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THE EPISTLE DEDICATORIE.
Το M. ANTHONY BACON
his deare Brother.
LOUING and beloued Brother, I doe nowe like some that haue an Orcharde il neighbored, that gather their fruit before it is ripe, to preuent stealing. These fragments of my conceites were going to print; To labour the staie of them had bin troublesome, and subiect to interpretation ; to let them passe had beene to advēture the wrong they mought receiue by vntrue Coppies, or by some garnishment, which it mought please any that should set them forth to bestow upon them. Therefore I helde it best discreation to publish them my selfe as they passed long agoe from my pen, without any further disgrace, then the weaknesse of the Author. And as I did euer hold, there mought be as great a vanitie in retiring and withdrawing mens conceites (except they bee of some nature) from the world, as in obtruding them : So in these particulars I haue played my selfe the Inquisitor, and find nothing to my vnderstanding in them contrarie or infectious to
the state of Religion, or manners, but rather (as I suppose) medicinable. Only I disliked now to put them out because they will be like the late new halfe-pence, which though the Siluer were good, yet the peeces were small. But since they would not stay with their Master, but would needes trauaile abroade, I haue preferred them to you that are next myself, Dedicating them, such as they are, to our loue, in the depth whereof (I assure you) I sometimes wish your infirmities translated uppon my selfe, that her Maiestie mought haue the seruice of so actiue and able a mind, & I mought be with excuse confined to these contemplations & studies for which I am fittest, so commende I you to the preseruation of the diuine Maiestie. From my Chamber at Graies Inne, this 30. of Ianuarie. 1597. Your entire Louing brother.
1. Of studie. 2. Of discourse. 3. Of Ceremonies and respects. 4. Of followers and friends. 5. Sutors. 6. Of expence. 7. Of Regiment of health. 8. Of Honour and reputation.
9. Of Faction. 10. Of Negociating.
OF STUDIES. STUDIES serue for pastimes, for ornaments and for abilities. Their chiefe vse for pastime is in priuatenes and retiring; for ornamente is in discourse, and for abilitie is in iudgement. For expert men can execute, but learned men are fittest to iudge or censure.
To spend too much time in them is slouth, to vse them too much for ornament is affectation : to make iudgement wholly by their rules, is the humour of a Scholler. They perfect Nature, and are perfected by experience. I Craftie men continue them, simple men admire them, wise men vse them: For they teach not their owne vse, but that is a wisedome without them : and aboue them wonne by observation. | Reade not to contradict, nor to belieue, but to waigh and consider. | Some bookes are to bee tasted, others to bee swallowed, and some few to bee chewed and disgested : That is, some bookes are to be read only in partes ; others to be read, but cursorily, and some few to be read wholly and with diligence and attention. | Reading maketh a full man, conference a readye man, and writing an exacte man. And therefore if a man write little, he had neede haue a great memorie, if he conferre little, he had neede haue a present wit, and if he reade little, hee had neede haue much cunning, to seeme to know that he doth not. | Histories make men wise, Poets wittie : the Mathematickes subtle, naturall Phylosophie deepe : Morall graue, Logicke and Rhetoricke able to contend.
1 So in the original: corrected with a pen into contemne in the British Museum copy.
Some in their discourse desire rather commendation of wit in being able to holde all arguments, then of iudgement in discerning what is true, as if it were a praise to know what might be said, and not what shoulde be thought. Some haue certaine Common places and Theames wherein they are good, and want varietie, which kinde of pouertie is for the most part tedious, and nowe and then ridiculous. The honourablest part of talke is to guide the occasion, and againe to moderate and passe to somewhat else. It is good to varie and mixe speech of the present occasion with argument, tales with reasons, asking of questions, with telling of opinions, and iest with earnest. | But some thinges are priuiledged from iest, namely Religion, matters of state, great persons, any mans present businesse of importance, and any case that deserueth pittie. | He that questioneth much shall learn much, and content much, specially if hee applie his questions to the skill of the person of whome he asketh, for he shal giue them occasion to please themselues in speaking, and himselfe shall continually gather knowledge. If you dissemble sometimes your knowledge of that you are thought to knowe, you shall bee thought another time to know that you know not. | Speech of a mans selfe is not good often, and there is but one case, wherin a man may commend himselfe with good grace, and that is in commending vertue in another, especially if it be such a vertue, as whereunto himselfe pretendeth. T Discretion of speech is more then eloquence, and to speake agreably to him, with whome we deale is more thē to speake in good wordes or in good order. (A good continued speech without a good speech of interlocution sheweth slownesse : and a good reply or second speech without a good set speech sheweth shallownesse and weaknes, as wee see in beastes that those that are weakest in the course are yet nimblest in the turne. To vse too many circumstances ere one come to the matter is wearisome, to use none at all is blunt.
OF CEREMONIES AND RESPECTES. He that is onely reall had need haue exceeding great parts of vertue, as the stone had neede be rich that is set without foyle. But commonly it is in praise as it is in gaine. For as the prouerbe is true, That light gaines make heauie Purses : Because they come thicke, wheras great come but now and then, so it is as true that smal matters winne great commendation : because they are continually in vse and in note, whereas the occasion of any great vertue commeth but on holydaies. To attaine good formes, it sufficeth not to