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He has reason enough to do his business, and not enough to be idle or melancholy. He seems to have the punishment of Nebuchadnezzar, for his conversation is among beasts, and his talons none of the shortest, only he eats not grass, because he loves not sallets. His hand guides the plough, and the plough his thoughts, and his ditch and land-mark is the very mound of his meditations. He expostulates with his oxen very understandingly, and speaks gee, and ree, better than English. His mind is not much distracted with objects; but if a good fat cow come in his way, he stands dumb and astonished, and though his haste be ver so great, will fix here half an hour's contemplation.
His habitation is some poor thatched roof, distinguished from his barn by the loop-holes that let out smoke, which the rain had long since washed through, but for the double ceiling of bacon on the inside, which has hung there from his grand-sire's time, and is yet to make rashers for posterity. His dinner is his other work, for he sweats at it as much as at his labour ; he is a terrible fastener on a piece of beef, and you may hope to stave the guard off sooner.
His religion is a part of his copyhold, which he takes from his landlord, and refers it wholly to his discretion; yet if he give him leave, he is a good Christian, to his power (that is), comes to church in his best clothes, and sits there with his neighbours, where he is capable only of two prayers, for rain and fair weather. He apprehends God's blessings only in a good year, or a fat pasture, and never praises him, but on good ground. Sunday he esteems a day to make merry in, and thinks a bagpipe as essential to it as evening prayer, where he walks very solemnly after service with his hands coupled behind him, and censures the dancing of his parish.
His compliment with his neighbour is a good thump on the back, and his salutation commonly some blunt curse. He thinks nothing to be vices but pride and ill husbandry, from which he will gravely dissuade the youth, and has some thrifty hob-nail proverbs to clout his discourse. He is a niggard all the week except only market-day, where, if his corn sell well, he thinks he may be drunk with a good conscience. He is sensible of no calamity but the burning a stack of corn, or the overflowing of a meadow, and thinks Noah's flood the greatest plague that ever was, not because it drowned tbe world, but spoiled the grass. For death he is never troubled, and if he get in but his harvest before, let it come when it will, he cares not.
(SELDEN was a lawyer of distinction in the reign of James I. He took a prominent part in the political movements of the times, and was one of the firmest friends of civil liberty. Neither his political nor his professional engagements prevented his contributing largely to the literature of his age. His principal performances are A Treatise on Titles of Honour, a History of Tithes, and several works on legal and ecclesiastical antiquities, After his death, a collection of his sayings, entitled Table Talk, was published by his amanuensis, who states that he enjoyed for twenty years the opportunity of hearing his employer's discourse, and was in the habit of committing faithfully to writing " the
excellent things that usually fell from him.". It is more by his • Table Talk” than by the works published in his lifetime, that Selden is now generally known as a writer; for though he was a man of great talent and learning, his style was deficient in ease and grace, and the class of subjects which he chose was one little suited to the popular taste. A few specimens from the Table Talk are given.]
Marriage. Marriage is a desperate thing: the frogs in Æsop were extremely wise; they had a great mind to some water, but they would not leap into the well, because they could not get out again.
He that speaks ill of another, commonly before he is aware, makes himself such a one as he speaks against ; for if he had civility or breeding, he would forbear such kind of language.
Humility is a virtue all preach, none practise, and yet everybody is content to hear. The master thinks it good doctrine for his servant, the laity for the clergy, and the clergy for the laity.
There is such a thing as a faulty excess of humility. If a man does not take notice of that excellency and perfection that is in himself, how can he be thankful to God, who is the author of all excellency and perfection ? Nay, if a man hath too mean an opinion of himself, it will render him unserviceable both to God and man.
Pride may be allowed to this or that degree, else a
man cannot keep up his dignity. In gluttons there must be eating, in drunkenness there must be drinking; it is not the eating, nor it is not the drinking, that is to be blamed, but the excess. So in pride.
A king is a thing men have made for their own sakes, for quietness sake ; just as in a family one man is appointed to buy the meat: if every man should buy, or if there were many buyers, they would never agree; one would buy what the other liked not, or what the other had bought before, so there would be a confusion. But that charge being committed to one, he, according to his discretion, pleases all. If they have not what they would have one day, they shall have it the next, or something as good.
Though some make light of libels, yet you may see by them how the wind sits: as, take a straw and throw it up into the air, you shall see by that which way the wind is, which you shall not do by casting up a stone. More solid things do not show the complexion of the times so well as ballads and libels.
[William CHILLINGWORTH is chiefly famous as a controversial writer. There is, however, in addition to his controversial works, a collection of nine sermons, preached by him before Charles I., which has been frequently printed. From one of these is selected the following animated expostulation with his noble hearers :-)
Against Duelling: But how is this doctrine [of the forgiveness of injuries] received in the world? What counsel would men, and those none of the worst sort, give thee in such a case? How would the soberest, discreetest, well-bred Christian advise thee? Why, thus: If thy brother or thy neighbour have offered thee an injury, or an affront, forgive him? By no means; thou art utterly undone, and lost in reputation with the world, if thou dost forgive him. What is to be done, then? Why, let not thy heart take rest, let all other business and employment be laid aside, till thou hast his blood. How! A man's blood for an injurious, passionate speech--for a disdainful look? Nay, that is not all; that thou mayest gain among men the reputation of a discreet, well-tempered murderer, be sure thou killest him not in passion, when thy blood is hot and boiling with the provocation; but proceed with as great temper and settledness of reason, with as much discretion