Page images
PDF
EPUB

Spain,” for then it will be sure to be long in coming

Give good hearing to those that give the first information in business, and rather direct them in the beginning than interrupt them in the continuance of their speeches; for he that is put out of his own order will go forward and backward, and be more tedious while he waits upon his memory, than he could have been if he had gone on in his own course; but sometimes it is seen that the moderator is more troublesome than the actor.

Iterations are commonly loss of time; but there is no such gain of time as to iterate often the state of the question; for it chaseth away many a frivolous speech as it is coming forth. Long and curious speeches are as fit for despatch as a robe, or mantle, with a long train, is for a race. Prefaces, and passages, and excusations, and other speeches of reference to the person, are great wastes of time; and, though they seem to proceed of modesty, they are bravery. Yet beware of being too material when there is any impediment, or obstruction, in men's wills; for pre-occupation of mind ever requireth preface of speech, like a fomentation to make the unguent enter.

Above all things, order and distribution, and singling out of parts, is the life of despatch; so as the distribution be not too subtile : for he that doth nut divide will never enter well into business; and he that divideth too much will never come out of it clearly. To choose

time is to save time; and an unseasonable motion is but beating the air. There be three parts of business; the preparation ; the debate or examination; and the perfection; whereof, if you look for despatch, let the middle only be the work of many, and the first and last the work of few. The proceeding upon somewhat conceived in writing doth, for the most part, facilitate despatch : for though it should be wholly rejected, yet that negative is more pregnant of direction than an indefinite, as ashes are more generative than dust.

OF SEEMING WISE.

It hath been an opinion, that the French are wiser than they seem, and the Spaniards seem wiser than they are: but, howsoever it be between nations, certainly it is so between man and man; for, as the apostle saith of godliness, having a show of godliness, but denying the power thereof;" so certainly there are in points of wisdom and sufficiency, that do nothing or little very solemnly : “ magno conatu nugas.” It is a ridiculous thing, and fit for a satire to persons of judgment, to see what shifts these formalists have, and what prospectives to make superfices to seem body that hath depth ard bulk. Some are so close and reserved, as they will not show their wares but by a dark light, and seen always to

[ocr errors]

keep back somewhat; and, when they know within themselves they speak of that they do not well know, would nevertheless seem to others to know of that which they may not well speak. Some help themselves with countenance and gesture, and are wise by signs; as Cicero saith of Piso, that when he answered him he fetched one of his brows up to his forehead, and bent the other down to his chin; “respondes, altero ad fruntem sublato, altero ad mentum depresso supercilio, crudelitatem tibi non placere.” Some think to bear it by speaking a great word, and being peremptory; and go on, and take by admittance that which they cannot make good. Some, whatsoever is beyond their reach, will seem to despise, or make light of it, as impertinent or curious: and so would have their ignorance seem judgment. Some are never without a difference, and commonly, by amusing men with a subtilty, blanch the matter; of whom A. Gellius saith, “hominem delirium, qui verborum, minutiis rerum frangit pondera.” Of which kind also Plato, in his Protagoras, bringeth in Prodicus in scorn, and maketh him make a speech that consisteth of distinctions from the beginning to the end. Generally such men, in all deriberations, find ease to be of the negative side, and affect a credit to object and foretell difficulties; for when propositions are denied, there is an end of them; but if they be allowed, it requireth a new work; which false point of wisdom is the bane of business. To conclude,

0305COD

there is no decaying merchant, or inward beggar, hath so many tricks to uphold the credit of their wealth, as these empty persons have to maintain the credit of their sufficiency. Seeming wise men may make shift to get opinion; but let no man choose them for employment; for, certainly, you were better take for business a man somewhat surd than overformal.

OF FRIENDSHIP.

It had been hard for him that spake it to have put more truth and untruth together in few words than in that speech, “Whosoever is delighted in solitude is either a wild berst or a god :" for it is most true, that a natural and secret hatred and aversion towards society in any man hath somewhat of the savage beast; but it is most untrue, that it should have any

character at all of the divine nature, except it proceed, not out of a pleasure in solitude, but out of a love and desire to sequester a man's self for a higher conversation : such as is found to have been falsely and feignedly in some of the heathens; as Epimenides, the Candian ; Numa, the Roman; Empedocles, the Sicilian; and Apollonius of Tyana ; and truly and really in divers of the ancient hermits and holy fathers of the church. But little do men perceive what solitude is, and how far it extendeth; for a crowd is not company,

and faces are but a gallery of pictures, and talk but a tinkling cymbal wbere there is no love. The Latin adage meeteth with it a little; “magna civitas, magna solitudo;" because in a great town friends are scattered, so that there is not that fellowship, for the most part, which is in less neighbourhoods: but we may go farther, and affirm most truly, thạt it is a mere and miserable solitude to want true friends, without which the world is but a wilderness; and even in this scene also of solitude, whosoever in the frame of his nature and affections is unfit for friendship, le taketh it of the beast, and not from humanity.

A principal fruit of friendship is the ease and discharge of the fulness of the heart, which passions of all kinds do cause and induce. We know diseases of stoppings and suffocations are the most dangerous in the body; and it is not much otherwise in the mind; you may take sarza to open the liver, steel to open the spleen, flower of sulphur for the lungs, castoreum for the brain; but no receipt openeth the heart but a true friend, to whom you may impart griefs, joys, fears, hopes, suspicions, counsels, and whatsoever lieth upon the heart to oppress it, in a kind of civil shrift or confession.

It is a strange thing to observe how high a rate great kings and monarchs do set upon this fruit of friendship whereof we speak: so great, as they purchase it many times at the hazard of their own safety and greatness : for

« PreviousContinue »