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- Discoveries and Some Poems - 3/20 -


imposture is ever ashamed of the light.

Icunculorum motio.--A puppet-play must be shadowed and seen in the dark; for draw the curtain, et sordet gesticulatio. {24b}

Principes et administri.--There is a great difference in the understanding of some princes, as in the quality of their ministers about them. Some would dress their masters in gold, pearl, and all true jewels of majesty; others furnish them with feathers, bells, and ribands, and are therefore esteemed the fitter servants. But they are ever good men that must make good the times; if the men be naught, the times will be such. Finis exspectandus est in unoquoque hominum; animali ad mutationem promptissmo. {25a}

Scitum Hispanicum.--It is a quick saying with the Spaniards, Artes inter haeredes non dividi. {25b} Yet these have inherited their fathers' lying, and they brag of it. He is a narrow-minded man that affects a triumph in any glorious study; but to triumph in a lie, and a lie themselves have forged, is frontless. Folly often goes beyond her bounds; but Impudence knows none.

Non nova res livor.--Envy is no new thing, nor was it born only in our times. The ages past have brought it forth, and the coming ages will. So long as there are men fit for it, quorum odium virtute relicta placet, it will never be wanting. It is a barbarous envy, to take from those men's virtues which, because thou canst not arrive at, thou impotently despairest to imitate. Is it a crime in me that I know that which others had not yet known but from me? or that I am the author of many things which never would have come in thy thought but that I taught them? It is new but a foolish way you have found out, that whom you cannot equal or come near in doing, you would destroy or ruin with evil speaking; as if you had bound both your wits and natures 'prentices to slander, and then came forth the best artificers when you could form the foulest calumnies.

Nil gratius protervo lib.--Indeed nothing is of more credit or request now than a petulant paper, or scoffing verses; and it is but convenient to the times and manners we live with, to have then the worst writings and studies flourish when the best begin to be despised. Ill arts begin where good end.

Jam literae sordent.--Pastus hodiern. ingen.--The time was when men would learn and study good things, not envy those that had them. Then men were had in price for learning; now letters only make men vile. He is upbraidingly called a poet, as if it were a contemptible nick-name: but the professors, indeed, have made the learning cheap--railing and tinkling rhymers, whose writings the vulgar more greedily read, as being taken with the scurrility and petulancy of such wits. He shall not have a reader now unless he jeer and lie. It is the food of men's natures; the diet of the times; gallants cannot sleep else. The writer must lie and the gentle reader rests happy to hear the worthiest works misinterpreted, the clearest actions obscured, the innocentest life traduced: and in such a licence of lying, a field so fruitful of slanders, how can there be matter wanting to his laughter? Hence comes the epidemical infection; for how can they escape the contagion of the writings, whom the virulency of the calumnies hath not staved off from reading?

Sed seculi morbus.--Nothing doth more invite a greedy reader than an unlooked-for subject. And what more unlooked-for than to see a person of an unblamed life made ridiculous or odious by the artifice of lying? But it is the disease of the age; and no wonder if the world, growing old, begin to be infirm: old age itself is a disease. It is long since the sick world began to dote and talk idly: would she had but doted still! but her dotage is now broke forth into a madness, and become a mere frenzy.

Alastoris malitia.--This Alastor, who hath left nothing unsearched or unassailed by his impudent and licentious lying in his aguish writings (for he was in his cold quaking fit all the while), what hath he done more than a troublesome base cur? barked and made a noise afar off; had a fool or two to spit in his mouth, and cherish him with a musty bone? But they are rather enemies of my fame than me, these barkers.

Mali Choragi fuere.--It is an art to have so much judgment as to apparel a lie well, to give it a good dressing; that though the nakedness would show deformed and odious, the suiting of it might draw their readers. Some love any strumpet, be she never so shop- like or meretricious, in good clothes. But these, nature could not have formed them better to destroy their own testimony and overthrow their calumny.

Hear-say news.--That an elephant, in 1630, came hither ambassador from the Great Mogul, who could both write and read, and was every day allowed twelve cast of bread, twenty quarts of Canary sack, besides nuts and almonds the citizens' wives sent him. That he had a Spanish boy to his interpreter, and his chief negociation was to confer or practise with Archy, the principal fool of state, about stealing hence Windsor Castle and carrying it away on his back if he can.

Lingua sapientis, potius quam loquentis.--A wise tongue should not be licentious and wandering; but moved and, as it were, governed with certain reins from the heart and bottom of the breast: and it was excellently said of that philosopher, that there was a wall or parapet of teeth set in our mouth, to restrain the petulancy of our words; that the rashness of talking should not only be retarded by the guard and watch of our heart, but be fenced in and defended by certain strengths placed in the mouth itself, and within the lips. But you shall see some so abound with words, without any seasoning or taste of matter, in so profound a security, as while they are speaking, for the most part they confess to speak they know not what.

Of the two (if either were to be wished) I would rather have a plain downright wisdom, than a foolish and affected eloquence. For what is so furious and Bedlam like as a vain sound of chosen and excellent words, without any subject of sentence or science mixed?

Optanda.--Thersites Homeri.--Whom the disease of talking still once possesseth, he can never hold his peace. Nay, rather than he will not discourse he will hire men to hear him. And so heard, not hearkened unto, he comes off most times like a mountebank, that when he hath praised his medicines, finds none will take them, or trust him. He is like Homer's Thersites.

[Greek text]; speaking without judgement or measure.

"Loquax magis, quam facundus, Satis loquentiae, sapientiae parum.{31a} [Greek verse]. {31b} Optimus est homini linguae thesaurus, et ingens Gratia, quae parcis mensurat singula verbis."

Homeri Ulysses.--Demacatus Plutarchi.--Ulysses, in Homer, is made a long-thinking man before he speaks; and Epaminondas is celebrated by Pindar to be a man that, though he knew much, yet he spoke but little. Demacatus, when on the bench he was long silent and said nothing, one asking him if it were folly in him, or want of language, he answered, "A fool could never hold his peace." {31c} For too much talking is ever the index of a fool.

"Dum tacet indoctus, poterit cordatus haberi; Is morbos animi namque tacendo tegit." {32a}

Nor is that worthy speech of Zeno the philosopher to be passed over with the note of ignorance; who being invited to a feast in Athens, where a great prince's ambassadors were entertained, and was the only person that said nothing at the table; one of them with courtesy asked him, "What shall we return from thee, Zeno, to the prince our master, if he asks us of thee?" "Nothing," he replied, "more but that you found an old man in Athens that knew to be silent amongst his cups." It was near a miracle to see an old man silent, since talking is the disease of age; but amongst cups makes it fully a wonder.

Argute dictum.--It was wittily said upon one that was taken for a great and grave man so long as he held his peace, "This man might have been a counsellor of state, till he spoke; but having spoken, not the beadle of the ward." [Greek text]. {32b} Pytag. quam laudabilis! [Greek text]. Linguam cohibe, prae aliis omnibus, ad deorum exemplum. {33a} Digito compesce labellum. {33b}

Acutius cernuntur vitia quam virtutes.--There is almost no man but he sees clearlier and sharper the vices in a speaker, than the virtues. And there are many, that with more ease will find fault with what is spoken foolishly than can give allowance to that wherein you are wise silently. The treasure of a fool is always in his tongue, said the witty comic poet; {33c} and it appears not in anything more than in that nation, whereof one, when he had got the inheritance of an unlucky old grange, would needs sell it; {33d} and to draw buyers proclaimed the virtues of it. Nothing ever thrived on it, saith he. No owner of it ever died in his bed; some hung, some drowned themselves; some were banished, some starved; the trees were all blasted; the swine died of the measles, the cattle of the murrain, the sheep of the rot; they that stood were ragged, bare, and bald as your hand; nothing was ever reared there, not a duckling, or a goose. Hospitium fuerat calamitatis. {34a} Was not this man like to sell it?

Vulgi expectatio.--Expectation of the vulgar is more drawn and held with newness than goodness; we see it in fencers, in players, in poets, in preachers, in all where fame promiseth anything; so it be new, though never so naught and depraved, they run to it, and are taken. Which shews, that the only decay or hurt of the best men's reputation with the people is, their wits have out-lived the people's palates. They have been too much or too long a feast.

Claritas patriae.--Greatness of name in the father oft-times helps not forth, but overwhelms the son; they stand too near one another. The shadow kills the growth: so much, that we see the grandchild come more and oftener to be heir of the first, than doth the second: he dies between; the possession is the third's.

Eloquentia.--Eloquence is a great and diverse thing: nor did she yet ever favour any man so much as to become wholly his. He is happy that can arrive to any degree of her grace. Yet there are who prove themselves masters of her, and absolute lords; but I believe they may mistake their evidence: for it is one thing to be eloquent in the schools, or in the hall; another at the bar, or in the pulpit. There is a difference between mooting and pleading; between fencing and fighting. To make arguments in my study, and confute them, is easy; where I answer myself, not an adversary. So I can see whole volumes dispatched by the umbratical doctors on all sides:


Discoveries and Some Poems - 3/20

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