Translated into English.

LONDON, Printed by T. N. for J. Holden at the Anchor in the New Exchange. 1652.


NOthing but great Subjects can fall from the pen of Monsieur de Balsac, who having formerly ravished the world with his [Page] immortal Prince, hath now for a choice cabinet piece illuminated in small an invincible Ro­man; Neither can any pen so power­fully commend his, as his own: Even commending Anti­quity he hath out­done it; So that the present Age may glory, that the Ver­tue [Page] of well speaking is as high as ever. Nay, hee hath so highly praised our Predecessors, that with an unheard of Rhetorick he forci­bly perswades the contrary, & ravish­eth for himself what he seems to bestow on them; So that by his example we need not doubt but Po­sterity [Page] is as capable of true Nobility. And that Antiquity it self must confess, that in parallel lines, although the paral­lel must be after the first, yet it may as wel be drawn above as below it. But as he of Hero's, so we may say of Writers, there is but one Bal­sac. And indeed his [Page] Translator thought it a bold attempt to make him speak English like him­self, and to dare copy so high a subject af­ter so illustrious an hand. And therfore conceals himselfe, behind the Curtain, and timerously bids me enquire of you whither he hath don the Authour right. [Page] If you are there­fore pleas'd, wee are all so; But we are all at a loss, unlesse you favorably par­don the escapes of the Presse, which are many, and require thy judgement as well as the help of this Errata.


PAg. 23. line 15. read ever. p. 45 l. 6. r. Heroes: p. 48. l. 11. Conversation begins the Para­graph: Id. l. 18. r. Nations: p. 98. l. 22. r. writes: p. 120. l, 11. r. he never fell: p. 123. l. ult. r. noble­nesse: p. 125. l. 19. r. could: p. 126. l. 1. r. modest: p. 133. l. ult. r. appeas'd: Ib. l. 14. r. it: p. 134. l. 6. r. debated: p. 135. l. 2. r. when: p. 136. l. 8. r. even: p. 137. l. ult. r. thornes. p. 142. l. 16. r. of.

Discourse I.

WHAT hath been told you Madam is most true, and if you de­sire an illustrious wit­ness, I will confirm it, Caesar shall assure you in two or three [Page 2] places of his commentaries. There is no doubt but those great souls of which we have so often discours'd, were lodged in bodies of a mean size; your Ancestors were Hero's, but were not Gyants, and the most part of their enemies had the advantage, both in stature and bulk: This historical truth be­ing without difficulty received, there can be nothing more just, then the consequences drawn from thence; That had the men of those times been weigh­ed, and valued by weight; an Alman had been neer upon worth two Romans.

The Almans were both lon­ger and larger; The Galls were stronger and more numerous; The Affricans richer and craf­tier; [Page 3] The Greeks better poli­shed, and better skilled in the excercises of wrestling and coursing; But the Romans fitter for command, better discipli­ned, and more knowing in war; And with this discipline which some have called, the foundati­on of the Empire, the source of their Triumphs, they have sub­jugated the strength, the num­ber, the wealth, the subtilty, and even the vertue of other Na­tions.

You ought not to doubt but there was vertue in the Provin­ces; The despising of death was common among the Bar­barians: The love of liberty, and the desire of glory were not unknown unto them. But, Ma­dam, the tru use of al these things [Page 4] was to be found at Rome: Rome was the Shop where the gifts of Heaven were wrought, and where the goods of Nature were perfected. It was she, who, first of all shewed to the world juditious Armies, & wise Wars: It was she knew how to mix, as it ought to be, Art with Ad­venture, Conduct with Fury, and the Divine quality of the Understanding, with the bru­tal actions of the Irascible part.

Whereby it appears, That the Soul is Soveraign Arti­san, of all things, aswel of Military Actions, as of Civil Affairs: The principal part of valor depends not on the or­gans of the Body; neither is it a privation of reason, and a sim­ple [Page 4] overflowing of the Gall, as the People fancy it; 'Tis nei­ther the eies that see, nor the eares that hear, nor the arms that move; 'Tis the Soul, as a Poet says, quoted by Aristo­tle; 'Tis the Soul that doth all, whithout which the eies were blinde, the ears deaf, the arms paralitical; It is the prin­ciple, and the author of all the operations of man.

By the Soul a child hath cast down a Giant, and Bulls are led in a string; By the Soul an Architect sitting still, orders the work of a thousand Masons, and builds Temples and Pala­ces; By the Soul a Pilot with­out stirring, workes more then all the Slaves at the oare, and a man would vainly sweat to [Page 6] hoise and loose the sailes, did he not find his way by the Stars; By the Soul, Madam, a Con­sul having been commanded to make war against a King, an Enemy to the Republick, stu­died the way so well, and be­came so knowing in a professi­on, wherein he was altogether ignorant; That going from the City a man of Peace, he arrived at the Army a Great Captain, and divests his robes to gain presently a battel: Thus did your Predecessors com­mence; Thus did they manage their first Armes; Their Pren­tiship was a Master-peece.

I am confident you would see one of those people? Can we finde out no way to shew you a Roman Consul? Is there [Page 7] no safer and more innocent means, then that of Magick, to bring him whole from the place where he is? For, with­out doubt, you would see him, both in body and minde, with that gravity, which bred respect in the heart of Kings, and ra­vished the people with admirati­on; you would see him, with that visible & acknowledgeable Authority, which accompani­ed him to Prison and banish­ment, which dwelt with him when he had lost all, whereof Fortune could not dispoyl him, when she had reduced him to his shirt. Here he is, Madam, who comes not from the Elizi­an fields, nor from a fabulous habitation; He comes forth of the Histories of Polibius or of [Page 8] some such like Country, and me­thinks he deserves very well to be looked upon.

First, he no less knows how to obey the Laws, then he knows how to command men, and with an elevation of spirit, which sees the Crowns of Sove­raigns beneath him, he hath a soul wholly subject to the po­wer of the people; He reveres the sanctity of that power in the hands of a Tribun, or of a furious Man, or of an Enemy, or perhaps of both. Beleeving, that to fail is the onely ill that can hap­pen to an honest man; He be­leeves there are no faults little, and making a religion of the least part of his duty, he even thinks he cannot be negligent thereof without impiety; He [Page 9] more esteems a day imployed in vertue, then a long delitious life; A moment of glory, more, then an age of voluptu­ousness; He measures time by success, and not by its du­rance.

Acting by this principle, he is always prepared to hazar­dous undertakings; He is al­ways ready to devot himself, for the good of his Citizens, to take upon him the ill fortune of the Common-wealth; And whether the Oracle direct him, or the Inspiration come from his own spirit, he thanks the Gods, as the greatest grace they ever conferred on him; for that it was their will he should be the General, which was to be killed of that Army which [Page 10] should gain the Victory. In pursuit of this, Madam, there is nothing but must be easie to him, and nothing but we may beleeve of him; He knows neither nature, nor alliance, nor affection, where the interest of his Country is concerned; He hath no other particular in­terest but that, and neither loves nor hates, but for publick concernments.

A soul without a body, and rid of matter could agitate in no other manner, nor could it be less incommodated with its passions; but let us say more; It could not be less sen­sible of the vain appearance of humane things, aswel those which astonish, and those which dazel us; The Bravadoes of the [Page 11] day make no more impression on his constancy, then yester­daies caresses: Princes are as weak against him with their wild beasts, as with their trea­sures. And if he had never seen Elephants, and were it pos­sible from behind the tapistry to bring forth all those which are in Affrica, or in the Indies, he would consider them but as a sport, or the mummeries of Pir­rhus, and not as a frightful and threatning thing for Fabritius. All what ever is frightful and terrible, in the world, is not ca­pable to make him wink; All what is splendid and pretious cannot afford him temtation; He is neither to be overcome; Nor to be wonn.

He is of those courages, [Page 12] Madam, which were invinci­ble, were they assaulted onely with a lively force, and were a man alwayes to fight, and al­wayes to make war. But pro­posing for the object of their valor, to overcome what was most to be feared in their ene­mies, they imagine it unne­cessary to mistrust the rest, and are least careful in those things which they beleeve less diffi­cult; whence perhaps that fan­cy of the Poets comes, that the Demy-Gods had a part a­bout them which was subject to death, and a place whereby they were mortal: Because according to my opinion, there is always imperfection in the works of na­ture, and that she never takes so much care in finishing what she [Page 13] makes, but that she alwaies leaves the one side weaker then the other: Now, Madam, it is not to be doubted, but that this commonly is the weake part of great courages, and here their hearts are of flesh, which every where else are of Diamond. There needs not so much resolution to resist the violence of Tyrants, as to defend ones self from their favours; and the power which was given them to do ill, is less dangerous then the means they have whereby to oblige men.

Yet do all these means fail, when they are to be imployed against a Roman. This mortal part is not to be found in his soul; he is equally strong on all sides; He is impenetrable to [Page 14] vanity, aswel as to fear and ava­rice; His severity cannot be sweetned, not even with the complements and flatteries of the King of the Parthians; He at once subverts discovered en­deavours, and guards, himself from hidden artifices; Nothing is contagious to a minde natu­rally so sound, and so well purged by the discipline of his Country; Neither the poyson brought from far, nor the neigh­bouring corrupted air, nor stran­ger, nor citizen have the power to change the goodness of his constitution.

Malecontents lose their time and their pains, if they think to make him relish novelties, by infusing in him an ill opinion of the present; How specious soe­ver [Page 15] the pretences are they pro­pose, though they speake the publick good or liberty, he un­derstands not the language; You were as good court a Ve­stal; 'Tis not a human enterprise to shake his immoveable fideli­ty; A Poet said the Capitol was not so stable, And that Rome might sooner change place; He would rather destroy Tyranny, then share it with any man, and rather declare himself an Enemy, then a Colleague with an Usurper.

Can any thing be added to so great a Title. This one thing more, to witness the high­est proof of his vertue: The Republick, Madam, cannot lose him, how negligent so ever she be to preserve him; He suffers [Page 16] not onely patiently, but gladly injuries and injustices. It never sunk into his minde to revenge himself of her by a civil war, and he prefers the name of an innocent Banditi, to that of a guilty Victor; He hath been perswaded from his childhood, and since never doubted, That a son can never acquit himself of all he owes to a mother, though a wicked mother, though even she became a Stepmother. And that a Citizen is for ever obli­ged to his Country, even to his ungrateful Country, which even hath us'd him like an Enemy.

Behold, Madam, you have near upon sounded the bottome of our Consuls heart, and the root of those wonderfull things which you shall read in the Hi­stories [Page 17] of Polybius and Titus Li­vius.

Let's now a while look on his outside, on that part which is more expos'd to the sight of men.

You may observe in his Acti­ons neither a Cowardly or a heavie Coldnesse, nor a teme­rous and precipitat Vehemency. He softly makes haste, and ad­vanceth with an insensible Mo­tion: Without disquieting himself, he moves inferiour things neither more nor lesse, Then the Intelligences without tiring themselves move the Ce­lestial Spheres. To see him so little troubled about his busi­ness, a man would say, That hee were not the Undertaker, and there appeares so much facility [Page 18] in the most painful functions of the Charge he executes, That although hee doth nothing meanly, Yet he doth nothing with Violence. Observe how with his Eys he leads the whole Army? How a Nod of his head keeps all the World in their duty? How his presence onely establisheth Order, and drives away Confusion? Truly, there is a delight even for Phi­losophers themselves; and even for those who take no interest in humane Affaires to observe him in those occasions. The least Motions of his body are accom­panied with some Vertue which renders him lovely. 'Twere hard to tell, Whether he be more necessary to the Repub­lick, or more pleasing to the [Page 19] Citizens. He Commands well but it becomes him well to command. His command, Madam, is so gratefull, That there is a crowd, There is an ambition, that there is a sensible pleasure to obey him.

That good Grace which shines in all hee doth, being infused into solid qualities, and being joyn'd with Understanding and other necessary qualities, is an admirable charm and enchant­ment for him to sweeten the bitternesse of disgustfull Orders; so that hee can execute them without trouble of Minde, or repugnancy of will: It hath a strange force to winn the heart of the Souldiery, and draw their inclinations, were they harder to move, and more in­sensible [Page 20] then the iron and steel they use.

By this charm they binde themselves not only to him, but they unloose themselvs from all other things; They minde neither Pay, Plunder, or Recom­pence; They neither care for the feasts of Rome, nor for de­lights of Italy; They demand and desire nothing but their Ge­neral, of whom they are so ena­mor'd, even so jealous, that they apprehend the end of the war, for fear onely they should lose him by a peace: They murmur against the Senate, when he is revoked, neither can they con­solate themselves with a Victo­ry which ravisheth the Victor from them.

What an one, good God! [Page 21] Must so passionate a Militia be; 'Tis not obedience in pursuit of command; 'Tis zeal which even prevents it; Tis not affection which obligeth them to the cause of their Chief; 'Tis a transport which ravisheth them from themselves, and makes him say, I am going with the tenth Legion against the Ene­my, of which I am no less confi­dent, then of mine own person; I know it would pass through the midst of flames naked, did honour, will, or necessity re­quire it. So that, Madam, they are no more souldiers of his ar­my which march with him; They are as the members of his body, which move when he stirs; They are as we may say, stranger parts of himself, which [Page 22] are more united to him then his natural.

On the other side, the respect they bare him, is no less power­ful, then the love they shew him; at least its more powerful, then the right of life and death, which he hath over them; This respect governs and rules all his troopes; He drives or stops them, as he needs their different obedience; He might be unto them insteed of Discipline. Let no man think, that it is the laws of war, or military orders, which hinders the soldiers from committing offences; Tis his presence and his testimony. When they fail, they fear more least he should know it, then they fear to be punished, and divers have been kept in their [Page 23] duties with apprehension of dis­pleasing him, which would ne­ther have done it for fear of pu­nishment, or dishonor.

That, Madam, was the on­ly thing, which the Roman Army fear'd; and never did Souldiers so much slight their Enemy, nor so much redoubt their Cheif. There never was at once Spirits so fierce and so docile, did overflow the Field with more impetuosity, and retire to their places in the Camp with lesse appearance of having even gone out. After they had done wonders for Courage, they came to enquire whether they had done well or no; They came to render an accompt of their Victory, wherof they were somtimes fain to justifie them­selves, [Page 24] and for which they were somtimes punish'd.

This fear of Piety and Reli­gion, hath produced thousands of examples in pure Antiquity, and in the Colleges they past o­ver them, they are so common, and so numerous: But we must choose what we are to present you; I must shew you, Madam, a mark of that generous fame, even when the Empire decli­ned, when Rome was no more then the sepulchre of Rome; When Nature according to my Opinion, would preserve her Rights, and make known that the Ashes of things soveraignly excellent are still rich and pre­cious.

Under the Empire of Justi­nian, a Captain named Fulcar, [Page 25] inconsiderately casting him­self amongst the enemies, and having engaged his Troop in a disadvantageous fight, when a certain man in that extremity, represented to him, That if hee would hee might yet retreat with a good part of his men. 'Twere better to die, said hee, For how shall I bee able after this, to endure the sight of Narses. 'Twas not that Narses was cruel, but that the sove­raign vertue is redoubtable. 'Tis that the Mine of the General of a Roman Army is frightful to those who have it not from naked swords, or assured death. With a look he pierceth the guilty to the heart, & punisheth them with his sight.

[Page 26]Is not this, Madam, an effect of that Authority wch comes from Heaven; of that Au­thority inherent in the per­son of him who hath it di­stinct and separate from that other authority bred by the power given him by the Re­publick, verified by the Se­nate, and to be read in Pat­tents of Parchment, and con­firmed with Eagles, and Dra­gons in picture, by Rods, Axes, and Archers?

This second Authority of which you presume I should say somewhat, which as yet was never said, Is a certain light of glory, and a certain character of greatness, which heroick vertue imprints in the countenance of men. [Page 27] And this Character, and this Light, corrects the defects and the imperfections of na­ture, makes little men appear great, imbellisheth ugly fa­ces, defends the solitariness and nakedness of a person expos'd to the outrages of fortune, over-prest under the ruines of a destroyed party, abandoned of his own wish­es, and of his own hopes.

This Character, Madam, is to this person a safeguard from Heaven, against the vi­olences of the Earth; Ren­ders him inviolable to his provoked enemies; binds the hands of Traitors which com against him with ill designs; findes respect and tenderness amongst Scythes and Tartars.

[Page 28]By this mark the Roman Princes were known by their enemies in the Wars, al­though they disguised them­selves, although they were mixt in a croud of soldiers, al­though they had never been seen before. Nothing is able to blot out this character, nor to obscure this light, not even disgraces, imprisonment, and the chains of a poor Cap­tive. The Executioner falls backwards at sight of his pa­tient, and can scarce forbear to beg his life of him. Hee fancies that a great flame is­sues out of his eyes, which enlightens the Dungeon, and that he hears a hideous voice which cries out, Who art thou unhappy man, who darest lay [Page 29] thy hand en Cajus Marius.

Are not these, Madam, give me leave once more to ask you, are not these the high­est and the dearest favours which can be received from the Supream vertue. And this second Authority which survives the first; This Au­thority which preserves it self in the ruines of power, which consecrates misfor­tunes, chains, and dungeons, which renders affliction holy and venerable. Is it not far a more noble thing then the unworthy prosperity of the happy? Then all the Scep­ters, all the Diadems, and all the Magnificence of idle Kings.

Questionless, Authority is [Page 30] far more noble then power, and that which is formed from the reverence of ver­tue, far more worthy then that which is established by the terror of punishments. The pure and innocent tri­umph of an infinite many subjected hearts, is far a more illustrious and glorious sight, then the bloudy and misera­ble trophies of some cast­down heads. I mean cast a­way without any extream necessity, and for a shew on­ly of a tyrannical and savage power, and if the Poets Fa­bles are the Philosophers my­steries. Mee thinks, Madam, that their Jupiter did an acti­on far more admirable and more worthy the Father of [Page 31] the Gods, and the King of Men, when he removed all things with one of his eye­browes, and shaking his head caused Olympus to tremble, then when by force of thun­der and tempest, he tears up Trees, and breakes downe Roofs.

Power is a heavy and ma­terial thing, which draws af­ter it a long Train of humane means, without which it would remain immoveable. It acts only with Land and Sea Armies. Upon a march it must have a thousand springs, a thousand wheels, and a thousand Machines. It commits a violence in fetch­ing a step. Authority on the [Page 32] contrary, which holds from the Nobility of its Origine, and from the vertue of divine things, quietly works its wonders, Needs neither in­struments nor materials, nor even time to set them on work. Its all wrapt up in the person of who exerci­seth it, without seeking aid, or demanding a second. Its strong, though naked; and alone fights, though it bee disarmed.

Authority needs but one word to perswade; Three of its syllables, Madam, humbles the bold, makes the rebel re­pent, stops the impetuosity, of mutinous Legions, stifles sedition at its birth, and those whom the General was wont [Page 33] to cal my companions, cannot endure that he should name them either my Friends, or Sirs, Gentlemen of Rome, or how you please to render Quirites. They fancy that that very word hath already de­graded them, That those three syllables have torn their belts and swords from them, that it hath put them amongst the scum of the most unclean, and most vile populacy.

I would but ask you the question, Madam, whether the name of Quirites, coming out of any other mouth, but that of Caesar, would have entred so far into the hearts of the Legions, and would have had the same power over their [Page 34] minds. For my part I should hardly believe it. I know the height of Rhetorick, and un­derstand the vertue of the best pronounced words. But it reacheth not so far. Autho­rity is incomparably more perswasive, then Eloquence. The soldiers would have mocked a dozen of Ciceroes Orations, and yet yeild them­selves at one of Caesars words.

Nay, I doe verily believe they would have yeilded to his silence, had he been con­tent to have given them but a sign of leaving the Camp, without having taken the pains to have spoken to them. By this dumb condem­nation, treating them as ac­cursed, and excommunicated [Page 35] by their Country, & declaring them unworthy of any kinde of society with their General, beyond that of complaints and reproaches which hee might have made them. Such a scorn would have so griev'd them, that they would have begged death for a favour, & would have cast themselvs at his feet to pray him that he would handsomely dispatch them.

But I am vext that so great a word which was so great an action, was not of som Roman in the good and healthful time of the Republick, that I might not alledge a doubt­full vertue, whose cause was undecided, as was that of Cae­sar. I would, Madam, that this [Page 36] example of Military Autho­rity were either of Scipio, or of Fabritius, that I might just­ly join it with that other ex­ample of Civil Authority, af­ter which you will give mee leave to conclude.

You know well that honest Man Appius Claudius, look upon him I beseech you, bur­thened with years and disea­ses, who so long time never stirred out of his chamber, and can scarce get himselfe from his bed to his chimney. Yet in that condition, hee re­solves to be carried to the Se­nate, to quarrel with all the Senators single, and to oppose himself to the shameful peace they were about to conclude. 'Tis to bee believed, Madam, [Page 37] that they were no lesse frigh­ted to see that hideous old man, then if it had been a ghost, which entred the Coun­cel Chamber, and in my thought, they did not at first take him for Appius Claudius, They took him for his sha­dow, or his fantasme, which came from the other world to give them Lessons, and make them Remonstrances. Who came to tell them with a tone of command, and a strong voice, which his anger raised in the weakness of his con­fiscate body. Who ever was the Author of so filthy a Proposition, is no true nor legitimate Roman. He must either bee a Forainer or a Bastard. He must be the son of one of our slaves, or he hath not [Page 38] a drop of bloud left of our fathers, which his basenesse hath not cor­rupted.

What would not this an­gry old man have done had he had his eyes, and the rest of his body at liberty? Would hee not have beaten those which hee was content to chide onely? Would he not have deposed Pyrrhus, and in­terdicted him his Kingdome far from relinquishing by Treaty an inch of Land in Italy? I know not what hee could have done. But I know very well, Madam, that he did very much. Rome and Pyrrhus were agreed upon conditions for a Trea­ty of Peace. Claudius oppo­seth [Page 39] it, and at the conclusi­on, comes and breaks it off. So that hee proves stronger then Rome and Pyrrhus both together, and carries it away from either of them.

When so strange a Newes was told Cyneas, its likely he cryed out, Behold, a grea­ter thing then I have yet admired in Rome. I have there seen a multitude of Kings, but as yet I had not seen their Tutor. 'Tis this blind Man who is the light of the Commonwealth. 'Tis this sick Man, who warres a­gainst us. 'Tis this good Man, who was unable to stir from his bed, who drives us out of Italy. 'Tis this Chair which [Page 40] bore him to the Senate, which is more to bee feared, then our Towres full of sol­diers, then our Elephants, then our Machins.

A Discourse of the Con­versation of the Romans. TO The Lady Marquess of RAMBOVILLET.
Discourse II.

But this was while your Ancestors of old
For vertue with the Gods their names in­roll'd.
Nature in wonders fruitful was, & yong,
The world with Hero's peopl'd stout as strong,
Our ages vigor now, alas, was spent,
The languors o [...] old age it doth resent,
Your Rome is d [...], & all its glory gone,
The supream vertue is in Hist'ry alone.
Let's be content their active strife t'admire,
Which made that fatal place 'bove all aspire
Th' example of those Grandies let's adore,
With incense let's your sought for tem­ples store.

TIs near the matter, Ma­dam, What I yesterday [Page 42] answered you in our common Discourse, when I took my leave. I have since found the sense of my prose in the Ver­ses of a Poet, who never made any but those. And I conceived it was not amisse after that manner to enter upon this days Conference, and to binde with a knot, which perhaps will not dis­please you, the things I told, with those which you would have me write unto you. Let's again, Madam, confess it. Its certain, that at the begin­ning, God dispensed great largesses, and although his arm is no shorter then it was, yet are his hands less open then they were. Besides, birth-right, which Antiquity [Page 43] hath over the latter times, it hath had other advantages which ended with it, and are not to be found in the succes­sion. It hath had vertues which our age is not capable of. It belongs not to us to be Camillas, and Catoes, we want the vigour of such Men as those instead to provoke our courages, they make our am­bition despair. They have rather braved us then instru­cted us by th [...]ir actions. By giving us examples, they have obliged us to an uprofitable trouble. They have given us what we cannot take. These examples being of that height that there is no way to attain unto them.

I do not say, Madam, that in [Page 44] the most miserable times, God cannot send some cho­sen Soul to make us remem­ber his first Magnificence. I will not deny but that hee may take a particular care of that soul, and but that hee hath meanes to preserve it from the vices of the Court, and the contagion of Custom. In the most general stupidity of the world, there is some one found to awakē the rest, who breaks the bounds of the age, who is capable to conceiv the Idea of ancient vertue, and to shew us that the miracles of History are still possible things. Its true, Madam, there is such an one: But this one makes no number; he marks even sterility, neither doth [Page 45] hee hinder this solitude. Is there a priviledged soul, an extraordinary person, an Hero or two in all the world. Yet is there not a multitude of Heroes. There is no people of extraordinary persons. There is no more a Rome, nor Romans. We must seek them under ruines, and in their Monu­ments. We must adore their Reliques in the Books I have told you of, and in the pla­ces I have desired you to ob­serve.

I at first thought to be quit, having marked those places, and chosen you those Books. Yet are you not satisfied therewith, and it seems you pretend that I should adde what is wanting to those [Page 46] Books. The glories and tri­umphs of Rome, satisfie not your curiosity. It enquires of me some things more parti­cular and less known. You would desire, Madam, that I should shew you the Romans, when they hid themselves, and that I should open to you the door of their Cabi­nets. After having seen them out of ceremony, you would be acquainted with their con­versation, and know from me if so direct and elevated a greatness, could stoop to the use of a common life, could descend from affairs and em­ployments even to sports and divertisements.

I doubt it not, Madam, all the houres of wise mens lives [Page 47] are not equally serious. Their souls are not always exten­ded, nor always contracted, & yet in the same vigor, though not the same action. Does any man believe that the Si­barites only loved Feasts, and that they alone rejoiced. The Romans did it also: But they did it in another manner, & lo­ved other manner of Feasts.

A voluptuousnesse which riseth higher then sense, which seeks the superiour part, and fills it with images: That holy, chast, and altoge­ther innocent pleasure, which acts on the mind without changing it, or moves it with so much sweetnesse, that it stirs not out of its place, or with so much addresse, that it [Page 48] removes it to a better place then it had. This pleasure, Madam, was not a passion un­worthy of your Romans, Sci­pio and Laelius, used it without scruple. Augustus and his friends were of those honest voluptuous persons.

The Senate and the Field, Civil affairs and Military acti­ons, had their seasons conver­sation. The Theatre and Verse had theirs. The plea­sures of the mind were never better tasted, then by them, and with the same hands with which they gain'd Victories, and signed the fate of Nariaeis, they wrote Comedies, or ap­plauded those who acted them before them.

There is not every day [Page 49] Hannibals to bee conquered, nor an Africa to bee subjuga­ted. Antony and the sonnes of Pompey died but every one once. And then came the general Calm in which the most turbulent were at lei­sure, and the world suffered it self to be as peaceably go­verned, as if it had been but one family. So that they have sometimes wanted enemies, & sometimes rested in peace. And in this State, Madam, why should they have made wars against themselves? why should they have sought ene­mies in their owne bowels? why should they give them­selves a prey to a distemper worse then Hannibal, and more cruel then Africa? Why [Page 50] should they bee afraid to re­joice, there being no body to disturb their joy. The Sicili­an Sea being scoured, and Ae­gypt reduced into a Province, Sixius Pompey, and Mark An­tony, being onely names and phantasmes. I must confesse, Madam, the desire of glory was a ruling passion: But Ty­rants themselves doe not al­ways reigne tyrannically. 'Twas the feavour of their minds, but this feavour did not always burne them with an equall ardour, it had as well its releases, as its dou­bles. And do you not believ Scipio was out of his high fit, when he gathered Cockles on the Sea shoar with his friend, or when he lent his words to [Page 51] Cremes and Micio in the Fables of Terence.

I undertake not here to de­cide whether he & his friend were the true Authours of those Fables. It sufficeth me to say, That probably they were the first approvers, and that they loved them, if they did not make them. And it may even be, That the Poet changed the disposition of some scenes by their advice, and that some half verses of theirs may be there. And what we finde finest and best aju [...]ed, was not so much what hee borrowed from the works of Menander, as what he h [...]d learnt from the con­versation of Scipio.

As for the Emperour Au­gustus, [Page 52] in whose person I con­sider the end of their good days, as I doe the flower of them in that of Scipio. Its most true, Madam, that hee hath judged most wholesom­ly of the value and merit of every thing, and that he lo­ved Glory, but that he hated not Pleasure. I speak of Plea­sure in general, because hee tasted of all, and having af­forded his senses very much, he refused his Mind nothing. He discerned good and fair in all the subjects wherein it was to be found; and for that enquiry, he employ'd the best skilled, and most curious spies, so that they left no­thing for the succeeding ages to discover.

[Page 53]I dare not say, as one hath al­ready said, that the Muses were his Buffoons and Iesters; 'tis an injurious and an uncivil word; I shall onely say, they had the honour to bee his familiars and his domesticks, and at that time they were of his Court and Ca­binet.

They were at least call'd at houres of conversation, if not to the deliberation of affaires; and if it bee too much to say, that Virgil was the Fourth of the Councel held between Au­gustus and his two friends, To know whether he should Main­tain the Empire, or Restore Li­berty. I somewhat suspect the History of that Councel, and I can scarce perswade my selfe, that the gallant spirits of those [Page 54] times were so much the Empe­rours confidents that he should communicate with them affairs of that nature. I am satisfied to believe that they intended his vertuous pleasures without aspi­ring to a more important dire­ction; and that hee caused the Palace gates to bee open for them, when they were shut to Supplicants and Petitioners.

But when in farre distant Countries; nay, in the midst of the Palaces clouds did rise, wch obscur'd the Calm I spake of; It was then, Madam, when the Muses were no lesse necessary, then they had formerly been a­greeable: 'Twas then they did him service, & helped Livia to uphold her husband; who be­gan already to stoop with cares [Page 55] and under affairs. During this diseased and impatient season, they were only imploied to seek pleasures & divertisements for him: They did strive onely to charm his paines with their songs; they studied to appease and set at rest that impaatient part of his soul which incessant­ly watched & tormented it self, To estrange his fancy only from the debauches of his daughter, and from the defeat of his Le­gions; To take away the sight of troublesome subjects by the interposition of pleasing ones.

Now, Madam, as it was no smal matter of merit for human Men sometimes to make Augu­stus sleep, & somtimes to chear him, the good Goddesses there­by justified themselves from [Page 56] the calumny of the Barbarians, who accused them as useless to the Republick, & as fit to have no rank in the world. This good Prince suffering them also to ex­tend the too large violence of his thoughts, & by taking some intervals of release in those spe­ctacles which they took care to provide for him at the same time they did divers good acts. For besides that they avowed themselves to be his. They pro­tected the innocent against the Li­cence of the old soldiers, & the cru­elty of the civil victory. He got prat­lers which use to be heard in all a­ges; and honouring them with fa­miliarity, he rendred them triburary to his glory. But chiefly, Madam, he followed the Councel of Nature, which will have all who work, rest; which entertains its durance by moderati­on, & threatens violence with an end.

[Page 57]I know well that this So­veraign Understanding which was given to Princes for the Conduct of human things, is incapable of being tired, and would agitate continually, could it be alone. But being ingaged with the body, and having Organs which are ex­treamly frail and delicate, it must manage them for their benefit, and in spight of it self, fit it self, to the necessi­ties of a society, with which it is ingaged. Princes cannot always be Angels, divorced from sense, and enjoy the pu­rity of a simple beeing; They must sometimes be Men mixt with Matter and Subject to the changes of things compo­sed. There must, Madam, af­ter [Page 58] the Tempests of Affairs, and the anxious Objects of the ills they are to combat, be a care taken to finde them pleasures. Ports to divert and refresh their Minds, and attracting Perspectives which may untire and rejoice their eyes. They are the needs of human life, how rich and suf­ficient so ever it may other­wise bee of it selfe. Labour would weaken the strongest Mindes, had they not their helps and stayes to support them. Melancholy would suffocate them, did they not thus respire. To speak pro­perly they are the voluptu­ousness of reason, and the de­lights of the understanding. And he who hath discovered [Page 59] all the Truths under Heaven, and was ignorant of nothing which could be known with­out Revelation, made so particular an esteem of it in the Fourth Book of his E­thicks, that he was not afraid to say, That sport and diver­tisement were no lesse neces­sary to life, then rest and nou­rishment.

Its true, he makes a diffe­rence as well as we of playes and divertisements. Hee is not a Councellor of all kinds of debauches; neither will hee have wise men pass their time as the Vulgar do. Hee hath discovered a Mean ap­proved by reason betwixt an ill humour, and a buffoone in which the soul dilates it­self [Page 60] by a moderate motion, and doth not enervate it self by a violent dissolution. And of this Mean, Madam, he hath made a Moral vertue, wch re­spects the good of company, in pursuit of two others, which he proposeth to us in the same Chapter, for the same end. The first of these three Vertues is a certaine sweetness & facility of Man­ners, which can accommodate it self without servility, and approves not all that is said without choice; neither by distaste doth hee disapprove it. The second is a cleare freedome, and a custome to speak the Truth even in in­different things, in as far a degree estranged from vain [Page 61] ostentation, and an affected restraint. I intimated before what the third was, and their three vertuous habits, accor­ding to the opinion of Ari­stotle, rule all the commerce of words, and extend them­selves to all the entertaine­ments which Men have of one another, whether wee hold pleasing or distastfull disputes, whether true or false, whether sad or joyful. So that, Madam, without the first of these three Vertues, the Assemblies of Men would bee but Troops of Enemies mixt together, who would scratch & fly in one anothers faces, or Circles of Lovers, who would adore their owne defects, & esteem their wrin­kles [Page 62] fair. Without the second, they would but be the schools of Dissemblers, who would scarce tell us what of the clock it were, or that it were day at Noon, so feareful are they of mistaking. Or Thea­ters for Captains, who say more then they know, or then they have done, or then in­deed could have been done. In fine, without the Third, of which we have spoken, the Assemblies of Men being too sad or too merry, would seem either as the Convoyes of af­flicted persons, and the repre­sentation of a publique grief, or spectacles of naked persons and the image of those licen­tious Feasts, which durst not appear before Cato.

[Page 63]The Mean betwixt these two is a Vertue of a truth, neither so splendent nor so high as Wisdom and Magna­nimity; yet its a Vertue al­lowed by the Philosophers, even by the Philosophy of Cato. And should we banish it out of our Morals, the com­munication wee have with one another, would have bin but dry and thorny. Our Discourse would rather have been a toile and a labour of the Tongue, then an ease and a discharge of the heart: and Society if we had permission onely to dispute and to con­tradict, would trouble us far more then Solitariness, wherein wee at least may laugh out of memory, and [Page 64] rejoice in our own thoughts.

I cannot assure you, Madam, that the Romans were ac­quainted with so praise-wor­thy a quality in the Infancy of the Republick; and al­though one of their Poets reports well of King Numa, and of the Nymph of Egeria, the Conferences which they had together, passing without witness, they could speak of them but by conjecture.

These Victorious Peasants knowing nothing but hus­bandry and fighting, were sensible onely of gross plea­sures proportionable to the hardship of their births; there is no great likelihood that they did possess a Vertue di­rectly opposite to the rude­ness [Page 65] they made profession of, and which seldome accompa­nies poverty, which is almost alwayes followed with an ill humour.

So long as their Eloquence, to use the termes of Varro, smelt of Garlick and Onions, we could expect nothing ve­ry exquisite, and it was hard for so sad an austerity as theirs to hearken to raillery, and to be toucht with joy. First, then they were without weakning to soften themselves; They must sweeten their courages, and unrust their Manners, That at last they might advise to cultivate themselves, as they did their Gardens and their Lands.

They indeed did it with [Page 66] so much success, and found so happy a foundation, That presently the good Genius was amongst them a popular thing. This politeness past from the Senate to inferiour degrees, even to the lowest form of the meaner people. And if in their cause their own witness is to be believ'd, they have blotted out all the Graces, and all the Vertues of Greece, and have left the Atticism thereof far short of their Urbanity.

Its that, Madam, which they call'd that lovely Vertue of Society, after having pra­ctised it many years without having given it a Name, and should use have ripened a­mongst us a word of so ill a [Page 67] savour, and have corrected the bitternesse which might have been found in it. Wee might accustome our selves thereunto, as to others, which wee borrowed from the same language.

Now whether that word expresseth in Ours a certain Air of the great World, and a colour and tincture of the Court, which not only marks words and opinions, but e­ven the tone of the voice, and the motion of the body. Or whether it signifie a lesse perceptible motion which is known but by chance, which hath nothing but is noble & high, and nothing which ap­pears studied or learnt; which is felt, and is not seen, and in­spires, [Page 68] a secret Genius, which we lose in seeking it. Or whe­ther in a farther stretched sig­nification, it means the Sci­ence of Conversation, and the gift to please in good company: Or restraining of it, it be taken for an addresse to touch the Spirit with I know not what kind of prick­ing, yet whose pungency is pleasing to who receives it, because it tickles, and hurts not, because it leaves a wound without grief, and awakens only that part which malice offends. To conclude, Madam, according to the judg­ment of a good Judge in such cases, It was a knowledge a­bused by the Greeks, which o­ther people were ignorant [Page 69] of, and from whom the Ro­mans only learnt the true and lawful use. Being so fit for them, and so incommunica­ble to their nearest neigh­bours, that those even of Ita­ly; could not acquire it with­out some failings, nor so nice­ly counterfeit it, that the re­semblance should not mark the diversity.

It was then according to this accompt, a domestick plant which could grow up but on the shore of the Tiber, or on the Mount Palatin, or at the foot of the Capitol, or near the Camp of Mars, and near some other quarter of that Capitall City of the world.

Is it possible that the Hea­ven [Page 70] and the Sun of Rome, should have so much force and so much vertue? Did they so sensibly agitate on the spirits of men? Were they so absolutely necessary to make them good compa­ny? I fear not of my self to say it, not to wrong the rest of Italy, and the rest of the civilized Provinces. But to speak in general, its certain, Madam, that the Citizens of Rome, had great advantages in the world, owed much to their Mothers, and to their Breeding, and knew many things which no body taught them: there is no doubt but in their most familiar entertain­ment, some graces were neg­lected, some ornaments with­out [Page 71] art, which the Doctors are ignorant of, and which are above rules and precepts. I doubted not but when I had seen it Thunder, and Heaven and Earth mix in the O [...]ati­ons of the Tribunals, but it was a change most agreeably pleasing, to consider them under more then an humane appearance, disarmed of their Enthymemes, and of their fi­gures, having left their feign­ed exclamations, and artifi­cial angers, appearing in a condition wherein one might say, They were truly them­selves.

'Twas there, Madam, for ex­ample, where Cicero was nei­ther Sophist, nor Rhetorician, neither Idolater of this man, [Page 72] nor furious against that; nei­ther of this, nor of that par­ty: There hee was the true Cicero, and after mocked him­self privately of what he had adored publickly. 'Twas there he defin'd Men, & pain­ted them not, where he spoke of Cato as of a Pedant of the Portico, or at most but as of a Citizen of Plato's Republick, where he said, That the pur­ple of the Senate was finer, but the steele of the Rebels was better, where he confest Caesar was the Contriver of his own Fortune, and that Pompey was but the work of his.

These sentiments which parted from the heart, were hidden in great Assemblies, [Page 73] and were discovered but be­tween two or three friends, and as many faithful dome­sticks, and with whom hee communicated this secret fe­licity. And if some of them have said that they reign'd all the time they Oration'd, so soveraign was the power they exercised over mens mindes; we may speak even of those which in their con­versation restored the liberty which they had taken away in their Orations, That they set at large and at ease the minds of those they opprest and tormented; and that they drew them from that admiration which had agita­ted them with violence, to make them sensible of a [Page 74] sweeter transport, and ravish them with less force. I have seen a great Prince in the low countries, who in that envied the fortune of their free men, and of those inferior friends, and of the meaner sort, which they had brought out of sla­very, to choose them their confidents; and in effect, it was a wonderful content­ment to be a witness of their interiour lives, and to be pri­vate to the more particular houres of their leisure. And it were an incomparable sa­tisfactiō to know those good things which have been said of Scipio and Laelius Atticus and Cicero, and other honest people of every age, To have the History of their conver­sation [Page 75] and Cabinets to adde to those of Affairs & State.

Being born in the Empire, and bred up in Triumphs, all what proceeded from them bore the Character of Noble­ness, which distinguished thē from Subjects. All of them were sensible of Command and Authority, though go­vernment and conduct were not in question; all was re­markable and exemplary, e­ven their Secrets and Soli­tude.

Having from their infancy seene Kings led Captives through the streets, and o­ther Kings Petitioners and Solicitors come in person to demand Justice, and expect at the doore of the Senate [Page 76] their good or ill success. They could retain nothing that was low in such rais'd and purg'd spirits from such spectacles. The very lees of such a peo­ple were precious: and if by mischance some Gentlemen were found who had vulgar spirits, its to be believed that such great objects would pre­sently have raised them. Its likely, that being not onely covered and invironed, but penetrated, even filled with so much light which resplen­ded even on their least acti­ons, which they could not lessen nor hide so well, but that they always were strong and illustrious. I speak as I believe, and you know well the dead have no flatterers. [Page 77] 'Twas impossible for them wholly to devest themselves of their greatnesse, because it was in their hearts and in their mindes, because it was rooted in them, and was not applyed to their fortunes. No gesture, nor outward motion of theirs was unworthy the Soveraignty of the world: Even they laugh­ed and sported with some kind of dignity. 'Tis what I fear not Madam, to present unto you, who descend not onely from the same Origine and from the same bloud, but who beyond all this, are the daugh­ter of their discipline and spirit, and retain no lesse a share of the Magnanimity of the Caesars, and of the Scipios, thē of the honesty of the Lelia's, and of the Co­melia's.

[Page 78]Your Ancestors were great e­ven in the least things. And since formerly a Sect did be­lieve, That a wise man sleeping, was like himself; neither did he then forbear to be wise, (It was an Idol and a Wise man form'd at pleasure) since that Sect hath left it for a dogma, That the dreams of this imagi­nary Wise man were reasonable and judicious. We may have leave to believe, That truly Wise men might rule with gra­vity by their reason, and con­duct one part of their lives, which is more capable of either then sleeping, and that their lesse violent and lesse serious actions were animated with vi­gour and the Majesty of the Republick.

[Page 79]Would you have me verifie what I tell you, and raise my self higher then Scipio's time, To shew you that their was al­ways wit in Rome; But that there was alwayes Authority and Greatnesse mixt with this wit: It shall be onely the good Fabritius, whose Letter you saw to Pyrrhus, which will fur­nish the example we seek. And I pray consider it, Madam, in that celebrous conversation which hee had with the same Pyrrhus, and with Cyneas the head of his Councel. Cyneas having made a long Discourse in praise of a Contemplative life, and amongst other things having said, That there was a great person at Athens named Epicurus, who preached Rest [Page 80] and Voluptuousnesse, and held the Government of States un­worthy the employment of the Wise, Because Wise men ought not to disturb themselvs for fools, for ungrateful per­sons, for men. Fabritius had the patience to hear the vanity of the Grecians, although hee approved them not: Yet with a disdainful smile which hee ad­drest to him who brought them forth. O said he, How soon would the Romans have done, if all the world would be but Epicurian.

Do you not beleive, Madam, that Cyneas was surprised with so unexpected an answer, and so far from the admiration hee looked for from so unlettered a Man, whom he thought he had ravished with his Eloquence. [Page 81] That little saying at one blow overthrew the opinions of that great man of Athens, and the Eloquence of that brave Ora­tor. And a regular refutation of Epicurian Philosophy un­dertaken by a Stoick prepared for the businesse, would not have had the force which this exclamation of one line had, wch rendred Epicurus ridiculous, which confounded Cyneas, and astonished Pyrrhus.

Yet Fabritius, Madam, did use to astonish Pyrrhus with his answers; hee usually laughed at the Propositions which the King seriously made; And when he once offered him the first place next to him in his Kingdome, supposing that hee would not dispute so advanta­geous [Page 82] a grant, and that with­out difficulty he would change poverty for riches: The poor Citizen answerd the rich Prince in these words, which I have drawne from a Greek Manu script: I love you Pyrrhus too well, to accept the conditions you offer. If to day I were your Favorite, who could as­sure you but that to morrow I might be your Master? Of a truth you are worth much, yet you cost more; And doe you not believe, That did your sub­jects know mee, but that they would rather receive exempti­ons from me with the security of all they have, then to pay Tribute to you, and have no­thing they can call their own: Make me therefore no more of [Page 83] these offers, which might ruine you if I took you at your word; and never promise me what you cannot keep without the losse of your Crown. A [...]ough Com­monwealths man born with the hatred of Monarchy, would have answered rudely, that he would have nothing to do with a King nor to be Lieutenant General of the Kingdome. But, Fabritius, who was harsh in fight onely, and knew onely how to offend armed Kings, being unwilling to receive what was offered, yet would hee refuse with a good grace: He would by that gal­lant and ingenious refusal, once more make himself to be desi­red by Pyrrhus, and shew him that he was not onely a man of very great use, but also a man [Page 84] of good Conversation.

These, Madam, are the first essays of Politenesse, and as it were the designe of Urbanity in a Republick of Brasse and I­ron amongst simple and inno­cent Citizens; but simple and innocent in such a way, that we cannot say their simplicity was smooth, & their innocency spi­ritual: The Consuls and the Dictators laughed after this manner. Thus they spake when they did not speake seriously; and the seriousnesse of the Gre­cians was worth nothing to the rude and imperious raillery of the Romans.

Even the Censors, Madam, al­though Grief seemed to be one of the functions of their charge, did not absolutely renounce all [Page 85] kind of raillery: They did not o­pinion at themselvs to an eternal severity; And that hasty and insufferable honest man, I mean the first Cato, did somtimes for­bear to be angry and insuppor­table; He had raies of joy, and the intervals of a good humor; Sayings have escaped him which were nothing ungrateful; And if you please, Madam, you may judge of others by this.

He married a well fashioned woman; and Histories observe, that she extreamly feared thun­der, as shee did extreamly love her husband; these two passi­ons counselled her the same thing; She ever chose her hus­band for her shelter against thunder, and cast her self into [Page 86] his arms; at the first murmure, shee imagined shee heard from Heaven Cato, who was pleased with the storm, & who was not angry to be carressed more then ordinary, could not retaine the joy of his heart. Hee reveales this domestick secret to his friends, and tels them, speaking of his wife, That she had found out a way to make him wish for ill weather; and that hee was never so happy, as when Jupi­ter was angry. Severity it self rejoiced in this manner: It was extream rigidnesse: 'Twas So­veraign Justice, which thus laughed; and indeed, Madam, although he and the rest were incorruptible Judges, yet must we not therefore say, that their good dispensation of justice [Page 87] proceeded from their ill humor: They knew how to change ver­tue according to the diversity of time and place: They recei­ved at night in their closets, the favours they had in the mor­ning rejected on the Tribunal. But the Graces being at home with them, they were neither affected, nor licentious: They were wise and modest; They painted not Majesty; They drest her the least they could, and hindred her onely from frighting others. These Gra­ces, Madam, and this Majesty, were at last separated; and the Graces appeared again under their Emperours: But they ap­peared alone for that Majesty, I mean the Majesty of words was lost with their Liberty. [Page 88] Fabritius his style lasted but till Brutus and Cassius; and indeed its very observable whether it bee in some of their Letters which are still visible, or in the Discourse they had together the Eve before the Philippi battel.

There is no man so much a stranger to Antiquity, who is ignorant of Brutus his evil An­gel, and who knows not their Dialogue. Next day after their Funeral Conference, Brutus related it to Cassius, with more trouble and disturbance then he had when the Daemon appeared unto him. But observe, Madam, with what a byass turn'd so di­stastful a matter, and how he made it profitable for the use of Conversation.

[Page 89]Without appearing an asto­nished admirer, or an incredu­lous opiniator, hee laughing, told his friend, That the cares of the Minde, the contention of the spirit, the weariness of the body, and the darknesse of the night might be the cause of his vision, and had formed un­to him those strange Images. That as for him from the prin­ciples of Philosophy, which he profest, he could not believe there were Daemons, and much lesse that they were visible: Yet neverthelesse, hee wished there were, and that his Philosophy were false; Forasmuch as appa­rently those spirits without bo­dies ought to be just and vertu­ous. The action of the Ides of March was so fair, and the [Page 90] cause so honest, that undoubt­edly they would bear their part in it. And that so they would be friends and allies of whom he had not thought, of which would come to his relief, and Troops of reserve, which at a need would fight for them; which being granted, he ought not to reckon of their party, on­ly so many Companies of foot, so many Cornets of horse, so many Legions, and so many Vessels: But besides that, there was an immortal people, and a most happy Militia, which needed no pay, and declared themselves for the good cause, and which hee never need feare would serve Antony against Bru­tus, or preferre Tyranny before Liberty.

[Page 91]These words, Madam, were the last words of the Repub­lick, which she uttered before she gave up the ghost, and after which she expired: 'Twas the Character of the spirit of Rome; It was the natural language of its Majesty: And doe you not finde that Cassius was very E­loquent in that Tongue? Would you not be well pleased to bee more particularly ac­quainted with that Excellent Man, to see him in other soci­ety then this, and to hear him discourse on lesse ungratefull subjects, and at another time then the Eve of the Philippin Battel.

The mischief is, that a quick voice dies assoon as its brought forth, and leaves nothing after [Page 92] it, forming no subsisting bodies in the air: Words have wings, you know its Homers Epithete, and a Syrian Poet hath made a sort of language amongst birds: So that, Madam, if we stop not these Fugitives by Writing, they easily escape our Memo­rie.

Even all that is written, is not sure to last; and Books perish as Tradition is forgot: Time, which ends Marble and Iron, wants not strength against frail­er subjects. And the Northern people who seemed to come to hasten time and precipitate the end of the world, declared so particular a warre to written things, that it was not wanting in them, but that even the Al­phabet had been abolished.

[Page 93]Elsewhere, Madam, there is a fate of Letters which loseth and saveth without choice the motions of human intelligence, which pardon ill verses, and ill intended fables, to suppresse O­racles, and deprive the world of the Light of needful History. The Ancients acknowledged a Daemon, who presides at the birth of Books, and Soveraign­ly disposeth of their fortune & successe; whether they result well or ill, whether they are short or long-lived, as it suc­ceeds either favourable or ad­verse.

Now its certain, if this Dae­mon were an ill willer to the Publick, and envious of honest curiosity, and contrary to the reputation of great persons, it [Page 94] was principally in that part of their Memories, which design'd their humour, which acquain­ted us with the relishes and de­licacies of their Mindes, which discovered the truth of their Manners to posterity, and the secrets of their private lives.

What a misfortune 'tis, Ma­dam, that wee cannot accost them by that accessible part & proportionable to the debility of our strength; that we have lost that easy object, and which wee could better beare then a higher elevation of their glory; That we know the most part of their battels, and order of their Militia, and yet are ignorant of their calm Conferences, and of the Method they used in their treaties with one another, know­ing [Page 95] of their solemn Feasts, and great Ceremonies, and yet have no share in their familiarity, or in their domestick affairs.

Truly, Madam it had been no small unhappinesse, had it al­together so befallen us; yet me thinks wee cannot with reason deny but that some amongst them have had a care of us, nor justly complain, that we have been frustrated of what by suc­cession belongs unto us. Two or three by way of Comedy have left us the tract of four and twenty howres; I mean the re­presentation of some merily past day, and others have shewed them us in their Dia­logues, and in their Letters.

These Dialogues, and these Letters are their immortal en­tertainments: [Page 96] Conversations which are still lasting, whereto wee have every houre free ad­mittance; where that Idea of vertue is preserved, of which Aristotle speakes in the Fourth Book of his Ethicks, where the first Master of this noble & Pa­trician raillery, as they cal it, is to be found, which was so com­patible with the Romane gra­vity.

These Copies are more cor­rect and clearer perhaps then their first Originals were; and if they have not the advantage of a lively voice and presence, which perswades the senses, and gives a lustre to vile things; they have that of attention, and of a second view, wch polisheth the rude, and unmixeth the con­fused, [Page 97] which adds what is com­monly wanting to sudden and carnal actions.

Here is enough Madam, to satisfie a Minde possest onely with languishing passions, and to content a hunger which is sa­tisfied with a little nourishment: But being desirous of much, and greedy of new knowledge, and lovers of change; we must con­fesse that there is no more then to whet our appetites. We are not children quite disinherited; neither are we heirs extreamly rich: And the goods left us, are nothing so great as the los­ses we have made.

My intention here is not to lament the calamities of Learn­ings Commonwealth; I wil say nothing of the ill fortune of [Page 98] History, of its breaches and ruines. The name of Luceius is scarce come to our ears; of that Luceius, Madam, in whose Histories Cicero sollicited and begged a place. Our Salust is but a part of that Salust which your Fathers had: Where is the second Decad of Titus Li­vius? Where are his Civill Wars? Where are those of Asinius, Pollio and Crematius Cordus, which were Master­pieces of the Roman Liberty and Eloquence? All these Ma­dam, are no more; and if wee would know the news of a sea­son which hath so much relati­on & conformity with the times we have seen, we must enquire of some stranger of Greece, who commonly is what he knows not.

[Page 99]Neverthelesse I perceive, that in the humour wee now in these days are, and in the disgust of a distempered age, which prefers fawces to meat, and its fancie to health. 'Tis not the great and serious amongst the Ro­mans, which wee must regret, and are most angry to have lost; We might easily passe over the Annals of their wars and fields, had we but a Iournal of their divertisements and winter quar­ters. And wee should without much trouble consolate our selves at the shipwrack of need­ful Histories, could their faire Fables have escaped.

It were indeed an excellent consolation to afflicted spirits, for the losse of Titus Livius his Decads, could we recover the [Page 100] Comedies of Plautus and Te­rence, which we have no more, without mentioning other Po­ets of the Theatre, from whose wrack there remains only a few lame Verses, and some halting Sentences.

The Satyrs of Varro, who was the Painter of the Life and of the Minde, would also af­ford us very grateful knowledg­es: For though most serious Philosophy were in those Sa­tyrs, yet was it as it were on flowers, and as in a place for debauch, all painted and per­fumed with the gallantry of those times.

There wee should have seen the Conscript Fathers dispatch­ing of their Clients, dismant­led of their long robes in the [Page 101] purity of their nature; such as they were in the pleasures of their jollity, and in the liberties they took after supper: Such as you have asked me to see them, when you thought I could say somewhat to their Books. Wee should then have had Lions whole, whereas now wee have but their claws; and if the fate of Books would have had it so, The conversations of Brutus and Cassius, the entertainments of Volumnius and of Papirius Poetus, would have been as long lived, as the Controversies of the Rhetoricians, of Seneca, and the Declamations of Quintili­an. We should judge, Madam, of Urbanity by it selfe, and in whole and perfect figures, in­stead that we can now judge but [Page 102] by our suspitions, and by ob­scure and imperfect tracts.

Had it pleased the same de­stiny, the first Caesar would yet be one of those Authors whom I alledged upon this subject: He with care had gathered what had been said, and what was every day most remarkably said. Tyron also made a Col­lection of all the good Sayings of Cicero, and an ancient Gram­marian speaketh of two Books of Tacitus, the title of which was the Conceits Facetiae. But particularly, Madam, the Court of the second Caesar, of which was spoken in the beginning of this Discourse. That gallant and witty Court which mocked the conceits of Plautus, and the raillery of Antiquity, would [Page 103] furnish me wherewith to enter­tain you whole days, with a ver­tue which belonged unto them in property, and which from thence had received its last form: For wee must confesse with the leave of the Repub­lick, that the age of Augustus judged very subtilly of things, perfectly purified by reasō, gave lights to the Mind which it had not before. It was the golden Age of Arts and Discipline, and generally of all fair Literature. All was polisht and refined un­der his reign; All were know­ing and ingenious in that Court from Augustus even to his Grooms.

Its written, that fire and lightning came from his eyes; whereto I would add, Madam, [Page 104] that they also issued out of his mouth, but more quick and glit­tering then those, which dazled the Courtiers of those times, which obliged the one of them to complain, that it was not possible to look him in the face: He composed verses and sup­prest them; and suppressing them, he gave out a word of the ill work he had made, which was worth as much as the best work which could bee made. He in four words answered the long Oration of the Spanish Ambassadors; but those four words deserved another Orati­on longer then the former to commend them.

Besides the Commentaries of his life, there was a long time in the world a volume of [Page 105] his Letters; and you may be­lieve, Madam, they were not alwayes concerning State-Affaires nor all addrest to the Senate or to the Legions; some were of raillery, some of confidence to his friends; o­thers of love, and of the gal­lantry of his Mistresses, and of the same style with those which his Unckle writ to Queen Cleopatra, on tablets of Corinthians and Saphirs.

But I am coming, Madam, to astonish you. Do you believe, that at this day there is any where any fragments to bee found of those Letters written to Cleopatra? And that love, and the love letters of Caesar, surviv'd her hatred, and her An­ti-Cato's. This rarity hath [Page 106] been preserved in an old Greek Manuscript, which happily came to my hands, whence I have taken what I have already told you of Fabritius, of Cato, and of Cassius.

The Author of this Manu­script is not unknown, is not the Son of Earth, hee hath a name, and a Countrey, and bears the marks of his Nativi­ty: He lived under the Em­pire of the Antonines; he seem­ed to have the same design with the Sophist Aelian: But his man­ner of writing is more at large, and his work may be called a mixture of common with rare things.

Yet truly, Madam, I cannot speak so affirmatively of the truth of these letters, but that [Page 107] you still have leave to suspend your judgement. I dare not assure you, that they were found in Cleopatra's Cabinet, when the Inventory of her goods was made by order of Augustus. Besides, the Sophist are men, whom I trust but in some sort: The Roman Poet teacheth us to feare the Greeks, even when they present us; and the Cardinal Historian of the Church made use of his advice on the subject of the donation of Rome, made to Pope Silve­ster by the Emperor Constantin. Since then the Largesses which come from Greece ought to be suspected by us, and that in that Countrey there is a number of good willing people which are at leisure: Since the Sophists [Page 108] served as Secretaries to Fala­ris and other Princes; I know not how many ages after their deaths, they may have rendred the same service to Caesar upon this occasion: But before wee determine thereupon, it will not be amisse to consult the infallible. * * * *

Their answers which for­merly were rendred at Delphos, were not more certain then his. All the Impostors of Antiqui­ty; All the Sinons, and all the Ulisses of Greece, are not subtill enough to make him take one for another: And hee will in­stantly resolve, whether what we present him be legitimate or base; whether it be gold from the Mine, or gold of Chymi­stry.

[Page 109]However it be, I believe its Antiquity; And had those pie­ces wch the Greek Sophist alledg­eth been counterfeit, it would have according to my opinion awhile after Caesar, and per­haps in the time of Augustus. We will in another observ them with what remains concerning that age; Unlesse you, Madam, esteem it as already done, and the Age also; and affording me the favour of a second Dis­course, you would spare the pains of tiring my selfe with disquieting you.

Discourse III.

THE last time I had the honour to see you, the Emperour Augustus was the chief subject of our Discourse. I brought you to consider him in the beginning, continuance, and perfection of his glory: [Page 111] You observed how at nineteen he vyed, with the age and ex­perience of Cicero; How in one work he acted three or four dif­ferent persons; How he shew­ed the Conscript Fathers, who would have treated him like a young man; that although he had not studied so long as they, yet he had learnt more; And how he did with addresse imploy their Forces to make his designes succeed, instead that he thought to use his own name and credit to establish his authority.

I past as lightly as I could that bloudy Act of the Trium­virat, whereof there was no way to clear his reputation; and I wished for his honour, that that part of his History were [Page 112] blotted out of the memory of things; I staid at the frequent broils, the plaistered reconcile­ments, and the last rupture be­twixt him and Mark Antony, and accompanied him even to Rome, and even to the day of his triumph, after the fatal voi­age of Egypt. It was not with­out informing you by the way, that the dexterity of his Minde was always mixt with the good fortune of his arms: And that having overthrown in the Phi­lippick plains the two dear sons of the Republick, he thought he had done nothing, could he not free himself from the two co-heirs he had in the succession of his Unckles power, that he might secure what he had done.

The Conduct of that work [Page 113] was admirable, he went beyond his Unckle, and placed himself in a better seat. The opposing vertue was unhappy; Force was found impotent: Hinde­rance made him a passage to ar­rive thither. And then, Madam, the Romans began to know the design of Providence, and the mortall disease of the old Re­publick. At last they loved to have rather an assured Ma­ster, and a peaceable servitude, then changes every day, and a perpetual fright of Civil War. Rest, which they did believe to bee an essential good, was to them in lieu of liberty, which seemed now no more then a de­light of the fancy. Every man was pleased to be quiet after such troublesome affairs, and [Page 114] the sweetnesse of quietnesse did so agreeably slide into their Mindes, that they even wished not for their first condition, when Augustus with assurance would have restored it; they were so weary of Leagues and Parties, that they acknowledg­ed him for a Benefactor, who would take frō thē the trouble of governing themselvs; & blest his Usurpation, who delivered them from their ill Conduct. Since he leads us, said they, let's sleep in our Vessel with securi­ty; let's if we will debauch our selves; let's laugh at Bac­chus and Pirats: Tis impossible we should be lost, Caesar is re­sponsible for our safety. Even the grandchildren of the Con­suls and Dictators forgot their [Page 115] honour to follow their interest, and forsook a ruinous and ima­ginary liberty, to yeild to an obedience which was conve­nient and full of effective ad­vantages. They were the most subtile & most watchful Cour­tiers, and although they bore the names, which had made the Kings of the Earth trem­ble, they cared not to be seen in the crowd amongst those which give good morrows, as­king favours at the door of one of their own Citizens. They said their fortune had shewed them the example of their du­ty, and the way to the Palace of Augustus. That they went whether the Gods were gone before them; and that if they had changed party, the Destin [Page 116] of things, and the Daemon of Rome, had done so before them; Thus this Soveraign Soul, and of the first rank, which had a Navual Empire over all other Mindes, found neither contra­diction nor resistance: The proudest submitted to the yoak, yeilded to the superiority of his spirit without difficulty past under so elevated an height, and submitted humane vertues to somewhat of divine, which they acknowledged in the person of Augustus. There was no fierce courage, Madam, now to be daunted; neither Cato nor Brutus to resuscitate a dead par­ty. Mutiny lost even its breath and noise, envy was changed in to admiration.

Whence I conclude, if I re­member [Page 117] right, That Envy goes not always so farre as Vertue. That Opinion is at last tired in following its constancy, and that there is a degree whereat Desert having arrived, 'tis be­yond the reach of the ill wish­es, and the ill will of Men. In pursuit whereof, Madam, an ir­reproachable Judge as you may call Monsieur Chappellain, rai­sing his voice but a little more then ordinary, pronounced this fair Decree in favour of Augu­stus, and his new Dominion. Who is that presumptuous man that dares complain, that Hea­ven is above him, that thinks it strange, that the most luminous amongst creatures, is the high­est, and that the worthiest is the greatest?

[Page 118]No man did ever appeal from that Decree Augustus was Crowned by, the suffrage of all the company after his life was made after my manner in little. But because Agrippa and Maecenas were forgot in that life, you witnessed at our issuing out of your Cabinet, that you would not be displea­sed, if I should tell you what I knew of either of them. And that it would be grateful to you if I made you a particular re­lation of Moecenas, of whom so many have unknowingly spoken. You shall be obeyed after my fashion, and I wish it may be to your content: But as I usually do, Madam, I will give you the things you ask as they fal into my mind, and [Page 119] rather according to the liberty of Discourse, then the course of History.

Agrippa was bold and wise in War, infatigable in Military labours, a religious observer of Discipline, and had all the o­ther parts of a good Captain: But on the other side, he wan­ted those sweet and sociable Vertues which are necessary for an able Courtier: He did bet­ter understand the Science of the Field, then of the Cabi­net; Stratagems, then Intrica­cies, and what was in time of trouble valour in him, became in time of rest, rudenesse.

The same cannot be said of Moecenas; He was esteemed the honestest man of his time, and had nothing in his person which [Page 120] nature had not found with care, and which Letters and the great World had not polished. Yet Madam, you may observe, that the tincture which is taken at this great Light, and which gives a colour to natural goods, was taken from him with a reserve, and advanced not to the painting and disguise of intentions, so that it fel from the total alteration of Probi­ty. He had the graces of the Court, but not the vices, and his actions were even as direct as his manner of acting was pleasing.

Although the Court may debauch Saints, and common­ly at first infects what it receivs pure, yet it contaminated not Maecenas. It made him shew, [Page 121] that besides the use of preserva­tives, which the study of wis­dome furnisheth, there may be disposition inwardly so good, that they are stronger then all corruptions from without. Twas he that gave the first example to the world, that was ever seen of an innocent and modest prospering.

Hee preserved in the Court the Maxims he brought thi­ther, and in a place where all is false and masked, hee would appear what he was.

But he had no need take care, Madam, to counterfeit the Li­beral and the Generous: Hee could not but have been much troubled to have hindred him­self from being so: For which hee needed neither labour nor [Page 122] fighting; Giving but way to the course of his own inclinati­on, he never fell but on good, and on vertue. And so his good actions flowing from the spring and not being drawne by strength of arms, as those of some Hero's of this age, the easinesse and liberty of them was no lesse esteemed then the Splendor and Magnificence: Twas said of him that he was the honour of his Age, and of the Roman Empire; That he was the general Good of the World; That the Sun would sooner cease to shine, and the Rivers to run, then Maecenas to do good. A brave man of his time cries out in a Poem which hee addrest to him, Tis too much given, Moecenas, I am but [Page 123] too rich; And indeed the dis­cretion onely of those who re­ceived his benefits, could make stop of his liberality. If his friends would have believed him, he would have left him­self nothing. Neither durst a man praise at his house either a picture sent for a rarity from Greece, or a statue of Corinthian Brasse, or a service of Chrystal Glasse, lest he presently should dispoil his Palace of those pre­cious moveables, and force him that praised them to accept of them.

Excesse and Vanity might imitate Moecenas: But natu­ral goodnesse onely could reach his height. But we must re­member, Madam, that this No­ble man of spirit was not soli­tary [Page 124] and unaccompanied; All the Vertues marched in its Train; 'Twas a strong and couragious Goodnesse, an able and an intelligent Goodnesse; and out of the same fountain whence particulars drew favors and courtesies, the publick was furnished with councels and re­solutions. How great a Doctor he was in the Science of gover­ning; The fate of Affairs ne­ver deceived him; He never was a false Politician, neither did he wander to appear a good speaker in the vast spaces of ve­risimilies. Hee always went right out to truth, and so clear­ly saw the sequel of things in their first disposition, That the most irregular successes did hardly bely the conjectures hee made.

[Page 125]Is it not true that the Empe­ror would have done wrong to so excellent a person, had he not honor'd him with his confi­dence, and had hee not given him a share in the government of the world? Being as he was a just esteemer of men, and knowing the value of every thing, he could not legitimate­ly make twelve to be worth no more then two. That a many eminent qualities should not be of more use then a mean suffi­ciency. That the most power­ful in reason should not have the first place in Affairs. In a word Madam, Augustus tould not but that Moecenas must have been Favorite to Augustus; And al­though he was to give long and opinionated battels against the [Page 126] restraints of so modern a spirit to make him accept what he de­serv'd, and that he was much troubled to overcome him. Yet was he worthy of the Magna­nimity of the greatest Prince in the world, that in this occasion he would not suffer himself to be overcome, and not give way. That his acknowledge­ment should be inferiour to the modesty of one of his friends.

Hee did then much good to this friend, but it was as you have already seen, to distribute it and divide it every way. To inlighten and rejoyce all the earth with the light of his rich­es. With this wealth Moecenas bought for Augustus all hearts & all tongues, and consequent­ly rendred them of so much the [Page 127] better, more noble, and of the more durable species: So that considering so new a com­merce, he who gave was lesse liberal then he was a good hus­band; and who received from him was rather his Factor then his Favorite. But, Madam, what I am going to tell you, deserves to be well observed: He was ever of the Religion, To receiv nothing which might not justly be given, he would have nothing wch might be reproach'd him, not onely from the publick complaint of his renown, but al­so by the secret sight of an inte­ressed particular. Those who since had the same favour un­der other Reigns, used it not so. Their morrals were larger and more indulgent to their passi­ons. [Page 128] They had none of those delicacies of Conscience.

When they died not soon enough of a natural death, they had recourse to accusations to advance the term of the account they made: They caused Inno­cents to be condemned to make their Charges vacant, and in the sight of afflicted Orphans, they bore the marks of their Fathers fortune which were not yet dry of his bloud. Moecenas his proceedings were far diffe­rent from these; he would have believed himself sullied with the confiscated goods of one proscribed, and as you may ghesse, How many places and houses hath he refused, because hee would not touch Funeral spoils, nor take away the suc­cessions [Page 129] of unhappy men.

I shall say more, and his scru­ples went farther; he hath often sent back the presents and gratifications of the Provinces, which he had eased, fearing lest the lightest sign of their grati­tude, and that a Nosegay re­ceived in such an encounter, made not the least resentation of interest appear in his advice. He oftner set aside the profita­ble, which was not dishonest to embrace, what was honest barren and unfruitful; He pre­ferred a simple satisfaction of Minde to those things which the world esteems solid and es­sential.

I believe, Madam, that so discreet and limited a greatness raised no jealousies in his Prince. [Page 130] There was no Treason to bee feared from so superstitious an integrity. How should he bee a pensioner to Mark Antony, had he not accepted all kind of Augustus his favours? And how should he desire new things to meliorat his condition, since he contented himself with a lit­tle part of those advantages, which the present offered. O rare example for happy Men! Such a man is not to be found. How strong and solid a piece he was in the foundation of a growing principality. Tyran­ny it self might have been justi­fied by the innocency of this Minister, as it might have been upheld by the rest of his more lively and more ardent vertues.

Yet would I not deny, but [Page 131] that his delicate complexion sometimes rendred him lesse fit for the labours of his body, and for the toils of war, and was the cause that ordinarily his Minde could onely work. But, Madam, without being prest he did not forbear to do much, and to render as useful services to the State, as his Colleague, al­though they were not followed with so much noise and pomp. The Solitude he built himselfe in Town, and the shadowes of his Gardens, hid the half of his vertue. His employments were covered with an outward appearance of lazinesse. And perhaps Agrippa, who appeared was praised for the conduct of Moecenas, whilest he was re­tired.

[Page 132]The Emperour had more in­clination for this; but remem­bring the battels gotten in Sici­lia and Egypt, he esteemed the other more. The one he belie­ved loved him more, and the other had obliged more. All these deliberated of general Affairs: But sometimes he con­sulted only Moecenas concern­ing the life and fortune of A­grippa. Witnesse Madam, that little word, upon which one of Machiavels Disciples com­posed a great Discourse. You must either put him to death, or make him your sonne in Law. That is to say, you must ei­ther lose him, or quite gain him. You must secure your self of a greatnesse which is suspected to you either by taking him out of [Page 133] the world, or planting him in your House.

You may thereby observe that Moecenas regarded onely his Master: I speak like a French man, and thought onely of con­firming his Authority. Agrippa had a taste of the lost liberty, and turned his head about from time to time towards the anci­ent Republick This never pro­posed counsels but such as were purely honest; but his compa­nion wherein concerned the good of the State, would add profit to honesty. The first had the command of Armies, and fought the Enemies of the Empire. The second exerci­sed his power even over the Emperours Minde, and there­in appeased the motions which [Page 134] rose up against Reason.

Which he did Madam, with so much liberty, that the Prince being once on the seat of Ju­stice, where some criminal processe was deba [...]ed, and where he began to be carried away with the deceits and ca­lumnies of the accusers. Moe­cenas thereupon arriving, and being unable to divide the croud, which hindred his pas­sage to him, he handed a Note to him, wherein were these words: Hangman, wilt thou not come away from them? Augustus in stead of taking offence at the boldnesse of the word, and of so pricking a familiarity, took his friends zeal kindly: And at the same time broke up the Assembly [Page 135] and descended from his Tribu­nal, whom perhaps he had not innocently gotten down, had he staid longer.

He often received such like proofs of his fidelity. Twas Maecenas who tempered the heat of his passions, and sweet­ned the sharpnesse of his spirit; who healed the wounds when he could not prevent the blows; who consolated him, when he was not in a condition to ad­mit of joy.

Augustus very well under­stood the desert and value of this Friendship. He perceived well that his person being nea­rer to him then his fortune, such like services were to be valued in his Minde, more then the ta­king of Towns, and gaining [Page 136] of Battels. He witnessed him al­so al the acknowledgments you can imagine from a just Prince, and who knew how to distin­guish inclination from duty, and those who loved Caesar, onely from those who mixt o­ther passions therewith. Even after his death, he continued to acknowledge it to his Me­mory; and whensoever any domestick affliction befel him, or some outward displeasure, sighing hee would say, This would not have befaln me had Moecenas been living. Hee thought himself unhappy in possessing the Empire of the world, since he had lost his Moe­cenas.

Hee had indeed a great deal of reason to regret a person so [Page 137] equal­ly good and intelligent, who could neither deceive nor be de­ceived; who could do ill nei­ther out of weaknesse, nor out of designe. He had great cause to weep the losse of a friend, who was both so necessary and so pleasing. A friend at all houres, and at all times, in whom he found all he sought, which was his Table and Com­mon place Book, the Witnesse and the Repository of his thoughts; the treasury of his mind, even his second soul.

In effect, Madam, (to shew you the worth of a faithful friend about a great Prince) how much doe you think hee confirmed, fortified, and aug­mented the reason of Augustus? How many thrones hath hee [Page 138] drawn out of those businesses he hath had to dispatch? How many expedients did he propose to himself to facilitate his de­signes? How many platforms hath he made to raise his works? You need not doubt but hee hath often spared the pains of his foresight, and char­ged himself with the cares and disquiets of the future, that he might leave him entirely in the action. That the vigour of his spirit might not by being divided, bee diminished. That I might with truth at this time say, That they divided amongst themselves the several functions of the same duty, and that they both lived but one life.

The faithful Moecenas divers times, Madam, upheld Augustus, [Page 139] when hee was tired with the search of difficult good, and presented him with the image of a crowned and enjoyed ver­tue, to divert his sight from the sad object of suffering and la­bouring vertue, after a discove­red Conspiracy, and when hee judged Clemency better then Iustice. He fancied glory to him fairer and more attractive, then shee was, to provoke him the more to the love thereof, to oblige him to convert wicked persons to honest men. By chan­ging sentences of death into abolitions, to doe so that hee preferred the praise of goodnes, which lasts as long as the fami­lies and races are preserved, be­fore vengeance, which passeth as quickly as the stroak of a [Page 140] hatchet can bee given, and an head cut off.

And after this you may if you please believe Seneca, who condemns the style and elo­quence of Moecenas. Me thinks Madam, that to obtain such like graces from a provoked soul, a man should not want Eloquence. I speak of that good and wise Eloquence, the Elo­quence of Affairs and Action bred in the Sun, and in the light of the great World, incom­parably stronger then the Rhe­torick of the Sophists, although that can far better hide and dis­semble its strength.

There is no doubt but its absolutely necessary to speak well, for to have to doe with Princes, who commonly can­not [Page 141] relish reason if it be not de­licately prepared. 'Tis not e­nough that there bee vertue in the remedies they are to use, they will have no bitternesse in them. 'Tis not sufficient that the things we present them bee good, if they are not as well good in their form, as in their matter.

But it is not Princes onely who desire pleasing words, and who are offended against the Reason which reproves them. To speak generally, there being nothing so free and elevated as the Mind of Man, it will bee treated according to the noble­nesse of its nature: That is to say, with sweetnesse, method, and addresse. Thereby Madam, the will is carried away without [Page 142] much resistance, and from the Will wee come to the Under­standing, which is so much an enemy to constraint, that to es­chew it, it estrangeth it self from its proper object, and re­jects the truth when any one will cause another to embrace it by force.

Its certain that the Under­standing of an Art so necessary to Government, was Soveraign in the person of Moecenas. As hee was most clear sighted in discerning of wits, he was full of addresse in their conduct; and was no lesse subtile in hand­ling them, then he had light to discover them. With this ef­ficacious Eloquence which is nothing but the right use of pru­dence, which is communicated [Page 143] to Men by speech; he gained Augustus an infinite many ser­vants, and after he had perswa­ded him moderation, hee per­swaded them obedience.

All the Conferences which were held in his Palace, were sacrifices of praise and glory for Augustus. He was there ado­red every day in Prose and in Verse. They began to reform then the ancient Language of the Republick, and to swear by the Genius and good fortune of the Prince. The Temples which at first were built for him in Spain, and in Asia, and since in other Povinces of the Roman world, were designed in that place. And to take it from its rise, a man may say, Madam, that Maecenas with his Orators [Page 144] and his Poets, was Founder of all those Temples, was the In­stitutor of that new Religion which consecrated a living man.

Believe me and all Antiquity rather then Seneca; That in­comparable Favorite left al­ways I know not what sting in the heart, which provoked the courages of the hardest to the love of the Prince and Country, to the study of vertue and wis­dome. A man could not get from him without a sweet es­motion able to awaken the deadnesse of those who were not sensible of the felicity of the reign of Augustus, who ne­ver dreamt of the beauty of good things. The air of his face, the tone of his voice, and [Page 145] what the Rhetoricians compre­hended under the eloquence of the body, gained the outward sense in an instant, and made e­ven to the soul by the facility of whose guard it was presently ta­ken.

He perswaded even with the negligence of the most familiar entertainment. In his free con­versation when he devested the pomp of the Court, and gra­vity of his Ministry, when he forsook what dazled the peo­ple, he still had many ornaments left which he could not leave; he had unvoluntary charms about him which hee minded not, which every where accompani­ed him. These charms, Madam, particularly inspired all he said: It supplied the default of his fa­vour; [Page 146] and even when hee did not grant requests, he did not forbear to give satisfaction: For you know well, that all things are not always possible, and that a man must sometimes re­fuse. But I beseech you, what must those presents be which enriched so charming a Mouth, since the refusals which issued were not displeasing, and that in speaking he so much pleased that with his words alone hee could have paid his debts.

Yet Nero's Tutor will not have the Confident of Augu­stus, to speak well. He reproa­ches his delicacies and affected­nesse, even the softnesse and de­bauches of his speech, and as he says, he was the first corrup­ter of the Roman Eloquence. He [Page 147] broached forth sayings, wch to him seemed lighter then they ought, but which he hath cut from a work whose matter and design we are ignorant of. And thereupon without telling us whether Moecenas spoke in cold bloud, or whether he only had a mind to laugh, he declaims against the liberty of his style with all the sharpnesse and all the rage of his.

To tell you the truth Madam, I doubt there was somewhat of the Philarchus, & of ill wil in the proceeding of Seneca: If the pieces he makes at, were seen whole, we should see that hee distinguisheth not the two Characters, and that he takes a suit once used at a Mask for the Robes of a Senator, wch he [Page 148] every day wears to the councel. Doubtlesse he seems not to un­derstand raillery. He certainly is one of those testy Hypomies, who would have Plays as seri­ous as Affairs, and Comedies as sad as Funeral Orations. Let's draw him back in all the occasions of Moecenas. His aversion towards him is too vi­sible and too discovered. And after having scratched at his writings, hee falls on his man­ners, with so much passion, that a man may easily perceive the spirit of his sect possest him, and that he had a design to ap­pear a reformed Stoick in pre­judice of the honestest Epicuri­an that ever was.

I do not say, to weaken the testimony of Seneca, that hee [Page 149] was a Doctor of the Court, who Philosophis'd in purple, and with ease discoursed of ver­tue. And that even perhaps he exclaimed against voluptuous­nesse, that he might wholly en­joy it, & no man envy it in him. I onely say in justification of Moecenas, that its impossible the Soul should give without enervating it self, and that as there is a composed and melan­choly folly, there may be a free and jovial wisdom.

I have heard, Madam, from our Learned Monsieur***; but he said it far handsomer then I can repeat it, that there is an Art of using pleasure innocently; that this Art was taught by Aristip­pus in Greece; That since it was corrupted at Rome by Petronius [Page 150] and by Tigillin, who abused it as poisoners have Physick. He added that the practise of that Art was not defended by the Laws of your Country. That on the contrary, they had crea­ted Magistrates expresly to have a care of the pleasures of the people. That besides the Edicts of the Republick, there was under the Emperors spoken of a Tribune for pleasures. And that he had seen a Science and a Discipline of pleasure in the formularies of Cassiodorus. He concluded, Madam, that it was not just to accuse the pu­rity of things for the intempe­rance of men, and that it is not credible that the goods of this life should have been made only for the wicked.

[Page 151]It is not credible I am of the same opinion wth this rare soul, that God should have sent vertue into the world for the punish­ment of poor men, and that it is not vertue if it combat not against grief, unlesse it march on thorns, if it lodge not in an Hospital, if it even inhabit not sepulchres. Moecenas would expect till he was dead to take possession of so displeasing a dwelling; and if he were alive, & had changed Rome for Paris, I am confident a man should oftner finde him in some place which I know, where there is nothing which contents not the eyes and the mind, then in other places which I will not name, where there is nothing opposeth them not. What a pleasure you [Page 152] would take to learn his History from himself? What a glory would he receive to have som of your Audiences? How would your modest conversation touch his minde? You could not hide your self, Madam, he would dis­cover that Soveraign Under­standing, which you vail with all the restraint, & all the sweet­nesse of your Sexe. He would admire you in despight of you. We would reconcile his enemy with him at the first request you should make him, and even without a request, so confident am I of the sweetnesse and faci­lity of his manners. The se­renity of his minde would not be disturbed by the fumes and flourishes of the violent So­phists. He would but laugh [Page 153] at the pettishnesse and paradox­es of Seneca. He would tell you onely, Madam, that wee must suffer all from the race of Zeno, and the Nation of the Stoicks. That all is permitted to a Philosopher, who called A­lexander a fool, who its belie­ved had a better Title then the King of Persia to be King of Kings. And what particularly makes for our subject, who was so much an enemy of life, that hee councelled Men to hang themselves when they were ne­ver so little disturbed, or in an ill humour.


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