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exalting them above the moon, is not only tedious, but doth diminish the faith and credit of him that speaks ; and, certainly, there is a kind of conveying of effectual and imprinting passages amongst compliments, which is of singular use, if a man can hit upon it. Amongst a man's peers, a man shall be sure of familiarity, and, therefore, it is good a little to keep, state; amongst a man's inferiors, one shall be sure of reverence, and therefore it is good a little to be familiar. He that is too much in any thing, so that he giveth another occasion of satiety, maketh himself cheap. To apply one's self to others, is good, so it be with demonstration that a man doth it upon regard, and not upon facility. It is a good precept, generally in seconding another, yet to add somewhat of one's own; as, if you will grant his opinion, let it be with some distinction ;. if you will follow his motion, let it be with condition, if you allow his counsel, let it be with alleging further reason. Men had need beware how they be too perfect in compliments ; for be they never so sufficient otherwise, their enviers will be sure to give them that attribute to the disadvantage of their greater virtues. It is loss, also, in business, to be too full of respects, or to be too curious in observing times and opportunities. Solomon saith, “ He that considereth the wind shall not sow, and he that looketh to the clouds shall not reap.” 1 A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds. Men's behavior should be like their apparel, not too strait or point device, but free for exercise or motion.
1 The words in our version are: “ He that observeth the wind shall not sow, and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap. — Ecclesiastes xi. 4.
2 Exact in the extreme. Point-de-vice was originally the name of a kind of lace of very fine pattern.
LIII.—OF PRAISE. PRAISE is the reflection of virtue; but it is glass, or body, which giveth the reflection. If it be from the common people, it is commonly false and nought, and rather followeth vain persons than virtuous ; for the common people understand not many excellent virtues. The lowest virtụes draw praise from them, the middle virtues work in them astonishment or admiration, but of the highest virtues they have no sense or perceiving at all; but shows and “species virtutibus similes," I serve best with them. Certainly, fame is like a river, that beareth up things light and swollen, and drowns things weighty and solid; but if persons of quality and judgment concur, then it is, (as the Scripture saith,)." Nomen bonum instar unguenti fragrantis ; ” ? it filleth all round about, and will not easily away; for the odors of ointments are more durable than those of flowers. There be so many false points of praise, that a man may justly hold it a suspect. Some praises proceed merely of flattery; and if he be an ordinary flatterer, he will have certain common attributes, which may serve every man; if he be a cunning flatterer, he will follow the arch-flatterer, which is a man's self, and wherein a man thinketh best of himself, therein the flatterer will uphold him most. But if he be an impudent flatterer, look wherein a man is conscious to himself that he is most defective, and is most out of countenance in himself, that will the flatterer entitle him to, per
1“ Appearances resembling virtues."
2“ A good name is like sweet-smelling ointment.” The words in our version are, “A good name is better than precious ointment. — Ecclesiastes vii. 1.
force, “ spretâ conscientiâ.” 1 Some praises come of good wishes and respects, which is a form due in civility to kings and great persons, “ laudando præcipere ;”? when, by telling men what they are, they represent to them what they should be; some men are praised maliciously to their hurt, thereby to stir envy and jealousy towards them: “ Pessimum genus inimicorum laudantium ; ”insomuch as it was a proverb amongst the Grecians, that, “ he that was praised to his hurt, should have a push o rise upon his nose ;” as we say that a blister will rise upon one's tongue that tells a lie; certainly, moderate praise, used with opportunity, and not vulgar, is that which doth the good. Solomon saith: “ He that praiseth his friend aloud, rising early, it shall be to him no better than a curse.” 5 Too much magnifying of man or matter doth irritate contradiction, and procure envy and scorn. To praise a man's self cannot be decent, except it be in rare cases ; but to praise a man's office 6 or profession, he may do it with good grace, and with a kind of magnanimity. The cardinals of Rome, which are theologues," and friars, and schoolmen, have a phrase of notable contempt and scorn towards civil business; for they call all temporal business of wars, embassages, judicature, and other employments, sbirrerie, which is under-sheriffries, as if they were but matters for under-sheriffs and catchpoles; though many times those under-sheriffries do more good than their high speculations. St. Paul, when he boasts of himself, he doth oft interlace, “ I speak like a fool ; ”i but speaking of his calling, he saith, “ Magnificabo apostolatum meum.” 2
1“ Disregarding his own conscience."
4 A pimple filled with “pus," or "purulent matter.” The word is still used in the east of England.
5 The words in our version are: “ He that blesseth his friend with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, it shall be counted a curse to him." — Proverbs xxvii. 14.
6 In other words, to show what we call an esprit de corps. 7 Theologians.
LIV.-OF VAINGLORY. It was prettily devised of Æsop, the fly sat upon the axle-tree of the chariot-wheel, and said, “ What a dust do I raise !” So are there some vain persons, that, whatsoever goeth alone, or moveth upon greater means, if they have never so little hand in it, they think it is they that carry it. They that are glorious, must needs be factious ; for all bravery 8 stands upon comparisons. They must needs be violent, to make good their own vaunts; neither can they be secret, and therefore not effectual; but, according to the French proverb, “ Beaucoup de bruit, peu de fruit;” — “much bruit,4 little fruit." Yet, certainly, there is use of this quality in civil affairs : where there is an opinion and fame to be created, either of virtue or greatness, these men are good trumpeters. Again, as Titus Livius noteth, in the case of Antiochus and the Ætolians, there are sometimes great effects of cross lies; as if a man that negotiates between two princes, to draw them to join in a war against the third, doth extol the forces of either of them above measure, the one to the other; and sometimes he that deals between man and man, raiseth his own credit with both, by pretending greater interest than he hath in either ; and in these, and the like kinds, it often falls out, that somewhat is produced of nothing; for lies are sufficient to breed opinion, and opinion brings on substance. In military commanders and soldiers, vainglory is an essential point ; for as iron sharpens iron, so by glory one courage sharpeneth another. In cases of great enterprise upon charge and adventure, a composition of glorious natures doth put life into business; and those that are of solid and sober natures, have more of the ballast than of the sail. In fame of learning, the flight will be slow without some feathers of ostentation : " Qui de contemnendâ gloriâ libros scribunt, nomen suum inscribunt.” 2 Socrates, Aristotle, Galen, were men full of ostentation : certainly, vainglory helpeth to perpetuate a man's memory; and virtue was never so beholden to human nature, as it received its due at the second hand. Neither had the fame of Cicero, Seneca, Plinius Secundus,: borne her age so well if it had not been joined with some vanity in themselves; like unto varnish, that makes ceilings not
12 Cor. xi. 23.
2“I will magnify my apostleship.” He alludes to the words in Romans xi. 13: "Inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office."
8 Vaunting, or boasting.
4 Noise. We have a corresponding proverb: “Great cry and little wool." 6 A high or good opinion.
6 Vide Liv. xxxvii. 48.
1 By express command.
2“ Those who write books on despising glory, set their names in the title-page.” He quotes from Cicero's “o Tusculanæ Dis putationes, b. i. c. 15, whose words are; “ Quid nostri philosophi? Nonne in his libris ipsis, quos scribunt de contemnenda gloriâ, sua nomina inscribunt." -" What do our philosophers do? Do they not, in those very books which they write on despising glory, set their names in the title-page?"
3 Pliny the Younger, the nephew of the elder Pliny, the naturalist.