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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 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 far off from great cities, which may hinder business; or too near them, which lurcheth all provisions, and maketh every thing dear; where a man hath a great living laid together, and where he is scanted; all which, as it is impossible perhaps to find together, so it is good to know them, and think of them, that a man may take as many as he can; and, if he have several dwellings, that he sort them so, that what he wanteth in the one, he may find in the other. Lucullus answered Pompey well, who, when he saw his stately galleries and rooms so large and lightsome, in one of his houses said, “Surely an excellent place for summer, but how do you in winter?” Lucullus answered, “Why do you not think me as wise as some fowls are, that ever change their abode towards the winter?” -
To pass from the seat to the house itself, we will do as Cicero doth in the orator’s art, who writes books De Oratore, and a book he entitles Orator; whereof the former delivers the precepts of the art, and the latter the perfection. We will therefore describe a princely palace, making a brief model thereof: for it is strange to see,
now in Europe, such huge buildings as the Vatican, and Escurial, and some others be, and yet scarce a very fair room in them. First, therefore, I say, you cannot have a perfect palace, except you have two several sides; a side for the banquet, as is spoken of in the book of Esther, and a side for the household; the one for feasts and triumphs, and the other for dwelling. I understand both these sides to be not only returns, but parts of the front; and to be uniform without, though severally partitioned within; and to be on both sides of a great and stately tower in the midst of the front, that, as it were, joineth them together on either hand. I would have, on the side of the banquet in front, one only goodly room above stairs, of some forty foot high; and under it a room for a dressing or preparing place, at times of triumphs. On the other side, which is the household side, I wish it divided at the first into a hall and a chapel, (with a partition between,) both of good state and bigness; and those not to go all the length, but to have at the farther end a winter and a summer parlour, both fair; and under these rooms a fair and large cellar sunk under ground; and likewise some privy kitchens, with butteries and VOL. W. - 14.
pantries, and the like. As for the tower, I
and much cold in winter: but only some side alleys with a cross, and the quarters to graze, being kept shorn, but not too near shorn. The row of return on the banquet side, let it be all stately galleries: in which galleries let there be three or five fine cupolas in the length of it, placed at equal distance, and fine coloured windows of several works: on the household side, chambers of presence and ordinary entertainments, with some bed-chambers: and let all three sides be a double house, without thorough lights on the sides, that you may have rooms from the sun, both for forenoon and afternoon. Cast it also, that you may have rooms both for summer and winter; shady for summer, and warm for winter. You shall have sometimes fair houses so full of glass. that one cannot tell where to become to be out of the sun or cold. For embowed windows, I hold them of good use; (in cities, indeed, upright do better, in respect of the uniformity towards the street;) for they be pretty retiring places for conference; and besides, they keep both the wind and sun off; for that which would strike almost through the room, doth scarce pass the window: but let them be but few, four in the court, on the sides only.