« PreviousContinue »
nour ones in a daye maye beholde them," specially as they be expressed in latine by the said poete, unto whose eloquence no translation in englisshe may be equiualent. But yet were it better to can them by harte; ye, and if they were made in the fourme of a ditie to be songen to an instrument, O what a sweete songe wolde it be in the eres of wise men? For a meane musician mought therof make a righte pleasant harmonie, where almoste euery note shulde expresse a counsayle vertuous or necessary.
Ye haue nowe harde what premeditations be expedient before that a man take on him the gouernaunce of a publike weale. These notable premeditations and remembrances shulde be in his mynde, whiche is in autoritie, often tymes renewed. Than shall he procede further in furnisshyng his persone with honourable maners and qualities, wherof very nobilitie is compacte ; wherby all other shall be induced to honour hym,
• Gibbon, speaking of this poem, says that the lessons conveyed in it 'might compose a fine institution for the future prince of a great and free nation.'-Decline and Fall of Rom. Empire, vol. iv. p. 22, note.
Whatever may have been the reason for such neglect, certain it is that no entire translation into English of the works of Claudian appeared until the present century. Cowley translated, or rather imitated, a few of the minor pieces, but it was not until 1817 that the whole appeared in an English dress; and Mr. Hawkins, the translator, in his preface, says: 'It is believed that no general version has ever appeared: no industry, at least on the present occasion, could obtain a sight of any portion beyond a few extracts.' And he adds, in confirmation of our author's experience,' 'In attempting to fill the chasm in British literature, it is vain to speak of the difficulties which presented themselves; these can be best ascertained by such as are the most able to judge of the execution.' Gibbon, weighing the merits and defects of Claudian in an impartial balance, says: It would not be easy to produce a passage that deserves the epithet of sublime or pathetic to select a verse that melts the heart or enlarges the imagination,' but at the same time admits that he was endowed with the rare and precious talent of raising the meanest, of adorning the most barren, and of diversifying the most similar topics.'-Decline and Fall of Rom. Empire, vol. iv. p. 65, ed. 1854.
This is perhaps borrowed from the following definition of Erasmus : 'Vera nobilitas est honesta fama virtute parta.'-Opera, tom. v. col. 939, ed. 1704. Both Erasmus and our author probably had in their minds the saying of Juvenal: Nobilitas sola est atque unica virtus.'-Sat. viii. 20.
loue hym, and feare hym, whiche thinges chiefely do cause perfecte obedience.a
Now of these maners will I write in suche ordre as in my conceipt they be (as it were) naturally disposed and sette in a noble man, and soonest in hym noted or espied.
The exposition of maiestie.
IN a gouernour or man hauynge in the publyke weale some greatte authoritie, the fountaine of all excellent maners is Maiestie; which is the holle proporcion and figure of noble astate, and is proprelie a beautie or comelynesse in his countenance, langage and gesture apt to his dignite, and accommodate to time, place, and company; whiche, like as the sonne doth his beames, so doth it caste on the beholders and herers a pleasaunt and terrible reuerence. In so moche as the wordes or countenances of a noble man shulde be in the stede of a firme and stable lawe to his inferiours. Yet is nat Maiestie alwaye in haulte or fierce countenaunce, nor in
Tertullian employs the same combination to express the obedience of the early Christians to the temporal power. 'Christianus nullius est hostis, nedum Imperatoris: quem sciens à Deo suo constitui, necesse est ut et ipsum diligat, et revereatur, et honoret.'-Ad Scapulam, cap. 2. Migne ed. tom. i. col. 700.
'Quicumque regno præest, ante omnia cogitare debet quibus rebus quibusque studiis regnum conservetur: his meditatis, planèque agnitis, declinare omnia ea debet quæ nocitura sunt quæve Majestatem non augent. Qui enim agit quæ fugienda sunt, aut negligit quæ sunt agenda, pariter de Regis dignitate decedit.’—Patrizi, De Regno et Regis Instit. lib. iv. tit. 3.
• Erasmus warns his ideal prince against alienating the affections of his subjects, and exhorts him to embrace every opportunity of gaining them. Sive versetur in publico, semper aliquid agat quod ad rem communem faciat, hoc est nusquam non Principem agat. Quoties autem prodit, advigilet ut ipse vultus, incessus, et præcipue
speche outragious or arrogant, but in honourable and sobre demeanure, deliberate and graue pronunciation, wordes clene and facile, voide of rudenesse and dishonestie, without vayne or inordinate ianglinge, with suche an excellent temperance, that he, amonge an infinite nombre of other persones, by his maiestie may be espied for a gouernour. Wherof Ulisses. we haue a noble example in Homere of Ulisses, that whan his shippe and men were perisshed in the see, and he uneth escaped, and was caste on lande upon a coste where the inhabitantes were called Pheacas, he beinge all naked, sauynge a mantell sente to hym by the kynges doughter, without other apparaile or seruant, represented suche a wonderfull maiestie in his countenance and speche, that the kynge of the countray, named Alcinous, in that extreme calamitie, wisshed that Ulisses wold take his doughter Nausicaa to wyfe, with a greatte parte of his treasure. And declaryng the honour that he bare towarde him, he made for his sake. diuers noble esbatements and passetimes. The people also wondringe at his maiestie, honoured hym with sondrye presentes; and at their propre charges and expenses conuaied him in to his owne realme of Ithaca in a shippe of wonderfull beautie, well ordinanced and manned for his defence and saulfe conducte. The wordes of Alcinous, wherby he declareth the maiestie that he noted to be in Ulisses, I haue put in englisshe, nat so wel as I founde them in greke, but as well as my witte and tonge can expresse it.
sermo talis sit, ut populum reddat meliorem, memor, quidquid fecerit aut dixerit, ab omnibus observari cognoscique.'—Instit. Prin. Christ. p. 131.
'Libertas loquendi Principem commendat, licentia autem vitanda est. enim urbanitas aut comitas habetur, sed procacitas potiùs aut scurrilitas. Denique Regis cura in sermone præcipua esse debet, ut sensum animi dilucidè aptèque exprimat: quæ virtus eo major esse apparebit, quo minus cupiditatis ac studii habere videbitur.'-Patrizi, De Regno et Reg. Instit. lib. ii. tit. 12. Erasmus says: 'Ex oratione certius quàm ex amictu Principis animus cognoscitur. Spargitur in vulgus quicquid ab ore Principis fuerit exceptum. Proinde summam oportet esse curam, ut ea quæ loquitur virtutem sapiant, et mentem bono Principe dignam præ se ferant.'-Instit. Prin. Christ. p. 94, ed. 1519.
Alcinous to Ulisses.
Whan I the consider, Ulysses, I perceiue
And that thy mynde is good, it sheweth in thy face.
The estimation of maiestie in countenaunce shall be declared by two examples nowe ensuinge.
To Scipio, beinge in his manour place, caled Linterium, came diuers great theues and pirates, only to the intent to se his persone of whose wonderfull prowesse and sondry victories they harde the renome. But he nat knowynge but that they had come to endomage hym, armed hym selfe and suche seruauntes as he than had with hym, and disposed them aboute the imbatilmentes of his house to make defence; whiche the capitaynes of the theues perceiuyng, they despeched the multitude from them, and lainge a parte their harneise and waipons, they called to Scipio with a loude voice, sainge that they came
Ω Ὀδυσεῦ, τὸ μὲν οὔτι σ' εΐσκομεν εἰσορόωντες,
Σοὶ δ ̓, ἔνι μὲν μορφὴ ἐπέων, ἔνι δὲ φρένες ἐσθλαί.
Hom. Od. xi. 362–366.
Ad Africanum eundem, in Literninâ villâ se continentem, complures prædonum duces videndum eodem tempore forte confluxerant. Quos cum ad vim faciendam venire existimasset, præsidium domesticorum in tecto collocavit ; eratque in his repellendis et animo et apparatu occupatus. Quod ut prædones animadverterunt, dimissis militibus abjectisque armis, januæ appropinquant, et clarâ voce nuntiant Scipioni, "Non vitæ ejus hostes, sed virtutis admiratores venisse: conspectum et congressum tanti viri quasi cæleste aliquod beneficium expetentes : proinde securum se nobis spectandum præbere ne gravetur." Hæc postquam domestici Scipioni retulerunt, fores reserari, eosque intromitti jussit; qui postes januæ, tanquam aliquam religiosissimam aram sanctumque templum, venerati cupidè Scipionis dexteram apprehenderunt; ac diu deosculati, positis ante vestibulum donis, quæ Deorum immortalium numini consecrari solent, læti quod Scipionem vidisse contigisset, ad lares reverterunt.'- Val. Max. lib. ii. cap. 10, § 2.
nat as enemies, but wondringe at his vertue and prowesse desired only to se hym, whiche if he vouched saufe, they wolde accounte for an heuenly benefite. That beinge showed to Scipio by his seruauntes, he caused the gates to be sette wyde open, and the theues to be suffered to entre, who kyssynge the gates and postes with moche reuerence, as they had bene of a temple or other place dedicate, they humbly approched to Scipio, who, visaged them in suche fourme that they, as subdued with a reuerent drede in beholding his maiestie, at the last ioyfully kyssyng his hande often tymes, whiche he benignely offered to them, made humble reuerence, and so departed, layinge in the porche semblable offrynges as they gaue to their goddes, and furthe with retourned to their owne habitations reioysinge incredibly that they had sene and touched a prince so noble and valiaunt.
It is no litle thynge to meruaile at, the maiestie showed in extreme fortune and misery.
The noble Romane Marius, whan he had bene vii times Consul, beinge vainquisshed by Scilla, after that he had longe hidde him selfe in marises and desarte places, he was finally constrayned by famine to repaire to a towne called Minturne, where he trusted to haue bene soucoured. But the inhabitantes, dredyng the crueltie of Scilla, toke Marius and put him in to a dungeon. And after sente to slee hym their commune hangeman, whiche was borne in Cimbria, a countray some time destroyed by Marius. The hangeman beholding the
'C. etiam Marius in profundum ultimarum miseriarum abjectus, ex ipso vitæ discrimine, beneficio majestatis emersit. Missus enim ad eum occidendum in privatâ domo Minturnis clausum servus publicus, natione Cimber, et senem, et inermem, et squalore obsitum, strictum gladium tenens, aggredi non sustinuit: sed claritate viri occæcatus, abjecto ferro, attonitus inde ac tremens fugit. Cimbrica nimirum calamitas oculos hominis perstrinxit: devictæque suæ gentis interitus animum comminuit; etiam Diis immortalibus indignum ratis, ab uno ejus nationis interfici Marium, quam totam deleverat. Minturnenses autem majestate illius capti, compressum jam et constrictum dirâ fati necessitate, incolumem præstiterunt: nec fuit his timori asperrima Syllæ victoria, ne in eos conservationem Marii ulcisceretur ; cum præsertim ipse Marius eos à conservando Mario absterrere posset.'—Val. Max. lib. ii. cap. 10, § 6.