« 前へ次へ »
he not mark with imperishable memorials of his friendship or his vengeance? The gold of Spain, the steel of Sweden, the ten thousand sails of Holland, availed nothing against him. While every foreign state trembled at our arms, we sat secure from all assault. War, which often so strangely troubles both husbandry and commerce, never silenced the song of our reapers, or the sound of our looms. Justice was equally administered; God was freely worshipped.
“ Now look at that which we have taken in exchange. With the restored King have come over to us vices of every sort, and most the basest and most shameful-lust, without love -- servitude, without loyalty,-foulness of speech-dishonesty of dealing grinning contempt of all things good and generous. The throne is surrounded by men whom the former Charles would have spurned from his footstool. The altar is served by slaves whose knees are supple to every being but God. Rhymers, whose books the hangman should burn, pandars, actors, and buffoons, these drink a health and throw a main with the King; these have stars on their breasts and gold sticks in their hands; these shut out from his presence the best and bravest of those who bled for his house. Even so doth God visit those who know not how to value freedom. He gives them over to the tyranny which they have desired, "Ινα τσάντες επαύρωνται βασιλήoς.'
“ I will not,” said Mr. Cowley, “ dispute with you on this argument. But if it be as you say, how can you maintain that England hath been so greatly advantaged by the rebellion ?
* Understand me rightly, Šir," said Mr. Milton. “This nation is not given over to slavery and vice. We tasted indeed the fruits of liberty before they had well ripened. Their flavour was harsh and bitter, and we turned from them with loathing to the sweeter poisons of servitude. This is but for a time. England is sleeping on the lap of Dalilah, traitorously chained, but not yet shorn of strength. Let the
be heard—the Philistines be upon thee; and at once that sleep will be broken, and those chains will be as flax in the fire. The great Parliament hath left behind it in our hearts and minds a hatred of tyrants, a just knowledge of our rights, a scorn of vain and deluding names; and that the revellers of Whitehall shall surely find. The sun is darkened, but it is only for a moment: it is but an eclipse; though all birds of evil omen have begun to scream, and all ravenous beasts have gone forth to prey, thinking it to be midnight. Wo to them if they be abroad when the rays again shine forth.
“ The King hath judged ill. Had he been wise he would have remembered that he owed his restoration only to confusions which had wearied us out, and made us eager for
He would have known that the folly and perfidy of a Prince would restore
to the good old cause many hearts which had been alienated thence by the turbulence of factions; for, if I know aught of history, or of the heart of man, he will soon learn that the last champion of the people was not destroyed when he murdered Vane, nor seduced when he beguiled Fairfax."
Mr. Cowley seemed to me not to take much amiss what Mr. Milton had said touching that thankless court, which had indeed but poorly requited his own good service. He only said, therefore, “ Another rebellion! Alas! Alas! Mr. Milton! If there be no choice but between despotism and anarchy, I prefer despotism."
Many men,” said Mr. Milton, “ have floridly and ingeniously compared anarchy and despotism; but they who so amuse them semselves do but look at separate parts of that which is truly one great whole. Each is the cause and the effect of the other ;-the evils of either are the evils of both. Thus do states move on in the same eternal cycle, which, from the remotest point, brings them back again to the same sad starting-post: and till both those who govern and those who obey shall learn and mark this great truth, men can expect little through the future, as they have known little through the past, save vicissitude of extreme evils, alternately producing and produced.
“ When will rulers learn, that where liberty is not, security and order can never be? We talk of absolute power, but all power hath limits, which, if not fixed by the moderation of the governors, will be fixed by the force of the governed. Sovereigns may send their opposers to dungeons; they may clear out a senate-house with soldiers; they may enlist armies of spies; they may hang scores of the disaffected in chains at every cross road; but what power shall stand in that frightful time when rebellion hath become a less evil than endurance? Who shall dissolve that terrible tribunal, which, in the hearts of the oppressed, denounces against the oppressor the doom of its wild justice? Who shall repeal the law of self defence? What arms or discipline shall resist the strength of famine and despair ? How often were the ancient Cæsars dragged from their golden palaces, stripped of their purple robes, mangled, stoned, defiled with filth, pierced with hooks, hurled into Tiber! How often have the Eastern Sultans perished by the sabres of their own Janissaries, or the bow-strings of their own mutes ! For no power which is not limited by laws can ever be protected by them. Small, therefore, is the wisdom of those who would fly to servitude as if it were a refuge from commotion; for anarchy is the sure consequence of tyranny. That governments may be safe, nations must be free. Their passions must have an outlet provided lest they make one.
“When I was at Naples, I went with Signor Manso, a gentleman of excellent parts and breeding, who had been the familiar friend of that famous poet Torquato Tasso, to see the burning mountain Vesuvius. I wondered how the peasants could venture to dwell so fearlessly and cheerfully on its sides, when the lava was flowing from its summit, but Manso smiled, and told me that when the fire descends freely, they retreat before it without haste or fear. They can tell how fast it will move, and how far; and they know moreover, that though it may work some little damage, it will soon cover the fields over which it hath passed with rich vineyards and sweet 'flowers. . But when the flames are pent up in the mountain, then it is that they have reason to fear; then it is that the earth sinks and the sea swells; then cities are swallowed up, and their place knoweth them no more. So it is in politics: where the people is most closely restrained, there it gives the greatest shocks to peace and order; therefore would I say to all Kings, let your demagogues lead crowds
crowds, lest they lead armies ; let them bluster, lest they massacre; a little turbulence is, as it were, the rainbow of the state; it shews indeed that there is a passing shower, but it is a pledge that there shall be no deluge."
“ This is true," said Mr. Cowley : - yet these admonitions are not less needful to subjects than to sovereigns.
“ Surely,” said Mr. Milton, “ and, that I may end this long debate with a few words in which we shall both agree, I hold that as freedom is the only safeguard of governments, so are order and moderation generally necessary to preserve freedom. Even the vainest opinions of men are not to be outraged by those who propose to themselves the happiness of men for their end, and who must work with the passions of men for their means. The blind reverence for things ancient is indeed so foolish that it might make a wise man laugh, if it were not also sometimes so mischievous that it would rather make a good man weep. Yet, since it may not be wholly cured, it must be discreetly indulged, and therefore those who would amend evil laws should consider rather how much it may be safe to spare, than how much it may be possible to change. Have you not heard that men who have been shut up for many years in dungeons shrink if they see the light, and fall down if their irons be struck off. And so, when nations have long been in the house of bondage, the chains which have crippled them are necessary to support them, the darkness which hath weakened their sight is necessary to preserve it. Therefore release them not too rashly, lest they curse their freedom and pine for their prison.
“ I think indeed that the renowned Parliament of which we have talked so much, did shew, until it became subject to the soldiers, a singular and admirable moderation, in such times scarcely to be hoped, and most worthy to be an example to all that shall come after. But on this argument I have said enough, and I
will therefore only pray to Almighty God that those who shall, in future times, stand forth in defence of our liberties, as well civil as religious, may adorn the good cause by mercy, prudence, and soberness, to the glory of his name and the happiness and honour of the English people."
And so ended that discourse; and not long after we were set on shore again at the Temple-gardens, and there parted company: and the same evening I took notes of what had been said, which I have here more fully set down, from regard both to the fame of the men, and the importance of the subject-matter.
LUCIAN'S TRUE HISTORY.
We suppose that most of our readers are acquainted with the travels of Baron Munchausen; and if they derived any amusement from his marvellous adventures, they probably will not be displeased with us for introducing them to his classical prototype. Amongst the varied productions of the inexhaustible wit and humour of Lucian is his fictitious voyage, in which his design was not merely to entertain his readers by a series of wonderful narratives, but to parody and ridicule the idle and improbable stories which abounded in the works of travellers, historians, and poets. Ctesias, the author of Histories of Persia and India, whom, in his Essay on the Mode in which History ought to be written, he has accused of swerving from the truth through fear or motives of interest *, is here also one of the chief objects of his satire. “ Ctesias,” he says, “ the son of Ctesiochus, the Cnidian, wrote about the country of the Indians, and the things amongst them, what he neither saw himself nor heard from the report of any other."
The work of Ctesias is lost; but Photius has preserved some extracts from it; and certainly, although our present knowledge enables us in some instances to detect the facts upon which the exaggerations of the Cnidian are founded, there is much to justify the brief and decisive criticism of Lucian. We have here the Martichore, which has been the rare and wonderful beast of
* Surely the historian has but one business, to tell things as they were done, but this he cannot do, as long as he is the physician of Artaxerxes, and afraid of him, .or hopes to receive a purple robe, or golden collar, or Nisæan horse, in payment for his praises in his history, Chap. xxxix.
VOL. III. Part I.
many succeeding generations, the Pygmies, the Gryphons, men with dogs' heads, and another nation with eight fingers on each hand, and eight toes on each foot, and ears so long that they form a covering for the back. Much, however, which would appear even more marvellous to Lucian, is now susceptible of an easy explanation; and a few observations, in which the true facts should be pointed out, would go far to restore the credit of Ctesias Of Iambulus, who wrote of the wonders of the Great Sea, we now know almost nothing; and indeed very much of the wit of Lucian's work must be lost to us from our not knowing the originals of the caricatures. In some cases we can conjecture them, and we shall see that he does not spare even Homer himself. There is, however, much amusement in the True History, if we consider it merely as a collection of monstrous falsehoods told with a grave
face; and in some parts it is adorned by much elegance of fancy. We confess that we can sometimes be childish enough to be pleased simply with the marvellous, and, like Desdemona, seriously incline" to tales
of antres vast and desarts idle,
Do grow beneath their shoulders. The demands of Lucian upon the faith of his readers are very small; for he concludes his preface with the grave assurance, “I write, therefore, about things which I neither saw, nor suffered, nor heard from others, and which besides never had any existence at all
, nor could ever possibly have happened; wherefore those who meet with any account of them ought in no wise to believe them."
With great solemnity he then goes on: - For once on a time having set out from the Columns of Hercules, and having suffered myself to be carried into the western ocean, I was sailing with a favourable wind." On the second morning they meet with a tempest, which tosses them about for nine-and-seventy days. On the eightieth the storm subsides, and they come in sight of an island upon which they land. “And having advanced about three stadia from the sea through the wood, we see a certain pillar made of brass, inscribed with Greek characters, but indistinct and worn out, saying, Thus far came Hercules and Bacchus: and there were near it two footsteps on the rock, the one the size of an acre, the other less, as it appeared to me; the less that of Bacchus, the other of Hercules * : having worshipped, therefore, we went on.” This appears to be indeed the land of Bacchus, for they meet with a river of wine, and there were fish in it, which
* See Herod. L. iv.