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promises, and pay every man his own (as every honest man should do), nor live a contented life, that is not frugal. We all cry out against covetousness, and that justly, as a base sin, the cause of many evils and mischiefs, and a main opposite to contentment ; but truly, if things be rightly considered, we shall find prodigality to match it, as in sundry other respects, so particularly for the opposition it hath to contentedness. For contentedness consisteth in the mutual and relative sufficiency of the things unto the mind, and of the mind unto the things; where covetousness reigneth in the heart, the mind is too narrow for the things; and where the estate is profusely wasted the things must needs be too scant for the mind; so that the disproportion is still the same, though it arise not from the principle. As in many other things we may observe an unhappy coincidence of extremes, contrary causes, for different reasons, producing one and the same evil effect. Extreme cold parcheth the grass, as well as extreme heat; and lines drawn from the opposite parts of the circumference meet in the centre. Although the prodigal man, therefore, utterly disclaim covetousness, and profess to hate it, yet doth he indeed, by his wastefulness, pull upon himself a necessity of being covetous, and transgresseth the commandment which saith, “ Thou shalt not covet,” as much as the most covetous wretch in the whole world doth. The difference is but this—the one coveteth that he may have it, the other coveteth that he may spend it; as St. James saith, he coveteth “that he may consume it upon his lusts." He that will fare deliciously every day, or carry a great port in the world, and maintain a numerous family of idle and unnecessary dependents, or adventure great sums in gaming or upon matches, or bring up his children too highly, or any other way stretch himself in his expenses beyond the proportion of his revenues, it is impossible but he should desire means wherewithal to maintain the charges he must be at for the aforesaid ends, which, since his proper revenues (according to our supposition) will not reach to do, his wits are set in work how to compass supplies, and to make it out of other men's estates. Hence he is driven to succor himself by frauds and oppressions, and all those other evils that spring from the root of covetousness; and when these also fail (as hold they cannot long), there is then no
remedy, but he must live the remainder of his days upon borrow. ing and shifting, whereby he casteth himself into debts and dangers, loseth his credit or liberty, or both, and createth to him a world of discontents. He that would live a contented life, and bear a contented mind, it standeth him upon to be frugal.
Temperance, also, is of right good use to the same end ; that is to say, a moderate use at all times, and now and then a voluntary forbearance of and abstinence from the creatures, when we might lawfully use them. If we would sometimes deny our appetites in the use of meats, and drinks, and sleep, and sports, and other comforts and refreshments of this life, and exercise our selves sometimes to fastings and wantings, and other hardnesses and austerities, we should be the better able sure to undergo them stoutly, and grudge and shrink less under them, if at any time hereafter, by any accident or affliction, we should be hard put to it. We should, in all likelihood, be the better content to want many things when we cannot have them, if we would now and then inure ourselves to be as if we wanted them whilst we have them.
Lastly, (for I may not enlarge), that meditation, which was so frequent with the godly fathers under both Testaments and whereof the more sober sort among the heathens had some glimmering light), that “we have here no abiding city, but seek one to come;" that we are here but as strangers and pilgrims in a foreign land, heaven being our home; and that our continuance in this world is but as the lodging of a traveller in an inn for a night: this meditation, I say, if followed home, would much fur. ther us in the present learning. The apostle seemeth to make use of it for this very purpose, “We brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out;" and thence inferreth in the very next words, “having food and raiment, let us be therewith content.” We forget ourselves very much when we fancy to ourselves a kind of perpetuity here, as if our “ houses should continue forever, and our dwelling-places should remain from one generation to another.” We think it good being here, here we would build us tabernacles, set up our rest here, and that is it that maketh us so greedy after the things that belong hither, and so sullen and discomposed when our endeavors in the pursuit of them prove successless; whereas, if we would rightly inform ourselves, and seriously think of it, what the world is, and what ourselves are—the world but an inn, and ourselves but passengers—it would fashion us to more moderate desires, and better composed affections. In our inns we would be glad to have wholesome diet, clean lodgings, diligent attendance, and all other things with convenience to our liking; but yet we will be wary what we call for, that we exceed not too much, lest the reckoning prove too sharp afterwards; and if such things as we are to make use of there, we find not altogether as we wish, we do not much trouble ourselves at it, but pass it over, cheering ourselves with these thoughts, that our stay is but for a night; we shall be able to make shift with mean accommodations for one night; we shall be at home ere it be long, where we can mend ourselves, and have things more to our own heart's content. The plenteousness of that house, when we shall arrive at our own home, will fully satiate our largest desires. In the meantime, let the expectation of that fulness, and the approach of our departure out of this sorry inn, sustain our souls with comfort against all the emptiness of this world, and whatsoever we meet with in our passage through it that is any way apt to breed us vexation or discontent; that we may learn with St. Paul, “in whatsoever estate we are, to be therewith content.” God vouchsafe this to us all for his dear Son's sake, Jesus Christ.
289.-SOCIETY AT NAPLES.
FORSYTH. (JAMES FORSYTH, the author of "Remarks on Antiquities Arts, and Lel. vers during an Excursion in Italy," was born at Elgin, in 1763. He was educated at Aberdeen, and subsequently became the head of a classical school near London. His passionate desire was to see Italy; and in 1802 and 1803 he accomplished his object, and acquired the materials for the volume which has given him a more enduring reputation than is won by many tourists. Upon the rupture between England and France, which followed the short peace, Mr. Forsyth was seized at Turin, on his return home, and
was detained in Italy and France till 1814, when the allied armies entered Paris. His health was broken by his long confinement under the brutal despotism of Napoleon, and he died in 1815.)
Nobility is nowhere so pure as in a barbarous state. When a nation becomes polished, its nobles either corrupt their blood with plebeian mixture, as in England; or they disappear altogether, as in France. Now Naples, in spite of all her fiddlers, is still in a state of barbarian twilight, which resisted the late livid flash of philosophy; and the nobility of Naples remains incorrupt. Though often cut by adultery with footmen, and sometimes reduced to beg in the streets, still is it pure both in heraldry and opinion; for nothing here degrades it but mesalliance, commerce, or a hemp-rope.
The Neapolitan noblemen have seldom been fairly reported. In England, where rank is more circumscribed, nobility generally commands fortune or pride enough to protect it from common contempt. At Naples it is diffused so widely and multiplies sc fast, that you find titles at every corner. Principi or de' Principi, without a virtue or a ducat. Hence strangers, who find no access to noblemen of retired merit, must form on those of the coffeehouses their opinion of the whole order, and level it with the lowest lazaroni, till the two extremes of society meet in ignorance and vice.
In fact, these children of the sun are too ardent to settle in mediocrity. Some noblemen rose lately into statesmen and orators in the short-lived republic; some fell gloriously; others have enriched literature or extended the bounds of science; a few speak with a purity foreign to this court; and not a few are models of urbanity. If you pass, however, from these into the mob of gentlemen, you will find men who glory in an exemption from mental improvement, and affect "all the honorable points of ignorance." In a promiscuous company, the most noted sharper or the lowest buffoon shall, three to one, be a nobleman.
In the economy of the noblest houses there is something farcical. In general, their footmen, having only six ducats a month to subsist on, must, from sheer hunger, be thieves. A certain prince, who is probably not singular, allots to his own dinner one ducat a day. For this sum his people are bound to serve up a stated number of dishes, but then he is obliged to watch while eating; for, if he once turn round, half the service disappears. Yet such jugglers as these find their match in his Highness; for, whenever he means to smuggle the remains of his meal, he sends them all out on different errands at the same moment, and then crams his pockets for supper. Yet, when this man gives an entertainment, it is magnificence itself. On these rare occasions he acts like a prince, and his people behave like gentlemen for the day. He keeps a chaplain in his palace; but the poor priest must
pay him for his lodging there. He keeps a numerous household; but his officers must play with him for their wages. In short, his whole establishment is a compound of splendor and meanness—a palace of marble thatched with straw.
In this upper class, the ladies, if not superior in person, seem far more graceful than the men, and excel in all the arts of the sex. Those of the middle rank go abroad in black silk mantles which are fastened behind round the waist, pass over the head, and end in a deep black veil ; the very demureness of this costume is but a refinement in coquetry.
If Naples be “a paradise inhabited by devils," I am sure it is by merry devils. Even the lowest class enjoy every blessing that can make the animal happy-a delicious climate, high spirits, a facility of satisfying every appetite, a conscience which gives no pain, a convenient ignorance of their duty, and a church which ensures heaven to every ruffian that has faith. Here tatters are not misery, for the climate requires little covering ; filth is not misery to them who are born to it; and a few fingerings of maccaroni can wind up the rattling machine for the day.
They are, perhaps, the only people on earth that do not pretend to virtue. On their own stage they suffer the Neapolitan of the drama to be always a rogue. If detected in theft, a lazarone will ask you, with impudent surprise, how you could possibly expect a poor man to be an angel. Yet what are these wretches? Why, men whose persons might stand as models to a sculptor; whose gestures, strike you with the commanding energy of a savage; whose language, gapping and broad as it is, when kindled by passion, bursts into oriental metaphor; whose ideas are cooped VOL. IV.