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divitias, non erit insons." The poets feign, that when Plutus, which is riches, is sent from Jupiter, he limps, and goes slowly; but when he is sent from Pluto, he runs, and is swift of foot: meaning, that riches gotten by good means and just labour, pace slowly; but when they come by the death of others, as by the course of inheritance, testaments, and the like, they come tumbling upon a man. But it might be applied likewise to Pluto, taking him for the devil. For when riches come from the devil, as by fraud, and oppression, and unjust means, they come upon speed. The ways to enrich are many, and most of them foul. Parsimony is one of the best, and yet is not innocent: for it withholdeth men from works of liberality and charity. The improvement of the ground is the most natural obtaining of riches; for it is our great mother's blessing, the earth's; but it is slow. And yet, where men of great wealth do stoop to husbandry, it multiplieth riches exceedingly. I knew a nobleman in England that had the greatest audits of any man in my time: a great grazier, a great sheep-master, a great timber-man, a great collier, a great cornmaster, a great lead-man; and so of iron, and a number of the like points of husbandry: so as the earth seemed a sea to him, in respect of the perpetual importation. It was truly observed by one, that himself came very hardly to a little riches, and very easily to great riches. For when a man's stock is come to that, that he can expect the prime of markets, and overcome those bargains, which for their greatness are few men's money, and be partner in the industries of young men, he cannot but increase mainly. The gains of ordinary trades and vocations are honest, and farthered by two things, chiefly, by diligence, and by a good name for good and fair dealing. But the gains of bargains are of a more doubtful nature, when men should wait upon others' necessity; broke by servants and instruments to draw them on; put off others cunningly that would be better chapmen, and the like practices, which are crafty and naught. As for the chopping of bargains, when a man buys, not to hold, but to sell over again, that commonly grindeth double, both upon the seller, and upon the buyer. Sharings do greatly enrich, if the hands be well chosen that are trusted. Usury is the certainest means of gain, though one of the worst, as that whereby a man doth eat his bread "in sudore vultus alieni;" and beside, doth plough upon Sundays. But yet certain though it be, it hath flaws; for that the scriveners and brokers do value unsound men, to serve their own turn. The fortune in being the first in an invention, or in privilege, doth cause sometimes a wonderful overgrowth in riches; as it was with the first sugar-man in the Canaries. Therefore, if a man can play the true logician, to have as well judgment as invention, he may do great matters, especially if the times be fit. He that resteth upon gains certain, shall hardly grow to great riches. And he that puts all upon adventures, doth oftentimes break, and come to poverty: it is good therefore to guard adventures with certainties that may uphold losses. Monopolies, and coemption of wares for re-sale,
where they are not restrained, are great means to enrich j especially if the party have intelligence what things are like to come into request, and so store himself beforehand. Riches gotten by service, though it be of the best rise, yet when they are gotten by flattery, feeding humours, and other servile conditions, they may be placed amongst the worst. As for fishing for testaments and executorships, as Tacitus saith of Seneca, "Testamenta et orbos tanquam indagine capi," it is yet worse; by how much men submit themselves to meaner persons, than in service. Believe not much them that seem to despise riches; for they despise them that despair of them: and none worse when they come to them. Be not penny-wise; riches have wings, and sometimes they fly away of themselves, sometimes they must be .set flying to bring in more. Men leave their riches either to their kindred, or to the public: and moderate portions prosper best in both. A great estate left to an heir, is as a lure to all the birds of prey round about, to seize on him, if he be not the better established in years and judgment. Likewise glorious gifts and foundations are like sacrifices without salt; and but the painted sepulchres of alms, which soon will putrify and corrupt inwardly. Therefore measure not thine advancements by quantity, but frame them by measure: and defer not charities till death: for certainly, if a man weigh it rightly, he that doth so, is rather liberal of another man's than of his own.
XXXV. OF PROPHECIES.
I mean not to speak of divine prophecies, nor of heathen oracles, nor of natural predictions j but only of prophecies that have been of certain memory, and from hidden causes. Saith the Pythonissa to Saul; "To-morrow thou and thy son shall be with me." Virgil hath these verses from Homer:
"At domus JEnem cunctis dominabitur oris,
jSneid. iii. 97.
A prophecy, as it seems, of the Roman empire.
a prophecy of the discovery of America. The daughter of Polycrates dreamed, that Jupiter bathed her father, and Apollo anointed him: and it came to pass, that he was crucified in an open place, where the sun made his body run with sweat, and the rain washed it. Philip of Macedon dreamed he sealed up his wife's belly; whereby he did expound it, that his wife should be barren j but Aristander the soothsayer told him, his wife was with child: because men do not use to seal vessels that are empty. A phantasm that appeared to M. Brutus, in his tent, said to him, "Philippis iterum me videbis." Tiberius said to Galba, " Tu quoque, Galba, degustabis imperium." In Vespasian's time there went a prophecy in the east, that those that should come forth of Judea, should reign over the world; which though it may be was meant of our Saviour, yet Tacitus expounds it of Vespasian. Domitian dreamed, the night before he was slain, that a golden head was growing out of the nape of his neck: and indeed the succession that followed him, for many years, made golden times. Henry the sixth of England said of Henry the seventh, when he was a lad, and gave him water; " This is the lad that shall enjoy the crown for which we strive." When I was in France, I heard from one Dr. Pena, that the queenmother, who was given to curious arts, caused the king her husband's nativity to be calculated under a false name; and the astrologer gave a judgment, that he should be killed in a duel; at which the queen laughed, thinking her husband to be above challenges and duels: but he was slain upon a course at tilt, the splinters of the staff of Montgomery going in at his beaver. The trivial prophecy, which I heard when I was a child, and queen Elizabeth was in the flower of her years, was;
"When hempe is spun,
Whereby it was generally conceived, that after the princes had reigned, which had the principal letters of that word hempe, which were Henry, Edward, Mary, Philip, and Elizabeth, England should come to utter confusion; which, thanks be to God, is verified only in the change of the name, for that the king's style is now no more of England, but of Britain. There was also another prophecy before the year of eighty-eight, which I do not well understand:
"There shall be seen upon a day,
It was generally conceived to be meant of the Spanish fleet that came in eighty-eight. For that the king of Spain's surname, as they say, is Norway. The prediction of Regiomontanus,
"Octogesimus octavus mirabilis annus:"
was thought likewise accomplished, in the sending of that great fleet, being the greatest in strength, though not in number, of all that ever swam upon the sea. As for Cleon's dream, I think it was a jest: it was, that he was devoured of a long dragon; and it was expounded of a maker of sausages, that troubled him exceedingly. There are numbers of the like kind; especially if you include dreams, and predictions of astrology. But I have set down these few only of certain credit, for example. My judgment is, that they ought all to be despised, and ought to serve but for winter talk by the fire-side. Though when I say despised, I mean it as for belief: for otherwise, the spreading or publishing of them, is in no sort to be despised; for they have done much mischief. And I see many severe laws made to suppress them. That that hath given them grace, and some credit, consisteth in three things: fir3t, that men mark when they hit, and never mark
when they miss; as they do, generally, also of dreams. The second is, that probable conjectures, or obscure traditions, many times, turn themselves into prophecies: while the nature of man, which coveteth divination, thinks it no peril to foretell that, which indeed they do but collect; as that of Seneca's verse. For so much was then subject to demonstration, that the globe of the earth had great parts beyond the Atlantic, which might be probably conceived not to be all sea: and adding thereto the tradition in Plato's Timecns, and his Atlanticus, it might encourage one to turn it to a prediction. The third and last, which is the great one, is, that almost all of them, being infinite in number, have been impostures, and by idle and crafty brains, merely contrived and feigned, after the event passed.
XXXVI. OF AMBITION.
Ambition is like choler, which is an humour that maketh men active, earnest, full of alacrity, and stirring, if it be not stopped. But if it be stopped, and cannot have its way, it becometh adust, and thereby malign and venomous. So ambitious men, if they find the way open for their rising, and still get forward, they are rather busy than dangerous; but if they be checked in their desires, they become secretly discontent, and look upon men and matters with an evil eye, and are best pleased when things go backward; which is the worst property in a servant of a prince or state. Therefore it is good for princes, if they use ambitious men, to handle it so, as they be still progressive, and not retrograde; which, because it cannot be without inconvenience, it is good not to use such natures at all. For if they rise not with their service, they will take order to make their service fall with them. But since we have said it were good not to use men of ambitious natures, except it be upon necessity, it is fit we speak, in what cases they are of necessity. Good commanders in the wars must be taken, be they never so ambitious: for the use of their service dispenseth with the rest; and to take a soldier without ambition, is to pull off" his spurs. There is also great use of ambitious men, in being screens to princes, in matters of danger and envy: for no man will take that part except he be like a seeled dove, that mounts, and mounts, because he cannot see about him. There is use also of ambitious men in pulling down the greatness of any subject that over-tops; as Tiberius used Macro in the pulling down of Sejanus. Since therefore they must be used in such cases, there resteth to speak how they are to be bridled, that they may be less dangerous. There is less danger of them, if they be of mean birth, than if they be noble; and if they be rather harsh of nature, than gracious and popular; and if they be rather new raised, than grown cunning and fortified in their greatness. It is counted by some a weakness in princes to have favourites; but it is of all others, the best remedy against ambitious great ones. For when the way of pleasuring and displeasuring lieth by the favourite, it is impossible any other should be over-great. Another means to curb them, is to balance them by others as proud as they. But then there must be some middle counsellors to keep things steady; for without that ballast the ship will roll too much. At the least a prince may animate and inure some meaner persons, to be as it were scourges to ambitious men. As for the having of them obnoxious to ruin, if they be of fearful natures, it may do well: but if they be stout and daring, it may precipitate their designs, and prove dangerous. As for the pulling of them down, if the affairs require it, and that it may not be done with safety suddenly, the only way is, the interchange continually of favours and disgraces, whereby they may not know what to expect, and be as it were in a wood. Of ambitions, it is less harmful the ambition to prevail in great things, than that other to appear in every thing; for that breeds confusion, and mars business: but yet it is less danger to have an ambitious man stirring in business, than great in dependences. He that seeketh to be eminent amongst able men, hath a great task; but that is ever good for the public. But he that plots to be the only figure amongst ciphers, is the decay of a whole age. Honour hath three things in it: the vantage ground to do good; the approach to kings and principal persons; and the raising of a man's own fortunes. He that hath the best of these intentions, when he aspireth, is an honest man; and that prince that can discern of these intentions in another that aspireth, is a wise prince. Generally let princes and states choose such ministers as are more sensible of duty than of rising; and such as love business rather upon conscience, than upon bravery: and let them discern a busy nature from a willing mind.
XXXVII. OF MASQUES AND TRIUMPHS.
^These things are but toys to come amongst such serious observations. But yet, since princes will have such things, it is better they should be graced with elegancy, than daubed with cost. Dancing to song, is a thing of great state and pleasure. I understand it, that the song be in quire, placed aloft, and accompanied with some broken music; and the ditty fitted to the device. Acting in song, especially in dialogues, hath an extreme good grace i I say acting, not dancing, (for that is a mean and vulgar thing,) and the voices of the dialogue should be strong and manly, a base, and a tenor; no treble, and the ditty high and tragical, not nice or dainty. Several quires placed one over-agninst another, and taking the voice by catches, anthem-wise, give great pleasure. Turning dances into figure, is a childish curiosity. And generally let it be noted, that those things which I here set down, are such as do naturally take the sense, and not respect petty wonderments. It is true, the alterations of scenes, so it be quietly and without noise, are things of great beauty and pleasure; for they feed and relieve the eye before it be full of the same object. Let the scenes abound with light, specially coloured and varied: and let the maskers, or any other that are to come down from the scene, have some motions upon the
scene itself before their coming down; for it draws the eye strangely, and makes it with great pleasure to desire to see that it cannot perfectly discern. Let the songs be loud and cheerful, and not chirpings or pulings. Let the music likewise be sharp and loud, and well placed. The colours that show best by candle-light, are white, carnation, and a kind of sea-water green; and ouches, or spangs, as they are of no great cost, so they are of most glory. As for rich embroidery, it is lost, and not discerned. Let the suits of the maskers be graceful, and such as become the person when the vizards are off; not after examples of known attires; Turks, soldiers, mariners, and the like. Let antimasks not be long; they have been commonly of fools, satyrs, baboons, wild men, antics, beasts, spirits, witches, Ethiopes, pigmies, turquets, nymphs, rustics, Cupids, statues moving, and the like. As for angels, it is not comical enough to put them in antimasks; and any thing that is hideous, as devils, giants, is on the other side as unfit: but chiefly, let the music of them be recreative, and with some strange changes. Some sweet odours suddenly coming forth without any drops falling, are in such a company, as there is steam and heat, things of great pleasure and refreshment. Double masques, one of men, another of ladies, addeth state and variety. But all is nothing except the room be kept clear and neat.
For justs, and tourneys, and barriers, the glories of them are chiefly in the chariots, wherein the challengers make their entry; especially if they be drawn with strange beasts; as lions, bears, camels, and the like: or in the devices of their entrance, or in the bravery of their liveries, or in the goodly furniture of their horses and armour. But enough of these toys.
XXXVIII. OF NATURE IN MEN.
Nature is often hidden, sometimes overcome, seldom extinguished. Force maketh nature more violent in the return; doctrine and discourse maketh nature less importune; but custom only doth alter and subdue nature. He that seeketh victory over his nature, let him not set himself too great nor too small tasks; for the first will make him dejected by often failing, and the second will make him a small proceeder, though by often prevailing. And at the first, let him practise with helps, as swimmers do with bladders or rushes: but after a time, let him practise with disadvantages, as dancers do with thick shoes. For it breeds great perfection, if the practice be harder than the use. Where nature is mighty, and therefore the victory hard, the degrees had need be, first to stay and arrest nature in time; like to him that would say over the four and twenty letters when he was angry: then to go less in quantity; as if one should, in forbearing wine, come from drinking healths, to a draught at a meal; and lastly, to discontinue altogether. But if a man have the fortitude and resolution to enfranchise himself at once, that is the best:
"OptimuH ille animi vindex, ltpdontia pectus
Neither is the ancient rule amiss, to bend nature as a wand to a contrary extreme, whereby to set it right; understanding it where the contrary extreme is no vice. Let not a man force a habit upon himself with a perpetual continuance, but with some intermission. For both the pause rcinforccth the new onset; and if a man that is not perfect be ever in practice, he shall as well practise his errors as his abilities, and induce one habit of both; and there is no means to help this but by seasonable intermissions. But let not a man trust his victory over his nature too far; for nature will lie buried a great time, and yet revive upon the occasion or temptation. Like as it was with .SJsop's damsel, turned from a cat to a woman, who sat very demurely at the board's end, till a mouse ran before her. Therefore let a man either avoid the occasion altogether, or put himself often to it, that he may be little moved with it. A man's nature is best perceived in privatcness, for there is no affectation; in passion, for that putteth a man out of his precepts; and in a new case or experiment, for there custom leaveth them. They are happy men, whose natures sort with their Vocations; otherwise they may say, "Multum incola fuit anima mea:" when they converse in those things they do not affect. In studies, whatsoever a man commandeth upon himself, let him set hours for it; but whatsoever is agreeable to his nature, let him take no care for any set times; for his thoughts will fly to it of themselves; so as the spaces of other business or studies will suffice. A man's nature runs either to herbs, or weeds: Therefore let him seasonably water the one, and destroy the other.
XXXIX. OF CUSTOM AND EDUCATION.
Men's thoughts are much according to their inclination; their discourse and speeches according to their learning and infused opinions; but their deeds are after as they have been accustomed. And therefore, as Machiavel well noteth, though in an evil-favoured instance, there 1s no trusting to the force of nature, nor the bravery of words, except it be corroborate by custom. His instance is, that for the achieving of a desperate conspiracy a man should not rest upon the fierceness of any man's nature, or his resolute undertakings; but take snch a one as hath had his hands formerly in blood. But Machiavel knew not of a friar Clement, nor a Ravillac, nor a Jaureguy, nor a Baltazar Gerard: yet this rule holdeth still, that nature, nor the engagement of words, are not so forcible as custom. Only superstition is now so well advanced, that men of the first blood are as firm as butchers by occupation: and votary resolution is made equipollent to custom, even in matter of blood. In other things the predominancy of custom is every where visible; insomuch as a man would wonder to hear men profess, protest, engage, give great words, and then do just as they have done before: as if they were dead images, and engines moved only by the wheels of custom. We see also the reign or tyranny of custom what it is. The Indians, I mean the sect of
their wise men, lay themselves quietly upon a stack of wood, and so sacrifice themselves by fire. Nay, the wives strive to be burned with the corpse of their husbands. The lads of Sparta, of ancient time, were wont to be scourged upon the altar of Diana, without so much as queching. I remember in the beginning of queen Elizabeth's time of England, an Irish rebel condemned put up a petition to the deputy that he might be hanged in a with, and not in a halter, because it had been so used with former rebels. There be monks in Russia, for penance, that will sit a whole night in a vessel of water, till they be engaged with hard ice. Many examples may be put of the force of custom, both upon mind and body. Therefore since custom is the principal magistrate of man's life, let men by all means endeavour to obtain good customs. Certainly custom is most perfect, when it beginneth in young years: this we call education, which is, in effect, but an early custom. So we see in languages, the tongue is more pliant to all expressions and sounds, the joints are more supple to all feats of activity and motions, in youth than afterwards. For it is true, that late learners cannot so well take the ply, except it be in some minds that have not suffered themselves to fix, but have kept themselves open and prepared to receive continual amendment, which is exceeding rare. But if the force of custom simple and separate be great; the force of custom copulate and conjoined and collegiate, is far greater. For there example teacheth, company comforteth, emulation quickeneth, glory raiseth: so as in such places the force of custom is in its exaltation. Certainly the great multiplication of virtues upon human nature resteth upon societies well ordained and disciplined. For commonwealths and good governments do nourish virtues grown, but do not much mend the seeds. But the misery is, that the most effectual means are now applied to the ends least to be desired.
XL. OF FORTUNE.
It cannot be denied but outward accidents conduce much to fortune: favour, opportunity, death of others, occasion fitting virtue. But chiefly, the mould of a man's fortune is in his own hands. "Faber qnisque fortuna? sua;;" saith the poet. And the most frequent of external causes is, that the folly of one man is the fortune of another. For no man prospers so suddenly as by others' errors. "Serpens nisi serpentem comederit nonfit draco." Overt and apparent virtues bring forth praise; but there be secret and hidden virtues that bring forth fortune; certain deliveries of a man's self, which have no name. The Spanish name, desemboltnra, partly expresseth them: when there be not stonds, nor restiveness in a man's nature; but that the wheels of his mind keep way with the wheels of his fortune. For so Livy, after he had described Cato Major in these words; "in illo viro, tantum robur corporis et nnimi fuit, ut quocunque loco natus esset, fortunam sibi facturus viderctur;" falleth upon that, that he had versatile ingenium. Therefore if a man look sharply and attentively, he shall see Fortune; for though she be blind, yet she is not invisible. The way of fortune is like the milky way in the sky; which is a meeting or knot of a number of small stars, not seen asunder, but giving light together. So are there a number of little and scarce discerned virtues, or rather faculties and customs, that make men fortunate. The Italians note some of them, such as a man would little think. When they speak of one that cannot do amiss, they will throw into his other conditions, that he hath "Poco di matto." And certainly there be not two more fortunate properties, than to have a little of the fool, and not too much of the honest. Therefore extreme lovers of their country, or masters, were never fortunate, neither can they be. For when a man placeth his thoughts without himself, he goeth not his own way. A hasty fortune maketh an enterpriser and remover; the French hath it better, entreprenant, or remuant; but the exercised fortune maketh the able man. Fortune is to be honoured and respected, and it be but for her daughters, Confidence and Reputation. For those two felicity breedeth: the first within a man's self; the latter in others towards him. All wise men, to decline the envy of their own virtues, use to ascribe them to Providence and Fortune; for so they may the better assume them: and besides, it is greatness in a man to be the care of the higher powers. So Ctesar said to the pilot in the tempest, "Ceesarem portas, et fortunam ejus." So Sylla chose the name of felix, and not of magnus: and it hath been noted, that those that ascribe openly too much to their own wisdom and policy, end unfortunate. It is written, that Timotheus the Athenian, after he had, in the account he gave to the state of his government, often interlaced this speech, " And in this Fortune had no part," never prospered in any thing he undertook afterwards. Certainly there be, whose fortunes are like Homer's verses, that have a slide and easiness more than the verses of other poets: as Plutarch saith of Timoleon's fortune, in respect of that of Agesilaus or Epaminondas. And that this should be, no doubt it is much in a man's self.
XLI. OF USURY.
Many have made witty invectives against usury. They say, That it is pity the devil should have God's part, which is the tithe. That the usurer is the greatest sabbath-breaker, because his plough goeth every Sunday. That the usurer is the drone that Virgil speaketh of:
"Ignavum fucos pecus a prascpibus arcent"
That the usurer breaketh the first law that was made for mankind after the fall; which was, " In sudore vullus tui comedes panem tuum j" not " In sudore vultiis alieni." That usurers should have orangetawny bonnets, because they do judaize. That it is against nature, for money to beget money: and the like. I say this only, that usury is a "concessum propter duritiem cordis:" for since there must be borrowing and lending, and men are so hard of heart as they will not lend freely, usury must be
permitted. Some others have made suspicious and cunning propositions of banks, discovery of men's estates, and other inventions. But few have spoken of usury usefully. It is good to set before us the incommodities and commodities of usury; that the good may be either weighed out, or culled out; and warily to provide, that while we make forth to that which is better, we meet not with that which is worse.
The discommodities of usury are: first, that it makes fewer merchants. For were it not for this lazy trade of usury, money would not lie still, but would in great part be employed upon merchandizing; which is the vena porta of wealth in a state. The second, that it makes poor merchants. For as a farmer cannot husband his ground so well, if he sit at a great rent; so the merchant cannot drive his trade so well, if he sit at great usury. The third is incident to the other two; and that is, the decay of customs of kings or states, which ebb or flow with merchandizing. The fourth, that it bringeth the treasure of a realm or state into a few hands. For the usurer being at certainties, and others at uncertainties, at the end of the game most of the money will be in the box; and ever a state flourisheth, when wealth is more equally spread. The fifth, that it beats down the price of land: for the employment of money is chiefly either merchandizing or purchasing; and usury way-lays both. The sixth, that it doth dull and damp all industries, improvements, and new inventions, wherein money would be stirring, if it were not for this slug. The last, that it is the canker and ruin of many men's estates, which in process of time breeds a public poverty.
On the other side, the commodities of usury are: first, that howsoever usury in some respect hindereth merchandizing, yet in some other it advanceth it: for it is certain that the greatest part of trade is driven by young merchants, upon borrowing at interest; so as if the usurer either call in or keep back his money, there will ensue presently a great stand of trade. The second is, that were it not for this easy borrowing upon interest, men's necessities would draw upon them a most sudden undoing; in that they would be forced to sell their means, be it lands or goods, far under foot; and so whereas usury doth but gnaw upon them, bad markets would swallow them quite up. As for mortgaging or pawning, it will little mend the matter; for either men will not take pawns without use; or if they do, they will look precisely for the forfeiture. I remember a cruel moneyed man in the country, that would say; "The devil take this usury, it keeps us from forfeitures of mortgages and bonds." The third and last is, that it is a vanity to conceive, that there would be ordinary borrowing without profit; and it is impossible to conceive the number of inconveniences that will ensue, if borrowing be cramped Therefore to speak of the abolishing of usury is idle. All states have ever had it in one kind or rate, or other. So as that opinion must be sent to Utopia.
To speak now of the reformation and reglement of usury, how the discommodities of it may be best avoided, and the commodities retained. It appears by the balance of commodities and discommodities