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This envy, being in the Latin word “ihvidia,” goeth in the modern languages by the name of discontentment; of which we shall speak in handling sedition. It is a disease in a state like to infection: for as infection spreadeth upon that which is sound, and tainteth it; so, when envy is gotten once into a state, it traduceth even the best actions thereof, and turneth them into an ill odour; and therefore there is little won by intermingling of plausible actions: for that doth argue but a weakness and fear of envy, which hurteth so much the more, as it is likewise usual in infections, which, if you fear them, you call them upon you. . * This public envy seemeth to bear chiefly upon principal officers or ministers, rather than upon kings and states themselves. But this is a sure rule, that if the envy upon the minister be great, when the cause of it in him is small; or if the envy be general in a manner upon all the ministers of an estate, then the envy (though hidden) is truly upon the state itself.” And so much of public envy or discontentment, and the difference thereof from private envy, which was handled in the first place. We will add this in general, touching the affection of envy, that of all other affections it is the most importune and continual; for of other affections there is occasion given but now and then; and therefore it was well said, “Invidia festos dies non agit:” for it is ever working upon some or other. And it is also noted, that love and envy do make a man pine, which other affections do not, because they are not so continual. It is also the vilest affection, and the most depraved; for which cause it is the proper attribute of the devil, who is called “The envious man, that soweth tares amongst the wheat by night;” as it always cometh to pass, that envy worketh subtilly, and in the dark, and to the prejudice of good things, such as is the wheat.
X. OF LOVE.
THE stage is more beholding to love, than the life of man; for as to the stage, love is even matter of comedies, and now and then of tragedies; but in life it doth much mischief; sometimes like a siren, sometimes like a fury. You may observe, that amongst all the great and worthy persons (whereof the memory remaineth, either ancient or recent), there is not one that hath been
transported to the mad degree of love, which shews, that great spirits and great business do keep out this weak passion. You must except, nevertheless, Marcus Antonius, the half partner of the empire of Rome, and Appius Claudius, the decemvir and lawgiver; whereof the former was indeed a voluptuous man, and inordinate; but the latter was an austere and wise man: and therefore it seems (though rarely), that love can find entrance, not only into an open heart, but also into a heart well fortified, if watch be not well kept. It is a poor saying of Epicurus, “Satis magnum alter alteri theatrum sumus;” as if man, made for the contemplation of heaven, and all noble objects, should do nothing but kneel before a little idol, and make himself a subject, though not of the mouth (as beasts are), yet of the eye, which was given him for higher purposes. It is a strange thing to note the excess of this passion, and how it braves the nature and value of things by this, that the speaking in a perpetual hyperbole, is comely in nothing but in love: neither is it merely in the phrase; for whereas it hath been well said “That the arch flatterer, with whom all the pretty flatterers have intelligence, is a man's self,” certainly the lover is more; for there was never a proud man thought so absurdly well of himself as the lover doth of the person loved; and therefore it was well said, “That it is impossible to love and to be wise.” Neither doth this weakness appear to others only, and not to the party loved, but to the loved most of all, except the love be reciprocal; for it is a true rule, that love is ever rewarded, either with the reciprocal, or with an inward, or secret contempt; by how much more the men ought to beware of this passion, which loseth not only other things, but itself. As for the other losses, the poet's relation doth well figure them: “That he that preferred Helena, quitted the gifts of Juno and Pallas;” for whosoever esteemeth too much of amorous affection, quitteth both riches and wisdom. This passion hath its floods in the very times of weakness, which are, great prosperity and great adversity, though this latter hath been less observed; both which times kindle love, and make it more fervent, and therefore shew it to be the child of folly. They do best, who, if they cannot but admit love, yet make it keep quarter, and sever it wholly from their serious affairs and actions of life; for if it check once with business, it troubleth men's fortunes, and maketh men that they can no ways be true to their own ends. I know not how, but martial men are given to love: I think it is, but as they are given to wine; for perils commonly ask to be paid in pleasures. There is in man’s nature a secret inclination and motion towards love of others, which, if it be not spent upon some one or a few, doth naturally spread itself towards many, and maketh men become humane
and charitable, as it is seen sometimes in
friars. Nuptial love maketh mankind; friendly love perfecteth it; but wanton love corrupteth and embaseth it.
XI. OF GREAT PLACE.
MEN in great place are thrice servants;
servants of the sovereign or state, servants,
of fame, and servants of business; so as they have no freedom, neither in their persons, nor in their actions, nor in their times. It is a strange desire to seek power and to lose liberty; or to seek power over others, and to lose power over a man's self. The rising unto place is laborious, and by pains men come to greater pains; and it is sometimes base, and by indignities men come to dignities. The stand