Page images
PDF
EPUB

curb them, is to balance them by others as proud | scene itself before their coming down; for it draws as they. But then there must be some middle coun the eye strangely, and makes it with great pleasure sellors to keep things steady; for without that bal. to desire to see that it cannot perfectly discern. Let last the ship will roll too much. At the least a the songs be loud and cheerful, and not chirpings or prince may animate and inure some meaner persons, pulings. Let the music likewise be sharp and to be as it were scourges to ambitious men. As for loud, and well placed. The colours that show best the having of them obnoxious to ruin, if they be of by candle-light, are white, carnation, and a kind of fearful natures, it may do well : but if they be stout sea-water green; and ouches, or spangs, as they are and daring, it may precipitate their designs, and of no great cost, so they are of most glory. As for prove dangerous. As for the pulling of them down, rich embroidery, it is lost, and not discerned. Let if the affairs require it, and that it may not be done the suits of the maskers be graceful, and such as with safety suddenly, the only way is, the inter- become the person when the vizards are off; not change continually of favours and disgraces, where after examples of known attires; Turks, soldiers, by they may not know what to expect, and be as it mariners, and the like. Let antimasks not be long; were in a wood. Of ambitions, it is less harmful they have been commonly of fools, satyrs, baboons, the ambition to prevail in great things, than that wild men, antics, beasts, spirits, witches, Ethiopes, other to appear in every thing; for that breeds con- pigmies, turquets, nymphs, rustics, Cupids, statues fusion, and mars business; but yet it is less danger moving, and the like. As for angels, it is not comito have an ambitious man stirring in business, than cal enough to put them in antimasks; and any great in dependences. He that seeketh to be emi-thing that is hideous, as devils, giants, is on the nent amongst able men, hath a great task; but that other side as unfit: but chiefly, let the music of them is ever good for the public. But he that plots to be recreative, and with some strange changes. be the only figure amongst ciphers, is the decay of Some sweet odours suddenly coming forth without a whole age. Honour hath three things in it: the any drops falling, are in such a company, as there vantage ground to do good ; the approach to kings is steam and heat, things of great pleasure and and principal persons; and the raising of a man's refreshment. Double masques, one of men, another own fortunes. He that hath the best of these in- of ladies, addeth state and variety. But all is tentions, when he aspireth, is an honest man; and nothing except the room be kept clear and neat. that prince that can discern of these intentions in For justs, and tourneys, and barriers, the glories another that aspireth, is a wise prince. Generally of them are chiefly in the chariots, wherein the let princes and states choose such ministers as are challengers make their entry; especially if they be inore sensible of duty than of rising; and such as drawn with strange beasts; as lions, bears, camels, love business rather upon conscience, than upon and the like: or in the devices of their entrance, or bravery: and let them discern a busy nature from a in the bravery of their liveries, or in the goodly willing mind.

furniture of their horses and armour. But enough

of these toys. XXXVII. OF MASQUES AND TRIUMPHS.

XXXVIII. OF NATURE IN MEN, These things are but toys to come amongst such serious observations. But yet, since princes will Nature is often hidden, sometimes overcome, selhave such things, it is better they should be graced dom extinguished. Force maketh nature more viowith elegancy, than daubed with cost. Dancing to lent in the return ; doctrine and discourse maketh song, is a thing of great state and pleasure. I nature less importune ; but custom only doth alter understand it, that the song be in quire, placed aloft, and subdue nature. He that seeketh victory over and accompanied with some broken music; and the his nature, let him not set himself too great nor too ditty fitted to the device. Acting in song, especially small tasks; for the first will make him dejected by in dialogues, hath an extreme good grace; I say often failing, and the second will make him a small acting, not dancing, (for that is a mean and vulgar proceeder, though by often prevailing. And at the thing,) and the voices of the dialogue should be first, let him practise with helps, as swimmers do strong and manly, a base, and a tenor ; no treble, with bladders or rushes : but after a time, let him and the ditty high and tragical, not nice or dainty. practise with disadvantages, as dancers do with Several quires placed one over-against another, and thick shoes. For it breeds great perfection, if the taking the voice by catches, anthem-wise, give great practice be harder than the use. Where nature is pleasure. Turning dances into figure, is a childish mighty, and therefore the victory hard, the degrees curiosity. And generally let it be noted, that those had need be, first to stay and arrest nature in time; things which I here set down, are such as do natu- like to him that would say over the four and twenty rally take the sense, and not respect petty wonder- letters when he was angry: then to go less in quanments. It is true, the alterations of scenes, so it be tity; as if one should, in forbearing wine, come quietly and without noise, are things of great beauty from drinking healths, to a draught at a meal; and and pleasure; for they feed and relieve the eye lastly, to discontinue altogether. But if a man have before it be full of the same object. Let the scenes the fortitude and resolution to enfranchise himself abound with light, specially coloured and varied : at once, that is the best : and let the maskers, or any other that are to come

" Optimus ille animi vindex, lædentia pectus down from the scene, have some motions upon the

Vincula qui rupit, dedoluitque semel.”'

Neither is the ancient rule amiss, to bend nature as their wise men, lay themselves quietly upon a stack a wand to a contrary extreme, whereby to set it of wood, and so sacrifice themselves by fire. Nay, right; understanding it where the contrary extreme the wives strive to be burned with the corpse of their is no vice. Let not a man force a habit upon him- husbands. The lads of Sparta, of ancient time, were self with a perpetual continuance, but with some wont to be scourged upon the altar of Diana, withintermission. For both the pause reinforceth the out so much queching. I remember in the benew orset; and if a man that is not perfect be ever ginning of queen Elizabeth's time of England, an in practice, he shall as well practise his errors as Irish rebel condemned put up a petition to the dehis abilities, and induce one habit of both; and puty that he might be hanged in a with, and not in there is no means to help this but by seasonable a halter, because it had been so used with former intermissions. But let not a man trust his victory rebels. There be monks in Russia, for penance, over his nature too far; for nature will lie buried a that will sit a whole night in a vessel of water, till great time, and yet revive upon the occasion or they be engaged with hard ice. Many examples temptation. Like as it was with Æsop's damsel, may be put of the force of custom, both upon mind turned from a cat to a woman, who sat very de- and body. Therefore since custom is the principal murely at the board's end, till a mouse ran before magistrate of man's life, let men by all means enher. Therefore let a man either avoid the occasion deavour to obtain good customs. Certainly custom altogether, or put himself often to it, that he may is most perfect, when it beginneth in young years : be little moved with it. A man's nature is best per- this we call education, which is, in effect, but an ceived in privateness, for there is no affectation; in early custom. So we see in languages, the tongue passion, for that putteth a man out of his precepts; is more pliant to all expressions and sounds, the and in a new case or experiment, for there custom joints are more supple to all feats of activity and leaveth them. They are happy men, whose natures motions, in youth than afterwards. For it is true, sort with their vocations; otherwise they may say, that late learners cannot so well take the ply, except “ Multum incola fuit anima mea :" when they con- it be in some minds that have not suffered themverse in those things they do not affect. In studies, selves to fix, but have kept themselves open and whatsoever a man commandeth upon himself, let prepared to receive continual amendment, which is him set hours for it; but whatsoever is agreeable to exceeding rare. But if the force of custom simple his nature, let him take no care for any set times ; | and separate be great ; the force of custom copulate for his thoughts will fly to it of themselves; so as and conjoined and collegiate, is far greater. For the spaces of other business or studies will suffice. there example teacheth, company comforteth, emuA man's nature runs either to herbs, or weeds : lation quickeneth, glory raiseth : so as in such Therefore let him seasonably water the one, and places the force of custom is in its exaltation. Cerdestroy the other.

tainly the great multiplication of virtues upon hu

man nature resteth upon societies well ordained and XXXIX. OF CUSTOM AND EDUCATION.

disciplined. For commonwealths and good govern

ments do nourish virtues grown, but do not much Men's thoughts are much according to their in- mend the seeds. But the misery is, that the most clination ; their discourse and speeches according to effectual means are now applied to the ends least to their learning and infused opinions; but their deeds be desired. are after as they have been accustomed. And therefore, as Machiavel well noteth, though in an

XL. OF FORTUNE. evil-favoured instance, there is no trusting to the force of nature, nor the bravery of words, except it It cannot be denied but outward accidents conduce be corroborate by custom. His instance is, that for much to fortune: favour, opportunity, death of others, the achieving of a desperate conspiracy a man occasion fitting virtue. But chiefly, the mould of a should not rest upon the fierceness of any man's na man's fortune is in his own hands. “ Faber quisture, or his resolute undertakings; but take such a que fortunæ suæ ;" saith the poet. And the most one as hath had his hands formerly in blood. But frequent of external causes is, that the folly of one

Machiavel knew not of a friar Clement, nor a Ra man is the fortune of another. For no man prosvillac, nor a Jaureguy, nor a Baltazar Gerard: yet pers so suddenly as by others' errors. Serpens this rule holdeth still, that nature, nor the engage- nisi serpentem comederit non fit draco.” Overt and ment of words, are not so forcible as custom. Only apparent virtues bring forth praise; but there be superstition is now so well advanced, that men of secret and hidden virtues that bring forth fortune ; the first blood are as firm as butchers by occupation : certain deliveries of a man's self, which have no and votary resolution is made equipollent to custom,

The Spanish name, desemboltura, partly even in matter of blood. In other things the pre-expresseth them: when there be not stonds, nor dominancy of custom is every where visible ; inso- restiveness in a man's nature; but that the wheels much as a man would wonder to hear men profess, of his mind keep way with the wheels of his fortune. protest, engage, give great words, and then do just For so Livy, after he had described Cato Major in as they have done before: as if they were dead these words; “in illo viro, tantum robur corporis et images, and engines moved only by the wheels of animi fuit, ut quocunque loco natus esset, fortunam custom. We see also the reign or tyranny of cus sibi facturus videretur ;" falleth upon that, that he tom what it is. The Indians, I mean the sect of had versatile ingenium. Therefore if a man look

name.

[ocr errors]

sharply and attentively, he shall see Fortune ; for | permitted. Some others have made suspicious and
though she be blind, yet she is not invisible. The cunning propositions of banks, discovery of men's
way of fortune is like the milky way in the sky; estates, and other inventions. But few have spoken
which is a meeting or knot of a number of small of usury usefully. It is good to set before us the
stars, not seen asunder, but giving light together. incommodities and commodities of usury; that the
So are there a number of little and scarce discerned good may be either weighed out, or culled out; and
virtues, or rather faculties and customs, that make warily to provide, that while we make forth to that
men fortunate. The Italians note some of them, which is better, we meet not with that which is worse.
such as a man would little think. When they speak The discommodities of usury are: first, that it
of one that cannot do amiss, they will throw into makes fewer merchants. For were it not for this
his other conditions, that he hath “ Poco di matto." lazy trade of usury, money would not lie still, but
And certainly there be not two more fortunate pro- would in great part be employed upon merchandiz-
perties, than to have a little of the fool, and not too ing; which is the vena porta of wealth in a state.
much of the honest. Therefore extreme lovers of The second, that it makes poor merchants. For as
their country, or masters, were never fortunate, neither a farmer cannot husband his ground so well, if he sit
can they be. For when a man placeth his thoughts at a great rent; so the merchant cannot drive his trade
without himself, he goeth not his own way. A so well, if he sit at great usury. The third is incident to
hasty fortune maketh an enterpriser and remover; the other two; and that is, the decay of customs of
the French hath it better, entreprenant, or remuant; kings or states, which ebb or flow with merchandiz-
but the exercised fortune maketh the able man. ing. The fourth, that it bringeth the treasure of a
Fortune is to be honoured and respected, and it be realm or state into a few hands. For the usurer being at
but for her daughters, Confidence and Reputation. certainties, and others at uncertainties, at the end of
For those two felicity breedeth: the first within a the game most of the money will be in the box; and
man's self; the latter in others towards him. All ever a state flourisheth, when wealth is more equally
wise men, to decline the envy of their own virtues, spread. The fifth, that it beats down the price of
use to ascribe them to Providence and Fortune; for land: for the employment of money is chiefly either
so they may the better assume them: and besides, merchandizing or purchasing; and usury way-lay
it is greatness in a man to be the care of the higher both. The sixth, that it doth dull and damp all in-
powers. So Cæsar said to the pilot in the tempest, dustries, improvements, and new inventions, wherein
Cæsarem portas, et fortunam ejus.” So Sylla money would be stirring, if it were not for this slug.
chose the name of felix, and not of magnus: and it The last, that it is the canker and ruin of many
hath been noted, that those that ascribe openly too men's estates, which in process of time breeds a
much to their own wisdom and policy, end unfor- public poverty.
tunate. It is written, that Timotheus the Athenian, On the other side, the commodities of usury are:
after he had, in the account he gave to the state of first, that howsoever usury in some respect hinder-
his government, often interlaced this speech, “ And eth merchandizing, yet in some other it advanceth
in this Fortune had no part,” never prospered in any it: for it is certain that the greatest part of trade is
thing he undertook afterwards. Certainly there be, driven by young merchants, upon borrowing at in-
whose fortunes are like Homer's verses, that have a terest; so as if the usurer either call in or keep
slide and easiness more than the verses of other back his money, there will ensue presently a great
poets : as Plutarch saith of Timoleon's fortune, in stand of trade. The second is, that were it not for
respect of that of Agesilaus or Epaminondas. And this easy borrowing upon interest, men's necessities
that this should be, no doubt it is much in a man's self. would draw upon them a most sudden undoing ; in

that they would be forced to sell their means, be it
XLI. OF USURY.

lands or goods, far under foot; and so whereas usury

doth but gnaw upon them, bad markets would swalMany have made witty invectives against usury.

low them quite up.

As for mortgaging or pawnThey say, That it is pity the devil should have ing, it will little mend the matter; for either men God's part, which is the tithe. That the usurer is will not take pawns without use; or if they do, they the greatest sabbath-breaker, because his plough will look precisely for the forfeiture. I remember a goeth every Sunday. That the usurer is the drone cruel moneyed man in the country, that would say ; that Virgil speaketh of:

“ The devil take this usury, it keeps us from for“Ignavum fucos pecus a præsepibus arcent.”

feitures of mortgages and bonds.” The third and

last is, that it is a vanity to conceive, that there That the usurer breaketh the first law that was made would be ordinary borrowing without profit; and it for mankind after the fall; which was, “ In sudore is impossible to conceive the number of inconve. vultûs tui comedes panem tuum ;" not “ In sudore niences that will ensue, if borrowing be cramped. vultûs alieni.” That usurers should have orange- | Therefore to speak of the abolishing of usury is idle. tawny bonnets, because they do judaize. That it All states have ever had it in one kind or rate, or is against nature, for money to beget money : and other. So as that opinion must be sent to Utopia. the like. I say this only, that usury

is a

To speak now of the reformation and reglement sum propter duritiem cordis :" for since there must of usury, how the discommodities of it may be best be borrowing and lending, and men are so hard of avoided, and the commodities retained. It appears heart as they will not lend freely, usury must be by the balance of commodities and discommodities

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

conces

of usury, two things are to be reconciled. The one, Generally youth is like the first cogitations, not so that the tooth of usury be grinded that it bite not too wise as the second. For there is a youth in thoughts, much : the other, that there be left open a means to

as well as in ages. And yet the invention of young invite monied men to lend to the merchants, for the men is more lively than that of the old; and imagicontinuing and quickening of trade. This cannot nations stream into their minds better, and as it were be done, except you introduce two several sorts of more divinely. Natures that have much heat, and usury, a less and a greater. For if you reduce usury great and violent desires and perturbations, are not to one low rate, it will ease the common borrower, ripe for action, till they have passed the meridian of but the merchant will be to seek for money. And it their years : as it was with Julius Cæsar, and Sepis to be noted, that the trade of merchandise being timius Severus. Of the latter of whom it is said, the most lucrative, may bear usury at a good rate; “Juventutem egit erroribus, imo furoribus, plenam." other contracts not so.

And yet he was the ablest emperor almost of all the To serve both intentions, the way would be briefly list. But reposed natures may do well in youth: as thus. That there be two rates of usury; the one it is seen in Augustus Cæsar, Cosmus duke of Flofree and general for all; the other under licence rence, Gaston de Foix, and others. On the other only to certain persons, and in certain places of side, heat and vivacity in age is an excellent commerchandizing. First, therefore, let usury in gene- position for business. Young men are fitter to inral be reduced to five in the hundred ; and let that vent than to judge ; fitter for execution than for rate be proclaimed to be free and current; and let counsel; and fitter for new projects than for settled the state shut itself out to take any penalty for the business. For the experience of age, in things that same. This will preserve borrowing from any general fall within the compass of it, directeth them ; but stop or dryness. This will ease infinite borrowers in new things abuseth them. The errors of young in the country. This will in good part raise the men are the ruin of business; but the errors of aged price of land, because land purchased at sixteen men amount but to this, that more might have been years' purchase, will yield six in the hundred and done, or sooner. Young men, in the conduct and somewhat more, whereas this rate of interest yields manage of actions, embrace more than they can but five. This by like reason will encourage and hold; stir more than they can quiet; fly to the end, edge industrious and profitable improvements; be without consideration of the means and degrees ; cause many will rather venture in that kind, than pursue some few principles, which they have chanced take five in the hundred, especially having been used upon, absurdly; care not to innovate, which draws to greater profit. Secondly, let there be certain per- unknown inconveniences; use extreme remedies at sons licensed to lend to known merchants, upon first; and, that which doubleth all errors, will not usury at a higher rate : and let it be with the cau- acknowledge or retract them ; like an unready horse, tions following. Let the rate be, even with the that will neither stop nor turn. Men of age object merchant himself, somewhat more easy than that he too much, consult too long, adventure too little, reused formerly to pay : for by that means all bor-pent too soon, and seldom drive business home to rowers shall have some ease by this reformation, be the full period; but content themselves with a mehe merchant or whosoever. Let it be no bank, or diocrity of success. Certainly it is good to comcommon stock, but every man be master of his pound employments of both; for that will be good own money

Not that I altogether mislike banks, for the present, because the virtues of either age may but they will hardly be brooked in regard of certain correct the defects of both : and good for succession, suspicions. Let the state be answered some small that young men may be learners, while men in age matter for the licence, and the rest left to the lender; are actors : and lastly, good for extern accidents, for if the abatement be but small, it will no whit because authority followeth old men, and favour and discourage the lender. For he, for example, that popularity youth. But for the moral part, perhaps took before ten or nine in the hundred, will sooner youth will have the pre-eminence, as age hath for descend to eight in the hundred, than give over his the politic. A certain rabbin upon the text, “Your trade of usury; and go from certain gains, to gains young men shall see visions, and your old men of hazard. Let these licensed lenders be in number shall dream dreams;" inferreth, that young men are indefinite, but restrained to certain principal cities admitted nearer to God than old; because vision is and towns of merchandizing : for then they will be a clearer revelation than a dream. And certainly hardly able to colour other men's monies in the the more a man drinketh of the world, the more it country ; so as the licence of nine will not suck intoxicateth ; and age doth profit rather in the away the current rate of five : for no man will lend powers of understanding, than in the virtues of the his monies far off, nor put them into unknown hands. will and affections. There be some have an over

If it be objected, that this doth in a sort autho- early ripeness in their years, which fadeth betimes: rize usury, which before was in some places but these are first, such as have brittle wits, the edge permissive; the answer is, that it is better to miti- whereof is soon turned; such as was Hermogenes gate usury by declaration, than to suffer it to rage the rhetorician, whose books are exceeding subtile; by connivance.

who afterwards waxed stupid. A second sort is of XLII. OF YOUTH AND AGE.

those that have some natural dispositions, which

have better grace in youth than in age: such as is A man that is young in years, may be old in hours, a fluent and luxuriant speech ; which becomes youth if he have lost no time. But that happeneth rarely. well, but not age. So Tully saith of Hortensius,

“ Idem manebat, neque idem decebat.” The third | his body, the stars of natural inclination are someis, of such as take too high a strain at the first; times obscured by the sun of discipline and virtue: and are magnanimous, more than tract of years can therefore it is good to consider of deformity, not as a uphold. As was Scipio Africanus, of whom Livy sign which is more deceivable, but as a cause which saith in effect, “ Ultima primis cedebant."

seldom faileth of the effect. Whosoever hath any

thing fixed in his person that doth induce contempt, XLIII. OF BEAUTY.

hath also a perpetual spur in himself, to rescue and

deliver himself from scorn; therefore all deformed Virtue is like a rich stone, best plain set: and persons are extreme bold. First, as in their own surely virtue is best in a body that is comely, though defence, as being exposed to scorn ; but in process not of delicate features; and that hath rather dignity of time, by a general habit. Also it stirreth in them of presence, than beauty of aspect. Neither is it industry, and especially of this kind, to watch and almost seen, that very beautiful persons are other observe the weakness of others, that they may have wise of great virtue. As if nature were rather busy somewhat to repay. Again, in their superiors it not to err, than in labour to produce excellency. quencheth jealousy towards them, as persons that And therefore they prove accomplished, but not of they think they may at pleasure despise: and it laygreat spirit ; and study rather behaviour than vir-eth their competitors and emulators asleep; as tue. But this holds not always; for Augustus never believing they should be in possibility of Cæsar, Titus Vespasianus, Philip le Bel of France, advancement, till they see them in possession. So Edward the fourth of England, Alcibiades of Athens, that, upon the matter, in a great wit deformity is an Ismael the sophi of Persia, were all high and great advantage to rising. Kings in ancient times, and spirits; and yet the most beautiful men of their at this present, in some countries, were wont to put times. In beauty, that of favour is more than that great trust in eunuchs, because they that are envious of colour ; and that of decent and gracious motion towards all, are more obnoxious and officious towards more than that of favour. That is the best part of one. But yet their trust towards them hath rather beauty, which a picture cannot express ; no nor the been as to good spials and good whisperers, than first sight of the life. There is no excellent beauty, good magistrates and officers. And much like is that hath not some strangeness in the proportion. the reason of deformed persons. Still the ground A man cannot tell, whether Apelles or Albert Durer is, they will, if they be of spirit, seek to free themwere the more trifler; whereof the one would make selves from scorn; which must be either by virtue a personage by geometrical proportions; the other, or malice. And therefore let it not be marvelled, by taking the best parts out of divers faces, to make if sometimes they prove excellent persons; as was one excellent.

Such personages, I think, would | Agesilaus, Zanger the son of Solyman, Æsop, Gasca please nobody but the painter that made them. Not president of Peru; and Socrates may go likewise but I think a painter may make a better face than amongst them, with others. ever was ; but he must do it by a kind of felicity, as a musician that maketh an excellent air in music,

XLV. OF BUILDING. and not by rule. A man shall see faces, that if you examine them part by part, you shall never find a Houses are built to live in, and not to look on; good; and yet altogether do well. If it be true, therefore let use be preferred before uniformity, that the principal part of beauty is in decent motion, except where both may be had. Leave the goodly certainly, it is no marvel, though persons in years fabrics of houses for beauty only, to the enchanted seem many times more amiable ; pulchrorum au- palaces of the poets, who build them with small tumnus pulcher:" for no youth can be comely but cost. He that builds a fair house upon an ill seat, by pardon, and considering the youth, as to make committeth himself to prison. Neither do I reckon up the comeliness. Beauty is as summer fruits, it an ill seat only, where the air is unwholesome, which are easy to corrupt, and cannot last, and for but likewise where the air is unequal; as you shall the most part it makes a dissolute youth, and an see many fine seats, set upon a knap of ground age a little out of countenance: but yet certainly environed with higher hills round about it, whereby again, if it light well, it maketh virtues shine, and the heat of the sun is pent in, and the wind gathervices blush.

eth as in troughs ; so as you shall have, and that

suddenly, as great diversity of heat and cold, as if XLIV. OF DEFORMITY.

you dwelt in several places. Neither is it ill air

only that maketh an ill seat; but ill ways, ill marDeformed persons are commonly even with kets; and, if you will consult with Momus, ill neighnature; for as nature hath done ill by them, so do bours. I speak not of many more ; want of water, they by nature; being for the most part, as the want of wood, shade, and shelter ; want of fruitfulScripture saith, “void of natural affection :” and so ness, and mixture of grounds of several natures; they have their revenge of nature. Certainly there want of prospect; want of level grounds ; want of is a consent between the body and the mind, and places at soine near distance for sports of hunting, where nature erreth in the one, she ventureth in the hawking, and races; too near the sea, too remote ; other. " Ubi peccat in uno, periclitatur in altero." having the commodity of navigable rivers, or the disBut because there is in man an election touching the commodity of their overflowing ; too far off from frame of his mind, and a necessity in the frame of great cities, which may hinder business; or too near

1

« PreviousContinue »