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that they feel it so, but only to abate the edge of envy but this is to be understood of business that is laid upon men, and not such as they call unto themselves; for nothing increaseth envy more than an unnecessary and ambitious engrossing of business; and nothing doth extinguish envy more than for a great person to preserve all other inferior officers in their full rights and preeminences of their places; for by that means, there be so many screens between him and envy. Above all, those are most subject to envy, which carry the greatness of their fortunes in an insolent and proud manner: being never well but while they are showing how great they are, either by outward pomp, or by triumphing over all opposition or competition: whereas wise men will rather do sacrifice to envy, in suffering themselves, sometimes of purpose, to be crossed and overborne in things that do not much concern them. Notwithstanding so much is true, that the carriage of greatness in a plain and open manner (so, it be without arrogancy and vain glory) doth draw less envy than if it be in a more crafty and cunning fashion; for in that course a man doth but disavow fortune, and seemeth to be conscious of his own want in worth, and doth but teach others to envy him.
Lastly, to conclude this part, as we said in the beginning that the act of envy had somewhat in it of witchcraft, so there is no other cure of envy but the cure of witchcraft; and that is, to remove the lot (as they call it) and to lay it upon another; for which purpose, the wiser sort of great persons bring in ever upon the stage somebody upon whom to derive the envy that would come upon themselves; sometimes upon ministers and servants, sometimes upon colleagues and associates, and the like; and, for that turn, there are never wanting some persons of violent and undertaking natures, who, so they may have power and business, will take it at any cost.
Now, to speak of public envy: there is yet some good in public envy, whereas in private there is none; for public envy is as an ostracism, that eclipseth men when they grow too great: and therefore it is a bridle also to great ones to keep them within bounds.
This envy, being in the Latin word "invidia," goeth in the modern languages by the name of discontentment; of which we shall speak in handling sedition. It is a disease in a state like to infection for as infection spreadeth upon that which is sound, and tainteth it; so, when envy is gotten once into a state, it traduceth even the best actions thereof, and turneth them into an ill odour; and therefore there is little won by interiningling of plausible actions: for that doth argue but a weakness and fear of envy, which hurteth so much the more, as it is likewise usual in infections, which, if you fear them, you call them upon you.
This public envy seemeth to beat chiefly upon principal officers or ministers, rather than upon kings and estates themselves. But this is a sure rule, that if the envy upon the minister be great, when the cause of it in him is small; or if the envy be general in a manner upon all the ministers of an estate, then the envy (though hidden) is truly upon the state itself. And so much of public envy or discontentment, and the difference thereof from private envy, which was handled in the first place.
We will add this in general, touching the affection of envy, that of all other affections it is the most importune and continual; for of other affections there is occasion given but now and then; and therefore it was well said, "Invidia festos dies non agit:" for it is ever working upon some or other. And it is also noted, that love and envy do make a man pine, which other affections do not, because they are not so continual. It is also the vilest affection, and the most depraved; for which cause it is the proper attribute of the devil, who is called "The envious man, that soweth tares amongst the wheat by night;" as it always cometh to pass, that envy worketh subtilly, and in the dark, and to the prejudice of good things, such as is the wheat.
X. OF LOVE.*
THE stage is more beholding to love, than the life of man; for as to the stage, love is even matter of comedies, and now and then of tragedies ; but in life it doth much mischief sometimes like a siren, sometimes like a fury. You may observe, that amongst all the great and worthy persons (whereof the memory remaineth, either ancient or recent, there is not one that hath been transported to the mad degree of love, which shows, that great spirits and great business do keep out this weak passion. You must except, nevertheless, Marcus Antonius, the half partner of the empire of Rome, and Appius Claudius, the decemvir and lawgiver; whereof the former was indeed a voluptuous man, and inordinate; but the latter was an austere and wise man and therefore it seems (though rarely, that love can find entrance, not only into an open heart, but also into a heart well fortified, if watch be not well "Satis kept. It is a poor saying of Epicurus, as if man, magnum alter alteri theatrum sumus;" made for the contemplation of heaven, and all noble objects, should do nothing but kneel before a little idol, and make himself a subject, though not of the mouth (as beasts are yet of the eye, which was given him for higher purposes. It is a strange thing to note the excess of this passion, and how it braves the nature and value of things by this, that the speaking in a perpetual hyperbole, is comely in nothing but in love: neither is * See note F at the end of the Essays.
it were by report, when, perhaps, they find the contrary within; for they are the first that find their own griefs, though they be the last that find their own faults. Certainly men in great fortunes are strangers to themselves, and while they are in the puzzle of business they have no time to tend their health either of body or mind: “Illi mors gravis incubat, qui notus nimis omnibus, ignotus moritur sibi." In place there is license to do good and evil; whereof the latter is a curse :
it merely in the phrase; for whereas it hath been | old townsmen, that will be still sitting at their well said, "That the arch flatterer, with whom street door, though thereby they offer age to scorn. all the petty flatterers have intelligence, is a man's Certainly great persons had need to borrow other self;" certainly the lover is more; for there was men's opinions to think themselves happy; for never proud man thought so absurdly well of if they judge by their own feeling, they cannot himself as the lover doth of the person loved; and find it: but if they think with themselves what therefore it was well said, “That it is impossible other men think of them, and that other men to love and to be wise." Neither doth this weak-would fain be as they are, then they are happy as ness appear to others only, and not to the party loved, but to the loved most of all, except the love be reciprocal; fo. it is a true rule, that love is ever rewarded, either with the reciprocal, or with an inward, or secret contempt; by how much the more men ought to beware of this passion, which loseth not only other things, but itself. As for other losses the poet's relation doth well figure them: “That he that preferred Helena, quitted the gifts of Juno and Pallas;" for whosoever esteemeth too much of amorous affection, quitteth | for in evil the best condition is not to will; the both riches and wisdom. This passion hath his floods in the very times of weakness, which are, great prosperity and great adversity, though this latter hath been less observed; both which times kindle love, and make it more frequent, and therefore show it to be the child of folly. They do best, who, if they cannot but admit love, yet make it keep quarter, and sever it wholly from their serious affairs and actions of life; for if it check once with business, it troubleth men's fortunes, and maketh men that they can no ways be true to their own ends. I know not how, but martial men are given to love: I think it is, but as they are given to wine; for perils commonly ask to be paid in pleasures. There is in man's nature a secret inclination and motion towards love of others, which, if it be not spent upon some one or a few, doth naturally spread itself towards many, and maketh men become humane and charitable, as it is seen sometimes in friars. Nuptial love maketh mankind; friendly love perfecteth it; but wantoning their memory, but to direct thyself what to love corrupteth and embaseth it.
XI. OF GREAT PLACE.
second not to can. But power to do good is the true and lawful end of aspiring; for good thoughts (though God accept them,) yet towards men are little better than good dreams, except they be put in act; and that cannot be without power and place, as the vantage and commanding ground. Merit and good works is the end of man's motion; and conscience of the same is the accomplishment of man's rest; for if a man can be partaker of God's theatre, he shall likewise be partaker of God's rest: "Et conversus Deus, ut aspiceret opera, quæ fecerunt manus suæ, vidit quod omnia essent bona nimis ;" and then the sabbath. In the discharge of the place set before thee the best examples; for imitation is a globe of precepts; and after a time set before thine own example; and examine thyself strictly whether thou didst not best at first. Neglect not also the examples of those that have carried themselves ill in the same place; not to set off thyself by tax
avoid. Reform, therefore, without bravery or scandal of former times and persons; but yet set it down to thyself, as well to create good precedents as to follow them. Reduce things to the
MEN in great place are thrice servants; servants | first institution, and observe wherein and how of the sovereign or state, servants of fame, and they have degenerated; but yet ask counsel of servants of business; so as they have no freedom, both times; of the ancienter time what is best; neither in their persons, nor in their actions, nor and of the latter time what is fittest. Seek to in their times. It is a strange desire to seek make thy course regular, that men may know bepower and to lose liberty; or to seek power over forehand what they may expect; but be not too others, and to lose power over a man's self. The positive and peremptory; and express thyself rising unto place is laborious, and by pains men well when thou digressest from thy lure. Precome to greater pains; and it is sometimes base, | serve the right of thy place, but stir not questions and by indignities men come to dignities. The of jurisdiction; and rather assume thy right in standing is slippery, and the regress is either a downfall, or at least an eclipse, which is a melancholy thing: "Cum non sis qui fueris, non esse cur velis vivere." Nay, retire men cannot when they would, neither will they when it were reason; but are impatient of privateness even in age and sickness, which require the shadow: like
silence, and "de facto,” than voice it with claims and challenges. Preserve likewise the rights of inferior places; and think it more honour to direct in chief than to be busy in all. Embrace and invite helps and advices touching the execution of thy place; and do not drive away such as bring thee information as meddlers, but accept of them
in good part. The vices of authority are chiefly | part of an orator? he answered, action: what four; delays, corruption, roughness, and facility. next? action: what next again? action. He said For delays give easy access: keep times appoint- it that knew it best, and had by nature himself no ed; go through with that which is in hand, and advantage in that he commended. A strange interlace not business but of necessity. For cor- thing, that that part of an orator which is but su ruption, do not only bind thine own hands or thy perficial, and rather the virtue of a player, should servant's hands from taking, but bind the hands be placed so high above those other noble parts of of suitors also from offering; for integrity used invention, elocution, and the rest; nay almost doth the one; but integrity professed, and with alone, as if it were all in all. But the reason is a manifest detestation of bribery, doth the other; plain. There is in human nature generally more and avoid not only the fault, but the suspicion. of the fool than of the wise; and therefore those Whosoever is found variable, and changeth mani- faculties by which the foolish part of men's minds festly without manifest cause, giveth suspicion is taken, are most potent. Wonderful like is the of corruption; therefore, always when thou chang-case of boldness in civil business; what first? est thine opinion or course, profess it plainly, and boldness: what second and third ? boldness: And declare it, together with the reasons that move thee yet boldness is a child of ignorance and baseness, to change, and do not think to steal it. A ser- far inferior to other parts: but nevertheless, it doth vant or a favourite, if he be inward, and no other fascinate, and bind hand and foot those that are apparent cause of esteem, is commonly thought | either shallow in judgment or weak in courage, but a by-way to close corruption. For roughness, which are the greatest part: yea, and prevaileth it is a needless cause of discontent; severity breedeth fear, but roughness breedeth hate. Even reproofs from authority ought to be grave, and not taunting. As for facility, 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 Solomon 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 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 honour amends; for honour is, or should be, the place of virtue; and 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 be paid when thou art gone. If thou have colleagues, respect them; and rather call them when they looked 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.
with wise men at weak times: therefore we see it hath done wonders in popular states, but with senates and princes less; and more, ever upon the first entrance of bold persons into action than soon after; for boldness is an ill keeper of promise. Surely as there are mountebanks for the natural body; so are there mountebanks for the politic body; men that undertake great cures, and perhaps have been lucky in two or three experiments, but want the grounds of science, and therefore cannot hold out: nay, you shall see a bold fellow many times do Mahomet's miracle. Mahomet made the people believe that he would call a hill to him, and from the top of it offer up his prayers for the observers of his law. The people assembled: Mahomet called the hill to come to him again and again; and when the hill stood still, he was never a whit abashed, but said, "If the hill will not come to Mahomet, Mahomet will go to the hill." So these men, when they have promised great matters and failed most shamefully, yet (if they have the perfection of boldness) they will but slight it over, and make a turn and no more ado. Certainly to men of great judgment, bold persons are a sport to behold; nay, and to the vulgar also boldness hath somewhat of the ridiculous: for if absurdity be the subject of laughter, doubt you not but great boldness is seldom without some absurdity; especially it is a sport to see when a bold fellow is out of countenance, for that puts his face into a most shrunken and wooden posture as needs it must; for in bashfulness the spirits do a little go and come; but with bold men, upon like occasion, they stand at a stay; like a stale at chess, where it is no mate, but yet the game cannot stir: but this last were fitter for a satire than for a serious observation. This is well to be weighed, that It is a trivial grammar-school text, but yet boldness is ever blind; for it seeth not dangers worthy a wise man's consideration. Question and inconveniences: therefore it is ill in counsel, was asked of Demosthenes what was the chief good in execution; so that the right use of bold
XII. OF BOLDNESS.
persons is, that they never command in chief, but | give it to the poor, and follow me;" but sell not be seconds and under the direction of others; for in counsel it is good to see dangers, and in execution not to see them except they be very great.
XIII OF GOODNESS AND GOODNESS
all thou hast except thou come and follow me; that is, except thou have a vocation wherein thou mayest do as much good with little means as with great; for otherwise, in feeding the streams, thou driest the fountain. Neither is there only a habit of goodness directed by right reason ; but there is in some men, even in nature, a disposition towards it; as on the other side, there is a natural malignity; for there be that in their na│ture do not affect the good of others. The lighter sort of malignity turneth but to a crossness, or frowardness, or aptness to oppose, or difficileness, or the like; but the deeper sort to envy, and mere mischief. Such men in other men's calamities, are, as it were, in season, and are ever on the loading part: not so good as the dogs that licked Lazarus' sores, but like flies that are still buzzing upon any thing that is raw; misanthropi, that make it their practice to bring men to the bough, and yet have never a tree for the purpose in their gardens, as Timon had; such dispositions are the very errors of human nature, and yet they are the fittest timber to make great politics of; like to knee timber, that is good for ships that are ordained to be tossed, but not for building houses that shall stand firm. The parts and signs of goodness are many. If a man be gracious and courteous to strangers, it shows he is a citizen of the world, and that his heart is no island cut off
I TAKE goodness in this sense, the affecting of the weal of men, which is that the Grecians call Philanthropia; and the word humanity (as it is used) is a little too light to express it. Goodness I call the habit, and goodness of nature the inclination. This of all virtues and dignities of the mind is the greatest, being the character of the Deity and without it man is a busy, mischievous, wretched thing, no better than a kind of vermin. Goodness answers to the theological virtue charity, and admits no excess but error. The desire of power in excess caused the angels to fall: the desire of knowledge in excess caused man to fall: but in charity there is no excess, neither can angel or man come in danger by it. The inclination to goodness is imprinted deeply in the nature of man; insomuch, that if it issue not towards men, it will take unto other living creatures; as it is seen in the Turks, a cruel people, who nevertheless are kind to beasts, and give alms to dogs and birds; insomuch, as Busbechius reporteth, a Christian boy in Constantinople had liked to have been stoned for gagging in a wag-from other lands, but a continent that joins to gishness a long-billed fowl. Errors indeed, in them: if he be compassionate towards the afflicthis virtue, of goodness or charity, may be com- tions of others, it shows that his heart is like the mitted. The Italians have an ungracious proverb, noble tree that is wounded itself when it gives the "Tanto buon che val niente;" "So good, that balm: if he easily pardons and remits offences, it he is good for nothing:" and one of the doctors shows that his mind is planted above injuries, so of Italy, Nicholas Machiavel, had the confidence that he cannot be shot: if he be thankful for small to put in writing almost in plain terms, "That the benefits, it shows that he weighs men's minds, and Christian faith had given up good men in prey to not their trash: but, above all, if he have St. those that are tyrannical and unjust;" which he Paul's perfection, that he would wish to be an spake, because, indeed, there was never law or sect anathema from Christ for the salvation of his or opinion did so much magnify goodness as the brethren, it shows much of a divine nature, and a Christian religion doth; therefore to avoid the scan- | kind of conformity with Christ himself.
dal and the danger both, it is good to take knowledge of the errors of an habit so excellent. Seek the good of other men, but be not in bondage to their faces or fancies; for that is but facility or softness, which taketh an honest mind prisoner. Neither give thou Æsop's cock a gem, who would be better pleased and happier if he had a barley-corn.* The example of God teacheth the lesson truly; "He sendeth his rain, and maketh the sun to shine upon the just and the unjust;" but he doth not rain wealth, nor shine honour and virtues upon men equally; common benefits are to be communicated with all, but peculiar benefits with choice. And beware how in making the portraiture thou breakest the pattern: for divinity maketh the love of ourselves the pattern; the love of our neighhours but the portraiture: "Sell all thou hast and
* See note G, at the end of the Essays.
XIV. OF NOBILITY.
We will speak of nobility first as a portion of an estate, then as a condition of particular persons. A monarchy where there is no nobility at all, is ever a pure and absolute tyranny, as that of the Turks; for nobility attempers sovereignty, and draws the eyes of the people somewhat aside from the line royal; but for democracies they need it not; and they are commonly more quiet and less subject to sedition, than where there are stirps of nobles; for men's eyes are upon the business, and not upon the persons; or if upon the persons, it is for the business' sake, as fittest, and not for flags and pedigree. We see the Switzers last well, notwithstanding their diversity of religion and of cantons; for utility is their bond
and not respects. The united provinces of the Low Countries in their government excel; for where there is an equality the consultations are more indifferent, and the payments and tributes more cheerful. A great and potent nobility addeth majesty to a monarch, but diminisheth power, and putteth life and spirit into the people, but presseth their fortune. It is well when nobles are not too great for sovereignty nor for justice; and yet maintained in that height, as the insolency of inferiors may be broken upon them before it come on too fast upon the majesty of kings. A numerous nobility causeth poverty and inconvenience in a state, for it is a surcharge of expense; and besides, it being of necessity that many of the nobility fall in time to be weak in fortune, it maketh a kind of disproportion between honour and
As for nobility in particular persons, it is a reverend thing to see an ancient castle or building not in decay, or to see a fair timber tree sound and perfect; how much more to behold an ancient noble family, which hath stood against the waves and weathers of time? for new nobility is but the act of power, but ancient nobility is the act of time. Those that are first raised to nobility are commonly more virtuous, but less innocent, than their descendants; for there is rarely any rising but by a commixture of good and evil arts; but it is reason the memory of their virtues remain to their posterity, and their faults die with themselves. Nobility of birth commonly abateth industry; and he that is not industrious, envieth him that is; besides noble persons cannot go much higher and he that standeth at a stay when others rise, can hardly avoid motions of envy. On the other side, nobility extinguisheth the passive envy from others towards them, because they are in possession of honour. Certainly, kings that have able men of their nobility shall find ease in employing them, and a better slide into their business; for people naturally bend to them as born in some sort to command.
XV. OF SEDITIONS AND TROUBLES.
SHEPHERDS of people had need know the calendars and tempests in state, which are commonly greatest when things grow to equality; as natural tempests are greatest about the equinoctia; and as there are certain hollow blasts of wind and secret swellings of seas before a tempest, so are there in
Ille etiam cæcos instare tumultus Sæpe monet, fraudesque operta tumescere bella." Libels and licentious discourses against the state, when they are frequent and open; and in like sort false news often running up and down, to the disadvantage of the state, and hastily embraced, are amongst the signs of troubles. Virgil, giving the pedigree of Fame, saith she was sister to the giants:
"Illam Terra parens, irâ irritata Deorum,
As if fames were the relics of seditions past; but they are no less indeed the preludes of seditions to come. Howsoever he noteth it right, that seditious tumults and seditious fames differ no more but as brother and sister, masculine and feminine; especially if it come to that, that the best actions of a state, and the most plausible, which ought to give greatest contentment, are taken in ill sense, and traduced: for that shows the envy great, as Tacitus saith, "conflata, magna invidia, seu bene, seu male, gesta premunt." Neither doth it follow, that because these fames are a sign of troubles, that the suppressing of them with too much severity should be a remedy of troubles; for the despising of them many times checks them best, and the going about to stop them doth but make a wonder long lived. Also that kind of obedience, which Tacitus speaketh of, is to be held suspected:" Erant in officio, sed tamen qui mallent mandata imperantium interpretari, quam exequi ;” disputing, excusing, cavilling upon mandates and directions, is a kind of shaking off the yoke, and assay of disobedience; especially if in those disputings they which are for the direction speak fearfully and tenderly, and those that are against it audaciously.
Also, as Machiavel noteth well, when princes, that ought to be common parents, make themselves as a party and lean to a side: it is, as a boat that is overthrown by uneven weight on the one side; as was well seen in the time of Henry the Third of France; for first himself entered league for the extirpation of the Protestants, and presently after the same league was turned upon himself: for when the authority of princes is made but an accessary to a cause, and that there be other bands that tie faster than the band of sovereignty, kings begin to be put almost out of possession.
Also, when discords, and quarrels, and factions, are carried openly and audaciously, it is a sign the reverence of government is lost; for the motions of the greatest persons in a government ought to be as the motions of the planets under "primum mobile," (according to the old opinion,) which is, that every of them is carried swiftly by the highest motion, and softly in their own motion; and, therefore, when great ones in their own particular motion move violently, and, as Tacitus expresseth it well, “liberius quam ut imperantium meminissent," it is a sign the orbs are out of frame: for reverence is that wherewith princes are girt from God, who threateneth the dissolving thereof; "solvam cingula regum."
So when any of the four pillars of government are mainly shaken, or weakened, (which are religion, justice, counsel, and treasure,) men had need to pray for fair weather. But let us pass from this part of predictions, (concerning which,