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their friends' consent, for then they will be sure to 1 of a miracle: as it was in Narses the eunuch, make good their own folly. and Agesilaus and Tamerlane, that were lame
IX. OF ENVY.#
THERE be none of the affections which have been noted to fascinate, or bewitch, but love and envy: they both have vehement wishes; they frame themselves readily into imaginations and suggestions; and they come easily into the eye, especially upon the presence of the objects, which are the points that conduce to fascination, if any such thing there be. We see, likewise, the scripture calleth envy an evil eye; and the astrologers call the evil influences of the stars evil aspects; so that still there seemeth to be acknowledged, in the act of envy, an ejaculation, or irradiation of the eye: nay, some have been so curious as to note, that the times, when the stroke or percussion of an envious eye doth most hurt, are, when the party envied is beheld in glory or triumph; for that sets an edge upon envy: and besides, at such times, the spirits of the person envied do come forth most into the outward parts, and so meet the blow.
The same is the case of men who rise after caamities and misfortunes; for they are as men fallen out with the times, and think other men's harms a redemption of their own sufferings.
They that desire to excel in too many matters, out of levity and vain glory, are ever envious, for they cannot want work; it being impossible, but many, in some one of those things, should surpass them; which was the character of Adrian the emperor, that mortally envied poets and painters, and artificers in works, wherein he had a vein to excel.
Lastly, near kinsfolks and fellows in office, and those that have been bred together, are more apt to envy their equals when they are raised; for it doth upbraid unto them their own fortunes, and pointeth at them, and cometh oftener into their remembrance, and incurreth likewise more into the note of others; and envy ever redoubleth from speech and fame. Cain's envy was the more vile and malignant towards his brother Abel, be
But leaving these curiosities, (though not unwor-cause when his sacrifice was better accepted, there thy to be thought on in fit place,) we will handle was no body to look on. Thus much for those what persons are apt to envy others; what per- that are apt to envy. sons are most subject to be envied themselves; and what is the difference between public and private envy.
A man that hath no virtue in himself, ever envieth virtue in others; for men's minds will either feed upon their own good, or upon others' evil; and who wanteth the one will prey upon the other; and whoso is out of hope to attain to another's virtue, will seek to come at even hand, by depressing another's fortune,
A man that is busy and inquisitive is commonly /envious; for to know much of other men's matters cannot be, because all that ado may concern his own estate; therefore it must needs be that he taketh a kind of play-pleasure in looking upon the fortunes of others: neither can he that mindeth but his own business find much matter for envy; for envy is a gadding passion, and walketh the streets, and doth not keep home: "Non est curiosus, quin idem sit malevolus."
Men of noble birth, are noted to be envious towards new men when they rise; for the distance is altered; and it is like a deceit of the eye, that when others come on they think themselves go back.
Deformed persons and eunuchs, and old men and bastards, are envious: for he that cannot possibly mend his own case, will do what he can to impair another's; except these defects light upon a very brave and heroical nature, which thinketh to make his natural wants part of his honour; in that it should be said, "That an eunuch, or a lame man, did such great matters; affecting the honour See note E, at the end of the Essays. VOL. I.-3
Concerning those that are more or less subject to envy. First, persons of eminent virtue, when they are advanced, are less envied; for their for tune seemeth but due unto them; and no man envieth the payment of a debt, but rewards and liberality rather. Again, envy is ever joined with the comparing of a man's self; and where there is no comparison, no envy;) and therefore kings are not envied but by kings. Nevertheless, it is to be noted, that unworthy persons are most envied at their first coming in, and afterwards overcome it better; whereas, contrariwise persons of worth and merit are most envied when their fortune continueth long for by that time, though their virtue be the same, yet it hath not the same lustre, for fresh men grow up that darken it.
Persons of noble blood are less envied in their rising; for it seemeth but right done to their birth: besides, there seemeth not much added to their fortune; and envy is as the sunbeams, that beat hotter upon a bank, or steep rising ground, than upon a flat; and, for the same reason, those that are advanced by degrees are less envied than those that are advanced suddenly, and "per saltum."
Those that have joined with their honour great travels, cares, or perils, are less subject to envy for men think that they earn their honours hardly, and pity them sometimes; and pity ever healeth envy; wherefore you shall observe that the more deep and sober sorts of politic persons, in their greatness, are ever bemoaning themselves what a life they lead, chanting a " quanta patimur;" not B2
kings and estates themselves. But this is a sure
that they feel it so, but only to abate the edge of | This public envy seemeth to beat chiefly upon
We will add this in general, touching the affec-
X. OF LOVE.*
Lastly, to conclude this part, as we said in the beginning that the act of envy had somewhat in it of witchcraft, so there is no other cure of envy but the cure of witchcraft; and that is, to remove the lot (as they call it) and to lay it upon another; for which purpose, the wiser sort of great persons|ter of comedies, and now and then of tragedies; bring in ever upon the stage somebody upon whom to derive the envy that would come upon themselves; sometimes upon ministers and servants, sometimes upon colleagues and associates, and the like; and, for that turn, there are never wanting some persons of violent and undertaking natures, who, so they may have power and business, will take it at any cost.
THE stage is more beholding to love, than the life of man; for as to the stage, love is even mat- »
Now, to speak of public envy: there is yet some good in public envy, whereas in private there is none; for public envy is as an ostracism, that eclipseth men when they grow too great: and therefore it is a bridle also to great ones to keep them within bounds.
This envy, being in the Latin word “invidia,” goeth in the modern languages by the name of discontentment; of which we shall speak in handling sedition. It is a disease in a state like to infection for as infection spreadeth upon that which is sound, and tainteth it; so, when envy is gotten once into a state, it traduceth even the best actions thereof, and turneth them into an ill odour; and therefore there is little won by intermingling of plausible actions: for that doth argue but a weakness and fear of envy, which hurteth so much the more, as it is likewise usual in infections, which, if you fear them, you call them
but in life it doth much mischief; sometimes like
* See note F at the end of the Essays.
causes fiches to domany thing, break all bond.
it merely in the phrase; for whereas it hath been | old townsmen, that will be still sitting at their well said, "That the arch flatterer, with whom street door, though thereby they offer age to scorn. all the petty flatterers have intelligence, is a man's Certainly great persons had need to borrow other self;" certainly the lover is more; for there was men's opinions to think themselves happy; for never proud man thought so absurdly well of if they judge by their own feeling, they cannot himself as the lover doth of the person loved; and find it: but if they think with themselves what therefore it was well said, "That it is impossible other men think of them, and that other men to love and to be wise." Neither doth this weak- would fain be as they are, then they are happy as ness appear to others only, and not to the party it were by report, when, perhaps, they find the loved, but the loved most of all, except the love contrary within; for they are the first that find be reciprocal; for it is a true rule, that love is ever their own griefs, though they be the last that find rewarded, either with the reciprocal, or with their own faults. Certainly men in great foran inward, or secret contempt; by how much tunes are strangers to themselves, and while they the more men ought to beware of this passion, are in the puzzle of business they have no time to which loseth not only other things, but itself. tend their health either of body or mind: "Illi As for other losses the poet's relation doth well mors gravis incubat, qui notus nimis omnibus, igfigure them: "That he that preferred Helena, quit- notus moritur sibi." In place there is license to ted the gifts of Juno and Pallas; for whosoever do good and evil; whereof the latter is a curse : esteemeth too much of amorous affection, quitteth for in evil the best condition is not to will; the both riches and wisdom. This passion hath his second not to can, But power to do good is the floods in the very times of weakness, w which are, true and lawful end of aspiring; for good thoughts great prosperity and great adversity, though this (though God accept them,) yet towards men are latter hath been less observed; both which times little better than good dreams, except they be put kindle love, and make it more frequent, and there- in act; and that cannot be without power and fore show it to be the child of folly. They do place, as the vantage and commanding ground. best, who, if they cannot but admit love, yet make Merit, and good works is the end of man's mo it keep quarter, and sever if wholly from their tion; and conscience of the same is the accoinserious affairs and actions of life; for if it check plishment of man's rest; for if a man can be once with business, it troubleth men's fortunes, partaker of God's theatre, he shall likewise be and maketh men that they can no ways be true to partaker of God's rest: "Et conversus Deus, ut astheir own ends. I know not how, but martial piceret opera, quæ fecerunt manus suæ, vidit qued men are giver to love: I think it is, but as they omnia essent bona nimis ;" and then the sabbath. are given to wine; for perils commonly ask to be In the discharge of the place set before thee the paid in pleasures. There is in man's nature a se- best examples; for imitation is a globe of precret inclination and motion towards love of others, cepts; and after a time set before thine own exwhich, if it be not spent upon some one or a few, ample; and examine thyself strictly whether thou doth naturally spread itself towards many, and didst not best at first. Neglect not also the exmaketh men become humane and charitable, as it amples of those that have carried themselves ill is seen sometimes in friars.. Nuptial love maketh in the same place; not to set off thyself by taxmankind; friendly loye
love corrupteth and t; but wanton ing their memory, but to direct thyself what to
XI. OF GREAT PLACE.
MEN in great place are thrice servants; servants of the sovereign or state, servants of fame, and servants of business; so as they have no freedom, neither in their persons, nor in their actions, nor in their times. It is a strange desire to seek power and to lose liberty; or to seek power over others, and to lose power over a man's self. The rising unto place is laborious, and by pains men come to greater pains; and it is sometimes base, and by indignities men come to dignities. The standing is slippery, and the regress is either a downfall, or at least an eclipse, which is a melancholy thing: "Cum non sis qui fueris, non esse cur velis vivere." Nay, retire men cannot when they would, neither will they when it were reason; but are impatient of privateness even in age and sickness, which require the shadow like
avoid. Reform, therefore, without bravery or scandal of former times and persons; but yet set it down to thyself, as well to create good precedents as to follow them. Reduce things to the first institution, and observe wherein and how they have degenerated; but yet ask counsel of both times; of the ancienter time what is best; and of the latter time what is fittest. Seek to make thy course regular, that men may know beforehand what they may expect; but be not too positive and peremptory; and express thyself well when thou digressest from thy lure. Preserve the right of thy place, but stir not questions of jurisdiction; and rather assume thy right in silence, and "de facto," than voice it with claims and challenges. Preserve likewise the rights of inferior places; and think it more honour to direct in chief than to be busy in all. Embrace and invite helps and advices touching the execution of thy place; and do not drive away such as bring thee information as meddlers, but accept of the
in good part. The vices of authority are chiefly | part of an orator? he answered, action: what four; delays, corruption, roughness, and facility. next? action: what next again? action. He said For delays give easy access: keep times appoint- it that knew it best, and had by nature himself no ed; go through with that which is in hand, and advantage in that he commended. A strange interlace not business but of necessity. For cor- thing, that that part of an orator which is but suruption, do not only bind thine own hands or thy perficial, and rather the virtue of a player, should servant's hands from taking, but bind the hands be placed so high above those other noble parts of of suitors also from offering; for integrity used invention, elocution, and the, rest; nay almost doth the one; but integrity professed, and with alone, as if it were all in all. But the reason is a manifest detestation of bribery, doth the other; plain. There is in human nature generally more ** and avoid not only the fault, but the suspicion. of the fool than of the wise; and therefore those Whosoever is found variable, and changeth mani- faculties by which the foolish part of men's minds festly without manifest cause, giveth suspicion is taken, are most potent. Wonderful like is the of corruption; therefore, always when thou chang- case of boldness in civil business; what first? est thine opinion or course, profess it plainly, and boldness: what second and third ? boldness: And declare it, together with the reasons that move thee yet boldness is a child of ignorance and baseness, to change, and do not think to steal it. A ser- far inferior to other parts: but nevertheless, it doth vant or a favourite, if he be inward, and no other fascinate, and bind hand and foot those that are apparent cause of esteem, is commonly thought either shallow in judgment or weak in courage, but a by-way to close corruption. For roughness, which are the greatest part: yea, and prevaileth it is a needless cause of discontent; severity with wise men at weak times: therefore we see it breedeth fear, but roughness breedeth hate. Even hath done wonders in popular states, but with reproofs from authority ought to be grave, and not senates and princes less; and more, ever upon taunting. As for facility, it is worse than bribery; the first entrance of bold persons into action for bribes come but now and then; but if impor-than soon after; for boldness is an ill keeper of tunity or idle respects lead a man, he shall never promise. Surely as there are mountebanks for be without; as Solomon saith, "To respect per- the natural body; so are there mountebanks for sons is not good, for such a man will transgress the politic body; men that undertake great cures, for a piece of bread." It is most true that was and perhaps have been lucky in two or three exanciently spoken, "A place showeth the man; periments, but want the grounds of science, and and it showeth some to the better and some to therefore cannot hold out: nay, you shall see a the worse;"" omnium consensu capax imperii, bold fellow many times do Mahomet's miracle. nisi imperasset," saith Tacitus of Galba; but of Mahomet made the people believe that he would Vespasian he saith, "solus imperantium, Ves-call a hill to him, and from the top of it offer up pasianus mutatus in melius;" though the one this prayers for the observers of his law. The was meant of sufficiency, the other of manners people assembled: Mahomet called the hill to and affection. It is an assured sign of a worthy and generous spirit, whom honour amends for honour is, or should be, the place of virtue; and as in nature things move violently to their place and calmly in their place, so virtue in ambition is violent, in authority settled and calm. All rising to great place is by a winding stair; and if there be factions, it is good to side a man's self whilst he is in the rising, and to balance himself when he is placed. Use the memory of thy predecessor fairly and tenderly; for if thou dost not, it is a debt will sure be paid when thou art gone, If thou have colleagues, respect them; and rather call them when they looked not for it, than exclude them when they have reason to look to be called. Be not too sensible or too remembering of thy place in conversation and private answers to suitors; but let it rather be said, “When he sits in place he is another man."
come to him again and again; and when the hill stood still, he was never a whit abashed, but said, "If the hill will not come to Mahomet, Mahomet will go to the hill." So these men, when they have promised great matters and failed most shamefully, yet (if they have the perfection of boldness) they will but slight it over, and make a turn and no more ado. Certainly to me of great judgment, bold persons are a sport to behold; nay, and to the vulgar also boldness hath somewhat of the ridiculous: for if absurdity be the subject of laughter, doubt you not but great boldness is seldom without some absurdity; especially it is a sport to see when a bold fellow is out of countenance, for that puts his face into a most shrunken and wooden posture as needs it must; for in bashfulness the spirits do a little go and come; but with bold men, upon like occasion, they stand at a stay; like a stale at chess, where it is no mate, but yet the game cannot stir: but this last were fitter for a satire than for a serious observation. This is well to be weighed, that Ir is a trivial grammar-school text, but yet boldness is ever blind; for it seeth not dangers worthy a wise man's consideration. Question and inconveniences: therefore it is ill in counsel, was asked of Demosthenes what was the chief good in execution; so that the right use of bold
XII. OF BOLDNESS.
persons is, that they never command in chief, but be seconds and under the direction of others; for in counsel it is good to see dangers, and in execution not to see them except they be very great.
XIII OF GOODNESS AND GOODNESS
give it to the poor, and follow me;" but sell not all thou hast except thou come and follow me; that is, except thou have a vocation wherein thou mayest do as much good with little means as with great; for otherwise, in feeding the streams, thou driest the fountain. Neither is there only a habit of goodness directed by right reason; but there is in some men, even in nature, a disposition towards it; as on the other side, there is a natural malignity; for there be that in their nature do not affect the good of others. The lighter sort of malignity turneth but to a crossness, or frowardness, or aptness to oppose, or difficileness, or the like; but the deeper sort to envy, and mere mischief. Such men in other men's calamities, are, as it were, in season, and are ever on the loading part: not so good as the dogs that licked Lazarus' sores, but like flies that are still buzzing upon any thing that is raw; misanthropi, that make it their practice to bring men to the bough, and yet have never a tree for the purpose in their gardens, as Timon had; such dispositions are the very errors of human nature, and yet they are the fittest timber to make great politics of; like to knee timber, that is good for ships that are or
that shall stand firm. The parts and signs of goodness are many. If a man be gracious and courteous to strangers, it shows he is a citizen of the world, and that his heart is no island cut off
I TAKE goodness in this sense, the affecting of the weal of men, which is that the Grecians call Philanthropia; and the word humanity (as it is used) is a little too light to express it. Goodness I call the habit, and goodness of nature the inclination. This of all virtues and dignities of the mind is the greatest, being the character of the Deity and without it man is a busy, mischievous, wretched thing, no better than a kind of vermin. Goodness answers to the theological virtue charity, and admits no excess but error. The desire of power in excess caused the angels to fall: the desire of knowledge in excess caused man to fall: but in charity there is no excess, neither can angel or man come in danger by it. The inclination to goodness is imprinted deeply in the nature of man; insomuch, that if it issue not towards men, it will take unto other living crea-dained to be tossed, but not for building houses tures; as it is seen in the Turks, a cruel people, who nevertheless are kind to beasts, and give alms to dogs and birds; insomuch, as Busbechius reporteth, a Christian boy in Constantinople had liked to have been stoned for gagging in a wag-from other lands, but a continent that joins to gishness a long-billed fowl. Errors indeed, in this virtue, of goodness or charity, may be committed. The Italians have an ungracious proverb, "Tanto buon che val niente;" "So good, that he is good for nothing:" and one of the doctors of Italy, Nicholas Machiavel, had the confidence to put in writing almost in plain terms, "That the Christian faith had given up good men in prey to those that are tyrannical and unjust;" which he spake, because, indeed, there was never law or seet or opinion did so much magnify goodness as the Christian religion doth; therefore to avoid the scandal and the danger both, it is good to take knowledge of the errors of an habit so excellent. Seek the good of other men, but be not in bondage to their faces or fancies; for that is but facility or softness, which taketh an honest mind prisoner. Neither give thou sop's cock a gem, who would be better pleased and happier if he had a barley-corn.* The example of God teacheth the lesson truly; "He sendeth his rain, and maketh the sun to shine upon the just and the unjust;" but he doth not rain wealth, nor shine honour and virtues upon men equally; common benefits are to be communicated with all, but peculiar benefits with choice. And beware how in making the portraiture thou breakest the pattern: for divinity maketh the love of ourselves the pattern; the love of our neighhours but the portraiture: “Sell all thou hast and
* See note G, at the end of the Essays.
them: if he be compassionate towards the afflictions of others, it shows that his heart is like the noble tree that is wounded itself when it gives the balm: if he easily pardons and remits offences, it shows that his mind is planted above injuries, so that he cannot be shot: if he be thankful for small benefits, it shows that he weighs men's minds, and not their trash: but, above all, if he have St. Paul's perfection, that he would wish to be an anathema from Christ for the salvation of his brethren, it shows much of a divine nature, and a kind of conformity with Christ himself.
XIV. OF NOBILITY.
We will speak of nobility first as a portion of an estate, then as a condition of particular persons. A monarchy where there is no nobility at all, is ever a pure and absolute tyranny, as that of the Turks; for nobility attempers sovereignty, and draws the eyes of the people somewhat aside from the line royal; but for democracies they need it not; and they are commonly more quiet and less subject to sedition, than where there are stirps of nobles; for men's eyes are upon the business, and not upon the persons; or if upon the persons, it is for the business' sake, as fittest, and not for flags and pedigree. We see the Switzers last well, notwithstanding their diversity of religion and of cantons; for utility is their bond,