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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 of usury, two things are to be reconciled. The one, that the tooth of usury be grinded that it bite not too much : the other, that there be left open a means to invite monied men to lend to the merchants, for the continuing and quickening of trade. This cannot be done, except you introduce two several sorts of usury, a less and a greater. For if you reduce usury to one low rate, it will ease the common borrower, but the merchant will be to seek for money. And it is to be noted, that the trade of merchandise being the most lucrative, may bear usury at a good rate; other contracts not so.
To serve both intentions, the way would be briefly thus. That there be two rates of usury j the one free and general for all; the other under licence only to certain persons, and in certain places of merchandizing. First, therefore, let usury in general be reduced to five in the hundred; and let that rate be proclaimed to be free and current; and let the state shut itself out to take any penalty for the same. This will preserve borrowing from any general stop or dryness. This will ease infinite borrowers in the country. This will in good part raise the price of land, because land purchased at sixteen years' purchase, will yield six in the hundred and somewhat more, whereas this rate of interest yields but five. This by like reason will encourage and edge industrious and profitable improvements; because many will rather venture in that kind, than take five in the hundred, especially having been used to greater profit. Secondly, let there be certain persons licensed to lend to known merchants, upon usury at a higher rate: and let it be with the cautions following. Let the rate be, even with the merchant himself, somewhat more easy than that he used formerly to pay: for by that means all borrowers shall have some ease by this reformation, be he merchant or whosoever. Let it be no bank, or common stock, but every man be master of his own money. Not that I altogether mislike banks, but they will hardly be brooked in regard of certain suspicions. Let the state be answered some small matter for the licence, and the rest left to the lender; for if the abatement be but small, it will no whit discourage the lender. For he, for example, that took before ten or nine in the hundred, will sooner descend to eight in the hundred, than give over his trade of usury; and go from certain gains, to gains of hazard. Let these licensed lenders be in number indefinite, but restrained to certain principal cities and towns of merchandizing: for then they will be hardly able to colour other men's monies in the country; so as the licence of nine will not suck away the current rate of five: for no man will lend his monies far off, nor put them into unknown hands.
If it be objected, that this doth in a sort authorize usury, which before was in some places but permissive; the answer is, that it is better to mitigate usury by declaration, than to suffer it to rage by connivance.
XLIL OF YOUTH AND AGE.
A man that is young in years, may be old in hours, if he have lost no time. But that happeneth rarely.
Generally youth is like the first cogitations, not so wise as the second. For there is a youth in thoughts, as well as in ages. And yet the invention of young men is more lively than that of the old; and imaginations stream into their minds better, and as it were more divinely. Natures that have much heat, and great and violent desires and perturbations, are not ripe for action, till they have passed the meridian of their years: as it was with Julius Ceesar, and Septimius Severus. Of the latter of whom it is said, "Juventutem egit erroribus, imo furoribus, plenam." And yet he was the ablest emperor almost of all the list. But reposed natures may do well in youth: as it is seen in Augustus Caesar, Cosmus duke of Florence, Gaston de Foix, and others. On the other side, heat and vivacity in age is an excellent composition for business. Young men are fitter to invent than to judge; fitter for execution than for counsel; and fitter for new projects than for settled business. For the experience of age, in things that fall within the compass of it, directeth them; but in new things abuseth them. The errors of young men are the ruin of business; but the errors of aged men amount but to this, that more might have been done, or sooner. Young men, in the conduct and manage of actions, embrace more than they can hold; stir more than they can quiet; fly to the end, without consideration of the means and degrees; pursue some few principles, which they have chanced upon, absurdly; care not to innovate, which draws unknown inconveniences; use extreme remedies at first; and, that which doubleth all errors, will not acknowledge or retract them; like an unready horse, that will neither stop nor turn. Men of age object too much, consult too long, adventure too little, repent too soon, and seldom drive business home to the full period; but content themselves with a mediocrity of success. Certainly it is good to compound employments of both; for that will be good for the present, because the virtues of either age may correct the defects of both: and good for succession, that young men may be learners, while men in age are actors: and lastly, good for extern accidents, because authority followeth old men, and favour and popularity youth. But for the moral part, perhaps youth will have the pre-eminence, as age hath for the politic. A certain rabbin upon the text, "Your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams;" inferreth, that young men are admitted nearer to God than old; because vision is a clearer revelation than a dream. And certainly the more a man drinketh of the world, the more it intoxicateth; and age doth profit rather in the powers of understanding, than in the virtues of the will and affections. There be some have an overearly ripeness in their years, which fadeth betimes: these are first, such as have brittle wits, the edge whereof is soon turned; such as was Hermogenes the rhetorician, whose books are exceeding subtile; who afterwards waxed stupid. A second sort is of those that have some natural dispositions, which have better grace in youth than in age: such as is a fluent and luxuriant speech; which becomes youth well, but not age. So Tully saith of Hortensius, "Idem manebat, neque idem decebat." The third is, of such as take too high a strain at the first; and are magnanimous, more than tract of years can uphold. As was Scipio Africanus, of whom Livy saith in effect, "Ultima primis cedebant."
XLIII. OF BEAUTY.
Virtue is like a rich stone, best plain set: and surely virtue is best in a body that is comely, though not of delicate features; and that hath rather dignity of presence, than beauty of aspect. Neither is it almost seen, that very beautiful persons are otherwise of great virtue. As if nature were rather busy not to err, than in labour to produce excellency. And therefore they prove accomplished, but not of great spirit; and study rather behaviour than virtue. But this holds not always; for Augustus Ca?sar, Titus Vespasianus, Philip le Bel of France, Edward the fourth of England, Alcibiades of Athens, Ismael the sophi of Persia, were all high and great spirits; and yet the most beautiful men of their times. In beauty, that of favour is more than that <jf colour; and that of decent and gracious motion more than that of favour. That is the best part of beauty, which a picture cannot express; no nor the first sight of the life. There is no excellent beauty, that hath not some strangeness in the proportion. A man cannot tell, whether Apelles or Albert Durer were the more trifler; whereof the one would make a personage by geometrical proportions; the other, by taking the best parts out of divers faces, to make one excellent. Such personages, I think, would please nobody but the painter that made them. Not but I think a painter may make a better face than ever was; but he must do it by a kind of felicity, as a musician that maketh an excellent air in music, and not by rule. A man shall see faces, that if you examine them part by part, you shall never find a good; and yet altogether do well. If it be true, that the principal part of beauty is in decent motion, certainly, it is no marvel, though persons in years seem many times more amiable; "pulchrorum autumnus pulcher:" for no youth can be comely but by pardon, and considering the youth, as to make up the comeliness. Beauty is as summer fruits, which are easy to corrupt, and cannot last: and for the most part it makes a dissolute youth, and an age a little out of countenance: but yet certainly again, if it light well, it maketh virtues shine, and vices blush.
XLIV. OF DEFORMITY.
Deformed persons are commonly even with nature; for as nature hath done ill by them, so do they by nature; being for the most part, as the Scripture saith, "void of natural affection:" and so they have their revenge of nature. Certainly there is a consent between the body and the mind, and where nature erreth in the one, she ventureth in the other. "Ubi peccat in uno, periclitatur in altero." But because there is in man an election touching the frame of his mind, and a necessity in the frame of
his body, the stars of natural inclination are sometimes obscured by the sun of discipline and virtue: therefore it is good to consider of deformity, not as a sign which is more deceivable, but as a cause which seldom faileth of the effect. Whosoever hath anything fixed in his person that doth induce contempt, hath also a perpetual spur in himself, to rescue and deliver himself from scom; therefore all deformed persons are extreme bold. First, as in their own defence, as being exposed to scorn; but in process of time, by a general habit. Also it stirreth in them industry, and especially of this kind, to watch and observe the weakness of others, that they may have somewhat to repay. Again, in their superiors it quencheth jealousy towards them, as persons that they think they may at pleasure despise: and it layeth their competitors and emulators asleep; as never believing they should be in possibility of advancement, till they see them in possession. So that, npon the matter, in a great wit deformity is an advantage to rising. Kings in ancient times, and at this present, in some countries, were wont to put great trust in eunuchs, because they that are envious towards all, are more obnoxious and officious towards one. But yet their trust towards them hath rather been as to good spials and good whisperers, than good magistrates and officers. And much like is the reason of deformed persons. Still the ground is, they will, if they be of spirit, seek to free themselves from scorn; which must be either by virtue or malice. And therefore let it not be marvelled, if sometimes they prove excellent persons; as was Agesilaus, Zanger the son of Solyman, iEsop, Gasca president of Peru; and Socrates may go likewise amongst them, with others.
XLV. OF BUILDING.
Houses are built to live in, and not to look on; therefore let use be preferred before uniformity, except where both may be had. Leave the goodly fabrics of houses for beauty only, to the enchanted palaces of the poets, who build them with small cost. He that builds a fair house upon an ill seat, committeth himself to prison. Neither do I reckon it an ill seat only, where the air is unwholesome, but likewise where the air is unequal; as you shall see many fine seats, set upon a knap of ground environed with higher hills round about it, whereby the heat of the sun is pent in, and the wind gathereth as in troughs; so as you shall have, and that suddenly, as great diversity of heat and cold, as if you dwelt in several places. Neither is it ill air only that maketh an ill seat; but ill ways, ill markets; and, if you will consult with Momus, ill neighbours. I speak not of many more; want of water, want of wood, shade, and shelter; want of fruitfulness, and mixture of grounds of several natures; want of prospect; want of level grounds; want of places at some near distance for sports of hunting, hawking, and races; too near the sea, too remote; having the commodity of navigable rivers, or the discommodity of their overflowing; too fur off from great cities, which may hinder business; or too near