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FRANCE TO THE LIFE.
France painted to the Life, by a learned and impartial hand.-Motto.
Quid non Gallia parturit ingens.
Second edition; London, printed for William Leake, at the Crown, in Fleet-street, betwixt the two Temple gates, 1657.
Of this curious book, I know nothing more than what we are told in the title
It will be seen from the following extract, that the French national character has not materi. ally altered since the time of its being written.
The cart stayeth, and it is fit we were in it; horses we could get none for money, and for love we did not expect them. We are now mounted in one chariot,
for so we must call it. An Englishman thought it a plain cart, and if it needs will have the honour of being a chariot, let it; sure I am, it was never ordained for a triumph. At one end were fastened three carcasses of horses, and three bodies which had been once horses, and now were worn to dead images, Had the statue of a man been placed on any one of then, it might have been hanged up at an inn door to represent St. George on horse-back ; so lifeless they were and so little moving : yet at last they began to crawl, for go they could not. This converted me from my former heresy, and made me apprehend life in them; but it was so little, that it seemed only enough to carry them to the next pack of hounds, Thus accommodated, we bade farewell to Dieppe, and proceeded with a pace so slow, that we thought our journey to Rouen would prove a most perfect emblem of the motion of the ninth sphere, which was forty-nine thousand years in finishing. But this was not our greatest misery; the rain fell on us through our tilt, which for the many holes in it, we would have thought a net. The dust brake plentifully in upon us through the rails of our chariot, and the unequal and unproportionable pace of it startled almost every bone of us. I protest I marvel how a Frenchman durst adventure in it. Thus endured we all the diseases of a journey, and the danger of three several deaths, drowning, choaking with the mire, and breaka
ing of the wheel, besides a fear of being famished ben fore we came to our inn, which was six French miles
The mad duke that in the play undertook to drive two snails from Millaine to Musco, without staff, whip, or goad; and in a bravery to match him, for an experiment, would here have had matter to have tired his patience.
We came at last to Tostes, the place destinate to our lodging; a town like the worser sort of market towns in England. There our charioteer brought us to the ruins of a house, an alehouse I would scarce have thought it, and yet in spite of my teeth it must be an inn, yea, and that an honourable one too, as Don Quixote's host told him. Despair of finding there either bedding or victuals made me just like the fellow at the gallows, who, when he might have been reprieved, on condition he would marry a wench which there sued for him; having viewed well, cried to the hangman to drive on his cart. The truth is, J'eschappay du tonnere et rencheu en l’es lair, according to the French proverb ; I fell out of the frying-pan into the hot fire. One of the house (a ragged fellow I am sure he was, and so most likely to live there) brought us to a room somewhat of kindred to a charnel-house; as dark and as dampish; I confess it was paved with brick at the bottom, and had towards the orchard a pretty hole, which in former times had been a window, but now the glass was all vanished. By the light
and dimensions, as a seed bringing forth a plant, of the parent a son. Bagoas, a Persian nobleman, having poisoned Artaxerxes and Arsamues, was detected by Darius, and forced to drink poison himself. Diomedes, who with human flesh fed beasts, was at last, by Hercules, made their food himself. Pope Alexander the Sixth, having designed the poisoning of his friend cardinal Adrian, by his cup-bearer's mistake of the bottle, took the draught himself; and so died by the same engine which he himself had ap. pointed to kill another. In vain do they exert good, who would have it arise out of evil. I may as well, when I plant a thistle, expect a fig; or upon sowing cockle, look for wheat, as to think by indirect courses, to beget my own benefit. The best policy is to sow good and honest actions, and then we may expect a harvest that is answerable.
There is the same difference between diligence and neglect, that there is between a garden properly cultivated and the sluggard's field which fell under Solomon's view, when overgrown with nettles and thorns. The one is clothed with beauty, the other is unpleasant and disgusting to the sight. Negligence is the rust of the soul, that corrodes through all her best
resolutions. What nature made for use, for strength, and ornament, neglect alone converts to trouble,weakness, and deformity. We need only sit still, and diseases will arise from the mere want of exercise.
How fair soever the soul may be; yet while connected with our fleshy nature, it requires continual care and vigilance to prevent its being soiled and discoloured. Take the weeders from the Floralium, and a very little time will change it to a wilderness; and turn that which was before a recreation for men, habitation for vermin. Our life is a warfare ; and we ought not, while passing through it, to sleep with= out a sentinel, or march without a scout. He who neglects either of these precautions, exposes himself to surprise, and to becoming a prey to the diligence and perseverance of his adversary. The mounds of life and virtue, as well as those of pastures, will decay, and if we do not repair them, all the beasts of the field will enter, and tear up every thing good which grows within them.
With the religious and well-disposed, a slight deviation from wisdorn's laws will disturb the mind's fair peace.
Macarius did penance for only killing a gnat in anger. Like the Jewish touch of things unclean, the least miscarriage requires purification. Man is like a watch ; if evening and morning he be not wound up with prayer and circumspection, he is unprofitable and false; or serves to mislead. If the instrument be not truly set,