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riches, for it is our great mother's blessing, the Earth; but it is slow ; and yet, where men of great wealth do stoop to husbandry, it multiplieth riches exceedingly. I knew a nobleman in England that had the greatest audits” of any man in my time, a great grazier, a great sheep-master, a great timberman, a great collier, a great corn-man, a great lead-man, and so of iron, and a number of the like points of husbandry; so as the earth seemed a sea to him in respect of the perpetual importation. It was truly observed by one, that himself “came very hardly to a little riches, and very easily to great riches”; for when a man's stock is come to that, that he can expect the prime of markets,4 and overcome * those bargains which for their greatness are few men's money, and be partner in the industries of younger men, he cannot but increase mainly." The gains of ordinary trades and vocations are honest, and furthered by two things, chiefly,– by diligence, and by a good name for good and fair dealing; but the gains of bargains are of a more doubtful nature, when men shall wait upon others’ necessity; broke 7 by servants and instruments to draw them on ; put off others cunningly that would be better chapmen,” and the like practices, which are crafty and naught: as for the chopping” of bargains, when a man buys not to hold, but to sell over again, that commonly grindeth double, both upon the seller and upon the buyer. Sharings do greatly enrich, if the hands be well chosen that are trusted. Usury is the certainest means of gain, though one of the worst ; as that whereby a man doth eat his bread, in sudore vultàs alieni ;1 and, besides, doth plough upon Sundays: but yet, certain though it be, it hath flaws; for that the scriveners and brokers do value unsound men to serve their own turn.” The fortune in being the first in an invention, or in a privilege, doth cause sometimes a wonderful overgrowth in riches, as it was with the first sugar-man * in the Canaries: therefore, if a man can play the true logician, to have as well judgment as invention, he may do great matters, especially if the times be fit. He that resteth upon gains certain shall hardly grow to great riches; and he that puts all upon adventures doth oftentimes break and come to poverty: it is good, therefore, to guard adventures with certainties that may uphold losses. Monopolies, and coemption of wares for re-sale, where they are not restrained, are great means to enrich; especially if the party have intelligence what things are like to come into request, and so store himself beforehand. Riches gotten by service, though it be of the best rise, yet when they are gotten by flattery, feeding humours, and other servile conditions, they may be placed amongst the worst.* As for fishing for testaments and executorships, (as Tacitus saith of Seneca, Testamenta et orbos tanquam indagine capi,”) it is yet worse, by how much men submit themselves to meaner persons than in service. Believe not much them that seem to despise riches, for they despise them that despair of them ; and none worse when they come to them. Be not penny-wise : riches have wings, and sometimes they fly away of themselves, sometimes they must be set flying to bring in more. Men leave their riches either to their kindred or to the public ; and moderate portions prosper best in both. A great state left to an heir is as a lure to all the birds of prey round about to seize on him, if he be not the better stablished in years and judgment: likewise, glorious" gifts and foundations are like sacrifices without salt; and but the painted sepulchres of alms, which soon will putrefy and corrupt inwardly. Therefore measure not thine advancements" by quantity, but frame them by measure : and defer not charities till death ; for, certainly, if a man weigh it rightly, he that doth so is rather siberal of another man's than of his own.

3 Audit here means a rent-roll, or account of income.

4 That is, wait till the markets are at their best. The use of eacpect for await was common. So in Hebrews, x., 13: “Expecting, till his enemies be made his footstool.” And in The Merchant of Venice, v., 1: “Sweet soul, let's in, and there expect their coming.”

5 Overcome in the sense of overtake, or come upon.

6 Here mainly is greatly. So in Hamlet, iv.,7: “As by your safety, greatness, wisdom, all things else, you mainly were stirr'd up.”

7 To broke, as the word is here used, is to deal meanly, to pander, or employ panders. So in All's Well that Ends Well, iii., 5: “He brokes with all that can in such a suit corrupt the tender honour of a maid.”

8 Chapmen for purchasers, or traders; the old meaning of the word. So in Troilus and Cressida, iv., 1: “You do as chapmen do, dispraise the thing that you desire to buy.” 9 To chop, as the word is here used, is to change, to traffic, as in buying to sell again. Hence the phrase “a chopping mind,” or “a chopping sea.” So Dryden, in The Hind and Panther: “Every hour your form is chopp'd and changed, like winds before a storm.”

1 “In the Sweat of another's brow.”

2 That is, as crafty penmen and panders falsely represent knaves as trustworthy, in order to catch victims. See note 7, just above.

3 The first planters of the sugar-cane.

4 This is obscure; but the meaning may come something thus: “Riches gotten by service, though the service be of the highest price, or of the most lucrative sort, yet, if it proceed by sinister arts and base compliances, are to be reckoned among the worst.” This use of rise seems odd, but is the same at bottom as in the phrase, “a rise of value,” or “a rise of prices.”

5 “Wills and childless parents, taken as with a net.”

6 Glorious in the sense of the Latin gloriosus; that is, boastful, or ostentatious. A frequent usage.

7 Advances; gifts of money or property.


NATURE is often hidden, sometimes overcome, seldom extinguished. Force maketh nature more violent in the return, doctrine and discourse maketh nature less importune," but custom only doth alter and subdue nature. IIe that seeketh victory over his nature, let him not set himself too great nor too small tasks; for the first will make him dejected by often failings, and the second will make him a small proceeder, though by often prevailings. And, at the first, let him practise with helps, as swimmers do with bladders or rushes; but, after a time, let him practise with disadvantages, as dancers do with thick shoes; for it breeds great perfection if the practice be harder than the use. Where nature is mighty, and therefore the victory hard, the degrees had need be, first to stay and arrest nature in time ; (like to him that would say over the fourand-twenty letters when he was angry ;) then to go less in quantity; as if one should, in forbearing wine, come from drinking healths to a draught at a meal; and, lastly, to discontinue altogether: but if a man have the fortitude and resolution to enfranchise himself at once, that is the best :

“Optimus ille animi vindex laedentia pectus
Vincula qui rupit, dedoluitgue semel.”9

Neither is the ancient rule amiss, to bend nature as a wand to a contrary extreme, whereby to set it right; understanding it where the contrary extreme is no vice. Let not a man force a habit upon himself with a perpetual continuance, but with some intermission; for the pause reinforceth the new onset; and if a man that is not perfect be ever in practice, he shall as well practise his errors as his abilities, and induce one habit of both ; and there is no means to help this but by seasonable intermissions. But let not a man trust his victory over his nature too far, for nature will lie buried a great tirne, and yet revive upon the occasion or temptation ; like as it was with Æsop's damsel, turned from a cat to a woman, who sat very demurely at the board's end till a mouse ran before her: therefore let a nian either avoid the occasion altogether, or put himself often to it, that he may be little moved with it. A man's nature is best perceived in privateness, for there is no affectation ; in passion, for that putteth a man out of his precepts ; and in a new case or experiment, for there custom leaveth him. They

8 Importune for importunate; that is, troublesome. 9 “He is the best assertor of the soul, who bursts the bonds that gall him, and grieves it out at once.” The quotation is from Ovid's Itemedy for Love.

are happy men whose natures sort with theiryocations; otherwise they may say, Multurn incola fuit anima mea, when they converse in those things they do not affect.” In studies, whatsoever a man commandeth upon himself, let him set hours for it; but whatsoever is agreeable to his nature, let him take no care for any set times; for his thoughts will fly to it of themselves, so as the spaces of other business or studies will suffice. A man's nature runs either to herbs or weeds; therefore let him seasonably water the one, and destroy the other.


MEN'S thoughts are much according to their inclination; their discourse and speeches according to their learning and infused opinions; but their deeds are after” as they have been accustomed: and therefore, as Machiavel well noteth, (though in an evil-favoured instance,) there is no trusting to the force of nature, nor to the bravery of words, except it be corroborate by custom. His instance is, that, for the achieving of a desperate conspiracy, a man should not rest upon the fierceness of any man's nature, or his resolute undertakings, but take such a one as hath had his hands formerly in blood: but Machiavel knew not of a Friar Clement, nor a Ravillac," nor a Jaureguy,” nor a Baltazar Gerard;" yet his rule holdeth still, that nature, nor the engagement of words, are not so forcible as custom. Only superstition is now so well advanced, that men in the first blood are as firm as butchers by occupation ; and votary resolution? is made equipollent to custom, even in matter of blood. In other things, the predominancy of custom is everywhere visible, insomuch as a man would wonder to hear men profess, protest, engage, give great words, and then do just as they have done before, as if they were dead images and engines, moved only by the wheels of custom. We see also the reign or tyranny of custom, what it is. The Indians (I mean the sect of

1 “My soul has long been a sojourner.” 2 That is, “when their course of life is in those things which they do not like.” Here the verb converse has the same sense as the substantive in Philippians, i., 27: “Let your conversation be as becometh the Gospel of Christ.” 3. A good instance of after used in the sense of according. 4 The assassin of Henry the Fourth of France, in 1610. 5 He attempted to assassinate William, Prince of Orange, and wounded him severely. Philip the Second, in 1582, set a price upon the Prince's head. 6 He assassinated the Prince of Orange in 1584; a crime which he is supposed to have meditated for six years. 7. A resolution confirmed and consecratcd by a solemn vow.

their wise men) Jay themselves quietly upon a stack of wood, and so sacrifice themselves by fire: nay, the wives strive to be burned with the corpses of their husbands. The lads of Sparta, of ancient time, were wont to be scourged upon the altar of Diana, without so much as queching.” I remember, in the beginning of Queen Elizabeth's time of England, an Irish rebel, condemned, put up a petition to the deputy that he might be hanged in a withe, and not in a halter, because it had been so used with former rebels. There be monks in Russia for penance, that will sit a whole night in a vessel of water, till they be engaged with hard ice. Many examples may be put of the force of custom, both upon mind and body; therefore, since custom is the principal magistrate of man's life, let men by all means endeavour to obtain good customs. Certainly, custom is most perfect when it beginneth in young years: this we call education, which is, in effect, but an early custom. So we see, in languages, the tongue is more pliant to all expressions and sounds, the joints are more supple to all feats of activity and motions, in youth than afterwards; for it is true, that late learners cannot so well take the ply,” except it be in some minds that have not suffered themselves to fix, but have kept themselves open and prepared to receive continual amendment, which is exceeding rare: but if the force of custom, simple and separate, be great, the force of custom, copulate and conjoined and collegiate, is far greater; for there example teacheth, company comforteth," emulation quickeneth, glory raiseth ; so as in such places the force of custom is in his” exaltation.” Certainly, the great multiplication of virtues upon human nature resteth upon societies well ordained and disciplined ; for commonwealths and good governments do nourish virtue grown, but do not much mend the seeds: but the misery is, that the most effectual means are now applied to the ends least to be desired.

8 To quech, or to quich, is an old word for to move, to stir, to flinch. 9 Ply is bent, turn, or direction. So used by Macaulay: “The Czar's mind had taken a strange ply, which it retained to the last.” 1 To comfort is here used in its original sense, to make strong. So in the Litany: “That it may please Thee to comfort and help the weak-hearted.” 2 His for its, referring to custom; its not being then an accepted word. Shakespeare and the English Bible are full of like instances; as, “if the salt have lost his savour,” and “the fruit-tree yielding fruit after his kind.” 3 Exaltation is here used in its old astrological sense; a planet being said to be in its eraltation when it was in the sign where its influence was supposed to be the strongest.

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