Page images
PDF
EPUB

sured Signe, of a worthy and generous Spirit, whom Honour amends. For Honour is, or should be, the Place of Vertue: And as in Nature, Things move violently to their Place, and calmely in their Place: So Vertue in Ambition is violent, in Authoritie setled and calme. All Rising to Great Place, is by a winding Staire: And if there be Factions, it is good, to side a Mans selfe, whilest hee is in the Rising; and to ballance Himselfe, when hee is placed. Use the Memory of thy Predecessour fairely, 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 looke not for it, then exclude them, when they have reason to looke to be called. Be not too sensible, or too remembring, 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.

XII

Of Boldnesse

TT is a triviall Grammar Schoole Text, but 1 yet worthy a wise Mans Consideration. Question was asked of Demosthenes; What was the Chiefe Part of an Oratour? He answered, Altion; what next? Action; what next again? Action. He said it, that knew it best; And had by nature, himselfe, no Advantage, in that he commended. A strange thing, that that Part of an Oratour, which is but superficiall, and rather the vertue of a Player; should be placed so high, above those other Noble Parts, of Invention, Elocution, and the rest: Nay almost alone, as if it were All in All. But the Reason is plaine. There is in Humane Nature, generally, more of the Foole, then of the Wise; And therfore those faculties, by which the Foolish part of Mens Mindes is taken, are most potent. Wonderfull like is the Case of Boldnesse, in Civill Businesse; What first? Boldnesse; What Second, and Third? Boldnesse. And yet Boldnesse is a Childe of Ignorance, and Basenesse, farre inferiour to other parts. But neverthelesse, it doth fascinate, and binde hand and foot, those, that are either shallow in Iudgment; or weake in Courage, which are the greatest Part; Yea and prevaileth with wise men, at weake times. Therfore, we see it hath done wonders, in Popular States; but with Senates and Princes lesse; And more ever upon the first entrance of Bold Persons into Action, then soone after; For Boldnesse is an ill keeper of promise. Surely, as there are Mountebanques for the Naturall Body: So are there Mountebanques for the Politique Body: Men that undertake great Cures; And perhaps have been Lucky, in two or three Experiments, but want the Grounds of Science; And therfore cannot hold out. Nay you shall see a Bold Fellow, many times, doe Mahomets Miracle. Mahomet made the People beleeve, that he would call an Hill to him; And from the Top of it, offer up his Praiers, for the Observers of his Law. The People assembled ; Mahomet cald the Hill to come to him, againe, and againe; And when the Hill stood still, he was never a whit abashed, but said; If the Hill will not come to Mahomet, Mahomet wil go to the hil. So these Men, when they have promised great Matters, and failed most shamefully, (yet if they have the perfection of Bold nesse) they will but slight it over, and make a turne, and no more adoe. Certainly, to Men of great Iudgment, Bold Persons, are a Sport to behold; Nay and to the Vulgar also, Boldnesse ; ! hath somewhat of the Ridiculous. For if Ab surdity be the Subiect of Laughter, doubt you not, but great Boldnesse is seldome 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 Shruncken, and woodden Posture; As needes it must; For in Bashfulnesse, the Spirits doe a little goe and come; but with Bold Men, upon like occasion, they stand at a stay; Like a Stale at Chesse, where it is no Mate, but yet the Game cannot stirre. But this last, were fitter for a Satyre, then for a serious Observation. This is well to be weighed; That Boldnesse is ever blinde: For it seeth not dangers, and Inconveniences. Therfore, it is ill in Counsell, good in Execution : So that the right Use of Bold persons is, that they never Command in Chiefe, but be Seconds, and under the Direction of others. For in Counsell, it is good to see dangers; And in Execution, not to see them, except they be very great.

XIII

Of Goodnesse and Goodnesse of Nature

I TAKE Goodnesse in this Sense, the affecting T of the Weale of Men, which is that the Grecians call Philanthropia; And the word Humanitie (as it is used) is a little too light, to expresse it. Goodnesse I call the Habit, and Goodnesse of Nature the Inclination. This of all Vertues, and Dignities of the Minde, is the greatest; being the Character of the Deitie: And without it, Man is a Busie, Mischievous, Wretched Thing; No better then a Kinde of Vermine. Goodnesse answers to the Theologicall Vertue Charitie, and admits no Excesse, but Errour. The desire of Power in Excesse, caused the Angels to fall; The desire of Knowledge in Excesse, caused Man to fall; But in Charity, there is no Excesse; Neither can Angell, or Man, come in danger by it. The Inclination to Goodnesse, is imprinted deepely in the Nature of Man: In so much, that if it issue not towards Men, it will take unto Other Living Creatures: As it is seen in the Turks, a Cruell People, who neverthelesse, are kinde to Beasts, and give

« PreviousContinue »