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“ Tho'a foul foolish prison her immure
"On earth, she (when escap') is wise and pure.
" Man's body, when dissolv’dl, is but the same 185
“ With beasts, and must return from whence it came;
! But whence into our bodies reason flows,
« None sees it when it comes, or where it goes.
“ Nothing resembles death so much as sleep, 189
“ Yet then our minds themselves from slumber keep.
" When from their fleshly bondage they are free,
“ Then what divine and future things they see !
“ Which makes it most apparent whence they are,
" And what they shall hereafter be declare."
This noble speech the dying Cyrus made. 195
Me, Scipio, shall no argument persuade
Thy grandsire, and his brother, to whom Fame
Gave, from two conquer'd parts o'th' world, their
Northy great grandsire, nor thy father Paul, (name,
Who fell at Cannæ against Hannibal ;
Nor I (for 'tis permitted to the ag'd
To baast their actions) had so oft engag'd
In battles, and in pleadings, had we thought
That only Fame our virtuous actions bought:
'Twere better in soft pleasure and repose 205
Ingloriously our peaceful eyes to close :
Some high assurance hath possess’d,my mind,
After my death an happier life to find,
Unless our souls from the immortals came,
What end have we to seek immortal fame?
All virtuous spirits some such hope attends,
Therefore the wise his days with pleasure ends.
The foolish and short-sighted die with fear
That they go no where, or they know not where.
The wise and virtuous soul, with clearer eyes, 215
Before she parts some happy port descries.
My friends, your fathers I shall surely see;
Nor only those I lov’d, or who lov’d me;
But such as before ours did end their days,
Of whom we hear, and read, and write their praise.
This I believe ; for were I on nry way,
None should persuade me to return or stay.
Should some god tell me that I should be born
And cry again, his offer I would scorn ;
Asham'd, when I have ended well my race,
To be led back to my first starting-place.
And since with life we are more griev'd than joy'd,
We should be either satisfy'd or cloy'd.
Yet will I not my length of days deplore,
As many wise and learn'd have done before; 230
Nor can I think such life in vain is lent,
Which for our country and our friends is spent.
Hence from an inn, not from my home, I pass,
Since Nature meant us here no dwelling-place.
Happy when I, from this turmoil set free, 235
That peaceful and divine assembly see;
Not only those I nam'd I there shall greet,
But my own gallant virtuous Cato meet.
Nor did I weep when I to ashes turn'd
His belov'd body, who should mine have burn'd.
I in my thoughts beheld his soul ascend,
Where his fix'd hopes our interview attend.
Then cease to wonder that I feel no grief
From Age, which is of my delights the chief.
My hopes, if this assurance hath deceiv'd,
245 (That I man's soul immortal have believ’d) And if I eir, no pow'r shall dispossess My thoughts of that expected happiness. Tho'some minute philosophers pretend That with our days our pains and pleasures end. If it be so I hold the safer side, For none of them my error shall deride ; And if hereafter no rewards appear, Yet virtue hath itself rewarded here. If those who this opinion bave despis'd, 255 And their whole life to pleasure sacrific’d, Shouid feel their error, they, when undeceiv’d, Too late will wish that me they had believ'd. If souls no immortality obtain, 'Tis fit our bodies should be out of pain. 260 The same uneasiness which ev'ry thing Gives to our nature life must also bring. Good acts, if long, seem tedious ; so is Age, Acting too long upon this earth, her stage. Thus much for Age, to which when you arrive, That joy to you which it gives me 'twill give. 266
TO THE FOLLOWING TRANSLATION.
GOING this last summer to visit the Wells, I took
an occasion (by the way) to wait upon an ancient and honourable friend of mine, whom I found diverting his (then solitary) retirement with the Latin original of this translation, which (being out of print) I had never seen before. When I looked upon it I saw that it had formerly passed through two learned hands, not without approbation, which were Ben. Johnson and Sir Kenelm Digby : but I found it (where I shall never find myself) in the service of a better master, the Earl of Bristol, of whom I shall say no more : for I love not to improve the honour of the living by impairing that of the dead ; and my own profession bath taught me not to erect new superstructures upon an old ruin. He was pleased to recommend it to me for my companion at the Wells, where I liked the entertainment it gave me so well, that I undertook to redeem it from an obsolete English disguise, wherein an old Mink bad clothed it, and to
make as becoming a new zest for it as I could. The author was a person of quality in Italy, his
name Mancini, which family matched since with the sister of Cardinal Mazarine ; he was contemporary to Petrarch and Mantuan, and not long
before Torquato Tasso, which shews that the age they lived in was not so unlearned as that
which preceded or that which followed. The author wrote upon the four cardinal virtues ; but
I have translated only the two first, not to turn the kindness I intended to him into an injury; for the two last are little more than repetitions and recitals of the first; and (to make a just excuse for him) they could not well be otherwise, since the two last virtues are but descendants from the first, Prudence being the true mother of Temperance, and true Fortitude the child of Justice.
Wisdom's first progress is to take a view
What's decent or indecent, false or true.
He's truly prudent who can separate
Honest from vile, and still adhere to that :
Their difference to measure and to reach
Reason well rectify'd must Nature teach ;
And these high scrutinies are subjects fit
For man's all-searching and inquiring wit;
That search of knowledge did from Adam flow;
Who wants it yet abhors his wants to show.
Wisdom of what herself approves makes choice,
Nor is led captive by the common voice.
Clear-sighted Reason Wisdom's judgment leads,
And Sense, her vassal, in hier footsteps treads.
That thou to Truth the perfect way may'st know,
To thee all her specific forms I'll show,