Page images
PDF
EPUB

against them. The second is, to reserve to a man's self a fair retreat: for if a man engage himself by a manifest declaration, he must go through, or take a fall. The third is, the better to discover the mind of another: for to him that opens himself, men will hardly show themselves adverse, but will (fair) let him go on, and turn their freedom of speech to freedom of thought. And therefore it is a good shrewd proverb of the Spaniard, "Tell a lie, and find a troth;" as if there were no way of discovery but by Simulation.

There be also three disadvantages to set it even. The first, that Simulation and Dissimulation commonly carry with them a show of fearfulness, which in any business doth spoil the feathers of round flying up to the mark. The second, that it puzzleth and perplexeth the conceits of many, that perhaps would otherwise co-operate with him, aud makes a man walk almost alone to his own ends.

The third and greatest is, that it depriveth a man of <jne of the most principal instruments for action, which is trust and belief. The best composition and temperature is, to have openness in fame and opinion, secresy in habit, Dissimulation in seasonable use, and a power to feign if there be no remedy.

<®f Parent* MB tSi)iVavtn,

JL HE joys of Parents are secret, and so are their griefs and fears; they cannot utter the one, nor they will not utter the other. Children sweeten labours, but they make misfortunes more bitter: they increase the cares of life, but they mitigate the remembrance of death. The perpetuity by generation is common to beasts; but memory, merit, and noble works, are proper to men: and surely a man shall see the noblest works and foundations have proceeded from childless men, which have sought to express the images of their minds, where those of their bodies have failed: so the care of posterity is most in them that have no posterity. They that are the first raisers of their houses, are most indulgent towards their Children; beholding them as the continuance, not only of their kind, but of their work, and so both Children and Creatures.

The difference in affection of Parents towards their several Children, is many times unequal, and sometimes unworthy, especially in the mother; as Solomon saith, "A wise son rejoiceth the father, but an ungracious son shames the mother." A man shall see, where there is a house full of Children, one or two of the eldest respected, and the youngest made wantons; but in the midst, some that are as it were forgotten, who many times nevertheless

prove the best. The illiberality of Parents in

allowance towards their Children, is an harmful

error, makes them base, acquaints them with shifts,

makes them sort with mean company, and makes

them surfeit more when they come to plenty: and

therefore the proof is best, when men keep their

authority towards their Children, but not their

purse. Men have a foolish manner (both Parents,

and school-masters, and servants) in creating and

breeding an emulation between brothers, during

childhood, which many times sorteth to discord

when they are men, and disturbeth families. The

Italians make little difference between Children and

nephews, or near kinsfolks; 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, "Choose that which is best; habit will soon make it pleasant and easy:" younger brothers are commonly fortunate, but seldom or never where the elder are disinherited.

©f marriage aitH ginqU %\tt.

XlE that hath Wife and Children, hath given hostages to fortune; for they are impediments to great 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 som« other, that account wife and children but as bills of charges. Nay, >more, there are some foolish rich covetous men, that take pride in having no children, because they may be thought so mud 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 cf 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 for church-men: 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 their hortatives put men in mind of their wives and children. And I think the despising of Marriage amongst the Turks, making 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, "He preferred his old wife to immortality." Chaste women are often proud and froward, as presuming upon the merit of their chastity. It

D

« PreviousContinue »