תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

chief art and safety. In his counsels and deliberations he foresees the future times: in the equity of his judgment, he hath remembrance of the past, and knowledge of what is to be done or avoided for the present. Hence the Persians gave out their Cyrus to have been nursed by a bitch, a creature to encounter it, as of sagacity to seek out good; shewing that wisdom may accompany fortitude, or it leaves to be, and puts on the name of rashness.

LXXXVIII.

De Malign. Studentium.—There be some men are born only to suck out the poison of books: Habent venenum pro victu ; imó, pro deliciis. And such are they that only relish the obscene and foul things in poets; which makes the profession taxed. But by whom 2 Men that watch for it; and (had they not had this hint) are so unjust valuers of letters, as they think no learning good but what brings in gain. It shews they themselves would never have been of the professions they are, but for the profits and fees. But if another learning, well used, can instruct to good life, inform manners, no less persuade and lead men, than they threaten and compel, and have no reward; is it therefore the worst study ? I could never think the study of wisdom confined only to the philosopher; or of piety to the divine; or of state to the politic : but that he which can feign a commonwealth (which jo can govern it with counsels, strengthen it aws, correct it with judgments, inform it with religion and morals, is all these. We do not require in him mere elocution, or an excellent faculty in verse, but the exact knowledge of all virtues, and their contraries, with ability to render the one loved, the other hated, by his proper embattling them. The philosophers did insolently, to challenge only to themselves that which the greatest

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

generals and gravest counsellors never durst. For such had rather do, than promise the best things.

LXXXIX.

Controvers. Scriptores.—A/ore Ama'adata, ume gue clausis oculis pugnant.—Some controverters in divinity are like swaggerers in a tavern, that catch that which stands next them, the candlestick, or pots; turn every thing into a weapon ; oft-times they fight blindfold, and both beat the air. The one milks a he-goat, the other holds under a sieve. Their arguments are as fluxive as liquor spilt upon a table, which with your finger you may drain as you will. Such controversies, or disputations (carried with more labour than profit) are odious ; where most times the truth is lost in the midst, or left untouched. And the fruit of their fight is, that they spit one upon another, and are both defiled. These fencers in religion I like not.

[ocr errors]

Morói.-The body hath certain diseases, that are with less evil tolerated, than removed. As if to cure a leprosy a man should bathe himself with the warm blood of a murdered child : so in the church, some errors may be dissimuled with less inconvenience than they can be discovered.

[ocr errors]

Jactantia intempestiva.-Men that talk of their own benefits, are not believed to talk of them, because they have done them; but to have done them, because they might talk of them. That which had been great, if another had reported it of them, vanisheth, and is nothing, if he that did it speak of it. For men, when they cannot destroy the deed, will yet be glad to take advantage of the boasting, and lessen it.

[ocr errors]

Adulatio.—I have seen that poverty makes men do unfit things; but honest men should not do them; they should gain otherwise. Though a man be hungry, he should not play the parasite. That hour wherein I would repent me to be honest, there were ways enough open for me to be rich. But flattery is a fine pick-lock of tender ears; especially of those whom fortune hath borne high upon their wings, that submit their dignity and authority to it, by a soothing of themselves. For indeed men could never be taken in that abundance with the springes of others flattery, if they began not there; if they did but remember how much more profitable the bitterness of truth were, than all the honey distilling from a whorish voice, which is not praise, but poison. But now it is come to that extreme folly, or rather madness, with some, that he that flatters them modestly, or sparingly, is thought to malign them. If their friend consent not to their vices, though he do not contradict them, he is nevertheless an enemy. When they do all things the worst way, even then they look for praise. Nay, they will hire fellows to flatter them, with suits and suppers, and to prostitute their judgments. They have livery-friends, friends of the dish, and of the spit, that wait their turns, as my lord has his feasts and guests.

[ocr errors]

De vità humaná.—I have considered our whole life is like a play: wherein every man forgetful of himself, is in travail with expression of another. Nay, we so insist in imitating others, as we cannot (when it is necessary) return to ourselves; like children, that imitate the vices of stammerers so long, till at last they become such ; and make the habit to another nature, as it is never forgotten.

[ocr errors]

De Piis et Probis-Good men are the stars, the planets of the ages wherein they live, and illustrate the times. God did never let them be wanting to the world: as Abel, for an example of innocency, Enoch of purity, Noah of trust in God's mercies, Abraham of faith, and so of the rest. These, sensual men thought mad, because they would not be partakers or practicers of their madness. But they, placed high on the top of all virtue, looked down on the stage of the world, and contemned the play of fortune. For though the most be players, some must be spectators.

[ocr errors]

Mores Aulici-I have discovered, that a feigned familiarity in great ones, is a note of certain usurpation on the less. For great and popular men feign themselves to be servants to others, to make those slaves to them. So the fisher provides bait for the trout, roach, dace, &c., that they may be food to him.

[ocr errors]

Zmpionum querela.-Augustus.-Varus-Tiberius. —The complaint of Caligula was most wicked of the condition of his times, when he said, They were not famous for any public calamity, as the reign of Augustus was, by the defeat of Varus and the legions; and that of Tiberius, by the falling of the theatre at Fidenae; whilst his oblivion was eminent, through the prosperity of his affairs. As that other voice of his was worthier a headsman than a head, when he wished the people of Rome had but one neck. But he found (when he fell) they had many hands. A tyrant, how great and mighty soever he may seem to cowards and sluggards, is but one creature, one animal.

[ocr errors]

Močilium ingenia.-I have marked among the nobility, some are so addicted to the service of the prince and commonwealth, as they look not for spoil; such are to be honoured and loved. There are others, which no obligation will fasten on ; and they are of two sorts. The first are such as love their own ease; or, out of vice, of nature, or self-direction, avoid business and care. Yet these the prince may use with safety. The other remove themselves upon craft and design, as the architects say, with a premeditated thought to their own, rather than their prince's profit. Such let the prince take heed of, and not doubt to reckon in the list of his open enemies.

XCVIII.

Principum varia.-Firmissima veró omnium basis sus hæreditarium Principis.--There is a great variation between him that is raised to the sovereignty by the favour of his peers, and him that comes to it by the suffrage of the people. The first holds with more difficulty; because he hath to do with many that think themselves his equals, and raised him for their own greatness and oppression of the rest. The latter hath no upbraiders, but was raised by them that sought to be defended from oppression; whose end is both the easier and the honester to satisfy. Beside, while he hath the people to friend, who are a multitude, he hath the less fear of the nobility, who are but few. Nor let the common proverb (of he that builds on the people builds on the dirt) discredit my opinion : for that hath only place where an ambitious and private person, for some popular end, trusts in them against the public justice and magistrate. There they will leave him. But when a prince governs them, so as they have still need of his ad

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
« הקודםהמשך »