Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

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 used doth the one; but integrity professed,

XVI. OF ATHEISM 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 of bread. It is most true that was anciently

no God, than that an army of infinite small

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 ca pax imperii, nisi

said in his heart, there is no God; it is not said, im perasset,” saith Tacitus of Galba; but of Vespasian he saith, Solus imperantium, Ves

The fool hath thought in his heart; so as he

rather saith it by rote to himself, as that he pasianus mutatus in melius:though the one was meant of sufficiency, the other of manners

would have, than that he can throughly believe 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

there were no God. It appeareth in nothing aniends. For honour is, or should be, the 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 2 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 * He was the only emperor whom the possession of power changed for the better.

I would be advantageous

Worse.

a

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 sa pientia, 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 superavimus. 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;

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 populus 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 Ta 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

3

1

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.

very

3 bad

earth. For that' only stands fast upon his the end themselves sacrifices to the inconstancy own centre; whereas all things that have affin- of fortune; whose wings they thought by their ity with the heavens, move upon the centre of self-wisdom to have pinioned. another, which they benefit. The referring of all to a man's self is more tolerable in a sover

XXV. OF DISPATCH eign prince; because themselves are not only themselves, but their good and evil is at the Affected dispatch is one of the most dangerperil of the public fortune. But it is a des- ous things to business that can be. It is like perate evil in a servant to a prince, or a citizen that which the physicians call predigestion, or in a republic. For whatsoever affairs pass hasty digestion; which is sure to fill the body such a man's hands, he crooketh them to his full of crudities and secret seeds of diseases. own ends; which must needs be often eccen- Therefore measure not dispatch by the times of tric to the ends of his master or state. There sitting, but by the advancement of the business. fore let princes, or states, choose such servants And as in races it is not the large stride or high as have not this mark; except they mean their lift that makes the speed; so in business, the service should be made but the accessary. keeping close to the matter, and not taking of That which maketh the effect more pernicious it too much at once, procureth dispatch. It is that all proportion is lost. It were dispro

.

is the care of some only to come off speedily portion enough for the servant's good to be for the time; or to contrive some false periods preferred before the master's; but yet it is a of business, because they may seem men of greater extreme, when a little good of the ser- dispatch. But it is one thing to abbreviate vant shall carry things against a great good of by contracting, another by cutting off. And the master's. And yet that is the case of bad business so handled at several sittings or meetofficers, treasurers, ambassadors, generals, and ings goeth commonly backward and forward other false and corrupt servants; which set a in an unsteady manner. I knew a wise man bias • upon their bowl, of their own petty ends that had it for a by-word, when he saw men and envies, to the overthrow of their master's hasten to a conclusion, Stay a little, that we great and important affairs. And for the most may make an end the sooner. part, the good such servants receive is after the On the other side, true dispatch is a rich model of their own fortune; but the hurt they thing. For time is the measure of business, as sell for that good is after the model of their money is of wares; and business is bought at master's fortune. And certainly it is the nature a dear hand where there is small dispatch. of extreme self-lovers, as they will set an house The Spartans and Spaniards have been noted on fire, and it were but to roast their eggs; and to be of small dispatch; Mi venga la muerte yet these men many times hold credit with de Spagna; Let my death come from Spain; their masters, because their study is but to for then it will be sure to be long in coming. please them and profit themselves; and for Give good hearing to those that give the first either respect they will abandon the good of information in business; and rather direct their affairs.

them in the beginning, than interrupt them in Wisdom for a man's self is, in many branches the continuance of their speeches; for he that thereof, a depraved thing. It is the wisdom of is put out of his own order will go forward and rats, that will be sure to leave a house some- backward, and be more tedious while he waits what before it fall. It is the wisdom of the fox, upon his memory, than he could have been if that thrusts out the badger, who digged and he had gone on in his own course. But somemade room for him. It is the wisdom of croco- times it is seen that the moderator? is more diles, that shed tears when they would devour. troublesome than the actor. But that which is specially to be noted is, that Iterations are commonly loss of time. But those which (as Cicero says of Pompey) are there is no such gain of time as to iterate often sui amantes, sine rivali,' are many times un- the state of the question; for it chaseth away fortunate. And whereas they have all their many a frivolous speech as it is coming forth. time sacrificed to themselves, they become in Long and curious * speeches are as fit for distions, 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.

patch, as a robe or mantle with a long train is

for race. Prefaces and passages, and excusa1 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 1 in order that ? the director of the talk 9 the themselves without rival

speaker elaborate

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 ? 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 them delighted 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

BA

2

I ostentation insistent upon the business great town is a great solitude.

i recipe ? non-religious 8 results in 5 sharers of cares

4 intimates

a

Sylla's over-match. For when he had carried is more, they were princes that had wives, sons, the consulship for a friend of his, against the nephews; and yet all these could not supply pursuit of Sylla, and that Sylla did a little the comfort of friendship. resent thereat, and began to speak great, It is not to be forgotten what Commineus ? Pompey turned upon him again, and in effect observeth of his first master, Duke Charles the bade him be quiet; for that more men adored Hardy; namely, that he would communicate the sun rising than the sun setting. With his secrets with none; and least of all, those Julius Cæsar, Decimus Brutus had obtained secrets which troubled him most. Whereupon that interest, as he set him down in his testa- he goeth on and saith that towards his latment for heir in remainder after his nephew. ter time that closeness did impair and a little And this was the man that had power with perish his understanding. Surely Commineus him to draw him forth to his death. For when mought have made the same judgment also, Cæsar would have discharged the senate, in if it had pleased him, of his second master, regard of some ill presages, and specially a Lewis the Eleventh, whose closeness was indeed dream of Calpurnia; this man lifted him gently his tormentor. The parable of Pythagoras is by the arm out of his chair, telling him he hoped dark, but true; Cor ne edito: Eat not the heart. he would not dismiss the senate till his wife Certainly, if a man would give it a hard phrase, had dreamt a better dream. And it seemeth those that want friends to open themselves unto his favour was so great, as Antonius, in a letter are cannibals of their own hearts.

But one which is recited verbatim in one of Cicero's thing is most admirable (wherewith I will Philippics, calleth him venefica, witch; as if conclude this first fruit of friendship), which he had enchanted Cæsar. Augustus raised is, that this communicating of a man's self Agrippa (though of mean birth) to that height, to his friend works two contrary effects; for as when he consulted with Mæcenas about the it redoubleth joys, and cutteth griefs in halfs. marriage of his daughter Julia, Mæcenas took For there is no man that imparteth his joys the liberty to tell him, that he must either marry to his friend, but he joyeth the more: and no his daughter to Agrippa, or take away his life: man that imparteth his griefs to his friend, but there was no third way, he had made him so he grieveth the less. So that it is in truth of great. With Tiberius Cæsar, Sejanus had operation upon a man's mind, of like virtue ascended to that height, as they two were as the alchemists use to attribute to their stone termed and reckoned as a pair of friends. for man's body; that it worketh all contrary Tiberius in a letter to him saith, hæc pro effects, but still to the good and benefit of nature. amicitia nostra non occultavi; ' and the whole But yet without praying in aid? of alchemists, senate dedicated an altar to Friendship, as to there is a manifest image of this in the ordinary a goddess, in respect of the great dearness of course of nature. For in bodies, union strengthfriendship between them two. The like or eneth and cherisheth any natural action; and more was between Septimius Severus and on the other side weakeneth and dulleth any Plautianus. For he forced his eldest son to violent impression: and even so is it of minds. marry the daughter of Plautianus; and would The second fruit of friendship is healthful often maintain Plautianus in doing affronts to and sovereign for the understanding, as the his son; and did write also in a letter to the first is for the affections. For friendship senate, by these words: I love the man so well, maketh indeed a fair day in the affections, from as I wish he may over-live me. Now if these storm and tempests; but it maketh daylight princes had been as a Trajan or a Marcus in the understanding, out of darkness and conAurelius, a man might have thought that this fusion of thoughts. Neither is this to be underhad proceeded of an abundant goodness of stood only of faithful counsel, which a man nature; but being men so wise, of such strength receiveth from his friend; but before you come and severity of mind, and so extreme lovers of to that, certain it is that whosoever hath his themselves, as all these were, it proveth most mind fraught with many thoughts, his wits and plainly that they found their own felicity understanding do clarify and break up, in the (though as great as ever happened to mortal communicating and discoursing with another; men) but as an half piece, except they mought he tosseth his thoughts more easily; he marhave a friend to make it entire; and yet, which shalleth them more orderly; he seeth how they

look when they are turned into words: finally, 1 These things, because of our friendship, I have not concealed from you.

· Philippe de Commines ? calling in as advocates

1

« AnteriorContinuar »