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Of Truth

Of Death

Of Unity in Religion

Of Revenge

Of Adversity

Of Simulation and Dissimulation

Of Parents and Children

Of Marriage and Single Life

Of Envy

Of Love

Of Great Place

Of Boldness

Of Goodness and Goodness of Nature

Of Nobility

Of Seditions and Troubles

Of Atheism

Of Superstition

Of Travel

Of Empire

Of Counsel

Of Delays

Of Cunning

Of Wisdom for a Man's Self

Of Innovations

Of Dispatch

Of Seeming Wise

Of Friendship

Of Expense

Of the True Greatness of Kingdoms and Estates

Of Regiment of Health

Of Suspicion

Of Discourse

Of Plantations

Of Riches

Of Prophecies

Of Ambition

Of Mosques and Triumphs

Of Nature in Men

Of Custom and Education

Of Fortune

Of Usury

Of Youth and Age

Of Beauty

Of Deformity

Of Building

Of Gardens

Of Negotiating

Of Followers and Friends

Of Suitors

Of Studies

Of Faction

Of Ceremonies and Respects

Of Praise

Of Vain-glory

Of Honor and Reputation

Of Judicature

Of Anger

Of Vicissitude of Things

Of Fame




















SALOMON saies; A good Name is as a precious

oyntment; And I assure my selfesuch wil

your Graces Name beewith Posteritie. For your

Fortuneand Merit bothhave been Eminent. And

you have planted Thingsthat are like to last. I doe

now publish my Essayes; whichof all my other

workeshave beene most Currant: For thatas it

seemesthey come hometo Mens Businesseand

Bosomes. I have enlarged themboth in Number

and Weight; So that they are indeed a New Worke.

I thought it therefore agreeableto my Affection

and Obligation to your Graceto prefix your Name

before themboth in Englishand in Latine. For I

doe conceivethat the Latine Volume of them

(being in the Universall Language) may lastas

long as Bookes last. My InstaurationI dedicated to

the King: My Historie of Henry the Seventh

(which I have now also translated into Latine) and

my Portions of Naturall Historyto the Prince:

And these I dedicate to your Grace; Being of the

best Fruitsthat by the good Encreasewhich God

gives to my Pen and LaboursI could yeeld.

God leade your Grace by the Hand. Your Graces

most Obliged and faithfull Servant





Of Truth




WHAT is truth? said jesting Pilateand would

not stay for an answer. Certainly there be

that delight in giddinessand count it a bondage to

fix a belief; affecting free-will in thinkingas well

as in acting. And though the sects of philosophers

of that kind be goneyet there remain certain dis-

coursing witswhich are of the same veinsthough

there be not so much blood in themas was in those

of the ancients. But it is not only the difficulty and

laborwhich men take in finding out of truthnor

againthat when it is foundit imposeth upon

men's thoughtsthat doth bring lies in favor; but

a naturalthough corrupt loveof the lie itself. One

of the later school of the Greciansexamineth the

matterand is at a standto think what should be

in itthat men should love lies; where neither they

make for pleasureas with poetsnor for advan-

tageas with the merchant; but for the lie's sake.

But I cannot tell; this same truthis a nakedand

open day-lightthat doth not show the masksand

mummeriesand triumphsof the worldhalf so

stately and daintily as candle-lights. Truth may

perhaps come to the price of a pearlthat showeth

best by day; but it will not rise to the price of a

diamondor carbunclethat showeth best in varied

lights. A mixture of a lie doth ever add pleasure.

Doth any man doubtthat if there were taken out

of men's mindsvain opinionsflattering hopes

false valuationsimaginations as one wouldand

the likebut it would leave the mindsof a number

of menpoor shrunken thingsfull of melancholy

and indispositionand unpleasing to themselves?

One of the fathersin great severitycalled poesy

vinum daemonumbecause it fireth the imagina-

tion; and yetit is but with the shadow of a lie.

But it is not the lie that passeth through the mind

but the lie that sinketh inand settleth in itthat

doth the hurt; such as we spake of before. But how-

soever these things are thus in men's depraved

judgmentsand affectionsyet truthwhich only

doth judge itselfteacheth that the inquiry of truth

which is the love-makingor wooing of itthe

knowledge of truthwhich is the presence of itand

the belief of truthwhich is the enjoying of itis

the sovereign good of human nature. The first

creature of Godin the works of the dayswas the

light of the sense; the lastwas the light of reason;

and his sabbath work ever sinceis the illumina-

tion of his Spirit. First he breathed lightupon the

face of the matter or chaos; then he breathed light

into the face of man; and still he breatheth and in-

spireth lightinto the face of his chosen. The poet

that beautified the sectthat was otherwise in-

ferior to the restsaith yet excellently well: It is a

pleasureto stand upon the shoreand to see ships

tossed upon the sea; a pleasureto stand in the win-

dow of a castleand to see a battleand the adven-

tures thereof below: but no pleasure is comparable

to the standing upon the vantage ground of truth

(a hill not to be commandedand where the air is

always clear and serene)and to see the errorsand

wanderingsand mistsand tempestsin the vale

below; so always that this prospect be with pity

and not with swellingor pride. Certainlyit is

heaven upon earthto have a man's mind move in

charityrest in providenceand turn upon the

poles of truth.

To pass from theologicaland philosophical

truthto the truth of civil business; it will be ac-

knowledgedeven by those that practise it notthat

clearand round dealingis the honor of man's

nature; and that mixture of falsehoodsis like alloy

in coin of gold and silverwhich may make the

metal work the betterbut it embaseth it. For these

windingand crooked coursesare the goings of the

serpent; which goeth basely upon the bellyand

not upon the feet. There is no vicethat doth so

cover a man with shameas to be found false and

perfidious. And therefore Montaigne saith pret-

tilywhen he inquired the reasonwhy the word

of the lie should be such a disgraceand such an

odious charge? Saith heIf it be well weighedto

say that a man liethis as much to sayas that he is

brave towards Godand a coward towards men.

For a lie faces Godand shrinks from man. Surely

the wickedness of falsehoodand breach of faith

cannot possibly be so highly expressedas in that

it shall be the last pealto call the judgments of God

upon the generations of men; it being foretold

that when Christ comethhe shall not find faith

upon the earth.






Of Death



MEN fear deathas children fear to go in the

dark; and as that natural fear in children

is increased with talesso is the other. Certainly

the contemplation of deathas the wages of sin

and passage to another worldis holy and relig-

ious; but the fear of itas a tribute due unto nature

is weak. Yet in religious meditationsthere is some-

times mixture of vanityand of superstition. You

shall readin some of the friars' books of mortifica-

tionthat a man should think with himselfwhat

the pain isif he have but his finger's end pressed

or torturedand thereby imaginewhat the pains

of death arewhen the whole body is corrupted

and dissolved; when many times death passeth

with less pain than the torture of a limb; for the

most vital partsare not the quickest of sense. And

by him that spake only as a philosopherand nat-

ural manit was well saidPompa mortis magis

terretquam mors ipsa. Groansand convulsions

and a discolored faceand friends weepingand

blacksand obsequiesand the likeshow death

terrible. It is worthy the observingthat there is no

passion in the mind of manso weakbut it mates

and mastersthe fear of death; and therefore

death is no such terrible enemywhen a man hath

so many attendants about himthat can win the

combat of him. Revenge triumphs over death; love

slights it; honor aspireth to it; grief flieth to it; fear

preoccupateth it; naywe readafter Otho the em-

peror had slain himselfpity (which is the tender-

est of affections) provoked many to dieout of mere

compassion to their sovereignand as the truest

sort of followers. NaySeneca adds niceness and

satiety: Cogita quamdiu eadem feceris; mori velle

non tantum fortis aut misersed etiam fastidiosus

potest. A man would diethough he were neither

valiantnor miserableonly upon a weariness to

do the same thing so oftover and over. It is no less

worthyto observehow little alteration in good

spiritsthe approaches of death make; for they

appear to be the same mentill the last instant.

Augustus Caesar died in a compliment; Liviacon-

jugii nostri memorvive et vale. Tiberius in dissi-

mulation; as Tacitus saith of himJam Tiberium

vires et corpusnon dissimulatiodeserebant. Ves-

pasian in a jestsitting upon the stool; Ut puto deus

fio. Galba with a sentence; Ferisi ex re sit populi

Romani; holding forth his neck. Septimius Severus

in despatch; Adeste si quid mihi restat agendum.

And the like. Certainly the Stoics bestowed too

much cost upon deathand by their great prepara-

tionsmade it appear more fearful. Better saith he

qui finem vitae extremum inter munera ponat

naturae. It is as natural to dieas to be born; and to

a little infantperhapsthe one is as painfulas the

other. He that dies in an earnest pursuitis like one

that is wounded in hot blood; whofor the time

scarce feels the hurt; and therefore a mind fixed

and bent upon somewhat that is gooddoth avert

the dolors of death. Butabove allbelieve itthe

sweetest canticle is'Nunc dimittis; when a man

hath obtained worthy endsand expectations.

Death hath this also; that it openeth the gate to

good fameand extinguisheth envy. - Extinctus

amabitur idem.




Of Unity






RELIGION being the chief band of human so-

cietyit is a happy thingwhen itself is well

contained within the true band of unity. The

quarrelsand divisions about religionwere evils

unknown to the heathen. The reason wasbecause

the religion of the heathenconsisted rather in

rites and ceremoniesthan in any constant belief.

For you may imaginewhat kind of faith theirs

waswhen the chief doctorsand fathers of their

churchwere the poets. But the true God hath this

attributethat he is a jealous God; and therefore

his worship and religionwill endure no mixture

nor partner.We shall therefore speak a few words

concerning the unity of the church; what are the

fruits thereof ; what the bounds; and what the


The fruits of unity (next unto the well pleasing

of Godwhich is all in all) are two: the onetowards

those that are without the churchthe other

towards those that are within. For the former; it is

certainthat heresiesand schismsare of all others

the greatest scandals; yeamore than corruption

of manners. For as in the natural bodya wound

or solution of continuityis worse than a corrupt

humor; so in the spiritual. So that nothingdoth so

much keep men out of the churchand drive men

out of the churchas breach of unity. And there-

forewhensoever it cometh to that passthat one

saithEcce in desertoanother saithEcce in pene-

tralibus; that iswhen some men seek Christin the

conventicles of hereticsand othersin an outward

face of a churchthat voice had need continually

to sound in men's earsNolite exire- Go not out.

The doctor of the Gentiles (the propriety of whose

vocationdrew him to have a special care of those

without) saithif an heathen come inand hear

you speak with several tongueswill he not say

that you are mad? And certainly it is little better

when atheistsand profane personsdo hear of

so many discordantand contrary opinions in re-

ligion; it doth avert them from the churchand

maketh themto sit down in the chair of the

scorners. It is but a light thingto be vouched in so

serious a matterbut yet it expresseth well the

deformity. There is a master of scoffingthat in his

catalogue of books of a feigned librarysets down

this title of a bookThe Morris-Dance of Heretics.

For indeedevery sect of themhath a diverse pos-

tureor cringe by themselveswhich cannot but

move derision in worldlingsand depraved politics

who are apt to contemn holy things.

As for the fruit towards those that are within; it

is peace; which containeth infinite blessings. It

establisheth faith; it kindleth charity; the outward

peace of the churchdistilleth into peace of con-

science; and it turneth the labors of writingand

reading of controversiesinto treaties of mortifica-

tion and devotion.

Concerning the bounds of unity; the true plac-

ing of themimporteth exceedingly. There appear

to be two extremes. For to certain zealantsall

speech of pacification is odious. Is it peaceJehu?

What hast thou to do with peace? turn thee be-

hind me. Peace is not the matterbut following

and party. Contrariwisecertain Laodiceansand

lukewarm personsthink they may accommodate

points of religionby middle wayand taking part

of bothand witty reconcilements; as if they would

make an arbitrament between God and man. Both

these extremes are to be avoided; which will be

doneif the league of Christianspenned by our

Savior himselfwere in two cross clauses thereof

soundly and plainly expounded: He that is not

with usis against us; and againHe that is not

against usis with us; that isif the points funda-

mental and of substance in religionwere truly

discerned and distinguishedfrom points not

merely of faithbut of opinionorderor good in-

tention. This is a thing may seem to many a matter

trivialand done already. But if it were done less

partiallyit would be embraced more generally.

Of this I may give only this adviceaccording to

my small model. Men ought to take heedof rend-

ing God's churchby two kinds of controversies.

The one iswhen the matter of the point contro-

vertedis too small and lightnot worth the heat

and strife about itkindled only by contradiction.

Foras it is notedby one of the fathersChrist's

coat indeed had no seambut the church's vesture

was of divers colors; whereupon he saithIn veste

varietas sitscissura non sit; they be two things

unity and uniformity. The other iswhen the

matter of the point controvertedis greatbut it is

driven to an over-great subtiltyand obscurity; so

that it becometh a thing rather ingeniousthan

substantial. A man that is of judgment and under-

standingshall sometimes hear ignorant men dif-

ferand know well within himselfthat those

which so differmean one thingand yet they

themselves would never agree. And if it come so

to passin that distance of judgmentwhich is be-

tween man and manshall we not think that God

abovethat knows the heartdoth not discern that

frail menin some of their contradictionsintend

the same thing; and accepteth of both? The nature

of such controversies is excellently expressedby

St. Paulin the warning and preceptthat he giveth

concerning the sameDevita profanas vocum novi-

tateset oppositiones falsi nominis scientiae. Men

create oppositionswhich are not; and put them

into new termsso fixedas whereas the meaning

ought to govern the termthe term in effect gov-

erneth the meaning.There be also two false peaces

or unities: the onewhen the peace is grounded

but upon an implicit ignorance; for all colors will

agree in the dark: the otherwhen it is pieced up

upon a direct admission of contrariesin funda-

mental points. For truth and falsehoodin such

thingsare like the iron and clayin the toes of

Nebuchadnezzar's image; they may cleavebut

they will not incorporate.

Concerning the means of procuring unity; men

must bewarethat in the procuringor reuniting

of religious unitythey do not dissolve and deface

the laws of charityand of human society. There

be two swords amongst Christiansthe spiritual

and temporal; and both have their due office and

placein the maintenance of religion. But we may

not take up the third swordwhich is Mahomet's

swordor like unto it; that isto propagate religion

by warsor by sanguinary persecutions to force

consciences; except it be in cases of overt scandal

blasphemyor intermixture of practice against

the state; much less to nourish seditions; to author-

ize conspiracies and rebellions; to put the sword

into the people's hands; and the like; tending to

the subversion of all governmentwhich is the

ordinance of God. For this is but to dash the first

table against the second; and so to consider men

as Christiansas we forget that they are men.

Lucretius the poetwhen he beheld the act of Aga-

memnonthat could endure the sacrificing of his

own daughterexclaimed: Tantum Religio potuit

suadere malorum.

What would he have saidif he had known of

the massacre in Franceor the powder treason of

England? He would have been seven times more

Epicureand atheistthan he was. For as the tem-

poral sword is to be drawn with great circumspec-

tion in cases of religion; so it is a thing monstrous

to put it into the hands of the common people. Let

that be left unto the Anabaptistsand other furies.

It was great blasphemywhen the devil saidI will

ascendand be like the highest; but it is greater

blasphemyto personate Godand bring him in

sayingI will descendand be like the prince of

darkness; and what is it betterto make the cause

of religion to descendto the cruel and execrable

actions of murthering princesbutchery of people

and subversion of states and governments? Surely

this is to bring down the Holy Ghostinstead of the

likeness of a dovein the shape of a vulture or

raven; and setout of the bark of a Christian

churcha flag of a bark of piratesand assassins.

Therefore it is most necessarythat the churchby

doctrine and decreeprinces by their swordand

all learningsboth Christian and moralas by their

Mercury roddo damn and send to hell for ever

those facts and opinions tending to the support of

the same; as hath been already in good part done.

Surely in counsels concerning religionthat coun-

sel of the apostle would be prefixedIra hominis

non implet justitiam Dei. And it was a notable

observation of a wise fatherand no less ingenu-

ously confessed; that those which held and per-

suaded pressure of conscienceswere commonly

interested therein.themselvesfor their own ends.




Of Revenge


REVENGE is a kind of wild justice; which the

more man' s nature runs tothe more ought

law to weed it out. For as for the first wrongit

doth but offend the law; but the revenge of that

wrongputteth the law out of office. Certainlyin

taking revengea man is but even with his enemy;

but in passing it overhe is superior; for it is a

prince's part to pardon. And SolomonI am sure

saithIt is the glory of a manto pass by an offence.

That which is past is goneand irrevocable; and

wise men have enough to dowith things present

and to come; therefore they do but trifle with

themselvesthat labor in past matters. There is no

man doth a wrongfor the wrong's sake; but

thereby to purchase himself profitor pleasureor

honoror the like. Therefore why should I be

angry with a manfor loving himself better than

me? And if any man should do wrongmerely out

of ill-naturewhyyet it is but like the thorn or

briarwhich prick and scratchbecause they can

do no other. The most tolerable sort of revengeis

for those wrongs which there is no law to remedy;

but then let a man take heedthe revenge be such

as there is no law to punish; else a man's enemy is

still before handand it is two for one. Somewhen

they take revengeare desirousthe party should

knowwhence it cometh. This is the more gener-

ous. For the delight seemeth to benot so much in

doing the hurtas in making the party repent. But

base and crafty cowardsare like the arrow that

flieth in the dark. Cosmusduke of Florencehad a

desperate saying against perfidious or neglecting

friendsas if those wrongs were unpardonable;

You shall read (saith he) that we are commanded

to forgive our enemies; but you never readthat we

are commanded to forgive our friends. But yet the

spirit of Job was in a better tune: Shall we (saith

he) take good at God's handsand not be content to

take evil also? And so of friends in a proportion.

This is certainthat a man that studieth revenge

keeps his own wounds greenwhich otherwise

would healand do well. Public revenges are for

the most part fortunate; as that for the death of

Caesar; for the death of Pertinax; for the death of

Henry the Third of France; and many more. But

in private revengesit is not so. Nay rathervindic-

tive persons live the life of witches; whoas they

are mischievousso end they infortunate.




Of Adversity


IT WAS an high speech of Seneca (after the

manner of the Stoics)that the good things

which belong to prosperityare to be wished; but

the good thingsthat belong to adversityare to be

admired. Bona rerum secundarum optabilia; ad-

versarum mirabilia. Certainly if miracles be the

command over naturethey appear most in adver-

sity. It is yet a higher speech of histhan the other

(much too high for a heathen)It is true greatness

to have in one the frailty of a manand the security

of a God. Vere magnum habere fragilitatem homi-

nissecuritatem Dei. This would have done better

in poesywhere transcendences are more allowed.

And the poets indeed have been busy with it; for

it is in effect the thingwhich figured in that

strange fiction of the ancient poetswhich seemeth

not to be without mystery; nayand to have some

approach to the state of a Christian; that Hercules

when he went to unbind Prometheus (by whom

human nature is represented)sailed the length of

the great oceanin an earthen pot or pitcher; lively

describing Christian resolutionthat saileth in the

frail bark of the fleshthrough the waves of the

world. But to speak in a mean. The virtue of pros-

perityis temperance; the virtue of adversityis

fortitude; which in morals is the more heroical

virtue. Prosperity is the blessing of the Old Testa-

ment; adversity is the blessing of the New; which

carrieth the greater benedictionand the clearer

revelation of God's favor. Yet even in the Old

Testamentif you listen to David's harpyou shall

hear as many hearse-like airs as carols; and the

pencil of the Holy Ghost hath labored more in de-

scribing the afflictions of Jobthan the felicities of

Solomon. Prosperity is not without many fears

and distastes; and adversity is not without com-

forts and hopes. We see in needle-works and em-

broideriesit is more pleasing to have a lively work

upon a sad and solemn groundthan to have a dark

and melancholy workupon a lightsome ground:

judge therefore of the pleasure of the heartby the

pleasure of the eye. Certainly virtue is like precious

odorsmost fragrant when they are incensedor

crushed: for prosperity doth best discover vicebut

adversity doth best discover virtue.




Of Simulation




DISSIMULATION is but a faint kind of pol-

icyor wisdom; for it asketh a strong wit

and a strong heartto know when to tell truthand

to do it. Therefore it is the weaker sort of politics

that are the great dissemblers.

Tacitus saithLivia sorted well with the arts of

her husbandand dissimulation of her son; attri-

buting arts or policy to Augustusand dissimula-

tion to Tiberius. And againwhen Mucianus

encourageth Vespasianto take arms against Vitel-

liushe saithWe rise not against the piercing

judgment of Augustusnor the extreme caution or

closeness of Tiberius. These propertiesof arts or

policyand dissimulation or closenessare indeed

habits and faculties severaland to be distin-

guished. For if a man have that penetration of

judgmentas he can discern what things are to

be laid openand what to be secretedand what to

be showed at half lightsand to whom and when

(which indeed are arts of stateand arts of lifeas

Tacitus well calleth them)to hima habit of dis-

simulation is a hinderance and a poorness. But if

a man cannot obtain to that judgmentthen it is

left to bim generallyto be closeand a dissembler.

For where a man cannot chooseor vary in parti-

cularsthere it is good to take the safestand wari-

est wayin general; like the going softlyby one

that cannot well see. Certainly the ablest men

that ever werehave had all an opennessand

franknessof dealing; and a name of certainty and

veracity; but then they were like horses well

managed; for they could tell passing wellwhen to

stop or turn; and at such timeswhen they thought

the case indeed required dissimulationif then

they used itit came to pass that the former opin-

ionspread abroadof their good faith and clear-

ness of dealingmade them almost invisible.

There be three degrees of this hiding and veil-

ing of a man's self. The firstclosenessreservation

and secrecy; when a man leaveth himself without

observationor without hold to be takenwhat he

is. The seconddissimulationin the negative;

when a man lets fall signs and argumentsthat he

is notthat he is. And the thirdsimulationin the

affirmative; when a man industriously and ex-

pressly feigns and pretends to bethat he is not.

For the first of thesesecrecy; it is indeed the

virtue of a confessor. And assuredlythe secret

man heareth many confessions. For who will open

himselfto a blab or a babbler? But if a man be

thought secretit inviteth discovery; as the more

close air sucketh in the more open; and as in con-

fessionthe revealing is not for worldly usebut for

the ease of a man's heartso secret men come to

the knowledge of many things in that kind; while

men rather discharge their mindsthan impart

their minds. In few wordsmysteries are due to

secrecy. Besides (to say truth) nakedness is un-

comelyas well in mind as body; and it addeth no

small reverenceto men's manners and actionsif

they be not altogether open. As for talkers and

futile personsthey are commonly vain and credu-

lous withal. For he that talketh what he knoweth

will also talk what he knoweth not. Therefore set it

downthat an habit of secrecyis both politic and

moral. And in this partit is good that a man's face

give his tongue leave to speak. For the discovery of

a man' s selfby the tracts of his countenanceis a

great weakness and betraying; by how much it is

many times more markedand believedthan a

man's words.

For the secondwhich is dissimulation; it fol-

loweth many times upon secrecyby a necessity;

so that he that will be secretmust be a dissembler

in some degree. For men are too cunningto suffer

a man to keep an indifferent carriage between

bothand to be secretwithout swaying the bal-

ance on either side. They will so beset a man with

questionsand draw him onand pick it out of him

thatwithout an absurd silencehe must show an

inclination one way; or if he do notthey will

gather as much by his silenceas by his speech. As

for equivocationsor oraculous speechesthey can-

not hold out long. So that no man can be secret

except he give himself a little scope of dissimula-

tion; which isas it werebut the skirts or train of


But for the third degreewhich is simulation

and false profession; that I hold more culpable

and less politic; except it be in great and rare mat-

ters. And therefore a general custom of simulation

(which is this last degree) is a viceusing either of

a natural falseness or fearfulnessor of a mind that

hath some main faultswhich because a man must

needs disguiseit maketh him practise simulation

in other thingslest his hand should be out of use.

The great advantages of simulation and dissi-

mulation are three. Firstto lay asleep opposition

and to surprise. For where a man's intentions are

publishedit is an alarumto call up all that are

against them. The second isto reserve to a man's

self a fair retreat. For if a man engage himself by

a manifest declarationhe must go through or take

a fall. The third isthe better to discover the mind

of another. For to him that opens himselfmen

will hardly show themselves adverse; but will fair

let him go onand turn their freedom of speechto

freedom of thought. And therefore it is a good

shrewd proverb of the SpaniardTell a lie and find

a troth. As if there were no way of discoverybut

by simulation. There be also three disadvantages

to set it even. The firstthat simulation and dissi-

mulation commonly carry with them a show of

fearfulnesswhich in any businessdoth spoil the

feathersof round flying up to the mark. The sec-

ondthat it puzzleth and perplexeth the conceits

of manythat perhaps would otherwise co-operate

with him; and makes a man walk almost aloneto

his own ends. The third and greatest isthat it

depriveth a man of one of the most principal in-

struments for action; which is trust and belief.

The best composition and temperatureis to have

openness in fame and opinion; secrecy in habit;

dissimulation in seasonable use; and a power to

feignif there be no remedy.





Of Parents







THE joys of parents are secret; and so are their

griefs and fears. They cannot utter the one;

nor they will not utter the other. Children sweeten

labors; but they make misfortunes more bitter.

They increase the cares of life; but they mitigate

the remembrance of death. The perpetuity by

generation is common to beasts; but memory

meritand noble worksare proper to men. And

surely a man shall see the noblest works and foun-

dations have proceeded from childless men; which

have sought to express the images of their minds

where those of their bodies have failed. So the care

of posterity is most in themthat have no posterity.

They that are the first raisers of their housesare

most indulgent towards their children; beholding

them as the continuancenot only of their kindbut

of their work; and so both children and creatures.

The difference in affectionof parents towards

their several childrenis many times unequal; and

sometimes unworthy; especially in the mothers;

as Solomon saithA wise son rejoiceth the father

but an ungracious son shames the mother. A man

shall seewhere there is a house full of children

one or two of the eldest respectedand the young-

est made wantons; but in the midstsome that

are as it were forgottenwho many timesnever-

thelessprove the best. The illiberality of parents

in allowance towards their childrenis an harmful

error; makes them base; acquaints them with

shifts; makes them sort with mean company; and

makes them surfeit more when they come to

plenty. And therefore the proof is bestwhen men

keep their authority towards the childrenbut not

their purse. Men have a foolish manner (both par-

ents and schoolmasters and servants) in creating

and breeding an emulation between brothersdur-

ing childhoodwhich many times sorteth to dis-

cord when they are menand disturbeth families.

The Italians make little difference between chil-

drenand nephews or near kinsfolks; but so they

be of the lumpthey care not though they pass not

through their own body. Andto say truthin

nature it is much a like matter; insomuch that we

see a nephew sometimes resembleth an uncleor

a kinsmanmore than his own parent; as the blood

happens. Let parents choose betimesthe vocations

and courses they mean their children should take;

for then they are most flexible; and let them not

too much apply themselves to the disposition of

their childrenas thinking they will take best to

thatwhich they have most mind to. It is truethat

if the affection or aptness of the children be extra-

ordinarythen it is good not to cross it; but gener-

ally the precept is goodoptimum eligesuave et

facile illud faciet consuetudo. Younger brothers

are commonly fortunatebut seldom or never

where the elder are disinherited.





Of Marriage






HE THAT hath wife and children hath given

hostages to fortune; for they are impedi-

ments to great enterpriseseither of virtue or mis-

chief. Certainly the best worksand of greatest

merit for the publichave proceeded from the un-

married or childless men; which both in affection

and meanshave married and endowed the public.

Yet it were great reason that those that have chil-

drenshould have greatest care of future times;

unto which they know they must transmit their

dearest pledges. Some there arewho though they

lead a single lifeyet their thoughts do end with

themselvesand account future times imperti-

nences. Naythere are some otherthat account

wife and childrenbut as bills of charges. Nay

morethere are some foolish rich covetous men

that take a pridein having no childrenbecause

they may be thought so much the richer. For per-

haps they have heard some talkSuch an one is a

great rich manand another except to itYeabut

he hath a great charge of children; as if it were an

abatement to his riches. But the most ordinary

cause of a single lifeis libertyespecially in certain

self-pleasing and humorous mindswhich are so

sensible of every restraintas they will go near to

think their girdles and gartersto be bonds and

shackles. Unmarried men are best friendsbest

mastersbest servants; but not always best sub-

jects; for they are light to run away; and almost

all fugitivesare of that condition. A single life

doth well with churchmen; for charity will hardly

water the groundwhere it must first fill a pool. It

is indifferent for judges and magistrates; for if

they be facile and corruptyou shall have a ser-

vantfive times worse than a wife. For soldiersI

find the generals commonly in their hortatives

put men in mind of their wives and children; and

I think the despising of marriage amongst the

Turksmaketh the vulgar soldier more base. Cer-

tainly wife and children are a kind of discipline

of humanity; and single menthough they may

be many times more charitablebecause their

means are less exhaustyeton the other sidethey

are more cruel and hardhearted (good to make

severe inquisitors)because their tenderness is not

so oft called upon. Grave naturesled by custom

and therefore constantare commonly loving hus-

bandsas was said of Ulyssesvetulam suam praetu-

lit immortalitati. Chaste women are often proud

and frowardas presuming upon the merit of their

chastity. It is one of the best bondsboth of chastity

and obediencein the wifeif she think her hus-

band wise; which she will never doif she find him

jealous. Wives are young men's mistresses; com-

panions for middle age; and old men's nurses. So

as a man may have a quarrel to marrywhen he

will. But yet he was reputed one of the wise men

that made answer to the questionwhen a man

should marry- A young man not yetan elder

man not at all. It is often seen that bad husbands

have very good wives; whether it bethat it raiseth

the price of their husband's kindnesswhen it

comes; or that the wives take a pride in their

patience. But this never failsif the bad husbands

were of their own choosingagainst their friends'

consent; for then they will be sure to make good

their own folly.





Of Envy



THERE be none of the affectionswhich have

been noted to fascinate or bewitchbut love

and envy. They both have vehement wishes; they

frame themselves readily into imaginations and

suggestions; and they come easily into the eye

especially upon the present of the objects; which

are the points that conduce to fascinationif any

such thing there be. We see likewisethe Scripture

calleth envy an evil eye; and the astrologerscall

the evil influences of the starsevil aspects; so that

still there seemeth to be acknowledgedin the act

of envyan ejaculation or irradiation of the eye.

Naysome have been so curiousas to notethat

the times when the stroke or percussion of an envi-

ous eye doth most hurtare when the party envied

is beheld in glory or triumph; for that sets an edge

upon envy: and besidesat such times the spirits

of the person envieddo come forth most into the

outward partsand so meet the blow.

But leaving these curiosities (though not un-

worthy to be thought onin fit place)we will

handlewhat persons are apt to envy others; what

persons are most subject to be envied themselves;

and what is the difference between public and

private envy.

A man that hath no virtue in himselfever en-

vieth virtue in others. For men's mindswill either

feed upon their own goodor upon others' evil; and

who wanteth the onewill prey upon the other;

and whoso is out of hopeto attain to another's

virtuewill seek to come at even handby depress-

ing another's fortune.

A man that is busyand inquisitiveis com-

monly envious. For to know much of other men's

matterscannot be because all that ado may con-

cern his own estate; therefore it must needs be

that he taketh a kind of play-pleasurein looking

upon the fortunes of others. Neither can hethat

mindeth but his own businessfind much matter

for envy. For envy is a gadding passionand walk-

eth the streetsand doth not keep home: Non est

curiosusquin idem sit malevolus.

Men of noble birthare noted to be envious

towards new menwhen they rise. For the distance

is alteredand it is like a deceit of the eyethat

when others come onthey think themselvesgo


Deformed personsand eunuchsand old men

and bastardsare envious. For he that cannot pos-

sibly mend his own casewill do what he canto

impair another's; except these defects light upon

a very braveand heroical naturewhich thinketh

to make his natural wants part of his honor; in that

it should be saidthat an eunuchor a lame man

did such great matters; affecting the honor of a

miracle; as it was in Narses the eunuchand Agesi-

laus and Tamberlanesthat were lame men.

The same is the case of menthat rise after ca-

lamities and misfortunes. For they are as men

fallen out with the times; and think other men's

harmsa redemption of their own sufferings.

They that desire to excel in too many matters

out of levity and vain gloryare ever envious. For

they cannot want work; it being impossiblebut

manyin some one of those thingsshould surpass

them. Which was the character of Adrian the Em-

peror; that mortally envied poetsand painters

and artificersin works wherein he had a vein to


Lastlynear kinsfolksand fellows in officeand

those that have been bred togetherare more apt

to envy their equalswhen they are raised. For it

doth upbraid unto them their own fortunesand

pointeth at themand cometh oftener into their

remembranceand incurreth likewise more into

the note of others; and envy ever redoubleth from

speech and fame. Cain's envy was the more vile

and malignanttowards his brother Abelbecause

when his sacrifice was better acceptedthere was

no body to look on. Thus much for thosethat are

apt to envy.

Concerning those that are more or less subject

to envy: Firstpersons of eminent virtuewhen

they are advancedare less envied. For their for-

tune seemethbut due unto them; and no man

envieth the payment of a debtbut rewards and

liberality rather. Againenvy is ever joined with

the comparing of a man's self; and where there is

no comparisonno envy; and therefore kings are

not enviedbut by kings. Nevertheless it is to be

notedthat unworthy persons are most enviedat

their first coming inand afterwards overcome it

better; whereas contrariwisepersons of worth

and merit are most enviedwhen their fortune

continueth long. For by that timethough their

virtue be the sameyet it hath not the same lustre;

for fresh men grow up that darken it.

Persons of noble bloodare less envied in their

rising. For it seemeth but right done to their birth.

Besidesthere seemeth not much added to their

fortune; and envy is as the sunbeamsthat beat

hotter upon a bankor steep rising groundthan

upon a flat. And for the same reasonthose that are

advanced by degreesare less envied than those

that are advanced suddenly and per saltum.

Those that have joined with their honor great

travelscaresor perilsare less subject to envy.

For men think that they earn their honors hardly

and pity them sometimes; and pity ever healeth

envy. Wherefore you shall observethat the more

deep and sober sort of politic personsin their

greataessare ever bemoaning themselveswhat

a life they lead; chanting a quanta patimur! Not

that they feel it sobut only to abate the edge of

envy. But this is to be understoodof business that

is laid upon menand not suchas they call unto

themselves. For nothing increaseth envy more

than an unnecessary and ambitious engrossing of

business. And nothing doth extinguish envy more

than for a great person to preserve all other infe-

rior officersin their full lights and pre-eminences

of their places. For by that meansthere be so

many screens between him and envy.

Above allthose are most subject to envywhich

carry the greatness of their fortunesin an insolent

and proud manner; being never wellbut while

they are showing how great they areeither by

outward pompor by triumphing over all opposi-

tion or competition; whereas wise men will rather

do sacrifice to envyin suffering themselves some-

times of purpose to be crossedand overborne in

things that do not much concern them. Notwith-

standingso much is truethat the carriage of

greatnessin a plain and open manner (so it be

without arrogancy and vain glory) doth draw less

envythan if it be in a more crafty and cunning

fashion. For in that coursea man doth but dis-

avow fortune; and seemeth to be conscious of his

own want in worth; and doth but teach othersto

envy him.

Lastlyto conclude this part; as we said in the

beginningthat the act of envy had somewhat in

it of witchcraftso there is no other cure of envy

but the cure of witchcraft; and that isto remove

the lot (as they call it) and to lay it upon another.

For which purposethe wiser sort of great persons

bring in ever upon the stage somebody upon whom

to derive the envythat would come upon them-

selves; sometimes upon ministers and servants;

sometimes upon colleagues and associates; and the

like; and for that turn there are never wanting

some persons of violent and undertaking natures

whoso they may have power and businesswill

take it at any cost.

Nowto speak of public envy. There is yet some

good in public envywhereas in privatethere is

none. For public envyis as an ostracismthat

eclipseth menwhen they grow too great. And

therefore it is a bridle also to great onesto keep

them within bounds.

This envybeing in the Latin word invidia

goeth in the modern languageby the name of

discontentment; of which we shall speakin hand-

ling sedition. It is a diseasein a statelike to infec-

tion. For as infection spreadeth upon that which is

soundand tainteth it; so when envy is gotten once

into a stateit traduceth even the best actions

thereofand turneth them into an ill odor. And

therefore there is little wonby intermingling of

plausible actions. For that doth argue but a weak-

nessand fear of envywhich hurteth so much the

moreas it is likewise usual in infections; which

if you fear themyou call them upon you.

This public envyseemeth to beat chiefly upon

principal officers or ministersrather than upon

kingsand estates themselves. But this is a sure

rulethat if the envy upon the minister be great

when the cause of it in him is small; or if the envy

be generalin a manner upon all the ministers of

an estate; then the envy (though hidden) is truly

upon the state itself. And so much of public envy

or discontentmentand the difference thereof from

private envywhich was handled in the first place.

We will add this in generaltouching the affec-

tion of envy; that of all other affectionsit is the

most importune and continual. For of other affec-

tionsthere is occasion givenbut now and then;

and therefore it was well saidInvidia festos dies

non agit: for it is ever working upon some or other.

And it is also notedthat love and envy do make a

man pinewhich other affections do notbecause

they are not so continual. It is also the vilest affec-

tionand the most depraved; for which cause it

is the proper attribute of the devilwho is called

the envious manthat soweth tares amongst the

wheat by night; as it always cometh to passthat

envy worketh subtillyand in the darkand to the

prejudice of good thingssuch as is the wheat.







Of Love




THE stage is more beholding to lovethan the

life of man. For as to the stagelove is ever

matter of comediesand now and then of tragedies;

but in life it doth much mischief; sometimes like a

sirensometimes like a fury. You may observethat

amongst all the great and worthy persons (whereof

the memory remainetheither ancient or recent)

there is not onethat hath been transported to

the mad degree of love: which shows that great

spiritsand great businessdo keep out this weak

passion. You must exceptneverthelessMarcus

Antoniusthe half partner of the empire of Rome

and Appius Claudiusthe decemvir and lawgiver;

whereof the former was indeed a voluptuous man

and inordinate; but the latter was an austere and

wise man: and therefore it seems (though rarely)

that love can find entrancenot only into an open

heartbut also into a heart well fortifiedif watch

be not well kept. It is a poor saying of Epicurus

Satis magnum alter alteri theatrum sumus; as if

manmade for the contemplation of heavenand

all noble objectsshould do nothing but kneel be-

fore a little idoland make himself a subject

though not of the mouth (as beasts are)yet of the

eye; which was given him for higher purposes. It

is a strange thingto note the excess of this passion

and how it braves the natureand value of things

by this; that the speaking in a perpetual hyper-

boleis comely in nothing but in love. Neither is it

merely in the phrase; for whereas it hath been

well saidthat the arch-flattererwith whom all

the petty flatterers have intelligenceis a man's

self; certainly the lover is more. For there was

never proud man thought so absurdly well of him-

selfas the lover doth of the person loved; and

therefore it was well saidThat it is impossible to

loveand to be wise. Neither doth this weakness

appear to others onlyand not to the party loved;

but to the loved most of allexcept the love be reci-

proque. For it is a true rulethat love is ever re-

wardedeither with the reciproqueor with an

inward and secret contempt. By how much the

moremen ought to beware of this passionwhich

loseth not only other thingsbut itself! As for the

other lossesthe poet's relation doth well figure

them: that he that preferred Helenaquitted the

gifts of Juno and Pallas. For whosoever esteemeth

too much of amorous affectionquitteth both riches

and wisdom. This passion hath his floodsin very

times of weakness; which are great prosperityand

great adversity; though this latter hath been less

observed: both which times kindle loveand make

it more ferventand therefore show it to be the

child of folly. They do bestwho if they cannot but

admit loveyet make it keep quarters; and sever it

wholly from their serious affairsand actionsof

life; for if it check once with businessit troubleth

men's fortunesand maketh menthat they can no

ways be true to their own ends. I know not how

but martial men are given to love: I thinkit is but

as they are given to wine; for perils commonly ask

to be paid in pleasures. There is in man's naturea

secret inclination and motiontowards love of

otherswhich if it be not spent upon some one or a

fewdoth naturally spread itself towards many

and maketh men become humane and charitable;

as it is seen sometime in friars. Nuptial love maketh

mankind; friendly love perfecteth it; but wanton

love corruptethand embaseth it.




Of Great Place


MEN in great place are thrice servants: ser-

vants of the sovereign or state; servants of

fame; and servants of business. So as they have no

freedom; neither in their personsnor in their ac-

tionsnor in their times. It is a strange desireto

seek power and to lose liberty: or to seek power

over othersand to lose power over a man's self.

The rising unto place is laborious; and by pains

men come to greater pains; and it is sometimes

base; and by indignitiesmen come to dignities.

The standing is slipperyand the regress is either

a downfallor at least an eclipsewhich is a melan-

choly thing. Cum non sis qui fuerisnon esse cur

velis vivere. Nayretire men cannot when they

wouldneither will theywhen it were reason; but

are impatient of privatenesseven in age and sick-

nesswhich require the shadow; like old towns-

menthat will be still sitting at their street door

though thereby they offer age to scom. Certainly

great persons had need to borrow other men's

opinionsto think themselves happy; for if they

judge by their own feelingthey cannot find it; but

if they think with themselveswhat other men

think of themand that other men would fain be

as they arethen they are happyas it wereby

report; when perhaps they find the contrary

within. For they are the firstthat find their own

griefsthough they be the lastthat find their

own faults. Certainly men in great fortunes are

strangers to themselvesand while they are in the

puzzle of businessthey have no time to tend their

healtheither of body or mind. Illi mors gravis

incubatqui notus nimis omnibusignotus moritur

sibi. In placethere is license to do goodand evil;

whereof the latter is a curse: for in evilthe best

condition is not to win; the secondnot to can. But

power to do goodis the true and lawful end of

aspiring. For good thoughts (though God accept

them) yettowards menare little better than good

dreamsexcept they be put in act; and that cannot

bewithout power and placeas the vantageand

commanding ground. Merit and good worksis

the end of man's motion; and conscience of the

same is the accomplishment of man's rest. For if a

man can be partaker of God's theatrehe shall like-

wise be partaker of God's rest. Et conversus Deus

ut aspiceret opera quae fecerunt manus suaevidit

quod omnia essent bona nimis; and then the sab-

bath. In the discharge of thy placeset before thee

the best examples; for imitation is a globe of pre-

cepts. And after a timeset before thee thine own

example; and examine thyself strictlywhether

thou didst not best at first. Neglect not also the

examplesof those that have carried themselves

illin the same place; not to set off thyselfby tax-

ing their memorybut to direct thyselfwhat to

avoid. Reform thereforewithout braveryor scan-

dal of former times and persons; but yet set it down

to thyselfas well to create good precedentsas to

follow them. Reduce things to the first institution

and observe whereinand howthey have degen-

erate; but yet ask counsel of both times; of the

ancient timewhat is best; and of the latter time

what is fittest. Seek to make thy course regular

that men may know beforehandwhat they may

expect; but be not too positive and peremptory;

and express thyself wellwhen thou digressest

from thy rule. Preserve the right of thy place; but

stir not questions of jurisdiction; and rather as-

sume thy rightin silence and de factothan voice

it with claimsand challenges. Preserve likewise

the rights of inferior places; and think it more

honorto direct in chiefthan to be busy in all.

Embrace and invite helpsand advicestouching

the execution of thy place; and do not drive away

suchas bring thee informationas meddlers; but

accept of them in good part. The vices of authority

are chiefly four: delayscorruptionroughness

and facility. For delays: give easy access; keep

times appointed; go through with that which is in

handand interlace not businessbut of necessity.

For corruption: do not only bind thine own hands

or thy servants' handsfrom takingbut bind the

hands of suitors alsofrom offering. For integrity

used doth the one; but integrity professedand

with a manifest detestation of briberydoth the

other. And avoid not only the faultbut the sus-

picion. Whosoever is found variableand changeth

manifestly without manifest causegiveth sus-

picion of corruption. Therefore alwayswhen thou

changest thine opinion or courseprofess it plainly

and declare ittogether with the reasons that move

thee to change; and do not think to steal it. A

servant or a favoriteif he be inwardand no

other apparent cause of esteemis commonly

thoughtbut a by-way to close corruption. For

roughness: it is a needless cause of discontent:

severity breedeth fearbut roughness breedeth

hate. Even reproofs from authorityought to be

graveand not taunting. As for facility: it is worse

than bribery. For bribes come but now and then;

but if importunityor idle respectslead a manhe

shall never be without. As Solomon saithTo re-

spect persons is not good; for such a man will

transgress for a piece of bread. It is most truethat

was anciently spokenA place showeth the man.

And it showeth some to the betterand some to the

worse. Omnium consensu capax imperiinisi im-

perassetsaith Tacitus of Galba; but of Vespasian

he saithSolus imperantiumVespasianus mutatus

in melius; though the one was meant of sufficiency

the other of mannersand affection. It is an assured

sign of a worthy and generous spiritwhom honor

amends. For honor isor should bethe place of

virtue; and as in naturethings move violently to

their placeand calmly in their placeso virtue in

ambition is violentin authority settled and calm.

All rising to great place is by a winding star; and

if there be factionsit is good to side a man's self

whilst he is in the risingand to balance himself

when he is placed. Use the memory of thy prede-

cessorfairly and tenderly; for if thou dost notit is

a debt will sure be paid when thou art gone. If

thou have colleaguesrespect themand rather call

themwhen they look not for itthan exclude

themwhen they have reason to look to be called.

Be not too sensibleor too rememberingof thy

place in conversationand private answers to

suitors; but let it rather be saidWhen he sits in

placehe is another man.






Of Boldness


IT IS a trivial grammar-school textbut yet

worthy a wise man's consideration. Question

was asked of Demostheneswhat was the chief

part of an orator? he answeredaction; what next?

action; what next again? action. He said itthat

knew it bestand hadby naturehimself no ad-

vantage in that he commended. A strange thing

that that part of an oratorwhich is but superficial

and rather the virtue of a playershould be placed

so highabove those other noble partsof invention

elocutionand the rest; nayalmost aloneas if it

were all in all. But the reason is plain. There is in

human nature generallymore of the fool than of

the wise; and therefore those facultiesby which

the foolish part of men's minds is takenare most

potent. Wonderful like is the case of boldness in

civil business: what first? boldness; what second

and third? boldness. And yet boldness is a child of

ignorance and basenessfar inferior to other parts.

But nevertheless it doth fascinateand bind hand

and footthose that are either shallow in judg-

mentor weak in couragewhich are the greatest

part; yea and prevaileth with wise men at weak

times. Therefore we see it hath done wondersin

popular states; but with senatesand princes less;

and more ever upon the first entrance of bold per-

sons into actionthan soon after; for boldness is an

ill keeper of promise. Surelyas there are mounte-

banks for the natural bodyso are there mounte-

banks for the politic body; men that undertake

great curesand perhaps have been luckyin two

or three experimentsbut want the grounds of

scienceand therefore cannot hold out. Nayyou

shall see a bold fellow many times do Mahomet's

miracle. Mahomet made the people believe that

he would call an hill to himand from the top of it

offer up his prayersfor the observers of his law.

The people assembled; Mahomet called the hill to

come to himagain and again; and when the hill

stood stillhe was never a whit abashedbut said

If the hill will not come to MahometMahomet

will go to the hill. So these menwhen they have

promised great mattersand failed most shame-

fullyyet (if they have the perfection of boldness)

they will but slight it overand make a turnand

no more ado. Certainly to men of great judgment

bold persons are a sport to behold; nayand to the

vulgar alsoboldness has somewhat of the ridicu-

lous. For if absurdity be the subject of laughter

doubt you not but great boldness is seldom without

some absurdity. Especially it is a sport to seewhen

a bold fellow is out of countenance; for that puts

his face into a most shrunkenand wooden pos-

ture; as needs it must; for in bashfulnessthe spirits

do a little go and come; but with bold menupon

like occasionthey stand at a stay; like a stale at

chesswhere it is no matebut yet the game cannot

stir. But this last were fitter for a satire than for a

serious observation. This is well to be weighed;

that boldness is ever blind; for it seeth not danger

and inconveniences. Therefore it is ill in counsel

good in execution; so that the right use of bold per-

sons isthat they never command in chiefbut be

secondsand under the direction of others. For in

counselit is good to see dangers; and in execution

not to see themexcept they be very great.




Of Goodness








I TAKE goodness in this sensethe affecting of

the weal of menwhich is that the Grecians

call philanthropia; and the word humanity (as

it is used) is a little too light to express it. Good-

ness I call the habitand goodness of naturethe

inclination. This of all virtuesand dignities of the

mindis the greatest; being the character of the

Deity: and without itman is a busymischievous

wretched thing; no better than a kind of vermin.

Goodness answers to the theological virtuechar-

ityand admits no excessbut error. The desire of

power in excesscaused the angels to fall; the desire

of knowledge in excesscaused man to fall: but in

charity there is no excess; neither can angelnor

mancome in dan ger by it. The inclination to good-

nessis imprinted deeply in the nature of man; in-

somuchthat if it issue not towards menit will

take unto other living creatures; as it is seen in the

Turksa cruel peoplewho nevertheless are kind

to beastsand give almsto dogs and birds; inso-

muchas Busbechius reportetha Christian boyin

Constantinoplehad like to have been stonedfor

gagging in a waggishness a long-billed fowl.

Errors indeed in this virtue of goodnessor charity

may be committed. The Italians have an ungra-

cious proverbTanto buon che val niente: so

goodthat he is good for nothing. And one of

the doctors of ItalyNicholas Machiavelhad

the confidence to put in writingalmost in plain

termsThat the Christian faithhad given up good

menin prey to those that are tyrannical and un-

just. Which he spakebecause indeed there was

never lawor sector opiniondid so much mag-

nify goodnessas the Christian religion doth.

Thereforeto avoid the scandal and the danger

bothit is goodto take knowledge of the errors of

an habit so excellent. Seek the good of other men

but be not in bondage to their faces or fancies; for

that is but facilityor softness; which taketh an

honest mind prisoner. Neither give thou AEsop's

cock a gemwho would be better pleasedand hap-

pierif he had had a barley-corn. The example of

Godteacheth the lesson truly: He sendeth his rain

and maketh his sun to shineupon the just and

unjust; but he doth not rain wealthnor shine

honor and virtuesupon men equally. Common

benefitsare to be communicate with all; but pe-

culiar benefitswith choice. And beware how in

making the portraiturethou breakest the pattern.

For divinitymaketh the love of ourselves the pat-

tern; the love of our neighborsbut the portraiture.

Sell all thou hastand give it to the poorand fol-

low me: butsell not all thou hastexcept thou

come and follow me; that isexcept thou have a

vocationwherein thou mayest do as much good

with little means as with great; for otherwisein

feeding the streamsthou driest the fountain.

Neither is there only a habit of goodnessdirected

by right reason; but there is in some meneven in

naturea disposition towards it; as on the other

sidethere is a natural malignity. For there be

that in their nature do not affect the good of others.

The lighter sort of malignityturneth but to a

crassnessor frowardnessor aptness to opposeor

difficultiesor the like; but the deeper sortto envy

and mere mischief. Such menin other men's ca-

lamitiesareas it werein seasonand are ever on

the loading part: not so good as the dogsthat licked

Lazarus' sores; but like fliesthat are still buzzing

upon any thing that is raw; misanthropithat

make it their practiceto bring men to the bough

and yet never a tree for the purpose in their gar-

densas Timon had. Such dispositionsare the very

errors of human nature; and yet they are the fittest

timberto make great politics of; like to knee tim-

berthat is good for shipsthat are ordained to be

tossed; but not for building housesthat shall stand

firm. The parts and signs of goodnessare many. If

a man be gracious and courteous to strangersit

shows he is a citizen of the worldand that his heart

is no islandcut off from other landsbut a conti-

nentthat joins to them. If he be compassionate

towards the afflictions of othersit shows that his

heart is like the noble treethat is wounded itself

when it gives the balm. If he easily pardonsand

remits offencesit shows that his mind is planted

above injuries; so that he cannot be shot. If he be

thankful for small benefitsit shows that he weighs

men's mindsand not their trash. But above allif

he have St. Paul's perfectionthat he would wish

to be anathema from Christfor the salvation of

his brethrenit shows much of a divine natureand

a kind of conformity with Christ himself





Of Nobility


WE WILL speak of nobilityfirst as a portion

of an estatethen as a condition of particu-

lar persons. A monarchywhere there is no nobil-

ity at allis ever a pure and absolute tyranny; as

that of the Turks. For nobility attempers sover-

eigntyand draws the eyes of the peoplesomewhat

aside from the line royal. But for democracies

they need it not; and they are commonly more

quietand less subject to seditionthan where there

are stirps of nobles. For men's eyes are upon the

businessand not upon the persons; or if upon the

personsit is for the business' sakeas fittestand

not for flags and pedigree. We see the Switzers last

wellnotwithstanding their diversity of religion

and of cantons. For utility is their bondand not

respects. The united provinces of the Low Coun-

triesin their governmentexcel; for where there

is an equalitythe consultations are more indif-

ferentand the payments and tributesmore

cheerful. A great and potent nobilityaddeth

majesty to a monarchbut diminisheth power;

and putteth life and spirit into the peoplebut

presseth their fortune. It is wellwhen nobles are

not too great for sovereignty nor for justice; and

yet maintained in that heightas the insolency of

inferiors may be broken upon thembefore it come

on too fast upon the majesty of kings. A numerous

nobility causeth povertyand inconvenience in a

state; for it is a surcharge of expense; and besides

it being of necessitythat many of the nobility fall

in timeto be weak in fortuneit maketh a kind of

disproportionbetween honor and means.

As for nobility in particular persons; it is a rev-

erend thingto see an ancient castle or building

not in decay; or to see a fair timber treesound and

perfect. How much moreto behold an ancient

noble familywhich has stood against the waves

and weathers of time! For new nobility is but the

act of powerbut ancient nobility is the act of time.

Those that are first raised to nobilityare com-

monly more virtuousbut less innocentthan their

descendants; for there is rarely any risingbut by

a commixture of good and evil arts. But it is reason

the memory of their virtues remain to their pos-

terityand their faults die with themselves. Nobil-

ity of birth commonly abateth industry; and he

that is not industriousenvieth him that is. Besides

noble persons cannot go much higher; and he that

standeth at a staywhen others risecan hardly

avoid motions of envy. On the other sidenobil-

ity extinguisheth the passive envy from others

towards them; because they are in possession of

honor. Certainlykings that have able men of

their nobilityshall find ease in employing them

and a better slide into their business; for people

naturally bend to themas born in some sort to






Of Seditions




SHEPHERDS of peoplehad need know the

calendars of tempests in state; which are com-

monly greatestwhen things grow to equality; as

natural tempests are greatest about the Equinoc-

tia. And as there are certain hollow blasts of wind

and secret swellings of seas before a tempestso

are there in states:


--Ille etiam caecos instare tumultus

Saepe monetfraudesque et operta tunescere bella.


Libels and licentious discourses against the state

when they are frequent and open; and in like sort

false news often running up and downto the dis-

advantage of the stateand hastily embraced; are

amongst the signs of troubles. Virgilgiving the

pedigree of Famesaithshe was sister to the Giants:


Illam Terra parensirra irritata deorum

Extremam (ut perhibent) Coeo Enceladoque sororem



As if fames were the relics of seditions past; but

they are no lessindeedthe preludes of seditions to

come. Howsoever he noteth it rightthat seditious

tumultsand seditious famesdiffer no more but

as brother and sistermasculine and feminine; es-

pecially if it come to thatthat the best actions of

a stateand the most plausibleand which ought

to give greatest contentmentare taken in ill sense

and traduced: for that shows the envy greatas

Tacitus saith; conflata magna invidiaseu bene

seu male gesta premunt. Neither doth it follow

that because these fames are a sign of troublesthat

the suppressing of them with too much severity

should be a remedy of troubles. For the despising

of themmany times checks them best; and the

going about to stop themdoth but make a wonder

long-lived. Also that kind of obediencewhich

Tacitus speaketh ofis to be held suspected: Erant

in officiosed tamen qui mallent mandata impe-

rantium interpretari quam exequi; disputingex-

cusingcavilling upon mandates and directionsis

a kind of shaking off the yokeand assay of dis-

obedience; especially if in those disputingsthey

which are for the directionspeak fearfully and

tenderlyand those that are against itaudaciously.

Alsoas Machiavel noteth wellwhen princes

that ought to be common parentsmake them-

selves as a partyand lean to a sideit is as a boat

that is overthrown by uneven weight on the one

side; as was well seenin the time of Henry the

Third of France; for firsthimself entered league

for the extirpation of the Protestants; and pres-

ently afterthe same league was turned upon him-

self. For when the authority of princesis made

but an accessory to a causeand that there be other

bandsthat tie faster than the band of sovereignty

kings begin to be put almost out of possession.

Alsowhen discordsand quarrelsand factions

are carried openly and audaciouslyit is a sign the

reverence of government is lost. For the motions

of the greatest persons in a governmentought to

be as the motions of the planets under primum

mobile; according to the old opinion: which is

that every of themis carried swiftly by the

highest motionand softly in their own motion.

And thereforewhen great ones in their own

particular motionmove violentlyandas Tacitus

expresseth it wellliberius quam ut imperan-

tium meminissent; it is a sign the orbs are out

of frame. For reverence is thatwherewith princes

are girt from God; who threateneth the dissolving

thereof; Solvam cingula regum.

So when any of the four pillars of government

are mainly shakenor weakened (which are relig-

ionjusticecounseland treasure)men had need

to pray for fair weather. But let us pass from this

part of predictions (concerning whichneverthe-

lessmore light may be taken from that which

followeth); and let us speak firstof the materials

of seditions; then of the motives of them; and

thirdly of the remedies.

Concerning the materials of seditions. It is a

thing well to be considered; for the surest way to

prevent seditions (if the times do bear it) is to take

away the matter of them. For if there be fuel pre-

paredit is hard to tellwhence the spark shall

comethat shall set it on fire. The matter of sedi-

tions is of two kinds: much povertyand much dis-

contentment. It is certainso many overthrown

estatesso many votes for troubles. Lucan noteth

well the state of Rome before the Civil War


Hinc usura voraxrapidumque in tempore foenus

Hinc concussa fideset multis utile bellum.


This same multis utile bellumis an assured and

infallible signof a state disposed to seditions and

troubles. And if this poverty and broken estate in

the better sortbe joined with a want and necessity

in the mean peoplethe danger is imminent and

great. For the rebellions of the belly are the worst.

As for discontentmentsthey arein the politic

bodylike to humors in the naturalwhich are apt

to gather a preternatural heatand to inflame.

And let no prince measure the danger of them by

thiswhether they be just or unjust: for that were

to imagine peopleto be too reasonable; who do

often spurn at their own good: nor yet by this

whether the griefs whereupon they risebe in fact

great or small: for they are the most dangerous

discontentmentswhere the fear is greater than

the feeling. Dolendi modustimendi non item.

Besidesin great oppressionsthe same things that

provoke the patiencedo withal mate the courage;

but in fears it is not so. Neither let any princeor

statebe secure concerning discontentmentsbe-

cause they have been oftenor have been longand

yet no peril hath ensued: for as it is truethat every

vapor or fume doth not turn into a storm; so it is

nevertheless truethat stormsthough they blow

over divers timesyet may fall at last; andas the

Spanish proverb noteth wellThe cord breaketh at

the last by the weakest pull.

The causes and motives of seditions areinnova-

tion in religion; taxes; alteration of laws and cus-

toms; breaking of privileges; general oppression;

advancement of unworthy persons; strangers;

dearths; disbanded soldiers; factions grown des-

perate; and what soeverin offending people

joineth and knitteth them in a common cause.

For the remedies; there may be some general

preservativeswhereof we will speak: as for the

just cureit must answer to the particular disease;

and so be left to counselrather than rule.

The first remedy or prevention is to removeby

all means possiblethat material cause of sedition

whereof we spake; which iswant and poverty in

the estate. To which purpose serveth the opening

and well-balancing of trade; the cherishing of

manufactures; the banishing of idleness; the re-

pressing of wasteand excessby sumptuary laws;

the improvement and husbanding of the soil; the

regulating of prices of things vendible; the moder-

ating of taxes and tributes; and the like. Generally

it is to be foreseen that the population of a king-

dom (especially if it be not mown down by wars)

do not exceed the stock of the kingdomwhich

should maintain them. Neither is the population

to be reckoned only by number; for a smaller num-

berthat spend more and earn lessdo wear out an

estate soonerthan a greater number that live

lowerand gather more. Therefore the multiply-

ing of nobilityand other degrees of qualityin an

over proportion to the common peopledoth speed-

ily bring a state to necessity; and so doth likewise

an overgrown clergy; for they bring nothing to

the stock; and in like mannerwhen more are bred

scholarsthan preferments can take off .

It is likewise to be rememberedthat forasmuch

as the increase of any estate must be upon the

foreigner (for whatsoever is somewhere gottenis

somewhere lost)there be but three thingswhich

one nation selleth unto another; the commodity as

nature yieldeth it; the manufacture; and the vec-

tureor carriage. So that if these three wheels go

wealth will flow as in a spring tide. And it cometh

many times to passthat materiam superabit opus;

that the work and carriage is more worth than the

materialand enricheth a state more; as is notably

seen in the Low-Countrymenwho have the best

mines above groundin the world.

Above all thingsgood policy is to be usedthat

the treasure and moneysin a statebe not gath-

ered into few hands. For otherwise a state may

have a great stockand yet starve. And money is

like mucknot good except it be spread. This is

donechiefly by suppressingor at least keeping

a strait handupon the devouring trades of usury

ingrossing great pasturagesand the like.

For removing discontentmentsor at least the

danger of them; there is in every state (as we

know) two portions of subjects; the noblesse and

the commonalty. When one of these is discontent

the danger is not great; for common people are of

slow motionif they be not excited by the greater

sort; and the greater sort are of small strength

except the multitude be aptand ready to move of

themselves. Then is the dangerwhen the greater

sortdo but wait for the troubling of the waters

amongst the meanerthat then they may declare

themselves. The poets feignthat the rest of the

gods would have bound Jupiter; which he hearing

ofby the counsel of Pallassent for Briareuswith

his hundred handsto come in to his aid. An em-

blemno doubtto show how safe it is for mon-

archsto make sure of the good will of common

people. To give moderate liberty for griefs and dis-

contentments to evaporate (so it be without too

great insolency or bravery)is a safe way. For he

that turneth the humors backand maketh the

wound bleed inwardsendangereth malign ulcers

and pernicious imposthumations.

The part of Epimetheus mought well become

Prometheusin the case of discontentments: for

there is not a better provision against them. Epime-

theuswhen griefs and evils flew abroadat last

shut the lidand kept hope in the bottom of the

vessel. Certainlythe politic and artificial nourish-

ingand entertaining of hopesand carrying men

from hopes to hopesis one of the best antidotes

against the poison of discontentments. And it is a

certain sign of a wise government and proceeding

when it can hold men's hearts by hopeswhen it

cannot by satisfaction; and when it can handle

thingsin such manneras no evil shall appear so

peremptorybut that it hath some outlet of hope;

which is the less hard to dobecause both particu-

lar persons and factionsare apt enough to flatter

themselvesor at least to brave thatwhich they

believe not.

Also the foresight and preventionthat there be

no likely or fit headwhereunto discontented per-

sons may resortand under whom they may join

is a knownbut an excellent point of caution. I

understand a fit headto be one that hath great-

ness and reputation; that hath confidence with

the discontented partyand upon whom they turn

their eyes; and that is thought discontentedin his

own particular: which kind of personsare either

to be wonand reconciled to the stateand that in

a fast and true manner; or to be fronted with some

otherof the same partythat may oppose them

and so divide the reputation. Generallythe divid-

ing and breakingof all factions and combinations

that are adverse to the stateand setting them at

distanceor at least distrustamongst themselves

is not one of the worst remedies. For it is a desper-

ate caseif those that hold with the proceeding of

the statebe full of discord and factionand those

that are against itbe entire and united.

I have notedthat some witty and sharp

speecheswhich have fallen from princeshave

given fire to seditions. Caesar did himself infinite

hurt in that speechSylla nescivit literasnon po-

tuit dictare; for it did utterly cut off that hope

which men had entertainedthat he would at one

time or other give over his dictatorship. Galba un-

did himself by that speechlegi a se militemnon

emi; for it put the soldiers out of hope of the dona-

tive. Probus likewiseby that speechSi vixero

non opus erit amplius Romano imperio militibus;

a speech of great despair for the soldiers. And

many the like. Surely princes had needin tender

matters and ticklish timesto beware what they

say; especially in these short speecheswhich fly

abroad like dartsand are thought to be shot out of

their secret intentions. For as for large discourses

they are flat thingsand not so much noted.


Lastlylet princesagainst all eventsnot be

without some great personone or rather moreof

military valornear unto themfor the repressing

of seditions in their beginnings. For without that

there useth to be more trepidation in court upon

the first breaking out of troublesthan were fit.

And the state runneth the danger of that which

Tacitus saith; Atque is habitus animorum fuitut

pessimum facinus auderent pauciplures vellent

omnes paterentur. But let such military persons be

assuredand well reputed ofrather than factious

and popular; holding also good correspondence

with the other great men in the state; or else the

remedyis worse than the disease.





Of Atheism


I HAD rather believe all the fables in the Leg-

endand the Talmudand the Alcoranthan

that this universal frame is without a mind.

And thereforeGod never wrought miracleto

convince atheismbecause his ordinary works con-

vince it. It is truethat a little philosophy inclineth

man's mind to atheism; but depth in philosophy

bringeth men's minds about to religion. For while

the mind of man looketh upon second causes scat-

teredit may sometimes rest in themand go no

further; but when it beholdeth the chain of them

confederate and linked togetherit must needs fly

to Providence and Deity. Nayeven that school

which is most accused of atheism doth most dem-

onstrate religion; that isthe school of Leucippus

and Democritus and Epicurus. For it is a thousand

times more crediblethat four mutable elements

and one immutable fifth essenceduly and eter-

nally placedneed no Godthan that an army of

infinite small portionsor seeds unplacedshould

have produced this order and beautywithout a

divine marshal. The Scripture saithThe fool hath

said in his heartthere is no God; it is not saidThe

fool hath thought in his heart; so as he rather saith

itby rote to himselfas that he would havethan

that he can thoroughly believe itor be persuaded

of it. For none denythere is a Godbut thosefor

whom it maketh that there were no God. It ap-

peareth in nothing morethat atheism is rather in

the lipthan in the heart of manthan by this; that

atheists will ever be talking of that their opinion

as if they fainted in itwithin themselvesand

would be glad to be strengthenedby the consent

of others. Nay moreyou shall have atheists strive

to get disciplesas it fareth with other sects. And

which is most of allyou shall have of themthat

will suffer for atheismand not recant; whereas if

they did truly thinkthat there were no such thing

as Godwhy should they trouble themselves? Epi-

curus is chargedthat he did but dissemble for his

credit's sakewhen he affirmed there were blessed

naturesbut such as enjoyed themselveswithout

having respect to the government of the world.

Wherein they say he did temporize; though in

secrethe thought there was no God. But certainly

he is traduced; for his words are noble and divine:

Non deos vulgi negare profanum; sed vulgi opini-

ones diis applicare profanum. Plato could have

said no more. And although he had the confidence

to deny the administrationhe had not the power

to deny the nature. The Indians of the Westhave

names for their particular godsthough they have

no name for God: as if the heathens should have

had the names JupiterApolloMarsetc.but not

the word Deus; which shows that even those bar-

barous people have the notionthough they have

not the latitude and extent of it. So that against

atheiststhe very savages take partwith the very

subtlest philosophers. The contemplative atheist is

rare: a Diagorasa Biona Lucian perhapsand

some others; and yet they seem to be more than

they are; for that all that impugn a received re-

ligionor superstitionare by the adverse part

branded with the name of atheists. But the great

atheistsindeed are hypocrites; which are ever

handling holy thingsbut without feeling; so as

they must needs be cauterized in the end. The

causes of atheism are: divisions in religionif they

be many; for any one main divisionaddeth zeal to

both sides; but many divisions introduce atheism.

Another isscandal of priests; when it is come to

that which St. Bernard saithnon est jam dicere

ut populus sic sacerdos; quia nec sic populus ut

sacerdos. A third iscustom of profane scoffing in

holy matters; which dothby little and littlede-

face the reverence of religion. And lastlylearned

timesspecially with peace and prosperity; for

troubles and adversities do more bow men's minds

to religion. They that deny a Goddestroy man's

nobility; for certainly man is of kin to the beasts

by his body; andif he be not of kin to Godby his

spirithe is a base and ignoble creature. It destroys

likewise magnanimityand the raising of human

nature; for take an example of a dogand mark

what a generosity and courage he will put on

when he finds himself maintained by a man; who

to him is instead of a Godor melior natura; which

courage is manifestly suchas that creaturewith-

out that confidence of a better nature than his own

could never attain. So manwhen he resteth and

assureth himselfupon divine protection and

favorgathered a force and faithwhich human

nature in itself could not obtain. Thereforeas

atheism is in all respects hatefulso in thisthat it

depriveth human nature of the means to exalt it-

selfabove human frailty. As it is in particular

personsso it is in nations. Never was there such a

state for magnanimity as Rome. Of this state hear

what Cicero saith: Quam volumus licetpatres con-

scriptinos amemustamen nec numero Hispanos

nec robore Gallosnec calliditate Poenosnec arti-

bus Graecosnec denique hoc ipso hujus gentis et

terrae domestico nativoque sensu Italos ipsos et

Latinos; sed pietateac religioneatque hac una

sapientiaquod deorum immortalium numine

omnia regi gubernarique perspeximusomnes

gentes nationesque superavimus.




Of Superstition


IT WERE better to have no opinion of God at all

than such an opinionas is unworthy of him.

For the one is unbeliefthe other is contumely;

and certainly superstition is the reproach of the

Deity. Plutarch saith well to that purpose: Surely

(saith he) I had rather a great dealmen should

saythere was no such man at allas Plutarch

than that they should saythat there was one Plu-

tarchthat would eat his children as soon as they

were born; as the poets speak of Saturn. And as the

contumely is greater towards Godso the danger is

greater towards men. Atheism leaves a man to

senseto philosophyto natural pietyto lawsto

reputation; all which may be guides to an outward

moral virtuethough religion were not; but super-

stition dismounts all theseand erecteth an abso-

lute monarchyin the minds of men. Therefore

theism did never perturb states; for it makes men

wary of themselvesas looking no further: and we

see the times inclined to atheism (as the time of

Augustus Caesar) were civil times. But supersti-

tion hath been the confusion of many statesand

bringeth in a new primum mobilethat ravisheth

all the spheres of government.The master of super-

stitionis the people; and in all superstitionwise

men follow fools; and arguments are fitted to prac-

ticein a reversed order. It was gravely said by

some of the prelates in the Council of Trentwhere

the doctrine of the Schoolmen bare great sway

that the Schoolmen were like astronomerswhich

did feign eccentrics and epicyclesand such en-

gines of orbsto save the phenomena; though they

knew there were no such things; and in like man-

nerthat the Schoolmen had framed a number of

subtle and intricate axiomsand theoremsto save

the practice of the church. The causes of supersti-

tion are: pleasing and sensual rites and ceremonies;

excess of outward and pharisaical holiness; over-

great reverence of traditionswhich cannot but

load the church; the stratagems of prelatesfor

their own ambition and lucre; the favoring too

much of good intentionswhich openeth the gate

to conceits and novelties; the taking an aim at

divine mattersby humanwhich cannot but

breed mixture of imaginations: andlastlybar-

barous timesespecially joined with calamities

and disasters. Superstitionwithout a veilis a de-

formed thing; foras it addeth deformity to an

apeto be so like a manso the similitude of super-

stition to religionmakes it the more deformed.

And as wholesome meat corrupteth to little worms

so good forms and orders corruptinto a number of

petty observances. There is a superstition in avoid-

ing superstitionwhen men think to do bestif they

go furthest from the superstitionformerly re-

ceived; therefore care would be had that (as it

fareth in ill purgings) the good be not taken away

with the bad; which commonly is donewhen the

people is the reformer.






Of Travel


TRAVELin the younger sortis a part of edu-

cationin the eldera part of experience. He

that travelleth into a countrybefore he hath some

entrance into the languagegoeth to schooland

not to travel. That young men travel under some

tutoror grave servantI allow well; so that he be

such a one that hath the languageand hath been

in the country before; whereby he may be able

to tell them what things are worthy to be seenin

the country where they go; what acquaintances

they are to seek; what exercisesor disciplinethe

place yieldeth. For elseyoung men shall go

hoodedand look abroad little. It is a strange thing

that in sea voyageswhere there is nothing to be

seenbut sky and seamen should make diaries;

but in land-travelwherein so much is to be ob-

servedfor the most part they omit it; as if chance

were fitter to be registeredthan observation. Let

diariesthereforebe brought in use. The things to

be seen and observed are: the courts of princes

especially when they give audience to ambassa-

dors; the courts of justicewhile they sit and hear

causes; and so of consistories ecclesiastic; the

churches and monasterieswith the monuments

which are therein extant; the walls and fortifica-

tions of citiesand townsand so the heavens and

harbors; antiquities and ruins; libraries; colleges

disputationsand lectureswhere any are; ship-

ping and navies; houses and gardens of state and

pleasurenear great cities; armories; arsenals;

magazines; exchanges; burses; warehouses; exer-

cises of horsemanshipfencingtraining of sol-

diersand the like; comediessuch whereunto the

better sort of persons do resort; treasuries of jewels

and robes; cabinets and rarities; andto conclude

whatsoever is memorablein the places where

they go. After all whichthe tutorsor servants

ought to make diligent inquiry. As for triumphs

masksfeastsweddingsfuneralscapital execu-

tionsand such showsmen need not to be put in

mind of them; yet are they not to be neglected. If

you will have a young man to put his travel into a

little roomand in short time to gather muchthis

you must do. Firstas was saidhe must have some

entrance into the language before he goeth. Then

he must have such a servantor tutoras knoweth

the countryas was likewise said. Let him carry

with him alsosome card or bookdescribing the

country where he travelleth; which will be a good

key to his inquiry. Let him keep also a diary. Let

him not stay longin one city or town; more or less

as the place deservethbut not long; naywhen he

stayeth in one city or townlet him change his

lodging from one end and part of the townto an-

other; which is a great adamant of acquaintance.

Let him sequester himselffrom the company of

his countrymenand diet in such placeswhere

there is good company of the nation where he

travelleth. Let himupon his removes from one

place to anotherprocure recommendation to some

person of qualityresiding in the place whither he

removeth; that he may use his favorin those

things he desireth to see or know. Thus he may

abridge his travelwith much profit. As for the

acquaintancewhich is to be sought in travel; that

which is most of all profitableis acquaintance

with the secretaries and employed men of ambas-

sadors: for so in travelling in one countryhe shall

suck the experience of many. Let him also seeand

visiteminent persons in all kindswhich are of

great name abroad; that he may be able to tell

how the life agreeth with the fame. For quarrels

they are with care and discretion to be avoided.

They are commonly for mistresseshealthsplace

and words. And let a man bewarehow he keepeth

company with choleric and quarrelsome persons;

for they will engage him into their own quarrels.

When a traveller returneth homelet him not

leave the countrieswhere he hath travelledalto-

gether behind him; but maintain a correspond-

ence by letterswith those of his acquaintance

which are of most worth. And let his travel appear

rather in his discoursethan his apparel or gesture;

and in his discourselet him be rather advised in

his answersthan forward to tell stories; and let it

appear that he doth not change his country man-

nersfor those of foreign parts; but only prick in

some flowersof that he hath learned abroadinto

the customs of his own country.




Of Empire



IT IS a miserable state of mindto have few

things to desireand many things to fear; and

yet that commonly is the case of kings; whobeing

at the highestwant matter of desirewhich makes

their minds more languishing; and have many rep-

resentations of perils and shadowswhich makes

their minds the less clear. And this is one reason

alsoof that effect which the Scripture speaketh of

That the king's heart is inscrutable. For multitude

of jealousiesand lack of some predominant de-

sirethat should marshal and put in order all the

restmaketh any man's hearthard to find or

sound. Hence it comes likewisethat princes many

times make themselves desiresand set their hearts

upon toys; sometimes upon a building; sometimes

upon erecting of an order; sometimes upon the ad-

vancing of a person; sometimes upon obtaining

excellency in some artor feat of the hand; as Nero

for playing on the harpDomitian for certainty

of the hand with the arrowCommodus for play-

ing at fenceCaracalla for driving chariotsand

the like. This seemeth incredibleunto those that

know not the principlethat the mind of manis

more cheered and refreshed by profiting in small

thingsthan by standing at a stayin great. We see

also that kings that have been fortunate conquer-

orsin their first yearsit being not possible for

them to go forward infinitelybut that they must

have some checkor arrest in their fortunesturn

in their latter years to be superstitiousand melan-

choly; as did Alexander the Great; Diocletian; and

in our memoryCharles the Fifth; and others: for

he that is used to go forwardand findeth a stop

falleth out of his own favorand is not the thing

he was.

To speak now of the true temper of empireit is

a thing rare and hard to keep; for both temperand

distemperconsist of contraries. But it is one thing

to mingle contrariesanother to interchange them.

The answer of Apollonius to Vespasianis full of

excellent instruction. Vespasian asked himWhat

was Nero's overthrow? He answeredNero could

touch and tune the harp well; but in government

sometimes he used to wind the pins too highsome-

times to let them down too low. And certain it is

that nothing destroyeth authority so muchas the

unequal and untimely interchange of power

pressed too farand relaxed too much.

This is truethat the wisdom of all these latter

timesin princes' affairsis rather fine deliveries

and shiftings of dangers and mischiefswhen they

are nearthan solid and grounded courses to keep

them aloof. But this is but to try masteries with

fortune. And let men bewarehow they neglect

and suffer matter of trouble to be prepared; for no

man can forbid the sparknor tell whence it may

come. The difficulties in princes' business are many

and great; but the greatest difficultyis often in

their own mind. For it is common with princes

(saith Tacitus) to will contradictoriesSunt pler-

umque regum voluntates vehementeset inter se

contrariae. For it is the solecism of powerto think

to command the endand yet not to endure the


Kings have to deal with their neighborstheir

wivestheir childrentheir prelates or clergytheir

noblestheir second-nobles or gentlementheir

merchantstheir commonsand their men of war;

and from all these arise dangersif care and cir-

cumspection be not used.

First for their neighbors; there can no general

rule be given (for occasions are so variable)save

onewhich ever holdethwhich isthat princes do

keep due sentinelthat none of their neighbors do

ever grow so (by increase of territoryby embrac-

ing of tradeby approachesor the like)as they

become more able to annoy themthan they were.

And this is generally the work of standing coun-

selsto foresee and to hinder it. During that trium-

virate of kingsKing Henry the Eighth of England

Francis the First King of Franceand Charles the

Fifth Emperorthere was such a watch keptthat

none of the three could win a palm of groundbut

the other two would straightways balance it

either by confederationorif need wereby a war;

and would not in any wise take up peace at inter-

est. And the like was done by that league (which

Guicciardini saith was the security of Italy) made

between Ferdinando King of NaplesLorenzius

Mediciand Ludovicus Sforzapotentatesthe one

of Florencethe other of Milan. Neither is the opin-

ion of some of the Schoolmento be receivedthat a

war cannot justly be madebut upon a precedent

injury or provocation. For there is no questionbut

a just fear of an imminent dangerthough there be

no blow givenis a lawful cause of a war.

For their wives; there are cruel examples of

them. Livia is infamedfor the poisoning of her

husband; RoxalanaSolyman's wifewas the

destruction of that renowned princeSultan Mus-

taphaand otherwise troubled his house and suc-

cession; Edward the Second of Englandhis queen

had the principal hand in the deposing and mur-

der of her husband. This kind of dangeris then to

be feared chieflywhen the wives have plotsfor

the raising of their own children; or else that they

be advoutresses.

For their children; the tragedies likewise of

dangers from themhave been many. And gen-

erallythe entering of fathers into suspicion of

their childrenhath been ever unfortunate. The

destruction of Mustapha (that we named before)

was so fatal to Solyman's lineas the succession of

the Turksfrom Solyman until this dayis sus-

pected to be untrueand of strange blood; for that

Selymus the Secondwas thought to be supposi-

tious. The destruction of Crispusa young prince of

rare towardnessby Constantinus the Greathis

fatherwas in like manner fatal to his house; for

both Constantinus and Constancehis sonsdied

violent deaths; and Constantiushis other sondid

little better; who died indeed of sicknessbut after

that Julianus had taken arms against him. The de-

struction of Demetriusson to Philip the Second of

Macedonturned upon the fatherwho died of

repentance. And many like examples there are;

but few or nonewhere the fathers had good by

such distrust; except it werewhere the sons were

up in open arms against them; as was Selymus the

First against Bajazet; and the three sons of Henry

the SecondKing of England.

For their prelates; when they are proud and

greatthere is also danger from them; as it was in

the times of Anselmusand Thomas BecketArch-

bishops of Canterbury; whowith their croziers

did almost try it with the king's sword; and yet

they had to deal with stout and haughty kings

William RufusHenry the Firstand Henry the

Second. The danger is not from that statebut

where it hath a dependence of foreign authority;

or where the churchmen come in and are elected

not by the collation of the kingor particular

patronsbut by the people.

For their nobles; to keep them at a distanceit is

not amiss; but to depress themmay make a king

more absolutebut less safe; and less able to per-

formany thing that he desires. I have noted itin

my History of King Henry the Seventh of Eng-

landwho depressed bis nobility; whereupon it

came to passthat his times were full of difficulties

and troubles; for the nobilitythough they con-

tinued loyal unto himyet did they not co-operate

with him in his business. So that in effecthe was

fain to do all things himself.

For their second-nobles; there is not much dan-

ger from thembeing a body dispersed. They may

sometimes discourse highbut that doth little hurt;

besidesthey are a counterpoise to the higher no-

bilitythat they grow not too potent; andlastly

being the most immediate in authoritywith the

common peoplethey do best temper popular com-


For their merchants; they are vena porta; and

if they flourish nota kingdom may have good

limbsbut will have empty veinsand nourish

little. Taxes and imposts upon themdo seldom

good to the king's revenue; for that that he wins in

the hundredhe leeseth in the shire; the particular

rates being increasedbut the total bulk of trading

rather decreased.

For their commons; there is little danger from

themexcept it bewhere they have great and po-

tent heads; or where you meddle with the point of

religionor their customsor means of life.

For their men of war; it is a dangerous state

where they live and remain in a bodyand are

used to donatives; whereof we see examples in the

janizariesand pretorian bands of Rome; but train-

ings of menand arming them in several places

and under several commandersand without

donativesare things of defenceand no danger.

Princes are like to heavenly bodieswhich cause

good or evil times; and which have much venera-

tionbut no rest. All precepts concerning kings

are in effect comprehended in those two remem-

brances: memento quod es homo; and memento

quod es Deusor vice Dei; the one bridleth their

powerand the other their will.





Of Counsel


THE greatest trustbetween man and manis

the trust of giving counsel. For in other con-

fidencesmen commit the parts of life; their lands

their goodstheir childrentheir creditsome par-

ticular affair; but to such as they make their coun-

sellorsthey commit the whole: by how much the

morethey are obliged to all faith and integrity.

The wisest princes need not think it any diminu-

tion to their greatnessor derogation to their suf-

ficiencyto rely upon counsel. God himself is not

withoutbut hath made it one of the great names

of his blessed Son: The Counsellor. Solomon hath

pronouncedthat in counsel is stability. Things

will have their firstor second agitation: if they be

not tossed upon the arguments of counselthey

will be tossed upon the waves of fortune; and be

full of inconstancydoing and undoinglike the

reeling of a drunken man. Solomon's son found

the force of counselas his father saw the necessity

of it. For the beloved kingdom of Godwas first

rentand brokenby ill counsel; upon which coun-

selthere are set for our instructionthe two marks

whereby bad counsel is for ever best discerned;

that it was young counselfor the person; and

violent counselfor the matter.

The ancient timesdo set forth in figureboth

the incorporationand inseparable conjunctionof

counsel with kingsand the wise and politic use of

counsel by kings: the onein that they say Jupi-

ter did marry Metiswhich signifieth counsel;

whereby they intend that Sovereigntyis married

to Counsel: the other in that which followeth

which was thus: They sayafter Jupiter was mar-

ried to Metisshe conceived by himand was with

childbut Jupiter suffered her not to staytill she

brought forthbut eat her up; whereby he became

himself with childand was delivered of Pallas

armedout of his head. Which monstrous fable

containeth a secret of empire; how kings are to

make use of their counsel of state. That firstthey

ought to refer matters unto themwhich is the first

begettingor impregnation; but when they are

elaboratemouldedand shaped in the womb of

their counseland grow ripeand ready to be

brought forththat then they suffer not their coun-

sel to go through with the resolution and direc-

tionas if it depended on them; but take the matter

back into their own handsand make it appear to

the worldthat the decrees and final directions

(whichbecause they come forthwith prudence

and powerare resembled to Pallas armed) pro-

ceeded from themselves; and not only from their

authoritybut (the more to add reputation to them-

selves) from their head and device.

Let us now speak of the inconveniences of coun-

seland of the remedies. The inconveniences that

have been notedin calling and using counselare

three. Firstthe revealing of affairswhereby they

become less secret. Secondlythe weakening of the

authority of princesas if they were less of them-

selves. Thirdlythe danger of being unfaithfully

counselledand more for the good of them that

counselthan of him that is counselled. For which

inconveniencesthe doctrine of Italyand practice

of Francein some kings' timeshath introduced

cabinet counsels; a remedy worse than the disease.

As to secrecy; princes are not bound to commu-

nicate all matterswith all counsellors; but may

extract and select. Neither is it necessarythat he

that consulteth what he should doshould declare

what he will do. But let princes bewarethat the

unsecreting of their affairscomes not from them-

selves. And as for cabinet counselsit may be their

mottoplenus rimarum sum: one futile person

that maketh it his glory to tellwill do more hurt

than manythat know it their duty to conceal. It is

true there be some affairswhich require extreme

secrecywhich will hardly go beyond one or two

personsbesides the king: neither are those coun-

sels unprosperous; forbesides the secrecythey

conunonly go on constantlyin one spirit of direc-

tionwithout distraction. But then it must be a

prudent kingsuch as is able to grind with a hand-

mill; and those inward counsellors had need also

be wise menand especially true and trusty to the

king's ends; as it was with King Henry the Seventh

of Englandwhoin his great businessimparted

himself to noneexcept it were to Morton and Fox.

For weakening of authority; the fable showeth

the remedy. Naythe majesty of kingsis rather

exalted than diminishedwhen they are in the

chair of counsel; neither was there ever princebe-

reaved of his dependencesby his counselexcept

where there hath beeneither an over-greatness

in one counselloror an over-strict combination in

divers; which are things soon foundand holpen.

For the last inconveniencethat men will coun-

selwith an eye to themselves; certainlynon

inveniet fidem super terram is meantof the na-

ture of timesand not of all particular persons.

There bethat are in nature faithfuland sincere

and plainand direct; not crafty and involved; let

princesabove alldraw to themselves such na-

tures. Besidescounsellors are not commonly so

unitedbut that one counsellorkeepeth sentinel

over another; so that if any do counsel out of fac-

tion or private endsit commonly comes to the

king's ear. But the best remedy isif princes know

their counsellorsas well as their counsellors

know them:


Principis est virtus maxima nosse suos.

And on the other sidecounsellors should not be

too speculative into their sovereign's person. The

true composition of a counselloris rather to be

skilful in their master's businessthan in his na-

ture; for then he is like to advise himand not feed

his humor. It is of singular use to princesif they

take the opinions of their counselboth separately

and together. For private opinion is more free;

but opinion before othersis more reverent. In

privatemen are more bold in their own humors;

and in consortmen are more obnoxious to others'

humors; therefore it is good to take both; and of

the inferior sortrather in privateto preserve free-

dom; of the greaterrather in consortto preserve

respect. It is in vain for princesto take counsel

concerning mattersif they take no counsel like-

wise concerning persons; for all matters are as

dead images; and the life of the execution of af-

fairsresteth in the good choice of persons. Neither

is it enoughto consult concerning persons secun-

dum generaas in an ideaor mathematical de-

scriptionwhat the kind and character of the

person should be; for the greatest errors are com-

mittedand the most judgment is shownin the

choice of individuals. It was truly saidoptimi con-

siliarii mortui: books will speak plainwhen coun-

sellors blanch.Therefore it is good to be conversant

in themspecially the books of such as themselves

have been actors upon the stage.

The counsels at this dayin most placesare but

familiar meetingswhere matters are rather talked

onthan debated. And they run too swiftto the

orderor actof counsel. It were better that in

causes of weightthe matter were propounded one

dayand not spoken to till the next day; in nocte

consilium. So was it done in the Commission of

Unionbetween England and Scotland; which

was a grave and orderly assembly. I commend set

days for petitions; for both it gives the sudtors more

certainty for their attendanceand it frees the

meetings for matters of estatethat they may hoc

agere. In choice of committees; for ripening busi-

ness for the counselit is better to choose indifferent

personsthan to make an indifferencyby putting

in thosethat are strong on both sides. I commend

also standing commissions; as for tradefor treas-

urefor warfor suitsfor some provinces; for

where there be divers particular counselsand but

one counsel of estate (as it is in Spain)they arein

effectno more than standing commissions: save

that they have greater authority. Let such as are

to inform counselsout of their particular profes-

sions (as lawyersseamenmintmenand the like)

be first heard before committees; and thenas oc-

casion servesbefore the counsel. And let them not

come in multitudesor in a tribunitious manner;

for that is to clamor counselsnot to inform them.

A long table and a square tableor seats about the

wallsseem things of formbut are things of sub-

stance; for at a long table a few at the upper endin

effectsway all the business; but in the other form

there is more use of the counsellors' opinionsthat

sit lower. A kingwhen he presides in counsellet

him beware how he opens his own inclination too

muchin that which he propoundeth; for else

counsellors will but take the wind of himand in-

stead of giving free counselsing him a song of







Of Delays


FORTUNE is like the market; where many

times if you can stay a littlethe price will fall.

Againit is sometimes like Sibylla's offer; which at

firstoffereth the commodity at fullthen con-

sumeth part and partand still holdeth up the

price. For occasion (as it is in the common verse)

turneth a bald noddleafter she hath presented her

locks in frontand no hold taken; or at least turneth

the handle of the bottlefirst to be receivedand

after the bellywhich is hard to clasp. There is

surely no greater wisdomthan well to time the

beginningsand onsetsof things. Dangers are no

more lightif they once seem light; and more dan-

gers have deceived menthan forced them. Nay

it were betterto meet some dangers half way

though they come nothing nearthan to keep too

long a watch upon their approaches; for if a man

watch too longit is odds he will fall asleep. On the

other sideto be deceived with too long shadows

(as some have beenwhen the moon was lowand

shone on their enemies' back)and so to shoot off

before the time; or to teach dangers to come onby

over early buckling towards them; is another ex-

treme. The ripenessor unripenessof the occasion

(as we said) must ever be well weighed; and gener-

ally it is goodto commit the beginnings of all

great actions to Arguswith his hundred eyesand

the ends to Briareuswith his hundred hands; first

to watchand then to speed. For the helmet of

Plutowhich maketh the politic man go invisible

is secrecy in the counseland celerity in the execu-

tion. For when things are once come to the execu-

tionthere is no secrecycomparable to celerity;

like the motion of a bullet in the airwhich flieth

so swiftas it outruns the eye.




Of Cunning


WE TAKE cunning for a sinister or crooked

wisdom. And certainly there is a great dif-

ferencebetween a cunning manand a wise man;

not only in point of honestybut in point of ability.

There bethat can pack the cardsand yet cannot

play well; so there are some that are good in can-

vasses and factionsthat are otherwise weak men.

Againit is one thing to understand personsand

another thing to understand matters; for many

are perfect in men's humorsthat are not greatly

capable of the real part of business; which is the

constitution of one that hath studied menmore

than books. Such men are fitter for practicethan

for counsel; and they are goodbut in their own

alley: turn them to new menand they have lost

their aim; so as the old ruleto know a fool from a

wise manMitte ambos nudos ad ignotoset vide-

bisdoth scarce hold for them. And because these

cunning menare like haberdashers of small

waresit is not amiss to set forth their shop.

It is a point of cunningto wait upon him with

whom you speakwith your eye; as the Jesuits give

it in precept: for there be many wise menthat

have secret heartsand transparent countenances.

Yet this would be done with a demure abasing of

your eyesometimesas the Jesuits also do use.

Another isthat when you have anything to

obtainof present despatchyou entertain and

amuse the partywith whom you dealwith some

other discourse; that he be not too much awake to

make objections. I knew a counsellor and secre-

tarythat never came to Queen Elizabeth of Eng-

landwith bills to signbut he would always first

put her into some discourse of estatethat she

mought the less mind the bills.

The like surprise may be made by moving

thingswhen the party is in hasteand cannot stay

to consider advisedly of that is moved.

If a man would cross a businessthat he doubts

some other would handsomely and effectually

movelet him pretend to wish it welland move it

himself in such sort as may foil it.

The breaking offin the midst of that one was

about to sayas if he took himself upbreeds a

greater appetite in him with whom you conferto

know more.

And because it works betterwhen anything

seemeth to be gotten from you by questionthan

if you offer it of yourselfyou may lay a bait for a

questionby showing another visageand counte-

nancethan you are wont; to the end to give occa-

sionfor the party to askwhat the matter is of the

change? As Nehemias did; And I had not before

that timebeen sad before the king.

In things that are tender and unpleasingit is

good to break the iceby some whose words are of

less weightand to reserve the more weighty voice

to come in as by chanceso that he may be asked

the question upon the other's speech: as Narcissus

didrelating to Claudius the marriage of Messa-

lina and Silius.

In things that a man would not be seen in him-

selfit is a point of cunningto borrow the name of

the world; as to sayThe world saysor There is a

speech abroad.

I knew one thatwhen he wrote a letterhe

would put thatwhich was most materialin the

postscriptas if it had been a by-matter.

I knew another thatwhen he came to have

speechhe would pass over thatthat he intended

most; and go forthand come back againand

speak of it as of a thingthat he had almost forgot.

Some procure themselvesto be surprisedat

such times as it is like the party that they work

uponwill suddenly come upon them; and to be

found with a letter in their handor doing some-

what which they are not accustomed; to the end

they may be apposed of those thingswhich of

themselves they are desirous to utter.

It is a point of cunningto let fall those words in

a man's own namewhich he would have another

man learnand useand thereupon take advan-

tage. I knew twothat were competitors for the

secretary's place in Queen Elizabeth's timeand

yet kept good quarter between themselves; and

would conferone with anotherupon the busi-

ness; and the one of them saidThat to be a secre-

taryin the declination of a monarchywas a

ticklish thingand that he did not affect it: the

other straight caught up those wordsand dis-

coursed with divers of his friendsthat he had no

reason to desire to be secretaryin the declination

of a monarchy. The first man took hold of itand

found means it was told the Queen; whohearing

of a declination of a monarchytook it so illas she

would never after hear of the other's suit.

There is a cunningwhich we in England call

the turning of the cat in the pan; which iswhen

that which a man says to anotherhe lays it as if

another had said it to him. And to say truthit is

not easywhen such a matter passed between two

to make it appear from which of them it first

moved and began.

It is a way that some men haveto glance and

dart at othersby justifying themselves by nega-

tives; as to sayThis I do not; as Tigellinus did

towards BurrhusSe non diversas spessed incolu-

mitatem imperatoris simpliciter spectare.

Some have in readiness so many tales and

storiesas there is nothing they would insinuate

but they can wrap it into a tale; which serveth both

to keep themselves more in guardand to make

others carry it with more pleasure. It is a good

point of cunningfor a man to shape the answer

he would havein his own words and propositions;

for it makes the other party stick the less.

It is strange how long some men will lie in wait

to speak somewhat they desire to say; and how far

about they will fetch; and how many other mat-

ters they will beat overto come near it. It is a thing

of great patiencebut yet of much use.

A suddenboldand unexpected question doth

many times surprise a manand lay him open.

Like to him thathaving changed his nameand

walking in Paul'sanother suddenly came behind

himand called him by his true namewhereat

straightways he looked back.

But these small waresand petty pointsof cun-

ningare infinite; and it were a good deed to make

a list of them; for that nothing doth more hurt in

a statethan that cunning men pass for wise.

But certainly some there are that know the re-

sorts and falls of businessthat cannot sink into

the main of it; like a house that hath convenient

stairs and entriesbut never a fair room. Therefore

you shall see them find out pretty looses in the con-

clusionbut are no ways able to examine or debate

matters. And yet commonly they take advantage

of their inabilityand would be thought wits of

direction. Some build rather upon the abusing of

othersand (as we now say) putting tricks upon

themthan upon soundness of their own proceed-

ings. But Solomon saithPrudens advertit ad gres-

sus suos; stultus divertit ad dolos.






Of Wisdom







AN ANT is a wise creature for itselfbut it is a

shrewd thingin an orchard or garden. And

certainlymen that are great lovers of themselves

waste the public. Divide with reason; between self-

love and society; and be so true to thyselfas thou

be not false to others; specially to thy king and

country. It is a poor centre of a man's actionshim-

self. It is right earth. For that only stands fast upon

his own centre; whereas all thingsthat have af-

finity with the heavensmove upon the centre of

anotherwhich they benefit. The referring of all

to a man's selfis more tolerable in a sovereign

prince; because themselves are not only them-

selvesbut their good and evil is at the peril of the

public fortune. But it is a desperate evilin a ser-

vant to a princeor a citizen in a republic. For

whatsoever affairs pass such a man's handshe

crooketh them to his own ends; which must needs

be often eccentric to the ends of his masteror state.

Thereforelet princesor stateschoose such ser-

vantsas have not this mark; except they mean

their service should be made but the accessory.

That which maketh the effect more perniciousis

that all proportion is lost. It were disproportion

enoughfor the servant's good to be preferred be-

fore the master's; but yet it is a greater extreme

when a little good of the servantshall carry things

against a great good of the master's. And yet that

is the case of bad officerstreasurersambassadors

generalsand other false and corrupt servants;

which set a bias upon their bowlof their own

petty ends and enviesto the overthrow of their

master's great and important affairs. And for the

most partthe good such servants receiveis after

the model of their own fortune; but the hurt they

sell for that goodis after the model of their

master's fortune. And certainly it is the nature of

extreme self-loversas they will set an house on fire

and it were but to roast their eggs; and yet these

men many times hold credit with their masters

because their study is but to please themand profit

themselves; and for either respectthey will aban-

don the good of their affairs.

Wisdom for a man's self isin many branches

thereofa depraved thing. It is the wisdom of rats

that will be sure to leave a housesomewhat before

it fall. It is the wisdom of the foxthat thrusts out

the badgerwho digged and made room for him.

It is the wisdom of crocodilesthat shed tears when

they would devour. But that which is specially to

be noted isthat those which (as Cicero says of

Pompey) are sui amantessine rivaliare many

times unfortunate. And whereas they haveall

their timessacrificed to themselvesthey become

in the endthemselves sacrifices to the inconstancy

of fortunewhose wings they thoughtby their

self-wisdomto have pinioned.






Of Innovations


AS THE births of living creaturesat first are ill-

shapenso are all innovationswhich are the

births of time. Yet notwithstandingas those that

first bring honor into their familyare commonly

more worthy than most that succeedso the first

precedent (if it be good) is seldom attained by

imitation. For illto man's natureas it stands

pervertedhath a natural motionstrongest in con-

tinuance; but goodas a forced motionstrongest

at first. Surely every medicine is an innovation;

and he that will not apply new remediesmust

expect new evils; for time is the greatest innovator;

and if time of course alter things to the worseand

wisdom and counsel shall not alter them to the

betterwhat shall be the end? It is truethat what

is settled by customthough it be not goodyet at

least it is fit; and those things which have long

gone togetherareas it wereconfederate within

themselves; whereas new things piece not so well;

but though they help by their utilityyet they

trouble by their inconformity. Besidesthey are

like strangers; more admiredand less favored. All

this is trueif time stood still; which contrariwise

moveth so roundthat a froward retention of cus-

tomis as turbulent a thing as an innovation; and

they that reverence too much old timesare but a

scorn to the new. It were goodthereforethat men

in their innovations would follow the example of

time itself; which indeed innovateth greatlybut

quietlyby degrees scarce to be perceived. For

otherwisewhatsoever is new is unlooked for; and

ever it mends someand pairs others; and he that

is holpentakes it for a fortuneand thanks the

time; and he that is hurtfor a wrongand imput-

eth it to the author. It is good alsonot to try experi-

ments in statesexcept the necessity be urgentor

the utility evident; and well to bewarethat it be

the reformationthat draweth on the changeand

not the desire of changethat pretendeth the refor-

mation. And lastlythat the noveltythough it be

not rejectedyet be held for a suspect; andas the

Scripture saiththat we make a stand upon the

ancient wayand then look about usand discover

what is the straight and right wayand so to walk

in it.





Of Dispatch



AFFECTED dispatch is one of the most danger-

ous things to business that can be. It is like

thatwhich the physicians call predigestionor

hasty digestion; which is sure to fill the body full of

cruditiesand secret seeds of diseases. Therefore

measure not dispatchby the times of sittingbut

by the advancement of the business. And as in

races it is not the large stride or high lift that makes

the speed; so in businessthe keeping close to the

matterand not taking of it too much at oncepro-

cureth dispatch. It is the care of someonly to come

off speedily for the time; or to contrive some false

periods of businessbecause they may seem men

of dispatch. But it is one thingto abbreviate by

contractinganother by cutting off . And business

so handledat several sittings or meetingsgoeth

commonly backward and forward in an unsteady

manner. I knew a wise man that had it for a by-

wordwhen he saw men hasten to a conclusion

Stay a littlethat we may make an end the sooner.

On the other sidetrue dispatch is a rich thing.

For time is the measure of businessas money is

of wares; and business is bought at a dear hand

where there is small dispatch. The Spartans and

Spaniards have been noted to be of small dispatch;

Mi venga la muerte de Spagna; Let my death come

from Spain; for then it will be sure to be long in


Give good hearing to thosethat give the first

information in business; and rather direct them

in the beginningthan interrupt them in the con-

tinuance of their speeches; for he that is put out of

his own orderwill go forward and backwardand

be more tediouswhile he waits upon his memory

than he could have beenif he had gone on in his

own course. But sometimes it is seenthat the

moderator is more troublesomethan the actor.

Iterations are commonly loss of time. But there

is no such gain of timeas to iterate often the state

of the question; for it chaseth away many a frivo-

lous speechas it is coming forth. Long and curious

speechesare as fit for dispatchas a robe or mantle

with a long trainis for race. Prefaces and pas-

sagesand excusationsand other speeches of refer-

ence to the personare great wastes of time; and

though they seem to proceed of modestythey are

bravery. Yet beware of being too materialwhen

there is any impediment or obstruction in men's

wills; for pre-occupation of mind ever requireth

preface of speech; like a fomentation to make the

unguent enter.

Above all thingsorderand distributionand

singling out of partsis the life of dispatch; so as the

distribution be not too subtle: for he that doth not

dividewill never enter well into business; and he

that divideth too muchwill never come out of it

clearly. To choose timeis to save time; and an un-

seasonable motionis but beating the air. There be

three parts of business; the preparationthe debate

or examinationand the perfection. Whereofif

you look for dispatchlet the middle only be the

work of manyand the first and last the work of

few. The proceeding upon somewhat conceived in

writingdoth for the most part facilitate dispatch:

for though it should be wholly rejectedyet that

negative is more pregnant of directionthan an

indefinite; as ashes are more generative than dust.









Of Seeming Wise


IT HATH been an opinionthat the French are

wiser than they seemand the Spaniards seem

wiser than they are. But howsoever it be between

nationscertainly it is so between man and man.

For as the Apostle saith of godlinessHaving a

show of godlinessbut denying the power thereof;

so certainly there arein point of wisdom and suf-

ficientlythat do nothing or little very solemnly:

magno conatu nugas. It is a ridiculous thingand

fit for a satire to persons of judgmentto see what

shifts these formalists haveand what prospectives

to make superficies to seem bodythat hath depth

and bulk. Some are so close and reservedas they

will not show their waresbut by a dark light; and

seem always to keep back somewhat; and when

they know within themselvesthey speak of that

they do not well knowwould nevertheless seem

to othersto know of that which they may not well

speak. Some help themselves with countenance

and gestureand are wise by signs; as Cicero saith

of Pisothat when he answered himhe fetched

one of his brows up to his foreheadand bent the

other down to his chin; Respondesaltero ad fron-

tem sublatoaltero ad mentum depresso super-

ciliocrudelitatem tibi non placere. Some think

to bear it by speaking a great wordand being per-

emptory; and go onand take by admittancethat

which they cannot make good. Somewhatsoever

is beyond their reachwill seem to despiseor make

light of itas impertinent or curious; and so would

have their ignorance seem judgment. Some are

never without a differenceand commonly by

amusing men with a subtiltyblanch the matter;

of whom A. Gellius saithHominem delirumqui

verborum minutiis rerum frangit pondera. Of

which kind alsoPlatoin his Protagorasbringeth

in Prodius in scornand maketh him make a

speechthat consisteth of distinction from the be-

ginning to the end. Generallysuch men in all

deliberations find ease to be of the negative side

and affect a credit to object and foretell difficul-

ties; for when propositions are deniedthere is an

end of them; but if they be allowedit requireth a

new work; which false point of wisdom is the bane

of business. To concludethere is no decaying mer-

chantor inward beggarhath so many tricks to

uphold the credit of their wealthas these empty

persons haveto maintain the credit of their suf-

ficiency. Seeming wise men may make shift to get

opinion; but let no man choose them for employ-

ment; for certainly you were better take for busi-

nessa man somewhat absurdthan over-formal.


Of Friendship



IT HAD been hard for him that spake it to have

put more truth and untruth together in few

wordsthan in that speechWhatsoever is delighted

in solitudeis either a wild beast or a god. For it is

most truethat a natural and secret hatredand

aversation towards societyin any manhath

somewhat of the savage beast; but it is most un-

truethat it should have any character at allof the

divine nature; except it proceednot out of a pleas-

ure in solitudebut out of a love and desire to

sequester a man's selffor a higher conversation:

such as is found to have been falsely and feignedly

in some of the heathen; as Epimenides the Can-

dianNuma the RomanEmpedocles the Sicilian

and Apollonius of Tyana; and truly and reallyin

divers of the ancient hermits and holy fathers of

the church. But little do men perceive what soli-

tude isand how far it extendeth. For a crowd is

not company; and faces are but a gallery of pic-

tures; and talk but a tinkling cymbalwhere

there is no love. The Latin adage meeteth with it a

little: Magna civitasmagna solitudo; because in

a great town friends are scattered; so that there is

not that fellowshipfor the most partwhich is in

less neighborhoods. But we may go furtherand

affirm most trulythat it is a mere and miserable

solitude to want true friends; without which the

world is but a wilderness; and even in this sense

also of solitudewhosoever in the frame of his

nature and affectionsis unfit for friendshiphe

taketh it of the beastand not from humanity.

A principal fruit of friendshipis the ease and

discharge of the fulness and swellings of the heart

which passions of all kinds do cause and induce.

We know diseases of stoppingsand suffocations

are the most dangerous in the body; and it is not

much otherwise in the mind; you may take sarza

to open the liversteel to open the spleenflowers

of sulphur for the lungscastoreum for the brain;

but no receipt openeth the heartbut a true friend;

to whom you may impart griefsjoysfearshopes

suspicionscounselsand whatsoever lieth upon

the heart to oppress itin a kind of civil shrift or


It is a strange thing to observehow high a rate

great kings and monarchs do set upon this fruit of

friendshipwhereof we speak: so greatas they

purchase itmany timesat the hazard of their

own safety and greatness. For princesin regard

of the distance of their fortune from that of their

subjects and servantscannot gather this fruitex-

cept (to make themselves capable thereof) they

raise some persons to beas it werecompanions

and almost equals to themselveswhich many

times sorteth to inconvenience. The modern lan-

guages give unto such persons the name of favor-

itesor privadoes; as if it were matter of graceor

conversation. But the Roman name attaineth the

true use and cause thereofnaming them parti-

cipes curarum; for it is that which tieth the knot.

And we see plainly that this hath been donenot

by weak and passionate princes onlybut by the

wisest and most politic that ever reigned; who

have oftentimes joined to themselves some of

their servants; whom both themselves have called

friendsand allowed other likewise to call them in

the same manner; using the word which is re-

ceived between private men.

L. Syllawhen he commanded Romeraised

Pompey (after surnamed the Great) to that height

that Pompey vaunted himself for Sylla's over-

match. For when he had carried the consulship for

a friend of hisagainst the pursuit of Syllaand

that Sylla did a little resent thereatand began to

speak greatPompey turned upon him againand

in effect bade him be quiet; for that more men

adored the sun risingthan the sun setting. With

Julius CaesarDecimus Brutus had obtained that

interest as he set him down in his testamentfor

heir in remainderafter his nephew. And this was

the man that had power with himto draw him

forth to his death. For when Caesar would have

discharged the senatein regard of some ill pres-

agesand specially a dream of Calpurnia; this

man lifted him gently by the arm out of his chair

telling him he hoped he would not dismiss the

senatetill his wife had dreamt a better dream.

And it seemeth his favor was so greatas Antonius

in a letter which is recited verbatim in one of

Cicero's Philippicscalleth him veneficawitch;

as if he had enchanted Caesar. Augustus raised

Agrippa (though of mean birth) to that heightas

when he consulted with Maecenasabout the mar-

riage of his daughter JuliaMaecenas took the

liberty to tell himthat he must either marry his

daughter to Agrippaor take away his life; there

was no third wayhe had made him so great. With

Tiberius CaesarSejanus had ascended to that

heightas they two were termedand reckonedas

a pair of friends. Tiberius in a letter to him saith

Haec pro amicitia nostra non occultavi; and the

whole senate dedicated an altar to Friendshipas

to a goddessin respect of the great dearness of

friendshipbetween them two. The likeor more

was between Septimius Severus and Plautianus.

For he forced his eldest son to marry the daughter

of Plautianus; and would often maintain Plau-

tianusin doing affronts to his son; and did write

also in a letter to the senateby these words: I love

the man so wellas I wish he may over-live me.

Now if these princes had been as a Trajanor a

Marcus Aureliusa man might have thought that

this had proceeded of an abundant goodness of

nature; but being men so wiseof such strength

and severity of mindand so extreme lovers of

themselvesas all these wereit proveth most

plainly that they found their own felicity (though

as great as ever happened to mortal men) but as

an half pieceexcept they mought have a friend

to make it entire; and yetwhich is morethey

were princes that had wivessonsnephews; and

yet all these could not supply the comfort of friend-


It is not to be forgottenwhat Comineus observ-

eth of his first masterDuke Charles the Hardy

namelythat he would communicate his secrets

with none; and least of allthose secrets which

troubled him most. Whereupon he goeth onand

saith that towards his latter timethat closeness

did impairand a little perish his understanding.

Surely Comineus mought have made the same

judgment alsoif it had pleased himof his second

masterLewis the Eleventhwhose closeness was

indeed his tormentor. The parable of Pythagoras

is darkbut true; Cor ne edito; Eat not the heart.

Certainlyif a man would give it a hard phrase

those that want friendsto open themselves unto

are carnnibals of their own hearts. But one thing

is most admirable (wherewith I will conclude this

first fruit of friendship)which isthat this com-

municating of a man's self to his friendworks

two contrary effects; for it redoubleth joysand

cutteth griefs in halves. For there is no manthat

imparteth his joys to his friendbut he joyeth the

more; and no man that imparteth his griefs to his

friendbut he grieveth the less. So that it is in truth

of operation upon a man's mindof like virtue as

the alchemists use to attribute to their stonefor

man's body; that it worketh all contrary effects

but still to the good and benefit of nature. But yet

without praying in aid of alchemiststhere is a

manifest image of thisin the ordinary course of

nature. For in bodiesunion strengtheneth and

cherisheth any natural action; and on the other

sideweakeneth and dulleth any violent impres-

sion: and even so it is of minds.

The second fruit of friendshipis healthful and

sovereign for the understandingas the first is for

the affections. For friendship maketh indeed a fair

day in the affectionsfrom storm and tempests; but

it maketh daylight in the understandingout of

darknessand confusion of thoughts. Neither is

this to be understood only of faithful counsel

which a man receiveth from his friend; but before

you come to thatcertain it isthat whosoever hath

his mind fraught with many thoughtshis wits

and understanding do clarify and break upin the

communicating and discoursing with another; he

tosseth his thoughts more easily; he marshalleth

them more orderlyhe seeth how they look when

they are turned into words: finallyhe waxeth

wiser than himself; and that more by an hour's

discoursethan by a day's meditation. It was well

said by Themistoclesto the king of PersiaThat

speech was like cloth of Arrasopened and put

abroad; whereby the imagery doth appear in

figure; whereas in thoughts they lie but as in

packs. Neither is this second fruit of friendshipin

opening the understandingrestrained only to

such friends as are able to give a man counsel;

(they indeed are best;) but even without thata

man learneth of himselfand bringeth his own

thoughts to lightand whetteth his wits as against

a stonewhich itself cuts not. In a worda man

were better relate himself to a statuaor picture

than to suffer his thoughts to pass in smother.

Add nowto make this second fruit of friendship

completethat other pointwhich lieth more open

and falleth within vulgar observation; which is

faithful counsel from a friend. Heraclitus saith

well in one of his enigmasDry light is ever the

best. And certain it isthat the light that a man

receiveth by counsel from anotheris drier and

purerthan that which cometh from his own

understanding and judgment; which is ever in-

fusedand drenchedin his affections and customs.

So as there is as much difference between the coun-

selthat a friend givethand that a man giveth

himselfas there is between the counsel of a friend

and of a flatterer. For there is no such flatterer as

is a man's self; and there is no such remedy against

flattery of a man's selfas the liberty of a friend.

Counsel is of two sorts: the one concerning man-

nersthe other concerning business. For the first

the best preservative to keep the mind in healthis

the faithful admonition of a friend. The calling of

a man's self to a strict accountis a medicinesome-

time too piercing and corrosive. Reading good

books of moralityis a little flat and dead. Observ-

ing our faults in othersis sometimes improper for

our case. But the best receipt (bestI sayto work

and best to take) is the admonition of a friend.

It is a strange thing to beholdwhat gross errors

and extreme absurdities many (especially of the

greater sort) do commitfor want of a friend to tell

them of them; to the great damage both of their

fame and fortune: foras St. James saiththey are

as men that look sometimes into a glassand pres-

ently forget their own shape and favor. As for

businessa man may thinkif he winthat two

eyes see no more than one; or that a gamester seeth

always more than a looker-on; or that a man in

angeris as wise as he that hath said over the four

and twenty letters; or that a musket may be shot

off as well upon the armas upon a rest; and such

other fond and high imaginationsto think him-

self all in all. But when all is donethe help of good

counselis that which setteth business straight.

And if any man think that he will take counsel

but it shall be by pieces; asking counsel in one

businessof one manand in another businessof

another man; it is well (that is to saybetterper-

hapsthan if he asked none at all); but he runneth

two dangers: onethat he shall not be faithfully

counselled; for it is a rare thingexcept it be from

a perfect and entire friendto have counsel given

but such as shall be bowed and crooked to some

endswhich he haththat giveth it. The otherthat

he shall have counsel givenhurtful and unsafe

(though with good meaning)and mixed partly of

mischief and partly of remedy; even as if you

would call a physicianthat is thought good for

the cure of the disease you complain ofbut is unac-

quainted with your body; and therefore may put

you in way for a present curebut overthroweth

your health in some other kind; and so cure the

diseaseand kill the patient. But a friend that is

wholly acquainted with a man's estatewill be-

wareby furthering any present businesshow he

dasheth upon other inconvenience. And therefore

rest not upon scattered counsels; they will rather

distract and misleadthan settle and direct.

After these two noble fruits of friendship (peace

in the affectionsand support of the judgment)

followeth the last fruit; which is like the pome-

granatefull of many kernels; I mean aidand

bearing a partin all actions and occasions. Here

the best way to represent to life the manifold use

of friendshipis to cast and see how many things

there arewhich a man cannot do himself; and

then it will appearthat it was a sparing speech of

the ancientsto saythat a friend is another him-

self; for that a friend is far more than himself.

Men have their timeand die many timesin de-

sire of some things which they principally take to

heart; the bestowing of a childthe finishing of a

workor the like. If a man have a true friendhe

may rest almost secure that the care of those things

will continue after him. So that a man hathas it

weretwo lives in his desires. A man hath a body

and that body is confined to a place; but where

friendship isall offices of life are as it were granted

to himand his deputy. For he may exercise them

by his friend. How many things are there which

a man cannotwith any face or comelinesssay or

do himself? A man can scarce allege his own

merits with modestymuch less extol them; a man

cannot sometimes brook to supplicate or beg; and

a number of the like. But all these things are grace-

fulin a friend's mouthwhich are blushing in a

man's own. So againa man's person hath many

proper relationswhich he cannot put off. A man

cannot speak to his son but as a father; to his wife

but as a husband; to his enemy but upon terms:

whereas a friend may speak as the case requires

and not as it sorteth with the person. But to enu-

merate these things were endless; I have given the

rulewhere a man cannot fitly play his own part;

if he have not a friendhe may quit the stage.



Of Expense


RICHES are for spendingand spending for

honor and good actions. Therefore extra-

ordinary expense must be limited by the worth of

the occasion; for voluntary undoingmay be as

well for a man's countryas for the kingdom of

heaven. But ordinary expenseought to be limited

by a man's estate; and governed with such regard

as it be within his compass; and not subject to de-

ceit and abuse of servants; and ordered to the best

showthat the bills may be less than the estima-

tion abroad. Certainlyif a man will keep but of

even handhis ordinary expenses ought to be but

to the half of his receipts; and if he think to wax

richbut to the third part. It is no basenessfor the

greatest to descend and look into their own estate.

Some forbear itnot upon negligence alonebut

doubting to bring themselves into melancholyin

respect they shall find it broken. But wounds can-

not be cured without searching. He that cannot

look into his own estate at allhad need both choose

well those whom he employethand change them

often; for new are more timorous and less subtle.

He that can look into his estate but seldomit be-

hooveth him to turn all to certainties. A man had

needif he be plentiful in some kind of expenseto

be as saving again in some other. As if he be plenti-

ful in dietto be saving in apparel; if he be plenti-

ful in the hallto be saving in the stable; and the

like. For he that is plentiful in expenses of all kinds

will hardly be preserved from decay. In clearing

of a man's estatehe may as well hurt himself in

being too suddenas in letting it run on too long.

For hasty sellingis commonly as disadvantage-

able as interest. Besideshe that clears at once will

relapse; for finding himself out of straitshe will

revert to his custom: but he that cleareth by de-

greesinduceth a habit of frugalityand gaineth

as well upon his mindas upon his estate. Cer-

tainlywho hath a state to repairmay not despise

small things; and commonly it is less dishonor-

ableto abridge petty chargesthan to stoop to

petty gettings. A man ought warily to begin

charges which once begun will continue; but in

matters that return nothe may be more magni-





Of the True




THE speech of Themistocles the Athenian

which was haughty and arrogantin taking

so much to himselfhad been a grave and wise

observation and censureapplied at large to others.

Desired at a feast to touch a lutehe saidHe could

not fiddlebut yet he could make a small towna

great city. These words (holpen a little with a

metaphor) may express two differing abilitiesin

those that deal in business of estate. For if a true

survey be taken of counsellors and statesmen

there may be found (though rarely) those which

can make a small state greatand yet cannot fid-

dle; as on the other sidethere will be found a great

manythat can fiddle very cunninglybut yet are

so far from being able to make a small state great

as their gift lieth the other way; to bring a great

and flourishing estateto ruin and decay. And cer-

tainly whose degenerate arts and shiftswhereby

many counsellors and governors gain both favor

with their mastersand estimation with the vulgar

deserve no better name than fiddling; being things

rather pleasing for the timeand graceful to them-

selves onlythan tending to the weal and advance-

ment of the state which they serve. There are also

(no doubt) counsellors and governors which may

be held sufficient (negotiis pares)able to manage

affairsand to keep them from precipices and

manifest inconveniences; which nevertheless are

far from the ability to raise and amplify an estate

in powermeansand fortune. But be the workmen

what they may belet us speak of the work; that

isthe true greatness of kingdoms and estatesand

the means thereof. An argument fit for great and

mighty princes to have in their hand; to the end

that neither by over-measuring their forcesthey

leese themselves in vain enterprises; nor on the

other sideby undervaluing themthey descend to

fearful and pusillanimous counsels.

The greatness of an estatein bulk and territory

doth fall under measure; and the greatness of

finances and revenuedoth fall under computa-

tion. The population may appear by musters; and

the number and greatness of cities and towns by

cards and maps. But yet there is not any thing

amongst civil affairs more subject to errorthan

the right valuation and true judgment concerning

the power and forces of an estate. The kingdom of

heaven is comparednot to any great kernel or nut

but to a grain of mustard-seed: which is one of the

least grainsbut hath in it a property and spirit

hastily to get up and spread. So are there states

great in territoryand yet not apt to enlarge or

command; and some that have but a small dimen-

sion of stemand yet apt to be the foundations of

great monarchies.

Walled townsstored arsenals and armories

goodly races of horsechariots of warelephants

ordnanceartilleryand the like; all this is but a

sheep in a lion's skinexcept the breed and disposi-

tion of the peoplebe stout and warlike. Naynum-

ber (itself) in armies importeth not muchwhere

the people is of weak courage; for (as Virgil saith)

It never troubles a wolfhow many the sheep be.

The army of the Persiansin the plains of Arbela

was such a vast sea of peopleas it did somewhat

astonish the commanders in Alexander's army;

who came to him thereforeand wished him to set

upon them by night; and he answeredHe would

not pilfer the victory. And the defeat was easy.

When Tigranes the Armenianbeing encamped

upon a hill with four hundred thousand mendis-

covered the army of the Romansbeing not above

fourteen thousandmarching towards himhe

made himself merry with itand saidYonder men

are too many for an embassageand too few for a

fight. But before the sun sethe found them enow

to give him the chase with infinite slaughter.

Many are the examples of the great oddsbetween

number and courage; so that a man may truly

make a judgmentthat the principal point of great-

ness in any stateis to have a race of military men.

Neither is money the sinews of war (as it is trivially

said)where the sinews of men's armsin base and

effeminate peopleare failing. For Solon said well

to Croesus (when in ostentation he showed him his

gold)Sirif any other comethat hath better iron

than youhe will be master of all this gold. There-

fore let any prince or state think solely of his forces

except his militia of natives be of good and valiant

soldiers. And let princeson the other sidethat

have subjects of martial dispositionknow their

own strength; unless they be otherwise wanting

unto themselves. As for mercenary forces (which

is the help in this case)all examples showthat

whatsoever estate or prince doth rest upon them

he may spread his feathers for a timebut he will

mew them soon after.

The blessing of Judah and Issachar will never

meet; that the same peopleor nationshould be

both the lion's whelp and the ass between bur-

thens; neither will it bethat a people overlaid

with taxesshould ever become valiant and mar-

tial. It is true that taxes levied by consent of the

estatedo abate men's courage less: as it hath been

seen notablyin the excises of the Low Countries;

andin some degreein the subsidies of England.

For you must notethat we speak now of the heart

and not of the purse. So that although the same

tribute and taxlaid by consent or by imposingbe

all one to the purseyet it works diversely upon the

courage. So that you may concludethat no people

overcharged with tributeis fit for empire.

Let states that aim at greatnesstake heed how

their nobility and gentlemen do multiply too fast.

For that maketh the common subjectgrow to be a

peasant and base swaindriven out of heartand in

effect but the gentleman's laborer. Even as you

may see in coppice woods; if you leave your stad-

dles too thickyou shall never have clean under-

woodbut shrubs and bushes. So in countriesif the

gentlemen be too manythe commons will be base;

and you will bring it to thatthat not the hundred

pollwill be fit for an helmet; especially as to the

infantrywhich is the nerve of an army; and so

there will be great populationand little strength.

This which I speak ofhath been nowhere better

seenthan by comparing of England and France;

whereof Englandthough far less in territory and

populationhath been (nevertheless) an over-

match; in regard the middle people of England

make good soldierswhich the peasants of France

do not. And herein the device of king Henry the

Seventh (whereof I have spoken largely in the

History of his Life) was profound and admirable;

in making farms and houses of husbandry of a

standard; that ismaintained with such a propor-

tion of land unto themas may breed a subject to

live in convenient plenty and no servile condition;

and to keep the plough in the hands of the owners

and not mere hirelings. And thus indeed you shall

attain to Virgil's character which he gives to an-

cient Italy:


Terra potens armis atque ubere glebae.

Neither is that state (whichfor any thing I know

is almost peculiar to Englandand hardly to be

found anywhere elseexcept it be perhaps in

Poland) to be passed over; I mean the state of free

servantsand attendants upon noblemen and

gentlemen; which are no ways inferior unto the

yeomanry for arms. And therefore out of all ques-

tionsthe splendor and magnificenceand great

retinues and hospitalityof noblemen and gentle-

menreceived into customdoth much conduce

unto martial greatness. Whereascontrariwisethe

close and reserved living of noblemen and gentle-

mencauseth a penury of military forces.

By all means it is to be procuredthat the trunk

of Nebuchadnezzar's tree of monarchybe great

enough to bear the branches and the boughs; that

isthat the natural subjects of the crown or state

bear a sufficient proportion to the stranger sub-

jectsthat they govern.Therefore all states that are

liberal of naturalization towards strangersare fit

for empire. For to think that an handful of people

canwith the greatest courage and policy in the

worldembrace too large extent of dominionit

may hold for a timebut it will fail suddenly. The

Spartans were a nice people in point of naturaliza-

tion; wherebywhile they kept their compass

they stood firm; but when they did spreadand

their boughs were becomen too great for their

stemthey became a windfallupon the sudden.

Never any state was in this point so open to receive

strangers into their bodyas were the Romans.

Therefore it sorted with them accordingly; for

they grew to the greatest monarchy. Their manner

was to grant naturalization (which they called jus

civitatis)and to grant it in the highest degree; that

isnot only jus commerciijus connubiijus haere-

ditatis; but also jus suffragiiand jus honorum.

And this not to singular persons alonebut likewise

to whole families; yea to citiesand sometimes to

nations. Add to this their custom of plantation of

colonies; whereby the Roman plant was removed

into the soil of other nations. And putting both

constitutions togetheryou will say that it was not

the Romans that spread upon the worldbut it was

the world that spread upon the Romans; and that

was the sure way of greatness. I have marvelled

sometimesat Spainhow they clasp and contain

so large dominionswith so few natural Spaniards;

but sure the whole compass of Spainis a very great

body of a tree; far above Rome and Sparta at the

first. And besidesthough they have not had that

usageto naturalize liberallyyet they have that

which is next to it; that isto employalmost indif-

ferentlyall nations in their militia of ordinary

soldiers; yeaand sometimes in their highest com-

mands. Nayit seemeth at this instant they are

sensibleof this want of natives; as by the Prag-

matical Sanctionnow publishedappeareth.

It is certain that sedentaryand within-door

artsand delicate manufactures (that require

rather the finger than the arm)havein their na-

turea contrariety to a military disposition. And

generallyall warlike people are a little idleand

love danger better than travail. Neither must they

be too much broken of itif they shall be preserved

in vigor. Therefore it was great advantagein the

ancient states of SpartaAthensRomeand others

that they had the use of slaveswhich commonly

did rid those manufactures. But that is abolished

in greatest partby the Christian law. That which

cometh nearest to itis to leave those arts chiefly to

strangers (whichfor that purposeare the more

easily to be received)and to contain the principal

bulk of the vulgar nativeswithin those three

kinds- tillers of the ground; free servants; and

handicraftsmen of strong and manly artsas

smithsmasonscarpentersetc.; not reckoning

professed soldiers.

But above allfor empire and greatnessit im-

porteth mostthat a nation do profess armsas their

principal honorstudyand occupation. For the

things which we formerly have spoken ofare but

habilitations towards arms; and what is habilita-

tion without intention and act? Romulusafter his

death (as they report or feign)sent a present to the

Romansthat above allthey should intend arms;

and then they should prove the greatest empire of

the world. The fabric of the state of Sparta was

wholly (though not wisely) framed and composed

to that scope and end. The Persians and Macedo-

nians had it for a flash. The GaulsGermans

GothsSaxonsNormansand othershad it for a

time. The Turks have it at this daythough in great

declination. Of Christian Europethey that have it

arein effectonly the Spaniards. But it is so

plainthat every man profiteth in thathe most

intendeththat it needeth not to be stood upon. It

is enough to point at it; that no nation which doth

not directly profess armsmay look to have great-

ness fall into their mouths. And on the other side

it is a most certain oracle of timethat those states

that continue long in that profession (as the Ro-

mans and Turks principally have done) do won-

ders. And those that have professed arms but for

an agehavenotwithstandingcommonly at-

tained that greatnessin that agewhich main-

tained them long afterwhen their profession and

exercise of arms hath grown to decay.

Incident to this point isfor a state to have those

laws or customswhich may reach forth unto them

just occasions (as may be pretended) of war. For

there is that justiceimprinted in the nature of

menthat they enter not upon wars (whereof so

many calamities do ensue) but upon someat the

least speciousgrounds and quarrels. The Turk

hath at handfor cause of warthe propagation of

his law or sect; a quarrel that he may always com-

mand. The Romansthough they esteemed the

extending the limits of their empireto be great

honor to their generalswhen it was doneyet they

never rested upon that aloneto begin a war. First

thereforelet nations that pretend to greatness

have this; that they be sensible of wrongseither

upon borderersmerchantsor politic ministers;

and that they sit not too long upon a provocation.

Secondlylet them be prestand ready to give aids

and succorsto their confederates; as it ever was

with the Romans; insomuchas if the confederate

had leagues defensivewith divers other states

andupon invasion offereddid implore their aids

severallyyet the Romans would ever be the fore-

mostand leave it to none other to have the honor.

As for the wars which were anciently madeon

the behalf of a kind of partyor tacit conformity of

estateI do not see how they may be well justified:

as when the Romans made a warfor the liberty of

Grecia; or when the Lacedaemonians and Athe-

niansmade wars to set up or pull down democ-

racies and oligarchies; or when wars were made

by foreignersunder the pretence of justice or pro-

tectionto deliver the subjects of othersfrom

tyranny and oppression; and the like. Let it suf-

ficethat no estate expect to be greatthat is not

awake upon any just occasion of arming.

No body can be healthful without exercise

neither natural body nor politic; and certainly to

a kingdom or estatea just and honorable waris

the true exercise. A civil warindeedis like the

heat of a fever; but a foreign war is like the heat of

exerciseand serveth to keep the body in health;

for in a slothful peaceboth courages will effemi-

nateand manners corrupt. But howsoever it be

for happinesswithout all questionfor greatness

it maketh to be still for the most part in arms; and

the strength of a veteran army (though it be a

chargeable business) always on footis that which

commonly giveth the lawor at least the reputa-

tionamongst all neighbor states; as may well be

seen in Spainwhich hath hadin one part or other

a veteran army almost continuallynow by the

space of six score years.

To be master of the seais an abridgment of a

monarchy. Cicerowriting to Atticus of Pompey

his preparation against CaesarsaithConsilium

Pompeii plane Themistocleum est; putat enim

qui mari potitureum rerum potiri. Andwithout

doubtPompey had tired out Caesarif upon vain

confidencehe had not left that way. We see the

great effects of battles bv sea. The battle of Actium

decided the empire of the world. The battle of Le-

pantoarrested the greatness of the Turk. There be

many exampleswhere sea-fights have been final

to the war; but this is when princes or states have

set up their restupon the battles. But thus much

is certainthat he that commands the seais at

great libertyand may take as muchand as little

of the war as he will. Whereas those that be strong-

est by landare many times nevertheless in great

straits. Surelyat this daywith us of Europethe

vantage of strength at sea (which is one of the prin-

cipal dowries of this kingdom of Great Britain) is

great; both because most of the kingdoms of Eu-

ropeare not merely inlandbut girt with the sea

most part of their compass; and because the wealth

of both Indies seems in great partbut an accessory

to the command of the seas.

The wars of latter ages seem to be made in the

darkin respect of the gloryand honorwhich

reflected upon men from the warsin ancient time.

There be nowfor martial encouragementsome

degrees and orders of chivalry; which nevertheless

are conferred promiscuouslyupon soldiers and

no soldiers; and some remembrance perhapsupon

the scutcheon; and some hospitals for maimed sol-

diers; and such like things. But in ancient times

the trophies erected upon the place of the victory;

the funeral laudatives and monuments for those

that died in the wars; the crowns and garlands per-

sonal; the style of emperorwhich the great kings

of the world after borrowed; the triumphs of the

generalsupon their return; the great donatives

and largessesupon the disbanding of the armies;

were things able to inflame all men's courages.

But above allthat of the triumphamongst the

Romanswas not pageants or gauderybut one of

the wisest and noblest institutionsthat ever was.

For it contained three things: honor to the general;

riches to the treasury out of the spoils; and dona-

tives to the army. But that honorperhaps were not

fit for monarchies; except it be in the person of the

monarch himselfor his sons; as it came to pass in

the times of the Roman emperorswho did impro-

priate the actual triumphs to themselvesand their

sonsfor such wars as they did achieve in person;

and left onlyfor wars achieved by subjectssome

triumphal garments and ensigns to the general.

To conclude: no man can by care taking (as the

Scripture saith) add a cubit to his staturein this

little model of a man's body; but in the great frame

of kingdoms and commonwealthsit is in the

power of princes or estatesto add amplitude and

greatness to their kingdoms; for by introducing

such ordinancesconstitutionsand customsas we

have now touchedthey may sow greatness to

their posterity and succession. But these things are

commonly not observedbut left to take their






Of Regiment






THERE is a wisdom in this; beyond the rules of

physic: a man's own observationwhat he

finds good ofand what he finds hurt ofis the best

physic to preserve health. But it is a safer conclu-

sion to sayThis agreeth not well with methere-

foreI will not continue it; than thisI find no

offence of thistherefore I may use it. For strength

of nature in youthpasseth over many excesses

which are owing a man till his age. Discern of the

coming on of yearsand think not to do the same

things still; for age will not be defied. Beware of

sudden changein any great point of dietandif

necessity enforce itfit the rest to it. For it is a secret

both in nature and statethat it is safer to change

many thingsthan one. Examine thy customs of

dietsleepexerciseappareland the like; and try

in any thing thou shalt judge hurtfulto discon-

tinue itby little and little; but soas if thou dost

find any inconvenience by the changethou come

back to it again: for it is hard to distinguish that

which is generally held good and wholesome

from that which is good particularlyand fit for

thine own body. To be free-minded and cheerfully

disposedat hours of meatand of sleepand of

exerciseis one of the best precepts of long lasting.

As for the passionsand studies of the mind; avoid

envyanxious fears; anger fretting inwards;

subtle and knotty inquisitions; joys and exhilara-

tions in excess; sadness not communicated. Enter-

tain hopes; mirth rather than joy; variety of

delightsrather than surfeit of them; wonder and

admirationand therefore novelties; studies that

fill the mind with splendid and illustrious objects

as historiesfablesand contemplations of nature.

If you fly physic in health altogetherit will be too

strange for your bodywhen you shall need it. If

you make it too familiarit will work no extra-

ordinary effectwhen sickness cometh. I commend

rather some diet for certain seasonsthan frequent

use of physicexcept it be grown into a custom. For

those diets alter the body moreand trouble it less.

Despise no new accident in your bodybut ask

opinion of it. In sicknessrespect health prin-

cipally; and in healthaction. For those that put

their bodies to endure in healthmay in most sick-

nesseswhich are not very sharpbe cured only

with dietand tendering. Celsus could never have

spoken it as a physicianhad he not been a wise

man withalwhen he giveth it for one of the great

precepts of health and lastingthat a man do vary

and interchange contrariesbut with an inclina-

tion to the more benign extreme: use fasting and

full eatingbut rather full eating; watching and

sleepbut rather sleep; sitting and exercisebut

rather exercise; and the like. So shall nature be

cherishedand yet taught masteries. Physicians

aresome of themso pleasing and conformable to

the humor of the patientas they press not the true

cure of the disease; and some other are so regular

in proceeding according to art for the diseaseas

they respect not sufficiently the condition of the

patient. Take one of a middle temper; or if it may

not be found in one mancombine two of either

sort; and forget not to call as wellthe best ac-

quainted with your bodyas the best reputed of

for his faculty.




Of Suspicion


SUSPICIONS amongst thoughtsare like bats

amongst birdsthey ever fly by twilight. Cer-

tainly they are to be repressedor at least well

guarded: for they cloud the mind; they leese

friends; and they check with businesswhereby

business cannot go on currently and constantly.

They dispose kings to tyrannyhusbands to jeal-

ousywise men to irresolution and melancholy.

They are defectsnot in the heartbut in the brain;

for they take place in the stoutest natures; as in the

example of Henry the Seventh of England. There

was not a more suspicious mannor a more stout.

And in such a composition they do small hurt. For

commonly they are not admittedbut with exami-

nationwhether they be likely or no. But in fearful

natures they gain ground too fast. There is nothing

makes a man suspect muchmore than to know

little; and therefore men should remedy suspicion

by procuring to know moreand not to keep their

suspicions in smother. What would men have? Do

they thinkthose they employ and deal withare

saints? Do they not thinkthey will have their own

endsand be truer to themselvesthan to them?

Therefore there is no better wayto moderate sus-

picionsthan to account upon such suspicions as

trueand yet to bridle them as false. For so far a

man ought to make use of suspicionsas to provide

as if that should be truethat he suspectsyet it

may do him no hurt. Suspicions that the mind of

itself gathersare but buzzes; but suspicions that

are artificially nourishedand put into men's

headsby the tales and whisperings of othershave

stings. Certainlythe best meanto clear the way

in this same wood of suspicionsis frankly to com-

municate them with the partythat he suspects;

for thereby he shall be sure to know more of the

truth of themthan he did before; and withal shall

make that party more circumspectnot to give

further cause of suspicion. But this would not be

done to men of base natures; for theyif they find

themselves once suspectedwill never be true. The

Italian saysSospetto licentia fede; as if suspicion

did give a passport to faith; but it oughtratherto

kindle it to discharge itself.



Of Discourse


SOMEin their discoursedesire rather com-

mendation of witin being able to hold all

argumentsthan of judgmentin discerning what

is true; as if it were a praiseto know what might

be saidand notwhat should be thought. Some

have certain common placesand themeswherein

they are good and want variety; which kind of

poverty is for the most part tediousand when it is

once perceivedridiculous. The honorablest part of

talkis to give the occasion; and again to moderate

and pass to somewhat else; for then a man leads the

dance. It is goodin discourse and speech of con-

versationto vary and intermingle speech of the

present occasionwith argumentstales with rea-

sonsasking of questionswith telling of opinions

and jest with earnest: for it is a dull thing to tire

andas we say nowto jadeany thing too far. As

for jestthere be certain thingswhich ought to be

privileged from it; namelyreligionmatters of

stategreat personsany man's present business of

importanceand any case that deserveth pity. Yet

there be somethat think their wits have been

asleepexcept they dart out somewhat that is

piquantand to the quick. That is a vein which

would be bridled:


Parcepuerstimuliset fortius utere loris.


And generallymen ought to find the difference

between saltness and bitterness. Certainlyhe that

hath a satirical veinas he maketh others afraid of

his witso he had need be afraid of others' memory.

He that questioneth muchshall learn muchand

content much; but especiallyif he apply his ques-

tions to the skill of the persons whom he asketh; for

he shall give them occasionto please themselves

in speakingand himself shall continually gather

knowledge. But let his questions not be trouble-

some; for that is fit for a poser. And let him be sure

to leave other mentheir turns to speak. Nayif

there be anythat would reign and take up all

the timelet him find means to take them off

and to bring others on; as musicians use to dowith

those that dance too long galliards. If you dis-

semblesometimesyour knowledge of that you

are thought to knowyou shall be thoughtanother

timeto know that you know not. Speech of a

man's self ought to be seldomand well chosen. I

knew onewas wont to say in scornHe must needs

be a wise manhe speaks so much of himself: and

there is but one casewherein a man may com-

mend himself with good grace; and that is in

commending virtue in another; especially if it be

such a virtuewhereunto himself pretendeth.

Speech of touch towards othersshould be spar-

ingly used; for discourse ought to be as a field

without coming home to any man. I knew two

noblemenof the west part of Englandwhereof

the one was given to scoffbut kept ever royal cheer

in his house; the other would askof those that had

been at the other's tableTell trulywas there never

a flout or dry blow given? To which the guest

would answerSuch and such a thing passed.

The lord would sayI thoughthe would mar a

good dinner. Discretion of speechis more than

eloquence; and to speak agreeably to himwith

whom we dealis more than to speak in good

wordsor in good order. A good continued speech

without a good speech of interlocutionshows

slowness: and a good reply or second speechwith-

out a good settled speechshoweth shallowness

and weakness. As we see in beaststhat those that

are weakest in the courseare yet nimblest in the

turn; as it is betwixt the greyhound and the hare.

To use too many circumstancesere one come to

the matteris wearisome; to use none at allis





Of Plantations


PLANTATIONS are amongst ancientprimi-

tiveand heroical works. When the world was

youngit begat more children; but now it is oldit

begets fewer: for I may justly account new plan-

tationsto be the children of former kingdoms. I

like a plantation in a pure soil; that iswhere

people are not displantedto the endto plant in

others. For else it is rather an extirpationthan a

plantation. Planting of countriesis like planting

of woods; for you must make account to leese al-

most twenty years' profitand expect your recom-

pense in the end. For the principal thingthat hath

been the destruction of most plantationshath

been the base and hasty drawing of profitin the

first years. It is truespeedy profit is not to be neg-

lectedas far as may stand with the good of the

plantationbut no further. It is a shameful and

unblessed thingto take the scum of peopleand

wicked condemned mento be the people with

whom you plant; and not only sobut it spoileth

the plantation; for they will ever live like rogues

and not fall to workbut be lazyand do mischief

and spend victualsand be quickly wearyand

then certify over to their countryto the discredit

of the plantation. The people wherewith you

plant ought to be gardenersploughmenlaborers


with some few apothecariessurgeonscooksand

bakers. In a country of plantationfirst look about

what kind of victual the country yields of itself to

hand; as chestnutswalnutspineapplesolives

datesplumscherrieswild honeyand the like;

and make use of them. Then consider what victual

or esculent things there arewhich grow speedily

and within the year; as parsnipscarrotsturnips

onionsradishartichokes of Hierusalemmaize

and the like. For wheatbarleyand oatsthey ask

too much labor; but with pease and beans you may

beginboth because they ask less laborand be-

cause they serve for meatas well as for bread. And

of ricelikewise cometh a great increaseand it is

a kind of meat. Above allthere ought to be brought

store of biscuitoat-mealflourmealand the like

in the beginningtill bread may be had. For beasts

or birdstake chiefly such as are least subject to

diseasesand multiply fastest; as swinegoats

cockshensturkeysgeesehouse-dovesand the

like. The victual in plantationsought to be ex-

pended almost as in a besieged town; that iswith

certain allowance. And let the main part of the

groundemployed to gardens or cornbe to a com-

mon stock; and to be laid inand stored upand

then delivered out in proportion; besides some

spots of groundthat any particular person will

manure for his own private. Consider likewise

what commoditiesthe soil where the plantation

isdoth naturally yieldthat they may some way

help to defray the charge of the plantation (so it be

notas was saidto the untimely prejudice of the

main business)as it hath fared with tobacco in

Virginia. Wood commonly aboundeth but too

much; and therefore timber is fit to be one. If there

be iron oreand streams whereupon to set the mills

iron is a brave commodity where wood aboundeth.

Making of bay-saltif the climate be proper for it

would be put in experience. Growing silk likewise

if any beis a likely commodity. Pitch and tar

where store of firs and pines arewill not fail. So

drugs and sweet woodswhere they arecannot

but yield great profit. Soap-ashes likewiseand

other things that may be thought of. But moil not

too much under ground; for the hope of mines is

very uncertainand useth to make the planters

lazyin other things. For government; let it be in

the hands of oneassisted with some counsel; and

let them have commission to exercise martial laws

with some limitation. And above alllet men make

that profitof being in the wildernessas they have

God alwaysand his servicebefore their eyes. Let

not the government of the plantationdepend

upon too many counsellorsand undertakersin

the country that plantethbut upon a temperate

number; and let those be rather noblemen and

gentlementhan merchants; for they look ever to

the present gain. Let there be freedom from cus-

tomtill the plantation be of strength; and not

only freedom from custombut freedom to carry

their commoditieswhere they may make their

best of themexcept there be some special cause of

caution. Cram not in peopleby sending too fast

company after company; but rather harken how

they wasteand send supplies proportionably; but

soas the number may live well in the plantation

and not by surcharge be in penury. It hath been a

great endangering to the health of some planta-

tionsthat they have built along the sea and rivers

in marish and unwholesome grounds. Therefore

though you begin thereto avoid carriage and

like discommoditiesyet build still rather upwards

from the streamsthan along. It concerneth like-

wise the health of the plantationthat they have

good store of salt with themthat they may use it

in their victualswhen it shall be necessary. If you

plant where savages aredo not only entertain

themwith trifles and ginglesbut use them justly

and graciouslywith sufficient guard nevertheless;

and do not win their favorby helping them to in-

vade their enemiesbut for their defence it is not

amiss; and send oft of themover to the country

that plantsthat they may see a better condition

than their ownand commend it when they re-

turn. When the plantation grows to strengththen

it is time to plant with womenas well as with

men; that the plantation may spread into genera-

tionsand not be ever pieced from without. It is the

sinfullest thing in the worldto forsake or destitute

a plantation once in forwardness; for besides the

dishonorit is the guiltiness of blood of many com-

miserable persons.






Of Riches


I CANNOT call riches better than the baggage

of virtue. The Roman word is betterimpedi-

menta. For as the baggage is to an armyso is riches

to virtue. It cannot be sparednor left behindbut

it hindereth the march; yeaand the care of it

sometimes loseth or disturbeth the victory. Of

great riches there is no real useexcept it be in the

distribution; the rest is but conceit. So saith Solo-

monWhere much isthere are many to consume

it; and what hath the ownerbut the sight of it

with his eyes? The personal fruition in any man

cannot reach to feel great riches: there is a custody

of them; or a power of doleand donative of them;

or a fame of them; but no solid use to the owner.

Do you not see what feigned pricesare set upon

little stones and rarities? and what works of osten-

tation are undertakenbecause there might seem

to be some use of great riches? But then you will

saythey may be of useto buy men out of dangers

or troubles. As Solomon saithRiches are as a

strong holdin the imagination of the rich man.

But this is excellently expressedthat it is in imagi-

nationand not always in fact. For certainly great

richeshave sold more menthan they have bought

out. Seek not proud richesbut such as thou mayest

get justlyuse soberlydistribute cheerfullyand

leave contentedly. Yet have no abstract nor friarly

contempt of them. But distinguishas Cicero saith

well of Rabirius PosthumusIn studio rei ampli-

ficandae apparebatnon avaritiae praedamsed

instrumentum bonitati quaeri. Harken also to

Solomonand beware of hasty gathering of riches;

Qui festinat ad divitiasnon erit insons. The poets

feignthat when Plutus (which is Riches) is sent

from Jupiterhe limps and goes slowly; but when

he is sent from Plutohe runsand is swift of foot.

Meaning that riches gotten by good meansand

just laborpace slowly; but when they come by

the death of others (as by the course of inheritance

testamentsand the like)they come tumbling

upon a man. But it mought be applied likewise to

Plutotaking him for the devil. For when riches

come from the devil (as by fraud and oppression

and unjust means)they come upon speed. The

ways to enrich are manyand most of them foul.

Parsimony is one of the bestand yet is not inno-

cent; for it withholdeth men from works of liberal-

ity and charity. The improvement of the ground

is the most natural obtaining of riches; for it is our

great mother's blessingthe earth's; but it is slow.

And yet where men of great wealth do stoop to

husbandryit multiplieth riches exceedingly. I

knew a nobleman in Englandthat had the great-

est audits of any man in my time; a great grazier

a great sheep-mastera great timber mana great

colliera great corn-mastera great lead-manand

so of ironand a number of the like points of hus-

bandry. So as the earth seemed a sea to himin

respect of the perpetual importation. It was truly

observed by onethat himself came very hardly

to a little richesand very easilyto great riches.

For when a man's stock is come to thatthat he can

expect the prime of marketsand overcome those

bargainswhich for their greatness are few men's

moneyand be partner in the industries of younger

menhe cannot but increase mainly. The gains of

ordinary trades and vocations are honest; and

furthered by two things chiefly: by diligenceand

by a good namefor good and fair dealing. But the

gains of bargainsare of a more doubtful nature;

when men shall wait upon others' necessitybroke

by servants and instruments to draw them onput

off others cunninglythat would be better chap-

menand the like practiceswhich are crafty and

naught. As for the chopping of bargainswhen a

man buys not to hold but to sell over againthat

commonly grindeth doubleboth upon the seller

and upon the buyer. Sharings do greatly enrich

if the hands be well chosenthat are trusted. Usury

is the certainest means of gainthough one of the

worst; as that whereby a man doth eat his bread

in sudore vultus alieni; and besidesdoth plough

upon Sundays. But yet certain though it beit hath

flaws; for that the scriveners and brokers do value

unsound mento serve their own turn. The fortune

in being the firstin an invention or in a privilege

doth cause sometimes a wonderful overgrowth in

riches; as it was with the first sugar manin the

Canaries. Therefore if a man can play the true

logicianto have as well judgmentas invention

he may do great matters; especially if the times be

fit. He that resteth upon gains certainshall hardly

grow to great riches; and he that puts all upon

adventuresdoth oftentimes break and come to

poverty: it is goodthereforeto guard adventures

with certaintiesthat may uphold losses. Monopo-

liesand coemption of wares for re-salewhere

they are not restrainedare great means to enrich;

especially if the party have intelligencewhat

things are like to come into requestand so store

himself beforehand. Riches gotten by service

though it be of the best riseyet when they are

gotten by flatteryfeeding humorsand other serv-

ile conditionsthey may be placed amongst the

worst. As for fishing for testaments and executor-

ships (as Tacitus saith of Senecatestamenta et

orbos tamquam indagine capi)it is yet worse; by

how much men submit themselves to meaner per-

sonsthan in service. Believe not muchthem that

seem to despise riches; for they despise themthat

despair of them; and none worsewhen they come

to them. Be not penny-wise; riches have wings

and sometimes they fly away of themselvessome-

times they must be set flyingto bring in more.

Men leave their richeseither to their kindredor

to the public; and moderate portionsprosper best

in both. A great state left to an heiris as a lure to

all the birds of prey round aboutto seize on himif

he be not the better stablished in years and judg-

ment. Likewise glorious gifts and foundationsare

like sacrifices without salt; and but the painted

sepulchres of almswhich soon will putrefyand

corrupt inwardly. Therefore measure not thine

advancementsby quantitybut frame them by

measure: and defer not charities till death; for

certainlyif a man weigh it rightlyhe that doth

sois rather liberal of another man'sthan of his



Of Prophecies



I MEAN not to speak of divine prophecies; nor

of heathen oracles; nor of natural predictions;

but only of prophecies that have been of cer-

tain memoryand from hidden causes. Saith the

Pythonissa to SaulTo-morrow thou and thy son

shall be with me. Homer hath these verses:


At domus AEneae cunctis dominabitur oris

Et nati natorumet qui nascentur ab illis.


A prophecyas it seemsof the Roman empire.

Seneca the tragedian hath these verses:


--Venient annis

Saecula serisquibus Oceanus

Vincula rerum laxetet ingens

Pateat TellusTiphysque novos

Detegat orbes; nec sit terris

Ultima Thule:


a prophecy of the discovery of America. The daugh-

ter of Polycratesdreamed that Jupiter bathed her

fatherand Apollo anointed him; and it came to

passthat he was crucified in an open placewhere

the sun made his body run with sweatand the

rain washed it. Philip of Macedon dreamedhe

sealed up bis wife's belly; whereby he did expound

itthat his wife should be barren; but Aristander

the soothsayertold him his wife was with child

because men do not use to seal vesselsthat are

empty. A phantasm that appeared to M. Brutusin

his tentsaid to himPhilippis iterum me videbis.

Tiberius said to GalbaTu quoqueGalbadegusta-

bis imperium. In Vespasian's timethere went a

prophecy in the Eastthat those that should come

forth of Judeashould reign over the world:

which though it may be was meant of our Savior;

yet Tacitus expounds it of Vespasian. Domitian

dreamedthe night before he was slainthat a

golden head was growingout of the nape of his

neck: and indeedthe succession that followed him

for many yearsmade golden times. Henry the

Sixth of Englandsaid of Henry the Seventhwhen

he was a ladand gave him waterThis is the lad

that shall enjoy the crownfor which we strive.

When I was in FranceI heard from one Dr. Pena

that the Queen Motherwho was given to curious

artscaused the King her husband's nativity to be

calculatedunder a false name; and the astrologer

gave a judgmentthat he should be killed in a duel;

at which the Queen laughedthinking her hus-

band to be above challenges and duels: but he was

slain upon a course at tiltthe splinters of the staff

of Montgomery going in at his beaver. The trivial

prophecywhich I heard when I was a childand

Queen Elizabeth was in the flower of her years



When hempe is spun

England's done:

whereby it was generally conceivedthat after the

princes had reignedwhich had the principal

letters of that word hempe (which were Henry

EdwardMaryPhilipand Elizabeth)England

should come to utter confusion; whichthanks be

to Godis verified only in the change of the name;

for that the King's styleis now no more of Eng-

land but of Britain. There was also another proph-

ecybefore the year of '88which I do not well



There shall be seen upon a day

Between the Baugh and the May

The black fleet of Norway.

When that that is come and gone

England build houses of lime and stone

For after wars shall you have none.


It was generally conceived to be meantof the

Spanish fleet that came in '88: for that the king of

Spain's surnameas they sayis Norway. The pre-

diction of Regiomontanus


Octogesimus octavus mirabilis annus


was thought likewise accomplished in the sending

of that great fleetbeing the greatest in strength

though not in numberof all that ever swam upon

the sea. As for Cleon's dreamI think it was a jest.

It wasthat he was devoured of a long dragon; and

it was expounded of a maker of sausagesthat

troubled him exceedingly. There are numbers of

the like kind; especially if you include dreamsand

predictions of astrology. But I have set down these

few onlyof certain creditfor example. My judg-

ment isthat they ought all to be despised; and

ought to serve but for winter talk by the fireside.

Though when I say despisedI mean it as for be-

lief; for otherwisethe spreadingor publishing

of themis in no sort to be despised. For they have

done much mischief; and I see many severe laws

madeto suppress them. That that hath given them

graceand some creditconsisteth in three things.

Firstthat men mark when they hitand never

mark when they miss; as they do generally also of

dreams. The second isthat probable conjectures

or obscure traditionsmany times turn themselves

into prophecies; while the nature of manwhich

coveteth divinationthinks it no peril to foretell

that which indeed they do but collect. As that of

Seneca's verse. For so much was then subject to

demonstrationthat the globe of the earth had

great parts beyond the Atlanticwhich mought

be probably conceived not to be all sea: and adding

thereto the tradition in Plato's Timaeusand his

Atlanticusit mought encourage one to turn it to

a prediction. The third and last (which is the great

one) isthat almost all of thembeing infinite in

numberhave been imposturesand by idle and

crafty brains merely contrived and feignedafter

the event past.




Of Ambition



AMBITION is like choler; which is an humor

that maketh men activeearnestfull of alac-

rityand stirringif it be not stopped. But if it be

stoppedand cannot have his wayit becometh

adustand thereby malign and venomous. So am-

bitious menif they find the way open for their

risingand still get forwardthey are rather busy

than dangerous; but if they be checked in their

desiresthey become secretly discontentand look

upon men and matters with an evil eyeand are

best pleasedwhen things go backward; which is

the worst property in a servant of a princeor state.

Therefore it is good for princesif they use ambi-

tious mento handle itso as they be still progres-

sive and not retrograde; whichbecause it cannot

be without inconvenienceit is good not to use such

natures at all. For if they rise not with their service

they will take orderto make their service fall with

them. But since we have saidit were good not to

use men of ambitious naturesexcept it be upon

necessityit is fit we speakin what cases they are

of necessity. Good commanders in the wars must

be takenbe they never so ambitious; for the use

of their servicedispenseth with the rest; and to

take a soldier without ambitionis to pull off his

spurs. There is also great use of ambitious menin

being screens to princes in matters of danger and

envy; for no man will take that partexcept he be

like a seeled dovethat mounts and mountsbe-

cause he cannot see about him. There is use also of

ambitious menin pulling down the greatness of

any subject that overtops; as Tiberius used Marco

in the pulling down of Sejanus. Sincetherefore

they must be used in such casesthere resteth to

speakhow they are to be bridledthat they may be

less dangerous. There is less danger of themif they

be of mean birththan if they be noble; and if they

be rather harsh of naturethan gracious and popu-

lar: and if they be rather new raisedthan grown

cunningand fortifiedin their greatness. It is

counted by somea weakness in princesto have

favorites; but it isof all othersthe best remedy

against ambitious great-ones. For when the way

of pleasuringand displeasuringlieth by the

favoriteit is impossible any other should be over-

great. Another means to curb themis to balance

them by othersas proud as they. But then there

must be some middle counsellorsto keep things

steady; for without that ballastthe ship will roll

too much. At the leasta prince may animate

and inure some meaner personsto be as it were

scourgesto ambitions men. As for the having of

them obnoxious to ruin; if they be of fearful

naturesit may do well; but if they be stout and

daringit may precipitate their designsand prove

dangerous. As for the pulling of them downif the

affairs require itand that it may not be done with

safety suddenlythe only way is the interchange

continuallyof favors and disgraces; whereby

they may not know what to expectand beas it

werein a wood. Of ambitionsit is less harmful

the ambition to prevail in great thingsthan that

otherto appear in every thing; for that breeds

confusionand mars business. But yet it is less dan-

gerto have an ambitious man stirring in business

than great in dependences. He that seeketh to be

eminent amongst able menhath a great task; but

that is ever good for the public. But hethat plots

to be the only figure amongst ciphersis the decay

of a whole age. Honor hath three things in it: the

vantage ground to do good; the approach to kings

and principal persons; and the raising of a man's

own fortunes. He that hath the best of these inten-

tionswhen he aspirethis an honest man; and that

princethat can discern of these intentions in an-

other that aspirethis a wise prince. Generallylet

princes and states choose such ministersas are

more sensible of duty than of using; and such as

love business rather upon consciencethan upon

braveryand let them discern a busy naturefrom

a willing mind.


Of Masques






THESE things are but toysto come amongst

such serious observations. But yetsince

princes will have such thingsit is better they

should be graced with elegancythan daubed with

cost. Dancing to songis a thing of great state and

pleasure. I understand itthat the song be in quire

placed aloftand accompanied with some broken

music; and the ditty fitted to the device. Acting in

songespecially in dialogueshath an extreme

good grace; I say actingnot dancing (for that is a

mean and vulgar thing); and the voices of the dia-

logue would be strong and manly (a base and a

tenor; no treble); and the ditty high and tragical;

not nice or dainty. Several quiresplaced one over

against anotherand taking the voice by catches

anthem-wisegive great pleasure. Turning dances

into figureis a childish curiosity. And generally

let it be notedthat those things which I here set

downare such as do naturally take the senseand

not respect petty wonderments. It is truethe al-

terations of scenesso it be quietly and without

noiseare things of great beauty and pleasure; for

they feed and relieve the eyebefore it be full of

the same object. Let the scenes abound with light

specially colored and varied; and let the masquers

or any otherthat are to come down from the

scenehave some motions upon the scene itself

before their coming down; for it draws the eye

strangelyand makes itwith great pleasureto

desire to seethat it cannot perfectly discern. Let

the songs be loud and cheerfuland not chirpings

or pulings. Let the music likewise be sharp and

loudand well placed. The colors that show best by

candle-light are whitecarnationand a kind of

sea-water-green; and oesor spangsas they are of

no great costso they are of most glory. As for rich

embroideryit is lost and not discerned. Let the

suits of the masquers be gracefuland such as be-

come the personwhen the vizors are off; not after

examples of known attires; Turkesoldiersmari-

ners'and the like. Let anti-masques not be long;

they have been commonly of foolssatyrsbaboons



movingand the like. As for angelsit is not comi-

cal enoughto put them in anti-masques; and

anything that is hideousas devilsgiantsis on

the other side as unfit. But chieflylet the music

of them be recreativeand with some strange

changes. Some sweet odors suddenly coming forth

without any drops fallingarein such a company

as there is steam and heatthings of great pleasure

and refreshment. Double masquesone of men

another of ladiesaddeth state and variety. But all

is nothing except the room be kept clear and neat.

For justsand tourneysand barriers; the glories

of them are chiefly in the chariotswherein the

challengers make their entry; especially if they

be drawn with strange beasts: as lionsbears

camelsand the like; or in the devices of their en-

trance; or in the bravery of their liveries; or in the

goodly furniture of their horses and armor. But

enough of these toys.





Of Nature




NATURE is often hidden; sometimes over-

come; seldom extinguished. Forcemaketh

nature more violent in the return; doctrine and dis-

coursemaketh nature less importune; but custom

only doth alter and subdue nature. He that seeketh

victory over his naturelet him not set himself too

greatnor too small tasks; for the first will make

him dejected by often failings; and the second will

make him a small proceederthough by often pre-

vailings. And at the first let him practise with

helpsas swimmers do with bladders or rushes;

but after a time let him practise with disadvan-

tagesas dancers do with thick shoes. For it breeds

great perfectionif the practice be harder than the

use. Where nature is mightyand therefore the

victory hardthe degrees had need befirst to stay

and arrest nature in time; like to him that would

say over the four and twenty letters when he was

angry; then to go less in quantity; as if one should

in forbearing winecome from drinking healths

to a draught at a meal; and lastlyto discontinue

altogether. But if a man have the fortitudeand

resolutionto enfranchise himself at oncethat is

the best:


Optimus ille animi vindex laedentia pectus

Vincula qui rupitdedoluitque semel.


Neither is the ancient rule amissto bend nature

as a wandto a contrary extremewhereby to set it

rightunderstanding itwhere the contrary ex-

treme is no vice. Let not a man force a habit upon

himselfwith a perpetual continuancebut with

some intermission. For both the pause reinforceth

the new onset; and if a man that is not perfectbe

ever in practicehe shall as well practise his errors

as his abilitiesand induce one habit of both; and

there is no means to help thisbut by seasonable

intermissions. But let not a man trust his victory

over his naturetoo far; for nature will lay buried

a great timeand yet reviveupon the occasion or

temptation. Like as it was with AEsop's damsel

turned from a cat to a womanwho sat very de-

mutely at the board's endtill a mouse ran before

her. Thereforelet a man either avoid the occasion

altogether; or put himself often to itthat he may

be little moved with it. A man's nature is best per-

ceived in privatenessfor there is no affectation;

in passionfor that putteth a man out of his pre-

cepts; and in a new case or experimentfor there

custom leaveth him. They are happy menwhose

natures sort with their vocations; otherwise they

may saymultum incola fuit anima mea; when

they converse in those thingsthey do not affect.

In studieswhatsoever a man commandeth upon

himselflet him set hours for it; but whatsoever is

agreeable to his naturelet him take no care for

any set times; for his thoughts will fly to itof

themselves; so as the spaces of other businessor

studieswill suffice. A man's natureruns either to

herbs or weeds; therefore let him seasonably water

the oneand destroy the other.




Of Custom






MEN'S thoughtsare much according to their

inclination; their discourse and speeches

according to their learning and infused opinions;

but their deedsare after as they have been accus-

tomed. And thereforeas Machiavel well noteth

(though in an evil-favored instance)there is no

trusting to the force of naturenor to the bravery

of wordsexcept it be corroborate by custom. His

instance isthat for the achieving of a desperate

conspiracya man should not rest upon the fierce-

ness of any man's natureor his resolute under-

takings; but take such an oneas hath had his

hands formerly in blood. But Machiavel knew not

of a Friar Clementnor a Ravillacnor a Jaureguy

nor a Baltazar Gerard; yet his rule holdeth still

that naturenor the engagement of wordsare not

so forcibleas custom. Only superstition is now so

well advancedthat men of the first bloodare as

firm as butchers by occupation; and votary reso-

lutionis made equipollent to customeven in mat-

ter of blood. In other thingsthe predominancy of

custom is everywhere visible; insomuch as a man

would wonderto hear men professprotesten-

gagegive great wordsand then dojust as they

have done before; as if they were dead images

and engines moved only by the wheels of custom.

We see also the reign or tyranny of customwhat

it is. The Indians (I mean the sect of their wise men)

lay themselves quietly upon a stock of woodand

so sacrifice themselves by fire. Naythe wives

strive to be burnedwith the corpses of their hus-

bands. The lads of Spartaof ancient timewere

wont to be scourged upon the altar of Dianawith-

out so much as queching. I rememberin the be-

ginning of Queen Elizabeth's time of Englandan

Irish rebel condemnedput up a petition to the

deputythat he might be hanged in a witheand

not in an halter; because it had been so usedwith

former rebels. There be monks in Russiafor pen-

ancethat will sit a whole night in a vessel of water

till they be engaged with hard ice. Many examples

may be put of the force of customboth upon mind

and body. Thereforesince custom is the principal

magistrate of man's lifelet men by all means en-

deavorto obtain good customs. Certainly custom

is most perfectwhen it beginneth in young years:

this we call education; which isin effectbut an

early custom. So we seein languagesthe tongue

is more pliant to all expressions and soundsthe

joints are more suppleto all feats of activity and

motionsin youth than afterwards. For it is true

that late learners cannot so well take the ply; ex-

cept it be in some mindsthat have not suffered

themselves to fixbut have kept themselves open

and prepared to receive continual amendment

which is exceeding rare. But if the force of cus-

tom simple and separatebe greatthe force of

custom copulate and conjoined and collegiateis

far greater. For there example teachethcompany

comfortethemulation quickenethglory raiseth:

so as in such places the force of custom is in his

exaltation. Certainly the great multiplication of

virtues upon human natureresteth upon socie-

ties well ordained and disciplined. For common-

wealthsand good governmentsdo nourish virtue

grown but do not much mend the deeds. But the

misery isthat the most effectual meansare now

applied to the endsleast to be desired.


Of Fortune


IT CANNOT be deniedbut outward accidents

conduce much to fortune; favoropportunity

death of othersoccasion fitting virtue. But chiefly

the mould of a man's fortune is in his own hands.

Faber quisque fortunae suaesaith the poet. And

the most frequent of external causes isthat the

folly of one manis the fortune of another. For no

man prospers so suddenlyas by others' errors.

Serpens nisi serpentem comederit non fit draco.

Overt and apparent virtuesbring forth praise; but

there be secret and hidden virtuesthat bring forth

fortune; certain deliveries of a man's selfwhich

have no name. The Spanish namedesemboltura

partly expresseth them; when there be not stonds

nor restiveness in a man's nature; but that the

wheels of his mindkeep way with the wheels of

his fortune. For so Livy (after he had described

Cato Major in these wordsIn illo viro tantum ro-

bur corporis et animi fuitut quocunque loco natus

essetfortunam sibi facturus videretur) falleth

upon thatthat he had versatile ingenium. There-

fore if a man look sharply and attentivelyhe shall

see Fortune: for though she be blindyet she is not

invisible. The way of fortuneis like the Milken

Way in the sky; which is a meeting or knot of a

number of small stars; not seen asunderbut giv-

ing light together. So are there a number of

littleand scarce discerned virtuesor rather facul-

ties and customsthat make men fortunate. The

Italians note some of themsuch as a man would

little think. When they speak of one that cannot do

amissthey will throw ininto his other conditions

that he hath Poco di matto. And certainly there be

not two more fortunate propertiesthan to have a

little of the fooland not too much of the honest.

Therefore extreme lovers of their country or

masterswere never fortunateneither can they

be. For when a man placeth his thoughts without

himselfhe goeth not his own way. An hasty for-

tune maketh an enterpriser and remover (the

French hath it betterentreprenantor remuant);

but the exercised fortune maketh the able man.

Fortune is to be honored and respectedand it be

but for her daughtersConfidence and Reputation.

For those twoFelicity breedeth; the first within

a man's selfthe latter in others towards him. All

wise mento decline the envy of their own virtues

use to ascribe them to Providence and Fortune; for

so they may the better assume them: andbesides

it is greatness in a manto be the care of the higher

powers. So Caesar said to the pilot in the tempest

Caesarem portaset fortunam ejus. So Sylla chose

the name of Felixand not of Magnus. And it hath

been notedthat those who ascribe openly too

much to their own wisdom and policyend infor-

tunate. It is written that Timotheus the Athenian

after he hadin the account he gave to the state of

his governmentoften interlaced this speechand

in thisFortune had no partnever prospered in

anythinghe undertook afterwards. Certainly

there bewhose fortunes are like Homer's verses

that have a slide and easiness more than the verses

of other poets; as Plutarch saith of Timoleon's for-

tunein respect of that of Agesilaus or Epaminon-

das. And that this shoulld beno doubt it is much

in a man's self.






Of Usury


MANY have made witty invectives against

usury. They say that it is a pitythe devil

should have God's partwhich is the tithe. That the

usurer is the greatest Sabbath-breakerbecause his

plough goeth every Sunday. That the usurer is the

dronethat Virgil speaketh of;


Ignavum fucos pecus a praesepibus arcent.

That the usurer breaketh the first lawthat was

made for mankind after the fallwhich wasin

sudore vultus tui comedes panem tuum; notin

sudore vultus alieni. That usurers should have

orange-tawny bonnetsbecause they do judaize.

That it is against nature for money to beget money;

and the like. I say this onlythat usury is a conces-

sum propter duritiem cordis; for since there must

be borrowing and lendingand men are so hard

of heartas they will not lend freelyusury must

be permitted. Some othershave made suspicious

and cunning propositions of banksdiscovery of

men's estatesand other inventions. But few have

spoken of usury usefully. It is good to set before us

the incommodities and commodities of usurythat

the goodmay be either weighed out or culled out;

and warily to providethat while we make forth

to that which is betterwe meet not with that

which is worse.

The discommodities of usury areFirstthat it

makes fewer merchants. For were it not for this

lazy trade of usurymoney would not he stillbut

would in great part be employed upon merchan-

dizing; which is the vena porta of wealth in a state.

The secondthat it makes poor merchants. Foras

a farmer cannot husband his ground so wellif he

sit at a great rent; so the merchant cannot drive

his trade so wellif he sit at great usury. The third

is incident to the other two; and that is the decay of

customs of kings or stateswhich ebb or flowwith

merchandizing. The fourththat it bringeth the

treasure of a realmor stateinto a few hands. For

the usurer being at certaintiesand others at uncer-

taintiesat the end of the gamemost of the money

will be in the box; and ever a state flourisheth

when wealth is more equally spread. The fifth

that it beats down the price of land; for the em-

ployment of moneyis chiefly either merchandiz-

ing or purchasing; and usury waylays both. The

sixththat it doth dull and damp all industriesim-

provementsand new inventionswherein money

would be stirringif it were not for this slug. The

lastthat it is the canker and ruin of many men's

estates; whichin process of timebreeds a public


On the other sidethe commodities of usury are

firstthat howsoever usury in some respect hinder-

eth merchandizingyet in some other it advanceth

it; for it is certain that the greatest part of trade is

driven by young merchantsupon borrowing at

interest; so as if the usurer either call inor keep

backhis moneythere will ensuepresentlya

great stand of trade. The second isthat were it not

for this easy borrowing upon interestmen's neces-

sities would draw upon them a most sudden un-

doing; in that they would be forced to sell their

means (be it lands or goods) far under foot; and so

whereas usury doth but gnaw upon thembad

markets would swallow them quite up. As for

mortgaging or pawningit will little mend the

matter: for either men will not take pawns with-

out use; or if they dothey will look precisely for

the forfeiture. I remember a cruel moneyed man

in the countrythat would sayThe devil take this

usuryit keeps us from forfeituresof mortgages

and bonds. The third and last isthat it is a vanity

to conceivethat there would be ordinary borrow-

ing without profit; and it is impossible to conceive

the number of inconveniences that will ensueif

borrowing be cramped. Therefore to speak of the

abolishing of usury is idle. All states have ever had

itin one kind or rateor other. So as that opinion

must be sent to Utopia.

To speak now of the reformationand reigle-

mentof usury; how the discommodities of it may

be best avoidedand the commodities retained. It

appearsby the balance of commodities and dis-

commodities of usurytwo things are to be recon-

ciled. The onethat the tooth of usury be grinded

that it bite not too much; the otherthat there be

left open a meansto invite moneyed men to lend

to the merchantsfor the continuing and quicken-

ing of trade. This cannot be doneexcept you intro-

duce two several sorts of usurya less and a greater.

For if you reduce usury to one low rateit will ease

the common borrowerbut the merchant will be

to seek for money. And it is to be notedthat the

trade of merchandizebeing the most lucrative

may bear usury at a good rate; other contracts

not so.

To serve both intentionsthe way would be

briefly thus. That there be two rates of usury:

the one freeand general for all; the other under

license onlyto certain personsand in certain

places of merchandizing. Firstthereforelet usury

in generalbe reduced to five in the hundred; and

let that rate be proclaimedto be free and current;

and let the state shut itself outto take any penalty

for the same. This will preserve borrowingfrom

any general stop or dryness. This will ease infinite

borrowers in the country. This willin good part

raise the price of landbecause land purchased

at sixteen years' purchase will yield six in the

hundredand somewhat more; whereas this rate

of interestyields but five. This by like reason

will encourageand edgeindustrious and profit-

able improvements; because many will rather

venture in that kindthan take five in the hun-

dredespecially having been used to greater profit.

Secondlylet there be certain persons licensed

to lend to known merchantsupon usury at a

higher rate; and let it be with the cautions fol-

lowing. Let the rate beeven with the merchant

himselfsomewhat more easy than that he used

formerly to pay; for by that meansall bor-

rowersshall have some ease by this reformation

be he merchantor whosoever. Let it be no

bank or common stockbut every man be master

of his own money. Not that I altogether mis-

like banksbut they will hardly be brookedin

regard of certain suspicions. Let the state be

answered some small matter for the licenseand

the rest left to the lender; for if the abatement be

but smallit will no whit discourage the lender.

For hefor examplethat took before ten or nine in

the hundredwill sooner descend to eight in the

hundred than give over his trade of usuryand go

from certain gainsto gains of hazard. Let these

licensed lenders be in number indefinitebut re-

strained to certain principal cities and towns of

merchandizing; for then they will be hardly able

to color other men's moneys in the country: so as

the license of nine will not suck away the current

rate of five; for no man will send his moneys far

offnor put them into unknown hands.

If it be objected that this doth in a sort authorize

usurywhich beforewas in some places but per-

missive; the answer isthat it is better to mitigate

usuryby declarationthan to suffer it to rageby










Of Youth



A MAN that is young in yearsmay be old in

hoursif he have lost no time. But that hap-

peneth rarely. Generallyyouth is like the first

cogitationsnot so wise as the second. For there is

a youth in thoughtsas well as in ages. And yet the

invention of young menis more lively than that

of old; and imaginations stream into their minds

betterandas it weremore divinely. Natures that

have much heatand great and violent desires and

perturbationsare not ripe for actiontill they have

passed the meridian of their years; as it was with

Julius Caesar and Septimius Severus. Of the latter

of whom it is saidJuventutem egit erroribusimo

furoribusplenam. And yet he was the ablest em-

peroralmostof all the list. But reposed natures

may do well in youth. As it is seen in Augustus

CaesarCosmus Duke of FlorenceGaston de Foix

and others. On the other sideheat and vivacity in

ageis an excellent composition for business.

Young men are fitter to inventthan to judge; fitter

for executionthan for counsel; and fitter for new

projectsthan for settled business. For the experi-

ence of agein things that fall within the compass

of itdirecteth them; but in new thingsabuseth


The errors of young menare the ruin of busi-

ness; but the errors of aged menamount but to

thisthat more might have been doneor sooner.

Young menin the conduct and manage of actions

embrace more than they can hold; stir more than

they can quiet; fly to the endwithout considera-

tion of the means and degrees; pursue some

few principleswhich they have chanced upon

absurdly; care not to innovatewhich draws un-

known inconveniences; use extreme remedies at

first; andthat which doubleth all errorswill not

acknowledge or retract them; like an unready

horsethat will neither stop nor turn. Men of age

object too muchconsult too longadventure too

littlerepent too soonand seldom drive business

home to the full periodbut content themselves

with a mediocrity of success. Certainly it is good to

compound employments of both; for that will be

good for the presentbecause the virtues of either

agemay correct the defects of both; and good for

successionthat young men may be learnerswhile

men in age are actors; andlastlygood for extern

accidentsbecause authority followeth old men

and favor and popularityyouth. But for the moral

partperhaps youth will have the pre-eminenceas

age hath for the politic. A certain rabbinupon the

textYour young men shall see visionsand your

old men shall dream dreamsinferreth that young

menare admitted nearer to God than oldbecause

visionis a clearer revelationthan a dream. And

certainlythe more a man drinketh of the world

the more it intoxicateth; and age doth profit rather

in the powers of understandingthan in the virtues

of the will and affections. There be somehave an

over-early ripeness in their yearswhich fadeth

betimes. These arefirstsuch as have brittle wits

the edge whereof is soon turned; such as was Her-

mogenes the rhetoricianwhose books are exceed-

ing subtle; who afterwards waxed stupid. A second

sortis of those that have some natural dispositions

which have better grace in youththan in age;

such as is a fluent and luxuriant speech; which

becomes youth wellbut not age: so Tully saith of

HortensiusIdem manebatneque idem decebat.

The third is of suchas take too high a strain at the

firstand are magnanimousmore than tract of

years can uphold. As was Scipio Africanusof

whom Livy saith in effectUltima primis cedebant.






Of Beauty


VIRTUE is like a rich stonebest plain set; and

surely virtue is bestin a body that is comely

though not of delicate features; and that hath

rather dignity of presencethan beauty of aspect.

Neither is it almost seenthat very beautiful per-

sons are otherwise of great virtue; as if nature were

rather busynot to errthan in labor to produce

excellency. And therefore they prove accom-

plishedbut not of great spirit; and study rather

behaviorthan virtue. But this holds not always:

for Augustus CaesarTitus VespasianusPhilip le

Belle of FranceEdward the Fourth of England

Alcibiades of AthensIsmael the Sophy of Persia

were all high and great spirits; and yet the most

beautiful men of their times. In beautythat of

favoris more than that of color; and that of decent

and gracious motionmore than that of favor. That

is the best part of beautywhich a picture cannot

express; nonor the first sight of the life. There is no

excellent beautythat hath not some strangeness

in the proportion. A man cannot tell whether

Apellesor Albert Durerwere the more trifler;

whereof the onewould make a personage by geo-

metrical proportions; the otherby taking the best

parts out of divers facesto make one excellent.

Such personagesI thinkwould please nobody

but the painter that made them. Not but I think a

painter may make a better face than ever was; but

he must do it by a kind of felicity (as a musician

that maketh an excellent air in music)and not by

rule. A man shall see facesthat if you examine

them part by partyou shall find never a good;

and yet altogether do well. If it be true that the

principal part of beauty is in decent motioncer-

tainly it is no marvelthough persons in years

seem many times more amiable; pulchrorum

autumnus pulcher; for no youth can be comely

but by pardonand considering the youthas to

make up the comeliness. Beauty is as summer

fruits) which are easy to corruptand cannot last;

and for the most part it makes a dissolute youth

and an age a little out of countenance; but yet cer-

tainly againif it light wellit maketh virtue shine

and vices blush.


Of Deformity



DEFORMED persons are commonly even with

nature; for as nature hath done ill by them

so do they by nature; being for the most part (as

the Scripture saith) void of natural affection; and

so they have their revenge of nature. Certainly

there is a consentbetween the body and the mind;

and where nature erreth in the oneshe ventureth

in the other. Ubi peccat in unopericlitatur in al-

tero. But because there isin manan election

touching the frame of his mindand a necessity in

the frame of his bodythe stars of natural inclina-

tion are sometimes obscuredby the sun of disci-

pline and virtue. Therefore it is good to consider of

deformitynot as a signwhich is more deceivable;

but as a causewhich seldom faileth of the effect.

Whosoever hath anything fixed in his personthat

doth induce contempthath also a perpetual spur

in himselfto rescue and deliver himself from

scorn. Therefore all deformed personsare extreme

bold. Firstas in their own defenceas being ex-

posed to scorn; but in process of timeby a general

habit. Also it stirreth in them industryand espe-

cially of this kindto watch and observe the weak-

ness of othersthat they may have somewhat to

repay. Againin their superiorsit quencheth

jealousy towards themas persons that they think

they mayat pleasuredespise: and it layeth their

competitors and emulators asleep; as never believ-

ing they should be in possibility of advancement

till they see them in possession. So that upon the

matterin a great witdeformity is an advantage

to rising. Kings in ancient times (and at this pres-

ent in some countries) were wont to put great trust

in eunuchs; because they that are envious towards

all are more obnoxious and officioustowards one.

But yet their trust towards themhath rather

been as to good spialsand good wbisperersthan

good magistrates and officers. And much like is

the reason of deformed persons. Still the ground

isthey willif they be of spiritseek to free them-

selves from scorn; which must be either by virtue

or malice; and therefore let it not be marvelledif

sometimes they prove excellent persons; as was

AgesilausZanger the son of SolymanAEsop

GascaPresident of Peru; and Socrates may go

likewise amongst them; with others.


Of Building



HOUSES are built to live inand not to look on;

therefore let use be preferred before uni-

formityexcept where both may be had. Leave

the goodly fabrics of housesfor beauty onlyto

the enchanted palaces of the poets; who build them

with small cost. He that builds a fair houseupon

an ill seatcommitteth himself to prison. Neither

do I reckon it an ill seatonly where the air is un-

wholesome; but likewise where the air is unequal;

as you shall see many fine seats set upon a knap of

groundenvironed with higher hills round about

it; whereby the heat of the sun is pent inand the

wind gathereth as in troughs; so as you shall have

and that suddenlyas great diversity of heat and

cold as if you dwelt in several places. Neither is it

ill air only that maketh an ill seatbut ill waysill

markets; andif you will consult with Momusill

neighbors. I speak not of many more; want of

water; want of woodshadeand shelter; want of

fruitfulnessand mixture of grounds of several

natures; want of prospect; want of level grounds;

want of places at some near distance for sports of

huntinghawkingand races; too near the seatoo

remote; having the commodity of navigable rivers

or the discommodity of their overflowing; too far

off from great citieswhich may hinder business

or too near themwhich lurcheth all provisions

and maketh everything dear; where a man hath

a great living laid togetherand where he is

scanted: all whichas it is impossible perhaps to

find togetherso it is good to know themand think

of themthat a man may take as many as he can;

and if he have several dwellingsthat he sort them

so that what he wanteth in the onehe may find in

the other. Lucullus answered Pompey well; who

when he saw his stately galleriesand rooms so

large and lightsomein one of his housessaid

Surely an excellent place for summerbut how do

you in winter? Lucullus answeredWhydo you

not think me as wise as some fowl arethat ever

change their abode towards the winter?

To pass from the seatto the house itself; we will

do as Cicero doth in the orator's art; who writes

books De Oratoreand a book he entitles Orator;

whereof the formerdelivers the precepts of the

artand the latterthe perfection. We will there-

fore describe a princely palacemaking a brief

model thereof. For it is strange to seenow in

Europesuch huge buildings as the Vatican and

Escurial and some others beand yet scarce a very

fair room in them.

FirstthereforeI say you cannot have a perfect

palace except you have two several sides; a side for

the banquetas it is spoken of in the book of Hester

and a side for the household; the one for feasts and

triumphsand the other for dwelling. I understand

both these sides to be not only returnsbut parts

of the front; and to be uniform withoutthough

severally partitioned within; and to be on both

sides of a great and stately towerin the midst of

the frontthatas it werejoineth them together

on either hand. I would have on the side of the ban-

quetin frontone only goodly room above stairs

of some forty foot high; and under it a room for a

dressingor preparing placeat times of triumphs.

On the other sidewhich is the household sideI

wish it divided at the firstinto a hall and a chapel

(with a partition between); both of good state and

bigness; and those not to go all the lengthbut to

have at the further enda winter and a summer

parlorboth fair. And under these roomsa fair

and large cellarsunk under ground; and likewise

some privy kitchenswith butteries and pantries

and the like. As for the towerI would have it two

storiesof eighteen foot high apieceabove the two

wings; and a goodly leads upon the toprailed with

statuas interposed; and the same tower to be di-

vided into roomsas shall be thought fit. The stairs

likewise to the upper roomslet them be upon a

fair open neweland finely railed inwith images

of woodcast into a brass color; and a very fair

landing-place at the top. But this to beif you do

not point any of the lower roomsfor a dining place

of servants. For otherwiseyou shall have the ser-

vants' dinner after your own: for the steam of it

will come up as in a tunnel. And so much for the

front. Only I understand the height of the first

stairs to be sixteen footwhich is the height of the

lower room.

Beyond this frontis there to be a fair courtbut

three sides of itof a far lower building than the

front. And in all the four corners of that courtfair

staircasescast into turretson the outsideand not

within the row of buildings themselves. But those

towersare not to be of the height of the frontbut

rather proportionable to the lower building. Let

the court not be pavedfor that striketh up a great

heat in summerand much cold in winter. But

only some side alleyswith a crossand the quar-

ters to grazebeing kept shornbut not too near

shorn. The row of return on the banquet sidelet it

be all stately galleries: in which galleries let there

be threeor fivefine cupolas in the length of it

placed at equal distance; and fine colored windows

of several works. On the household sidechambers

of presence and ordinary entertainmentswith

some bed-chambers; and let all three sides be a

double housewithout thorough lights on the sides

that you may have rooms from the sunboth for

forenoon and afternoon. Cast it alsothat you may

have roomsboth for summer and winter; shady

for summerand warm for winter. You shall have

sometimes fair houses so full of glassthat one can-

not tell where to becometo be out of the sun or

cold. For inbowed windowsI hold them of good

use (in citiesindeedupright do betterin respect

of the uniformity towards the street); for they be

pretty retiring places for conference; and besides

they keep both the wind and sun off; for that

which would strike almost through the roomdoth

scarce pass the window. But let them be but few

four in the courton the sides only.

Beyond this courtlet there be an inward court

of the same square and height; which is to be en-

vironed with the garden on all sides; and in the

insidecloistered on all sidesupon decent and

beautiful archesas high as the first story. On the

under storytowards the gardenlet it be turned

to a grottoor a place of shadeor estivation. And

only have opening and windows towards the gar-

den; and be level upon the floorno whit sunken

under groundto avoid all dampishness. And let

there be a fountainor some fair work of statuasin

the midst of this court; and to be paved as the other

court was. These buildings to be for privy lodgings

on both sides; and the end for privy galleries.

Whereof you must foresee that one of them be for

an infirmaryif the prince or any special person

should be sickwith chambersbed-chamberante-

cameraand recamera joining to it. This upon the

second story. Upon the ground storya fair gallery

openupon pillars; and upon the third story like-

wisean open galleryupon pillarsto take the

prospect and freshness of the garden. At both cor-

ners of the further sideby way of returnlet there

be two delicate or rich cabinetsdaintily paved

richly hangedglazed with crystalline glassand

a rich cupola in the midst; and all other elegancy

that may be thought upon. In the upper gallery

tooI wish that there may beif the place will yield

itsome fountains running in divers places from

the wallwith some fine avoidances. And thus

much for the model of the palace; save that you

must havebefore you come to the frontthree

courts. A green court plainwith a wall about it;

a second court of the samebut more garnished

with little turretsor rather embellishmentsupon

the wall; and a third courtto make a square with

the frontbut not to be builtnor yet enclosed with

a naked wallbut enclosed with terracesleaded

aloftand fairly garnishedon the three sides; and

cloistered on the insidewith pillarsand not with

arches below. As for officeslet them stand at dis-

tancewith some low galleriesto pass from them

to the palace itself.


Of Gardens


G0D Almighty first planted a garden. And

indeed it is the purest of human pleasures.

It is the greatest refreshment to the spirits of man;

without whichbuildings and palaces are but

gross handiworks; and a man shall ever seethat

when ages grow to civility and elegancymen

come to build stately sooner than to garden finely;

as if gardening were the greater perfection. I do

hold itin the royal ordering of gardensthere

ought to be gardensfor all the months in the year;

in which severally things of beauty may be then

in season. For Decemberand Januaryand the

latter part of Novemberyou must take such things

as are green all winter: holly; ivy; bays; juniper;

cypress-trees; yew; pine-apple-trees; fir-trees;

rosemary; lavender; periwinklethe whitethe

purpleand the blue; germander; flags; orange-

trees; lemon-trees; and myrtlesif they be stoved;

and sweet marjoramwarm set. There followeth

for the latter part of January and Februarythe

mezereon-treewhich then blossoms; crocus ver-

nusboth the yellow and the grey; primroses

anemones; the early tulippa; hyacinthus orien-

talis; chamairis; fritellaria. For Marchthere

come violetsspecially the single bluewhich are

the earliest; the yellow daffodil; the daisy; the

almond-tree in blossom; the peach-tree in blos-

som; the cornelian-tree in blossom; sweet-briar.

In April follow the double white violet; the wall-

flower; the stock-gilliflower; the cowslip; flower-

delicesand lilies of all natures; rosemary-flowers;

the tulippa; the double peony; the pale daffodil;

the French honeysuckle; the cherry-tree in blos-

som; the damson and plum-trees in blossom; the

white thorn in leaf; the lilac-tree. In May and

June come pinks of all sortsspecially the blush-

pink; roses of all kindsexcept the muskwhich

comes later; honeysuckles; strawberries; bugloss;

columbine; the French marigoldflos Africanus;

cherry-tree in fruit; ribes; figs in fruit; rasps; vine-

flowers; lavender in flowers; the sweet satyrian

with the white flower; herba muscaria; lilium

convallium; the apple-tree in blossom. In July

come gilliflowers of all varieties; musk-roses; the

lime-tree in blossom; early pears and plums in

fruit; jennetingscodlins. In August come plums

of all sorts in fruit; pears; apricocks; berberries;

filberds; musk-melons; monks-hoodsof all colors.

In September come grapes; apples; poppies of

all colors; peaches; melocotones; nectarines; cor-

nelians; wardens; quinces. In October and the

beginning of November come services; medlars;

bullaces; roses cut or removed to come late; holly-

hocks; and such like. These particulars are for the

climate of London; but my meaning is perceived

that you may have ver perpetuumas the place


And because the breath of flowers is far sweeter

in the air (where it comes and goes like the warb-

ling of music) than in the handtherefore nothing

is more fit for that delightthan to know what be

the flowers and plants that do best perfume the air.

Rosesdamask and redare fast flowers of their

smells; so that you may walk by a whole row of

themand find nothing of their sweetness; yea

though it be in a morning's dew. Bays likewise

yield no smell as they grow. Rosemary little; nor

sweet marjoram. That which above all others

yields the sweetest smell in the air is the violet

specially the white double violetwhich comes

twice a year; about the middle of Apriland about

Bartholomew-tide. Next to that is the musk-rose.

Then the strawberry-leaves dyingwhich yield a

most excellent cordial smell. Then the flower of

vines; it is a little dustlike the dust of a bentwhich

grows upon the cluster in the first coming forth.

Then sweet-briar. Then wall-flowerswhich are

very delightful to be set under a parlor or lower

chamber window. Then pinks and gilliflowers

especially the matted pink and clove gilliflower.

Then the flowers of the lime-tree. Then the honey-

sucklesso they be somewhat afar off. Of bean-

flowers I speak notbecause they are field flowers.

But those which perfume the air most delightfully

not passed by as the restbut being trodden upon

and crushedare three; that isburnetwild-

thymeand watermints. Therefore you are to set

whole alleys of themto have the pleasure when

you walk or tread.

For gardens (speaking of those which are indeed

princelikeas we have done of buildings)the con-

tents ought not well to be under thirty acres of

ground; and to be divided into three parts; a green

in the entrance; a heath or desert in the going

forth; and the main garden in the midst; besides

alleys on both sides. And I like well that four acres

of ground be assigned to the green; six to the

heath; four and four to either side; and twelve to

the main garden. The green hath two pleasures:

the onebecause nothing is more pleasant to the

eye than green grass kept finely shorn; the other

because it will give you a fair alley in the midstby

which you may go in front upon a stately hedge

which is to enclose the garden. But because the

alley will be longandin great heat of the year or

dayyou ought not to buy the shade in the garden

by going in the sun through the greentherefore

you areof either side the greento plant a covert

alley upon carpenter's workabout twelve foot in

heightby which you may go in shade into the

garden. As for the making of knots or figureswith

divers colored earthsthat they may lie under the

windows of the house on that side which the gar-

den standsthey be but toys; you may see as good

sightsmany timesin tarts. The garden is best to

be squareencompassed on all the four sides with

a stately arched hedge. The arches to be upon pil-

lars of carpenter's workof some ten foot highand

six foot broad; and the spaces between of the same

dimension with the breadth of the arch. Over the

arches let there be an entire hedge of some four

foot highframed also upon carpenter's work; and

upon the upper hedgeover every archa little tur-

retwith a bellyenough to receive a cage of birds:

and over every space between the arches some

other little figurewith broad plates of round col-

ored glass giltfor the sun to play upon. But this

hedge I intend to be raised upon a banknot steep

but gently slopeof some six footset all with

flowers. Also I understandthat this square of the

gardenshould not be the whole breadth of the

groundbut to leave on either sideground enough

for diversity of side alleys; unto which the two

covert alleys of the greenmay deliver you. But

there must be no alleys with hedgesat either end

of this great enclosure; not at the hither endfor

letting your prospect upon this fair hedge from

the green; nor at the further endfor letting your

prospect from the hedgethrough the arches upon

the heath.

For the ordering of the groundwithin the great

hedgeI leave it to variety of device; advising

neverthelessthat whatsoever form you cast it into

firstit be not too busyor full of work. Wherein I

for my partdo not like images cut out in juniper

or other garden stuff; they be for children. Little

low hedgesroundlike weltswith some pretty

pyramidsI like well; and in some placesfair

columns upon frames of carpenter's work. I would

also have the alleysspacious and fair. You may

have closer alleysupon the side groundsbut none

in the main garden. I wish alsoin the very middle

a fair mountwith three ascentsand alleys

enough for four to walk abreast; which I would

have to be perfect circleswithout any bulwarks

or embossments; and the whole mount to be thirty

foot high; and some fine banqueting-housewith

some chimneys neatly castand without too much


For fountainsthey are a great beauty and re-

freshment; but pools mar alland make the garden

unwholesomeand full of flies and frogs. Foun-

tains I intend to be of two natures: the one that

sprinkleth or spouteth water; the other a fair re-

ceipt of waterof some thirty or forty foot square

but without fishor slimeor mud. For the first

the ornaments of images giltor of marblewhich

are in usedo well: but the main matter is so to

convey the wateras it never stayeither in the

bowls or in the cistern; that the water be never by

rest discoloredgreen or red or the like; or gather

any mossiness or putrefaction. Besides thatit is to

be cleansed every day by the hand. Also some

steps up to itand some fine pavement about it

doth well. As for the other kind of fountainwhich

we may call a bathing poolit may admit much

curiosity and beauty; wherewith we will not

trouble ourselves: asthat the bottom be finely

pavedand with images; the sides likewise; and

withal embellished with colored glassand such

things of lustre; encompassed also with fine rails

of low statuas. But the main point is the same

which we mentioned in the former kind of foun-

tain; which isthat the water be in perpetual

motionfed by a water higher than the pooland

delivered into it by fair spoutsand then dis-

charged away under groundby some equality of

boresthat it stay little. And for fine devicesof

arching water without spillingand making it rise

in several forms (of feathersdrinking glasses

canopiesand the like)they be pretty things to

look onbut nothing to health and sweetness.

For the heathwhich was the third part of our

plotI wish it to be framedas much as may beto

a natural wildness. Trees I would have none in it

but some thickets made only of sweet-briar and

honeysuckleand some wild vine amongst; and

the ground set with violetsstrawberriesand

primroses. For these are sweetand prosper in the

shade. And these to be in the heathhere and there

not in any order. I like also little heapsin the na-

ture of mole-hills (such as are in wild heaths)to

be setsome with wild thyme; some with pinks;

some with germanderthat gives a good flower to

the eye; some with periwinkle; some with violets;

some with strawberries; some with cowslips; some

with daisies; some with red roses; some with lilium

convallium; some with sweet-williams red; some

with bear's-foot: and the like low flowersbeing

withal sweet and sightly. Part of which heapsare

to be with standards of little bushes pricked upon

their topand part without. The standards to be

roses; juniper; holly; berberries (but here and

therebecause of the smell of their blossoms); red

currants; gooseberries; rosemary; bays; sweet-

briar; and such like. But these standards to be kept

with cuttingthat they grow not out of course.

For the side groundsyou are to fill them with

variety of alleysprivateto give a full shadesome

of themwheresoever the sun be. You are to frame

some of themlikewisefor shelterthat when the

wind blows sharp you may walk as in a gallery.

And those alleys must be likewise hedged at both

endsto keep out the wind; and these closer alleys

must be ever finely gravelledand no grassbe-

cause of going wet. In many of these alleyslike-

wiseyou are to set fruit-trees of all sorts; as well

upon the wallsas in ranges. And this would be

generally observedthat the borders wherein you

plant your fruit-treesbe fair and largeand low

and not steep; and set with fine flowersbut thin

and sparinglylest they deceive the trees. At the

end of both the side groundsI would have a mount

of some pretty heightleaving the wall of the en-

closure breast highto look abroad into the fields.

For the main gardenI do not denybut there

should be some fair alleys ranged on both sides

with fruit-trees; and some pretty tufts of fruit-

treesand arbors with seatsset in some decent

order; but these to be by no means set too thick; but

to leave the main garden so as it be not closebut

the air open and free. For as for shadeI would

have you rest upon the alleys of the side grounds

there to walkif you be disposedin the heat of the

year or day; but to make accountthat the main

garden is for the more temperate parts of the year;

and in the heat of summerfor the morning and

the eveningor overcast days.

For aviariesI like them notexcept they be of

that largeness as they may be turfedand have

living plants and bushes set in them; that the birds

may have more scopeand natural nestingand

that no foulness appear in the floor of the aviary.

So I have made a platform of a princely garden

partly by preceptpartly by drawingnot a model

but some general lines of it; and in this I have

spared for no cost. But it is nothing for great

princesthat for the most part taking advice with

workmenwith no less cost set their things to-

gether; and sometimes add statuas and such things

for state and magnificencebut nothing to the true

pleasure of a garden.




Of Negotiating



IT IS generally better to deal by speech than by

letter; and by the mediation of a third than by

a man's self. Letters are goodwhen a man would

draw an answer by letter back again; or when it

may serve for a man's justification afterwards to

produce his own letter; or where it may be danger

to be interruptedor heard by pieces. To deal in

person is goodwhen a man's face breedeth regard

as commonly with inferiors; or in tender cases

where a man's eyeupon the countenance of him

with whom he speakethmay give him a direction

how far to go; and generallywhere a man will

reserve to himself libertyeither to disavow or to

expound. In choice of instrumentsit is better to

choose men of a plainer sortthat are like to do

thatthat is committed to themand to report back

again faithfully the successthan those that are

cunningto contriveout of other men's business

somewhat to grace themselvesand will help the

matter in report for satisfaction's sake. Use also

such persons as affect the businesswherein they

are employed; for that quickeneth much; and

suchas are fit for the matter; as bold men for ex-

postulationfair-spoken men for persuasioncrafty

men for inquiry and observationfrowardand

absurd menfor business that doth not well bear

out itself. Use also such as have been luckyand

prevailed beforein things wherein you have em-

ployed them; for that breeds confidenceand they

will strive to maintain their prescription. It is bet-

ter to sound a personwith whom one deals afar

offthan to fall upon the point at first; except you

mean to surprise him by some short question. It is

better dealing with men in appetitethan with

those that are where they would be. If a man deal

with another upon conditionsthe start or first per-

formance is all; which a man cannot reasonably

demandexcept either the nature of the thing be

suchwhich must go before; or else a man can

persuade the other partythat he shall still need

him in some other thing; or else that he be counted

the honester man. All practice is to discoveror to

work. Men discover themselves in trustin passion

at unawaresand of necessitywhen they would

have somewhat doneand cannot find an apt pre-

text. If you would work any manyou must either

know his nature and fashionsand so lead him; or

his endsand so persuade him; or his weakness and

disadvantagesand so awe him; or those that have

interest in himand so govern him. In dealing with

cunning personswe must ever consider their ends

to interpret their speeches; and it is good to say

little to themand that which they least look for.

In all negotiations of difficultya man may not

look to sow and reap at once; but must prepare

businessand so ripen it by degrees.





0f Followers






COSTLY followers are not to be liked; lest

while a man maketh his train longerhe

make his wings shorter. I reckon to be costlynot

them alone which charge the pursebut which are

wearisomeand importune in suits. Ordinary fol-

lowers ought to challenge no higher conditions

than countenancerecommendationand protec-

tion from wrongs. Factious followers are worse to

be likedwhich follow not upon affection to him

with whom they range themselvesbut upon

discontentment conceived against some other;

whereupon commonly ensueth that ill intelli-

gencethat we many times see between great per-

sonages. Likewise glorious followerswho make

themselves as trumpets of the commendation of

those they followare full of inconvenience; for

they taint business through want of secrecy; and

they export honor from a manand make him a

return in envy. There is a kind of followers like-

wisewhich are dangerousbeing indeed espials;

which inquire the secrets of the houseand bear

tales of themto others. Yet such menmany times

are in great favor; for they are officiousand com-

monly exchange tales. The following by certain

estates of menanswerable to thatwhich a great

person himself professeth (as of soldiersto him

that hath been employed in the warsand the like)

hath ever been a thing civiland well takeneven

in monarchies; so it be without too much pomp

or popularity. But the most honorable kind of fol-

lowingis to be followed as onethat apprehendeth

to advance virtueand desertin all sorts of per-

sons. And yetwhere there is no eminent odds in

sufficiencyit is better to take with the more pass-

ablethan with the more able. And besidesto

speak truthin base timesactive men are of more

use than virtuous. It is true that in governmentit

is good to use men of one rank equally: for to coun-

tenance some extraordinarilyis to make them

insolentand the rest discontent; because they

may claim a due. But contrariwisein favorto

use men with much difference and election is

good; for it maketh the persons preferred more

thankfuland the rest more officious: because all is

of favor. It is good discretionnot to make too much

of any man at the first; because one cannot hold

out that proportion. To be governed (as we call it)

by one is not safe; for it shows softnessand gives

a freedomto scandal and disreputation; for those

that would not censure or speak ill of a man imme-

diatelywill talk more boldly of those that are so

great with themand thereby wound their honor.

Yet to be distracted with many is worse; for it

makes men to be of the last impressionand full of

change. To take advice of some few friendsis ever

honorable; for lookers-on many times see more

than gamesters; and the vale best discovereth the

hill. There is little friendship in the worldand least

of all between equalswhich was wont to be mag-

nified. That that isis between superior and in-

feriorwhose fortunes may comprehend the one

the other.




Of Suitors



MANY ill matters and projects are under-

taken; and private suits do putrefy the pub-

lic good. Many good mattersare undertaken with

bad minds; I mean not only corrupt mindsbut

crafty mindsthat intend not performance. Some

embrace suitswhich never mean to deal effectu-

ally in them; but if they see there may be life in

the matterby some other meanthey will be con-

tent to win a thankor take a second rewardor at

least to make usein the meantimeof the suitor's

hopes. Some take hold of suitsonly for an occa-

sion to cross some other; or to make an informa-

tionwhereof they could not otherwise have apt

pretext; without care what become of the suit

when that turn is served; orgenerallyto make

other men's business a kind of entertainmentto

bring in their own. Naysome undertake suits

with a full purpose to let them fall; to the end to

gratify the adverse partyor competitor. Surely

there is in some sort a right in every suit; either a

right of equityif it be a suit of controversy; or a

right of desertif it be a suit of petition. If affection

lead a man to favor the wrong side in justicelet

him rather use his countenance to compound the

matterthan to carry it. If affection lead a man

to favor the less worthy in desertlet him do it

without depraving or disabling the better deserver.

In suits which a man doth not well understandit

is good to refer them to some friend of trust and

judgmentthat may reportwhether he may deal

in them with honor: but let him choose well his

referendariesfor else he may be led by the nose.

Suitors are so distasted with delays and abuses

that plain dealingin denying to deal in suits at

firstand reporting the success barelyand in chal-

lenging no more thanks than one hath deserved

is grown not only honorablebut also gracious. In

suits of favorthe first coming ought to take little

place: so far forthconsideration may be had of

his trustthat if intelligence of the matter could

not otherwise have been hadbut by himadvan-

tage be not taken of the notebut the party left to

his other means; and in some sort recompensed

for his discovery. To be ignorant of the value of a

suitis simplicity; as well as to be ignorant of the

right thereofis want of conscience. Secrecy in

suitsis a great mean of obtaining; for voicing

them to be in forwardnessmay discourage some

kind of suitorsbut doth quicken and awake others.

But timing of the suit is the principal. TimingI

saynot only in respect of the person that should

grant itbut in respect of thosewhich are like to

cross it. Let a manin the choice of his meanrather

choose the fittest meanthan the greatest mean;

and rather them that deal in certain thingsthan

those that are general. The reparation of a denial

is sometimes equal to the first grant; if a man

show himself neither dejected nor discontented.

Iniquum petas ut aequum feras is a good rule

where a man hath strength of favor: but other-

wisea man were better rise in his suit; for

hethat would have ventured at first to have lost

the suitorwill not in the conclusion lose both the

suitorand his own former favor. Nothing is

thought so easy a request to a great personas his

letter; and yetif it be not in a good causeit is so

much out of his reputation. There are no worse

instrumentsthan these general contrivers of suits;

for they are but a kind of poisonand infectionto

public proceedings.




Of Studies



STUDIES serve for delightfor ornamentand

for ability. Their chief use for delightis in

privateness and retiring; for ornamentis in dis-

course; and for abilityis in the judgmentand

disposition of business. For expert men can exe-

cuteand perhaps judge of particularsone by one;

but the general counselsand the plots and mar-

shalling of affairscome bestfrom those that are

learned. To spend too much time in studies is sloth;

to use them too much for ornamentis affectation;

to make judgment wholly by their rulesis the

humor of a scholar. They perfect natureand are

perfected by experience: for natural abilities are

like natural plantsthat need proyningby study;

and studies themselvesdo give forth directions too

much at largeexcept they be bounded in by ex-

perience. Crafty men contemn studiessimple men

admire themand wise men use them; for they

teach not their own use; but that is a wisdom with-

out themand above themwon by observation.

Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe

and take for granted; nor to find talk and dis-

course; but to weigh and consider. Some books are

to be tastedothers to be swallowedand some few

to be chewed and digested; that issome books are

to be read only in parts; others to be readbut not

curiously; and some few to be read whollyand

with diligence and attention. Some books also may

be read by deputyand extracts made of them by

others; but that would be only in the less impor-

tant argumentsand the meaner sort of bookselse

distilled books are like common distilled waters

flashy things. Reading maketh a full man; confer-

ence a ready man; and writing an exact man. And

thereforeif a man write littlehe had need have

a great memory; if he confer littlehe had need

have a present wit: and if he read littlehe had

need have much cunningto seem to knowthat

he doth not. Histories make men wise; poets witty;

the mathematics subtile; natural philosophy deep;

moral grave; logic and rhetoric able to contend.

Abeunt studia in mores. Naythere is no stond or

impediment in the witbut may be wrought out

by fit studies; like as diseases of the bodymay

have appropriate exercises. Bowling is good for

the stone and reins; shooting for the lungs and

breast; gentle walking for the stomach; riding for

the head; and the like. So if a man's wit be wan-

deringlet him study the mathematics; for in

demonstrationsif his wit be called away never so

littlehe must begin again. If his wit be not apt to

distinguish or find differenceslet him study the

Schoolmen; for they are cymini sectores. If he be

not apt to beat over mattersand to call up one

thing to prove and illustrate anotherlet him study 197

the lawyers' cases. So every defect of the mind

may have a special receipt.






Of Faction

MANY have an opinion not wisethat for a

prince to govern his estateor for a great

person to govern his proceedingsaccording to the

respect of factionsis a principal part of policy;

whereas contrariwisethe chiefest wisdomis

either in ordering those things which are general

and wherein men of several factions do neverthe-

less agree; or in dealing with correspondence to

particular personsone by one. But I say not that

the considerations of factionsis to be neglected.

Mean menin their risingmust adhere; but

great menthat have strength in themselveswere

better to maintain themselves indifferentand

neutral. Yet even in beginnersto adhere so moder-

atelyas he be a man of the one factionwhich is

most passable with the othercommonly giveth

best way. The lower and weaker factionis the

firmer in conjunction; and it is often seenthat a

few that are stiffdo tire out a greater numberthat

are more moderate. When one of the factions is ex-

tinguishedthe remaining subdivideth; as the

faction between Lucullusand the rest of the

nobles of the senate (which they called Optimates)

held out awhileagainst the faction of Pompey

and Caesar; but when the senate's authority was

pulled downCaesar and Pompey soon after brake.

The faction or party of Antonius and Octavianus

Caesaragainst Brutus and Cassiusheld out like-

wise for a time; but when Brutus and Cassius were

overthrownthen soon afterAntonius and Octa-

vianus brake and subdivided. These examples are

of warsbut the same holdeth in private factions.

And thereforethose that are seconds in factions

do many timeswhen the faction subdivideth

prove principals; but many times alsothey prove

ciphers and cashiered; for many a man's strength

is in opposition; and when that failethhe groweth

out of use. It is commonly seenthat menonce

placedtake in with the contrary factionto that

by which they enter: thinking belikethat they

have the first sureand now are ready for a new

purchase. The traitor in factionlightly goeth

away with it; for when matters have stuck long in

balancingthe winning of some one man casteth

themand he getteth all the thanks. The even car-

riage between two factionsproceedeth not always

of moderationbut of a trueness to a man's self

with end to make use of both. Certainly in Italy

they hold it a little suspect in popeswhen they

have often in their mouth Padre commune: and

take it to be a sign of onethat meaneth to refer all

to the greatness of his own house. Kings had need

bewarehow they side themselvesand make

themselves as of a faction or party; for leagues

within the stateare ever pernicious to monarchies:

for they raise an obligationparamount to obliga-

tion of sovereigntyand make the king tanquam

unus ex nobis; as was to be seen in the League of

France. When factions are carried too high and too

violentlyit is a sign of weakness in princes; and

much to the prejudiceboth of their authority and

business. The motions of factions under kings

ought to belike the motions (as the astronomers

speak) of the inferior orbswhich may have their

proper motionsbut yet still are quietly carriedby

the higher motion of primum mobile.





Of Ceremonies






HE THAT is only realhad need have exceed-

ing great parts of virtue; as the stone had

need to be richthat is set without foil. But if a

man mark it wellit isin praise and commenda-

tion of menas it is in gettings and gains: for the

proverb is trueThat light gains make heavy

purses; for light gains come thickwhereas great

come but now and then. So it is truethat small

matters win great commendationbecause they

are continually in use and in note: whereas the

occasion of any great virtuecometh but on festi-

vals. Therefore it doth much add to a man's reputa-

tionand is (as Queen Isabella said) like perpetual

letters commendatoryto have good forms. To at-

tain themit almost sufficeth not to despise them;

for so shall a man observe them in others; and let

him trust himself with the rest. For if he labor too

much to express themhe shall lose their grace;

which is to be natural and unaffected. Some men's

behavior is like a versewherein every syllable is

measured; how can a man comprehend great mat-

tersthat breaketh his mind too muchto small

observations? Not to use ceremonies at allis to

teach others not to use them again; and so dimin-

isheth respect to himself; especially they be not to

be omittedto strangers and formal natures; but

the dwelling upon themand exalting them above

the moonis not only tediousbut doth diminish

the faith and credit of him that speaks. And cer-

tainlythere is a kind of conveyingof effectual

and imprinting passages amongst compliments

which is of singular useif a man can hit upon it.

Amongst a man's peersa man shall be sure of

familiarity; and therefore it is gooda little to keep

state. Amongst a man's inferiors one shall be sure

of reverence; and therefore it is gooda little to be

familiar. He that is too much in anythingso that

he giveth another occasion of satietymaketh him-

self cheap. To apply one's self to othersis good; so

it be with demonstrationthat a man doth it upon

regardand not upon facility. It is a good precept

generallyin seconding anotheryet to add some-

what of one's own: as if you will grant his opinion

let it be with some distinction; if you will follow

his motionlet it be with condition; if you allow

his counsellet it be with alleging further reason.

Men had need bewarehow they be too perfect in

compliments; for be they never so sufficient other-

wisetheir enviers will be sure to give them that

attributeto the disadvantage of their greater vir-

tues. It is loss also in businessto be too full of re-

spectsor to be curiousin observing times and

opportunities. Solomon saithHe that considereth

the windshall not sowand he that looketh to

the cloudsshall not reap. A wise man will make

more opportunitiesthan he finds. Men's behavior

should belike their apparelnot too strait or point

devicebut free for exercise or motion.






Of Praise


PRAISE is the reflection of virtue; but it is as

the glass or bodywhich giveth the reflec-

tion. If it be from the common peopleit is com-

monly false and naught; and rather followeth vain

personsthan virtuous. For the common people

understand not many excellent virtues. The lowest

virtues draw praise from them; the middle virtues

work in them astonishment or admiration; but of

the highest virtuesthey have no sense of perceiv-

ing at all. But showsand species virtutibus similes

serve best with them. Certainly fame is like a river

that beareth up things light and swolnand drowns

things weighty and solid. But if persons of quality

and judgment concurthen it is (as the Scripture

saith) nomen bonum instar unguenti fragrantis.

It fireth all round aboutand will not easily away.

For the odors of ointments are more durablethan

those of flowers. There be so many false points of

praisethat a man may justly hold it a suspect.

Some praises proceed merely of flattery; and if he

be an ordinary flattererhe will have certain com-

mon attributeswhich may serve every man; if he

be a cunning flattererhe will follow the arch-

flattererwhich is a man's self; and wherein a man

thinketh best of himselftherein the flatterer will

uphold him most: but if he be an impudent flat-

tererlook wherein a man is conscious to himself

that he is most defectiveand is most out of counte-

nance in himselfthat will the flatterer entitle him

to perforcespreta conscientia. Some praises come

of good wishes and respectswhich is a form duein

civilityto kings and great personslaudando

praeciperewhen by telling men what they are

they represent to themwhat they should be. Some

men are praised maliciouslyto their hurtthereby

to stir envy and jealousy towards them: pessimum

genus inimicorum laudantium; insomuch as it

was a proverbamongst the Greciansthat he that

was praised to his hurtshould have a push rise

upon his nose; as we saythat a blister will rise

upon one's tonguethat tells a lie. Certainly mod-

erate praiseused with opportunityand not vul-

garis that which doth the good. Solomon saith

He that praiseth his friend aloudrising earlyit

shall be to him no better than a curse. Too much

magnifying of man or matterdoth irritate con-

tradictionand procure envy and scorn. To praise

a man's selfcannot be decentexcept it be in rare

cases; but to praise a man's office or professionhe

may do it with good graceand with a kind of mag-

nanimity. The cardinals of Romewhich are theo-

loguesand friarsand Schoolmenhave a phrase

of notable contempt and scorn towards civil busi-

ness: for they call all temporal business of wars

embassagesjudicatureand other employments

sbirreriewhich is under-sheriffries; as if they

were but mattersfor under-sheriffs and catch-

poles: though many times those under-sheriffries

do more goodthan their high speculations. St.

Paulwhen he boasts of himselfhe doth oft inter-

laceI speak like a fool; but speaking of his calling

he saithmagnificabo apostolatum meum.




Of Vain-glory



IT WAS prettily devised of AEsopThe fly sat

upon the axle-tree of the chariot wheeland

saidWhat a dust do I raise! So are there some vain

personsthat whatsoever goeth aloneor moveth

upon greater meansif they have never so little

hand in itthey think it is they that carry it. They

that are gloriousmust needs be factious; for all

bravery stands upon comparisons. They must

needs be violentto make good their own vaunts.

Neither can they be secretand therefore not ef-

fectual; but according to the French proverb

Beaucoup de bruitpeu de fruit; Much bruit little

fruit. Yet certainlythere is use of this quality in

civil affairs. Where there is an opinion and fame to

be createdeither of virtue or greatnessthese men

are good trumpeters. Againas Titus Livius noteth

in the case of Antiochus and the AEtoliansThere

are sometimes great effectsof cross lies; as if a

manthat negotiates between two princesto draw

them to join in a war against the thirddoth extol

the forces of either of themabove measurethe

one to the other: and sometimes he that deals be-

tween man and manraiseth his own credit with

bothby pretending greater interest than he hath

in either. And in these and the like kindsit often

falls outthat somewhat is produced of nothing;

for lies are sufficient to breed opinionand opinion

brings on substance. In militar commanders and

soldiersvain-glory is an essential point; for as

iron sharpens ironso by gloryone courage sharp-

eneth another. In cases of great enterprise upon

charge and adventurea composition of glorious

naturesdoth put life into business; and those that

are of solid and sober natureshave more of the

ballastthan of the sail. In fame of learningthe

flight will be slow without some feathers of osten-

tation. Qui de contemnenda gloria libros scri-

buntnomensuum inscribunt. SocratesAristotle

Galenwere men full of ostentation. Certainly

vain-glory helpeth to perpetuate a man's memory;

and virtue was never so beholding to human na-

tureas it received his due at the second hand.

Neither had the fame of CiceroSenecaPlinius

Secundusborne her age so wellif it had not been

joined with some vanity in themselves; like unto

varnishthat makes ceilings not only shine but

last. But all this whilewhen I speak of vain-glory

I mean not of that propertythat Tacitus doth at-

tribute to Mucianus; Omnium quae dixerat fece-

ratque arte quadam ostentator: for that proceeds

not of vanitybut of natural magnanimity and

discretion; and in some personsis not only comely

but gracious. For excusationscessionsmodesty

itself well governedare but arts of ostentation.

And amongst those artsthere is none better than

that which Plinius Secundus speaketh ofwhich is

to be liberal of praise and commendation to others

in thatwherein a man's self hath any perfection.

For saith Plinyvery wittilyIn commending

anotheryou do yourself right; for he that you

commendis either superior to you in that you

commendor inferior. If he be inferiorif he be to

be commendedyou much more; if he be superior

if he be not to be commendedyou much less.

Glorious men are the scorn of wise menthe ad-

miration of foolsthe idols of parasitesand the

slaves of their own vaunts.






Of Honor




THE winning of honoris but the revealing of

a mans virtue and worthwithout disadvan-

tage. For some in their actionsdo woo and effect

honor and reputationwhich sort of menare

commonly much talked ofbut inwardly little

admired. And somecontrariwisedarken their

virtue in the show of it; so as they be undervalued

in opinion. If a man perform thatwhich hath not

been attempted before; or attempted and given

over; or hath been achievedbut not with so good

circumstance; he shall purchase more honorthan

by effecting a matter of greater difficulty or virtue

wherein he is but a follower. If a man so temper

his actionsas in some one of them he doth content

every factionor combination of peoplethe music

will be the fuller. A man is an ill husband of bis

honorthat entereth into any actionthe failing

wherein may disgrace himmore than the carry-

ing of it throughcan honor him. Honor that is

gained and broken upon anotherhath the quick-

est reflectionlike diamonds cut with facets. And

thereforelet a man contend to excel any competi-

tors of his in honorin outshooting themif he can

in their own bow. Discreet followers and servants

help much to reputation. Omnis fama a domesticis

emanat. Envywhich is the canker of honoris

best extinguished by declaring a man's self in

his endsrather to seek merit than fame; and by

attributing a man's successesrather to divine

Providence and felicitythan to his own virtue or


The true marshalling of the degrees of sovereign

honorare these: In the first place are conditores

imperiorumfounders of states and common-

wealths; such as were RomulusCyrusCaesar

OttomanIsmael. In the second place are legis-

latoreslawgivers; which are also called second

foundersor perpetui principesbecause they gov-

ern by their ordinances after they are gone; such

were LycurgusSolonJustinianEadgarAlphon-

sus of Castilethe Wisethat made the Siete Parti-

das. In the third place are liberatoresor salvatores

such as compound the long miseries of civil

warsor deliver their countries from servitude of

strangers or tyrants; as Augustus CaesarVespasi-

anusAurelianusTheodoricusKing Henry the

Seventh of EnglandKing Henry the Fourth of

France. In the fourth place are propagatores or

propugnatores imperii; such as in honorable wars

enlarge their territoriesor make noble defence

against invaders. And in the last place are patres

patriae; which reign justlyand make the times

good wherein they live. Both which last kinds need

no examplesthey are in such number. Degrees of

honorin subjectsarefirst participes curarum

those upon whomprinces do discharge the great-

est weight of their affairs; their right handsas

we call them. The next are duces belligreat leaders

in war; such as are princes' lieutenantsand do

them notable services in the wars. The third are

gratiosifavorites; such as exceed not this scant-

lingto be solace to the sovereignand harmless to

the people. And the fourthnegotiis pares; such as

have great places under princesand execute their

placeswith sufficiency. There is an honorlike-

wisewhich may be ranked amongst the greatest

which happeneth rarely; that isof such as sacri-

fice themselves to death or danger for the good of

their country; as was M. Regulusand the two




Of Judicature


JUDGES ought to rememberthat their office is

jus dicereand not jus dare; to interpret law

and not to make lawor give law. Else will it be

like the authorityclaimed by the Church of Rome

which under pretext of exposition of Scripture

doth not stick to add and alter; and to pronounce

that which they do not find; and by show of an-

tiquityto introduce novelty. Judges ought to be

more learnedthan wittymore reverendthan

plausibleand more advisedthan confident. Above

all thingsintegrity is their portion and proper

virtue. Cursed (saith the law) is he that removeth

the landmark. The mislayer of a mere-stone is to

blame. But it is the unjust judgethat is the capital

remover of landmarkswhen he defineth amissof

lands and property. One foul sentence doth more

hurtthan many foul examples. For these do but

corrupt the streamthe other corrupteth the foun-

tain. So with SolomonFons turbatuset vena

corruptaest justus cadens in causa sua coram

adversario. The office of judges may have reference

unto the parties that useunto the advocates that

pleadunto the clerks and ministers of justice

underneath themand to the sovereign or state

above them.

Firstfor the causes or parties that sue. There be

(saith the Scripture) that turn judgmentinto

wormwood; and surely there be alsothat turn it

into vinegar; for injustice maketh it bitterand

delays make it sour. The principal duty of a judge

is to suppress force and fraud; whereof force is the

more perniciouswhen it is openand fraudwhen

it is close and disguised. Add thereto contentious

suitswhich ought to be spewed outas the surfeit

of courts. A judge ought to prepare his way to a

just sentenceas God useth to prepare his wayby

raising valleys and taking down hills: so when

there appeareth on either side an high handvio-

lent prosecutioncunning advantages takencom-

binationpowergreat counselthen is the virtue

of a judge seento make inequality equal; that he

may plant his judgment as upon an even ground.

Qui fortiter emungitelicit sanguinem; and where

the wine-press is hard wroughtit yields a harsh

winethat tastes of the grape-stone. Judges must

beware of hard constructionsand strained infer-

ences; for there is no worse torturethan the tor-

ture of laws. Specially in case of laws penalthey

ought to have carethat that which was meant for

terrorbe not turned into rigor; and that they

bring not upon the peoplethat shower whereof

the Scripture speakethPluet super eos laqueos;

for penal laws pressedare a shower of snares upon

the people. Therefore let penal lawsif they have

been sleepers of longor if they be grown unfit for

the present timebe by wise judges confined in the

execution: Judicis officium estut resita tempora

rerumetc. In causes of life and deathjudges ought

(as far as the law permitteth) in justice to remem-

ber mercy; and to cast a severe eye upon the

examplebut a merciful eye upon the person.

Secondlyfor the advocates and counsel that

plead. Patience and gravity of hearingis an essen-

tial part of justice; and an overspeaking judge is no

well-tuned cymbal. It is no grace to a judgefirst

to find thatwhich he might have heard in due

time from the bar; or to show quickness of conceit

in cutting off evidence or counsel too short; or to

prevent information by questionsthough perti-

nent. The parts of a judge in hearingare four: to

direct the evidence; to moderate lengthrepetition

or impertinency of speech; to recapitulateselect

and collate the material pointsof that which hath

been said; and to give the rule or sentence. What-

soever is above these is too much; and proceedeth

either of gloryand willingness to speakor of im-

patience to hearor of shortness of memoryor of

want of a staid and equal attention. It is a strange

thing to seethat the boldness of advocates should

prevail with judges; whereas they should imitate

Godin whose seat they sit; who represseth the pre-

sumptuousand giveth grace to the modest. But it

is more strangethat judges should have noted

favorites; which cannot but cause multiplication

of feesand suspicion of by-ways. There is due from

the judge to the advocatesome commendation

and gracingwhere causes are well handled and

fair pleaded; especially towards the side which

obtaineth not; for that upholds in the clientthe

reputation of his counseland beats down in him

the conceit of his cause. There is likewise due to the

publica civil reprehension of advocateswhere

there appeareth cunning counselgross neglect

slight informationindiscreet pressingor an over-

bold defence. And let not the counsel at the bar

chop with the judgenor wind himself into the

handling of the cause anewafter the judge hath

declared his sentence; buton the other sidelet

not the judge meet the cause half waynor give

occasion to the partyto say his counsel or proofs

were not heard.

Thirdlyfor that that concerns clerks and minis-

ters. The place of justice is an hallowed place; and

therefore not only the benchbut the foot-place;

and precincts and purprise thereofought to be

preserved without scandal and corruption. For

certainly grapes (as the Scripture saith) will not

be gathered of thorns or thistles; either can justice

yield her fruit with sweetnessamongst the briars

and brambles of catching and polling clerksand

ministers. The attendance of courtsis subject to

four bad instruments. Firstcertain persons that

are sowers of suits; which make the court swell

and the country pine. The second sort is of those

that engage courts in quarrels of jurisdictionand

are not truly amici curiaebut parasiti curiaein

puffing a court up beyond her boundsfor their

own scraps and advantage. The third sortis of

those that may be accounted the left hands of

courts; persons that are full of nimble and sinister

tricks and shiftswhereby they pervert the plain

and direct courses of courtsand bring justice into

oblique lines and labyrinths. And the fourthis the

poller and exacter of fees; which justifies the com-

mon resemblance of the courts of justiceto the

bush whereuntowhile the sheep flies for defence

in weatherhe is sure to lose part of his fleece. On

the other sidean ancient clerkskilful in prece-

dentswary in proceedingand understanding in

the business of the courtis an excellent finger of

a court; and doth many times point the way to the

judge himself.

Fourthlyfor that which may concern the sov-

ereign and estate. Judges ought above all to re-

member the conclusion of the Roman Twelve

Tables; Salus populi suprema lex; and to know

that lawsexcept they be in order to that endare

but things captiousand oracles not well inspired.

Therefore it is an happy thing in a statewhen

kings and states do often consult with judges; and

againwhen judges do often consult with the king

and state: the onewhen there is matter of law

intervenient in business of state; the otherwhen

there is some consideration of stateintervenient

in matter of law. For many times the things de-

duced to judgment may be meum and tuumwhen

the reason and consequence thereof may trench to

point of estate: I call matter of estatenot only the

parts of sovereigntybut whatsoever introduceth

any great alterationor dangerous precedent; or

concerneth manifestly any great portion of peo-

ple. And let no man weakly conceivethat just

laws and true policy have any antipathy; for they

are like the spirits and sinewsthat one moves with

the other. Let judges also rememberthat Solo-

mon's throne was supported by lions on both sides:

let them be lionsbut yet lions under the throne;

being circumspect that they do not check or oppose

any points of sovereignty. Let not judges also be

ignorant of their own rightas to think there is not

left to themas a principal part of their officea

wise use and application of laws. For they may

rememberwhat the apostle saith of a greater law

than theirs; Nos scimus quia lex bona estmodo

quis ea utatur legitime.





Of Anger


TO SEEK to extinguish anger utterlyis but a

bravery of the Stoics. We have better oracles:

Be angrybut sin not. Let not the sun go down

upon your anger. Anger must be limited and con-

finedboth in race and in time. We will first speak

how the natural inclination and habit to be angry

may be attempted and calmed. Secondlyhow the

particular motions of anger may be repressedor

at least refrained from doing mischief. Thirdly

how to raise angeror appease anger in another.

For the first; there is no other way but to medi-

tateand ruminate well upon the effects of anger

how it troubles man's life. And the best time to do

thisis to look back upon angerwhen the fit is

thoroughly over. Seneca saith wellThat anger is

like ruinwhich breaks itself upon that it falls.

The Scripture exhorteth us to possess our souls in

patience. Whosoever is out of patienceis out of

possession of his soul. Men must not turn bees;


... animasque in vulnere ponunt.



Anger is certainly a kind of baseness; as it ap-

pears well in the weakness of those subjects in

whom it reigns; childrenwomenold folkssick

folks. Only men must bewarethat they carry

their anger rather with scornthan with fear; so

that they may seem rather to be above the injury

than below it; which is a thing easily doneif a

man will give law to himself in it.

For the second point; the causes and motives of

angerare chiefly three. Firstto be too sensible of

hurt; for no man is angrythat feels not himself

hurt; and therefore tender and delicate persons

must needs be oft angry; they have so many things

to trouble themwhich more robust natures have

little sense of. The next isthe apprehension and

construction of the injury offeredto bein the cir-

cumstances thereoffull of contempt: for contempt

is thatwhich putteth an edge upon angeras much

or more than the hurt itself. And thereforewhen

men are ingenious in picking out circumstances of

contemptthey do kindle their anger much. Lastly

opinion of the touch of a man's reputationdoth

multiply and sharpen anger. Wherein the remedy

isthat a man should haveas Consalvo was wont

to saytelam honoris crassiorem. But in all refrain-

ings of angerit is the best remedy to win time;

and to make a man's self believethat the oppor-

tunity of his revenge is not yet comebut that he

foresees a time for it; and so to still himself in the

meantimeand reserve it.

To contain anger from mischiefthough it take

hold of a manthere be two thingswhereof you

must have special caution. The oneof extreme bit-

terness of wordsespecially if they be aculeate and

proper; for cummunia maledicta are nothing so

much; and againthat in anger a man reveal no

secrets; for thatmakes him not fit for society. The

otherthat you do not peremptorily break offin

any businessin a fit of anger; but howsoever you

show bitternessdo not act anythingthat is not


For raising and appeasing anger in another; it

is done chiefly by choosing of timeswhen men

are frowardest and worst disposedto incense

them. Againby gathering (as was touched before)

all that you can find outto aggravate the con-

tempt. And the two remedies are by the contraries.

The former to take good timeswhen first to relate

to a man an angry business; for the first impres-

sion is much; and the other isto severas much as

may bethe construction of the injury from the

point of contempt; imputing it to misunderstand-

ingfearpassionor what you will.




Of Vicissitude




SOLOMON saithThere is no new thing upon

the earth. So that as Plato had an imagination

That all knowledge was but remembrance; so

Solomon giveth his sentenceThat all novelty is

but oblivion. Whereby you may seethat the river

of Lethe runneth as well above ground as below.

There is an abstruse astrologer that saithIf it were

not for two things that are constant (the one is

that the fixed stars ever stand a like distance one

from anotherand never come nearer togethernor

go further asunder; the otherthat the diurnal

motion perpetually keepeth time)no individual

would last one moment. Certain it isthat the mat-

ter is in a perpetual fluxand never at a stay. The

great winding-sheetsthat bury all things in ob-

livionare two; deluges and earthquakes. As for

conflagrations and great droughtsthey do not

merely dispeople and destroy. Phaeton's car went

but a day. And the three years' drought in the time

of Eliaswas but particularand left people alive.

As for the great burnings by lightningswhich are

often in the West Indiesthey are but narrow. But

in the other two destructionsby deluge and earth-

quakeit is further to be notedthat the remnant

of people which hap to be reservedare commonly

ignorant and mountainous peoplethat can give

no account of the time past; so that the oblivion is

all oneas if none had been left. If you consider

well of the people of the West Indiesit is very

probable that they are a newer or a younger peo-

plethan the people of the Old World. And it is

much more likelythat the destruction that hath

heretofore been therewas not by earthquakes (as

the Egyptian priest told Solon concerning the

island of Atlantisthat it was swallowed by an

earthquake)but rather that it was desolated by a

particular deluge. For earthquakes are seldom in

those parts. But on the other sidethey have such

pouring riversas the rivers of Asia and Africk and

Europeare but brooks to them. Their Andeslike-

wiseor mountainsare far higher than those with

us; whereby it seemsthat the remnants of gen-

eration of menwere in such a particular deluge

saved. As for the observation that Machiavel hath

that the jealousy of sectsdoth much extinguish

the memory of things; traducing Gregory the

Greatthat he did what in him layto extinguish

all heathen antiquities; I do not find that those

zeals do any great effectsnor last long; as it ap-

peared in the succession of Sabinianwho did

revive the former antiquities.

The vicissitude of mutations in the superior

globeare no fit matter for this present argument.

It may bePlato's great yearif the world should

last so longwould have some effect; not in renew-

ing the state of like individuals (for that is the fume

of thosethat conceive the celestial bodies have

more accurate influences upon these things below

than indeed they have)but in gross. Cometsout

of questionhave likewise power and effectover

the gross and mass of things; but they are rather

gazed uponand waited upon in their journey

than wisely observed in their effects; specially in

their respective effects; that iswhat kind of comet

for magnitudecolorversion of the beamsplac-

ing in the reign of heavenor lastingproduceth

what kind of effects.

There is a toy which I have heardand I would

not have it given overbut waited upon a little.

They say it is observed in the Low Countries (I

know not in what part) that every five and thirty

yearsthe same kind and suit of years and weath-

ers come about again; as great frostsgreat wet

great droughtswarm winterssummers with little

heatand the like; and they call it the Prime. It is

a thing I do the rather mentionbecausecomput-

ing backwardsI have found some concurrence.

But to leave these points of natureand to come

to men. The greatest vicissitude of things amongst

menis the vicissitude of sects and religions. For

those orbs rule in men's minds most. The true re-

ligion is built upon the rock; the rest are tossed

upon the waves of time. To speakthereforeof the

causes of new sects; and to give some counsel con-

cerning themas far as the weakness of human

judgment can give stayto so great revolutions.

When the religion formerly receivedis rent by

discords; and when the holiness of the professors

of religionis decayed and full of scandal; and

withal the times be stupidignorantand bar-

barous; you may doubt the springing up of a new

sect; if then alsothere should arise any extrava-

gant and strange spiritto make himself author

thereof. All which points heldwhen Mahomet

published his law. If a new sect have not two prop-

ertiesfear it not; for it will not spread. The one is

the supplantingor the opposingof authority es-

tablished; for nothing is more popular than that.

The other is the giving license to pleasuresand a

voluptuous life. For as for speculative heresies

(such as were in ancient times the Ariansand now

the Armenians)though they work mightily upon

men's witsyet they do not produce any great al-

terations in states; except it be by the help of civil

occasions. There be three manner of plantations of

new sects. By the power of signs and miracles; by

the eloquenceand wisdomof speech and persua-

sion; and by the sword. For martyrdomsI reckon

them amongst miracles; because they seem to ex-

ceed the strength of human nature: and I may do

the likeof superlative and admirable holiness of

life. Surely there is no better wayto stop the rising

of new sects and schismsthan to reform abuses; to

compound the smaller differences; to proceed

mildlyand not with sanguinary persecutions;

and rather to take off the principal authors by win-

ning and advancing themthan to enrage them

by violence and bitterness.

The changes and vicissitude in wars are many;

but chiefly in three things; in the seats or stages of

the war; in the weapons; and in the manner of the

conduct. Warsin ancient timeseemed more to

move from east to west; for the PersiansAssyrians

ArabiansTartars (which were the invaders) were

all eastern people. It is truethe Gauls were west-

ern; but we read but of two incursions of theirs:

the one to Gallo-Greciathe other to Rome. But east

and west have no certain points of heaven; and no

more have the warseither from the east or west

any certainty of observation. But north and south

are fixed; and it hath seldom or never been seen

that the far southern people have invaded the

northernbut contrariwise. Whereby it is manifest

that the northern tract of the worldis in nature

the more martial region: be it in respect of the stars

of that hemisphere; or of the great continents that

are upon the northwhereas the south partfor

aught that is knownis almost all sea; or (which is

most apparent) of the cold of the northern parts

which is that whichwithout aid of discipline

doth make the bodies hardestand the courages


Upon the breaking and shivering of a great state

and empireyou may be sure to have wars. For

great empireswhile they standdo enervate and

destroy the forces of the natives which they have

subduedresting upon their own protecting forces;

and then when they fail alsoall goes to ruinand

they become a prey. So was it in the decay of the

Roman empire; and likewise in the empire of

Almaigneafter Charles the Greatevery bird tak-

ing a feather; and were not unlike to befall to

Spainif it should break. The great accessions and

unions of kingdomsdo likewise stir up wars; for

when a state grows to an over-powerit is like a

great floodthat will be sure to overflow. As it hath

been seen in the states of RomeTurkeySpain

and others. Look when the world hath fewest bar-

barous peoplesbut such as commonly will not

marry or generateexcept they know means to live

(as it is almost everywhere at this dayexcept Tar-

tary)there is no danger of inundations of people;

but when there be great shoals of peoplewhich go

on to populatewithout foreseeing means of life

and sustentationit is of necessity that once in an

age or twothey discharge a portion of their people

upon other nations; which the ancient northern

people were wont to do by lot; casting lots what

part should stay at homeand what should seek

their fortunes. When a warlike state grows soft and

effeminatethey may be sure of a war. For com-

monly such states are grownm rich in the time of

their degenerating; and so the prey invitethand

their decay in valorencourageth a war.

As for the weaponsit hardly falleth under rule

and observation: yet we see even theyhave re-

turns and vicissitudes. For certain it isthat ord-

nance was known in the city of the Oxidrakes in

India; and was thatwhich the Macedonians

called thunder and lightningand magic. And it

is well known that the use of ordnancehath been

in China above two thousand years. The conditions

of weaponsand their improvementare; Firstthe

fetching afar off; for that outruns the danger; as

it is seen in ordnance and muskets. Secondlythe

strength of the percussion; wherein likewise ord-

nance do exceed all arietations and ancient inven-

tions. The third isthe commodious use of them; as

that they may serve in all weathers; that the car-

riage may be light and manageable; and the like.

For the conduct of the war: at the firstmen

rested extremely upon number: they did put the

wars likewise upon main force and valor; pointing

days for pitched fieldsand so trying it out upon

an even match and they were more ignorant in

ranging and arraying their battles. Afterthey

grew to rest upon number rather competentthan

vast; they grew to advantages of placecunning

diversionsand the like: and they grew more skil-

ful in the ordering of their battles.

In the youth of a statearms do flourish; in the

middle age of a statelearning; and then both of

them together for a time; in the declining age of a

statemechanical arts and merchandize. Learning

hath his infancywhen it is but beginning and

almost childish; then his youthwhen it is luxuri-

ant and juvenile; then his strength of yearswhen

it is solid and reduced; and lastlyhis old agewhen

it waxeth dry and exhaust. But it is not good to look

too long upon these turning wheels of vicissitude

lest we become giddy. As for the philology of

themthat is but a circle of talesand therefore not

fit for this writing.





Of Fame


THE poets make Fame a monster. They de-

scribe her in part finely and elegantlyand

in part gravely and sententiously. They saylook

how many feathers she hathso many eyes she

hath underneath; so many tongues; so many

voices; she pricks up so many ears.

This is a flourish. There follow excellent par-

ables; as thatshe gathereth strength in going;

that she goeth upon the groundand yet hideth her

head in the clouds; that in the daytime she sitteth

in a watch towerand flieth most by night; that

she mingleth things donewith things not done;

and that she is a terror to great cities. But that

which passeth all the rest is: They do recount that

the Earthmother of the giants that made war

against Jupiterand were by him destroyedthere-

upon in an anger brought forth Fame. For certain

it isthat rebelsfigured by the giantsand seditious

fames and libelsare but brothers and sistersmas-

culine and feminine. But nowif a man can tame

this monsterand bring her to feed at the hand

and govern herand with her fly other ravening

fowl and kill themit is somewhat worth. But we

are infected with the style of the poets. To speak

now in a sad and serious manner: There is notin

all the politicsa place less handled and more

worthy to be handledthan this of fame. We will

therefore speak of these points: What are false

fames; and what are true fames; and how they

may be best discerned; how fames may be sown

and raised; how they may be spreadand multi-

plied; and how they may be checkedand laid

dead. And other things concerning the nature of

fame. Fame is of that forceas there is scarcely any

great actionwherein it hath not a great part; es-

pecially in the war. Mucianus undid Vitelliusby

a fame that he scatteredthat Vitellius had in pur-

pose to remove the legions of Syria into Germany

and the legions of Germany into Syria; where-

upon the legions of Syria were infinitely inflamed.

Julius Caesar took Pompey unprovidedand laid

asleep his industry and preparationsby a fame

that he cunningly gave out: Caesar's own soldiers

loved him notand being wearied with the wars

and laden with the spoils of Gaulwould forsake

himas soon as he came into Italy. Livia settled

all things for the succession of her son Tiberiusby

continual giving outthat her husband Augustus

was upon recovery and amendmentand it is an

usual thing with the pashasto conceal the death

of the Great Turk from the janizaries and men of

warto save the sacking of Constantinople and

other townsas their manner is. Themistocles made

Xerxesking of Persiapost apace out of Greciaby

giving outthat the Grecians had a purpose to

break his bridge of shipswhich he had made ath-

wart Hellespont. There be a thousand such like

examples; and the more they arethe less they

need to be repeated; because a man meeteth with

them everywhere. Therefore let all wise governors

have as great a watch and care over famesas they

have of the actions and designs themselves.


[This essay was not finished]



A Glossary






Abridgment: miniature

Absurd: stupidunpolished

Abuse: cheatdeceive

Aculeate: stinging

Adamant: loadstone

Adust: scorched

Advoutress: adulteress

Affect: likedesire

Antic: clown

Appose: question

Arietation: battering-ram

Audit: revenue

Avoidance: secret outlet

Battle: battalion

Bestow: settle in life

Blanch: flatterevade

Brave: boastful

Bravery: boastostentation

Broke: deal in brokerage

Broken: shine by comparison

Broken music: part music

Cabinet: secret

Calendar: weather forecast

Card: chartmap

Care not to: are reckless

Cast: plan

Cat: catecake

Charge and adventure: cost and


Check with: interfere

Chop: bandy words

Civil: peaceful

Close: secretsecretive

Collect: infer

Compound: compromise

Consent: agreement

Curious: elaborate

Custom: import duties

Deceive: rob

Derive: divert

Difficileness: moroseness

Discover: reveal

Donative: money gift

Doubt: fear

Equipollent: equally powerful

Espial: spy

Estate: state

Facility: of easy persuasion

Fair: rather

Fame: rumor

Favor: feature

Flashy: insipid

Foot-pace: lobby

Foreseen: guarded against

Froward: stubborn

Futile: babbling

Globe: complete body

Glorious: showyboastful

Humorous: capricious

Hundred poll: hundredth head

Impertinent: irrelevant

Implicit: entangled



In a mean: in moderation

In smother: suppressed

Indifferent: impartial

Intend: attend to


Leese: lose

Let: hinder

Loose: shot

Lot: spell

Lurch: intercept

Make: profitget

Manage: train

Mate: conquer

Material: business-like

Mere-stone: boundary stone

Muniting: fortifying

Nerve: sinew

Obnoxious: subservientliable

Oes: round spangles

Pair: impair

Pardon: allowance

Passable: mediocre

Pine-apple-tree: pine

Plantation: colony

Platform: plan

Plausible: praiseworthy

Point device: excessively precise

Politic: politician

Poll: extort

Poser: examiner

Practice: plotting

Preoccupate: anticipate

Prest: prepared

Prick: plant

Proper: personal

Prospective: stereoscope

Proyne: prune

Purprise: enclosure

Push: pimple

Quarrel: pretext

Quech: flinch

Reason: principle

Recamera: retiring-room

Return: reaction

Return: wing running back

Rise: dignity

Round: straight

Save: account for

Scantling: measure

Seel: blind

Shrewd: mischievous

Sort: associate

Spial: spy

Staddle: sapling

Steal: do secretly

Stirp: family

Stond: stopstand

Stoved: hot-housed

Style: title

Success: outcome

Sumptuary law: law against


Superior globe: the heavens

Temper: proportion

Tendering: nursing

Tract: linetrait

Travel: travaillabor

Treaties: treatises

Trench to: touch

Trivial: common

Turquet: Turkish dwarf

Under foot: below value

Unready: untrained

Usury: interest

Value: certify

Virtuous: able

Votary: vowed

Wanton: spoiled

Wood: maze

Work: manageutilize