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dare commit it to be vain.
Yet for my part, I think nature should do me great wrong, if I should be so long in dying as I was in being born.
To speak truth, no man knows the lists of his own patience; nor can divine how able he shall be in his sufferings, till the storm come, the perfectest virtue being tried in action; but I would, out of a care to do the best business well, ever keep a guard, and stand upon keeping faith and a good conscience.
11. And if wishes might find place, I would die together, and not my mind often, and my body once; that is, I would prepare for the messengers of death, sickness and affliction, and not wait long, or be attempted by the violence of pain.
***Herein I do not profess myself a Stoic, to hold grief no evil, but opinion, and a thing indifferent.
But I consent with Cæsar, that the suddenest passage is easiest; and there is nothing more awakens our resolve and readiness to die, than the quieted conscience, strengthened with opinion that we shall be well spoken of upon earth by those that are just, and of the family of virtue; the opposite whereof is a fury to man, and makes even life unsweet.
Therefore, what is more heavy than evil fame deserved? Or, likewise, who can see worse days, than he that yet living doth follow at the funerals of his own reputation?
I have laid up many hopes, that I am privileged from that kind of mourning, and could wish the like peace to all those with whom I wage love.
In thrilling regions of thick-ribbed ice poi To be imprison'd in the viewless winds,
And blown with restless violence round about. 2 The pendant world; or to be worse than worst lada Of those, that lawless and incertain thoughts Imagine howling!-'tis too horrible !
The weariest and most loathed wordly life,
That age, ache, penury, and imprisonment, i Can lay on nature, is a paradise
To what we fear of death.
THE SAME SUBJECT.
MEN fear death as children fear to go in the dark ; and as that natural fear in children is increased with tales, so is the other. Certainly the contemplation of death as "the wages of sin," and passage to another world, is holy and religious; but the fear of it, as a tribute due unto nature, is weak. Yet in religious meditations there is sometimes mixture of vanity and of superstition. You shall read in some of the friars' books of mortification, that a man should think with himself what the pain is, if he have but his finger's end pressed, or tortured, and thereby imagine what the pains of death are, when the whole body is corrupted and dissolved; when many times death passeth with less pain than the torture of a limb; for the most vital
parts are not the quickest of sense. And by him that spake only as a philosopher and natural man, was well said, “ Pompa mortis magis terret, quàm mors ipsa." Groans, and convulsions, and a dis coloured face, and friends weeping, and blacks, and obsequies, and the like, show death terrible. It is worthy the observing, that there is no passion in the mind of man so weak, but it mates and masters the fear of death; and therefore death is no such terrible enemy, when a man hath so many attendants about him that can win the combat of him. Revenge triumphs over death; love slights it; honour aspireth to it; grief flieth to it; fear pre-occupateth it; nay, we read, after Otho the emperor had slain himself, pity (which is the tenderest of affections) provoked many to die out of mere compassion to their sovereign, and as the truest sort of followers. Nay, Seneca adds, niceness and satiety; +"Cogita quamdiu eadem feceris; mori velle, non tantùm fortis, aut miser, sed etiam fastidiosus potest." A man would die though he were neither valiant nor miserable, only upon a weariness to do the same thing so oft over and over. It is no less worthy to ob
* The circumstances attendant on death are more terrific than death itself.
†Think for how long a time you have done only the same things over and over again so that not only a valiant man, or a wretched man, may wish to die; but even one who is cloyed or satiated.
serve how little alteration in good spirits the approaches of death make; for they appear to be the same men till the last instant. Augustus Cæsar died in a compliment: "Livia, conjugii nostri memor vive, et vale:" Tiberius in dissimulation, as Tacitus saith of him, +" Jam Tiberium vires et corpus, non dissimulatio, deserebant:" Vespasian in a jest, sitting upon the stool, ‡ "Ut puto Deus fio:" Galba with a sentence, §“ Feri, si ex re sit populi Romani," holding forth his neck: Septimius Severus in dispatch, "Adeste, si quid mihi restat agendum," and the like. Certainly the Stoics bestowed too much cost upon death, and by their great preparations made it appear more fearful. Better, saith he, ¶"qui finem vitæ extremum inter munera ponit naturæ." It is as natural to die as to be born; and to a little infant, perhaps the one is as painful as the other. He that dies in an earnest pursuit is like one that is wounded in hot blood; who, for the time, scarce feels the hurt and therefore a mind fixed and bent upon somewhat that is
* Live mindful of our wedleck, my Livia, and farewell.
The bodily strength of Tiberius began now to fail him; but not his dissimulation.
I fancy I am about to become a god.
§ Strike, if it will be beneficial to the Roman people.
Approach, if there is any more business for me to transact.
་ "Who counts it Nature's privilege to dic."-DRYDEN.
good, doth avert the dolours of death: but above all, believe it, the sweetest canticle is, *" Nunc dimittis," when a man hath obtained worthy ends and expectations. Death hath this also, that it openeth the gate to good fame, and extinguisheth envy: "Extinctus amabitur idem.”
1. I HAVE often thought upon death, and I find it the least of all evils. All that which is past is as a dream; and he that hopes or depends upon time coming, dreams waking. So much of our life as we have discovered is already dead; and all those hours which we share, even from the breasts of our inother, until we return to our grandmother the earth, are part of our dying days; whereof even this is one, and those that succeed are of the same nature, for we die daily; and as others have given place to us, so we must in the end give way to others.
2. Physicians, in the name of death, include all sorrow, anguish, disease, calamity, or whatsoever can fall in the life of man, either grievous or unwelcome: but these things are familiar unto us, and we suffer them every hour; therefore we die daily, and I am older since I affirmed it.
* An allusion to the Song of Simeon, "Now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace.'
The same person when dead shall be beloved.