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days, was the light of the sense; the last ESSAY V.-OF ADVERSITY was the light of reason; and his sabbath work, ever since, is the illumination of [60 It was an high speech of Seneca (after his Spirit. First he breathed light upon the manner of the Stoics): That the good the face of the matter or chaos; then he things which belong to prosperity are to be breathed light into the face of man; and wished; but the good things that belong to still he breatheth and inspireth light into adversity are to be admired. Bona rerum the face of his chosen. The poet that secundarum optabilia, adversarum mirabeautified the sect that was otherwise bilia. Certainly if miracles be the cominferior to the rest, saith yet excellently mand over nature, they appear most in well: It is a pleasure to stand upon the adversity. It is yet a higher speech of
( pleasure to stand in the window of a 170 a heathen): It is true greatness to have in castle, and to see a battle and the adventures one the frailty of a man, and the security thereof below: but no pleasure is comparable of a God. Vere magnum, habere fragilitato the standing upon the vantage ground tem hominis, securitatem Dei. This would of Truth (a hill not to be commanded, and have done better in poesy, where tranwhere the air is always clear and serene), scendences are more allowed. And the and to see the errors, and wanderings, and poets indeed have been busy with it; for mists, and tempests, in the vale below: so it is in effect the thing which is figured in always that this prospect be with pity, that strange fiction of the ancient poets, and not with swelling or pride. Certainly, which seemeth not to be without mys- (20 it is heaven upon earth, to have a man's (80 tery; nay, and to have some approach to mind move in charity, rest in providence, the state of a Christian: that Hercules, and turn upon the poles of truth.
when he went to unbind Prometheus (by To pass from theological and philosoph- whom human nature is represented), ical truth, to the truth of civil business: sailed the length of the great ocean in an it will be acknowledged, even by those earthen pot or pitcher: lively describing that practise it not, that clear and round Christian resolution, that saileth in the dealing is the honor of man's nature; and frail bark of the flesh through the waves that mixture of falsehood is like alloy in of the world. But to speak in a mean. coin of gold and silver; which may make The virtue of prosperity is temperance; (30 the metal work the better, but it em- (90 the virtue of adversity is fortitude, which baseth it. For these winding and crooked in morals is the more heroical virtue. courses are the goings of the serpent; Prosperity is the blessing of the Old Teswhich goeth basely upon the belly, and tament; adversity is the blessing of the not upon the feet. There is no vice that New, which carrieth the greater benedicdoth so cover a man with shame as to be tion, and the clearer revelation of God's found false and perfidious. And therefore favor. Yet even in the Old Testament, Montaigne saith prettily, when he in- if you listen to David's harp, you shall quired the reason, why the word of the hear as many hearse-like airs as carols; lie should be such a disgrace and such and the pencil of the Holy Ghost hath (40 an odious charge? Saith he, If it be (100 labored more in describing the afflictions well weighed, to say that a man lieth, is as of Job than the felicities of Salomon. much to say as that he is brave towards God Prosperity is not without many fears and and a coward towards men. For a lie faces distastes; and adversity is not without God, and shrinks from man. Surely the comforts and hopes. We see in needlewickedness of falsehood and breach of works and embroideries, it is more pleasfaith cannot possibly be so highly ex- ing to have a lively work upon a sad and pressed, as in that it shall be the last peal solemn ground, than to have a dark and to call the judgments of God upon the melancholy work upon a lightsome ground: generations of men; it being foretold, judge therefore of the pleasure of the 150 that when Christ cometh, he shall not (110 heart by the pleasure of the eye. Cerfind faith upon the earth.
tainly virtue is like precious odors, most fragrant when they are incensed or crushed: maketh the vulgar soldier more base. for prosperity doth best discover vice; but Certainly wife and children are a kind of adversity doth best discover virtue. discipline of humanity; and single men,
though they be many times more 150
charitable, because their means are less Essay VII. OF MARRIAGE AND exhaust, yet, on the other side, they are SINGLE LIFE
more cruel and hard-hearted (good to
make severe inquisitors), because their He that hath wife and children hath tenderness is not so oft called upon. Grave given hostages to fortune; for they are natures, led by custom, and therefore impediments to great enterprises, either constant, are commonly loving husbands; of virtue or mischief. Certainly the best as was said of Ulysses, Vetulam suam works, and of greatest merit for the pub-prætulit immortalitati. Chaste women lic, have proceeded from the unmarried are often proud and froward, as pre- [60 or childless men, which both in affection suming upon the merit of their chastity. and means have married and endowed It is one of the best bonds both of chastity the public. Yet it were great reason that and obedience in the wife, if she think those that have children should have (10 her husband wise; which she will never greatest care of future times; unto which do if she find him jealous. Wives are they know they must transmit their dear- young men's mistresses; companions for est pledges. Some there are, who though middle age; and old men's nurses. So they lead a single life, yet their thoughts as a man may have a quarrel to marry do end with themselves, and account when he will. But yet he was reputed one future times impertinences. Nay, there of the wise men, that made answer to [70 are some other that account wife and the question, when a man should marry?children but as bills of charges. Nay A young man not yet, an elder man not at more, there are some foolish rich covetous all. It is often seen that bad husbands men that take a pride in having no 120 have very good wives; whether it be that children, because they may be thought so it raiseth the price of their husband's much the richer. For perhaps they have kindness when it comes; or that the heard some talk, Such an one is a great wives take a pride in their patience. But rick man, and another except to it, yea, this never fails, if the bad husbands were but he hath a great charge of children; as of their own choosing, against their if it were an abatement to his riches. But friends' consent; for then they will be (80 the most ordinary cause of a single life sure to make good their own folly. is liberty; especially in certain self-pleasing and humorous minds, which are so sensible of every restraint, as they will go [30 ESSAY XI.OF GREAT PLACE near to think their girdles and garters to be bonds and shackles. Unmarried men Men in great places are thrice servants: are best friends, best masters, best serv- servants of the sovereign or state; servants; but not always best subjects; for ants of fame; and servants of business. they are light to run away; and almost all So as they have no freedom, neither in fugitives are of that condition. A single their persons, nor in their actions, nor in life doth well with churchmen, for charity their times. It is a strange desire, to seek will hardly water the ground where it power and to lose liberty; or to seek power must first fill a pool.
It is indifferent for over others and to lose power over a man's judges and magistrates, for if they be (40 self. The rising unto place is laborious, facile and corrupt, you shall have a serv- and by pains men come to greater (10 ant five times worse than a wife. For pains; and it is sometimes base, and by soldiers, I find the generals commonly in indignities men come to dignities. The their hortatives put men in mind of their standing is slippery; and the regress is wives and children; and I think the de- either a downfall, or at least an eclipse, spising of marriage amongst the Turks which is a melancholy thing. Cum non sis qui fueris, non esse cur velis vivere. Nay, therefore, without bravery or scandal of (70 retire men cannot when they would; former times and persons; but yet set it neither will they when it were reason; down to thyself as well to create good but are impatient of privateness, even in precedents as to follow them. Reduce age and sickness, which require the (20 things to the first institution, and observe shadow: like old townsmen, that will be wherein and how they have degenerate; still sitting at their street door, though but yet ask counsel of both times; of the thereby they offer age to scorn. Cer- ancient time, what is best; and of the tainly, great persons had need to borrow
latter time, what is fittest. Seek to make other men's opinions, to think themselves thy course regular, that men may know happy; for if they judge by their own beforehand what they may expect; but [80 feeling, they cannot find it: but if they be not too positive and peremptory; and think with themselves what other men express thyself well when thou digressest think of them, and that other men would from thy rule. Preserve the right of thy fain be as they are, then they are (30 place, but stir not questions of jurisdichappy as it were by report, when perhaps tion: and rather assume thy right in they find the contrary within. For they silence and de facto, than voice it with are the first that find their own griefs, claims and challenges. Preserve likethough they be the last that find their wise the rights of inferior places; and own faults. Certainly, men in great for- think it more honor to direct in chief than tunes are strangers to themselves, and to be busy in all. Embrace and invite (90 while they are in the puzzle of business helps and advices touching the execution they have no time to tend their health, of thy place; and do not drive away either of body or mind. Illi mors gravis such as bring thee information as meddlers, incubat, qui notus nimis omnibus, ignotus (40 but accept of them in good part. The moritur sibi. In place there is licence to vices of authority are chiefly four: delays, do good and evil; whereof the latter is a corruption, roughness, and facility. For curse: for in evil the best condition is not delays: give easy access; keep times apto will, the second not to can. But power pointed; go through with that which is to do good is the true and lawful end of in hand; and interlace not business but of aspiring. For good thoughts (though necessity. For corruption: do not only (100 God accept them) yet towards men are bind thine own hands or thy servants' little better than good dreams, except hands from taking, but bind the hands of they be put in act; and that cannot be with suitors also from offering. For integrity out power and place, as the vantage (50 used doth the one; but integrity professed, and commanding ground. Merit and and with a manifest detestation of bribery, good works is the end of man's motion; doth the other. And avoid not only the and conscience of the same is the accom- fault, but the suspicion. Whosoever is plishment of man's rest. For if a man found variable, and changeth manifestly can be partaker of God's theatre, he shall without manifest cause, giveth suspicion likewise be partaker of God's rest. Et of corruption. Therefore always when (110 conversus Deus, ut aspiceret opera que thou changest thine opinion or course, fecerunt manus suæ, vidit quod omnia essent profess it plainly and declare it, together bona nimis; and then the Sabbath. In the with the reasons that move thee to change; discharge of thy place, set before thee (60 and do not think to steal it. A servant the best examples; for imitation is a globe or a favorite, if he be inward, and no of precepts. And after a time set before other apparent cause of esteem, is comthee thine own example; and examine monly thought but a by-way to close thyself strictly, whether thou didst not corruption. For roughness, it is a needbest at first. Neglect not also the ex- less cause of discontent: severity breedeth amples of those that have carried them- fear, but roughness breedeth hate. (120 selves ill in the same place; not to set Even reproofs from authority ought to be off thyself by taxing their memory, but grave, and not taunting. As for facility, to direct thyself what to avoid. Reform, I 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 Salomon 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 it showeth some to [130 the better, and some to the worse. Omnium consensu capax imperii, nisi imperasset, saith Tacitus of Galba; but of Vespasian he saith, Solus imperantium Vespasianus mutatus in melius: 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 honor amends. For honor is, or should be, the place of virtue; and [140 as in nature things move violently to their place, 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 not, it is a debt will sure [150 be paid when thou art gone. If thou have colleagues, respect them, and rather call them when they look not for it, than exclude them when they have reason to look to be called. Be not too sensible or too remembering of thy place in conversation and private answers to suitors; but let it rather be said, When he sits in place he is another man.
tolerable in a sovereign prince; because themselves are not only themselves, but their good and evil is at the peril of the public fortune. But it is a desperate evil in a servant to a prince, or a citizen in a republic. For whatsoever affairs pass [20 such a man's hands, he crooketh them to his own ends; which must needs be often eccentric to the ends of his master or state. Therefore let princes, or states, choose such servants as have not this mark; except they mean their service should be made but the accessory. That which maketh the effect more pernicious is that all proportion is lost. It were disproportion enough for the servant's good [30 to be preferred before the master's; but yet it is a greater extreme, when a little good of the servant shall carry things against a great good of the master's. And yet that is the case of bad officers, treasurers, ambassadors, generals, and other false and corrupt servants; which set a bias upon their bowl, of their own petty ends and envies, to the overthrow of their master's great and important affairs. [40 And for the most part, the good such servants receive is after the model of their own fortune; but the hurt they sell for that good is after the model of their master's fortune. And certainly it is the nature of extreme self-lovers, as they will set an house on fire, and it were but to roast their eggs; and yet these men many times hold credit with their masters, because their study is but to please them [50 and profit themselves; and for either re
ESSAY XXIII.-OF WISDOM FOR A spect they will abandon the good of their
An ant is a wise creature for itself, but it is a shrewd thing in an orchard or garden. And certainly men that are great lovers of themselves waste the public. Divide with reason between self-love and society; and be so true to thyself as thou be not false to others, specially to thy king and country. It is a poor centre of a man's actions, himself. It is right earth. For that only stands fast upon [10 his own centre; whereas all things that have affinity with the heavens move upon the centre of another, which they benefit. The referring of all to a man's self is more
Wisdom for a man's self is, in many branches thereof, a depraved thing. It is the wisdom of rats, that will be sure to leave a house somewhat before it fall. It is the wisdom of the fox, that thrusts out the badger, who digged and made room for him. It is the wisdom of croco- [60 diles, that shed tears when they would devour. But that which is specially to be noted is, that those which (as Cicero says of Pompey) are sui amantes sine rivali, are many times unfortunate. And whereas they have all their time sacrificed to themselves, they become in the end themselves sacrifices to the inconstancy
of fortune, whose wings they thought by but content themselves with a medioc- 150 their self-wisdom to have pinioned. 170 rity of success. Certainly, it is good to
compound employments of both; for that ESSAY XLII.-OF YOUTH AND AGE
will be good for the present, because the
virtues of either age may correct the deA man that is young in years may be fects of both; and good for succession, old in hours, if he have lost no time. But that young men may be learners, while that happeneth rarely. Generally, youth men in age are actors; and, lastly, good is like the first cogitations, not so wise for extern accidents, because authority as the second. For there is a youth in followeth old men, and favor and poputhoughts as well as in ages. And yet the larity youth. But for the moral part, loo invention of young men is more lively perhaps youth will have the pre-eminence, than that of the old; and imaginations as age hath for the politic. A certain stream into their minds better, and, as it rabbin, upon the text, Your young men were, more divinely. Natures that (10 shall see visions, and your old men shall have much heat, and great and violent dream dreams, inferreth that young men desires and perturbations, are not ripe are admitted nearer to God than old, for action till they have passed the merid- because vision is a clearer revelation than ian of their years: as it was with Julius a dream. And certainly, the more a man Cæsar, and Septimius Severus. Of the drinketh of the world, the more it inlatter of whom it is said, Juventutem egit toxicateth; and age doth profit rather (70 erroribus, imo furoribus, plenam. And
And in the powers of understanding, than in yet he was the ablest emperor, almost, the virtues of the will and affections. of all the list. But reposed natures may There be some have an over-early ripeness do well in youth. As it is seen in Au- (20 in their years, which fadeth betimes. gustus Cæsar, Cosmus, Duke of Florence, These are, first, such as have brittle wits, Gaston de Foix, and others. On the other the edge whereof is soon turned; such as side, heat and vivacity in age is an excel- was Hermogenes the rhetorician, whose lent composition for business. Young books are exceeding subtile, who aftermen are fitter to invent than to judge; wards waxed stupid. A second sort is of fitter for execution than for counsel; and those that have some natural disposi- 180 fitter for new projects than for settled tions which have better grace in youth business. For the experience of age, in than in age; such as is a fluent and luxurithings that fall within the compass of it, ant speech, which becomes youth well, directeth them; but in new things, (30 but not age: so Tully saith of Hortensius, abuseth them. The errors of young men Idem manebat, neque idem docebat. The are the ruin of business; but the errors of third is of such as take too high a strain aged men amount but to this, that more at the first, and are magnanimous more might have been done, or sooner. Young than tract of years can uphold. As was men, in the conduct and manage of ac- Scipio Africanus, of whom Livy saith in tions, embrace more than they can hold; effect, Ultima primis cedebant. 100 stir more than they can quiet; fly to the end, without consideration of the means
ESSAY XLVI.-OF GARDENS and degrees; pursue some few principles which they have chanced upon ab- [40 God Almighty first planted a garden. surdly; care not to innovate, which draws And indeed it is the purest of human unknown inconveniences; use extreme pleasures. It is the greatest refreshment remedies at first; and, that which doubleth to the spirits of man; without which, all errors, will not acknowledge or retract buildings and palaces are but gross handithem; like an unready horse, that will works: and a man shall ever see that when neither stop nor turn. Men of age object ages grow to civility and elegancy, too much, consult too long, adventure come to build stately sooner than to too little, repent too soon, and seldom garden finely; as if gardening were the drive business home to the full period, greater perfection. I do hold it, in the [10