Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

lishing it. Thę tastes of men differ greatly. Some are so morose and sour, and form such absurd judgments, that the cheerful and lively who indulge their genius, seem happier than those who waste their time and strength in authorship. Though their work may be useful or pleasant, instead of being well received, it will be laughed at or censured. Many have no learning, others despise it. One accustomed to a coarse, harsh style, thinks every thing disagreeable which is not barbarous. Our trifling pretenders. to learning, think all slight which is not dressed in obsolete words. Some love only what is old, others only what is their own.

Some are so sour that they can allow no jests, others so dull that they cannot bear any thing sharp; some dread any thing gay and lively, as a man bitten by a mad dog dreadeth water; while others are so light and unsettled, that their thoughts change as fast as their postures. Some again, at their tavern meetings, take upon themselves in their cups, very freely to censure all writers, and superciliously to condemn whatever they do not like. In this they have an advantage like a bald man, who can catch another by the hair without a fear of a return of the compliment; being, as it were, war-proof, from their incapability of receiving an attack. Others are so thankless, that even when well-pleased with a book, they

think they owe the author nothing; and resemble those rude guests, who, when they have been well entertained and their appetites glutted, depart without even thanking their host. Who would put himself to the charge of preparing a feast for palates so nice, tastes so varying, and guests so thankless !

But do you, dear Peter, clear those points with Raphael, and then it will be time enough to consider of publishing. For since I have been at the pains of writing the piece, if he consent to its publication, I shall follow the advice of my friends, and especially yours. Farewell, my dear Peter ; commend me kindly to your good wife, and continue to love me as you used to do, for be assured I love you more and more daily.

Vol. II.

UTOPIA.

BOOK I.

Henry. VIII, the redoubted king of England, a prince endowed with all the virtues becoming a great monarch, having some important disputes with Charles, prince of Castile, sent me ambassador to Flanders to treat of and compose these matters. I was associated with and accompanied the incomparable Cuthbert Tonstal, whom the king, to such general satisfaction, lately made master of the rolls. Of him I will say nothing. Not for fear the testimony of a friend should be suspected, but because his learning and virtue are greater than I can do justice to, andi so well known that they need not my commendation, unless, according to the proverb, I would shew the sun with a lanthorn.

Those appointed by the prince to treat with us, met us at Bruges by agreement. They were all worthy men. The

margrave of Bruges was their chief, and the principal mar among them; but George Temse, provost of Casselsee, was esteemed the wisest, and spoke for the rest. Art and nature had combined to make this man eloquent. He was very learned in the law, had a great capacity, and by long practice was become very dexterous at unravelling intricacies. When we had had several meetings without coming to an agreement, they went to Brussels for some days, to know their prince's pleasure; and I, since our business permitted it, went to Antwerp.

While there, among many who visited me, one person was more agreeable to me than any other. It was Ægidius, born at Antwerp, a man of great honour, and of good rank in his native city, though of less than he deserves, for I know not where to find a more learned and a better bred youth. Worthy and intelligent, he is so civil to all, so kind to his friends, and so full of candour and affection, that you will very rarely meet with 'so perfect a friend. He is extraordinarily modest, without artifice, but full of prudent simplicity. His conversation was so pleasant and innocently cheerful, that his company greatly lessened the desire of returning to my country' and family, which an absence of four months had occasioned. :' )

One day, as I was returning from mass, I chanced to see him talking to a stranger, who seemed past the flower of his age." His face was tanned, his beard long, and his cloak hanging carelessly about him; so that from his ap

« VorigeDoorgaan »