Page images


ings, wherein I have spent and tired out almost a whole youth, I shall not distrust to be acquitted of presumption : knowing, that if heretofore all ages have received with favour and good acceptance the early industry of him that hath been hopeful, it were but hard measure now, if the freedom of any timely spirit should be oppressed merely by the big and blunted faine of his elder adversary; and that his sufficiency must be now sentenced, not by pondering the reason he shows, but by calculating the years he brings. However as my purpose is not, nor hath been formerly, to look on my adversary abroad, through the deceiving glass of other men’s great opinion of him, but at home, where I

may find him in the proper light of his own worth ; so now against the rancour of an evil tongue, from which I never thought so absurdly, as that I of all men should be exempt, I must be forced to proceed from the unfeigned and diligent inquiry of my own conscience at home (for better way I know not, readers) to give a more true account of myself abroad than this modest confuter, as he calls himself, hath given of me. Albeit, that in doing this, I shall be sensible of two things which to me will be nothing pleasant; the one is, that not unlikely I shall be thought too much a party in mine own cause, and therein to see least : the other, that I shall be put unwillingly to molest the public view with the vindication of a private name ; as if it were worth the while that the people should care whether such a one were thus, orthus. Yet those I entreat who have found the leisure to read that name, however of small repute, unworthily defamed, would be so good and so patient as to hear the same person not unneedfully defended. I will not deny but that the best apology against false accusers is silence and sufferance, and honest



[ocr errors]

deeds set against dishonest words. *** And were it that slander would be content to make an end where it first fixes, and not seek to cast out the like infamy upon each thing that hath but any relation to the person traduced, I should have pleaded against this confuter by no other advocates than those which I first commended, silence and sufferance, and speaking deeds against faltering words. But when I discerned his intent was not so much to smite at me, as through me to render odious the truth which I had written, and to stain with ignominy that evangelic doctrine which opposes the tradition of prelaty; I conceived myself to be now not as mine own

I person, but as a member incorporate into that truth whereof I was persuaded, and whereof I had declared openly to be a partaker.. Whereupon I thought it my duty, if not to myself, yet to the religious cause I had in hand, not to leave on my garment the least spot or blemish in good name, so long as God should give me to say that which might wipe it off. Lest those disgraces, which I ought to suffer, if it so befall me, for niy religion, through my default religion be made liable to suffer for me. And, whether it might not something reflect upon those reverent men whose friend I


be thought in writing the 'Animadversions, was not my last care to consider ; if I should rest under these reproaches, having the same common adversary with them, it might be counted small credit for their cause to have found such an assistant, as this babbler hath devised me.

Having rendered an account what induced me to write those animadversions in that manner as I writ them, I come now to see what the confutation hath to say against them; but so as the confuter shall hear first what I have to say against his confutation. ****


As therefore he began in the title, so in the next leaf he makes it his first business to tamper with his reader by sycophanting and misnaming the work of his adversary. He calls it“ a mime thrust forth upon the stage, to make up the breaches of those solemni scenes between the prelates and the Smectymnuans.” **** Could he not beware, could he not bethink him, was he so uncira cumspect as not to forsee, that no sooner would that word mime be set eye on in the paper, but it would bring to inind that wretched pilgrimage over Minshew's dictionary called “Mundus alter et idem,” the idlest and the paltriest mime that ever mounted upon bank? Let him ask “ the author of those toothless satires,” who was the maker, or rather the anticreator of that uni- ' versal foolery, who he was, who like that other principal of the Manichees the arch evil one, when he had looked


all that he had made and mapped out, could say no other but contrary to the divine mouth, that it was all very foolish. That

grave and noble invention, which the greatest and sublimest wits in sundry ages, Plato in Critias, and our two famous countrymen, the one in his “ Utopia," the other in his “ New Atlantis” chose, I may not say as a field, but as a mighty continent, wherein to display the largeness of their spirits, by teaching this our world better and exacter things than were yet known or used: this petty prevaricator of America, the zany of Columbus (for so he must be till his world's end) having rambled over the huge topography of his own vain thoughts, no marvel if he brought us home nothing but a mere tankard drollery, a venereous “parjetory for

Let him go now and brand another man injuriously with the name of Mime, being himself the loosest and most extravagant Mime that hath been heard of, whom no less than almost half the world could

a stews. **

serve for stage-room to play the Mime in. And let him advise again with sir Francis Bacon, whom he cites to confute others, what it is “ to turn the sins of christendown into a mimical mockery, to rip up the saddest vices with a laughing countenance,” especially where neither reproof nor better teaching is adjoined. Nor is my meaning, readers, to shift off a blame from myself, by charging the like upon my accuser, but shall only desire, that sentence may be respited, till I can come to some instance whereto I may give answer.

Thas having spent his first onset, not in confuting, but in a reasonless defaming of the book, the method of his malice hurries him to attempt the like against the author; not by proofs and testimones, but “having no certain notice of me," as he professes, “ further than what he gathers from the Animadversions,” blunders at me for the rest, and flings out stray crimes at a venture, which he could never, though he be a serpent, suck from any thing that I have written, but from his own stuffed magazine, and board of slanderous inventions, over and above that which he converted to venom in the drawing. To me, readers, it happens as a singular contentment; and let it be to good men no light satisfaction, that the slanderer here confesses, he has “ further notice of me than his own conjecture.” Although it had beer, honest to have inquired, before he uttered such infamous words, and I am credibly informed he did inquire; but finding small comfort froin the intelligence which he received, whereon to ground the fale sities which he had provided, thought it his likeliest course under a pretended ignorance to let drive at random, lest he should lose his odd ends, which from some penurious book of characters he had been culling out and would fain apply. Not caring to burden me with


those vices, whereof, among whom my conversation hath been, I have been ever least, suspected; perhaps not without sume subtlety to cast me into envy, by bringing on me a necessity to enter into mine own praises. In which argument I know every wise man is more unwillingly drawn to speak, than the most repining ear can be averse to hear. Nevertheless, since I. dare not wish to pass this life unpersecuted of 'slanderous tongues, for God hath told us that to be generally praised is woeful, I shall rely on his promise to free the innocent from causeless aspersions : whereof nothing sooner can assure mne, than if I shall feel him now assisting me in the just vindication of myself, which yet I could defer, it being more meet, that to those other matters of public debatement in this book I should give attondance first, but that I fear it would but harm the truth for me to reason in de veran, S0 1015 as I wlovuly suffer my honest estimation to lie unpurged from these insolent suspicions. And if I shall be large, or unwonted in justifying myself to those who know me not, for else it would be needless, let them consider that a short slander will oft-tinies reach further than a long apology; and that he who will do justly to all men, must begin from knowing how, if it so happen, to be not unjust to himself. I must be thought, if this libeller, (for now he shows himself to be so) can find belief, after an inordinate and riotous youth spent at the university, to have been at length" vomited out thence." For which commodious lie, that he may be encouraged in the trade another time, I thank hiin ; for it hath given me an apt occasion to acknowledge publicly with all grateful mind, that more than ordinary favour and respect, which I found above any of my equals at the kands of those courteous and learned men, the fellows

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »