The Praise of Sadness – Modernised

They that have blessed their time with drawing into their own bosoms the consideration of the world and her mutabilities and kept them there to strenghten their reason against the vanity and waywardness of their affections and passions, know already, I may offend opinion, but not truth, undertaking as impertinent a work as he that intended to praise Hercules.[1] To these I address not myself, unless they will please to perfect[2] me, since I cannot them. But to those I am directed, that either the smiles of Fortune have deprived of the true knowledge of the condition of man or youth hath not yet ripened;[3] or such vulgar and earthly creatures, whose judgement dazzled with beholding the outward splendor of Fortune’s minions (the miserablest of all) cannot or will not see with what terrible cares and discontentments, the purple robe[4] is lined.

I know, but fear not, the danger of cherishing and defending so unwelcomed a guest as Sadness, so shunned,[5] so abhorred, for since I am well assured, they have condemned rather her countenance than herself, and that both her judge, jury and hangman hath been that aery monster Opinion, that taketh all upon trust and answers nothing with reason, I was the rather inclined to be her friend, because Opinion was her enemy: the first proof of her goodness,[6] since she is hated by so false and obstinate an enemy to wisdom and judgement.

First then, because our human weakness, and chiefely those that I desire to instruct, understand best by contraries, as health is best known by sickness, plenty by want, it is fit I show them what Mirth is made of and over what a troupe she commands; that beholding her, and her band disrobed and anatomized, weary and ashamed of the sight, they may, by putting off their prejudicate obstinacy, be made first hearers and consequently obeyers of a worthier conductor.

That Mirth is a natural quality of man’s[7] I deny not, but withall, I think it one of those that he hath little cause to boast of. It is true that he makes Mirth and Sadness the balance of his affections and passions, and is weighed by them: thus he accounts his winnings and losings and the same is expressed in Sadness or Mirth. But whether most of these supposed winners are not rather betrayed than supported, loosened, disordered and corrupted than strengthned, grounded and instructed, I think there is no man that hath well observed himself and his passages considerately, but will affirm: Who can doubt of this, that knows the slightness of her composition? Children make her of babies and hobby-horses; young men of sports, hawks, horses, dogs or worse; old men of riches; statesmen of adorers, honour and advancement; women of gay clothes, many lovers and flattering glasses: it is one God they adore, though worshipped in severall shapes, and though the difference amongst them makes them despisers of one another’s choice, yet to the uninteressed beholder they play all at one game, though not all for one sum. Et quae veneraris et quae despicis, unus exaequabit cinis.[8]

We have touched the aim and end. Let us now see the pursuers and adorers of Mirth and they that make her the goddess of their actions, a people either so light and imperceptible as nothing can come beyond their senses, or so opinionative and obstinate, or rather so drunk with pleasure, as they will not know what they may and must, or a third sort that clap Mirth between them and their consciences for fear of corrosives, that keep her up like a ball and run after her to be the further off from themselves, who might know, though Vinum, cantus, somnus, commotiunculas illas primas, non raro sanarunt irae doloris, amoris at nunquam agritudinem, quae radices egit et fixit pedem,[9] to characterize these further than in generality, were needless: for what shall the picture need, where the original is so common? With what other brothel-houses and taverns stuffed? Voluptas, humile, servile, imbecillem, caducam; cuius statio et fornices et popinae sunt,[10] what are the inhabitants of theaters, meetings, feasts, trumphs but such as either acknowledge no God so willingly as Mirth and Pleasure, or such as dare not come home into themselves for fear of their errors and miscarriage?[11]

In the mean time, o poor Reason, at how base[12] a price are thou sold? Or art thou but a name without an essence? Or a broken reed that the will of man dares not stay itself upon, for fear of falling? Or else what a blue-eyed[13] choice is theirs, that for the most idle, momentary and sick effects of Mirth and Pleasure, impawn not only their time (which is unredeemeable) but themselves, which they think too well sold to repurchase.

But now it is fit I hasten to them who seek not Mirth but are sought of her, for such is the lust of Fortune’s benefits, as whilst the body feeleth herself able to purchase her desires and to gorge[14] her senses, she abandons herself to all sensualities and rejoiceth in her own fulness: to you then, upon whom none but fair winds have ever blown in this career of your supposed happiness, can you see for all your high and overtopping places, your end and resting place? Or are you not rather the arrows of the Omnipotent’s arm, that are yet flying, not at yours, but as his mark, and are no more owners of your own beginnings? In the mean time, effeminated with your prosperity, and as it were still sucking upon the brest of Fortune, if she turns her back and retires, how miserable doth she leave you? Still bleating after the teat and, like those nice creatures that become tame with taking their bread from others’ hands, unable to administer to yourselves the least help or comfort.

We do see that Nature and all her productions support them and herself by incessant changes and revolutions, generation and corruption being to the earth like rivers to the sea, in a restless current and perpetual progress. Do we see the flourishing and falling, not only of Kings and Princes, but of Kingdoms and Commonwealths, cities, trophies and whatsoever the vain imagination of man hath contrived for the overcoming of time? And can we upon some small remnant of Fortune’s bounty, think to establish a perpetuity of Mirth and Pleasure? No, no, he that takes not this time to provide for a world and in the midst of his pleasures doth not think how frail and transitory they are, will pay dearly for his jollity, when surprised by death, or some disaster, they leave him in an instant so much more miserable than others, as he hath depended upon such uncertainties, without which his life is most loathsome unto him, and with which death most fearful and abhorred.

But to what end is all this tendered to the adorers and lovers of Mirth? Their heads and hearts are already filled with their own delights, which must be consumed by affliction before the precious balm of Sadness can either enter or work. Fabius said, he feared more Minutius’ victories than overthrows;[15] which may be rightly applied to the general disposition of man, his successes infecting him with an ignorant confidence, intoxicating his reason with presumption and ostentation, which are such daily effects of worldly prosperities, as they that think themselves lords are often the unworthiest sort of slaves and their opinionative happiness, the most wretched misery: not unlike the mad Athenian[16] that imagined himself possessed of all when indeed he was true owner[17] but of his own distemper and lunacy.

To young men there belongs more pity, as well because Nature hath her hand in this their thirst of pleasure, they being yet by the heat of blood and the quickness of their spirits and the strength of their senses, jolly and gamesome,[18] as also that it must be time, and the wounds and scars gotten by their wretched carelessness, that must make them capable of advice. Since (as Plutarch[19] saith) their heady passions and pleasures set over them more cruel and tyrannous governors than those that had the charge of their minorities, now who is it that leadeth this distracted dance of youth, but Mirth? For whose sake and pleasures they are inseparable companions, what is irregular, indiscreet, unlawful, dishonest; nay, what laws, either of man’s natures or God’s, are in these apprehensions, strong enough to contain them within their bounds? Galba in his adoption of Piso,[20] amongst his other praises saith: “You whose youth hath needed no excuse”, a commendation so rare and glorious, as there needed no more to illustrate his name and fame to all posterity. For who else, unless fettered and chained with nature or fortune, but in their first wearing the fresh garment of youth, have not soiled and spotted it, as their whole life after (though painfully and industriously directed) hath not been able to wipe out their faults and refresh the gloss[21] of their reputation? Hence it is, that Delicta juventutis mea et ignorantias meas ne memineris Domine,[22] is taught by all and used by all; so inevitable a disease is youth of which we need no witness, since every man’s conscience doth justify it; the generality and antiquity having made it venial and, by consent, we bind none from these slips and stumbles, but old men and women. The rest pass the masters so far from checking, as they produce many of their follies as the marks of spirit and generosity, and by their will would make of an old vice a young virtue: who can hope now to deliver this flourishing season of youth from these caterpillars?[23] Since Mirth and Pleasure allures, Opinion animates, and Community hides them from the sight of themselves and actions, this it is that makes nothing more current than to pay one another with our faults, and no man trusts so much to his own virtue as to his neighbours or companions vices’s. We repose ourselves in the defect of others, and no man strives further than to be comparatively good: we advance ourselves upon ruins and think ourselves well because another is worse: O lame shift! O drunken remedy! I will then say but this, to those young men that will hear me: since you know not the way to true happiness and contentment, ask not of them that are yet in the race but of them that have passed it; propose unto yourselves some pattern to imitate (nisi ad regulam prava non corrigas)[24] and to strenghten your judgements, behold those that have already acted their parts, take one of these admirers of Mirth and Pleasure and another that hath ever made his reason the taster of all his actions and compare these together, and then choose which of them you would be. There cannot thus far off be so corrupted a judgement, as not to know the best: the difference is then a little time, et hoc quod senectus vocatur, pauci sunt circuitus annorum.[25] Behold then the match: for a few years to boot, this vicious, hateful person is taken, that devoured his own honour and reputation and with his pleasure swallowed even his very soul and that lives now but in his infamy, rather than that well ordered spirit that hath left a true and perfect circle of a discreet governed life and death, and left the world heir of many rich and worthy examples. Who in this consideration, but must cry out with the psalmist, O what is man, that thou art so mindful of him, etc?[26] Or why having taken our judgements thus halting, should we reply upon in? Carrying us through the world, that in our entrance hath thus stumbled and fallen, he hath then the first sign of recovery, that in this his beginning mistrusts his own ways and dares offer his wounds to the surgeon: it is an incurable ignorance, that dares not put itself to mending. Plato would have offenders repair[27] to the judge and magistrate, as to the physicians of the soul, and submit themselves to punishment, as to the medicine of recovery; but this was too high an imagination for practice. Yet thus far we may go, and upon the ground, and not in the air, having, upon a due examination, found it fit to mistrust ourselves, it follows even in common reason not to throw ourselves rashly into any action but to assist our weakness with gaining consideration time: this disarms our passions of their violence, for their motion being out of heat and never going but running, being once stayed and overtaken by reason, they after willingly submit themselves unto her and are easily managed. It is an axiom in philosophy that our first motions are not in our own power, which is true no longer than we list:[28] for he that will not imbark himself, without a pause and deliberation, dissolves the acrimony[29] of his affections and makes them of the cruellest tyrants the most profitable servants. It is true, our ignorance and sloth make everything terrible unto us and we will not because we dare not, and dare not because we will not: this makes us submit ourselves to anything that doth either flatter or threaten us; and like some sottish[30] weaklings, that give the reins of their government into the hands of their wives or servants, thinking then they buy their peace when they sell it, thus do they grow upon us and by composition, not force, become masters of the place, being just so strong as we are weak. The scouts of Antigonus[31] relating unto him the multitude of his enemies and advising by way of information the danger of a conflict that should be undertaken with so great an unequality, he replied: “And at how many do you value me?” In this civil war of our selves, the first disorder, and consequently our overthrow, proceeds from a false evaluation of our own strength: we are content to embrace our own true natural worth, so we may have leave to yield ourselves to some furious passion or soothing affection, but would we now take a true knowledge of our own value, we might easily redeem ourselves. God and nature have not dealt so tyrannically with man as to give him charge of that he cannot hold: if we lose the game it must be by play, wherefore since we are likely to be besieged by the world and her allurements. Lest famine or treason surprise, let us turn out of the walls, all unprofitable pleasures, and know betimes that Mirth becometh neither the fortune nor condition of man: so is he environed with dangers, and so subject to entrappings,[32] omnis vita supplicium est,[33] there is no day, hour or moment, that brings a certain cessation of arms, but to the contrary, our life is a continual warfare, representing unto us incessant dangers and perils, wherefore we must always stand upon our guard and keep a straight watch upon our selves, not only examining the humors that go in and out, their arrants and pretences, but even every motion and thought, for of so many different pieces is the little world of man[34] compounded, so stirring,[35] so infatigable, so full of changes and counter-changes, so suddenly elevated, as soon defected, and in a word, such a composition of contrarieties, as he that doth not continually observe himself, and steadily fix his eyes upon all his actions shall suddenly grow a stranger to himself and be utterly ignorant of his own proceedings. If this then be a time for Mirth, we may easily imagine; who doth not alone call all the parts and faculties of man from their duties and charge, to feast and glut themselves with sensualities, but returneth them so corrupt and debauched, as like Hannibal’s army after their wintering in Campania, they cannot be known for the same men, so have they melted their courages with delicacy and with riot made themselves impatient and almost incapable of discipline. To conclude, such is the weakness of man, and so strong are his bodily inclinations, as if he doth not divert or break the force of his affections, reason alone is not able to resist them: wherefore as Plato allowed old men mirth and wine to revive nature almost tired in her long journey, and to refresh their spirits benumbed with the coldness of their dwelling, by the same reason it is forbidden youth, whose blood being now at the hottest, by the least addition, or increase, falls into the diseases of excess, the most violent and unresistable extremes. We see then it is prescribed but for a medicine and by the difference of the constitutions of young men and old, then dangerous for the other: howsoever since it is prescribed medicinably, the too frequent use must either destroy the operation, or leave only the malignant quality alive and uncorrected, unto those whom the outside of Fortune dazzles and allures, there is nothing to be said by way of advice; being such, as neither nature nor education hath favored, but are left to act the base and illiberal parts upon this stage of the world: this is the multitude, the vulgar,[36] the people that are bought and sold, and reckoned by the hundred and the thousand, and bear no price single and alone; a madness it were then, to think to move and convert them together, when our Savior that fed 5000 of them, and as many heard him, could neither with the admirableness of his miracles, nor the excellency of his doctrine prevail with them all, and return them all believers: this was sufficient to deter me even from but touching upon this quicksand, were they not the harbour of Opinion, where she is still rescued from the lovers of truth: neither is it impossible that some, yet of her and their party, upon a truer information may forsake and be ashamed of their station, or to be a piece of the body of this great beast.

There is nothing can enter into consideration more strange and improbable than to see even the most active and understanding spirits, to refer themselves and their proceedings to the multitude, to esteem themselves at their price, exceeds their memories and powers of satisfaction. The young man that thought to escape the being seen in a tavern with retiring further into it, was justly reprehended for going further in, but such is the nature of vice, it hath an alluring look and a detaining tail, our desires first allure us to things unlawful and when we are there, our fear bars us in; but if every man knew how much more right he might have from his own tribunal, if he will freely and sincerely give his reason her own power, and how justly an unabused conscience will proceed, and how sweetly and securely he sleeps, that hath received from them his quietus est,[37] he would for ever disclaim the censure of opinion; and with Phocion[38] mistrust himself, because the people praised him: erubuit quasi peccasset quod placuerit:[39] and as the Prince of morality adviseth, Non respuit quid homines turpe judicent aut miserum, nor it, qua populus; sed ut sidera contrarium mundo iter intendunt, ita hic adversus opinionem omnium vadit:[40] but thus far had I gone out of the way had I not pursued opinion.

To come now near our purpose, in examinations, circumstances are not neglected, if they any way conduce to the end of our inquiry: thus judges and magistrates make their uses and advantages of names, and countenances, though it be impossible to make either so much as accessory: first then we find, that Sadness hath ever been received as a witness of truth; as in Sadness amongst honest men is taken for an infallible asseveration: whereas Mirth hath so little credit, as when rashness or falseness hath made an escape, by the tongue, the refuge is to lay it to Mirth’s charge: who as a licensed buffoon hath often leave to pass the bounds[41] of modesty and truth: againe, Mirth is so like drunkeness, that they are at this day but as two names of one thing, and merry means drunk, and drunk merry, whereas sober expresseth a discreet temper to raise and deject themselves at the pleasure of their breaths, to take warrant from their countenances, and in a word, to live and die at their appointments when single, they scorn and despise them, and think even their best thoughts scarce worthy of their footboy,[42] yet the pattern and piece differeth not; and anyone as far as sufficiency expresseth the whole, as physicians say of the diseases of the body that are and the same may come from different causes: so this of the mind, which proceedeth either from the laying their ambitious hopes upon popularity, or such as guilty of their own intentions, dare not put themselves up on the trial of their consciences.

A third sort there are, that feed, and clothe, and talk, and walk, and have delivered themselves and their behaviour to be brought up by Opinion; these since they cannot be separated from the multitude, neither can be, nor are worth the singling:[43] for those that ambition hath persuaded to this popular folly, they are worthy to be deceived, and were it not that in all inordinate desires reason is first vanquished, they could not but know; this beast is tame but in fair weather; they love that part of you which they understand, which is your fortune, love and friendship, begins in the soul, and ends in the body, and theirs begins in the body and ends in the fortune: the two lineaments that tie the men to a justness and decorum in all their actions, are wit and honesty; which they being defective in, can no more love truly, than he can speak that is born dumb. Wherefore further than commiseration and the common duties of humanity, it is a madness to be popular: for as they say, the chief strength of the lion lieth in his tail, so theirs in their mouths; which as it devours all you give, so they go no further to pay for all they take. It is true, Ubicunque homo est, ibi beneficio locus est:[44] this far charity commands and further is ridiculous, or dangerous, or both: in Princes unto whom they belong as a charge, and who hath power to make them fear, if they will not love, popularity is no vice, but part of use, and as dangerous for them to neglect, as for a private man and a subject to follow and affect.

We have nothing more common and in practice amongst decayed beauties, bankrupted by time or accidents, than to hide it from other’s eyes with art, and from their own with false glasses: no otherwise is it with them that from the reflection of opinion behold the state and condition of their minds; surely he is afraid to hear truth that dares not inquire of himself: it is against our will, if we transport to foreign eyes, or ears, any wars that are not substantial, or at least formal: they are in the dark, and visible but to ourselves, that are fit for reformation, and as we know best their begettings and births, so are they the natural subjects for our own consciences to work upon; it is long since received, that in one, and the self same man, there may be good man, and an ill citizen; men and laws take knowledge of vice, no farther than their own interest: diseases that threaten but one, are opposed but by one, they are contagious and infectious, that are resisted by a generality. They then that go to opinion, to know the temper and disposition of their minds, go to the market, rather to sell than to buy, and love better to paint the walls and outsides of themselves, than to rectify and repair their inward errors and defects: but far worse it is with them that dare not to come to trial, where their facts and actions are known, which is at home, is not this like children, which shunning the reprehension and chastisements[45] of one fault, multiply it to many? Or like the careless debtor, that suffers the interest to outgrow the principal? How truly doth this prove the cowardice of vice, or rather the sottishness, since he considers not, that as fast as he runs from fear, the same haste he makes to dispensation, where they inevitably end, that never reckon with themselves, till the sum unimpeached by drink or any other excess?

For the continuance, what men carry more mistrust before them than those that have worn out the sobriety of an honest look with a continual girning[46] or laughing? A mark of nature’s, so seldom failing, as it is in every observation held, for an irrecoverable defect either of wit or honesty: of such stuff are commonly flatterers, time-pleasers and fawnguests[47] made, people so obnoxious to virtue and worth, as were it not that they breed and live only upon the lust of Fortune, it were impossible to keep them from a general extirpation. For it is they that have bereaved[48] greatness and riches of innocency, and made it of a dead and indifferent instrument in the power of the disposer, to have hatched more monsters than all the brood[49] of vices besides, and in a word have been the visiblest and chiefest procurers of the heavy sentence of our Saviour against rich men; that it is easier for a camel to pass throught a needle’s eye than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven.[50]

In the contemplating Sadness and Mirth, methinks I see the true forms of the two ladies that offered themselves to Hercules at his entrance into the way of the world, Virtue and Pleasure:[51] the first with a settled composed countenance (not unlike the South sea) full of peace, certainty and truth, no overruling passion disordering or raising the least billow,[52] or moving the smallest breath of perturbation; the other like a shop that sets out the best wares to the view and offers many pleasing morsels to the senses, and at the first seems to resemble bounty itself in freeness and sweetness; but, alas, she is too soon won to be constant, she brings not in your reckoning, till you have consumed what she set before you, and then you shall know they are too dear, when it is too late to refuse them; her smiles and allurements are like the sunshine days of winter, storm-breeders; her clearness, warmth and calmness produce ever clouds and tempests; repentance, griefs and anxieties of the soul; and as physicians hold a continual requiring stomach an infallible symptom of a corrupt and diseased body, so may be said of the lovers of Mirth, that pass from one pleasure to another, and dare not let their brains settle, lest they should see their own deformities, their corrupted manners and the leprosy of their minds.

Hitherto Sadness hath gotten but a pre-eminence and hath but proved herself better than a worse, not approved her own goodness: it is now time to display her in her own excellency, not such a one as reverts all things upon itself, and regards no quality that returns not laden[53] with profit; but such a communative goodness, as grows not poor by imparting but redoubles its own strenght, riches, and splendor, with lending, assisting and dividing its influence on others; but before I offer her, and her qualities to the view, it is necessary I decipher her: Philopoemon,[54] for want of an interpreter, was set to cleave wood by his hostess for his own entertainment; the eye is a nice, busy and undertaking sense, if reason or judgement prepare not her way.

I mean not then, under the name of Sadness, to defend effeminate bewailings and lamentations; let them a-God’s name,[55] that subject to the Lycian[56] law, that bounds these kind of lamentors to be arrayed like women; nor am I an approver of a rigid, sour, morose austerity, since it is seldom other then the vizard of envy or vain-glory: such were Nero his philosophers, nec deerant qui voce vultusque tristi inter oblectamenta Regia spectari cuperent;[57] neither is it a small motive to their condemnation, that the novice and inquirer after virtue is deterred to see her disciples so overclouded and drowned in heaviness, rather like the followers of a funeral than her minions and beloved, whose power and bounty doth not alone extend itself unto all deservers, but makes all lives, fortunes and accidents, not alone tolerable and to be endured, but sweet, wholesome, easy and oftentimes glorious and exemplar; neither will I praise a sorrow that, as Pythagoras[58] saith, eats his own heart, that abandons the rudder[59] in a storm and dares not live for fear of dying.

Wise men know, it is the condition of humanity to be tossed with contrary winds, and those are the seasons of distinction between wise men and fools: every man looks gaily in a holiday fortune, but to be basely set by, and to shine through an obscure fortune, illustrates the riches and preciousnes of the mind. Man hath not the throwing of the dice, but the playing of the cast: he is lord over his intentions; the other part reacheth up to heaven, where successes and effects are delivered back, not according to the appetite of man but the inscrutable wisdom of God, and upon that we ought to rest ourselves, not only with patience but with comfort; that the only fountain of knowledge hath taken it into his own hands, of whose better disposing, it were the greatest impiety and infidelity to make the least doubt or question. But it is Sadness that prepares us for the acting of this and the rest of our life truly, and as we ought: who must not be understood to be of the descent of Niobe,[60] still labouring in tears and exclamations; nor a vainglorious or envious philosopher that, big with his own profession, labours to proclaim it in his look; nor a silent fretting[61] sorrow, that will needs marry his afflictions; but Sadness, whose portraiture I would present from the general state and nature of man,[62] hath drawn herself into an habit or posture, in some places fit to resist the incursions of her enemies, in others to divert them, and sometimes like a wise conqueror making of the cruellest foes assured friends or loving subjects. Her outside is sober, calm, constant, modest, and for the most part silent; her inside full of peace, industry and resolution.

To reduce these into a shorter and sounder way, what knowledge, art or science is there, more necessary and important than that which is wholly devoted to the ordering of our life? This doth Sadness most aptly and effectually: first instructing, then adorning, and lastly governing the life of man, with so much tranquillity, certaintly and happiness, as if we will trust either reason or example, we shall find no lives to carry so continual a contentment as these, nor none so often and so continually miscarry as the contrary.

Since then in these are comprehended the whole course of man’s life, we will draw the picture of Sadness within this compass: so shall I not praise her more than profit, my Reader, or if I fail, an unskilful painter may spoil a picture but not a face; which a worthier undertaking may purchase glory by the spoils of my imperfections; since it is not then with man, as with other creatures, that are endowed with the greatest part of their understanding, at the very entrance into the world, which being bounded and limited within a self-preservation, extends no further than to a present consideration of them and theirs, as it is a natural property infused rather into their being than into them, and rather to the profit of nature and her conservation than for their particular benefit; as at the first it is straight and narrow, so time ripens it not, nor dilates it: far otherwise it is with man, whose reason grows with him and whose judgement (as not compatible with his youth) is delivered unto him when he comes to age; at least his minority is but the seed time, in his autumn comes his harvest, that is the time of his instruction; this of use.

Now, whether it be from the pride of man,[63] that loves not to look so low as his infancy or the contempt he hath to impart his time to a poor lump of flesh, or that since Nature hath forced him upon women, he thinks to turn the imperfections of time upon the imperfections of Nature and that they are fittest to breed and hatch their puling[64] wayward weaknesses whether from one, or from all, or from some more hidden cause; certain it is, that to the most men in particular, and to the commonwealth in general, there ariseth great loss by sacrificing these their first years unto their tuitions:[65] from hence it comes that when poets would set up a mark for imitation, they durst never trust a woman so much as with their nursing, but borrowed of their imagination either a Goddess or a Nymph, or rather than fail, a meaner creature. Some philosophers would allow them no more interest in our conception, than to receive cherish, foster, and re-deliver us: but alas, the large portion of the imperfections that we inherit from them assures us the contrary, but since it is so much as time, reason, instruction, and whatsoever the wit of man can apply, can never utterly expel, hardly correct, or temper; what a stupid carelessness reigns over the world, to increase our defects by enlarging their time of government.

But neither to offend them nor stay further from my subject, their dispositions will not take the rich colour of Sadness, which ever yields that tranquillity and settledness of mind, that can propose the end and prosecute the way, without diversion or error: at least, without those that disjoin our intentions and overthrow our purposes, whereas the very springs of passions and affections take and change their forms at the pleasure of every representation, not upon a deliberated judgement, but according to the consultation and conclusions of their senses.

Thus when we may see the power of Sadness, for instruction, since they that want it are not to be trusted with education, yet not to leave enemies behind us, though I wish we might observe their order, that set wild birds’s eggs under those that are domestic and tame to alter their wild condition into their foster-mothers more mild and familiar, and so could wish our dry nurses were men, and such as could teach them words made of reason as well as wind, and though there be many severe (if not malicious) censures given us by our forefathers against them in all ages, and by all countries, and by all professions, of which infinit concurrence of censures I will give but one instance, nelle cose di consiglio niuna donna, è capace di poterlo dare ne meno di pigliarlo per se e tanto peggio da tenerlo secreto mai,[66] yet doubt I not but they are owners of such perfections as bounded and kept in their own circumference are of much use and pleasure, and they are to be honoured by us, no less than our mother earth, from whom we no sooner come but we strive to return again. To conclude, since we cannot be without them, it is great reason they should be entertained with a due respect, which is rather sweetly than seriously: let them have their own interest religiously answered, and for more, since it but corrupts them and shackles[67] us, whatsoever old men for their sakes will attend their charge with more circumspection.

If then we desire to frame a man that shall deserve his being, and to be master of himself and time, let us begin betimes to set such governors over him, as may both by their examples and instructions daily reflect upon him and infuse into him the grace and most instructive influence of Sadness, for by this means he lives fortified against the grand corrupter of youth, Pleasure, and the violent enemy of age, Grief. Surely the beam[68] that keeps the cogitations of man even is none other than Sadness: for he that thinks to buy his peace with accumulating riches, or to be too strong for fortune with making himself powerful, doth but apply an outward medicine for an inward disease, which thought it may sometimes ease, seldom cures. But Sadness, that keeps us at home, daily shows us the brittle[69] frailty of all exterior things (which makes us like an army pestered with too much carriage, neither fit to flee nor fight), unites our inward powers, defends our reason from the vapours and mists of our affections, and standing between the extremes of mirth and sorrow, is the only perfect moderator of our human actions. Cato,[70] though he had many learned slaves, would not commit the education of his son to them but himself became his instructor, which I attribute to no other consideration than that he rather chose to frame him to a well composed Sadness than to be excellent in any art or profession: ut modestior, non ut lepidior fiat,[71] a perfection fitter for a mechanic earner than a true owner of himself, since it is the forming of the mind, not the tongue or hand, that can prefer us to true felicity.

Now that we may touch as it were with our finger how much Sadness confers towards a perfect instruction, what is more proper and peculiar to the forming and framing of the mind to wisdom and goodness, than first to keep out vice, and then so to work, prepare, and temper the mind, as it shall be always fit to receive and contain the wholesome documents of virtue and honesty? Which doth Sadness, so naturally and effectually as all other things that offer themselves for this use, are in comparison, left-handed, and stepmothers to education.

First then, as one saith prettily in his imagined wife, that he would have her of a denying behaviour, as if a fort accessively[72] situated, could not be impregnable, since assaultable, and as he saith therefore, he comes too near, that comes to be denied, and as Ovid,[73] that great trader into those parts, could never find armour of proof for Chastity, but not to be proved, casta est quam nemo rogavit,[74] she’s chaste, whom no tongue yet did taste: so doubtless, he shall pass the narrow way of Virtue with fewer impediments that his owner of this sober, preventive behaviour, than those alluring countenances which keep open house for all comers. One philosopher would have bolsters[75] made to stop the ears of young men from contagious noisome sounds; but he that hath made Sadness his porter shall not need them, since his very presence deters and checks their loose imaginations, and they dare not confess themselves to him that hath their condemnation written in his face: hoc secum certe tulisset, neminem coram Catonem peccare.[76] Pedlars open their wares willingest to women and children, in a word, as they say the amethyst prevents drunkenness, so is Sadness the preservative[77] against the entrance of a number of vices.

Will we then frame a man fit to command and obey? To govern others and direct himself? A man so squared by the unfailable rules of wisdom and judgement, as to know how to become all pla-ces, and to use all fortunes? Bind his tender youth to a disposition tempered with Sadness, for this man can neither seduce his minority with ill examples, nor mar his waxen age with a false impression, too common a condition of these dissolute times, where our children with their milk and their very first words suck in obscene speeches and dissolute behaviour, and imitation, and custom, hath given them the very habit of vice, before they have ei¬ther loved or chosen them.

But this falls not out to the pupils that are governed by men of this carriage:[78] for since it is resolved[79] that this Sadness is not an accident of their complexions, but a guard hammered out of their discourse and the issue of a happy matched discretion and ex¬perience, they do already so well know that all the allurements of vice offer themselves, but like players and jugglers, to show you sport and to gain by you, and this word recreation is but the outside of time’s wasteful and wilful consumption, and that not only the hours so spent are utterly lost, but which is far worst, this continual excitation of the bestial part of man provokes his lusts and sensualities unto an unquenchable dropsy.[80]

Doubtless, as complexions are apter to the infection of bodily diseases, one then the other, so behaviours to the contagion of the mind: Mirth is made of pleasure and with pleasure all vices are baited;[81] whereas this Sadness is the complexion of a mind that knoweth this and therefore hates and disdains Mirth. I know experience is the chiefest evidence that age can produce to prove their right to wisdom, but that which makes their judgements strong enough to make their experience of more use than a bare tale, is a decay of their senses, grown too weak to trade for themselves, and the fitter to be set to our reason to make up a true harmony of all the parts, to the good and preservation of the whole. The same effect hath Sadness with young men, that this decay of nature hath with old, for when the consenting part, or will of man, is so rectified with a sad consideration of the true value of all that the senses present unto her, well may they long to please themselves with their several objects, but when that desire hath no other advocate but itself, it soon languisheth and forsaketh its suit. Aeschines[82] advice to an inquirer after the best course of life was to go to the church willingly, to the wars upon necessity, but to feasts upon no terms: what was this, but to praise the conservation of Sadness, which in these assemblies is for the most part betrayed and in the heat of wine, meat and company melted into the customs of dissolute Mirth? Which made the wise Roman complain, that he never came amongst men but returned less man than when he went out.

This made the philosopher that fell asleep at a feast hold his tongue with one hand, and with the other the part that they say women love best but not to speak of, as the two taps at which Mirth and Pleasure are drawn out.

But may I not seem to go too much of one hand when proposing instructions, I incline rather to preventions than additions: surely if the nature of man were so pure and simple, as it had no participation nor commixture with contrarieties and repugnances, there were no way but one, and that one direct; but as he is first in his mass, or corporial substance, the issue or production of the 4 grand heterogamical[83] bodies, and after by the several and most differing powers of his reason and will, as unlike in their likeness and natures, as light and darkness, there being as much to shun, as to follow : I hope I shall not err in my way, if the situation of the end proposed, draws me sometimes about, since I undertake to conduct, not the eye, but the understanding.

Neither will my Reader (I hope) hold himself deceived, if Sadness alone, and by itself, only brings not in all the materials necessary to the composing of a perfect man, and the framing a happiness to the full extent of our earthly condition: for such an extract is not to be drawn from a knowledge so overclouded as mine, let it suffice then and it will, my indifferent Judge, that it is of so much use and importance, as though with it only you cannot make this purchase, yet without it, if it be not impossible, yet at least most difficult, and withal, that though the soul in her revolvings and travels, may meet those solid considerations that are most like herself, wherein as in a glass she beholds her own beauties; yet are they transitory, and but the flashes of her agitation, the habitual possession of the graces of the mind, being to be fixed upon nobody, that Sadness hath not first prepared. This made so many of the Ancients, and of those most memorable for the excellencies of the mind: some to throw away their wealth, others to refuse riches, the graces of Princes and the favour of the people, others pull out their own eyes, and some to abandon the society of man, and even he that might truliest be entitled, deliciae humani generis,[84] he that had the attribute to fetch virtue from Heaven and to place her in cities, to bring her from the paradise of the gods and transplant her in the breasts of men, no doubt embraced a wilful poverty; nay even life itself, which he was offered at the easiest rate, he would not yet accept of, as too delicate and nice a thing, for a worthy and heroic spirit to make account of. If now we enter into the consideration of the motive that made these men shun what all the world so earnestly pursuits: what could it be but to keep these wants afoot, continually to admonish them of their condition, and to cut off all ways by which Mirth or Pleasure might make their approaches or come to the assault.

Alexander in the excess of abundance killed Cleitus;[85] Fabricius in his poverty refused the golden bribes of the Samnites;[86] upon abundance wait Mirth and Pleasure, and upon them all, the leprosies and deformities of our minds.

There is not so incorrigible a creature as man in prosperity, nor so modest and reformed as they that Fortune hath not rocked but waked, the consequence of which being Mirth and Sadness: behold them in their operations and we must reject the one, as a most dangerous poison, and embrace the other, for the most precious preservative.

If yet I have not proved Sadness’ instruction itself: yet I hope she doth not look with so disfigured a countenance, as when Opinion paints her and though I cannot say, she is the end of knowledge, yet I may well maintain her the beginning: since it is Sadness only that prepares the understanding, and makes every man, idoneus auditor,[87] fit to philosophize and to be disciple in the school of Virtue.

If now it be determined and truly, that the graces and beauties of the soul ought to have the place and honour above those of the body, and the sweetness, beauty and lovely proportion of the body to be preferred before the effeminate deckings[88] that the body doth rather carry than enjoy: since it often happens, that a foul and deformed carcass hath a fair and rich wardrobe and if all these in their original estimations were first valued, not for their own sakes but as the ambassadors of those inward qua¬lities and excellencies, that such complexions, shapes and proportions inseparably fore-show: Sadness, I doubt not, both for her outward loveliness and inward virtue and use, will be allowed for an adornment,[89] that doth not alone please the eye, but the more judicial and intellectual parts.

First then, though I am not ignorant these merry companions are the most acceptable to the most, yet not always to the best,[90] and if they be at times welcome to the understanding sort they are received to their tables, not councils, and used rather for sauce for their meat than seasoning for their judgements, and are, as was said of Athens, places that though many desired to be entertained in, yet few to inhabit, from whence cometh this, but that as they are adorers of Mirth they are haters of all sad and serious considerations? To keep life in laughter, the whole stream of their wits is spent upon the motion of their tongues: in a word, they sacrifice their earnest to jest, their friends to their humour and to present satisfactions, all the duties of humanity, honesty, and discretion, and if so, where shall we lay hold of them, or to what use would they serve but to such a one as all honest natures cannot but scorn and disdain? Whereas the sad and sober behaviour makes it one way to allowances and if it gets not acquain¬tances so fast, it wins friends faster; and though perhaps it be not always so readily entertained, yet it is ever more respected, and reason, since the one with his incessant motion wears out itself, loads the ear, and loathes the eye; whereas the other, in his reservedness, maintains his understanding, in his united vigor, and not troubling his brain with his tongue, falls not into the disadvantages of many words, but still holding more in his breast than upon his shoulders, is strong enough for any assault and prepared to make the best use of com¬pany and conference. Surely, if behaviour be of such estimation, as beauty without it is deformed, and deformity with it is lovely, and agreeable to all eyes; if behaviour be the soul of the form, Sadness is the soul of the soul, for such a composed settled smoothness as distastes not today, pleaseth tomorrow and gets by continuance: no fashion wins so universally and continually, as that which hath received the true tincture of Sadness, for it suppresseth the inconstancy and busy turbulency of the passions and affections, it receives nothing upon trust or at the first sight; and therefore is always one, neither being troubled with the floods and ebbs of for¬tune, the vanity of the world, the ill-employed power of greatness, nor the fluctuary motions of the humorous multitude; or at least, if he be sensible of their irregularities and confusions, yet his thoughts are not written in his face: his countenance is not significant, whereas the face and disposition of Mirth ever resembles his last thoughts; and upon every touch, or taste of that which is displeasant and follows not the stream of his appetite, it deforms itself, and like the Moon is in as many changes as his fortune; now if the wrangling[91] of children be troublesome, the waywardness of men must, to a stranger, be ridiculous and to the acquaintance odious, and consequently Sadness a goodly ornament, that neither displeaseth others, deforms itself, nor at any time passeth the bounds of judgement and discretion; and though he must, as he is man, have many thoughts to repent, yet few actions. Primum argumentum compositae mentis existimo, posse consistere et secum morari,[92] as it is commonly taken for a sign of a strong estate and a settled disposition, to keep a certain house and to love home and that such men are the best, both comforters and counsellors of their mean and needy neighbours, so is it with those minds that retire into their own meditations and scatter not themselves upon the irresolute and inconstant invitations of opinion; being most profitable in their examples and most sound in their counsels; outwardly goodly marks of direction, for them that are ignorant in their course and with¬in, most happy and safe harbours and havens for them that either by weather or weakness, or any other either suspicion or knowledge of impediment, dare not put out into the vast and profound mutabilities and dangers of this ocean of the world; if now a mole on the cheek be an ornament to beauty, Sadness is the same to wit, and if wit, like quicksilver, be too nimble for its own conservation, Sadness doth more than contain it for it refines and fixes it, jewels and rich apparel adorn the possessor and exact from strange eyes a reverence and respect; Sadness, the grave and ever becoming[93] robe of judgement, represents to all understandings the venerable account of all so adorned, if the all-concealing apparel of women, that measured by their modesty, leaves nothing for the incursions of greedy wanton[94] eyes to make spoil of, and doth not only proclaim their souls fairer than their bodies, but their bodies fairer than they are, with leaving the face, eye and hand, as a broken sentence to be per¬fected by imagination, Sadness doth the same, for the interior parts doubling and redoubling the perfections of the mind in such sort, that even fools that Nature hath even hidden under this behaviour, have often escaped censure; and under title of a hidden fellow hath hidden a most empty and senseless, for who can tell the contents of a clasped book, or inventory, or a locked wardrobe? Now as it conceals the fool, it illustrates the wiseman. For as the sun breaking through a cloud lets fall the golden tresses of his beams upon the gloomy airy morning after his absence with a much more resplendent majesty than when continually unmasked, he prostitutes his beauties unto every eye and makes not only the shepherd but his flock weary of his company and seek shade and shelter to hide themselves from his too fast fixed sight, even so the well weighed motions of the sad behaviour commands attention, and the staidness of his carriage prepares a consent before hearing, as due to him that lets nothing pass without due consideration.

To conclude, if one of the greatest philosophers determined silence a more excellent quality than eloquence, I have the aid of his authority, since Sadness is the seat of silence where she only resides in safety and where, without all noise, trouble or tumult, she enjoys the intelligence and contemplations of the soul which the children of Mirth cannot hear, for their own noise, nor taste, their mouths are so surd[95] with bodily pleasures.

And now I will appeal to the eye, if these lineaments and features of Sadness be not more goodly and becoming than those of Mirth: surely if they be not more delightful, they are more contenting,[96] the difference of which I refer to the judicial and to those that value things by their nearness and resemblance of those of Heaven.

Lastly, for government, though the world be not made of atoms, yet the body of man’s reputation is the concurrence of his speeches, actions and passions, which ought to advise all men, not to neglect the least motion, either of mind or body: lest it fa¬stens a deformity upon all, shall we expect this from Mirth? It were in vain, and to prescribe it, were lost labour; it is composed wholly of contrarieties, for take a quantity of idle breath, sublimated into a jest, a proportion of laughter, some mimic tricks, either of the face or the body, and boil them so thoroughly in wine, that you cannot know one from another and you have the most received receipt of Mirth: but who will undertake to give assurance, that this inspired crew shall not violate the dignity of men and so govern themselves, that shame and derision shall not have more right to them, than they to themselves?

Ulysses drank of Circe’s cup and was not transformed:[97] the moral is, a wise man may wash his mouth, but not quench his thirst, with pleasure, for he that aims only at mirth and pleasure, hits sorrow and repentance; as well because it makes him rash and inconsiderate in his courses, when to buy Mirth, he sells all the respects and duties that he owes to inestimable virtue, and his own preservation, as that it being to the mind, as a stove to the body, that so opens the pores as the least air gives a blow to the health, so the least adversity or frown of fortune dejects their minds, and lays them open, either to a ravening[98] fury, or a base bewailing: wherefore he that will not seal the worst of sorrow, let him beware of devoting himself to Mirth, for they only feel the water intolerable cold, that go into it extraordinary hot. The philosophers that imposed silence upon their scholars for their first instruction, could intend nothing else, but the settling and composing the mind: from whence ariseth that habit of Sadness, that gave them power of themselves and withal of all things that came within the bounds of their knowledge, if not to gain by, yet not to lose.

To what end should I produce the witness of ma¬ny famous ancients, from whome scarce a smile was ever drawn, and yet were such as never lost oppurtunity; that presented itself to do others good, or themselves right: nor ever lost that power, force, and tranquillity of their own minds, in any of Fortune’s transmutations, that is wont[99] so to overcome the reason of men, as like transformed creatures there can be nothing more different than them to themselves? Neither will I authorize my opinion, by the example of our blessed Saviour, who was never seen to laugh, nor Solomon’s sacred counsel, that it was better to go to the house of mourning than mirth,[100] lest the worldly man, that makes provision only for the building of his Babel,[101] cast me off as an unseasonable and impertinent counsellor: though it shall then (gentle Reader) insensibly and without thy trouble prepare thee for the best work of thy life, which is the life eternal, yet whilst thou wilt be attentive to thy temporal employments it is also of most effectual importance.

Desirest thou to be reputed wise? It is her visiblest form. Not to be importuned with vain and idle company? They fear Sadness too much to follow thee


To be the safe cabinet of thy own and thy friends’s secrets? Sadness is the parent of silence, silence of secrecy.

To be temperate? Where Sadness is porter, few vain desires are admitted.

Not to be precipitate in thy actions? Where Sadness keeps the lists of consideration, always clear and free from the intrusions of passion, the soul cannot but govern all things by the regular and judicial power of reason, as she that knows time call to consultations, shuts out repentance.

In a word, if there be any way to be trodden in by our feet of clay we are out of the reach of Fortune, out of the power of our passions, and in the full possession of ourselves, we may live in a continual calm, where from the height of a clear and impreg¬nable judgement, we may safely and insensibly behold the world, by this time so far under us, as all such vain desires, as had wont to make us suiters and followers to her, have lost sight of their enamoured objects, it is by the way of Sadness, who doth not alone enrich us by that it brings, but preserves us so by keeping out all inordinate appetites, distempered affections, and those humors of blood and opinion, who where they are favoured do usually destroy and expel not only all honest and virtuous actions, but even the very thoughts that do but seem to be well affected.

Thus have I (good Reader) presented to thy ac¬quaintance the sweetest and best conditioned com¬panion of the life of man, which if you will but believe upon trial, I desire no more: be not seduced by opinion and thou mayst be as happy as this world can make thee, for though the outward pow¬er makes men great, yet is the inward that makes men virtuous, and virtue only that produceth a happiness that can endure the test of all times and changes.

Neither must I omit to answer them that would hide their base choice in the confusion of words and so will have their mirth to be joy; but he is worse than blind, that knows them not asunder:[102] Mirth being rather an apish unquietness than a solid contentment, besides, it lives not of itself, it depends upon fortune, upon time, health, and many outward accidents, and lives but upon borrowing; whereas Joy being as the shadow of virtue, or the effect of the inward and inseparable cause of a good life, is never from home, never in a cloud, never subject to alteration, always one and therefore not only always happy, but therefore happiness itself. And yet to make the difference more apparent, behold their pictures drawn by two excellent masters, res severa est verum gaudium,[103] which if Sadness resembles not more lively than Mirth let your judgement determine, and now for Mirth I am sure this was made, it is so like her, risu inepto, res ineptior nulla est;[104] if you define Mirth without laughing, you speak of somewhat else, and leave your errand[105] behind you, but it hath been so often determined, that they are so far from all one, as they are not so much as alike, as further to labour in so manifest a truth, will rather obscure than enlighten it.

I will then include this question in this definitive sentence: falso de laetitia opinantur siquidem ab utriusque, gaudio scilicet et natura, diversa est,[106] it hath not only lost the challenge to joy, but to nature; he then that drew man within the compass of animal risibile,[107] was rather a confessor to good companions than a wise surveyor of the little world of man.

And now to conclude, if thou hast but melancholy enough to suspend thy opinion, whatsoever thou art, thou hast me in the power of thy censure: I doubt not but you shall be beholding to your judgement, to free me from the heresy of Paradoxes.

If some other think that I have restrained the liberty of man in commending Sadness unto him, let him know I have not determined it the end, but the way only; an entry or passage that of the other side hath a world much more spacious and pleasant than that of this side, comprehended by Mirth, which is little, poor and transitory: if yet there be some that will bring this evidence for their liberty, Laetitia juvenem, frons decet tristis senem,[108] it is but like a licence to eat flesh in Lent for them that are weak and sickly;[109] or like a law that prohibited all persons to wear gay clothes and jewels, but players and courtesans, which was then taken for a mark of scorn, not for a privilege of grace and advantage, which if they shall please to take so too, they shall have the less to answer for, and I shall neither have lost my labour, nor their favour, if not, I must yet challenge the allowance of the wisest, which are the oldest, who if they should yield to an extreme would rather ratify that philosopher that ever wept, than this that took no more pity of himself and of the madness of mankind than to spend his life in laughter.[110]

[1] The Roman name of the Greek hero Heracles, son of Zeus and the mortal Alcmene. He is better known for his strength and adventures, among which his ‘Twelve Labours’.
[2] “To make perfect or faultless; to bring to perfection. Also in weakened sense: to bring nearer to perfection, to improve” (OED v., 2).
[3] I.e. grown to maturity.
[4] For ancient Greeks and Romans, purple was the colour associated with high ranks and power. Purple robes were worn by high magistrates and military commanders.
[5] I.e avoided.
[6] The first proof of her goodness. [Cornwallis’s own note]
[7] What Mirth is. [Cornwallis’s own note]
[8] Line adapted from a passage in Seneca’s Consolatio ad Marciam: “One ruin will make equal the things that you adore and those that you despise”.
[9] From Justus Lipsius’ De Constantia (Leyden: 1591): 4-5. “Those first little perturbations caused by ire, pain, and love are not seldom cured with wine, song, and sleep, but that disease cannot be healed which takes root and takes hold [in one’s soul]” (translation mine).
[10] From Seneca’s De Vita Beata (ch. 7): “Pleasure is mean, slavish, stupid, fleeting; brothels and bad taverns are its seat” (translation mine).
[11] I.e. misconduct, misbehaviour.
[12] I.e. low.
[13] In a figurative sense: ingenuous. The OED records the earliest entries with this sense from the 20th century. (OED adj., 1b)
[14] “To fill the gorge of; to stuff with food; to glut, satiate. Also with up.” (OED v., 4.2a).
[15] Fabius Maximus Verrucosus Quintus (280-203 BC), Roman consul and dictator, during the Second Punic War against Hannibal carried out a contested policy of attrition. His Master of the Horse and political enemy, Marcus Minucius Rufus, opposed his strategy and rashed an attack that forced the retreat of several enemy units. (Hornblower Simon, Spawforth Antony, Eidinow Esther (2014), The Oxford Companion to Classical Civilization, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 302).
[16] Diogenes the Cynic.
[17] In the 1616 printed version mistyped “honor”. It was already corrected by John Dunton in 1707, when he included this encomion amongst his Athenian Sports, Or Two Thousand Paradoxes.
[18] I.e. playful.
[19] Greek biographer and essayist (46-120), he is better known for his works Parallel Lives and Moralia.
[20] Servius Sulpicius Galba, first Roman Emperor after Nero’s death, chose Lucius Calpurnius Piso Licianus as his successor.
[21] I.e. superficial lustre (OED n., 2.1a).
[22] Psalm 25:7: “Do not remember the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions”.
[23] Here in the figurative sense of “A rapacious person; an extortioner; one who preys upon society” (OED n., 1.2).
[24] From Seneca’s 11th Epistle to Lucilius: “You will not correct any evil without referring to a rule”.
[25] From Seneca’s Consolatio ad Marciam (1: 11), “That which we call old age encompasses but few years”.
[26] Psalm 8:4.
[27] I.e. go.
[28] I.e. desire, wish.
[29] “Sharp or irritating bitterness of tone or manner; ill feeling” (OED n., 2).
[30] Foolish.
[31] First Macedonian king after Alexander the Great.
[32] “In plural. The means of entrapping a person or thing; devices, stratagems, wiles. Obsolete.” (OED n., 1).
[33] Line from Seneca’s De Consolatione ad Polybium. It translates as: “Everyone’s life is a torment”.
[34] According to the theory of Macrocosm and Microcosm, central to the philosophy of Pythagoras, Plato and Neoplatonism, the part (the microcosm), ofter mankind, is a model of and reflects the whole of the macrocosm.
[35] I.e. unstable, inconstant.
[36] The common people.
[37] Literally “he is quit”, phrase used as a form of receipt or discharge on payment of a debt.
[38] Athenian statesman and general, pupil of Plato.
[39] Still from Consolatio ad Marciam (1: 24; though Seneca has “placuerat”): he blushed almost as if he was at fault because they liked him.
[40] From Seneca’s De Constantia (14:4): [The wise man] does not reject to consider what other people call ‘shameful’ or ‘miserable’; just like the stars move in an opposite way in respect of the heavenly circuit, he proceeds against common opinion.
[41] I.e. boundaries.
[42] Now obsolete: “A boy travelling on foot as an attendant to an army or military unit” (OED n., 1).
[43] I.e. being distinguished from others (see “single”, OED v.1, 4).
[44] Line from Seneca’s De Vita Beata (ch. 24). It translates as: “Wherever there is a man, there is a charitable place”.
[45] “Authoritative correction of one who is in fault; means of amendment, discipline, training” (OED n., 1).
[46] From the verb “to girn”: “To show the teeth in laughing; to grin. Obsolete” (OED v.1, 2).
[47] “Obsolete. (a) A fawning parasite, a sycophant, toady; also attributive. (b) One who robs or swindles another under the guise of friendship” (OED n.).
[48] I.e. robbed.
[49] Progeny, offspring.
[50] Matthew 19:24: “And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God”.
[51] The Greek parable of “Hercules at the crossroad”, in which the hero is visited by the female personifications of Vice and Virtue, is reported by Xenophon in Memorabilia.
[52] “properly. A great swelling wave of the sea, produced generally by a high wind; but often used as merely = Wave, and hence poetically for ‘the sea’.” (OED n., 2a)
[53] Loaded.
[54] Greek general and statesman, whose life Plutarch illustrated in his Parallel Lives. He includes the episode where, visiting the house of a friend, he was mistaken for a servant by the mistress of the house and asked to help chopping wood (see Robertson, William (1793), The History of Ancient Greece, Edinburgh: William Creech, 523). For Rubens’ painting of this anecdote, see here.
[55] A form of “in God’s name” (see “god” OED n. and int., P1, b)
[56] Lycia was a region of ancient Anatolia, now Turkey.
[57] Line from Tacitus’ Annals (14: 16). “There were often also those who, at the Emperor’s entertainments, wanted to be seen with a sad face and a sad voice”.
[58] Greek philosopher, mathematician, astrologer, politician and founder of the Pythagoreanism way of thinking.
[59] Here: the person who controls the rudder of a boat (see “rudder” OED n., I, 2c).
[60] According to Greek mythology, the daughter of Tantalus and Dione. She gave birth to seven dauthers and seven sons, all but one killed by Apollo and Artemis; in despair, she went back to Mount Sipylus and was turned to stone by Zeus, but she did not stop weaping.
[61] I.e. consuming.
[62] A true description of Sadness. [Cornwallis’s own note]
[63] Women enemies to true Sadness. [Cornwallis’s own note]
[64] I.e. whining.
[65] I.e. teaching, instruction.
[66] A quotation from Antonio de Guevara’s Aviso de privados y doctrina de cortesanos (chap. 7), curiously, in Vincenzo Bondi’s Italian translation published in Venice in 1544 and 1562 (Aviso de favoriti et doctrina de cortigiani). It translates as: “No woman is ever capable of giving advice, keeping it to herself or, worse, keeping it secret”.
[67] From shackle: “A fetter for the ankle or wrist of a prisoner, usually one of a pair connected together by a chain, which is fastened to a ring-bolt in the floor or wall of the cell. In the Old English examples, a ring or collar for the neck of a prisoner.” (OED n., 1, I.1)
[68] I.e. pillar.
[69] I.e. breakable, friable.
[70] Roman senator and historian, he was a fervent conservative and an opponent to Hellenization.
[71] Distorted quotation from Aulus Gellius, Roman author and grammarian. Here it could be translated as: “So that the result be more modest, not more elegant”. See Rolfe, John C. (ed.) (2016), The Complete Works of Aulus Gellius, Hastings: Delphi Classica, chap. 9.
[72] “In an accessible manner; so as to be accessible (in various senses).” (OED adv.)
[73] Roman poet in the reign of Augustus, he is better known for his Metamorphoses and Ars Amatoria.
[74] Line from Ovid’s Amores (1: 8, 43).
[75] “A long stuffed pillow or cushion used to support the sleeper’s head in a bed; the name is now restricted to the under-pillow, stuffed with something firm, which extends from side to side, and on which the softer and flatter pillows are laid.” (OED n., 1.1a)
[76] Line from Seneca’s Consolatio ad Marciam, the original quote reads: “Hoc secum certe tulisset, neminem ausurum coram Catone peccare”. It translates as: “He would certainly bring with him this, nobody would dare sin in the presence of Cato”.
[77] I.e. protection.
[78] “Habitual conduct or behaviour.” (OED n., 15a)
[79] I.e. decided, settled (see “resolved” OED adj.).
[80] I.e. inextinguishable, insatiable thirst (see “dropsy”, OED n., 2).
[81] “Furnished with a bait; figurative rendered alluring or enticing, attractive.” (OED adj., 2)
[82] Athenian politician and orator (389-341 BC).
[83] The reference here is unclear. In the original text the term is “heterogimical”; Dunton, on the other hand, writes “heterogeneal” in his Athenian Sports, Or Two Thousand Paradoxes.
[84] Socrates. [Cornwallis’s own note] Although Cornwallis uses it to describe Socrates, this Latin phrase was coined by Suetonius in his account of Titus’s life in his De Vita Caesarum, meaning the delight of humankind.
[85] Cleitus ‘the Black’, Macedonian noble and officer of Alexander the Great’s army, was killed by him in a paroxysm of drunken fury during a symposium.
[86] Gaius Fabricius Luscinus, Roman consul, was sent to negotiate an exchange of prisoners with Pyrrhus after his victory during the Pyrrhic wars, in which he was allied with the Samnites, an ancient Italic people of south-central Italy.
[87] A suitable auditor.
[88] I.e. adornments.
[89] Sadness adormeth. [Cornwallis’s own note]
[90] Mirth not always acceptable to the best. [Cornwallis’s own note]
[91] I.e. noisy quarrelling.
[92] Line from Seneca’s second Epistula ad Lucilium. It translates as: “I think the first sign of a tranquil mind is to be able to stop and linger with one self”.
[93] “Befitting, suitable, having graceful fitness” (OED adj., 1).
[94] Here: lustful.
[95] “Not endowed with sense or perception” (OED adj., 3a).
[96] I.e. satisfying.
[97] Ulysses, the Roman name of the Greek hero Odysseus, while on his way back to Ithaca after the Trojan war stopped on the island of Aeaea, where the sorceress Circe turned most of his crew into pigs with a magic potion in the wine. He was immune thanks to the help of the God Hermes.
[98] “That ravens (in various senses of the verb); rapacious, voracious, bloodthirsty; ravenously hungry.” (OED adj., 1)
[99] I.e. accustomed.
[100] From Ecclesiastes 7:2: “It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of everyone; the living should take this to the heart”.
[101] See Genesis 11: 1-9.
[102] I.e. apart, separated.
[103] Line from Seneca’s 23th Epistula ad Lucilium. It translates as: “A serious thing is true happiness”.
[104] From Catullus’s Carmen (39): “There is nothing more foolish than a foolish laughter”.
[105] I.e. purpose, intention.
[106] From Plato’s Philebus: “and yet if pleasure and the negation of pain are of distinct natures, they are wrong.” Read the full text here.
[107] One of Aristotle’s definitions of man: the “laughing animal”.
[108] A line from Seneca’s tragedy Phaedra. It translates as: “Happiness suits the young, a sad countenance the old”.
[109] I.e. in a poor state of health.
[110] Allusion to Heraclitus, known as “the crying philosopher”, and Democritus, “the laughing philosopher”. The contrast between the tears of Heraclitus, withdrawn from society, and Democritus, who faced the folly of men with laughter was represented by Seneca, Juvenal and other sources. For an iconographic representation, see here.