Sidor som bilder

dusky and swinish eye, a blown cheek, a drawling tongue, a heavy foot, and is nothing but a colder earth moulded with standing water; to conclude, is a man in nothing, but in speech and shape.

THE COVETOUS. He is a servant to himself; yea, to his servant: and doth base homage to that, which should be the worst drudge. A lifeless piece of earth is his master; yea, his god : which he shrines in his coffer, and to which he sacrifices his heart. Every face of his coin is a new image, which he adores with the highest veneration ; yet takes upon him to be protector of that he worshippeth : which he fears to keep, and abhors to lose; not daring to trust either any other god, or his own. Like a true chemist, he turns every thing into silver; both what he should eat, and what he should wear : and that, he keeps to look on; not to use. When he returns from his field, he asks, not without much rage, what became of the loose crust in his cupboard, and who hath rioted amongst his leeks. He never eats a good meal, but on his neighbour's trencher; and there he makes amends to his complaining stomach, for his former and future fasts. He bids his neighbours to dinner; and, when they have done, sends in a trencher for the shot. Once in a year, perhaps, he gives himself leave to feast ; and, for the time, thinks no man more lavish : wherein he lists not to fetch his dishes from far; nor will be beholden to the shambles: his own provision shall furnish his board with an insensible cost; and, when his guests are parted, talks how much every man devoured, and how many cups were emptied, and feeds his family with the mouldy remnants a month after. If his servant break but an earthen dish for want of light, he abates it out of his quarter's wages. He chips bis bread, and sends it back to exchange for staler. He lets money, and sells time for a price; and will not be importuned, either to prevent or defer his day; and, in the mean time, looks for secret gratuities, besides the main interest, which he sells and returns into the stock. He breeds of money, to the third generation: neither hath it sooner any being, than he sets it to beget more. In all things he affects secrecy and propriety : he grudgeth his neighbour the water of bis well; and, next to stealing, he hates borrowing. In his short and unquiet sleeps, he dreams of thieres, and runs to the door, and names more men than he hath. The least sheaf he ever culls out for tithe; and to rob God holds it the best pastime, the clearest gain. This man cries out, above other, of the prodigality of our times; and tells of the thrift of our forefathers: how tbat great prince thought himself royally attired, when he bestowed thirteen shillings and four pence on half a suit : how one wedding gown served our grandmothers, till they exchanged it for a winding sheet: and praises plainness, not for less sin, but for less cost. For himself, he is still known by his forefathers' coat ; which he means, with his blessing, to bequeath to the many descents of his heirs.

[ocr errors]

He neither would be poor, nor be accounted rich. No man complains so much of want; to avoid a subsidy: no man is so importunate in begging, so cruel in exaction : and, when he most complains of want, he fears that, which he complains to have. No way is indirect to wealth, whether of fraud or violence: gain is his godliness, which if conscience go about to prejudice, and grow troublesome by exclaiming against, he is condemned for a common barretor. Like another Abab, he is sick of the next field; and thinks he is ill seated, while he dwells by neighbours. Shortly, his neighbours do not much more hate him, than he himself. He cares not, for no great advantage, to lose his friend; pine his body; damn his soul: and would dispatch himself, when corn falls; but that he is loth to cast away money on a cord.

THE VAIN-GLORIOUS. All his humour rises up into the froth of ostentation; which, if it once settle, falls down into a narrow room. If the excess be in the understanding part, all his wit is in print: the press hath left his head empty; yea, not only what he had, but what he could borrow without leave. If his glory be in his devotion, he gives not an alms but on record; and, if he have once done well, God hears of it often: for, upon every unkindness, he is ready to upbraid him with his merits. Over and above his own discharge, he hath some satisfactions to spare for the common treasure. He can fulfil the law with ease, and earn God with superfluity. If he have bestowed but a little sum in the glazing, paving, parieting of God's house, you shall find it in the church-window. Or, if a more gallant humour possess him, he wears all his land on his back; and, walking high, looks over his left shoulder, to see if the point of his rapier follow him with a grace. He is proud of another man's horse ; and, well mounted, thinks every man wrongs him, that looks not at him. A bare head in the street doth him more good, than a meal's meat. He swears big at an ordinary ; and talks of the court with a sharp accent: neither vouchsafes to name any not honourable, nor those without some term of familiarity; and likes well to see the hearer look upon him amazedly ; as if he said, “ How happy is this man, that is so great with great ones!” Under pretence of seeking for a scroll of news, he draws out a handful of letters, indorsed with his own style, to the height; and, half reading every title, passes over the latter part, with a murmur; not without signifying, what lord sent this, what great lady the other, and for what suits: the last paper, as it happens, is his news from his honourable friend in the French Court. In the midst of dinner, his lacquey comes sweating in, with a sealed note from his creditor, who now threatens a speedy arrest ; and whispers the ill news in his master's ear: when he aloud names a Counsellor of State, and professes to know the employment. The same messenger he calls, with an imperious nod; and, after expostulation, where he hath left his fellows, in his ear sends him

for some new spur-leathers, or stockings by this time footed; and, when he is gone half the room, recalls him, and saith aloud - It is no matter : let the greater bag alone till I come:” and, yet again calling him closer, whispers, so that all the table may hear, that if his crimson suit be ready agairist the day, the rest need no haste. He picks his teeth, when his stomach is empty; and calls for pheasants, at a common inn. You shall find him prizing the richest jewels and fairest horses, when his purse yields not money enongh for earnest. He thrusts himself into the press, before some great ladies; and loves to be seen near the head of a great train. His talk is, how many mourners he furnished with gowns at his father's funerals, how many messes; how rich his coat is, and how ancient; how great his alliance; what challenges he hath made and answered; what exploits he did at Calais, or Nieuport; and, when he hath commended others' buildings, furnitures, suits, compares them with his own. When he hath undertaken to be the broker for some rich diamond, he wears it; and, pulling off his glove to stroke up his hair, thinks no eye should bare any other object. Entertaining his friend, he chides his cook for no better cheer; and names the dishes he meant, and wants. To conclude, he is ever on the stage, and acts still a glorious part abroad; when no man carries a baser heart, no man is more sordid and careless, at home. He is a Spanish sollier on an Italian theatre; a bladder full of wind, a skin full of words; a fool's wonder, and a wise man's fool.

THE PRESUMPTUOUS. PRESUMPTION is nothing but hope out of his wits; a high house, upon weak pillars. The presumptuous man loves to attempt great things, only because they are hard and rare: his actions are bold and venturous, and more full of hazard, than use. He hoisteth sail in a tempest; and saith, never any of his ancestors were drowned: he goes into an infected house; and says the plague dares not seize on noble blood: he runs on high battlements, gallops down steep hills, rides over narrow bridges, walls on weak ice; and never thinks, “ What if I fall ?” but, “ What if I run over, and fall not ?" He is a confident alchymist; and braggeth, that the womb of his furnace hath conceived a burden, that will do all the world good; which yet he desires secretly born, for fear of his own bondage: in the mean time, his glass breaks; yet he, upon better lutir g, lays wagers of the success, and promiseth wedges beforehand to his friend. He saith, “ I will sin; and be sorry ; and escape: either God will not see; or, not be angry; or, not punish it; or, remit the measure: if I do well, he is just to reward; if ill, he is merciful to forgive.” Thus his praises wrong God, no less than bis offence; and hurt himself, no less than they wrong God. Any pattern is enough to encourage him : shew him the way where any foot hath trod, he dares follow, although he see no steps returning : what if a thousand have attempted, and miscarried'; if but one have prevailed, it sufficeth. He suggests

to himself false hopes of never too late; as if he could command either time or repentance: and dare defer the expectation of mercy, till betwixt the bridge and the water. Give him but where to set his foot, and he will remove the earth. He foreknows the mutations of states, the events of war, the temper of the seasons: either his old prophecy tells it him, or his stars. Yea, he is no stranger to the records of God's secret counsel; but he turns them over, and copies them out at pleasure. I know not whether, in all his enterprises, he shew less fear or wisdom: no man promises himself more, no man more believes himself. “ I will go, and sell; and return, and purchase; and spend, and leave my sons such estates:" all which if it succeed, he thanks himself; if not, he blames not himself. His purposes are measured, not by his ability, but his will; and his actions, by his purposes. Lastly, he is ever credulous, in assent; rash, in undertaking; peremptory, in resolving ; witless, in proceeding; and, in his ending, miserable; which is never other, than either the laughter of the wise, or the pity of fools.


The distrustful man hath his heart in his eyes, or in his hand: nothing is sure to him, but what he sees, what he handies. He is either very simple, or very false; and therefore believes not others, because he knows how little himself is worthy of belief. In spiritual things, either God must leave a pawn with him, or seek some other creditor. All absent things and unusual have no other, but a conditional entertainment: they are strange, if true. If he see two neighbours whisper in his presence, he bids them speak out; and charges them to say no more, than they can justify. When he hath committed a message to his servant, he serds a second after him, to listen how it is delivered. He is his own secretary, and of his own counsel, for what he hath, for what he purposeth; and, when he tells cver his bags, looks through the key-hole, to see if he have any hidden witness, and asks aloud, “Who is there?when no man hears him. He borrows money, when he needs not; for fear lest others should borrow of him. He is ever timorous, and cowardly; and asks every man's errand at the door, ere he opens. After his first sleep, he starts up, and asks if the furthest gate were barred; and, out of a fearful sweat, calls up his servant, and bolts the door after him; and then studies, whether it were better to lie still and believe, or rise and see. Neither is his heart fuller' of fears, than his head of strange projects, and far-fetched constructions : " What means the state, think you, in such an action; and whither tends this course? Learn of me, if you know not: the ways of deep policies are secret, and full of unknown windings: that is their act; this will be their issue:" so, casting beyond the moon, he makes wise and just proceedings suspected. In all his predictions and imaginations, he ever lights upon the worst: not what is most likely will fall out, but what is most ill.

There is nothing, that he takes not with the left-hand; no text, which his gloss corrupts not. Words, oaths, parchments, seals, are but broken reeds: these shall never deceive him: he loves no payments, but real. If but one in an age have miscarried, by a rare casualty, he misdoubts the same event. If but a tile fallen from a high roof have brained a passenger, or the breaking of a coachwheel have endangered the burden; he swears he will keep at home, or take him to his horse. He dares not come to Church, for fear of the crowd; nor spare the Sabbath's labour, for fear of want; nor come near the parliament house, because it should have been blown up : what might have been, affects him as much as what will be. Argue, vow, protest, swear; he hears thee, and believes himself. He is a sceptic; and dare hardly give credit to his senses, which he hath often arraigned of false intelligence. He so lives, as if he thought all the world were thieves, and were not sure whether himself were one. He is uncharitable, in his censures; unquiet, in his fears : bad enough, always; but, in his own opinion, much worse than he is.

THE AMBITIOUS. AMBITION is a proud covetousness; a dry thirst of honour; the longing disease of reason; an aspiring and gallant madness. The Ambitious climbs up high and perilous stairs, and never cares how to come down : the desire of rising hath swallowed up his fear of a fall. Having once cleaved, like a burr, to some great man's coat, he resolves not to be shaken off with any small indignities; and, finding his hold thoroughly fast, casts how to insinuate yet nearer: and therefore he is busy and servile in his endeavours to please, and all his officious respects turn home to himself. He can be at once a slave, to command; an intelligencer, to inform; a parasite, to sooth and flatter; a champion, to defend; an executioner, to revenge: any thing, for an advantage of favour. He hath projected a plot to rise; and woe be to the friend, that stands in his way. He still haunteth the court, and his unquiet spirit haunteth him; which, having fetched him from the secure peace of his country-rest, sets him new and impossible tasks; and, after many disappointments, encourages him to try the same sea in spite of his shipwrecks, and promises better success: a small hope gives him heart, against great difficulties; and draws on new expence, new servility ; persuading him, like foolish boys, to shoot away a second shaft, that he may find the first : he yieldeth; and now, secure of the issue, applauds bimself in that honour, which he still affecteth, still misseth; and, for the last of all trials, will rather bribe for a troublesome preferment, than return void of a title: but now, when he finds himself desperately crossed, and at once spoiled both of advancement and hope, both of fruition and possibility, all his desire is turned into rage; his thirst is now only of revenge; his tongue sounds of

« FöregåendeFortsätt »