Wednesday, May 4, 2005 : I have retired.
the best antiquity, and which we may with least vanity admire. One
whom time hath been thus long a-working, and like winter fruit
ripened when others are shaken down. He hath taken out as many
lessons of the world as days, and learnt the best thing in it, the
vanity of it. He looks over his former life as a danger well past,
and would not hazard himself to begin again. His lust was long
broken before his body, yet he is glad this temptation is broke too,
and that he is fortified from it by this weakness. The next door of
death sads him not, but he expects it calmly as his turn in nature;
and fears more his recoiling back to childishness than dust. [...]
He has some old stories still of his own seeing to confirm what he
says, and makes them better in the telling; [...] You must pardon
him if he like his own times better than these, because those things
are follies to him now that were wisdom then; yet he makes us of
that opinion too, when we see him and conjecture those times by so
good a relic.
Earle (1601-65): A Good Old Man (1628), in The Oxford Book
of Essays (John Gross, Ed.), Oxford University Press, 1991.