Sidor som bilder

nothing, but detraction and slander: now, the place he sought for is base, his rival unworthy, his adversary injurious, officers corrupt, court infectious; and how well is he, that may be his own man, his own master; that may live safely in a mean distance, at pleasure, free from starving, free from burning! but, if his de signs speed well, ere he be warm in that seat, his mind is possessed of a higher: what he hath, is but a degree to what he would hare : now, he scorneth what he formerly aspired to; his success doth not give him so much contentment, as provocation; neither can he be at rest, so long as he hath one, either to overlook, or to match, or to emulate him. When his country-friend comes to visit him, he carries him up to the awful presence: and now, in his sight, crowding nearer to the chair of state, desires to be looked on; desires to be spoken to by the greatest; and studies how to offer an occasion, lest he should seem unknown, unregarded; and, if any gesture of the least grace fall happily upon him, he looks back upon his friend, lest be should carelessly let it pass, without a note: and what he wanteth in sense, he supplies in history. His disposition is never but shamefully unthankful; for, unless he have all, he hath nothing. It must be a large draught, whereof he will not say, that those few drops do not slake, but inflame him : so still he thinks himself the worse for small favours. His wit so contrives the likely plots of his promotion, as if he would steal it away without God's knowledge, besides bis will: neither doth he ever

and consult in his forecasts, with the Supreme Moderator of all things; as one, that thinks honour is ruled by fortune, and that heaven meddleth not with the disposing of these earthly lots : and, therefore, it is just with that wise God to defeat his fairest hopes; and to bring him to a loss, in the hottest of his chase ; and to cause honour to fly away so much the faster, by how much it is more eagerly pursued. Finally, he is an importunate suitor; a corrupt client; a violent undertaker; a smooth factor, but un trusty ; a restless master of his own; a bladder puffed up with the wind of hope and self-love: he is in the common body, as a mole in the earth, ever unquietly casting; and, in one word, is nothing but a confused heap of envy, pride, covelousness.

look up

THE UNTHRIFT. He ranges beyond his pale, and lives without compass. His expence is measured, not by ability, but will. His pleasures are immoderate, and not honest. A wanton eye, a liquorish tongue, a gainesome hand have impoverished him. The vulgar sort call him bountiful; and applaud him, while he spends; and recompense him with wishes when he gives, with pity when he wants : neither can it be denied that he wrought true liberality, but overwent it: no man could have lived more laudably; if, when he was at the best, he had stayed there. While he is present, none of the wealthier guests may pay ought to the shot; without much

vehemency, without danger of unkindness. Use hath made it unpleasant to him, not to spend. He is, in all things, more ambitious of the title of good-fellowship, than of wisdom. When he looks into the wealthy chest of his father, his conceit suggests, that it cannot be emptied; and, while he takes out some deal every day, he perceives not any diminution; and, when the heap is sensiblyabated, yet still flatters himself with enough: one hand cozens the other, and the belly deceives both. He doth not so much bestow benefits, as scatter them: true merit doth not carry them, but smoothness of adulation. His senses are too much his guides, and his purveyors; and appetite is his steward. He is an impotent servant to his lusts; and knows not to govern, either his mind or his purse. Improvidence is ever the companion of unthriftiness. This man cannot look beyond the present; and neither thinks, nor cares what shall be; much less suspects what may be: and, while he lavishes out his substance in superfluities, thinks he only knows what the world is worth, and that others overprize it. He feels poverty, before he sees it; never complains, till he be pinched with wants ; never spares, till the bottom; when it is too late, either to spend or recover. He is every man's friend, save his own; and then wrongs himself most, when he courteth himself with most kindness. He vies time with the slothful; and it is a hard match, whether chases away good hours to worse purpose: the one, by doing nothing; the other, by idle pastime. He hath so dilated himself with the beams of prosperity, that he lies open to all dangers; and cannot gather up himself, on just warning, to avoid a mischief

. He were good for an almoner; ijl, for a steward. Finally, he is the living tomb of his fore-fathers, of his posterity; and, when he hath swallowed both, is more empty than before he devoured them,

THE ENVIOUS. He feeds on others' evils; and hath no disease, but his neighbours' welfare: whatsoever God do for him, he cannot be happy with company; and, if he were put to chuse, whether he would rather have equals in a common felicity, or superiors in misery, he would demur

upon the election. His eye casts out too much; and never returns home, but to make comparisons with another's good. He is an ill prizer of foreign commouity; worse, of his own: for, that, he rates too high; this, under value. You shall have him ever enquiring into the estates of his equals and betters; wherein he is not more desirous to hear all, than loth to hear any thing overgood : and, if just report relate ought better than he would, he redoubles the question, as being hard to believe what he likes not; and hopes yet, if that be averred again to his grief, that there is somewhat concealed in the relation, which, if it were known, would argue the commended party miserable, and blemish him with secret shame. He is ready to quarrel with God, because the next field is fairer growii; and angrily calculates his cost, and time, and tillage. Whom he dares not openly backbite, nor wound with a direct censure, he strikes smoothly, with an over-cold praise: and, when he sees that be must either maliciously oppugn the just praise of another (which were unsafe), or approve it by assent, he yieldeth; but shews, withal, that his means were such, both by nature and education, that he could not, without much neglect be less commendable: so, his happiness shall be made the colour of detraction. When a wholesome law is propounded, he crosseth it, either by open or close opposition: not for any incommodity or inexpedience; but because it proceeded from any mouth, besides his own: and it must be a cause rarely plausible, that will not admit some probable contradiction. When his equal should rise to honour, he strives against it, unseen; and rather, with much cost, suborneth great adversaries: aud, when he sees his resistance vain, he can give a hollow gratulation, in presence; but, in secret, disparages that advancement: either the man is unfit for the place, or the place for the man; or, if fit, yet less gainful, or more common than opinion: whereto he adds, that himself might have had the same dignity upon better terms, and refused it. He is witty, in devising suggestions to bring his rival, out of love, into suspicion : if he be courteous, he is seditiously popular; if bountiful; he binds over his clients to a faction; if successful in war, he is dangerous in peace; if wealthy, he lays up for a day; if powerful, nothing wants but opportunity of rebellion: his submission, is ambitious hypocrisy; his religion, politic insinuation : no action is safe from a jealous construction. When he receives an ill report of him, whom he emulates; he saith, “ Fame is partial, and is wont to blanch mischiefs ;” and pleaseth himself with hope to find it worse: and, if ill-will have dispersed any more spiteful narration, he lays hold on that, against all witnesses; and broacheth that rumour for truth, because worst : and, when he sees him perfectly miserable, he can, at once, pity him and rejoice. What himseit cannot do, others shall not: he hath gained well, if he have hindered the success of what he would have done, and could not. He conceals his best skill, not so as it may not be known that he knows it, but so as it may not be learned; because he would have the world miss him. He attained to a sovereign medicine, by the secret legacy of a dying empiric; whereof he will leave no heir, lest the praise should be divided. Finally, he is an enemy to God's favours, if they fall beside himself; the best nurse of ill fame; a man of the worst diet, for he consumes himself, and delights in pining; a thorn-hedge, covered with nettles; a peevish interpreter of good things; and no other, than a lean and pale carcase, quickened with a fiend.




« FöregåendeFortsätt »