« PreviousContinue »
These articles wel and substancially grauen in a noble mannes memorie, it shall also be necessary to cause them to be delectably writen and sette in a table within his bedde chamber, addyng to the versis of Claudiane, the noble poet, whiche he wrate to Theodosius and Honorius, emperours of Romea The versis I haue translated out of latine in to englisshe, nat without great studie and difficultie, nat obseruynge the ordre as they stande, but the sentence belongynge to my purpose.
Though that thy powar stretcheth bothe ferre and large, Claudi.
10. King James gave the same advice to his son : 'Next the lawes I would haue you to be well versed in authenticke histories, and in the Chronicles of all nations ; but specialle in our owne histories (ne sis peregrinus domi), the example whereof most neerely concernes you ... By reading of authenticke histories and chronicles, yee shall learne experience by theoricke, applying the by-past things to the present estate, quia nihil novum sub sole. And likewise, by the knowledge of histories, yee shall knowe howe to behaue your selfe to all Embassadours and strangers, being able to discourse with them upon the estate of their owne countrie.' -Bacínıkov Awpov, lib. ii. p. 92. Erasmus recommends the study of history, but with this reservation : 'Jam vero non negaverim, ex historicorum lectione præcipuam colligi prudentiam, verum ex iisdem summam perniciem hauries, nisi et præmunitus et cum delectu legeris.'--Instit. Prin. Christ. p. 84. ed. 1519.
• This passage from Claudian is quoted by John of Salisbury in his Polycraticus, lib. iv. cap. 4, and lib. v. cap. 8, and it is very probable that Sir Thos. Elyot borrowed it at second hand from this source which had supplied him, as we have already seen, with other illustrations. The last three lines are quoted by King James in the second book of his Baoilikdy Awpov, where he impresses upon his son the necessity of setting a good example to his people by his behaviour in his own person and with his servants, “for people are naturally inclined to counterfaite (like apes) their princes' maners.'—Lib. ii. p. 24, ed. 1603.
“Tu licet extremos latè dominere per Indos,
Corrupte desire thyne harte hath ones embraced,
Thou shalte be demed than worthy for to raigne,
What thou mayst do delite nat for to knowe,
Be nat moche meued with singuler appetite,
These versis of Claudiane, full of excellent wisedomes, as I haue saide, wolde be in a table, in suche a place as a gouer
Tu civem, patremque geras. Tu consule cunctis,
De IV. Cons. Hon. 257-302.
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,
• 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.
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 o 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 Rrgis 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. Non 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.