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Such an unwasted strength I cannot boast,
Yet now my years are eighty-four almost :
And tho’ from what it was my strength is far,
Both in the first and second Punic war,
Nor at Thermopylæ, under Glabrio,
Nor when I Consul into Spain did go ;
yet I feel no weakness, nor hath length Of winters quite enervated my strength; And I my guest, my client, or my friend,
55 Still in the courts of justice can defend : Neither must I that proverb's truth allow, “ Who would be ancient must be early so.' I would be youthful still, and find no need To appear old till I was so indeed.
66 And yet you see my hours not idle are, Tho' with your strength I cannot mine compare : Yet this Centurion's doth your's surmount; Not therefore him the better man I count. Milo, when ent’ring the Olympic game, With a huge ox upon his shoulder came: Would
the force of Milo's body find, Rather than of Pythagoras's mind ? The force which Nature gives with care retain, But when decay'd 'tis folly to complain. 70 In Age to wish for youth is full as vain As for a youth to turn a child again. Simple and certain Nature's ways appear, As she sets forth the seasons of the year :
So in all parts of life we find her truth,
-75 Weakness to childhood, rashness to our youth; To elder years to be discreet and grave, Then to old Age maturity she gave, (Scipio) you know how Massinissa bears His Kingly port at'more than ninety years;
80 When marching with his foot he walks till night, When with this horse he never will alight; Tho'cold or wet his head is always bare; So hot, so dry, his aged members are. . You see how exercise and temperance
85 Ev'n to old years a youthful strength advance. Our law (because from Age our strength retires) No duty which belongs to strength requires. But Age doth many men so feeble make, That they no great design can undertake ; 90 Yet that to Age not 'singly is, apply'd, But to all man's infirmities beside. 'That Scipio who adopted you did fall Into such pains he had no health at all, Who else had equallid Africanus parts, 95 Exceeding him in all the liberal arts. Why should those evrors then imputed be To Age alone, from which our youth's not free? Ev'ry disease of Age we may prevent, Like those of youth, by being diligent. 1100 When sick, such moderate exercise we use, And diet as our vital heat renews;
And if our bodies thence refreshment finds,
Then must we also exercise our minds.
If with continual oil we not supply
Our lamp, the light for want of it will die.
Tho' bodies may be tir'd with exercise,
No weariness the mind could e’er surprise.
Cæcilius, the comedian, when of Age
He represents the follies on the stage,
They're credulous, forgetful, dissolute;
Neither those crimes to Age he doth impute,
But to old men, to whom those crimes belong.
Lust, petulence, rashness, are in youth more strong
Than Age, and yet young men those vices hate 115
Who virtuous are, discreet, and temperate :
And so what we call dotage seldom breeds
In bodies but where Nature sow'd the seeds.
There are five daughters and four gallant sons
In whom the blood of noble Appius runs,
With a most num'rous family beside,
Whom he alone, tho' old and blind, did guide :
Yet his clear-sighted mind was still intent,
And to his bus'ness, like a bow, stood bent :
By children, servants, neighbours, so esteemid, 125
He not a master but a monarch seem'd.
All his relations his admirers were;
His sons paid rev’rence, and his servants fear:
The order and the ancient discipline
Of Romans did in all his actions shine. 130
Authority kept up, oldAge secures, :in
Whose dignity as long as life endures.
Something of youth I in old Age approve,
But more the marks of Age in youth I love.
Who this observes may in his body find 135
Decrepit Age, but never in his mind.
The seven volumes of my own reports,
Wherein are all the pleadings of our courts ;
All noble monuments of Greece are come
my hands, with those of ancient Rome. 140
The Pontifical and the Civil law
I study still, and thence orations draw :
And, to confirm my memory, at night
What I hear, see, or do, by day, I still recite.
These exercises for my thoughts I find; 145
These labours are the chariots of my mind.
To serve my friends the senate I frequent,
And there what I before digested vent;
Which only from my strength of mind proceeds,
Not any outward force of body needs ; 150
Which if I could not do, I should delight
On what I would to ruininate at niglit.
Whoin such practices their minds engage,
Nor fear nor think of their approaching Age;
Which by degrees invisibly doth creep,
Nor do we seem to die but fall asleep.
THE THIRD PART.
Now must I draw my forces 'gainst that host
Of pleasures which i? th’sex of 'Age are lost.
O thou most high transcendent gift of Age!
Youth from its folly thus to disengage,
And now receive from me that most divine
Oration of that noble Tarentine*,
Which at Tarentum I long since did hear,
When I attended the great Fabius there.
Ye Gods ! was it man's nature, or his fate,
Betray'd him with sweet pleasure's poison d bait?
Which he, with all designs of art or pow'r,
Doth with unbridled appetite'devour :
And as all poisons seek the noblest part,
Pleasure possesses first the head and heart;
Intoxicating both by them, she finds,
And burns the sacred temples of our minds,
Furies, which reason's divine chains had bound,
(That being broken) all the world confound;
Lust, Murder, Treason, Avarice, and hell
Itself broke loose, in Reason’s, palace dwell:
Truth, Honour, Justice, Temperance, are fled,
All her attendants into darkness led.
But why all this discourse? when pleasure's rage
Hath conquer'd reason, we must treat with Age.
Age utidermines, and will in time surprise 25
Her strongest forts, and cut off all supplies;
* Archytas, much praised by Horace.