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A like effect, resulting from a wider acquaintance with the world, and intercourse with superior persons, is described in a still better poem (which if not by Crabbe also, is a most admirable imitation of him in his happiest vein), entitled, 'A Common Tale,' which appeared first in a Periodical called The True Briton, and afterwards in a little book called the Medley}
1 Published by Messrs. Smith, in the Strand.
ESSAY XL OF GREAT PLACE.
MEN in great place are 'thrice servants—servants of the sovereign or State, servants of fame, and servants of business; so as' they have no freedom, neither2 in their persons, nor2 in their actions, nor in their times. It is a strange desire to seek power and to lose liberty, or to seek power over others, and to lose power over a man's self. The rising unto place is laborious, and by pains men come to greater pains; and it is sometimes base, and by indignities3 men come to dignities. The 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, men cannot retire when they would, neither will they when it were reason,5 but are impatient of privateness,6 even in age and sickness, which require the shadow;7 like old townsmen, that will be still sitting at their street door, though thereby they offer age to scorn. Certainly great persons had need to borrow other men's opinions to think themselves happy; for if they judge by their own feeling, they cannot find it; but if they think with themselves what other men think of them, and that other men would fain be as they are, then they are happy as 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: 'I Hi more gravis incubat, qui notus nimis omnibus, ignotus moritur sibL' i
1 As. That. See page 27. J Neither, nor—for other, or.
* Indignity. Meanness.
'Fie on the pelf for which good name is sold.
* 'Since thou art no longer what thou wast, there is no reason why thou shouldst wish to live.'
4 Kcason. Right; reasonable. 'It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables.'—Acts vi. 2.
6 Privateness. Privacy; retirement. 'He drew him into tho fatal circle from a resolved privateness at his house, when he would well have bent his mind to a retired course.'—Wotton. 1 Shadow. Sliade.
'Here, father, take the shadow of this tree
In place there is licence to do good and evil, whereof the latter is a curse; for in evil, the best condition is not to will,2 the second not to can.3 But power to do good is the true and lawful end of aspiring; for good thoughts, though God accept4 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 5 of the same is the accomplishment of man's rest; for if a man can be a partaker of God's theatre, he shall likewise be partaker of God's rest: 'Et conversus Deus, ut aspiceret opera, quae fecerunt manus suae, vidit quod omnia essent bona nimis;'e and then the Sabbath.
In the discharge of thy place set before thee the best examples, for imitation is a globe' of precepts; and after a time set before thee 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 taxing their memory, but to direct thyself what to avoid. Reform, therefore, without bravery,8 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 first institution, and observe wherein and how they have degenerated; but yet ask counsel of both times—of the ancient time what is best, and of the latter time what is fittest. Seek to make thy course regular, that men may know beforehand what they may expect; but be not too positive and peremptory, and express thyself well when thou digressest from thy rule. Preserve the right of thy place, but stir not questions of jurisdiction; and rather assume thy right in silence, and de facto,1 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 .
1 'Death falls heavily upon him, who, too well known to all men, dies unacquainted with himself.'—-Senec. Thyest. xi. 401.
1 To will. 'To be willing; to desire. 'If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God.'—John vii. 17.
* To can. To be able; to have pmcer.
• Mecsenas and Agrippa who can most with Csesar.'—Dryden.
* Accept . To regard favourably. 'In every nation, he that feareth Him and worketh righteousness is accepted with Him.'—Acts x. 35.
* Conscience. Consciousness. 'The reason why the simpler sort are moved with authority is the conscience of their own ignorances.'—Hooker.
* • When God turned to behold the works which his hand had made. He saw that they were all very good.'—Genesis i.
* Globe. A body. •
* Bravery. Bravado; parade of defiance.
'By Ashtaroth! thou shalt ere long lament
The vices of authority are chiefly four: delays, corruption, roughness, and facility. For delays, give easy access; keep times appointed; go through with that which is in hand, and interlace not business but of necessity. For corruption, do not only bind thine own hands or thy servants' hands from taking, but bind the hands of suitors also from offering; for integrity used doth the one, but integrity professed, and with a manifest detestation of bribery, doth the other; and avoid not only the fault, but the suspicion. Whosoever is found variable, and changeth manifestly without manifest cause, giveth suspicion of corruption; therefore, always when thou changest thine opinion or course, profess it plainly, and declare it, together with the reasons that move thee to change, and do not think to steal3 it. A servant or a favourite, if he be inward,4 and no other apparent cause of esteem, is commonly thought but a by-way to close corruption. For roughness, 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 respectsl lead a man, he shall never be without; as Solomon saith, 'To respect persons it is not good, for such a man will transgress for a piece of bread.'
1 In fact. Really; virtually.
2 Voice. To assert; to declare.
'When I shall voice aloud how good
3 Steal. To do secretly.
''Twere good to steal our marriage.'—Shakespere.
4 Inward. Intimate.
'Who is most inward with the noble duke.'—Shakespere. 'All my inward friends abhorred mo.'—Job xix. i y.
It is most true what was anciently spoken—' A place shmvetk 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'3—though the one was meant of sufficiency, the other of manners and affection.4 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 surely be paid when thou art gone. If thou have colleagues, respect them; and rather call them when they look 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.'
ANTITHETA ON GBEAT PLACE.
'Dum honoree appetimus, libertatem * * * * exuimus.
* While we are seeking for great plate, we are dripping ourselves of Uberty.'
■ Respects. Considerationt; motives. 'Whatsoever secret respecU were likely to more them.'—Hooker.
'I would have doff 'd all other respects.'—Shakespere.
* • One whom all would have considered fit for rule, if he had not ruled.'
* • Alone of all the emperors, Vespasiuu waa clmnged for the better.'—Tacit. Hist, i. 9, 50.
* Affection. Disposition; general elate of mind.