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And not on Rome alone this honour waits, The youngest in the morning are not sure,
That till the night their life they can secure,
Their age stands more expos'd to accidents From thence his strongest argument did raise,
Than ours, nor common care their fate prevents : That Sparta did with honour age support,
Death's forces with terrour)against Nature strives, Paying them just respect at stage, and court. Nor one of many to ripe age arrives. But at proud Athens youth did age out-face,
From this ill fate the world's disorders rise, Nor at the plays would rise, or give them place. For if all men were old they would be wise; When an Athenian stranger of great age
Years and experience our forefathers taught, Arriv'd at Sparta, climbing up the stage,
Them under laws, and into cities brought; To him the whole assembly rose, and ran Why only should the fear of death belong To place and ease this old and reverend man,
To age, which is as common to the young? Who thus his thanks returns, “ Th’ Atheuians Your hopeful brothers, and my son, to you know
(Scipio) and me, this maxim makes too true : What's to be done ; but what they know, not do." But vigorous youth may his gay thoughts erect Here our great senate's orders I may quote,
To many years, which age must not expect; The first in age is still the first in vote.
But when he sees his airy hopes deceiv'd; Nor honour, nor high birth, nor great command With grief he says, " Who this would have beIn competition with great years may stand.
liev'd ?" Why should our youth's short transient pleasures We happier are than they, who but desir'd dare
To possess that, which we long since acquir'd. With age's lasting honours to compare ?
What if our age to Nestor's could extend ? On the world's stage, when our applause grows 'Tis vaiu to think that lasting, which must end; high,
And when 'tis past, not any part remains For acting here life's tragic-comedy,
Thereof, but the reward which virtue gains. The lookers-on will say we act not well,
Days, months, and years, like running waters Unless the last the former scenes excel:
flow, But age is froward, uneasy, scrutinous,
Nor what is past, nor what's to come, we know; Hard to be pleas'd, and parsimonious ;
Our date, how short soe'er, must us content.
When a good actor doth his part present,
That at the last he may find just applause;
So (though but short) yet we must learn the art Yet those are mollify'd, or not discern'd,
Of virtue, on this stage to act our part; Where civil arts and manners have been learn'd: True wisdom must our actions so direct, So the Twins' humours, in our Terence, are
Not only the last plaudit to expect : [last, Unlike, this harsh and rude, that smooth and fair. Yet grieve no more, though long that part should Our nature here is not unlike our wine,
Than husbandmen, because the spring is past. Some sorts, when old, continue brisk and fine ;
The spring, like youth, fresh blossoms doth proSo age's gravity may seem severe,
duce, But nothing barsh or bitter ought t' appear.
But autumn makes them ripe, and fit for use ; Of age's avarice I cannot see
So age a mature mellowness doth set What colour, ground, or reason there should be: On the green promises of youthful heat. Is it not folly, when the way we ride
All things which Nature did ordain are good, Is short, for a long voyage to provide ?
And so must be receiv'd and understood. To avarice some title youth may own,
Age like ripe apples, on Earth's bosom drops, To reap in autumn what the spring had sown;
While force our youth, like fruits untimely, And with the providence of bees, or ants,
crops; Prevent with summer's plenty, winter's wants.
The sparkling flame of our warm blood expires, But age scarce sows,till Death stands by to reap, But age unforc'd falls by her own consent,
As when buge streams are pour'd on raging fires; And to a stranger's hand transfers the heap; Afraid to be so once, she's always poor,
As coals to ashes, when the spirit 's spent ; And to avoid a miscbief makes it sure.
Therefore to death I with such joy resort, Such madness, as for fear of death to die,
As seamen from a tempest to their port.
Yet to that port ourselves we must not force,
Let us the causes of our fear condemn,
Then Death at his approach we shall contemn.
Though to our heat of youth our age seems cold,
Thus Solon to Pisistratus reply'd,
When with so few he boldly did engage ;
She (like a workman in his science skill'd) What else is to be feard, when we shall gain Pulls down with ease, what her own hand did Eternal life, or have no sense of pain?
That art which knew to join all parts in one, He th' immortality of souls proclaim'd,
(Whom th' oracle of men the wisest nam'd.)
Our minds are here, and there, below, above;
Nothing that's mortal can so swiftly more.
Reason, remembrance, wit, inventive art,
No nature, but immortal, can impart. Your tears for such a death in vain you spend, Man's soul in a perpetual motion flows, Which straight in immortality shall end.
And to no outward cause that motion owes; In death if there be any sense of pain,
And therefore that'no end can overtake, But a short space to age it will remain ;
Because our minds cannot themsclves forsake. On which, without my fears, my wishes wait, And since the matter of our soul is pure But timorous youth on this should meditate: And simple, which no mixture ean endure Who for light pleasure this advice rejects, Of parts, which not among themselves agree; Finds little, when his thoughts he recollects. Therefore it never can divided be. Our death (though not its certain date) we know; And Nature shows (without philosophy) Nor whether it may be this night or no: What cannot be divided, cannot die. How then can they contented live, who fear We ev'n in early infancy discern, A danger certain ? and none knows how near. Knowledge is born with babes before they learn; They ert, who for the fear of death dispute, Ere they can speak, they find so many ways Our gallant actions this mistake confute. To serve their turn, and see more arts than Thee Brutus, Rome's first martyr I must name,
days: The Curtii bravely div'd the gulph of flame; Before their
thoughts they plainly can express, Attilius sacrific'd himself, to save
The words and things they know are numberlesh, That faith, which to his barbarous foes he gave; Which Nature only, and no art could find, With the two Scipio's did thy uncle fall, But what she taught before, she call'd to mind. Rather than fly from conquering Hannibal ; These to his sons (as Xenophon records) The great Marcellus (who restored Rome) Of the great Cyrus were the dying words; His greatest foes with honour did intomb. " Fear not when I depart (nor therefore mouro) Their lives how many of our legions threw I shall be no where, or to nothing tum: Into the breach? whence no return they knew : That soul, which gave me life, was seen by none, Must then the wise, the old, the learned, fear Yet by the actions it design'd, was known; What not the rude, the young, th' unlearn'd for- And though its flight no mortal eye shall see, bear?
Yet know, for ever it the same shall be. Satiety from all things else doth come,
That soul, which can immortal glory give,
To her own virtues must for ever live.
On Earth, she (when escap'd) is wise and pure. And when the last delights of age shall die, Man's body, wher, dissolv’d, is but the same Life in itself will find satiety.
[hear, With beasts, and must return from whence i Now you, my friends, my sense of death shall
came; Which I can well describe, for he stands near. But whence into our bodies reason flows, Your father, Lælius, and your's, Scipio,
None sees it, when it comes, or where it goes. My friends, and men of honour, I did know; Nothing resembles death so much as sleep, As certainly as we must die, they live
Yet then our minds themselves from slumbers kerp That life which justly may that name receive: When from their feshly bondage they are free, Till from these prisons of our flesh releas'd, Then what divine and future things they see!" Our souls with heavy burthens lie oppress'd; Which makes it most apparent whence they are, Which part of man from Heaven falling down, And what they shall hereafter be, declare." Earth, in her low abyss, doth hide and drown, This noble speech the dying Cyrus made, A place so dark to the cælestial light,
Me, Scipio, shall no argnment persuade, And pure eternal fire 's quite opposite.
Thy grandsire, and his brother, to whom Fame The gods through human bodies did disperse Gave, from two conquer'd parts o'th' world, tlacit An heavenly soul, to guide this universe,
To boast their actions) had so oft engag'd
Unless our souls from the immortals came, Not only those I nam'd I there shall greet,
Then cease to wonder that I feel no grief
And if I err, no power shall dispossess But such as before ours did end their days My thoughts of that expected happiness : Of whom we hear, and read, and write their Though some minute philosophers pretend, praise.
That with our days our pains and pleasures endi This I believe: for were I on my way,
If it be so, I hold the safer side, None should persuade me to return, or stay:
them my errour shall deride ; Should some god tell me, that I should be born, And if hereafter no rewards appear, And cry again, his offer I would scom;
Yet virtue hath itself rewarded here. Asham'd, when I have ended well my race, If those, who this opinion have despis'd, To be led back to my first starting-place. And their whole life to pleasure sacrific'd, And since with life we are more griev'd than joy'd, Should feel their errour, they, when undeceivido We should be either satisfy'd or cloy'd : Too late will wish, that me they had believ'd, Yet will I not my length of days deplore, If souls no immortality obtain, As many wise and learn'd have done before; 'Tis fit our bodies should be out of pain, Nor can I think such life in vain is lent, The same uneasiness which every thing Which for our country and our friends is spent. Gives to our nature, life must also bring. Hence from an inn, not from my home I pass, Good acts, if long, seem tedious; so is age, Since Nature meant us here no dwelling-place. | Acting too long upon this Earth, her stage, Happy when I, from this turmoil set free, Thus much for age, to which when you arrive, That peaceful and divine assembly see : That joy to you, which it gives me, 'twill give