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A33149 Cato major, or, The book of old age first written by M.T. Cicero ; and now excellently Englished by William Austin of Lincolns Inne, Esquire ; with annotations upon the names of the men and places.; Cato maior de senectute. English Cicero, Marcus Tullius.; Austin, William, 1587-1634. 1648 (1648) Wing C4288; ESTC R6250 35,701 154

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CATO MAIOR or THE BOOK OF OLD AGE First written by M.T. Cicero And now Excelently Englished by William Austin of Lincolnes Inne Esquire With annotations upon the names of the men and places Printed for William Leake JGoddard sculpsit CATO Major OR The Book of Old Age First written by M.T. CICERO And now excellently Englished by William Austin of Lincolns Inne Esquire With Annotations upon the names of the men and places LONDON Printed for William Leake and are to be sold at his Shop at the Sign of the Crown in Fleet-street between the two Temple gates 1648. THE STATIONER To the READER THis most excellent Book entituled Cato Major de senectute little in bulke but filled with pithie and substantiall diseourse smoothly couched elegantly and delightfully conveyed in every line written long since in the Latin Tongue by that most rare and grave Consul and Senator of Rome the glory of his time M. T. Cicero Prince of Orators needs no mans commendations all his workes being so famous and renowned amongst the learned so that I might well be silent had not I judged it fit to give the Reader an account how it came in this māner to be divulged It falling accidentally into my hands and I finding the translation and notes to be the labour of a worthy Gentleman of great parts learning and sufficiency whose name was therunto And the Book it selfe for variety of elegant passages deep Philosophical discourses being both delight full and usefull Personated by the most learned ancient and grave Senators Grandees of that age abasing and depressing all youthfull lusts commending and strengthening the venerable life of old age shewing the current of vertue wherein it ought to runne with the distance betwixt it and youth and how many wayes it doth exceed the same with the advantages it hath beyond youth declaring how they slighted death in this their age comforting themselves in all its Imperfections with that expected Immortality at hand the more aged they then were And having received the approbation of this learned Piece from divers persons of judgement and understanding I was upon these and other like considerations moved for the general good to publish it thus abroad unto the world beleeving that it will be a delight to the Aged and a great benefit to the unlearned in the Latin Tongue who may in their own Language read the sage wisedome of former times and see how the infirmities of age are recompensed with more rare perfections of minde and that it doth not so much destroy as change the delights of youth for better and so be prepared to bid that welcome which is approaching towards them If the excellency of this work with the worthinesse of the Author and Translator shall gain acceptation with the lovers of wisdom it will answer the expectation and reward the care of the Publisher THE PRAEFACE Or Epistle of 1. MARCUS TULLIUS CICERO TO 2. TITUS POMPONIUS ATTICUS CHAP. I. O TITUS if I ease the care which sticketh in your breast Which now doth vex and trouble you wherewith you are opprest Shall it be thought Worth ought FOr I may well salute you O ATTICUS with those Verses wherewith that right worthy though not welthy man 3 ENNIUS saluted 4 Flaminius although I surely know that you are not so troubled day and night as was he for I have perceived the moderation of your mind and I understand that you not only brought a Sir-name from 5 Athens but also humanity and wisedome yet notwithstanding I suppose that you are sometimes much troubled with these matters where with I my self am the remedie for which griefes is both greater and to be referred till another time Now it seemeth good unto me to write something of old age For I will assay to ease both you and my self of the burden which is common to us both either of the age present or of the age to come though I know for truth that you will bear the weight of it moderately and wisely as you do all things but as soon as I determined to write of old age you came into my mind worthy of this gift which might be equally used by us both and beleeve me the making of this book was so delightfull to me that it did not only wipe away all the griefes of mine age but made it easie and pleasant Wherefore Philosophy can never be sufficiently praised which whosoever followeth may live all his life time without molestation of which we have * spoken much already and intend to speak more hereafter But this book of old age I have sent to you not attributing all the speech to 6 Tithon as 7 Aristo Chius doth least it should seem of small authority but to 8 Marcus Cate the old man whereby it may carry the greater grace and preeminence at whom I make 9 Scipio 10 Laelius wondering that he beare his age so easily and he answering them who if he speak more learnedly then he was wont to do in his bookes you must attribute it to the Greek tongue in which it is well known he was very studious in his age But what need more words for now the speech of Cato himself shall declare all our determination of old age I. TABLE of Annotations 1. MArcus Tullius Cicero The Author of this Book and many other most noble and excellent workes both of Philosophy and Oratory he was the sonne of a Knight at Rome he passed most of the most honourable offices in Rome he was a faithfull and earnest lover and defender of the Common-wealth which began to decay at his death having lost so good a member he was banished and after beheaded by the commandement of Antonius and Octavius 2. Titus Pomponius Atticus an honourable man and a great friend to Cicero he lived in great credit both with the Romans and with the Athenians from whence he brought the Sir-name of Atticus 3. Ennius an ancient Poet borne at Tarentum he was brought to Rome by Cato vide numero 8. 13. 4. Flaminius a grave Senator to whom Ennius wrote a Book of consolation when he grieved for his brothers expulsion out of the Senate 5. Athens a city in Greece between Macedon and Achaia built by Cecrops who raigned 50. years there it was called Athens by Minerva who is also called Athene it was the place or university of learning 6. Tithon the sonne of Laomedon beloved of Aurora he was counted a fool because when he was very old be requested to be turned into a Grashopper and might have had immortality 7. Aristo Chius a Philosopher of the Ile Coas who dedicated a Book to the former Tithon Cicero writes thus of him elegant and courteous Aristo but that gravity which ought to be in a Philosopher was not in him many excellent things were written by him but they carry no grace 8. Marcus Portius Cato whom Cicero here makes one of his speakers in his dialogue was a man of great honor
the strength of a Bull or an Elephant for that which is naturally ingraffed in a man that it becommeth him to use and to desire to do nothing above his strength For what speech can be more contemptible then that of 1 Milo Crotoniata who when he was an old man and saw the wrestlers exercising themselves in the 2 Chase is reported to have beheld his Armes and weeping to say But these are now dead no not them so much as thou thy selfe thou trifler for never wast thou ●nobled by thy virtue or wisedome but by thy beast-like force and strong armes 3 Sexius Aemylius spake no such thing nor 4 Titus Coruncanus many years before nor Publius Crassus of late of whom lawes were prescribed to the Citizens whose wisedome continued till their last gaspe IX TABLE of Annotations MIlo Crotoniata a man of such strength that at the games at Olympus he came in with an ox on his shoulders which with his bare fist he slew and some say immediately eat him his death for all his strength was miserable for comming into a wood in his age and seeing a tree gape in the midst being by some meanes cleft he trusting to his former strength thought to rend it in pieees but putting his fingers into the rift the tree suddainly closed and he being caugbt by the hands was there devoured by wolves 2. The chase at mount Olympus where once in five yeares were runnings wrestlings and such like for games first instituted by Hercules who there first wrestled himselfe they were had in such estimations among the Grecians that they counted their yeares by them 3. Sextus Aemylius a man excellently skilled in the lawes and ordinances of Rome 4. Titus Coruncanus he first professed the laws none of his writings remain but many of his witty sayings are to be found in Authors 5. Publius Crassus a very rich man and skilfull in the lawes of Rome he was Consull with Africanus CHAP. X. BUt it may be thought that an Orator may be weakned with age For that office consisteth not onely of wit but also of strength of body strong sides and voyce yet that shrilnesse of voyce doth altogether shew it self I know not by what meanes in old age which I my selfe have not yet lost and yet you see my yeares notwithstanding the speech of an old man is comely quiet remisse and the gentle and decked Oration of an eloquent old man makes audience to it selfe which singularity if you cannot obtaine yet may you give precepts to youth for what can be more pleasant then old age garded with the studies of youth Shal we not then leave that strength at least to age that it may teach youth bring them up and instruct them in all good duties then which what can be more necessary or more excellent So that to my understanding 1 Cnaeus and Publius Scipio and your two grand fathers Lucius Aemylius and Paulus Affricanus seemed happy in the company of noble young men Neither are any masters of good Arts to be thought unhappy though through their paines in teaching their strength wax old and decay for that defection and failing of strength is oftener caused by the faults of youth then of age for an intemperate and lustfull youth delivereth a corrupt and decrepit body to age Yet 2 Cyrus in 3 X●nphon on his death bed denieth that ever he felt himself much weaker by age then he was in his youth I remember 4 Lucius Metellus when I was a boy who foure yeers after his second Consulship was made High-Priest and served in that office 22 yeeres he was of so good strength and health in his last age that he required not youth I need not speak much of my selfe though it be a thing that belongs to old men and it is granted to our age for doe you not see how often 5 Nestor doth brag in Homer of his own virtues for he had then lived three ages of man So that he needed not feare least that speaking the truth of himselfe he should be counted in solent or talkative for as Homer saith out of his mouth flowed words more sweet then hony which made that 6 Captaine of Greece never wish that he had ten such as strong 7 Ajax but ten such as wise Nestor which if he might obtaine he doubted not but that 8 Troy should soon be overthrown But I returne to my self I am now in the fourescore and fourth yeere of mine age I cannot truly say as Cyrus did but I would I could yet this I can say that though I am not of so great strength as I was being a souldier in the Carthaginian warre or Questor in the same warre or Consul in Spaine or foure yeeres after when being Tribune of the souldiers I fought at 9 Thermopylae Marcus A●tillius Glabrio being Consul yet as you see old age hath not altogether weakned me it hath not overthrown me The Courts want not my strength nor the pleading places nor my friends nor my Glyents nor my ghests Neither did I ever assent to that old and lauded proverb that warns a man to be old quickly if he will be an old man long but I had rather be an old man man lesse while then make my selfe an old man before I were So that as yet no man could come and find me idle at home yet have I lesse strength then either of you neither have you the strength of 10 Titus Pontius the Centurion is he therefore better then you But let him make much of it it will not endure long Milo is said to have entered the Listes of Olympus with a live Oxe on his shoulders whether had you rather now have this mans strength of body or Pythagoras his strength of wit to be given you To conclude use that strength which you have while you have it but when it is gone require it not unlesse you thinke it a seemly thing of young men to require their child-hood againe and ancient men their youth There is but one course of age and one way of nature and the same simple and to every part of age its own timelines is given for as infirmity belongs to child-hood fiercenesse to youth and gravity to age so the true ripenesse of age hath a certaine natural gravity in it which ought to be used in it own time I thinke you have heard Scipio of King 11 Massinissa what he doth at this day being a man of ninety yeeres old when he goes any whether on foot he will never ride in that journey how far soever it be likewise when he rides a journey he will never alight neither could any storm make him weare his hat surely there is great drynesse of body in him therfore he may well execute all the offices and duties of a King Thus you see exercise and temperance way preserve some of the former strength even in old age X. TABLE of Annotations 1. CNaeus and Publius Scipio were brethren and cald
better state then the former seeing that what the other wisheth for he hath obtained already the young man would live long the old man hath lived long O you immortall gods what is there in mans life that is of any long continuance for let us live long and we expect the years of the King of the * Taresians for I have seen it written that there was one Arganthonius at Gades which reigned eighty years and lived an hundred and twenty but to me nothing seemeth of long continuance of which there is any end for when that end shall come then that which is past flies away like smoak and that only will remaine which you have obtained by vertue and good deeds the houres you see runs on and the dayes and the moneths and the years neither doth the time past ever return nor can any tell what will follow That time which a man hath given him to live he ought to be contented with it for a good actor is not applauded in the midst of a Scene so a wise mans praise comes not till the end The time of our age is short indeed but long enough to live well and honestly But if your age seem longer then your youth you ought to grieve no more then the husbandman doth when the sweetnesse of the spring is past that the summer and the winter are come For the spring doth as it were signifie youth and shows what fruit will come the other seasons of plucking and gathering the fruit are compared to the latter times of our age For the fruit of age as I have said is the memory of the abundance of good deeds heretofore done all things which are done by the rules of God and nature are to be accounted good but it is a rule of nature that old men must die which also happeneth to young men though they resist it Therefore a young man seemeth to me to die like fire put out with water but old men like fire which being put out by no force is quietly consumed of it selfe and as apples on trees being not ripe are plucked of by violence but being ripe they fal of themselves so force taketh away the life of young men but ripenesse of age the life of old men which consideration is so pleasant to me that I seem to behold the eatth as a quiet port whether after a long and troublesome navigation I shall arrive The end of all ages is certain but the end of old age is uncertain which is death and a man may live therin uprightly and contemne death hence it comes that old men are more bold and hearty then young men which made that Solon answered to 1 Pysistratus the Tyrant when he asked him what made him so bold he answered old age But the end he answered old age But the end of life is then best when nature the minde being well and all the sences perfect doth dissolve the same work which she her selfe hath made For as that workeman which hath made a ship or building knowes best how to unjoyn it so the same nature which hath made a man best dissolves him that which is newly joyned is hardly sodered but old work is easily taken in pieces Now that little time of life which we have is not to be greedily desired of old men nor without cause to be refused and Pythagoras forbids that unlesse the Emperour which is God command we ought not to depart from our station and guard of life it is the 2 speech of Solon the wise when he wisheth his death to be lamented of his friends I beleeve he would be dear to them But I know not if Ennius wrote better or no No man shall weep my death Nor spend a sighing breath It seemes he thinketh not that death to be lamented which obtaineth immortality Now for the sense or pain of dying if there be any it remaineth but a small time especially in old men But this ought to be considered of in youth that wee might learne before to neglect death without which meditation no man can be of 〈◊〉 quiet minde T is certain we must die but when uncertain whether to day or no we know not therefore who can be quiet in minde while he feares death continually hanging over his head concerning which there needs no long disputation when I remember not only 3 L. Brutus who was slain in delivering his countrey not only * M. Marcellus whom after his death his cruellest enemies could not suffer to want honourable buriall and many others but also our legions of souldiers who as I have written in my book of Originals have often gone into those places with a chearfull and constant minde from whence they never looked to returne Shall therfore wise and learned old men feare that which young men rude and unletterd have contemned Truly me thinks that the satiety of all things makes also a satiety of life There are certain studies in children shall young men desire them there are others in youth shall age require them and there be studies in the last age therefore as the studies of former ages fail so do the studies of old age so that when the satiety or fulnesse of life commeth it bringeth also a fit time for death XXI Table of Annotations 1. PYsistratus King of Athens the sonne of Hippocrates he reigned at Athens when Servius Tullius reigned at Rome he made the first librarie at Athens which after Xerxes carried into Persia 2. The speech of Solon is in latin this Mors mea ne careat lacrymis linquamus amicis Maerorem ut celebrent funera nostra fletu Thus in English Let not my death want teares but leave to all Sorrow and grones to make my funerall 3. Lucius Brutus he deposed Tarquinius Superbus it is said that when for feare of Tarquin he counterfeited himselfe mad he was intreated by Tarquins sonnes to go with them to the oracle of Apollo to make them sport by the way whether they went to know which of them should reigne after their fathers death it was there answered that he which did first kisse his mother should rule whereupon they hasted home apace to their mother but Brutus understanding the oracles true meaning fell to the earth and kissed it as being the generall mother of all by which meanes he after expulsing of Tarquin for the rape of Lucretia did governe the common-wealth himselfe and was the first Consul he put to death his own sonnes for taking part with Tarquin he was stain by the lake Regulus in a battell CHAP. XXII I See no cause why I should not dare to tell you my opinion of death which I seem to behold the better because I am so much the neerer it I do verily beleeve that your fathers P. Scipio and C. Laelius most honourable men and my good friends do now live and indeed such a life as is only worthy to be called a life For while we are shut up in the
Aedile foure years after I was made 6 Praetor which office I bear * Tutidanus and Cethegus being * Coss. and at that time he being a very old man pleaded the 7 Cincian lawes He not only waged warre stoutly when he was very old but by delaylng battail overthrew youthfull 8 Hannibal of whom our friend 9 Ennius thus writeth One man to us by long delayes restored the Common wealth He never lov'd vain glory more then he esteem'd our health The glory of the man therefore Shall still remain and flourish more But with what vigilancy did he take Tarentum when in my hearing he answered 10 Salinator who having lost the town fled into the Castle and bragging said O Quintus Fabius by my means thou hast taken Tarentum very true said he smiling for if thou hadst not lost it I had not wonne it neither was he more excellent in warre then in peace who being the second time 11 Consul 12 Spurius Carvillius his colleague in office not assisting him he of himselfe resisted with all his might 13 Caius Flaminius the 14 Tribune of the people who against the whole authority of the Senate went about to divide the Picean 15 and Galicane fields to each particular man when he was 16 augur he durst boldly affirme that that was done with the best aspects which was done for the safety of the Common-wealth I know many excellent things of the man but nothing more admirable then how he bore the death of his sonne 17 Marcus a singular man and a Consull I have in my hands the praise of the man which when we read what Philosopher do we not contemn yet was he not more excellent abroad and in the eyes of the people then at home and in his private house what speeches what precepts what knowledge of Philosophy and for a Roman very learned he kept all things in memory not only civill but externall warrs whose conference when I did greedily enjoy I did divine as it hath sithence hapned that he being dead there should be none of whom I might learne But wherefore speak I so much of Maximus because you may see that it was detestable to be spoken that such an old age was miserable IV. TABLE of Annotations 1. QUintus Fabius Maximus of the house of the Fabii a noble and right valiant kindred his family alone with their kindsfolks and adherents often overthrew Veients till at last being entrapped by deceit neere the river Cromera they were all slain in the battell except one that remained at Rome being a child of whom long after came this Quintus Maximus who lived to be 5 times consul and once Dictator he was called also Cunctator or the delayer because he by delayes overcame Hannibal 2. Tarentum a most famous city in Graecia built by Tarent the sonne of Neptune and by him so named it had great warres with the Romanes in the time of Cato 3. Capua the metropolitane city of Campania built according to Livie by Capys the captain of the Samnites of whom it took the name it had great warres with the Romans in the time of the Carthaginian warre 4. Q●aestor an ancient office among the Romans instituted first in the time of Numa Pompilius he was togather the tribute and mony of the people for the warres or otherwise The Treasurer 5. Aedile he that had the care of the reparations of the Temples of the gods and the Theaters of the common-people and the playes 6. Praetor An office in the city like our L. Major but of greater authority for by his power he might make and abolish Lawes at his pleasure 7. The Cincian law was first made by M. Cincius against bribery 8. Hannibal a valiant captain and governour of the Carthaginians he often overthrew the Romans but he was utterly overcome by Scipio Affricanus and as Plutarch writes at last he poisoned himself with poison he had in a ring Eutropius writes he was stoned to death by the Carthaginians for some offence but Livie sayes he was crucified on a crosse 9. Ennius vide 2. 10. Salinator Consull with Claudius Nero he defended the Tarentins against the Romanes he flew Asdruball coming to help Hanniball his brother 11. Consul when Tarquinius Superbus that ravished Lucrecia was slaine and his stock banished the office of Consull instead of King began among the Romans it was performed by two men they had as great authority as the King onely they were but in Office one yeare 12. Spurius Carvillius Consull with Cato in the yeare of Rome 526. 13. Caius Flaminius Tribune when Cato was Consull who afterward being Censor expulsed Caius out of the Senate 14. Tribune was as it were the Solicitor for the people being first created after the Volsian Sabin warres They grew to so great authority that sitting in the Senate they would crosse whatsoever was decreed if they liked it not they ever withstood the Senate for the people it was a very factious office and full of strife often setting the people together by the eares with the Senate and the Senate with them They might not come into the Temples 15. The Galicane fields were wonne from the French-men and were to be divided to the souldiers 16. Augur was in great reverence with the Romans they were as Priests and by looking into the intrals of beasts and birds they prophesied of things to come They were first derived from the Hetrurians they had a Colledg and as it were a consultation-house to meet confer of Comets and Signs in the ayr for the good of the common people 17. Marcus Fabius he was the son of Maximus he was second Consul once in the yeer of Rome 506 and againe in the yeere 508 in his first Consulship he overcame the Carthaginians by Sea CHAP. V. NEither can every man be such as was Scipio or Maximus that the overthrows of Cities and battails by land fights by Sea triūphs and victories may be recorded of them yet the old age of a privat life wel and quietly before lead is very light and pleasing Such as we read the age of 1 Plato was who writing in the 81 yeares of his age dyed such was the age of 2 Socrates who is said to have written the booke 3 Planathenaicus in the ninety fourth year of his age whose Master 4 Gorgias Leontinus lived an hundred and seven yeares neither did he cease from his study who when he was asked why he would live so long answered that he had no cause yet to accuse age of an excellent answer and worthy of so learned a man For fooles lay the faults of their own on age which Ennius did not of whom I spake before Like to a valiant horse which oft in running man the best At Mount Olympus being old is let alone at rest He compareth this age to the age of a valiant and victorious horse and him you may well remember for the eleventh yeer after his death T. Flaminius and Marcus
it so fit for nothing as for Homers bookes he lived a hundred and eight yeeres the place of his birth and Parents are unknown 10. Pythagoras called the Prince of Philosophers being indeed the first that called himselfe a Philosopher he was born at Samos and was the sonne of a Carver he had as it is reported 600 Disciples among whom was Architas the Tarentine He first taught that the soules of men departed went into other bodies which that he might the better perswade he affirmed that when he was first born he was Athalide the sonne of Mercurie and did obtaine of him this boone that he onely of all men might remember all the bodies that ever he should be changed out of Which he obtained and after affirmed that Athalide being dead he was changed into Euphorbus who being staine at Troy he was born again in the body of Hermotinus and after his death into the body of Delias a fisher man who was also called Pyrrhus and lastly he was made Pythagoras And that so all other mens soules did in like manner onely they alwayes forgat from whose body they last came he abstained from all flesh and fed only on roots and herbs he would be called Philosophus that is a lover of wisdome but not Sophius that is wise for he said that none but God was wise He dyed at Metapontum being 99 yeere old 11. Democritus born at Abderites his Father was a very rich man so that he feasted Xerxes great Army that drunke Rivers dry After his Fathers death he went to travaile and returned very poor where under the city wals he builded himselfe a silly cottage where he lived contemplating the works of nature He affirmed that all things were made of Atomes such as we see fleet in the sunne in a shiny day he was wont to laugh always what chance soever hapned as on the contrary Heraclitus alwaies wept He willingly abstaining from meat died when he was 104. yeers old 12. Xenocrates born in Calcedonia Plato's schollar he was somewhat blunt and very earnest and dry in his Communication he loved Plato very much he lived chastly and holily and wrote many good works and died being fourescore and twelve years old 13. Zeno the sonne of Pyrelus and the adopted sonne of Parmenides he learned his Philosophy of his adopted father wherein he was so excellent that Plato and Aristotle affirme he first invented logick he was the beginner of the Stoicks and is therefore called the prince of that sect he was a Governour in the Common-wealth he for the good of his Countrey conspired against Dionysius a Tyrant but was taken in the action and being examined of his confederats he accused all the Tyrants chief friends and told him that if he would hear him in private he would discover more whereupon the King bowing down his head to hear him he bit of his nose for this he was pounded in a stone mortar to make him confesse but he biting of his tongu and spitting it in his tormentors face died being 98. yeers old 14. Cleanthes a Stoick Philosopher and Schollar to Zeno he bore labour and griefe with such chearfulnesse that he was called an other Hercules He was very poor and when he wanted mony to buy paper he wrote the saying of Zeno on bones and shels 15. Rome built first by Romulus and Remus two brethren a City too well known of some sufficiently of all 16. Diogenes the Cynick Philosopher who when his father was imprisoned fled to Athens and became Antisthenes Scholar He lived ninety years and died as some say of the biting of a mad dog others say holding his breath he stiflled himselfe His Schollars made a Tombe for him and on the top thereof they set a dog His witty and satyricall learning are known of most men CHAP. VIII BUt that we may omit these divine studies I can name some of the I Sabine fields countrey 2 Romans my neighbours and familiars then whom none take more pains in the fields either in sowing gathering or sorting the fruits yet among them it is no marvell for there is none so old but that he thinkes to live one year more but they labour in things which they know do not at all belong unto them and as our friend Statius Caecilius saith in his Synephebis they plant trees which shall not give fruit till another age and after they are dead which makes the husband-man when any askes him for whom he sets those trees to answer for the immortall gods that would not that I only should receive the fruits of the earth from my predecessors but leave them also to my posterity That same 3 Caecilius wrote thus of age If old age brings no other faults this one enough will be By living long they oft behold the things they would not see And many times the things they would but youth it selfe is subject to that inconvenience But he wrote yet worse of age then that In age I take this thing to be the greatest misery To think the younger sort of men do hate their company Nay rather pleasant then hatefull is their company For as wise old men are delighted with young men indued with a vertuo us disposition and their age is made the easier that are worshipped and beloved of such so wise young men are rejoyced in the precepts of old men by which they are led to the studies of virtue neither do I perceive that I am lesse pleasant to you then you are to me Now you see that age is not faint and negligent but laborsome and alwayes doing something and indeavouring in such things as every mans study was in his former li●e but how if old men learne in their age also as we see 4 Solon boasting in his verses that he learned something every day grew an old man as I my self have done who now in my age have learned the Greek tongue which truly I took greedily as it were to satisfie a continuall thirst that those things might be known to me which you now see me use in examples And when I heard also wha● 5 Socrates had profited in musick I would have learned that ●oo for your ancients learned musick but truly I bestowed my pains in learning VIII TABLE of Annotations 1. SAbin fields a place where Cato had a countrey house not far of from Rome 2. Countrey Romans it is thought that he meant Fabritius 3. Caecilius Statius a comicall poet he wrote the comedy of Synephebis of two young men brought up together from their youth 4. Solon one of the seven wise men of Greece he was the sonne of Epistides and born at Salamina therefore called Salaminus he made many good lawes at Athens he builded a city in Sicilia and called it after his name Solos he died when he was ninety yeers old and was buried at Salamina 5. Socrates CHAP. IX NEither do I now desire the strength of youth no more then when I was young I did desire
age that passed in a man till his old age was accounted of our Ancestors but as a race of that length which directed to honour so that the last age is more happy then the middle because it hath more authority and lesse labour The highest perf●ction in age is authority How great Majesty was in * L. Cecillius Metellus how great in Attillius * Collatinus whom the generall consent of all nations did allow to be the chiefe among the people the verses on his sepulchre are well known By right therefore he is to be held noble and of authority in whose praises the reports of all men do consent what men of wisedome have we seen of late Pub. Crossus the high Priest and after him Marcus * Lepidus that succeeded him in the office what should I speak of Paulus or of Affricanus or of Maximus whom I named before Not only iu whose speech but also in whose looks remained authority Age hath especially honoured age such reverence that it is more to be accounted of then all the pleasures of youth XVII TABLE of Annotations 1. CYrus Minor reigned in Persia 353. years after the building of Rome in the times of Aggaeus and Zacharias the Prophets in Judea 2. Marcus Valerius Corvinus fighting against a French souldur that challenged him in the lists a crow came and sat upon his head and smo●e her wings in his enemies face and so blinded him that Valerius obtained the victory and ever after was called Corvinus he was after both Consul and Dictator CHAP. XVIII BUt you must remember that in all this speech I have praised only that age which is built on the foundation of youth from whence it happened that that speech of mine wherein I affirmed that age to be miserable which only defended it selfe by speech was so generally applauded of all men for neither gray haires nor wrinckles get authority suddainly but the honest and vertuous deeds of the age before spent obtain the chiefest fruits of authority For these things are honourable which do seem but of small account v.z. to be saluted to be sought unto to have place given to them to be risen unto to be brought in to be conducted out and to give counsel which both among us and in other well mannerd cities is observed diligently T is said that Lisander of Lacedemon of whom I spake even now was wont to say that Lacedemon was a most fit and honest habitation for old age for nowhere was that age more reverenced or honoured then there It comes now to my mind that a certain old man at Athens at the plays comming in among the people no man would give him room but when he came among the Lacedemonians who when they come of an embassage sit all in one place they all rose up to him and received the old man to sit with them to whom when great praise was given for the courteous deed one of them said that the Athenians knew good manners but would not use them Many excellent Ceremonies are observed in our Colledge of Auguries whereof this which we speak of is one that every man in their consultations gives his opinion according to his age the oldest first and so downwards for Augurs are not only preferred before some that are honoured but also before many which besides their years and gravity are in office what are therefore the pleasures of the body to be compared to the rewards of authority which whosoever make th use of seemes to me to have gone well through the enterlude of his life and not like an unskilfull player to fayle in the last act CHAP. XIX BUt old men are froward unconstant peevish and crabbed and we complaine also that they are covetous but these be the faults of the manners not of the age but way wardnesse and those faults may have some excuse though not justly yet such may seem probable For sometimes they think they are mocked or despised and besides every small offence to a weak body is grievous all which not withstanding may be sweetned both by good manners arts and that may wel be seen both in the life and the play of those two Brothers in 1 Adelphus in 2 Terence how much crabbednesse in the one and how much courtesie in the other Even so the case stands for as all wines do not grow soure and tart in continuance so not all age I like severity in an old man but not bitternesse Bnt as for covetousnesse in age I know not what it meanes for there can be no greater absurdity then when the journey is almost done to take care to provide much more provision XIX TABLE of Annotations 1. ADelphus a comedy written by Terence wherein is shewed the difference of ages in two brothers the one Mitio a milde gentle man the other Demea a froward perverse man 2. Terence born at Carthage he wrote six Comedies which are now extant some report that he wrote more but they were drowned in a ship at sea he was well-beloved of Scipio and Laelius CHAP. XX THere remaineth the fourth cause which seemeth to vex and grieve our age very much the approching of death which surely followeth age at the heeles O miserable old man whatsoever thou be which canst not learne in all thy life forespent to despise death which is either plainly to be neglected if it kill the soule with the body or to be desired if it bring happinesse after life for no third way is found what should I then fear if after death I shall be either nothing or else happy but what fool though he be a young man is there that can tell whether he shall live till night for That age hath more causes of death then Age hath young men sooner fall into diseases their sicknesse is and more grievous and dangerous hey are healed with more pain and trouble so that few of them come to be old which if some of them happen to do they live more prudently and better then before for understanding counsell and reason is in age which if it were not there there could be no Cities But I return to death which as it were hangs over our heads thinke you that it is the particular fault of age when you see it common to youth I have well perceived not only by the death of my dear son but also of your 1 brothers Scipio who were expected to great dignity that death is common to all ages XX TABLE of Annotations 1. PAulus Aemylius had four sons two by adoption and two by another wife of which last two the one died five dayes before his triumph and the other three dayes after His sons by adoption were Scipio and Fabius CHAP. XXI BUt the young man hopes to live long which the old man cannot He hopes foolishly for what is greater folly then to account uncertain things for certain false for true the old man hath nothing to hope for more therefore he is in