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no man doth a wrong for the wrong's sake; but thereby to purchase himself profit, or pleasure, or honour, or the like. Therefore why should I be angry with a man for loving himself better than me? And if any man should do wrong merely out of ill-nature, why, yet it is but like the thorn or briar, which prick and scratch, because they can do no other. The most tolerable sort of revenge is for those wrongs which there is no law to remedy; but then let a man take heed the revenge be such as there is no law to punish; else a man's enemy is still before hand, and it is two for one. Some, when they take revenge, are desirous the party should know whence it cometh. This is the more generous.
For the delight seemeth to be not so much in doing the hurt as in making the party repent.
But base and crafty cowards are like the arrow that flieth in the dark. Cosmus, duke of Florence, had a desperate saying against perfidious or neglecting friends, as if those wrongs were unpardonable; You shall read (saith he) that we are commanded to forgive our enemies, but you never read that we are commanded to forgive our friends. But yet the spirit of Job was in a better tune: Shall we (saith he) take good at God's hands, and not be content to take evil also? And so of friends in a proportion. This is certain, that a man that studieth revenge keeps his own wounds green, which otherwise would heal and do well. Public revenges are for the most part fortunate; as that for the death of Cæsar; for the death of Pertinax; for the death of Henry the Third of France; and many more. But in private revenges it is not so. Nay rather, vindictive persons live the life of witches; who, as they are mischievous, so end they infortunate.
more allowed. And the poets indeed have been busy with it; for it is in effect the thing which is figured in that strange fiction of the ancient poets, which seemeth not to be without mystery; nay, and to have some approach to the state of a Christian; that Hercules, when he went to unbind Prometheus, (by whom human nature is represented), sailed the length of the great ocean in an earthen pot or pitcher ; lively describing Christian resolution, that sail. eth in the frail bark of the flesh thorough the waves of the world. But to speak in a mean.' The virtue of Prosperity is temperance; the virtue of Adversity is fortitude; which in morals is the more heroical virtue. Prosperity is the blessing of the Old Testament; Adversity is the blessing of the New; which carrieth the greater benediction, and the clearer revelation of God's favour. Yet even in the Old Testament, if you listen to David's harp, you shall hear as many hearse-like airs as carols; and the pencil of the Holy Ghost hath laboured more in describing the afflictions of Job than the felicities of Salomon. Prosperity is not without many fears and distastes; and Adversity is not without comforts and hopes.
We see in needle-works and embroideries, it is more pleasing to have a lively work upon a sad and solemn ground, than to have a dark and melancholy work upon a lightsome ground: judge therefore of the pleasure of the heart by the pleasure of the eye. Certainly virtue is like precious odours, most fragrant when they are incensed or crushed: for Prosperity doth best discover vice, but Adversity doth best discover virtue.
VIII. OF MARRIAGE AND SINGLE LIFE
V. OF ADVERSITY
It was an high speech of Seneca (after the manner of the Stoics), that the good things which belong to prosperity are to be wished; but the good things that belong to adversity are to be admired. Bona rerum secundarum optabilia; adversarum mirabilia. Certainly if miracles be the command over nature, they appear most in adversity. It is yet a higher speech of his than the other (much too high for a heathen), It is true greatness to have in one the frailty of a man, and the security of a God. Vere magnum habere fragilitatem hominis, securitatem Dei. This would have done better in poesy, where transcendences are
He that hath wife and children hath given hostages to fortune; for they are impediments to great enterprises, either of virtue or mischief. Certainly the best works, and of greatest merit for the public, have proceeded from the unmarried or childless men; which both in affection and means have married and en. dowed the public. Yet it were great reason that those that have children should have greatest care of future times; unto which they know they must transmit their dearest pledges. Some there are, who though they lead a single life, yet their thoughts do end with themselves, and account future times impertinences. Nay, there are some other that account wife and children but as bills of charges. Nay more,
a moderate fashion
there are some foolish rich covetous men, that bad husbands were of their own choosing, take a pride in having no children, because against their friends' consent; for then they they may be thought so much the richer. For will be sure to make good their own folly. perhaps they have heard some talk, Such an one is a great rich man, and another except to
X. OF LOVE it, Yea, but he hath a great charge of children; as if it were an abatement to his riches. But
The stage is more beholding to Love, than the most ordinary cause of a single life is lib- the life of man. For as to the stage, love is erty, especially in certain self-pleasing and
ever matter of comedies, and now and then of humorous' minds, which are so sensible of
tragedies; but in life it doth much mischief; every restraint, as they will go near to think
sometimes like a syren, sometimes like a fury. their girdles and garters to be bonds and
You may observe, that amongst all the great shackles. Unmarried men are best friends,
and worthy persons (whereof the memory rebest masters, best servants; but not always
maineth, either ancient or recent) there is not best subjects; for they are light to run away; one that hath been transported to the mad and almost all fugitives are of that condition. degree of love: which shows that great spirits A single life doth well with churchmen; for
and great business do keep out this weak pascharity will hardly water the ground where it must first fill a pool. It is indifferent for judges
sion. You must except, nevertheless, Marcus
Antonius, the half partner of the empire of and magistrates; for if they be facile and cor
Rome, and Appius Claudius, the decemvir rupt, you shall have a servant five times worse than a wife. For soldiers, I find the generals
and law-giver; whereof the former was indeed commonly in their hortatives put men in mind
a voluptuous man, and inordinate; but the
latter was an austere and wise man: and there. of their wives and children; and I think the despising of marriage amongst the Turks
fore it seems (though rarely) that love can find. maketh the vulgar soldier more base.
entrance not only into an open heart, but also
Certainly wife and children are a kind of discipline kept. It is a poor saying of Epicurus, Satis
into a heart well fortified, if watch be not well of humanity; and single men, though they
magnum alter alteri theatrum sumus;' as if may be many times more charitable, because their means are less exhaust, yet, on the other
man, made for the contemplation of heaven side, they are more cruel and hardhearted
and all noble objects, should do nothing but
kneel before a little idol, and make himself a (good to make severe inquisitors), because their tenderness is not so oft called upon.
subject, though not of the mouth (as beasts Grave natures, led by custom, and therefore
are), yet of the eye; which was given him for
higher purposes. It is a strange thing to note Constant, are commonly loving husbands; as
the excess of this passion, and how it braves was said of Ulysses, vetulam suam prætulit immortalitati? Chaste women are often proud
the nature and value of things, by this; that
the speaking in a perpetual hyperbole is comely and froward, as presuming upon the merit of their chastity. It is one of the best bonds both
in nothing but in love. Neither is it merely of chastity and obedience in the wife, if she
in the phrase; for whereas it hath been well
said that the arch-flatterer, with whom all the think her husband wise; which she will never do if she find him jealous. Wives are young
petty flatterers have intelligence, is a man's
self; certainly the lover is more. For there men's mistresses; companions for middle age; and old men's nurses.
was never proud man thought so absurdly well So as a man may have
of himself as the lover doth of the person loved; a quarrels to marry when he will. But yet
and therefore it was well said, That it is imhe was reputed one of the wise men, that made
possible to love and to be wise. Neither doth answer to the question, when a man should
this weakness appear to others only, and not marry? A young man not yet, an elder man
to the party loved; but to the loved most of all, not at all. It is often seen that bad husbands
except the love be reciproque. For it is a have very good wives; whether it be that it
true rule, that love is ever rewarded either with raiseth the price of their husband's kindness
the reciproque or with an inward and secret when it comes; or that the wives take a pride
contempt. By how much the more men ought in their patience. But this never fails, if the
to beware of this passion, which loseth not
only other things, but itself. As for the other notionate ? He preferred his old wife to immortality.
1 Each is to other a theater large enough.
losses, the poet's relation doth well figure them; they judge by their own feeling, they cannot That he that preferred Helena, quitted the gifts find it: but if they think with themselves what of Juno and Pallas. For whosoever esteemeth other men think of them, and that other men too much of amorous affection quitteth both would fain be as they are, then they are happy riches and wisdom. This passion hath his as it were by report; when perhaps they find floods in the very times of weakness; which the contrary within. For they are the first are great prosperity and great adversity; though that find their own griefs, though they be the this latter hath been less observed: both which last that find their own faults. Certainly men times kindle love, and make it more fervent, in great fortunes are strangers to themselves, and therefore show it to be the child of folly. and while they are in the puzzle of business They do best, who if they cannot but admit they have no time to tend their health either of love, yet make it keep quarter; and sever it body or mind. Illi mors gravis incubat, qui wholly from their serious affairs and actions notus nimis omnibus, ignotus moritur sibi.' of life; for if it check once with business, it In place there is license to do good and evil; troubleth men's fortunes, and maketh men that whereof the latter is a curse: for in evil the they can no ways be true to their own ends. I best condition is not to will; the second not know not how, but martial men are given to to can. But power to do good is the true and love: I think it is but as they are given to wine; lawful end of aspiring. For good thoughts for perils commonly ask to be paid in pleasures. (though God accept them) yet towards men There is in man's nature a secret inclination are little better than good dreams, except they and motion towards love of others, which if it be put in act; and that cannot be without power be not spent upon some one or á few, doth and place, as the vantage and commanding naturally spread itself towards many,
and ground. Merit and good works is the end of maketh men become humane and charitable; man's motion; and conscience of the same is as it is seen sometime in friars. Nuptial love the accomplishment of man's rest. For if a maketh mankind; friendly love perfecteth man can be partaker of God's theatre, he shall it; but wanton love corrupteth and embaseth likewise be partaker of God's rest. Et conit.
versus Deus, ut aspiceret opera que fecerunt XI. OF GREAT PLACE
manus sua, vidit quod omnia essent bona
nimis; ? and then the Sabbath. In the disMen in great place are thrice servants: ser
charge of thy place set before thee the best vants of the sovereign or state; servants of examples; for imitation is a globe : of precepts. fame; and servants of business. So as they
And after a time set before thee thine own have no freedom; neither in their persons,
example; and examine thyself strictly whether nor in their actions, nor in their times. It is thou didst not best at first. Neglect not also a strange desire, to seek power and to lose the examples of those that have carried themliberty: or to seek power over others and to selves ill in the same place; not to set off thylose power over a man's self. The rising unto self by taxing their memory, but to direct thyplace is laborious; and by pains men come to self what to avoid. Reform therefore, without greater pains; and it is sometimes base; and bravery or scandal of former times and persons; by indignities men come to dignities. The but yet set it down to thyself as well to create standing is slippery, and the regress is either good precedents as to follow them. Reduce a downfall, or at least an eclipse, which is a things to the first institution, and observe melancholy thing. Cum non sis qui fueris,
wherein and how they have degenerate; but non esse cur velis vivere. Nay, retire men yet ask counsel of both times; of the ancient cannot when they would, neither will they
time, what is best; and of the latter time, when it were reason; but are impatient of
what is fittest. Seek to make thy course reguprivateness, even in age and sickness, which lar, that men may know beforehand what they require the shadow; like old townsmen, that may expect; but be not too positive and perempwill be still sitting at their street door, though tory; and express thyself well when thou dithereby they offer age to scorn. Certainly gressest from thy rule. Preserve the right of great persons had need to borrow other men's opinions, to think themselves happy; for if 1 It is a sad fate for a man to die too well known to
everybody else, and still unknown to himself. 2 And · When you are no longer what you were, there is God turned to look upon the works which his hands no reason why you should wish to live.
had made, and saw that all were very good. 3 world
thy place; but stir not questions of jurisdic- violently to their place and calmly in their tion: and rather assume thy right in silence place, so virtue in ambition is violent, in author and de facto, than voice it with claims and chal- ity settled and calm. All rising to great place lenges. Preserve likewise the rights of inferior is by a winding stair; and if there be factions, places; and think it more honour to direct in it is good to side a man's self whilst he is in the chief than to be busy in all. Embrace and rising, and to balance himself when he is placed. invite helps and advices touching the execu- Use the memory of thy predecessor fairly and tion of thy place; and do not drive away such tenderly; for if thou dost not, it is a debt will as bring thee information, as meddlers; but sure be paid when thou art gone. If thou have accept of them in good part. The vices of colleagues, respect them, and rather call them authority are chiefly four; delays, corruption, when they look not for it, than exclude them roughness, and facility. For delays; ' give when they have reason to look to be called. easy access; keep times appointed; go through Be not too sensible or too remembering of thy with that which is in hand, and interlace not place in conversation and private answers to business but of necessity. For corruption; suitors; but let it rather be said, When he sits do not only bind thine own hands or thy ser- in place he is another man. vants' hands from taking, but bind the hands of suitors also from offering. For integrity
XVI. OF ATHEISM used doth the one; but integrity professed, and with a manifest detestation of bribery,
I had rather believe all the fables in the doth the other. And avoid not only the fault,
Legend, and the Talmud, and the Alcoran, but the suspicion. Whosoever is found vari
than that this universal frame is without a able, and changeth manifestly without manifest
mind. And therefore God never wrought cause, giveth suspicion of corruption. There
miracle to convince atheism, because his ordifore always when thou changest thine opinion
nary works convince it. It is true, that a little or course, profess it plainly, and declare it,
philosophy inclineth man's mind to atheism; together with the reasons that move thee to
but depth in philosophy bringeth men's minds change; and do not think to steal it. A ser
about to religion. For while the mind of man vant or a favourite, if he be inward,' and no
looketh upon second causes scattered, it may other apparent cause of esteem, is commonly
sometimes rest in them, and go no further; thought but a by-way to close corruption. For
but when it beholdeth the chain of them, conroughness; it is a needless cause of discontent:
federate and linked together, it must needs severity breedeth fear, but roughness breedeth
fly to Providence and Deity. Nay, even that hate. Even reproofs from authority ought to
school which is most accused of atheism doth be grave, and not taunting. As for facility; it
most demonstrate religion; that is, the school is worse than bribery. For bribes come but
of Leucippus and Democritus and Epicurus. now and then; but if importunity or idle re
For it is a thousand times more credible, that spects lead a man, he shall never be without.
four mutable elements, and one immutable As Salomon saith, To respect persons is not
fifth essence, duly and eternally placed, need good; for such a man will transgress for a piece
no God, than that an army of infinite small of bread. It is most true that was anciently
portions or seeds unplaced, should have prospoken, A place showeth the man. And it
duced this order and beauty without a divine showeth some to the better, and some to the
marshal. The Scripture saith, The fool hath Omnium consensu capax im perii, nisi
said in his heart, there is no God; it is not said, im perasset, saith Tacitus of Galba; but of
The fool hath thought in his heart; so as he Vespasian he saith, Solus imperantium, Ves
rather saith it by rote to himself, as that he pasianus mutatus in melius:' though the one
would have, than that he can throughly believe was meant of sufficiency, the other of manners and affection. It is an assured sign of a
it, or be persuaded of it. For none deny there
is a God, but those for whom it maketh’ that worthy and generous spirit, whom honour amends. For honour is, or should be, the
there were no God. It appeareth in nothing piace of virtue; and as in nature things move
more, that atheism is rather in the lip than in
the heart of man, than by this; that atheists 1 intimate ? A man whom everybody would have will ever be talking of that their opinion, as thought fit for empire if he had not been emperor.
if they fainted in it within themselves, and 3 He was the only emperor whom the possession of power changed for the better.
I would be advantageous
would be glad to be strengthened by the consent more bow men's minds to religion. They that of others. Nay more, you shall have atheists deny a God destroy man's nobility; for cerstrive to get disciples, as it fareth with other tainly man is of kin to the beasts by his body; sects. And, which is most of all, you shall and, if he be not of kin to God by his spirit, have of them that will suffer for atheism, and he is a base and ignoble creature. It destroys not recant; whereas if they did truly think likewise magnanimity, and the raising of human that there were no such thing as God, why nature; for take an example of a dog, and mark should they trouble themselves? Epicurus what a generosity and courage he will put on is charged that he did but dissemble for his when he finds himself maintained by a man; credit's sake, when he affirmed there were who to him is instead of a God, or melior natura ;' blessed natures, but such as enjoyed themselves which courage is manifestly such as that creawithout having respect to the government of ture, without that confidence of a better nature the world. Wherein they say he did tempo- than his own, could never attain. So man, rise; though in secret he thought there was when he resteth and assureth himself upon no God. But certainly he is traduced; for divine protection and favour, gathereth a force his words are noble and divine: Non Deos and faith which human nature in itself could vulgi negare profanum, sed vulgi opiniones not obtain. Therefore, as atheism is in all Diis applicare profanum.' Plato could have respects hateful, so in this, that it depriveth said no more. And although he had the con- human nature of the means to exalt itself above fidence to deny the administration, he had not human frailty. As it is in particular persons, the power to deny the nature. The Indians so it is in nations. Never was there such a of the west have names for their particular gods, state for magnanimity as Rome. Of this state though they have no name for God: as if the hear what Cicero saith: Quam volumus licet, heathens should have had the names Jupiter, patres conscripti, nos amemus, tamen nec nuApollo, Mars, etc., but not the word Deus; mero Hispanos, nec robore Gallos, nec calliwhich shows that even those barbarous people ditate Pænos, nec artibus Græcos, nec denique have the notion, though they have not the lati- hoc ipso hujus gentis et terræ domestico natitude and extent of it. So that against atheists voque sensu Italos ipsos et Latinos; sed pietate, the very savages take part with the very subtlest ac religione, atque hac una sapientia, quod Dephilosophers. The contemplative atheist is orum immortalium' numine omnia regi guberrare: a Diagoras, a Bion, a Lucian perhaps, narique perspeximus, omnes gentes nationesque and some others; and yet they seem to be more su peravimus. than they are; for that all that impugn a received religion or superstition are by the adverse part branded with the name of atheists.
XXIII. OF WISDOM FOR A MAN'S SELF But the great atheists indeed are hypocrites; which are ever handling holy things, but without feeling; so as they must needs be cauterised
An ant is a wise creature for itself, but it is in the end. The causes of atheism are: divi
a shrewd' thing in an orchard or garden. And sions in religion, if they be many; for any one
certainly men that are great lovers of themmain division addeth zeal to both sides; but
selves waste the public. Divide with reason many divisions introduce atheism. Another is,
between self-love and society; and be so true scandal of priests; when it is come to that
to thyself, as thou be not false to others; spewhich St. Bernard saith, Non est jam dicere, ut
cially to thy king and country. It is a poor po pulus sic sacerdos; quia nec sic populus ut
centre of a man's actions, himself. It is right sacerdos? A third is, custom of profane scoffing in holy matters; which doth by little and a higher being 2 Pride ourselves as we may little deface the reverence of religion. And upon our country, yet are we not in number superior lastly, learned times, specially with peace and to the Spaniards, nor in strength to the Gauls, nor in prosperity; for troubles and adversities do cunning to the Carthaginians, nor to the Greeks in
arts, nor to the Italians and Latins themselves in
the homely and native sense which belongs to this 1 There is no profanity in refusing to believe in the nation and land; it is in piety only and religion, and Gods of the vulgar; the profanity is in believing of the wisdom of regarding the providence of the Imthe Gods what the vulgar believe of them.
2 One mortal Gods as that which rules and governs all cannot now say, the priest is as the people, for the things, that we have surpassed all nations and truth is that the people are not so bad as the priest. peoples.