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many things of great hope decay with youth, and multitude of civil businesses is wont to diminish the price, though not the delight of contemplations, yet the proceeding in that work doth gain with me upon my affection and desire, both by years and businesses. And therefore I hope, even by this, that it is well pleasing to God, from whom, and to whom, all good moves. To him I most heartily commend you.
CI. To Mr. MATTHEW.
I HEARTILY thank you for your letter of the 10th of February, and am glad to receive from you matter both of encouragement and of advertisement touching my writings. For my part I do wish, that since there is no* lumen siccum in the world, but all madidum, and maceratum, infused in affections, and bloods, or humours, that these things of mine had those separations that might make them more acceptable: so that they claim not so much acquaintance of the present times, as they be thereby the less apt to last. And to shew you that I have some purpose to new-mold them, I send you a leaf or two of the preface, carrying some figure of the whole work. Wherein I purpose to take that which I count real and effectual of both writings; and chiefly to add a pledge, if not payment, to my promises, I send you also a memorial of queen Elizabeth; to requite your eulogy of the late duke of 5 Florence's felicity. Of this, when you were here, I shewed you
4 Our author alludes to one of the dark sayings of Heraclitus, that dry light is ever the best; which in another place he thus expounds: Certainly the light that a man receiveth by counsel from another, "is drier and purer than that which cometh from his own under"standing and judgment, this being ever infused and drenched in "his affections." Stephens.
5 This duke of Florence was named Ferdinand, of the house of Medici; whose memory Sir Henry Wotton celebrated in a letter printed in his remains, and presented to king Charles I. Piasecius, the bishop of Premista in Poland, begins his chronicle of the year 1609, with an account of his death; and sums up his character in these words: Princeps animo excelso, et omnibus politicis artibus in tantum instructus, ut in multis seculis vix æqualem habuerit. Stephens..
some model; at what time, methought, you were more willing to hear Julius Cæsar, than Queen Elizabeth, commended. But this which I send is more full, and hath more of the narrative: and farther, hath one part that, I think, will not be disagreeable either to you or that place; being the true tract of her proceedings towards the catholicks, which are infinitely mistaken. And though I do not imagine, they will pass allowance there, yet they will gain upon excuse, I find Mr. Le Zure to use you well, I mean his tongue of you, which shews you either honest, or wise: but this I speak merrily. For in good faith I do conceive hope, that you will so govern yourself, as we may take you as assuredly for a good subject and patriot, as you take yourself for a good Christian; and so we may again enjoy your company, and you your conscience, if it may no otherways be. For my part, assure yourself, as we say in the law, mutatis mutandis, my love and good wishes to you are not diminished. And so I remain
CII. To Mr. MATTHEW, upon sending his Rawley's book De sapientia veterum.
I DO very heartily thank you for your letter of the 24th of August from Salamanca; and in recompence thereof I send you a little work of mine, that hath be gun to pass the world. They tell me my Latin is turned into silver, and become current: had you been here, you should have been my inquisitor before it came forth but, I think, the greatest inquisitor in Spain will allow it. But one thing you must pardon me if I make no haste to believe, that the world should be grown to such an ecstacy as to reject truth in philosophy, because the author dissenteth in religion; no more than they do by Aristotle or Averroes. My great work goeth forward; and after my manner, I alter ever › when I add. So that nothing is finished till all be finished. This I have written in the midst of a term and parliament; thinking no time so possessed, but
that I should talk of these matters with so good and dear a friend. And so with my wonted wishes I leave you to God's goodness.
From Gray's-Inn, Feb. 27, 1610.
Rawley's CIII. To the KING, desiring to succeed in the attorney's place.
It may please your Majesty,
YOUR great and princely favours towards me in advancing me to place; and, that which is to me of no less comfort, your majesty's benign and gracious acceptation, from time to time, of my poor services, much above the merit and value of them; hath almost brought me to an opinion that I may sooner, perchance, be wanting to myself in not asking, than find your majesty's goodness wanting to me in any my reasonable and modest desires. And therefore perceiving how at this time preferments of law fly about mine ears, to some above me, and to some below me; I did conceive your majesty may think it rather a kind of dullness, or want of faith, than modesty, if I should not come with my pitcher to Jacob's well, as others do. Wherein I shall propound to your majesty that which tendeth not so much to the raising of my fortune, as to the settling of my mind: being sometimes assailed with this cogitation, that by reason of my slowness to see and apprehend sudden occasions, keeping in one plain course of painful service, I may, in fine dierum, be in danger to be neglected and forgotten: and if that should be, then were it much better for me, now while I stand in your majesty's good opinion, though unworthy, and have some little reputation in the world, to give over the course I am in, and to make proof to do you some honour by my pen, either by writing some faithful narrative of your happy, though not untraduced, times; or by recom piling your laws, which, I perceive, your majesty laboureth with; and hath in your head, as Jupiter had Pallas, or some other the like work, for without some endeavour to do you honour, I would not live; than to spend my wits and time in this laborious place wherein I now
serve; if it shall be deprived of those outward ornaments, which it was wont to have, in respect of an assured succession to some place of more dignity and rest; which seemeth now to be an hope altogether casual, if not wholly intercepted. Wherefore, not to hold your majesty long, my humble suit to your majesty is that, than the which I cannot well go lower; which is, that I may obtain your royal promise to succeed, if I live, into the attorney's place, whensoever it shall be void; it being but the natural and immediate step and rise which the place I now hold hath ever, in sort, made claim to, and almost never failed of. In this suit I make no friends but to your majesty, rely upon no other motive but your grace, nor any other assurance but your word; whereof I had good experience, when I came to the solicitor's place, that it was like to the two great lights, which in their motions are never retrograde, So with my best prayers for your majesty's happiness, I rest
CIV. To the KING, upon the attorney's
It may please your most excellent Majesty,
I DO understand by some of my good friends, to my great comfort, that your majesty hath in mind your majesty's royal promise, which to me is anchora spei, touching the attorney's place. I hope Mr. Attorney shall do well. I thank God I wish no man's death, nor much mine own life, more than to do your majesty service. For I account my life the accident, and my duty the substance. But this I will be bold to say; if it please God that I ever serve your majesty in the attorney's place, I have known an attorney Coke, and an attorney Hobart, both worthy men, and far above myself: but if I should not find a middle way between their two dispositions and carriages, I should not satisfy myself. But these things are far or near, as it shall please God. Mean while I most humbly pray your majesty, to accept my sacrifice of thanksgiving for your gracious favour. God preserve your majesty. I ever remain
Stephens's CV. To the most high and excellent prince, HENRY, Prince of Wales, Duke of Cornwall, and Earl of Chester."
It may please your Highness,
HAVING divided my life into the contemplative and active part, I am desirous to give his majesty and your highness of the fruits of both, simple though they be.
To write just treatises, requireth leisure in the writer, and leisure in the reader, and therefore are not so fit, neither in regard of your highness's princely affairs, nor in regard of my continual service; which is the cause that hath made me choose to write certain brief notes, set down rather significantly than curiously, which I have called Essays. The word is late, but the thing is ancient; for Seneca's epistles to Lucilius, if you mark them well, are but essays, that is, dispersed meditations, though conveyed in the form of epistles. These labours of mine, I know, cannot be worthy of your highness, for what can be worthy of you? But my hope is, they may be as grains of salt, that will rather give you an appetite, than offend you with satiety. And although they handle those things wherein both mens lives and their persons are most conversant; yet what I have attained I know not; but I have endeavoured to make them not vulgar, but of a nature, whereof a man shall find much in experience, and little in books; so as they are neither repetitions nor fancies. But, however, I shall most humbly desire your highness to accept them in gracious part, and to conceive, that if I cannot rest, but must shew my dutiful and devoted affection to your highness in these things which proceed from myself, I shall be much more ready to do it in performance of any of your princely command
6 Sir Francis Bacon designed to have prefixed this epistle to his Essays, printed in the year 1612, but was prevented by the prince's death; yet it was so well liked by Mr. Matthew, that he inserted part of it in his dedication to the duke of Tuscany, before his translation of those Essays, printed in 1618.