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- Discoveries and Some Poems - 6/20 -


that is hid. He never forced his language, nor went out of the highway of speaking but for some great necessity or apparent profit; for he denied figures to be invented for ornament, but for aid; and still thought it an extreme madness to bind or wrest that which ought to be right.

Stili eminentia.--Virgil.--Tully.--Sallust.--It is no wonder men's eminence appears but in their own way. Virgil's felicity left him in prose, as Tully's forsook him in verse. Sallust's orations are read in the honour of story, yet the most eloquent. Plato's speech, which he made for Socrates, is neither worthy of the patron nor the person defended. Nay, in the same kind of oratory, and where the matter is one, you shall have him that reasons strongly, open negligently; another that prepares well, not fit so well. And this happens not only to brains, but to bodies. One can wrestle well, another run well, a third leap or throw the bar, a fourth lift or stop a cart going; each hath his way of strength. So in other creatures--some dogs are for the deer, some for the wild boar, some are fox-hounds, some otter-hounds. Nor are all horses for the coach or saddle, some are for the cart and paniers.

De Claris Oratoribus.--I have known many excellent men that would speak suddenly to the admiration of their hearers, who upon study and premeditation have been forsaken by their own wits, and no way answered their fame; their eloquence was greater than their reading, and the things they uttered better than those they knew; their fortune deserved better of them than their care. For men of present spirits, and of greater wits than study, do please more in the things they invent than in those they bring. And I have heard some of them compelled to speak, out of necessity, that have so infinitely exceeded themselves, as it was better both for them and their auditory that they were so surprised, not prepared. Nor was it safe then to cross them, for their adversary, their anger made them more eloquent. Yet these men I could not but love and admire, that they returned to their studies. They left not diligence (as many do) when their rashness prospered; for diligence is a great aid, even to an indifferent wit; when we are not contented with the examples of our own age, but would know the face of the former. Indeed, the more we confer with the more we profit by, if the persons be chosen.

Dominus Verulamius.--One, though he be excellent and the chief, is not to be imitated alone; for no imitator ever grew up to his author; likeness is always on this side truth. Yet there happened in my time one noble speaker who was full of gravity in his speaking; his language (where he could spare or pass by a jest) was nobly censorious. No man ever spake more neatly, more pressly, more weightily, or suffered less emptiness, less idleness, in what he uttered. No member of his speech but consisted of his own graces. His hearers could not cough, or look aside from him, without loss. He commanded where he spoke, and had his judges angry and pleased at his devotion. No man had their affections more in his power. The fear of every man that heard him was lest he should make an end.

Scriptorum catalogus. {59a} Cicero is said to be the only wit that the people of Rome had equalled to their empire. Ingenium par imperio. We have had many, and in their several ages (to take in but the former seculum) Sir Thomas More, the elder Wiat, Henry Earl of Surrey, Chaloner, Smith, Eliot, B. Gardiner, were for their times admirable; and the more, because they began eloquence with us. Sir Nicolas Bacon was singular, and almost alone, in the beginning of Queen Elizabeth's time. Sir Philip Sidney and Mr. Hooker (in different matter) grew great masters of wit and language, and in whom all vigour of invention and strength of judgment met. The Earl of Essex, noble and high; and Sir Walter Raleigh, not to be contemned, either for judgment or style. Sir Henry Savile, grave, and truly lettered; Sir Edwin Sandys, excellent in both; Lord Egerton, the Chancellor, a grave and great orator, and best when he was provoked; but his learned and able (though unfortunate) successor is he who hath filled up all numbers, and performed that in our tongue which may be compared or preferred either to insolent Greece or haughty Rome. In short, within his view, and about his times, were all the wits born that could honour a language or help study. Now things daily fall, wits grow downward, and eloquence grows backward; so that he may be named and stand as the mark and [Greek text] of our language.

De augmentis scientiarum.--Julius Caesar.--Lord St. Alban.--I have ever observed it to have been the office of a wise patriot, among the greatest affairs of the State, to take care of the commonwealth of learning. For schools, they are the seminaries of State; and nothing is worthier the study of a statesman than that part of the republic which we call the advancement of letters. Witness the care of Julius Caesar, who, in the heat of the civil war, writ his books of Analogy, and dedicated them to Tully. This made the late Lord St. Alban entitle his work Novum Organum; which, though by the most of superficial men, who cannot get beyond the title of nominals, it is not penetrated nor understood, it really openeth all defects of learning whatsoever, and is a book

"Qui longum note scriptori proroget aevum." {62a}

My conceit of his person was never increased toward him by his place or honours; but I have and do reverence him for the greatness that was only proper to himself, in that he seemed to me ever, by his work, one of the greatest men, and most worthy of admiration, that had been in many ages. In his adversity I ever prayed that God would give him strength; for greatness he could not want. Neither could I condole in a word or syllable for him, as knowing no accident could do harm to virtue, but rather help to make it manifest.

De corruptela morum.--There cannot be one colour of the mind, another of the wit. If the mind be staid, grave, and composed, the wit is so; that vitiated, the other is blown and deflowered. Do we not see, if the mind languish, the members are dull? Look upon an effeminate person, his very gait confesseth him. If a man be fiery, his motion is so; if angry, it is troubled and violent. So that we may conclude wheresoever manners and fashions are corrupted, language is. It imitates the public riot. The excess of feasts and apparel are the notes of a sick state, and the wantonness of language of a sick mind.

De rebus mundanis.--If we would consider what our affairs are indeed, not what they are called, we should find more evils belonging to us than happen to us. How often doth that which was called a calamity prove the beginning and cause of a man's happiness? and, on the contrary, that which happened or came to another with great gratulation and applause, how it hath lifted him but a step higher to his ruin? as if he stood before where he might fall safely.

Vulgi mores.--Morbus comitialis.--The vulgar are commonly ill- natured, and always grudging against their governors: which makes that a prince has more business and trouble with them than ever Hercules had with the bull or any other beast; by how much they have more heads than will be reined with one bridle. There was not that variety of beasts in the ark, as is of beastly natures in the multitude; especially when they come to that iniquity to censure their sovereign's actions. Then all the counsels are made good or bad by the events; and it falleth out that the same facts receive from them the names, now of diligence, now of vanity, now of majesty, now of fury; where they ought wholly to hang on his mouth, as he to consist of himself, and not others' counsels.

Princeps.--After God, nothing is to be loved of man like the prince; he violates Nature that doth it not with his whole heart. For when he hath put on the care of the public good and common safety, I am a wretch, and put off man, if I do not reverence and honour him, in whose charge all things divine and human are placed. Do but ask of Nature why all living creatures are less delighted with meat and drink that sustains them than with venery that wastes them? and she will tell thee, the first respects but a private, the other a common good, propagation.

De eodem.--Orpheus' Hymn.--He is the arbiter of life and death: when he finds no other subject for his mercy, he should spare himself. All his punishments are rather to correct than to destroy. Why are prayers with Orpheus said to be the daughters of Jupiter, but that princes are thereby admonished that the petitions of the wretched ought to have more weight with them than the laws themselves.

De opt. Rege Jacobo.--It was a great accumulation to His Majesty's deserved praise that men might openly visit and pity those whom his greatest prisons had at any time received or his laws condemned.

De Princ. adjunctis.--Sed vere prudens haud concipi possit Princeps, nisi simul et bonus.--Lycurgus.--Sylla.--Lysander.--Cyrus.--Wise is rather the attribute of a prince than learned or good. The learned man profits others rather than himself; the good man rather himself than others; but the prince commands others, and doth himself.

The wise Lycurgus gave no law but what himself kept. Sylla and Lysander did not so; the one living extremely dissolute himself, enforced frugality by the laws; the other permitted those licenses to others which himself abstained from. But the prince's prudence is his chief art and safety. In his counsels and deliberations he foresees the future times: in the equity of his judgment he hath remembrance of the past, and knowledge of what is to be done or avoided for the present. Hence the Persians gave out their Cyrus to have been nursed by a bitch, a creature to encounter it, as of sagacity to seek out good; showing that wisdom may accompany fortitude, or it leaves to be, and puts on the name of rashness.

De malign. studentium.--There be some men are born only to suck out the poison of books: Habent venenum pro victu; imo, pro deliciis. {66a} And such are they that only relish the obscene and foul things in poets, which makes the profession taxed. But by whom? Men that watch for it; and, had they not had this hint, are so unjust valuers of letters as they think no learning good but what brings in gain. It shows they themselves would never have been of the professions they are but for the profits and fees. But if another learning, well used, can instruct to good life, inform manners, no less persuade and lead men than they threaten and compel, and have no reward, is it therefore the worst study? I could never think the study of wisdom confined only to the philosopher, or of piety to the divine, or of state to the politic; but that he which can feign a commonwealth (which is the poet) can govern it with counsels, strengthen it with laws, correct it with judgments, inform it with religion and morals, is all these. We do not require in him mere elocution, or an excellent faculty in verse, but the exact knowledge of all virtues and their contraries, with ability to render the one loved, the other hated, by his proper embattling them. The philosophers did insolently, to challenge only to themselves that which the greatest generals and gravest counsellors never durst. For such had rather do than promise the best things.


Discoveries and Some Poems - 6/20

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