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ROWING on the Thames, the waterman confirmed me in what formerly I had learnt from the maps; how that river, westward, runs so crooked, as likely to lose itself in a labyrinth of its own making. From Reading to London by land, thirty; by water a hundred miles. So wantonly that stream disporteth itself, as if as yet unresolved whether to advance to the sea or retreat to its fountain.

But the same being past London, (as if sensible of its former laziness, and fearing to be checked of the ocean, the mother of all rivers, for so long loitering; or else, as if weary with wandering, and loath to lose more way; or 165lastly, as if conceiving such wildness inconsistent with the gravity of his channel, now grown old, and ready to be buried in the sea,) runs in so direct a line, that from London to Gravesend the number of the miles are equally twenty both by land and by water.

Alas! how much of my life is lavished away? O the intricacies, windings, wanderings, turnings, tergiversations, of my deceitful youth! I have lived in the midst of a crooked generation, [Phil. ii. 15.] and with them have turned aside unto crooked ways. [Psalm cxxv. 5.] High time it is now for me to make straight paths for my feet, [Heb. xii. 13.] and to redeem what is past by amending what is present and to come. Flux, flux (in the German tongue quick, quick) was a motto of Bishop Jewel’s,2929In his Life, p. 10. presaging the approach of his death. May I make good use thereof; make haste, make haste, God knows how little time is left me, and may I be a good husband to improve the short remnant thereof.

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