« AnkstesnisTęsti »
Where other trees are blasted to the ground,
Another is addressed to Sir Wm. Russell, Knight, and is entitled
Strenuorum immortale nomen.
Achilles' tomb upon Sigœa's shore,
This represents: where Thetis oft was seen:
Whose branches sweet did overspread the tomb.
And when in grave their corps inclosed lie,
Although the subject of the following emblem is trite, the author's simple manner of treating it has rendered it very agreeable.
Animus, non res.
TO EDWARD PRESTON, ESQuire.
In christal towers, and turrets richly set
With glittering gems, that shine against the sun :
Diogenes, within a ton did dwell,
No choice of place, nor store of pelf he had:
His meat was roots: his table was a stool,
Who covets still, or he that lives in fear,
As much delight is wealth unto his mind,
Or pleasant shows and pictures to the blind:
What man is rich? not he that doth abound.
And he is poor that covets more and more.
Which proves the man was richer in the ton,
The Emblems of Henry Peacham, a member of Trinity College, Cambridge, a master of arts, a beggar, and a poet, next claim our notice. They are simple, and are characterized by a poetical turn of expression. We shall introduce two of them to the acquaintance of our readers.
The painful bee who many a bitter show'r
And storm had felt, far from his hive away,
So men there are sometimes of good desert,
Or be perhaps, if gotten into grace,
Sic vos non vobis.
THE SILK WORM.
These little creatures here, as white as milk,
Do make their webs both winding sheet and tomb;
VOL. IX. PART I.
Even so the webs our wits for others weave,
Or paint a fool with coat or colours gay,
These specimens will suffice for Henry Peacham, who was author of several other works, as The complete Gentleman, The Valley of Variety, &c. The cordial we have prepared for those who have emblematic tendencies, is chiefly compounded of simples-the ingredients, however, are of a pleasant kind and will, we flatter ourselves, make it agreeable to such as may venture to try it. We honestly confess that we have no design in this article to surprize any prodigal into economy, or any rake into sobriety -or to convert any naughty man, woman, or child, if there can possibly be such amongst our readers, into the opposites of their bad qualities; our sole object is to amuse, and with this view we are as anxious not to fall short of, as to exceed in variety. We now come to that man of many books-that unwearied scribe-that demure looking Whipper of Abuses, George Wither. What a solemn coxcomb he is, and yet the fellow has some poetry in him-but our readers have heard of George Witherthey know him by name and reputation, if they have never read his works, and we strongly suspect there are few who have done so.
The origin of his book of Emblems is thus described in the preface. "These Emblems," says he, graven in copper by Crispinus Passæus, (with a motto in Greek, Latin, or Italian round about every figure, and with two lines or verses in one of the same languages, paraphrasing these mottoes,) came to my hands almost twenty years past. The verses were so mean, that they were afterwards cut off from the plates; *** yet the workmanship being judged very good for the most part, and the rest excusable, some of my friends were so much delighted in the graver's art, and in those illustrations, which for mine own pleasure I had made upon some few of them, that they requested me to moralize the rest; which I condescended unto; and they had been brought to view many years ago, but that the copper prints (which are now gotten) could not be procured out of Holland upon any reasonable conditions." If," he continues," they were worthy of the graver's and printer's cost, being only dumb figures, little useful to any but to young gravers or painters; and as little delightful, except to children or childish-gazers; they may now be much more worthy, seeing the life of speech being added unto them, may make them teachers and remembrancers of profitable things.'
Wither was induced, rather in order to advance the profit of his bookseller, than to satisfy his own judgement, to invent something in addition to the Emblems, which might be likely to delight the vulgar capacity; and observing, " that where the summer bowers of recreation are placed near the church, it draws thither more people from the remote hamlets, than would else be there," he has appointed lotteries to the emblems, to occasion more frequent notice of the morals and good counsels tendered in their illustrations.' He had some misgivings about the decorum of a man of his gravity and ripe age turning fortuneteller; he, however, satisfied himself that it was harmless, for he did not, like the more confident professors of this art, mean that it should be used as an oracle, but as a moral pastime.' The plan of this, the only moral lottery we ever heard of, is as follows. At the end of each of the four books of Emblems, is a string of fifty-six verses on different tempers, qualities, &c. called the lottery, the first fifty of each of which answer to and are illustrated by the fifty emblems, which compose each book: at the end of the volume, are two circular indexes, one to the books, and the other to the numbers of the verses; by turning the pointer of these indexes, the book and number of the verses is found, and the inquiries of the curious answered.
It is time, however, that we come to the Emblems themselves. The prints are in general designed with great spirit, and executed with neatness; some of them are exceedingly pretty. Many of the prints and illustrations, especially the former, are borrowed from Alciatus, and such as he has made use of, are amplified, and frequently, though not always, improved. All the illustrations consist of thirty lines each, a limitation which, as might be expected, is sometimes productive of weakness. The general character of Wither's Emblems is that of sound morality, enforced in a sensible style, tinctured with warm religious feelings, and some of them adorned with a few fresh and fragrant flowers of poetry. Of the former part of this character the following is an example.
How fond are they, who spend their precious time
Or tire themselves in hoarding up of treasures?
By which they seem to have advanc'd their lot:
Thou, therefore, who desir'st for aye to live,
In works of charity thy hands imploy;
That knowledge, and that treasure seek to find,
And, gain thee those possessions, which, nor they,
BOOK II. EMBLEM VIII.
And this of the latter.
When, all the years, our fields are fresh and green,
Had we no winter, summer would be thought
God, therefore, (full as kind, as he is wise) So temp'reth all the favours he will do us, That we his bounties may the better prize; And make his chastisements less bitter to us.