Imagens da página

Castle is (as they saie) the better halfe gone; and Brancepeth is not unlike to follow after. The auntient tower at Durham stande (like a worthie champion) upon the top of a mounte, and viewes the pleasant river of Weere, and the adjacent countrie; yet (mee thinks) the stones of her battlement are in danger to kisse the grounde. No one object afflicts mee more, then to beholde how the Abbey-Church, the Colledge and Bayley at Durham, have bene girt about woh a stronge wall of stone, which (with the commoditie of the river) made the place impregnable; and yet is now pittyfully ruined. What shall I saie of the Hie Castle at Newcastle, or of Tynemouth Castle (the strongest sea-fort of this kingdome)? Nothing, but that it grieves mee to see them as they are, and to heare what they have bene. To these I might adde Dunstanburgh, Bewick, Bamburgh, and many other Castles, of wo" nothing remaineth but the ould walles; not one of these (wthout some repaire) is able to keepe out an enemye an houres space; and yet all (of them) have bene stronge & invincible fortes, and might be made such againe, if they were diligently repaired. And these Castles which are in repaire, (as Chillingham, Witton, Skipton, Horneby in Yorkshire, and others) are so weakned by the breaking out of great windowes (some whereof would receive a horse and a cart), that they can afforde (almost) as litle comfort, or strength to their countries, as other meane halles. Thus noble (and gentle) men to make their houses more glorious, and to delight the eyes of some curious gallante, (or being seduced by the spirit of error,) have not onely robbed themselves, but their countries also, of the consolation which such edifices doe afforde, et fenestram ruina patéfecerunt. This is a theame weh I cannot insist upon any longer, without confused and carefull cogitaôns; I will therefore let it rest, least the conceite thereof take that (part of) reason from mee, which is left to pswade mee, that there be some left in our realme, who seriously consider upon (and pittie) our wofull estates. Now from this wo" hath bene written let us make this application, that all these things are inflicted upon us (by the will of God) to punish our sinnes; and if wee doe not instantly repent, wee shalbe in danger to taist of worse things then these; from the which evills the Lord deliver us all !


As the defacing and pulling downe of our fortresses and castles ministreth manyfolde causes of teares and lamenta&ns to all true Brittaines, so the decaie of martiall affaires maie produce the like (sad) effectes; for admitt that a man were as stronge as Sampson, Hercules, or any other, (whose valoures are celebrated upon record to posteritie,) to what purpose serveth a stout heart, whout a prudent & discreete heade? Parva sunt foris arma, nisi est consilium domi, and as Cicero saith, fortis animus et magnus in homine non perfecto plerunq, ferventior est. Whereby it appeareth, that wisedome must lead valor, and not be led by it. But admitt that a man be both wise and couragious, yet if hee want practise, hee is still impfect; and if hee have these three, and yet want the fourth (viz. an able bodie), hee is still defective. Then I collect (according to my simplicitie of judgement), that these foure things are requisite in a martiall man: a stoute heart, a good understanding, pfect skill and knowledge in the use and excercise of his armes; and an able & stronge bodie.

For the first of these (I meane a noble heart), there is small doubt, but that wee have millions of men in England and Scotland, who are absolute and incomparable in this respect, and their discretion in all affaires (touching the world, their freinde, or themselves,) is also absolute, and verie good; but if they come to the use of armes, they are (for the most pt) altogether composed of ignorance, and knowe nothing: and the reason is, because they were never (or very seldome) educated therein. Are other country-men better then wee herein 2 Yea, alas! earperientia docet, they are awaked and rowsed up by the terrible God of warre, and must either practise or perish; and so (it is doubtfull that) wee must be forced to doe, or else our estates may be more dangerous then theirs. For if any of our professed enemyes saw that wee repaired our castles and fortresses, had our trayned and untrained bande expert in martiall affaires, and that the people of our nation addicted themselves willinglie to the defence of their countrie, wee neded not to feare, that they durst presume to approach unto (or assaile) a kingdome as stronge as their owne. No, no, alas! it is flying, as the saying is, that makes followers; and a naturall coward, if hee be pswaded that hee copes wth a more dastard then himselfe, will turne a Hercules in valoure. A certaine Apologer yeilde us a pretty tale to that effect. Many dogs of the cittie, espying a countrie dog sneaking wohin their jurisdiction, and fearing (or envying) that hee should pticipate with them in the cittie dainties, conspired to destroie him; and thereupon (all at once) came upon (and assalted) him. What could hee doe? Hercules him selfe avoided two, but hee had a multitude of assailants; therefore hee betakes himselfe to flight, and they follow as faste. Hee (wth muche adoe) escapes their jawes, till hee was gotten out of their liberties, (and seing nothing to be expected from them but sodaine & most cruell death,) resolves to die valiently; and then hee turnes upon them, and gives the foremost of them sharpe entertainment, and shewes his teeth to the rest; but they pceiving how hee was resolved, (albeit they were extraordinarie eager upon him when hee fled,) all stand still, and not one of them durst approach or come neare him. The morall of this Apologie implieth thus much, that it is more safe to resist, then give way to an enemie; and it further gives us this profitable observačón and rule, that (if wee shall shew our selves couragious and nobly minded Brittaines, who will either vanquish our foes, or perish, and rather die for our Prince and countrie wth honoure, then flye whdisgrace), all our enemies, be they never so potent, will keepe at home, not daring to assaile us or our kingdome. But if wee shall seeme fearefull of them, (albeit to feare wisely doth deliver from feare,) and give waie unto them, what better can wee expect from them but meere destruction, or miserable captivitie (which is worse)? Nay, it may be doubted, (although wee be as stout and couragious as ever any were,) that if wee shall suffer our mindes to be overwhelmed will atheisme, prophanenes, scisme, or hipocrisie; our bodies to be corrupted, deformed, or disabled, by drinking, drabbing, gullying, phantasticall apparaile, or idlenes (the mother and nurse of all these); our castles and fortresses to ly waist & uselesse; our armes & weapons to consume won rust, and the excercise of martiall discipline to perish ; that wee are no better then sheepe fitt for the slaughter, but maie be compared to the young steer wo" fed in a pleasant medowe, was fatt, faire, negligent, and insensible of future miserie, and derided the poore labouring oxe. Well, (as the saying is, Eritus acta probat,) what was the end of this his scornefull jollitie? Hee was sently led to the sacrifice, and had his throate cutt. Mee thinkes, the application of these things is so lamentable, that I tremble to write them ; but the love and dutie which I owe to my countrie, drawes mee on to touch our imperfections, that they maie (in tyme) be cured ; and therefore (if I go somewhat out of square) I trust I shalbe more worthie of pardon. Wee had lately a publique fast for the preservačán of our kingdome; and God hath blessed it, with adding one yeare to our daies. But what becomes of us? Are wee any better, then wee weere before the same 2 No, wee are in these pts absolutely (I might saie infinitely) worse. The most pt of us in our lives are litle better then Epicures and gluttons; in our religion, meere carnall professo"e, hipocrites, & worse (using externall sanctitie, onely as a cloake to shadowe our worldlie pollicies and projects); in our conceites, litle better then vaine glorious asses, fooles, or madde men; and in our apparaile (all) transformed from English to French, Ilanders of Ree, apes or worse. I might here shew, how great men forgetting that they are (or should be) fathers of the comón-wealth, and neglecting CAMI). SOC. I)

their honoe, dignities, discent, and vertues, live in all lycentiousnes, and oppresse their tenants worse then in any age heretofore. I would to God that they would be pleased to consider, homines hominum caust generandos esse (as Cicero writeth), that one man was made to helpe (not to destroie) another; and that, although the great fishes in the sea live by devouring the lesser, yet amongst the children of God and tender hearted country-men, it ought not to be so. An Apologer tells us, how a country-man travailing to the markett, drove before him a horse and an asse; the horse was idle (and caried nothing,) but the asse was sore loaden; and being depressed will his great burthen, humbly requestes the horse to ease him of a part thereof, otherwise hee is but deade. The horse (thinking that this petićon proceded from the idle disposión of the asse) tells him flatlie hee will not, and w'all seemes to deride him; whereupon (being unable any longer to sustaine his insupportable burthen) the asse falles downe, and dyes instantlie. What gaines the horse by his death A two-folde vexation & miserie; not onely to beare the whole burthen (which the asse bare), but also the skinne of the deade assel and then he cries, alas ! wretch that I am, I had better have done thus & thus, &c. The morall hereof teacheth, that wee are not borne for our selves onely, but to helpe others, wo" are oppressed; ortus nostri (as Plato saith) partem sibi patria rendicat, partem amici; and therefore if exactions, inhansements of rents, and oppression shall (as it is too likely) undoe the común people of our lande, and make them unable to resist an enemy or aide a freind, who seeth not, that even the greatest men shall (too late) deplore the same, and if their countrie perish, they shall lish therewith ? from wo" evill the God of mercie defende us all ! Oh! but (mee thinkes) some maie saie, that the comón danger of the whole kingdome should infuse mercie into the hearts of landlordes, or, at least, the godlie and substanciall reasons, wo" were contained in the bookes w" were sett out for the fast, should have wrought so powerfullie upon mens heartes, that all should have taken notice thereby to have

« AnteriorContinuar »