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nominations, without deserts and noble acts, which are the balsam of our memories, the entelechia and soul of our, subsistencies ? To be nameless in worthy deeds exceeds an infamous history. The Canaanitish woman lives more happily without a name than Herodias with one. And who had not rather have been the good thief than Pilate ?
But the iniquity of oblivion blindly scattereth her poppy, and deals with the memory of men without distinction to merit of perpetuity. Who can but pity the founder of the pyramids ? Herostratus lives, that burnt the temple of Diana ; he is almost lost that built it. Time hath spared the epitaph of “Adrian's horse, confounded that of himself. In vain we compute our felicities by the advantage of our good names, since bad have equal durations; and Thersites is like to live as long as Agamemnon, without the favour of the everlasting register. Who knows whether the best of men be known, or whether there be not more remarkable persons forgot, than any
that stand remembered in the known account of time? The first man had been as unknown as the last, and Methuselah's long life had been his only chronicle.
Oblivion is not to be hired; the greater part must be content to be as though they had not been; to be found in the register of God, not in the record of
A great part of antiquity contented
their hopes of subsistency with a transmigration of their souls. A good way to continue their memories, while having the advantage of plural successions, they could not but act something remarkable in such variety of beings, and enjoying the fame of their past selves, make accumulation of glory unto their last durations. Others, rather than be lost in the uncomfortable night of nothing, were content to recede into the common being, and make one particle of the public soul of all things, which was no more than to return into their unknown and divine original again. Egyptian ingenuity was more unsatisfied, contriving their bodies in sweet consistencies, to attend the return of their souls. But all was vanity, feeding the wind, and folly. The Egyptian mummies, which Cambyses or time hath spared, avarice now consumeth; mummy is become merchandize, Mizraim cures wounds, and Pharoah is sold for balsams.
In vain do individuals hope for immortality, or any patent from oblivion in preservations below the
Men have been deceived, even in their flatteries, above the sun, and studied conceits to perpetuate their names in heaven. The various cosinography of that part hath already varied the names of contrived constellations; Nimrod is lost in Orion, and Osyris in the Dog-star. While we look for incorruption in the heavens, we find they are but like
the earth; durable in their main bodies, alterable in their parts: whereof beside comets and new stars, perspectives begin to tell tales; and the spots that wander about the sun, with Phaeton's favour, would make clear conviction:
There is nothing strictly immortal, but immorá tality. Whatever hath no beginning, may be confident of no end. All others have a dependent being, and within the reach of destruction, which is the peculiar of that necessary essence that cannot destroy itself, and the highest strain of omnipotency, to be so powerfully constituted, as not to suffer even from the power of itself. But the sufficiency of christian immortality frustrates all earthly glory, and the quality of either state after death makes a folly of posthumous mémory. God, who can only destroy our souls, and bath assured our resurrection, either of our bodies or names, hath directly promised no duration. Wherein there is so much of chance, that the boldest expectants have found un-' happy frustration; and to hold long subsistence seems but a scape in oblivion. But man is á noble animal, splendid in ashes, and pompous in the grave, solemnizing nativities and deaths with equal lustre, nur omitting ceremonies of bravery in the infamy of his nature.
To subsist in lasting monuments, to live in their productions, to exist in their names, and prædicaVOL. III.
ment of chimeras, was large satisfaction unto old expectations, and made one part of their elysiums. But all this is nothing in the metaphysics of true belief. To live indeed is to be again ourselves, which being not only an hope, but an evidence in noble believers, it is all one to lie in St. Innocent's * church-yard, as in the sands of Egypt; ready to be any thing in the extacy of being ever, and as content with six foot as the moles of Adrianusta
Tabesne cadavera solvat
Lucan. The Urn-burial is the work of a very singular, but original mind. Brown delighted to live in the conjectural world, and lived in it so long, that conjectures and things impossible to be known, assumed the place of realities and things knowable. The finding of these sepulchral urns furnished him with an admirable occasion for the exercise of his eccentric and solemn genius. The deathy dwelling among pots and urns and gravestones and embalments, was exactly suited to call forth his grand and rambling mind; those curious considerations
* In Paris, where bodies soon consume.
+ A stately mausoleum, or sepulchral pile, built by Adrianus in Rome, where now standeth the castle of St. Angelo.
of death, of all that is to be known, and all that is not to be known concerning it, which so strangely fill up the latter half of this little work. A great part of these strange thoughts are contained in the above extracts.
4. Brown moreover wrote a brief account of Iceland, from information probably derived from Theodore Jonas, his friend, who lived in that island. These were the only works published in his life-time.
His posthumous works were numerous, the first collection of which was published by Dr. Tennison, afterwards archbishop of Canterbury, under the title of “Miscellaneous Tracts," containing, 1. Observations upon several Plants mentioned in Scripture. 2. Of Garlands, and coronary or garland Plants. 3. Of the Fishes catched by our Saviour with his Disciples after the Resurrection. 4. An Answer to certain Queries relating to Fishes, Birds, and Insects. 5. Of Hawks and Falconry, ancient and modern. 6. Of Cymbals and other musical Instruments. 7. Of Ropalic or gradual Verses. 8. Of Languages, particularly the Saxon. 9. Of artificial Hills, Mounts, and Burrows in many places of England, 10. Of Troas, what place is meant by that name. Also the situation of Sodom, Go