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of if yon look for Dispatch, let the middle only be the work of many, and the first and last the work of few. The proceeding upon somewhat conceived in writing, doth for the most part facilitate Dispatch: for though it should be wholly rejected, yet that negative is more pregnant of direction, than an indefinite; as ashes are more generative than Dust.
Of £e*ming Suisse.
IT hath been an opinion, that the French are wiser than they seem, and the Spaniards seem wiser than they are. But howsoever it be between nations, certainly it is so between man and man. For as the Apostle saith of Godliness, "Having a show of Godliness, but denying the power thereof;" so certainly there are, in points of wisdom and sufficiency, that do nothing or little very solemnly; "Much ado about nothing." It is a ridiculous thing, and tit for a satire, to persons of judgment, to see what shifts these formalists have, and what prospectives to make superficies to seem body, that hath depth and bulk. Some are so close reserved, as they will not show their wares but by a dark light; and seem always to keep back somewhat: and when they know within themselves, they speak of that they do not well know, would nevertheless seem to others to know of that which they may not well speak. Some help themselves with countenance and gesture, and are wise by signs; as Cicero saith of Piso, that when he answered him, he fetched one of his brows up to his forehead, and bent the other down to his chin: "You answer— whilst one eye-brow is lifted up to your forehead, and the other is drawn down to your chin—that cruelty is not pleasing to you." Some think to bear it, by speaking a great word, and being peremptory; and go on, and take by admittance that which they cannot make good. Some, whatsoever is beyond their reach, will 'seem to despise or make light of it, as impertinent or curious, and so will have their ignorance seem judgment. Some are never without a difference, and commonly by amusing men with a subtilty, blanch the matter; of whom A. Gellius saith, "The man is mad, who by quibbling about the minutiae of words destroys the weight of facts." Of which kind also Plato in his Protagoras bringeth in Prodicus in scorn, and maketh him make a speech, that consisteth of distinctions from the beginning to the end. Generally such men in all deliberations find ease to be of the negative side, and affect a credit to object and foretell difficulties: for when propositions are denied, there is an end of them; but if they be allowed, it requireth a new work; which false point of wisdom is the bane K
of business. To conclude, there is no decaying merchant, or inward beggar, hath so many tricks to uphold the credit of their wealth, as these empty persons have to maintain the credit of their sufficiency. Seeming Wise Men may make shift to get opinion, but let no man choose them for employment; for certainly you were better take for business a man somewhat absurd, than over-formal.
IT had been hard for him that spake it, to have put more truth and untruth together in few words, than in that speech, "Whosoever is delighted in solitude, is either a wild beast, or a god." For it is most true, that a natural and secret hatred, and aversation towards society in any man, hath somewhat of the savage beast; but it is most untrue, that it should have any character at all of the Divine nature, except it proceed not out of a pleasure in solitude, but out of a love and desire to sequester a man's self for a higher conversation; such as is found to have been falsely and feignedly in some of the heathen, as Epimenides the Candian, Numa the Roman, Empedocles the Sicilian, and Apollonius of Tyana; and truly and really in divers of the ancient hermits, and holy fathers of the Church. But little do men perceive what solitude is, and how far it extendeth: for a crowd is not company, and faces are but a gallery of pictures, and talk but a tinkling cymbal, where there is no love. The Latin adage meeteth with it a little, "A great city is a great solitude ;" because in a great town friends are scattered, so that there is not that fellowship, for the most part, which is in less neighbourhoods. But we may go further, and affirm most truly, that it is a mere and miserable solitude to want friends, without which the world is but a wilderness: and even in this sense also of solitude, whosoever in the frame of his nature and affections is unfit for Friendship, he taketh it of the beast, and not from humanity.
A principal fruit of Friendship is, the ease and discharge of the fulness and swellings of the heart, which passions of all kinds do cause and induce. We know diseases of stoppings and suffocations are the most dangerous in the body, and it is not much otherwise in the mind; you may take sarza to open the liver, steel to open the spleen, flower of sulphur for the lungs, castoreum for the brain; but no receipt openeth the heart, but a true Friend, to whom you may impart griefs, joys, fears, hopes, suspicions, counsels, and whatsoever lieth upon the heart to oppress it, in a kind of civil sjhrift or confession.
It is a strange thing to observe, how high a rate great kings and monarchs do set upon this fruit of Friendship whereof we speak; so great, as they purchase it many times at the hazard of their own safety and greatness. For princes, in regard of the distance of their fortune from that of their subjects and servants, cannot gather this fruit, except (to make themselves capable thereof) they raise some persons to be, as it were, companions, and almost equals to themselves, which many times sorteth to inconvenience. The modern languages give unto such persons the name of favourites or privadoes, as if it were matter of grace or conversation. But the Roman name attaineth the true use and cause thereof, naming them "Partakers of our cares;" for it is that which tieth the knot. And we see plainly that this hath been done, not by weak and passionate princes only, but by the wisest and most politic that ever reigned; who have oftentimes joined to themselves some of their servants, whom both themselves have called Friends, and allowed others likewise to call them in the same manner, using the word which is received between private men.