« PreviousContinue »
honour your lordship is in no small possession, when that her majesty, known to be one of the most judicious princes in discerning of spirits that ever governed, hath made choice of you, merely out of her royal judgment; her affection inclining rather to continue your attendance, into whose hand, and trust, to put the command and conduct of so great forces; the gathering the fruit of so great charge; the execution of so many counsels; the redeeming of the defaults of so many former governors; the clearing of the glory of her so many happy years reign, only in this part eclipsed. Nay farther, how far forth the peril of that state is interlaced with the peril of England; and therefore how great the honour is, to keep and defend the approaches or avenues of this kingdom, I hear many discourse; and there is a great difference, whether the tortoise gathereth herself within her shell hurt or unhurt.
And if any man be of opinion, that the nature of the enemy doth extenuate the honour of the service, being but a rebel and a savage, I differ from him; for I see the justest triumphs that the Romans in their greatness did obtain, and that whereof the emperors in their stiles took addition and denomination, were of such an enemy as this; that is people barbarous, and not reduced to civility, magnifying a kind of lawless liberty, and prodigal of life, hardened in body, fortified in woods and bogs, and placing both justice and felicity in the sharpness of their swords; such were the Germans and ancient Britons, and divers others. Upon which kind of people, whether the victory were a conquest, or a reconquest upon a rebellion or a revolt, it made no difference, that ever I could find, in honour. And therefore it is not the inriching predatory war that hath the preeminence in honour, else should it be more honour to bring in a carrack of rich burden, than one of the twelve Spanish Apostles. But then this nature of people doth yield a higher point of honour, considered in truth, and substance, than any war can yield which should be atchieved against a civil enemy; if the end may be pacisque imponere morem, to replant and refound the policy of that nation; to which nothing is
wanting, but a just and civil government; which design, as it doth descend unto you from your noble father, who lost his life in that action, though he paid tribute to nature, and not to fortune; so I hope your lordship shall be as fatal a captain to this war, as Africanus was to the war of Carthage, after that both his uncle and father had lost their lives in Spain in the same war. Now although it be true, that these things which I write, being but representations unto your lordship of the honour and appearance of the success of the enterprise, be not much to the purpose of any advice; yet it is that which is left to me, being no man of war, and ignorant in the particulars of estate. For a man may, by the eye, set up the white in the midst of the but, though he be no archer. Therefore I will only add this wish, according to the English phrase, which termeth a well-willing advice, a wish; that your lordship in this whole action, looking forward, would set down this position; That merit is worthier than fame; and looking back hither would remember this text, That obedience is better than sacrifice. For designing to fame and glory may make your lordship in the adventure of your person to be valiant as a private soldier, rather than as a general: it may make you in your commandments rather to be gracious than disciplinary: it may make you press action, in respect of the great expectation conceived, rather hastily than seasonably and safely it may make you seek rather to atchieve the war by force, than by intermixture of practice: it may make you, if God shall send prosperous beginnings, rather seek the fruition of that honour, than the perfection of the work in hand. And for the other point that is the proceeding, like a good protestant, upon express warrant, and not upon good intention, your lordship in your wisdom knoweth that as it is most fit for you to desire convenient liberty of instructions, so it is no less fit for you to observe the due limits of them; remembering that the exceeding of them may not only procure, in case of adverse accident, a dangerous disavow; but also, in case of prosperous success,
be subject to interpretation, as if all were not referred to the right end.
Thus have I presumed to write these few lines to your lordship, in methodo ignorantiæ; which is, when a man speaketh of any subject, not according to the parts of the matter, but according to the model of his own knowledge; and most humbly desire your lordship that the weakness thereof may be supplied in your lordship by a benign acceptation, as it is in me by my best wishing.
XLIX. To my Lord of ESSEX.
CONCEIVING that your lordship came now up in the person of a good servant to see your sovereign mistress; which kind of compliments are many times instar magnorum meritorum; and therefore that it would be hard for me to find you: I have committed to this poor paper the humble salutations of him that is more yours than any man's; and more yours than any man. To these salutations I add a due and joyful gratulation, confessing that your lordship, in your last conference with me before your journey, spake not in vain, God making it good; that you trusted, we should say, Quis putasset? Which, as it is found true in a happy sense, so I wish you do not find another Quis putasset? in the manner of taking this so great à service. But I hope it is, as he said, Nubecula est, cito transibit: and that your lordship's wisdom, and obsequious circumspection, and patience, will turn' all to the best. So referring all to some time that I may attend you, I commit you to God's best preservation.
L. A LETTER to the Earl of ESSEX, in offer of his service when he was first enlarged to Essex-House.
No man can expound my doings better than your lordship, which makes me need to say the less; only I
humbly pray you to believe, that I aspire to the conscience and commendation of bonus civis, and bonus vir; and that though I love some things better, I confess, than I love your lordship, yet I love few persons better; both for gratitude's sake, and for your virtues, which cannot hurt but by accident; of which my good affection it may please your lordship to assure yourself; and of all the true effect and offices I can yield. For as I was ever sorry your lordship should fly with waxen wings, doubting Icarus's fortune, so for the growing up of your own feathers, be they ostriches or other kind, no man shall be more glad. And this is the axle-tree whereon I have turned and shall turn. Which having already signified to you by some near mean, having sofit a messenger for mine own letter, I thought good also to redouble by writing. And so I commend you to God's protection. From Gray's-Inn this* 9th day of July, 1600.
LI. An Answer of my Lord of ESSEX, to the Rawley's preceding LETTER of Mr. BACON.
. I CAN neither expound nor censure your late actions; being ignorant of all of them save one; and having directed my sight inward only to examine myself. You do pray me to believe, that you only aspire to the conscience and commendation of bonus civis, and bonus vir; and I do faithfully assure you, that while that is your ambition, though your course be active, and mind contemplative, yet we shall both convenire in eodem tertio; and convenire inter nosipsos. Your pro fession of affection, and offer of good offices, are welcome to me; for answer to them I will say but this; that you have believed I have been kind to you, and you may believe that I cannot be other, either upon humour or mine own election. I am a stranger to all poetical conceits, or else I should say somewhat of your poetical example. But this I must say, that I never flew with other wings than desire to merit, and 4 19 Jul, Cab.
confidence in my sovereign's favour; and when one of these wings failed me, I would light no where but at my sovereign's feet, though she suffered me to be bruised with my fall. And till her majesty, that knows I was never bird of prey, finds it to agree with her will and her service that my wings should be imped again, I have committed myself to the mue. No power but my God's, and my sovereign's, can alter this resolu tion of
Your retired friend,
LII. To my Lord of Essex.
I AM glad your lordship hath plunged out of your own business: wherein I must commend your lordship, as Xenophon commended the state of his country, which was this, that having chosen the worst form of government of all others, they governed the best in that kind. Hoc pace et venia tua, according to my charter. Now, as your lordship is my witness that I would not trouble you whilst your own cause was in hand, though that I know, that the farther from the term, the better the time was to deal for me, so that being concluded, I presume I shall be one of your next cares. And having communicated with my brother of some course, either to perfect the first, or to make me some other way; or rather, by seeming to make me some other way to perfect the first; wherewith he agreed to acquaint your lordship; I am desirous, for mine own better satisfaction, to speak with your lordship myself: which I had rather were somewhere else than at court; and as soon as your lordship will assign me to wait on you. And so in, etc.
LIII. To my
Lord of ESSEX.
It may please your Lordship,
THAT your lordship is in statu quo prius, no man taketh greater gladness than I do; the rather, because