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to discord when they are men, and disturbeth fami. lies." The Italians make little difference between children and nephews, or near kinsfolk; but so they be of the lump, they care not, though they pass not through their own body; and, to say truth, in nature it is much a like matter; insomuch that we see a nephew sometimes resembleth an uncle or a kinsman more than his own parent, as the blood happens. Let parents choose betimes the vocations and courses they mean their children should take, for then they are most flexible; and let them not too much apply themselves to the disposition of their children, as thinking they will take best to that which they have most mind to. It is true, that if the affection or aptness of the children be extraordinary, then it is good not to cross it; but generally the precept is good, “Optimum elige, suave et facile illud faciet consuetudo.” 2_Younger brothers are commonly fortunate, but seldom or never where the elder are disinherited.
VIII.—OF MARRIAGE AND SINGLE LIFE. HE that hath wife and children hath given hostages to fortune; for they are impediments to great
1 There is considerable justice in this remark. Children should be taught to do what is right for its own sake, and because it is their duty to do so, and not that they may have the selfish gratification of obtaining the reward which their companions have failed to secure, and of being led to think themselves superior to their companions. When launched upon the world, emulation will be quite sufficiently forced upon them by stern necessity.
2 " Select that course of life which is the most advantageous; halit will soon render it pleasant and easily endured."
enterprises, either of virtue or mischief. Certainly the best works, and of greatest merit for the public, have proceeded from the unmarried or childless men, which, both in affection and means, have married and endowed the public. Yet it were great reason that those that have children should have greatest care of future times, unto which they know they must transmit their dearest pledges. Some there are who, though they lead a single life, yet their thoughts do end with themselves, and account future times impertinences; nay, there are some other that account wife and children but as bills of charges; nay more, there are some foolish, rich, covetous men, that take a pride in having no children, because they may be thought so much the richer; for, perhaps they have heard some talk, “ Such an one is a great rich man,” and another except to it, “ Yea, but he hath a great charge of children;" as if it were an abatement to his riches. But the most ordinary cause of a single life is liberty, especially in certain self-pleasing and humorous minds, which are so sensible of every restraint, as they will go near to think their girdles and garters to be bonds and shackles. Unmarried men are best friends, best masters, best servants; but not always best subjects, for they are light to run away, and almost all fugitives are of that condition. A single life doth well with churchmen, for charity will hardly water the ground where it must first fill a pool. It is indifferent for judges and magistrates; for if they be facile and corrupt, you shall have a servant five times worse than a wife. For soldiers, I find the generals commonly, in
1 His meaning is, that if clergymen have the expenses of a family to support, they will hardly find means for the exercise of benevolence toward their parishioners.
their hortatives, put men in mind of their wives and children ; and I think the despising of marriage amongst the Turks maketh the vulgar soldier more base. Certainly, wife and children are a kind of discipline of humanity; and single men, though they be many times more charitable, because their means are less exhaust, yet, on the other side, they are more cruel and hard-hearted, (good to make severe inquisitors,) because their tenderness is not so oft called upon. Grave natures, led by custom, and therefore constant, are commonly loving husbands, as was said of Ulysses, “ Vetulam suam prætulit immortalitati."1 Chaste women are often proud and froward, as presuming upon the merit of their chastity. It is one of the best bonds, both of chastity and obedience, in the wife, if she think her husband wise, which she will never do if she find him jealous. Wives are young men's mistresses, companions for middle age, and old men's nurses, so as a man may have a quarrel to marry when he will; but yet he was reputed one of the wise men that made answer to the question when a man should marry, “A young man not yet, an elder man not at all.” 8 It is often seen that bad husbands have very good wives; whether it be that it raiseth the price of their husbands' kindness when it comes, or that the wives take a pride in their patience ; but this never fails, if the bad husbands were of their own choosing, against their friends' consent, for then they will be sure to make good their own folly.
1“ He preferred his aged wife Penelope to immortality.” This was when Ulysses was entreated by the goddess Calypso to give up all thoughts of returning to Ithaca, and to remain with her in the enjoyment of immortality. - Plut. Gryll. 1.
2 “May have a pretext," or " excuse." 8 Thales, Vide Diog. Laert. i. 26.
IX.-OF ENVY. THERE be none of the affections which have been noted to fascinate or bewitch, but love and envy. They both have vehement wishes; they frame themselves readily into imaginations and suggestions, and they come easily into the eye, especially upon the presence of the objects which are the points that conduce to fascination, if any such thing there be. We see, likewise, the Scripture calleth envy an evil eye: 1 and the astrologers call the evil influences of the stars evil aspects, so that still there seemeth to be acknowledged, in the act of envy, an ejaculation, or irradiation of the eye; nay, some have been so curious as to note that the times, when the stroke or percussion of an envious eye doth most hurt, are, when the party envied is beheld in glory or triumph, for that sets an edge upon envy; and besides, at such times, the spirits of the person envied do come forth most into the outward parts, and so meet the blow.
But, leaving these curiosities, (though not unworthy to be thought on in fit place,) we will handle what persons are apt to envy others; what persons are most subject to be envied themselves; and what is the difference between public and private envy.
1 So prevalent in ancient times was the notion of the injurious effects of the eye of envy, that, in common parlance, the Romans generally used the word "preefiscini,'' - * without risk of enchantment,'or "fascination," when they spoke in high terms of themselves. They supposed that they thereby averted the effects of enchantment produced by the evil eye of any envious person who might at that moment possibly be looking upon them. Lord Bacon probably here alludes to St. Mark vii. 21, 22: “Out of the heart of men proceedeth - deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye." Solomon also speaks of the evil eye, Prov. xxiii. 6, and xxviii. 22.
A man that hath no virtue in himself, ever envieth virtue in others; for men's minds will either feed upon their own good, or upon others' evil; and who wanteth the one will prey upon the other; and whoso is out of hope to attain to another's virtue, will seek to come at even hand? by depressing another's fortune.
A man that is busy and inquisitive, is commonly envious; for to know much of other men's matters cannot be, because all that ado may concern his own estate; therefore, it must needs be that he taketh a kind of play-pleasure in looking upon the fortunes of others; neither can he that mindeth but his own business find much matter for envy; for envy is a gadding passion, and walketh the streets, and doth not keep home: “Non est curiosus, quin idem sit malevolus.” 2
Men of noble birth are noted to be envious towards new men when they rise, for the distance is altered ; and it is like a deceit of the eye, that when others come on they think themselves go back.
Deformed persons and eunuchs, and old men and bastards, are envious; for he that cannot possibly mend his own case, will do what he can to impair another's; except these defects light upon a very brave and heroical nature, which thinketh to make his natural wants part of his honor; in that it should be said, “ That a eunuch, or a lame man, did such great matters," affecting the honor of a miracle; as it was in Narses 8 the eunuch,
1 To be even with him.
2 " There is no person a busybody, but what he is ill-natured too.” This passage is from the Stichus of Plautus.
3 Narses superseded Belisarius in the command of the armies of Italy, by the orders of the Emperor Justinian. He defeated Totila, the king of the Goths, (who had taken Rome,) in a deci