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and try, in any thing thou shalt judge hurtful, to discontinue it by little and little ; but so, as if thou dost find any inconvenience by the change, thou come back to it again; for it is hard to distinguish that which is generally held good and wholesome, from that which is good particularly," and fit for thine own body. To be free-minded and cheerfully disposed at hours of meat, and of sleep, and of exercise, is one of the best precepts of long lasting. As for the passions and studies of the mind, avoid envy, anxious fears, anger fretting inwards, subtle and knotty inquisitions, joys, and exhilarations in excess, sadness not communicated. Entertain hopes, mirth rather than joy, variety of delights, rather than surfeit of them ; wonder and admiration, and therefore novelties; studies that fill the mind with splendid and illustrious objects, as histories, fables, and contemplations of nature. If you fly physic in health altogether, it will be too strange for your body when you shall need it; if you make it too familiar, it will work no extraordinary effect when sickness cometh. I commend rather some diet, for certain seasons, than frequent use of physic, except it be grown into a custom ; for those diets alter the body more, and trouble it less. Despise no new accident 2 in your body, but ask opinion' of it. In sickness, respect health principally; and in health, action ; for those that put their bodies to endure in health, may, in most sicknesses which are not very sharp, be cured only with diet and tendering. Celsus could never have spoken it as a physician, had he not been a wise man withal, when he giveth it for one of the great precepts of health and lasting, that a man do vary and interchange contraries, but with an inclination to the more benign extreme. Use fasting and full eating, but rather full eating ; ? watching and sleep, but rather sleep; sitting and exercise, but rather exercise, and the like ; so shall nature be cherished, and yet taught masteries.? Physicians are some of them so pleasing and conformable to the humor of the patient, as they press not the true cure of the disease; and some other are so regular in proceeding according to art for the disease, as they respect not sufficiently the condition of the patient. Take one of a middle temper; or, if it may not be found in one man, combine two of either sort; and forget not to call as well the best acquainted with your body, as the best reputed of for his faculty.
i Of benefit in your individual case. 2 Any striking change in the constitution. 8 Take medical advice.
XXXI.—OF SUSPICION. SUSPICIONS amongst thoughts are like bats amongst birds, they ever fly by twilight. Certainly they are to be repressed, or at the least well guarded; for they cloud the mind, they lose friends, and they check with business, whereby business cannot go on currently and constantly. They dispose kings to tyranny, husbands to jealousy, wise men to irresolution and melancholy. They are defects, not in the heart, but in the brain ; for they take place in the stoutest natures, as in the example of Henry the Seventh of England. There was not a more suspicious man, nor a more stout, and in such a composition they do small hurt; for commonly they are not admitted, but with examination, whether they be likely or no; but in fearful natures they gain ground too fast. There is nothing makes a man suspect much, more than to know little ; and, therefore, men should remedy suspicion by procuring to know more, and not to keep their suspicions in smother. What would men have? Do they think those they employ and deal with are saints ? Do they not think they will have their own ends, and be truer to themselves than to them? Therefore, there is no better way to moderate suspicions, than to account upon such suspicions as true, and yet to bridle them as false: 1 for so far a man ought to make use of suspicions as to provide, as if that should be true that he suspects, yet it may do him no hurt. Suspicions that the mind of itself gathers are but buzzes ; but suspicions that are artificially nourished, and put into men's heads by the tales and whisperings of others, have stings. Certainly, the best mean, to clear the way in this same wood of suspicions, is frankly to communicate them with the party that he suspects; for thereby he shall be sure to know more of the truth of them than he did before ; and, withal, shall make that party more circumspect, not to give further cause of suspicion. But this would not be done to men of base natures ; for they, if they find themselves once suspected, will never be true. The Italian says, “Sospetto licentia fede ;” 2 as if suspicion did give a passport to faith ; but it ought rather to kindle it to discharge itself.
1 Incline rather to fully satisfying your hunger. 2 Celsus de Med. i. 1.
XXXII.—OF DISCOURSE. Some in their discourse desire rather commendation of wit, in being able to hold all arguments, than of judgment, in discerning what is true; as if it were a praise to know what might be said, and not what should be thought. Some have certain commonplaces and themes, wherein they are good, and want variety; which kind of poverty is for the most pårt tedious, and, when it is once perceived, ridiculous. The honorablest part of talk is to give the occasion, and again to moderate and pass to somewhat else ; for then a man leads the dance. It is good in discourse, and speech of conversation, to vary and intermingle speech of the present occasion with arguments, tales with reasons, asking of questions with telling of opinions, and jest with earnest; for it is a dull thing to tire, and, as we say now, to jade any thing too far. As for jest, there be certain things which ought to be privileged from it; namely, religion, matters of state, great persons, any man's present business of importance, and any case that deserveth pity; yet there be some that think their wits have been asleep, except they dart out somewhat that is piquant, and to the quick ; that is a vein which would be bridled : 8 –
“Parce, puer, stimulis, et fortius utere loris.” 4 And, generally, men ought to find the difference between saltness and bitterness. Certainly, he that
1 A censure of this nature has been applied by some to Dr. Johnson, and possibly with some reason. 2 To start the subject.
8 Requires to be bridled. 4 He quotes here from Ovid: “ Boy, spare the whip, and tightly grasp the reins.” — Met. ii. 127.
hath a satirical vein, as he maketh others afraid of his wit, so he had need be afraid of others' memory. He that questioneth much, shall learn much, and content much, but especially if he apply his questions to the skill of the persons whom he asketh : for he shall give them occasion to please themselves in speaking, and himself shall continually gather knowledge; but let his questions not be troublesome, for that is fit for a poser. And let him be sure to leave other men their turns to speak; nay, if there be any that would reign and take up all the time, let him find means to take them off, and to bring others on, as musicians used to do with those that dance too long galliards. If you dissemble sometimes your knowledge of that you are thought to know, you shall be thought, another time, to know that you know not. Speech of a man's self ought to be seldom, and well chosen. I knew one was wont to say in scorn, “He must needs be a wise man, he speaks so much of himself ;” and there is but one case wherein a man may commend himself with good grace, and that is in commending virtue in another, especially if it be such a virtue whereunto himself pretendeth. Speech of touch 8 towards others should be sparingly used; for discourse ought to be as a field, without coming home to any man. I knew two noblemen, of the west part of England, whereof the one was given to scoff, but kept ever royal cheer in his house; the other would ask of those that had been at the other's table, “ Tell truly, was there never a flout 4 or dry
1 One who tests or examines.
2 The galliard was a light active dance, much in fashion in the time of Queen Elizabeth.
3 Hits at, or remarks intended to be applied to, particular individuals.
4 A slight or insult.