Note on the e-text: this Renascence Editions text was provided by Ben R. Schneider, Lawrence University, Wisconsin. It is in the public domain. "Florio's Translation of Montaigne's Essays was first published in 1603. In 'The World's Classics' the first volume was published in 1904, and reprinted in 1910 and 1924." Content unique to this presentation is copyright © 1998 The University of Oregon. For nonprofit and educational uses only.
HERE IS peradventure no vanity more manyfest then so vainely to write of it. What Divinity hath so divinely expressed thereof unto us, ought of all men of understanding to be diligently and continually meditated upon. Who seeth not that I have entred so large a field, and undertaken so high a pitch, wherein so long as there is either Inke or Paper in the world, I may uncessantly wander and fly without encombrance? I can keepe no register of my life by my actions: fortune placeth them to lowe: I hould them of my fantasies. Yet have I seen a gentleman who never communicated his life but by the operations of his belly; you might have seene in his house, set out for a show, a row of basins for seaven or eight dayes. It was all his study, it was all his talke: All other discourses were unsavory to him. These are somewhat more civile, the excrements of an ould spirit, sometimes hard, sometimes laxative; but ever indigested. And when shall I come unto an end of representing a continuall agitation or uncessant alteration of my thoughts, what subject soever they happen; since Diomedes filled six thousand bookes onely with the subject of Grammar? What is idle babling like to produce, since faltring and liberty of the tongue hath stuft the world with so horrible a multitude of volumes? So many words onely for words. Oh Pythagoras, why didst not thou conjure this tempest? One Galba, of former ages, being accused for living idlie, answered that 'all men ought to give an account of their actions, but not of their abiding.' He was deceived; for justice hath also knowledge and animadversion over such as gather stubble (as the common saying is) or looke about for gape-seed. But there should be some correction appointed by the lawes against foolish and unprofitable writers, as there is against vagabonds and loiterers; so should both my selfe and a hundred others of our people be banished. It is no mockerie: Scribling seemeth to be a Symthome or passion of an irregular and licentious age. When writ we ever so much as we have done since our intestine troubles, or when filled the Romans so many volumes as in the times of their ruine? Besides that, the refining of wits in a common wealth doth seldome make them the wiser; this idle working proceedeth of this, that all men doe over slowly give themselves to the office of their function, and are easily withdrawne from it. The corruption of the times we live in is wrought by the particular contribution of every one of us: some conferre treason unto it, some injustice, other some irreligion, tyranny, avarice and cruelty, according as they are more or lesse powerfull; the weaker sort, whereof I am one, imparte foolishnesse, vanity and idlenesse unto it. It seemeth to bee the season of vaine things when the domageable presse us. In a time where to doe evill is common, to doe nothing profitable is in a manner commendable. One thing comforts me, that I shall be of the last that shall be attached; whilst they shall provide for the worser sort and the most hurtfull, I shall have leasure to amend my selfe; for mee thinkes it would bee against reason busily to insist and pursue petty inconveniences, when great ones infect us. And the Physition Philotimus, to one that offred his finger to dresse, by whose face, looke and breath he apparently perceaved that he had an impostume in his loonges: 'My friend (quoth he), it is now no fit time to busie your selfe about your nayles.' Yet concerning this purpose, I saw not many yeares since a friend of mine, whose name and memory (for divers respects) I hould in singular account, who in the midst of our troublous mischiefes, when no more then at this time neither lawe, nor justice, nor magistrate was executed or did his office, published certaine silly reformations concerning the excesse of aparell, gluttony and dyet, and abuses committed among pettyfogging lawiers. They be ammusings wherewith a people in a desperate taking is fed, that so men may say they are not cleane forgotten. Even so doe these others who mainely apply themselves to forbid certaine manners of speach, dances and vaine sports, unto a people wholy given over to all licenciousnesse and execrable vices. It is then no convenient time for a man to wash and netifie himselfe when he is assailed by a violent fever. It onely belongs to Spartans to tricke, to combe and wash themselves at what time they are ready to cast themselves into some extreame hazard of life. As for me, I am subject to this ill custome, that if but a pump fit not handsomly upon my foot, I shall also neglect my shirt and my cloake; for I disdaine to correct my selfe by halfes when I am in bad estate, I flesh my selfe on evill and abandon my selfe through despaire, and run to downefall, and (as the saying is) cast the haft after the hatchet. I grow obstinate in empairing; and esteeme my selfe no more worthy of my care, eyther all well or all evill. It is a favour to me that the desolation of our state doth sutably meet with the desolation of my age: I rather endure that my evills should thereby be surcharged then if my goods had thereby beene troubled. The words I utter against misfortune are words of spite. My courage, insteed of yeelding, doth grow more obstinate; and contrary to others, I finde my selfe more given to devotion in prosperous then adverse fortune; according to Xenophons rule, if not according to his reason. And I rather looke on heaven with a chearefull eye, to thanke it, then to begge any thing. I am more carefull to encrease my health when it smiles upon me, then to recover it when I have lost it. Prosperities are to me as discipline and instruction, as adversities and crosses are to others. As if good fortune were incompatible with a good conscience, men never become honest but by adverse and crosse chances. Good fortune is to me a singular motive unto moderation and forcible spurre unto modesty. Prayers winne me, menaces reject me, favours relent me, feare imperverseth me. Amongst humane conditions this one is very common, that we are rather pleased with strange things then with our owne; we love changes, affect alterations, and like innovations.Ipsa dies ideo nos grato perluit haustu,And my share is therein. Such as follow the other extremity, onely to bee well pleased with and in themselves, and selfe-conceitedly to over-esteeme what they possesse above others, and acknowledge no forme fayrer then that they see, if they be not more advised then we, they are indeed more happy. I envie not their wisedome, but grudge their good fortune. This greedy humour of new and unquenchable desire of unknowne things dooth much increase and nourish in me a desireto travell; but divers other circumstances conferre unto it. I am well pleased to neglect and shake of the government of mine owne household. It is some pleasure to command, were it but a mole-hill, and a delight to be obaied. But it is a pleasure over-uniforme and languishing. Besides that it is ever necessarily intermixed with troublous cares and hart-wearing thoughts. Sometimes the indigence and oppression of your owne people, sometimes the contentions and quarels of your neighbours, and othertimes their insulting and usurpation over you, doth vexe, doth trouble and afflict you:
Quod permutatis hora recurrit equis.
Times therefore us refresh with welcome ayre,
Because their houres on chang'd horse doe repayre.Aut verberatæ grandine vineæ,And that God will hardly once in halfe a yeare send you a season that shall throughly please your Bayly and content your Receaver; and that if it be good for your vines, it be not hurtfull for your meddowes.
Fundusque mendax, arbore nunc aquas
Culpante nunc torrentia agros
Sydera, nunc hyemes iniquas. -- Hor. Car. iii. Od. i. 29.
Or Vinevards beate and wet with haile and raine,
Or grounds defrauding hope, while trees complaine,
Sometime of waters, sometime of those starres
That scorch the fields, sometime of winters warres.Aut nimiis torret fervoribus ætherius Sol,As that new and well-shapen shoe of that man of former ages, which hurts and wrings your foote and that a stranger knowes not what it costes you and what you contribute to maintaine the show of that order which is seene in your housholde, and which peradventure you purchase at too high a rate. It was very late before I betooke my selfe to husbandrie. Those whom nature caused to be borne before mee have long time ridde mee of that carefull burthen: I had already taken another habite more sutable to my complexion. Neverthelesse by that I have observed therein, I finde it to be rather a troublesome then a hard occupation. Whosoever is capable of any other thing may easily discharge that. If I would seeke to grow rich, that way would seeme over-long and tedious to mee: I would then have served our kings, a trade more beneficiall then all others, since I pretend but to get the reputation that as I have gotten nothing, so have I not wasted any thing; sutable to the rest of my life; as unfit to affect any good, as improper to worke any evill of consequence; and that I onely seeke to weare out my life, I may (God bee thanked) doe it without any great attention: if the worst come to passe, before poverty assaile you, seeke by prevention to cut of your charges, and by husbanding your expences keepe aforehand with it; that is it I trust unto, and hope to reforme my selfe before it come neare or enforce me to it. As for other matters, I have forestalled many degrees and established sundry wayes in my minde, to live and rubbe out with lesse then I have. I say to live with contentment. Non estimatione census, verum victu atque cultu, terminatur pecuniæ modus: (Cic. Parad.) 'The measure of money is lymited not by the estimate of wealth or place, but by the manner of living and other furniture.' My very neede doth not so precisely possesse my whole estate, but that without touching to the quick or empairing the maine, fortune shall finde something to play upon or take hold of. My very presence, as ignorant and grim as it is, affordeth much helpe to my houshould affaires: I apply my selfe thereunto but somewhat dispightfully, considering the manner of my house, which is, that severally to burne my candle at one end, the other is thereby nothing spared. Travelsdo not much hurt me, were it not for the charges, which are exceeding great and beyond my ability, having ever beene accustomed to journey not only with necessary, but also decent equipage; and that's the reason I make but short journeis and travel not to often; wherein I imploy but the scumme and what I can well spare, temporising and differing according as it commeth more or lesse. I will not have the pleasure of my wandring to corrupt the delight of my retiring. Contrary-wise, my intent is that they nourish and favor one another. Fortune hath steaded me in this, that since my chiefest profession in this life was to live delicately and quietly, and rather negligently then seriously, it hath deprived me of need to hoard up riches to provide for the multitude of my heires. For one, if that be not sufficient for him, wherewith I have lived so plenteously, at his owne perill be it. His indiscretion shall not deserve that I wish him more. And every man (according to the example of Phocion) provideth sufficiently for his children, that provideth they be not unlike to him. I should by no meanes be of Crates his mind, or commend his proceedings. He left his money with a banquier upon this condition, That if his children were fooles be should deliver it them; but prooving wise and able to shift for themselves, he should distribute the same amongst the greatest fooles. As if fooles, being least capable to make a shift with out it, were more capable to use riches. So it is that the hurt proceeding from my absence doth not (in mine opinion) deserve, so long as I shall have meanes to beare it, I should refuse to accept the occasions that offer themselves to distract mee from this toylesome assistance. There is ever some peece out of square. Sometimes the businesse of one house, and other times the affaires of another, doe hurry you. You pry too neare into all things; herein, as well as elsewhere, your perspicuity doth harme you. I steale from such occasions as may move me to anger, and remoove from the knowledge of things that thrive not; yet can I not so use the matter, but still I stumble (being at home) upon some inconvenience which displeaseth me. And slight knaveries that are most hidden from mee are those I am best acquainted with. Some there are which to avoyd a further mischiefe a man must helpe to conceale himselfe: vaine prickings (vaine sometimes), but yet ever prickings. The least and sleightest hindrances are the sharpest. And as the smallest letters hurt our eyes most, so the least affaires grieve us most: A multitude of slender evils offendeth more then the violence of one alone, how great soever. Even as ordinary thornes, being small and sharpe, pricke us more sharpely and sans threatning, if on a sudden we bit upon them. I am no Philosopher: Evils oppresse me according as they waigh, and waigh according to their forme, as wel as according to the matter, and often more. I have more insight in them then the vulgar sort; and so have I more patience. To conclude, if they hurt me not, they lie heavie upon me. Life is a tender thing and easie to be distempered. Since I began to grow towards peevish age, and by consequence toward frowardnes, nemo enim resistit ubi cum ceperit impelli: (SEN. Epist. i. 13 f.) 'For no man stayes himselfe when he is set on going.' What ever fond cause hath brought me to it, I provoke the humour that way, which afterward by his owne motion is fostred and exasperated, attracting and heaping up one matter upon another, to feede it selfe withall.
Aut subiti perimunt imbres, gelidæque pruinæ
Flabraque ventorum violento turbine vexent. -- Lucr. v. 215.
Or with excessive heate heavens Sunne doth toast,
Or sodaine stormes do kill, and chilling frost,
Or violent whirle-wind blasts doe vexe the coast.Stillicidii casus lapidem cavat.These ordinary distilling drops consume and ulcerate me. Ordinary inconveniences are never light. They are continuall and irreparable if they continually and inseperatly aryse from the members of husbandry. When I consider my affaires a farre off and in grosse, I finde, be it because I have no exact memory of them, that hitherto they have thrived beyond my reasons and expectation. Me thinks I draw more from them then there is in them: their good successe betraieth me. But am I waded into the businesse? See I all these parcels march?
By often falling on,
Even water breakes a stone.Tum vero in curas animum deducimus omnes. -- Virg. Æn. v. 720.A thousand things therein give me cause to desire and feare. Wholy to forsake them is very easie unto me; without toyling, and vexation altogether to apply my selfe unto them is most hard. It is a pittyfull thing to be in a place where whatsoever you see doeth set on a worke and concerne you; And me thinkes enjoy more blithly and taste more choisely the pleasures of a stranger house then of mine owne, and both my minde and taste runne more freely and purely on them. Diogenes answered according to my humor, when being demanded what kinde of Wine he liked best, 'Another mans,' said he. My father delighted to build at Montaigne, where he was borne; and in al this policy of domestick affaires, I love to make use of his examples and rules, unto which I will as much as possibly I can tie my successors. Could I doe better for him, I would performe it. I glory his will is at this day practised by mee, and doth yet worke in me. God forbid I should ever suffer any image of life to perish under my hands, that I may yeeld unto so good and so kinde a father. If I have undertaken to finish any old peece of wall, or repare any building either imperfect or decaied, it hath certainly beene because I had rather a respect to his intention then a regard to my contentment. And I blame my negligence or lithernesse that I have not continued to perfect the foundations he had laid, or beginnings he had left in his house; by so much the more because I am in great likelihood to be the last possessor of it, namely of my race, and set the last hand unto it. For concerning my particular Application, neither the pleasure of building, which is said to be so bewitching, nor hunting, nor hawking, nor gardens, nor such other delights of a retired life, can much embusie or greatly ammuse me. It is a thing for which I hate my selfe, as of all other opinions that are incommodious to me. I care not so much to have them vigorous and learned as I labour to have them easie and commodious unto life. They are indeed sufficiently true and sound, if they be profitable and pleasing. Those who hearing mee relate mine owne insufficiencie in matters pertaining to husbandry or thrift, are still whispering in mine eares that it is but a kinde of disdaine, and that I neglect to know the implements or tooles belonging to husbandry or tillage, their seasons and orders; how my wines are made, how they graft, and understand or know the names and formes of hearbes, of simples, of fruits, and what belongs to the dressing of meats wherewith I live and whereon I feede; the names and prices of such stuffes I cloath my selfewithall, onely because I doe more seriously take to heart some higher knowledge; bring me in a manner to deaths doore. This is meere sottishnesse, and rather brutishnesse then glory: I would rather be a cunning horseman then a good Logician.
Then we our minde divide,
To cares on every side.Quin tu aliquid saltem potius quorum indiget usus,Wee hinder our thoughts from the generall and maine point, and from the causes and universall conducts, which are very well directed without us, and omit our owne businesse, and Michæl, who concernes us neerer then man. Now I most commonly stay at home, but I would please my selfe better there then any where else.
Viminibus Monique paras detexere junco? -- Virg. Buc. Ecl. ii. 71.
Why rather with soft wings make you not speed,
To worke-up something whereof there is need?Sit mea sedes utinam senectæ,I wot not whether I shall come to an end of it. I would that in lieu of some other part of his succession, my father had resigned that passionate love and deare affection which in his aged yeeres he bare unto his houshold husbandry. He was very fortunate in conforming his desires unto his fortune, and knew how to be pleased with what he had. Politike Philosophy may how it list accuse the basenesse and blame the sterilitie of my occupation, if, as he did, I may but once finde the taste of it. I am of this opinion, that the honorablest vocation is to serve the Commonwealth, and be profitable to many. Fructus enim ingenii et virtutis, omnisque præstantiæ, tum maximus accipitur, quum in proximum quemque confertur: (Cic. Amer.) 'For then is most fruit reaped, both of our wit and vertue and all other excellencie, when it is bestowed upon our neighbours.' As for me, I depart from it, partly for conscience sake (for whence I discern the waight concerning such vacations, I also discover the slender meanes I have to supply them withall; And Plato, a master workeman in all politike government, omitted not to abstaine from them), partl y for lithernesse. I am well pleased to enjoy the world without troubling or pressing my selfe with it; to live a life onely excusable, and which may neither bee burthensome to mee nor to any other. Never did man goe more plainly and carelesly to worke in the care and government of a third man, then I would, had I a ground to worke upon. One of my wishes at this instant should be to finde a sonne in law that could handsomely allure and discreetly beguile my old yeeres, and lull them asleepe; into whose hands I might despose and in all soveraignity resigne the conduct and managing of my goods, that he might dispose of them as I doe, and gaine upon them what I gaine; alwaies provided he would but carry a truely thankfull and friendly minde. But what? we live in a world where the loyalty of our owne children is not knowen. Whosoever hath the charge of my purse when I travell hath it freely and without controll; as well might he deceive me in keeping of reckonings. And if he be not a Divell, I bind him to deale well and honestly by my carelesse confidence. Multifallere docuerunt, dum timent falli, et aliis jus peccandi suspicando fecerunt: 'Many have taught others to deceive while themselves feare to be deceived, and have given them just cause to offend by suspecting them unjustly.' The most ordinary assurance I take of my people is a kinde of disacknowledge or neglect; I never presume vices but after I have seene them; and trust more yoong men such as I imagine to be the least debaushed and corrupted by ill examples. I had rather heare at two months end that I have spent foure hundred crownes, then every night when I should goe to my quiet bed have mine eares tired and my minde vexed with three, five, or seven. Yet in this kinde of stealing have I had as little stolne from mee as any other; True it is, I lend a helping hand to ignorance. I wittingly entertaine a kinde of troubled and uncertaine knowledge of my money; untill it come to a certaine measure I am content to doubt of it. It is not amisse if you allow your boy or servant some small scope for his disloyalty and indiscretion. If in grosse we have sufficiently left to bring our matters to passe, this excesse of fortunes-liberalitie, let us somewhat more suffer it to stand to her mercie, It is the gleaners fee. After all, I esteeme not so much my peoples fidelity as I disesteeme their injuries. Oh base and absurd study, for a man to study his money, and please himselfe with handling and counting the same; for that's the way whereby covetousnesse maketh her approches. Since eighteene yeeres that I have had the full disposing of my goods in my owne hands, I could never yet be brought to overlooke neither titles nor bookes, no not so much as the principall affaires that should necessarily passe thorow my knowledge and care.
Sit modus lasso maris, et viarum,
. . . Militiæque. -- Hor. Car. ii. Od. vi. 6.
Some repaire and rest to mine old age I crave
Journying, failing, with a weary warring,
O let an end have.
It is no Philosophicall contempt to neglect worldly and transitorie things: my taste is not so exquisitely nice, for I value them according to their worth at least: but truly it is all inexcusable slothfulnesse and childish negligence. What would I not rather doe then reade a contract? And more willingly, as a slave to my businesses with carke to overlooke and care to survay a company of old-dusty bookes, and plod upon musty writings? and which is worse, other mens, as so many doe daily for money? I have nothing so deare as care and paine; and I only endeavour to become carelesse and retchlesse. I had, in mine opinion, been fitter (if it might be) to live by others fortune, without bounden duty or bondage. And yet I wot not (the matter being thorowly sifted) whether, according to my humour and fortune, what I must endure with my affaires, and pocket up at my servants and familiars hands, hath not more abjection, importunitie and sharpenesse, then the following of another man should have better borne then my selfe, and who should [guide] me somewhat at mine ease. Servitus obedientia est fracti animi et abjecti, arbitrio carentis suo: (Cic. Parad. v.) 'Service is an obedience of an abject, broken heart, that cannot dispose of it selfe.' Crates did worse who voluntarily cast himselfe into liberties of povertie, only to ridd himselfe of the inconveniences, indignities and cares of his house; which I would not doe. I hate povertie as much as griefe; yet could I finde in my heart to change this manner of life with another lesse glorious and not so troublesome. Being absent, I discharge my selfe of all such carefull thoughts, and should lesse feele the ruinous downe-fall of a Towne, then, being present, the fall of a Tile: Alone my minde is easily freed, but in company it indureth as much as a Plough-mans. My horse uncurb'd, his reines misplaced, or a stirrup or a strap hitting against my legge, will keepe me in a checke a whole day long. I rouze my courage sufficiently against inconvenience; mine eies I cannot,Sensus o superi sensus!At home I am ever answerable for whatsoever is amisse. Few masters (I speake of meane condition, as mine is; whereof if any be, they are the more happy) can so fully rely upon a second, but still a good part of the burden shall lie upon them. That doth peradventure take something from my fashion, in entertaining of guests or new commers; and happily I have beene able to stay some, more by my kitchin then by my behaviour or grace, as doe the peevish and fantasticall; and I greatly diminish the pleasure I should take in my house by the visitations and meetings of my friends. No countenance is so foolish or so ill beseeming a gentleman in his owne house, as to see him vexed or troubled about his houshold or domesticke affaires; to see him whisper one of his servants in the eare, and threaten another with his looke. It should insensibly glide on, and represent an ordinary course. And I utterly dislike that a man should entertains his guest with either excusing or boasting of the entertainment he affoordeth them. I love order and cleanlinesse ------- et cantharus et lanx,- well nigh as much as plentie: In mine owne house I exactly looke unto necessities, little unto state, and lesse unto ornament. If your neighbours servant be fighting with his companion, if a dish be overthrowen, you but laugh at it, you sleepe quietly whilst Sir such a one is busie casting up of accounts, and over-seeing his stocke with his steward, and all about your provision for tomorrow. I speake according to mine opinion, omitting not in generall to thinke how pleasing an ammusement it is to certaine natures to see a quiet and prosperous houshold directed by a formall and guided by a regular order. But not intending to fasten mine owne errours and inconveniences to the matter: Nor to gainesay Plato, who deemeth that the happiest occupation any man can follow, is, to apply himselfe to his owne private businesse without injustice. When I journey, I have nothing to care for but my selfe, and how my money is laid out, which is disposed with one onely precept. Over-many parts are required in hoarding and gathering of goods: I have no skill in it. In spending I have some knowledge, and how to give my expences [play]: which indeed is its principall use. But I attend it over ambitiously, which makes it both unequall and deformed; and besides that immoderate in one and other usage. If it appeare and make a good shew, if it serve the turne, I indiscreetly goe after it; and as indiscreetly restraine my selfe, if it shine or smile not upon mee. Whatsoever it bee, either Art or nature, that imprints this condition of life into us, by relation to others, it doth us much more hurt then good. In going about to frame apparances according to the common opinion, wee defraud our selves of our owne profits. Wee care not so much what our state or how our being is in us, and in effect, as wee doe how and what it is, in the publike knowledge of others. Even the goods of the minde, and wisedome it selfe, seeme fruitlesse unto us, if onely enjoyed by us; except it be set forth to the open view and approbation of strangers. There are some whose gold runnes by streames in places under ground, and that imperceptible; others extend the same in plates and leaves. So that to some pence are worth crownes, to others the contrary; the world judging the employment and value according to the outward shew. All over-nice care and curious heed about riches hath a touch or a taste of avarice. Even their dispending and over regular and artificiall liberalities are not worth a warie heed taking, and countervaile not a painefull diligence. Who so will make his expence even and just, makes it strict and forced; either close-keeping or employing of money are in themselves things indifferent, and admit no colour of good or evill but according to the application of our will. The other cause that drawes me to these Journeyes or Vagaries is the dissent or disparitie in the present manners of our state. I could easily comfort my selfe with this corruption in regard of the publike interest; -- Juven. Sat. xiii. 28.
Ostendunt mihi me. -- Hor. i. Ep. v. 23.
My dish, my drinking kanne,
Shew me what kinde of manBut not for mine owne: I am in particular over-pressed by it. For round about where I dwell we are, by the over-long licentiousnesse of our intestine civill warres, almost growen old, in so licentious and riotous a forme of state,
Times worse then times of Iron, for whose bad frame
And wickednesse even nature findes no name,
Nor hath from any metall set the same.Quippe ubi fas versum atque nefas. -- Virg. Georg. i. 505.That in good truth it were a wonder if it should continue and maintaine it selfe.
As where of good and bad,
There is no difference had.Armati terram exercent, semperque recentesTo conclude, I see by our example that the societie of men doth hold and is sewed together, at what rate soever it be; where ever they be placed, in mooving and closing, they are ranged and stowed together, as uneven and rugged bodies, that orderlesse are hudled in some close place, of themselves finde the way to be united and joyned together one with another; and many times better then Art could have disposed them. King Philip assembled a rabble of the most leaud, reprobate and incorrigible men be could finde out, all whch he placed in a Citie which of purpose he had caused to be built for them, of whom it bare the name. I imagine that even of their vices they erected a politike contexture amongst themselves, and a commodious and just societie. I see not one action, or three, or a hundred, but even divers manners, admitted and commonly used; so extravagant (namely, in disloyalty) and so barbarous in inhumanities which in my conceit are the worst and most execrable kinde of vices, that I have not the heart so much as to conceive them without horrour: All which I in a manner admire as much as I detest. The exercise of these egregious villanies beareth a brand of vigour and hardinesse of minde as much as of error and irregular confusion. Necessitie composeth and assembleth men together. This casuall combining is afterward framed into lawes. For there have beene some as barbarously-savage as humane opinion could possibly produce, which notwithstanding have kept their bodies in as good health and state, in long life, as those of Plato or Aristotle could doe. And to say true, all these descriptions of policie, fained by Art and supposition, are found ridiculous and foolish to bee put in practise. These great and long continuing altercations about the best forme of societie and most commodious rules to unite us together, are altercations onely proper for the exercise of our wit: As in arts divers subjects are found that have no essence but in agitation and disputing, without which they have no life at all. Such an Idea of policie, or picture of government, were to be established in a new world; but we take a world already made and formed to certaine customes; wee engender not the same as Pyrrha, nor beget it as Cadmus. By what meanes soever we have the privilege to re-erect and range the same anew, we can very hardly wrest it from the accustomed habit and fold it hath taken, except we breake all. Solon being demanded whether hee had established the best lawes he could for the Athenians: answered, yea of those they would have received: with such a shift doth Varro excuse himselfe, saying, that if he were newly to beginne to write of religion, he would plainly tell what his beleefe were of it: But being alreadie received, he will speake more of it according to custome then to nature. Not to speake by opinion, but consonant to truth, the most excellent and best policie for any nation to observe, is that under which it hath maintained it selfe. Its forme and essentiall commoditie doth much depend of custome. We are easily displeased with the present condition; yet doe I hold that to wish the government of few in a popular estate, or in a Monarchie another kinde of policie, it is a manifest vice and meere follie.
Convectare juvat prædas, et vivere rapto. -- Virg. Æn. ix. 612.
They armed plow the land, and joy to drive,
And draw new booties, and on rapine live.
Ayme l'estat tel que tu le vois estre,
S'il est royall, ayme la royaute,
S'il est de peu, ou bien Communaute,
Ayme l'aussi, car Dieu a faict naistre. -- Pibrac.
Love thou the state as thou seest it to be:
If it be Regall, love the royall race,
If of a few or Common-weale, embrace
It as it is, borne there God pointed thee.
So was the good Lord of Pibrac wont to speake of it, whom we have lately lost, a man of so quaint and rare wit, of so sound judgement, and of so milde and affable behaviour. The untimely losse of whom, with that of the Lord of Foix, both fatally happning to us at one time, are surely losses of great consequence unto our crowne. I wot not well, whether France, amongst all the men it hath left, is able to affoord us two such other Gentlemen as may, either in sincerity and woorth, or in sufficiencie and judgement for the counsell of our Kings match these two Gascoynes. They were two mindes diversly faire, and verily, if we respect the corrupted age wherein we live, both rare and gloriously-shining, every one in her forme. But alas! what destiny had placed them on the Theater of his age, so dissonant and different in proportion from our deplorable corruption, and so farre from agreeing with our tumultuous stormes? Nothing doth so neerely touch and so much overlay an estate as innovation: Onely change doth give forme to injustice and scope to tyranny. If some one peece be out of square, it may be underpropt: one may oppose himselfe against that which the alteration incident and corruption naturall to all things doth not too much elonge and draw us from our beginnings and grounded principles. But to undertake to re-erect and found againe so huge a masse, and change or remoove the foundations of so vast a frame, belongeth onely to them who, instead of purging deface, and in liew of cleansing scrape out; that will amend particular faults by an universall confusion and cure diseases by death: Non tam commutandarum quam evertendarum rerum cupidi: 'Not so desirous to have things altered as overthrowen.' The world is fondly unapt to cure it selfe: So impatient with that which vexeth or grieveth it, that it only aimeth to ridd it selfe of it, never regarding at what rate. Wee see by a thousand examples that it doth ordinarily cure it selfe at its owne charges: To be freed from a present evill is no perfect cure, except there be a generall amendment of condition. The end of a skilfull Chirurgion is not to mortifie the bad flesh, it is but the beginning and addressing of his cure: he aimeth further, that is, to make the naturall to grow againe, and reduce the partie to his due being and quality. Who ever proposeth onely to remoove what gnaweth him shall be to seeke: for good doeth not necessarily succeed evill: another, yea a worse evill may succeed it. As it hapned unto Cesars murderers, who brought the commonwealth to so distresfull a plunge that they repented themselves they ever medled with the same. The like hath since fortuned to divers, yea in our daies. The French that live in my times know very well what to speake of such matters. All violent changes and great alterations, disorder, distemper and shake a state very much. He that should rightly respect a sound recovery or absolute cure, and before all other things thorowly consult about it, might happily grow slacke in the businesse, and beware how he set his hand unto it. Pacuvius Calavius corrected the vice of this manner of proceeding by a notable example. His fellow Citizens had mutinied against their magistrates; He being a man of eminent authority in the cittie of Capua, found one day the meanes to shut up the Senate in the Guildhall or Palace; then calling the people together in the market place, told them that the day was now come wherein with full and unresisted liberty they might take vengeance of the tyrants that had so long and so many wayes oppressed them, all which he had now at his mercy, and unarmed. His opinion was, that orderly by lots they should be drawne out one after another; which done they might particularly dispose of every one, and whatsoever should be decreed of them, shold immediately be executed upon the place; provided they should therewithall presently advise and resolve to nominate and establish some honest and undetected man to supply the roome of the condemned, lest their cittie should remaine void of due officers. To which they granted, and heard no sooner the name of a Senatour read, but a loud exclamation of a generall discontent was raised against him; which Pacuvius perceiving, he requested silence, and thus bespake them. 'My countrymen, I see very well that man must be cut off, hee is a pernicious and wicked member but let us have another sound good man in his place and whom would you name for that purpose?' This unexpected speech bred a distracted silence, each one finding himselfe to seeke and much confounded in the choise. Yet one, who was the boldest impudent amongst them, nominated one whom he thought fittest; who was no sooner heard but a generall consent of voices, louder than the first, followed, all refusing him, as one taxed with a hundred imperfections, lawfull causes, and just objections, utterly to reject him. These contradicting humours growing more violent and hot, every one following his private grudge or affection, there ensued a farre greater confusion and hurly-burly in drawing of the second and third Senatour, and in naming and choosing their successours, about which they could never agree. As much disorder and more confusion about the election, as mutuall consent and agreement about the demission and displacing. About which tumultuous trouble when they had long and to no end laboured and wearied themselves, they began some here, some there, to scatter and steale away from the assemblies every one with this resolution in his minde, that the oldest and best knowen evill is ever more tolerable then a fresh and unexperienced mischiefs. By seeing our selves piteously tossed in continuall agitation: for what have we not done?Eheu cicatricum et sceleris pudet,I am not very sudden in resolving or concluding.
Fratrumque: quid nos dura refugimus
Ætas? quid intactum nefasti
Liquimus? unde manus juventus
Metu Deorum continuit? quibus
Pepercit aris? -- Hor. Car. i. Od. xcv. 33.
Alas for shame of wickenuesse, and scarres,
Of brother-country-men in civill warres.
We of this hardned world, what doe we shunne?
What have we execrable left undone?
To set their hand whereto hath youth not dared
For feare of Gods? what altars hath it spared?----ipsa si velit salus,Yet are we not peradventure come unto our last period. The preservation of states is a thing in all likelihood exceeding our understanding. A civill policie (as Plato saith) is a mighty and puisant matter, and of very hard and difficult dissolution; it often endureth against mortall and intestine diseases, yea, against the injury of unjust lawes, against tyrannie, against the ignorance and debordement of Magistrates, and against the licentiousnesse and sedition of the people. In all our fortunes we compare our selves to that which is above us, and looke toward those that are better. Let us measure our selves by that which is beneath us; there is no creature so miserably wretched but findes a thousand examples to comfort himselfe withall. It is our fault that we more unwillingly behold what is above us then willingly what is beneath us. And Solon said, that should a man heape up in one masse all evils together, there is none that would not rather chuse to carry back with him such evils as he alreadie hath, then come to a lawfull division with other men of that chaos of evils, and take his allotted share of them. Our Common-wealth is much crazed and out of tune. Yet have divers others beene more dangyerously sicke, and have not died. The gods play at hand-ball with us, and tosse us up and downe on all hands. Enim vero dii nos homines quasi pitas habent: (Plaut. Capt. Prol.) 'The gods perdie doe reckon and racket us men as their tennis-balles.' The destinies have fatally ordained the State of Rome for an exemplar patterne of what they can doe in this kinde. It containeth in it selfe all formes and fortunes that concerne a state, whatsoever order, trouble, good or bad fortune may in any sort effect in it. What man may justly despaire of his condition, seeing the agitation, troubles, alterations, turmoiles, and motions wherewith it was tossed to and fro, and which it endured? If the extention of rule and far-spreading domination be the perfect health of a state, of which opinion I am not in any wise (and Isocrates doth greatly please me, who instructeth Nicocles not to envie those Princes who have large dominations, but such as can well maintaine and orderly preserve those that have beene hereditarily escheated unto them) that of Rome was never so sound as when it was most sicke and distempered. The worst of its forme was to it the most fortunate. A man can hardly distinguish or know the image of any policie under the first Emperors; it was the most horrible and turbulent confusion that could be conceaved, which notwithstanding it endured and therein continued, preserving, not a Monarchie bounded in her limits, but so many nations, so different, so distant, so evill affected, so confusedly commanded, and so unjustly conquered.
Servare prorsus non potest hanc familiam: -- Ter. Adel. act. iv. sc. 7.
This familie if safetie would
Keepe safe, I doe not thinke it could.-----nec gentibus ullisAll that shaketh doth not fall: The contexture of so vast a frame holds by more then one naile. It holds by its antiquity, as olde buildings which age hath robbed of foundation, without loame or morter, and neverthelesse live and subsist by their owne waight.
Commodat in populum terræ pelagique potentem,
Invidiam fortuna suam. -- Lucr. i. 82.
Fortune doth to no other nation lend
Envie, against that people force to bend,
Which both by land and sea their force extend.------ nec jam validis radicibus hærensMoreover, he goes not cunningly to worke, that onely survayes the flankes and dykes; to judge well of the strength of a place, he must heedily marke how and view which way it may be approached, and in what state the assailant stand. Few vessels sinke with their owne waight, and without some extraordinary violence. Cast we our eyes about us and in a generall survay consider all the world; all is tottring, all is out of frame. Take a perfect view of all great states by in Christendome and where ever else we have knowledge of, and in all places you shall finde a most evident threating of change and ruine:
Pondere tuta suo est. -- Ibid. 138.
Though now to no strong roote it sticke so fast
Yet is it safe by selfe-waight, and will last.Et sua sunt illis incommoda, pargue per omnesAstrologers may sport themselves with warning us, as they doe, of imminent alterations and succeeding revolutions; their divinations are present and palpable; wee need not prie into the heavens to finde them out. Wee are not only to draw comfort from this universall aggregation of evill and threats, but also some hope for the continuance of our state; forsomuch as naturally nothing falleth where all things fall; a generall disease is a particular health: Conformitie is a qualitie enemie to dissolution. As for me, I nothing despaire of it, and me thinks I already perceive some starting holes to save us by:
Their discommodities they know:
One storme alike oer all doth grow.Deus hæc fortasse benignaWho knowes whether God hath determined it shall happen of them as of bodies that are purged, and by long grievous sicknesses brought to a beter and sounder state; which thorowly purged diseases do afterward yeeld them a more entire and purely-perfect health then that they tooke from them? That which grieveth me most is, that, counting the symptomes or affects of our evill, I see as many meerely proceeding of nature, and such as the heavens send us, and which may properly be termed theirs, as of those that our owne surfet, or excesse, or misse-diet, or humane indiscretion confer upon us. The very Planets seeme orderly to declareunto us that we have continued long enough, yea and beyond our ordinary limits. This also grieves me, that the neerest evill threatning us is not a distemper or alteration in the whole and solide masse, but a dissipation and divulsion of it - the extreamest of our feares. And even in these fantasticall humors or dotings of mine, I feare the treason of my memory, least unmanly it have made me to register somethings twise. I hate to correct and agnize my selfe, and can never endure but grudgingly to review and repolish what once hath escaped my pen. I heere set downe nothing that is new or lately found out. They are vulgar imaginations, and which peradventure having beene conceived a hundred times, I feare to have already enrolled them. Repetition is ever tedious, were it in Homer: But irkesome in things that have but one superficiall and transitorie shew. I am nothing pleased with inculcation or wresting-in of matters, be it in profitable things, as in Seneca. And the maner of his Stoike schoole displeaseth me, which is, about every matter, to repeat at large, and from the beginning to the end such principles and presuppositions as serve in generall: and every hand-while to re-allege anew the common arguments and universall reasons. My memorie doth daily grow worse and worse, and is of late much empaired:
Reducet in sedem vice. -- Hor. Epod. xiii. 10.
It may be, God with gracious entercourse
Will reestablish these things in their course.Pocula lethæos ut si ducentia somnos,I shall henceforward be faine (for hitherto, thankes be to God, no capitall fault hath hapned), whereas others seeke time and occasion to premeditate what they have to say, that I avoid to prepare my selfe, for feare I should tie my selfe to some strict bond, on which I must depend. To be bound and tied doth somewhat distract me: namely, when I am wholly to rely and depend on so weake an instrument as is in my memory. I never read this story, but I feele a certaine proper and naturall offence. Lyncestes being accused of a conspiracie against Alexander, the very same day that, according to custome, he was led forth in presence of all the armie to be heard in his owne defence, had in his minde a premeditated oration, which he had studiously learnt by rote, whereof, stammering and faltring, having uttered some words: And wrestling with his memory, and striving to run-it over againe, he was sodainly charged by the souldiers that were about him, and slaine with pikes, as they who held him to be convicted. His amazement and silence served them as a confession; for they supposed that having had so long leasure in prison to prepare himselfe, it was not (as they thought) his memory failed him, but his guilty conscience bridled so his tongue and deprived him of his wonted faculties. It was truly wel spoken. The very place, the company and expectation astonieth a man when he most aimeth at an ambition of well-speaking. What can a man doe when a meere oration shall bring his life into consequence? As for mee, if I bee tide unto a prescript kinde of speaking, what bindes me to it dooth also loose me from it, when I have committed and wholly assigned my selfe unto my memory, I so strongly depend on the same that I overwhelme it: she faints under her owne burthen. So much as I refer my selfe unto her, so much am I divided from selfe, untill I make tryall of in countenance. And I have some times beene in paine in concealing the bondage whereunto I was engaged: whereas my dessigne, in speaking, to represent a maine carelesnesse of accent and countenance, suddaine and unpremeditated, or casuall motions as rising of present occasions; rather loving to say nothing of any worth, then make shew I came provided to speake well: a thing above all unseemely to men of my profession, and of over strict an obligation to one that cannot hold much. Preparation gives more to hope then it brings with it.A man doth often strip himselfe into his doblet, to leape shorter then he did in his gowne. Nihil est his, qui placere volunt, tam adversauum, quam expectatio: 'There is none so great an enemy to them that would please as expectation.' It is written of Curio the Orator, that when he proposed the distribution of the parts of his oration into three or foure, or the number of his arguments and reasons, it was his ordinary custome either to forget some one, or adde one or two more unto it. I have ever shunned to fall into such an inconvenience, as one hating these selfe-promises and prescriptions: Not onely for the distrust of my memory, but also because this form drawes over neare unto an artiste. Simpliciora militates decent: 'Plaine wordes and manners become Martialists.' Sufficeth, I have now made a vow unto my selfe, no more to undertake the charge to speake in any place of respect: For to speake in reading what one hath written, besides that it is most foolish and absurde, it is a matter of great disadvantage to such as by nature were interressed or might do any thing in the action. And wholy to rely or cast my selfe to the mercy of my present invention, much lesse: I have it by nature so dulle and troubled, that it cannot in any wise supply me in sudaine and stead me in important necessities. May it please the gentle reader to suffer this one part of Essay to run on, and this third straine or addition of the rest of my pictures peeces. I adde, but I correct not; First, because he who hath hypothekised or engaged his labour to the world, I finde apparance that he hath no longer right in the same; let him, if hee be able, speake better els where, and not corrupt the worke he hath already made sale off; Of such people a man should buy nothing but after they are dead: let them throughly thinke on it before they produce the same. Who hastens them? My booke is alwaies one, except that according as the Printer goes about to renew it, that the buyers depart not altogether empty-handed, I give my selfe law to adde thereto (as it is but uncoherent checky, or ill joined in laid worke) some supernumerall embleme. They are but over-waights, which disgrace not the first forme, but give some particular price unto every one of the succeeding, by an ambitious pety subtility. Whence, notwithstanding, it may easily happen that some transposition of chronology is thereto commixt: my reports taking place according to their opportunity, and not ever according to their age. Secondly, forsomuch as in regard of my selfe I feare to loose by the exchange: My understanding doth not alwaies goe forward, it sometimes goes also backeward: I in a manner distrust mine owne fantasies as much, though second or third, as I doe when they are the first, or present as past. We many times correct our selves as foolishly as we taxe others unadvisedly. I am growne aged by a number of yeares since my first publications, which were in a thousand five hundred and foure score. But I doubt whether I be encreased one inch in wisedome. My selfe now and my selfe anon are indeede two; but when better, in good sooth I cannot tell. It were a goodly thing to bee old if wee did onely march towards amendment. It is the motion of a drunkard, stumbling, reeling, giddie-brain'd, formeles, or of reedes, which the ayre dooth casually wave to and fro what way it bloweth. Antiochus, in his youth, had stoutly and vehemently writ ten in favor of the Academy, but being olde be changed copy, and writ as violently against it: which of the two I should follow, should I not ever follow Antiochus? Having once established a doubt, to attempt to confirme the certainty of humane opinions, were it not an establishing of a doubt, and not of the certainty? and promise that had he had another age given him, with assurance to live, he should ever have beene in termes of new agitations , not so much better as other and different? Publike favor hath given me some more boldnes then I hoped for; but the thing I feare most is to breed a glutting saciety: I would rather spur then bee weary, as a wiseman of my time hath done. Commendation is ever pleasing, from whom, from whence, or where-fore soever it come; yet ought a man to be informed of the cause, if he will justly please and applaud himselfe therewith. Imperfections themselves have their meanes to be recommended. Vulgar and common estimation is little happy if it come to encounter: And I am deceived, if in my dayes the worst composition,; and absurdest bookes have not gained the credit of popular breath. Verily I am much beholding to divers honest men, and I thanke them that vouchsafe to take my endeavours in good parte. There is no place where the defects of the fashion doe so much appeare, as in a matter that in it selfe hath nothing to recommend it. Good reader, blame not me, for those that passe here, either by the fantazie or unwarinesse of others; for every hand, each workeman brings his owne unto them. I neither meddle with orthography (and would onely have them follow the ancient) nor with curious painting: I have small experience in either. Where they altogether breake the sence, I little trouble my selfe therewith; for at least they discharge me. But where they will wrest-in and substitute a false sence (as often they doe) and wyre-draw me to their conceits, then they spoyle me. Neverthelesse, when the sentence is not strong or sinnowy according to my meaning, an honest man may reject it to be mine. He that shall know how little laborious I am and how framed after mine owne fashion, will easily beleeve I would rather endite anew as many more other Essayes, then subject my selfe to trace these over againe, for this childish correction. I was saving, erewhile that being plunged in the deepest mine of this new kinde of mettall, I am not onely deprived of great familiarity with men of different custome from mine, and other opinions, by which they holde together by a knot, commanding all other knots; but am not also without some hazard, amongst those with whom all things are equally lawfull, most of which cannot now adayes empaire their market towarde our justice, whence the extreme degree of licenciousnesse proceedeth. Casting over all the particular circumstances that concerne mee, I finde no one man of ours to whome the inhibition of our lawes costeth any thing, eyther in gaine ceasing, or in losse appearing (as Lawyers say), more then onto my selfe. And some there be that in chollericke heate and humorous fury will cracke and vaunt much, that will performe a great deale lesse then my selfe, if once we come to an equall ballance. As a house at all times freely open, much frequented, of great haunt and officious in entertaining all sorts of people (for I could never bee induced to make an implement of warre thereof; which I perceive much more willingly to bee sought-out and flocked unto where it is furthest from my neighbours) my house hath merited much popular affection: And it were a hard matter to gourmandize my selfe upon mine owne dung-hill: And I repute it a wonderfull and exemplar strangenesse, that having undergone so many stormy-wrackes, so divers changes and tumultuous-neighbour agitations, it doth yet this day continue free, and (as I may say) an undefiled virgin from shedding of blood, spoile, or sacking. For, to say true, it was possible for a man of my disposition to escape from a constant and continuall forme, whatsoever it was. But the contrary invasions, hostile incursions, alterations and vicissitudes of fortune round about me, have hitherto more exasperated then mollified the humour of the country, and recharge mee with dangers and invincible difficulties. I have escaped. But it grieveth me that it is rather by fortune, yea and by my discretion, then by justice: And it vexeth me to bee without the protection of the lawes and under any other safegard then theirs. As things now stand I live more then halfe by the favour of others, which is a severe obligation. I would not be endebted for my safety neither to the goodnesse nor to the good will of our great men, which applaude themselves with my liberty and legalitie; nor to the facilitie of my predecessours or mine owne manners: for what if I were other then I am? If my demeanour, the libertie of my conversation, or happilie alliance, binde my neighbours; It is a cruelty that they should acquit themselves of it in suffering me to live, and that they may say, wee give him a free and undisturbed continuation of divine service in the chaple of his house, whilst all other Churches round about are by us prophaned and deserted; and we freely allow and pardon him the fruition of his goods and use of his life, as hee maintaineth our wives, and in time of need keepeth our cattle. It is long sin ce that in my house we have a share in Lycurgus the Athenians praise, who was the generall storier, depositary and guardian of his fellow-citizens goods and purses. I am now of opinion that a man must live by law and authorities and not by recompence or grace. How many gallant men have rather made choise to lose their life then be indebted for the same? I shunne to submit my selfe to any manner of obligation. But above all to which bindes me by duty of bonds of honour. I finde nothing so deare as what is given mee, and that because my will remaines engaged by a title of ingratitude: And I more willingly receive such offices as are to be sold: A thing easie to be beleeved, for these I give nothing but money, but for those I give my selfe. The bond that holdes me by the law of honestie seemeth to me much more urgent and forcible then that of civill compulsion. I am more gently tyed by a Notarie then by my selfe. Is it not reason that my conscience bee much more engaged to that wherein she hath simply and onely beene trusted? Els my faith oweth nothing, for she hath nothing lent her. Let one helpe himselfe with the confidence or assurance he hath taken from me. I would much rather breake the prison of a wall or of the lawes, then the bond of my word. I am nicely scrupulous in keeping of my promises, nay almost superstitious, and in all subjects I commonly passe them uncertaine and conditionall. To such as are of no weighty consequence I adde force with the jealousie of my rule: shee rackes and chargeth me with her owne interest. Yea, in such enterprises as are altogether mine owne and free, if I speake the word or name the point, mee thinkes I prescribe the same unto me; and that to give it to anothers knowledge, it is to preordaine it unto himselfe. Me seemes I absolutely promise when I speake. Thus I make but small bragge of my propositions. The condemnation I make of my selfe is more mooving, forcible and severe, then that of the judges, who onely take me by the countenance of common obligation; the constraint of my conscience is more rigorous and more strictly severe; I faintly follow those duties to which I should bee haled if I did not goe to them. Hoc ipsum ita justum est quod recte fit, si voluntarium: (Cic. Off. i.) 'This is so just, as it is well done, if it be voluntary.' If the action have no glimps of libertie, it hath neither grace nor honour.
. . . Arente fauce traxerim.-- Hor. Epod. xiv. 3.
As though with drie lips I had drunke that up,
Which drawes oblivious sleepe in drowsie cup.Quid mejus cogit, vix voluntate impetrent. -- Ter. Ad. act. iii. sc. 4.Where necessitie drawes me, I love to relent my will. Qua quicquid imperio cogitur, exigenti magis, quam præstanti acceptum refertur. 'For whatsoever is enforced by command is more imputed to him that exacteth then in him that performeth.' I know some that follow this aire even unto injustice. They will rather give then restore; sooner lend then pay; and more sparingly doe good to him to whom they are bound to doe it. I bend not that way, but am mainely against it. I love so much to disoblige and discharge my selfe, that I have sometimes esteemed as profit the ingratitudes, the offences, and indignities I had received of those to whom, either by nature or accidents, I was by way of friendship somewhat beholding; taking the occasion of their fault for a quittance and discharge of my debt. Although I continue to pay them the apparent offices with common reason, I notwithstanding finde some sparing in doing that by justice which I did by affection; and somewhat to ease my self with the attention and diligence of my inward will. Est prudentis sustinere ut cursum, sic impetum benevolentiæ: (Cic. De Amic.)'It is a wisemans part to keepe a hand as on the course, so on the career of his goodwill.' Which where ever I apply my selfe, is in me too urgent and over pressing, at least for a man that by no meanes would be enthronged. Which husbandrie stands mee in stead of some comfort, about the imperfections of those that touch me. Indeed I am much displeased they should thereby be of lesse worth; but so it is that I also save something of my engagement and application towards them. I allow of him that loves his childe so much the lesse by how much more he is either deformedly crooked or scald-headed. And not onely when he is knavish or shrewd, but also being unluckie or ill borne (for God himselfe hath in that abated of his worth and naturall estimation) alwaies provided, that in such a cold and sleight affection hee beare himselfe with moderation and exact justice. In mee proximitie of blood doth nothing diminish, but rather aggravate defects. After all, according to the skill I have in the knowledge of benefits and thankfulnesse, which is a knowledge very subtill and of great use, I see no man more free and lesse indebted then hitherto I am my selfe. What ever I owe, the same I owe simply to common and naturall obligations. There is no man more absolutely quit and cleare else whence.
What law enforceth me to doe,
By will they can scarce winne me to.----nec sunt mihi nota potentumPrinces give mee sufficiently if they take nothing from me, and doe me much good if they doe me no hurt; it is all I require of them. Oh how much am I beholding to God, forsomuch as it hath pleased him that whatsoever I enjoy I have immediately received the same from his grace; that he hath particularly reserved all my debt unto himselfe. I most instantly beseech his sacred mercy that I may never owe any man so much as one essentiall God amercie. Oh thrise fortunate libertie, that hath brought me so farr. May it end successefully. I endeavour to have no manner of need of any man. In me omnis spes egt mihi: 'All my hope for all my helpes is my selfe.' It is a thing that every man may effect in himselfe; but they more easily whom God hath protected and sheltred from naturall and urgent necessities. Indeed it is both lamentable and dangerous to depend of others. Our selves, which is the safest and most lawfull refuge, are not very sure under our selves. I have nothing that is mine owne but my selfe; yet is the possession thereof partly defective and borrowed. I manure my selfe, both in courage (which is the stronger) and also in fortune, that if all things else shou ld forsake me, I might finde something wherewith to please and satisfie my selfe. EleusHippias did not onely store himselfe with learning, that in time of need hee might joyfully withdraw himselfe amongst the Muses, and be sequestred from all other company; nor onely with the knowledge of Philosophie to teach his minde to be contented with her, and when his chance should so dispose of him, manfully to passe over such incommodities as exteriorlie might come unto him; but, moreover, he was so curious in learning to dresse his meat, to notte his haire, to make his cloathes, breeches and shoes, that as much as could possibly be he might wholly relie and trust to himself, and be freed from all forraine helpe. A man doth more freely and more blithely enjoy borrowed goods when it is not a bounden jovissance and constrained through neede, and that a man hath in his will the power and in his fortune the meanes to live without them. I know my selfe well. But it is very hard for me to imagine any liberalitie of another body so pure towards me, or suppose any hospitalitie so free, so hartie and genuine, as would not seeme affected, tyrannicall, disgraced and attended-on by reproach, if so were that necessitie had forced and tied me unto it. As to give is an ambitious qualitie, and of prerogative, so is taking a qualitie of submission. Witnes the injurious and pick-thanke refusall that Bajazeth made of the presents which Themir had sent him. And those which in the behalfe of Soliman the Emperour were sent to the Emperour of Calicut, did so vex him at the heart that he did not only utterly reject and scornfully refuse them, saying that neither himselfe nor his predecessors before him were accustomed to take any thing, and that their office was rather to give; but beside he caused the Ambassadors, to that end sent unto him, to be cast into a deepe dungeon. When Thetis (saith Aristotle) flattereth Jupiter, when the Lacedemonians flatter the Athenians, they doe not thereby intend to put them in minde of the good they have done them, which is ever hatefull, but of the benefits they have received of them. Those I see familiarly to employ and make use of all men, to begge and borrow of all men, and engage themselves to all men, would doubtlesse never doe it, knew they as I doe, or tasted they as I have done, the sweet content of a pure and undepending libertie, and if therewithall (as a wiseman ought) they did duly ponder what it is for a man to engage himselfe into such an obligation, or libertie depriving bond. It may happily be paid sometimes, but it can never be utterly dissolved. It is a cruell bondage to him that loveth throughly and by all meanes to have the free scope of his libertie. Such as are best and most acquainted with me know whether ever they saw any man living lesse soliciting, lesse craving, lesse importuning or lesse begging then I am, or that lesse employeth or chargeth others, which if I be, and that beyond all moderne example, it is no great wonder, sithence so many parts of my humours or manners contribute thereunto. As a naturall kind of stubbornnesse, an impatience to be denied, a contraction of my desires and desseignes, and an insufficiencie or unto-wardlinesse in all manner of affaires; but above all, my most favoured qualities, lethall sloathfulnesse, and a genuine liberty, by all which meanes I have framed all habite mortally to hate, to be beholding to any creature els, or to depend of other then unto and of my selfe. True it is, that before I employ the beneficence or liberality of an other, in any light or waighty occasion, small or urgent neede soever, I doe to the utmost power employ all that ever I am able to avoid and forbeare it. My friends doe strangelie importune and molest me, when they solicite and urge me to entreate a third man. And I deeme it a matter of no lesse charge and imputation to disengage him that is endebted unto me, by making use of him, then to engage my selfe unto him that oweth me nothing. Both which conditions being removed, let them not looke for any cumbersome, negotious and carefull matter at my hands (for I have denounced open warre unto all manner of carke and care); I am commodiously easie and ready in times of any bodies necessities and I have also more avoyded to receive, then sought to give, which (as Aristotle saith) is also more facile. My fortune hath afforded me small meanes to benefit others, and that little she hath bestowed on me, the same hath she also meanely and indifferently placed. Had shee made mee to be so borne that I might have kept some ranke amongst men, I would then have beene ambitious in procuring to be beloved, but never to be feared or admired. Shall I expresse it more insolentlie? I would have had as much regard unto pleasing as unto profiting. Cyrus doth most wiselie, and by the mouth of an excellent Captaine and also a better Philosopher, esteeme his bountie and praise his good deedes farre beyond his valour and above his warlike-conquests. And Scipio the elder, wheresoever hee seeketh to prevaile and set forth himselfe, rateth his debonairitie and valueth his humanitie above his courage and beyond his victories, and hath ever this glorious saying in his mouth: 'That hee hath left his enemies as much cause to love him as his friends.' I will therefore say that if a man thus owe any thing, it ought to be under a more lawfull title then that whereof I speake, to which the law of this miserable warre doth engage me, and not of so great a debt, as that of my totall preservation and whole estate, which doth unreparablie overwhelme mee. I have a thousand times gone to bed in mine house, imagining I should the very same night either have beene betrayed or slaine in my bed; compounding and conditioning with fortune that it might be without apprehension of feareful astonishment and languishment; And after my praiers have cried out,
With gifts I am not much acquainted,
Of mighty men, and much lesse tainted.Impius hæc tam culta novalia miles habebit? -- Virg. Eclog. i. 11.What remedie? It is the place where my selfe and most of my ancestors were borne: therein have they placed their affection and their name. Wee harden our selves unto whatsoever wee accustome our selves. And to a wretched condition, as ours is, custome hath beene a most favourable present, given us by nature, which enureth and lulleft our sense asleepe to the suffring of divers evils. Civill warres have this one thing worse then other warres, to cause every one of us to make a watch-tower of his owne house.
Shall these our grounds so deekt and drest,
By godles souldiers be possest?Quam miserum, porta vitam muroque tueri,It is an irkesome extremitie for one to be troubled and pressed even in his owne houshold and domesticall rest. The place wherein I dwell is ever both the first and last to the batterie of our troubles, and where peace is ever [never?] absolutely discerned.
Vixque suæ tutum viribus esse domus! -- Ovid. Trist. iv. El. i. 69.
How hard with gate and wall our life to gard,
And scarce be safe in our owne houses bard!Tum quoque cum pax est, trepidant formidine belli -- Lucan. i. 256.I sometimes draw the meanes to strengthen my selfe against these considerations, from carelesnesse and idlenesse, which also in some sort bring us unto resolution. It often befalleth me, with some pleasure, to imagine what mortall dangers are, and to expect them. I do even hood-winkt, with my head in my bosome and with stupidities, plunge my selfe into death, without considering or knowing it, as into a deep, hollow and bottomlesse abysse, which at one leape doth swallow me up, and at an instant doth cast me into an eternall slumber, full of insipiditie and indolencie. And in these short, sudden or violent deaths, the consequence I fore-see of them affords me more comfort then the effect of feare. They say, that even as life is not the best because it is long, so death is the best because it is short. I estrange not my selfe so much by being dead, as I enter into confidence with dying. I enwrap and shrowd my selfe in that storme which shall blinde and furiously wrap me with a ready and insensible charge. Yet if it hapned (as some gardners say) that those Roses and Violets are ever the sweeter and more odoriferous that grow neere unto Garlike and Onions, forsomuch as they sucke and draw all the ill savours of the ground unto them, so that these depraved natures would draw and sucke'all the venome of mine aire and infection of my climate, and by their neerenesse unto me make me so much the better and purer, that I might not lose all. That is not, but of this, something may be, forsomuch as goodnesse is the fairer and more attracting when it is rare, and that contrarietie stifneth and diversitie encloseth well doing in it selfe, and by the jealousie of opposition and glory it doth enflame it. Theeves and stealers (godamercie their kindnesse) have in particular nothing to say to me: no more have I to them. I should then have to do with over-many sorts of men. Alike consciences lurke under divers kinds of garments, Alike crueltie, disloialtie and stealing. And so much the worse, by how much it is more base, more safe and more secret under the colour of lawes. I hate lesse an open-professed injurie then a deceiving traiterous wrong, an hostile and war-like then a peacefull and lawfull. Our feaver hath seased upon a body which it hath not much empaired. The fire was in it, but now the flame hath taken hold of it. The report is greater, the hurt but little. I ordinarily answere such as demand reasons for my voiages: That I know what I shunne, but wot not what I seeke. If one tell mee there may be as little sound health amongst strangers, and that their manners are neither better nor purer then ours, I answere first, that it is very hard:
Ev'n when in peace they are,
They quake for feare of warre.
-----quoties pacem fortuna lacessit,
Hac iter est bellis, melius fortuna, dedisses
Orbe sub Eoo sedem, gelidaque sub Arcto,
Errantesque domos. -- Ibid. 252.
As oft as fortune troubleth peace, their race,
Warres makes this way: fortune with better grace,
In th' Easterne world thou shouldst have giv'n them place,
Or wandring tents for warre, under the cold North-starre.Tam multæ scelerum facies. -- Virg. Georg. i. 506.Of wickednesse we hold.
The formes so manifold
Secondly, that it is ever a gaine to change a bad estate for an uncertaine. And that others evils should not touch us so neare as ours. I will not forget this, that I can never mutinie so much against France but I must needes looke on Paris with a favourable eye: It hath my hart from my infancy, whereof it hath befalne me as of excellent things: the more other faire and stately cities I have seene since, the more hir beauty hath power and doth still usurpingly gaine upon my affection. I love that Citie for her owne sake, and more in her onely subsisting and owne being then when it is full fraught and embellished with forraine pompe and borrowed garish ornaments: I love her so tenderly that even hir spotts, her blemishes and hir warts are desire unto me. I am no perfect Frenchman, but by this great-matchlesse Citie, great in people, great in the felicitie of her situation; but above al, great and incomparable in varietie and diversitie of commodities. The glory of France, and one of the noblest and chiefe ornaments of the world. God of his mercy free hir, and chase away all our divisions from hir: Being entirely united to hir selfe, I finde hir defended from all other violence. I forewarne hir, that of all factions, that shall be the worst which shall breed discord and sedition in hir. And for hir sake, I onely feare hir selfe. And surely I am in as great feare for hir as for any other part of our state. So long as she shall continue, so long shall I never want a home or retreat to retire and shrowd my selfe at all times a thing able to make me forget the regret of all other retreates. Not because Socrates hath said it, but because such is in truth my humour, and peradventure not without some excuse, to esteeme all men as my countrymen; and as I kindly. embrace a Polonian as a Frenchman, postponing this naturall bond to universall and common. I am not greatly strucken with the pleasantnesse of naturall aire. Acquaintances altogether new and wholly mine doe in my conceit countervaile the worth of all other vulgar and casuall acquaintances of our neighbours. Friendships meerely acquired by our selves doe ordinarily exceed those to w hich wee are joyned either by communication of climate or affinity of blood. Nature hath plac't us in the world free and unbound, wee emprison our selves into certaine straights: As the Kings of Persia, who bound themselves never to drinke other water then of the river Choaspez, foolishly renouncing all lawfull right of use in all other waters, and for their regard dried up all the rest of the world. What Socrates did in his latter dayes, to deeme a sentence of banishment worse then a doome of death against himselfe, being of the mind I am now, I shall never be neither so base minded nor so strictly habituated in my country that I would follow him. The celestiall lives have divers images which I embrace more by estimation then by affection. And some too extraordinary, and so highly elevated, which because I am not able to conceive, I cannot embrace by estimation. This humor was very tenderly apprehended by him who deemed all the world to be his city. True it is he disdained peregrinations, and had not much set his foote beyond the territory of Athens. What if he bewailed the mony his friend offred to lay out, to disengage his life, and refused to come out of prison, by the intercession of others, because he would not disobey the lawes in a time wherein they were otherwise so corrupted? These examples are of the first kind for me. Of the second there are others, which I could find in the very same man. Many of these rare examples exceed the power of my action; but some exceed also the force of my judgement.Besides these reasons, I deem travell to be a profitable exercise. The minde hath therein a continuall excitation, to marke things unknowne, and note new objects. And as I have often said: 'I know no better schoole to fashion a man's life then uncessantly to propose unto him the diversitie of so many other mens lives, customes, humors, and fantasies; and make him taste or apprehend one so perpetuall variety of our natures, shapes, or formes. Therein the body is neither absolutely idle nor wholly troubled, and that moderate agitation doth put him into breath.' My selfe, as crazed with the collicke as I am, can sit eight, yea sometimes ten houres on horse-backe, without wearinesse or tyring.Vires ultra sortemque senectæ. -- Virg. Æn. vi. 114.No weather is to me so contrary as the scorching heat of the parching Sunne. For, these Umbrels or riding canapies, which since the ancient Romans, the Italians use, doe more weary the armes then ease the head. I would faine-faine know what industry it was in the Persians, so anciently, and even in the infancy of luxuriousnesse (as Xenophon reporteth) to fanne themselves, and at their pleasures to make cold shades. I love rainy and durty weather as duckes doe. The change either of aire or climate doth nothing distemper mee. All heavens are alike to me, I am never vexed or beaten, but with internall alterations, such as I produce my selfe, which surprise and possesse me least in times of Wayfaring. It is a hard matter to make me resolve of any journey; but if I be once on the way, I hold out as long and as farre as another. I strive as much in small as I labour in great enterprises; and to prepare my selfe for a short journey or to visite a friend, as to undertake a farre set voiage. I have learnt to frame my journeyes after the Spanish fashion, all at once and out- right, great and reasonable. And in extreme heats I travell by night, from Sunne-set to Sunne rising. The other fashion, confusedly and in haste to bait by the way and dine, especially in Winter, when the daies are so short, is both troublesome for man and incommodious for horse. My Jades are the better, and hold out longer. No horse did ever faile me that held out the first daies journey with me. I water them in all waters, and only take care of their last watering, that before I come to mine Inne they have way enough to heat their water. My slothfulnesse to rise in the morning alloweth such as follow mee sufficient leasure to dine before wee take horse. As for me, I never feed over-late: I commonly get an appetite in eating, and no otherwise: I am never hungry but at the table. Some complaine that being maried, and well strucken in yeares, I have enured my selfe, and beene pleased to continue this exercise. They doe me wrong. The best time for a man to leave his house is when he hath so ordered and settled the same that it may continue without him; and when he hath so disposed his affaires, that they may answere the ancient course and wonted forme. It is much more indiscretion, and an argument of want of judgement, to goe from home and leave no trusty guard in his house, and which for lacke of care may be slow or forgetfull in providing for such necessities as in your absence it may stand in need of. The most profitable knowledge and honourablest occupation for a matron or mother of a familie is the occupation and knowledge of huswiferie. I see divers covetous, but few huswifes. It is the mistresse-qualitie that all men should seeke after, and above all other endeavour to finde, as the onely dowry; that serveth either to ruine and overthrow, or to save and enrich our houses. Let no man speake to me of it; according as experience hath taught me, I require in a maried woman the Oeconomicall vertue above all others. Wherein I would have her absolutely skilfull, since by my absence I commit the charge and bequeath the full government of my houshold to her. I see (and that to my griefe) in divers houses the master or goodman come home at noone all weary, durty and dusty, with drudging and toiling about his businesse; when the mistresse or good-wife is either scarce up, or if shee bee, she is yet in her closet, dressing, decking, smugging, or trimming of her selfe. It is a thing onely fitting Queenes or Princes; whereof some doubt might be made. It is ridiculous that the idlenesse and unjust that the lithernesse of our wives should be fostered with our sweat and maintained by our travell. No man (as neere as I can) shall fortune to have a more free and more absolute use, or a more quiet and more liquid fruition of his goods then I have. If the husband bring matter, nature her selfe would have women to bring forme. Concerning duties of wedlocke-friendship, which some happily imagine to be interessed or prejudiced by the husbands absence, I beleeve it not. Contrariwise, it is a kinde of intelligence that easily growes cold by an over-continuall assistance, and decaieth by assiduitie; for to stand still at racke and manger breedeth a satietie. Every strange woman seemeth to us an honest woman: And all feele by experience that a continuall seeing one another cannot possibly represent the pleasure men take by parting and meeting againe. These interruptions fill mee with a new kinde of affection toward mine owne people, and yeeld me the use of my house more pleasing: vicissitude doth now and then en-earnest my minde toward one, and then toward another. I am not ignorant how true amitie hath armes long enough to embrace, to claspe and holde from one corner of the world unto another; namely in this, where is a continuall communication of offices that cause the obligation and reviv e the remembrance thereof. The stoickes say that there is so great an affinitie and mutual relation betweene wise men that he who dineth in France feedeth his companion in Ægypt; and if one of them doe but hould up his finger, where ever it bee, all the wise men dispersed upon the habitable land feele a kinde of aid thereby. Jovissance and possession appertaine chiefly unto imagination. It embraceth more earnestly and uncessantly what she goeth to fetch, then what wee touch. Summon and count all your daily ammusements, and you shall finde you are then furthest and most absent from your friend when he is present with you. His assistance releaseth your attention, and giveth your thoughts libertie at all times and upon every occasion to absent themselves. If I be at Rome, or any where else, I hold, I survay, and governe my house and the commodities which I have left about and in it. I even see my walles, my trees, my grasse, and my rents to stand, to grow, to decay, and to diminish, within an inch or two of that I should doe when I am at home.
Beyond strength ordinary,
Which old yeeres use to carry.Ante oculos errat domus, errat forma locorum.If we but onely enjoy what we touch, farewell our crownes when they are in our coffers, and adiew to our children when they are abroad or a hunting; we would have them neerer. In the garden is it farre off? within halfe a daies journey ? What, within ten leagues, is it farre or neere? If it be neere, what is eleven, twelve, or thirteene? and so step by step. Verely that woman who can prescribe unto her husband how many steps end that which is neere, and which step in number begins the distance she counts farre, I am of opinion that she stay him betweene both.
My house is still before mine eies,
There still the forme of places lies.------ excludat jurgia finis.-- Hor. ii. Epist. i. 38.And let them boldly call for Philosophy to helpe them. To whom some might reproach, since she neither discerneth the one nor other end of the joynt, betweene the overmuch and the little, the long and the short, the light and the heavie, the neare and the farre, since she neither knowes the beginning nor ending thereof, that she doth very uncertainly judge of the middle. Rerum natura nullam nobis dedit cognitionem finium: 'Nature hath affoorded us no knowledge of her endes.' Are they not yet wives and friendes of the deceased that are not at the end of this, but in the other world? wee embrace both those that have beene, and those which are not yet, not onely the absent. We did not condition when we were maried, continually to keepe our selves close hugging one another as some, I wot not what little creatures doe we see daily; or as those bewitched people of Karenti, in a kinde of dogged manner. And a woman should not have her eyes so greedily or so dotingly fixed on hir husband's fore-part, that if neede shall require she may not view his hinderpartes. But might not the saying of that cunning painter, who could so excellently set foorth their humours and pourtray their conditions, fitly bee placed heere, lively to represent the cause of their complaints?
Let the conclusion, Exclude confusion.
Utor permiso, caudæque pilos ut equinæ.
Paulatim vello: et demo unum, demo etiant unum
Dum cadat elusus ratione ruentis acervi. -- Ibid. 45
. I use the grant, and plucke by one and one
The horse-taile haires, till when the bush is gone
I leave the Jade a curtall taile or none.Uxor, si cesses, aut te amare cogitat,Or might it be that opposition and contradiction doe naturally entertaine, and of themselves nourish them; and that they are sufficiently accommodated, provided they disturbe and incommode you? In truly perfect friendship wherein I presume to have well-grounded experience, I give my selfe more unto my friend than I draw him unto me. I doe not onely rather love to do him good, then he should doe any to me, but also that he should rather doe good unto himselfe then unto me: For then doth he me most good when he doth it to himselfe. And if absence be either pleasing or beneficiall unto him, it is to me much more pleasing then his presence; and that may not properly be termed absence where meanes and waies may be found to enter-advertise one another. I have heeretofore made good use and reaped commoditie by our absence and distance. Wee better replenished the benefit and extended further the possession of life by being divided and farre-asunder: he lived, he rejoiced, and he saw for me and I for him, as fully as if he had beene present: Being together, one partie was idle: We confounded one another. The separation of the place made the conjunction of our mindes and wills the richer. This insatiate and greedy desire of corporall presence doth somewhat accuse the weakenesse in the jovissance of soules. Concerning age, which some allege against me, it is cleane contrary. It is for youth to subject and bondage it selfe to common opinions, and by force to constraine it selfe for others. It may fit the turne of both the people and it selfe: We have but overmuch to doe with our selves alone. According as naturall commodities faile us, let us sustaine our selves by artificiall meanes. It is injustice to excuse youth in following her pIeasnres, and forbid age to devise and seeke them. When I was yong I concealed my wanton and covered my youthfull passions with wit; and now being aged, I endeavour to passe the sadde and incident to yeeres with sport and debauches. Yet doe Platoes lawes forbid men to travell abroad before they are forty or fifty yeares of age, that so their travell may sort more profitable and proove more instructive. I should more willingly consent to this other second article of the said lawes, which forbiddeth men to wander abroad after they are once threescore. Of which age few that travell farre journies returne home againe. What care I for that? I undertake it not either to returne or to perfect the same. I onely undertake it to be in motion: So long as the motion pleaseth me, and I walke that I may walke. Those runne not that runne after a Benefice or after a hare.But they runne that runne at barriers and to exercise their running. My desseigne is every where divisible, it is not grounded on great hopes: each day makes an end of it. Even so is my lifes voiage directed. Yet have I seene divers farre countries where I would have beene glad to have beene staied. Why not? If Chrysippus, Diogenes, Cleanthes, Antipater, and Zeno, with so many other wise men of that roughly-severe and severely-strict Sect, forsooke their Countries (without just cause to be offended with them), onely to enjoy another aire? Truly the greatest griefe of my peregrinations is, that I cannot have a firme resolution to establish my abiding where I would. And that I must ever resolve with my selfe to returne for to accommodate my selfe onto common humors, If I should feare to die in any other place then where I was borne, if I thought I should die lesse at my ease farre from mine owne people, I would hardly goe out of France; nay, I should scarcely goe out of mine owne parish without feeling some dismay. I feele death ever pinching me by the throat or pulling me by the backe: But I am of another moulde; to me it is ever one, and at all times the same. Nevertheles, if I were to chuse, I thinke it should rather be on horsebacke than in a bed, from my home and farre from my friends. There is more harts-sorrow than comfort in taking ones last farewell of his friends. I doe easily forget or neglect these duties or complements of our common or civill courtesie. For, of Offices appertaining to unaffected amitie, the same is the most displeasing and offensive: And I should as willingly forget to give a body that great adiew or eternall farewell. If a body reape any commoditie by this assistance, he also findes infinite inconveniences in it. I have seene divers die most piteously, compassed and beset round with their friends and servants: Such multitudes and thronging of people doth stifle them. It is against reason and a testimony of smal affection, and little care they have that you should die at rest. One offendeth your eies, another molesteth your eares, the third vexeth your mouth: You have neither sense nor limme, or parte of your body, but is tormented and grieved. Your hart is ready to burst for pittie to heare your friends moanes and complaints, and to rive asunder with spite to heare peradventure some of their wailings and moanes that are but fained and counterfet. If a man have ever had a milde or tender nature, being weake and readie to die, he must then necessarily have it more tender and relenting. It is most requisite that in so urgent a necessitie one have a gentle hand, and fitly applied to his senses, to scratch him where he itcheth, or else he ought not be clawed at all. If wee must needs have the helpe of a Midwife to bring us into this world, there is reason we should also have the aiding-hand of a wise man to deliver us out of the same. Such a one, and therewithall a true friend, should a man before-hand purchase very deare, only for the service of such an occasion. I am not yet come to that disdainfull vigor which so fortifieth it selfe that at such times nothing aideth nor nothing troubleth; I flie a lower pitch. I seeke to squat my selfe and steale from that passage, not by feare, but by Art. My intent is not in such an action to make either triall or shew of my constancy. Wherefore? Because then shall the right and interest I have in reputation cease. I am content with a death united in it selfe, quiet and solitarie, wholly mine, convenient to my retired and private life. Cleane contrary to the Roman superstition, where he was judged unhappy that died without speaking, and had not his nearest friends to close his eies. I have much adoe to comfort my selfe, without being troubled to comfort others; cares and vexations enow in my minde without needing circumstances to bring me new; and sufficient matter to entertaine my selfe without borrowing any. This share belongs not to the part of societie: It is the act of one man alone. Let us live, laugh and be merry amongst our friends, but die and yeeld up the ghost amongst strangers and such as we know not. He who hath money in his purse shall ever finde some ready to turne his head, make his bedde, rubbe his feet, attend him, and that will trouble and importune him no longer than hee list, and will ever shew him an indifferent and well-composed countenance, and without grumbling or grudging give a man leave to do what he please, and complaine as he list. I dayly endevour by discourse to shake off this childish humour and inhumane conceit, which causeth that by our griefes and paines we ever desire to moove our friends to compassion and sorrow for us, and with a kinde of sympathy to condole our miseries and passions. We endeare our inconveniences beyond measure to exact teares from them: And the constancy we so much commend in all others, undauntedly to endure all evill fortune, we accuse and upbraid to our neerest allies when they molest us; we are not contented they should have a sensible feeling of our calamities if they doe not also afflict themselves for them. A man should, as much as he can, set foorth and extend his joy, but to the utmost of his power suppresse and abridge his sorrow. He that will causelessly be moaned and sans reason, deserveth not to be pitied when he shall have cause and reason for it. To be ever complaining and alwaies moaning is the way never to be moaned and seldome to be pitied; and so often to seeme over passionately pitifull is the meane to make no man feelingly ruthful towards others. He that makes himselfe dead, being alive, is subject to be counted alive when he is dying. I have seene some take pepper in the nose, forsomuch as they were told that they had a cheerefull countenance, that they looked well, that they had a temperate pulse; to force laughter because some betraied their recovery, and hate their health because it was not regreetable. And which is more, they were no women. I for the most represent my infirmities such as they are: And shunne such words as are of evill presage, and avoid composed exclamations. If not glee and mirth, at least an orderly setled countenance of the bystanders and assistants is sufficiently-convenient to a wise and discreet sicke-man, who, though he see himselfe in a contrary state, he will not picke a quarell with health. He is pleased to be told the same sound and strong in others, and at least for company-sake to enjoy his part of it. Though he feele and finde himselfe to faint and sinke downe, he doth not altogether reject the conceits and imaginations of life, nor doth he avoid common entertainments. I will studie sicknesse when I am in health, when it comes it will really enough make her impression without the helpe of my imagination. We deliberately prepare our selves beforehand for any voiage we undertake, and therein, are resolved; the houre is set when he wil take horse, and we give it to our company in whose favour we extend it. I finde this unexpected profit by the publication of my maners, that in some sort it serveth me for a rule. I am sometimes surprised with this consideration not to betray the history of my life. This publike declaration bindes me to keepe my selfe within my course, and not to contradict the image of my conditions, commonly lesse disfigured and gaine-said then the malignitie and infirmitie of moderne judgements doth beare. The uniformitie and singlenesse of my manners produceth a visage of easie interpretation; but because the fashion of them is somewhat new and strange, and out of use, it giveth detraction to faire play. Yet is it true, that to him who will goe about loyally to injure me, me thinkes I doe sufficiently affoord him matter whereby he may detract and snarle at my avowed and knowen imperfections, and wherewith hee may bee satisfied, without vaine contending and idle skirmishing. If my selfe by preoccupating his discovery and accusation hee thinkes I barre him of his snarling, it is good reason hee take his right towards amplification and extension: Offence hath her rights beyond justice: And that the vices whereof I strew him the rootes in mee, hee should amplifie them to trees. Let him not only employ thereunto those that possesse mee, but those which but threaten me. Injurious vices, both in qualitie and in number. Let him beate me that way. I should willingly embrace the example of Dion the Philosopher. Antigonus going about to scoffe and quip at him touching his birth and offspring, he interrupted him and tooke the worde out of his mouth: I am' (said hee ) 'the sonne of a bond slave, a butcher, branded for a rogue, and of a whoore, whom my father by reason of his base fortune tooke to wife. Both were punished for some misdeede. Being a child, an orator bought me as a slave, liking me for my beautie and comelinesse; and dying, left mee all his goods; which having transported into this citie of Athens, I have applied my selfe unto Philosophy. Let not Historians busie themselves in seeking newes of mee; I will at large blazon my selfe, and plainely tell them the whole discourse.' A generous and free-minded confession doth disable a reproch and disarme an injurie. So it is, that when all cards be told, me seemes that I am as oft commended as dispraised beyond reason. As also me thinks, that even from my infancie, both in ranke and degree of honour, I have had place given me, rather above and more than lesse and beneath that which appertained to me. I should better like to be in a countrie where these orders might either be reformed or contemned. Among men, after that striving or altercation for the prerogative or upper hand in going or sitting exceedeth three replies, it becommeth incivill. I neither feare to yeeld and give place, nor to follow and proceed unjustly, so I may avoid such irkesome and importunate contestations. And never did man desire precedencie or place before me, but I quitted the same without grudging. Besides the profit I reape by writing of my selfe, I have hoped for this other, that if ever it might happen my humours should please or sympathize with some honest man, he would before my death seeke to be acquainted with me, or to overtake mee. I have given him much ground: For whatsoever a long acquaintance or continuall familiarity might have gained him in many wearisome yeares, the same hath hee in three dayes fully seene in this Register, and that more safely and more exactly. A pleasant fantazie is this of mine, many things I would be loath to tell a particular man, I utter to the whole world. And concerning my most secret thoughts and inward knowledge, I send my dearest friends to a Stationers shop.
Aut tete amare, aut potare, aut animo obsequi,
Et tibi bene esse soli, cum subi sit male. -- Ter. Adelph. act. i. sc. 1.
If you be slow, your wife thinkes that in love you are,
Or are belov'd, or drinke, or all for pleasure care,
And that you onely fare-well when she ill doth fare.Excutienda damus præcordia. -- Pers. Sat. v. 22.If by so good markes and tokens I had ever knowen or heard of any one man that in this humour had beene answerable to me, I would assuredly have wandred very farre to finde him out: For, the exceeding joy of a sortable, and in one consent agreeing company, cannot (in mine opinion) be sufficiently endeared or purchased at too high a rate. Oh God! who can expresse the value or conceive the true worth of a friend? How true is that ancient golden saying, that the use of a friend is more necessary and pleasing, then of the elements, water and fire. But to returne to my former discourse. There is, then, no greater inconvenience in dying farre from home and abroad. Wee esteeme it a part of duty and decencie to withdraw our selves for naturall actions lesse hideous and lesse disgracefull then this. But also those that come unto that in languishing manner to draw a long space of life should not happily wish with their miserie to trouble a whole family? Therefore did the Indians of a certaine countrie deeme it just and lawfull to kill him that should fall into such necessitie. And in another of their Provinces they thought it meet to forsake him, and as well as hee could, leave him alone to seeke to save himselfe. To whom at last proove they not themselves tedious and intolerable? Common offices proceed not so farre. Perforce you teach cruelty unto your best friends, obdurating by long use both wife and children, not to feele, nor to conceive, nor to moane your evils any longer. The groanes and out-cries of my chollicke cause no more ruth and wailing in any body. And should we conceive pleasure by their conversation (which seldome hapneth, by reason of the disparitie of conditions, which easily produceth either contempt or envy towards what man soever) is it not too-too much therwith to abuse a whole age? The more I should see them with a good heart to straine themselves for me, the more should I bewaile their paine. The law of curtesie alloweth us to leane upon others, but not so unmanerly to lie upon them and underpropt our selves in their ruine. As he who caused little infants to be slaine, that with their innocent blood he might be cured of a malady he had. Or another, who was continually stored with young tendrels or lasses to keepe his old frozen limbs warme a nights, and entermix the sweetnesse of their breath with his old-stinking and offensive vapours. Decrepitude is a solitary quality. I am sociable even unto excesse, yet doe I thinke it reasonable at last to subtract my opportunity from the sight of the world, and hatch it in my selfe. Let me shrowd and shrugge my self into my shell as a tortoise, and learne to see men without taking hold of them. I should outrage them in so steepe a passage. It is now high time to turne from the company. But here will some say that in these farre journies you may peraventure fall into some miserable dog-hole or poore cottage, where you shall want all needfull things. To whom I answere, that for things most necessary in such cases I ever carry most of them with me: And that where-ever wee are wee cannot possibly avoid fortune if she once take upon her to persecute us. When I am sicke I want nothing that is extraordinary; what nature cannot worke in me I will not have a Bolus or a glister to effect. At the very beginning of my agues or sicknesses that cast me downe, whilst I am yet whole in my senses and neere unto health, I reconcile my self to God by the last duties of a Christian, whereby I finde my selfe free and discharged, and thinke I have so much more reason and authority over my sicknesse. I finde lesse want of notaries and counsell then of Physitians. What I have not disposed of my affaires or setled of my state when I was in perfect health, let none expect I should doe it being sicke. Whatever I will doe for the service of death is alwayes ready done. I dare not delay it one onely day. And if nothing be done it is as much to say that either some doubt hath delaide the choise: For sometimes it is a good choice not to chose at all: Or that absolutely I never intended to doe any thing. I write my booke to few men and to few yeares. Had it beene a matter of lasting continuance, it should have beene compiled in a better and more polished language: According to the continuall variation that hitherto hath followed our French tongue, who may hope that its present forme shall be in use fifty yeares hence? It dayly changeth and slips our hands; and since I could speake the same it is much altred and wellnigh halfe varied. We say it is now come to a full perfection. There is no age but saith as much of hirs. It lies not in my power, so long as it glideth and differeth and altereth as it doth, to keepe it at a stay. It is for excellent and profitable compositions to fasten it unto them, whose credit shall either diminish or encrease according to the fortune of our state. For all that I feare not to insert therein divers private articles, whose use is consumed amongst men living now adayes, and which concerne the particular knowledge of some that shall further see into it, then with a common understanding. When al is done, I would not (as I often see the memory of the deceased tossed too and fro) that men should descant and argue, Thus and thus he judged, thus he lived, thus he ment; had he spoken when his life left him, he would have given I wot what: There is no man knew him better than my selfe. Now, as much as modestie and decorum doth permit me, I here give a taste of any inclinations and an essay of my affection, which I doe more freely and more willingly by word of mouth to any that shall desire to be throughly informed of them. But so it is, that if any man shall looke into these memorialls, he shall finde that either I have said all or desseigned all. What I cannot expresse, the same I point at with my finger.
Our very entrailes wee
Lay forth for you to see.Verum animo satis hæc vestigia parva sagaciI leave nothing to bee desired or divined of mee. If one must entertaine himselfe with them, I would have it to be truly and justly. I would willingly come from the other world to give him the lie that should frame me other then I had beene; were it he meant to honour mee. I see that of the living, men never speake according to truth, and they are ever made to be what they are not. And if with might and maine I had not upheld a friend of mine whom I have lately lost, he had surely beene mangled and torne in a thousand contrary shapes. But to make an end of my weake humours: I confesse that in travelling I seldome alight in any place or come to any Inne, but first of all I cast in my minde whether I may conveniently lie there, if I should chaunce to fall sicke, or dying, die at my ease and take my death quietly. I will as nere as I can be lodged in some convenient part of the house, and in particular from all noise or stinking savours; in no close, filthy, or smoaky chamber. I seeke to flatter death by these frivolous circumstances: Or, as I may rather say, to discharge my selfe from all other trouble or encombrance, that so I may wholly apply and attend her, who without that shall happily lie very heavily upon me. I will have her take a full share of my lives cases and commodities; it is a great part of it and of much consequence, and I hope it shall not belie what is past. Death hath some formes more easie then others, and assumeth divers qualities according to all mens fantazies. Among the naturall ones, that proceeding of weakenesse and heavy dulnesse, to me seemeth gentle and pleasant. Among the violent I imagine a precipice more hardly then a ruine that overwhelmes me, and a cutting blow with a sword then a shot of an harquebuse; and I would rather have chosen to drinke the potion of Socrates, then wound my selfe as Cato did. And though it be all one, yet doth my imagination perceive a difference, as much as is betweene death and life to cast my selfe into a burning fornace or in the channell of a shallow river. So foolishly doth our feare respect more the meane then the effect. It is but one instant, but of such moment that to passe the same according to my desire, I would willingly renounce many of my lives dayes. Since all mens fantazies finde either excesse or diminution in her sharpnesse, since every man hath some choise betweene the formes of dying, let us trie a little further whether we can finde out some one free from all sorrow and griefe. Might not one also make it seeme voluptuous, as did those who died with Anthonie and Cleopatra? I omit to speake of the sharpe and exemplar efforts that Philosophy and religion produce. But amongst men of no great fame some have beene found (as one Petronius and one Tigillinus at Rome) engaged to make themselves away who by the tendernesse of their preparations have in a manner lulled the same asleepe. They have made it passe and glide away even in the midst of the security of their accustomed pastimes and wanton recreations. Amongst harlots and good felowes no speech of comfort, no mention of will or testament, no ambitious affectation of constancie, no discourse of their future condition, no compunction of sinnes committed, no apprehension of their soules-health, ever trouling them, amid sports, playes, banketting, surfetting, chambering, jesting, musicke, and singing of amorous verses, and all such popular and common entertainements. Might not wee imitate this manner of resolution in more honest affaires and more commendable attempts? And since there are deaths good unto wise men and good unto fooles, let us find some one that may be good unto such as are betweene both. My imagination presents me some easie and milde countenance thereof, and (since we must all die) to bee desired. The tyrants of Rome have thought they gave that criminall offender his life to whom they gave the free choise of death. But Theophrastus, a Philosopher so delicate, so modest, and so wise, was he not forced by reason to dare to utter this verse, latinized by Cicero:
Sunt, per quæ possis cognoscere cætera tute. -- Lucr. i. 419.
But this small footing to a quicke-sent minde
May serve whereby safely the rest to finde.Vitam regit fortuna non sapientia. -- Cic. Tusc. Qu. v. Theoph. Calisth.Fortune giveth the facilitie of my lives-condition some aide, having placed it in such a time wherein it is neither needfull nor combersome unto my people. It is a condition I would have accepted in all the seasons of my age, but in this occasion to trusse my bag and baggage and take up my bed and walke. I am particularly pleased that when I shall die, I shall neither breede pleasure nor cause sorrow in them. Shee hath caused (which is the recompence of an artist) that such as by my death may pretend any materiall benefit, receive thereby elswhere jointly a materiall losse and hinderance. Death lies sometimes heavie upon us, in that it is burthensome to others; and interesseth us with their interest almost as much as with ours, and sometimes more; yea altogether. In this inconveniency of lodging that I seeke, I neither entermix pompe nor amplitude; For I rather hate it. But a certaine simple and humble proprietie, which is commonly found in places where lesse Arte is, and that nature honoureth with some grace peculiar unto her selfe. Non ampliter sed munditer convivium. Plus sales quam sumptus.(Plautin.) 'Not a great, but a neat feast. More conceit then cost.' And then it is for those who by their urgent affaires are compelled to travell in the midst of deepe Winter, and amongst the Grisons, to be surprized by such extreamities in their journies. But I who for the most part never travell but for pleasure, will neither bee so ill advised nor so simply guided. If the way be foule on my right hand, I take the left. If I find my selfe ill at ease or unfit to ride, I stay at home. Which doing, and observing this course, in very truth I see no place and come no where that is not as pleasant, as convenient, and as commodious as mine owne house. True it is that I ever find superfluitie superfluous, and observe a kind of troublesomenesse in delicatenesse and plenty. Have I omitted or left any thing behind me that was worth the seeing? I returne backe; It is ever my way, I am never out of it. I trace no certaine line, neither right nor crooked. Comming to any strange place, finde I not what was told mee? As it often fortuneth that others judgements agree not with mine, and have most times found them false, I grieve not at my labour; I have learned that what was reported to bee there is not. I have my bodies complexion as free and my taste as common as any man in the world. The diversity of fashions betweene one and other Nations concerneth me nothing , but by the varieties-pleasure. Each custome hath his reason. Bee the trenchers or dishes of wood, of pewter, or of earth; bee my meate boyled, rosted, or baked; butter or oyle, and that of Olives or of Wallnuts, hot or colde, I make no difference, all is one to me. And as one that is growing old, I accuse the generous faculties and had need that delicatenesse and choise should stay the indiscretion of my appetite, and sometime ease and solace my stomacke. When I have beene out of France, and that to do me curtesie some have asked me Whether I would be served after the French maner, I have jested at them, and have ever thrust-in amongst the thickest tables and fullest of strangers. I am ashamed to see our men besotted with this foolish humor, to fret and chafe when they see any fashions contrary to theirs. They thinke themselves out of their element when they are out of their Village. Where ever they come they keepe their owne country and hate, yea and abhorre all strange manners. Meet they a countriman of theirs in Hungary, they feast that good fortune. And what doe they? Marry close and joyne together, to blame, to condemne, and to scorne so many barbarous fashions as they see. And why not Barbarous since not French? Nay, happily they are the better sort of men that have noted and so much exclaimed against them. Most take going out but for comming home. They travell close and covered, with a silent and incommunicable wit, defending themselves from the contagion of some unknowne ayre. What I speake of such puts mee in minde in the like matter of that I have heretofore perceived in some of your young Courtiers. They onely converse with men of their coate, and with disdains or pitty looke upon us as if we were men of another world. Take away their new fangled, mysterious, and affected courtly complements, and they are out of their byase. As farre to seeke and short of us as we of them. That saying is true; That An honest man is a man compounded. Cleane contrary, I travell fully glutted with our fashions: Not to seeke Gaskoines in Sicilie, I have left over many at home. I rather seeke for Græcians and Persians. Those I accost, Them I consider, and with such I endevour to be acquainted; to that I prepare and therein I employ my selfe. And which is more, me seemeth I have not met with many maners that are not worth ours. Indeed I have not wandred farre, scarsly have I lost the sight of our Chimnies. Moreover, most of the casuall companies you meete withall by the way have more incommodity than pleasure, a matter I doe not greatly take hold of, and lesse now that age doth particularize and in some sort sequester me from common formes. You suffer for other or others endure for you. The one inconvenience is yrkesome, the other troublesome, but yet the last is (in my conceipt) more rude. It is a rare chaunce and seld-seene fortune, but of exceeding solace and inestimable worth, to have an honest man of singular experience, of a sound judgement, of a resolute understanding and constant resolution, and of manners conformable to yours, to accompany or follow you with a good will. I have found great want of such a one in all my voyages. Which company a man must seeke with discretion and with great heed obtaine before he wander from home. With me no pleasure is fully delightsome without communication, and no delight absolute except imparted. I doe not so much as apprehend one rare conceipt, or conceive one excellent good thought in my minde, but me thinks I am much grieved and grievously perplexed to have produced the same alone and that I have no sympathizing companion to impart it unto. Si cum hac exceptione detur sapientia, ut illam inclusam teneam, nec enunciem, rejiciam: 'If wisdome should be offered with this exception, that I should keepe it concealed and not utter it, I would refuse it.' The other strain'd it one note higher. Si contigerit ea vita sapienii, ut omnium rerum afluentibus copiis, quamvis omnia, quæ cognitione digna sunt, summo otio secum ipse consideret et contempletur; tamen si solitudo tanta sit, ut hominem videre non possit, excedat e vita: (Cic. Offic. ii.) 'If a wiseman might lead such a life, as in abundance of all things hee may in full quiet contemplate and consider all things worthy of knowledge, yet if he must be so solitary as he may see no man, he should rather leave such a life.' Architas his opinion is sutable to mine, which was that it would be a thing unpleasing to the very heavens, and distastefull to man, to survay and walke within those immense and divine and coelestiall bodies, without the assistance of a friend or companion; Yet is it better to be alone than in tedious and foolish company. Aristippus loved to live as an alien or stranger every where:
Fortune our life doth rule,
Not wisdome of the schoole.Me si fata meis patereutur ducere vitamI should chose to weare out my life with my bum in the saddle, ever riding.
Auspiciis. -- Virg. Æn. iv. 339.
If fates would me permit
To live as I thinke fit,------ visere gestiens,Have you not more easie pastimes? What is it you want? Is not your house well seated, and in a good and wholesome ayre? Sufficiently furnished and more then sufficiently capable? His Royall Majesty hath in great state beene in the same, and more then once taken his repast there. Doth not your family in rule and government leave many more inferior to hir than above hir eminency? Is there any locall thought or care that as extrordinary doth ulcerate, or as indigestible doth molest you?
Qua parte debacchentur ignes,
Qua nebulæ pluviique rores. -- Hor. Car. iii. Od. iii. 54.
Delighting much to goe and see
Where firy heats rage furiously,
Where clouds and rainy dews most be.Quæ te nunc coquat et vexet sub pectore fixa. -- Enni, Cic. Senect. p.Where doe you imagine you may bee without empeachment or disturbance? Nunquam simpliciter fortuna indulger: 'Fortune never favours fully without exception.' You see then there is none but you that trouble and busie your selfe: and every where you shall follow your self, and in all places you shall complaine. For, Here below there is no satisfaction or content, except for brutall or divine mindes. He who in so just an occasion hath no content, where doth he imagine to finde it? Unto how many thousands of men doth such a condition as yours bound and stay the limits of their wishes? Reforme but your selfe, by that you may doe all: Whereas towards fortune you have no right or interest but patience. Nulla placida quies est, nisi quam ratio composuit: (Sen. Ep. lvi. m.) There is no pleasing setled rest, but such as reason hath made up.' I see the reason of this advertisement, yea I perceive it wel. But one should sooner have done, and more pertinently, in one bare word to say onto me: Be wise. This resolution is beyond wisedome. It is hir Worke and hir production. So doth the Physition that is ever crying to a languishing, heart-broken sicke-man, that he be merry and pull up a good heart; he should lesse foolishly perswade him if he did but bid him be healthy; as for me, I am but a man of the common stamp. It is a certaine sound and of easie understanding precept: Be content with your owne, that is to say, with reason, the execution wherof not-withstanding is no more in the wiser sort than in my self: It is a popular word, but it hath a terrible far-reaching extension. What comprehends it not? All things fall within the compasse of discretion and modification. Wel I wot that being taken according to the bare letter, the pleasure of travell brings a testimony of unquietnesse and irresolution. Which to say truth, are our mistrisse and predominant qualities. Yea, I confesse it: I see nothing, bee it but a dreame or by wishing whereon I may take hold. Onely varietie and the possession of diversitie doth satisfie me, if at least any thing satisfie mee. In travell this doth nourish mee, that without interest I may stay my selfe; and that I have means commodiously to divert my selfe from it. I love a private life because it is by mine owne choice that I love it, not by a diffidence or dis-agreeing from a publike life, which peradventure is as much according to my complexion: I thereby serve my Prince more joyfully and genuinely because it is by the free election of my judgement and by my reason, without any particular obligation. And that I am not cast or forced thereunto, because I am unfit to be received of any other, or am not beloved, so of the rest. I hate those morsels that necessitie doth carve mee. Every commoditie of which alone I were to depend, should ever hold me by the throat:
Which now boyles in thy brest,
And lets thee take no rest.Alter remus aquas, alter mihi radat arenas. -- Propert. iii. El. ii. 23.One string alone can never sufficiently hold me. You will say there is vanitie in this ammusement. But where not? And these goodly precepts are vanitie, and Meere vanitie is all worldly wisedome. Dominus novit cogitationes sapientum, quoniam vanæ sunt: (Psal. xciii. 11.) 'The Lord knowes the thoughts of the wise that they are vaine.' Such exquisite subtilities are onely fit for sermons. They are discourses that will send us into the other world on horsebacke. Life is a materiall and corporall motion, an action imperfect and disordered by its owne essence; I employ or apply my selfe to serve it according to it selfe.
Let me cut waters with one oare,
With th'other shave the sandie shoare.Quisque suos patimur manes. -- Virg. Æn. vi. 743.Sic est faciendum, ne contra naturam universam nihil contendamus, ea tamen conservata, propriam sequamur: (Cic. Offic. i.) 'We must so worke as we endevour nothing against nature in generall, yet so observe it as we follow our owne in speciall.' To what purpose are these heaven-looking and nice points of Philosophie, on which no humane being can establish and ground it selfe? And to what end serve these rules that exceed our use and excell our strength? I often see that there are certaine Ideæs or formes of life proposed unto us, which neither the proposer nor the Auditors have any hope at all to follow, or and which is worse, no desire to attaine. Of the same paper whereon a Judge writ but even now the condemnation against an adulterer, hee will teare a scantlin thereon to write some love-lines to his fellow-judges wife. The same woman from whom you came lately, and with whom you have committed that unlawfull-pleasing sport, will soone after, even in your presence, raile and scold more bitterly against the same fault in her neighbour than ever Portia or Lucrece could. And some condemne men to die for crimes that themselves esteeme no faults. I have in my youth seen a notable man with one hand to present the people most excellent and well-written verses, both for invention and extreme licentiousnesse, and with the other hand, at the same instant, the most sharpe-railing reformation, according to Divinitie, that happily the World hath seen these many-many years. Thus goes the world, and so go men. We let lawes and precepts follow their way, but we keep another course; Not onely by disorder of manners, but often by opinion and contarary judgment. Hear but a discourse of Philosophy read, the invention, the pertinencie, doth presently tickle your spirit and move you. There is nothing tickleth or pricketh your conscience; it is not to her that men speake. Is it not true? Ariston said that Neither Bath nor Lecture are of any worth, except the one wash cleane and the other cleanse all filth away. One may busie himselfe about the barke when once the pith is gotten out: As when we have drunke off the Wine we consider the graving and workmanship of the cuppe. In all the parts of ancient Philosophie this one thing may be noted, that one same worke-man publisheth some rules of temperance and therewithall some compositions of love and licentiousnesse. And Xenophon in Cliniæs bosome writ against the Aristippian vertue. It is not a miraculous conversion that so doth wave and hull them to and fro. But it is, that Solon doth sometimes represent himselfe in his owne colours, and sometimes in forme of a Law-giver; now he speaketh for the multitude and now for himselfe, And takes the free and naturall rules to himselfe; warranting himselfe with a constant and perfect sounduesse.
All of us for our merit,
Have Some attending spirit.Curentur dubii medicis majoribus ægri. -- Juven. Sat. xiii. 124.Antisthenes alloweth a wise man to love and doe what he list, without respect of lawes, especially in things he deemeth needfull and fit: Forasmuch as he hath a better understanding than they, and more knowledge of vertue. His Disciple Diogenes said: To perturbations we should oppose reason, to fortune, confidence, and to lawes nature; to dainty and tender stomacks constrained and artificiall ordinances. Good stomackes are simply served with the prescriptions of their naturall appetite. So do our Phisitions, who, whilst they tie their patients to a strik't diet of a panada or a sirope, feed themselves upon a melone, dainty fruits, much good meate, and drinke all maner of good Wine. I wot not what Bookes are, nor what they meane by wisedome and philosophy (quoth the Curtizan Lais), but sure I am those kinds of people knocke as often at my gates as any other men. Be cause our licenciousnesse transports us commonly beyond what is lawfull and allowed, our lives-precepts and lawes have often been wrested or restrained beyond universall reason.
Let patients in great doubt,
Seeke great Physitians out.Nemo satis credit tantum delinquere, quantum,It were to be wished there were a greater proportion betweene commandement and obedience; And unjust seemeth that ayme or goale whereto one cannot possibly attaine. No man is so exquisitely honest or upright in living but brings all his actions and thoughts within compasse and danger of the lawes, and that ten times in his life might not lawfully be hanged. Yea happily such a man as it were pitty and dangerously-hurtfull to loose and most unjust to punish him.
Permittas. -- Juven. Sat. xiv. 233.
No man thinkes it enough so farre t'offend
As you give lawfull leave (and there to end).-----Olle, quid ad te,And some might never offend the lawes, that notwithstanding should not deserve the commendations of vertuous men, and whom philosophy might meritoriously and justly cause to be whipped; so troubled, dimme-sighted and partiall in this relation. Wee are farre enough from being honest according to God, for wee cannot be such according to our selves. Humane wisedome could never reach the duties or attaine the devoires it had prescribed unto it selfe. And had it at any time attained them, then would it doubtlesse prescribe some others beyond them, to which it might ever aspire and pretend. So great an enemy is our condition unto consistence. Man doth necessarily ordaine unto himselfe to bee in fault. Hee is not very crafty to measure his duty by the reason of another being than his owne. To whom prescribes he that which hee expects no man will performe? Is he unjust in not dooing that which be cannot possibly atchieve? The lawes which condemne us not to be able, condemne us for that we cannot performe. If the worst happen, this deformed liberty for one to present him-selfe in two places, and the actions after one fashion, the discourses after an other, is lawfull in them which report things. But it cannot be in them that acknowledge themselves as I doe. I must walke with my penne as I goe with my feete. The common high way must have conference with other wayes. Catoes vertue was vigorous beyond the reason of the age he lived in, and for a man that entermedled with governing other men destinated for the common service, it might be said to have beene a justice; if not unjust, at least vaine and out of season. Mine owne manners, which scarse disagree one inch from those now current, make me notwithstanding in some sort strange, uncouth and unsociable to my age. I wot not, whether it be without reason, I am so distasted and out of liking with the world wherein I live and frequent; but well I know I should have small reason to complaine, the world were distasted and out of liking with me, since I am so with it. The vertue assigned to the worlds affaires, it is a vertue with sundry byases, turnings, bendings and elbowes, to apply and joyne it selfe to humane imbecilities mixed and artificiall; neither right, pure or constant, nor meerely innocent. Our Annales even to this day blame some one of our Kings to have over- simply suffered himself to be led or misled by the conscientious perswasions of his Confessor. Matters of state have more bold precepts.
De cute quid faciat ille, vel illa sua? -- Mart. vii. Epig. ix. 1.
Foole, what hast thou to doe, what he or she
With their owne skinnes or themselves doing bee?----- exeat aula,I have heretofore assayed to employ my opinions and rules of life as new, as rude, as impolished, or as unpolluted as they we re naturally born with me, or as I have attained them by my institution: and wherewith, if not so commodiously, at least safely in particular, I serve mine owne turne unto the service of publike affaires and benefit of my Common-wealth. A scholasticall and novice vertue, but I have found them very unapt and dangerous for that purpose. He that goeth in a presse or throng of people must sometimes step aside, hold in his elbowes, crosse the way, advance himselfe, start backe, and forsake the right way according as it falls out: Live he not so much as he wouldhimselfe, but as others will, not according to that he proposeth to himselfe, but to that which is proposed to him: according to times, to men and to affaires, and as the skilfull Mariner saile with the winde. Plato saith, that who escapes untainted and cleane-handed from the managing of the world, escapeth by some wonder. He sayes also that when he instituteth his Philosopher as chiefe over a Common-wealth, he meanes not a corrupted or law broken common-wealth as that of Athens, and much lesse as ours, with which wisedome herselfe would be brought to a nonplus or put to her shifts. And a good hearb, transplanted into a soile very diverse from her nature, doth much sooner conforme it selfe to the soile then it reformeth the same to it selfe. I feelingly perceive that if I were wholly to enure my selfe to such occupations I should require much change and great repairing. Which could I effect in me (and why not with time and diligence?) I would not. Of that little which in this vocation I have made triall of, I have much distasted my selfe: I sometimes finde certaine temptations arise in my minde towards ambition, but I start aside, bandie and opinionate my selfe to the contrarie:
Qui vult esse pius. -- Lucan. Bell. Civ. i. 493.
He that will godly bee,
From Court let him be free.At tu Catulle obstinatus obdura. -- Catul. Lyr. Epig. viii. 19.I am not greatly called, and I invite my selfe as little unto it. Libertie and idlenesse, my chiefe qualities, are qualities diameterly contrarie to that mysterie. We know not how to distinguish mens faculties. They have certaine divisions and limits uneasie and over nice to be chosen. To conclude by the sufficiency of a private life, any sufficiency for publike use it is ill concluded; Some one directs himselfe well that cannot so well direct others, and composeth Essayes that could not worke effects. Some man can dispose and order a siege that could but ill command and marshall a battel; and discourseth well in private that to a multitude or a Prince would make but a bad Oration. Yea, peradventure, tis rather a testimony to him that can doe one that he cannot doe the other, but otherwise. I finde that high spirits are not much lesse apt for base things then base spirits are for high matters. Could it be imagined that Socrates would have given the Athenians cause to laugh at his own charges, because he could never justly compt the suffrages of his tribe and make report thereof unto the counsell? Truely the reverence I beare and respect I owe unto that mans perfections deserveth that his fortune bring to the excuse of my principal imperfections one so notable example. Our sufficiencie is retailed into small parcells. Mine hath no latitude, and is in number very miserable. Saturninus answered those who had conferred all authority upon him, saying, 'Oh you, my fellow-souldiers, you have lost a good Captaine by creating him a bad Generall of an Armie.' Who in time of infection vanteth himselfe for the worlds-service to employ a genuine or sincere vertue, either knowes it not (opinions being corrupted with manners; in good sooth heare but them paint it forth, marke how most of them magnifie themselves for their demeanours, and how they forme their rules; in liew of pourtraying a vertue they onely set forth meere injustice and vice, and thus false and adulterate they present the same to the institution of Princes), or if he know it he wrongfully boasteth himselfe; and whatever he saith he doth many things whereof his owne conscience accuseth him. I should easily believe Seneca of the experience he made of it in such an occasion, upon condition he would freely speake his minde of it unto me. The honourablest badge of goodnesse in such a necessitie is [ingenuously] for a man to acknowledge both his owne and others faults; to stay and with his might hinder the inclination towards evill, and avie to follow this course to hope and wish better. In these dismembrings or havocks of France and divisions whereinto we are miserably falne, I perceive every man travell and busie himselfe to defend his owne cause, and the better sort with much dissembling and falsehood. Hee that should plainely and roundly write of it should write rashly and viciously. Take the best and justest part, what is it else but the member of crased, worme-eaten and corrupted body? But of such a body the member least sicke is called sound; and good reason why, because our qualities have no title but in comparison. Civill innocency is measured according to places and seasons. I would be glad to see such a commendation of Agesilaus in Xenophon, who, being entreated of a neighbour Prince, with whom he had sometimes made warr, to suffer him to passe through his countrie, was therewith well pleased; granting him free passage through Peloponnese, and having him at his mercy did not only not emprison nor empoison him, but, according to the tenour of his promise, without shew or offence, or unkindenesse, entertained him with all courtesie and humanitie. To such humours it were a matter of no moment: At other times and elsewhere the libertie and magnanimitie of such an action shall be highly esteemed. Our gullish Gaberdines would have mockt at it, so little affinity is there betweene the Spartan and the French innocencie. We have, notwithstanding, some honest men amongst us; but it is after our fashion. He whose manners are in regularity established above the age he liveth in, let him either wrest or muffle his rules; or (which I would rather perswade him) let him withdraw himselfe apart and not medle with us. What shall he gains thereby?
Be thou at any rate,
Obdurate, obstinate.Egregium sanctumque virum si cerno, bimembriOne may bewaile the better times, but not avoide the present; one may desire other magistrates, but notwithstanding he must obey those he hath; And happily it is more commendable to obey the wicked than the good. So long as the image of the received, allowed, and ancient lawes of this Monarchie shall be extant and shine in any corner thereof, there will I be, there will I abide. And if by any disaster they shall chaunce to have contradiction or empeachment amongst themselves, and produce two factions, or doubtfull or hard choise; my election shall be to avoide, And, if I can, escape this storme. In the meane while, either nature or the hazard of warre shall lend me that helping hand. I should freely have declared my selfe betweene Cæsar and Pompey. But betweene those three theeves which came after, where either one must have hid himselfe or followed the winde: which I deeme lawfull, when reason swayeth no longer.
Hoc monstrum puero, et miranti jam sub aratro
Piscibus inventis et foetæ comparo mulæ. -- Juven. Sat. xiii. 64.
See I a man of holinesse and vertues rare,
To births bimembred, under wonderfull Plowshare
Fish found, or moiles with fole, this monster I compare.Quod diversus abis? -- Virg. Æn. v. 166.This mingle-mangle is somewhat beside my text. I stragle out of the path; yet it is rather by licence then by unadvisednesse: my fantasies follow one another, but sometimes a farre off, and looke one at another, but with an oblique looke. I have heretofore cast mine eyes upon some of Platoes Dialogues, bemolted with a fantasticall variety; the first part treateth of love, all the latter of Rhetorick. They feare not those variances, and have a wonderfull grace in suffering themselves to bee transported by the wind, or to seeme so. The titles of my chapters embrace not allwayes the matter; they often but glance at it by some marke: as these others, Andria, Eunuchus; or these, Sylla, Cicero, Torquatus. I love a Poeticall kinde of march, by friskes, skips, and jumps. It is an arte (saith Plato) light, nimble, fleeting, and light braind. There are some treatises in Plutarke where he forgets his theame, where the drift of his argument is not found but by incidencie and chaunce, all stuffed with strange matter. Marke but the vagaries in his Dæmon of Socrates. Oh God! what grace hath the variation, and what beautie these startings and nimble escapes! And then most, when they seeme to employ carelesnesse and casualtie. It is the unheedie and negligent reader that loseth my subject, and not my life. Some word or other shall ever be found in a corner that hath relation to it, though closely couched. I am indiscreetly and tumultuously at a fault; my stile and wit are still gadding alike. A little folly is tolerable in him, that will not be more sottish, say our masters precepts, and more their examples. A thousand Poets labour and languish after the prose-manner, but the best antient prose, which I indifferently scatter here and there for verse, shineth every where, with a poettical vigour and boldnesse, and representeth some aire or touch of its fury: Verily she ought to have the maistry and preheminence given her in matters of speech. A Poet (saith Plato) seated on the Muses footestoole doth in a furie powre out whatsoever commeth in his mouth, as the pipe or cocke of a fountaine, without considering or ruminating the same: and many things escape him, diverse in colour, contrary in substance, and broken in course. Antient Divinitie is altogether Poesie (say the learned) and the first Philosophie. It is the original language of the Gods. I understand that the matter distinguisheth it selfe. It sufficiently declareth where it changeth, where it concludeth, where it beginneth, and where it rejoyneth; without enterlacings of words, joyning ligaments and binding seames wrested-in for service of weake and unattentive eares, and without glossing or expounding my selfe. What is he that would not rather not be read at all, then read in a drowsie and cursorie manner: Nihil est tam utile, quod in transitu prosit: 'There is nothing so profitable, that being lightly past over, will doe good.' If to take bookes in hand were to learne them, and if to see were to view them, and if to runne them over were to seize upon them, I should be too blame, to make my self altogether so ignorant as I say. Since I cannot stay the reader's attention by the weight, Manco male, if I happen to stay him by my intricate confusion; yea, but he will afterward repent that ever he ammused himselfe about it. You say true, but hee shall have ammused himselfe upon it. And there be humors to whom understanding causeth disdaine, who because they shall not know what I meane will esteeme mee the better, and will conclude the mystery and depth of my sense by the obscuritie, Which, to speake in good earnest, I hate as death, and would shunne it if I could avoid my selfe. Aristotle vaunteth in some place to affect the same. A vicious affectation. Forsomuch as the often breaking of my chapters, I so much used in the beginning of my booke, seemed to interrupt attention before it be conceived, Disdaining for so little a while to collect and there seat it selfe; I have betaken my selfe to frame them longer, as requiring proposition and assigned leasure. In such an occupation he to whom you will not grant one houre, you will allow him nothing; And you doe nought for him for whom you doe, but in doing some other thing. Sithence peradventure I am particularly tied and precisely vowed to speake by halves, to speake confusedly, to speake discrepantly; I therefore hate this trouble-feast reason, and these extravagant projects, which so much molest man's life, and these so subtle opinions, if they have any truth; I deeme it over-deare, and find it too incommodious. On the other side, I labour to set forth vanitie and make sottishnesse to prevaile, if it bring me any pleasure; And without so nicely controlling them, I follow mine owne naturall inclinations. I have elsewhere seene some houses ruined, statues overthrowne, both of heaven and of earth; But men be alwaies one. All that is true; and yet I can not so often survay the vast toombe of that Citie, so great, so populous, and so puissant, but I as often admire and reverence the same. The care and remembrance of evills is recommended unto us. Now have I from my infancie beene bred and brought up with these; I have had knowledge of the affaires of Rome, long time before I had notice of those of my house. I knewthe Capitoll and its platforme, before I knew Louvre, the pallace of our Kings in Paris; and the River Tiber before Seyne. I have more remembred and thought upon the fortunes and conditions of Lucullus, Metellus and Scipio, then of any of our country-men. They are deceased, and so is my father as fully as they; and is as distant from me and life in eighteene yeeres as they were in sixteene hundred; Whose memorie, amitie, and societie I notwithstanding omit not to continue, to embrace and converse withall, with a perfect and most lively union. Yea, of mine owne inclination I am more officious toward the deceased. They can no longer helpe them-selves, but (as me seemetlh they require so much the more my ayde, There is Gratitude, and there appeareth she in her perfect lustre. A benefit is lesse richly assigned where retrogradation and reflexion is. Arcesilaus, going to visit Ctesibius that was sicke, and finding him in very poore plight, faire and softly thrust some money under his boulster, which he gave him; And concealing it from him, left and gave him also a quittance for ever being beholding to him. Such have at any time deserved friendship or love thanks at my hands, never lost in the same by being no longer with me. I have better paid and more carefull rewarded them, being absent and when they least thought of it. I speake more kindely and affectionately of my friends when there is least meanes that ever it shall come to their eares. I have heretofore undergone a hundred quarrels for the defence of Pompey and Brutus his cause. This acquaintance continueth to this day betweene us. Even of present things wee have no other holde but by our fantazie. Perceiving my selfe unfit and unprofitable for this age, I cast my selfe to that other, and am so besotted with it that the state of the said ancient, free, just and florishing Rome (for I neither love the birth nor like the old age of the same), doth interest, concerne and passionate me. And therefore can I not so often looke into the situation of their streets and houses, and those wondrous strange ruines, that may be said to reach down to the Antipodes, but so often must I ammuse my selfe on them. Is it nature or by the error of fantasie, that the seeing of places wee know to have beene frequented or inhabited by men, whose memory is esteemed or mentioned in stories, doth in some sort move and stirre us up as much or more than the hearing of their noble deeds, or reading of their compositions? Tanta vis admonitionis inest in locis: Et id quidem in hoc urbe infinitum; quacunque enim ingredimur, in aliquam historiam vestigium ponimus: (Cic. s. De Fin.) 'So great a power of admonition is in the very place. And that in this City is most infinite, for which way soever we walke, we set our foote upon some History.' I am much delighted with the consideration of their countenance, port and abilliments. I ruminate those glorious names betweene my teeth, and make mine eares to ring with the sound of them. Ego illos veneror, et tantis nominibus semper assurgo. 'I do reverence them, and at their names I do rise and make curtesie.' Of things but in some sort great, strange and admirable, I admire their common parts. I could wish to see them walk and suppe together, and heare their discourses. It were ingratitude to despise and impietie to neglect the reliques or images of so many excellent, honest good men, and therewithall so valiant, which I have seene live and die; And who by their examples, had we the wit or grace to follow them, affoord us so many notable instructions. And Rome as it stands now deserveth to be loved, Confederated so long since and sharing titles with our Crowne of France, Being the only common and universall Citie: The Soveraigne Magistrate therein commanding is likewise knowne abroad in divers other places. It is the chiefe Metropolitan Citie of all Christian nations; both French and Spaniards, and all men else, are there at home. To be a Prince of that state, a man needs but be of Christendome, where ever it be seated. There's no place here on earth that the Heavens have embraced with such influence of favors and grace, and with such constancie; Even her ruine is glorious with renowne, and swolne with glorie.
Whither have you recourse,
So farre out of your course?Laudandis preciosior ruinis.Low-levelled as she lieth, and even in the tombe of hir glory, she yet reserveth the lively image and regardfull markes of Empire. Ut palam sit uno in loco gaudentis opus esse naturæ: 'So as it is cleare, in one place is set-forth the worke of nature in her jollity.' Some one would blame himselfe, yea and mutinie, to feele himselfe tickled with so vaine a pleasure. Our humors are not overvaine that be pleasant. Whatsoever they be that constantly content a man capable of common understanding, I could not finde in my heart to moane or pitty him. I am much beholding to fortune, inasmuch as untill this day she hath committed nothing outrageously against me, or imposed any thing upon me that is beyond my strength, or that I could not well beare. Is it not haply her custome to suffer such as are not importunate or over busie with hir to live in peace?
Ev'n made more honourable,
By ruines memorable.Quanto quisque sibi plura negaverit,If she continue so, I shall depart very well content and satisfied.
A Diis plura feret, nil cupientium
Nudus castra peto, multa petentibus
Desunt multa. -- Hor. Car. iii. Od. xvi. 21, 42.
The more that men shall to themselves denie,
The more the gods will give them: threadbare I
Follow the campe of them that nought desire,
They still want much that still doe much require.-----nihil supra,But beware the shocke; Thousands miscary in the haven, and are cast away, being neerest home. I am easily comforted with what shall happen here when I am gone. Things present trouble me sufficiently, and set me thorowly a worke.
Deos lacesso. -- Ibid. Car. ii. Od. xviii.11.
More than will serve, to have
Of Gods I doe not crave.Fortunæ cætera mando. -- Ovid. Metam. ii. 140.Besides, I am not tied with that strong bond which some say bindes men to future times, by the children bearing their names, and succeeding them in honors; And being so much to be desired, it may be I shall wish for them so much the lesse. I am by myselfe but overmuch tied unto the world and fastned unto life; I am pleased to be in Fortunes hold by the circumstances properly necessary to my state, without enlarging her Jurisdiction upon me by other wayes; And I never thought that to be without children were a defect, able to make mans life lesse compleat and lesse contented. A barren state or sterill vacation have also their peculiar commodities. Children are in the number of things that need not greatly bee desired; especially in corrupted daies, wherein it would be so hard a matter to make them good. Bona jam nec nasci licet ita corrupta sunt semina: 'We cannot now have good things so much as grow, the seeds are so corrupt.' Yet have they just cause to moane them, that, having once gotten, lose them untimely. He who left me my house in charge, considering my humor, which was to stay at home so little, fore-saw I should be the overthrow of it. He was deceived; I am now as I came unto it, if not somewhat better; and that without any Office or Churchliving, which are no small helps. As for other matters, if Fortune have offred me no violent or extraordinary offence, so hath she not shewed me any great favour or extraordinary grace. Whatsoever I have belonging to it that may properly be termed her gifts, was there before I came unto it; yea, and a hundred yeeres before. I particularly enjoy no essentiall good, or possesse no solid benefit, that I owe unto her liberalitie. Indeed she hath bestowed some wind-pufft favours upon me, which may rather be termed titular and honourable in shew, then in substance or materiall; and which, in good truth, she hath not granted, but offered me, God he knowes, to me, who am altogether materiall; not satisfied but with realitie, which must also be massie and substantiall; And who, if I durst confesse it, would not think avarice much lesse excusable then ambition, nor griefe lesse evitable then shame, nor health lesse desirable then learning, or riches lesse to be wished then nobilitie. Amongst her vaine favours I have none doth so much please my fond selfe-pleasing conceit as an authentic Bull, charter or patent of denizonship or borgeouship of Rome, which at my last being there, was granted me by the whole Senate of that Citie--garish and trimly adorned with goodly Seales, and written in faire golden letters--bestowed upon me with all gracious and free liberalitie. And forsomuch as they are commonly conferred in divers stiles more or lease favourable, and that before I had ever seene any I would have beene glad to have had but a paterne or formular of one, I will for the satisfaction of any, if be fortune to be possessed with such a curiositie as mine, here set down the true copy or transcript of it, and thus it is:--
The rest I doe commit
To Fortune (as is fit).Being neither Burgeois nor Denizen of any Citie, I am well pleased to bee so of the noblest and greatest that ever was heretofore, or ever shall be hereafter. If others did so attentively consider and survay themselves as I doe, they shall, as I doe, finde themselves full of inanitie, fondnesse, or vanity. I can not be rid of it, except I rid and quit my selfe. Wee are all possessed and overwhelmed therewith, as well one as the other. But such as have a feeling of it have somewhat the better bargaine; and yet I am not sure of it. This common opinion and vulgar custome, to looke and marke elsewhere then on our selves, hath well provided for our affaires. It is an object full-fraught with discontent, wherein we see nothing, but miserie and vanitie. To th' end we should not wholly be discomforted, Nature hath very fitly cast the action of our sight outward; Wee goe forward according to the streamer but to turne our course backe to our selves is a painefull motion; the sea likewise is troubled, raging and disquieted when t'is turned and driven into it selfe. Observe (saith every one) the motions and bransles of the heavens: take a survay of all - the quarrell of this man, the pulse of that man, and anothers last testament: to conclude, behold and marke ever, high or low, right or oblique, before or behind you. It was a paradoxall commandement which the God of Delphos laid heeretofore upon us; saying, 'View your selves within, know your selves and keepe you to your selves.' Your minde and your will, which elsewhere is consumed, bring it unto it selfe againe: you scatter, you stragle, you stray, and you distract yourselves; call your selves home againe; rowze and uphold your selves; you are betrayed, you are spoiled and dissipated; your selves are stolen and taken from your selves. Seest thou not how all this universe holdeth all his sights compelled inward, and his eyes open to contemplate it selfe? Both inward and outward it is ever vanitie for thee; but so much lesse vanitie by how much lesse it is extended. Except thy selfe, Oh man (said that God) every thing doth first seeke and study it selfe, and according to it's neede hath limits to her travells and bounds to her desires. There's not one so shallow, so empty, and so needy as thou art who embracest the whole world. Thou art the Scrutator without knowledge the magistrate without jurisdiction, and when all is done, the vice of the play.Quod Horatius Maximus, Martius Cecius, Alexander Mutus, almæ urbis conservatores de illustrissimo viro Michæle Montano, Equite sancti Michælis, et a Cubiculo Regis Christianissimi, Romana civitate donando, ad Senatum retulerunt, S. P. Q. R. de ea re ita fieri censuit.Cum veteri more et instituto cupide illi semper studioseque suscepti sint, qui virtute ac nobilitate præstantes, magno Reipublicæ nostræ usui atque ornamento fuissent, vel esse aliquando possent: Nos majorum nostrorum exemplo atque auctoritate permoti, preclarum hanc Consuetudinem nobis imitandam ac servandam fore censemus. Quamobrem cum Illustrissimus Michæl Montanus Eques sancti Michælis, et cubiculo Regis Christianissimi; Romani nominis studio sissimus, et familiæ laude atque splendore et propriis virtutum meritis dignissimus sit, qui summo Senatus Populique Romani judicio ac studio in Romanam Civitatem adsciscatur, placere Senatui P. Q. R. Illustrissimum Michælem Montanum rebus omnibus ornatissimum, atque huic inclyto Populo charissimum, ipsum posterosque in Rom. civitatem adscribi, ornarique omnibus et premiis et honoribus, quibus illi fruuntur, qui Cives patritiique Romani nati aout jure optimo facti sunt. In quo censere Senatum P. Q. R. se non tam illi Jus Civitatis largiri quam debitum tribuere, neque magis beneficium dare quam ab ipso accipere, qui hoc Civitatis munere accipiendo, singular Civitatem ipsam ornamento atque honore affecerit. Quam quidem S.C. auctoritatem iidem Conservatores per Senatus P. Q. R. scribas in acta referri atque in Capitolii curia servari, privilegiumque hujusmodi fieri, solitoque urbis sigillo communiri, curarunt. Anno ab urbe condito CXCCCXXXI. post Christum natum M.D.LxxxI.III. Idus Martii.Horatius Fuscus sacri S. P. Q. R. scriba, Vincent.At the motion of Horatius Maximus, Martius Cecius, Alexander Mutus, who are Conservators of this beautifull Cittie concerning the endenizing and making cittizen of Rome the noble Gentleman Michæl de Montaigne, Knight of the Order of Saint Michæll, and one of the Chamber of the most Christian King, the Senate and people of Rome thought good thereof thus to exact. Whereas by the antient custome and good order, they have ever and with good will been entertained, who excelling in vertue and nobilitie have been, or at any time might be, of any great use or ornament unto our common-weale: Wee, mooved by example and authoritie Of our Auncesters, decree, That this notable custome by us should be ensued and observed. Wherefore, sithence the right Noble Michæl de Montaigne, Knight of Saint Michæls Order, and one of the Chamber of the most Christian King, both is most affectionate unto the Roman name, and by the commendations and splendor of his pedegree, as also by the merits of his proper vertues, most worthe to be adopted and inserted into the Romane Cittie with a speciall judgement and good will of the Senate and people of Rome. It pleaseth the Senate and people of Rome that the right noble Michæl de Montaigne, adorned in all complements and wellbeloved of this famous Communaltie, both himselfe and his successours should be ascribed and enfranchised into this Romane Cittie, and be graced with al rewards and honours which they enjoy who either have been borne or elected either Citizen or Noblemen of Rome. Wherein the Senate and people doe decree that they doe not so much vouchsafe him the right of their Citie, as give him that is due unto him, nor doe they rather give him a benefite then receive it of him, who by accepting this gift of the Cittie doth countenance the Cittie with a singular ornament and honour. Which Act and authoritie of the Senates Decree the said Conservators caused by the Clearks of the Senate and people to be registred and laid-up in the Capitoll Court, and this Priviledge to be made and signed with the Cities usuall Seale. In the yeare since the building of the Citie CXCCCXXXI. after the birth of Christ a thousand five hundred eighty and one: the Ides of March.
Martholus sacri S.P. Q. R. scriba.Horatius Fuscus, and Vincent Martholus,
Clarks of the Sacred Senate and people of Rome.