« ForrigeFortsæt »
NEW AND OLD.
JULIUS CESAR did write a collection of apophthegms, as appears in an epistle of Cicero; I need say no more for the worth of a writing of that nature. It is pity his book is lost: for I imagine they were collected with judgment and choice; whereas that of Plutarch and Stobæus, and much more the modern ones, draw much of the dregs. Certainly they are of excellent use. They are "mucrones verborum," pointed speeches. Cicero prettily calleth them "salinas," salt pits, that you may extract salt out of, and sprinkle it where you will. They serve to be interlaced in continued speech. They serve to be recited upon occasion of themselves. They serve, if you take out the kernel of them and make them your own. I have, for my recreation, in my sickness, fanned the old, not omitting any, because they are vulgar, for many vulgar ones are excellent good; nor for the meanness of the person, but because they are dull and flat; and adding many new, that otherwise would have died.
to accountants hereafter. But the lo. treasurer said, Why, I pray you, if you had lost your purse by the way, would you look forwards, or would you look back? The queen hath lost her purse."
1. WHEN Queen Elizabeth had advanced to accountants that were already, but extend only Raleigh, she was one day playing on the virginals, and my Lo. of Oxford and another nobleman stood by. It fell out so, that the ledge before the jacks was taken away, so as the jacks were seen: my Lo. of Oxford and the other nobleman smiled, and a little whispered. The queen marked it, and would needs know what the matter was? My Lo. of Oxford answered: "That they smiled to see that when jacks went up, heads went down." 2. Henry the Fourth of France his queen was great with child; Count Soissons, that had his expectation upon the crown, when it was twice or thrice thought that the queen was with child before, said to some of his friends, "That it was but with a pillow." This had someways come to the king's ear; who kept it till when the queen waxed great: called the Count of Soissons to him, and said, laying his hand upon the queen's belly; "Come, cousin, it is no pillow!"-"Yes, sir," answered the Count of Soissons, "it is a pillow for all France to sleep upon."
3. There was a conference in parliament between the Upper House and the Lower, about a bill of accountants, which came down from the Lords to the Commons; which bill prayed, That the lands of accountants, whereof they were seized when they entered upon their office, mought be liable to their arrears to the queen; but the Commons desired that the bill mought not look back
4. Queen Elizabeth, the morrow of her coronation, went to the chapel; and in the great chamber, Sir John Rainsford, set on by wiser men, (a knight that had the liberty of a buffoon,) besought the queen aloud; "That now this good time, when prisoners were delivered, four prisoners, amongst the rest, mought likewise have their liberty who were like enough to be kept still in hold." The queen asked; "Who they were?" And he said; "Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, who had long been imprisoned in the Latin tongue; and now he desired they mought go abroad among the people in English." The queen answered, with a grave countenance; "It were good (Rainsford) they were spoken with themselves, to know of them whether they would be set at liberty?"
5. The lo. keeper, Sir Nicholas Bacon, was asked his opinion by Queen Elizabeth of one of these monopoly licences? And he answered "Will you have me speak truth, madam? Licentia omnes deteriores sumus;'" We are all the worse for a licence.
6. Pace, the bitter fool, was not suffered to come at the queen, because of his bitter humour.
Yet at one time, some persuaded the queen that he should come to her; undertaking for him, that he should keep compass: so he was brought to her, and the queen said: "Come on, Pace; now we shall hear of our faults." Saith Pace; "I do not use to talk of that that all the town talks on." 7. My Lo. of Essex, at the succour of Rhoan, made twenty-four knights, which at that time was a great matter. Divers of those gentlemen were of weak and small means; which when Queen Elizabeth heard, she said, "My lo. mought have done well to have built his almshouse, before he made his knights."
8. A great officer in France was in danger to have lost his place; but his wife, by her suit and means making, made his peace; whereupon a pleasant fellow said, "That he had been crushed, but that he saved himself upon his horns."
9. Queen Ann Bullen, at the time when she was led to be beheaded in the Tower, called one of the king's privy chamber to her, and said to him, "Commend me to the king, and tell him, he is constant in his course of advancing me; from a private gentlewoman he made me a marquisse, and from a marquisse a queen; and now, he had left no higher degree of earthly honour, he hath made me a martyr."
10. Bishop Latimer said, in a sermon at court, "That he heard great speech that the king was poor; and many ways were propounded to make him rich; for his part he had thought of one way, which was that they should help the king to some good office, for all his officers were rich."
except himself were pope. And therefore that he did raise him, as the driver on of his own fortune."
14. Sir Thomas More had only daughters at the first, and his wife did ever pray for a boy. At last he had a boy, which after, at man's years, proved simple. Sir Thomas said to his wife, "Thou prayedst so long for a boy, that he will be a boy as long as he lives."
15. Sir Thomas More, the day that he was beheaded, had a barber sent to him, because his hair was long; which was thought would make him more commiserated with the people. The barber came to him, and asked him, "Whether he would be pleased to be trimmed?" "In good faith, honest fellow," said Sir Thomas, "the king and I have a suit for my head, and till the title be cleared, I will do no cost upon it."
16. Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, a great champion of the Papists, was wont to say of the Protestants who ground upon the Scripture, "That they were like posts, that bring truth in their letters, and lies in their mouths."
17. The Lacedæmonians were besieged by the Athenians in the Port of Pellae, which was won, and some slain, and some taken. There was one said to one of them that was taken, by way of scorn, "Were not they brave men that lost their lives at the Port of Pellae ?" He answered, "Certainly a Persian arrow is much to be set by, if it can choose out a brave man."
18. After the defeat of Cyrus the younger, Falinus was sent by the king to the Grecians, who had for their part rather victory than otherwise, to command them to yield their arms; which when it was denied, Falinus said to Clearchus;
11. Cæsar Borgia, after long division between him and the lords of Romagna, fell to accord with them. In this accord there was an article, that he should not call them at any time all together" Well then, the king lets you know, that if you in person. The meaning was, that knowing his dangerous nature, if he meant them treason, some one mought be free to revenge the rest. Nevertheless, he did with such fine art and fair carriage win their confidence, that he brought them altogether to council at Cinigaglia; where he murdered them all. This act, when it was related unto Pope Alexander, his father, by a cardinal, as a thing happy, but very perfidious; the pope said, "It was they that had broke their covenant first, in coming all together."
12. Pope Julius the Third, when he was made pope, gave his hat unto a youth, a favourite of his, with great scandal. Whereupon, at one time, a cardinal that mought be free with him, said modestly to him, "What did your holiness see in that young man, to make him cardinal?" Julius answered, "What did you see in me to make me pope?"
13. The same Julius, upon like occasion of speech, Why he should bear so great affection to the same young man? would say, "that he had found by astrology that it was the youth's destiny to be a great prelate; which was impossible
remove from the place where you are now encamped, it is war: if you stay, it is truce. What shall I say you will do?" Clearchus answered, "It pleaseth us, as it pleaseth the king.” “How is that?" said Falinus. Saith Clearchus, "If we remove, war: if we stay, truce:" and so would not disclose his purpose.
19. Clodius was acquitted by a corrupt jury, that had palpably taken shares of money: before they gave up their verdict, they prayed of the senate a guard, that they might do their consciences freely, for that Clodius was a very seditious young nobleman. Whereupon all the world gave him for condemned. But acquitted he was. Catulus, the next day seeing some of them that had acquitted him together, said to them; "What made you to ask of us a guard? Were you afraid your money should have been taken from you?"
20. At the same judgment, Cicero gave in evidence upon oath: and the jury, which consisted of fifty-seven, passed against his evidence. One day in the senate Cicero and Clodius being in altercation, Clodius upbraided him and said, "The jury gave you no credit." Cicero an
swered, "Five-and-twenty gave me credit: but there were two-and-thirty that gave you no credit, for they had their money beforehand."
people, one day, when he spake to the people, in one part of his speech, was applauded: whereupon he turned to one of his friends, and asked, "What have I said amiss ?",
21. Many men, especially such as affect gravity, have a manner after other men's speech to 31. Sir Walter Raleigh was wont to say of the shake their heads. Sir Lionel Cranfield would ladies of Queen Elizabeth's privý-chamber and say, "It was as men shake a bottle, to see if | bed-chamber, "that they were like witches, they there were any wit in their head or no?"
22. Sir Thomas More, who was a man in all his lifetime that had an excellent vein in jesting, at the very instant of his death, having a pretty long beard, after his head was upon the block, lift it up again, and gently drew his beard aside, and said, "This hath not offended the king."
23. Sir Thomas More had sent him by a suitor in chancery two silver flagons. When they were presented by the gentleman's servant, he said to one of his men, "Have him to the cellar, and let him have of my best wine:" and, turning to the servant, said, “Tell thy master, friend, if he like it, let him not spare it."
24. Diogenes, having seen that the kingdom of Macedon, which before was contemptible and low, began to come aloft when he died, was asked how he would be buried? He answered, "With my face downwards; for within a while the world will be turned upside down, and then I shall lie right."
25. Cato the elder was wont to say; that the Romans were like sheep; a man were better drive a flock of them, than one of them.
26. Themistocles in his lower fortune was in love with a young gentleman who scorned him; when he grew to his greatness, which was soon after, he sought to him: Themistocles said, "We are both grown wise, but too late."
27. Demonax the philosopher, when he died, was asked touching his burial. He answered, "Never take care for burying me, for stink will bury me." He that asked him said again: "Why, would you have your body left to dogs and ravens to feed upon?" Demonax answered, "Why, what great hurt is it, if having sought to do good, when I lived, to men; my body do some good to beasts, when I am dead."
could do hurt, but they could do no good."
32. Bion, that was an atheist, was showed in a port city, in a temple of Neptune, many tables of pictures, of such as had in tempests made their vows to Neptune, and were saved from shipwreck : and was asked, "How say you now? Do you not acknowledge the power of the gods?" But he said, "Yes, but where are they painted that have been drowned after their vows?"
33. Bias was sailing, and there fell out a great tempest; and the mariners, that were wicked and dissolute fellows, called upon the gods; but Bias said to them, "Peace, let them not know you are here."
34. Bion was wont to say; "That Socrates, of all the lovers of Alcibiades, only held him by the ears."
35. There was a minister deprived for inconformity, who said to some of his friends, "That if they deprived him, it should cost an hundred men's lives." The party understood it, as if, being a turbulent fellow, he would have moved sedition, and complained of him; whereupon being convented and apposed upon that speech, he said his meaning was, "That if he lost his benefice, he would practise physic, and then he thought he should kill an hundred men in time." 36. Michael Angelo, the famous painter, painting in the pope's chapel the portraiture of hell and damned souls, made one of the damned souls so like a cardinal that was his enemy, as everybody at first sight knew it. Whereupon the cardinal complained to Pope Clement, desiring it might be defaced; who said to him, "Why, you know very well, I have power to deliver a soul out of purgatory, but not out of hell."
37. There was a philosopher about Tiberius, that looking into the nature of Caius, said of him;
28. Jack Roberts was desired by his tailor," that he was mire and mingled with blood." when the reckoning grew somewhat high, to have a bill of his hand. Roberts said, "I am content, but you must let no man know it." When the tailor brought him the bill, he tore it as in choler, and said to him, "You use me not well; you promised me nobody should know it, and here you have put in, Be it known unto all men by these presents.""
38. Alcibiades came to Pericles, and stayed a while ere he was admitted. When he came in, Pericles civilly excused it, and said; "I was studying how to give my account." But Alcibiades said to him, "If you will be ruled by me, study rather how to give no account."
29. When Lycurgus was to reform and alter the state of Sparta; in the consultation one advised, that it should be reduced to one absolute popular equality: but Lycurgus said to him; "Sir, begin it in your own house."
30. Phocion, the Athenian, a man of great severity, and noways flexible to the will of the
39. Cicero was at dinner, where there was an ancient lady that spake of her years, and said, "she was but forty years old." One that sat by Cicero rounded him in the ear, and said; "She talks of forty years old; and she is far more, out of question." Cicero answered him again; "I must believe her, for I have heard her say so any time these ten years."
40. Pope Adrian the Sixth was talking with K
the Duke of Sesa, "that Pasquil gave great scan- | no?" He durst not tell untruth to the emperor, dal, and that he would have him thrown into and confessed that he was not his brother. the river:" but Sesa answered, "Do it not, holy Whereupon the emperor said, "This do, fetch father, for then he will turn frog; and whereas me the money, and you shall have your suit denow he chants but by day, he will then chant spatched." Which he did. The courtier, which both by day and night." was the mean, solicited Vespasian soon after about his suit: "Why," saith Vespasian, “I gave it last day to a brother of mine."
41. There was a soldier that vaunted before Julius Cæsar of hurts he had received in his face. Julius Cæsar knowing him to be but a coward, told him; "You were best take heed next time you run away, how you look back."
42. There was a bishop that was somewhat a delicate person, and bathed twice a day. A friend of his said to him; "My lord, why do you bathe twice a day?" The bishop answered; "Because I cannot conveniently bathe thrice."
43. Mendoza that was viceroy of Peru, was wont to say, "that the government of Peru was the best place that the King of Spain gave, save that it was somewhat too near Madrid."
44. Secretary Bourn's son kept a gentleman's wife in Shropshire, who lived from her husband, with him when he was weary of her, he caused her husband to be dealt with to take her home, and offered him five hundred pounds for reparation; the gentleman went to Sir H. Sidney to take his advice upon this offer, telling him, "that his wife promised now a new life; and, to tell him truth, five hundred pounds would come well with him; and besides, that sometimes he wanted a woman in his bed." 66 By my troth," said Sir Henry Sidney, "take her home, and take the money and then whereas other cuckolds wear their horns plain, you may wear yours gilt."
49. When Vespasian passed from Jewry to take upon him the empire, he went by Alexandria, where remained two famous philosophers, Appollonius and Euphrates. The emperor heard the discourse, touching matter of state, in the presence of many. And when he was weary of them, he brake off, and in a secret derision, finding their discourses but speculative, and not to be put in practice, said, “O that I might govern wise men, and wise men govern me."
50. Cardinal Ximenes, upon a muster, which was taken against the Moors, was spoken to by a servant of his to stand a little out of the smoke of the harquebuss; but he said again, “That that was his incense."
51. Vespasian asked of Apollonius, what was the cause of Nero's ruin? Who answered, “Nero could tune the harp well, but in government he did always wind up the strings too high, or let them down too low."
52. Mr. Bromley, solicitor, giving in evidence for a deed, which was impeached to be fraudulent, was urged by the counsel on the other side with this presumption, that in two former suits, when title was made, that deed was passed over in silence, and some other conveyance stood upon. Mr. Justice Catline taking in with that side, asked the solicitor, "I pray thee, Mr. Solicitor,
45. There was a gentleman in Italy that wrote to a great friend of his upon his advancement to be cardinal, that he was very glad of his advance-let me ask you a familiar question; I have two ment, for the cardinal's own sake; but he was sorry that himself had lost so good a friend.
46. When Rabelais lay on his death-bed, and they gave him the extreme unction, a familiar friend of his came to him afterwards, and asked him how he did? Rabelais answered, "Even going my journey, they have greased my boots already."
47. There was a king of Hungary took a bishop in battle, and kept him prisoner: whereupon the pope writ a monitory to him, for that he had broke the privilege of holy church, and taken his son. The king sent an embassage to him, and sent withal the armour wherein the bishop was taken, and this only in writing, "Vide num hæc sit vestis filii tui :"
48. There was a suitor to Vespasian, who, to lay his suit fairer, said it was for his brother; whereas indeed it was for a piece of money. Some about Vespasian, to cross him, told the emperor that the party his servant spoke for, was not his brother; but that it was upon a bargain. Vespasian sent for the party interested, and asked nim ; "Whether his mean was his brother or
geldings in my stable, and I have divers times business of importance, and still I send forth one of my geldings, and not the other; would you not think I set him aside for a jade ?" "No, my lord," said Bromley, "I would think you spared him for your own saddle."
53. Alonso Cartilio was informed by his steward of the greatness of his expense, being such as he could not hold out with. The bishop asked him wherein it chiefly arose? His steward told him, in the multitude of his servants. The bishop bade him make a note of those that were necessary, and those that mought be spared. Which he did. And the bishop taking occasion to read it before most of his servants, said to his steward, "Well, let these remain because I need them; and these other also because they have need of me."
54. Queen Elizabeth was wont to say, upon the commission of sales, "That the commissioners used her like strawberry wives, that laid two or three great strawberries at the mouth of their pot, and all the rest were little ones; so they made her two or three good prizes of the first particulars, but fell straightways."
55. Queen Elizabeth was wont to say of her instructions to great officers, "That they were like to garments, strait at the first putting on, but did by and by wear loose enough."
56. Mr. Marbury the preacher would say, "That God was fain to do with wicked men, as men do with frisking jades in a pasture, that cannot take them up, till they get them at a gate. So wicked men will not be taken up till the hour of death." 57. Thales, as he looked upon the stars, fell into the water; whereupon it was after said, "That if he had looked into the water he might have seen the stars, but looking up to the stars he could not see the water."
58. The book of deposing King Richard the Second, and the coming in of Henry the Fourth, supposed to be written by Doctor Hayward, who was committed to the Tower for it, had much incensed Queen Elizabeth; and she asked Mr. Bacon, being then of her learned counsel, "Whether there was any treason contained in it?" Mr. Bacon intending to do him a pleasure, and to take off the queen's bitterness with a merry conceit, answered, "No, madam, for treason I cannot deliver opinion that there is any, but very much felony." The queen, apprehending it gladly, asked, “How? and wherein?" Mr. Bacon answered, "Because he had stolen many of his sentences and conceits out of Cornelius Tacitus."
"That his style was like mortar of sand without lime."
64. Sir Henry Wotton used to say, "That critics are like brushers of noblemen's clothes." 65. Queen Elizabeth being to resolve upon a great officer, and being by some, that canvassed for others, put in some doubt of that person whom she meant to advance, called for Mr. Bacon, and told him, "She was like one with a lantern seeking a man ;" and seemed unsatisfied in the choico she had of men for that place. Mr. Bacon answered her, "That he had heard that in old time there was usually painted on the church walls the day of doom, and God sitting in judgment, and St. Michael by him with a pair of balances; and the soul and the good deeds in the one balance, and the faults and the evil deeds in the other: and the soul's balance went up far too light. Then was our lady painted with a great pair of beads, who cast them into the light balance, and brought down the scale: so, he said, place and authority. which were in her hands to give, were like our lady's beads, which though men, through divers imperfections, were too light before, yet when they were cast in, made weight competent."
66. Mr. Savill was asked by my Lord of Essex his opinion touching poets. Who answered my lord; "that he thought them the best writers, next to those that writ prose."
67. Mr. Mason of Trinity College sent his pupil to another of the fellows, to borrow a book of him, who told him, "I am loath to lend my
59. Mr. Popham, when he was speaker, and the Lower House had sat long, and done in effect nothing; coming one day to Queen Elizabeth, she said to him; "Now, Mr. Speaker, what hath pass-books out of my chamber, but if it please thy tutor ed in the Lower House?" He answered, "If it please your majesty, seven weeks."
60. Pope Sixtus the Fifth, who was a poor man's son, and his father's house ill thatched, so that the sun came in in many places, would sport with his ignobility, and say, "He was 'nato di casa illustre:' son of an illustrious house."
61. When the King of Spain conquered Portugal, he gave special charge to his lieutenant, that the soldiers should not spoil, lest he should alienate the hearts of the people: the army also suffered much scarcity of victual. Whereupon the Spanish soldiers would afterwards say, "that they had won the king a kingdom, as the kingdom of heaven used to be won: by fasting and abstaining from that that is another man's."
62. Cicero married his daughter to Dolabella that held Cæsar's party: Pompey had married Julia, that was Cæsar's daughter. After, when Cæsar and Pompey took arms one against the other, and Pompey had passed the seas, and Cæsar possessed Italy, Cicero stayed somewhat long in Italy, but at last sailed over to join with Pompey; who when he came unto him, Pompey said, "You are welcome, but where left you your son-in-law ?" Cicero answered, "With your father-in-law."
63. Nero was wont to say of his master Seneca,
to come and read upon it in my chamber he shall as long as he will." It was winter, and some days after the same fellow sent to Mr. Mason to borrow his bellows; but Mr. Mason said to his pupil, "I am loath to lend my bellows out of my chamber, but if thy tutor would come and blow the fire in my chamber he shall as long as he will."
68. Nero did cut a youth, as if he would have transformed him into a woman, and called him wife; there was a senator of Rome that said secretly to his friend, "It was a pity Nero's father had not such a wife."
69. Galba succeeded Nero, and his age being much despised, there was much license and confusion in Rome; whereupon a senator said in full senate, "It were better live where nothing is lawful, than where all things are lawful."
70. In Flanders, by accident a Flemish tiler fell from the top of a house upon a Spaniard, and killed him, though he escaped himself; the next of the blood prosecuted his death with great violence, and when he was offered pecuniary recompense, nothing would serve him but "lex talionis;" whereupon the judge said to him, “that if he did urge that kind of sentence, it must be, that he should go up to the top of the house, and then fall down upon the tiler."
71. Queen Elizabeth was dilatory enough in