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Julius CÆSAR did write a collection of apophthegms, as appears in an epistle of Cicero; so did Macrobius, a consular man. I need say no more for the worth of a writing of that nature. It is pity Cæsar's book is lost; for I imagine they were collected with judgment and choice; whereas that of Plutarch and Stobæus, and much more the modern ones, draw much of the dregs. Certainly they are of excellent
They are mucrones verborum, pointed speeches. “ The words of the wise are as goads," saith Solomon. Cicero prettily calleth them salinas, salt-pits, that you may extract salt out of, and sprinkle it where you will. They serve to be interlaced in continued speech. They serve to be recited upon occasion of themselves. They serve if you take out the kernel of them, and make them your own. I have, for my recreation amongst more serious studies, collected some few of them :* therein fanning the old; not omitting any because they are vulgar, for many vulgar ones are excellent good ; not for the meanness of the person, but because they are dull and flat; and adding many new, that otherwise would have died.
1. QUEEN ELIZABETH, the morrow of her corona- 3. His majesty James the first, king of Great tion, it being the custom to release prisoners at the Britain, having made unto his parliament an excelinauguration of a prince, went to the chapel; and lent and large declaration, concluded thus ; “ I have in the great chamber, one of her courtiers, who was now given you a clear mirrour of my mind; use it well known to her, either out of his own motion, or therefore like a mirrour, and take heed how you let by the instigation of a wiser man, presented her it fall, or how you soil it with your breath." with a petition; and before a great number of cour- 4. A great officer in France was in danger to tiers, besought her with a loud voice, " That now have lost his place; but his wife, by her suit and this good time, there might be four or five principal means making, made his peace; whereupon a pleaprisoners more released : those were the four evan- sant fellow said, “ That he had been crushed, but gelists and the apostle St. Paul, who had been long that he saved himself upon his horns.” shut up in an unknown tongue, as it were in prison ; 5. His majesty said to his parliament at another so as they could not converse with the common time, finding there were some causeless jealousies people. The Queen answered very gravely, “ That sown amongst them; "That the king and his people, it was best first to inquire of them, whether they whereof the parliament is the representative body, would be released or no."
were as husband and wife; and therefore that of 2. Queen Ann Bullen, at the time when she was all other things jealousy was between them most led to be beheaded in the Tower, called one of the pernicious.” king's privy chamber to her, and said unto him, 6. His majesty, when he thought his council “Commend me to the king, and tell him, that he hath might note in him some variety in businesses, though been ever constant in his course of advancing me: indeed he remained constant, would say, “That the from a private gentlewoman he made me a mar- sun many times shineth watery; but it is not the chioness, and from a marchioness a queen; and now, sun which causeth it, but some cloud rising betwixt that he hath left no higher degree of earthly honour, us and the sun : and when that is scattered, the sun he intends to crown my innocency with the glory of is as it was, and comes to his former brightness.” martyrdom.”
7. His majesty, in his answer to the book of the
This collection his lordship made out of his memory, without turning any book.-Rawley.
cardinal Evereux, who had in a grave argument of less abroad to take the air, weakly attended, as she divinity sprinkled many witty ornaments of poesy used. But the queen answered; “ That she had and humanity, saith ; " That these flowers were rather be dead, than put in custody.” like blue, and yellow, and red flowers in the corn, 15. The lady Paget, that was very private with which make a pleasant show to those that look on, queen Elizabeth, declared herself much against the but they hurt the corn."
match with Monsieur. After Monsieur's death, the 8. Sir Edward Coke being vehement against the queen took extreme grief, at least as she made two provincial councils of Wales, and the north, show, and kept in within her bed-chamber and one said to the king ; “ There was nothing there but a ante-chamber for three weeks space, in token of kind of confusion and hotch-potch of justice : one mourning: at last she came forth into the privywhile they were a star-chamber; another while a chamber, and admitted her ladies to have access king's bench; another, a common pleas; another, a unto her; and amongst the rest my lady Paget precommission of oyer and terminer.” His majesty sented herself, and came to her with a smiling answered ; Why, Sir Edward Coke, they be like countenance. The queen bent her brows, and houses in progress, where I have not, nor can have, seemed to be highly displeased, and said to her, such distinct rooms of state, as I have here at “ Madam, you are not ignorant of my extreme Whitehall, or at Hampton-court.”
grief, and do you come to me with a countenance of 9. The commissioners of the treasury moved the joy ?” My lady Paget answered, “ Alas, if it please king, for the relief of his estate, to disafforest some your majesty, it is impossible for me to be absent forests of his, explaining themselves of such forests from you three weeks, but that when I see you, I as lay out of the way, not near any of the king's must look cheerfully." * No, no," said the queen, houses, nor in the course of his progress; whereof not forgetting her former averseness to the match, he should never have use nor pleasure. Why," you have some other conceit in it, tell me plainly." saith the king, “ do you think that Solomon had use My lady answered, “ I must obey you ; it is this. I and pleasure of all his three hundred concubines ?” was thinking how happy your majesty was, you
10. His majesty, when the committees of both married not Monsieur; for seeing you take such houses of parliament presented unto him the instru- thought for his death, being but your friend; if he ment of union of England and Scotland, was merry had been your husband, sure it would have cost you with them; and amongst other pleasant speeches, your life.” showed unto them the laird of Lawreston, a Scotch- 16. Henry the Fourth of France his queen was man, who was the tallest and greatest man that was young with child; count Soissons, that had his exto be seen, and said, “ Well, now we are all one, pectation upon the crown, when it was twice or thrice yet none of you will say but here is one Scotchman thought that the queen was with child before, said greater than any Englishman;" which was an to some of his friends, “ That it was but with a pilambiguous speech ; but it was thought he meant it low.” This had someways come to the king's ear; of himself.
who kept it till such time as the queen waxed 11. His majesty would say to the lords of his great: then he called the count of Soissons to him, council, when they sat upon any great matter, and and said, laying his hand upon the queen's belly ; came from council in to him, “ Well, you have sat, “ Come, cousin, is this a pillow ?”—The count of but what have you hatched ?”
Soissons answered, “ Yes, sir, it is a pillow for all 12. When the archduke did raise his siege from France to sleep upon.” the Grave, the then secretary came to queen Eliza- 17. King Henry the fourth of France was so beth. The queen, having first intelligence thereof, punctual of his word, after it was once passed, that said to the secretary, “ Wot you what; The arch- they called him “ The king of the faith.” duke has risen from the Grave.” He answered, 18. The said king Henry the fourth was moved “ What, without the trumpet of the archangel ?" by his parliament to a war against the protestants : The queen replied, “ Yes, without the sound of he answered, “ Yes, I mean it; I will make every trumpet."
one of you captains; you shall have companies 13. Queen Elizabeth was importuned much by assigned you.” The parliament observing wheremy lord of Essex, to supply divers great offices that unto his speech tended, gave over, and deserted his had been long void; the queen answered nothing motion. to the matter ; but rose up on a sudden, and said, 19. Queen Elizabeth was wont to say, upon the “ I am sure my office will not be long void.” And commission of sales, “ That the commissioners used yet at that time there was much speech of troubles, her like strawberry wives, that laid two or three and divisions about the crown, to be after her great strawberries at the mouth of their pot, and all decease; but they all vanished; and king James the rest were little ones ; so they made her two or came in, in a profound peace.
three good prizes of the first particulars, but fell 14. The council did make remonstrance unto straightways." queen Elizabeth of the continual conspiracies against 20. Queen Elizabeth used to say of her instrucher life ; and namely, that a man was lately taken, tions to great officers, “ That they were like to garwho stood ready in a very dangerous and suspicious ments, strait at the first putting on, but did by and manner to do the deed: and they showed her the by wear loose enough.” weapon wherewith he thought to have acted it. 21. A great officer at court, when my lord of And therefore they advised her that she should go Essex was first in trouble ; and that he and those
that dealt for him would talk much of my lord's | hereafter. But the lord treasurer said, “Why, I friends, and of his enemies, answered to one of them, pray you, if you had lost your purse by the way, “ I will tell you, I know but one friend and one would you look forwards, or would you look back?. enemy my lord hath, and that one friend is the The queen hath lost her purse.” queen, and that one enemy is himself.”
27. The lord keeper, Sir Nicholas Bacon, was 22. The book for deposing king Richard the asked his opinion by my lord of Leicester concernsecond, and the coming in of Henry the fourth, ing two persons whom the queen seemed to think supposed to be written by Dr. Hayward, who was well of : “By my troth, my lord, said he, the one is committed to the Tower for it, had much incensed a grave counsellor ; the other is a proper young queen Elizabeth ; and she asked Mr. Bacon, being man; and so he will be as long as he lives." then of her counsel learned, " Whether there were 28. My lord of Leicester, favourite to queen any treason contained in it?” Who intending to do Elizabeth, was making a large chace about Cornhim a pleasure, and to take off the queen's bitter- bury-park; meaning to enclose with posts and rails ; ness with a merry conceit, answered, “No, Madam, and one day was casting up his charge what it for treason I cannot deliver an opinion that there is would come to. Mr. Goldingham, a free spoken any, but very much felony." The queen, appre-man, stood by, and said to my lord, “ Methinks hending it gladly, asked, “ How ? and wherein ?” your lordship goeth not the cheapest way to work." Mr. Bacon answered, “ Because he had stolen many Why, Goldingham ?” said my lord. Marry, of his sentences and conceits out of Cornelius my lord,” said Goldingham, count you but upon Tacitus."
the posts, for the country will find you railing.” 23. Queen Elizabeth being to resolve upon a great 29. The lord keeper, Sir Nicholas Bacon, was officer, and being by some, that canvassed for others, asked his opinion by queen Elizabeth of one of put in some doubt of that person whom she meant these monopoly licences ? And he answered, to advance, called for Mr. Bacon, and told him, “ Madam, will you have me speak the truth? “She was like one with a lanthorn seeking a man;" Licentia omnes deteriores sumus.” We are all the and seemed unsatisfied in the choice she had of a worse for licences. man for that place. Mr. Bacon answered her, 30. My lord of Essex, at the succour of Roan, “ That he had heard that in old time there was made twenty-four knights, which at that time was a usually painted on the church walls the day of doom, great number. Divers of those gentlemen were of and God sitting in judgment, and St. Michael by weak and small means; which when queen Elizahim, with a pair of balances; and the soul and the beth heard, she said, “My lord might have done good deeds in the one balance, and the faults and well to have built his alms-house, before he made the evil deeds in the other: and the soul's balance his knights." went up far too light. Then was our lady painted 31. The deputies of the reformed religion, after with a great pair of beads, who cast them into the the massacre which was at Paris upon St. Barthololight balance, and brought down the scale : so, he mew's day, treated with the king and queen-mother, said, place and authority, which were in her ma- and some other of the council, for a peace. Both jesty's hands to give, were like our lady's beads, sides were agreed upon the articles. The question which though men, through any imperfections, were was, upon the security for the performance. After too light before, yet when they were cast in, made some particulars propounded and rejected, the queenweight competent."
mother said, “Why, is not the word of a king suf24. Queen Elizabeth was dilatory enough in suits, ficient security ?" One of the deputies answered, of her own nature; and the lord treasurer Burleigh “ No, by St. Bartholomew, Madam.” being a wise man, and willing therein to feed her 32. There was a French gentleman speaking humour, would say to her; “Madam, you do well to with an English, of the law Salique; that women let suitors stay; for I shall tell you, . bis dat, qui were excluded from inheriting the crown of France. cito dat;' if you grant them speedily, they will come The English said, “ Yes; but that was meant of the again the sooner.”
women themselves, not of such males as claimed by 25. Sir Nicholas Bacon, who was keeper of the women.” The French gentleman said, “ Where do great seal of England, when queen Elizabeth in her you find that gloss ?" The English answered, “ I'll progress came to his house at Gorhambury, and said tell you, Sir: look on the backside of the record of to him, “ My lord, what a little house have you the law Salique, and there you shall find it indorsed:" gotten!" answered her, “ Madam, my house is well, implying there was no such thing as the law Salique, but it is you that have made me too great for my but that it is a mere fiction. house."
33. A friar of France, being in an earnest dispute 26. There was a conference in parliament between about the law Salique, would needs prove it by the lords' house and the house of commons, about a Scripture ; citing that verse of the Gospel ; “ Lilia bill of accountants, which came down from the lords agri non laborant neque nent:" the lilies of the field to the commons; which bill prayed, That the lands do neither labour nor spin; applying it thus: That the of accountants, whereof they were seized when they flower-de-luces of France cannot descend, neither to entered upon their office, might be liable to their the distaff, nor to the spade: that is, not to a woman, arrears to the queen.
But the commons desired, nor to a peasant. That the bill might not look back to accountants 34. When peace was renewed with the French in that were already, but extend only to accountants | England, divers of the great counsellors were pre
sented from the French with jewels: the lord Henry | ladies of queen Elizabeth's privy-chamber and bedHoward, being then earl of Northampton, and a chamber, " that they were like witches, they could counsellor, was omitted. Whereupon the king said do no hurt, but they could do no good.” to him, “ My lord, how happens it that you
have 40. There was a minister deprived for inconfornot a jewel as well the rest ?” My lord answered, mity, who said to some of his friends, “ that if they according to the fable in Æsop; “ Non sum Gallus, deprived him, it should cost a hundred men's lives.” itaque non reperi gemmam.”
The party understood it, as if, being a turbulent fel35. The same earl of Northampton, then lord low, he would have moved sedition, and complained privy seal, was asked by king James, openly at the of him ; whereupon being convented and apposed table, where commonly he entertained the king with upon that speech, he said his meaning was, " that if discourse; the king asked him upon the sudden, he lost his benefice, he would practise physic, and “ My lord, have you not a desire to see Rome ?" then he thought he should kill a hundred men in My lord privy seal answered, “Yes indeed, Sir.” time.” The king said, “And why?” My lord answered, 41. Secretary Bourn's son kept a gentleman's “Because, if it please your majesty, it was the seat wife in Shropshire, who lived from her husband, with of the greatest monarchy, and the seminary of the him: when he was weary of her, he caused her bravest men of the world, whilst it was heathen: husband to be dealt with to take her home, and and then, secondly, because afterwards it was the see offered him five hundred pounds for reparation: of so many holy bishops in the primitive church, the gentleman went to Sir H. Sidney to take his admost of them martyrs." The king would not give vice upon this offer, telling him, “ that his wife it over, but said, " And for nothing else ?” My lord promised now a new life ; and, to tell him truth, five answered, “Yes, if it please your majesty, for two hundred pounds would come well with him; and things more: the one, to see him, who, they say, besides, that sometimes he wanted a woman in hath so great power to forgive other men their sins, his bed.” “ By my troth,” said Sir Henry Sidney, to confess his own sins upon his knees before a “ take her home, and take the money: then whereas chaplain or priest: and the other, to hear antichrist other cuckolds wear their horns plain, you may wear say his creed.”
yours gilt.” 36. Sir Nicholas Bacon being appointed a judge 42. When Rabelais, the great jester of France, for the northern circuit, and having brought his lay on his death-bed, and they gave him the extreme trials that came before him to such a pass, as the unction, a familiar friend came to him afterwards, passing of sentence on malefactors, he was by one and asked him how he did ? Rabelais answered, of the malefactors mightily importuned for to save “Even going my journey, they have greased my his life; which when nothing that he had said did boots already.” avail, he at length desired his mercy on account of 43. Mr. Bromley, solicitor, giving in evidence for kindred. “Prithee,” said my lord judge, “how a deed, which was impeached to be fraudulent, was came that in ?” “Why, if it please you, my lord, urged by the counsel on the other side with his preyour name is Bacon, and mine is Hog, and in all sumption, That in two former suits, when title was ages Hog and Bacon have been so near kindred, made, that deed was passed over in silence, and that they are not to be separated.” Ay, but,” re- some other conveyance stood upon. Mr. Justice plied judge Bacon, “ you and I cannot be kindred Catline taking in with that side asked the solicitor, except you be hanged; for Hog is not Bacon until “ I pray thee, Mr. Solicitor, let me ask you a famiit be well hanged."
liar question ; I have two geldings in my stable ; I 37. Two scholars and a countryman travelling have divers times business of importance, and still I upon the road, one night lodged all in one inn, and send forth one of my geldings, and not the other; supped together, where the scholars thought to have would you not think I set him aside for a jade ?” put a trick upon the countryman, which was thus : “ No, my lord,” said Bromley, “I would think you the scholars appointed for supper two pigeons, and spared him for your own saddle.” a fat capon, which being ready was brought up, and 44. Thales, as he looked upon the stars, fell tothey having set down, the one scholar took up one wards water ; whereupon it was after said, "that if pigeon, the other scholar took the other pigeon, he had looked into the water he might have seen the thinking thereby that the countryman should have stars, but looking up to the stars he could not see sat still, until that they were ready for the carving the water." of the capon; which he perceiving, took the capon 45. A man and his wife in bed together, she toand laid it on his trencher, and thus said, “Daintily wards morning pretended herself to be ill at ease, contrived, every man a bird.”
desiring to lie on her husband's side ; so the good 38. Jack Roberts was desired by his tailor, when man, to please her, came over her, making some the reckoning grew somewhat high, to have a bill short stay in his passage over ; where she had not of his hand. Roberts said, “ I am content, but you | long lain, but desired to lie in her old place again : must let no man know it.” When the tailor brought quoth he, “ How can it be effected ?” She answered, him the bill, he tore it as in choler, and said to him, Come over me again.” “I had rather," said he, “ You use me not well ; 'you promised me that no "go a mile and a half about.” man should know it, and here you have put in, 46. A thief being arraigned at the bar for stealing •Be it known unto all men by these presents.' a mare, in his pleading urged many things in his
39. Sir Walter Raleigh was wont to say of the own behalf, and at last nothing availing, he told the
bench, the mare rather stole him, than he the mare ; “ Was your mother ever at Rome ?” He answerwhich in brief he thus related : That passing over No, Sir, but my father was." several grounds about his lawful occasions, he was 53. A physician advised his patient that had sore pursued close by a fierce mastiff dog, and so was eyes, that he should abstain from wine ; but the forced to save himself by leaping over a hedge, patient said, “ I think, rather, Sir, from wine and which being of an agile body he effected ; and in water; for I have often marked it in blue eyes, and leaping, a mare standing on the other side of the I have seen water come forth, but never wine." hedge, leaped upon her back, who running furiously 54. A debauched seaman being brought before a away with him, he could not by any means stop her, justice of the peace upon the account of swearing, until he came to the next town, in which town the was by the justice commanded to deposit his fine owner of the mare lived, and there was he taken, in that behalf provided, which was two shillings; and here arraigned.
he thereupon plucking out of his pocket half a 47. Master Mason of Trinity college sent his crown, asked the justice what was the rate he was pupil to another of the fellows, to borrow a book of to pay for cursing ; the justice told him six-pence; him, who told him, “ I am loth to lend my books quoth he, " Then a pox take you all for a company out of my chamber, but if it please thy tutor to of knaves and fools, and there's half a crown for you, come and read upon it in my chamber, he shall as I will never stand changing of money." long as he will.” It was winter, and some days 55. Augustus Cæsar was invited to supper by one after the same fellow sent to Mr. Mason to borrow of his old friends, that had conversed with him in his bellows ; but Mr. Mason said to his pupil, " I his less fortunes, and had but ordinary entertainam loth to lend my bellows out of my chamber, but ment; whereupon at his going away, he said, " I if thy tutor would come and blow the fire in my did not know that you and I were so familiar.” chamber, he shall as long as he will."
56. Agathocles, after he had taken Syracuse, the 48. A notorious rogue being brought to the bar, men whereof, during the siege, had in a bravery and knowing his case to be desperate, instead of spoken of him all the villany that might be, sold pleading he took to himself the liberty of jesting, the Syracusans for slaves, and said; “ Now if you and thus said, “I charge you in the king's name, to use such words of me, I will tell your masters of seize and take away that man (meaning the judge) you." in the red gown, for I go in danger of my life be- 57. Dionysius the elder, when he saw his son in cause of him."
many things very inordinate, said to him, “ Did you 49. In Flanders by accident a Flemish tiler fell ever know me do such things?” His son answerfrom the top of a house upon a Spaniard, and killed ed, “No, but you had not a tyrant to your father." him, though he escaped himself: the next of the The father replied, “ No, nor you, if you take these blood prosecuted his death with great violence, and courses, will have a tyrant to your son." when he was offered pecuniary recompence, nothing 58. Callisthenes, the philosopher, that followed would serve him but lex talionis : whereupon the Alexander's court, and hated the king, being asked judge said to him, “ that if he did urge that sen- by one, how one should become the famousest man tence, it must be, that he should go up to the top of in the world, answered, “By taking away him that is." the house, and then fall down upon the tiler.”
59. Agesilaus, when one told him there was one 50. A rough-hewn seaman, being brought before a did excellently counterfeit a nightingale, and would wise just-ass for some misdemeanour, was by him sent have had him hear him, said; “Why I have heard away to prison, and being somewhat refractory after the nightingale herself.” he heard his doom, insomuch as he would not stir 60. A great nobleman, upon the complaint of a a foot from the place where he stood, saying, “it servant of his, laid a citizen by the heels, thinking were better to stand where he was than go to a to bend him to his servant's desire; but the fellow worse place :" the justice thereupon, to show the being stubborn, the servant came to his lord, and strength of his learning, took him by the shoulder, told him, “Your lordship, I know, hath gone as far and said, “ Thou shalt go nogus vogus," instead of as well you may, but it works not; for yonder fel. nolens volens.
low is more perverse than before." Said my lord, 51. Francis the first of France used for his plea- " Let's forget him a while, and then he will rememsure sometimes to go disguised : so walking one ber himself." day in the company of the cardinal of Bourbon near 61. One came to a cardinal in Rome, and told Paris, he met with a peasant with a new pair of him, that he had brought his lordship a dainty shoes upon his arm: so he called unto him and white palfrey, but he fell lame by the way. Saith said ; " By our lady, these be good shoes, what did the cardinal to him, “ I'll tell thee what thou shalt they cost thee ?” The peasant said, “ Guess.” The do; go to such a cardinal, and such a cardinal,” king said, “ I think some five sols.” Saith the naming him half a dozen cardinals, and tell them as peasant, “ You have lied; but a carlois.” “What, and so whereas by thy horse, if he had been villain,” said the cardinal of Bourbon, " thou art sound, thou couldest have pleased but one, with thy dead, it is the king." · The peasant replied; “ The lame horse thou mayest please half a dozen.” devil take him of you and me, that knew so much.” 62. A witty rogue coming into a lace-shop, said,
52. There was a young man in Rome that was he had occasion for some lace; choice whereof very like Augustus Cæsar; Augustus took know being showed him, he at last pitched upon one ledge of him, and sent for the man, and asked him, pattern, and asked them, how much they would have