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COLOURS OF GOOD AND EVIL.
A FRAGMENT.*-A.D. 1597.
TO THE LORD MOUNTJOYE.
I SEND you the last part of the best book of Aristotle of Stagira, who, as your lordship knoweth, goeth for the best author. But saving the civil respect which is due to a received estimation, the man being a Grecian, and of a hasty wit, having hardly a discerning patience, much less a teaching patience, hath so delivered the matter, as I am glad to do the part of a good house-hen, which without any strangeness will sit upon pheasants' eggs. And yet perchance some that shall compare my lines with Aristotle's lines, will muse by what art, or rather by what revelation, I could draw these conceits out of that place. But I, that should know best, do freely acknowledge, that I had my light from him; for where he gave me not matter to perfect, at the least he gave me occasion to invent. Wherein as I do him right, being myself a man that am as free from envying the dead in contemplation, as from envying the living in action or fortune: so yet nevertheless still I say, and I speak it more largely than before, that in perusing the writings of this person so much celebrated, whether it were the impediment of his wit, or that he did it upon glory and affectation to be subtile, as one that if he had seen his own conceits clearly and perspicuously delivered, perhaps would have been out of love with them himself; or else upon policy, to keep himself close, as one that had been a challenger of all the world, and had raised infinite contradiction: to what cause soever it is to be ascribed, I do not find him to deliver and unwrap himself well of that he seemeth to conceive; nor to be a master of his own knowledge. Neither do I for my part also, though I have brought in a new manner of handling this argument, to make it pleasant and lightsome, pretend so to have overcome the nature of the subject, but that the full understanding and use of it will be somewhat dark, and best pleasing the taste of such wits as are patient to stay the digesting and soluting unto themselves of that which is sharp and subtile. Which was the cause, joined with the love and honour which I bear to your lordship, as the person I know to have many virtues, and an excellent order of them, which moved me to dedicate this writing to your lordship after the ancient manner: choosing both a friend, and one to whom I conceived the argument was agreeable.
OF THE COLOURS OF GOOD AND EVIL.
IN deliberatives the point is, what is good, and what is evil, and of good what is greater, and of evil what is less.
strengthen the opinions and persuasions which are true: for reasons plainly delivered, and always after one manner, especially with fine and fastidious minds, enter but heavily and dully: whereas if they be varied and have more life and vigour put into them by these forms and insinuations, they cause a stronger apprehension, and many times suddenly win the mind to a resolution. Lastly, to make a true and safe judgment, nothing can be of greater use and defence to the mind, than the discovering and reprehension of these Colours, showing in what cases they hold, and in
So that the persuader's labour is to make things appear good or evil, and that in higher or lower degree, which as it may be performed by true and solid reasons, so it may be represented also by colours, popularities and circumstances, which are of such force, as they sway the ordinary judgment either of a weak man, or of a wise man not fully and considerately attending and pondering the matter. Besides their power to alter the nature of the subject in appearance, and so to lead to error, they are of no less use to quicken and "De Augmentis," under the title Rhetoric.
* See the "Advancement of Learning," and the treatise
what they deceive: which as it cannot be done, | May. Sometimes because the nature of some but out of a very universal knowledge of the na- kinds is to be more equal, and more indifferent, and ture of things, so being performed, it so cleareth not to have very distant degrees, as hath been man's judgment and election, as it is the less apt to slide into any error.
A Table of the Colours or Appearances of Good and Evil, and their degrees, as places of persuasion and dissuasion, and their several fallacies
and the elenches of them.
"Cui cateræ partes vel sectæ secundas unanimiter deferunt, cum singulæ principatum sibi vindicent, melior reliquis videtur. Nam primas quæque ex zelo videtur sumere,
secundas autem ex vero et merito tribuere."*
noted in the warmer climates, the people are generally more wise, but in the northern climates the wits of chief are greater. So in many armies, if the matter should be tried by duel between two and yet if it be tried by the gross, it would go on champions, the victory should go on the one side, the other side; for excellencies go as it were by chance, but kinds go by a more certain nature, as by discipline in war.
Lastly many kinds have much refuse, which countervail that which they have excellent, and therefore generally metal is more precious than stone; and yet a diamond is more precious than gold.
So Cicero went about to prove the sect of Academics, which suspended all asseveration, for to be the best: for, saith he, ask a Stoic which philo-"Quod ad veritatem refertur majus est quam quod ad opinisophy is true, he will prefer his own. Then ask Modus autem et probatio ejus quod ad opinionem pertinet hæc est, quod quis si clam putaret fore facturus him which approacheth next the truth, he will non esset." confess the Academics. So deal with the Epicure, that will scant endure the Stoic to be in sight of him, so soon as he hath placed himself, he will place the Academics next him.
So if a prince took divers competitors to a place, and examined them severally, whom next themselves they would rarest commend, it were like the ablest man should have the most second voices. The fallax of this colour happeneth oft in respect of envy, for men are accustomed after themselves and their own faction, to incline unto them which are softest, and are least in their way, in despite and derogation of them, that hold them hardest to it. So that this colour of meliority and pre-eminence is a sign of enervation and weakness.
APPERTAINING to this are the forms: "Let us
not wander in generalities: Let us compare particular with particular," &c. This appearance, though it seem of strength, and rather logical than rhetorical yet is very oft a fallax.
Sometime because some things are in kind very casual, which if they escape, prove excellent, so that the kind is inferior, because it is so subject to peril, but that which is excellent being proved is superior, as the blossom of March and the blossom of May, whereof the French verse goeth:
"Burgeon de Mars, enfans de Paris, Si un eschape, il en vaut dix." So that the blossom of May is generally better than the blossom of March, and yet the best blossom of March is better than the best blossom of
"Since all parties or sects challenge the pre-eminence of the first place to themselves, that to which all the rest with one consent give the second place, seems to be better than the others: for every one seems to take the first place out of self-zeal but to give the second where it is really due." "That kind is altogether best, whose excellence or preeminence is best."
So the Epicures say of the Stoics felicity placed in virtue; that it is like the felicity of a player, who if he were left of his auditory and their applause, he would straight be out of heart and countenance, and therefore they call virtue "bonum theatrale." But of riches the poet saith; "Populus me sibilat, At mihi plaudo."
And of pleasure,
"Grata sub imo Gaudia corde premens, vultu simulante pudorem." The fallax of this colour is somewhat subtile, though the answer to the example be ready, for virtue is not chosen "propter auram popularem." But contrariwise, "maxime omnium teipsum reverere," so as a virtuous man will be virtuous in "solitudine," and not only in "theatro," though percase it will be more strong by glory and fame, as an heat which is doubled by reflection; but that denieth the supposition, it doth not reprehend the fallax, whereof the reprehension is: Allow that virtue, (such as is joined with labour and conflict,) would not be chosen but for fame and opinion, yet it followeth not, that the chief motive of the election should not be real and for itself, for fame may be only causa impulsiva," and not "causa constituens, or efficiens." As if there were two horses, and the one would do better without the spur than the other: but again, the other with the spur would far exceed the doing of the former, giving him the spur also: yet the latter will be judged to be the better horse. And the form as to say, "Tush, the life of this horse is but in the spur," will not serve as to a wise judgment; for since the ordinary instrument of horsemanship is the
spur, and that it is no manner of impediment, nor burden, the horse is not to be accounted the
"That which hath a relation to truth is greater than that which refers to opinion: but the measure and trial of that which belongs to opinion is this: It is that which a man would not do, if he thought it would not be known" G
less of, which will not do well without the spur, but rather the other is to be reckoned a delicacy, than a virtue: so glory and honour are the spurs to virtue and although virtue would languish without them, yet since they be always at hand to attend virtue, virtue is not to be said the less chosen for itself, because it needeth the spur of fame and reputation: and therefore that position, “nota ejus rei quod propter opinionem et non propter veritatem eligitur, hæc est; quod quis si, clam putaret fore, facturus non esset," is reprehended.
"Quod rem integram servat bonum, quod sine receptu est malum. Nam se recipere non posse impotentiæ genus est, potentia autem bonum."*
HEREOF ESOP framed the fable of the two frogs that consulted together in the time of drought, when many plashes that they had repaired to were dry, what was to be done, and the one propounded to go down into a deep well, because it was like the water would not fail there; but the other answered, yea, but if it do fail, how shall we get up again. And the reason is, that human actions are so uncertain and subject to perils, as that seemeth the best course which hath most passages out of it. Appertaining to this persuasion, the forms are, you shall engage yourself, on the other side, "tantum, quantum voles, sumes ex fortuna," &c. you shall keep the matter in your own hand. The reprehension of it is, that proceeding and resolving in all actions is necessary. For as he saith well, not to resolve, is to resolve, and many times it breeds as many necessities, and engageth as far in some other sort, as to resolve. So it is but the covetous man's disease, translated into
eth the total greater, yet nevertheless, it often carries the mind away, yea, it deceiveth the sense; as it seemeth to the eye a shorter distance of way, if it be all dead, and continued, than if it have trees or buildings, or any other marks, whereby the eye may divide it. So when a great moneyed man hath divided his chests, and coins, and bags, he seemeth to himself richer than he was, and therefore a way to amplify any thing is, to break it and to make anatomy of it in several parts, and to examine it according to several circumstances. And this maketh the greater show if it be done without order, for confusion maketh things muster more; and besides, what is set down by order and division, doth demonstrate that nothing is left out without order, both the mind comprehendeth less or omitted, but all is there; whereas if it be that which is set down; and besides, it leaveth a suspicion, as if more might be said than is expressed.
This colour deceiveth, if the mind of him that is to be persuaded, do of itself over-conceive, or prejudge of the greatness of any thing; for then the breaking of it will make it seem less, because it maketh it to appear more according to the truth: and therefore if a man be in sickness or pain, the time will seem longer without a clock or hourglass, than with it; for the mind doth value every moment, and then the hour doth rather sum up the moments than divide the day. So in a dead plain
way seemeth longer, because the eye hath frustrating of that maketh it seem longer than the preconceived it shorter than the truth, and the truth. Therefore if any man have an over-great opinion of any thing, then if another think by breaking it into several considerations he shall and therefore in such cases it is not safe to divide, make it seem greater to him, he will be deceived;
for the covetous man will enjoy nothing, because he will have his full store and possibility to enjoy the more; so by this reason, a man should execute nothing, because he should be still indifferent, but to extol the entire, still in general. Another and at liberty to execute any thing. Besides case wherein this colour deceiveth is, when the necessity and this same "jacta est alea," hath matter broken or divided is not comprehended by the sense or mind at once, in respect of the dismany times an advantage, because it awaketh the powers of the mind, and strengtheneth endea-tracting or scattering of it; and being entire and not vour, "cæteris paret necessitate certe superiores in heaps of five pounds will show more than in one divided, is comprehended; as an hundred pounds
"Quod ex pluribus constat et divisibilibus, est majus quam quod ex paucioribus et magis unum ; nam omnia per partes
considerata majora videntur, quare et pluralitas partium inagnitudinem præ se fert : fortius autem operatur pluralitas partium si ordo absit, nam inducit similitudinem infiniti, et impedit comprehensionem."+
gross heap, so as the heaps be all upon one table to be seen at once, otherwise not; as flowers growing scattered in divers beds will show more than if they did grow in one bed, so as all those beds be within a plot, that they be objects to view at once, otherwise not: and therefore men, whose
living lieth together in one shire, are commonly
THIS colour seemeth palpable, for it is not plurality of parts, without majority of parts, that mak-counted greater landed than those whose livings
"That which keeps a matter safe and entire is good; but what is destitute and unprovided of retreat is bad; for whereas all ability of acting is good, not to be able to withdraw one's self is a kind of impotency."
are dispersed, though it be more, because of the notice and comprehension. A third case wherein this colour deceiveth, and it is not so properly a +"That which consists of more parts and those divisible, is case of reprehension, as it is a counter colour, being greater, and more one than what is made up of fewer; for in effect as large as the colour itself; and that is, all things when they are looked upon piecemeal seem greater; when also a plurality of parts make a show of bulk" omnis compositio indigentiæ cujusdam videtur considerable, which a plurality of parts affects more strongly, esse particeps," because if one thing would serve if they be in no certain order; for it then resembles an infi- the turn, it were ever best, but the defect and imnity, and hinders the comprehending of them."
found, &c. And of the other side, the forms to make it conceived, that that was good which was changed for the worse, are, "Bona magis carendo quam fruendo sentimus: Bona a tergo formosissima;" Good things never appear in their full beauty, till they turn their back and be going away, &c.
former condition was evil, but less good; for the flower or blossom is a positive good, although the remove of it to give place to the fruit, be a comparative good. So in the tale of Æsop, when the old fainting man in the heat of the day cast down his burden and called for Death; and when Death came to know his will with him, said, it was for nothing but to help him up with his burden again: it doth not follow, that because Death, which was the privation of the burden, was ill, therefore the burden was good. And in this part, the ordinary form of " malum necessarium" aptly reprehendeth this colour, for "privatio mali necessarii est mala," and yet that doth not convert the nature of the necessary evil, but it is evil.
perfections of things hath brought in that help to is in hell thinks there is no other heaven. "Satis piece them up; as it is said, "Martha, Martha, quercus." Acorns were good till bread was attendis ad plurima, unum sufficit." So likewise hereupon sop framed the fable of the fox and the cat; whereas the fox bragged what a number of shifts and devices he had to get from the hounds, and the cat said she had but one, which was to climb a tree, which in proof was better worth than all the rest; whereof the proverb grew, “Multa novit vulpes, sed felis unum magnum." And in The reprehension of this colour is, that the good the moral of this fable it comes likewise to pass, or evil which is removed may be esteemed good that a good sure friend is a better help at a pinch or evil comparatively, and not positively or simply. than all the stratagems and policies of a man's | So that if the privation be good, it follows not the own wit. So it falleth out to be a common error in negotiating, whereas men have many reasons to induce or persuade, they strive commonly to utter and use them all at once, which weakeneth them. For it argueth, as was said, a neediness in every of the reasons, by itself, as if one did not trust to any of them, but fled from one to another, helping himself only with that: "Et quæ non prosunt sin-1 gula, multa juvant." Indeed in a set speech in an assembly, it is expected a man should use all his reasons in the case he handleth, but in private persuasions it is always a great error. A fourth case wherein this colour may be reprehended, is in respect of that same "vis unita fortior," according to the tale of the French king, that when the emperor's ambassador had recited his master's style at large, which consisteth of many countries and dominions; the French king willed his chan cellor, or other minister, to repeat and say over France as many times as the other had recited the several dominions; intending it was equivalent with them all, and besides more compacted and united. There is also appertaining to this colour another point, why breaking of a thing doth help it, not by way of adding a show of magnitude unto it, but a note of excellency and rarity; whereof the forms are, Where shall you find such a concurrence; Great but not complete; for it seems a less work of nature or fortune, to make any thing in his kind greater than ordinary, than to make a strange composition. Yet if it be narrowly considered, this colour will be reprehended or encountered, by imputing to all excellencies in compositions a kind of poverty, or at least a casualty or jeopardy; for from that which is excellent in greatness, somewhat may be taken, or there may be decay, and yet sufficiency left; but from that which hath his price in composition, if you take away any thing, or any part do fail, all is disgrace.
"Cujus privatio bona, malum; cujus privatio mala, bonum."
THE forms to make it conceived, that that was evil which is changed for the better, are, He that
"That whose privation (or the want of which) is good, is in itself evil; that whose privation (or the want whereof) is an evil, is in itself good."
Again it cometh sometimes to pass, that there is an equality in the change of privation, and as it were a "dilemma boni," or a "dilemma mali:" so that the corruption of the one good, is a generation of the other. "Sorti pater æquus utrique est:" and contrary, the remedy of the one evil is the occasion and commencement of another, as in Scylla and Charybdis.
"Quod bono vicinum, bonum; quod a bono remotum, malum."
SUCH is the nature of things, that things contrary, and distant in nature and quality, are also severed and disjoined in place; and things like and consenting in quality, are placed, and as it were quartered together: for, partly in regard of the nature to spread, multiply, and infect in similitude; and partly in regard of the nature to break, expel, and alter that which is disagreeable and contrary, most things do either associate, and draw near to themselves the like, or at least assimilate to themselves that which approacheth near them, and do also drive away, chase and exterminate their contraries. And that is the reason commonly yielded, why the middle region of the air should be coldest, because the sun and stars are either hot by direct beams, or by reflection. The direct beams heat the upper region, the reflected beams from the earth and seas heat the lower region. That which is in the midst,
"What is near to good, is good; what is at a distanes from good, is evil.”
being farthest distant in place from these two [the other, it is a kind of compensation: so the regions of heat, are most distant in nature, that is, poets in tragedies do make the most passionate coldest; which is that they term cold or hot "per lamentations, and those that forerun final despair, antiperistasin," that is, environing by contraries: to be accusing, questioning, and torturing of a which was pleasantly taken hold of by him that man's self. said, that an honest man, in these days, must needs be more honest than in ages heretofore, "propter antiperistasin," because the shutting of him in the midst of contraries, must needs make the honesty stronger and more compact in itself.
"Seque unum clamat causamque caputque malorum." And contrariwise, the extremities of worthy persons have been annihilated in the consideration of their own good deserving. Besides, when the evil cometh from without, there is left a kind of evaporation of grief, if it come by human injury, either by indignation, and meditating of revenge from ourselves, or by expecting or fore
The reprehension of this colour is: first, many things of amplitude in their kind do as it were ingross to themselves all, and leave that which is next them most destitute: as the shoots or under-conceiving that Nemesis and retribution will take wood, that grow near a great and spread tree, is hold of the authors of our hurt: or if it be by for the most pined and shrubby wood of the field, tune or accident, yet there is left a kind of exposbecause the great tree doth deprive and deceive tulation against the divine powers; them of sap and nourishment; so he saith well, "divitus servi maxime servi ;" and the comparison was pleasant of him, that compared courtiers at-fault, there all strikes deadly inwards and suffotendant in the courts of princes without great place or office, to fasting-days, which were next the holydays, but otherwise were the leanest days in all the week.
"Atque deos atque astra vocat crudelia mater." But where the evil is derived from a man's own
The reprehension of this colour is, first in respect of hope, for reformation of our faults is "in nostra potestate;" but amendment of our fortune simply is not. Therefore, Demosthenes, in
Another reprehension is, that things of greatness and predominancy, though they do not ex-many of his orations, saith thus to the people of tenuate the things adjoining in substance, yet they drown them and obscure them in show and appearance; and therefore the astronomers say, That whereas in all other planets conjunction is the perfectest amity; the sun contrariwise is good by aspect, but evil by conjunction.
A third reprehension is, because evil approacheth to good sometimes for concealment, sometimes for protection; and good to evil for conversion and reformation. So hypocrisy draweth near to religion for coverts and hiding itself; "sæpe latet vitium proximitate boni:" and sanctuary-men, which were commonly inordinate men and malefactors, were wont to be nearest to priests and prelates, and holy men; for the majesty of good things is such, as the confines of them are revered. On the other side, our Saviour, charged with nearness of publicans and rioters, said, "The physician approacheth the sick rather than the whole."
"Quod quis culpa sua contraxit, majus malum, quod ab
externis imponitur, minus malum."*
THE reason is, because the sting and remorse of the mind accusing itself doubleth all adversity: contrariwise, the considering and recording inwardly, that a man is clear and free from fault and just imputation, doth attempter outward calamities. For if the evil be in the sense, and in the conscience both, there is a gemination of it; but if evil be in the one, and comfort in
"That which a man hath procured by his own default is a greater mischief, (or evil :) that which is laid on him by
others is a lesser evil."
Athens: "That which having regard to the time past is the worst point and circumstance of all the rest; that as to the time to come is the best: what is that? Even this, that by your sloth, irresolution, and misgovernment, your affairs are grown to this declination and decay. For had you used and ordered your means and forces to the best, and done your parts every way to the full, and, notwithstanding, your matters should have gone backward in this manner, as they do, there had been no hope left of recovery or reparation; but since it hath been only by your own errors," &c So Epictetus in his degrees saith, "The worst state of man is to accuse external things, better than that to accuse a man's self, and best of all to accuse neither."
Another reprehension of this colour is, in respect of the well-bearing of evils wherewith a man can charge nobody but himself, which maketh them the less
"Leve fit quod bene fertur onus." And therefore many natures that are either extremely proud, and will take no fault to themselves, or else very true and cleaving to themselves, when they see the blame of any thing that falls shift but to bear it out well, and to make the least out ill must light upon themselves, have no other of it; for as we see when sometimes a fault is committed, and before it be known who is to blame, much ado is made of it; but after, if it appear to be done by a son, or by a wife, or by a near friend, then it is light made of: so much more when a man must take it upon himself. And therefore it is commonly seen, that women that marry husbands of their own choosing against