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That none in boasting can out vie him,
For if you'd dare him, it is odds,
L'ENVOY OF THE POET.
Perfection in one science none can boast;
That o'er all excellence he rules the roast.
* Falstaff's relation to the Prince of Wales, may be so well applied to these fools, that I cannot refrain from quoting his words:
Jlen. O! monstrous! eleven buckram men grown out of two!
Fal. But, as the devil would have it, three mis-begotten knaves in Kendal-green, came at my back, and let drive at me; (for it was so dark, Hal, that thou couldst not see thy hand).
Hen. These lies are like the father that begets them, gross as a mountain, open, palpable,
-Why, how could'st thou know these men in Kendalgreen, when it was so dark thou couldst not see thy hand? Come, tell us your reason: what say'st thou to this!“
A un grand bugiardo, ci vuol buona memoria.
THE POET'S CHORUS TO FOOLS. Come, trim the boat, row on each Rara Avis, Crowds flock to man my Stultifera Navis.
OF AMBITIOUS FOOLS.
Cupido dominandi cunctis affectibus flagrantior est,
As sensual appetites in men we find,
* The folly of this renowned chief is handed down to us, who blubbered in sooth, because he had no more worlds to conquer, or rather because he could cut no more throats; for I should like to know, if these great men, your Cæsars, Hannibals, Pompeys, &c. &c. were any other than a set of licensed robbers and murderers; therefore, well has a reve, rend divine said,
One murder made a villain;
To kill, and numbers sanctify'd the crime. What has not ambition done, and what will it not undertake, to attain its object? read but the annals of the world, nay, even look to the simple relation of Spanish barbarity in Peru and Mexico; in short, there is not a state but has had to show its aspiring fools. Yet how must the braggart Lewis XIV. have been humbled, who in the progress of
Ambition is a ladder* rear'd on high,
his glory, caused a medal to be struck, representing (in allusion to himself) the sun in its meridian splendour; but having received a check from the arms of King William, at that time Prince of Orange, a Dutchman executed a similiar coin, with this addition, that the prince of Orange was represented as Joshua commanding the Sun to stand still. Such are the reverses which high vaulting ambition must look to; such proved the downfal of a Wolsey, and may such be the declension and the fate of that Imperial fool, whose ambition even now grasps at the attainment of universal sway! Abbraccia tal volta la fortuna coloro, che vuol poi affogare.
* It is of little consequence, whether or not the poet had his eye upon Shakspeare's simile in the above line, as the beauty of our dramatist's words it is hoped, will plead the annotator's excuse for their introduction here:
'Tis a common proof,
Ambition is a gilded bubble bright,
Ambition's every thing so long as sought, a While wish'd for matchless, when possess'd but
naught; 'Tis sunshine, darkness, gold and worthless dross, The wise man's scarecrow, and the idiot's loss.*
* With all deference to the ideas of our bard, I must nevertheless alter a word in one of the lines given by him to King Richard,
Great fools have greater sins, &c. For certainly, the more inordinate the ambition, the greater the fool who aspires to its attainment; when even throwing in the back ground all those break neck casualties, of which history adduces so many instances, the very summit of these species of fools' glory, will not enable him to stifle the yearnings of conscience, to ward off old age, to shut out pain, and escape from the jaws of death; if such be the case, I will not only say cui bono? but equally answer to the cui male? of any fool that shall propose the question-by stating, that the rapacious mind can enjoy no ease, and