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whole days, and keep their chambers; to walk alone in some solitary grove, betwixt wood and water, by a brook side; to meditate upon some delightsome and pleasant subject, which shall affect them most; 'amabilis insania,' and 'mentis gratissimus error.' A most incomparable delight it is so to melancholise, and build castles in the air; to go smiling to themselves, acting an infinite variety of parts, which they suppose and strongly imagine they represent, or that they see acted or done. Blanda quidem ab initio' -['pleasant, indeed, it is at first'], saith Lemnius, to conceive and meditate of such pleasant things sometimes, present, past, or to come, as Rhasis speaks. So delightsome these toys are at first, they could spend whole days and nights without sleep, even whole years alone in such contemplations and fantastical meditations, which are like unto dreams: and they will hardly be drawn from them, or willingly interrupt. So pleasant their vain conceits are, that they hinder their ordinary tasks and necessary business; they cannot address themselves to them, or almost to any study or employment: these fantastical and bewitching thoughts so covertly, so feelingly, so urgently, so continually set upon, creep in, insinuate, possess, overcome, distract, and detain them; they cannot, I say, go about their more necessary business, stave off or extricate themselves, but are ever musing, melancholising, and carried along, as he (they say) that is led round about an heath with a puck in the night. They run earnestly on in this labyrinth of anxious and solicitous melancholy meditations, and cannot well or willingly refrain, or easily leave off winding and unwinding themselves, as so many clocks, and still pleasing their humours, until at last the scene is turned upon a sudden, by some bad object; and they, being now habituated to such vain meditations and solitary places, can endure no company, can ruminate of nothing but harsh and distasteful subjects. Fear, sorrow, suspicion, subrusticus pudor'-['clownish bashfulness'], discontent, cares, and weariness of life, surprise them in a moment; and they can think of nothing else: continually suspecting, no sooner are their eyes open, but this infernal plague of melancholy seizeth on them, and terrifies their souls, representing some dismal object to their minds, which now, by no means, no labour, no persuasions, they can avoid; hæret lateri lethalis arundo'-' the deadly arrow sticks fast in their side']; they may not be rid of it; they cannot resist. I may not deny but that there is some profitable meditation, contemplation, and kind of solitariness to be embraced, which the fathers so highly commended (Hierom, Chrysostome, Cyprian, Austin, in whole tracts, which Petrarch, Erasmus, Stella, and others, so much magnify in their books); a paradise, a heaven on earth, if it be used aright, good for the body, and better for the soul; as many of these old monks used it, to divine contemplation; as Simulus, a courtier in Adrian's time, Dioclesian the emperor, retired themselves, &c. In that sense, Vatia solus scit vivere'-[' Vatia alone knows how to live']; which the Romans were wont to say, when they commended a country life; or to the bettering of their knowledge, as Democritus, Cleanthes, and those excellent philosophers have ever done, to sequester themselves from the tumultuous world; or as in Pliny's Villa Laurentana, Tully's Tuscula, Jovius's study, that they might better vacare studiis et Deo' ['give themselves up to God and their studies']. Methinks, therefore, our too zealous innovators were not so well advised in that general subversion of abbeys and religious houses, promiscuously to fling down all. They might have taken away those gross abuses crept in amongst them, rectified such inconveniences, and not so far to have raved and raged against those fair buildings and everlasting monuments

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of our forefathers' devotion, consecrated to pious uses. Some monasteries and collegiate cells might have been well spared, and their revenues otherwise employed, here and there one, in good towns or cities at least, for men and women of all sorts and conditions to live in, to sequester themselves from the cares and tumults of the world, that were not desirous or fit to marry, or otherwise willing to be troubled with common affairs, and knew not well where to bestow themselves; to live apart in, for more conveniency, good education, better company sake; to follow their studies (I say) to the perfection of arts and sciences, common good, and, as some truly devoted monks of old had done, freely and truly to serve God: for these men are neither solitary nor idle, as the poet de answer to the husbandman in Esop, that objected idleness to him; he was never so idle as in his company; or that Scipio Africanus, in Tully, 'nunquam minus solus, quam cum solus; nunquam minus otiosus quam cum esset otiosus'-['never less solitary than when he was alone, never more busy than when he seemed to be most idle']. It is reported by Plato, in his dialogue De Amore, in that prodigious commendation of Socrates, how a deep meditation coming into Socrates's mind by chance, he stood still musing, eodem vestigio cogitabundus,' from morning to noon; and when, as then he had not yet finished his meditation, 'perstabat cogitans,' he so continued till the evening; the soldiers (for he then followed the camp) observed him with admiration, and on set purpose watched all night; but he persevered immoveable, ad exortum solis,' till the sun rose in the morning, and then, saluting the sun, went his ways. In what humour constant Socrates did thus, I know not, or how he might be affected; but this would be pernicious to another man; what intricate business might so really possess him, I cannot easily guess; but this is 'otiosum otium'-['careless tranquillity']; it is far otherwise with these men, according to Seneca: 'omnia nobis mala solitudo persuadet'-' this solitude undoeth us']; 'pugnat cum vitâ sociali'-[' 'tis a destructive solitariness']. These men are devils alone, as the saying is, 'homo solus aut deus aut demon'-['a man alone, is either a saint or a devil']; 'mens ejus aut languescit, aut tumescit'-[ his mind either languishes or bursts']; and væ soli !'-in this sense, wo be to him that is so alone! These wretches do frequently degenerate from men, and, of sociable creatures, become beasts, monsters, inhumane, ugly to behold-misanthropi; they do even loathe themselves, and hate the company of men, as so many Timons, Nebuchadnezzars, by too much indulging to these pleasing humours, and through their own default. So that which Mercurialis (consil. 11.) sometimes expostulated with his melancholy patient, may be justly applied to every solitary and idle person in particular: Natura de te videtur conqueri posse,' &c.-['Nature may justly complain of thee, that, whereas she gave thee a good wholesome temperature, a sound body, and God hath given thee so divine and excellent a soul, so many good parts and profitable gifts; thou hast not only contemned and rejected, but hast corrupted them, polluted them, overthrown their temperature, and perverted those gifts with riot, idleness, solitariness, and many other ways; thou art a traitor to God and nature, an enemy to thyself and to the world']. Perditiæ tuæ ex te' &c.-['thou hast lost thyself wilfully, cast away thyself; thou thyself art the efficient cause of thine own misery, by not resisting such vain cogitations, but giving way unto them'].

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suspicion of its having been occasioned by his own hand. In his epitaph at Oxford, written by

Tomb of Burton, in the Cathedral.

for Adam's holiday hose and doublet were of no better stuff than plain fig-leaves, and Eve's best gown of the same piece; there went but a pair of shears between them. An antiquary of this town has yet some of the powder of those leaves to show. Tailors then were none of the twelve companies; their hall, that now is larger than some dorfes among the Netherlanders, was then no bigger than a Dutch butcher's shop: they durst not strike down their customers with large bills: Adam cared not an apple-paring for their lousy hems. There was then neither the Spanish slop, nor the skipper's galligaskin, nor the Danish sleeve, nor the French standing collar: your treblequadruple ruffs, nor your stiff-necked rabatos, that have more arches for pride than can stand under five London bridges, durst not then set themselves out in point; for the patent for starch could by no means be signed. Fashion was then counted a discase, and horses died of it; but now, thanks to folly, it is held the only rare physic, and the purest golden asses live upon it.

[How a Gallant should behave himself in Paul's Walks.*]

He that would strive to fashion his legs to his silk stockings, and his proud gait to his broad garters, let him whiff down these observations: for, if he once get to walk by the book, and I see no reason but he may, as well as fight by the book, Paul's may be proud of him; Will Clarke shall ring forth encomiums in his honour; John, in Paul's churchyard, shall fit his head for an excellent block; whilst all the inns of court rejoice to behold his most handsome calf.

Your mediterranean isle is then the only gallery, wherein the pictures of all your true fashionate and complimental gulls are, and ought to be hung up. Into that gallery carry your neat body; but take heed you pick out such an hour, when the, main shoal of


himself, he is described as having lived and died by islanders are swimming up and down. And first obmelancholy.


It may be observed, that there was no absolute want of the lighter kind of prose during this age. Several of the dramatists and others amused themselves by throwing off small works of a satirical and humorous cast, but all of them in a style so far from pure or elegant, and so immediately referring to passing manners, that they have, with hardly an exception, sunk into oblivion. THOMAS DEKKER, who has already been spoken of as a writer of plays, produced no fewer than fourteen works of this kind. In one, entitled The Gull's Hornbook, published in 1609, he assumes the character of a guide to the fashionable follies of the town, but only with the design of exposing them to ridicule. The following extracts may serve as specimens of the light writing of the period:

[Against Fine Clothes.]

Good clothes are the embroidered trappings of pride, and good cheer the very root of gluttony. Did man, think you, come wrangling into the world about no better matters, than all his lifetime to make privy searches in Birchin Lane for whalebone doublets, or for. pies of nightingales' tongues in Heliogabalus his kitchen? No, no; the first suit of apparel that ever mortal man put on, came neither from the mercer's shop nor the merchant's warehouse: Adam's bill would have been taken then, sooner than a knight's bond now; yet was he great in nobody's books for satin and velvets. The silk-worms had something else to do in those days than to set up looms, and be free of the weavers. His breeches were not so much worth as King Stephen's, that cost but a poor noble ;

serve your doors of entrance, and your exit; not much unlike the players at the theatres; keeping your decorums, even in fantasticality. As, for example, if you prove to be a northern gentleman, I would wish cially than any of the other; and so, according to you to pass through the north door, more often espeyour countries, take note of your entrances. Now for your venturing into the walk. Be circumspect, and wary what pillar you come in at; and take heed in any case, as you love the reputation of your honour, that you avoid the serving-man's log, and approach not within five fathom of that pillar; but bend your course directly in the middle line, that the whole body of the church may appear to be yours; where, in view of all, you may publish your suit in what manner you affect most, either with the slide of your cloak from the one shoulder; and then you must, as 'twere in anger, suddenly snatch at the middle of the inside, if it be taffeta at the least; and so by that means your costly lining is betrayed, or else by the pretty advantage of compliment. But one note by the way do I especially woo you to, the neglect of which makes many of our gallants cheap and ordinary, that by no means you be seen above four turns; but in the fifth make yourself away, either office, or amongst the booksellers, where, if you cannot in some of the somsters' shops, the new tobacco read, exercise your smoke, and inquire who has writ against this divine weed, &c. For this withdrawing yourself a little will much benefit your suit, which else, by too long walking, would be stale to the whole with their elbows, and quarrelling to strike eleven; spectators: but howsoever, if Paul's jacks be once up as soon as ever the clock has parted them, and ended the fray with his hammer, let not the duke's gallery contain you any longer, but pass away apace in open

* St Paul's Cathedral was then a public promenade.

means, am less cheerful and confident; reason and faith have not done so much in me, as in thee mere instinct of nature; want of foresight makes thee more merry if not more happy here, than the foresight of better things maketh me.

O God, thy providence is not impaired by those powers thou hast given me above these brute things; let not my greater helps hinder me from a holy security, and comfortable reliance on thee.

view; in which departure, if by chance you either encounter, or aloof off throw your inquisitive eye upon any knight or squire, being your familiar, salute him not by his name of Sir such-a-one, or so; but call him Ned, or Jack, &c. This will set off your estimation with great men; and if, though there be a dozen companies between you, 'tis the better, he call aloud to you, for that is most genteel, to know where he shall find you at two o'clock; tell him at such an ordinary, or such; and be sure to name those that are dearest, and whither none but your gallants resort. After Upon the Kindling of a Charcoal Fire. dinner you may appear again, having translated yourThere are not many creatures but do naturally self out of your English cloth cloak into a light affect to diffuse and enlarge themselves; fire and Turkey grogram, if you have that happiness of shift-water will neither of them rest contented with their ing; and then be seen, for a turn or two, to correct your teeth with some quill or silver instrument, and to cleanse your gums with a wrought handkerchief: it skills not whether you dined, or no; that is best known to your stomach, or in what place you dined; though it were with cheese, of your own mother's making, in your chamber, or study.


JOSEPH HALL, bishop of Norwich, whose poetical satires have already been mentioned, was the author of many controversial tracts in defence of episcopacy; and, like many other churchmen, he suffered for his opinions during the ascendancy of the Presbyterians. He published also a variety of sermons, meditations, epistles, paraphrases, and other pieces of a similar character. This distinguished prelate died in 1656. From the pithy and sententious quality of his style, he has been called the English Seneca; many parts of his prose writings have the thought, feeling, and melody of the finest poetry. The most popular of his works is that entitled Occasional Meditations, a few extracts from which are here sub


own bounds; those little sparks that I see in those coals, how they spread and enkindle their next brands! It is thus morally both in good and evil; either of them dilates itself to their neighbourhood; but especially this is so much more apparent in evil, by how much we are more apt to take it. Let but some spark of heretical opinion be let fall upon some unstable, proud, busy spirit, it catcheth instantly, and fires the next capable subject; they two have easily inflamed a third; and now the more society the more speed and advantage of a public combustion. When we see the church on a fiame, it is too late to complain of the flint and steel; it is the holy wisdom of superiors to prevent the dangerous attritions of stubborn and wrangling spirits, or to quench their first sparks in the tinder.

But why should not grace and truth be as successful in dilating itself to the gaining of many hearts? Certainly these are in themselves more winning, if our corruption had not made us indisposed to good:

God, out of a holy envy and emulation at the speed of evil, I shall labour to enkindle others with these heavenly flames; it shall not be my fault if they

spread not.

Upon the Sight of two Snails.

Upon the Sight of a Tree Full-blossomed. There is much variety even in creatures of the same Here is a tree overlaid with blossoms; it is not kind. See there, two snails; one hath an house, the possible that all these should prosper; one of them other wants it; yet both are snails, and it is a quesmust needs rob the other of moisture and growth; Ition, whether case is the better: that which hath a do not love to see an infancy over-hopeful; in these house hath more shelter, but that which wants it hath pregnant beginnings one faculty starves another, and more freedom; the privilege of that cover is but a at last leaves the mind sapless and barren: as, there-burden; you see, if it hath but a stone to climb over, fore, we are wont to pull off some of the too frequent with what stress it draws up that beneficial load; and blossoms, that the rest may thrive, so, it is good wis- if the passage prove strait, finds no entrance; whereas dom to moderate the early excess of the parts, or pro- the empty snail makes no difference of way. Surely gress of over-forward childhood. Neither is it other it is always an ease and sometimes a happiness to wise in our Christian profession; a sudden and lavish have nothing; no man is so worthy of envy as he that I ostentation of grace may fill the eye with wonder, and the mouth with talk, but will not at the last fill the lap with fruit.

Let me not promise too much, nor raise too high expectations of my undertakings; I had rather men should complain of my small hopes than of my short performances.

Upon Occasion of a Red-breast coming into his Chamber. Pretty bird, how cheerfully dost thou sit and sing, and yet knowest not where thou art, nor where thou shalt make thy next meal; and at night must shroud thyself in a bush for lodging! What a shame is it for me, that see before me so liberal provisions of my God, and find myself sit warm under my own roof, yet am ready to droop under a distrustful and unthankful dulness. Had I so little certainty of my harbour and purveyance, how heartless should I be, how careful; how little list should I have to make music to thee or myself! Surely thou comest not hither without a providence. God sent thee not so much to delight, as to shame me, but all in a conviction of my sullen unbelief, who, under more apparent

can be cheerful in want.

Upon Hearing of Music by Night.

How sweetly doth this music sound in this dead season! In the day-time it would not, it could not, so much affect the ear. All harmonious sounds are advanced by a silent darkness; thus it is with the glad tidings of salvation; the gospel never sounds so sweet as in the night of preservation, or of our own

private affliction; it is ever the same, the difference is in our disposition to receive it. O God, whose praise it is to give songs in the night, make my prosperity conscionable, and my crosses cheerful.

Upon the Sight of an Owl in the Twilight. What a strange melancholic life doth this creature lead; to hide her head all the day long in an ivy bush, and at night, when all other birds are at rest, to fly abroad, and vent her harsh notes. I know not why the ancients have sacred this bird to wisdom, except it be for her safe closeness and singular perspicuity; that when other domestical and airy creatures

Now, there is no more betraying, agonies, arraignments, scourgings, scoffing, crucifying, conflicts, terrors; all is finished.' Alas! beloved, and will we not let the Son of God be at rest! Do we now again go about to fetch him out of his glory, to scorn and crucify him? I fear to say it: God's spirit dare and doth; They crucify again to themselves the Son of God, and make a mock of him' to themselves, not

are blind, she only hath inward light, to discern the least objects for her own advantage. Surely thus much wit they have taught us in her; that he is the wisest man that would have least to do with the multitude; that no life is so safe as the obscure; that re tiredness, if it have less comfort, yet has less danger and vexation; lastly, that he is truly wise who sees by a light of his own, when the rest of the world sit in an ignorant and confused darkness, unable to ap-in himself; that they cannot, it is no thank to them; prehend any truth, save by the helps of an outward illumination.

Had this fowl come forth in the day-time, how had all the little birds flocked wondering about her, to see her uncouth visage, to hear her untuned notes; she likes her estate never the worse, but pleaseth herself in her own quiet reservedness; it is not for a wise man to be much affected with the censures of the rude and unskilful vulgar, but to hold fast unto his own wellchosen and well-fixed resolutions; every fool knows what is wont to be done; but what is best to be done, is known only to the wise.

Upon the Sight of a Great Library.

What a world of wit is here packed up together! I know not whether this sight doth more dismay or comfort me; it dismays me to think, that here is so much that I cannot know; it comforts me to think that this variety yields so good helps to know what I should. There is no truer word than that of Solomon -there is no end of making many books; this sight verifies it-there is no end; indeed, it were pity there should; God hath given to man a busy soul, the agitation whereof cannot but through time and experience work out many hidden truths; to suppress these would be no other than injurious to mankind, whose minds, like unto so many candles, should be kindled by each other: the thoughts of our deliberation are most accurate; these we vent into our papers; what a happiness is it, that, without all offence of necromancy, I may here call up any of the ancient worthies of learning, whether human or divine, and confer with them of all my doubts-that I can at pleasure summon whole synods of reverend fathers, and acute doctors, from all the coasts of the earth, to give their well-studied judgments in all points of question which I propose! Neither can I cast my eye casually upon any of these silent masters, but I must learn somewhat: it is a wantonness to complain of choice.

No law binds me to read all; but the more we can take in and digest, the better liking must the mind's needs be blessed be God that hath set up so many clear lamps in his church.


Now, none but the wilfully blind can plead darkness; and blessed be the memory of those his faithful servants, that have left their blood, their spirits, their lives, in these precious papers, and have willingly wasted themselves into these during monuments, to give light unto others.

The sermons of Bishop Hall display an uncommonly rapid and vehement species of eloquence, well fitted to arouse and impress even the most listless audience. As a specimen, we give the following extract from a discourse on the text, 'It is finished,' preached at Paul's Cross, on Good Friday, 1609.

[Christ Crucified Afresh by Sinners.] Behold, this storm, wherewith all the powers of the world were shaken, is now over. The elders, Pharisees, Judas, the soldiers, priests, witnesses, judges, thieves, executioners, devils, have all tired

themselves in vain with their own malice; and he triumphs over them all, upon the throne of his cross : his enemies are vanquished, his Father satisfied, his soul with this world at rest and glory; ' It is finished.'

they would do it. See and consider: the notoriously sinful conversations of those that should be Christians, offer violence unto our glorified Saviour; they stretch their hand to heaven, and pull him down from his throne to his cross; they tear him with thorns, pierce him with nails, load him with reproaches. Thou hatest the Jews, spittest at the name of Judas, railest on Pilate, condemnest the cruel butchers of Christ; yet thou canst blaspheme, and swear him quite over, curse, swagger, lie, oppress, boil with lust, scoff, riot, and livest like a debauched man; yea, like a human beast; yea, like an unclean devil. Cry Hosanna as long as thou wilt; thou art a Pilate, a Jew, a Judas, an executioner of the Lord of life; and so much and his glory is more. Oh, beloved, is it not enough greater shall thy judgment be, by how much thy light that he died once for us! Were those pains so light, entertainment that so gracious a Saviour hath dethat we should every day redouble them? Is this the served of us by dying? Is this the recompense of that infinite love of his that thou shouldest thus cruelly vex and wound him with thy sins? Every of our sins is a thorn, and nail, and spear to him; while thou pourest down thy drunken carouses, thou givest thy Saviour a portion of gall; while thou despisest his poor servants, thou spittest on his face; while thou puttest on thy proud dresses, and liftest up thy vain heart with high conceits, thou settest a oppressest his poor children, thou whippest him, and crown of thorns on his head; while thou wringest and drawest blood of his hands and feet. Thou hypocrite, how darest thou offer to receive the sacrament of God with that hand which is thus imbrued with the blood of him whom thou receivest? In every ordinary thy profane tongue walks, in the disgrace of the religious and conscionable. Thou makest no scruple of thine own sins, and scornest those that do; not to be wicked, is crime enough. Hear him that saith, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me ?' Saul strikes at Damascus; Christ suffers in heaven. Thou strikest; Christ Jesus smarteth, and will revenge. These are the afterings his members it is not, till the world be finished. We of Christ's sufferings. In himself it is 'finished;' in must toil, and groan, and bleed, that we may reign; This is our warfare; this is the religion of our sorrow if he had not done so, It had not been finished.' and death. Now are we set upon the sandy pavement of our theatre, and are matched with all sorts of evils; evil men, evil spirits, evil accidents, and, which is worst, our own evil hearts; temptations, crosses, persecutions, sicknesses, wants, infamies, death; all these must in our courses be encountered by the law of our profession. What should we do but strive and suffer, as our general hath done, that we may reign as he doth, and once triumph in our Consummatum est? 1 God and his angels sit upon the scaffolds of heaven, and behold us: our crown is ready; our day of deliverance shall come; yea, ur redemption is near, when all tears shall be wiped from our eyes, the mean time, let us possess our souls not in patience and we that have sown in tears shall reap in joy. In only, but in comfort: let us adore and magnify our Saviour in his sufferings, and imitate him in our own. Our sorrows shall have an end; our joys shall not: our pains shall soon be finished; our glory shall be finished, but never ended.

1 It is finished.

The writing of characters was a favourite species of composition among the authors of this period. How successfully Bishop Hall could portray human nature, will appear from his character of

The Hypocrite.

yet ever in pretence of love. No news can stir but by his door; neither can he know that which he must not tell. What every man ventures in a Guiana voyage, and what they gained, he knows to a hair. Whether Holland will have peace, he knows; and on what conditions, and with what success, is familiar to An hypocrite is the worst kind of player, by so much him, ere it be concluded. No post can pass him withthat he acts the better part; which hath always two out a question; and, rather than he will lose the news, faces, ofttimes two hearts; that can compose his fore- he rides back with him to apposel him of tidings; head to sadness and gravity, while he bids his heart and then to the next man he meets he supplies the be wanton and careless within, and, in the mean time, wants of his hasty intelligence, and makes up a perlaughs within himself to think how smoothly he hath fect tale; wherewith he so haunteth the patient cozened the beholder. In whose silent face are written auditor, that, after many excuses, he is fain to endure the characters of religion, which his tongue and ges-than the tediousness of an impertinent discourse. rather the censures of his manners in running away, tures pronounce, but his hands recant. That hath a clean face and garment, with a foul soul; whose mouth belies his heart, and his fingers bely his mouth. Walking early up into the city, he turns into the great church, and salutes one of the pillars on one knee, worshipping that God which at home he cares not for, while his eye is fixed on some window or some passenger, and his heart knows not whither his lips go. He rises, and, looking about with admiration, complains of our frozen charity, commends the ancient. At church he will ever sit where he may be seen best, and in the midst of the sermon pulls out his tables in haste, as if he feared to lose that note; when he writes either his forgotten errand, or nothing. Then he turns his Bible with a noise, to seek an omitted quotation, and folds the leaf as if he had found it, and asks aloud the name of the preacher, and repeats it, whom he publicly salutes, thanks, praises in an honest mouth. He can command tears when he speaks of his youth, indeed, because it is past, not because it was sinful himself is now better, but the times are worse. All other sins he reckons up with detestation, while he loves and hides his darling in his bosom; all his speech returns to himself, and every occurrent draws in a story to his own praise. When he should give, he looks about him, and says, Who sees me ? no alms nor prayers fall from him without a witness; belike lest God should deny that he hath received them; and when he hath done (lest the world should not know it), his own mouth is his trumpet to proclaim it. With the superfluity of his usury he builds an hospital, and harbours them whom his extortion hath spoiled; so when he makes many beggars, he keeps some. He turneth all gnats into camels, and cares not to undo the world for a circumstance. Flesh on

a Friday is more abominable to him than his neighbour's bed; he abhors more not to uncover at the name of Jesus than to swear by the name of God. When a rhymer reads his poem to him, he begs a copy, and persuades the press. There is nothing that he dislikes in presence, that in absence he censures not. He comes to the sick bed of his step-mother and weeps, when he secretly fears her recovery. He greets his friend in the street with a clear countenance, so fast a closure, that the other thinks he reads his heart in his face; and shakes hands with an indefinite invitation of When will you come? and when his back is turned, joys that he is so well rid of a guest; yet if that guest visit him unfeared, he counterfeits a smiling welcome, and excuses his cheer, when closely he frowns on his wife for too much. He shows well, and says well, and himself is the worst thing he hath. In brief, he is the stranger's saint, the neighbour's disease, the blot of goodness, a rotten stick in a dark night, the poppy in a corn field, an ill-tempered candle with a great snuff, that in going out smells ill; an angel abroad, a devil at home; and worse when an angel than when a devil.

The Busy-Body.

His estate is too narrow for his mind; and, therefore, he is fain to make himself room in others' affairs,

His speech is oft broken off with a succession of long parentheses, which he ever vows to fill up ere the conclusion; and perhaps would effect it, if the other's ear were as unweariable as his tongue. If he see but two men talk, and read a letter in the street, he runs to them, and asks if he may not be partner of that secret relation; and if they deny it, he offers to tell, since he may not hear, wonders; and then falls upon the report of the Scottish mine, or of the great fish taken up at Lynn, or of the freezing of the Thames; and, after many thanks and dismissions, is hardly He undertakes as much as he intreated silence. performs little. This man will thrust himself forward to be the guide of the way he knows not; and calls at his neighbour's window, and asks why his servants are not at work. The market hath no commodity which he prizeth not, and which the next table shall not hear recited. His tongue, like the tail of Sampson's foxes, carries firebrands, and is enough to set the whole field of the world on a flame. Himself begins table-talk of his neighbour at another's board, to whom he bears the first news, and adjures him to conceal the reporter: whose choleric answer he returns to his first host, enlarged with a second edition: so, as it uses to be done in the fight of unwilling mastiffs, he claps each on the side apart, and provokes then to an eager conflict. There can no act pass without his comment; which is ever far-fetched, rash, suspicious, dilatory. His ears are long, and his eyes quick, but most of all to imperfections; which, as he easily sees, so he increases with intermeddling. He harbours another man's servant; and, amidst his entertainment, asks what fare is usual at home, what hours are kept, what talk passeth at their meals, what his master's disposition is, what his government, what his guests: and when he hath, by curious inquiries, extracted all the juice and spirit of hoped intelligence, turns him off whence he came, and works on a He hates constancy, as an earthen dulness, new. unfit for men of spirit; and loves to change his work and his place: neither yet can he be so soon weary of any place, as every place is weary of him: for, as he sets himself on work, so others pay him with hatred ; and look, how many masters he hath, so many enemies; neither is it possible, that any should not hate him, but who know him not. So, then, he labours without thanks, talks without credit, lives without love, dies without tears, without pity-save that some say, 'It was pity he died no sooner.'


SIR THOMAS OVERBURY was another witty and ingenious describer of characters. He at one time was an intimate associate of Robert Car, the minion of James I.; but having opposed the favourite's marriage with the infamous Countess of Essex, he incurred the hatred of the abandoned pair, and through their influence was confined and poisoned in the Tower. The way in which this murder was 1 Question.


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