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O, let me play with you 1

"I care not for the prettiest toy ;

I want the love of home ;

0, let me in your playful joy

Forget I have to roam ! "

The little fragile hand is raised.

It strikes at every gate ;
In every window earnest gazed,

Then 'mid the snow it sat.

" Christinkle ! * thou the children's friend,

I've none to love me now !
Hast thou forgot my tree to send,
With lights on every bough ? "

The baby's hands are numbed with frost,

Yet press the little cloak ;
Then on its breast in meekness crossed,

A sigh the silence broke.

And closer still the cloak it drew

Around its silken hair ;
Its pretty eyes, so clear and blue,

Alone defied the air.

Then came another pilgrim child,

A shining light he held ;
The accents fell so sweet and mild,

All music they excelled.

"I am thy Christmas friend, indeed,

And once a child like thee ;
When all forgot, thou need'stnot plead,
I will adorn thy tree.



A corruption of tha German ChrisOcincUein.. It moans
the child Christ, to whom it U thought all theso gifts arc
owing.



' My joys are felt in street or bower.

My aid is everywhere ;
Thy Christmas-tree, my precious flower.
Here, in the open air,

1 Shall far outshine those other trees,

Which caught thine infant eye."
The stranger child looks up, and sees,
Far, in the deep blue sky,

A glorious tree, and stars among
The branches hang their light ;
The child, with soul all music, sung,
"My tree indeed is bright! "

As 'neath the power of a dream

The infant closed its eyes,
And troops of radiant angels seem

Descending from the skies,

The baby to its Christ they bear ;

With Jesus it shall live ;
It finds a house and treasure there

Sweeter than earth can give.



THE LADIES OF LONG AGO.

[FRANCOIS VILLON, a French poet, born Y431, was dis-
tinguished both as a great rogue and a great poet. He
wrote his finest things in prison. We give one speci-
men of his powers :]

Tell me to what region flown
Is Flora, the fair Roman, gone?
Where lovely Thais' hiding-place,
Her sister in each charm and grace ?
Echo, let thy voice awake,
Over river, stream, and lake :
Answer, where does beauty go ?
Where is fled the south wind's snow ?

Where is Eloi'se the wise,
For whose two bewitching eyes
Hapless Abeillard wns doomed
In his cell to live entombed ?
Where the queen, her love who gave,
Cast in Seine, a watery grave ?
Where each lovely cause of woe?
Where is fled the south wind's snow ?

Where thy voice, regal fair,
Sweet as is the lark's in air ?
Where is Bertha ? Alix ? she
Who Le Maync held gallantly ?
Where is Joan, whom English flame
Gave, at Rouen, death and f.une ?
Where are all ? docs any know ?
Where is fled the south wind's snow?



OF PROFIT AND HONESTY.



165



OF PROFIT AND HONESTY.

There is no man but at one time or other
says a silly thing ; but the worst of it is when
he affects it :

Noe iste magno conatu magnas nugas dixerit. l
The man in troth with much ado
Has prov'd that one and one make two.

This does not touch me. My nonsense
slips from me with as little care as it merits,
and it is well it does so. I would quit it on
a sudden for the little there is in it of value,
and neither buy nor sell it for more than, the
weight. I speak on paper as I do to the first
man I meet; and that this is true observe
what follows.

Who would not abhor treachery when Ti-
berius would not admit of it in a matter of
such importance to him ? 2 He had word
sent from Germany that, if he thought fit,
they would by poison rid him of Ariminius,
who was the most powerful enemy the
Romans had, he having treated them very
basely in the time of Varus, and being the
only man that opposed their dominion in
those countries. The answer he returned
was, that it was the custom of the Romans
to be revenged on their enemies by open
force, sword in hand; not clandestinely, nor
by fraud : wherein he preferred the thing
that was honourable to the profitable. He
was (you will say) a hector. I believe as
much ; but that is no great wonder in the
gentlemen of his profession. But the ac-
knowledgment of virtue is no less valid by
its coming from the lips of him who hates it,
forasmuch as truth forces it from him ; and
if he will not sincerely embrace it, he puts it
on at least by way of ornament.

Our structure, both external and internal,
is full of imperfection ; yet there is nothing
in nature but what is of use, not even inu-
tility itself. There is nothing in this uni-
verse which has not some proper place in it.
Our being is cemented with certain mean
qualities ; ambition, jealousy, envy, revenge,
superstition, despair, have so natural a lodg-
ment in us that the image of them is dis-
cerned in the brute beasts ; nay cruelty
itself, a vice so much out of nature ; for even
in the midst of compassion we feel within us
an unaccountable bitter-sweet titillation of
ill-natured pleasure in seeing another suffer ;
and even children are sensible of it :



ITersnce, Ifeiuton, act iii. sceue 9.
* Tacit., Annal. lib. ii. cap. 88.



Suave mari magno turbantibia serjiu>ra venUt
E terra nutgnum alterius tpeclare luborem. '

'Tis sweet from land to see a storm at sea,
And others sinking whilst ourselves are free.

Whoever would divest man of the seeds
of such qualities would destroy the funda-
mental conditions of human life. Likewise
in all governments there are necessary
offices, not only abject b ut vicious. Vices have
their department there, and are employed
as cement to connect us together, like poi-
son that is administered for the preservation
of our health. If they become excusable, as
being necessary for us, and because the
public necessity disguises their real quali-
ties, we are to resign this part to the strong-
est and boldest citizens, who sacrifice their
honour and conscience, as the ancients sac-
rificed their lives for the good of their
country. We that are weaker play those
parts that are more easy and less hazardous.
The public weal requires that a man
should betray, tell lies, and commit murder:
let us leave this commission to men that are
more obedient and more supple.

I have really been often vexed to see
judges by fraud and false hopes of favour
or pardon draw in a criminal to confess his
guilt ; and to observe what recourse they
therein have to tricking and impudence. It
would be of good service to justice, and even
to Plato himself, who countenances this
manner of proceeding, to furnish me with
other means more suitable to my inclination.
It is a malicious kind of justice, and I think
it is as much offended by itself as by others.
I said not long since, in some company,
that as I would be very sorry to betray any
private man for the service of my prince, I
would be very loth to betray my prince to
any private man. As I have an aversion to
cheat another, so I would hate to be de-
ceived myself, and will not so much as
furnish any pretext or occasion for it.

In the few concerns which I have had to
negotiate between our princes, in those
divisions and sub-divisions by which we are
at this time rent, I have nicely avoided
leading them into any mistakes of me, and
their deceiving others by my mask. The
people of this profession are the most re-
served, and pretend to be the men of the
greatest moderation, and the nearest con-
formity to the sentiments of those with
whom they have to do. I speak sincerely

1 Lucret. lib. ii. ver. 1, 2.



166



OF PROFIT AND HONESTY.



what I think, and in my own manner ; being
a tender negotiator, and but a learner, who
had rather fail of success than be wanting
to myself. Yet it has hitherto proved so
lucky (for surely it is chiefly owing to for-
tune) that few things have passed from hand
to hand with less suspicion, and more favour
and secrecy. I have an open manner,
which readily insinuates itself and gains
credit upon the first acquaintance. Sim-
plicity, and the naked truth, in what age
soever, make their way, and find their
account ; and moreover the freedom of men
who treat without any interest of their own
is neither hateful nor suspected ; and such
may very well make use of the answer of
Hyparides to the Athenians, when they
complained of his rough way of speaking,
" Gentlemen, do not regard whether I am
" free ; but whether I am so from sincerity,
" and without any advantage from it to my
" own affairs.'' ' My freedom of speech has
also naturally cleared me of all suspicion of
dissimulation by its vehemency (leaving
nothing unsaid, how pungent and cutting
soever, so that I could not have said worse
behind their backs), and by the full dis-
covery it made of simplicity and indifference.
I aim at no other advantage by my pleading
than to plead, and tack no long arguments
or propositions to it. Every plea plays its
own part, hit or miss. For the rest I am
not swayed by any passion either of love or
hatred to the great men, nor is my will
influenced by the sense of any particular
injury or obligation. I honour our kings with
an affection that is simply loyal and respect-
ful, being neither prompted to nor restrained
from it, by private interest ; and for this I
value myself. Nor does the general and
just cause attract me otherwise than with
moderation and coolness. I am not bound
by such cogent and penetrating pre-con-
tracts and engagements. Anirerand hatred
are not within the sphere of justice, and are
passions of no use but to those who are not
to be kept to their duty by mere reason ;
Utatur motn animi, qui uti ratione non po-
test : " He that cannot be guided by reason
"is governed by passion." All lawful in-
tentions are temperate in themselves ; if
otherwise, they become seditious and un-
lawful. This is what makes me walk every
where with my head erect, a frank counte-
nance, and an open heart. It is a truth,

1 Plutarch, in his Treatise of th<! Difference between
the Flatterer and the Friend, cap. 24.



and I fear not to confess it, I could, were it
necessary, hold a candle to St. Michael, and
another to his serpent, after the manner of
the old woman. l I will follow the right side
even to the fire, but will keep out of it if
possible. Let Montaigne be overwhelmed
in the public ruin, if it must be so ; but if it
be not necessary, I would thank my stars for
his safety, and I make use of all the length
of line which my duty allows me for his
preservation. Was it not Atticus, who
being on the just but losing side, preserved
himself by his moderation in that universal
shipwreck of the world, among so many
various changes and revolutions ? For a
private man as he was, this is more easy ;
and upon an occasion of the like nature I
think men are very excusable for not being
ambitious to meddle or make.

For a man to be wavering and trimming,
to keep his affection unmoved, and without
inclination, in the disturbances of his coun-
try, and in a public division, I think it nei-
ther decent nor honest : Ea non media, sed
nulla via est, velut eventum expectant ium,
quo fortunes consilia sua applicent.
" That is not taking the middle way, but
" really no way at all, like those who wait
" for the event of things in order to take
" their resolution accordingly. " 2 This
may be allowed with respect to the feuds of
our neighbours ; and accordingly Gelo the
tyrant of Syracuse suspended his resolu-
tion in the war of the Barbarians against
the Grecians, keeping an embassy at Del-
phos, with presents, to observe to which
side fortune would incline, and to take the
critical minute to make the victors his
friends. 3 But it would be a sort of trea-
son to proceed after this manner in our
own domestic affairs, wherein a man must
necessarily be of one side or the other ;
though for a man to sit still, who has no
office nor express command to urge him to
action, I think it more excusable (and yet
this is no excuse for myself) than to meddle
in foreign broils, to which, however, ac-
cording to our laws, no man is compelled.
Yet even those who wholly engage them-
selves in such broils, may act with such



1 Montaigne means that he would be inclined to
make his court to b'Jth the opposite parties, as the old
woman did who offered one wax taper to St. Michael the
archangel, and another to the dragon which is repre-
sented fighting with St. Michael. This woman's action
has given rise to a sort of proverb.

a Titus Li vy, lib. xxxii. cap.21. Herodot. lib. vii. p. 498.



OF PROFIT AND HONESTY.



1G7



temper and moderation that the storm shall
fly over their heads without bursting on
them. Had we not reason to expect as
much from M. de Morvilliers, the late Bish-
op of Orleans ? And among those who be-
have valiantly at this time, I know some oi
so much candour and good-nature that they
will continue steady, whatever may be the
change or fate which heaven is preparin
for us. I am of opinion, that it properly
belongs to kings to quarrel with kings, and
laugh at those bullies who out of mere
wantonness push themselves into quarrels
where the odds are so great. For a man
has no particular quarrel with a prince, be
cause he marches against him publicly and
courageously, for his own honour, and ac-
cording to his duty. If he does not love
such a personage, he does better, he es-
teems him. The cause of the laws, and
the defence of the ancient government, are
always remarkable for this, that such even
as for their own private interest disturb the
state, excuse if they do not honour its de-
fenders.

But we ought not, though it is our daily
practice, to call a bitterness and roughness
of temper, which spring from private inter-
est and passion, by the name of duty, nor a
treacherous and malicious conduct, by tha
name of courage. They call their propen-
sity to mischief and violence by the name
of zeal. It is not the cause by which they
are warmed, but their interest. They kin-
dle a war, not because it is just, but be-
cause it is war.

Nothing hinders but men may behave
commodiously and loyally too among those
who are of the adverse party. Carry your-
self, if not with an affection always equal
(for it is capable of different degrees), at
least moderate, such as may not so engage
you to one party that it may challenge all
that you are able to do ; and content yourself
also with a moderate degree of their favour,
and to swim in the troubled water without
attempting to fish in it.

The other way of a man's offering him-
self to serve both parties is much more
conscientious than prudent. Does not he
to whom you betray another person, with
whom you was on good terms, know that
you will do as much by him another time ?
He holds you for a villain, yet he hears
what you have to say, draws intelligence
from you, and works his own ends through
your treachery ; for double-dealing men are
useful in what they bring, but care must be



taken that they carry away as little as pos-
sible.

I say nothing to one party that I may
not upon a fit occasion say to the other,
with a little alteration of accent 5 and re-
port nothing but things either indifferent
or known, or what is of common conse-
quence. I cannot allow myself for any
consideration to tell them a lie. What is
trusted with me as a secret, I religiously
conceal ; but I take as few trusts upon me
of that nature as I can ; the secrets of
princes are a troublesome burden to those
who are not interested in them. I am will-
ing that they trust me with little, but that
they rely witli confidence upon what I tell
them. I have always known more than I
desired. One open way of speaking intro-
duces another open way of speaking, and
draws out discoveries like wine and love.
In my opinion Philippides answered king
Lysimachus very discreetly, who asking
him what share of his estate he should be-
stow upon him, "What you will," said he,
" provided it be none of your secrets. " x I
see that every one grumbles and is dis-
pleased if the bottom of such affairs as he
is concerned in be concealed from him, or
that there be any reservation used. For
my part I am content to know no more of
the matter than what it is intended I should
be employed in, nor do I desire that my
knowledge should exceed or constrain my
promise. If I must serve for an instru-
ment of deceit, let it be at least with a salvo
to my conscience. I am not willing to be
reputed a servant so affectionate or so loyal
as to be thought a fit tool to betray any
man. He that is faithless to himself may
well be so to his sovereign. But princes do
not accept of men by halves, and despise
services that are limited and conditional.
There is no remedy for it. I tell them
frankly how far I can go, and no farther ;
for a slave I would not be but with reason,
and yet I could hardly submit to that con-
dition. They also are to blame who exact
from a free man the same subjection and
obligation to their service as they do from
him whom they have made and bought, or
whose fortune depends particularly and ex-
pressly upon them. The laws have rid
me of a great anxiety ; they have chosen
me a fortune and given me a guardian.
Every other superiority and obligation
ought to be relative to that appoint-



1 Plutarch, of Curiosity, cliap. IT.



168



OF PROFIT AND HONESTY.



merit, and to be curtailed. Not that if
ray affection should incline me otherwise,
1 would consent to it immediately. The
will and the desire make a law for them-
selves, but actions are to receive theirs from
public authority. All this procedure of
mine is somewhat different from our com-
mon forms ; it would not be productive of
great effects, nor would it be of long dura-
tion. Innocence itself could not in this
age either negotiate without dissimulation,
or traffic without lying: and indeed public
employments do not at all suit my taste ;
what my profession requires I perform in
the most private manner I can. While I
was but young I was deeply engaged in
business, and succeeded ; but I retired from
it in good time. I have since often avoided
meddling in it, rarely accepted, and never
asked it, turning my back to ambition ;
and if not like the watermen who advance
forward while they look backward, yet I am
not so much obliged to my resolution as
to my good fortune that I was not embarked
in it: for there are ways less displeasing
to my taste, and more suitable to my ability,
by which if she had heretofore called me
to the public service and my own advance-
ment in the world's opinion I know I would
in spite of all my arguments have pursued
them. Such as commonly say in opposition
to what I profess, that what I called free-
dom, simplicity, and plainness in my man-
ners, is art and finesse, and rather prudence
than goodness, industry than nature, good
sense than good luck, do me more honor
than disgrace, but really they make my
subtlety too refined. Whoever has fol-
lowed me close, and pried narrowly into
me, I will give him up the point if he does
not confess that there is no rule in their
school that could answer to this natural
motion, and maintain an appearance of
liberty and license so equal and inflexible
through so many various and crooked
paths, that all their care and ingenuity
could not have carried them through. The
path of truth is but one and simple ; but
that of private advantage, and of the con-
venicncy of the business which a man has
upon his hands, is double, uneven, and
casual. I have often seen these counterfeit
and artificial liberties taken, but for the
most part without success. They are apt
to relish of the ass in JSsop's Fables, which
in emulation of the dog, fawningly clapped
his two fore feet upon his master's shoulders,
for which his master gave him twice the



number of blows with a cudgel, as the dog
had caresses for the like sort of complai-
sance. Id maxime quemque decet, quod est
cujusque suum maxime : 1 " That is most
" becoming to every man, which is most
" natural to him." I am not willing to de-
prive deceit of its due rank ; that would be
mistaking the world. There are vices which
are lawful, as there are many actions either
good or excusable, that are in a strict sense
illegal.

The justice which in itself is natural and
universal, is otherwise and more nobly
regulated than that other particular and
national justice, which is restrained to the
necessity of our state affairs. Veri juris
germanaeque Justitice solidam et expressam
effigicm nullani tenemus : umbra et imagi-
nibus utimur : ' 2 " We retain no solid and
" express model of true law and perfect jus-
"tice; we have only a shadow and faint
" sketch of it" ; insomuch that the sage Dan-
damys, 3 hearing the lives of Socrates, Py-
thagoras, and Diogenes read, esteemed
them to be great personages in every other
respect but in their too great subjection to
the reverence of the laws, for the authority
and support of which true virtue must abate
very much of its original vigor ; and many vi-
cious actions are introduced, not only by their
permission, but also by their persuasion.
Ex senatus-consultis plebisque scitis scclera
exercentur.* "The commission of certain
" crimes is authorized by the decrees of the
" senate and the common people." I follow
the common phrase, which makes a distinc-
tion between things profitable and honest,
so as to call some natural actions, which are
not only useful but necessary, dishonest and
obscene.

But let us proceed in our instances of
treachery. Two pretenders to the kingdom
of Thrace fell into a dispute about their
title. The emperor hindered them 'rom
taking arms ; but one of them under colour
of bringing matters to an amicable issue by
an interview, having invited his competitor
to an entertainment at his house, caused
him to be secured and put to death. 5 Jus-



1 Cicero de Offic. lib. i. cap. 31. * Idem, lib. iii. cap. 17.

8 He was an Indian sage who lived in the time of
Alexander. What Montaigne here says of him is re-
ported by Plutarch, who calls him Pamlamis, in the
Life of Alexander, chap. 20. It is the same in Strabo,
lib. xv. where this Indian philosopher is called Man-
dania. I have taken all this from M. de la Monnoye.

*Suuec. ep. 95. 6 Tacit. Annal. lib. ii. cap. 66.



OF PROFIT AND HONESTY.



169



tice required that the Romans should have
satisfaction for his offence, but there was
a difficulty in obtaining it by the common
forms. What therefore they could not do
lawfully, without a war, and without danger,
they attempted by treachery, and what they
could not do honestly they accomplished
profitably. For this end one Pomponius
Flaccus was pitched upon as a fit instru-
ment. l This man, by dissembled words
and assurances, having drawn the other
into his toils, instead of tha honour and favour
which he had promised, sent him bound
hand and foot to Rome. Here one traitor
betrayed another, contrary to the common
custom ; for they are full of mistrust, and it
is not easy to over-reach them in their own
art ; witness the sad experience we have
lately had of this.

Let who will be Pomponius Flaccus
and there are enough that would ; for my
part, both my word and my faith are like
all the rest, parts of this common body : the
best they can do is to serve the public, and
this I take to be presupposed. But as, should
one command me to take charge of the pa-
lace and the records, or to enter upon the
office of conductor of pioneers, I would say,
that as to the former, it is what I do not
understand, and as to the latter, that I am
called to a more honorable employment :
so likewise, should any one want me to lie,
betray, and forswear myself for some notable
service, much more to assassinate or poison,
I would say if I have robbed or stolen from
any one, send me forthwith to the galleys.
For it is justifiable for a man of honor to
say as the Lacedaemonians did, when they
were just on the point of concluding their
agreement after their defeat by Antipater,
" You may impose as heavy and ruinous
" burdens upon us as you please, but if you
" command us to do things that are shame-
" ful and dishonest you will only lose your
"time." 2

Every one, to be sure, had taken the
same oath to himself that the kings of
Egypt made their judges swear solemnly;
viz. that they would not decree any thing
contrary to their consciences, though they
themselves should command it. 3 In such
commissions there is an evident mark of



1 Idem, tbid. cap. 67.

- Plutarch, in his Differences of the Flatterer and the
Friend, chap. 21.

3 Plutarch, in the remarkable sayings of the ancient
kings, <fec., towards the beginning.



ignominy and condemnation : and whoever



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