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Ferd. The death.
wolves is never to be pitied.
Ferd. Cover her face; mine eyes dazzle: she died young.
Bos. I think not so; her infelicity
Ferd. She and I were twins ;
Bos. It seems she was born first:
Ferd. Let me see her face
Bos. Let me quicken your memory, for I perceive
Ferd. I'll tell thee what I'll give thee.
Ferd. Yes, and 't is
Bos. By yours.
Ferd. Mine! Was I her judge ?
any ceremonial form of law
Bos. The office of justice is perverted quite,
Ferd. O, I 'll tell thee;
CONCLUSION. The ruffian Bosola, who is commissioned to murder Antonio, detertermines to spare him; for Bosola has discovered that the Prince and the Cardinal have determined to make away with him, their guilty instrument. In revenge he resolves to take away their lives, which he finally accomplishes ; but in the execution of his project he accidentally slays Antonio, and is killed himself. The eldest son of the Duchess and Antonio becomes Duke of Malfi. The catastrophe suggests these reflections to one of the inferior characters :
These wretched eminent things
Fall in a frost, and leave his print in snow;
41.-OF THE INCONVENIENCE OF GREATNESS.
MONTAIGNE. [The Essays of Michel, Lord of Montaigne, offer a signal example of the power of genius to convert what belongs to the individual into matters of universal and lasting interest. It is nearly three hundred years ago that these Essays were written. This author was a gentleman living in the retirement of a remote province of France, while the violent feuds of Catholic and Protestant were going on all around him. Letters were little cultivated; the language was scarcely formed.
Yet he produced a book which can never be antiquated, because it reflects, not the conventional opinions of his own semi-barbarous times, but the frank and genuine thoughts of his own mind upon large questions which affect humanity in every country and every age.
There are things in Montaigne's writings that a good man would rather not read, but their general tendency is to cherish a sound practical philosophy, and to cultivate benevolent feelings. There is a capital English translation of Montaigne by Cotton, the friend of Isaac Walton; and an earlier one by Florio, an Italian, who lived in England at the end of the sixteenth century. Montaigne was born in 1533, and died in 1592.]
Since we cannot attain unto it, let us revenge ourselves by railing at it; and yet it is not absolutely railing against any thing to proclaim its defects, because they are in all things to be found, how beautiful or how much to be coveted soever. It has in general this manifest advantage, that it can grow less when it pleases, and has very near the absolute choice of both the one and the other condition. For a man does not fall from all heights; there are several from which one may descend without falling down. It does indeed appear to me that we value it at too high a rate, and also over-value the resolution of those whom we have either seen or heard have contemned it, or displaced themselves of their own accord. Its essence is not evidently so commodious, that a man may not without a miracle refuse it: I find it a
hard thing to undergo misfortunes; but to be content with a competent measure of fortune, and to avoid greatness, I think a very easy matter, Tis, methinks, a virtue to which I, who am none of the wisest, could, without any great endeavour, arrive. What, then, is to be expected from them that would yet put into consideration the glory attending this refusal, wherein there may lurk worse ambition than even in the desire itself and fruition of greatness ? Forasmuch as ambition never comports itself better according to itself than when it proceeds hy obscure and unfrequented ways, I incite my courage to patience, but I rein it as much as I can towards desire. I have as much to wish for as another, and allow my wishes as much liberty and indiscretion : but yet it never befell me to wish for either empire or royalty, for the eminency of those high and commanding fortunes. I do not aim that way; I love myself too well. When I think to grow greater, 'tis but very moderately, and by a compelled and timorous advancement, such as is proper for me; in resolution, in prudence, in health, in beauty, and even in riches too.
But this supreme reputation, and this mighty authority, oppress my imagination; and, quite contrary to some others, I should, peradventure, rather choose to be the second or third in Perigourd, than the first at Paris—at least, without lying, the third, than the first at Paris. I would neither dispute, a miserable unknown, with a nobleman's porter, nor make crowds open
in adoration as I
I am trained up to a moderate condition, as well by my choice as fortune; and have made it appear, in the whole conduct of my life and enterprises, that I have rather avoided, than otherwise, the climbing above the degree of fortune wherein God has placed me by my birth : all natural constitution is equally just and easy. My soul is so sneaking and mean, that I measure not good fortune by the height, but by the facility. But, if my heart be not great enough, 'tis open enough to make amends at any one's request freely to lay open its weakness. Should any one put me upon comparing the life of L. Thorius Balbus, a brave man, handsome, learned, healthful, understanding, and abounding in all sorts of conveniences and pleasures, leading a quiet life, and all his own; his mind well prepared against death, superstition, pains, and other incumbrances of human necessity; dying at last in battle with his sword in his hand, for the defence of his country, on the one part; and on the other part, the life of M. Regulus, so great and high as is known to every one, and his end admirable; the one without name and without dignity, the other exemplary and glorious to wonder: I should doubtless say as Cicero did, could I speak as well as he. But if I was to touch it in my own phrase I should then also say, that the first is as much according to my capacity and desire, which I conform to my capacity, as the second is far beyond it; that I could not approach the last but with veneration, the other I would willingly attain by custom. But let us return to our temporal greatness, from which we are digressed. I disrelish all dominion, whether active or passive. Otanes, one of the seven who had right to pretend to the kingdom of Persia, did as I should willingly have done; which was, that he gave up to his concurrents his right of being promoted to it, either by election or by lot, provided that he and his might live in the empire out of all authority and subjection, those of the ancient laws excepted, and might enjoy all liberty that was not prejudicial to them, as impatient of commanding as of being commanded. The most painful and difficult employment in the world, in my opinion, is worthily to discharge the office of a king. I excuse more of their mistakes than men commonly do, in consideration of the intolerable weight of their function, which does astonish me. 'Tis hard to keep measure in so immeasurable a power. Yet so it is, that it is, to those who are not the bestnatured men, a singular incitement to virtue to be seated in a place where you cannot do the least good that shall not be put upon
record ; and where the least benefit redounds to so many men; and where your talent of administration, like that of preachers, does principally address itself to the people, no very exact judge, easy to deceive, and easily content. There are few things wherein we can give a sincere judgment, by reason that there are few wherein we have not in some sort a particular interest. Superiority and inferiority, dominion and subjection, are bound to a natural envy and contest, and must necessarily perpetually intrench upon one another. I neither believe the one nor the other touching the rights of the adverse party; let reason, therefore, which is inflexible and without passion, determine. 'Tis not above a month ago that I read over two Scotch authors contending upon this subject; of which, he who stands for the people makes kings to be in a worse condition than a carter; and he who writes for monarchy places him some degrees