Page images
PDF
EPUB

hands, from taking, but bind the hands of suitors also from offering. For integrity used doth the one, but integrity professed, and with a manifest detestation of bribery, doth the other. And avoid not only the fault, but the suspicion. Whosoever is found variable, and changeth manifestly without manifest cause, giveth suspicion of corruption. Therefore, always, when thou changest thine opinion or course, profess it plainly, and declare it, together with the reasons that move thee to change, and do not think to steal it. A servant or a favourite if he be inward, and no other apparent cause of esteem, is commonly thought but a by-way to close corruption. For roughness, it is a needless cause of discontent; severity breedeth fear, but roughness breedeth hate. Even reproofs from authority ought to be grave, and not taunting. As for facility, it is worse than bribery. For bribes come but now and then, but if importunity or idle respects lead a man, he shall never be without. As Solomon saith, "To respect persons is not good, for such a man will transgress for a piece of bread." It is most true that was anciently spoken; a place showeth the man, and showeth some to the better, and some to the worse; "Omnium consensu capax Imperii, nisi imperasset:" ["He would have been universally deemed fit for empire, if he had never reigned:"] saith Tacitus of Galba; but of Vespasian he saith "Solus Imperantium Vespatianus mutatus in melius." ["Vespasian was the only emperor who was changed for the better by his accession."] Though the one was meant of sufficiency, the other of manners 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 places, 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

but if they think with themselves what other men think of them, and that other men would fain be as they are, then they are happy, as it were by report, when perhaps they find the contrary within. For they are the first that find their own griefs; though they be the last that find their own faults. But power to do good is the true and lawful end of aspiring. For good thoughts (though God accept them), yet towards men are little better than good dreams, except they be put in act, and that cannot be without power and place, as the vantage and commanding ground. Merit and good works is the end of man's motion'; and conscience of the same is the accomplishment of man's rest. Neglect not also the examples of those that have carried themselves ill in the same place; not to set off thyself by taxing their memory, but to direct thyself what to 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 degenerate, but yet ask counsel of both times; of the ancient 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 rule. 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 advises touching the execution of thy place, and do not drive away such as bring thee information, as meddlers, but accept of them in good part. The vices of authority are chiefly four: delays, corruption, roughness, and facility. For delays, give easy access, keep times appointed, go through with that which is in hand, and interlace not business but of necessity. For corruption, do not only bind thine own hands, as thy servants'

[merged small][ocr errors]

OF DISCOURSE.

SOME in their discourse desire rather commendation of wit, in being able to hold all arguments, than of judgment, in discerning what is true; as if it were a praise to know what might be said, and not what should be thought. Some have certain common places and themes, wherein they are good and want variety; which kind of poverty is for the most part tedious, and when it is once perceived, ridiculous. The honourablest part of talk is to give the occasion; and again to moderate and pass to somewhat else, for then a man leads the dance. It is good in discourse, and speech of conversation, to vary and intermingle speech of the present occasion with arguments, tales with reasons, asking of questions with telling of opinions, and jest with earnest; for it is a dull thing to tire, and as we say now, to jade anything too far. As for jest, there be certain things which ought to be privileged from it; namely, religion, matters of state, great persons, any man's present business of importance, and any case that deserveth pity; yet there be some that think their wits have been asleep, except they dart out somewhat that is piquant, and to the quick; that is a vein which would be bridled:

"Parce, puer, stimulis, et fortius utere loris." And, generally, men ought to find the difference between saltness and bitterness. Certainly, he that hath a satirical vein, as he maketh others afraid of his wit, so he had need be afraid of others' memory. He that questioneth much, shall learn much, and content much; but especially if he apply his questions to the skill of the per

sons whom he asketh; for he shall give them occasion to please themselves in speaking, and himself shall continually gather knowledge; but let his questions not be troublesome, for that is fit for a poser; and let him be sure to leave other men their turns to speak: nay, if there be any that would reign and take up all the time, let him find means to take them off, and to bring others on, as musicians use to do with those that dance too long galliards. If you dissemble sometimes your knowledge of that you are thought to know, you shall be thought, another time, to know that you know not. Speech of a man's self ought to be seldom, and wellchosen. I knew one was wont to say in scorn, "He must needs be a wise man, he speaks so much of himself:" and there is but one case wherein a man may commend himself with good grace, and that is in commending virtue in another, especially if it be such a virtue whereunto himself pretendeth.-Essays.

[ocr errors]

[LORD BURLEIGH. 1520-1598.]

ON THE CHOICE OF A WIFE. WHEN it shall please God to bring thee to man's estate, use great providence and circumspection in choosing thy wife. For from thence will spring all thy future good or evil. And it is an action of life, like unto a stratagem of war; wherein a man can err but once. If thy estate be good, match near home and at leisure; if weak, far off and quickly. Inquire diligently of her disposition, and how her parents have been inclined in their youth. Let her not be poor, how generous soever. For a man can buy nothing in the market with gentility. Nor choose a base and uncomely creature altogether for wealth; for it will cause contempt in others and loathing in thee. Neither make choice of a dwarf, or a fool; for, by the one thou shalt beget a race of pigmies; the other will be thy continual disgrace, and it will yirke thee to hear her talk. For thou shalt find it, to thy great grief, that there is nothing more fulsome than a shefool.-"Precepts and Directions for the

well advice of a Man's Life," addressed to gestion of all doubts and difficulties, and his Son.

acquainting the mind to balance reasons on both sides, and to turn back the first offers and conceits of the kind, and to accept of nothing but [what is] examined and tried. It taketh away all vain admiration of anything, which is the root of all weakness: for all things are admired, either because they are new, or because they are great.

...

If a man meditate upon the universal frame of nature, the earth with men upon it (the divineness of souls excepted) will not seem more than an ant-hill, where some ants carry corn, and some carry their young, and some go empty, and all to and fro a little heap of dust. It taketh away or mitigateth fear of death, or adverse fortune: which is one of the greatest impediments of virtue, and imperfection of manners. ... Virgil did excellently and profoundly couple the knowledge of causes and the conquest of all fears together. It were too long to go over the particular remedies which learning doth minister to all the diseases of the mind

sometimes purging the ill humours, sometimes opening the obstructions, sometimes helping the digestion, sometimes increasing appetite, sometimes healing the wounds and ulcerations thereof, and the like; and I will therefore conclude with the chief reason of all, which is, that it disposeth the constitution of the mind not to be fixed or settled in the defects thereof, but still to be capable and susceptible of reformation. For the unlearned man knoweth not what it is to descend into himself, and call himself to account; nor the pleasure of that most that hath care of keeping days of pay-pleasant life, which consists in our daily ment, is lord of another man's purse.—

Ibid.

feeling ourselves become better. The good parts he hath, he will learn to show to the full, and use them dexterously, but not much to increase them: the faults he hath, he will learn how to hide and colour them, but not much to amend them; like an ill mower, that mows on still and never whets his scythe. Whereas, with the learned man it fares otherwise, that he doth ever intermix the correction and amendment of his mind with the use and employment thereof.

[ocr errors]

ON THE EDUCATION OF A
FAMILY.

BRING thy children up in learning and obedience, yet without outward austerity. Praise them openly, reprehend them secretly. Give them good countenance and convenient maintenance according to thy ability, otherwise thy life will seem their bondage, and what portion thou shalt leave them at thy death, they will thank death for it and not thee. And I am persuaded that the foolish cockering of some parents, and the over-stern carriage of others, causeth more men and women to take ill courses than their own vicious inclinations. Marry thy daughters in time, lest they marry themselves.-Ibid.

[ocr errors]

ON SURETYSHIP AND BOR

ROWING.

BEWARE of suretyship for thy best friends. He that payeth another man's debts, seeketh his own decay. But, if thou canst not otherwise choose, rather lend thy money thyself upon good bonds, although thou borrow it. So shalt thou secure thyself and pleasure thy friend. Neither borrow money of a neighbour, or a friend, but of a stranger, where, paying for it, thou shalt hear no more of it. Otherwise thou shalt eclipse thy credit, lose thy freedom, and yet pay as dear as to another. But in borrowing of money, be precious of thy word; for he

[ocr errors]

[SIR WALTER RALEIGH. 1552-1618.] THE USES AND ADVANTAGES OF KNOWLEDGE.

LEARNING taketh away the wildness, barbarism, and fierceness of men's minds; though a little of it doth rather work a contrary effect. It taketh away all levity, temerity, and insolency, by copious sug

WORLDLY PRUDENCE RECOM-hard rocks, the better to bear themselves MENDED. against the strong storms that blow there. As nature has instructed those kings of trees, so has reason taught the kings of men to root themselves in the hardy hearts of their faithful subjects; and as those kings of trees have large tops, so have the kings of men large crowns, whereof, as the first would soon be broken from their bodies, were they not underborne by many branches, so would the other easily totter, were they not fastened on their heads, with the strong chains of civil justice and of martial discipline.—Ibid.

AMONGST all other things of the world, take care of thy estate, which thou shalt ever preserve if thou observe three things: first, that thou know what thou hast, what every thing is worth that thou hast, and to see that thou art not wasted by thy servants and officers. The second is, that thou never spend anything before thou have it; for borrow ing is the canker and death of every man's estate. The third is, that thou suffer not thyself to be wounded for other men's faults, and scourged for other men's offences; which is, the surety for another, for thereby millions of men have been beggared and destroyed, paying the reckoning of other men's riot, and the charge of other men's folly and prodigality; if thou smart, smart for thine own sins; and, above all things, be not made an ass to carry the burdens of other men: if any friend desire thee to be his surety, give him a part of what thou hast to spare; if he press thee farther, he is not thy friend at all, for friendship rather chooseth harm to itself than offereth it....be void of any of these it availeth nothing. If thou be rich, it will give thee pleasure For as in tilling of the ground in husin health, comfort in sickness, keep thy bandry there is first chosen a fertile soil, mind and body free, save thee from many then a cunning sower, then good seed, perils, relieve thee in thy elder years, even so must we compare nature to the relieve the poor and thy honest friends, fat earth, the expert husbandman and give means to thy posterity to live, to the schoolmaster, the faculties and and defend themselves and thine own sciences to the pure seeds. If this order fame. Where it is said in the Proverbs, had not been in our predecessors, Pytha"That he shall be sore vexed that is surety goras, Socrates, Plato, and whosoever for a stranger, and he that hateth surety- was renowned in Greece for the glory of ship is sure; "it is further said, "The wisdom, they had never been eternised poor is hated even of his own neighbour, for wise men, neither canonised, as it but the rich have many friends.' Lend were, for saints, among those that study not to him that is mightier than thyself, sciences. It is therefore a most evident for if thou lendest him, count it but lost; sign of God's singular favour towards be not surety above thy power, for if thou him, that he is endued with all these be surety, think to pay it.-Advice to his qualities, without the which man is most miserable. But if there be any one that thinketh wit not necessary to the obtaining of wisdom, after he hath gotten the way to virtue, and industry, and exercise, he is a heretic, in my opinion, touching the true faith in learning; for if nature play not her part, in vain is labour; and,

THERE are three things which cause perfection in a man-nature, reason, use. Reason I call discipline: use, exercise : if any one of these branches want, certainly the tree of virtue must needs wither; for nature without discipline is of small force, and discipline without nature more feeble: if exercise or study

Son.

wwwww

THE TRUE STRENGTH OF

KINGS.

THEY say the goodliest cedars which grow on the high mountains of Libanus thrust their roots between the clefts of

[ocr errors]

[JOHN LILY. 1553-1600.]
MENTAL VIGOUR.

as it is said before, if study be not employed, in vain is nature: sloth turneth the edge of wit, study sharpeneth the mind; a thing, be it never so easy, is hard to the idle; a thing be it never so hard, is easy to wit well employed. And most plainly we may see in many things the efficacy of industry and labour. The little drops of rain pierce the hard marble; iron, with often handling is worn to nothing. Besides, this, industry showeth herself in other things: the fertile soil, if it be never tilled, doth wax barren, and that which is most noble by nature is made most vile by negligence. What tree, if it be not topped, beareth any fruit? What vine, if it be not pruned, bringeth forth grapes? Is not the strength of the body turned to weakness with too much delicacy? Were not Milo his arms brawn-fallen for want of wrestling? Moreover, by labour the fierce unicorn is tamed, the wildest falcon | is reclaimed, the greatest bulwark is sacked. It was well answered of that man of Thessaly, who being demanded who among the Thessalians were reputed most vile, "Those," he said, "that live at quiet and ease, never giving themselves to martial affairs." But why should one use many words in a thing already proved? It is custom, use, and exercise, that brings a young man to virtue, and virtue to his perfection. -Euphues and his England.

[ocr errors]

[RICHARD BAXTER. 1615-1691.] THE REST OF THE JUST. REST! how sweet the sound! It is melody to my ears! It lies as a reviving cordial at my heart, and from thence sends forth lively spirits which beat through all the pulses of my soul ! Rest, not as the stone that rests on the earth, nor as this flesh shall rest in the grave, nor such a rest as the carnal world desires. O blessed rest! when we rest not day and night saying, "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty :" when we shall rest from sin, but not from worship; from suffering and sorrow, but not from joy!

O blessed day! when I shall rest with God! when I shall rest in the bosom of my Lord! when my perfect soul and body shall together perfectly enjoy the most perfect God! when God, who is love itself, shall perfectly love me, and rest in this love to me, as I shall rest in my love to Him; and rejoice over me with joy, and joy over me with singing, as I shall rejoice in Him!

This is that joy which was procured by sorrow, that crown which was procured by the Cross. My Lord wept that now my tears might be wiped away; He bled that I might now rejoice; he was forsaken that I might not now be forsook; He then died that I might now live. O free mercy, that can exalt so vile a wretch ! Free to me, though dear to Christ: free grace that hath chosen me, when thousands were forsaken. This is not like our cottages of clay, our prisons, our earthly dwellings. This voice of joy is not like our old complaints, our impatient groans and sighs; nor this melodious praise like the scoffs and revilings, or the oaths and curses, which we heard on earth. This body is not like that we had, nor this soul like the soul we had, nor this life like the life we lived. We have changed our place and state, our clothes and thoughts, our looks, language, and company. Before, a saint was weak and despised; but now, how happy and glorious a thing is a saint! Where now their body of sin, which wearied themselves and those about them? Where are now our different judgments, reproachful names, divided spirits, exasperated passions, strange looks, uncharitable censures? Now are all of one judgment, of one name, of one heart, house and glory. O sweet reconciliation! happy union! Now the Gospel shall no more be dishonoured through our folly. No more, my soul, shalt thou lament the sufferings of the saints, or the church's ruins, or mourn thy suffering friends, nor weep over their dying beds or their graves. Thou shalt never suffer thy old temptations from Satan, the world, or thy own flesh. Thy pains and sickness are all cured; thy body shall no more burden

« EelmineJätka »