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For fear of what might fall, so to prevent*
There is so great a fever on goodness, that the dissolution of it must cure it: novelty is only in request; and it is as dangerous to be aged in any kind of course, as it is virtuous to be constant in any undertaking. There is scarce truth enough alive, to make societies secure; but security enough to make fellowships accursed: much upon this riddle runs the wisdom of the world.
Miracles are ceased;
And therefore we must needs admit the means,
The apprehension of evils.
Doubting things go ill, often hurts more
Than to be sure they do: For certainties
Either are past remedies: or, timely knowing,
I hold it cowardice
To rest mistrustful, where a noble heart
Sorrow breaks seasons and reposing hours,
Makes the night morning, and the noontide night.
An outward honour for an inward toil;
And, for unfelt imaginations,
They often feel a world of restless cares:
Nor are those empty-hearted, whose low sound
He, that is proud, eats up himself: pride is his own glass, his own trumpet, his own chronicle; and whatever praises itself but in the deed, devours the deed in the praise. 26-ii. 3.
Labouring art can never ransom nature
-Nature is made better by no mean,
But nature makes that mean: so, o'er that art,
Which does mend nature,-change it rather: but
11-ii. 1. & 13-iv. 3.
The greatest are misthought
For things that others do; and, when we fall,
That we were all, as some would seem to be,
Custom, supreme in its power.
What custom wills, in all things should we do't,
When we in our viciousness grow hard, (O misery on't!) the wise gods seel our eyes;
† Merits, or demerits.
& Close up.
In our own filth drop our clear judgments; make us
Is leaden servitor to dull delay;
Delay leads impotent and snail-paced beggary.
Virtue contrasted with Vice.
What stronger breast-plate than a heart untainted ?‡
40 The wretchedness of human dependence. O how wretched
Is that poor man, that hangs on princes' favours!
Prayers denied, often profitable.
We, ignorant of ourselves,
Beg often our own harms, which the wise powers
By losing of our prayers.||
Moderate lamentation is the right of the dead, excessive grief the enemy to the living.¶
Recreation, a preventive of Melancholy. Sweet recreation barr'd, what doth ensue,
But moody and dull Melancholy,
(Kinsman to grim and comfortless Despair ;)
*Rom. i. 28. 2 Thess. ii. 11. Isa. xliv. 20.
†Timorous thought and cautious disquisition are the dull at
tendants on delay.
§ P's. cxviii. 9. Isa. xiv. 12
The instant action (a cause on foot)
Lives so in hope, as in an early spring
We see th' appearing buds; which, to prove fruit,
By how much unexpected, by so much
Pride, its universality.
Why, who cries out on pride,
That can therein tax any private party?
That says, his bravery is not on my cost
There then; How, what then? Let me see wherein
Why then, my taxing like a wild-goose flies,
How, in one house,
Effrontery of Vice.
I ne'er heard yet,
Should many people, under two commands,
Hold amity ?*
That any of these bolder vices wanted
Less impudence to gainsay what they did,
Than to perform it first.
*Matt. vi. 24.
What things are we!
Merely our own traitors. And as in the common course of all treasons, we still see them reveal themselves, till they attain to their abhorred ends; so he, that contrives against his own nobility, in his proper stream o'erflows himself.* 11-iv. 3.
The jewel, best enamelled,
Will lose his beauty; and though gold 'bides still,
The shrug, the hum, or ha; these petty brands,
For calumny will seart
Virtue itself:-these shrugs, these hums, and ha's,
Impediments increase desire.
All impediments in fancy's course
The purest treasure mortal times afford,
Men are but gilded loam, or painted clay.
Foundations fly the wretched; such, I mean,
* i. e. Betrays his own secrets in his own talk.
† Gold will long bear the handling; however, often touching will wear even gold; just so the greater character, though as pure as gold itself, may in time be injured by the repeated attacks of falsehood and corruption.
Brand as infamous.