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Greatly aghast with this piteous plea,
“Ah, my sovereign ! Lord of creatures all,
my fresh flow'rets been defaced : For this, and many more such outrage, Craving your goodlihead to assuage
The rancorous rigour of his might,
To this the Oake cast him to reply
1 Would not,
3 Lest that.
For nought might they quitten him from decay,
Now stands the Brere like a lord alone,
1 At last.
HOOKER. RICHARD HOOKER. Born 1553; died 1600. Contemporary with
Spenser, and about ten years older than Shakespeare. His chief work is his treatise Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity,
published between 1592 and 1597. In the Ecclesiastical disputes of the time the part which he bears is that of defender of
the Church of England as then established. His style is formed upon a Latin model, and at first sight is a
little obscure; but it developed powers in our language which, up to his time, had been untried.
THE LAW OF REASON. Laws of reason have these marks to be known by. Such as keep them resemble most lively in their voluntary actions that very manner of working which nature herself doth necessarily observe in the course of the whole world. The works of nature are all behoveful, beautiful, without superfluity or defect; even so theirs, if they be framed according to that which the law of reason teacheth. Secondly, those laws are investigable by reason, without the help of revelation supernatural and divine. Finally, in such sort they are investigable, that the knowledge of them is general, the world hath always been acquainted with them; according to that which one in Sophocles observeth concerning a branch of this law, It is no child of to-day's or yesterday's birth, but hath been no man Icnoweth how long sithence. It is not agreed upon by one, or two, or few, but by all: which we may not so understand, as if
every particular man in the whole world did know and confess whatsoever the law of reason doth contain; but this law is such that being proposed no man can reject it as being unreasonable and unjust. Again, there is nothing in it but any man (having natural perfection of wit and ripeness of judgment) may by labour and travail find out. And to conclude, the general principles thereof are such, as it is not easy to find men ignorant of them. Law rational therefore, which men commonly use to call the law of nature, meaning thereby the law which human nature knoweth itself in reason universally bound unto, which also for that cause may be termed most fitly the law of reason; this law, I say, comprehendeth all those things which men by the light of their natural understanding evidently know, or at leastwise may know, to be beseeming or unbeseeming, virtuous or vicious, good or evil for them to do.
Now although it be true, which some have said, that whatsoever is done amiss, the law of nature and reason thereby is transgressed, because even those offences which are by their special qualities breaches of supernatural laws, do also, for that they are generally evil, violate in general that principle of reason, which willeth universally to fly from evil : yet do we not therefore so far extend the law of reason, as to contain in it all manner laws whereunto reasonable creatures are bound, but (as hath been showed), we restrain it to those only duties, which all men by force of natural wit either do or might understand to be such duties as concern all men.