Page images


"That which consists of more parts, and those divisible, is greater, and more One, than what is made up of fewer; for all things, when they are looked upon piece-meal, seem greater; whence also a plurality of parts makes show of a bulk considerable. Which a plurality of parts effects more strongly, if they be in no certain order; for it then resembles an infinity, and hinders the comprehending of them."

A HIS appearance seemeth palpable; for though it is not plurality of parts, without majority of parts, that makcth the total greater; yet nevertheless, it often carries the mind away; yea, it deceiveth the sense; as it seemeth to the eye a shorter distance of way, if it be all dead and continued, than if it have trees, or buildings, or any other marks, whereby the eye may divide it. So when a great monied man hath divided his chests, and coins, and bags, he seemeth to himself richer than he was. And therefore the way to amplify any thing, is to break it in several parts, and to examine it according to several circumstances. And this maketh the greater show if it be done without order; for confusion maketh things mutter more. And besides, what is set down by order and division, doth demonstrate that nothing is left out or omitted; but all is there : whereas, if it be without order, both the mind comprehendeth less that which is set down, and besides it leaveth a suspicion, as if more might be said than is expressed.

This appearance deceiveth, if the mind of him that is to be persuaded, do of itself overconceive, or prejudge of the greatness of any thing; for then the breaking of it will make it seem less, because it makes it to appear more according to the truth. And therefore, if a man be in sickness or pain, the time will seem longer without a clock, or hour-glass, than with it: for the mind doth value every moment; and then the hour doth rather sum up the moments than divide the day. So in a dead plain the way seemeth the longer, because the eye hath pre-conceived it shorter, than the truth: and the correction of that maketh it seem longer than the truth. Therefore, if any man have an over-great opinion of any thing, and if another think, by breaking it into several considerations, he shall make it seem greater to him, then he will be deceived. And therefore, in such cases, it is not best to divide, but to extol the entire still in general.

Another case, wherein this appearance deceiveth, is, when the matter broken, or divided, is not comprehended by the sense, or understood at once in respect of the distracting or scattering of it; as being entire, and not divided, it would be comprehended. An hundred pounds in heaps of Jive pounds will show more than in one gross heap: so as the heaps be all upon one table to be seen at once; otherwise not. As flowers also, growing scattered in divers beds, will show more than if they did grow in one bed: provided all those beds be within a plot, that they be under view at once ; otherwise not. And therefore men whose living lieth together in one shire, are commonly counted greater-landed, than those whose livings are dispersed, though it be more; because of the simultaneous notice and comprehension. A third case, wherein this appearance deceiveth, which is not so properly a case or conclusion, as it is a false appearance, being in effect, as near as possible, the exact appearance of the thing itself, is, "That every composition seems to partake of a certain want:" because, if one thing would serve the turn, it were ever best; but it is the defect and imperfection of things that hath brought in that help to piece them up: as it is said, Luke x. 41, 42. "Martha, Martha, thou art troubled about many things; one thing is sufficient." So likewise hereupon lEsop framed the fable of the Fox and the Cat: wherein the Fox bragged, what a number of shifts and devices he had, to get from the hounds; and the Cat said, he had but one, which was to climb a tree; which in fact was better worth than all the rest; whereof the proverb grew,

"Reynard the hounds to 'scape had shifts not small; Grimalkin only one, as good as all."

And in the moral of this fable, it conies likewise to pass, "That a good sure friend is a better help at a pinch, than all the stratagems and policies of man's own wit." Thus it falleth out to be a common error in negotiating; wherein men have many reasons to induce or persuade, so they strive commonly to utter, and use them all at once, which weakeneth them. For it argueth, as was said, a neediness in each of the reasons by itself, as if one did not trust to any of them, but fled from one to another, helping himself only with that.

"And what help'd not alone before,

Doth help full well, when join'd with more."

Indeed, in a set speech in an assembly, it is expected a man should use all his reasons in the case he handleth: but in private persuasions it is always a great error.

A fourth case, wherein this appearance may be understood, is in the acknowledged strength of an united power; according to the tale of the FRENCH King, who, when the Emperor's Ambassador had recited his master's style at large, which consisteth of many countries, and dominions, the FRENCH King willed his Chancellor, or other Minister, to repeat over FRANCE as many times as the other had recited the several dominions; intending that it was equivalent with them all, and more compacted and united.

There is also appertaining to this appearance another point, why breaking of a thing doth help it; not by way of adding a show of magnitude unto it, but a note of excellency and rarity: whereof the forms are, " Where you shall find such a concurrence? Great, but not complete:" for it seems a less work of Nature or Fortune, to make any thing in his kind greater than ordinary, than to make a strange composition. Yet, if it be narrowly considered, this appearance will be denied, or encountered, by imputing to all excellencies in compositions a kind of poverty, or (at least) a risk, or jeopardy: for from that which is excellent in greatness, somewhat may be taken, or there may be a decay, and yet sufficiently left; but from that which hath his price because complete in the aggregate, if you take away any thing, or any part Aofail, all is disgraced.


« PreviousContinue »