sisteth of many wise and politic axioms, which contain not a temporary, but a perpetual direction in the case of popular elections. But chiefly we may see in those aphorisms which have place among divine writings, composed by Solomon the king, (of whom the Scriptures testify that his heart was as the sands of the sea, encompassing the world and all worldly matters,) we see, I say, not a few profound and excellent cautions, precepts, positions, extending to much variety of occasions; whereupon we will stay awhile, offering to consideration some number of examples.
"Sed et cunctis sermonibus qui dicuntur ne accommodes aurem tuam, ne forte audias servum tuum maledicentem tibi." Here is concluded the provident stay of inquiry of that which we would be loath to find: as it was judged great wisdom in Pompeius Magnus that he burned Sertorius's papers unperused.
"Vir sapiens, si cum stulto contenderit, sive irascatur, sive rideat, non inveniet requiem. Here is described the great disadvantage which a wise man hath in undertaking a lighter person than himself; which is such an engagement as, whether a man turn the matter to jest, or turn it to heat, or howsover he change copy, he can no ways quit himself well of it.
"Qui delicatè a pueritia nutrit servum suum, postea sentiet eum contumacem."3 Here is signified, that if a man begin too high a pitch in his favours, it doth commonly end in unkindness and unthankfulness.
"Vidisti virum velocem in opere suo? coram regibus stabit, nec erit inter ignobiles."4 Here is observed, that of all virtues for rising to honour, quickness of despatch is the best; for superiors many times love not to have those they employ too deep or too sufficient, but ready and diligent.
1 Lend not your ears to all discourses, lest you hear your servant reproaching you. The same as the proverb, "Listeners rarely hear good of themselves."
2 A wise man contending with a fool, whether he gets angry or smiles, will not find rest.
3 He who rears a slave too tenderly from childhood will find him disobedient.
Have you seen a man quick at his work, he shall stand before kings and shall not be neglected.
"Vidi cunctos viventes qui ambulant sub sole, cum adolescente secundo qui consurgit pro eo. Here is expressed that which was noted by Sylla first, and after him by Tiberius; “Plures adorant solem orientem quam occidentem vel meridianum."6
"Si spiritus potestatem habentis ascenderit super te, locum tuum ne dimiseris; quia curatio faciet cessare peccata maxima."7 Here caution is given, that upon displeasure retiring is of all courses the unfittest; for a man leaveth things at worst, and depriveth himself of means to make them better.
"Erat civitas parva, et pauci in ea viri: venit contra eam rex magnus, et vadavit eam, instruxitque munitiones per gyrum, et perfecta est obsidio; inventusque est in ea vir pauper et sapiens, et liberavit eam per sapientiam suam; et nullus deinceps recordatus est hominis illius pauperis."8 Here the corruption of states is set forth, that esteem not virtue or merit longer than they have use of it.
"Mollis responsio frangit iram."9 Here is noted that silence or rough answer exasperateth; but an answer present and temperate pacifieth.
"Iter pigrorum quasi sepes spinarum."10 Here is lively represented how laborious sloth proveth in the end; for when things
5 This is the Vulgate rendering of Ecclesiastes iv. 13; literally, "I saw all living men that walk under the sun, with the second young man who shall rise up in his place." Our authorised version reads, I considered all the living which walk under the sun, with the second child that shall stand up in his stead." The Targum asserts that Solomon prophetically alludes to the case of Rehoboam and Jeroboam; but he more probably refers to some contemporary revolution, such as frequently takes place in Asiatic kingdoms, when a child is taken from the harem or the prison and suddenly elevated to the throne.
6 There are more worshippers of the rising than of the setting or even the meridian sun.
7 If ambition of power possesses you, beware of abandoning your post; care and attention will correct the greatest errors.
There was a little city and few men within it, and there came a great king against it and besieged it, and built great bulwarks against it. Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city; yet no man remembered that poor wise man.
9 A soft answer turneth away wrath.
10 The journey of the idle is like a hedge of thorns.
are deferred till the last instant, and nothing prepared beforehand, every step findeth a brier or an impediment, which catcheth or stoppeth.
Melior est finis orationis quam princiHere is taxed the vanity of formal speakers, that study more about prefaces and inducements, than upon the conclusions and issues of speech.
"Qui cognoscit in judicio faciem, non bene facit; iste et pro buccella panis deseret veritatem."2 Here is noted, that a judge were better be a briber than a respecter of persons; for a corrupt judge offendeth not so highly as a facile.
"Vir pauper calumnians pauperes similis est imbri vehementi, in quo paratur fames."3 Here is expressed the extremity of necessitous extortions, figured in the ancient fable of the full and the hungry horseleech.*
"Fons turbatus pede, et vena corrupta, est justus cadens coram impio." 5 Here is noted, that one judicial and exemplar iniquity in the face of the world, doth trouble the fountains of justice more than many particular injuries passed over by connivance.
Qui subtrahit aliquid a patre et a matre, et dicit hoc non esse peccatum, particeps est homicidii," Here is noted, that whereas men in wronging their best friends use to extenuate their fault, as if they might presume or be bold upon them, it doth contrariwise indeed aggravate their fault, and turneth it from injury to impiety.
"Noli esse amicus homini iracundo, nec Here cauambulato cum homine furioso."7 tion is given, that in the election of our friends we do principally avoid those which
are impatient, as those that will espouse us to many factions and quarrels.
"Qui conturbat domum suam, possidebit ventum." Here is noted, that in domestical separations and breaches men do promise to themselves quieting of their mind and contentment; but still they are deceived of their expectation, and it turneth to wind.
"Filius sapiens lætificat patrem: filius vero stultus moestitia est matri suæ.' Here is distinguished, that fathers have most comfort of the good proof of their sons; but mothers have most discomfort of their ill proof, because women have little discerning of virtue, but of fortune.
"Qui celat delictum, quærit amicitiam ; sed qui altero sermone repetit, separat fœderatos. "10 Here caution is given, that reconcilement is better managed by an amnesty, and passing over that which is past, than by apologies and excusations.
"In omni opere bono erit abundantia ; ubi autem verba sunt plurima, ibi frequenter egestas." Here is noted, that words and discourse abound most where there is idleness and want.
"Primus in sua causa justus; sed venit altera pars, et inquirit in eum."12 Here is observed, that in all causes the first tale possesseth much; in such sort, that the perjudice thereby wrought will be hardly removed, except some abuse or falsity in the information be detected.
"Verba bilinguis quasi simplicia, et ipsa perveniunt ad interiora ventris." Here is distinguished, that flattery and insinuation, which seemeth set and artificial, sinketh not far; but that entereth deep which hath show of nature, liberty, and simplicity.
8 He who disturbs his own house will inherit the wind.
9 A wise son maketh a glad father, but a foolish son is grief unto his mother.
10 He who conceals an error gains a friend; but the tale-bearer severs those who were closely united. 11 In every good work there will be abundance, but where words are too numerous, poverty is present.
12 He that is first in his own cause seemeth just ; but his neighbour cometh and searcheth him.
13 The words of a tale-bearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.
"Qui erudit derisorem, ipse sibi injuriam facit; et qui arguit impium, cibi maculam generat."1 Here caution is given how we tender reprehension to arrogant and scornful natures, whose manner is to esteem it for contumely, and accordingly, to return it.
"Da sapienti occasionem, et addetur ei sapientia.” Here is distinguished the wisdom brought into habit, and that which is but verbal, and swimming only in conceit; for the one upon occasion presented is quickened and redoubled, the other is amazed and confused.
"Quomodo in aquis resplendent vultus prospicientium, sic corda hominum manifesta sunt prudentibus." Here the mind of a wise man is compared to a glass, wherein the images of all diversity of natures and customs are represented; from which representation proceedeth that application,
"Qui sapit, innumeris moribus aptus erit."4
Thus have I staid somewhat longer upon these sentences politic of Solomon than is agreeable to the proportion of an example; led with a desire to give authority to this part of knowledge, which I noted as deficient, by so excellent a precedent; and have also attended them with brief observations, such as to my understanding offer no violence to the sense, though I know they may be applied to a more divine use but it is allowed, even in divinity, that some interpretations, yea, and some writings, have more of the eagle than others; but taking them as instructions for life, they might have received large discourse, if I would have broken them and illustrated them by deducements and examples.
Neither was this in use only with the Hebrews, but it is generally to be found in the wisdom of the more ancient times; that as men found out any observation that they thought was good for life, they would gather
1 He that reproveth a scorner getteth to himself shame; and he that rebuketh the wicked getteth to himself a blot.
2 Afford opportunity to a wise man, and his wisdom will be increased.
3 As in water, face answereth to water, so the heart of man to man.
4 Fit for each change and chance we find the wise.
it, and express it in parable, or aphorism, or fable. But for fables, they were vicegerents and supplies where examples failed: now that the times abound with history, the aim is better when the mark is alive. And therefore the form of writing which of all others is fittest for this variable argument of negotiation and occasion is that which Machiavel chose wisely and aptly for government; namely, discourse upon histories or examples: for knowledge drawn freshly, and in our view, out of particulars knoweth the way best to particulars again; and it hath much greater life for practice when the discourse attendeth upon the example, than when the example attendeth upon the discourse. For this is no point of order, as it seemeth at first, but of substance: for when the example is the ground, being set down in a history at large, it is set down with all circumstances, which may sometimes control the discourse thereupon made, and sometimes supply it as a very pattern for action; whereas the examples alleged for the discourse's sake are cited succinctly, and without particularity, and carry a servile aspect toward the discourse which they are brought in to make good.
But this difference is not amiss to be remembered, that as history of times is the best ground for discourse of government, such as Machiavel handleth, so history of lives is the most proper for discourse of business, because it is most conversant in private actions. Nay, there is a ground of discourse for this purpose fitter than them both, which is discourse upon letters, such as are wise and weighty, as many are of Cicero ad Atticum, and others. For letters have a great and more particular representation of business than either chronicles or lives. Thus have we spoken both of the matter and form of this part of civil knowledge, touching Negotiation, which we note to be deficient.
But yet there is another part of this part, which differeth as much from that whereof we have spoken as 66 sapere, 5 and "sibi sapere, the one moving as it were to the circumference, the other to the centre. For
5 To be wise.
6 To be wise for one's self.
there is a wisdom of counsel, and again there is a wisdom of pressing a man's own fortune; and they do sometimes meet, and often sever; for many are wise in their own ways that are weak for government or counsel; like ants, which are wise creatures for themselves, but very hurtful for the garden. This wisdom the Romans did take much knowledge of: "Nam pol sapiens," saith the comical poet, " fingit fortunam sibi ;" and it grew to an adage, "Faber quisque fortunæ propriæ:"2 and Livy attributeth it to Cato the first, "in hoc viro tanta vis animi et ingenii inerat, ut quocunque loco natus esset, sibi ipse fortunam facturus videretur." 3
This conceit or position, if it be too much declared and professed, hath been thought a thing impolitic and unlucky, as was observed in Timotheus, the Athenian, who having done many great services to the estate in his government, and giving an account thereof to the people, as the manner was, did conclude every particular with this clause, "and in this fortune had no part." And it came so to pass that he never prospered in anything he took in hand afterwards: for this is too high and too arrogant, savouring of that which Ezekiel saith of Pharaoh, "Dicis, Fluvius est meus, et ego feci memet ipsum;" or of that which another prophet speaketh, that men offer sacrifices to their nets and snares; and that which the poet expresseth,—
"Dextra mihi Deus, et telum quod inutile libro, Nunc adsint !"'5
for these confidences were ever unhallowed and unblessed and therefore those that were great politicians indeed ever ascribed their successes to their felicity, and not to their skill or virtue. For so Sylla surnamed himself Felix,' ," not "Magnus:"7 so Cæsar said
to the master of the ship, "Cæsarem portas et fortunam ejus."
But yet nevertheless these positions, "Faber quisque fortunæ suæ: Sapiens dominabitur astris: Invia virtuti nulla est via,"9 and the like being taken and used as spurs to industry, and not as stirrups to insolency, rather for resolution than for presumption or outward declaration, have been ever thought sound and good; and are, no question, imprinted in the greatest minds, who are so sensible of this opinion, as they can scarce contain it within as we see in Augustus Cæsar, (who was rather diverse from his uncle, than inferior in virtue,) how when he died, he desired his friends about him to give him a Plaudite,"10 as if he were conscious to himself that he had played his part well upon the stage. This part of knowledge we do report also as deficient: not but that it is practised too much, but it hath not been reduced to writing. And therefore lest it should seem to any that it is not comprehensible by axiom, it is requisite, as we did in the former, that we set down some heads or passages of it.
Wherein it may appear at the first a new and unwonted argument to teach men how to raise and make their fortune; a doctrine wherein every man perchance will be ready to yield himself a disciple, till he seeth difficulty for fortune layeth as heavy impositions as virtue; and it is as hard and severe a thing to be a true politician as to be truly moral. But the handling hereof concerneth learning greatly, both in honour and in substance in honour, because pragmatical men may not go away with an opinion that learning is like a lark, that can mount, and sing, and please herself, and nothing else; but may know that she holdeth as well of the hawk, that can soar aloft, and can also descend and strike upon the prey: in substance, because it is the perfect law of inquiry of truth" that nothing be in the globe of matter, which should not be likewise in the globe of crystal or form;" that is, that there
8 You carry Cæsar and his fortune.
9 Every one is the architect of his own fortune. The wise man will triumph over the stars (i.e. Destiny). No path is impassable to virtue.
10" Applause:" it was the phrase used by Roman actors when the performance was concluded.
be not anything in being and action which should not be drawn and collected into contemplation and doctrine. Neither doth learning admire or esteem of this architecture of fortune, otherwise than as of an inferior work: for no man's fortune can be an end worthy of his being; and many times the worthiest men do abandon their fortune willingly for better respects: but nevertheless fortune, as an organ of virtue and merit, deserveth the consideration.
First therefore the precept which I conceive to be most summary towards the prevailing in fortune is to obtain that window which Momus did require: who, seeing in the frame of man's heart such angles and recesses, found fault that there was not a window to look into them; that is, to procure good informations of particulars touching persons, their natures, their desires and ends, their customs and fashions, their helps and advantages, and whereby they chiefly stand: so again their weaknesses and disadvantages, and where they lie most open and obnoxious; their friends, factions, and dependencies; and again their opposites, enviers, competitors, their moods and times. "Sola viri molles aditus et tempora noras;" their principles, rules, and observations, and the like: and this not only of persons, but of actions; what are on foot from time to time, and how they are conducted, favoured, opposed, and how they import, and the like. For the knowledge of present actions is not only material in itself, but without it also the knowledge of persons is very erroneous: for men change with the actions; and whilst they are in pursuit they are one, and when they return to their nature they are another. These informations of particulars touching persons and actions are as the minor propositions in every active syllogism; for no excellency of observations, which are as the major propositions, can suffice to ground a conclusion, if there be error and mistaking in the minors.
That this knowledge is possible, Solomon is our surety; who saith, "Consilium in corde viri tanquam aqua profunda; sed vir prudens exhauriet illud." And although
1 Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out.
the knowledge itself falleth not under precept, because it is of individuals, yet the instructions for the obtaining of it may.
We will begin therefore with this precept, according to the ancient opinion, that the sinews of wisdom are slowness of belief and distrust; that more trust be given to countenances and deeds than to words; and in words rather to sudden passages and surprised words than to set and purposed words. Neither let that be feared which is said, "fronti nulla fides:"2 which is meant of a general outward behaviour, and not of the private and subtile motions and labours of the countenance and gesture; which, as Q. Cicero elegantly saith, is "animi janua." None more close than Tiberius, and yet Tacitus saith of Gallus, "Etenim vultu offensionem conjectaverat." So again, noting the differing character and manner of his commending Germanicus and Drusus in the senate, he saith, touching his fashion, wherein he carried his speech of Germanicus, thus; “Magis in speciem adornatis verbis, quam ut penitus sentire crederetur:"5 but of Drusus thus; "Paucioribus, sed intentior, et fida oratione:" and in another place, speaking of his character of speech, when he did anything that was gracious and popular, he saith, that in other things he was "velut eluctantium verborum;"7 but then again, "solutius vero loquebatur quando subveniret."8 So that there is no such artificer of dissimulation, nor no such commanded countenance, "vultus jussus," that can sever from a feigned tale some of these fashions, either a more slight and careless fashion, or more set and formal, or more tedious and wandering, or coming from a man more drily and hardly.
Neither are deeds such assured pledges as that they may be trusted without a judicious