Page images
PDF
EPUB

ficiency, it is better to take with the more passable, than with the more able. And besides, to speak truth, in base times active men are of more use than virtuous. It is true that in government it is good to use men of one rank equally: for to countenance some extraordinarily, is to make them insolent, and the rest discontent; because they may claim a due. But contrariwise, in favour, to use men with much difference and election is good; for it maketh the persons preferred more thankful, and the rest more officious: because all is of favour. It is good discretion not to make too much of any man at the first; because one cannot hold out that proportion. To be governed (as we call it) by one, is not safe ; for it shews softness, and gives a freedom to scandal and disreputation ; for those that would not censure or speak ill of a man immediately, will talk more boldly of those that are so great with them, and thereby wound their honour. Yet to be distracted with

many

is worse ; for it makes men to be of the last impression “, and full of change. To take advice of some few friends is ever honourable; for lookers-on many times see more than gamesters; and the vale best discovereth the hill. There is little friendship in the world, and least of all between equals, which was wont to be magnified. That that is, is between superior and inferior, whose fortunes may comprehend the one the other.

XLIX, OF SUITORS.

Many ill matters and projects are undertaken; and private suits do putrefy the public good. Many good matters are undertaken with bad minds ; I mean not only corrupt minds, but crafty minds, that intend not performance. Some embrace 6 suits, which never mean to deal effectually in them; but if they see there

may

be life in the matter by some other mean, they will be content to win a thank, or take a second reward, or at least to make use in the mean time of the suitor's hopes. Some

1

2

3

præstat mediocribus patrocinari quam eminentioribus. quandoquidem ordinis parilas æquas gratiæ conditiones tanquum ex debito poscit.

neque de hoc merito conqueratur quispiam, quum omnia ex gratia non ex debito prodeant.

* postremæ (ut nunc loquuntur) editionis. Whence it would appear that the metaphor is from the printing-press. 5 atque (ut adagio dicitur).

a recipiunt et operam aride pollicentur.

nose.

take hold of suits only for an occasion to cross some other; or to make an information' whereof they could not otherwise have apt pretext; without care what become of the suit when that turn is served; or, generally, to make other men's business a kind of entertainment to bring in their own. Nay some undertake suits, with a full purpose to let them fall; to the end to gratify the adverse party or competitor. Surely there is in some sort a right in every suit; either a right in equity, if it be a suit of controversy ; or a right of desert, if it be a suit of petition. If affection lead a man to favour the wrong side in justice, let him rather use his countenance to compound the matter than to carry it. If affection lead a man to favour the less worthy in desert, let him do it without depraving or disabling the better deserver. In suits which a man doth not well understand, it is good to refer them to some friend of trust and judgment, that may report whether he may deal in them with honour: but let him choose well his referendaries, for else he may be led by the

Suitors are so distasted with delays and abuses, that plain dealing in denying to deal in suits at first, and reporting the success barely, and in challenging no more thanks than one hath deserved, is grown not only honourable but also gracious. In suits of favour, the first coming ought to take little place : so far forth consideration may be had of his trust?, that if intelligence of the matter could not otherwise have been had but by him, advantage be not taken of the note, but the party left to his other means; and in some sort recompensed for his discovery. To be ignorant of the value of a suit is simplicity; as well as to be ignorant of the right thereof is want of conscience. Secrecy in suits is a great mean of obtaining; for voicing them to be in forwardness may discourage some kind of suitors, but doth quicken and awake others. But timing of the suit is the principal. Timing, I say, not only in respect of the person that should grant it, but in respect of those which are like to cross it. Let a man, in the choice of his mean, rather choose the fittest mean than the greatest mean; and rather them that deal in certain things, than those that are general. The reparation of a denial is sometimes equal to the first grant"; if a man

i ut aliquid obiter deferant et informent.

a fides in re illâ patefacienda. 3 hoc ei fraudi non sit, sed potius remuneretur.

atque eum potius adhibe qui paucioribus negotiis se immiscet, quam qui omnia complectitur.

Denegatæ petitionis iteratio concessioni ipsi quandoque æquipollet.

shew himself neither dejected nor discontented. Iniquum petas ut æquum feras, [Ask more than is reasonable, that you may get no less,] is a good rule, where a man hath strength of favour: but otherwise a man were better rise in his suit"; for he that would have ventured at first to have lost the suitor, will not in the conclusion lose both the suitor and his own former favour. Nothing is thought so easy a request to a great person, as his letter; and yet, if it be not in a good cause, it is so much out of his reputation. There are no worse instruments ? than these general contrivers of suits; for they are but a kind of poison and infection to public proceedings.

L. OF STUDIES.

STUDIES serve for delight, for ornament, and for ability.3 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 perhaps judge of particulars, one by one; but the general counsels, and the plots and marshalling of affairs, come best from those that are learned. To spend too much time in studies is sloth 6; to use them too much for ornament, is affectation?; to make judgment wholly by their rules, is the humour of a scholar.8 They perfect nature, and are perfected by experience: for natural abilities are like natural plants, that need proyning 9 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 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

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

3

6

gradibus quibusdam ad id quod petis ascendere, et aliquid saltem impetrare. non invenitur in rebuspublicis perniciosius huminum genus.

aut meditationum voluptati, cut orationis ornamento, aut negotiorum subsidio. 4 in sermone tam familiari quam solemni. 5 ut accuratiore judicio res et suscipiantur et disponantur.

speciosa quadam socordia. ? affectatio mera est quæ se ipsam prodit. 8 de rebus autem er regulis artis judicare, scholam omnino sapit, nec bene succedit.

9 So in the original. Compare Sylva Sylvarum, § 432. : “ the lower boughs only maintained, and the higher continually proined off : " and again $ 823. : “many birds do proine their feathers :" from which I suppose that it is not a misprint, but another form of the word, VOL. VI.

KK

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 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 3 ; but that would be only in the less important arguments, and the meaner sort of books; else distilled books are like common 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 scem to know that he doth not. Histories make men wise; poets witty ; the mathematics subtile; natural philosophy deep; moral grave; logic and rhetoric able to contend.? Abeunt studia in mores. [The studies pass into the manners.] Nay there is no stond or impediment in the wit, but may be wrought out by fit studies : like as diseases of the body may have appropriate exercises. Bowling is good for the stone and reins; shooting for the lungs and breast; gentle walking for the stomach ; riding for the head; and the like. So if a man's wit be wandering, let him study the mathematics; for in demonstrations, if his wit be called away never so little, he must begin again. If his wit be not apt to distinguish or find differences, let him study the schoolmen; for they are cymini sectores, (splitters of hairs.] If he be not apt to beat over matters ®, and to call up one thing to prove and illustrate another, let him study the lawyers' cases. So every defect of the mind may have a special receipt.

LI. OF FACTION.

Many have an opinion not wise, that for a prince to govern his estate, or for a great person to govern his proceedings, according to the respect of factions, is a principal part of policy;

2

[ocr errors]

sed ut addiscas, ponderes, et judicio tuo aliquatenus utaris.
quos deglutire cursimque legere oportet.
eorumque compendia tantum desumere,

penitus ininsipidi. 5 scriptio autem, et notarum collectio, perlecta in animo imprimit et altius figit. 6 gravitatem quandam morum conciliat.

pugnacem reddit, et ad contentiones alacrem. 8 si quis ad transcursus ingenii segnis sit.

7

whereas contrariwise, the chiefest wisdom is either in ordering those things which are general, and wherein men of several factions do nevertheless agree; or in dealing with correspondence to particular persons, one by one. But I say not that the consideration of factions is to be neglected. Mean men, in their rising, must adhere; but great men, that have strength in themselves ?, were better to maintain themselves indifferent and neutral. Yet even in beginners, to adhere so moderately, as he be a man of the one faction which is most passable with the other, commonly giveth best way. The lower and weaker faction is the firmer in conjunction ; and it is often seen that a few that are stiff do tire out a greater number that are more moderate. When one of the factions is extinguished, the remaining subdivideth ; as the faction between Lucullus and the rest of the nobles of the senate (which they called Optimates) held out awhile against the faction of Pompey and Cæsar ; but when the senate's authority was pulled down, Cæsar and Pompey soon after brake. The faction or party of Antonius and Octavianus Cæsar against Brutus and Cassius, held out likewise for a time; but when Brutus and Cassius were overthrown, then soon after Antonius and Octavianus brake and subdivided. These examples are of wars, but the same holdeth in private factions. And therefore those that are seconds in factions do many times, when the faction subdivideth, prove principals; but many times also they prove cyphers and cashiered; for many a man's strength is in opposition; and when that faileth he groweth out of use. It is commonly seen that men once placed take in with the contrary faction to that by which they enter: thinking belike that they have the first sure, and now are ready for a new purchase. The traitor in faction lightly goeth away with it'; for when matters have stuck long in balancing, the winning of some one man casteth them, and he getteth all the thanks. The even carriage between two factions proceedeth not always of moderation, but of a trueness to a man's self, with end to make use of both. Certainly in Italy they

[ocr errors]

' in palpandis, conciliandis, et tractandis singulis. jam pridem honorem adeptis.

3 ita caute adhærere, ut videatur quis alteri ex partibus addictus, et tamen parti adversæ minime odiosus, viam quandam sternit ad honores per medium factionum.

+ ad novos amicos conciliandos se comparare. s plerumque rem obtinet.

tanquam in æquilibrio. ''sed ex consilio callido, quandoquidem proximus sibi quisque sit, atque er utrâque fuctione utilitatem demetere speret.

к к 2

6

« PreviousContinue »