SENECA'S ANSWER, TO LVCILIVS HIS QVAERE; Why Good Men suffer misfortunes see­ing there is a Divine Providence?

Written Originally in Latine Prose, AND Now Translated into English Verse, BY E. S. Esq

Calamitas, Virtutis occasio.

LONDON, Printed for Humphrey Moseley, and are to be sold at his shop at the Princes Armes in St. Pauls Church-yard. 1648.

TO His most Sacred MAJESTY.


WHilst I contemplate Your Sufferings, see You (as it were) personating to the life that sadK. James his Pattern of a Kings Inaugura­tion. Patterne, which from the Archetype of Royall Patience (the King of Heaven himselfe,) the Penne of Your Great Father drew, behold You though under all the Pres­sures [Page] of these times, yet still a­bove them, and see ev'n those Crosses intended for Your Af­flictions, stoop, and bow to You, paying You, (as it were) that Homage which Your people should, and in acknowledge­ment of Your new Acquest of passive Glory (a Glory, which till Your Majesties sufferings manifested the contrary, was held inconsistent with that of a Crowne) saluting You with the sad, yet sacred Title of the King of Sorrows; I from thence assume the humble boldnesse to think that this Peece of Seneca of The Sufferings of Good Men, [Page] might at this time be made a pardonable, (I durst not thinke it a suitable) Present for Your Majesties view; wherein as by a weake Reflex, Your Majesty may perceive a glympse of Your own invincible Patience, and inimitable Magnamity; in in bearing and ever-mastering Mis-fortunes. How farre be­yond what now it hath, had the Divine Pencill of Seneca set off this darke-shadowed Tablet, had he liv'd in these Times to have heightned it with the lustre of Your Maje­sties Example!

Sir, whilst the times are such, [Page] that they deny me according to my particular Duty to serve the just Commands of Your Majesties Will, I presume (though by so mean a Demon­stration) to shew Your Maje­sty that yet I have a Will to serve You. And if Your Ma­jesty shall bee pleased to pardon this humble Addresse, it shall a­bundantly satisfie his Modesty who cherishes not in himselfe so proud a Hope as to look for an Acceptation.

God who regards Your Ma­jesties Sufferings, for these Mi­nutes of Afflictions, send You Eternity of Joyes, and Crowne [Page] You with Glory on a Heavenly Throne; which that hee would be pleased (as in a Type) to shadow forth unto You in the Happinesse of a speedy and a glorious Restauration to This of Your Majesties Kingdomes; Is the truely zealous, and the just­ly-bounden Prayer of

Your Majesties most Loyall Subject and Servant, EDW. SHERBURNE.

To the Reader.

THat Verse is no mis-becomming Attire for the grave Moralls of Seneca, is ma­nifest by the lateHis Con­solation to Marci [...] translated into Verse by Sr. R. F. Example of a Worthy Pen: That among all those Excellent Morall Tracts of his, this is one of the Chief, we have the Testimony of the learned Lipsius: who honours this with the Title of a Golden Work. Lastly, how suitable this Peece may seeme to the present Con­dition of divers Good Men, honest and loyall Sufferers in these bad Times. The subject matter thereof will clearely evidence; To whom if at any time it shall prove in the Reading (as sometimes it did to the Translatour in the doing thereof) not an unpleasing Divertisement, it shall not onely excuse, but Crowne his Attempt; And warrant the Pub­lication above any Licence of an Imprimatur. All that on Seneca's behalfe is desired by his Interpre­ter is this; That in those Places where the Rea­der shall finde him speak like a Stoick and a Ro­man, he would beare with him; And for that, in others, he shall make him a large Requitall, teach him to doe like a Christian.



PART. 1.

To prove there's Providence were vaine,
Since it's Effects Wee see so plaine.
THou asks't of me (my Deare Lucilius!) whence,
(If this World govern'd be by Providence,)
So many Evills should good men befall?
This would, in our works Context, (where we
Prove, that a Providence doth all things steare, (shall
And that God's present with us ev'ry where)
[Page 2]Be fitlier answer'd: but since pleas'd thou art,
That from the Whole I should divide this Part;
And cleare this seeming Contradiction,
Letting the rest of the Dispute alone;
I willingly to this shall condiscend,
And easily the Gods just Cause defend.
'Twill seem but needlesse to be here maintain'd,
That this great Fabrick cannot be sustain'd
Without some Guardian, or that the set Dance,
And certaine Motions of the Stars, by Chance
Are not incited, nor distracted run
In a wild, loose, Arietation.
Or that Heav'ns swift, un-interrupted Course
Moves b'an eternall Lawes preord'red force.
Or that that Cause which constant Influence
To all things doth, in Earth, and Seas dispence;
And those bright Sparkes (like Gems in Rings of Gold)
Wee in their sev'rall Spheares inchac'd, behold;
Is not the Order of some wand'ring Power.
That if these things to some rash Coiture
Had their convention ow'd, they had not then
With such rare Artifice disposed been.
That heavy Earth unmoved should behold
The flying Heav'ns about her swiftly rowl'd.
That Seas through Vallies spred, moisten the ground.
That they t'admit increase are never found
By that Accesse their Wat'ry Tribute brings
From all the In-land Rivers, and fresh Springs,
That from small Seeds such Mightie Bodies grow,
That none ev'n of these things, which have least show
[Page 3]Of Certaintie and most confused seeme,
(As Wee, Clouds, Raine, and Thunder-Claps esteeme,
Fires which with Horror blaze from Mountalnes split,
Earth-quakes, when she seemes shook with a Cold fit.
And those tumultuous Motions, which appeare
So often rais'd about this Earthly Spheare)
Without a reason, (though they're thought by some
The Births of suddaine violence) doe come.
But have their proper Causes, well as those
Which Wee, 'cause strange, Miraculous suppose.
As Warme Springs are which gellid streames surround,
And Islands from the Sea new rising, found.
Then if one marke how the retiring Maine
The shore discloses, and conceales againe;
He'le thinke that the distracted Waters run
As 'twere, with a blind volutation,
In't one another, and againe from thence
With a swift Course, and furious violence
Breake forth, and with augmented Streames, retreat
Unto their wonted Home, and Proper Seat.
When they indeed doe by degrees increase,
And to a day, or houre▪ grow more, or lesse,
As the Moones Influence doth them despose;
Govern'd by which, the Ocean ebbs, and flowes.
But these Wee leave untill their due Time; since
Thou doubt'st not, but complaint'st of, Providence.
I'le reconcile thee to the Gods above,
Who best, unto the Best of M [...]rtalls prove.
For ev'n by Natur's lawes it is withstood
That good things should prove hurtfull to the Good.
[Page 4]'Twixt God and Good men there's a friendship layd
Still Firme, by virtu's Mediation made.
Did I say Friendship? An inforcive Tye
Or likenesse rather, and a Sympathie.
Since a Good man differs from God alone
In time; his amulous Scholler, and his owne
Legittimate Issue: whom that Royall Sire
(Who virtuous Acts severely doth require)
As Austere Parents (who make their's indure
Labour and toyle) to hardship doth inure.
If then the Good, (Men after Gods owne will,)
Thou shalt behold to toyle, sweat, climb the Hill,
And see the bad to sport with Wanton Pride
Floating in Pleasures at a high Spring Tide.
Thinke with thy selfe, that Wee delight to have
A Modest Child, though a licencious slave.
That this, too severe disciplin's restrain'd,
Whilst that, in his bold liberti's maintain'd.
The selfe same course thou may'st observe God take,
He does no darling of a Good Man make;
But tryes, and hardens, makes him Proose' gainst Ill;
And brings him to the Bent of his owne Will.


God doth good Men, (like a severe
Father,) Afflictions learne to beare.
HOw comes it that Adversitie doth then
So often happen to the Best of Men?
Ans. No Ill te a good Man can r'ebefall,
Since Contraries can never mix at All.
For as the Land so many fresh Streames powres
Into the Sea, the Heav'n so many showres,
And yet the Saltnesse of the Ocean
Can neither change, nor lessen: so, nor can
His fixed Resolutions alt'red be
Though storm'd on All sides by Adversitie,
He's still the same, and whatsoe're ensue
Be't good, or Bad, he brings to his owne Huc.
Since he's above all outward Accidents;
Not that I meane of these he hath no sence,
But that he masters them; and with a State
Compos'd, beares up against the Tyde of Fate,
Counts Crosses Exercises of the Mind:
For where's that man, to honest things inclin'd,
Affects not lawfull labour? And's not prone
To good Imployments though with hazard, knowne?
[Page 6]And to a Soule industrious, what lesse
Then a tormenting Paine, is Idlenesse?
Wee see that Wrastlers least their strength impaire,
T'incounter with the strongest still prepare.
Before the Combat craving from their Foes
That they would them with their whole strength oppose.
Enduring Stroakes, and Gripes; and if too weake
One Foe they find, they more Opponents seeke.
Vertue without an Adversary, pines.
Then she alone in her true greatnesse shines,
Then doth her value, and her strength appeare,
When she by suffering shewes what she can beare.
And know from me, this is a Good Mans State,
Not to feare Crosses, nor complaine of Fate,
Who should what ever happens to him, take
As sent for good, and his advantage make.
Not what, but how we suffer, is the thing.
See'st not how Fathers, unlike Mothers, bring
Their children up? they with an early care
Them for their studies, and their Books prepare,
Nor suffer them though on a Holy-day.
(A time for liberty and ease) to play;
But exercise in some laborious course,
Sweat from their Browes, Teares from their eyes, inforce.
When Mothers hug them in their Bosomes laid,
Nor suffer them to stirre out of the shade,
Teares, sadnesse, toyle, are things they must not know.
God to Good men a Fathers minde doth shew,
And loves with a more strong affection.
"Let them (sayes he) that would for mine be knowne,
[Page 7]"Bee with griefe labour, and with Crosses try'd,
"That so they may be truely fortifi'd.
Full Bodies languish through dull Idlenesse;
Whom toyle, and their owne weight alike oppresse,
Vnhurt Felicity, no wound can bide;
When with her Crosses she hath been us'd to chide;
Then through all Injuries that Chance doth lay
l'obstruct her Passage she doth force her way;
Yeelds to no ills, though over-power'd by might,
But on her knees, though downe, maintaines the fight.
Obj. Thou wondrest God that so the Good doth love,
Who would they should the best of Mortalls prove,
And the most excellent, should yet by's will
Make them the Exercise of Fortune [...]ill.
Answ. I wonder not, if Gods with pleased eyes
See great men combate with Calamities.
'Tis to ourselves sometimes a pleasing sight
To see a Youth with an undaunted sprite,
The rough assault of some fierce Beast oppose,
Or fearelesse with a raging Lion close.
And so much more delightfull is the sight,
As the Youth's comely, who performes the fight.
These are not spectacles for Gods to see,
But childish Scones of humane vanity.
Behold a sight, on which as if intent
On its chiefe worke, Heav'ns eye may well be bent.
A sight worth Heav'n indeed; to see a minde
Firmly resolv'd to adverse Fortune joyn'd;
As that he scorned Fury, seem'd to brave.
What nobler spectacle great Jove could have
[Page 8]On Earth, I know not, would he daigne to looke,
Then to see Cato all his Partie broke,
Upright yet midd'st the Publique Ruines stand.
"Though All (sayes he) now stoope to ones Command,
"Though Legions guard the Land, Navies the Sea,
"And 'fore out Ports Caesar intrenched be,
"Cato hath yet an Exit from all These.
"And with one Hand can wheresoe're he please,
"Make his rode Way to libertie. This Blade,
"With blood of Civill Warre ne're guiltie made,
"A brave and Noble Act at length shall doe;
"On Cato now that Libertie bestow
"It could not on his Country. Now the Fact
"My Soule! So long premeditated act.
"And snatch thy selfe out of Humanitie.
"By this time Juba and Petreius be
"Dispatch'd; and lye, slaine by each others Hand.
"A brave, and valiant End! Yet does not stand
"With our great-sould resolves: Cato his Death
"As much from any scorns to aske, as Breath.
Sure no small joy it in the Gods did move,
Whilst they beheld him his owne Rescue prove,
And as it were for others safetie lay
The ground, and trace for their Escapes the Way.
Whilst that last Night his studies he pursu'd.
And in his sacred Brest his Sword imbru'd.
Whilst h'his extracted Bowells threw about,
And with his owne undaunted Hand, drew out
His pious Soule, too worthy farre to feele,
Or be contaminated by rude Steele.
[Page 9]And therefore I imagine that the Wound
No cure, nor Efficacious Issue found,
Cato but once to see, could not suffice
The high Immortall Powers. His Faculties,
And vertue therefore, still retained were,
That in the hardest part they might appeare.
For 'tis an Act lesse high, and great, our Breath
At once to fo [...]ce, then to repeat our Death,
Nor with unwilling Eyes, doe I suppose
They saw their Son so gloriously close
His Memorable Tragedy; Death then,
Is but the Consecration of good Men.
Whose brave and gallant Exit, justly drawes
From those that tremble at it, as Applause.


Ills are not Ills to good Men meant.
But are by God as Tryalls sent.
NOw shall the Progresse of our Worke make cleare
Those are no Ills at All that so appeare.
For those things you, harsh, cruell, horrid call,
Were first ordain'd for them on whom they fall,
And next for all Mankind, which is Heav'ns Care
Farre more than any Individualls are.
[Page 10]Next, that these things falls not against their Wills,
That, did they, they deserv'd to suffer Ills,
To these I'le adde that they from Fate doe flow,
And to the good, by the same Rule they're so,
Doe happen; therefore I perswade thee shall
Never to pittie a good Man at All.
He miserable sometimes may be said,
But never can be miserable made.
But that which We did at the first propose,
Of All the rest, to prove, the Hardest showes,
Which is; That for those Men, ev'n that's by Fate
Ordain'd, which Wee abhorre, and tremble at.
But thou wilt say, was't for their sakes ordaln'd
They should be banish'd? be to want constrain'd?
Of Children be deprived, and of Wife?
Slander'd? debarr'd the Meanes to strengthen life?
If thou think'st strange this should appointed be
For any; thou wilt wonder then to see
Lancings, and Fire, Famine, and Thurst, to some
The Instruments, and Meanes of Cure become.
But when thou shalt consider that t'obtaine
A Remedy; some doe indure the Paine
To have their Bones be scal'd, their vaines pull'd out,
And limbs lopt off, when the whole Frame's in doubt;
Thou then wilt easily to this Assent,
That Ills for those, on whom they fall are meant.
And are for them as fit, and proper thought,
As those things, which with eager longing sought,
Are contrary to those they doe delight.
As the raw, drunken sursets of the Night,
[Page 11]And such like Like Luxuries, which while W'injoy
Our Ruine prove▪ and while they please, destroy.
'Mongst All those high Expressions of his Mind
Which by our good Demetrius left I find,
This voice above the rest, me thinks I heare
Still fresh, and smartly founding in my Eare.
"Nought then that Man can more unhappy be
"Who never tasted Infelicitie.
He ne're could come to try himselfe, though All
Ev'n at his Wish, nay 'fore his wish befall,
Yet the Impartiall Gods, of him esteem'd
But hardly: that Man was ne're worthy deem'd
That he should vanguish Fortune, which still flies
From the most dull unactive Enemies.
As though sh'had said; make him m'Antagonist,
Will straight throw downe his Armes, and quit the List?
Wee need not use our strength; Our threats shall chace
Him hence; He dares not looke us in the face.
Let's with some other Combatant joyne Hands,
With one who ready to be vanquisht stands,
'Tis shame t'incounter. Gladiators will
Thinke it a scorne, with those in strength and skill
To them Inferiour, to contend, who know
That's held but an Inglorious Overthrow
Is without danger giv'n: Fortune the same
Doth doe; and seekes out Combatants of Name.
Passes by others in a Scorne, and slight,
And the most resolute, and most upright
Incounters with. On Mucius fire doth try,
Upon the stayd Fabricius Poverty.
[Page 12]By Exile 'gainst Rutilius would prevaile,
And Regulus with Tortures doth assaile.
Upon wise Socrates the Poison tryes,
And against Cato Death it selfe imployes.
All Great Examples, are b'Ill Fortune sought.
Shall therefore Mucius be unhappy thought.
'Cause middst the Hostile Flames his hand he thrust?
And his owne Error did conceive it just
Himselfe should punish? What? 'Cause with that Hand
He could not arm'd with Steele, when burnt t'a Brand,
He made Porsenna flye? Or should he be
Thought happier in his Mistris Brest if he
His hand had cherist? Is Fabricios found
E're the lesse happy, 'cause he digg'd his ground
When free from State-Affairs▪ Doubly ingga'd,
Who warre at once with wealth, and Pyrrbus wag'd.
And supp'd upon those Roots his Weeded Field
Did him an aged Triumphator yeeld.
Or had he more Felicitie injoy'd
If with strange Fish, or forraigne Fowle h'had cloy'd
And stufft his Emprie belly? Or, if t'excite
The Dulnesse of his queasie Appetite
H'had rak'd the upper, and the lower Sea
For Shell-Fish? Or, if in large Hortyards, he
Beasts of the Noblest kind had clos'd, were ta'ne
With losse of many a bold Hunter slaine?
Or is Rutilius unhappy? 'Cause
He was condemned by the unjust Lawes
And Power of those, who for that Act shall be
Condemn'd themselves to all Eternitie;
[Page 13]'Cause with an ev'ner Mind he underwent
His Doome, then Freedom from his Banishment?
'Cause he alone great Sylla durst deny,
And when call'd home againe, did farther flye?
"Let those (saith he) whom thy Felicitie
"Inslaves at Rome, a bloody Deluge see
"I'th'Forum; and, 'bove the Servilian Lake,
"(For in that Place they us'd the Spoile to take
"Of those whom Sylla had proscrib'd) behold
"The Heads of Senators; and Troopes of bold,
"Desp'rate Assassinates, run everywhere
"Along the streets; and thousand Romans there
"After Faith giv'n, and Pledge of thy right Hand,
'Nay, against Faith, butcher'd at thy Command.
"Let those that cannot endure Banishment,
"Be with such horrid Spectacles content.
What then? Is Sylla e're the happier thought,
Cause to the Roman Forum he was brought,
Guarded with Swords? and Heads of Consulls slaine
He caus'd to be suspended? and the Gaine
And Price of his dire Massacres he tooke
By Publique Tables, and the Questors Booke?
Yet All these things unquestion'd does that Man
Who first brought in the Law Cornelian.
Come Wee to Regulus; what hurt had he
By Fortune▪ that, him wh'of Fidelitie
[...]h [...] Great Examp [...]e was before, she now
Hath made the Arche type of Patience too▪
Nailes pierce his skin, and though he turne him round,
His wearied Body rests upon a Wound.
[Page 14]Nor can his Eyes in sleepe be ever clos'd
But to perpetuall Wakefulnesse expos'd.
How much the greater Torture he sustain'd,
So much the greater Glory thence he gain'd.
Would'st be assur'd he nor repents his Fate,
To have priz'd Vertue at so high a Rate?
Refresh him, send him to the Senate, there,
You'l still from him the same Opinion heare.
Now, does the great M [...]c [...]n [...] therefore seeme
The happier of the two in they esteeme,
'Cause, Vext with jealous love, griev'd at the life
Of his Imperious and fantastick Wife,
(Which [...]v' [...]y day threaten'd to leave him) he
With Musicks most delicious Harmony,
Eccho'd from farre, in soft, and melting Straines,
In pleasing slumbers sought to charme his Braines?
Though he in [...]owing Bowles his sences steepe,
And with the Fall of Waters, court his sleepe,
As farre [...]om r [...] yet on his Downe he lies,
As he in Midd'st of all his Agonies,
This, from his Miseries a Comfo [...]t drawes,
In that he suffer'd for an honest caus [...].
Whi [...]st t'other, with his lusts, and Pleasures spent,
Sick of a Surfet of [...]o much content,
The Cause and Reason of his suff'rings paines
Farremore, then All that he for that sustaines.
Men are not yet to much inthrall'd to Vice,
But if the Gods should put them to their Choice
The [...]e would be more with R [...]g [...]' [...] his Fate
Then to be borne unto M [...]e [...]as state.
[Page 15]If there be any yet dares say that he,
Rather then Reg'lus, would Macends be,
That Man, (though to confesse it he be loath)
Had rather be Terrentia, then e'm both.
Do'st Socvates but hardly us'd, suppose,
'Cause he tooke off his publique-mixed Doze
As 'twere a Cup of Immortalitie?
And with a firme unmoved Con [...]ancy
Of Mind, disputed, and discourt of Death
Untill that came, and stop'd his learned Breath?
Was he ill dealt with 'cause his Ice-turn'd Blood
Unactive in it it's frozen Channells stood?
How much more to be envy'd is his State
Then their's who served are in Jewel'd Plate,
To whom some old, and ou [...]-worne slave, that's brought
To be at all Turnes, to beare All things taught,
Poures melted Snow from our a Golden Ewre
That may A Fres [...] to their Wine procure.
Those what they drinke shall vomit up at last,
And 'gainst their Wills their bitter Choller raste.
When he to no such surfetings inclin'd,
Shall take downe Poyson with a willing Mind.
Enough of Cat [...]; whom all Men confesse
[...]o have attain'd the hight of Happinesse.
A Man whom Nature seem'd to choose, by whom
She might the Worst of Terrors overcome.
Of powerfull Men, heavy's the Enmitic.
Yet hee'd to Pompey Caesar, Crassus be
Oppos'd: 'tis a sad thing, to see Men goe
'Bove us in Honours, in deserts below.
[Page 16]Yet can he see Vatinius preferr'd,
To be ingag'd in Civill warres, is hard
And grievous: Yet o're the whole World for Right
Stoutly, though sure of Ill successe, be'd fight.
To part with life seemes grievous to most Men,
Yet should he do't: By this what would I then?
That All might know, these are not to b'esteem'd
[...]lls, of which, Catos selfe I worthy deem'd.


Vertue by being opprest, is showne,
Those Wee thinke Miseries, are None.
PRo [...]peritie, and happy Fortune, finds
Out base, Plebean, and ungenerous Minds:
But 'tis the Propertie of a Great Sou [...]e
Crosses and humane Terrors to controule.
To liv [...] still happy, and [...]e're f [...]le no Smart,
Is not to k [...]w of life the other Part.
Thou' [...]t a stout Man: But how shall this be knowne,
It by some Chance thy Valour be not showne?
But thou wilt say, thou went'st to play thy Prize
And wert at the Olimpicke Exercise;
But none besides thy selfe. The Garland gain'd
Thou [...]a [...], but not the Victory obtain'd.
[Page 17]Not as a strong Man thee I gratulate,
But as if one to the Pretorian State;
Or Consulship, that is arriv'd at length;
Thou are increast in Honour, not in strength.
The like to a good Man may be apply'd,
If by no Crosses, no [...] Afflictions [...]y'd.
I count thee wretched, that thou [...]e're wer [...] so.
If [...]e're in all thy life thou knew'st a Foe,
None thy Abilities can judge; nor you
Your selfe, can tell what 'tis your selfe can doe.
Man to the knowledge of himselfe, must bring
Experiment all Prooses; Triall's the Thing
By which w [...]e learnt our Strength. Some have [...]in know [...]
Of their owne selves t'have sought Affliction;
That so their Vertues, without Exercise
Obscuring, might with renew'd splendour rise.
For in Adversitie Great Minds delight
No lesse, then Valiant Souldiers doe in Fight.
I'h've heard a Fencer in Great Caijus Raigne
Thus of the scarcenesse of Rewards complaine.
[...] How faire an Age, saith he, is lost and gone!
Vertu's with greedinesse to Pe [...]i ls prone.
Her Race, not suff'rings, 'tis she minds: since those
Th' Accomplishments of Glory ar [...] she k [...]ves.
Wo [...]ds are the Souldiers praise; who take a Pr [...]de
To shew their Armes in their owne Bloods bedy'd,
In some successefull Fight; And though perchance
That man as much might doe, as farre advance
Receiv'd no hurt, yet Wee the Wounded prize,
And he it is on whom Wee fix Our Eyes.
[Page 18]God as it were studies the good of those
To whom he some fit matter doth oppose
To try their Valours on. T' which we with paine
And difficulty sometimes scarce attaine.
A Pilot is in stormes and Tempests showne,
A Generall is in a Battell knowne.
How shall I know thou canst beare Poverty
When thou still flow'st with Riches? Whence shall I
Know with how constant, and compos'd a state
Thou canst brook slanders, and the Peoples Hate,
If in the Generall Plaudit thou grow old?
If an affection not to be controul'd
And popular opinion, and good Will
Inclin'd to favour thee, attend thee still?
How shall I know with what an even minde
Thou Childrens losse canst beare, if none thou finde
Of all thy Race impair'd? I h've heard thee, when
Thou comfort'st others; but would gladly then
Have seen thee to thy selfe like comfort give
Or heard thee then forbid thy selfe to grieve.
Be not possest with Terror of those things,
Which Gods apply as the Minds spurs, not stings.
Misfortune's vertues Opportunity.
All men those wretched thinke deservedly,
Who languish on the bed of Happinesse,
Benum'd with the Torpedo of Excesse.
Whom dull Tranquility, and stupid ease,
Detaine like Vessells in becalmed Seas.
What e're to such befalls, will strange appeare;
Men unexperienc'd, Crosses hardly beare.
[Page 19]With paine the Yoak the tender neck doth brook;
Pale at the thought of wounds raw Tyro's looke.
When the old Souldier with a dauntlesse eye
Viewes his owne Wounds, nor turnes his Head awry.
As one, by whom that Maxime's understood
He oft proves Victor who resists to bloud.
Those then, whom God approves, and loves, he tries,
Chastens, and hardens in Adversities.
Whilst others; whom he seemes t'indulge and spare
For future Miseries reserved are [...]
Thou err'st to thinke there's an exemption;
Ev'n the long happy hath his Portion:
Who seemes dismiss'd, is but deferr'd.
You'll say
Why yet does God still on the best Men lay
Sicknesse and Crosses?
Why in Camps are put
Most dangers still, on the most resolute?
To beate up Quarters, Scout, or Enemies
By nightly Ambuscadoes to surprize,
The choicest still are sent; nor of those, one,
Thinks himselfe lesse in the Opinion
Of his Commander; or by that debas'd;
But that his Merits are more highly grac'd.
So may those say, who are those Ills design'd
T' endure, seem horrors to a timerous Minde;
"Worthy the love of Heav'n we now are meant,
"Which by our suff'rings would experiment
"How much t'is humane Nature can sustaine.
Fly from enerv'd Felicity, and vaine
Delight [...]s which as it were dissolve, and steep
Th' inebriated Minde in a long sleep.
[Page 20]Vnlesse by chance some intervening Fate
A monitory give of h [...]mane state.
Whom still glasse Windowes skreen from cold and wind,
Whose feet still warm'd are kept; whose roomes are lin'd
With the stoves subtile circumfused Heate▪
To such, the aires least breath doth danger threat.
Though all extreames doe hurt, there's no excesse
So dangerous as that of happinesse.
This soyles the understanding, and with vaine
Delusive Fancies does distract the Braine;
And 'fore our blinded eyes a mist doth send,
They cannot Truths from Falshoods apprehend.
Is it not then farre better to abide
Perpetuall Crosses which to vertue guide,
Then to be broken with th' excessive weight
Of a too great, and a too happy state?
To leaue, spare Bodies, Death scarce seems a paine;
Tormenting Crudities the the Grosse sustaine.
Heav'n with good men, observes the selfe same rule
As Masters doe with Sthollers in the Schoole;
Who greater Paines, and harder Taskes on those
That are the hopefullest esteem'd, impose.
Think'st thou the Spartans lesse their children love
'Cause they by publick stripes doe use to prove
Their youthfull dispositions? Parents there
Their Sons exhort with courage blowes to beare
Of lashing whips; and though halfe dead with paine,
To persevere, and wounds on wounds sustaine.
[...] God then, Generous spirits with severe
Rough Trialls proves, why should it strange appeare?
[Page 21]In all the Book of vertue there's not one
Soft Document, or easie lesson knowne.
With Fortunes whips though we be lasht, and rent,
Let's bear't; 'tis our Triall, not our Punishment.
Which the more often 'tis we undergoe
The more prepar'd, and barier still we grow.
Of all the body, that part's most obdur'd
And sollid, is to constant Toyle inur'd.
We should to Fortune be expos'd, that we
Against her selfe, arm'd by her selfe might be.
To be her equalls us in time the brings,
Contempt of dangers from try'd dangers springs.
So Mariners endure the Sea, and so
The Plow-mans hands with labour hard'ned grow.
So Souldiers learne to throw their Darts with force;
So Racers prove the nimbler for the Course:
Perfection and Solidity doth rise
From constant and assiduous exercise.
So is the Minde by Patience brought at last
Contempt upon the Power of Fate to cast.
Whose force we well may guesse upon the minde,
When how much labour can performe, we finde
In poore, and naked people, whom we see
Assuming strength ev'n from their poverty.
Do but consider all those Nations round,
Which to the Roman Peace, prescribe a bound;
I meane the Germans, and those People spread
Along the Banks of Ister to his Head.
To lowring skies, and Winters lasting cold
Subjected still; to whom the barren Mold
[Page 22]Scarce Food affords? to whom a Shed of Boughes,
A homely shelter from the Raine allowes.
Who on the frozen Ister, or the Rhine
Doe slide, and on the hunted Quarry dine.
Dost count these men wretched in thy esteem?
No Natu'rall Habit can e're wretched seem:
Time by degrees does those things pleasant make,
Which from Necessity their Births did take.
No Houses there, no resting Place to those
But such as toyle, and wearinesse impose.
No food though vile, but what their Hands procure;
Though horrid be their Climes intemperature,
Yet they goe naked; and this you suppose
A Misery, is yet the Life of those.
Why dost thou wonder if thou good men see
Shook with the stormes of Fortune? since that Tree
But weakly rooted is, nor solid growne,
Hath not the frequent shocks of Tempests knowne:
Which firmer still, and deeper rooting findes,
The more 'tis tost and vexed with the windes;
Whilst those which in the Sunny Valley grow
Are weak and brittle. Good men therefore, so
Are exercis'd in matters full of seare,
That they might terrors without terror beare:
And with calme Mindes, those things might undergoe
No Ills are, but to those endure them so.


For good of others, sufferers be
The Good; All stoop to Destiny.
ANd now, 'tis for the Generall end, the Best
Should war, and by their Deeds their lives attest.
Since 'tis God's aime, and a Wise-mans, to prove
That those things which the vulgar feare, or love
Are in themselves nor good, nor Ill at all:
For if by Heaven's Decree they doe befall
To a good man, their good; but bad they are,
If they're allotted to a bad mans share▪
Blindnesse were detestable, did we finde
None lost their eyes, but those the Law made blinde,
Then Appius and Metellus may want eyes.
We doe not Riches as a true good prize;
Ellius the Bawd may then be rich, and we,
When in the Temples sacred Treasurie
W'have offer'd up our consecrated gold,
The same in the Burdello may behold.
God cannot more mens longings vilisie
Then those, the basest grant, the best deny.
Obj. But you will say it seemes to you unjust
The good should be opprest, imprison'd, trust.
[Page 24]When you behold the Bad still living free
In all Delights, and Sensualitie.
Answ. Is it not yet as much unjust, and hard,
That valiant men in Armes should nightly guard
The Campe? and for defence thereof, decline
No wounds, but with their Bloods make good the Line,
Whilst safe i'th'Citie the spruce Gallant lies▪
Glor'ing in his profest Adulteries?
I'st not unjust that noblest Virgins rise
At Midnight, to their sacred Exercise,
Whilst dissolute, and inquinated Minds,
Soft, pleasing sleepe, in silken Fetters binds?
Labour and Travell, [...]ill the Best assayes:
The Senate oft in Councell sit whole dayes.
Whilst in the Fields the meanest Groome doth please
Himselfe, or in the Taverne takes his Ease,
Or insome other Passe time spends his Houres.
'Tis the same in the Worlds Common Wealth, as ours.
Good Men there toyle, and labour still, nor by
Fortune are hall'd, but follow willingly.
And keepe pace with her, and if they had knowne
Her mind, perhaps they had before her gone.
That gallant Speech I here to Mind recall,
Did once from the great-Sould' Demetrius fall.
"Of this, (you Gods!) Doe I complaine alone,
"That I before, your pleasures had not knowne;
"For sooner then should I have made m'Appeare,
"Unto those things, which now I'm call'd to beare,
"Would you my Children have? they are your due,
"They were b [...]ot, and bread by me for you.
[Page 25]"Would you some Limbe? (what here my [...]ow assures
"Is no great thing) strait my whole Body's yours.
"Would yo [...] [...]y Soule? I shall no whit delay,
"But gladly what you gave me shall repay.
"What e're you aske I give you willingly,
"An offering rather then D [...]livery.
"What need y'have forc'd them from me? Now you may
"Receive them; no▪ nor now shall take away.
"Since nothing from that Man can e're be ta'en,
"Who of himselfe seekes nothing to retaine.
"Nought 'gainst my Will, am I compell'd to beare,
"To God in love I'assent, not serve in feare.
"Since I know all things move by a decree,
"Sure, and enacted from Eternitie.
W'are led by Fate; and his first Houre of Breath,
Vnto each Man prescribes his Houre of Death.
Cause upon Cause depends, and all are drawne.
By a long-link't Concatenation.
Which therefore We should beare with courage, sin [...]
Nought falls by chance, but comes by Providence.
Our Joyes, and Sorrowes were long since decreed,
And though the life of each Man, seeme indeed
With much Varietie distinguisht; yet,
There is to All, one common Period set,
All W'have receiv'd is subject to decay,
And Wee our selves must one day passe away.
Why then doe We complaine? or fret with scorne
And Indignation? We for this were borne.
Nature may doe (by whom We all subsist)
With her owne Compositions, as she list.
[Page 26]Yet let us cheerefully with Minds prepar'd
Thinke, that there's nothing of our owne impair'd.
What is it best befits a good Mans State?
To yeeld himselfe into the Hands of Fate.
'Tis no small comfort, that W'are rapt, and hurl'd
About, with the same Course as the whole World.
That which commands us to live thus, thus dye,
Binds Heav'n by the same Necessitie.
And all things humane, and Divine, doth force
Along in an irrevocable Course.
Who made, and rules this All, to Fate prescrib'd
Lawes, yet himselfe ev'n by those Lawes is ty'd.
And that which his Commands did once deliver,
Now to observe he stands oblig'd for ever.
Why yet by God i'th'distribution
Of Fate, seemes there so much Injustice showne?
That Povertie, wounds, cruell Deaths, he shov'd
Assigne still for the Portions of the Good?
The Workman cannot new his Matter cast;
That hath the Lawes of it's Creation past.
Some things will not be seperate, nor leave
Others, but, as if Individualls, cleave.
Those heavy Soules, who still in slumbers steepe
Their drowsy Braines, and seeme awake, to sleepe;
Of dull, and grosse Materialls framed are.
But to the making of a Man that's rare
An abler Fate's requir'd, he must not goe
The plaine way, but must travell high, and low
He must with tossing stormes acquainted be,
And guide his Vessell in a high-swol [...]c Sea.
[Page 27]Must shape his Course 'gainst Fortune; to him, shall
Many a hard rough Accident befall:
Yet such as he himselfe with some small paine
May bring to a soft smoothnesse and make plain [...].
The best of Mettalls, gold, the Fire doth try;
The best, and Valiant'st Men, Adversity:
See but what Steeps Vertue climbs up, and sure
You'l then confesse, she cannot goe secure.


No Ioyes the Bad can happy make,
Nought from the good their Ioyes can take.
WHy yet does God by his Eternall Will,
Permit good Men to suffer any Ill?
Know, he permits them not; for by his Care
All evills farre from them removed are.
Flagitious Crimes, soule thoughts, corrupt Desires,
Blind lust, and Avarice that still aspires
To be Possessor of another State [...];
He them doth both defend, and Vindicate.
[Page 28]Sure there is no Man at Gods hands exacts
That he should beare their Budgets, and their Packs.
Ev'n they themselves [...]cquit God of that Care;
By whom, all outward things contemned are.
Democr [...]us his Riches cast, since they
He thought were Clogs to a good Mind, away.
W [...]nd'r [...]st th [...]u then if God t'a good man, shall
Permit that, which himselfe desires might, fall?
Of Childr [...]n [...]hey're depriv'd;
Why not? Since they
Are mortall, and must dye themselves one day.
They are exil'd:
Why not? Since they sometime,
Forsake ne're more to see't, their Native Clime.
They're st [...]n,
Why not? Since Wee have knowne that some
Unto thei [...] Deaths by th [...]ir ow [...] Hands h [...]ve come.
Why suffer they Adversities▪
That so
They might teach others them to undergoe.
They're for Examples borne; Thinke that you heare
"God say, What Cause have you that you should e're
"Make your Complaints of me, you, who in Right,
"And in Integritic, have tooke delight?
"Others with seeming Goods I've but enrich'd;
"And with a long and slattering D [...]eame, bewitch'd
"Their v [...]iner Minds. Gold, Silver, Iv'ry's seene
"T'adorne their outsides, but no good within.
"Those you count happy Men, (could but that side
"Which they conceale, as that they show be spy'd)
"Most miserable, filthy, sordid, are.
"And like their Walls, onely on th'outside faire.
"'Tis no sincere, solid Felicitie,
"But thinly crusted over to the Eye.
[Page 29]"Whilst therefore they stand sure, and as they lift
"Doc shew themselves; th [...]y shine as through a Mist
"With larger Orbs: but if ought come that may
"Disturbe their Quiets, and them open lay,
"Then will appeare how much of base impure
"Filch, their false boasted splendor did obscure.
"True, reall Goods, and such as shall abide
"I have on you bestow'd, which the more try'd▪
"By you they shall be, and be search'd more neare,
"They better still, and greater shall appeare.
"Minds have I giv'n you Terrors to despise;
"And loath, what most, affectionately prize.
"Yours is no outward tinseld Braverie,
"The goods which you adorne, turn'd inward be.
"So doth the World his outward Parts despise,
And with his inward Beauty please his eyes.
"The happinesse wh [...]ch you 'bove all poss [...]sse,
"Is not to stand in need of happinesse.
Ob. "But many sad, and dreadfull Accidents,
"And oft intolerable Fate presents,
Ans. "Since you from these could not exempted be,
"I h've arm'd your mindes against adversitie.
"Beare all things stoutly, by w [...]ich meanes y [...]u may
"Walke before God in his appointed way.
"Without the suff'rance of Miseries
"He is, and yo [...], above their suff'ran [...]e rise.
"Want an [...]w Poverty, contemne, and scorne,
"There's no man lives s [...]ore as he was borne.
"Dolour, and paine cont [...]mne; 'twill have an end,
[Page 30]"Fortune despise; whose Power I have confin'd;
"She hath no weapon that can wound the minde.
"Nay Death it selfe; which ends, or doth translate
"Your bad condition, to a better state.

The few following Lines in the Close of the Originall, (being a Stoicall Ex­hortation to the Anticipation of Death) are purposely omitted.


This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. This Phase I text is available for reuse, according to the terms of Creative Commons 0 1.0 Universal. The text can be copied, modified, distributed and performed, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.