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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 commonplaces and themes wherein they are good, and want variety; 5 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 to pass to somewhat else, for then a man leads the dance. It is good in discourse and speech of conversation, to vary and intermingle 10 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 15 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 hath need to be afraid of others' memory. He that questioneth much shall learn much 25 and content much, but especially if he apply his questions to the skill of the persons whom he asketh; for he shall give them
occasion to please themselves in speaking, and himself to gather knowledge; but let his questions be not troublesome, for that is 30 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 bring others on, as musicians use to do with those that dance too long galliards. If you dissemble sometimes your knowledge of that 35 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 well chosen. 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 40 with good grace, and that is in commending virtue in another, especially if it be such a virtue whereunto himself pretendeth. Speech of touch towards others should be sparingly used; for discourse ought to be as a field, without coming home to any man. I knew two noblemen of the west part of England, 45 whereof the one was given to scoff, but kept ever royal cheer in his house; the other would ask of those that had been at the other's table, "Tell truly, was there never a flout or dry blow given?" to which the guest would answer, "Such and such a thing passed:" the lord would say, "I thought he would mar a 50 good dinner." Discretion of speech is more than eloquence; and to speak agreeably to him with whom we deal, is more than to speak in good words or in good order. A good continued speech without a speech of interlocution, shows slowness; and a good reply or second speech without a good settled speech, 55 showeth shallowness and weakness: as we see in beasts that those that are weakest in the course are yet nimblest in the turn, as it is betwixt the greyhound and the hare. To use too many circumstances ere one comes to the matter, is wearisome; to use none at all is blunt.
Travel, in the younger sort, is a part of education; in the elder, a part of experience. He that travelleth into a country
before he hath some entrance into the language, goeth to school, and not to travel. That young men travel under some tutor or grave servant I allow well, so that he be such a one that hath the 5 language, and hath been in the country before, whereby he may be able to tell them what things are worthy to be seen in the country where they go, what acquaintances they are to seek, what exercises or discipline the place yieldeth; for else young men shall go hooded, and look abroad little. It is a strange 10 thing that, in sea-voyages, where there is nothing to be seen but sea and sky, men should make diaries; but in land-travel, wherein so much is to be observed, for the most part they omit it; as if chance were fitter to be registered than observation ; let diaries, therefore, be brought in use. The things to be seen 15 and observed are the courts of princes, especially when they give audience to ambassadors; the courts of justice, while they sit and hear causes; and so of consistories ecclesiastic; the churches and monasteries, with the monuments which are therein extant ; the walls and fortifications of cities and towns; and so the 20 havens and harbours, antiquities and ruins, libraries, colleges, disputations, and lectures, where any are; shippings and navies, houses and gardens of state and pleasure near great cities; armories, arsenals, magazines, exchanges, burses, warehouses, exercises of horsemanship, fencing, training of soldiers, and the 25 like: comedies, such whereunto the better sort of persons do resort; treasuries of jewels and robes; cabinets and rarities; and, to conclude, whatsoever is memorable in the places where they go; after all which the tutors or servants ought to make diligent inquiry. As for triumphs, masks, feasts, weddings, 30 funerals, capital executions, and such shows, men need not to be put in mind of them; yet they are not to be neglected. If you will have a young man to put his travel into a little room, and in short time to gather much, this you must do: first, as was said, he must have some entrance into the language before he 35 goeth; then he must have such a servant or tutor as knoweth the country, as was likewise said: let him carry with him also some card or book describing the country where he travelleth, which will be a good key to his inquiry; let him keep also a diary; let him not stay long in one city or town, more or less as 40
the place deserveth, but not long; nay, when he stayeth in one city or town, let him change his lodging from one end and part of the town to another, which is a great adamant of acquaintance; let him sequester himself from the company of his coun45 trymen, and diet in such places where there is good company of the nation where he travelleth; let him, upon his removes from one place to another, procure recommendation to some person of quality residing in the place whither he removeth, that he may use his favour in those things he desireth to see or know; thus 50 he may abridge his travel with much profit.
As for the acquaintance which is to be sought in travel, that which is most of all profitable is acquaintance with the secretaries and employed men of embassadors: for so in travelling in one country he shall suck the experience of many; let him also see 55 and visit eminent persons in all kinds, which are of great name abroad, that he may be able to tell how the life agreeth with the fame; for quarrels, they are with care and discretion to be avoided; for they are commonly for mistresses, healths, place, and words: and let a man beware how he keepeth company with 60 choleric and quarrelsome persons, for they will engage him into their own quarrels.
When a traveller returneth home, let him not leave the countries where he hath travelled altogether behind him; but maintain a correspondence by letters with those of his acquaintance 65 which are of most worth; and let his travel appear rather in his discourse than in his apparel or gesture; and in his discourse let him be rather advised in his answers than forward to tell stories: and let it appear that he doth not change his country manners for those of foreign parts; but only prick in some flowers of 70 that he hath learned abroad into the customs of his own country.
Studies serve for delight, for ornament, and for ability. Their chief use for delight is in privateness and retiring; for ornament, is in discourse; and for ability is in the judgment and disposition of business; for expert men can execute, and per
haps judge of particulars, one by one; but the general counsels, 5 and the plots and marshalling of affairs come best from those that are learned. To spend too much time in studies is sloth; to use them too much for ornament is affectation; to make judgment wholly by their rules, is the humour of a scholar: they perfect nature and are perfected by experience: for natural 10 abilities are like natural plants, they need pruning by study; and studies themselves do give forth directions too much at large, except they be bounded in by experience. Crafty men contemn studies, simple men admire them, and wise men use them; for they teach not their own use; but that is a wisdom 15 without them, and above them, won by observation. Read not to contradict and confute, nor to believe and take for granted, nor to find talk and discourse, but to weigh and consider. Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested; that is some books are to be read only 20 in parts; others to be read, but not curiously; and some few to be read wholly and with diligence and attention. Some books also may be read by deputy, and extracts made of them by others; but that would be only the less important arguments and the meaner sort of books; else distilled books are like com- 25 mon distilled waters, flashy things. Reading maketh a full man ; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man; and, therefore if a man write little, he had need have a great memory; if he confer little, he had need have a present wit; and if he read little, he had need have much cunning, to seem to know that he 30 doth not. Histories make wise men; poets, witty; the mathematics, subtile; natural philosophy, deep; moral, grave; logic and rhetoric, able to contend.
PREFACE TO THE NOVUM ORGANON.
They who have presumed to dogmatize on nature, as on some well investigated subject, either from self-conceit or arrogance, and in the professional style, have inflicted the greatest injury on philosophy and learning. For they have tended to stifle and interrupt inquiry exactly in proportion as they have prevailed in 5