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then you will say, they may be of use to buy men out of dangers or troubles; as Solomon saith: “ Riches are as a strong-hold in the imagination of the rich man;" 1 but this is excellently expressed, that it is in imagination, and not always in fact ; for, certainly, great riches have sold more men than they have bought out. Seek not proud riches, but such as thou mayest get justly, use soberly, distribute cheerfully, and leave contentedly; yet have no abstract nor friarly contempt of them, but distinguish, as Cicero saith well of Rabirius Posthumus : “ In studio rei amplificandæ apparebat, non avaritiæ prædam, sed instrumentum bonitati quæri.” 2 Hearken also to Solomon, and beware of hasty gathering of riches : “ Qui festinat ad divitias, non erit insons.” 3 The poets feign, that when Plutus (which is riches) is sent from Jupiter, he limps, and goes slowly ; but when he is sent from Pluto, he runs, and is swift of foot; meaning, that riches gotten by good means and just labor pace slowly ; but when they come by the death of others,* (as by the course of inheritance, testaments, and the like,) they come tumbling upon a man. But it might be applied likewise to Pluto, taking him for the devil ; for when riches come from the devil, (as by fraud and oppression, and unjust means,) they come upon
16 The rich man's wealth is his strong city.” – Proverbs x. 15; xviii. 11.
2“ In his anxiety to increase his fortune, it was evident that not the gratification of avarice was sought, but the means of doing good.”
8" He who hastens to riches will not be without guilt. In our version the words are: “He that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent." - Proverbs xxviii. 22.
4 Pluto being the king of the infernal regions, or place of departed spirits.
speed. The ways to enrich are many, and most of them foul: parsimony is one of the best, and yet is not innocent ; for it withholdeth men from works of liberality and charity. The improvement of the ground is the most natural obtaining of riches; for it is our great mother's blessing, the earth's, but it is slow; and yet, where men of great wealth do stoop to husbandry, it multiplieth riches exceedingly. I knew a nobleman, in England, that had the greatest audits ? of any man in my time, a great grazier, a great sheep-master, a great timber-man, a great collier, a great corn-master, a great leadman, and so of iron, and a number of the like points of husbandry; so as the earth seemed a sea to him in respect of the perpetual importation. It was truly observed by one, “ That himself came very hardly to a little riches, and very easily to great riches ; ” for when a man's stock is come to that, that he can expect the prime of markets, and overcome those bargains, which for their greatness are few men's money, and be partner in the industries of younger men, he cannot but increase mainly. The gains of ordinary trades and vocations are honest, and furthered by two things, chiefly : by diligence, and by a good name for good and fair dealing; but the gains of bargains are of a more doubtful nature, when men shall wait upon others' necessity : broke by servants and instruments to draw them on; put off others cunningly that would be better chapmen; and the like practices, which are crafty and naught. As for the chopping of bargains, when a man buys not to hold, but to sell over again, that commonly grindeth double, both
1 Rent-roll, or account taken of income. 2 Wait till prices have risen.
upon the seller and upon the buyer. Sharings do greatly enrich, if the hands be well chosen that are trusted. Usury is the certainest means of gain, though one of the worst; as that whereby a man doth eat his bread, “in sudore vultûs alieni ;”1 and, besides, doth plough upon Sundays; but yet certain though it be, it bath flaws, for that the scriveners and brokers do value unsound men to serve their own turn. The fortune, in being the first in an invention, or in a privilege, doth cause sometimes a wonderful overgrowth in riches, as it was with the first sugar-man ? in the Canaries; therefore, if a man can play the true logician, to have as well judgment as invention, he may do great matters, especially if the times be fit. He that resteth upon gains certain, shall hardly grow to great riches; and he that puts all upon adventures, doth oftentimes break and come to poverty; it is good, therefore, to guard adventures with certainties that may uphold losses. Monopolies, and coemption of wares for resale, where they are not restrained, are great means to enrich; especially if the party have intelligence what things are like to come into request, and so store himself beforehand. Riches gotten by service, though it be of the best rise, yet when they are gotten by flattery, feeding humors, and other servile conditions, they may be placed amongst the worst. As for fishing for testaments and executorships, (as Tacitus saith of Seneca, “ Testamenta et orbos tanquam indagine capi,”) 8 it is yet worse, by how much men submit themselves to meaner persons than in service. Believe not much them that seem to despise riches, for they despise them that despair of them ; and none worse when they come to them. Be not penny-wise ; riches have wings, and sometimes they fly away of themselves, sometimes they must be set flying to bring in more. Men leave their riches either to their kindred, or to the public; and moderate portions prosper best in both. A great state left to an heir, is as a lure to all the birds of prey round about to seize on him, if he be not the better stablished in years and judgment; likewise, glorious gifts and foundations are like sacrifices without salt, and but the painted sepulchres of alms, which soon will putrefy and corrupt inwardly. Therefore, measure not thine advancements by quantity, but frame them by measure, and defer not charities till death ; for, certainly, if a man weigh it rightly, he that doth so is rather liberal of another man's than of his own.
1 “In the sweat of another's brow." He alludes to the words of Genesis iii. 19: “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread.”
2 Planter of sugar-canes.
8" Wills and childless persons were caught by him, as though with a hunting-net." - Tacit. Ann. xiii. 42.
XXXV.—OF PROPHECIES. I MEAN not to speak of divine prophecies, nor of heathen oracles, nor of natural predictions; but only of prophecies that have been of certain memory, and from hidden causes. Saith the Pythonissato Saul, « To-morrow thou and thy sons shall be with me." Virgil hath these verses from Homer :
1“Pythoness,” used in the sense of witch. He alludes to the witch of Endor, and the words in Samuel xxviii. 19. He is, however, mistaken in attributing these words to the witch: it was the spirit of Samuel that said, “ To-morrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me."
“Hic domus Æneæ cunctis dominabitur oris,
A prophecy, as it seems, of the Roman empire Seneca the tragedian hath these verses:
" - Venient annis
Sæcula seris, quibus Oceanus
A prophecy of the discovery of America. The daughter of Polycrates : dreamed that Jupiter bathed her father, and Apollo anointed him; and it came to pass that he was crucified in an open place, where the sun made his body run with sweat, and the rain washed it. Philip of Macedon dreamed he sealed up his wife's belly, whereby he did expound it, that his wife should be barren; but Aristander the soothsayer told him his wife was with child, because men do not use to seal vessels that are empty. 4 A phantasm that appeared to M. Brutus in his tent, said to him, “ Philippis iterum
1“ But the house of Æneas shall reign over every shore, both his children's children, and those who shall spring from them. Æn. iii. 97.
2“ After the lapse of years, ages will come in which Ocean shall relax his chains around the world, and a vast continent shall appear, and Tiphys shall explore new regions, and Thule shall be no longer the utmost verge of earth.” — Sen. Med. ii. 375. · 3 He was king of Samos, and was treacherously put to death by Orcetes, the governor of Magnesia, in Asia Minor. His daughter, in consequence of her dream, attempted to dissuade him from visiting Orcetes, but in vain. – Herod. iii. 124.
4 Plut. Vit. Alex. 2.