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had been brought up as a scholar of the house, and was afterwards elected principal; at the very time he was possessed of the highest dignity in the university, he was called to court to assist in the education of the present king of Spain, and has since had the honour of attending upon the young monarch, now on the throne. The two courts of France and Spain have strove to express their acknowledgments by offering him benefices and pensions, which he has always constantly refused, alledging for a reason, that his salary was more than sufficient to support him according to his station, in which his different employments

, how distinguished soever, have never caused him to make the least alteration.

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We seldom form a right judgment of objects that have a splendid outside, and strike the view by their external lustre. There are few persons, who hear of the famous pyramids of Egypt, without being transported with admiration, and extolling the grandeur and magnificence of the princes who raised them. And yet I question whether this admiration be well grounded, or those enormous piles of Building, which cost such immense sums, and occasioned the loss of so many men who were employed about them, and which were only intended for poinp and ostentation, [a] and not for any solid use; I question, I say, whether such Buildings deserve to be spoke of with so much applause.

True greatness does not consist in desiring or doing what a disordered imagination, or a popular error represent as great and magnificent. It does not consist in attempting difficult things, purely because they are difficult. Nor is it affected with what seems wonderful, or actuated by the pleasure of surmounting impossibilities, as history relates of Nero, with whom

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W Tac

Lib Dok Lib


[a] Pyramides regum pecunia 39. Hist. Nat. c. 12. otiosa ac stulta ostentio. Plin. lib.


whatever seemed impracticable had the idea of grand. [6] Erat incredibilium cupitor.

[c] Cicero was of opinion, that only such works and Buildings really deserved admiration, as were designed for the public good, such as aqueducts, citywalls, citadels, arsenals, and sea-ports.

[d] He observes that Pericles, the principal man in Greece, was justly blamed for exhausting the public treasures in adorning the city of Athens, and enriching it with superfluous ornaments.

The Romans, from the foundation of the empire, had a very different taste. They had grandeur in their view, but in such matters only as concerned religion, or the public emolument. [e] Livy observes, that under Tarquinius Superbus they finished a work to carry off the waters of the town, and laid the foundations of the capitol with such magnificence, as after-ages have scarce been able to imitate; and we to this day admire the strength and beauty of the public ways, which were raised by the Romans in different parts, and still subsist almost entire after so many ages.

Alike judgment is to be passed upon the Buildings of private persons. [F] Tully examining what kind of house is proper for a person in a great office and of distinguished rank in the state, thinks lodging and use what ought principally to be regarded; to which a second view might be added, with regard to convenience and dignity; [8] but he particularly recommends the avoiding all excessive magnificence and expence, as the example never fails of becoming pernicious and contagious, men being generally apt not only to imitate, but to exceed others in this particular. Who, says Tully, has rivalled the famous Lucullus

[6] Tacit. Ann. lib. 15. 6.42. quo in genere mullum mali etiam in [C] Lib. 2. Offic. n. 60. exemplo est. Studiosè enim plerique, [d] Ibid.

præsertion in hac parte, facta prin[e] Lib. 1. n. 56.

cipium imitantur, ut L. Luculli 0] Lib. 1. Offic. n. 138.

summi viri virtutem quis ? at quam (8) Cavenduin est etiam, präser- multi villarum magnificentiam imi. sim si ipse ædifices, ne extra modum tati sunt! Ibid. n. 40. dumptu & magnificentiâ prodeas:

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ļ in his vírtues? But how many have followed his ex-*

ample in the costliness of his Buildings? And in our own days we could cite many families, which have either been entirely ruined, or remarkably hurt by a madness for building magnificent houses in town or country, which are the tombs of the most substantial riches of a family, and soon pass into the hands of strangers, who reap the advantage of the first owner's folly. And this should lead such persons as are entrusted with the education of youth, to caution them early against so common and so dangerous a taste.

[h] The ancient Romans were very remote from this. Plutarch mentions one Ælius Tubero in the life of Paulus Æmilius, [i] whom he calls an excellent man, and one that supported poverty in a more noble and generous manner than any other Roman. There were sixteen near relations, all of the Elian family and name, who had only one little house in town, and another in the country, where they all lived together with their wives, and a great many little children.

Among the ancient Romans, it was not the house which honoured the master, but the master the house. [k] A cottage with them became as august as a temple, when justice, generosity, probity, sincerity, and honour were lodged in it; and how can a house be called small, which contains so many and so great virtues?

The taste for modesty in Buildings, and a disregard for all expensiveness in this particular, passed from the republic to the empire, and from private men to the emperors in person.

Trajan placed a glory in building little, that he might be the better able to support the ancient edifices. Idem tam parcus in ædificando, quàm diligens in

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[] Cic. lib. 1. de Offic. n. 139. cùm continentia, cùm prudentia,

[0] Arne äçosos xj uniyadongenio. pietas, omnium officiorum rectè disσαλα Ρωμαίων τενια χρησαμενος. . pensandorum ratio. Nullus an

[k] Istud humile tugurium. gustus est locus, qui hanc tam mag. jam omnibus templis formosius erit, narum virtutum turbam capit. Sce cùm illic justitia conspecta fuerit, nec. de Consol. ad Helv. cap. 9.

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fuendo. He set no value upon whateveradministered to
ostentation and vanity. [1] He understood, says Pliny,
wherein the true glory of a prince consisted. He
knew, that statues, triumphal arches, and Buildings,
were liable to perish by fire and age, or the fancy of a
successor; but that he who despises ambition, who go- }
verns his passions, and sets bounds to absolute power,
is extolled by all the world during his life, and even
after his death, when no body is constrained to praise

The event shewed that he was in the right. Alexander Severus repaired several works of Trajan's, and caused the emperor's name to be fixed upon them all, without allowing his own to be placed in his stead. All the great emperors acted with the same moderation, and we see to this day that more medals have been struck to the glory of such princes, as repaired public Buildings and the monuments of their predecessors, than in honour of those who raised new ones.

We have already observed, in another [m] place, that Augustus was always content with the same apartment and furniture during a reign of near fifty years.

[n] Vespasian and Titus looked upon it as an honour and a pleasure to preserve the little countryhouse, that was left them by their ancestors, without making any alteration in it.

Those masters of the world did not think them. selves too straitly lodged in a house, which had been built only for a private person. The ruins of Adrian's country-seat are still remaining, which does not seein to have been larger than one of our common houses, and is by no nieans equal to that of several private persons now living.

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(1) Scis ubi vera principis, ubi nis, & infinitæ potestatis domitor sempiterna sit gloria; ubi sint ho- ac frænator aniinus, ipsâ vetustate nores in quos nihil fammis, nihil forescit, nec ab uilis magis laudasenectuti, nihil successoribus liceat. tur, quàm quibus minimè necesse Arcus enim, & statuas, aras etiam templaque demolitur & obscurat [m] Sueton. oblivio, negligit carpitque posteri- in] Suet. in Vit. Ve.p. caz). 2. 2. Contrà, contemptor ambitio

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For men now, who have no other merit than their riches, (and often of how mean an original !) build magnificent palaces both in town and country; and, to the misfortune of all around them, sooner or later their neighbour's house, vineyard, and inheritance, are swallowed up in their vast Buildings, and serve only to enlarge their gardens and parks.

[a] What is told of cardinal d'Amboise, archbishop of Rouen, and minister of state under Lewis XII. is a very extraordinary example. A gentleman of Normandy had an estate in land not far from the beautiful seat of Gaillon, which at that time belonged to the archbishopric of Rouen. He had no money to give with his daughter in inarriage, and to procure a portion, offered to sell his land to the cardinal at a cheap rate. Another would perhaps have taken advantage of the occasion; but the cardinal, knowing the gentleman's motive, left him his land, and freely gave him as much money as he stood in need of.

We have had a prince [p] in our days, whose loss will be eternally lamented in France, as in many other respects, so particularly for his extreme aversion to all pomp and useless expence. It was proposed to him to put up finer and more fashionable chimney-pieces in one of his apartments; but as there was no necessity for the alteration, he chose rather to preserve the old ones. He was advised to buy a bureau, worth fifteen hundred livres, but thinking it too dear, he had an old one brought out of the wardrobe, and contented himself with that. And thus he behaved in every particular, and out of no other motive than that he might have wherewith to be the more liberal. Ilow great a blessing to a kingdom, and how kind a present from heaven, is a prince of this character? in point of solid Glory and real Greatness, how far preferable is a tender love for the people, which extends to such selfdenial for their benefit, to all the magnificence of the most sumptuous Buildings ?

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[0] Vie du Card. d'Amboise, (A) The duke of Burgundy.

par Baudier.

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