صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

and varied: And let the Masquers, or any other, that are to come down from the Scene, have some Motions, upon the Scene itself, before their Coming down; for it draws the Eye strangely, and makes it with great pleasure, to desire to see that, it cannot perfectly discern. Let the Songs be loud, and cheerful, and not Chirpings, or Pulings. Let the Musick likewise be sharp, and loud, and well placed. The Colours, that shew best by Candlelight, are ; White, Carnation, and a kind of Sea-water Green ; and Ouches, or Spangs, as they are of no great Cost, so they are of most Glory. As for rich Embroidery, it is loft, and not discerned. Let the Suits of the Masquers be Graceful, and such as become the Person, when the Vizors are off: Not after Examples of known Attires; Turks, Soldiers, Mariners, and the like. Let Anti-masques not be long; they have been commonly of Fools, Satyrs, Baboons, Wild Men, Anticks, Beasts, Sprites, Witches, Ethiopes, Pigmies, Turquets, Nymphs, Rustics, Cupids, Statues moving, and the like. As for Angels, it is not comical enough, to put them in Anti-masques ; and any Thing that is hideous, as Devils, Giants, is on the other fide as unfit. But chiefly, let the Musick of them, be recreative, and with some strange Changes. Some Sweet Odours, suddenly coming forth, without any drops falling, are, in such a Company, as there is Steam and Heat, Things of great Pleasure; and Refreshment. Double Masques, one of Men, another of Ladies, addeth State and Variety. But all is nothing, except the Room be kept clear, and neat.

For Justs, and Tournies, and Barriers ; the Glories of them are chiefly in the Chariots, wherein the Challengers make their Entry; especially if they be drawn with strange Beasts; as Lions, Bears, Camels, and the like: or in the Devices of their Entrance; or in the Bravery of their Liveries; or in the Goodly Furniture of their Horses and Armour. But enough of these Toys.

XXXVIII. Of Nature in Men.


ATURE is often hidden; sometimes overcome ;

seldom extinguished. Force maketh Nature more violent in

the Return: Doctrine and Discourse maketh Nature less importune : But Custom only doth alter and subdue Nature. He that seeketh Victory over his Nature, let him not set himself too great, nor small Talks : For the first will make him dejected by often Failings; and the second will make him a small Proceeder, though by often Prevailings. And at the first, let him practise with Helps, as Swimmers do with Bladders, or Rushes : But after a time, let him practise with Disadvantages, as Dancers do with thick Shoes. For it breeds great Perfection, if the Practice be harder than the Use. Where Nature is mighty, and therefore the Victory hard, the Degrees had need be; first to stay and arrest Nature in time; like to him, that would say over the four-and-twenty

Letters, when he was angry: Then to go less in quantity; as if one should, in forbearing Wine, come from drinking Healths, to a draught at a Meal: And lastly, to discontinue altogether. But if a Man have the Fortitude, and Resolution, to enfranchise himself at once, that is the best;

Optimus ille Animi Vindex, lædentia pectus

Vincula qui rupit, dedoluitque semel. Neither is the ancient Rule amiss, to bend Nature as a Wand, to a contrary Extreme, whereby to set it right: Understanding it, where the contrary Extreme is no Vice. Let not a man forcea Habit upon himself, with a perpetual Continuance, but with fome Intermiffion. For both the Pause reinforceth the new Onset; and if a Man, that is not perfect, be ever in Practice, he shall as well practise his Errors, as his Abilities; and induce one Habit of both: and there is no Means to help this, but by seasonable Intermissions. But let not a man trust his Victory over his Nature too far; for Nature will lie buried a great Time, and yet revive, upon the Occasion or Temptation. Like as it was with Æsop's Damsel, turned from a Cat to a Woman, who sat very demurely, at the Board's End, till a Mouse ran before her. Therefore let a Man, either avoid the Occasion altogether ; or put himself often to it, that he may be little moved with it. A Man's Nature is best perceived in Privateness, for there is no Affectation; in Passion, for that putteth a Man out of his Precepts; and in a new Case or Experiment, for there Custom leaveth him. They are happy Men, whose Natures fort with their Vocations; otherwise they may say, Multùm Incola fuit Anima mea : when they converse in those Things, they do not Affect. In Studies, whatsoever a Man commandeth upon himself, let him set Hours for it : But whatsoever is agreeable to his Nature, let him take no Care, for any set Times : For his Thoughts will fly to it of themselves; so as the Spaces of other Business, or Studies, will suffice. A Man's Nature runs either to Herbs, or Weeds ; therefore let him seasonably water the One, and destroy the Other.

Xxxix. Of Custom and


[ocr errors]

EN'S Thoughts are much according to

their Inclination: Their Discourse and Speeches according to their Learning,

and infused Opinions; but their Deeds are after as they have been accustomed. And therefore, as Machiavel well noteth (though in an evil favoured Instance) there is no trusting to the Force of Nature, nor to the Bravery of Words; except it be corroborate by Custom. His Instance is, that for the achieving of a desperate Conspiracy, a Man should not rest upon the Fierceness of


man's Nature, or his resolute Undertakings; but take such a one, as hath had his Hands formerly in Blood. But Machiavel knew not of a Friar Clement, nor a Ravillac, nor a Jaureguy, nor a Baltazar Gerard; yet his Rule holdeth still, that Nature, nor the Engagement of Words, are not so forcible, as Cuftom. Only Superstition is now fo well advanced, that Men of the first Blood, are as Firm, as Butchers by Occupation : And votary Resolution is made equipollent to Custom, even in matter of Blood. In other Things, the Predominancy of Custom is every where visible; in so much, as a Man would wonder, to hear Men profess, proteft, engage, give great Words, and then do just as they have done before: As if they were dead Images, and Engines moved only by the wheels of Custom. We see also the Reign or Tyranny of Custom, what it is. The Indians (I mean the Sect of their Wise Men) lay themselves quietly upon a Stack of Wood, and so Sacrifice themselves by Fire. Nay the Wives strive to be burned with the Corpses of their Husbands. The Lads of Sparta, of ancient Time, were wont to be scourged upon the Altar of Diana, without so much as Quecking. I remember in the beginning of Queen Elizabeth's time of England, an Irish Rebel condemned, put up a Petition to the Deputy, that he might be hanged in a Withe, and not in a Halter, because it had been so used, with former Rebels. There be Monks in Rufia, for Penance, that will fit a whole Night, in a Vessel of Water, till they be engaged with hard Ice. Many Examples may be put, of the Force of Cuftom, both upon Mind, and Body. Therefore, since Custom is the principal Magistrate of

« السابقةمتابعة »