Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

bout the foot. We can tellrom the sun with whom

What hath any eye seen or imagination devised, which the pen hath not dared to write ?

Out of our books we can tell the stories of the Monocelli; who, lying, upon their backs, shelter themselves from the sun with the shadow of their one only foot. We can tell of those cheap-dieted men, that live about the head of Ganges, without meat, without mouths, feeding only upon air at their nostrils: or of those headless eastern people, that have their eyes in their breast; a mis-conceit arising from their fashion of attire, which I have sometimes seen: or of those Coromandæ, of whom Pliny speaks, that cover their whole body with their ears : or of the persecutors of St. Thomas of Canterbury, whose posterity, if we believe the confident writings of Degrassalius, are born with long and hairy tails, souping after them ; which, I imagine, gave occasion to that proverbial jest, wherewith our mirth uses to upbraid the Kentish: or of Amazons; or Pigmies; or Satyrs; or the Samarcandean Lamb, which, growing out of the earth' by the navel, grazeth so far as that natural tether will reach : or of the bird Ruc; or ten thousand such miracles, whether of nature or event. Little need we to stir our feet, to learn to tell either loud lies, or large truths. We have heard a bird in a cage sing more change of notes, than others have done in the wild liberty of the wood. .

And, as for the present occurrences of the time, the world about us is so full of presses, that it may and is grown so good a fellow, that it will impart what it knows to all the neighbours : whose relations, if sometimes they swerve from truth, we may well consider, what variety of report every accident will yield; and that, therefore, our ears abroad are no whit more credible, than our eyes at home. Yea, rather, as Tully could say, that at Antium he could hear the news of Rome, better than at Rome ; so may we ofttimes better hear and see the news of France or Spain, upon our Exchange, than in their Paris or Madrid : since, what liberty soever tongues may take to themselves, a discreet man will be ashamed to subscribe his name to that, whereof he may be afterwards convinced.

[ocr errors]

SECT. 12.

SINCE therefore Travel cannot outbid us in these highest commodi. ties, which concern the wealth of the mind; all the advantage it can afford us, must be in those Mixed Abilities, wherein our bodies are the greatest partners, as dancing, fencing, music, vaulting, horsemanship; the only professions of the mis-named academies of other nations.

Who can deny, that such like exercises are fit for young gentlemen; not only for their present recreation, but much more for the preparing of them to more serious action?

Yet must these learn to know their places : what are they else,

but the varnish of that picture of gentry, whose substance consists in the lines and colours of true virtue ? but the lace or facing of a rich garment ? but the hang-bies of that royal court, which the soul keeps in a generous heart? He, that holds gentility accomplished with these (though laudable) qualities, partakes more of his horse, than his horse can possibly of him.

This skill then is worthy of our purchase: yet may not be bought too dear; and, perhaps, need not to be fetched so far.

Neither my profession nor my experience will allow me to hold comparisons, in this kind; but I have been heartened by no mean masters of these arts, to say, that our nation hath yielded some in all these faculties, which need not stoop unto the proudest foreigner. Ours have no fault but one, that they are our own: and what hath their country offended, if their art offend not? It is a humourous giddiness, to measure the goodness of any thing by the distance of miles; and, where there is equality of worth, to neglect the nearest. I slander our nation, if it be not sick of this disease, in the course of all sciences. And, if nearness and presence be the cause of our dislike, why do we not hate ourselves, which are ever in our own bosom? why do we not hate this fastidious curiosity, which is too close to us?

Perhaps, perfection in these qualities is thinner sown amongst us, than some other-where: so as our island, for want of work and encouragement, affords no such multitude of masters : but, how can we complain of rareness, since, if our age yield us but one excellent in each kind, it is more than we are willing to use; and, if the fault were not in ourselves, one candle might light a thousand.

To instance in the best : the Horse is a noble creature: which as it is the strength and pride of France, so wins the hearts and heels of that nation. The generality of their skill is nothing to a stran. ger: each private man's cunning rests in himself: it is only the teacher, whose ability may concern us. And, whereas there is a double kind of menage, as I have heard, one for service, the other for pleasure : in the first, our masters think they cannot yield unto the best ; in the latter, if they grant themselves exceeded, how many men have taught their dog the same tricks, with no less contentment! In both, we have the written directions of their greatest artists; who, for the perpetuity of their own honour, failed not to say their best. And, if these dead masters suffice not, we have had, we may have the best of their living. The conscience of a man's excellency will abide no limits; but spurs him forth to win admiration abroad : and if, therewithal, he can find advancement of profit, how willingly doth he change his home! We have had experience of this in higher professions: much more of these under foot. One obscure town of Holland, in our memory, had, by this means, drawn together at once the greatest lights of Europe: and made itself then no less renowned for professors, than it is now infamous for schism.

Fear of envy forbids me to name those amongst us, which have honoured this island in the choice of their abode. Where art is encouraged, it will soon rise high, and go far; and not suffer a chan. nel of the sea to stay it from the presence of a more bountiful patronage.

SECT. 13.

BUT, let us grant these faculties so fixed upon any nation, that all our water must necessarily be fetched at their well: and add unto these a few waste compliments and mimical courtesies, which must. needs be put into the match of our ordinary travel.

And now let us sit down, and see what we paid for this stock, and count our winnings. What must our complete Traveller stake down for this goodly furniture of his gentry? If not loss, danger; danger of the best part, if not all: a double danger; of CORRUPTION OF RELIGION, and DEPRAVATION OF MANNERS; both capital.

And can we think these endowments so precious, that they should be worth fetching upon such a hazard? Will any man, not desperate, run into an infected house, to rifle for a rich suit ? Will any man put his finger into a fiery çrucible, to pull out gold ? It is wit. tily taken of Chrysostom, when our Saviour said, Ne ereatis in eremum; that he says not, “Go forth into the desert, and see, but believe not;” but gives an absolute prohibition of going forth at all, that they might be out of danger of misbelief.

“Tush, idle and melancholy fears,” say some of our gallants : " Wherefore serves discretion, but to sever good from ill? How easily may a wise man pull a rose, and not prick his hand ! How freely may he dip in this stream, and not be drowned !"

Little do these peremptory resolvers know, either the insinuative power of evil, or the treachery of their own heart in receiving it, or the importunity of deceivers in obtruding it. They are the worse for their travel, and perceive it not. An egg covered with salt, as our philosophers teach us, hath the meat of it consumed while the shell is whole. Many a one receives poison, and knows not when he took it. No man proves extremely evil, on the sudden. Through many insensible declinations, do we fall from virtue; and, at the first, are so gently seized by vice, that we cannot believe our accusers. It is mischief enough, if they can be drawn to a less dislike of ill; which now, by long acquaintance, is grown so familiar to their eyes, that they cannot think it so loathsome, as at the first view. The society of wilful idolaters will now down with them, not without ease : and good meanings begin to be allowed for the cloaks of gross superstition. From thence they grow to a favourable construction of the mis-opinions of the adverse part, and can complain of the wrongful aggravations of some contentious spirits: and, from thence, yet lower, to an indifferent conceit of some more politic positions and practices of the Romanists. Neither is there their rest. Hereupon ensues an allowance of some of their doctrines, that are more plausible, and less important; and, withal, a censure of us, that are gone too far from Rome. Now the marriage of ec

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

LIBER QUARTUS.

LAVERNIA.

CAP. I.

Situs Lavernie *.

LAVERNIA, ab occidente, Magellanico quidem Oceano; ab oriente, Piâ Moroniâ, et Crapuliæ parte aliquâ, terminatur.

Terra tam prorsùs effæta et sterilis, si unicam provinciam exceperis, ut ex hâc, potiùs quàm Trinacriâ illâ veteri, filia Cereris à Plutone rapta videretur.

Nec pastori hîc locus, nec agricolæ : incolæ, tamen, ita rerum omnium copia diffluunt, ut nulla mibi in orbe toto ditior; et, quantum feritas illa naturæ fert, gens delicatior visa fuerit : quicquid enim ullibi terrarum splendidum habetur ac rariusculum, sive dolo seu vi rapiunt ad se: raptúmque, pari violentiâ, tuentur.

Maximè, tamen, Piæ Felicísque Moroniæ spoliis orientalior pars; maritima, verò, partim Indorum gazis, partim communi quam exercent pyraticâ, se ditare solent.

Laverniæ partes duæ sunt; Larcinia, et Phenacia f. Hæc Moroniam et Crapuliæ angulum attingit: illa magis Occidentem spectat; et, contra vagæ gentis Larcinæ morem, suis se finibus contineri sinit : utraque valde immanis et inhospita.

CAP. II.

Larcinorum Mores. LARCINIAM I ab utrâque Moroniâ separat flumen Tryphonium ; cujus undæ flexuosissimæ non pauciores insulas, quàm Raleana Guianorum faciunt.

, * Terra Furum, quorum dea Laverna. “Da mihi fallere falsáque dicere, pul chra Laverna.” Horat. + Prout ariis hujusce duæ species sunt; Latrocinium, Impostura.

Terra Latronam. § Tryphon insignis latro apud Ægyptios.

Tota regio ita sylvosa et montana est, ut deserti potiùs nomen mereatur; et, quod de urbe quâdam Strabo, ad rebellandum quàm ad habitandum aptior videatur.

In istorum sermone quædam Wallica vocabula notayi : quod ego ex ignotis nostratium peregrinationibus factum judicârim..

Larcinensium populus quidem satis numerosus est; respublica nulla. Sibi quisque se natum putat : sibi soli vivit : sibi obtemperat : tantúmque possidet, quantum diripere quovis modo possit raptúmque custodire : quóque potentior quis factus est, eo magis timetur; eóque pluribus non tam subditis, quàm avoparódois dominatur.

In certas familias distinguuntur incolæ ; quæ singulæ stirpis suæ potentissimo volentes obaudiunt. Contribulibus suis parcit quisque et adhæret: reliquos omnes liberrimè spoliat. Abhinc diu exhausta fuisset horum incursionibus utraque Moronia, ni sagaciores præfecti cum libertate salutem ab omnibus familiaruin ducibus, magnâ auri vi, quotannis redemissent.

Formå corporis nihil ferè à nostris discrepant; nisi quòd omnes, exceptis insularibus, aduncis * unguibus sint, et quasi accipitrinis : id quod Laverniis omnibus commune est.'

Montanam partem occupat Gens Sbanditica: cui umbram quidem commodam ac salutarem largitur Butinia Sylva; præ quâ illa Germanorum Hercynia, decem latronum millibus stipata, pomariolum angustius, aut mera quasi sepes videtur.

Castra hîc passim cernes : non, herclè, nimiùm splendida; sed et multa et munitissima : in quibus tutò sedent familiæ cujusque duces, prædámque à vicinorum periculo sartam tectam conservant. Dum plebecula novum sibi quotidie sub quâvis arbore lectum sternit, more Tartarorum, et assiduas viatoribus insidias struit: quos illico bonis omnibus expoliatos non letho dedunt, quod Itali et Germani insidiatores solent, nec enim quicquam verentur ne cui pænas dent commissi latrocinii; sed vinctum ad sui Ducis aulain deducunt, obstringúntque juramento se illi in perpetuum fideliter serviturum : qui, ubi vel fidem violaverit, vel per menses aliquot nihil cuiquam surripuerit, vel non vacuum viatorem lubens præterierit insalutatum, laqueo damnatur. Ita crescit indies istorum potestas, et ex quo lata Phænacibus les est de filiis natı minoribus prorsùs exhæredandis, evehendísque primigeniis, auxit non parum spontaneâ pubis etiam nobilioris accessione.

Pii Moronii non tam cruces colunt, quàm isti oderunt. Quanquam, ergo, illi, ex initi cum Lavernjis fæderis tenore, incolumes se domi continere possint; si, tamen, huc fuerint evagati hoc uno nomine suspendio plerique pereunt, quòd hoc signo istud supplicii genus ipsis exprobrare videantur.

Nunquam non intestina bella, inter tribuum capita oriuntur, dum peculium quisque suum repetit, detinetque alienum : quod commodè quidem cedit orbi universo ; verendum enim foret, ne tot tamque perditorum hominum conjuncta vis, aucta quotidie, in per

• OUTOS ÖZuXmp isd: de Mercurio Luciano.

« AnteriorContinuar »