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companies, colleges and politic bodies, of neighbourhood, and all other proportionate duties; not as they are parts of government and society, but as to the framing of the mind of particular persons.
The knowledge concerning good respecting society doth handle it also not simply alone, but comparatively, whereunto belongeth the weighing of duties between person and person, case and case, particular and public as we see in the proceeding of Lucius Brutus against his own sons, which was so much extolled; yet what was said?
Infelix, utcunque ferent ea fata minores.
So the case was doubtful, and had opinion on both sides. Again, we see when M. Brutus and Cassius invited to a supper certain whose opinions they meant to feel, whether they were fit to be made their associates, and cast forth the question touching the killing of a tyrant being an usurper, they were divided in opinion, some holding that servitude was the extreme of evils, and others that tyranny was better than a civil war; and a number of the like cases there are of comparative duty: amongst which that of all others is the most frequent, where the question is of a great deal of good to ensue of a small injustice, which Jason of Thessalia determined against the truth : Aliqua sunt injuste facienda, ut multa juste fieri possint. But the reply is good, Auctorem præsentis justitiæ habes, sponsorem futuræ non habes; men must pursue things which are just in present, and leave the future to the divine providence. So then we pass on from this general part touching the exemplar and description of good.
Now therefore that we have spoken of this fruit of De cultura life, it remaineth to speak of the husbandry that be-animi. longeth thereunto, without which part the former seemeth to be no better than a fair image, or statua, which is beautiful to contemplate, but is without life and motion: whereunto Aristotle himself subscribeth in these words, Necesse est scilicet de virtute dicere, et quid sit, et ex quibus gignatur. Inutile enim fere fuerit, virtutem quidem nosse, acquirendæ autem
ejus modos et vias ignorare: non enim de virtute tantum, qua specie sit, quærendum est, sed et quomodo sui copiam faciat ; utrumque enim volumus, et rem ipsam nosse et ejus compotes fieri: hoc autem ex voto non succedet, nisi sciamus et ex quibus et quomodo. In such full words and with such iteration doth he inculcate this part; so saith Cicero in great commendation of Cato the second, that he had applied himself to philosophy, non ita disputandi causa, sed ita vivendi. And although the neglect of our times, wherein few men do hold any consultations touching the reformation of their life, as Seneca excellently saith, De partibus vitæ quisque deliberat, de summa nemo, may make this part seem superfluous; yet I must conclude with that aphorism of Hippocrates, Qui gravi morbo correpti dolores non sentiunt,iis mens ægrotat; they need medicine not only to assuage the disease, but to awake the sense. And if it be said, that the cure of mens minds belongeth to sacred divinity, it is most true: but yet moral philosophy may be preferred unto her as a wise servant and humble handmaid. For as the Psalm saith, that the eyes of the handmaid look perpetually towards the mistress, and yet no doubt many things are left to the discretion of the handmaid, to discern of the mistress's will; so ought moral philosophy to give a constant attention to the doctrines of divinity, and yet so as it may yield of herself, within due limits, many sound and profitable directions.
This part therefore, because of the excellency thereof, I cannot but find exceeding strange that it is not reduced to written inquiry, the rather because it consisteth of much matter, wherein both speech and action is often conversant, and such wherein the common talk of men, which is rare, but yet cometh sometimes to pass, is wiser than their books. It is reasonable therefore that we propound it in the more particularity, both for the worthiness, and because we may acquit ourselves for reporting it deficient, which seemeth almost incredible, and is otherwise conceived and presupposed by those themselves
that have written.
We will therefore enumerate
some heads or points thereof, that it may appear the better what it is, and whether it be extant.
First, therefore, in this, as in all things which are practical, we ought to cast up our account, what is in our power, and what not; for the one may be dealt with by way of alteration, but the other by way of application only. The husbandman cannot command, neither the nature of the earth, nor the seasons of the weather, no more can the physician the constitution of the patient, nor the variety of accidents. So in the culture and cure of the mind of man, two things are without our command; points of nature, and points of fortune for to the basis of the one, and the conditions of the other, our work is limited and tied. In these things therefore, it is left unto us to proceed by application.
Vincenda est omnis fortuna ferendo: and so likewise,
Vincenda est omnis natura ferendo. But when that we speak of suffering, we do not speak of a dull and neglected suffering, but of a wise and industrious suffering, which draweth and contriveth use and advantage out of that which seemeth adverse and contrary, which is that properly which we call accommodating or applying. Now the wisdom of application resteth principally in the exact and distinct knowledge of the precedent state or disposition, unto which we do apply; for we cannot fit a garment, except we first take measure of the body.
So then the first article of this knowledge is to set down sound and true distributions, and descriptions of the several characters and tempers of mens natures and dispositions, specially having regard to those differences which are most radical, in being the fountains and causes of the rest, or most frequent in concurrence or commixture; wherein it is not the handling of a few of them in passage, the better to describe the mediocrities of virtues, that can satisfy this intention: for if it deserve to be considered, "that there are minds which are proportioned to great matters,
"and others to small," which Aristotle handleth or ought to have handled by the name of magnanimity, doth it not deserve as well to be considered, “that "there are minds proportioned to intend many "matters, and others to few?" So that some can divide themselves, others can perchance do exactly well, but it must be but in few things at once; and so there cometh to be a narrowness of mind, as well as a pusillanimity. And again, "that some minds "are proportioned to that which may be dispatched "at once, or within a short return of time; others to "that which begins afar off, and is to be won with length of pursuit,"
Jam tum tenditque fovetque.
So that there may be fitly said to be a longanimity, which is commonly also ascribed to God as a magnanimity. So farther deserved it to be considered by Aristotle," that there is a disposition in conversation, "supposing it in things which do in no sort touch or "concern a man's self, to sooth and please; and a disposition contrary to contradict and cross:" and deserveth it not much better to be considered, “that "there is a disposition, not in conversation or talk, but "in matter of more serious nature, and supposing it "still in things merely indifferent, to take pleasure in "the good of another, and a disposition contrariwise, "to take distaste at the good of another?" which is that properly which we call good-nature or illnature, benignity or malignity. And therefore I cannot sufficiently marvel, that this part of knowledge, touching the several characters of natures and dispositions, should be omitted both in morality and policy, considering it is of so great ministry and suppeditation to them both. A man shall find in the traditions of astrology some pretty and apt divisions of mens natures, according to the predominances of the planets; lovers of quiet, lovers of action, lovers of victory, lovers of honour, lovers of pleasure, lovers of arts, lovers of change, and so forth. A man shall find in the wisest sort of these relations, which the Italians make touching conclaves, the natures of the several
cardinals handsomely and lively painted forth; a man shall meet with, in every day's conference, the denominations of sensitive, dry, formal, real, humourous, certain, huomo di prima impressione, huomo di ultima impressione, and the like: and yet nevertheless this kind of observations wandereth in words, but is not fixed in inquiry. For the distinctions are found, many of them, but we conclude no precepts upon them: wherein our fault is the greater, because both history, poesy, and daily experience, are as goodly fields where these observations grow; whereof we make a few poesies to hold in our hands, but no man bringeth them to the confectionary, that receipts might be made of them for the use of life.
Of much like kind are those impressions of nature, which are imposed upon the mind by the sex, by the age, by the region, by health and sickness, by beauty and deformity, and the like, which are inherent, and not extern; and again, those which are caused by extern fortune; as sovereignty, nobility, obscure birth, riches, want, magistracy, privateness, prosperity, adversity, constant fortune, variable fortune, rising per saltum, per gradus, and the like. And therefore we see that Plautus maketh it a wonder to see an old man beneficent, benignitas hujus ut adolescentuli est. St. Paul concludeth, that severity of discipline was to be used to the Cretans, Increpa eos dure, upon the disposition of their country, Cretenses semper mendaces, male bestia, ventres pigri. Sallust noteth, that it is usual with kings to desire contradictories; Sed plerumque regiæ voluntates, ut vehementes sunt, sic mobiles, sæpeque ipsæ sibi adversæ. Tacitus observeth how rarely raising of the fortune mendeth the disposition, Solus Vespasianus mutatusin melius. Pindarus maketh an observation, that great and sudden fortune for the most part defeateth men, Qui magnam felicitatem concoquere non possunt. So the Psalm sheweth it is more easy to keep a measure in the enjoying of fortune, than in the increase of fortune: Divitiæ si affluant,nolite cor apponere. These observations, and the like, I deny not but are touched