(y) THIS must be Eurypylus, an old beaten Soul∣dier, when he continueth so long under Pain, see how far he is from giving a mean spirited pittiful answer, that he alledgeth a Reason, why he should bear it patiently.
Patroclus will, I trow, carry him in, and rest him on a Pallate, that he may dress his Wound, if he had any Humanity. But I see no such matter, for he is asking news of the Fight.
Though Eurypylus should have been able, yet Aesopus could not.
And what follows he relateth, being all the while in Pain.
Page 124So ungovernable is Military Glory in a man of Honour. Shall therefore an old Soldier be able to do this, and shall not a Scholar and Wise man be able so to do? Nay this may better, and that not a little. But hitherto I speak but of the Custom of Exercise, I am not yet come to Reason and Wisdom. (z) Weak old Women oftentimes go without eat∣ing two or three days together; do but with-hold Meat one day from a Wrastler, he will cry out upon Olympian Jupiter; the same to whose Honor he shall exercise himself. He will cry he cannot bear it; Great is the Power of Custom: Hunters keep all night abroad in Frost and Snow; endure the being starv'd on the top of bleak Mountains: from the same Custom is it, that those who Cuff with Whorlebats, though batter'd black and blew, never fetch'd a groan. But why do I mention these Ma∣sters of Exercise, who esteem'd a Prize won at the Olympian Games, as honourable as was the Roman Consulship of old? Fencers, men either Bank-routs, or Barbarians, what gashes do they put up? how do they that are taught true Play, choose rather to receive a slash, than unhandsomly to decline it? how often is it apparent, that they desire nothing more, than to content either their Patron, or the People; when they are even flash'd all over, they send to their Lords to enquire their Pleasures, whe∣ther they have given them content, that they were willing to fight it out to the last. What Fencer of any Courage, groan'd in the Combat? who ever chang'd his colour? who, not only stood, but even fell indecently? who, after he had laid himself down, when he was bidden to lye fair for his deaths-wound, shrunk his Neck in? Such Power hath Exercise, Training, Custom. Shall therefore this Ability be attainable by
And shall a man, born to Glory, have any part of his Soul so nesh, as that he cannot confirm it wth Exercising, and with Reason? (a) The look∣ing upon Fencers playing a Prize, is wont to be accounted by some, Cruel and Inhumane, and I know not but it may be so, as it is now used. But when Malefactors sought it out at the Swords point, perhaps the Ear might find many braver Lectures, but the Eyes could never receive any Instruction more sortifying against Pain and Death.
(y) This must be Eurypylus.] Eurypylus the Son of Euae∣mon, a Commander of the Greeks, was shot by Alexander (that is Paris) into the Thigh, so that the Arrow broke in the Wound; he comes limping out of the Battle, and meets Parocles, between whom this Discourse is made to pass; the ground of it is taken from the eleventh Iliad of Homer.
(z) Weak old Women.] Farther Instances of the Power of Exercise; also in Hunters, Cuffers with Whorlebats, Fencers.
(a) The looking upon Fencers playing a Prize, is wont to be accounted, by some, Cruel and Inhumane.] To take pleasure in Bear and Bull-baiting, in Cock-fighting, in setting Dogs one upon another, are no Indications of a moderate and gentle Temper. However it may gratifie the irascible part wherein we nearest approach to the wild-beast; but to purchase the pleasure of showing or seeing men slash and mangle men, is little better than a Subornation of Murther. The Art of Defence is noble, but not in a procur'd Assault, nor in turning it on the Offensive. The old Romans were so transported with foundness for this Recreation, as they judg'd it, that they built stately Amphitheaters in diverse parts of the Empire, to accommodate the Spectators; they exhi∣bited many Matches of Fencers at their entrance upon Offices, at Funerals, and at extraordinary Shows. This Page 126daily Carnage pamper'd the Humour of that Martial People, but the Practice was condemn'd by the sober Heathen, for∣bid by the Church to her Followers, reproved by the Fathers, and at last condemned by the Christian Emperors.