The worlds olio written by the Right Honorable, the Lady Margaret Newcastle.
Newcastle, Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of, 1624?-1674.
Page  213

Noble Souls, and Strong Bodies.

THough Noble Souls, and great Wits, dwell not constantly, nor are allwaies created in Strong Bodies, yet if Nature did choose her Materials, match her Works, and order her Crea∣tures rightly and Sympathetically, Strong Bodies should have noble Souls, large Capacities, and great Wits; for Weak Bodies many times are a defect in Nature, as much as shallow Wits, or irrational Souls: But surely, if the chief and first Na∣ture would work methodically, and not seem as if she wrought at randome, and to produce by Chance, as she doth; if Educa∣tion and Custome, which is a second Nature, had not such a prevalent power to disturb and obstruct her; and though E∣ducation and Custome, may and doth somtimes rectify some Defects, and help Life; yet it doth more often puzzle Life, and incumber Natures Works, putting Nature out of the right ways with False Principles, Foolish Customes, and ill Educati∣on; this is the reason natural Wits are many times lost, not having time or leasure to exercise them, or use them (as I may say) or for want of variety of Subjects or Objects to better them; or dull'd by tedious and unprofitable Studies, or quenched out by base Servitude or Subjection: Also clear Understandings are darke∣ned, sound and strong Judgments weakened, and false Judg∣ments given, and vain Conceptions and erroneous Opinions Maintaind or Believed, for want of the True and the Right Waies.

Likewise the streught of the Body oftimes is weakened and effeminated by Luxurie, Curiosity, and Idleness; which cau∣seth Noble Souls, Large Capacities, Clear Understandings, Fine Fancies, and Quick Wits to dwell many times, nay most commonly, in weak Bodies; for the better sort have most com∣monly more Plenty than Health, the one devouring the other; when the Meaner sort have meager Souls, and barren Brains; Rude Dispositions, and Rough Natures; have strong Limbs, strengthned by Exercise, and maintained by Labour; health∣full bodies kept in repair by Temperance, caused by scarcity and Poverty; contented minds, bred by Low Fortunes, and Humble Desires; when Wealth and Dignity create Vain Glo∣ry and Pride: yet many times small Fortunes and great Wits agree best together, but Noble Minds and Great Estates do the most good. But in this Age, although it be the Iron Age, yet those men that have Effeminate Bodies, as tender Youth, loose Limbs, smooth Skins, fair Complexions, fantastical Garbs, affected Phrases, strained Complements, factious Natures, de∣tracting Tongues, mischievous Actions, and the like, are admired, and commended more, or thought wiser than those that have Cenerous Souls, Heroick Spirits, Ingenuous Wits, prudent Fore-cast, Experienced Years, Manly Forms, Grace∣full Page  214 Garbes, Edifying Discourses, Temperate Lives, Sober Actions, Noble Natures, and Honest Hearts: but in former years it was otherwaies; for Heroick Spirits in Masculine Forms had double praise, as is expressed in the Grecian and Trojan Warrs; and Princes were bred to labour as much as Pesants; for though their Labour might be different, the one being Ser∣vile, the other Free, yet the Burthen and pains-taking might be Equal; though they carried not Pedlars Packs, nor Porters Burthens, yet they carried thick and heavy Arms; and if they handled not the Sithe, Pitch-Fork, and Flail, yet they handled the Sword, the Spear, the Dart, the Bow, the Sling, and the like; and if they knew not how to Mow, to Reap, and to Thrash, yet they knew how to Assault, to Defend, and to Fight; and though they digged not the Gold out of the Mines, yet they digged Fortisications out of the Earth; and if they set not Flowers on Banks, or sowed Seeds in Furrows, or ingrafted Slips, or planted Trees to grow, yet they set Armies in battail Array, and sowed Lives in Adventures, ingrafted Honor to the Stock of their Predeceslors, and planted Fame to grow high in after A∣ges; and though they drive not the Asses, yet they mannage the Horses, and if they want the Art to Yoak Oxen, they want not the wisdome to Yoak the Vulgar with strickt Laws; and if they will not drive a Flock of Sheep to the Fold, they can lead a Number of Men to the Warrs; and if they cannot build a House, yet they can storm a City: Thus galiant labours may strengthen the Bodies of Honorable Breed and Noble Minds, freely and industriously, without a Bondage or Slavery; nay they may Row in Gallies, yet not be subject to the Whip or Chains. But as Masculine Bodies and Heroick Souls had a double esteem, so Effeminate Bodies and timorous Spirits, or rather Natures, had a double despising, as witness Paris of Troy; but most Nations in those Ages, spent their time in usefull Arts, not in vain Dressings; they wore Horse-Tails in Head-pieces for Terrour, not Light Feathers for Shew; their Pride lay in their Arms, not in their Clothes; in their Strength, not in their Beau∣ty; in their Victories, not in their Dancings; in their Prudence, not in their Vanities; their Wealth was spent in Hospitality, not in Prodigality; their Discourse was to Instruct, not to make Sport; neither in former years was Old-ages counsel refused for Youths Advice; Age was accounted an Honour, and respect was given to the Silver Hairs, Youth, an Effeminacy, pittying their Follies; And Youth in former Ages learnt with Patience, what Age taught with Judgement; and with Pains, what Skill taught with Industry; As to drive Charriots, ride Horses, bear Arms, hold Shields, throw Darts, to Fence, to wrastle, to Skir∣mish, to train Men, to pitch Camps, to set Armies, to guide Ships; Not to Dance, to Sing, to Fiddle, to paint, to powder, as many men do now adaies; Youth did then listen with attenti∣on to Grave Instructions, and receive reproofs with Submission, Page  215 kept silence with sober Countenance obeyed with willing hearts and ready hands, where now adaies Youth is bold and rude, talks loud, speaks Nonsence, slights Age, scorns Councels, laug's at Reproofes, glories in Vices, and hates Virtue. Tis true many will go into the War and kill one another, though many times they run away; but it is rather Rashnes that sights, than true Va∣lour, where Fortune gives the Victory, and not Pallas, or ra∣ther Time, for those that run first away lose the day: Thus in former Ages were Bodies and Minds matcht; but I speak of Stength, to shew that Women that are bred, tender, idle and ignorant (as I have been) are not likely to have much Wit; nor is it fit they should be bred up to Masculine Actions, yet it were ve∣ry fit and requisit they should be bred up to Masculine Understan∣dings; it is not fit for Women to practice the behaviour of Men, yet it is fit that Women should practice the Fortitude of Men; But Women now adaies affecting a Masculincy, as despising their own Sex, practise the behaviour of Men, not the spirits of Men; nor their Herroick Behaviour, but their Wilde, Loose, Rude, Rough or foolish attected Behaviour; they practise the Masculine Confidency or Boldness, and forget the Esseminate Modesty; the Masculine Vice, and forget the Esseminate Vir∣tues; as to talke Impudently, to Swagger, to Swear, to Game, to Drink, to Revell, to make Factions, but they practice not Silence, Sobriety, Reservedness, Abstinency, Patience or the like; they practice the Masculine Cruelty, quitting their ten∣der and gentle Natures, their sweet and pleasing Dispositions: But these Actions and Humours are so far from preferring our Sex to a higher Degree, that they do debase and make us worse than other Creatures be; but I beseech my Readers to believe I speak not of Envy or Spight, for I am guilty of neither, but out of a grieved love to my own Sex, nor of any particular Nations, but of the World in general, I mean as much as I have heard of; likewise that my Readers will not mistake me, as to think I belive, that great Giantly Bodies, or strong course Clowns have the greatest Wit and deepest Understanding, for we see to the contrary most common∣ly, they being the most Ignorant Fools, and Cowardly spirits; but I mean that if they had large strong healthfull bodies, which might be obtained by Heroick Labours and Exersises, and if their spirits were answerable to their bodies, which might be in∣fused by good Education, they might have a double or treble Por∣tion of Rational Understanding; but most commonly large Bo∣dies are like populated Kingdomes that are Barren for want of Cultivating, and becomes defensless and open to an Enemy, for want of Fortification, which is Fortitude; for Fortitude is an Overflow, or a Superabounding of Spirits, when Fear is a Scarcity or Contracting thereof; the like of Wit and Under∣standing; for from the Quantity and Agilness of the spirits in the Brain produceth Wit, and from the Quantity and Strength of Page  216 the Spirits in the Brain, produceth Understanding; But if I were to choose a Sex, I had rather be a Pigmy, stuft with rational spirits, than a Giant empty thereof: but a Middle Stature is most becoming, a Little the most Agil, and a Great the most Dreadfull, like a private Family; for a small Family hath the least Expence, a Great Family the most Disorder, a Compe∣tent Family the best Governed: Or like Marriage, a Beautifull Wife Delights most, a Witty Wife pleaseth best, a Chast Wife makes a man the Happiest.

So a Valiant Husband is most Esteemed, a Wise Husband best beloved, and an Honest Husband makes a Wife the happiest; when a Coward is scorned, a Fool despised, and an Inconstant Husband hated.

The like is a Cholerick Wife, an Unconstant Wife, and a Sluttish Wife.

IT is strange to observe the forgetfulness, or the boldness, or the foolishness of many men in the World, that will not only take Learned Mens Opinions and Arguments, and discourse of them as if they were their own, to the very Authors them∣selves, word for word, which shews Ridiculous and Mad; but most times they will gravely write them, as if they were never writ or divulged before, by which Actions one would think they were of Kin to the Jackanapes.

Others are as Base as those are Ridiculously Foolish, which will bribe the Printer or Bookseller, to let them see such Copies, and so will steal out their best Phansies, or Opinions, or Arguments, and print them before the others come out; wherefore, it is just in the Readers, to examine the Grounds; for if any have done so unworthy an Act, the Theft will be as easily seen, for it will appear in the Face, lying but skin-deep, but never come neer the Fundamental parts; wherefore all Writers that Strike, Justle, or Imbraee one another, and that are pub∣lished or Printed in a short space of time of one another, are to be examined, to find out the Right and Truth, and to con∣demn the Thief and punish the Crime with Reproach and Infa∣my.