Page images

princes, in regard of the distance of their for tune from that of their subjects and servants, cannot gather this fruit except (to make themselves capable thereof) they raise some persons to be as it were companions, and almost equals to themselves, which many times sorteth to inconvenience. The modern languages give unto such persons the name of favourites, or privadoes, as if it were matter of grace, or conversation; but the Roman name attaineth the true use and cause thereof, naming them “participes curarum ;" for it is that which tieth the knnt: and we see plainly that this hath been done, not by weak and passionate princes only, but by the wisest and most politic that ever reigned, who have oftentimes joined to themselves some of their servants, whom both themselves have called friends, and allowed others likewise to call them in the same manner, using the word which is receiyed between private men.

L. Sylla, when he commanded Rome, raised Pompey (after surnamed the Great) to that height, that Pompey vaunted himself for Sylla's overmatch; for, when he had carried the consulship for a friend of his, against the pursuit of Sylla, and that Sylla did a little resent thereat, and began to speak great, Pompey turned upon him again, and in effect bade him be quiet; for that more men adored the sun rising than the sun setting. With Julius Cæsar, Decimus Brutus had obtained that interest, as he set him down in his testament for heit

in remainder after his nephew; and this was the man that had power with him to draw him forth to his death : for when Cæsar would have discharged the senate, in regard of some ill presages, and specially a dream of Calpurnia, this man lifted him gently by the arm ont of his chair, telling him he hoped he would not dismiss the senate till his wife had dreamed a better dream; and it seemed his favour was so great as Antonius, in a letter which is recited verbatim in one of Cicero's Philippics, called him “venefica,”

witch ;” as if he had enchanted Cæsar. Augustus raised Agrippa (though of mean birth) to that height, as, when he consulted with Mæcenas about the marriage of his daughter Julia, Mæcenas took the liberty to tell him, that he must either marry his daughter to Agrippa, or take away his life: there was no third way, he had made him so great. With Tiberius Cæsar, Sejanus had ascended to that height, as they two were termed and reckoned as a pair of friends. Tiberius, in a letter to him, saith, “ hæc pro amicitia nostra non occultavi;” and the whole senate dedicated an altar to Friendship, as to a goddess, in respect of the great dearness of friendship between them two. The like, or more, was between Septimius Severus and Plautianus; for he forced his eldest son to marry the daughter of Plautianus, and would often maintain Plautianus in doing affronts to his son: and did write, also, in a letter to the senate, by these

words : “I love the man so well as I wish he may overlive me:" Now, if these princes had been as a Trajan, or a Marcus Aurelius, a man might have thought that this had proceeded of an abundant goodness of nature; but being men so wise, of such strength and severity of mind, and so extreme lovers of themselves, as all these were, it proveth, most plainly, that they found their ow.. felicity (though as great as ever happened to mortal men) but as an halfpiece, except they might have a friend to make it entire; and yet, which is more, they were princes that had wives, sons, nephews : yet all these could not supply the comfort of friendship.

It is not to be forgotten what Comineus observeth of his first master, Duke Charles the Hardy, namely, that he would communicate his secrets with none; and, least of all, those secrets which troubled him most. Whereupon he goeth on, and saith, that, towards his latter time, that closeness did impair and a little perish his understanding. Surely Comineus might have made the same judgment also, if it had pleased him, of his second master, Lewis the Eleventh, whose closeness was indeed his tormentor. The parable of Pythagoras is dark, but true, cor ne edito,” « eat not the heart." Certainly, if a man would give it a hard phrase, those that want friends to open themselves unto are cannibals of their cwn hearts ; but one thing is niost admirable, (wherewith I will conclude this

first fruit of friendship,) which is, that this communicating of a man's self to his friend works to contrary effects, for it redoubleth joys and cutteth griefs in halves; for there is no man that imparteth his joys to his friend, but he joyeth the more; and no man that imparteth his griefs to his friend, but he grieveth the less. So that it is, in truth, of operation upon a man's mind, of like virtue as the alchymists use to attribute to their stone for man's body, that it worketh all contrary effects, but still to the good and benefit of nature : but yet, without praying in aid of alchymists, there is a manifest image of this in the ordi: nary course of nature; for, in bodies, union strengtheneth and cherisheth any natural action; and, on the other side, weakeneth and dulleth any violent impression; and even so is it of minds.

The second fruit of friendship is healthful and sovereign for the understanding, as the first is for the affections; for friendship maketh indeed a fair day in the affections from storm and tempests, but it maketh daylight in the understanding, out of darkness and confusion of thoughts: neither is this to be understood only of faithful counsel, which a man receiveth from his friend; but before you come to that, certain it is, that whosoever hath his mind fraught with many thoughts, his wits and understanding do clarify and break up, in the communicating and discoursing with another; he tosseth his thoughts more easily; he mar

shalleth them more orderly; he seeth how they look when they are turned into words; finally, he waxeth 'wiser than hinıself; and that more by an hour's discourse than by a day's meditation. It was well said by Themistocles to the king of Persia, “thet speech was like cloth of Arras, opened and put abroad :" whereby the imagery doth appear in figure; whereas in thoughts they lie but as in packs. Neither is this second fruit of friendship, in opening the understanding, restrained only to such friends as are able to give a man counsel, (they indeed are best,) but even without that a man learneth of himself, and bringeth his own thoughts to light, and wiietteth his wits as ag iinst a stone, which itself cuts not. In a worl, a man were better relate himself to a statue or pictu e than to suffer his thoughts to pass in smother.

Add, now, to make this second fruit of friendship complete, that other point which lieth more open, and falleth within vulgar observation : which is faithful counsel from a friend. Heraclitus saith well in one of his enigmas, “Dry light is ever the best,” and certain it is, that the light that a man receiveth by counsel from another is drier and purer than that which cometh from his own understanding and judgment; which is ever infused and drenched in his affections and customs. So as there is as much difference between the counsel that a friend giveth, and that a man giveth himself, as there is between the coun

« PreviousContinue »