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ESSAY XLIII. OF BEAUTY.
VIRTUE is like a rich stone, best plain set; and surely
virtue is best in a body that is comely, though not of delicate features, and that hath rather dignity of presence than beauty of aspect; neither is it almost' seen that very beautiful persons are otherwise of great virtue, as if nature were rather busy not to err, than in labour to produce excellency, and therefore they prove accomplished, but not of great spirit, and study rather behaviour than virtue. But this holds not always; for Augustus Cæsar, Titus Vespasianus, Philip le Bel of France, Edward IV. of England, Alcibiades of Athens, Ismael the sophy 3 of Persia, were all high and great spirits, and yet the most beautiful men of their times. In beauty, that of favouro is more than that of colour, and that of decent and gracious 6 motion more than that of favour. That is the best part of beauty which a picture cannot express, no, nor the first sight of the life. There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion. A man cannot tell whether A pelles or Albert Durer were the more? trifler; whereof the one
1 Almost. For the most part; generally. Who is there almost, whose mind at some time or other, love or anger, fear or grief, has not fastened to some clog, that it could not turn itself to any other object ?
? Excellency. Excellence. That the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.'— 2 Cor. iv. 7. & Sophy. Sultan.
• With letters, him in cautious wise,
They straightway sent to Persia ;
-St. George and the Dragon. * Favour. Countenance.
I know your favour well, Percy,
Though now you have no sea-cap on your head.'-Shakespere. 5 Decent. Becoming; fit. “All pastimes, generally, which be joyned with labour and in open place, and on the day-lighte, be not only comelie and decent, but verie necessarie for a courtly gentleman.'-Roger Ascham.
Those thousand decencies that daily flow
From all her words and actions.'- Milton. 6 Gracious. Graceful.
“There was ne'er such a gracious creature born.'—Shakespere. 7 More. Greater ; great. The moreness of Christ's virtues are not measured by worldly moreness.'— Wickliff.
would make a personage by geometrical proportions, the other, by taking the best parts out of divers' faces, to make one excellent. Such personages, I think, would please nobody but the painter that made them—not but I think a painter may make a better face than ever was, but he must do it by a kind of felicity (as a musician that maketh an excellent air in music), and not by rule. A man shall see faces, that if you examine them part by part you shall find never à good, and yet altogether do well. If it be true that the principal part of beauty is in decent motion, certainly it is no marvel” though persons in years seem many times more amiable: 'Pulchrorum autumnus pulcher'3—for no youth can be comely but by pardon, and considering the youth as to make up the comeliness. Beauty is as summer-fruits, which are easy to corrupt, and cannot last, and, for the most part, it makes a dissolute youth, and an age a little out of countenance; but yet certainly again, if it light well, it maketh virtue shine, and vices blush.
1 Divers. Many. For that divers of the English do maintain and succour sundry thieves, robbers, and rebels, because that the same do put them into their safeguard and counsel ...'-Statutes and Ordinances made in the 4th year of Henry VI., before the Most Reverend Richard, Archbishop of Dublin, and Lord Justice of Ireland, A.D. 1440.
* Marvel. A wonder. "No marvel ; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.'—2 Cor. xi. 14.
3. The autumn of the beautiful is beautiful.'
ESSAY XLIV. OF DEFORMITY.
TEFORMED persons are commonly even with nature; for
as nature hath done ill by them, so do they by nature, being for the most part (as the Scripture saith) void of natural affection:'and so they have their revenge of nature. Certainly there is a consent ? between the body and the mind, and •where nature erreth in the one she ventureth in the other (Ubi peccat in uno, periclitatur in altero'): but because there is in man an election touching the frame of his mind, and a necessity in the frame of his body, the stars of natural inclination are sometimes obscured by the sun of discipline and virtue; therefore, it is good to consider of deformity, not as a sign which is more deceivable, but as a cause which seldom faileth of the effect. Whosoever hath anything fixed in his person that doth induce contempt, hath also a perpetual spur in himself to rescue and deliver himself from scorn; therefore, all deformed persons are extreme * bold-first, as in their own defence, as being exposed to scorn, but in process of time by a general habit. Also, it stirreth in them industry, and especially of this kind, to watch and observe the weakness of others, that they may have somewhat to repay. Again, in their superiors, it quencheth jealousy towards them, as persons that they think they may at pleasure despise ; and it layeth their competitors and emulators asleep, as never believing they should be in possibility of advancement, till they see them in possession; so that upon the matter," in a great wit, deformity is an advantage to rising. Kings, in ancient times (and at this present, in
i Rom. i. 31.
2 . Then since the Heavens have shaped my body so,
Shakespere's Richard III. 3 Consent. Agreement.
With one consent, let all the earth
To God their cheerful voices raise.'— Tate's Version of Psalm c. • Extreme. Extremely.
5 Matter. Whole. (*Upon the matter'-On the whole.) 'He grants the deluge to have come so very near the matter, that but very few escaped.'— Tillotson,
some countries), were wont' to put great trust in eunuchs, because they that are envious towards all are obnoxious ? and officious towards one: but yet their trust towards them hath rather been as to good spials 3 and good whisperers than good magistrates and officers ; and much like is the reason of deformed persons. Still the ground is, they will, if they be of spirit, seek to free themselves from scorn, which must be either by virtue or malice ; 4 and therefore, let it not be marvelled," if sometimes they prove excellent persons ; as was Agesilaus, Zanger the son of Solyman, Æsop, Gasca, president of Peru; and Socrates may go likewise amongst them, with others.
Bacon is speaking principally of original deformities; not such as result from accident or disease. And it is very remarkable how much less tendency these latter have, than the other, to produce such effects as he is speaking of
I Wont. To be accustomed. •Now at the feast the governor was vont to release unto them a prisoner.'—Matt. xxvii. 15.
I this night, have dream'd,
If dream'd, not as I oft am wont, of thee.' - Milton. ? Obnoxious. Subject; submissive. The writings of lawyers, which are tied and obnoxious to their particular laws.'—Bacon. 3 Spials. Spies.
The Prince's spials have informed me.'-Shakespere. * Malice. Vice. (Not, as now, restricted to malevolence.) 'In malice be ye children.'- 1 Cor. xiv. 20. Not using your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness 1 Pet. ii. 16.
5 Marvel. To wonder at. Marvel not that I said unto thee, ye must be born again.'—John üii.
ESSAY XLV. OF BUILDING.
TOUSES are built to live in, and not to look on; therefore, 11 let use be preferred before ' uniformity, except where both may be had. Leave the goodly fabrics of houses, for beauty, only to the enchanted palaces of the poets, who build them with small cost. He that builds a fair house upon an ill seat, committeth himself to prison-neither do I reckon it an ill seat only where the air is unwholesome, but likewise where the air is unequal; as you shall see many fine seats set upon a knap 3 of ground, environed with higher hills round about it, whereby the heat of the sun is pent in, and the wind gathereth as in troughs : so as * you shall have, and that suddenly, as great diversity of heat and cold as if you dwelt in several places. Neither is it illö air only that maketh an ill seat, but ill ways, ill markets; and if you consult with Momus, ill neighbours. I speak not of many more; want of water, want of wood, shade, and shelter, want of fruitfulness, and mixture of grounds of several natures; want of prospect, want of level grounds, want of places at some near distance for sports of hunting, hawking, and races; too near the sea, too remote; having the commodity 6 of navigable rivers, or the discommodity of their overflowing ; too far off from great cities, which may hinder business; or too
Preferred before. Preferred to.
• Spirit that dost prefer
Instruct me.'--Milton. 2 Seat. Site. It remaineth now that we find out the seat of Eden.'— Raleigh. 3 Knap. A prominence; a knoll.
· Hark, on knap of yonder hill,
Some sweet shepherd tunes his quill.'--Brown. 4 As. That. See page 26. 5 Ill. Bad.
• There some ill planet reigns.'-Shakespere. 6 Commodity. Advantage ; convenience. See page 442.