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the end themselves sacrifices to the inconstancy of fortune; whose wings they thought by their self-wisdom to have pinioned.
XXV. OF DISPATCH
earth. For that' only stands fast upon 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 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 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 accessary. That which maketh the effect more pernicious is that all proportion is lost. It were disproportion enough for the servant's good 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. 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 and profit themselves; and for either respect they will abandon the good of their affairs.
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 crocodiles, 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
Affected dispatch is one of the most dangerous things to business that can be. It is like that which the physicians call predigestion, or hasty digestion; which is sure to fill the body full of crudities and secret seeds of diseases. Therefore measure not dispatch by the times of sitting, but by the advancement of the business. And as in races it is not the large stride or high lift that makes the speed; so in business, the keeping close to the matter, and not taking of it too much at once, procureth dispatch. It is the care of some only to come off speedily for the time; or to contrive some false periods of business, because they may seem men of dispatch. But it is one thing to abbreviate by contracting, another by cutting off. And business so handled at several sittings or meetings goeth commonly backward and forward in an unsteady manner. I knew a wise man that had it for a by-word, when he saw men hasten to a conclusion, Stay a little, that we may make an end the sooner.
On the other side, true dispatch is a rich thing. For time is the measure of business, as money is of wares; and business is bought at a dear hand where there is small dispatch. The Spartans and Spaniards have been noted to be of small dispatch; Mi venga la muerte de Spagna; Let my death come from Spain; for then it will be sure to be long in coming.
Give good hearing to those that give the first information in business; and rather direct them in the beginning, than interrupt them in the continuance of their speeches; for he that is put out of his own order will go forward and backward, and be more tedious while he waits upon his memory, than he could have been if he had gone on in his own course.
But sometimes it is seen that the moderator? is more troublesome than the actor.3
Iterations are commonly loss of time. But there is no such gain of time as to iterate often the state of the question; for it chaseth away many a frivolous speech as it is coming forth. Long and curious - speeches are as fit for dispatch, as a robe or mantle with a long train is for race.
Prefaces and passages, and excusa
1 the earth, according to the Ptolemaic theory not having the same center as sa weight placed on a bowl to make it take a curved course • lovers of themselves without rival
? the director of the talk
1 in order that speaker elaborate
tions, and other speeches of reference to the are scattered; so that there is not that fellowperson, are great wastes of time; and though ship, for the most part, which is in less neighthey seem to proceed of modesty, they are brav- bourhoods. But we may go further, and affirm ery. Yet beware of being too material ? when most truly that it is a mere and miserable solithere is any impediment or obstruction in men's tude to want true friends; without which the wills; for pre-occupation of mind ever re- world is but a wilderness; and even in this quireth preface of speech; like a fomentation sense also of solitude, whosoever in the frame to make the unguent enter.
of his nature and affections is unfit for friendAbove all things, order, and distribution, ship, he taketh it of the beast, and not from and singling out of parts, is the life of dispatch; humanity. so as the distribution be not too subtle: for A principal fruit of friendship is the ease he that doth not divide will never enter well and discharge of the fulness and swellings of into business; and he that divideth too much the heart, which passions of all kinds do cause will never come out of it clearly. To choose and induce. We know diseases of stoppings time is to save time; and an unseasonable and suffocations are the most dangerous in motion is but beating the air. There be three the body; and it is not much otherwise in the parts of business; the preparation, the debate mind; you may take sarza to open the liver, or examination, and the perfection. Whereof, steel to open the spleen, flowers of sulphur for if you look for dispatch, let the middle only the lungs, castoreum for the brain; but no be the work of many, and the first and last the receipt openeth the heart, but a true friend; work of few. The proceeding upon somewhat to whom you may impart griefs, joys, fears, conceived in writing doth for the most part hopes, suspicions, counsels, and whatsoever facilitate dispatch: for though it should be lieth upon the heart to oppress it, in a kind wholly rejected, yet that negative is more preg
of civil 2 shrift or confession. nant of direction than an indefinite; as ashes It is a strange thing to observe how high a are more generative than dust.
rate great kings and monarchs do set upon
this fruit of friendship whereof we speak: so XXVII. OF FRIENDSHIP
great, as they purchase it many times at the
hazard of their own safety and greatness. It had been hard for him that spake it to For princes, in regard of the distance of their have put more truth and untruth together in
fortune from that of their subjects and servants, few words, than in that speech, Whosoever is cannot gather this fruit, except (to make themdelighted in solitude is either a wild beast or a selves capable thereof) they raise some persons god. For it is most true that a natural and to be as it were companions and almost equals secret hatred and aversation towards society in to themselves, which many times sorteth to 3 any man, hath somewhat of the savage beast;
inconvenience. The modern languages give but it is most untrue that it should have any unto such persons the name of favourites, or character at all of the divine nature; except it
privadoes; * as if it were matter of grace, or proceed, not out of a pleasure in solitude, but
conversation. But the Roman name attaineth out of a love and desire to sequester a man's
the true use and cause thereof, naming them self for a higher conversation: such as is found participes curarum; ' for it is that which tieth to have been falsely and feignedly in some
the knot. And we see plainly that this hath of the heathen; as Epimenides the Candian,
been done, not by weak and passionate princes Numa the Roman, Empedocles the Sicilian,
only, but by the wisest and most politic that and Apollonius of Tyana; and truly and really ever reigned; who have oftentimes joined to in divers of the ancient hermits and holy fa
themselves some of their servants; whom both thers of the church. But little do men perceive
themselves have called friends, and allowed what solitude is, and how far it extendeth.
others likewise to call them in the same manner; For a crowd is not company; and faces are but
using the word which is received between pria gallery of pictures; and talk but a tinkling
vate men. cymbal, where there is no love. The Latin L. Sylla, when he commanded Rome, raised adage meeteth with it a little: Magna civitas, Pompey (after surnamed the Great) to that magna solitudo, because in a great town friends height, that Pompey vaunted himself for
Sylla's over-match. For when he had carried the consulship for a friend of his, against the pursuit of Sylla, and that Sylla did a little resent thereat, and began to speak great, Pompey turned upon him again, and in effect bade him be quiet; for that more men adored the sun rising than the sun setting. With Julius Cæsar, Decimus Brutus had obtained that interest, as he set him down in his testament for heir in remainder after his nephew. And this was the man that had power with him to draw him forth to his death. For when Cæsar would have discharged the senate, in regard of some ill presages, and specially a dream of Calpurnia; this man lifted him gently by the arm out of his chair, telling him he hoped he would not dismiss the senate till his wife had dreamt a better dream. And it seemeth his favour was so great, as Antonius, in a letter which is recited verbatim in one of Cicero's Philippics, calleth him venefica, witch; as if he had enchanted Cæsar. Augustus raised Agrippa (though of mean birth) to that height, as when he consulted with Mæcenas about the marriage of his daughter Julia, Mæcenas took the liberty to tell him, that he must either marry his daughter to Agrippa, or take away his life: there was no third way, he had made him so great. With Tiberius Cæsar, Sejanus had ascended to that height, as they two were termed and reckoned as a pair of friends. Tiberius in a letter to him saith, hæc pro amicilia nostra non occultavi; 1 and the whole senate dedicated an altar to Friendship, as to a goddess, in respect of the great dearness of friendship between them two. The like or more was between Septimius Severus and Plautianus. For he forced his eldest son to marry the daughter of Plautianus; and would often maintain Plautianus in doing affronts to his son; and did write also in a letter to the senate, by these words: I love the man so well, as I wish he may over-live me.
Now if these princes had been as a Trajan or a Marcus Aurelius, a man might have thought that this had proceeded of an abundant goodness of nature; but being men so wise, of such strength and severity of mind, and so extreme lovers of themselves, as all these were, it proveth most plainly that they found their own felicity (though as great as ever happened to mortal men) but as an half piece, except they mought have a friend to make it entire; and yet, which
is more, they were princes that had wives, sons, nephews; and yet all these could not supply the comfort of friendship.
It is not to be forgotten what Commineus? observeth of his first master, Duke Charles the Hardy; namely, that he would communicate his secrets with none; and least of all, those secrets which troubled him most. Whereupon he goeth on and saith that towards his latter time that closeness did impair and a little perish his understanding. Surely Commineus mought have made the same judgment also, if it had pleased him, of his second master, Lewis the Eleventh, whose closeness was indeed his tormentor. The parable of Pythagoras is dark, but true; Cor ne edito: Eat not the heart. Certainly, if a man would give it a hard phrase, those that want friends to open themselves unto are cannibals of their own hearts. But one thing is most admirable (wherewith I will conclude this first fruit of friendship), which is, that this communicating of a man's self to his friend works two contrary effects; for it redoubleth joys, and cutteth griefs in halfs. For there is no man that imparteth his joys to his friend, but he joyeth the more: and no man that imparteth his griefs to his friend, but he grieveth the less. So that it is in truth of operation upon a man's mind, of like virtue as the alchemists use to attribute to their stone for man's body; that it worketh all contrary effects, but still to the good and benefit of nature. But yet without praying in aid ? of alchemists, there is a manifest image of this in the ordinary course of nature. For in bodies, union strengtheneth and cherisheth any natural action; and on the other side weakeneth and dulleth any violent impression: and even so is it of minds.
The second fruit of friendship is healthful and sovereign for the understanding, as the first is for the affections. For friendship maketh indeed a fair day in the affections, from storm and tempests; but it maketh daylight in the understanding, out of darkness and confusion of thoughts. Neither is this to be understood only of faithful counsel, which a man receiveth from his friend; but before you come to that, certain it is that whosoever hath his mind fraught with many thoughts, his wits and understanding do clarify and break up, in the communicating and discoursing with another; he tosseth his thoughts more easily; he marshalleth them more orderly; he seeth how they look when they are turned into words: finally,
* These things, because of our friendship, I have not
concealed from you.
he waxeth wiser than himself; and that more that two eyes see no more than one; or that a by an hour's discourse than by a day's medi- gamester seeth always more than a looker-on; tation. It was well said by Themistocles to or that a man in anger is as wise as he that hatb the king of Persia, That speech was like cloth said over the four and twenty letters; or that of Arras, opened and put abroad; whereby the a musket may be shot off as well upon the arm imagery doth appear in figure; whereas in as upon a rest; and such other fond and high thoughts they lie but as in packs. Neither is imaginations, to think himself all in all. But this second fruit of friendship, in opening the when all is done, the help of good counsel is understanding, restrained only to such friends that which setteth business straight. And if as are able to give a man counsel; (they indeed any man think that he will take counsel, but it are best); but even without that, a man shall be by pieces; asking counsel in one busilearneth of himself, and bringeth his own ness of one man, and in another business of thoughts to light, and whetteth his wits as another man; it is well, (that is to say, better against a stone, which itself cuts not. In a perhaps than if he asked none at all;) but he word, a man were better relate himself to a runneth two dangers: one, that he shall not be statua' or picture, than to suffer his thoughts faithfully counselled; for it is a rare thing, to pass in smother.
except it be from a perfect and entire friend, Add now, to make this second fruit of friend- to have counsel given, but such as shall be ship complete, that other point which lieth bowed and crooked to some ends which he more open and falleth within vulgar observa- hath that giveth it. The other, that he shall tion; which is faithful counsel from a friend. have counsel given, hurtful and unsafe, (though Heraclitus saith well in one of his enigmas, with good meaning,) and mixed partly of Dry light is ever the best. And certain it is, mischief and partly of remedy; even as if you that the light that a man receiveth by counsel would call a physician that is thought good from another, is drier and purer than that for the cure of the disease you complain of, which cometh from his own understanding but is unacquainted with your body; and thereand judgment; which is ever infused and fore may put you in way for a present cure, drenched in his affections and customs. So as but overthroweth your health in some other there is as much difference between the counsel kind; and so cure the disease and kill the that a friend giveth, and that a man giveth patient. But a friend that is wholly acquainted himself, as there is between the counsel of a with a man's estate will beware, by furthering friend and of a flatterer. For there is no such any present business, how he dasheth upon flatterer as is a man's self; and there is no such other inconvenience. And thereforę rest not remedy against flattery of a man's self, as the upon scattered counsels; they will rather disliberty of a friend. Counsel is of two sorts: tract and mislead, than settle and direct. the one concerning manners, the other concern- After these two noble fruits of friendship ing business. For the first, the best preser- (peace in the affections, and support of the vative to keep the mind in health is the faith- judgment) followeth the last fruit; which ful admonition of a friend. The calling of a is like the pomegranate, full of many kernels; man's self to a strict account is a medicine, I mean aid and bearing a part in all actions sometime, too piercing and corrosive. Read- and occasions. Here the best way to repreing good books of morality is a little flat and sent to life the manifold use of friendship, is dead. Observing our faults in others is some- to cast and see how many things there are which times unproper for our case. But the best a man cannot do himself; and then it will receipt (best, I say, to work, and best to take) appear that it was a sparing speech of the anis the admonition of a friend. It is a strange cients, to say, that a friend is another himself; thing to behold what gross errors and extreme for that a friend is far more than himself. absurdities many (especially of the greater Men have their time, and die many times in sort) do commit, for want of a friend to tell desire of some things which they principally them of them; to the great damage both of their take to heart; the bestowing of a child, the fame and fortune: for, as St. James saith, finishing of a work, or the like. If a man have they are as men that look sometimes into a glass, a true friend, he may rest almost secure that and presently forget their own shape and favour. the care of those things will continue after him. As for business, a man may think, if he will, So that a man hath, as it were, two lives in his
desires. A man hath a body, and that body is confined to a place; but where friendship
is, all offices of life are as it were granted to him embrace more than they can hold; stir more and his deputy. For he may exercise them than they can quiet; fly to the end, without by his friend. How many things are there consideration of the means and degrees; purwhich a man cannot, with any face or comeli- some few principles which they have ness, say or do himself? A man can scarce chanced upon absurdly; care' not to innovate, allege his own merits with modesty, much less which draws unknown inconveniences; use extol them; a man cannot sometimes brook extreme remedies at first; and, that which to supplicate or beg; and a number of the like. doubleth all errors, will not acknowledge or But all these things are graceful in a friend's retract them; like an unready horse, that will mouth, which are blushing in a man's own. neither stop nor turn. Men of age object too So again, a man's person hath many proper much, consult too long, adventure too little, relations which he cannot put off. A man repent too soon, and seldom drive business cannot speak to his son but as a father; to his home to the full period, but content themselves wife but as a husband; to his enemy but upon with a mediocrity of success. Certainly it is terms: whereas a friend may speak as the good to compound employments of both; for case requires, and not as it sorteth' with the that will be good for the present, because the person. But to enumerate these things were virtues of either age may correct the defects endless; I have given the rule, where a man
of both ; and good for succession, that young cannot fitly play his own part; if he have not men may be learners, while men in age are a friend, he may quit the stage.
actors; and, lastly, good for extern accidents,
because authority followeth old men, and XLII. OF YOUTH AND AGE
favour and popularity youth. But for the A man that is young in years may be old in
moral part, perhaps youth will have the prehours , if he have lost no time. But that hap
eminence, as age hath for the politic. A cer
tain rabbin, upon the text, Your young men peneth rarely. Generally, youth is like the
shall see visions, and your old men shall dream first cogitations, not so wise as the second.
dreams, inferreth that young men are admitted For there is a youth in thoughts, as well as in
nearer to God than old, because vision is a ages. And yet the invention of young men clearer revelation than a dream. And ceris more lively than that of old; and imagina: tainly, the more a man drinketh of the world, tions stream into their minds better, and as it
the more it intoxicateth: and age doth profit were more divinely. Natures that have much
rather in the powers of understanding, than heat and great and violent desires and pertur- in the virtues of the will and affections. bations, are not ripe for action till they have
There be some have an over-early ripeness in passed the meridian of their years; as it was
their years, which fadeth betimes. These are, with Julius Cæsar, and Septimius Severus.
first, such as have brittle wits, the edge whereof Of the latter of whom it is said, Juventutem
is soon turned; such as was Hermogenes the egit erroribus, imo furoribus, plenam. And
rhetorician, whose books are exceeding subtle; yet he was the ablest emperor, almost, of all who afterwards waxed stupid. A second sort the list. But reposed natures may do well in is of those that have some natural dispositions youth. As it is seen in Augustus Cæsar, which have better grace in youth than in age; Cosmus Duke of Florence, Gaston de Fois,
such as is a fluent and luxuriant speech; which and others. On the other side, heat and vivac
becomes youth well, but not age: so Tully ity in age is an excellent composition for busi
saith of Hortensius, Idem manebat, neque idem ness. Young men are fitter to invent than to
decebat.? The third is of such as take too high judge; fitter for execution than for counsel;
a strain at the first, and are magnanimous more and fitter for new projects than for settled busi
than tract of years can uphold. As was Scipio ness. For the experience of age, in things that
Africanus, of whom Livy saith in effect, Ultima fall within the compass of it, directeth them; but in new things, abuseth them. The errors
XLIII. OF BEAUTY of young men are the ruin of business; but the errors of aged men amount but to this, that more
Virtue is like a rich stone, best plain set; might have been done, or sooner. Young
and surely virtue is best in a body that is comely, men, in the conduct and manage of actions,
I hesitate 'He continued the same, when the same was not becoming.
3 His last actions were not equal agrees? He passed a youth full of errors; yea, of madnesses.
to his first.