« PreviousContinue »
have only in shew and demonstration. Yet notwithstanding every man attempteth to be of the first trade, of carpenters, and few bind themselves to the second; whereas nevertheless the rising in fortune seldom amendeth the mind; but on the other side, the removing of the stonds and impediments of the mind doth often clear the passage and current to a man's fortune. But certain it is, whether it be believed or no, that as the most excellent of metals, gold, is of all others the most pliant and most induring to be wrought; so of all living and breathing substances, the perfectest man is the most susceptible of help, improvement, impression, and alteration; and not only in his body, but in his mind and spirit; and there again not only in his appetite and affection, but in his powers of wit and reason.
For as to the body of man, we find many and strange experiences, how nature is over-wrought by custom, even in actions that seem of most difficulty and least possible. As first in voluntary motion, which though it be termed voluntary, yet the highest degrees of it are not voluntary; for it is in my power and will to run; but to run faster than according to my lightness or disposition of body, is not in my power nor will. We see the industry and practice of tumblers and funambulos, what effects of great wonder it bringeth the body of man unto. So for suffering of pain and dolour, which is thought so contrary to the nature of man, there is much example of penances in strict orders of superstition what they do endure, such as may well verify the report of the Spartan boys, which were wont to be scourged upon the altar so bitterly as sometimes they died of it, and yet were never heard to complain. And to pass to those faculties which are reckoned more involuntary, as long fasting and abstinence, and the contrary extreme, voracity; the leaving and forbearing the use of drink for altogether; the enduring vehement cold, and the like; there have not wanted, neither do want, divers examples of strange victories over the body in every of these. Nay, in respiration, the proof hath been of some who by continual use of diving and working under the water, have
brought themselves to be able to hold their breath an incredible time; and others that have been able, without suffocation, to endure the stifling breath of an oven or furnace so heated as though it did not scald nor burn, yet it was many degrees too hot for any man not made to it to breathe or take in. And some impostors and counterfeits likewise have been able to wreathe and cast their bodies into strange forms and motions; yea, and others to bring themselves into trances and astonishments. All which examples do demonstrate how variously and to how high points and degrees the body of man may be as it were molded and wrought. And if any man conceive that it is some secret propriety of nature that hath been in those persons which have attained to those points, and that it is not open for every man to do the like, though he had been put to it; for which cause such things come but very rarely to pass it is true no doubt but some persons are apter than others; but so as the more aptness causeth perfection, but the less aptness doth not disable: so that, for example, the more apt child, that is taken to be made a funambulo, will prove more excellent in his feats; but the less apt will be gregarius funambulo also. And there is small question, but that these abilities would have been more common, and others of like sort, not attempted, would likewise have been brought upon the stage, but for two reasons: the one, because of mens diffidence in prejudging them as impossibilities; for it holdeth in those things which the poet saith, possunt, quia posse videntur; for no man shall know how much may be done except he believe much may be done. The other reason is, because they be but practices base and inglorious, and of no great use, and therefore sequestered from reward of value, and on the other side painful; so as the recompence balanceth not with the travel and suffering. And as to the will of man, it is that which is most maniable and obedient; as that which admitteth most medicines to cure and alter it. The most sovereign of all is religion, which is able to change and transform it in the deepest and most inward inclinations and
motions, and next to that is, opinion and apprehension, whether it be infused by tradition and institution, or wrought in by disputation and persuasion; and the third is example, which transformeth the will of man into the similitude of that which is most observant and familiar towards it; and the fourth is, when one affection is healed and corrected by another, as when cowardice is remedied by shame and dishonour, or sluggishness and backwardness by indignation and emulation, and so of the like; and lastly, when all these means or any of them have new-framed or formed human will, then doth custom and habit corroborate and confirm all the rest. Therefore it is no marvel, though this faculty of the mind, of will and election, which inclineth affection and appetite, being but the inceptions and rudiments of will, may be so well governed and managed; because it admitteth access to so divers remedies to be applied to it, and to work upon it: the effects whereof are so many and so known, as require no enumeration; but generally they do issue, as medicines do, into two kinds of cures, whereof the one is a just or true cure, and the other is called palliation for either the labour and intention is to reform the affections really and truly, restraining them if they be too violent, and raising them if they be too soft and weak; or else it is to cover them, or, if occasion be, to pretend them and represent them of the former sort whereof the examples are plentiful in the schools of philosophers, and in all other institutions of moral virtue and of the other sort the examples are more plentiful in the courts of princes, and in all politic traffic; where it is ordinary to find, not only profound dissimulations, and suffocating the affections, that no note or mark appear of them outwardly; but also lively simulations and affectations, carrying the tokens of passions which are not, as risus jussus and lacryma coactæ, and the like.
Of Helps of the Intellectual Powers.
THE intellectual powers have fewer means to work upon them, than the will or body of man; but the
one that prevaileth, that is exercise, worketh more forcibly in them than in the rest.
The ancient habit of the philosophers, Si quis These that quærat in utramque partem de omni scibili.
The exercise of scholars making verses extempore, gested Stans pede in uno.
The exercise of lawyers im memory narrative. The exercise of sophists, and Jo. ad oppositum, with manifest effect.
Artificial memory greatly holpen by exercise, The exercise of buffoons to draw all things to conceits ridiculous.
The means that help the understanding and faculties thereof are,
(Not example, as in the will, by conversation; and here the conceit of imitation already digested, with the confutation, obiter si videbitur, of Tully's opinion, advising a man to take some one to imitate. Similitude of faces analysed.)
Arts, Logic, Rhetoric: The ancients, Aristotle, Plato, Theætetus, Gorgias litigiosus vel sophista, Protagoras, Aristotle, schola sua. Topics, Elenchs, Rhetorics, Organon, Cicero, Hermogenes. The Neoterics, Ramus, Agricola. Nil sacri; Lullius his Typocosmia, studying Cooper's Dictionary, Matthæus collection of proper words for metaphors, Agrippa de vanitatibus, etc.
Que. If not here of imitation.
Collections preparative. Aristotle's similitude of a shoemaker's shop, full of shoes of all sorts: Demosthenes, Exordia concionum. Tully's precept of theses of all sorts preparative.
The relying upon exercise, with the difference of using and tempering the instrument; and the similitude of prescribing against the laws of nature and of
1. That exercises are to be framed to the life; that is to say, to work ability in that kind whereof a man in the course of action shall have most use.
2. The indirect and oblique exercises; which do, per partes and per consequentiam, inable these facul
Sat. I. i. 25.
ties; which perhaps direct exercise at first would but distort; and these have chiefly place where the faculty is weak, not per se, but per accidens: as if want of memory grow through lightness of wit and want of staid attention; then the mathematics or the law helpeth; because they are things, wherein if the mind once roam, it cannot recover.
3. Of the advantages of exercise; as to dance with heavy shoes, to march with heavy armour and car riage; and the contrary advantage, in natures very dull and unapt, of working alacrity, by framing an exercise with some delight or affection.
Ut pueris olim dant crustula blandi
Doctores, elementa velint ut discere prima.
4. Of the cautions of exercise; as to beware lest by evil doing, as all beginners do weakly, a man grow not, and be inveterate, in an ill habit, and so take not the advantage of custom in perfection, but in confirming ill. Slubbering on the lute.
5. The marshalling and sequel of sciences and practices: logic and rhetoric should be used to be read after poesy, history, and philosophy; first, exercise, to do things well and clean; after, promptly and readily.
The exercises in the universities and schools are of memory and invention; either to speak by heart that which is set down verbatim, or to speak extempore: whereas there is little use in action of either or both; but most things which we utter are neither verbally premeditate, nor merely extemporal. Therefore exercise would be framed to take a little breathing, and to consider of heads; and then to fit and form the speech extempore. This would be done in two manners; both with writing and tables, and without: for in most actions it is permitted and passable to use the note, whereunto if a man be not accustomed, it will put him out.
There is no use of a narrative memory in academiis, namely, with circumstances of times, persons, and places, and with names; and it is one art to discourse, and another to relate and describe; and herein use and action is most conversant.