Monday, 12 August 2013

OF all MONUMENTS built by Mankind since the beginning of the World

OF all MONUMENTS built by Mankind since the beginning of the World, there seem to be only two General Causes.
The FIRST Natural, namely a certain desire of Immortality, inherent in, and as it were Essential to the Human Soul. Which being an Immaterial Essence, participant of Divinity both in its Crea|tion, and Hopes, perpetually carrieth about it this impress or character of that Eternal Being, from whence it was derived; that it abhorreth Oblivion, and as not contented with that perpetuity in posterity, which Nature hath ordained by propagation of the Species, (an institution common also to Brute Animals) it aims at another kind of Eternity, by seeking to deliver the Remembrance of some notable actions to all succeeding Generations. So strong are the incitements of this our congenial Ambition, that the Dullest Souls are not altogether insensi|ble of them, and Heroique ones feel a sort of felicity in suffering themselves to be transported by them: Yea, many have preferr'd the Imaginary life of Glory, to that Real one of Nature; and through most horrid dangers and pains exposed themselves to death, meerly out of an obscure hope of being soon revived by Fame, and obtaining a better subsistence in the immortality of their Names.

The OTHER, which is Politique; namely an incitement of men to hazardous undertakings, and enterprizes of difficulty, by set|ting before their eyes the glorious Examples of such among their Predecessors, who by actions of eminent fortitude, prudence, justice, knowledge, piety to their Country, or other the like Virtues, have highly obliged mankind. For, since Glory and Renown is one of the sharpest spurrs to Heroical spirits; and that glory is alwayes great|est, that is most permanent: it was a high point of Wisedome and Policie in our Forefathers to erect publick memorials of great and worthy men, such as being lookt upon by their Successors, might in|spire them with a generous Emulation to atchieve the like meritori|ous actions, that so they may attain to the like honour and esteem, with those that shall come after them. Virtue, though a sufficient reward to it self, would yet have but few followers, unless attended on by Fame. Whereupon Cicero (in 1. Tusculan.) discoursing of gallant men, sayes positively, Eorum nemo unquam, sine magna spe
immortalitatis, se pro patria offerret ad mortem; no man, however magnanimous and brave, would for the good of his Country offer him|self to death, without great hope of immortality; and Euripides (in Ajace) not indecently cries out [undefined span non-Latin alphabet]. Among the most durable Memorials of worthy Men and Actions, by which generous spirits are animated to tread in the rough and crag|gy wayes of Virtue, upon expectation the Gratitude of posterity will endeavour to vindicate their names and deserts from the devouring jaws of Oblivion; the first place belongs to those, which the Greci|ans call [undefined span non-Latin alphabet], the Romans Monumenta, and we in imitation of them Monuments: because they serve to instruct the present and fu|ture ages, in things done in ages past; and remain to succeeding gene|rations, as certain Memorials of the famous performances of their Ancestors. The word Monumentum deriving it self from Moneo; and that again holding from Memoria; as Varro (de lingua Latin. lib. 8. ) monere est a memoria dictum, quod is, qui monet, perinde sit ac memoria. So that a Monument, in propriety of signification, is an Admonition by putting in remembrance.

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