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out he who is sluggish and defers everything to the last moment of execution must needs walk every step as it were amidst briars and thorns, which catch and stop him.” — Tr. of De Aug., IX. Spedd. (Boston), 257.
And Orlando, groping with old Adam in this “ uncouth forest,” almost dead “ for food,” meeting the Duke, speaks
" Orl. Speak you so gently? Pardon me, I pray you:
You touch'd my vein at first: the thorny point
And know some nurture." - Act 11. Sc. 7. Things here were steep, rough, thorny, overshadowed with foliage and melancholy boughs, and rather precipitous and impassable to the traveller. Orlando introduces the old man Adam thus :
" There is an old poor man,
I will not touch a bit.” — Act II. Sc. 7. And while he is gone to find him out, the Duke and Jaques enter into that famous and very sage discourse upon the Seven Ages of the life of man, taking a wide and deep view of the subject. The Duke begins thus :
“ Duke S. Thou seest we are not all alone unhappy:
Wherein we play in." Jaques, who has already climbed by regular succession the height of things to a station serene, where he has a prospect of the order of nature and the errors of men, on this universal theatre, and has been a traveller through the universal variety, proceeds to deliver himself of his latest con
templation on the ages of man, in the following manner, which may be compared with the Essay of the Vicissitude of Things (first printed in 1625), which was derived in part from the History of Life and Death, namely:
" In the uth of a state arms do flourish; in the middle age of a state, learning; and then both of them together for a time; in the declining age of a state, mechanical arts and merchandize. Learning hath its infancy, when it is almost childish; then its youth, when it is luxuriant and juvenile; then its strength of years, when it is solid and reduced [solidiores et exactiores "); and lastly, its old age, when it waxeth dry and exhaust [“ postremo senectus earum obrepit, cum siccæ et exhaustæ fiunt, manente tamen garrulitate”]; but it is not good to look too long upon these turning wheels of vicissitude, lest we become giddy."
Take, now, the speech of Jaques, with the passages interspersed by way of commentary, thus :" Jaq.
All the world 's a stage,
His Acts being seven ages." [There were four ages of a state. “ Meanwhile, the mind also hath certain periods, but they cannot be described by years.". Hist. of Life and Death.
“ While states and empires pass many periods." — Masque.
“ At first, the Infant,
Unwillingly to school”: (“Learning, too, hath its infancy”; “then its youth, when it is luxuriant and juvenile."
“ The ladder of man's body is this, to be conceived, ... to suck, to be weaned, to feed upon pap.”. Hist. of Life and Death.]
“And then the Lover,
Full of wise saws and modern instances, –
And so he plays his part": [-" then succeeds the manly age, when it becomes more solid and exAct," says the Latin.)
“ The sixth age shifts
And whistles in his sound": [—"and lastly, its old age, when it waxeth dry and exhaust," or, as the Latin reads, "Lastly, its old age creeps on, when it becomes dry and exhaust, garrulity only remaining.”]
“ Last scene of all,
Act II. Sc. 7. [“ But it is not good to look too long upon these turning wheels of vicissitude, lest we become giddy.”]
Here, there is resemblance in the thought, manner, and word, but not any absolute identity: the similitude is rather distant and remote, as we should expect to find it in writings so different in character, even the subject being not the same. As will be seen, the Latin translation comes nearer to the very language of the poetry than the English original of the Essay; and upon a close study, it is pretty evident that, in the scientific study of the “ Differences of Youth and Old Age," and in the “ History of Life and Death,” may be found the actual first origin of both the poetry and the prose. The general ideas are certainly very similar, the difference of the subject in the Essay necessarily occasioning some variations and omissions of particulars. The manner is nearly the same in both, and the turn of expression, and use of words, is alike in both ; as for instance, the words creep, manly voice and manly age, severe and exact, yarrulity and childish treble, this strange eventful history and the turning wheels of vicissitude. And then we have the same order and succession of the like ideas as far as they
go, with that difference of diction, and greater amplitude, which the nature of the subject, the exigencies of verse, and the poetic style demanded.
Jaques exhibits a very remarkable liking for the fool Touchstone,
“Who laid him down, and bask'd him in the sun,
In good set terms, and yet a motley fool;". but when he heard him moralize upon the time, he laughed a whole hour by his dial,
“ That Fools should be so deep-contemplative." And well he might; for this fool's brain is crammed with observation, his head is full of instances, and he appears, like many of this author's fools, to have much knowledge in many arts, though “ill-inhabited”:
"Jaq. This is the motley-minded gentleman, that I have so often met in the forest: he hath been a courtier he swears.
Touch. If any man doubt that, let him put me to my purgation.” Then follows a sharp piece of satirical criticism upon Vincentio Saviolo's code of honor; but what is more particularly to be noted in this connection is, that the moralizing Jaques, who understands so well the many parts which man plays on the universal theatre, considering the wisdom “which he vents in mangled forms," is ready to exclaim :"Jaq.
O, that I were a Fool!
Duke S. Thou shalt have one.
It is my only suit:
To blow on whom I please: for so fools have.” - Act II. Sc. 7. Here is certainly a very good reason why this author should be so much in the habit of putting the profoundest conclusions of his philosophy into the mouths of his clowns and fools; and in a larger view, it may have been for a some
In that age,
what similar reason that such a writer should choose the
Give me leave
If they will patiently receive my medicine.”. Act II. Sc. 7.
more, but that I know, the more one sickens, the more at ease he is; and that he that wants money, means, and content, is without three good friends: That the property of rain is to wet, and fire to burn: That good pasture makes fat sheep; and that a great cause of the night is lack of the sun: That he that hath learned no wit by Nature, nor Art, may complain of good breeding, or comes of a very dull kindred.
Touch. Such a one is a natural philosopher." — Act III. Sc. 2. Next, the dispute on good manners and the manners of courtiers and shepherds winds up with a challenge for instances :
“Touch. Instance, briefly; come, instance." — Act III. Sc. 2. And this is followed by a call for 6 a better instance," " a more sounder instance," and “ a mended instance,” very much after the manner of our natural philosopher himself:
"Jaq. Is not this a rare fellow, my lord ? he's as good at anything, anıl
yet a Fool.
Duke S. He uses his folly like a stalking-horse, and under the presentation of that, he shoots his wit."
So says Bacon to Essex, “You discourse well Quid igitur agendum est ? I will shoot my fool's bolt, since you will have it so."
Jaques had been a traveller, too, and his sadness was of a peculiar kind :
“Ros. They say you are a melancholy fellow.