Advice to a Daughter is in General Books.
1658. Writted by John Heydon Author Astrologer 1629-1667 (28) under the pseudonym Eugenius Theodidactus.
Titled. ADVICE to a DAUGHTER. In opposition to the ADVICE to a SONNE. OR Directions for your better Conduct through the various and most important Encounters of this life.
LONDON. Printed by J. Moxon, for Francis Cossinet, at the Golden Anchor in Tower Street, at Mincheon lane end. 1658.
To the Excellently accomplished Gentleman, Mr. CHARLES BRVTON, Cittizen, and Marchant Adventurer of London, &c.
Much Honoured SIR.
I Here trouble you with a short discourse; It is no Laboured peece, and indeed no fit Present; But I beg your acceptance. The first time I ever saw the Advice to a Son, was the last day of Hillary Term; I read it, and found it full of bitterness against Women; And indeed they were shamefully Wronged and Abused. I shuff'd up this Answer in sixteen dayes, for your spare hours; in which you may ma•• your self Merry• fur it was born this last V•cation, when I did not so much Labour, as Play. I found him a Nameless over-worn Wittal, that five times before I espied him, had adulterated the Press, and abused Ladies and Gentlewomen; And no Man durst answer him: for so he reported. I will see what, and who, this diseased Maccabee is; This (as yet) unconquered enemy of Women; and defie him: and prove his discourse, and hard censure of Ladies and Gentlewomen like the blasts of Rams horns before the walls of Jericho; that throwes down the Reputation of Ladies at one utterance.
I know you are Great; but yet there is a better title, you are Good. I might have fixed this peece to a Pinacle, made the Dedication High; But to what purpose? Greatness is a thing I cannot admire in others; because I desire it not in my self: It is a proud folly, a Ceremonious Fancy: There is nothing necessary in it: for most men live without it: And I may not apply to that which my Reason declines, aswell as my Fortune. The truth is, I know no use of Hooghen Mooghens, and Tituladoes: if they are in a humour to give, I am no Begger to receive: I look not for any thing, Sir, but what the Learned are inriched withall, Judgement and Candor: you are a true friend to both, and to my third self. And for my present boldness, you may thank your self; you taught me this familiarity, and you may see what unprofitable affections you have purchased. I propose nothing for your instruction; Nature hath done her part; and I would make you my Judge, not my Pupill: if therefore amongst your serious and more dear Retirements, you can allow this trifle but some few minutes, and think them not lost; you will perfect my ambition, you will place me (Sir) at my full height; and though it were like that of Statius amongst Gods and Stars; I shall quickly find the Earth again, and with the least opportunity present my self,
Your most humble Servant. Eugenius Theodidactus:
March 26. 1658.
To the Book, and Reader.
ANd now my Book, let it not stop thy flight,
That thy just Author is not Lord or Knight.
I can define my self, and have the Art
Still to present one face, and still one heart.
But for nine years some great Ones cannot see
What they have been, nor know they what to bee.
What though I have no Rattle to my name?
Do'st hold a Simple Honesty no Fame?
Or art thou such a stranger to the Time,
Thou canst not know my Fortune from my Crime?
Go forth, and fear not: some will gladly bee
Thy Learned friends, whom I did never see.
Nor shouldst thou fear thy welcome, thy small Price
Cannot undo 'em, though they pay Excise.
Thy Bulks not great; it will not much distress
Their Empty Pockets, but their Studies dress.
Th'art no Galeon, as books of burthen bee,
Which cannot ride but in a Library:
Th'art a fine thing, and little: it may chance
Ladies will buy thee for a new Romance:
And this perhaps may sometimes move their Laughter
That thou art call'd Advice unto a Daughter.
Oh how I'le envy Thee! when thou art spread
In the bright Sun-shine of their eyes, and read
With breath of Amber, Lips of Rose, that Lend
Perfumes unto thy leaves, shall never spend.
When from their white hands they shall let thee fall
Into their Bosome, (which I may not call
Ought of Misfortune) thou dost drop to rest.
In a more pleasing place, and art more blest
There, in some silken soft fold thou shalt lye
Hid like their Love, or thy own Allegorie.
Nor shouldst thou grieve thy Language is not fine,
For sixteen dayes hath made this Book of mine.
I could have voy•'d thee forth in such a Dress
The Spring had been a slut to thy express;
Such as might file the rude unpolish'd Age,
And fix the Readers Soul to every Page.
But I have us'd a course and homely strain,
Because it suits with Truth, which should be plain.
Last, my dear Book, if Readers Look on thee
As on three Suns, or some great Prodigie;
And swear to a full point, I do deride
All other Sects, to publish my own pride.
Tell such they lye. And since they love not thee,
Bid them go Learn some High-shoe Heresie.
Nature is not so simple but she can
Procure a sollid Reverence from Man:
Nor is my Pen so lightly plum'd that I
Should serve Ambition with her Majesty.
Tis Womens Vertue I do tell abroad,
For Women-Angels are sent us from the Lord.
This Truth makes mee Come forth, and having writ
This her short Scaence, I would not stifle it;
For I have call'd it Childe, and I had rather
See 't torn by them, then strangled by the Father.
To his Daughter.
I Have forborn to set your name on the fore head of these Aphorisms; not that I am ashamed either of them, or you: but because your Enemy and his Son, have done so before me. And such old men as these I accept against, as a generation of decrepit and withered understandings: People whose Minds, could they be looked into, would prove infinitely more monstrous then their Bodies; and such as like Monkies, having either gnawed away or lost their tayles, read Lectures and Advices to young ones to cut theirs too.
First, we give to all the Vertues the habits and visages of Women: and of all the Vertues Truth is the best; (for Truth is the mother of Justice, and Justice (they say) comprehends them all: Yet she is naked, though she love the publike, and hate Corners: And is it not very fit that all the Sex should imitate such an excellent Pattern and Mistress? In this light humour I am in, I think we can do no greater right to Women, then to bring them to be Judged by one rule. And since every Woman Judges her self the fairest; shee that would be backward to this Arbitriment, would be diffident of her self; and consequently a Rennegade from her Sex.
Next, take care of the subtle devices of Men: and consider their designes, which may be more Loving to your Portion, then your Person: All people having not the same Conceptions of beauty; which is as hatefull to an Ethiopian, as Black is to us: not considering that Women uncloathed are all alike; and the Conceptions about the harmony and measures of her Body differ not.
Yet I advise you not to follow the example of a Princess appearing in a Lawn smock, to be veiwed by Embassadours, as towards a Marriage• said, she would put off that too, if there were any necessity. But custome hath made Cloaths decent. The deeds of our Ancestors, are not to be slighted; for they left them for our example; and used in their days abundance of cheaper Artificiall Ornaments, from Shels, Feathers, and Stones. Behold the Sun and Moon, and all the Glorious Batalia of Heaven; and they appear as the Great God and Nature made them; to which God and Nature, I am Servant and Secretary.
This will not produce such infinite provocations and incitements to lust as the Advice to a Son fondly conceives. But I say not. For I dare say, that what by Painting, what by the Looseness and Change of Garments, what by these gaudy inventions of dressings, that flexure and fracture of gate, the deformity is hidden: unless to a very nice eye, there is much more fuell added, then if all went with no more Mantles, Scarfes, Gowns, and Hoods, then Nature thrust them into the World with, viz. Hair hanging loosely down, or else carelesly gathered up in a Fillet; and perhaps some little kind of Cover, that might restrain, the Virginall flower, from being too much gazed at, and blown upon. Follow not (Daughter) their fashion that uncover the parts of their chiefest Beauty, as their Face, Neck, Breasts and Hand, as the Index to the more secret object; which without a signe may be by the guide of humane Nature sound out: So that Women do endeavour in part to break that restraint which bides the rest of their Glory, and to set forth their delicate Dresses, plaited and weaved with such variety, their Ivory Necks, their Harmonious Faces, their Milkie Spherical Breasts, and their Melting Hands: my advice is to shew All, or Nothing. Daughter though some Crazy ignorant old welch Owens, with powder dried bones, fit to be burnt, with diseases, hath endeavoured to deceive you from the same Species, with Men; and one madder then they, denie you Souls; and so have many others: yet when we shall oppose Holy Scripture, which makes Man the Consummation of the Creation; and you the Consummation of Man: if I should but instance those particular indulgencies of Nature which John Heydon reckons unto you, and those peculiar advantages of composition and understanding he ascribes to you; or if I should mention that of Eugenius Theodidactus, that friend to the Fraternity of the Rosie Cross, and beleeved to be inspired, and so thought a Rosie Crusian; he (I say) calls you Fountains and perfections of Goodness: Whom (Daughter) can we imagine to be so insensible as not to be presently touched with the delicate Composure and Symmetry of Womens Bodies? The sweetness and killing Languors of their eyes? The mestange and harmony of their Colours? The happiness and spirituallity of their Countenance? The Charms and allurements of their mind? The Air and Command of their smiles? Men are meerly rough cast, bristly, and made up of tough Materials: and if they approach any thing near Beauty, do so much degenerate from what they are.
How generall is the affection of old Men to Women? some I have known of three score to Marry Girles of sixteen. Soloman was no fool; and it is well known, how your sex tempted him; that his power Commanded you to fulfill his desires. And I only advise you to Wisdome and Vertue. And if any Clumsy old doting Wittall, blinded with Ignorance, and by his own Wofull Experience shall protest against the Sufficiency of these, or any thing else I have written, or shall write for your better instructions, that may perhaps hereafter be made publike; He wilfully goes about to Councel his Master; and adventures to make the Sun stand still; and to run another race. For your sake I set Pen to Paper, to teach you how to live; that to Die you need not fear.
The World is full of deceit: trust not therefore the hot love of a Stranger: for if you will expose your self to all, you are Slighted: and a Common Wife is hated.
Beauty affords Contentment; Riches are meanes to cure a weak Estate: Honour illustrates all comes nigh it. If you Marry thus, you are happy; And then to find Worth, Carriage Gesture and Grace, in your choyce, it perfects felicity.
These things in this Book are written for your instruction; hopeing you will excuse my faults; which through hast and other infirmity are Committed. A more Leasure time may perfect what is here Charactered in Water Colours: And you may easily perceive, that I consulted not at all with advantaging my Name, or wooing publike esteem by what I now write. I know there was much of Naked Truth in it; And is a Caution given to you, from
Your Loving Father. &c. in non-Latin alphabet 〉
March 26 1658.
ADVICE to a DAUGHTER. In opposition to the ADVICE to a SONNE.
WHo is this that darkneth Councel, by Words without Knowledge? Come thou Embrio of a History, thou Cadet of a Pamphleteer; Gird up thy loins like a man, for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me.
But now I think upon it, I will allow thee time to breath, after thy late Bawling those fragments of a Prophane Atheistical old Pamphlet, intituled Thy Advice to a Son, and speak a few words to my Reader.
Reader, I have met with a Thing; it is not named, It speaks like a Man, and yet abuses Women: It is the first Tincture and Rudiments of a VVriter, dipped as yet in the preparative Blew, like an Almanack well-wilier.
To call him an Historian, is to Knight a Mandrake; to say he is a Politician, is view him throw a Perspective, and by that gross Hyperbole to give the reputation of an Engineer to a maker of Mouse-traps. He is such an one as Queen Mabbs Register: One, who by the same figure that a North Country Pedlar is a Marchant man, you may stile an Author: There goes his Affection, which is the Heliotrope to the Sun of Honour; and hath long since abjured his God, Religion, Conscience, and all that shall interpose and skreen him from those Beams that may ripen his wishes and aims into injoyments.
And now have at his Advice to a Son. Come thou Relique of a Politician, that five times at least (by I know not what Ignis fatuus hast adulterated the Presse: And have you so much Policy in your Advice to your Son that the Readers mistake your Name, and beleeve you to be the Tripple-headed Turn-key of Heaven?
Behold his Directions. For your better Conduct through the various and most important Encounters of this Life: under the five general Heads (I will cut off) and you will think him the Triple-headed Porter of Hell. Ladies, Fear him not, I am your Champion; Little David will fight Goliah.
I scorne to kill him, I'le only box him, kick and cudgel him for his boldness: and let him know, He is the better man who hath besiedged and taken a Town, not plotted to rob an Orchard, and for all his subtleties was VVhipt.
But I must read first, and write afterwards. Here comes the Pedee of a Romancer, with his Advice to a Son; 'Tis the Indorsement to the Packet, like a fine knot to a fine bundle: Come, Let's open in the name of good sence: Oh! How it smells like a diseased peece of an Apocripha taken out of Guzman's rags, or burnt bones.
VVhat saies this Father to his Son?
1. Though I can never pay enough to your Grandfathers Memory, for his tender Care in my Education; yet I must observe in it this mistake; that by keeping me at Home, where I was one of my young Masters, I lost the advantage of my most docile time. For not undergoing the same Discipline, I must needs come short of their Experience that are bred up in Free Schools; who by plotting to rob an Orchard &c.
1. Here he complains of the losse of those times which I could wish I had not known. Daughter, I would have you as good as I could fancy one: and three things I would have you know; First, Your own misery; secondly, Gods Love; thirdly, Your thankfull Obedience: your misery. How just? Gods Love, How free? How undeserved? Your thankfullnesse, How due? How necessary? Consideration of one, successively begets the apprehension of all: Your condition shews you his Love; His Love calls for your acknowledgement: Want makes a Bounty weightier.
2. As your Education hath been befriended by a foundation; so you may endeavour a requital, if God makes you able:
However let not the contrary afflict you, since it is observed by some, that his Name who burnt the Temple of Diana, out-lasted theirs that built it. &c.
2. Answer, Of Education I say thus much, It is seen every where: If you travel but from White Hall to Exeter, or from a Village to an Accademy; or see but a Horse well manag'd, and another resty in his own fierceness. Dyet no question alters much; even the giddy Airyness of the French, I shall rather impute to their Dyet of VVine and wild Foul, then to the difference of their Clime; it being so neer an adjoyner to ours. And▪ in England, I beleeve our much use of Strong beer, and gross Flesh is a great occasion of dregging our Spirits, and corrupting them till they shorten life. Age is also a changer; Man hath a Zenith, as well in VVit as in ability of Body; He grows from sence to Reason, and then again declines to Dotage, and to imbecillity: Youth is too young in brain; and Age again, does drain away the Spirits: Passion blunts the edge of Conceit, and where there is much sorrow the mind is dull and unperceiving; the Soul is oppressed, and lies languishing in an unsociable loneliness, till it proves stupid and inhumane: Nor do these more alter the Mind then the Body.
VVeigh every Mans Education as his means have been: A man may look in vain for Courtship in a Plow man, or Learning in a Mechanick. VVho would expect a lame man should run swiftly? Or that a sick man should deliver an Oration with a Grace and cheerfullness? If you find any man failing in his Manners, you must consider his Means, before you censure the Man: and one that is short of what he might be, by his sloath and negligence, you must think as justly blameable, as he that out of his Industry hath adorned his behaviour above his Means, is commendable.
3. Let not an over-passionate prosecution of Learning (saith he) draw you from making an honest improvement of your Estate; as such do who are better read in the bignesse of the whole Earth, then in that little spot left them by their friends, for their support.
3. I Answer. (You clumsie Epithite) Nothing wraps a Man in such a mist of Errors, as his own Curiositie in twisting himself into things above him. How happily do they live, that know nothing but what is necessary? Your knowledge doth but shew your Ignorance; Your most studious scrutenies is but a discovery of what the Spirit knew before it was imbodied: You find the effect, but not the Cause.
Besides, If I must describe a meer Scholer, He is an intellegible Asse, or silly fellow in Black, that speaks Sentences more familiarly then Sence, and Latine better then his Mother Tongue; But is a stranger to no Countrie but his own; He is Ambitious, and tells great stories of himself, to no purpose, for they are commonly ridiculous, be they true or false; doubtless he is a Graduate; but if ever he get a Fellowship, he hath then no Fellow: in spight of all Logick he dares swear and maintain it, that a Cuckold and a Towns-man are Termini Convertibiles, though his Mothers Husband and the Father of the Advice to a Son's Father, be Aldermen in the singular Number: He cannot but wrangle with harmless VVomen: His Tongue goes alwaies before his VVit, like the Gentleman Usher, but abundance faster: He is long-winded, and able to speak more with ease, than any man can endure to hear with Patience: University Jests are his universal Discourse; and his News the Demeanour of the Proctors: His phrase (the Apparel of his Mind) is made of divers shreds like a Cushion, and when it goeth plainest it hath a rash out-side, and Fustian Linings; the current of his Speech is clos'd with an Ergo: and what ever be the Question, the Truth is on his side: 'tis a wrong to his Reputation to be ignorant in any thing, and yet he knows not that he knows nothing: He gives Directions for Husbandry from Virgils Georgicks, for Cattle from his Bucolicks: He would be thought as great a Duellist as Heydon, and as stout a Fighter: He speaks of Warlike Stratagems from his Eucides, or Ceasars Commentaries: He orders all things, and thrives by none: He is led more by his Ears then his Understanding, taking the empty sound of words for their true sence; and does therefore confidently say, that Aera Pater was the Father of Hereticks; Rodolphus Agricola a substantial Farmer; and will aver that Systimo's Logick doth excell Kickermans: His ill luck is not so much in being a Fool, as in being put to such pains to express it to the World; for what in others is Natural, in him (with much adoe) is Artificial: His Poverty is his Happiness, for it makes men beleeve he is an honest man: That Learning that he hath was put in backward, like a Clister; and is now like ware mis-laid in a Pedlars pack, he has it, but knows not where it is. And this is the Index of a Man, and the Title page of his Father: a new Religion in Morality; much in Profession, nothing in Practise.
4. His Father sayes, A mixt Education suits Imployment best: Scholers and Cittzens by a too long plodding in the same track, have their Experience seldom dilated beyond the Circle of a narrow Profession, &c.
I Answer, There is no Syntax between a Cap of Maintainance, and a Helmet: Although we have caution enough against these mixt multitudes in sad and frequent experience; these latter Ages groaning under an Exorbitant Clergy. Yet such is the easiness and Credulity of the Vulgar, such the subtilety and dissembling sanctity of the Imposture, that he meets with as great a pronesse in the People to be cozen'd, as he brings willingnesse to delude. For it is a true Observation, that these Clancular Sermocinators bear as great sway in Popular minds, and make as deep impression upon their Consciences, as the Loyalists does when they impose upon their blind Layty.
I suspect this Clerical Statist, that makes him that cannot deceive, ignorant how to live.
5. I have observed in Collegiate Discipline, &c:
I Answer, Here he fancies the Habite of the Jesuites, as the principal men to perfect Patience and Obedience in Youth; when I suspect him in the dispensation of Sacred Oracles, who (as it is said) tampers with Secular affairs of no Concernment to his Auditors Souls: but this Discipline is the common skreen of his private designe.
6. If a more profitable Imployment pull you not too soon from the Vniversity, &c.
I Answer, Here he would have his Son make some inspection into Physick, which will make him welcome: If he know but how to make a Suppository to please a Lady, he will be reverenced beyond a Holy Father, or the Vicar of the Parish.
7. Do not prosecute beyond a superficial Knowledge, any Learning that moves upon no stronger Legs, then the tottering basis of Conjecture is able to afford it, &c.
I Answer, Learning is like a River (Sir,) whose head being far in the Land, is at the first Rising little, and easily veiwed, but still as you go it gapeth with a wider Bank; not without pleasure and a delightfull winding, while it is on both sides set with Trees, and the Beauties of various Flowers; but still the further you follow it the deeper and broader it is, till at last it in waves it self in the unfathom'd Ocean. In many things you may sound Nature in the shallows of her Revelations; we may trace her in her second Causes; but beyond them we meet with nothing but the Misteries of the holy company of un-bodied Souls, which have, and some not yet have been bodied: and this puzzels your clog'd Spirit, and dazels your minds dim eyes which peeps through the Body.
8. Huge Vollumnes, like the Ox roasted whole in Bartholmew Fair, may proclaim plenty of Labour and Invention; but afford lesse of what is delicate, savory, and well concocted, then smaller peeces, &c.
I Answer, Idle Books (like you Natural Knave, and Artificial Dissembler) are nothing else but corrupted Tales in Ink and Paper: And indeed your vicious Books sent abroad, makes him that reads them Conscious of a double injury; they being in effect, like that bruitish sin of Adultery; for if One reads, Two are catch'd. He that Angles in these Waters, is sure to strike the Torpedo; that instead of being his Food, confounds him. Besides the time ill spent in them, a twofold reason shall make you refrain, both in regard to your own Soul, and pitty unto him that made them: for if you be corrupted by them, the Composer of them is mediately a cause of your ill; and at the day of reckoning (though now dead) must give an account for it: because you are corrupted by his bad example, which he leaves behind him: so you become guilty by receiving; he by thus conveying this lewdnesse unto you: He is the Theef, you the Receiver: and what difference makes our Law betwixt them? If one be cut off, the other dyes; both perish. Write not like him, lest you hurt those that come after you: Read not his Books, lest you augment his mulct. A lame Hand is better then a lewd Pen. And his foolish Sentences dropt upon Paper, in Advice to his Son, hath set Folly on a Hill, and is a Monument to make Women Infamous eternal.
9. As the Grave hides the fault of Physick, &c.
I Answer, Here he commends modern Authors, which I should more doubt of Knavery, who for the most part subborn Scripture to attest or incite to illegal actions: as of kin to that which John Heydon calls very fitly Religio sum Scelus, Religious wickedness.
10. Be conversant in the Speeches, Declarations and Transactions, occasioned by the last Wars.
I Answer, He adviseth you to such Pamphlets would hardly passe Muster with a Scotch Stationer, in a sieve full of Ballads and Godly Bewks, full of such Reports as contradict Truth, and defame a good Title, as well as most of our Modern Noble men: Those Went of Greatness: The Body Politicks most Peccant humours, they blistered into Lord.
11. A few Books well Studied, &c.
I Answer, Some men read Books (you crampt Compendium) as Gentlemen use Flowers; only for delight and smell, to please their fancy, and refine their Tongue: others like the Bees, extract only the Hony, the wholsome precepts; and this alone they bear away, leaving the rest, as little worth: the one of these instructs his mind, and the other tells what he hath Learned; it is pitty they should be divided. He that hath worth in him, and cannot express it, is as a Chest keeping a rich Jewel, and the Key lost▪ Concealing Goodness is Vice. A good stile with wholesome matter, is a fair Woman, with a vertuous Soul; which attracts the eyes of all: The good man thinks Chastly, and loves her Beauty for her Vertue; which he still thinks more fair, for dwelling in so fair an out-side. The Vicious man hath Lustfull thoughts; and he would for her Beauty, fain destroy her Vertue: but comming to solicite his purpose, finds such Divine Lectures from her Angels Tongue, and those delivered with so sweet a pleasing Modesty, that he thinks Vertue is dissecting her Soul to him, to ravish man with a Beauty which he dream'd not of: so he could curse himself, for desiring that lewdly, which he hath learned since, only to admire and reverence. Thus he goes away better, that came with an intent to be worse. Quaint phrases on a good subject, are baits to make an ill man Vertuous. How many men seeking these vilely, have found themselves Convertites?
12. It is an Sphorisme in Physick, &c.
I Answer, This concerns the Wits of the Town, which he advises his Son to Converse with, to refine his Spirit, better then Books: It may be so; and I beleeve they will sell him Wit dearer then Stationers their Books: And we know what they say of Bought Wit.
13. Propose not them for Patterns, who make all Places rattle where they come, with Greek and Latine, &c.
I Answer, (Anonimus) I should believe him a foolish jugler, that sprinkels his words in any vulgar Mother-tongue, publickly with murmurs against the lawful Magistrate, Ecclesiastical or civil, unless he hath some better ground for his dislike, then a thwarting his humour in things controversal and adiaphorous.
14. Follow not the tedious practice of such as seek wisdom onely in learning, &c.
I answer; He is Pedantically conceited of his invention which is so inroll'd in Policy, that it drops black and malignant influences upon Tradition.
15. Spend no time in reading, much less writing strong lines, &c.
I answer: Why so? (pray Sir) is it not worth your time to know the mysterious truth of natural Astrology, and the strange and strong lines of the learned Moses? but there is no superstition in Politicks more odious, then to stand too much upon niceties.
16. Books flatly writ deface your style; the like may be truly objected to weak preachers, &c.
I answer; The late King Charles indeed had a pen more majestical then the Crown he lost, (but not as you say from experience the Mistress of fooles) for he trusted in God, and it was he that gave him a wise and an understanding heart, (if not) others have known as much by experience as he that are not as he was, truly inspired; The excess which is in the defect of preaching has made the Pulpit flighted, I mean the much bad Oratory we find it guilty of: It is a wonder to me how men can preach so little in so long a time, as if they thought to please by their vain Tautologies; I see no reason that so high a Princess as Divinity is, should be presented to the people in such sordid rags of the tongue; nor he which speaks from the father of Languages, should deliver his Embassage in an ill one.
A man can never speak too well, where he speaks not too obscure: long and distended clauses are both tedious to the ear, and difficult for their retaining: a sentence well couched takes both the sense and the understanding; I love not those cart-rope speeches, that are longer then the memory of man can fathom; I see not but that Divinity, put into apt significants by Iohn Cleveland, might ravish as well as his Poetry: The weightier lines men finde upon the Stage, I am perswaded have been the Lures to draw away the Pulpit followers: we complain of drowsiness at a Sermon, when a Play of a doubled length leads you on still with alacrity; but the fault is not in our selves, if we saw Divinity acted, the gesture and variety would as much invigilate. But it is too slight to be personated by humanity, the Stage feeds both the ear and the eye; and through this latter sense the soul drinks deeper draughts; things acted possess us more and are more retainable then the passable tones of the tongue: Besides, here we meet with more composed language, the Dulcia Sermonis put into fine phrases, though it is to be lamented such wits are not set to the right tune, and consorted to Divinity, who without doubt, well deckt, will cast a far more radiant lustre, then those obscene scurrilities that the Stage presents us with, though spangled in their gaudiest tire.
At a Sermon well drest, what understander can have a motion to sleep? Divinity well ordered casts forth a bait, which angles the soul into the ear; and how can that close, when such a guest sits in it? They are Sermons like Eugenius Philalethes Philosophy, which lead the eyes to slumber; and should we hear a continued Oration, upon such a subject as the Stage treats on, or Clevelands Poems in such words as we hear some Sermons, I am confident, it would not onely be far more tedious, but nauseous and contemptible. The most advantage they have of other places is in their good lines and actions; For it is certain, Cicero and Rossius are most complete, when they both make but one man; fit words are better then fine ones; I like not those that are injudiciously made, but such as be expressively significant, that lead the mind to something besides the naked term: and he that speaks this, must not speak every day. A kemb'd Oration will cost both sweat and the rubbing of the brain, and kemb'd I wish it not frizeled nor curled: Divinity should not lasciviate: unwormwooded jests I like well; but they are fitter for the Tavern, then the Majesty of a Temple: Christ taught the people with authority, gravity becomes the Pulpit: I became a writer, by spending more oyl then wine, this is too fluid an Element to beget substantials; wit procured by wine, is for the most part like the sparkling in the glass, when tis filling; they brisk it for a moment, but dye presently: I admire the valour of some men that before their studies dare ascend the Pulpit, and do there take more pains then in their Library; but having done this, I wonder not that they there spend sometimes two hours but to weary the people into sleep; and this makes fugitive Divines, like cowards to run away from their Text: words, matter, and gesture with admirable tongue complete a Sermon. I know God hath chosen by weak things to confound the wise, yet I see not but in all times a washed language hath much prevailed, and even the Scriptures were penned in Hebrew, a tongue of deep expression, wherein every word hath almost a Metaphorical sense, which does illustrate by some allusion. How Political is Moses in his Pentateuch, how philosophical Iob, how massy and sententious is Solomon in his Proverbs, how quaint and flamingly amorous in his Canticles? how grave in his Ecclesiastes? How were the Jews astonied at Christs Doctrine? how Eloquent a pleader is Paul? He that reads the Fathers, shall find them written as if with a crisped pen.
I grieve that any thing so excellent as Divinity should fall into such a sluttish handling; though other interposures do eclipse her, yet this is a principal: I never knew a good tongue wanted ears to hear it, nor a well-pend Book want a friend to read it. Confections that are cordials are not the worse but the better for being gilded. Paul saith, Let no man be dark and full of shadow; there is a way to be pleasingly plain, and some have found it: Philosophy or Poetry may come in and wait to please the guests with a Trencher at a Banquet.
17. The way to Elegancy of style, is to imploy your pen upon every errand, &c.
17. This Paragraph I have answered already, and do presume, that person is very rare, that can boast of such an absolute method of speech as Angels have, whilest he is amongst mortals, but that there will be now and then some words fall from him, and some phrases, which confess humanity, and require candor; some leaves in the volume of the wisest Book, pen'd by the fairest life are legenda cum venia.
18. When business or complement calls you to write letters, &c.
I answer, It happens sometimes, you may write to Princes: should you speak to him with a Complement, that the Court makes better Scholars then the University: For when the King vouchsafes to be a Teacher, every man blushes to be a non-proficient.
19. Avoid words and phrases, &c.
I answer, Happy will it be if you keep base company, and learn to loath their errours in your self. I commend to you for your immitation, the lines of the late King, and the Proverbs of Solomon, and his grave Ecclesiastes, all very well pen'd.
20. The small reckoning I have seen made, &c.
I answer; No book is so meanly pen'd but that there is something in it that may teach you what you knew not before, and if you write books, let your subject be truth, and it written plainly; for though it may prove fruitless to many, because not understood, nor regarded, yet some few may be of that Spirit, as to comprehend
Samuel Pepys' Diary 22 December 1662. 22 Dec 1662. Six or seven o'clock and so up, and by the fireside read a good part of "Advice to a Daughter", which a simple coxcomb (33) has wrote against Osborne, but in all my life I never did nor can expect to see so much nonsense in print.
Thence to my Lord's, who is getting himself ready for his journey to Hinchingbroke. And by and by, after eating something, and talking with me about many things, and telling me his mind, upon my asking about Sarah (who, it seems, only married of late, but is also said to be turned a great drunkard, which I am ashamed of), that he likes her service well, and do not love a strange face, but will not endure the fault, but hath bade me speak to her and advise her if she hath a mind to stay with him, which I will do. My Lord and his people being gone, I walked to Mr. Coventry's (34) chamber, where I found him gone out into the Park with the Duke (29), so the boy being there ready with my things, I shifted myself into a riding-habitt, and followed him through White Hall, and in the Park Mr. Coventry's (34) people having a horse ready for me (so fine a one that I was almost afeard to get upon him, but I did, and found myself more feared than hurt) and I got up and followed the Duke (29), who, with some of his people (among others Mr. Coventry (34)) was riding out. And with them to Hide Park. Where Mr. Coventry (34) asking leave of the Duke (29), he bid us go to Woolwich. So he and I to the waterside, and our horses coming by the ferry, we by oars over to Lambeth, and from thence, with brave discourse by the way, rode to Woolwich, where we eat and drank at Mr. Peat's, and discoursed of many businesses, and put in practice my new way of the Call-book, which will be of great use. Here, having staid a good while, we got up again and brought night home with us and foul weather. So over to Whitehall to his chamber, whither my boy came, who had staid in St. James's Park by my mistake all day, looking for me.
Thence took my things that I put off to-day, and by coach, being very wet and cold, on my feet home, and presently shifted myself, and so had the barber come; and my wife and I to read "Ovid's Metamorphoses", which I brought her home from Paul's Churchyard to-night, having called for it by the way, and so to bed, [Continues tomorrow]