Billeder på siden

causes that to domanything a break all band.



il 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 loved 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

[ocr errors]



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 : “Ili As for other losses the poet's relation both 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, 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 moit keep quarter, and sever il wholly from their nion; and conscience of the same is the accomserious 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 i and maketh men that they can no ways be true to partaker of God's rest: "Et conversus Deus, ut as- : their own ends. I know not how, but martial piceret opera, quæ fecerunt manus suæ, vidit qued men are given 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 a

also the ex. maketh men become humane and charitable, as it samples 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 love perfecteth it; but wanton ing their memory, but to direct thyself what to love corrupteth and embasethit.

avoid. Reform, therefore, without bravery or scandal of former times and persons; but yet set

it down to thyself, as well to create good preceXI. OF GREAT PLACE.

dents as to follow them. Reduce things to the Men in great place are thrice servants; servants first institution, and observe wherein and how of the sovereign or state, servants of fame, and they have degenerated; but yet ask counsel of servants of business ; so as thky have no freedom, both times; of the ancienter time what is best ; neither in their persons, nor in their actions, nor and of the latter time what is fittest. Seek to in their times. It is a strange desire to seek make thy course regular, that men may know bepower and to lose liberty ;r or to seek power over forehand what they may expect; but be not too others, and to lose power over a man's self. The positive and peremptory; and express thyself rising unto place is laborious, and by pains men well when thou digressest from thy lure. Precome to greater paińs; and it is sometimes base, serve the right of thy place, but stir not questions and by indignities men come to dignities. The of jurisdiction; and rather assume thy right in standing is slippery, and the regress is either a silence, and “ de facto,” than voice it with claims downfall, or at least an eclipse, which is a melan- and challenges. Preserve likewise the rights of choly thing : “Cum non sis qui fueris, non esse inferior places; and think it more honour to direct cur velis vivere.” Nay, retire men cannot when in chief than to be busy in all. Embrace and inthey would, neither will they wben it were rea- vite helps and advices touching the execution of son; but are impatient of privateness even in age thy place; and do not drive away such as bring and sickness, which require the shadow : likel thee information as meddlers, but accept of the


[ocr errors][ocr errors]



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 testly 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 corrupt on. For roughness, which are the greatest part: yea, and prevailetby 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 pught 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 his 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 come to him again and again; and when the hill and generous spirit, whom honour amends ; for stood still, he was never a whit abashed, but said, honour is, or should be, the place of virtue; and, " If the hill will not come to Mahomet, Mahomet as in nature things move violently to their place will go to the hill.” So these men, when they and calmly in their place, so virtue in ambition have promised great matters and failed most is violent, in authority settled and calme All shamefully, yet (if they have the perfection of rising to great place is by a winding stair; and boldness) they will but slight it over, and make if there be factions, it is good to side a man's self a turn and no inore ado. Certainly to men of whilst he is in the rising, and to balance himself great judgment, bold persons are a sport to bewhen he is placed. Use the memory of thy pro- hold; nay, and to the vulgar also boldness hath decessor fairly and tenderly; for if thou dost not, somewhat of the ridiculous: for if absurdity be it is a debt will sure be paid when thou art gone, the subject of laughter, doubt you not but great If thou have colleagues, respect them; and rather boldness is seldom without some absurdity; call them when they looked not for it, than exclude especially it is a sport to see when a bold fellow them when they have reason to look to be called. is out of countenance, for that puts his face into Be not too sensible or too remembering of thy most shrunken and wooden posture as needs it place in conversation and private answers to must; for in bashfulness the spirits do a little go suitors; but let it rather be said, “When he sits and come; but with bold men, upon like occasion, in place he is another man."

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 XII. OF BOLDNESS.

observation. This is well to be weighed, that It 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



21 .

persons is, that they never command in chief, but give it to the poor, and follow me;" but sell not be seconds and under the direction of others; for all thou hast except thou come and follow me; in counsel it is good to see dangers, and in execu- that is, except thou have a vocation wherein thou tion not to see them except they be very great. mayest do as much good with little means as

with great; for otherwise, in feeding the streams,

thou driest the fountain. XIII OF GOODNESS AND GOODNESS

Neither is there only

a habit of goodness directed by right reason ; OF NATURE.

but there is in some men, even in nature, a dispoI take goodness in this sense, the affecting of sition towards it; as on the other side, there is a the weal of men, which is that the Grecians call natural malignity; for there be that in their naPhilanthropia; and the word humanity (as it is ture do not affect the good of others. The lighter * used) is a little too light to express it. Good- sort of malignity turneth but to a crossness, or ness I call the habit, and goodness of nature the frowardness, or aptness to oppose, or difficileness, inclination. This of all virtues and dignities of or the like; but the deeper sort to envy, and mere the mind is the greatest, being the character of mischief. Such men in other men's calamities, the Deity: and without it man is a busy, mischie- are, as it were, in season, and are ever on the loadvous, wretched thing, no better than a kind of ing part: not so good as the dogs that licked vermin. Goodness answers to the theological Lazarus’ sores, but like flies that are still buzzing virtue charity, and admits no excess but error. upon any thing that is raw ; misanthropi, that The desire of power in excess caused the angels make it their practice to bring men to the bough, to fall: the desire of knowledge in excess caused and yet have never tree for the purpose in their man to fall: but in charity there is no excess, neither gardens, as Timon had; such dispositions are the can angel or man come in danger by it. The in- very errors of human nature, and yet they are clination to goodness is imprinted deeply in the the fittest timber to make great politics of ; like nature of man; insomuch, that if it issue not to-to knee timber, that is good for ships that are orwards 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, that shall stand firm. The parts and signs of who nevertheless are kind to beasts, and give goodness are many. If a man be gracious and alms to dogs and birds; insomuch, as Busbechius courteous to strangers, it shows he is a citizen of reporteth, a Christian boy in Constantinople had the world, and that his heart is no island cut off 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 them : if he be compassionate towards the afflicthis virtue, of goodness or charity, may be com- tions of others, it shows that his heart is like the mitted. The Italians have an ungracious proverb, noble tree that is wounded itself when it gives the “Tanto buon che val niente;” “So good, that balm : if he easily pardons and remits offences, it he is good for nothing:" and one of the doctors shows that his mind is planted above injuries, so of Italy, Nicholas Machiavel, had the confidence that he cannot be shot: if he be thankful for small to put in writing almost in plain terms, " That the benefits, it shows that he weighs men's minds, and Christian faith had given up good men in prey to not their trash : but, above all, if he have St. those that are tyrannical and unjust;" which he Paul's perfection, that he would wish to be an spake, because, indeed, there was never law or seat anathema from Christ for the salvation of his or opinion did so much magnify goodness as the brethren, it shows much of a divine nature, and a Christian religion doth; therefore to avoid the scan- kind of conformity with Christ himself. dal and the danger both, it is good to take knowledge of the errors of an habit so excellent. Seek

XIV. OF NOBILITY. the good of other men, but be not in bondage to their faces or fancies; for that is but facility or softness, We will speak of nobility first as a portion of which taketh an honest mind prisoner. Neither an estate, then as a condition of particular pergive thou Æsop's cock a gem, who would be better sons. A monarchy where there is no nobility pleased and happier if he had a barley-corn.* at all, is ever a pure and absolute tyranny, as that The example of God teacheth the lesson truly; of the Turks; for nobility attempers sovereignty, “ He sendeth his rain, and maketh the sun to and draws the eyes of the people somewhat aside shine upon the just and the unjust;" but la doth from the line royal; but for democracies they not rain wealth, nor shine honour and virtues upon need it not; and they are commonly more quiet men equally; common benefits are to be commu- and less subject to sedition, than where there are nieated with all, but peculiar benefits with choice. stirps of nobles; for men's eyes are upon the And beware how in making the portraiture thou business, and not upon the persons; or if upon breakest the pattern: for divinity maketh the love the persons, it is for the business' sake, as fittest, of ourselves the pattern ; the love of our neigh- and not for flags and pedigree. We see the Swithours but the portraiture : “ Sell all thou hast and zers last well, notwithstanding their diversity of * See note G, at the end of the Essays,

religion and of cantons; for utility is their bond,


eny offence



against State

The Than srourection

and not respects. The united provinces of the "Illam Tetra parens, irâ irritata Deorum,
Low Countries in their government excel; for

Extremam (ut perhibent) Ceo Enceladoque sororem

where there is an equality the consultations are
more indifferent, and the payments and tributes

As if fames were the relics of seditions past; more cheerful. A great and potent nobility but they are no less indeed the preludes of seditions addeth majesty to a monarch, but diminisheth to come. Howsoever he noteth it right, that sepower, and putteth life and spirit into the people, ditious tumults and seditious fanyes differ no more but presseth their fortune. It is well when nobles but as brother and sister, masculine and feminine ; are not too great for sovereignty nor for justice; especially if it come to that, that the best actions and yet maintained in that height, as the insolen- of a state, and the most plausible, which ought to cy of inferiors may be broken upon them before it give greatest contentment, are taken in ill sense, come on too fast upon the majesty of kings. A and traduced: for that shows the envy great, as numerous nobility causeth poverty and inconve- Tacitus saith, “ conflata, magna invidia, seu bene, nience in a state, for it is a surcharge of expense; seu male, gesta premunt." Neither doth it follow, and besides, it being of necessity that many of the that because these fames are a sign of troubles, nobility fall in time to be weak in fortune, it mak- that the suppressing of them with too much seeth a kind of disproportion between honour and verity should be a remedy of troubles; for the demeans.

spising of them many times checks them best, As for nobility in particular persons, it is a re- and the going about to stop them doth but make verend thing to see an ancient castle or building a wonder long lived. Also that kind of obedinot in decay, or to see a fair timber tree sound ence, which Tacitus speaketh of, is to be held susand perfect ; how much more to behold an an- pected : “ Erant in officio, sed tamen qui mallent cient noble family, which hath stood against the mandata imperantium interpretari, quam exequi;" waves and weathers of time? for new nobility is disputing, excusing, cavilling upon mandates and but the act of power, but ancient nobility is the act directions, is a kind of shaking off the yoke, and of time. Those that are first raised to nobility assay of disobedience; especially if in those disare commonly more virtuous, but less innocent, putings they which are for the direction speak than their descendants; for there is rarely any ris- fearfully and tenderly, and those that are against ing but by a commixture of good and evil arts; it audaciously. but it is reason the memory of their virtues remain Also, as Machiavel noteth well, when princes, to their posterity, and their faults die with them- that ought to be common parents, make themselves selves. Nobility of birth commonly abateth in- as a party and lean to a side: it is, as a boat that dustry; and he that is not industrious, envieth is overthrown by uneven weight on the one side; him that is; besides noble persons cannot go as was well seen in the time of Henry the Third much higher: and he that standeth at a stay when of France ; for first himself entered league for the others rise, can hardly avoid motions of envy. extirpation of the Protestants, and presently after On the other side, nobility extinguisheth the the same league was turned upon himself: for passive envy from others towards them, because when the authority of princes is made but an acthey are in possession of honour. Certainly, kings cessary to a cause, and that there be other bands that have able men of their nobility shall find ease that tie faster than the band of sovereignty, kings in employing them, and a better slide into their begin to be put almost out of possession. business; for people naturally bend to them as Also, when discords, and quarrels, and factions, born in some sort to command.

are carried openly and audaciously, it is a sign the

reverence of government is lost; for the motions XV. OF SEDITIONS AND TROUBLES. of the greatest persons in a government onght to

Shepherds of people had need know the calen- be as the motions of the planets under “ primum dars and tempests in state, which are commonly mobile," (according to the old opinion,) which is, greatest when things grow to equality; as natural that every of them is carried swiftly by the highthere are certain hollow blasts of wind and secret therefore, when great ones in their own particular swellings of seas before a tempest, so are there in motion move violently, and, as Tacitus expresseth states;

it well, “ liberius quam ut imperantium memi

nissent,” it is a sign the orbs are out of frame : for Sape monet,

taunescere bella." reverence is that wherewith princes are girt from Libels and licentious discourses against the God, who threateneth the dissolving thereof; “solstate, when they are frequent and open ; and in like vam cingula regum.” sort false news often running up and down, to the So when any of the four pillars of government disadvantage of the state, and hastily embraced, are mainly shaken, or weakened, (which are reliare amongst the signs of troubles. Virgil, giv- gion, justice, counsel, and treasure,) men had ing the pedigree of Fame, saith she was sister to need to pray for fair weather. But let us pass the giants :

from this part of predictions, (concerning which,

[ocr errors]

syam mpests are greatest about the equinoctia; and as est motion, and softly in their own motion; and,


« Ille etiam cacostare 11


[ocr errors]

nevertheless, more light may be taken from that ( and well-balancing of trade; the cherishing of which followeth,) and let us speak first of the manufactures; the banishing of idleness; the rematerials of seditions, then of the motives of them, pressing of waste and excess, by sumptuary laws; and thirdly of the remedies.

the improvement and husbanding of the soil; the Concerping the materials of seditions, it is a regulating of prices of things vendible; the moAhing well to be considered ; for the surest way derating of taxes and tributes, and the like. Geneto prevent seditions, (if the times do bear it,) is to rally, it is to be foreseen that the population of a take away the matter of them; for if there be fuel kingdom (especially if it be not mown down by prepared, it is hard to tell whence the spark shall wars) do not exceed the stock of the kingdom which come that shall set it on fire. The matter of se- should maintain them : neither is the population to ditions is of two kinds, much poverty and much be reckoned only by number; for a smaller numdiscontentment. It is certain, so many overthrown ber that spend more and earn less, do wear out an estates, so many votes for troubles. Lucan noteth estate sooner than a greater number that live lower well the state of Rome before the civil war, and gather more; therefore the multiplying of no

bility,* and other degrees of quality, in an over “ Hinc ustira vorax, rapidumque in tempore fænus, Hinc concussa fides, et multis utile bellum." proportion to the common people, doth speedily

bring a state to necessity; and so doth likewise This same “ multus utile bellum,” is an assured an overgrown clergy, for they bring nothing to and infallible sign of a state disposed to seditions the stock; and, in like manner, when more are and troubles; and if this poverty and broken bred scholars than preferments can take off. estate in the better sort be joined with a want and It is likewise to be remembered, that forasmuch necessity in the mean people, the danger is im- as the increase of any estate must be upon the minent and great; for the rebellions of the belly foreigner, (for whatsoever is somewhere gotten, is are the worst. As for discontentments, they are somewhere lost,) there be but three things which in the politic body like humours in the natural, one nation selleth unto another; the commodity, which are apt to gather a preternatural heat and to as nature yieldeth it ; the manufacture; and the inflame; and let no prince measure the danger of victure, or carriage; so that if these three wheels them by this, whether they be just or unjust: for go, wealth will flow as in a spring tide. And it that were to imagine people to be too reasonable, cometh many times to pass, that “materiam superawho do often spurn at their own good ; nor yet by bit opus,” that the work and carriage is more worth this, whether the griefs whereupon they rise be than the material, and enricheth a state more; as is in fact great or small; for they are the most dan- notably seen in the Low Countrymen, who have gerous discontentments where the fear is greater the best mines above ground in the world. than the feeling: “ Dolendi modus, timendi non

Above all things, good policy is to be used, item:" besides, in great oppressions, the same that the treasure and monies in a state be not things that provoke the patience, do withal mate gathered into few hands; for, otherwise, a state the courage : but in fears it is not so; neither let may have a great stock, and yet starve: and any prince, or state, be secure concerning discon-money is like muck, not good except it be tentments because they have been ofte or have spread. This is done chiefly by suppressing, or, been long, and yet no peril hath ensued; for as it at the least, keeping a strait hand upon the devouris true that every vapour, or fume, doth not turning trades of usury, engrossing, great pasturages, into a storm, so it is nevertheless true, that and the like. storms, though they blow over divers times, yet For removing discontentments, or at least the may fall at last; and as the Spanish proverb danger of them, there is in every state (as we noteth well, « The cord breaketh at the last by know) two portions of subjects, the nobles and the weakest pull.”

the commonality. When one of these is disconThe causes and motions of seditions are innova-tent, the danger is not great; for common people tion in religion, taxes, alteration of laws and cus- are of slow motion, if they be not excited by the toms, breaking of privileges, general oppression, greater sort; and the greater sort are of small advancement of univorthy persons, strangers, strength, except the multitude be apt and ready dearths, disbanded soldiers, factions grown des- to move of themselves : then is the danger, when perate ; and whatsoever in offending people join the greater sort do but wait for the troubling of the eth and knitteth them in a common cause. waters amongst the meaner, that then they may

For the remedies, there may be some general declare themselves. The poets feign that the rest preservatives, whereof we will speak : as for the of the gods would have bound Jupiter, which he just cure it must answer to the particular disease; hearing of, by the counsel of Pallas, sent for Briand so be left to counsel rather than rule.

areus, with his hundred hands, to come in to his The first remedy, or prevention, is to remove, by aid : an emblem, no doubt, to show how safe it is all means possible, that material cause of sedition for monarchs,to make tsure of the good will of whereof we speak, which is, want and poverty in common people: V the estate ; to which purpose serveth the openingt

* See note H, at the end of the Essays.


« ForrigeFortsæt »