taken up with the study of highest and most important matters to be reformed, should be disputing, reasoning, reading, inventing, discoursing, even to a rarity and admiration, things not before discoursed or written of, argues first a singular good-will, contentedness, and confidence in your prudent foresight and safe government, Lords and Commons;

Pertaining to the Areopagus, or Hill of Mars, at Athens, on which a council used to assemble.

[ocr errors]


and from thence derives itself to a gallant bravery and wellgrounded contempt of their enemies, as if there were no small number of as great spirits among us as his was, who when Rome was nigh besieged by Hannibal, being in the city, bought that piece of ground at no cheap rate, whereon Hannibal bimself encamped his own regiment. Next, it is a lively and cheerful presage of our happy success and victory. For as in a body, when the blood is fresh, the spirits pure and vigorous, not only to vital but to rational faculties, and those in the

acutest and the pertest operations of wit and subtlety, it argues in what good plight and constitution the body is, so when the cheerfulness of the people is so sprightly up, as that it has not only wherewith to guard well its own freedom and safety, but to spare and to bestow upon

the solidest and sublimest points of controversy, and new invention, it betokens us not degenerated, nor drooping to a fatal decay, but casting off the old and wrinkled skin of corruption to outlive these pangs and wax young again, entering the glorious ways. of truth and prosperous virtue destined to become great and honourable in these latter ages. 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, flutter about, amazed at what she means, and in their envious gabble would prognosticate a year of sects and schisms. What should ye do then ? Should ye suppress all this flowery

? crop of knowledge and new light sprung up, and yet springing daily in this city ? should ye set an oligarchy of twenty engrossers over it, to bring a famine upon our minds again, when we shall know nothing but what is measured to us by their bushel ? Believe it, Lords and Commons, they who counsel ye to such a suppressing, do as good as bid ye suppress yourselves ; and I will soon show how. If it be desired to know the immediate cause of all this free writing and free speaking, there cannot be assigned a truer than your own mild, and free, and humane government; it is the liberty, Lords and Commons, which your own valorous and happy counsels have purchased us, liberty which is the nurse of all great wits; this is that which hath rarified and enlightened our spirits like the influence of heaven; this is that which bath enfranchised, enlarged, and lifted up our apprehensions degrees above themselves. Ye cannot make us now less capable, less knowing, less eagerly pursuing of the truth, unless ye make yourselves, that made us so, less the lovers, less the founders of our true liberty. We can grow ignorant again, brutish, formal, and slavish, as ye found us; but you then must first become that which ye cannot be, oppressive, arbitrary, and tyrannous, as they were from whom ye have freed us. That our hearts are now more capacious, our thoughts more erected to the search and expectation of greatest and exactest things, is the issue of your own virtue propagated in us; ye cannot suppress that unless ye reinforce an abrogated and merciless law, that fathers may despatch at will their own children. And who shall then stick closest to ye, and excite others ? not he who takes up arms for coat and conduct, and his four nobles of Danegelt.* Although I dispraise not the defence of just immunities, yet love my peace better, if that were all. Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


1608–1674. Adventures of Charles II. after the Battle of Worcester.

From History of the Rebellion.[Charles II., after the battle of Worcester, concealed himself in a wood.]

WHEN the darkness of the night was over, after the king had cast himself into that wood, he discerned another man, who had gotten upon an oak in the same wood, near the place where the king had rested himself, and had slept soundly. The man upon the tree had first seen the king and knew him, and came down to him, and was known to the king, being a gentleman of the neighbour county of Staffordshire, who had served his late Majesty during the war, and had now been one of the few who resorted to the king after his coming to Worcester. His name was Careless, who had had a command of foot, about the degree of a captain, under the Lord Loughborough. He persuaded the king, since it could not be safe for him to go out of the wood, and that, as soon as it should be fully light, the wood itself would probably be visited by those of the country, who would be searching to find

* Dane-gold, or tax levied by the Anglo-Saxons to meet the outlay requisite for the defence of the country against the Danes.

[ocr errors]



those whom they might make prisoners, that he would get up into that tree where he had been, where the boughs were so thick with leaves that a man would not be discovered there without narrower inquiry than people usually make in places which they do not suspect. The king thought it good counsel; and, with the other's help, climbed into the tree, and then helped his companion to ascend after him, where they sat all that day, and securely saw many who came purposely into the wood to look after them, and heard all their discourse, how they would use the king himself if they could take him.

The day being spent in the tree, it was not in the king's power to forget that he had lived two days with eating very little, and two nights with as little sleep; so that, when the night came, he was willing to make some provision for both; and he resolved, with the advïce and assistance of his companion, to leave his blessed tree; and, when the night was dark, they walked through the wood into those enclosures which were furthest from any highway, and making a shift to get over hedges and ditches, after walking at least eight or nine miles, which were the more grievous to the king by the weight of his boots—for he could not put them off when he cut off his hair, for want of shoes-before morning they came to a poor cottage, the owner whereof being a Roman Catholic, was known to Careless. He was called up, and as soon as he knew one of them, he easily concluded in what condition they both were, and presently carried them into a little barn full of hay, which was a better lodging than he had for himself. But when they were there, and bad conferred with their host of the news and temper of the country, it was agreed that the danger would be the greater if they stayed together; and therefore that Careless should presently be gone, and should, within two days, send an honest man to the king, to guide him to some other place of security; and in the meantime his Majesty should stay upon the hay-mow. The poor man bad nothing for him to eat, but promised him good butter-milk; and so he was once more left alone, his companion, how weary soever, departing from him before day, the poor man of the house knowing no more than that he was a friend of the captain's, and one of those who had escaped from Worcester. The king slept very well in his lodging, till the time that his host brought him a piece of bread and a great pot of butter-milk, which he thought the best food he ever had eaten.

After he had rested upon this hay-mow and fed upon this diet two days and two nights, in the evening before the third night,


another fellow, a little above the condition of his host, came to the house, sent from Careless, to conduct the king to another house, more out of any road near which any part of the army was like to march. It was above twelve miles that he was to go, and was to use the same caution he had done the first night, not to go in any common road, which his guide knew well how to avoid. Here he now dressed himself, changing clothes with his landlord; he had a great mind to have kept bis own sbirt; but he considered, that men are not sooner discovered by any mark in disguises than by having fine linen in ill clothes; and so he parted with his shirt too, and took the same his poor host had then on. Though he had foreseen that he must leave his boots, and his landlord had taken the best care he could to provide an old pair of shoes, yet they were not easy to him when he first put them on, and in a short time after grew very grievous to him. In this equipage he set out from his first lodging in the beginning of the night, under the conduct of this guide, who guided him the nearest way, crossing over hedges and ditches, that they might be in least danger of meeting passengers. This was so grievous a march, and he was so tired, that he was even ready to despair, and to prefer being taken and suffered to rest before purchasing his safety at that price. His shoes had, after a few miles, hurt him so much that he had thrown them away, and walked the rest of the way in his ill stockings, which were quickly worn out; and his feet, with the thorns in getting over hedges, and with the stopes in other places, were so hurt and wounded, that he many, times cast himself on the ground, with a desperate and obstinate resolution to rest there till the morning, that he might shift with less torment, what hazard soever he run. But his stout guide still prevailed with him to make a new attempt, sometimes promising that the way should be better, and sometimes assuring him that he had but little farther to go; and in this distress and perplexity, before the morning they arrived at the house designed; which, though it was better than that which he had left, bis lodging was still in the barn, upon straw instead of hay, a place being made as easy in it as the expectation of a guest could dispose it. Here he had such meat and porridge as such people use to have, with which, but especially with the butter and the cheese, he thought himself well feasted ; and took the best care he could to be supplied with other, little better, shoes and stockings; and after his feet were enough recovered that he could go, conducted from thence to another poor house, within such a distance as put him not to much trouble ; for having not yet in

he was

« AnteriorContinuar »