Pleasant Objects of Love

Pleasant Objects of Love

Pleasant objects are infinite, whether they be such as have life, or be without life; inanimate are countries, provinces, towers, towns, cities, as he said, Pulcherrimam insulam videmus, etiam cum non videmus we see a fair island by description, when we see it not. The sun never saw a fairer city, Thessala Tempe, orchards, gardens, pleasant walks, groves, fountains, &c. The heaven itself is said to be fair or foul: fair buildings, fair pictures, all artificial, elaborate and curious works, clothes, give an admirable lustre: we admire, and gaze upon them, ut pueri Junonis avem, as children do on a peacock: a fair dog, a fair horse and hawk, &c. Thessalus amat equum pullinum, buculum Ægyptius, Lacedæmonius Catulum, &c., such things we love, are most gracious in our sight, acceptable unto us, and whatsoever else may cause this passion, if it be superfluous or immoderately loved, as Guianerius observes. These things in themselves are pleasing and good, singular ornaments, necessary, comely, and fit to be had; but when we fix an immoderate eye, and dote on them over much, this pleasure may turn to pain, bring much sorrow and discontent unto us, work our final overthrow, and cause melancholy in the end. Many are carried away with those bewitching sports of gaming, hawking, hunting, and such vain pleasures, as I have said: some with immoderate desire of fame, to be crowned in the Olympics, knighted in the field, &c., and by these means ruinate themselves. The lascivious dotes on his fair mistress, the glutton on his dishes, which are infinitely varied to please the palate, the epicure on his several pleasures, the superstitious on his idol, and fats himself with future joys, as Turks feed themselves with an imaginary persuasion of a sensual paradise: so several pleasant objects diversely affect diverse men. But the fairest objects and enticings proceed from men themselves, which most frequently captivate, allure, and make them dote beyond all measure upon one another, and that for many respects: first, as some suppose, by that secret force of stars, (quod me tibi temperat astrum?) They do singularly dote on such a man, hate such again, and can give no reason for it. Non amo te Sabidi, &c. Alexander admired Ephestion, Adrian Antinous, Nero Sporus, &c. The physicians refer this to their temperament, astrologers to trine and sextile aspects, or opposite of their several ascendants, lords of their genitures, love and hatred of planets; Cicogna, to concord and discord of spirits; but most to outward graces. A merry companion is welcome and acceptable to all men, and therefore, saith Gomesius, princes and great men entertain jesters and players commonly in their courts. But Pares cum paribus facillime congregantur, 'tis that similitude of manners, which ties most men in an inseparable link, as if they be addicted to the same studies or disports, they delight in one another's companies, "birds of a feather will gather together:" if they be of divers inclinations, or opposite in manners, they can seldom agree. Secondly, affability, custom, and familiarity, may convert nature many times, though they be different in manners, as if they be countrymen, fellow-students, colleagues, or have been fellow-soldiers, brethren in affliction, ( acerba calamitatum societas, diversi etiam ingenii homines conjungit) affinity, or some such accidental occasion, though they cannot agree amongst themselves, they will stick together like burrs, and hold against a third; so after some discontinuance, or death, enmity ceaseth; or in a foreign place:

"Pascitur in vivis livor, post fata quiescit:
Et cecidere odia, et tristes mors obruit iras."

A third cause of love and hate, may be mutual offices, acceptum beneficium, commend him, use him kindly, take his part in a quarrel, relieve him in his misery, thou winnest him for ever; do the opposite, and be sure of a perpetual enemy. Praise and dispraise of each other, do as much, though unknown, as Schoppius by Scaliger and Casaubonus: mulus mulum scabit; who but Scaliger with him? what encomiums, epithets, eulogiums? Antistes sapientiæ, perpetuus dictator, literarum ornamentum, Europæ miraculum, noble Scaliger, ("The priest of wisdom, perpetual dictator, ornament of literature, wonder of Europe.") incredibilis ingenii præstantia, &c., diis potius quam hominibus per omnia comparandus, scripta ejus aurea ancylia de cúlo delapsa poplitibus veneramur flexis, &c., ("Oh incredible excellence of genius, &c., more comparable to gods' than man's, in every respect, we venerate your writings on bended knees, as we do the shield that fell from heaven.") but when they began to vary, none so absurd as Scaliger, so vile and base, as his books de Burdonum familia, and other satirical invectives may witness, Ovid, in Ibin, Archilocus himself was not so bitter. Another great tie or cause of love, is consanguinity: parents are dear to their children, children to their parents, brothers and sisters, cousins of all sorts, as a hen and chickens, all of a knot: every crow thinks her own bird fairest. Many memorable examples are in this kind, and 'tis portenti simile, if they do not: "a mother cannot forget her child:" Solomon so found out the true owner; love of parents may not be concealed, 'tis natural, descends, and they that are inhuman in this kind, are unworthy of that air they breathe, and of the four elements; yet many unnatural examples we have in this rank, of hard-hearted parents, disobedient children, of disagreeing brothers, nothing so common. The love of kinsmen is grown cold, "many kinsmen" (as the saying is) "few friends;" if thine estate be good, and thou able, par pari referre, to requite their kindness, there will be mutual correspondence, otherwise thou art a burden, most odious to them above all others. The last object that ties man and man, is comeliness of person, and beauty alone, as men love women with a wanton eye: which χατ εξοχην (chat exochen) is termed heroical, or love-melancholy. Other loves (saith Picolomineus) are so called with some contraction, as the love of wine, gold, &c., but this of women is predominant in a higher strain, whose part affected is the liver, and this love deserves a longer explication, and shall be dilated apart in the next section.

 

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