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this weak passion. You must except, never- Essay X. theless, Marcus Antonius, the half partner of Love. 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, 'We are a sufficient theme for contemplation, the one for the other': 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 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 petty flatterers
Essav x. have intelligence, is a man's self, certainly the of Love, lover is more; for there was never 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 and secret contempt; by how much the more 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 his 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 show it to be the child of folly. They do best who, if they cannot but admit love, yet make it Essay x. keep quarter, and sever it wholly from their of Low. 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.
Men in great place are thrice servants: Essay Xi. servants of the sovereign or state, servants of Great 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
Essay Xi. unto place is laborious, and by pains men of Great come to greater pains; and it is sometimes base, and by indignities men come to dignities. The standing is slippery, and the regress is either a downfall, or at least an eclipse, which is a melancholy thing: 'Since you are not what you were, there is no reason why you should wish to live.' Nay, retire men cannot when they would, neither will they when it were reason; but are impatient of privateness even in age and sickness, which' require the shadow; like old townsmen, that will be still sitting at their street-door, though thereby they offer age to scorn. C Certainly great persons had need to borrow other men's opinions to think themselves happy; for if they judge by their own feeling they cannot find it: jbut if they think with themselves what other men think of them, and that other men would fain be as they are, then they are happy as it were by report, when, perhaps, they find the contrary within; for they are the first that find their own griefs, though they be the last that find their own faults. Certainly, men in great fortunes are strangers to themselves, and while they Essay Xi. are in the puzzle of business they have noQ/"^refl' time to tend their health either of body or mind. 'Death presses heavily upon him, who, well known to all others, dies unknown to himself.' In place there is license to do good and evil; whereof the latter is a curse: for in evil the best condition is not to will, the second not to can. But power to do good is the true and lawful end of aspiring; for good thoughts, though God accept them, yet towards men are little better than good dreams, except they be put in act; and that cannot be without power and place, as the vantage and commanding ground. Merit and good works is the end of man's motion; and conscience of the same is the accomplishment of man's rest: for if a man can be partaker of God's theatre, he shall likewise be partaker of God's rest. 'And God turned to behold the works which His hands had made, and He saw that everything was very good'; and then the Sabbath.