The Boke named The Governour: Book III.
Book I. | Book II. | Book III. | Glossary
Sir Thomas Elyot
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The Boke named The Governour
Devised by Sir Thomas Elyot, Knight
LONDON: Published by J. M. Dent & Co
And in New York by E. P. Dutton & Co
THE TABLE OF THE THIRDE BOKE
I. Of the most excellent vertue named iustyce
II. The fyrste parte of Justyce dystrybutyfe
III. The thre notable counsailes of Reason, Societie, and knowlege
IV. Of Fraude and deceyte, whiche be agayne Justyce
V. That Justyce oughte to be betwene ennemyes
VI. Of faythe called in latyne Fides.
VII. Of promise and couenaunt and of what importaunce othes were in olde tyme
VIII. Ot the noble vertue Fortitude, and the two extremityes thereof audacitie and tymerositie
IX. In what actis fortitude is
X. Of Paynefulnesse a companion of Fortitude
XI. Of the faire vertue Pacience, and the true definition thereof
XII. Of pacyence in sustaynynge wronges and rebukes
XIII. Of repulse or hynderaunce of promotion
XIV. Of magnanimitie, whiche maye be named valyaunt courage
XV. Of obstinacie, a familiare vice folowynge magnanimitie
XVI. Of a parillous vice called ambition
XVII. The true signification of abstinence and continence
XVIII. Examples of Continence gyuen by noble men
XIX. Of constaunce called also stabilitie
XX. The trewe sygnificacyon of Temperaunce
XXI. Of moderation a spice of Temperaunce
XXII. Of Moderation in diete called sobrietie
XXIII. Of sapience, and the definition therof
XXIV. The trewe signifycation of understandyng
XXV. Of experience precedynge our tyme, with a defence of histories
XXVI. The experience necessarys for the persone of euery gouernour
XXVII. Of detraction and the image therof made by Apelies the noble paintour
XXVIII. Of Consultation and Counsayle, and in what forme they ought to be used
XXIX. The principall considerations to be in euery consultation
XXX. The seconde consideration with the conclusion of this warke
The Thirde Booke.
I. Of the noble and moste excellent Vertue named Justyce.
HE moste excellent and imcomparable vertue called iustice is so necessary and expedient for the gouernour of a publike weale, that without it none other vertue may be commendable, ne witte or any maner of doctrine profitable. Tulli saith, that at the beginninge whan the multitude of people were oppressed by them that abounded in possessions and substaunce, they espienge some one whiche excelled in vertue and strength, to hym they repayred who ministringe equitie, whan he had defended the poore men from iniurie, finally he retayned to gether and gouerned the greatter persones with the lasse, in an equall and indifferent ordre. Wherfore they called that man a king, whiche is as moche to saye as a ruler. And as Aristotell sayeth, iustice is nat onely a portion or spice of vertue, but it is intierly the same vertue. And therof onely (sayeth Tulli) men be called good men, as who saieth that without iustyce all other qualities and vertues can nat make a man good.
The auncient Ciuilians do saye iustyce is a wille perpetuall and constaunt, whiche gyueth to euery man his right. In that it is named constaunt, it importeth fortitude; in discernynge what is ryght or wronge, prudence is required, and to proporcion the sentence or iugement in an equalitie, it belongeth to temperaunce. All these to gether conglutinate and effectually executed maketh a perfecte definicion of iustyce.
Justice all though it be but one entier vertue, yet is it described in two kyndes or spices. The one is named iustyce distributiue, which is in distribution of honour, money, benefite, or other thinge semblable; the other called commutatiue or by exchaunge, and of Aristotell it is named in Greeke Diorthotice, whiche is in englysshe correctiue. And that parte of iustyce is contayned in intermedlynge, and somtyme is voluntary, somtyme involuntary intermedlynge. Voluntary is bienge and sellynge, loue, suertie, lettynge, and takynge, and all other thynge wherin is mutuall consent at the beginnyng; and therfore is it called voluntary. Intermedlynge involuntary somtyme is priuely done, as stelynge, auoutry, poisonyng, falsehede, disceyte, secrete murdre, false wytnes, and periurye; somtyme it is violent, as batry, open murdre and manslaughter, robry, open reproche and other lyke. Justice distributiue hathe regarde to the persone; justyce commutative hathe no regarde to the persone, but onely considerynge the inequalitie wherby the one thynge excedeth the other, indeuoureth to brynge them bothe to an equalitie. Nowe wyll I retourne agayne to speke firste of justice distributiue, leauinge justice commutatiue to an other volume, whiche I purpose shall succede this warke, god giuynge me tyme and quietnes of mynde to perfourme it.
II. The firste parte of Justice distributive
IT is nat to be doughted but that the firste and princypall parte of iustyce distributiue is, and euer was, to do to god that honour whiche is due to his diuine majestie; whiche honour (as I before said in the firste boke, where I wrate of the motion called honour in daunsinge) consisteth in loue, feare, and reuerence. For sens all men graunte that iustyce is to gyue to euery manne his owne, moche more to rendre one good dede for a nother, mooste of all to loue god, of whome we haue all thinge, and without hym we were nothing, and beinge perysshed we were eftsones recouered, howe ought we (to whome is gyuen the very light of true fayth) to embrace this parte of iustyce more, or at the leste no lesse, than the gentilles; whiche wandring in the darkenes of ignoraunce knewe nat god as he is, but deuidynge his maiestie in to sondry portions imagined Idols of diuers fourmes and names, assigned to them particular autorites, offices and dignities. Nat withstandynge, in the honourynge of those goddes, suche as they were, they supposed all way to be the chiefe parte of iustice.
Romulus (the firste kynge of Romanes) for his fortune and benefites, whiche he ascribed to his goddes, made to the honoure of them great and noble Temples, ordaynynge to them images, sacrifices, and other ceremonyes. And more ouer (whiche is moche to be meruayled at) he also prohibited that any thing shulde be radde or spoken reprocheable or blasphemous to god. And therfore he excluded all fables made of the aduoutryes and other enormityes that the Greekes had fayned their goddes to haue commytted; inducinge his people to speke and also to coniecte nothinge of god but onely that whiche was in nature moste excellent, whiche after was also commaunded by Plato in the firste boke of his publike weale.
Numa Pompilius, whiche was the nexte kinge after Romulus, and therto electe by the Senate, all though he were a straunger borne, and dwellynge with his father in a litle towne of the Sabynes, yet he considerynge from what astate he came to that dignitie, he beine a man of excellent wisedome and lerning thought that he coulde neuer sufficiently honour his goddes for that benefite by whose prouidence he supposed that he had attayned the gouernaunce of so noble a people and citie. He therfore nat onely increased within the citie Temples, alters, ceremonyes, preestes, and sondry religions, but also with a wonderfull wisedome and policie (whiche is to longe to be nowe rehersed) he brought all the people of Rome to suche a deuocion, or (as I mought saye) a supersticion, that where all way before, duryng the tyme that Romulus reigned, whiche was xxxvii yeres, they euer were continually occupied in warres and rauine, they by the space of xliii yeres (so longe reigned Numa) gaue them selfe all as it were to an obseruaunce of religyon, abandonynge warres, and applyenge in suche wise their studie to the honouring of their goddes and increasinge their publike weale, that other people adioyninge wondringe at them, and for their deuocion hauynge the citie in reuerence, as it were a palace of god, all that season neuer attempted any warres agayne them or with any hostilitie inuaded their countray. Many mo princes and noble men of the Romanes coulde I reherce who for the victories had againe their enemyes raysed Temples and made solempne and sumptuouse playas in honour of their goddes, rendringe (as it were) unto them their duetie, and all wayes accountynge it the firste parte of iustyce. And this parte of iustyce towarde god in honouringe him with conuenient ceremonyes is nat to be contemned; example we haue amonge us that be mortall. For if a man beinge made riche, and aduaunced by his lorde or maister, will prouide to receyue him a faire and pleasaunt lodginge, hanged with riche Aresse or tapestrie, and with goodly plate and other thinges necessary most fresshely adourned, but, after that his maister is ones entred, he wyll neuer entertayne or countenaunce him but as a straunger, suppose ye that the beautie and garnisshinge of the house shall onely content him, but that he will thinke that his seruaunt brought hym thither onely for vayne glorie, and as a beholder and wonderer at the riches that he hym selfe gaue hym, whiche the other unthankefully dothe attribute to his owne fortune or policie? Moche rather is that seruaunt to be commended, whiche haueinge a litle rewarde of his maister, will in a small cotage make him hartie chere with moche humble reuerence. Yet wolde I nat be noted that I wolde seme so moche to extolle reuerence by it selfe, that churches and other ornamentes dedicate to god shulde be therfore contemned. For undoughtedly suche thinges be nat onely commendable, but also expedient for the augmentacion and continuinge of reuerence. For be it either after the opinion of Plato, that all this worlde is the temple of god, or that man is the same temple, these materiall churches where unto repaireth the congregation of christen people, in the whiche is the corporall presence of the sonne of god and very god, aught to be lyke to the sayde temple, pure, clene, and well adourned; that is to saye, that as the heuyn visible is mooste pleasauntly garnisshed with planettes and sterres resplendisshinge in the moste pure firmament of asure colour, the erthe furnisshed with trees, herbes, and floures of diuers colours, facions, and sauours, bestis, foules, and fisshes of sondry kyndes, semblably the soule of man of his owne kinde beinge incorruptibill, nete, and clere, the sences and powars wonderfull and pleasaunt, the vertues in it contayned noble and riche, the fourme excellent and royall, as that which was made to the similitude of god. Moreouer the body of man is of all other mortall creatures in proporcion and figure moste perfecte and elegant. What peruerse or frowarde opinion were it to thinke that god, still beinge the same god that he euer was, wolde haue his maiestie nowe contempned, or be in lasse estimation? but rather more honoured for the benefites of his glorious passion, whiche may be well perceyued, who so peruseth the holy historie of the Euangelistes, where he shall finde in ordre that he desired clennesse and honour. Firste in preparation of his commynge, whiche was by the wasshinge and, clensinge of the body of man by baptisme in water, the soule also made clene by penaunce, the election of the moste pure and clene virgine to be his mother, and she also of the lyne of princes moste noble and vertuous. It pleased him moche that Mary humbly kneled at his fete and wasshed them with precious balme and wyped them with her heare. In his glorious transfiguration his visage shone lyke the sonne, and his garmentes were wonderfull white, and more pure (as the Euangeliste saieth) than any warkeman coulde makethem. Also at his commynge to jerusalem towarde his passion, he wolde than be receyued with great routes of people, who layinge their garmentes on the way as he rode, other castynge bowes abrode went before him in fourme of a triumphe. All this honour wolde he haue before his resurrection, whan he was in the fourme of humilitie. Than howe moche honour is due to him nowe that all power is gyuen to hym, as well in heuin as in erthe, and beinge glorifie d of his father, sitteth on his right hande, iugynge all the worlde.
In redynge the bible men shall fynde that the infinite numbre of the sturdye harted jues coulde neuer haue ben gouerned by any wisedome, if they had nat ben bridaled with ceremonyes. The superstition of the gentilles preserued often tymes as well the Greekes as the Romanes from finall distruction. But we wyll laye all those histories a parte and come to our owne experience.
For what purpose was it ordayned that christen kynges (all though they by inheritaunce succeded their progenitours kynges) shulde in an open and stately place before all their subiectes receyue their crowne and other Regalities, but that by reason of the honorable circumstaunces than used shulde be impressed in the hartes of the beholders perpetuall reuerence, whiche (as I before sayde) is fountayne of obedience; or els mought the kynges be enoynted and receyue their charge in a place secrete, with lasse payne to them and also their ministers? Lette it be also considered that we be men and nat aungels, wherfore we knowe nothinge but by outwarde significations. Honour, wherto reuerence pertayneth, is (as I haue said) the rewarde of vertue, whiche honour is but the estimation of people, which estimacion is nat euery where perceyued, but by some exterior signe, and that is either by laudable reporte, or excellencie in vesture, or other thinge semblable. But reporte is nat so commune a token as apparayle. For in olde tyme kynges ware crownes of golde, and knightes onely ware chaynes. Also the moste noble of the Romanes ware sondry garlandes, whereby was perceyued their merite. O creatures moste unkynde and barrayne of iustyce that will denie that thinge to their god and creatour, whiche of very duetie and right is gyuen to hym by good reason afore all princes whiche in a decree incomparable be his subiectes and vassals. By whiche oppinion they seme to despoyle hym of reuerence, which shal cause all obedience to cease, wherof will ensue utter confusion, if good christen princes meued with zeale do nat shortely prouide to extincte utterly all suche opinions.
III. The thre noble counsayles of reason, societie, and knowlege.
VERELY the knowlege of iustyce is nat so difficile or harde to be attayned unto by man as it is communely supposed, if he wolde nat willingly abandone the excellencie of his propre nature, and folisshely applicate him selfe to the nature of creatures unreasonable, in the stede of reason embrasinge sensualitie, and for societie and beneuolence folowinge wilfulnesse and malice, and for knowlege, blynde ignoraunce and forgetfulnesse. Undoughtedly reason, societie called company, and knowlege remayninge, justice is at hande, and as she were called for, ioyneth her selfe to that company, which by her feloship is made inseperable; wherby hapneth (as I mought saye) a vertuous and moste blessed conspiracie. And in thre very shorte preceptes or aduertisementes man is persuaded to receyue and honoure iustyce. Reason bedynge him do the same thinge to an other that thou woldest haue done to the. Societie (without which mannes lyfe is unpleasaunt and full of anguisshe) sayeth, Loue thou thy neighbour as thou doest thy selfe. And that sentence or precept came from heuyn, whan societie was firste ordayned of god, and is of suche autoritie that the onely sonne of god beinge demaunded of a doctor of lawe whiche is the great commaundement in the lawe of god, aunswered, Thou shalte loue thy lorde god with all thy harte, and in all thy soule, and in all thy mynde, that is the firste and great commaundement. The seconde is lyke to the same Thou shalte loue thy neyghbour as thy selfe. In these two commaundementes do depende all the lawe and prophetes. Beholde howe our sauiour Christe ioyneth beneuolence with the loue of god, and nat onely maketh it the seconde precept, but also resembleth it unto the firste?
Knowlege also as a perfeyte instructrice and mastresse, in a more briefe sentence than yet hath ben spoken, declareth by what meane the sayd preceptes of reason and societie may be well understande, and therby iustice finally executed, The words be these in latine, Nosce te ipsum, whiche is in englysshe, know thy selfe. This sentence is of olde writars supposed for to be firsts spoken by Chilo or some other of the seuen auncient Greekes called in latin Sapientes, in englysshe sages or wise men. Other do accomodate it to Apollo, whom the paynimes honoured for god of wisedome. But to saye the trouthe, were it Apollo that spake it, or Chilo, or any other, suerly it proceded of god, as an excellent and wonderfull sentence. By this counsaile man is induced to understande the other two preceptes, and also wherby is accomplisshed nat onely the seconde parte, but also all the residue of Justyce, whiche I before haue rehersed. For a man knowinge him selfe shall knowe that which is his owne and pertayneth to him selfe. But what is more his owne than his soule? Or what thynge more appertayneth to hym thanne his body? His soule is undoughtedly and frely his owne. And none other persone may by any meane possede it or clayme it. His body so pertayneth unto him, that none other without his consent may vendicate therein any propretie. Of what valour or price his soule is, the similitude where unto it was made, the immortalitie and lyfe euerlastynge, and the powars and qualities therof, abundauntly do declare. And of that same mater and substaunce that his soule is of, be all other soules that nowe are, and haue ben, and euer shall be, without singularitie or preeminence of nature. In semblable astate is his body, and of no better claye (as I mought frankely saye) is a gentilman made than a carter, and of libertie of wille as moche is gyuen of god to the poore herdeman, as to the great and mighty emperour. Than in knowinge the condicion of his soule and body, he knoweth him selfe, and consequently in the same thinge he knoweth euery other man.
If thou be a gouernour, or haste ouer other souerayntie, knowe thy selfe, that is to saye, knowe that thou arte verely a man compacte of soule and body, and in that all other men be equall unto the. Also that euery man taketh with the equall benefite of the spirite of life, nor thou haste any more of the dewe of heuyn, or the brightnes of the sonne, than any other persone.
Thy dignitie or autorite, wherin thou onely differest from other, is (as it were) but a weighty or heuy cloke, fresshely gliteringe in the eyen of them that be poreblynde, where unto the it is paynefull, if thou weare hym in his right facion, and as it shal best become the. And from the it may be shortely taken of him that dyd put it on the, if thou use it negligently, or that thou weare it nat commely, and as it appertaineth. Therfore whiles thou wearest it, knowe thy selfe, knowe that the name of a soueraigne or ruler without actual gouernance is but a shadowe, that gouernaunce standeth nat by wordes onely, but principally by acte and example; that by example of gouernours men do rise or falle in vertue or vice. And, as it is said of Aristotell, rulers more greuously do sinne by example than by their acte. And the more they haue under their gouernaunce, the greatter accounte haue they to rendre, that in their owne preceptes and ordenaunces they be nat founde negligent. Wherfore there is a noble aduertisement of the emperour Alexander, for his grauitie called Seuerus. On a tyme one of his noble men exhorted hym to do a thinge contrary to a lawe or edicte, whiche he hym selfe had inacted; but he firmely denyed it. The other still persistynge sayde, that the emperour was nat bounden to obserue his owne lawes. Where unto the sayde emperour displeasauntly answering, said in this maner, God forbede that ever I shulde deuise any lawes wherby my people shulde be compelled to do any thynge whiche I my selfe can nat tollerate. Wherfore ye that haue any gouernaunce, by this moste noble princis example knowe the boundes of your autorite, knowe also your office and duetie, beinge your selfes men mortall amonge men, and instructours and leaders of men. And that as obedience is due unto you, so is your studie, your labour, your industrie with vertuous example due to them that be subiecte to your autoritie. Ye shall knowe all way your selfe, if for affection or motion ye do speke or do nothing unworthy the immortalitie and moste precious nature of your soule, and remembringe that your body be subiecte to corruption, as all other be, and life tyme uncertayne. If ye forgette nat this commune_astate, and do also remembre that in nothinge but onely in vertue ye are better than an other inferior persone, accordynge to the sayeng of Agesilaus kyng of Lacedemones, who hering the great king of Persia praised, asked howe moche that great king was more than he in iustice. And Socrates beinge demaunded if the kynge of Persia semed to him happy, I can nat tell (said he) of what estimation he is in vertue and lerning. Consider also that auctorite, beinge well and diligently used, is but a token of superioritie, but in very dede it is a burden and losse of libertie. And what gouernour in this wise knoweth him selfe he shall also by the same rule knowe all other men, and shall nedes loue them for whome he taketh labours and forsaketh libertie.
In semblable maner the inferior persone or subiecte aught to consider, that all be it (as I haue spoken) he in the substaunce of soule and body be equall with his superior, yet for als moche as the powars and qualities, of the soule and body, with the disposition of reason, be nat in euery man equall, therfore god ordayned a diuersitie or preeminence in degrees to be amonge men for the necessary derection and preseruation of them in conformitie of lyuinge. Whereof nature mimstreth to us examples abundauntly, as in bees, (wherof I haue before spoken in the firste boke) cranes, redde dere, wolfes, and diuers other foules and bestis, whiche herdeth or flocketh, (to longe here to be rehersed), amonge whom is a gouernour or leader, towarde whome all the other haue a vigilant eye, awaytinge his signes or tokens, and according therto preparinge them selfe moste diligently. If we thinke that this naturall instinction of creatures unreasonable is necessary and also commendable, howe farre out of reason shall we iudge them to be that wolde exterminate all superioritie, extincte all gouernaunce and lawes, and under the colours of holy scripture, whiche they do violently wraste to their purpose, do endeuour them selfes to bryng the life of man in to a confusion ineuitable, and to be in moche wars astate than the afore named beestes? Sens without gouernaunce and lawes the persones moste stronge in body shulde by violence constraigne them that be of lasse strength and weaker to labour as bondemen or slaues for their sustinaunce and other necessaries, the stronge men beinge without labour or care. Than were all our equalitie dasshed, and finally as bestes sauage the one shall desire to slee a nother. I omitte continuall manslaughters, rauisshementes, aduoutries and enormities horrible to reherce, whiche (gouernaunce lackynge) muste nedes of necessitie ensue, except these euangelicall persones coulde perswade god or compelle him to chaunge men in to aungels, makinge them all of one disposition and confirminge them all in one fourme of charitie. And as concerninge all men in a generaltie, this sentence, knowe thy selfe, whiche of all other is moste compendious, beinge made but of thre wordes, euery worde beinge but one sillable, induceth men sufficiently to the knowlege of iustyce.
IV. Of fraude and disceyte, whiche be agayne Justyce.
TULLI saieth that the fundation of perpetuall praise and renoume is iustyce, without the whiche no thynge may be commendable. Whiche sentence is verified by experience. For be a man neuer so valiaunt, so wise, so liberall or plentuous, so familiare or curtaise, if he be sene to exercise iniustyce or wronge it is often remembred. But the other vertues be seldome rekened without an exception, whiche is in this maner. As in praysinge a manne for some good qualitie, where he lacketh iustyce, men will communely saye, he is an honorable man, a bounteous man, a wise man, a valiaunt man, sauynge that he is an oppressour, an extorcioner, or is deceytefull or of his promyse unsure. But if he be iuste with the other vertues, than is it sayde he is good and worshipfull, or he is a good man and an honorable, good and gentill, or good and hardy, so that iustyce onely bereth the name of good, and lyke a capitayne or leader precedeth all vertues in euery commendation. But where as the said Tulli saieth, that iniurie, which is contrary to iustice, is done by two meanes, that is to say, either by violence or by fraude, fraude semeth to be proprely of the foxe, violence or force of the lyon, the one and the other be farre from the nature of man, but fraude is worthy moste to be hated. That maner of iniurie, whiche is done with fraude and disceyte, is at this present tyme so communely practised, that if it be but a litle, it is called policie, and if it be moche and with a visage of grauitie, it is than named and accounted for wisedome. And of those wise men speketh Tulli, saieng of al iniustice none is more capitall than of those persones that, whan they disceyue a man moste, they do it as they wolde seme to be good men. And Plato sayeth that it is extreme iniustice he to seme rightwise which in dede is uniuste. Of those two maner of fraudes wil I seuerally speke. But firste will I declare the mooste mischeuous importaunce of this kynde of iniurie in a generalte. Like as the phisicions calle those diseases moste perilous againe whome is founden no preseruatiue and ones entred be seldome or neuer recouered. Semblably those injuries be most, to be feared agayne the whiche can be made no resistence, and beinge taken, with great difficuitie or neuer they can be redressed. Iniurie apparaunt and with powar inforced eyther may be with lyke powar resisted, or with wisedome eschued, or with entreatie refrained. But where it is by craftie engynne imagined, subtilly prepared, couertly dissembled, and disceytefully practysed, suerly no man may by strength withstande it, or by wisedome eskape it, or by any other maner or meane resiste or avoyde it. Wherfore of all injuries that which is done by fraude is moste horrible and detestable, nat in the opinion of man, onely, but also in the sight and iugement of god. For unto hym nothing may be acceptable wherin lacketh verite, called communely trouth, he him selfe being all verite, and all thinge contayninge untruthe is to him contrarious and aduerse. And the deuill is called a lyer, and the father of leasinges. Wherfore all thinge, which in visage or apparaunce pretendeth to be any other than verely it is, may be named a leasinge; the execution wherof is fraude, which is in effects but untrouthe, enemie to trouthe, and consequently enemye to god. For fraude is (as experience teacheth us) an euill disceyte, craftely imagined and deuised, whiche, under a colour of trouthe and simplicitie, indomageth him that nothing mistrusteth. And because it is euill it can by no meanes be lefull wherfore it is repugnaunt unto iustice.
The Neapolitanes and Nolanes (people in Italye) contended to gether for the limities and boundes of their landes and feldes. And for the discussinge of that controuersie either of them sent their ambassadours to the senate and people of Rome (in whome at that tyme was thought to be the moste excellent knowlege and execution of iustice), desiringe of them an indifferent Arbitour and suche as was substanciallye lerned in the lawes Ciuile, to determine the variaunce that was betwene the two cities compromittinge them selfes in the name of all their contray to abyde and perfourme all suche sentence and awarde as shulde be by hym giuen. The senate appointed for that purpose one named Quintus Fabius Labeo, whome they accounted to be a man of great wisedome and lerninge. Fabius after that he was come to the place whiche was in controuersie, he separatinge the one people from the other, communed with them bothe a parte, exhortinge the one and the other that they wolde nat do or desire any thinge with a couetise mynde, but in tredinge out of their boundes rather go shorte thereof than ouer. They doynge accordinge to his exhortacion there was lefte betwene bothe companyes a great quantitie of grounde, whiche at this day we calle batable. That perceyuinge Fabius, he assigned to euery of them the boundes that they them selfes had appointed. And all that lande, whiche was lefte in the middes, he adiuged it to the senate and people of Rome. That maner of dealinge (saieth Tulli) is to disceiue and nat to gyue iugement. And verely euery good man will thinke that this lacke of iustice in Fabius, beinge a noble man and well lerned, was a great reproche to his honour.
It was a notable rebuke unto the Israhelites that whan they besieged the Gabaonites (a people of Chanani) they in conclusion receyued them in to a perpetuall leage. But after that the Gabaonites had yelded them, the Jewes perceyuinge that they were restrayned by their othe to slee them or cruelly entreate them, they made of the Gabaonites, beinge their confederates, their skullions and drudges; wherwith all mighty god was no thinge contented. For the leage or truce wherein frendship and libertie was intended (whiche caused the Gabaonites to be yolden) was nat duely obserued, whiche was clerely agayne iustice.
Trewely in euery couenaunt, bargayne, or promise aught to be a simplicitie, that is to saye, one playne understandinge or meaning betwene the parties. And that simplicitie is properly iustice. And where any man of a couaytous or malicious minde will digresse purposely from that simplicitie, takinge aduauntage of a sentence or worde, whiche mought be ambiguous or doubtefull or in some thinge either superfluous or lackinge in the bargaine or promise, where he certainly knoweth the trouthe to be otherwise, this in myne opinion is damnable fraude, beinge as playne agayne justice as if it were enforced by violence. Finally all disceyte and dissimulation, in the opinion of them whiche exactely honoure iustyce, is nerre to dispraise than commendation, all though that therof mought ensue some thinge that were good. For in vertue may be nothing fucate or counterfayte. But therein is onely the image of veritie, called simplicitie. Wherefore Tulli beinge of the opinion of Antipater the Philosopher saieth, To councell any thynge whiche thou knowest, to the intent that for thyne owne profite thou woldest that another who shall take any damage or benefite therby shulde nat knowe it, is nat the acte of a persone playne or simple, or of a man honest, iuste, or good; but rather of a persone crafty, ungentill, subtille, deceytefull, malicious, and witie. And after he saieth, That reason requireth that nothing be done by treason, nothing by dissimulation, nothing by disceite. Which he excellently (as he dothe all thinge) afterwarde in a briefe conclusion proueth, sayenge, Nature is the fountayne wherof the lawe springeth, and it is accordinge to nature no man to do that wherby he shulde take (as it were) a praye of a nother mannes ignoraunce. Of this matter Tulli writeth many propre examples and quicke solutions.
But nowe here I make an ende to wrytte any more at this tyme of fraude, whiche by no meanes may be ioyned to the vertue named iustyce.
V. That iustyce aught to be betwene enemyes.
SUCHE is the excellencie of this vertue iustice, that the practise therof hathe nat onely optayned digne commendation of such persones as hetwene whome hathe ben mortall hostilitie, but also it hath extincte often tymes the same hostilitie. And fierce hartes of mutuall enemyes hathe ben therby rather subdued than by armure or strength of people. As it shall appere by examples ensuynge.
Whan the valyaunt kynge Pyrrus warred moste asprely againe the Romanes, one Timochares, whose sonne was yoman for the mouthe with the kynge, promysed to Fabricius, thanne beinge consull, to sle kynge Pyrrus, whiche thinge beinge to the senate reported, they by their ambassade warned the kynge to be ware of suche maner of trayson, sayenge that the Romanes maintayned their warres with armes and nat with poyson. And yet nat withstandynge they discouered nat the name of Timochares, so that they embraced equitie as well in that they slewe nat their enemye by treason, as also that they betraied nat him whiche purposed them kyndnes. In so moche was iustice of olde tyme estemed, that without it none acte was alowed were it neuer so noble or profitable.
What tyme that Xerxes, kynge of Persia, with his army, was expulsed out of Greece, all the nauye of Lacedemonia laye at rode in an hauen called Gytheum, within the dominion of the Atheniensis. Themistocles, one of the princes of Athenes, a moche noble capitayne, said unto the people that he had aduised him selfe of an excellent counsayle, where unto if fortune inclyned, nothinge mought more augment the powar of the Atheniensis, but that it aught nat to be diuulgate or publisshed: he therfore desired to haue one appointed unto him, unto whome he mought secretely discouer the enterprise. Where upon there was assigned unto him one Aristides, who for his vertue was surnamed rightwise. Themistocles declared to him that his purpose was to put fire in the nauie of the Lacedemones, whiche laye at Gytheum, to the intent that it beinge brenned, the dominion and hole powar ouer the see shulde be onely in the Atheniensis. This deuise herde and perceyued, Aristides commynge before the people sayde that the counsayle of Themistocles was very profitable, but the enterprise was dishonest and agayne iustice. The people heringe that the acte was nat honest or iuste, all cryed with one voyce, nor yet expedient. And forthwith they commaunded Themistocles to cesse his enterprise. Wherby this noble people declared that in euery acte speciall regarde and, aboue all thinge, consideration aught to be had of iustyce and honestie.
VI. Of faythe or fidelitie, called in latyne FIDES whiche is the fundation of iustyce.
THAT whiche in latyne is called Fides, is a parte of iustice and may diuersely be interpreted, and yet finally it tendeth to one purpose in effects. Some tyme it may be called faythe, some tyme credence, other whyles truste. Also in a frenche terme it is named loyaltie. And to the imitation of latyne it is often called fidelitie. All whiche wordes, if they be intierly and (as I mought saye) exactely understanden, shall appere to a studious reder to signifie one vertue or qualitie, all thoughe they seme to have some diuersitie. As beleuynge the preceptes and promyse of god it is called faythe. In contractes betwene man and man it is communely called credence. Betwene persones of equall astate or condition it is named truste. Fro the subiecte or seruaunt to his souerayne or maister it is proprely named fidelitie and in a frenche terme loyaltie.
Wherefore to hym that shall eyther speke or wryte, the place is diligently to be obserued where the propre signification of the worde may be beste expressed.
Consyderynge (as Plato sayethe) that the name of euery thynge is none other but the vertue or effecte of the same thinge conceyued firste in the mynde, and than by the voyce expressed and finally in letters signified.
But nowe to speke in what estimacion this vertue was of olde tyme amonge gentiles, whiche nowe (alas, to the lamentable reproche and perpetuall infamie of this present tyme), is so neglected throughout christendome that neither regarde of religion or honour, solemne othes, or terrible cursis can cause hit to be obserued. And that I am moche ashamed to write, but that I muste nedes nowe remembre it. Neyther seales of armes, signe manuels, subscription, nor other specialties, ye, uneth a multitude of wytnesses, be nowe sufficient to the obseruynge of promises. O what publike weale shulde we hope to haue there, where lacketh fidelitie, whiche as Tulli saieth is the fundation of iustyce? What meruayle is it though there be in all places contention infinite, and that good lawes be tourned in to Sophemes and insolubles, sens euery where fidelitie is constrayned to come in triall, and credence (as I mought saye) is becomen a vagabunde?
To Josue, which succeded Moyses in the gouernaunce and leadinge of the Jewes, almighty god gaue in commaundement to sle as many as he shulde happen to take of the people called Cananees. There hapned to be nyghe to Jerusalem a contraye called Gabaon, and in dede the people therof were Cananees, who, herynge of the precept gyuen to Josue, as men (as it semed) of great wisedome, they sent an ambassade to Josue which approched their contray, sayenge that they were ferre distaunt from the Cananees, and desired to be in perpetuall leage with him and his people: and to dissemble the length of their iournay, as their contray had been ferre thens, they had on them olde worne garmentes and torne shone. Josue supposinge all to be true that they spake, concluded peace with them and confirmed the leage. And with a solemne othe ratified bothe the one and the other. Afterwarde it was discouered that they were Cananees, whiche if Josue had knowen before the leage made, he had nat spared any of them. But whan he reuolued in his mynde the solemne othe that he had made, and the honour which consisted in his promyse, he presumed that faythe beinge obserued unperisshed shulde please all mighty god aboue all thinges. Which was than proued. For it appereth nat that god euer dyd so moche as in any wise imbraied him for brekynge of his commaundement. By this example it appereth in what estimation and reuerence leages and trues made by princes aught to be had; to the breache where of none excuse is sufficient. But lette us leaue princes affayres to their counsailours. And I will nowe wryte of the partes of fidelitie whiche be more frequent and accustomed to be spoken of. And first of loyaltie and truste: and laste of credence, whiche principally resteth in promise. In the moste renonmed warres betwene the Romaynes and Anniball (duke of Charthaginensis), a noble citie in Spayne called Saguntum, whiche was in amitie and leage with the Romaynes, was by the said Anniball strongely besieged in so moche as they were restrayned from vitayle and ail other sustenaunce. Of the whiche necessitie by their priuie messages they assertayned the Romanes. But they beinge busyed about the preparations for the defence of Italye and also of the citie agayne the intollerable powar of Anniball, hauinge also late two of their moste valiaunt capitaynes, Publius Scipio and Lucius Scipio, with a great hooste of Romaynes slayne by Anniball in Spayne, deferred to sende any spedy socours to the Saguntynes. But natwithstandyng that Anniball desired to haue with them amitie, offringe them peace with their citie, and goodes at lybertie, consideringe that they were brought in to extreme necessitie, lackynge vitayle, and dispayringe to haue socours from the Romaynes, all the inhabitauntes confortynge and exhortynge eche other to die, rather than to violate the leage and amitie that they of longe tyme had contynued with the Romaynes, by one hole assent, after that they hadde made sondry great pyles of wode and of other mater to brenne, they layde in it all their goodes and substaunce, and laste of all, conuayenge them selfes in to the saide pyles or bonefires with their wyfes and children, sette all on fire, and there were brenned or Annyballe coulde entree the citie.
Semblable loyaltie was in the inhabitauntes of Petilia the same tyme; who, being lyke wyse besieged by Anniball, sent for socoures to Rome. But for the great losse that a little erste the Romaynes had sustayned at the batayle of Cannas they coulde in no wise delyuer them; wherfore they discharged them of their promise, and licensed them to do that thinge which mought be moste for their saufegarde. By whiche answere they semed to be discharged, and lefully mought haue entred in to the fauour of Anniball. Yet natwithstandynge, this noble people, preseruing loyalte before life, puttynge out of their citie their women and all that were of yeres unhabill for the warres, that they mought more frankely sustayne famyne, they obstinately defended their walles, that in the defence they all perysshed. So that whan Anniball was entred, he founde that he toke nat the citie, but rather the sepulchre of the loyall citie Petilia.
O noble fidelitie, whiche is so moche the more to be wondred at, that it was nat onely in one or a fewe persones, but in thousandes of men, and they nat beinge of the blode or aliaunce of the Romanes, but straungers, dwellynge in ferre contrayes from them, beinge onely of gentill nature and vertuous courage, inclined to loue honour, and to be constant in their assuraunce.
Nowe will I wryte from hensforthe of particuler persones whiche haue showed examples of loyaltie, which I praye god may so cleue to the myndes of the reders, that they may be all way redy to put the semblable in experience.
Howe moche aught all they, in whome is any portion of gentill courage, endeuoure them selfes to be all wayes trustye and loyall to their souerayne, who putteth them in truste, or hathe ben to them beneficiall, as well reason exhorteth, as also sondrye examples of noble personages, whiche, as compendiously as I can, I will nowe bringe to the reders remembraunce.
What tyme that Saull for his greuous offences was abandoned of all mighty god, who of a very poore mannes sonne did auaunce him to the kyngedome of Israell, and that Dauid, beinge his seruaunt and as poore a mannes son as he, was elected by god to reigne in Israell, and was enointed kynge by the prophet Samuell, Saulle beinge therfore in a rage, hauinge indignacion at Dauid, pursued hym with a great hooste to haue slayne hym, who (as longe as he mought) fledde and forbare Saule, as his soueraygne lorde. On a tyme Dauid was so inclosed by the armie of Saule, that he mought by no wayes escape, but was fayne to hyde hym and his men in a great caue whiche was wyde and depe in the erthe. Durynge the tyme that he was in the caue, Saull nat knowinge therof entred into the caue, to the intent to do his naturall easement; whiche the people of Dauid perceyuinge, exhorted him to sle Saulle, hauynge suche oportunitie; sayenge that god hadde brought his enemye in to his handes, and that Saull beinge slayne, the warre were al at an ende, considerynge that the people loued better Dauid than Saulle. But Dauid refusinge their counsayle, saide that he wolde nat laye violent handes on his soueraygne lorde, beinge a kynge enoynted of god: but softely he approched to Saulle, and dyd cut of a peace of the nether parte of his mantell. And after that Saull was departed out of the caue towarde his campe Dauid called after hym sayenge, Whome pursuest thou, noble prince? (with other wordes rehersed in the bible in the firste boke of kinges), and than shewed to hym the parte of his mantell. Wherat Saull beinge abasshed, recognised his unkyndnesse, callyng Dauid his dere sonne and trusty frende, recommendynge to hym his children and progenie, sens by the wyll of god be was elected to succede hym in the kyngdome of Israell. And so departed Saulle fron Dauid. Yet nat withstandinge, afterwarde he pursued hym in Gaddy. And in a night, whan Saull and his armye were at reste, and that Dauid by an espiall knewe that they were all faste on slepe, he toke with him a certayne of the moste assured and valiaunt personages of his hoste, and in most secrete wise came to the pauilion of king Saul, where he founde hym suerly slepynae, hauinge by him his speare and a cuppe with water. Wherfore one of the company of Dauid sayde that he with the speare of Saulle, wolde stryke hym through and slee hym. Nay, sayd Dauid, our lorde forbede that I suffre my soueraiane lord to be slayne, for he is enointed of god. And therwith he toke the speare with the cuppe of water, and whan he was a good distaunce from the hoste of Saulle, he cried with a loude voyce to Abner, which was than marshall of the armye of Saul. Who answered and sayde, What arte thou that thus disseasest the kyng, which is nowe at his reste? To whome Dauid said, Abner, thou and thy company are worthy dethe, that haue so negligently watched youre prince; where is his speare and the cuppe of water that stode at his beddes hede? suerly ye be but dede men whan he shall knowe it. And there with he shewed the speare and cuppe with water. Whiche Saulle perceyuinge and hearynge the voyce of Dauid, cried unto him saienge, Is nat this the voice of my dere sonne Dauid? I uncurtaisely do pursue him, and he nat withstandinge doth to me good for euill. With other wordes, whiche to abbreuiate the mater I do passe ouer. This noble historie and other semblable, eyther wrought in Aresse, or connyngly painted, will moche better be seme the houses of noble men than the Concubines and voluptuous pleasures of the same Dauid and Salamon his sonne, whiche be more frequently expressed in the hangynges of houses and counterpointes, than the vertue and holynesse of the one, or the wise experimentes of the other. But nowe will I passe ouer to histories whiche be more straunge, and therfore I suppose more pleasaunt to the reder.
Xerxes beinge kynge of Persia, the great citie of Babilon rebelled againe him, which was of suche strength that the kynge was nat of powar to subdue it ; that perceyuinge a gentilman, one of the counsayle of kynge Xerxes, named Zopirus, a man of notable wisedome, unwittynge to any persone, dyd cut of his owne eares and nose, and preuely departed towarde Babilon, and beynge knowen by them of the citie, was demaunded who hadde so disfygured hym. Unto whome he answered with apparaunt tokens of heuinesse, that for as moche as he hadde giuen to Xerxes counsayle, and aduise to be reconsiled unto their citie, he beinge meued with ire and displeasure towarde hym, in moste cruell wise caused him to be so shamefully mutulate. Addynge there unto reprochefull wordes agayne Xerxes. The Babilonians beholdynge his miserable astate, and the tokens whiche (as it semed to them) approued his wordes to be true, moche petied hym. And as well for the great wisedome that they knewe to be in hym, as for the occasion whiche they supposed shulde incense hym to be shortely auenged, they made hym their chiefe capitayne, and committed hooly to hym the gouernaunce and defence of their citie. Which hapned in euery thinge accordinge to his expectacion. Where upon he shortely gaue notyce to the kynge of all his affaires and exploitures. And finally so endeuoured hym selfe by his wisedome, that he accorded the kynge and the citie, without any losse or damage to eyther of them. Wherfore on a tyme the sayde kynge Xerxes cutting an odly great pomegranate, and beholdynge it faire and full of kernels, sayd in the presence of all his counsayle, that he had leuer haue suche one frende as Zopirus was, than as many Babilons as there were kernels in the pomegranate. And also that he rather wolde that Zopirus were restored agayne to his nose and his eares, than to haue a hundred suche cities as Babilon was; whiche by the reporte of writers was incomparably the grettest and fayrest citie of all the worlde.
The Parthiens, in a ciuile discorde amonge them selfes, draue Arthabanus their kyng out of his realme, and elected amonge them one Cinnamus to be their kynge. Iazate, king of Adiabenes, unto whome Arthabanus was fledde sent an ambassade unto the Parthiens, exhortynge them to receyue agayne Arthabanus; but they made aunswere that sens departynge of Arthabanus, they had by a hoole assent chosen Cinnamus, unto whome they hadde done their fealtie, and were sworne his subiectes, whiche othe they mought nat laufully breake. Thereof hearynge Cinnamus, who at that tyme was kinge ouer them, be wrate unto Arthabanus and Iasate, that they shulde come, and that he wolde render the realme of Parthia unto Arthabanus. And whan they were come, Cinnamus mette with them, adourned in the robes of a kynge, and as he approched Arthabanus, alightings downe of his horse, he sayde in this wyse, Sir, whanne the people had expelled you out of your realme, and wolde haue translated it unto a nother, at their instaunce and desyre I toke it; but whan I perceyued their rancour aswaged, and that with good wille they wolde haue you agayne, which are their naturall soueraigne lorde, and that nothynge letted, but onely that they wolde nothynge do contrary to my pleasure, with good wille, and for no drede, or other occasion, as ye may perceyue, do here rendre youre realme eftsones unto you. And therewith takinge the diademe of from his owne hedde, dyd sette it immediately upon the hedde of Arthabanus.
The fidelitie of Ferdinando (kyng of Aragone) is nat to be forgoten, whome his brother Henry, kyng of Castill, decessyng, made gouernour of his sone, being an infant. This Fernando, with suche iustice ruled and ordred the realme, that in a parlement holden at Castille, it was trayted by the hole consent of the nobles and people, that the name or title of the kyngdome of Spayne shulde be giuen unto him. Which honour he fayninge to receyue thankefully, dyd put upon hym a large and wyde robe, wherin he secretely bare the yonge prince his neuewe, and so came in to the place, where for the sayde purpose the nobles and people were assembled, demaundynge of euery man his sentence, who with one voyce gaue unto hym the kyngdome of Spayne. With that he toke out of his robe the little baby his neuewe, and setting him on his shulder, sayde all a loude unto them, Lo ye Castilians, beholde here is your kynge. And than he, confirmyng the hartes of the people towarde his neuewe, finally delyuered to hym his realme in peace, and in all thinges abundaunt. This is the fidelite that appertayneth to a noble and gentill harte.
In what hatered and perpetuall reproche aught they to be that, corrupted with pestilenciall auarice or ambiscion, betraieth their maisters, or any other that trusteth them? O what monstrus persones haue we radde and herde of, whiche for the inordinate and deuelisshe appetite to raigne, haue mooste tyrannously slayne the children, nat onely of their soueraiane lordes, but also of their owne naturall bretherne, committed unto their gouernaunce? Of whome purposely I leaue at this tyme to wryte, to the intent that the moste cursed remembraunce of them shall nat consume the tyme that the well disposed reder mought occupie in examples of vertue. This one thinge I wolde were remembred, that by the iuste prouidence of god, disloyalte or treason seldome escapeth great vengeaunce, all be it that it be pretended for a necessary purpose. Example we haue of Brutus and Cassius, two noble Romaynes, and men of excellent vertues, whiche, pretendinge an honorable zeale to the libertie and commune weale of their citie, slewe Julius Cesar (who trusted them moste of all other) for that he usurped to haue the perpetuall dominion of the empire, supposinge thereby to haue brought the senate and people to their pristinate libertie. But it dyd nat so succede to their purpose. But by the dethe of so noble a prince hapned confusion and ciuile batayles. And bothe Brutus and Cassius, after longe warres vanquisshed by Octauian, neuewe and hiere unto Cesar, at the last falling in to extreme desperation, slewe them selfes. A worthy and conuenient vengeaunce for the murder of so noble and valyaunt a prince. Many other lyke examples do remayne as well in writynge as in late remembraunce, whiche I passe ouer for this tyme.
VII. Of promise and couenant.
CONCERNYNGE that parte of fidelitie which concerneth the kepynge of promise or couenauntes experience declareth howe litle it is nowe had in regarde; to the notable rebuke of all us whiche do professe Christes religion. Considerynge t hat the Turkes and Sarazens haue us therfore in contempt and derision, they hauinge fidelite of promise aboue all thinge in reuerence. [In so moche as in their contractes they seldome use any bonde or othe. But, as I haue herde reported of men borne in those partes, after the mutuall consent of the parties, the bargaynour, or he that dothe promise, toucheth the grounde with his hande, and after layeth it on his hedde, as it were that he vouched all the worlde to bere wytnesse But by this litle cere monye he is so bounden, that if he be founden to breke touche willyngly, he is without any redemption condempned unto the pale, that is, to haue a longe stake thrast in at the secrete partes of his body, whereon he shall abide dyen e by a longe space. For feare of the which moste terrible execution, seldome any man under the Turkes dominion breketh his promise. But what hope is there to haue fidelitie well kept amonge us in promises and bargaynes, whan for the breache therof is prouided no punisshe ment, nor yet notorious rebuke; sauinge if it be tried by accion, suche praty damages as the iury shall assese, whiche perchaunce dayly practiseth semblable lightnes of purpose. I omitte to speke nowe of attaintes in the lawe, reseruinge that mater to a place more conuenient ] But no meruayle that a bare promise holdeth nat, where an othe upon the Euangelistes, solempnely and openly taken, is but litle estemed. Lorde god, howe frequent and familiar a thinge with euery astate and degre through out Christendome is this reuerent othe on the Gospelles of Christe. Howe it hathe ben hitherto kepte, it is so well knowen and had in dayly experience, that I shall nat nede to make of the neglectinge therof any more declaration. Onely I will shewe howe the Gentiles, lackynge true religion, had solempne othes in great honour, and howe terrible a thinge it was amonge them to breke their othes or avowes. In so moche as they supposed that there was no powar, victorie, or profite which mought be equall to the vertue of an othe.
Amonge the Egyptians, they which were perjured had their heddes stryken of, as well for that they violated the honour due unto god, as also that thereby faythe and truste amonge people mought be decayed. The Scithes sware onely by the chayre or throne of their kynge, whiche othe if they brake, they therfore suffred dethe.
The auncient Romaynes (as Tulli writeth) sware in this maner. He that shulde swere helde in his hande a stone, and sayde in this wyse, The citie with the goodes therof beinge saulfe, so Jupiter cast me out of it, if I deceyue wittingly, as I caste from me this stone. And this othe was so straytely obserued, that it is nat remembred that euer any man brake it.
Plutarche writeth that at the firste Temple that Numa Pompilius, the seconde kynge of Romaynes made in the citie of Rome, was the temple of faythe. And also he declared that the greattest othe that mought be was faythe. Whiche nowe a dayes is uneth taken for any othe, but moste communely is used in mockage, or in suche thinges as men forse nat, though they be nat beleued. In dayly communication the mater sauoureth nat, except it be as it were seasoned with horrible othes. As by the holy blode of Christe, his woundes whiche for our redemption he paynefully suffred, his glorious harte, as it were numbles chopped in peaces. Children (whiche abhorreth me to remembre) do playe with the armes and bones of Christe, as they were chery stones. The soule of god, which is incomprehensible, and nat to be named of any creature without a wonderfull reuerence and drede, is nat onely the othe of great gentilmen, but also so undiscretely abused, that they make it (as I mought saye) their gonnes, wherwith they thunder out thretenynges and terrible menacis, whan they be in their fury, though it be at the damnable playe of dyse. The masse, in whiche honorable ceremony is lefte unto us the memoriall of Christes glorious passion, with his corporall presence in fourme of breade, the inuocation of the thre diuine persones in one deitie, with all the hole company of blessed spirites and soules elect is made by custome so simple an othe that it is nowe all moste neglected, and litle regarded of the nobilitie, and is onely used amonge husbande men and artificers, onelas some taylour or barbour, as welt in his othes as in the excesse of his apparayle, will counterfaite and be lyke a gentilman. In iudiciall causes, be they of neuer so light importaunce, they that be no parties but straungers, I meane witnesses and iurates, Which shall procede in the triall, do make no lasse othe, but openly do renounce the helpe of god and his sayntes and the benefite of his passion, if they say nat true as ferre furthe as they knowe. Howe euill that is obserued where the one partie in degree ferre excedeth the other, or where hope of rewarde or affection taketh place, no man is ignoraunt, sens it is euery yere more commune than haruist. Alas! what hope shall we haue of any publike weale where such a pestilence reigneth? Dothe nat Salamon saye, A man moche sweringe shall be filled with iniquitie, and the plage shall nat departe from his house? O mercifull god, howe many men be in this realme which be horrible swerers and commune iurates periured? Than howe moche iniquitie is there, and howe many plages are to be feared, where as be so many houses of swerers? Suerly I am in more drede of the terrible vengeaunce of god, than in hope of amendement of the publike weale. And so in myne opinion aught al other to be, whiche beleue that god knoweth all thynge that is done here in erth, and as he him selfe is all goodness, so loueth he al thing that is good, which is vertue; and hateth the contrarie, which is vice. Also all thing that pleaseth him, he preserueth; and that thing that he hateth, he at the last destroieth. But what vertue may be without verite called trouthe, the declaration whereof is faithe or fidelitie? For as Tulli saieth, faith is a constaunce and trouth of things spoken or couenaunted. And in another place he saieth, nothing kepeth so to gether a publike weale as doth faith. Than foloweth it well, than without faith a publike weale may nat continue, and Aristotle saieth, that by the same craft or meanes that a publike weale is first constituted, by the same craft or meanes is it preserued. Than sens faithe is the fundation of iustyce, whiche is the chiefe constitutour and maker of a publike weale, and by the afore mencioned autoritie, faithe is conseruatour of the same, I may therfore conclude that faithe is bothe the originall and (as it were) principall constitutour and conseruatour of the publike weale.
[Nowe, lyke as it is more facile to repayre than to newe edifie, and also to amende than to make all agayne; so more soner is a publike weale reformed, than of newe constitute, and by the same thynge that it is constitute and conserued, by the same thynge shall it be refourmed and preserued. Where I saye conserued I meane kepte and mayntayned; where I saye preserued, I intende corroborate and defended againe anoiaunces. The thinge that I spake of is faithe, which I by the autoritie of Tulli, do name the fundation of iustyce. For thereat nat onely dependeth all contractes, conuencions, commutations, entercoursis, mutuall intelligence, amitie, and beneuolence, which be contayned in the worde whiche of Tulli is called the societie or felowship of mankinde; but also by due obseruinge of faithe malefactours be espied, injuries be tried out and discussed, the propretie of thinges is adiuged. Wherfore to a gouernour of a publike weale, nothynge more appertayneth, than he hym selfe to have faythe in reuerence, and mooste scrupulousely to obserue it. And where he fyndeth it to be contemned or neglected, and specially with addynge to periurye, moste sharpely, ye moste rigorousely and aboue all other offences punisshe it, without acceptaunce or fauour of any persone; remembringe this sentence, Of faythe commeth loyaltie, and where that lacketh there is no suertie.]
It is also no litle reproche unto a man whiche estemeth honestie, to be lyte in makynge promise; or whan he hath promised, to breke or neglecte it. Wherfore no thynge aught to be promised whiche shulde be in any wise contrary to iustyce. On a tyme one remembred kyng Agesilaus of his promise. By god, sayde he, that is trouthe if it stande with iustyce; if nat, I than spake, but I promised nat.
But nowe at this present tyme we may make the exclamation that Seneca dothe, sayenge, O the foule and dishonest confession of the fraude and mischiefe of mankynde; nowe a dayes seales be more set by than soules. Alas! what reproche is it to christen men, and reioysinge to Turkes and Sarazens, that nothing is so exactely obserued amonge them as fait he, consistynge in laufut promise and couenaunt. And amonge christen men it is so neglected, that hit is more often tymes broken than kept. And nat onely sealynge (whiche Seneca disdayned that it shulde be more sette by thanne soules) is uneth sufficient, but also it is nowe come into suche a generall contempt that all the lerned men in the lawes of this realme, whiche be also men of great wisedome, can nat with all their study deuise so sufficient an instrument, to hynde a man to his promyse or co uenaunt, but that there shall be some thinge therein espied to brynge it in argument if it be denyed. And in case that bothe the parties be equall in estimation or credence, or els he that denyeth superiour to the other, and no witnesses deposeth on knowlege of the thinge in demaunde, the promise or couenaunt is utterly frustrate. Which is one of the princypall decayes of the publike weale, as I shall traite therof more largely here after. And here at this tyme I leaue to speke any more of the partes of that moste royall and necessary vertue called iustyce.
VIII. Of the noble vertue fortitude, and of the two extreme vices, Audacitie and Timerositie.
IT is to be noted that to hym that is a gouernoure of a publike weale belongeth a double gouernaunce, that is to saye, an interior or inwarde gouernaunce, and an exterior or outwarde gouernaunce. The firste is of his affectes and passions, which do inhabite within his soule, and be subiectes to reason. The seconde is of his children, his seruauntes, and other subiectes to his autoritie. To the one and the other is required the vertue morall called fortitude, whiche as moche as it is a vertue is a Mediocritie or meane betwene two, extremities, the one in surplusage, the other in lacke. The surplusage is called Audacitie the lacke Timorositie or feare. I name that Audacitie whiche is an excessife and inordinate truste to escape all daungers, and causeth a man to do suche actes as are nat to be ieoparded. Timorositie is as well whan a man feareth suche thinges as be nat to be feared, as also whan he feareth thinges to be feared more than nedeth. For some thynges there be whiche be necessary and good to be feared, and nat to feare them it is but rebuke. Infamie and reproche be of all honest men to be dradde. And nat to feare thynges that be terrible, agayne whiche no powar or witte of man can resiste, is foole hardynesse, and worthy no praise, as erthe quakes, rages of great and sodayne flodes, whiche do bere downe before them mountaynes and great townes, also the horrible fury of sodayne fire, deuourynge all thing that it apprehendeth. Yet a man that is valiaunt, called in latyne Fortis, shall nat in suche terrible aduentures be resolued into waylinges or desperation. But where force constrayneth him to abide, and neither powar or wisedome assayed may suffice to escape, but, will he or no, he must nedes perysshe, there dothe he paciently sustayne dethe, whiche is the ende of all euilles, And lyke as an excellent Phisitioun cureth moste daungerous diseases and dedely woundes, so dothe a man that is valiaunt auaunce himselfe as inuincible in thinges that do seme moste terrible, nat unaduisedly, and as it were in a bastely rage, but of a gentill courage, and with premeditation, either by victorie or by dethe, wynnynge honour and perpetuall memory, the iuste rewarde of their vertue. Of this maner of valiaunce was Horatius Cocles, an auncient Romayne, of whose example I haue all redy written in the firste boke, where I commended the feate of swymming. Pirrhus, whome Anniball estemed to be the seconde of the moste valiaunt capitaines, assaulting a stronge fortresse in Sicile, called Erice, he firste of all other scaled the walles, where he behaued him so valiauntly, that suche as resisted, some he slewe, and other by his maiestie and fierce countenaunce he dyd put to discomforte. And finally, before any of his armye, entred the walles, and there alone sustayned the hole bronte of his enemyes, untill his people whiche were without, at the laste myssinge him, stared partely with shame that they had so loste hym, partely with his couragious example, toke good harte, and inforced them selfes in suche wise that they clymed the walles and came to the socour of Pirrhus, and by his prowesse so wanne the garyson. What valiaunt harte was in the romayne, Mutius Sceuola, that whan Porcena, kynge of Ethruscanes, had by great powar constrayned the romaynes to kepe them within their citie, Sceuola takinge on him the habite of a begger, with a sworde hydde preuely under his garment, went to the enemyes campe, where he beinge taken for a beggar, was nothinge mistrusted. And whan he had espied the kinges pauillyon he drewe hym thyther, where he founde dyuers noble men sittynge. But for as moche as he certaynly knewe nat whiche of them was the kynge, he at the laste perceyuinge one to be in more ryche apparayle thanne any of the other, and supposinge hym to be Porcena, he, or any man espyed hym, stepte to the sayde lorde, and with his sworde gaue hym suche a stroke that he immediatly dyed. But Sceuola beynge taken, for as moche as he mought nat escape suche a multitude, he boldly confessed that his hande erred, and that his intent was to haue slayne kynge Porcena. Wherewith the kynge (as reason was) all chaufed, commaunded a great fire forthwith to be made, wherein Sceuola shulde haue ben brenned, but he nothing abasshed, said to the kynae, Thynke nat, Porcena, that by my dethe onely thou maiste escape the handes of the Romaynes, for there be in the citie CCC yonge men, suche as I am, that be prepared to slee the by one meanes or other, and to thaccomplysshement therof be also determined to suffre all tourmentes, wherof thou shalt haue of me an experience in thy syght. And incontinently he went to the fire, whiche was made for to brenne him, and with a glad countenaunce dyd put his hande in to the flame, and there helde it of a longe tyme without chaungynge of any countenaunce, untill his said hande was brenned unto asshes. In lyke wise he wolde haue put his other hande in to the fire, if he had nat ben withdrawen by Porcena, who, wondryng at the valiaunt courage of Sceuola, licenced hym to retourne unto the citie. But whan he considered that by the wordes of Sceuola so great a nombre of younge men of semblable prowesse were confederate to his distruction, so that, or all they coulde be apprehended, his lyfe shulde be all waye in ieopardye, he, dispairynge of winnynge the citie of Rome, raised his siege and departed.
IX. In what actes Fortitude is, and of the consyderations therto belongynge.
BUT all though I haue nowe rehersed sondry examples to the commendation of Fortitude concernynge actes marciall, yet by the waye I wolde haue it remembred that the praise is proprely to be referred unto the vertue, that is to saye, to enterprise thynges dredefull, either for the publike weale or for wynning of perpetuall honour, or els for exchuynge reproche or dishonoure. Where unto be annexed these considerations, what importaunce the enterprise is, and wherfore it is done, with the tyme and oportunitie whan it aught to be don. For (as Tulli saieth) to entre in batayle and to fight unaduisedly, it is a thing wylde and a maner of beestes, but thou shalt fight valiauntly whan tyme requireth, and also necessitie. And alway dethe is to be preferred before seruitude or any dishonestie. And therfore the actes of Anniball agayne the Saguntynes, whiche neuer dyd him displeasure, is nat accounted for any prowesse. Neyther Catalyne, which, for his singuier commoditie and a fewe other, attempted detestable warres agayne his owne contraye, entendyng to haue brenned the noble citie of Rome, and to haue distroyed all the good men, is nat numbred amonge valyaunt men, all though he faught manly and with great courage untill he was slayne. What auayled the boldenesse of Varro and Flaminius, noble capitaynes of Romaynes, whiche despisynge the prowesse and crafte of Anniball, and contemnyng the sobre counsayle of Fabius, hauing onely truste in their owne hardinesse, loste two noble armyes, wherby the powar of the Romaynes was nighe utterly perysshed? Wherfore eftsones I saye that a valiaunt man is he that dothe tollerate or suffre that whiche is nedefull, and in suche wise as is nedefull, and for that whiche is nedefull, and also whan it is nedefull. And he that lacketh any of this may be called hardy, but nat valiaunt. More ouer, all tboughe they whiche be hardy or persones desperate haue a similitude, and seme to be valiaunt, yet be they nat valiaunt, no more than kinges in May games and enterludes be kinges. For they that be hardy, or they come to the perylle, they seme to be fierce and aigre, and in beginnynge their enterprise wonderfull hasty; but whan they feele the thing more harde and greuous than they estemed, their courage decayeth more and more, and as men abasshed and unprepared, their hartes utterly do fayle, and in conclusion they appere more faynte than they that be cowardes. Also in desperation can nat be fortitude, for that beinge a morall vertue, is euer voluntary. Desperation is a thinge as it were constrayned, ne hathe any maner of consideration; where fortitude expendeth euery thinge and acte diligently, and dothe also moderate it with reason. Here nowe appereth (as I suppose) that neyther they whiche employe their force without iuste cause or necessitie, ne they whiche without forecast, or (as I mought saye) circumspection, will take in hand an harde enterprise, ne they whiche hedlonge will fall in to daungers, from whens there is no hope to escape, nor yet men desperate, whiche do dye willingly without any motion of honour or zeale towarde the publike weale be in the nombre of valyaunt persones; but of a refuse company, and rather to be rekned with bestes sauage, than amonge men whiche do participate with reason. For as Curtius sayeth, it appertayneth to men that be valyaunt, rather to despise dethe thanne to hate lyfe.
A man is called in latyne Vir, whereof, sayeth Tulli, vertue is named. And the moste propre vertue longynge to a man is fortitude, whereof be two excellent propreties, that is to saye, the contempt of dethe and of griefe. But what very fortitude is he more plainly doth declare afterwarde in a more larger circumscription, sayenge thinges humane aught to be litle estemed, dethe nat regarded, laboures and griefes to be thought tollerable. Whan this is ratifyed by iugement and a constant oppinion, than that is a valiaunt and stable fortitude. But there unto I wolde shulde be added, whiche oppinion and iugement procedeth of a reason, and nat repugnaunt to Justyce. And than it shal accorde with this sayenge of Aristotelle, A valiaunt man sustaineth and dothe that whiche belongeth to fortitude for ca use of honestie. And a litle before he saieth, A man that is valiaunt as well suffereth as dothe that whiche agreeth with his worship, and as reason commaundeth. So no violence or sturdye mynde lackynge reason and honestie is any parte of fortitude. Unto this noble vertue be attendaunt, or as it were continuall adherentes, dyuers vertues, whiche do ensue, and be of ryght great estimation.
X. Of paynefulnesse the firste companionof of Fortitude.
IN theim which be either gouernours or capitaynes or in other offyce where unto appertaineth great cure, or despechynge of sondry great affayres, Paynfulnesse, named in latyne Tollerantia, is wonderfull commendable. For thereby thynges be in suche wise exployted that utilitie procedeth therof, and seldome repentaunce. For as moche as thereof commeth an excellent frute called. oportunitie, which is euer ripe, and neuer in other astate. For lacke of this vertue moche wisedome and many a valyaunt enterprise haue perysshed and tourned to none effecte, for thynges sharpely inuented, prudently discussed, and valyauntly enterprised, if they be nat diligently folowed, and without cessynge applied and pursued, as it were in a moment all thinge is subuerted. And the paynes before taken, with the tyme therin spent, is utterly frustrate. The paynefulnesse of Quintus Fabius, beinge dictator or principall capitayne of the Romaynes, in leadynge his armye by mountaynes and other herde passaoes, so disapointed Anniball of the hope of victorye, wherin he so moche gloried, that at the last he trayned and drewe Anniball and his hoste in to a felde inclosed about with mountaines and deep ryuers, where Fabius had so enuyroned him by the fortifyenge of two mountaynes with his people, that they were in ieoperdye eyther to be famysshed (their vitayle soone after faylinge them) or els in fleinge to be slayne by the Romaynes, had nat the craftye and polityke witte of Anniball delyuered them; whiche, for the notable inuention, I wyll borowe so moche tyme of the reder to renewe the remembraunce therof in our Englysshe tunge. Anniball, perceyuinge the daunger that he and his armye were in, he commaunded in the depe of the nyght, whan nothynge was sterynge, to be brought before him about two thousande great oxen and bulles, whiche a litle before his men had taken in foraginge, and causinge fagottes made of drye styckes to be fastened unto their hornes, and set on fyre, the bestes troubled with the flame of fire, ranne as they were woode up towarde the mountaynes, where as laye the hoste of the Romaynes, Anniball, with his hoole armye folowynge in araye. The romaynes which kept the mountaynes, beinge sore aferde of this newe and terrible sight, forsake their places, and Fabius, dredynge the deceytefull witte of Anniball kept the armye within his trenche, and so Anniball with his hoste escaped without domage. But Fabius, beinge painefull in pursuinge Anniball from place to place, a waytinge to haue hym at aduauntage, at the laste dyd so fatigate him and his hoste, that therby in conclusion his powar minisshed, and also the strength of the Carthaginensis, of whome he was generall capitayne. In so moche as they were at the laste constrained to countermaunde him by sondrie messangers, willyng him to abandone the warres in Italye, and to retourne to the defence of his owne citie. Whiche by the opinion of moste excellent writars, shulde neuer haue hapned if Fabius wolde haue lefte any parte of his purpose, eyther for the tediousenesse of the payne and trauayle, or for the intollerable rebukes giuen unto hym by Minutius, who imbrayded hym with cowardyse. Amonge the vertues whiche abounded in Julius Cesar, none was accounted more excellent than that in his counsayles, affaires, and exploytures, he omitted no tyme ne forsake any payne; wherfore moste sonest of any man he achieued and brought to good passe all thynge that he entreprised. Suppose ye that the same Anniball, of whome we late spake, coulde haue wonne from the Romaynes all Spayne, and haue perced the mountaynes called Alpes, makynge a way for his armye where before was neuer any maner of passage, and also haue goten all Italye unto Rome gates, if he had not ben a man paynefull and of labour incomparable?
Julius Cesar, after that he had the intier gouernaunce and dominion of the empyre of Rome, he therfore neuer omitted labour and diligence, as well in commune causes as private, concernynge the defence and assistence of innocentes. Also he laborousely and studiousely discussed controuersies, whiche all most dayly he herde in his owne persone.
Traiane and bothe Antonines, emperours of Rome, and for their vertue worthy to be emperours of all the worlde, as well in exterior affaires as in the affaires of the citie, were euer so continually occupied that uneth they founde any litle tyme to haue any recreation or solace.
Alexander also, emperour, for his incomparable grauitie called Seuerus, beinge but of the age of xviii yeres whan he firste was made emperour, was inclyned to so incredible labours, that where he founde the noble citie of Rome, than mastresse of the worlde, throughly corrupted with moste abhominable vices, by the moste shameful example and liuing of that detestable monstre, Varius Heliogabalus, next emperour before him, a great parte of the Senate and nobilitie beinge resolued in to semblable vices, the chiualrye dispersed, martiall prowesse abandoned, and well nyghe the maiestic emperiall dissolued and brought in contempt, this noble yonge prince Alexander, inflamed with the zeale of the pristinate honour of the Romaynes, layenge a parte utterly all pleasures and quietnesse, holy gaue his witte and body to studye and trauayles intollerable, and chesinge out of all partes of the worlds men of grettest wisedome and experience, consultings with theim, neuer ceased untill he had reduced as well the Romaynes as all other cities and prouinces unto them subjecte, to their pristinate moderation and temperaunce. Many other examples coulde I reherce to the commendation of paynefulnesse. But these shall suffice at this present tyme to proue that a gouernour must nedes be painefull in his owne persone, if he desire to haue those thinges prosper that be commytted to his gouernaunce.
XI. Of the noble and fayre vertue named Pacience.
PACIENCE is a noble vertue, appertayninge as well to in warde gouernaunce as to exterior gouernaunce, and is the vainquisshour of injuries, the suer defence agayne all affectes and passions of the soule, retayninge all wayes glad semblaunt in aduersitie and doloure.
Saynt Ambrose saieth in his boke of offices, Better is he that contemneth iniurie, than he that sorroweth. For he that contemneth it as he nothynge felte, he passeth nat on it: but he that is sorowfull, he is therewith tourmented as though he felt it.
Whiche was well proued by Zeno Eleates, a noble Philosopher, who beinge a man of excellent wisedome and eloquence, came to a citie called Agrigentum, wher raygned Phalaris, the mooste cruell Tyraunt of all the worlde, who kept and used his owne people in mooste miserable seruitude. Zeno firste thought by his wisdome and eloquence to haue so persuaded the Tyraunt to temperaunce that he shulde have abandoned his cruell and auaricious appetite. But custome of vice more preuayled in him than profitable counsayle. Wherfore Zeno, hauynge pitie at the wretched astate of the people, excited dyuers noble men to deliuer the citie of that seruile condition. This counsayle was nat so secretely gyuen but that notice therof came to the Tyraunt, who, causinge all the people to be assembled in the market place, caused Zeno there to be cruciate with sondrye turmentes, all wayes demaundynge of hym who dyd participate with hym of his said counsayle. But for no paynes wolde he confesse any persone, but induced the Tyraunt to haue in mistrust his nexte frendes and familyar seruauntes, and reprouynge the people for their cowardise and drede, he at the laste so inflamed them unto libertie, that sodaynely, with a great violence, they fell on the Tyraunt and pressed him with stones. The olde Zeno in all his exquisite turmentes neuer made any lamentable crye or desire to be relieued. But for this fourme of Pacience, this onely example suffiseth at this tyme, sens there be so frequent examples of martyrs, whiche for true religion sustayned pacyently not onely equall tourmentes with Zeno, but also ferre excedynge. But nowe wyll I wrytte of that Pacience that pertaineth unto interior gouernaunce, wherby the naturall passions of man be subdued, and the malyce of fortune sustayned. For they whiche be in autoritie and be occupied about great affaires, their lyues be nat onely replenisshed with labours and greuous displeasures, but also they be subiectes to sondrye chaunces.
The meane to optayne pacyence is by two thinges principally. A directe and upryght conscience, and true and constant opinion in the estimation of goodnes. Whiche seldome commeth onely of nature, excepte it be wonderfull excellent; but by the diligent studye of very philosophie (nat that whiche is sophisticate, and consisteth in sophismes) nature is therto prepared and holpen. This Opinion is of suche powar that ones cleuynge faste to the mynde, it draweth a man as it were by violence to good or euill. Therfore, Tulli saieth, Lyke as whan the bloode is corrupted, and eyther fleame or Colere, blacke or redde, is superhabundaunt, than in the body be ingendred sores and diseases, so the vexation of euill opinions and their repugnauncie despoileth the mynde of all helthe, and troubleth it with griefes. Contrarye wyse afterwarde Tulli describeth good Opinion, and calleth it the beaultie of the soule, sayenge in this wyse, As of bodelye membres there is an apte figure, with a maner pleasauntnesse of colour, and that is called beaultie; so in the soule the equalitie and constaunce of opinions and iugementes ensuynge vertue, with a stable and stedfaste purpose, or contaynynge the selfe same effecte that is in vertue, is named beaultie. Whiche sentences depely inuestigate and well perceyued by them that be about princes and gouernours, they may consider howe ware and circumspecte they aught to be in the indusinge them to opinions. [Whereof they be sufficiently admonished by the moste excellent diuine Erasmus Roterodamus, in his boke of the Institution of a Christen prince, whiche in myne opinion can nat be so moche praysed as it is worthy. Therfore I will leaue nowe to write any more of Opinion, sauynge that I wolde that it shulde be all waye remembred, that opinion in iuginge thinges as they verely be armeth a man unto pacience.]
XII. Of Pacience in sustayninge wronges and rebukes.
UNTO hym that is valyaunt of courage, it is a great payne and difficultie to sustayne Iniurie, and nat to be forthwith reuenged. And yet often tymes is accounted more valyauntnesse in the sufferaunce than in hasty reuengynge. As it was in Antoninus the emperoure, called the philosopher, agayne whome rebelled one Cassius, and usurped the emperiall maiestie in Syria and the Este partes. Yet at the laste, beinge slaine by the capitaynes of Antonine next adioyninge, he therof unwetynge was therwith more greued. And therfore takyng to hym the chyldren of Cassius, entreated them honorably, wherby he acquired euer after the incomparable and moste assured loue of his subiectes. As moche dishonour and hatered his sonne Commodus wanne by his irnpacience, wherein he so exceded, that for as moche as he founde nat his bayne hette to his pleasure, he caused the keper therof to be throwen in to the hote brennynge furnaise. What thynge mought be more odible than that moste deuelysshe impacience? Julius Cesar, whan Catullus the Poete wrate agayne hym contumelyouse or reprocheable versis, he nat onely forgaue him, but to make hym his frende, caused hym often tymes to soupe with hym. The noble emperour Augustus, whanne it was shawed hym that many men in the citie had of hym unfittinge wordes, he thought it a sufficient answere that in a free citie men muste haue their tunges nedes at libertie. Nor neuer was with any persone that spake euill of hym in worde or countenaunce warse discontented. Some men will nat praise this maner of Pacience, but account hit for folysshenes, but if they beholde on the other side what incommoditie commeth of impacience, howe a man is therewith abstracte from reason and tourned in to a monstruous figure, and do conferre all that with the stable countenaunce and pleasaunt regarde of him that is pacient, and with the commoditie that dothe ensue thereof they shall affirme that that simplicitie is an excellent wisedome.
More ouer the best waye to be aduenged is so to contemne Iniurie and rebuke, and lyue with suche honestie, that the doer shall at the laste be therof a shamed, or at the leste, lese the frute of his malyce, that is to say, shall nat reioyce and haue glorie of thy hyndraunce or domage.
XIII. Of Pacience deserued in repulse, or hynderaunce of promocion.
To a man hauynge a gentyll courage, lyke wise as nothinge is so pleasaunt or equally reioyceth him as rewarde or preferment sodaynely giuen or aboue his merite, so nothinge may be to him more displeasaunt or paynefull than to be neglected in his payne takynge, and the rewarde and honour that he loketh to haue, and for his merites is worthy to haue, to be gyuen to one of lasse vertue, and perchaunce of no vertue or laudable qualitie. Plato in his Epistall to Dion, kynge of Scicile, It is (sayeth he) good right that they which be good men, and do the semblable, optayne honour whiche they be worthy to haue.
Undowghtedly in a prince or noble man may be nothinge more excellent, ye not hing more necessarye, than to aduaunce men after the estimation of their goodnes; and that for two speciall commodities that do come thereof. Fyrste, that therby they prouoke many men to apprehende vertue. Also to them whiche be good and all redy aduaunced do gyue suche courage, that they endeuour them selfes with all their powar to increase that opinion of goodnes, wherby they were brought to that aduauncement whiche nedes muste be to honoure and benefite of those by whome they were promoted. Contrary wise, where men from their infancie haue ensued vertue, worne the florisshynge tyme of youthe with paynefull studie, abandonynge all lustes and all other thinge whiche in that tyme is pleasaunt, trustynge therby to profite their publike weale, to optayne therby honour, whan either their vertue and trauayle is litle regarded, or the preferment which they loke for, is giuen to an other nat equall in merite, it nat onely perceth his harte with moche anguisshe, and oppresseth hym with discomfort, but also mortifieth the courages of many other whiche be aptly disposed to studie and vertue, and hoped therby to haue the propre rewarde therof, whiche is commendation and honour, which beinge giuen to men lackyng vertue and wisedome, shall be occasion for them to do euill (as Democritus sayeth), for who doughteth but that autoritie in a good man dothe publisshe his vertue whiche before laye hydde? In an euill man it ministreth boldnesse and lycence to do euill, whiche by drede was before couered. Surely this Repulse or (as they vulgarly speke puttynge backe from promotion, is no little payne or discomforte, but it may be withstande, or at the lest remedied, with pacience, whiche may be in this wise induced.
Fyrste, considerynge that the worlde was neuer so constant that at all tymes before good men were iustely rewarded, and none but they onely promoted. Cato, called Uticensis, at whose wisedome all the worlde wondred, and whose grauitie, as well the Senate and, people of Rome, as other kynges and princis, reuerense, lokynge to be one of the Consules, was openly reiecte. Wherwith his frendes and kynnesmen toke no litle discomfort. But Cato hym selfe so litte regarded that repulse, that where all wayes he went very homely, he the nexte day folowinge, decked and trymmed hym selfe more fresshely than he was wont, and whanne he had shewed hym selfe so to the people, at after none he walked with one of his frendes in the markette place, bare legged and in sengle apparayle, as he was accustomed.
Scipio, called Nasica, who by the hole senate was iuged the best man in the citie, and of an auncyent house, was lyke wise putte backe for beinge Consull. Lelius lyke wise, whiche was openly called the wiseman, was semblably refused. And diuers other, of whome histories do make mencion, were abiecte, whan they had well deserued honours, and their inferiors in merites promoted. Also a mannes conscience shall well comfort him whan he hathe so lyued that, where he is knowen, men do iuge him worthye preferment. And than may he saye to them whiche meruayle why he is nat aduaunced, as Cato sayde to a persone that tolde to hym that men wondred why amonge so many noble mennes images as were sette up in the citie, Cato's image was nat espied. By god, sayde Cato, I had leuer that men wondred why I haue none image sette up, than why men shulde set up myne image. So if men meruayle why a man is nat aduaunced, knowinge hym a good man, thanne iuge they hym to be worthy promotion, whiche iugement procedeth of fauour, and than though he lacke promocion, yet hathe he perfecte glorie, whiche euery noble hart desireth.
For Tulli sayeth, The perfecte and moste principall glorie consisteth in those thre thynges. If the multitude loue us; if they putte confydence in us; if also as it were meruaylinge at us, they think us worlhy to haue honour giuen unto us. With this glorie and clennesse of conscience, shall a wise man content hym, and be induced to Pacience, and nat be greued with his fortune, but to folowe Democritus in lawghinge at the blinde iugementes of men in bestowinge promotions. I omitte at this tyme to write any more of this vertue Pacience, sens to the institution of a gouernour this semeth to be sufficient, to the residue he shall be better persuaded by the warkes of Plutarche, Seneca, and Pontane, where they write of Pacience, whiche warkes he may here after rede at his leasour.
XIV. Of Magnanimitie, whiche may be named valyaun courage.
MAGNANIMITIE is a vertue moche commendable, and also expedient to be in a gouernour, and is, as I haue sayd, a companyon of fortitude. And may be in this wise defined, that it is an excellencie of mynde con-XIV. Magnanimity
cernynge thynges of great importaunce or estimation, doynge all thynge that is vertuous for the achieuynge of honour. But nowe I remembre me, this worde Magnanimitie beinge yet straunge, aslate borowed out of the latyne, shall nat content all men, and specially them whome nothing contenteth out of their accustomed Mumpsimus, I will aduenture to put for Magnanimitie a worde more familiar, call it good courage, whiche, hauynge respecte to the sayd definition, shall nat seme moche inconuenient.
But nowe concernyng a more large description of the sayd vertue. Aristotle saieth, That man semeth to be of noble courage that is worthy, and also iugeth hym selfe worthy to have thinges that be great. He saieth also afterwarde, Noble courage is an ornament of vertues, for it maketh them the more ample, and without them she her selfe may nat be. But I wltl for a litle tyme leaue this noble Philosopher Aristotelle, and reuerently interprete a place in the offices of Tulli, where he moste eloquently and playnely setteth out this vertue, sayenge, All way a valiaunt and noble courage is discerned by two thinges specially, wherof one is in despisinge thynges outwarde, whan a man is persuaded neylher to meruayle at any thynge, neyther to wysshe or desire any thinge but that which is honest. More ouer, that a man shulde nat bowe for any fortune or trouble of mynde. Another thinge is that whan thou arte of that mynde or courage, as I before sayde, than that thou practise those thynges nat onely which be great and moste profitable, but also them that be very difficile, and full of labour and perylle, as well concernynge mannes lyfe as many other thynges there un to pertaynynge. And afterwarde the same Tulli sayeth, To esteme litle those thinges whiche unto the more parte of men semeth excellent, and also with reason firme and stable to contemne them, it is signe of a noble and valyaunt courage. Also to tollerate those thinges whiche do seme bitter or greuous (wherof there be many in the lyfe of man and in fortune) in suche wise as thou departe nat from the astate of nature, neyther from the worship pertayninge unto a wise man, betokeneth a good courage, and also moche constaunce. By this it semeth that Magnanimitie or good courage is, as it were, the garment of Vertue, wherwith she is set out (as I mought saye) to the uttermoste. I neane nat that therby vertue is amended or made more beauteous, whiche of her selfe is perfecte, but lyke wise as a lady of excellent beaultie, thoughe that she be all wayes fayre, yet a ryche and fresshe garment declareth her astate, and causeth her the more to be loked on, and thereby her naturall beaultie to be the better perceyued. Semblably dothe Magnanimitie, ioyned with any vertu sette it wonderfully furthe to be beholden, and (as I mought saye) meruayled at, as it shall appere abundauntely in the examples ensuinge.
Agesilaus, king of Lacedemonia, in the begynninge of his youthe, perceyuinge that all Greece was in great feare for the fame that was sprad of the commynge of the Persians with an infinite armye, he with a noble courage profred nat onely to defende his owne contray, but also with a small hoste to passe the sees in to Asia, and frome thens either to brynge victorie of the Persianes, or els a sure and honorable peace. With whose courage the Lacedemones, highly recomforted, delyuered unto hym x thousande souldiours. With the whiche hoste he went in to Asia, and there vainquisshed the Persianes, and retourned ioyfully in to his contray with his people all saulfe, to his perpetuall renonme, and also the honour and suertie of all Greece.
Antigonus, kynge of Macedonia, beinge on the see, one of his capitaines aduised him to departe, sayenge that the nauye of his enemye was moche gretter in numbre than his, where unto with a noble courage he answered, And for howe many shippes accounte you oure persone? Wherewith his people toke suche comforte that they boldelye dyd set furth and vainquisshed their enemyes. Suche noble courage was in great kynge Alexander, that in hys warres agayne Darius, he was sene of all hys people fightynge in the prease of his enemyes bare heded.
I wyll nat be so uncurtaise to leaue unremembred in this place the notable Magnanimitie of a kynge of Englande, whiche I hapned to rede late in an olde cronycle.
Edgare, who in the tyme that the Saxons had this realme in subiection, hadde subdued all the other kynges Saxons, and made them his tributaries. On a tyme he hadde theim all with hym at dyner, and after it was shewed hym that Rynande, kynge of Scottes, hadde sayde that he woundred howe it shulde happen that he and other kynges, that were tall and great personaaes, wolde suffre them selfes to be subdued by so litle a body as Edgare was. Edgare dissembled and answered nothinge, but faynynge to go on huntynge, he toke with him the Scottisshe kynge in his company, and purposely withdrewe hym from them that were with hym and causynge by a secrete seruaunt two swerdes to be conuayed in to a place in the forest by hyn appointed, as soone as he came thither he toke the one sworde, and delyuered the other to Rinande, byddinge hym to proue his strength, and to assaye whither his dedes wolde ratifie his wordes. Wherat the Scottisshe kynge beinge abasshed, beholdynge the noble courage of Edgare, with an horrible feare confessed his errour, desirynge pardon, whiche he with moste humble submission at the laste optayned. That noble kynge Edgare declarynge by his Magnanimitie that by his vertue, and nat by chaunce, he was elected to reigne ouer so noble a region.
Plato, for his diuine wisedome and eloquence named the god of Philosophers, was sent for by Dionise, kynge of Sicile, to the intent, as it semed, that he wolde be of him instructed concernynge the polityke gouernaunce of his realme. But whan he had ben with him a certaine space, and wolde nat flatter with the kynge and upholde his tyrannye, the kinge became wery of him, in so moche that if it had nat ben at the requeste of Architas, prince of Tarent, he wolde haue put hym to dethe. Wherfore, partely at the desire of that prince, partely for feare of the Atheniensis, he licenced Plato to departe without damage, but at his departynge he sayde unto him, as it were in despite, O howe euill wilt thou speke of me, Plato, whan thou commest amonge thy companyons: and scolers. Than Plato with a noble courage, answered, God defende there shulde be in my scole somoche vacaunt tyme from the studie of wisedome, that there mought be any place lefte ones to remembre the.
Nowe will I make an ende of this vertue, and procede further to write of some vices whiche communely do folowe Magnanimitie, and with great difficultie may be exchued.
XV. Of Obstinacie, a familiar vice follovinge Magnanimitie.
THE prince of Oratours, Marcus Tullius, in his firste boke of Offices, sayeth that in height and greatnesse of courage is moste soneste ingendred obstinacie, and inordinate desire of soueraignetie.
Obstinacie is an affection immoueable, fixed to wille, abandonynge reason, whiche is ingendred of Pryde, that is to saye, whan a man estemeth so moche hym selfe aboue any other, that he reputeth his owne witte onely to be in perfection, and contemneth all other counsayle. Undoughtedly this is an horrible and perylouse vice, and very familiar with them whiche be of moste noble courages. By it many a valyaunt capitayne and noble prince haue nat onely fallen them selfes, but also brought all their contrayes in daungeour and often tymes to subuercion and ruyne.
The wise kinge Salomon sayeth, Amonge proude men be all way contentions, and they that do all thinges with counsayle, be gouerned by wisedome.
I nede nat to reherce examples out of olde writars what damage haue ensued of obstinacie, consideryng that euery historye is full therof, and we styll haue it in dayly experience. But of one thinge am I suer, where obstinacie ruleth, and reason lacketh place, there councelle auaileth nat, and where councell hath nat auctoritie and franches, there may no thing be perfecter Solomon sayeth, where as be many counsayles, there the people is in suertie. Nowe wyll I declare the resydue of Tullies sentence, concernynge inordynate desire of soueraignetie, whiche is preprelye callyd Ambition.
XVI. Of an other vyce folowing Magnanimitie, called Ambition.
IT was nat without a high and prudente consideration, that certayne lawes were made by the Romaynes, whiche were named the lawes of Ambition, whereby men were restrayned in the citie to optayn offices and dignities in the Publyke wele, either by gyuynge rewardes, or by other synystre laboure or meanes. And they, which by that lawe were condemned, were put to deathe without any fauour.
Verily it was a noble lawe, and for all places necessary, consyderynge what inconuenience hapneth by this vaine and superfluous appetite. Wytnesses amonge the Romayns Sylla, Marius, Carbo, Cinna, Pompei, and Cesar, by whose ambicion mo Romains were slayne, than in acquyrynge the empyre of al the world. Sylla condemned, and caused to be slayne, foure score thousande Romayns, beside many mo that were slayne in the battayles betwene him and the bothe Marius.
Also Pompei, and Julius Cesar, the one suffrynge no piere, the other no superior, by their ambycion caused to be slaine betwene them people innumerable, and subuerted the best and mooste noble publyke weale of the worlde, and fynaliy hauynge lyttell tyme of reioysinge theyr unlefull desire, Pompeie, shamefully fleinge, had his heed striken of, by the commaundement of Ptolomee, king of Egipt, unto whome as unto his frende he fledde for succour. Cesar, the vainquyssher, was murdred in the Senate with daggers, by them, whome he mooste specially fauoured.
I could occupie a great volume with histories of them whiche, coueytynge to mount into excellent dignities, dyd therby bringe in to extreme perylles bothe them selues and their countreys. For as Tacitus saith, wanderfull elegantly, with them whyche desire soueraygnetie, there is no meane place betwene the toppe and the stepe downe. To the whiche vordes Tulli agreinge, sayeth that hygh autorities shulde nat moche be desired, or rather nat to be taken at some tyme, and often tymes to be left and forsaken.
So dyd Sylla, whome I late spake of, and Diocletian, Emperour of Rome, who after that he had gouerned the empyre xxv yeres honorably (if he had nat ben polluted with the bloode of innumerable Christen men) he willingly abandoned the crowne and dignitie emperiall, and lvued nyne yeres on his priuate possessions. And on a tyme he beinge desired of Herculius and Galerius, unto whome he had resigned the empyre, to take eftsones on him the gouernaunce, abhorrynge it as a pestilence, aunswered in this wise, I wolde ye dyd see the herbes that I haue with myne owne handes sowen and sette at Salona, suerly ye wolde nat than in this wise aduise me.
Also Octauius Augustus, whiche in felicitie passed all emperours, deuised often tymes with his frendes to haue resigned his autoritie. And if at that tyme the Senate had ben as well fournisshed with noble and wise personages as it was before the Ciuile warres betwene Cesar and Pompei, it is to be thought that he wolde surely haue restored the publike weale to his pristinate glorie.
But nowe let us see what is the cause why that Ambition is so pernicious to a publike weale, and in myne oppinion it is for two causes principally.
Fyrste, for as moche as they whiche be of that courage and appetite, whan they be in autoritie, they suppose all thynge to be lefull that lyketh them, and also by reason of their preeminence they wolde so be separate from other that no man shulde countrolle them or warne them of their enormyties, and finally, they wolde do what they list without contradiction. Wherof do ensue diuers injuries and subuertion of iustyce.
And that this whiche I haue nowe sayd is true, Tulli affirmeth, sayenge, Verely it is a great difficultie, where thou woldest be aboue all men, to obserue equitie, whiche is the thinge moste appropred to iustice. And shortely after he sayeth, The more higher of courage that a man is, and desirous of glorie, the soner is he meued to do thinges agayne ryght. Seynge that it was so in the tyme of Tulli, whan all moste euery man that was in auctoritie had excellent lernynce, (the Romanes bringynge up their children in study of morall philosophie), what shall we than suppose in our tyme, whan fewe men in autorite do care for lernyne? Why shulde we thynke to be more iustice nowe used in autoritie than was in the tyme of Tulli? Is there nat nowe priuate affection, particular favour, displeasure, and haterede, as was at that tyme? I wolde that the redars hereof be iuges examinynge these my wordes with daily experience.
The seconde cause that condemneth ambicion is couatyse of treasure, therwith to maintaine their ostentacion and vayne glorie, which ambicious persones do calle their honour. Wherby they be procured to finde iniust meanes by their autoritie to prouide for suche substaunce, wherwith they may be nat onely satisfied (they beinge insaciable) but according to their owne appetite fully suffised. Wherfore the Philosophers, called Stoici used this sentence. Great indigence or lacke cometh nat of pouertie, but of great plentie, for he that hathe moche shal ne de moche. But certes, suche persones ambicious may well consider that the men, magnificence and pompe which they couaite is nat so moche wondred at, as auarice and collection of money is uniuersally hated. Wherfore Darius, king of Persia, and father to Xerxes, whan he had commaunded a subsidie to be leuyed of his subiectes, he demaunded the chiefe men of the contrayes, whether they founde them selfe greued, they aunswerynge that they were in a metely good case, he commaunded the one halfe to be eftsones restored, lest he of any auarice shulde be suspected. By the which act he stablisshed his dignite and made it more perfecte. More ouer Tulli saieth, To take any thing from an other man, and one man to encrease his commoditie with an other mannes detryment, is more repugnaunt to nature, than dethe, than pouertie, payne, or other thynge that mought happen either to the body or other goodes worldly. And this for nowe suffiseth to speke of ambition.
XVII. The true definicionn of Abstinence and Continence.
ABSTINENCE and continencie be also companions of fortitude, and be noble and excellent vertues, and I can nat tell whither there be any to be preferred before them, specially in men hauynge autoritie, they beinge the brydles of two capitall vices, that is to saye, Auarice and Lecherie; whiche vices, beinge refrayned by a noble that liueth at libertie and without controlement, procureth unto hym, beside the fauour of god, immortall glorie. And that citie or realme wherof the gouernours with these vices be litle or nothynge acquainted, do abide longe in prosperitie. For, as Valerius Maximus sayeth, where so euer this feruent pestylence of mankynde hathe entry, Iniury reigneth, reproche or infamie is spradde, and deuoureth the name of nobilitie.
The propreties of these two vertues be in this maner. Abstinence is wherby a man refrayneth from any thinge, which he may lefully take, for a better purpose. Continence is a vertue whiche kepeth the pleasaunt appetite of man under the yoke of reason. Aristotelle in his Ethikes, making them bothe but one, describeth them under the name of continence, sayenge, He that is continent, for as moche as he knoweth that couaitous desires be euill, he dothe abandone them, reason persuadynge hym. For this tyme I take Abstinence for the wilfull abandoninge of money, possessions, or other thinge semblable; Continence the onely forberynge the unlefull company of women.
Martius Coreolanus, a noble yonge man, which lineally descended from Ancus, somtyme king of Romaynes, whan he had done many valiaunt actes and achieued sondry enterprises, he was according to his merites, commended in the armye by Posthumius, than being consulle. And by their uniuersall assent he was rewarded with all suche honours as than appertained to a good warriour. Also with one hundrede acres of arable lande, the election of ten prisoners, ten horsis apparailed for the warres, one hundred of oxen, and as moche siluer as he mought beare. But of al this wolde he take no thing, but one onely prisoner which was of his acquaintaunce, and one courser, whiche all wayes after he used in batayle.
Marcus Curius, the very rule and paterne of Fortitude; and moderate lyuing, whan the people called Samnites, whiche had warres with the Romanes, founde him sittynge in his house by the fire upon a homely fourme, eatynge his meate in a disshe of tree, they brynginge to hym a great some of golde by the consent of the people, and wondryng at his pouertie, with courtaise langage desyred him to take that they had brought him, he thereat smilinge, said thus unto them: Ye ministers of a vaine and superfluous message, shewe you to the Samnites that Curius had leuer haue dominion ouer them that be riche than he him selfe to haue richesse. And as for this golde whiche ye accounte precious, take it agayne with you, and remembre that ye can neither vainquisshe me in bataile nor corrupt me with money.
Quintus Tubero, surnamed Catelius, what tyme he was consulle, the people in Greece called &Aelig;toli sent to him by their ambassadours a great quantitie of siluer vessell curiousely wrought and grauen. But whan they came to him they founde on his table vessell onely of erthe. And whan he sawe them he exhorted them that they shulde nat suppose that his continence, as if it were pouertie, shulde be with their presentes relieued. And with that sayenge, commaunded them to departe.
To Epaminondas, the Thebane, being in his tyme as well in vertue as prowesse, the moste noble man of all Greece, Arthaxerses, king of Persia, to make him his frende, sent one of his seruauntes to Thebes with a great quantitie of treasoure to gyue to Epaminondas. Whiche seruaunt, knowynge his maners, darst nat offre it unto him whan he came, but speking to a yonge man which was familiar with Epaminondas, gaue unto him a great rewarde to meue Epaminondas to receiue the kings present. Who uneth hering the firsts wordes of the yonge man, commaunded the kinges seruaunt to be brcught unto him, unto whome he had these wordes. Frende, shewe to the kynge that he nedeth nat to offre me money, for if he haue any thinge to do with the Thebanes for a good purpose, he may haue their assistence without any rewarde; if the purpose be nought, he can nat with all the treasoure of the worlds hope to optayne it. Whiche wordes were spoken with such a grauitie that the sayd seruaunt, beinge a ferde, desired Epaminondas that he mought be saulfly conuaied out of the citie. Whiche he graunted with good will, lest if the money were taken a way he mought of the receyuinge therof haue ben suspected. More ouer, he caused the Thebane, which was his frende and companion to restore to the messager the money that he had receyued.
Semblable Abstinence was there in Phocion, a noble counsaylour of Athenes, unto whome the ambassadours of the great kynge Alexander brought from their maister a hundred Talentes of golde, whiche were of englysshe money xii thousande pounde. But before that he herde them speke any thynge, he demaunded of them why to him onely the kynge sent so bounteous a rewarde. And they aunswered for as moche as king Alexander iuged him onely to be a good man and a iuste. Than suffre ye me, sayd Phocion, to be and to seme the same man that your kynge do iuge me, and cary your goode agayne to him. The same Phocion, the ambassadour of Antipater (who succeded the great king Alexander in Macedonia) offred to gyue a great some of money, whiche Phocion despisinge, sayde in this wise, Sens Antipater is nat gretter than Alexander nor his cause better, I do nothinge perceyue why I shulde take any thinge of him. And whan the Oratour wolde haue hadde Phocions sonne to haue taken the money, Phocion answered, If his sonne wolde be lyke unto hvm he shulde haue no nede neither of that money nor of none other. If he wolde be unlike unto him and of dissolute maners, neyther Antipaters giftes nor none others, were they neuer so great, shulde be sufficient.
By these examples it dothe appere howe good men dyd all way flee from rewardes, all though they mought haue ben lefully taken, which in them was neyther folisshenes nor yet rusticitie, but of a prudent consideracion. For as moche as bothe by wisedome and experience they knewe that he, whiche taketh a rewarde before any thinge done, is no lenger at libertie, but of a free man is made bonde, in as moche as he hath taken ernest for his true endeuour. Also by the takynge he is become an euill man, though before he were good, for if he receyued it for an euill purpose, he is thanne a wretche, and detestable. If the matter were good, than is he nat rightwise in sellynge a good deede, whiche he aught to do thankefully and without rewarde. And I dought nat who so euer is contented with his present astate, and supposeth felicitie to be in a meane, and all excesse to be perillous, will alowe these sentences and thinke them worthy to be had in remembraunce, specially of them that be gouernours. For that realme or citie where men in autorite haue their handes open for money, and their houses for presentes, is euer in the waye to be subuerted. Wherfore Caius Pontius, prince of Samnites, was wont to saye, I wolde god (sayd he) that fortune had reserued me unto the tyme, and that I had ben borne whan the Romaynes shulde begynne to take gyftes; I shulde than nat suffre them any lenger to rule. Paulus Emilius, whanne he hadde vainquisshed kynge Perses, and subdued all Macedonia, he brought into the commune treasory of Rome an infinite treasure, that the substaunce of that one prince discharged all the Romaynes to paye euer after any tax or subsidie. And yet of all that goodes Emilius brought no thinge in to his owne house, but onely perpetuall renonme.
Scipio, whan he hadde goten and destroyed the great citie of Charthage, he was nat therfore the rycher one halfepeny. By this it appereth that honour resteth nat in richesse, all though some perchaunce wyll saye that their reuenues be small, and that they muste take suche rewardes as be lefull, onely to maintayne their honour, but lette them take hede to the sayenge of Tulli, Nothynge is more to be abhorred thanne Auarice, specially in princis and theim whiche do gouerne publike weales.
XVIII. The examples of Continence gyuen by noble men.
Nowe wyll I speke of Continence, whiche is specially in refrayninge or forbering the acte of carnall pleasure, where unto a man is feruently meued, or is at libertie to haue it. Whiche undoughtedly is a thinge nat onely difficile, but also wonderfull in a man noble or of great auctoritie, but in suche one as it hapneth to be, nedes muste be reputed moche vertue, and wisedome, and to be supposed that his mynde is inuincible, considerynge that nothynge so sharpely assaileth a mannes mynde as dothe carnall affection, called (by the folowars therof) loue. Wherfore Plato sayeth, that the soule of man, which by loue is possessed, dieth in his owne body, and lyueth in an other.
The great kynge Alexander, after his firste victorye agayne kynge Darius, hauinge all wayes in his hoste the wife of the same Darius, whiche incomparably excelled all other wemen in beaultie; after that he had ones sene her. he neuer after wolde haue her come in his presence. All be it that he caused her astate still to be maintayned, and with as moche honour as euer it was, sayenge to them whiche, wondrynge at the ladyes beautie, meruailed why Alexander dyd nat desire to haue with her company, he answered that it shulde be to hym a reproche to be any wise subdued by the wife of him whom he had vainquisshed.
Antiochus, the noble king of Asia, beinge in the citie of Ephesum, behelde a virgine beinge a Mynchen in the temple of Diana to be of excellent beautie, where he perceiuing him selfe to be rauisshed in the loue of the mayden, he hastely and immediatly departed out of the citie, lest loue shulde constrayne him to violate a virgine; wisely considerynge that it was best to abstayne from doinge batayle with that enemye whiche unethe moughte be vainquisshed but with flight onely.
The valyaunt Pompei, whanne he had vainquisshed the kynge Mithridates, and had taken diuers of his concubines, which in beautie excelled, he wolde haue no carnall knowlege with any of them; but whan he knewe that they were of noble lignage, he sent them undefiled to their parentes and kynnesfolke.
Semblably dyd Scipio whan he wanne Carthage. For amonge diuers women whiche were there taken, one moste fairest of other was brought unto hym to do with her his pleasure. But after that she had discouered to him that she was affiaunced to a gentill man, called Indibilis, he caused him to be sent for, and whan he behelde the lamentation and signes of loue betwene them, he nat onely delyuered her to Indibilis, with her raunsome, whiche her frendes hadde payde for her redemption, but also added therto an honorable porcion of his owne treasour. By the whiche continence and liberalitie he wanne the hertes of Indibilis and all his blode, wherby he the soner optained and wanne all the contraye. Of this vertue be examples innumerable, as well of gentiles as of christen men. But these for this tyme shall suffise, sauynge that for the straungenesse of it, I will reherce a notable historie whiche is remembred by the moste excellent doctour, saynt Hierome.
Valerian, beinge emperour of Rome, and persecutynge the churche, in Egipt a christen man was presented unto him, whome he beholdynge to be yonge and lusty, thinkynge therfore to remoue him from the faythe, rather by veneriall motions, thanne by sharpenesse of tourmentes, caused hym to be layde in a bedde within a fayre gardayne, hauynge about him all flowres of swete odour and moste defectable sauours and perfumes. And than caused a fayre tender yonge woman to be layde by him all naked, who ceased nat swetely and louingly to embrace and kysse him, showinge to him all pleasaunt deuises, to the intent to prouoke him to do fornication. Ther lacked litle that the yonge man was nat vainquisshed, and that the flesshe yelded nat to the seruice of Venus: that perceyuinge the yonge man, whiche was armed with grace, and seinge none other refuge, he with his teethe dyd gnawe of his owne tunge, wherin he suffred such incredible payne, that therwith the furious brennyng of voluptuous appetite was utterly extinct. In this notable acte, I wote nat which is to be moste commended, either his inuincible courage in resisting so moche agayne nature, or his wisedome in subduynge the lasse payne with the more, and bytinge of that wherby he mought be constrayned to blaspheme god or renounce his religion. Suer I am that he therfore receyued immortall lyfe and perpetuall glorie. And this I suppose suffiseth to persuade men of good nature to embrace Continence. I meane nat to lyue euer chaste, but to honour matrimony, and to have good awayte, that they lette nat the sparkes of concupiscence growe in great flames, wherewith the wyttes shall be dryed up, and all noble vertues shall be deuoured.
XIX. Of Constance or Stabilitie.
IN buyldinge of a fortresse or other honorable mantion, it aught to be well considered that the cement, wherewith the stones be layde, be firme, and well bindynge. For if it be brokle, and will mouldre a way with euery showre of raine, the buyldynge may nat contynewe, but the stones beinge nat surely couched and mortred, falleth a way one after an other, and finally the hole house is defaced, and falleth in ruyne. Semblably, that man which in childehode is brought up in sondry vertues, if other by nature, or els by custome, he be nat induced to be all way constant and stable, so that he meue nat for any affection, griefe, or displeasure, all his vertues will shortely decaye, and, in the estimation of men, be but as a shadowe, and be soone forgoten.
[Also if a paynter hadde wrought in a table some peace of portrayture wonderfull elegant and pleasaunt to beholde, as well for the good proportion and figure, as for the fresshe and delectable colours, but for as moche as in temperynge his colours, he lacked good size, wherwith they shulde haue ben bounden, and made to endure after that the image hathe ben a litle while pleasaunt to the beholders, the colours beynge nat suerly wrought, either by moystnesse of wether relenteth or fadeth, or by some stroke or falle scaleth of, or mouldreth a waye, by reason wherof the image is utterly deformed, and the industrie of the warke man beinge neuer so excellent is perisshed, and accounted but for a vanitie.]
So he that hath all the giftes of nature and fortune, and also in his childehode is adourned with doctrine and vertue, whiche he hathe acquired with moche trauayle, watche, and studye, if he adde nat to constance whan he cometh to the tyme of experience, whiche experience is as it were the warke of the crates man, but meued with any priuate affection, or feare of aduersitie or exterior damage, will omitte any parte of his lernynge or vertue, the estimation of his persone immediatly ceaseth amonge perfecte warkemen, that is to saye, wise men, and finally nothynge beinge in him certayne or stable, what thinge in hym may be commended? And in one thynge me semeth that Constance hathe equall prayse with iustyce, that is to saye, that he that is him selfe iniuste, loueth that persone that dealeth iustely with him, and contrary wise hateth that persone that dealeth iniustely, or dothe him wronge. In like wise, he whiche is inconstant, extolleth him whome he fyndeth constant, and desireth to haue him his frende; on the other parte, whome he proueth in constant and wauerynge, he is angry with him, and accounteth him a beeste, and unworthy the company of men, and awayteth diligently to trust hym with nothinge. We note in children inconstance, and likewise in women. the one for sklendernesse of witte, the other as a naturall sickenesse. Therfore men use, in rebukynge a man of inconstance, to calle hym a childisshe or womanly persone. All be it some women nowe a dayes be founden more constant than men, and specially in loue towarde their husbandes; or els mought there happen to be some wronge inheritours.
Constance is as propre unto a man as is reason, and is of suche estimation, that according as it was spoken of a wise man, it were better to haue a constant enemye thanne an inconstant frende. Wherof I my selfe haue had sufficient experience. But nowe to declare some experience of constance, wherby the reders may be the more therto prouoked, I will reherce some examples therof out of olde histories, as I shall happen to remembre them.
After that Sylla hadde vainquisshed Marius, and destroyed the parte of his aduersaries, he with a great numbre of persones all armed, enuironed the senate, intendynge to compell them by violence to condemne Marius for a traytour; whiche request none darste agayne saye, Sceuola onely excepte, who beinge therof demaunded, wolde gyue no sentence. But whan Sylla dyd cast therfore on him a cruell countenaunce, he with a constant visage and noble courage, said to him, Sylla, all though thou facist and threttist me with thy multitude of souldiours, with whome thou hast thus besieged this court, ye and all though thou doest menace me with dethe neuer so moche, yet shalt thou neuer brynge it to passe that for shedynge a little olde blode, I shall iuge Marius a traytour, by whome this citie and all Italy haue ben preserued.
The constance that great kynge Alexander had in trustynge his frende agayne false reporte, saued his lyfe, whereof all men despaired. For after that noble batayle wherin he had vainquisshed Darius, and taken his treasure, as he passed through Cilicia, beynge sore chaufed with feruent heate and the lengthe of his iournay, as he came by the ryuer called Cydnus, beholding it clere and pleasaunt, and thinkynge to a swage therin the heates that he suffred, he went there into naked and dranke therof. But immediately, by the excedinge colde which was in that water, his sinewes shranks, and his iointes became unweldy, and as they were dede, and all his hoste being discomforted, he was conuayed to a citie thereby, called Tarsum. Where upon the Phisicions assembled and deuisinge for the best remedy, they all were determined to gyue hym one medicine, and that it shulde be ministred by one Philippe, chiefe phisicion with Alexander. In the meane tyme, Parmenio, one of the grettest capitaynes about Alexander, aduertised hym by his letters that he shulde beware of the trayson of the sayde Philyppe, sayenge that he was corrupted with a great some of money by Darius. Wherwith he beinge nothing esbaied helde in his handes the letter, and receyuinge the medicyne that Philyppe gaue hym, he at one tyme deliured the letter open to Philyppe, and dranke also the medicine, declaringe therby the constance that was in his frendship. Whiche truste nat onely caused nature the better to warke with the medicine, but also bounde so the harte of the Phisicion towarde him, that he euer after studyed more diligently for the helpe and preseruation of the noble prince that dyd so moche trust hym.
The constance of Cato Uticensis was all waye immoueable, in so moche as at sondry tymes, whanne he in the Senate egrely defended the publike weale with vehement and longe orations, agayne the attemptates of ambicious persones, he was by them rebuked and committed to prisone. But he therfore nat cessynge, but goinge towarde prisone, detected to the people, as he went, the unlefull purposes and enterprises of them by whome he was punisshed with the peryle that was imminent to the publike weale. Whiche he dyd with suche courage and eloquence that as well the Senate as the people drewe so about him, that his aduersaries were fayne for feare to discharge him. Who can suffidently commende this noble man Cato, whan he redeth in the warkes of Plutarche of his excellent courage and vertue? Howe moche worthyar had he bene to haue hadde Homere, the trumpe of his fame immortall, than Achilles, who for a lyte wenche contended with Agaemnon onely, where Cato, for the conseruation of the weale publike contended, and also resisted agayne Julius Ceasar and the greatte Pompey, and nat onely agayne theyr menaces, but also agayne theyr desyres and offres of aliaunce? Where of I wolde gladly haue made a remembrance in this warke if the volume there by shulde nat to moche haue increased, and becomen unhandsome.
Undoughtedly, constaunce is an honourable vertue, as inconstance is reprochefull and odious. Wherfore, that man whiche is mutable for euerye occasyon, muste nedes often repente hym, and in moche repentance is nat only moche foly, but also great detriment, whiche euery wyse man wyll eschue if he can. Wherfore to gouernours nothing is more propre than to be in theyr lyuyng stable and constant.
XX. The true signification of Temperaunce a norall vertue.
THis blessed companye of vertues in this wyse assembled, foloweth Temperaunce, as a sad and discrete matrons and reuerent gouernesse, awaitinge diligently that in any wyse voluptie or concupiscence haue no preeminence in the soule of man. Aristotle defineth this vertue to be a mediocrite in the pleasures of the body, specially in taste and touching. Therfore he that is temperate fleeth pleasures voluptuous, and with the absence of them is nat discontented, and from the presence of them he wllyngly abstayneth.
But in myne oppinion Plotinus, the wonderfull philosopher, maketh an excellent definition of temperaunce, sayenge, that the propretie or office therof is to couaite nothynge whiche maye be repented, also nat to excede the boundes of medyocritye, and to kepe desyre under the yocke of reason. He that practiseth this vertue is called a temperate man, and he that doeth contrarye there to is named intemperate. Betwene whome and a persone incontynent Aristotelle maketh this diuersytye; that he is intemperate, whyche by his owne election is ladde, supposynge that the pleasure that is presente, or (as I mought saye) in ure shulde all waye be folowed. But the persone incontinent supposeth nat so, and yet he nat withstandinge dothe folowe it. The same autour also maketh a diuersitie betwene hym that is temperate and him that is continent; sayeng, that the continent man is suche one that no thinge will do for bodely pleasure whiche shall stande agayne reason. The same is he which is temperate, sauynge that the other hathe corrupte desyres, whiche this man lacketh. Also the temperate man deliteth in nothynge contrarye to reason. But he that is continent deliteth, yet will he nat be ladde agayne reason. Finally, to declare it in fewe wordes, we may well calle hym a temperate man that desireth the thynge whiche he aught to desire, and as he aught to desyre, and whanne he aught to desyre. Nat withstandynge there be diuers other vertues whiche do seme to be as it were companyons with temperaunce. Of whome (for the exchuynge of tediousenes) I wyll speke nowe onely of two, moderation and sobrenesse, whiche no man (I suppose) doughteth to be of suche efficacie, that without them no man may attayne unto wisedome, and by them wisedome is sonest espied.
XXI. Of Moderation a spice of temperance
MODERATION is the limites and boundes whiche honestie hath appoynted in spekynge and doynge; lyke as in rennynge passynge the gole is accounted but rasshenesse, so rennynge halfe waye is reproned for slownesse. In like wise wordes and actes be the paces, wherin the witte of man maketh his course, and moderation is in stede of the gole, whiche if he passe ouer, he is noted either of presumption or of foole hardinesse; if he come short of the purpose, he is contemned as dulle, and unapte to affaires of great importaunce. This vertue shall best be perceiued by rehersinge of examples shewed by noble men, whiche is in effecte but dayly experience.
Fabius Maximus, beinge fyue tymes Consul, perceyuinge his father, his graundefather, and great graundefather, and diuers other his auncestours to haue had often tymes that most honorable dignitie, whan his sonne, by the uniuersall consent of the people, shulde be also made consul, he ernestly intreated the people to spare his sonne, and to gyue to the house of Fabius as hit were a vacation tyme from that honoure, nat for that he hadde anye mystrust in his sonnes vertue and honesty, but that his moderation was suche that he wolde nat that excellent dignitie shulde alway continue in one familie. Scipio Affricanus the elder, whan the senate and people had purposed that accordinge to his merites he shuld haue certaine statues or images set in al courtes and places of assembly, also they wold haue set his image in triumphant apparaile within the capitole, and haue granted to him to haue ben consul and Dictator during his lyfe; he, nat withstandyng, wolde nat suffre that anye of them shulde be decreed, either by the acte of the senate, or by the peoples suffrage. Where in he shewed hym selfe to be as valiant in refusing of honoures, as he was in the actes where in he had them well deserued. There is also moderation in tolleration of fortune of euerye sorte, whiche of Tulli is called equabilite, whiche is, whan there semeth to be alwaye one visage and countenance neuer changed nor for prosperitie nor for aduersite.
Metellus, called Numidicus, in a common sedicion beyng banisshed from Rome, and abyding in Asia, as he hapned to sit with noble men of that countray in beholding a great play, ther were letters deliuered him, wherby he was assertained that by the hole consent of the senate and people his retourne into his countray was graunted; he (nat withstanding that he was of that tidinges exceding ioifull) remeued nat untyll the playes were ended, nor any man sitting by hym mought percciue in his countenance any token of gladnes.
The great kynge Antiochus, whiche longe tyme hadde in his dominion all Asia, whiche is accounted to be the thirde part of the worlde, whan at the laste beinge vainquisshed by Lucius Scipio, he had lost the more parte of his empire, and was assigned but to a smal porcion, he used his fortune so moderately that he gaue great thankes to the Romanes, that beinge delyuered of so greatte burdon and charge, he more easely mought gouerne a litle dominion. Alexander, emperour of Rome, so in this vertue excelled, that beinge electe and made emperour at xvi yeres of his age, whan the senate and people for his vertue, wherin he passed al other, wolde haue hym called the great Alexander and father of the countray, whiche of all names was hygheste, he with a wonderfull grauite refused it, sayeng, that it behoued that those names were optayned by merites and ripenesse of yeres. The same prince also wolde nat suffre his empresse to use in her apparayle any richer stones than other ladyes; and if any were gyuen her, he either caused them to be solde or els gaue them unto Temples, affirmyng that the example of pompe and inordinate expensis shulde nat procede of the Emperours wyfe. And whan, for the honoure that he dyd to the Senate and lawes, his wife and his mother rebuked him, sayenge that he shulde bring the emperyall maiestie into to lowe an astate, he aunswered that it shulde be the surer and continue the longer.
There is also a Moderation to be used agayne wrathe or appetite of vengeaunce. Hadriane, the emperour, while he was but a priuate person, bare towarde a capitayne greuous displeasure, who afterwarde herynge that he was made emperour, was in great feare lest Hadriane wolde be aduenged. But whan he came to themperours presence, he nothing dyd or said to hym, but only these wordes, Thou haste well escaped. By the whiche wordes he well declared his moderation, and also that who so euer puttethe on the habite of a common persone or gouernour, it shall nat beseme him to reuenge priuate displesures.
Architas, whan he had bene a longe space out of his countrey and at his retourne founde his possessions and goodes distroyed and wasted, he sayd to his baylife, I wold surely punisshe the if I shuld nat be angry.
Moche lyke dyd Plato, for whan his seruaunt had offended hym greuously, he desired Speusippus, his frende, to punisshe him, leeste (sayde he) if I beate hym, I shulde happe to be angry. Wherin Plato deserued more praise than Architas, in as moche as he obserued his pacience, and yet dyd nat suffre the offence of his seruaunt to be unpunisshed. For most often tymes the omittynge of correction redoubleth a trespace.
Semblable moderation and wisedome, Aulus Gellius remembrethe to be in Plutarche, the philosopher, whiche was mayster to Traiane the emperour.
It hapned that the bondeman of Plutarch had committed some greuous offence, wherfore his mayster wylled that he shulde be sharply punisshed. Wherfore commaunding hym to be striped naked, caused an other of his seruauntes in his presence to beate hym. But the slaue who, as it semed, was lerned, while he was in beatynge, cried out on Plutarche, and in maner of reproche sayd unto hym, Howe agreeth this with thy doctrine that preachest so moche of pacience, and in all thy lessons repro[u]est wrathe, and nowe contrary to thyn owne teachyng, thou arte all inflamed with wrathe, and clene from the pacience which thou so moche praysest? Unto whom Plutarche, without any chaunge of countenaunce aunswered in this fourme, 'Thou embraydest me causeles with wrath and impacience, but I praye the what perceyuest thou in me that I am angry or out of pacience? I suppose (except I be moche deceiued) thou seest me nat stare with myn eyen, or my mouthe imbosed, or the colour of my face chaunged, or any other deformitie in my persone or gesture, or that my wordes be swyfte, or my voyce louder than modestie requyreth, or that I am unstable in my gesture or motion, whiche be the sygnes and euident tokens of wrathe and impacience. Wherfore said he to the correctour, sens he can nat proue that I am yet angry, in the meane tyme whyle he and I do dispute of this matter, and untyll he utterly do cese of his presumption and obstinacie, loke that thou styl beate him. Verily, in myn oppinion Plutarch herein declared his excellent wysedome and grauitie, as well in his example of pacience as also in subduynge the stubbourne courage of an obstinate seruaunt. Whiche historie shall be expedient for gouernours to haue in remembrance, that whan according to the lawes they do punysshe offendours, they them selfes be nat chaufed or meued with wrath, but (as Tulli sayeth) be lyke to the lawes, whiche be prouokedde to punysshe nat by wrathe or displeasure, but onely by equitie. And immediately the same autour gyueth an otlier noble precept concerning moderation in punysshement, sayenge, that in correcting, wrath is principally to be forboden, for he that punissheth. Whyle he is angry, shall neuer kepe that meane whiche is betwene to moche and to lyttell.
XXII. Of Sobrietie in Diete
VERELY I nothynge doute but that the more parte of the redars of this warke wyll take in good parte al that is before written, consideringe the benefite, and also the ornament that those vertues of whom I haue spoken, of good reason and congruence, must be to them in whom they shall be planted and do contynue. But I knowe well that this chapitre whiche nowe ensueth shall uneth be thankefully receyued of a fewe redars, ne shall be accounted worthy to be radde of any honourable person, considering that the matter therin contayned is so repugnaunt and aduerse to that perniciouse custome, wherin of longe tyme men hath estemed to be the more part of honour; in so moche as I very well knowe that some shall accounte great presumption in this myne attemptate in writynge agayne that whiche haue bene so longe used. But for as moche as I haue taken up on me to write of a publike weale, which taketh his begynnynge at the example of them that be gouernours, I wyll nat lette for the disprayse gyuen by them whiche be abused. But with all study and diligence I wyl descriue the auncient temperaunce and moderation in diete, called sobrietie, or, in a more general terme, frugalite, the acte wherof is at this day as infrequent or out of use amonge all sortes of men, as the termes be straunge unto them whiche haue nat bene well instructed in latin.
The noble emperour Augustus, who in all the residue of his lyfe was for his moderation and temperance excellently commended, suffred no litle reproche, for as moche as he in a secrete souper or banket, hauynge with hym sixe noble men, his frendes, and sixe noble women, and naming hym selfe at that tyme Apollo, and the other men and women the names of other goddes and goddesses, fared sumptuousely and delicately, the citie of Rome at that tyme beinge vexed with skarcitie of grayne. He therfore was rente with curses and rebukes of the people, in so moche as he was openly called Apollo the turmentour, sayenge also that he with his goddes had deuoured their corne. With whiche libertie of speche, beinge more persuaded than discontented, fro than forthe he used such a frugalitie or moderation of diete, that he was contented to be serued at one meale with thre dysshes, or sixe at the mooste, whiche also were of a moderate price, and yet therin he used suche sobrenes that either he hym selfe wolde nat sitte untyl they which dyned with him had eaten a good space, or elles if he sate whan they dyd, he wolde aryse a great space or any of them had left eating. And for what purpose suppose ye dyd this emperour in this wyse, in whom was neuer spotte of auarice or vyle courage. Certes for two causes, fyrst knowing the inconueniences that alway do happen by ingurgitations and excessife fedinges. Also that lyke as to hym was commytted the soueraigne gouernance of al the worlde, so wolde he be to all men the generall example of lyuinge. Nowe what damages do happen amonge menne by immoderate eatinge and drynkynge we be euery day taught by experience; but to brynge them (as it were) to mennes eyen, I wyll set them out euidently.
Firste, of sacietie or fulnesse be ingendred paynfull diseases and sickenesses, as squynces, Distillations called rewmes or poses, hemorroydes, great bledynges, crampes, duskenesse of sight, the tisike, and the suche, with many other that come nat nowe to my remembraunce. Of to moche drynkinge procedeth dropsies, wherwith the body, and often tymes the visage is swollen and defaced, bestly fury, wherwith the myndes be perisshed, and of all other moste odious, swyne dronkynnesse, wherewith bothe the body and soule is deformed, and the figure of man is as it were by inchauntement transfourmed in to an ugly and lothesome ymage. Wherfore the Lacedemones somtyme purposely caused their rusticall seruauntes to be made very dronke, and so to be brought in at their commune dyners, to the intent that yonge men beholdynge the deformitie and hastye fury of them that were dronkardes, shulde lyue the more sobrely, and shulde eschue dronkynnesse as a thynge foule and abhominable. Also Pittacus, (one of the seuen sages of Greece) dyd constitute for a lawe that they whiche beynge dronke dyd offende, shulde sustaine double punisshement, thar men shuld the more dilygently forbere to be dronke.
It is right euident to euery wise man, who at any tyme hathe haunted affayres wherunto was required contemplation or seriouse study, that to a man hauing due concoction and digestion as is expedient, shall in the mornynge, fastynge, or with a litle refaction, nat onely haue his inuencion quicker. his iugement perfecter, his tonge redier, but also his reason fressher, his eare more attentife, his remembraunce more sure, and generally all his powars and wittes more effectuall and in better astate, than after that he hath eaten abundauntly. Which I suppose is the cause why the auncient courtes of recorde in this realme haue euer benne used to be kept onely before none. And surely the consideration is wonderfull excellent, and to be (as I mought saye) supersticiously obserued; the reasons why be so apparaunt that they nede nat here to be rehersed.
Pythagoras was neuer sene to eate any fysshe or flesshe, but only herbes and frutes. Semblably dyd many other who exactely folowed his doctrine. Wherfore it was supposed that they the rather excelled all other in findynge out the secretes and hydde knowleges of nature, whiche to other were impenetrable.
Plato (or rather Socrates, Plato indictynge) in his seconde boke of the publyke weale, wylleth that the people of his citye, whiche he wolde constitute, shulde be norysshed with barly brede and cakes of whete, and that the residue of their diete shulde be salte, olyues, chese, and likes, and more ouer wortes that the feldes do brynge furthe, for their potage. But he addeth to, as it were to make the dyner more delicate, figges, benes, myrtill beryes, and beeche mast, whiche they shulde roste on the coles, and drynke to it water moderately.
So (sayeth he) they lyuinge restfully and in helthe unto extreme age, shall leaue the same maner of lyuinge unto their successours. I knowe well some redars, for this diete appointed by Socrates, will skorne him, accountynge hym for a foole, who nat onely by the answere of Apollo, but also by the consent of all excellent writars that folowed hym, and the uniuersall renonme of all people, was approued to be the wisest man of all Grecia. Certes I haue knowen men of worshippe in this realme, whiche durynge their yongth haue dronken for the more parte water. [Of whome some yet lyueth in great auctorytie, whose excellencie as well in sharpnesse of wytte as in exquisite lernynge, is all redy knowen throughe all Christendome.]
But here men shall nat note me that I wryte this as who sayeth that noble men in this realme shulde lyue after Socrates diete, wherin hauinge respecte to this tyme and region, they mought perchaunce fynde occasion to reproue me. Surely lyke as the excesse of fare is to be iustly reproued, so in a noble man moche pinchynge and nygardshyppe of meate and drinke is to be discommended.
I can nat commende Aelius Pertinax, who beinge emperour of Rome, wolde haue his gestes serued with a plante of lettuse deuyded in two partes, and except some thynge were sent hym, he wolde appoynte nyne pounde weyght of flesshe unto thre messes, and if any dysshe hapned to be brought to hym, he caused it to be sette up untyll the next daye. I am a shamed to remembre that he wolde sende to his frendes two morselles of meate, a pece of a podynge, or the carkaisse of a capon. This was but miserye and wretched nygardeshippe in a man of suche honour.
In lyke maner who will nat haue in extreme detestation the insatiable gloteny of Vitellius, Fabius Gurges, Apicius, and dyuers other, to whiche carmorantes, neither lande, water, ne ayre, mought be sufficient.
Neither the curiositie and wanton appetite of Heliogabalus, emperour of Rome, is of any wise man alowed. Who beinge at Rome or ferre from the see, wolde eate onely see fysshe, and whan he sojourned nighe to the see, he wolde touche no fysshe but whiche was taken out of the ryuer of Tybre or other places of equall or of more distaunce. Also he wolde haue disshes of meate made of Camelles heeles, the combes of cockes newly cutte, the tunges of pecockes and nyghtyngales, partriches egges, and other thinges harde for to come by, wherto be no englysshe names founden (as I suppose) apte to the true signification.
More ouer all thoughe I dispraysed nygarshippe and vicious scarcitie, in these nombre of disshes whiche I haue commended, yet I desyre nat to haue therin meates for any occasion to moche sumptuous. For in one or two disshes may be employed as moche money as in twentie, perchaunce as good or better in eatynge. Wherof there remayneth a noble example of Cleopatra, doughter of Ptolomee, late kinge of Egypt (whome Cesar in his lyfe helde for his Concubine) the same lady Antoni (with whome Octauiane deuided the empire) loued also peramours, abandonynge his wyfe, which was suster to Octauian. And the warres betwene him and Octauian ceasinge by a litle space, he (durynge that tyme) lyued in moste prodigall riotte, and thinkyng all thinge in the see, the lande, and the ayre to be made for satisfienge his gloteny, he deuoured all flesshe and fysshe that mought be anywhere founden, Cleopatra disdayninge to be vainquisshed in any excesse by a Romane, layde a wager with Antony that she her selfe wolde receyue in to her body at one souper the value of fyftie thousande poundes, whiche to Antony was thought in a maner to be impossible. The wager was put in to the handes of Numatius Plancus, a noble Romane. The next day Cleopatra prepared for Antony a ryght sumptuous souper, but wherat Antony nothing meruailed, knowinge the value therof by his accustomed fare, than the quene smylyng called for a goblet, wher into she clyd poure a quantitie of very tarte vinegre, and takynge a perle which hynge at one of her eares, she quickely dyd let it fall in to the vinegre, wherein beynge shortely dissolued (as it is the nature of the perle) she immediately dranke it, and all thoughe she had vainquisshed Antony accordynge to her wager, the perle without any dought beinge of the value of L. M. Ii, yet hadde she lykewyse dronken an other perle of lyke value, whiche was hangynge at her other eare, had nat Numatius Plancus, as an indifferent iudge, furthewith gyuen iugement that Antony was all redy vainquisshed.
I haue rehersed this historie wrytten by Macrobius and also Plini, to the intent that the vanitie in sumptuous festinge shulde be the better expressed.
Androcides (a man of excellent wisedome) wrate unto the great kynge Alexander an epistell, desyrynge hym to refrayne his intemperance, wherin he sayd, Noble prince, whan thou wylte drynke wyne, remember thanne that thou drynkest the bioode of the erthe. Synifyenge therby (as I suppose) the myght and powar of wyne, and also warnynge Alexander of the thirste or appetyte of bloode whyche wolde ensue by his intemperate drynkynge. For Plini (that writeth this historie) sayth immediately, that if Alexander hadde obeyed the preceptes of Androcides, he hadde neuer slayne his frendes in his dronkennes. For undoughtedly it maye be sayde with good right that there is nothing to the strength of mans body more profitable than wyne, ne to voluptuouse appetites more pernicious, if measure lacketh. Also it is very truely and properly written of Propertius the poete, in this sentence folowyng or like:
By wyne beaultie fadeth, and age is defaced,Moreouer Salomon, in his boke named Ecclesiastes, calleth that countraye happy whereof the gouernours do eate in theyr tyme. And what shall we suppose is theyr tyme but onely that which nature and the uniuersall consente of all people hathe ordayned? And of what space is that tyme? But only that which suffiseth to the abundaunt sustentation and nat oppression of nature, ne letteth any parte of their necessary affaires about the publike weale.
Wyne maketh forgoten that late was embraced.
[This me semeth may be one exposition of Salomons sentence. And here will I nowe make an ende to wryte any more at this tyme of moderate diete, which I haue nat done of any presumption, but all onely to exhorte gentyll men to preserue and augment their wittes by this exhortation to temperaunce, or suche lyke by them selfes or some other better deuysed.]
XXIII. Of Sapience, and the definition therof.
ALL be it that some men whiche haue hiderto radde this boke will suppose that those vertues whereof I haue treated be sufficient to make a gouernour vertuous and excellent, nethelas for as moche as the effecte of myne enterprise in this warke is to expresse, as farre furthe as god shall instructe my poore witte, what thinges do belonge to the makinge of a perfeyte publike weale, whiche well nigh may no more be without an excellent gouernour thanne the uniuersall course of nature may stande or be permanent without one chiefe disposer and meuer, which is ouer all supereminent in powar, understanding, and goodnes. Wherfore because in gouernaunce be included disposition and ordre, whiche can nat be without soueraigne knowlege, procedynge of wisedome, in a more elegant worde called Sapience, therfore I will nowe declare as moch as my litle witte doth comprehende of that parte of Sapience that of necessitie must be in euery gouernour of a iuste or perfeyte publike weale.
The noble philosopher and moste excellent oratour, Tullius Cicero, in the iv boke of his Tusculane questions saieth in this wise, Sapience is the science of things diuine and humaine, which considereth the cause of euery thing, by reason wherof that which is diuine she foloweth, that whiche is humane she estemith ferre under the goodnes of vertue. This definition agreeth wel with the gifte of sapience that god gaue to Salomon, king of Israell, who asked onely wisedome to gouerne therwith his realme. But god, which is the fountayne of sapience, graciously ponderinge the yonge princes petition which proceded of an apt inclination to vertue, with his owne moste bounteous liberalitie, whiche he purposed to employe on him for the entiere loue that he had to his father; he therfore included in him plentie of all wisedome and connynge in thinges as well naturall as supernaturall, as it appereth by the warkes of the same kynge Salomon, wherin be well nyghe as many wysedomes as there be sentences. And in myne oppinion one thynge is specially to be noted. Kynge Dauid, father to Salomon, was a man of a rare and meruaylous strength, in so moche as he hym selfe reporteth in the booke of kinges that he, beinge a chylde and caryeng to his bretherne their dyner, where they kept their cattell, slewe firste a great beare, and after a lyon, whiche fierce and hungrye, assaulted him, all though he were unarmed and whether he had any weapon or no, it is uncertaine, sens he maketh therof no mencion. Also of what prowes he was in armes and howe valiaunt and good a capitayne in batayle hit maye sufficiently appere to them that wyll rede his noble actes and achieuaunces in the bokes before remembred. Wherein no good catholyke man wyll any thynge doute, though they be meruaylous, yet nat withstandynge, all his strength and puyssaunce was nat of suche effecte that in the longe tyrne of his raygne, whiche was by the space of xl yeres, he coulde haue any tyme vacant from warres. But alway had either continuall bataile with the Philisties, or els was molested with his owne children and suche as aught to haue ben his frendes. Contrary wise, his son Salomon, of whome there is no notable mention made that he shewed any commendable feate concerning martiall prowesse, sauynge the furniture of his garrysones with innumerable men of warre, horses and chariotes; whiche proueth nat hym to be valiaunt and stronge, but onely prudent; he after a lyttell bikeryrige with the Philisties in the begynnyng of his raygne, afterwarde durynge the tyme that he raygned, contynued in peace without any notable bataile or molestation of any persone. Wherfore he is named in scripture Rex pacificus, whiche is in englyssbe the peasible kinge. And onely by sapience so gouerned his realme, that though it were but a lytle realme in quantite, it excelled incomparably all other in honour and ryches; in so moche as syluer was at that tyme in the citie of Hierusalem as stones in the strete. Wherfore it is to be noted that sapyence in the gouernaunce of a publike weale is of more efficacie than strength and puissaunce. The auctoritie of sapience is well declared by Solomon in his prouerbes. By me (sayth sapience) kynges do raigne, and makers of lawes discerne thinges that be iuste. By me prynces do gouerne, and men hauynge powar and auctorytie do determyne iustyce. I loue all them that loue me, and who that watcheth to haue me shall fynde me. With me is bothe ryches and honour, stately possessyons, and iustyce. Better is the frute that commeth of me than golde and stones that be precyouse. The same kynge sayth in his boke called Ecclesiastice: A kynge without sapyence shall lose his people, and cities shall be inhabited by the wytte of them that be prudent. Whiche sentence was verefied by the sonne and successour of the same kynge Salomon, called Roboaz, to whome the sayde boke was written. Who neglectinge the wise and vertuous doctrine of his father, contempned the sage counsayle of auncient men and imbraced the lyte persuasions of yonge men and flaterers; wherby he loste his honour and brought his realme in perpetuall deuision. The empire of Rome (whose begynnyng, prosperitie, and desolation semeth to be a mirrour and example to all other realmes and countryes) declareth to them that exactely beholdeth it, of what force and value sapience is to be estemed, beynge begonne with shepeherdes fleynge the wrathe and displeasure of their maysters.
Romulus duryng the tyme of his raygne, (whiche was xxxvii yeres), he nothyng dyd enterprise without the authorytie and consent of the fathers, whome he him selfe chase to be Senatours. And finally, as longe as the senate contynued or increased in the citie of Rome, and retayned their auctoritie, whiche they receyued of Romulus, and was increased by Tullus Hostilius, the thyrde kyng, they wonderfully prospered, and also augmented theyr empyre ouer the more parte of the worlde. But soone after the emperour Constantine had abandoned the citie and translated the Senate from thens to Constantinople, and that, finally, the name and auctoritie of the Senate was by litle and litle exhauste by the negligence and foly of ignoraunt emperours, nat onely that moste noble citie, hedde and princesse of the worlde, and fountayne of all vertue and honour, felle in to moste lamentable ruyne; but also the majestie of the empyre, decayed utterly, so that uneth a litle shadows therof nowe remayneth; whiche who so beholdeth and conferreth it with Rome whan it flourished, accordinge as it is lefte in remembraunce by noble writars, he shall uneth kepe teares out of his eyen, beholdynge it nowe as a rotten shepecote, in comparison of that citie noble and triumphant. O poure and miserable citie! what sondry tourmentes, excisions, subuertions, depopulations, and, other euill aduentures hathe hapned unto the, sens thou were birefte of that noble courte of Sapience. Whose autoritie, if it had alwaye contynued, beynge also confirmed in the fayeth and true religion of Christe, god beynge with the pleased, thou couldest neuer haue bene thus desolate unto the fynall consummation and ende of the worlde. [Nowe haue I briefely and generally declared the utilitie of Sapience, and the mischiefe that hapneth by the defaulte or lacke thereof. The particuler effectes we wyll declare hereafter more specially.]
I dought nat but it is well knowen to euery Catholyke man that hath the liberall use of reason, that all maner of understandyng and knowlege, whereof procedeth perfecte operation, do take their origynall of that hyghe sapience whiche is the operatrice of all thynges. And therfore Salomon, or Philo, or who so made the boke called sapientia, made his prayer to god in this wise: Gyue to me, good lorde, sapience that sytteth by thy throne. And in the later ende of the prayer he sayeth: Sende her from the sete of thy holyne sse that she may be with me, and labour with me, and that I may knowe what may be accepted with the.
Orpheus (one of the eldeste poetes of Grece) affirmeth in his hymmes that the Musis were goten betwene Jupiter and memorie. Whiche sayenge beinge well understande and exactly tried, it shall appere manifestly with the sayenge of the wyse man, contayned in the sayd prayer late rehersed.
Eustathius (the expositour of Homere) sayeth that Musa is the knowlege of the soule, and is a thyng diui ne as the soule is. But, fynally, as by olde autours a man may aggregate a definition, that whiche is called in greke and latyne Musa, is that parte of the soule that induceth and moueth a man to serche for knowlege, in the whiche motion is a secrete and inexplicable delectation. All be it bicause knowlege is in sondry wise distribute, and the nombre of nyne amonge olde autours was alwaye rehersed where they spake of a multitude, as it shall appere to them that rede Homere and Virgile, therfore there were diuised to be nyne Muses, whiche also for the resemblaunce of their disposition were fauned by the poetes to be nyne virgines, that firste inuented all lyberall sciences, but the other oppinion approcheth more nere unto the trouthe, and agreeth better unto my purpose. More ouer, Jupiter was alwaye taken of the poetes and Philosophers for the supreme god, whiche was the gyuer of lyfe and creatour of all thinges, as it appereth in all their warkes. Wherfore somtyme they calle him omnipotent, somtyme the father of goddes and of men, so that under that name they knowleged to be a very god, though they honored nat him as one only god, as they aught to haue done.
But nowe Orpheus sayenge that the Muses proceded of Jupiter and Memorie, may be in this wyse interpreted: that god almyghtie infuded Sapience into the Memorye of man, (for to the acquirynge of science belongeth understandynge and memorie), whiche, as a Treasory, hathe powar to retayne, and also to erogate and distribute, whan oportunitie hapneth. And for the excellencie of this thynge some noted to be in mannes soule a diuine substaunce. As Pythagoras, or some of his scholers writynge his sentence, sayeth in this wyse spekynge to man:
Nowe in thy selfe haue thou good confidence,whiche sentence of Pythagoras is nat reiecte eyther of Plato, whyche approched nexte unto the catholike writars, or of diuines whiche interprete holy scripture; takynge the soule for the ymage and similytude of god.
Sens mortall men be of the kynde diuine,
In whose nature a reuerent excellence
Appereth clere, whiche all thinge dothe define.
More ouer Plato, (in his boke called Timeus), affirmeth that there is sette in the soule of man commyng into the worlde certayne spices, or as it were sedes of thynges and rules of Artes or sciences. Wherfore Socrates (in the boke of Science) resembleth hym selfe to a mydwyfe, sayenge that in teachinge yonge men, he dyd put in to theim no science, but rather brought furthe that which all redy was in them, like as the mydwife brought nat in the childe, but, beinge conceyued, dyd helpe to bringe it furthe. And like as in houndes is a powar or disposition to hunte, in horses and grehoundes an aptitude to renne swiftely, so in the soules of men is ingenerate a lerne of science, whiche with the mixture of a terrestryall substaunce is obfuscate or made darke; but where there is perfeyte mayster prepared in tyme, than the brightnes of the science appereth polite and clere. Like as the powar and aptitude of the bestes before rehersed appereth nat to the uttermoste, excepte it be by exercise prouoked, and that slouthe and dulnesse beynge plucked from them by industrie, they be induced unto the continuall acte whiche, as Plato affirmeth, is proued also in the mayster and the disciple. Semblably the foresayde Socrates in Platons boke of Sapience sayeth to one Theages: Neuer man lerned of me any thinge, all thoughe by my company he became the wiser. I onely exhortynge and the good spirite inspyringe. Whiche wonderfull sentence, as me semeth, may well accorde with our catholyke fayeth, and be recevued in to the commentaries of the mooste perfecte diuines. For as well that sentence, as all other before rehersed, do comprobate with holy scripture that god is the fountayne of Sapience, lyke as he is the soueraygne begynnynge of all generation.
Also it was wonderfully well expressed of whom Sapience was engendred by a poete, named Affranius, whose verses were sette ouer the porch of the Temple where the Senate of Rome mooste commonly assembled. Whiche verses were in this maner:
Usus me genuit, mater peperit memoriaWhiche in englysshe maye be in this wyse translated:
Sophiam me Graii vocant, vos Sapientiam.
Memorye hyght my mother, my father experience.By use or experience in these versis expressed the poete intended as well those actes whiche we our selfe dayly do practyse, as also them whiche beynge done by other in tyme passed, for the frute or utilitie whiche therof succeded, were alowed, and also proued to be necessary. And the cause why that the poete conioyneth experience and memorie together, as it were in a lefull matrimony, experience bigettynge, and memorye alwaye producynge that incomparable frute called Sapience, is for that memorie in her operation proprely succedeth experyence. For that which is presently done we perceyue, that which is to come we coniecte or diuine, but that whiche is passed onely we haue in our memorie. For as Aristotell declareth wonderfully in an example, in the principall sense of manne there is conceyued an ymage or figure of a thynge, whiche by the same sense is perceyued as longe as it is retayned intiere or hole, and, (as I mought saye), consolidate, pure, manifeste, or playne and without blemmisshe, in suche wise that in euery parte of it the mynde is stered or occupyed, and by the same mynde it may be throughly perceyued and knowen, nat as an ymage in it selfe, but as representynge an other thinge; this is proprely memorie. But if the hole ymage or figure be nat retayned in the mynde, but parte therof onely remayneth, parte is put out eyther by the lengthe of tyme, or by some other mishappe or iniurie, so that it neither can bring the mynde eftsones unto it, nor it can be called agayne of the mynde, as often as by that portion whiche styll remayneth and hathe aboden alwaye intiere and clene, the residue that was therto knytte and adioyned and late semed for the tyme ded or bireft from the mynde, is reuiued and (as it were) retourned home agayne, it is than had for redemed or restored, and is proprely called remembraunce.
Grekes calle me Sophi, but ye name me Sapience.
This is the exposition of the noble Philosopher, whiche I haue writen principally to thentent to ornate our langage with usinge wordes in their propre signification. Wherof what commoditie may ensue all wise men wyll, I dought nat, consider.
XXIV. What is the true signification of understandynge.
FOR as moche as in the begynnynge of the fyrste boke of this warke I endeuoured my selfe to proue, that by the ordre of mannes creation, preeminence in degree shulde be amonge men according as they do excell in the pure influence of understandynge, whiche can nat be denyed to be the principall parte of the soule, some reder perchaunce meued with disdayne will for that one assertion immediately reiecte this warke, saieng that I am of a corrupt or folisshe oppinion; supposing that I do intende by the said wordes that no man shulde gouerne or be in authoritier but onely he whiche surmounteth all other in doctrine, whiche, in his hasty malice, he demeth that I onely do meane where I speke of understandynge.
I suppose all men do knowe that man is made of body and soule, and that the soule in preeminence excelleth the body as moche as the maister or owner excelleth the house, or the artificer excelleth his instrumentes, or the king his subiectes. And therfore Saluste in the conspiracie of Cathaline sayeth, We use specially the rule of the soule and seruice of the body; the one we participate with goddes, the other with bestes. And Tulli saieth in Tusculane questions: Mannes soule, beinge decerpt or taken of the portion of diuinitie called Mens, may be compared with none other thinge, (if a man mought lefully speke it), but with god hym selfe. Also the noble diuine Chrisostomus sayeth that the body was made for the soule, and nat the soule for the body. Nowe it is to be further knowen that the soule is of thre partes: the one, wherin is the powar or efficacie of growinge, which is also in herbes and trees as well as in man, and that parte is called vegetatife. An other parte, wherin man doth participate with all other thynges lyuynge, whiche is called sensitife, by reason that therof the sensis do procede, whiche be distributed in to dyuers instrumentall partes of the body; as sight in to the eyen, herynge to the eares, smellyng to the nose, tastynge to the mouthe, felynge to euery parte of the body wherin is bloode, without the whiche undoughtedly maye be no felynge. The thirde parte of the soule is named the parte intellectuall or of understandynge, whiche is of all the other mooste noble, as whereby man is mooste lyke unto god, and is preferred before all other creatures. For where other beastes by theyr senses do feele what thynge do profyte theim, and what dothe anoy them, only man understandeth wherof the sayd contrary dispositions do comme, and by what meanes they do either helpe or anoye; also he perceyueth the causes of the same thynge, and knoweth howe to resyste, where and whan nede dothe requyre, and with reason and crafte howe to gyue remedy, and also with labour and industry to prouyde that thing whiche is holsome or profitable. This moste pure parte of the soule, and (as Aristotle sayeth) diuyne, impassible, and incorruptible is named in latine Intellectus, whereunto I can fynde no propre englysshe but understandynge. For intelligence, whiche commeth of Intelligentia, is the perceyuyng of that whiche is fyrst conceyued by understandyng, called Intellectus. Also intelligence is nowe used for an elegant worde where there is mutuall treaties or appoyntementes, eyther by letters or message, specially concernynge warres, or like other great affaires betwene princes or noble men. Wherfore I wyll use this worde understandynge for Tntellectus, untyll some other more propre englysshe worde maye be founden and brought in custome. But to perceyue more plaimly what thinge it is that I call understandynge. It is the principall parte of the soule whiche is occupied about the begynnynge or originall causes of thynges that may falle in to mannes knowlege, and his office is, before that any thynge is attempted, to thinke, consydre, and prepence, and, after often tossyng it up and downe in the mynde, than to exercise that powar, the propretie wherof is to espie, seke for, enserche, and finde out; which vertue is referred to wit, which is as it were the instrument of understanding.
More ouer, after the thinges be inuented, coniected, perceyued, and by longe tyme and often considered, and that the mynde disposeth her selfe to execution or actuall operation, than the vertue, named Prudence, fyrst putteth her selfe forwardes, and than appereth her industrye and labour; for as moche as she teacheth, warneth, exhorteth, ordereth, and profiteth, like to a wise capitaine that setteth his hoste in araye. And therfore it is to be remembred that the office or duetie of understandynge precedeth the interprise of actes, and is in the begynning of thinges. I call that begynning, wherin, before any mater taken in hande, the mynde and thought is occupied, and that a man sercheth, and doughteth whether it be to be entreprised, and by what waye, and in what tyme it is to be executed. Who by this litle introduction knowynge what understandynge do signifie will nat suppose that he which therin dothe excelle is nat with honour to be aduaunced? Than it foloweth nat by this argument that for as moche as he that excelleth other in understanding shulde be preferred in honour, that therfore no man shulde be preferred to honoure, but onely they that excell other in lerninge. No man hauinge naturall reason, thoughe he neuer radde logyke, wyll iudge this to be a good argument, considering that understandyng, called in latine Intellectus and Mens, is by it selfe sufficient, and is nat of any necessite annexed to doctrine, but doctrine procedeth of understandynge. But, if doctrine be alwaye attendynge upon understandynge, as the daughter upon the mother, undoughtedly than understandynge must be the more perfecte and of a more efficacie, beinge increased by the inuentions and experiences of many other declared by doctrine, no one manne without inspiration hauynge knowlege of all thynge. I calle doctrine, discipline intellectife, or lerning, whiche is either in writing or by reporte of thynges before knowen, whiche procedeth from one man to an other.
That whiche I haue sayde is in this wyse confirmed by Salomon, sayenge, A manne that is wise by heryng shall become wiser, and he that hath understandynge shall be a gouernoure.
Seneca sayeth we instructe our children in liberall sciences, nat bycause those sciences may gyue any vertue, but bicause they prepare the mynde and make it apte to receive vertue. whiche beinge considered, no man will denye but that they be necessary to euery man that coueteth very nobilite; whiche as I haue often tymes said is in the hauynge and use of vertue. And verely in whome doctrine hath ben so founden ioyned with vertue, there vertue had semed excellent and as I mouaht saye triumphant.
Scipio, commen of the moost noble house of the Romanes, in hygh lernynge and knowlege of the nature of thynges wonderfull studious, hauynge alwaye with hym the mooste excellent philosophers and poetes that were in his tyme, was an example and mirrour of martiall prowesse, continence, deuotion, liberalitie, and of all other vertues.
Cato, called uticensis, named the chiefe pilar of the publike weale of the Romanes, was so moche inflamed in the desire of lernynge that, (as Suetonims writeth), he coulde nat tempre him selfe in redyng greke bokes whyles the Senate was sittynge.
Howe moche it profited to the noble Augustus that untill the dethe of his uncle Julius Cesar, he diligently applyed his study in Athenes, it well appered after that the Ciuile warres were all finisshed, whan he, refourmynge the hole astate of the publike weale, stablisshed the Senate, and takynge unto hym ten honorable personages, dayly in his owne persone consulted with them of maters to be reported twyse in a monethe to the Senate; in suche wyse aydynge and helpynge forthe that mooste noble courte with his incomparable study and diligence.
The emperour Titus, sonne of Vespasian, for his lernynge and vertue was named the delicate of the worlde.
Marcus Antoninus the emperour, was in euery kynde of lernynge so excellent, that he was therfore openly named the philosopher, nat in reproche, (as men do nowe a dayes in despyte call them philosophers and poetes whom they perceyue studious in sondry good disciplines), but to the augmentation of his honour. For beyng of his owne nature aptly inclined to embrace vertue, he, addyng to abundaunce of lernying, became therby a wonderfull and perfecte prince, beynge neyther by study withdrawen from affaires of the publike weale, nor by any busynes utterly pluckyd frome Philosophy and other noble doctrynes. By the whiche mutuall conjunction and iust temperaunce of those two studyes he attayned to suche a fourme in all his gouernaunce, that he was named and taken for father of the Senate, of the people, and uniuersally of all the hole empyre. Moreouer his dedes and wordes were of all men had in so hyghe estimation and reuerence, that bothe the Senate and people toke of him lawes and rules of their lyuynge. And in his gouernaunce and propre lyuing, as well at home in his house as in his ciuile busines, he was to him selfe the onely lawe and example. And as he was aboue other highest in autoritie, so by the uniuersall oppinion of all men he was iuged to be of all other men than lyuinge, the best and also the wysist.
XXV. Of Experience whiche haue preceded our tyme, with a defence of histories.
EXPERIENCE whereof commeth wysedome is in two maner of wise. The one is actes committed or done by other men, wherof profite or damage succedynge, we may, (in knowynge or beholdinge it), be therby instructed to apprehende the thing which to the publike weale, or to our owne persones, may be commodious; and to exchue that thing, which either in the begynnyng or in the conclusion, appereth noisome and vicious.
The knowlege of this Experience is called Example, and is expressed by historie, whiche of Tulli is called the life of memorie. And so it agreeth well with the versis of Affranius by me late declared. And therfore to suche persones as do contemne auncient histories, reputing them amonge leasinges and fantises (these be their wordes of reproche), it may be sayd, that in contemnynge histories they frustrate Experience; whiche (as the sayd Tulli sayeth) is the light of vertue, whiche they wolde be sene so moche to fauour all thoughe they do seldome embrace it. And that shall they perceyue manifestly if they will a litle while laye a parte their accustomed obstinacie, and suffre to be distilled in to their eares two or thre dropes of the sweete oyle of remembraunce. Lete them reuolue in their myndes generally that there is no doctrine, be it eyther diuine or humaine, that is nat eyther all expressed in historie or at the leste mixte with historie. But to thentent that there shall be left none ignoraunce wherby they mought be detayned in their errour, I will declare unto theim what is that that is called an historie, and what it comprehendeth.
Firste it is to be noted that it is a greke name, and commeth of a worde or verbe in greke Historeo, whiche dothe signifie to knowe, to se, to enserche, to enquire, to here, to lerne, to tell, or expounde unto other. And than muste historie whiche commeth therof be wonderfull profitable, whiche leaueth nothinge hydde from mannes knowlege, that unto hym may be eyther pleasaunt or necessarie. For it nat onely reporteth the gestes or actes of princes or capitaynes, their counsayles and attemptates, entreprises, affaires, maners in lyuinge good and bad, descriptions of regions and cities, with their inhabitauntes, but also it bringeth to our knowlege the fourmes of sondry publike weales with augmentations and decayes and occasion therof; more ouer preceptes, exhortations, counsayles, and good persuasions, comprehended in quicke sentences and eloquent orations. Finally so large is the compose of that whiche is named historie, that it comprehendeth all thynge that is necessary to be put in memorie. In so moche as Aristotell, where he declareth the partes of mannes body with their description and offices, and also the sondry fourmes and dispositions of all bestes, foules, and fisshes, with their generation he nameth his boke an historie.
Semblably Theophrast, his scholer, a noble philosopher, descriuynge all herbes and trees, wherof he mought haue the true knowlege, intitleth his boke the historie of plantes. And finally Plini the elder calleth his mooste excellent and wonderfull warke, the historie of nature; in the whiche boke he nothing ommitteth that in the bosome of Nature is contayned, and may be by mannes witte comprehended, and is worthy to be had in remembraunce. Whiche autorities of these thre noble and excellent lerned men approueth the signification of Historie to agree well with the exposition of the verbe historeo, wherof it cometh.
Nowe let us se what booke of holy scripture, I meane the olde testament and the newe, may be saide to haue no parte of historie. The fiue bokes of Moises, the boke of Juges, the foure bokes of kynges, Job, Hester, Judith, Ruth, Thobias, and also the historie of Machabees (whiche from the other is seperate), I suppose no man wil denie but that they be all historicall, or (as I mought say) intier histories. Also Esdras, Nemias, Ezechiel, and Daniel, all though they were prophetes, yet be their warkes compacte in fourme of narrations, whiche by oratours be called enunciatiue and only pertaineth to histories, wherin is expressed a thyng done, and persones named. All the other prophetes, thoughe they speake of the tyme future or to come, whiche is out of the description of an historie, yet either in rebukinge the sinnes and enormities passed, or bewayling the destruction of their countray, or captiuitie of the people, and suche like calamitie or miserable astate, also in meuing or persuading the people, they do recite some circumstaunce of a narration. But nowe be we commen to the newe testament, and principally the bokes of the Euangelistes, vulgarely called the gospelles, which be one contexte of an historie, do nat they contayne the temporall lyfe of our sauyour Christ, kinge of kinges and lorde of the worlde, untill his glorious assention? And what thinge lacketh therin that doth pertayne to a perfects historie? There lacketh nat in thinges ordre and disposition, in the context or narration veritie, in the sentences grauitie, utilitie in the counsailes, in the persuasions doctrine, in expositions or declarations facilitie.
The bokes of actes of apostels, what thinge is it els but a playne historie? The epistles of saint Paule, saint Peter, saynt John, saynt James, and Judas the apostles do contayne counsailes and aduertisementes in the fourme of orations, resiting diuers places as well out of the olde testament as out of the gospelles, as it were an abbreuiate, called of the grekes and latines, Epitoma.
This is well knowen to be true of them that haue hadde any leasure to rede holy scripture, who, remembringe them selfes by this my little induction, wyll leaue to neglecte historie, or contemne it with so generall a disprayse as they haue bene accustomed. But yet some will impugne them with a more particuler objection, sayenge that the histories of the Grekes and Romanes be nothyng but lyes and faynynge of poetes (some suche persones there be betwene whome and good autours haue euer ben perpetuall hostilitie). Firste, howe do they knowe that al the histories of grekes and Remanes be leasyngs, sens they finde nat that any scripture autentike made about that tyme that those histories were writen, do reproue or condemne them? But the most catholike and renoumed doctours of Christes religion in the corrobration of their argument and sentences, do alledge the same histories and vouche (as I mought say) to their ayde the autoritie of the writars. And yet some of those Rabines (in goddes name) whiche in comparison of the sayde noble doctours be as who sayeth petites and unethe lettered, wyll presume with their owne selye wittes to disproue that whiche both by auncientie of tyme and consent of blessed and noble doctours is allowed and by theyr warkes honoured. If they will coniecte histories to be lyes bicause they somtyme make reporte of thynges sene and actes done whiche do seme to the reders incredible, by that same raison may they nat only condemne all holy scripture, whiche contayneth thynges more wonderfull than any historien writeth, but also exclude credulitie utterly from the company of man. For howe many thinges be daily sene, whiche beinge reported unto him that neuer sawe them, shulde seeme impossible? And if they wyll allege that all thynge contayned in holy scripture is approbate by the hole consent of all the clergie of Christendome at diuers generall counsailes assembled, certes the same counsailes neuer disproued or rejected the histories of grekes or Romanes; but the moste catholike and excellent lerned men of those congregations embraced theyr examples, and sowyng them in their warkes made of them to the churche of Christe a necessarie ornament.
Admytte that some histories be interlaced with leasynges; why shulde we therfore neglecte them? sens the affaires there reported no thynge concerneth us, we beynge therof no parteners, ne therby onely may receyue any damage. But if by redynge the sage counsayle of Nestor, the subtile persuasions of Ulisses, the compendious grauitie of Menelaus, the imperiall maiestye of Agamemnon, the prowesse of Achilles, and valiaunt courage of Hector, we may apprehende any thinge wherby our wittes may be amended and our personages be more apte to serue our publike weale and our prince; what forceth it us though Homere write leasinges? I suppose no man thinketh that Esope wrate gospelles, yet who doughteth but that in his fables the foxe, the hare, and the wolfe, though they neuer spake, do teache many good wysedomes? whiche beinge well consydered, men, (if they haue nat allowed to repugne agayne reason), shall confesse with Quintilian that fewe and unethe one may be founde of auncient writars whiche shall nat bringe to the redars some thinge commodious; and specially that they do write maters historicall, the lesson wherof is as it were the mirrour of mannes life, expressinge actually, and (as it were at the eye) the beaultie of vertue, and the deformitie and lothelynes of vice. Wherfore Lactantius sayeth, Thou muste nedes perysshe if thou knowe nat what is to thy life profitable, that thou maiste seke for it, and what is daungerous, that thou mayste flee and exchue it. Whiche I dare affirme may come soonest to passe by redynge of histories, and retayninge them in continuell remembraunce.
XXVI. The Experience or practise necessary in the persone of a gouernour of a publike weale.
THE other experience whiche is in our propre persones and is of some men called practise, is of no small moment or efficacie in the acquiringe of sapience, in so moche that it semeth that no operation or affaire may be perfecte, nor no science or arte may be complete, except experience be there unto added, whereby knowlege is ratified, and (as I mought saye) consolidate.
It is written that the great kynge Alexander on a tyme beinge (as it hapned) unoccupyed, came to the shoppe of Apelles, the excellent paynter, and standyng by hym whyles he paynted, the kynge raisoned with hym of lines, adumbrations, proportions, or ot her like thinges pertainyng to imagery, whiche the paynter a litle whyles sufferynge, at the last said to the kynge with the countenance all smylyng, Seest thou, noble prince, howe the boye that gryndeth my colours dothe laughe the to scorne? whiche wordes the kynge toke in good parte and helde hym therwith iustly corrected, considering by his owne office in martial affaires that he than had in hande, how great a portion of knowlege faileth, where lacketh experience. And therin gouernours shall nat disdayne to be resembled unto phisitions, consideryng their offices in curynge and preseruynge be moste lyke of any other. That parte of phisike called rationall, wherby is declared the faculties or powers of the body, the causis, accidentes, and tokens of sikenessis, can nat alwayes be sure without some experience in the temperature or distemperature of the regions, in the disposition of the patient in diete, concoction, quietnesse, exercise, and slepe.
And Galene, prince of phisitions, exhorteth them to knowe exactly the accustomed diete of their patientes, whiche can nat happen without moche resorte in to their companies, seriousely notyng their usage in diete. Semblably, the uniuersall state of a contray or citie may be well likened to the body of man. Wherfore the gouernours, in the stede of phisitions attending on their cure, ought to knowe the causes of the decaye of their publike weale, whiche is the helthe of their countraye or cytie, and thanne with expedition to procede to ther mooste spedy and sure remedy. But certes the very cause of decay, ne the true meane to cure it, may neuer be sufficiently knowen of gouernours, except they them selfes wyll personally resorte and peruse all partes of the countrayes under their gouernaunce, and inserche diligently as well what be the customes and maners of people good and badde, as also the commodities and discommodities, howe the one may be preserued, the other suppressed, or at the leste wayes amended. Also amonge them that haue nimistration or execution of iustice, (whiche I may liken unto the membres), to taste and fele howe euery of them do practise their offices, that is to say, whether they do it febly or unprofitably, and whether it happen by negligence, discourage, corruption, or affection.
But nowe may the reder with good reason demaunde of me by what maner experience the gouernours may come to the true knowlege herof. That shall I nowe declare. Fyrst the gouernours them selfes adourned with vertue, being in suche wise an example of liuing to their inferiors, and making the people iudges of them and their domesticall seruauntes and adherentes, shulde sondry tymes duringe their gouernaunce, either purposely or by way of solace, repaire in to diuers partes of their jurisdiction or prouince, and making their abode, they shall partly them selfes attentifly here what is commonly or priuatly spoken concerning the astate of the contray or persones, partely they shall cause their seruauntes or frendes, of whose honestie and trouth they haue good assuraunce, to resorte in disporting them selfes in diuers townes and villages; and as they happen to be in company with the inhabitauntes priuyly and with some maner of circumstaunce, enquire what men of honour dwell nighe unto them, what is the forme of their huing, of what estimation they be in iustice, liberalitie, diligence in executing the lawes, and other semblable vertues; contrary wise whether they be oppressours, couetous men, maintenours of offendours, remisse or negligent, if they be officers; and what the examiners do here the gretter nombre of people reporte that they interly and truely denounce it to the sayde gouernour. By the whiche intimation and their owne prudent endeuour, they shall haue infallible knowlege who among the inhabitauntes be men towarde the publike weale best disposed. Them shall they calle for and mooste courtaisely entretaine, and (as it were) louingly embrace, with thankes for their good will and endeuour towarde the publike weale; commending them openly for their vertue and diligence, offrimg to them their assistence in their semblable doinges, and also their furtheraunce towarde the due recompence of their trauailes. On the contrary parte, whan they see any of them who amonge their inferiors obserue nat iustice, and likewise officers whiche be remisme or fauourable to commune offendours and brakers of lawes, and negligent in the execution of their auctorities, to them shall they gyue condigne reprehentions, manifestyng their defautes in omitting their dueties, and in giuing euil example to their companions, also boldnes to trangresse, to contemne the lawes, declaringe also that the ministring such occasion deserue nat onely a sharpe rebuke but also right greuous punisshement. And if he that thus admonesteth be a soueraigne gouernour or prince, if, I saye, he shortely here upon doth ratifie his wordes by expellyng some of them whiche I nowe rehersed from their offices, or otherwyse sbarpely correctynge them, and contrarye wise aduaunce higher some good man and whom he hath proued to be diligent in the execution of iustice, undoubtedly he shall inflame the appetite and zele of good ministers, and also suscitate or raise the courage of all men inclined to vertue, so that there shal neuer lacke men apte and propise to be set in auctoritie. Where the merites of men beinge hidde and unknowen to the soueraigne gouernour, and the negligent ministers or inferior gouernours hauing nat only equal thanke or rewarde but perchaunce moche more than they which be diligent, or wolde be if they moughte haue assistence, there undoubtedly is grieuouse discourage and perill of conscience; for as moche as they omitte often tymes their dusties and offices, reputyng it great foly and madnes to acquire by the executyng of iustice nat only an opinion of tyrannye amonge the people, and consequently haterede, but also malignitie amonge his equalles and superiours, with a note of ambition.
This reuolued and considered by a circumspecte gouernour, lorde god, how shortly and with litle difficultie shall he dispose the publike weale that is greued to receyue medicine, wherby it shulde be soone healed and reduced to his perfection.
XXVII. Of Detraction and the ymage therof made by the paynter Apelles.
THERE is moche conuersant amonge men in authoritie a vice very ugly and monstruouse, who under the pleasaunt habite of frendshippe and good counsaile with a breeth pestilenciall infecteth the wittes of them that nothinge mistrusteth; this monstre is called in englysshe Detraction, in latine Calumnia, whose propertie I will nowe declare. If a man, beinge determined to equitie, hauynge the eyen and eares of his mynde set onely on the trouthe and the publike weale of his contray, will haue no regarde to any requeste or desire, but procedeth directely in the adminystration of iustyce, than either he whiche by iustice is offended, or some his fautours, abettours, or adherentes, if he him selfe or any of them be in seruice or familiaritie with hym that is in auctoritie, as soone as by any occasion mention hapneth to be made of hym who hathe executed iustyce exactely, furthe with they imagine some vice or defaute, be it neuer so litle, wherby they may minysshe his credence, and craftly omittyng to speke any thyng of his rygour in iustyce, they wyll note and touche some thynge of his maners, wherein shall eyther seme to be lyghtnes or lacke of grauitie, or to moche sowernes, or lacke of ciuilitie, or that he is nat beneuolent to hym in auctoritie, or that he is nat sufficient to receyue any dignitie, or to despeche matters of weyghtye importaunce, or that he is superfluous in wordes or elles to scarse. Also if he lyue temperately and deliteth moche in studye, they embrayde hym with nygardeshyp, or in derison do calle him a clerke or a poete, unmete for any other purpose. And this do they couertely and with a more grauitie than any other thyng that they enterprise. This euyl reporte is called detraction, who was wonderfully well expressed in fygures by the moost noble peynter Appelles, after that he was discharged of the cryme whereof he was falsely accused by Ptholomee kynge of Egipt, hauing for his amendes of the said kynge xii M pounds sterlyng and his accuser to be his bondman perpetually. The table wherin detraction was expressed was paynted in this fourme. At the ryghte hande was made syttinge a man hauing long eares, puttynge fourthe his hande to Detraction, who ferre of came towardes him; aboute this man stode two wemen, that is to say, Ignorance and Suspicion. On the other side came Detraction, a woman aboue measure wel trimmed, all chaufed and angry, hauynge her aspecte or loke like to the fire, in shewing a maner of rage or furye. In her lefte hande she helde a brenninge torche or bronde, and with her other hande she drewe by the heare of his hedde a yonge man who helde up his handes towarde beuen, callinge god and the sayntes for witnesse. With her came a man pale and euill fauoured, beholdinge the yonge man intentity, like unto one that had ben with longe sicknes consumed, whom ye mought lightly coniecte to be Enuie. Also there folowed two other women, that trymmed and apparailed Detraction; the one was Treason, the other Fraude. After folowed a woman in a mourninge weede, blacke and ragged, and she was called Repentaunce, who turninge her backe wepynge and sore ashamed behelde Veritie, who than approched. In this wise Apelles described detraction, by whome he him selfe was in peryll. Whiche in myn oppinion is a right necessary mater to be in tables or hangynges set in euery mans house that is in auctoritie, consideringe what damage and losse hath ensued and may hereafter ensue by this horrible pestilence, false detraction. To the auoydinge wherof, Luciane, who writeth of this picture, gyueth a notable counsayle, sayenge, that a wise man, whan he douteth of the honestie and vertue of the persone accused, he shulde kepe close his eares and nat open them hastely to them whiche be with this sycknes infected, and put reason for a diligent porter and watche, whiche ought to examine and lette in the reportes that be good, and exclude and prohibite them that be contrary. For it is a thinge to laughe at and very unfittinge to ordeyne for thy house a keper or porter, and thine eares and mynde to leaue to all men wyde open. Wherfore whan any persone commeth to us to tell us any report or complaint, first, it shall behoue us throughly and euenly to considre the thyng, nat hauyng respecte to the eares of him that reporteth, or to his fourme of lyuing or wisedome in speaking. For the more vehement the reporter is in persuading, so moche more diligent and exacte triall and examination aught to be used. Therefore truste is nat to be gyuen to an other mannes iudgement, moche lasse to the malice of an accuser. But euery man shall retayne to hym selfe the power to enserche out the trouthe, and leauynge the enuye or displeasure to the detractour, he shall ponder or way the mater indifferently, that euery thynge in suche wise beinge curiously inserched and proued, he maye at his pleasure either loue or hate him whom he hath so substancially tried. For in good fayth to gyue place to detraction at the begynnynge, it is a thinge childisshe and base, and to be estemed amonge the moost great inconueniences and mischiefes. These be well nyghe the wordes of Luciane; whether the counsayle be good I remitte it to the wise redars. Of one thing am I sure, that by detraction as well many good wittes haue bene drowned, as also vertue, and paynfull study haue [bene] unrewarded, and many zelatours or fauourers of the publyke weale haue benne discouraged.
XXVIII Of Consultation and counsayle, and in what fourme they aught to be used in a publike weale.
THE griefes or diseases whiche of Aristotell be called the decayes of the publike weale beinge inuestigate, examined, and tried by the experience before expressed, than commethe the tyme and oportunitie of consultacion, wherby, as I sayd, is prouided the remedies moste necessary for the healinge of the sayd grefes or reparation of decaye. This thinge that is called Consultation is the generall denomination of the acte wherin men do deuise together and reason what is to be done. Counsayle is the sentence or aduise particulerly gyuen by euery man for that purpose assembled. Consultation hath respecte to the tyme future or to come, that is to saye, the ende or purpose thereof is adressed to some acte or affaire to be practised after the Consultation. And yet be nat all other tymes excluded, but fyrste the state of thinges present aught to be examined, the powar, assistence, and substaunce to be estemed; semblably thinges passed with moche and longe deliberati on to be reuolued and tossed in the minde, and to be conferred with them that be present and beinge exactly wayed the one agayne the other, than to inuestigate or enquire exquisitely the fourme and reason of the affaire, and in that studye to be holly resolued so effectually, that they whiche be counsailours may beare with them out of the counsayle house, as I were on their sholders, nat onely what is to be folowed and exployted, but also by what meanes or wayes hit shall be pursued, and howe the affaire may be honourable; also what is expedient and of necessitie, and howe moche is nedeful, and what space and length of time, and finally howe the enterprise being achieued and brought to effect may be kept and retained. For often times after exploitures hapneth occasions, either by assaultes or other encombrances of ennemies, or of to moche trust in fortunes assuraunce, or by dissobedience or presumption of some persones whome the thinge toucheth, that this last parte of Consultation is omitted, or more rather neglected; wher moche studie, trauaile, and cost haue utterly perisshed, nat onely to the no litle detriment of infinite persones, but also to the subuertion of most noble publike weales. More ouer it is to be diligently noted that euery counsayle is to be approued by thre thinges principally, that it be ryghtwyse, that it be good, and that it be with honestie. That whiche is rightwise is brought in by reason. For nothing is right that is nat ordred by raison. Goodnes cometh of vertue. Of vertue and reason procedeth honestie. Wherfore counsayle being compact of these thre, may be named a perfecte Capitayne, a trusty companyon, a playne and unfauned frende. Therfore in the commendation therof Titus Liuius saith, Many thynges be impeched by Nature whiche by counsayle be shortly achieued. And verily the powar of Counsaile is wonderfull, hauing auctoritie as wel ouer peace as martiall enterprise. And therfore with good reason Tulli affirmeth in his boke of offices, Armes without the doores be of litle importaunce, if counsaile be nat at home. And he sayth sone after: In thinges moste prosperous the counsayle of frendes must be used. Whiche is ratified by the auctour of the noble warke named Ecclesiasticus, sayeng: My sone, without counsayle see thou do nothynge, and than after thy dede thou shalte neuer repente the. The same autor giueth thre noble precepts concerning this matter, whiche of euery wise man aught to be had in continuell memorie. Of fooles take thou no counsaile, for they can loue nothinge but that pleaseth theim selfes. Discooer nat thy counsayle before a straunger, for thou knowest nat what therof may happen. Unto euery man disclose nat thy harte, leest parauenture he wyl gyue to the a fayned thanke, and after reporte rebukefully of the. Fooles be, as I suppose, they whiche be more ladde with affection than reason. And whom he calleth straungers be those of whose fidelitie and wisedome he is nat assured; and in the generall name of euery man may be signified the lacke of election of counsailours, whiche wolde be with a vigilaunt serche and (as I mought saye) of all other moost scrupulouse.
XXIX. What in Consultation is to be chiefly considered.
THE ende of all doctrine and studie is good counsayle, wherunto as unto the principall poynt, which Geometricians do call the Centre, all doctrines (whiche by some autours be imagined in the four me of a cerkle) do sende their effectes like unto equall lignes, as it shall appere to them that will rede the bokes of the noble Plato, where he shall fynde that the wise Socrates, in euery inuestigacion, whiche is in fourme of a consultation, useth his persuasions and demonstrations by the certayne rules and examples of sondry sciences, prouinge therby that the conclusion (as I mought say) the perfection of them is in good counsaile, wherin vertue may be founden beynge (as it were) his propre mantion or palice, where her powar onely appereth concernynge gouernaunce, either of one persone only, and than it is called morall, or of a multitude, which for a diuersitie may be called polityke. Sens counsayle he an efficacie, and in thinges concernynge man hathe suche a preeminence, it is therfore expedient that consultation, (wherin counsaile is expressed) be very serious, substanciall and profitable. Which to bringe to effecte requireth two thinges principally to be considered. First, that in euery thing concerning a publike weale no good counsailour passed ouer, but that his reason therin be hard to an ende. I call him a good counsailour, whiche, (as Cesar sayth, in the coniuration of Cataline), whiles he consulteth in doubtefull matters, is voyde of all hate, frendship. displeasure, or pitie. Howe necessarye to a publike weale it shall be to haue in any wise mens oppinions declared, it is manifest to them that do remembre that in many heddes be diuers maners of wittis, some inclined to sharpenes and rigour, many to pitie and compassion, diuers to a temperaunce and meane betwene bothe extremities; some haue respecte to tranquillitie onely, other more to welth and commoditie, diuers to moche renoume and estimation in honour. There be that wyll speke all theyr mynde sodaynly and perchaunce right well; diuers require to haue respect and studie, wherin is moche more suertie, many wyll speake warely for feare of displeasure; some more bolder in vertue wyll nat spare to shewe theyr myndes playnely, diuers will assent to that reasons wherewith they suppose that he whiche is chiefe in authoritie wyll be beste pleased. These undoughtedly be the diuersityes of wittes. And moreouer, where there is a great numbre of counsaylours, they all beinge herde, nedes must the counsaile be the more perfecte. For somtyme percbaunce one of them, whiche in doctrine, witte, or experience is in leste estimation, may happe to expresse some sentence more auailable to the purpose wherin they consult, than any that before came to the others remembraunces; no one man being of suche perfection that he can haue in an instant remembraunce of all thing. Whiche I suppose was considered by Romulus the first king of Romaynes in the firste constitution of their publike weale; for hauinge of his owne people but three thousande foote men and thre hundrede horsemen, he chase of the eldest and wisest of them all one hundrede counsailours. But to the more assertion of diuers mennes sentences I will declare a notable experience whiche I late hapned to rede.
Belinger Baldasine, a man of greate witte, singuler lernynge, and excellent wisedome (who was one of the counsaylours to Ferdinando, kyng of Arogon), whan any thing doubtfull or weyghtie mater was consulted of, where he was present, afterwarde, whan he had souped at home in his house, he wolde call before hym all his seruauntes, and merily purposing to them some fained question or fable, wherein was craftly hyd the matter whiche remayned doubtefull, wolde merely demaunde of euery man his particuler oppinion, and gyuing good eare to theyr iudgementes, he wolde conferre together euery mans sentence, and with good deliberation ponderynge their value, he at the last perceyued whiche was the truest and moste apte to his purpose; and beinge in this wyse fournysshed, translatynge iapes and thynges fauned to mater serious and true, he amonge the kynges counsailours in gyuynge good and substanciall aduise had alway preeminence.
Howe moche commoditie than suppose ye mought be taken of the sentences of many wyse and experte counsaylours? And like as Calchas, as Homere writeth, knewe by diuination thynges present, thinges to come, and them that were passed, so counsailours garnisshed with lernyng and also experience shall thereby considre the places, tymes, and personages, examining the state of the mater than practised, and expending the powar, assistence, and substaunce, also reuoluinge longe and often tymes in their myndes thinges that be passed, and conferringe them to the matters that be than in experience, studiously do seeke out the reason and maner, howe that whiche is by them approued may be brought to effecte. And suche mennes raisons wolde be throughly herde and at length, for the wiser that a man is, in taryeng his wysedome increaseth, his reason is more lyuelye, and quicke sentence aboundeth. And to the more parte of men whan they be chaufed in raisonynge, argumentes, solutions, examples, similitudes, and experimentes do resorte, and (as it were) flowe unto their remembraunces.
XXX. The seconde consideration to be had in Consultation.
THE seconde consideration is, that the generall and uniuersall astate of the publike weale wold be preferred in consultation before any particuler commoditie, and the profite or damage whiche may happen within our owne countrayes wolde be more considered than that whiche inay happen from other regions; which to beleue commune raison and experience leadeth us.
For who commendeth those gardiners that wyll put all their diligence in trymmyng or kepynge delicately one knotte or bedde of herbes, suffryng all the remenaunt of their gardeyne to be subuerted with a great nombre of molles, and do attende at no tyme for the takynge and destroyinge of them, until the herbis, wherin they haue employed all their labours, be also tourned uppe and perisshed, and the molles increased in so infinite nombres that no industry or labour may suffice to consume them, wherby the labour is frustrate and all the gardeine made unprofitable and also unpleasaunt? In this similitude to the gardeyne may be resembled the publike weale, to the gardiners the gouernours and counsailours, to the knottes or beddes sondrye degrees of personages, to the molles vices and sondry enormities. Wherfore the consultation is but of a small effecte wherin the uniuersall astate of the publike weale do nat occupie the more parte of the tyme, and in that generaltie euery particuler astate be nat diligently ordered. For as Tulli sayeth they that consulte for parte of the people and neglecte the residue, they brynge in to the citie or countraye a thynge mooste perniciouse, that is to say, sedition and discorde, whereof it hapnethe that some wyll seeme to fauoure the multitude, other be inclined to leene to the beste sorte, fewe do studie for all uniuersallye. Whiche hath bene the cause that nat onely Athenes, (whiche Tulli dothe name), but also the citie and empyre of Rome, with diuers other cities and realmes, haue decayed and ben finally brought in extreme desolation. Also Plato, in his booke of fortytude, sayeth in the persone of Socrates, Whan so euer a man seketh a thing for cause of an other thynge, the consultation aught toe be alway of that thyng for whose cause the other thing is sought for, and nat of that which is sought for because of the other thynge. And surely wise men do consider that damage often tymes hapneth by abusinge the due fourme of consultation: men like euyll Phisitions sekynge for medicynes or they perfectly knowe the sicknesses ; and as euyll marchauntes do utter firste the wares and commodities of straungers, whiles straungers be robbynge of their owne cofers.
Therfore these thinges that I haue rehersed concernyng consultation ought to be of all men in authoritie substancially pondered, and moost vigilauntly obserued if they intende to be to their publike weale profitable for the whiche purpose onely they be called to be gouernours. And this conclude I to write any more of consultation, whiche is the last part of morall Sapience, and the begynnyng of sapience politike.
Nowe all ye reders that desire to haue your children to be gouernours, or in any other authoritie in the publike weale of your countrey, if ye bringe them up and instructe them in suche fourme as in this boke is declared, they shall than seme to all men worthye to be in authoritie, honour, and noblesse, and all that is under their gouernaunce shall prospere and come to perfection. And as a precious stone in a ryche ouche they shall be beholden and wondred at, and after the dethe of their body their soules for their endeuour shall be incomprehensibly rewarded of the gyuer of wisedome, to whome onely be gyuen eternall glorie. Amen.
Go on to the Glossary.