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.
T IS easie to verifie, that excellent authors' writing of causes, do not only make use of those which they imagine true, but eftsoones of such as themselves beleeve not: always provided they have some invention and beautie. They speake sufficiently, truly and profitably, if they speake ingeniously. We cannot assure our selves of the chiefe cause: we hudle up a many together, to see whether by chance it shall be found in that number:Namque unam dicere causam,
Non satis est, verum plures, unde una tamen sit. -- LUCR 1. vi. 700.
Enough it is not one cause to devise,
But more, whereof that one may yet arise. Will you demand of me whence this custome ariseth, to blesse and say God helpe to those that sneese? We produce three sortes of winde: that issuing from belowe is too undecent; that from the mouth implieth some reproach of gourmandise; the third is sneesing: and because it commeth from the head, and is without imputation, we thus kindly entertaine it: smile not at this subtilty, it is (as some say) Aristotles. Me seemeth to have read in Plutarch (who of all the authors I know, hath best commixt arte with nature, and coupled judgement with learning), where he yeeldeth a reason why those which travell by sea do sometimes feele such qualmes and risings of the stomack, saying, that it proccedeth of a kinde of feare: having found-out some reason by which he prooveth that feare may cause such an effect. My selfe, who am much subject unto it, know well that this cause doth nothing concerne me. And I know it, not by argument, but by necessary experience without alleaging what some have tolde me, that the like doth often happen unto beasts, namely, unto swine, when they are farthest from apprehending any danger: and what an acquaintance of mine hath assured me of himselfe, and who is greatly subject unto it, that twice or thrice in a tempestous storme, being surprised with exceeding feare, all manner of desire or inclination to vomit had left him. As to that ancient good fellow; Peius vexabat quam ut periculum mihi succurreret: 'I was worse vexed then that danger could helpe me.' I never apprehended feare upon the water, nor any where else (yet have I often had just cause offred me, if death it selfe may give it) which either might trouble or astony me. It proceedeth sometimes as well from want of judgement as from lacke of courage. All the dangers I have had have beene when mine eyes were wide-open, and my sight cleare, sound and perfect. For even to feare, courage is required. It hath sometimes steaded me, in respect of others, to direct and keepe my flight in order, that so it might be, if not without feare, at least without dismay and astonishment. Indeed, it was moved, but not amazed nor distracted. Undanted mindes march further, and represent flight, not onely temperate, setled and sound, but also fierce and bold. Report we that which Alcibiades relateth of Socrates his companion in armes. I found (saith he) after the rout and discomfiture of our armie, both him and Lachez in the last ranke of those that ranne away, and with all safety and leasure considered him, for I was mounted upon an excellent good horse, and he on foote, and so had we combated all day. I noted first, how in respect of Lachez, he shewed both discreet judgement and undanted resolution: then I observed the undismaide bravery of his march, nothing different from his ordinary pace: his looke orderly and constant, duly observing and heedily judging what ever passed round about him: sometimes viewing the one, and sometimes looking on the other both friends and enemies, with so composed a manner, that he seemed to encourage the one and menace the other, signifying, that whosoever should attempt his life must purchase the same or his blood at a high-valued rate; and thus they both saved themselves, for men do not willingly graple with these, but follow such as shew or feare or dismay. Lo here the testimony of that renowned Captaine, who teacheth us what wee daily finde by experience, that there is nothing doth sooner cast us into dangers then an inconsiderate greedinesse to avoide them. Quo timoris minus est, eo minus ferme periculi est: 'The lesse feare there is, most commonly the lesse danger there is.' Our people is to blame to say such a one feareth death, when it would signifie that he thinkes on it and doth foresee the same. Foresight doth equally belong as well to that which concerneth us in good as touch us in evill. To consider and judge danger is in some sort not to be danted at it. I doe not find my selfe sufficiently strong to withstand the blow and violence of this passion of feare, or of any other impetuosity; where I once therewith vanquished and deterred, I could never safely recover my selfe. He that should make my minde forgoe her footing could never bring her unto her place againe. She doth over lively sound and over deepely search into her selfe, and therefore never suffers the wound which pierced the same to be throughly cured and consolidated. It hath beene happy for me that no infirmity could ever yet displace her. I oppose and present myselfe in the best ward I have against all charges and assaults that beset mee. Thus the first that should beare me away would make me unrecoverable. I encounter not two which way soever spoile should enter my hold, there am I open and remedilesly drowned. Epicurus saith that a wise man can never passe from one state to its contrary. I have some opinion answering his sentence, that he who hath once beene a very foole shall at no time proove verie wise. God sends my cold answerable to my cloths, and passions answering the meanes I have to indure them. Nature having discovered mee on one side, hath covered mee on the other. Having disarmed me of strength, she hath armed me with insensibility, and a regular or soft apprehension. I cannot long endure (and lesse could in my youth) to ride either in coach or litter, or to go in a boat; and both in the citty and country I hate all manner of riding but a horse-back; And can lesse endure a litter then a coach, and by the same reason more easily a rough agitation upon the water, whence commonly proceedeth feare, then the soft stirring a man shall feele in calme weather. By the same easie gentle motion which the oares give, convaying the boat under us, I wot not how I feel both my head intoxicated and my stomacke distempered, as I cannot likewise abide a shaking stoole under me. Whenas either the saile, or the gliding course of the water doth equaly carry us away, or that we are but towed, that gently gliding and even agitation doth no whit distemper or hurt me. It is an interrupted and broken motion that offends mee, and more when it is languishing. I am not able to display its forme. Phisitions have taught mee to bind and gird my selfe with a napkin or swath round about the lower part of my belly as a remedy for this accident, which as yet I have not tride, beeing accustomed to wrestle and withstand such defects as are in mee, and tame them by my selfe. Were my memory sufficiently informed of them, I would not thinke my time lost heere to set down the infinite variety which histories present unto us of the use of coaches in the service of warre; divers according to the nations, and different according to the ages, to my seeming of great effect and necessity. So that it is wondrously strange how we have lost all true knowledge of them; I will onely aleadge this, that even lately in our fathers time, the Hungarians did very availefully bring them into fashion, and profitably set them a work against the Turks; every one of them containing a Targattier and a Muskettier, with a certaine number of harquebuses or calivers, ready charged, and so ranged that they might make good use of them, and all over covered with a pavesado after the manner of a Galliotte. They made the front of their battaile with three thousand such coaches, and after the Cannon had playd, caused them to discharge and shoote off a volie of small shott upon their enemies before they should know or feele what the rest of the forces could doe, which was no small advancement; or if not this, they mainely drove those coaches amidde the thickest of their enemies squadrons, with purpose to breake, disroute, and make waie through them. Besides the benefit and helpe they might make of them in any suspicious or dangerous place, to flanke their troupes marching from place to place; or in hast to encompasse, to embarricado , to cover or fortifie any lodgement or quarter. In my time, a gentleman of quality in one of our frontiers, unwealdie and so burly of body that hee could finde no horse able to beare his waight, and having a quarrell or deadly fude in hand, was wont to travaile up and down in a coach made after this fashion, and found much ease and good in it. But leave we these warlike coaches, as if their nullity were not sufficiently knowne by better tokens; The last Kings of our first race were wont to travell in chariots drawne by foure oxen. Mark Antoni was the first that caused himselfe, accompanied with a minsterell harlot, to be drawne by Lyons fitted to a coach. So did Heliogabalus after him, naming himselfe Cibele, the mother of the Gods; and also by Tigers, counterfeiting God Bacchus; who sometimes would also bee drawne in a coach by two Stagges, and another time by foure mastive dogs; and by foure naked wenches, causing himselfe to bee drawne by them in pompe and state, hee being all naked. The emperour Firmus made his coach to bee drawne by Estriges of exceeding greatnesse, so that hee rather seemed to flye then to roule on wheeles. The strangenesse of these inventions doth bring this other thing unto my fantasie, That it is a kinde of pusilanimity in Monarkes, and a testimony that they doe not sufficiently know what they are when they labour to shew their worth, and endeavour to appeare unto the world by excessive and intolerable expences. A thing which in a strange country might somewhat bee excused, but among his native subjects where hee swayeth all in all, he draweth from his dignity the extreamest degree of honour that hee may possibly attaine unto. As for a gentleman in his owne private house to apparrel himselfe richly and curiously, I deeme it a matter vaine and superfluous; his house, his houshold, his traine and his kitchin doe sufficiently answere for him. The counsell which Isocrates giveth to his King (in my conceite) seemeth to carry some reason, when hee willeth him to be richly-stored and stately adorned with mooveables and household-stuffe, forsomuch as it is an expence of continuance, and which descendeth even to his posterity or heires; And to avoyde all magnificences which presently vanish both from custome and memory. I loved when I was a yonger brother to set my selfe foorth and be gaye in cloathes, though I wanted other necessaries, and it became mee well: There are some on whose backes their rich Robes weepe, or as wee say their rich cloathes are lyned with heavy debts. We have divers strange tales of our auncient Kings frugalitie about their owne persons, and in their gifts: great and farre renouned Kings both in credit, in valour, and in fortune. Demosthenes mainely combates the law of his Citie, who assigned their publique money to be imployed about the stately setting forth of their playes and feasts. He willeth that their magnificence should bee seene in the quantity of tall ships well manned and appointed, and armies well furnished. And they have reason to accuse Theophrastus, who in his booke of riches established a contrarie opinion, and upholdeth such a quality of expences to be the true fruit of wealth and plenty. They are pleasures (saith Aristotle) that onely touch the vulgar and basest communalty, which as soone as a man is satisfied with them, vanish out of minde; and whereof no man of sound judgement or gravity can make any esteeme. The imployment of it, as more profitable, just and durable, would seeme more royall, worthy and commendable, about ports, havens, fortifications and walles; in sumptuous buildings, in churches, hospitals, colledges, mending of heighwayes and streetes, and such like monuments; in which things Pope Gregory the thirteenth shall leave aye-lasting and commendable memory unto his name; and wherein our Queene Catherine should witnes unto succeeding ages her naturall liberality and exceeding bounty, if her meanes were answerable to her affection. Fortune hath much spighted mee to hinder the structure and breake-off the finishing of our new bridge in our great Citty, and before my death to deprive mee of all hope to see the great necessity of it set forward againe. Moreover, it appeareth unto subjects, spectators of these triumphs, that they have a show made them of their owne riches, and that they are feasted at their proper charges; For the people do easily presume of their kings as wee doe of our servants that they should take care plenteously to provide us of whatsoever wee stand in neede of, but that on their behalfe they should no way lay hands on it. And therefore the Emperor Galba sitting at supper, having taken pleasure to heare a musitian play and sing before him, sent for his casket, out of which be tooke a handful of Crowns and put them into his hand, with these wordes: 'Take this, not as a gift of the publique money but of mine owne private store.' So is it, that it often commeth to passe, that the common people have reason to grudge, and that their eyes are fedde with that which should feede their belly. Liberality it selfe, in a soveraigne hand, is not in her owne luster: private men have more right, and may challenge more interest in her. For, taking the matter exactly as it is, a King hath nothing that is properly his owne; hee oweth even himselfe to others. Authority is not given in favour of the authorising, but rather in favour of the authorised. A superiour is never created for his owne profit, but rather for the benefit of the inferiour; and a Physition is instituted for the sicke, not for himselfe. All Magistracie, even as each arte, rejecteth her end out of her selfe. Nulla ars in se versatur: 'No arte is all in it selfe.' Wherefore the governours and overseers of Princes' childhood or minority, who so earnestly endeavor to imprint this vertue of bounty and liberality in them, and teach them not to refuse any thing, and esteeme nothing so well imployed as what they shall give (an instruction which in my dayes I have seene in great credit) either they preferre and respect more their owne profit than their masters, or they understand not aright to whom they speake. It is too easie a matter to imprint liberality in him that hath wherewith plenteously to satisfie what be desireth at other men's charges. And his estimation being directed not according to the measure of the present, but according to the quality of his meanes that exerciseth the same, it commeth to prove vaine in so puissant hands. They are found to bee prodigall before they be liberall. Therefore it is but of small commendation, in respect of other royall vertues; and the onely (as said the tyrant Dionysius) that agreed and squared well with tyrannie it selfe. I would rather teach him the verse of the ancient labourer,τη χειρι δει σπειρειν αλλα μη ολω τω θυλακω.That whosoever will reape any commodity by it must sow with his hand, and not powre out of a sacke; that corne must be discreetly scattered, and not lavishly dispersed; and that being to give, or, to say better, to pay and restore to such a multitude of People, according as they have deserved, he ought to be a loyall, faithfull, and advised distributer thereof. If the liberality of a Prince be without heedy discretion and measure, I would rather have him covetous and sparing. Princely vertue seemeth to consist most in justice; and of all parts of justice that doth best and most belong to Kings which accompanieth liberality; for they have it particularly reserved to their charge; whereas all other justice they happily exercise the same by the intermission of others. Immoderate bounty is a weake meane to acquire them good will: for it rejecteth more people than it obtaineth: Quo in plures usus sis, minus in multos uti possis. Quid autem est stultius, quam, quod libenter facias, curare ut id diutius facere non possis? (Cic. Off. 1.) 'The more you have used it to many, the lesse may you use it to many more; and what is more fond than what you willingly would doe, to provide you can no longer doe it?' And if it be emploied without respect of merit, it shameth him that receiveth the same, and is received without grace. Some Tyrants have been sacrificed to the peoples hatred by the very hands of those whom they had rashly preferred and wrongfully advanced: such kinde of men, meaning to assure the possession of goods unlawfully and indirectly gotten, if they shew to hold in contempt and hatred him from whom they held them, and in that combine themselves unto the vulgar judgement and common opinion. The subjects of a Prince rashly excessive in his gifts become impudently excessive in begging: they adhere, not unto reason, but unto example. Verily we have often, just cause to blush for our impudency. We are overpaid according to justice, when the recompence equaleth our service; for doe we not owe a kinde of naturall duty to our Princes? If he beare our charge, he doth overmuch; it sufficeth if hee assist it: the over-plus is called a benefit which cannot be exacted; for the very name of liberality implyeth liberty. After our fashion we have never done; what is received is no more reckoned of: onely future liberality is loved: Wherefore the more a Prince doth exhaust himselfe in giving, the more friends he impoverisheth. How should he satisfie intemperate desires which increase according as they are replenished? Whoso hath his minde on taking, hath it no more on what he hath taken. Covetousnesse hath nothing so proper as to bee ungratefull. The example of Cyrus shal not ill fit this place, for the behoofe of our kings of these daies, as a touch-stone, to know whether their gifts be wel or ill employed: and make them perceive how much more happily that Emperour did wound and oppresse them than they doe. Whereby they are afterward forced to exact and borrow of their unknowne subjects, and rather of such as they have wronged and aggrieved than of those they have enriched and done good unto; and receive no aids, where any thing is gratitude, except the name. Croesus upbraided him with his lavish bounty, and calculated what his treasure would amount unto if he were more sparing and close-handed. A desire surprised him to justifie his liberality, and dispatching letters over all parts of his dominions to such great men of his estate whom hee had particularly advanced, entreated every one to assist him with as much money as they could for an urgent necessitie of his, and presently to send it him by declaration; when all these count-bookes or notes were brought him, each of his friends supposing that it sufficed not to offer him no more than they had received of his bounteous liberality, but adding much of their owne unto it, it was found that the said summe amounted unto much more than the niggardly sparing of Croesus. Whereupon Cyrus said: 'I am no lesse greedy of riches than other Princes, but I am rather a better husband of them. You see with what small venture I have purchased the unvaluable treasure of so many friends, and how much more faithfull treasurers they are to mee than mercenary men would be, without obligation and without affection; and my exchequer or treasury better placed than in paltery coafers; by which I draw upon me the hate, the envy and the contempt of other Princes.' The ancient Emperours were wont to draw som excuse, for the superfluity of their sports and publike shewes, for so much as their authority did in some sort depend (at least in apparance) from the will of the Romane people; which from all ages are accustomed to be flattered by such kinde of spectacles and excesses. But they were particular ones who had bred this custome to gratifie their con-citizens and fellowes; especially by their purse, by such profusion and magnificence. It was cleane altered when the masters and chiefe rulers came once to imitate the same. Pecuniarum translatio a justis dominis ad alienos non debet liberalis videri: (Cic. Off. 1.) 'The passing of money from right owners to strangers should not seeme liberality.' Philip, because his sonne indeavoured by gifts to purchase the good will of the Macedonians, by a letter seemed to be displeased, and chid him in this manner: 'What, wouldest thou have thy subjects to account thee for their purse-bearer, and not repute thee for their King? Wilt thou frequent and practise them? Then doe it with the benefits of thy vertue, not with those of thy cofers.' Yet was it a goodly thing to cause a great quantity of great trees, all branchie and greene, to bee far brought and planted in plots yeelding nothing but dry gravell, representing a wilde shady forrest, divided in due seemely proportion; And the first day to put into the same a thousand Estriges, a thousand Stagges, a thousand wilde Boares, and a thousand Buckes, yeelding them over to bee hunted and killed by the common people: the next morrow in the presence of all the assembly to cause a hundred great Lions, a hundred Leopards, and three hundred huge Beares to be baited and tugged in pieces: and for the third day, in bloody manner and good earnest, to make three hundred couple or Gladiators or Fencers to combate and murder one another, as did the Emperour Probus. It was also a goodly shew to see those huge Amphitheaters all enchased with rich marble, on the outside curiously wrought with curious statues, and all the inner side glittering with precious and rare embellishments:
-- PLUT. de Athen. ERAS. Chil. iii. cent. i. ad. 32.
Not whole sackes, but by the hand
A man should sow his seed i' the land.Balteus en gemmis, en illita porticus auro.All the sides round about that great void, replenished and invironed from the ground unto the very top with three or foure score rankes of steps and seates, likewise all of marble covered with faire cushions
A belt beset with gemmes behold,
Behold a walke bedawb'd with gold.----- exeat, inquit,Where might conveniently bee placed an hundred thousand men, and all sit at ease. And the plaine-ground-worke of it, where sports were to be acted, first by Art to cause the same to open and chap in sunder with gaps and cranishes representing hollow cavernes, which vomited out the beasts appointed for the spectacle; that ended, immediately to overflow it all with a maine deepe sea, fraught with store of sea- monsters and other strange fishes , all over-laid with goodly tall ships, ready rigd and appointed to represent a Sea-fight; and thirdly, suddenly to make it smooth and drie againe for the combate of Gladiators; and fourthly, being forthwith cleansed, to strewe it over with Vermilion and Storax, insteade of graven, for the erecting of a solemne banket for all that infinite number of people: the last act of one onely day.
Si pudor est, et de pulvino surgat equestri,
Cujus res legi non sufficit. -- Juven. Sat. iii. 153.
If shame there be, let him be gone, he cries,
And from his knightly cushion let him rise,
Whose substance to the law doth not suffice.----- quoties nos descendentis arenæThey have sometimes caused an high steepy mountaine to arise in the midst of the sayd Amphitheaters, all over-spred with fruitfull and flourishing trees of all sortes, on the top whereof gushed out streames of water as from out the source of a purling spring. Other times they have produced therein a great tall Ship floating up and downe, which of it selfe opened and split asunder, and after it had disgorged from out its bulke foure or five hundred wild beasts to bee baited, it closed and vanished away of it selfe, without any visible helpe. Sometimes from out the bottome of it they caused streakes and purlings of sweete water to spoute up, bubling to the highest top of the frame, and gently watring, sprinkling and refreshing that infinite multitude. To keepe and cover themselves from the violence of the wether, they caused that huge compasse to be all over-spred, sometimes with purple sailes, all curiously wrought with the needle, sometimes of silke and of some other colour in the twinkling of an eye, as they pleased they displaid and spred, or drewe and pulled them in againe.
Vidimus in partes, ruptaque voraqine terræ
Emersisse feras, et ijsdem sæpe latebris
Aurea cum croceo creuerunt arbuta libro.
Nec solum nobis silvestria cernere monstra
Contigit equoreos; ego cum certantibus ursis
Spectavi vitulos, et equorum nomine dignum,
Sed deforme pecus.
How oft have we beheld wild beasts appeare
From broken gulfes of earth, upon some parte
Of sande that did not sinke? how often there
And thence did golden boughs ore saf fron'd starte?
Nor onely saw we monsters of the wood,
But I have seene Sea-calves whom Beares withstood
And such a kinde of beast as might be named
A horse, but in most foule proportion framed.Quamvis non modico caleant spectacula soleThe nets likewise, which they used to put before the people to save them from harm and violence of the baited beasts, were woven with golde.
Vela reducuntur cum venit Hermogenes. -- Mart. xii. Epig. 29, 15.
Though fervent Sunne make't hotte to see a play,
When linnen thieves come, sailes are kept away.----- auro quoque torta refulgentIf any thing bee excusable in such lavish excesses it is where the invention and strangenesse breedeth admiration, and not the costlie charge. Even in those vanities, wee may plainely perceive how fertile and happy those former ages were of other manner of wittes then ours are. It hapneth of this kinde of fertilitie as of all other productions of nature. Wee may not say what nature employed then the utmost of hir power. We goe not, but rather creepe and stagger here and there: we goe our pace. I imagine our knowledge to bee weake in all senses: wee neither discerne far- forward, nor see much backward. It embraceth little and liveth not long: It is short both in extension of time and in amplenesse of matter or invention.
Nets with gold enterlaced,
Their shewes with glittring graced.Vixere fortes ante AgamemnonaAnd Solons narration concerning what he had learned of the Ægyptian Priests of their states, long-life and manner how to learne and preserve strange or forraine histories, in mine opinion is not a testimony to bee refused in this consideration. Si interminatant in omnes partes magnitudinem regionum videremus, et temporum in quam se iniiciens animus et intendens, ita late longeque peregrinatur, ut nullam oram ultimi videat in qua possit insistere: In hæc immensitate infinita vis innumerabilium appareret formarum: (CIC. Nat. Deo. i. ) 'If we behold an unlimited greatnesse on all sides both of regions and times, whereupon the mind casting it selfe and intentive doth travell farre and neare, so as it sees ----- 1 2 3 no bounds of what is last, whereon it may insist; in this infinite immensity there would appeare a multitude of innumerable formes.' If whatsoever hath come unto us by report of what is past where true and knowne of any body, it would be lesse then nothing, in respect of that which is unknowne. And even of this image of the world, which whilest we live therein, glideth and passeth away, how wretched, weake and how short is the knowledge of the most curious? Not onely of the particular events which fortune often maketh exemplar and of consequence; but of the state of mighty commonwealths, large Monarkies and renowned nations, there escapeth our knowledge a hundred times more then commeth unto our notice. We keepe a coile and wonder at the miraculous invention of our artilerie, and amazed at the rare devise of Printing; when as unknowne to us, other men, and an other end of the world named China, knew and had perfect use of both a thousand yeares before. If we sawe as much of this vaste world as wee see but a least part of it, it is very likely we should perceive a perpetuall multiplicity and over-rouling vicissitude of formes. Therein is nothing singular and nothing rare, if regard bee had unto nature, or to say better, if relation bee had unto our knowledge; which is a weake foundation of our rules, and which doth commonly present us a right-false Image of things. How vainely do we now-adayes conclude the declination and decrepitude of the world, by the fond arguments wee drawe from our owne weaknesse, drooping and declination:
Multi, sed omnes illachrymabiles
Urgentur, ignotique longa
Nocte. -- HOR. Car. 1. iv. Od. ix. 25.
Before great Agamemnon and the rest
Many liv'd valiant, yet are all supprest,
Unmoan'd, unknowne, in darke oblivious nest.
Et supera bellum Troianum et funera Troiæ,
Multi alias alii quoque res cecinere poetæ. -- LUCR. 1. v. 326.
Beside the Trojan warre, Troyes funerall night,
Of other things did other poets write.Jamque adeo afecta est ætas, affetaque tellus: -- LUCR. ii. 1159.And as vainly did another conclude its birth and youth by the vigour he perceiveth in the wits of his time, abounding in novelties and invention of divers Arts:
And now both age and land
So sicke affected stand.Verum ut opinor, habet novitatem summa, recensqueOur world hath of late discovered another (and who can warrant us whether it be the last of his brethren, since both the Damons, the Sibylles, and all we have hitherto been ignorant of this? no lesse- large, fully-peopled, all-things-yeelding, and mighty in strength than ours; neverthelesse so new and infantine, that he is yet to learne his A. B. C. It is not yet full fifty yeeres that he knew neither letters, nor waight, nor measures, nor apparell, nor corne, nor vines; But was all naked, simply-pure, in Natures lappe, and lived but with such meanes and food as his mother-nurce affoorded him. If wee conclude aright of our end, and the foresaid Poet of the infancie of his age, this late-world shall but come to light when ours shall fall into darknesse. The whole Universe shall fall into a palsey or convulsion of sinnowes: one member shall be maimed or shrunken, another nimble and in good plight. I feare that by our contagion we shall directly have furthered his declination and hastened his ruine and that we shall too dearely have sold him our opinions, our new-fangles and our Arts. It was an unpolluted, harmelesse, infant world; yet have we not whipped and submitted the same unto our discipline, or schooled him by the advantage of our valour or naturall forces; nor have wee instructed him by our justice and integrity, nor subdued by our magnanimity. Most of their answers, and a number of the negotiations we have had with them, witnesse that they were nothing short of us, not beholding to us for any excellency of naturall wit or perspicuitie concerning pertinency. The wonderfull, or as I may call it, amazement-breeding magnificence of the never-like seene cities of Cusco and Mexico, and amongst infinite such like things, the admirable Garden of that King, where all the Trees, the fruits, the Hearbes and Plants, according to the order and greatnesse they have in a Garden, were most artificially framed in gold; as also in his Cabinet; all the living creatures that his Countrey or his Seas produced, were cast in gold; and the exquisite beauty of their workes, in precious Stones, in Feathers, in Cotton and in Painting, shew that they yeelded as little unto us in cunning and industrie. But concerning unfained devotion, awefull observance of lawes, unspotted integrity, bounteous liberality, due loyalty and free liberty, it hath greatly availed us that we had not so much as they: By which advantage they have lost, castaway, sold, undone and betraied themselves.
Natura est mundi, neque pridem exordia cepit;
Quare etiant quædam nunc artes expoliuntur,
Nunc etiam augescunt, nunc addita navigiis sunt
Multa. -- Ibid. v. 330.
But all this world is new, as I suppose,
Worlds nature fresh, nor lately it arose
Whereby some arts refined are in fashion,
And many things now to our navigation
Are added, daily growne to augmentation.
Touching hardinesse and undaunted courage, and as for matchlesse constancie, unmooved assurednesse, and undismaied resolution against paine, smarting, famine and death it selfe, I will not feare to oppose the examples which I may easily finde amongst them, to the most famous ancient examples we may with all our industrie discover in all the Annales and memories of our knowen old World. For as for those which have subdued them, let them lay aside the wiles, the policies and stratagems which they have emploied to cozen, to cunny-catch, and to circumvent them; and the just astonisbment which those nations might justly conceive, by seeing so unexpected an arrivall of bearded men, divers in language, in habite, in religion, in behaviour, in forme, in countenance, and from a part of the world so distant, and where they never heard any habitation was: mounted upon great and unknowen monsters, against those who had had never so much as seene any horse, and lesse any beast whatsoever apt to beare, or taught to carry either man or burden; covered with a shining and harde skinne, and armed with slicing-keene weapons and glittering armour: against them, who for the wonder of the glistring of a looking-glasse or of a plaine knife would have changed or given inestimable riches in Gold, Precious Stones and Pearles; and who had neither the skill nor the matter wherewith at any leasure they could have pierced our steele: to which you may adde the flashing-fire and thundring roare of shotte and Harguebuses; able to quell and daunt even Cæsar himselfe, had he beene so sodainely surprised and as little experienced as they were; and thus to come unto and assault silly-naked people, saving where the invention of weaving of Cotton cloath was knowne and used; for the most altogether unarmed, except some bowes, stones, staves and woodden bucklers; unsuspecting poore people, surprised under colour of amity and well-meaning faith overtaken by the curiosity to see strange and unknowne things: I say, take this disparity from the conquerors, and you deprive them of all the occasions and cause of so many unexpected victories. When I consider that sterne-untamed obstinacy and undanted vehemence wherewith so many thousands of men, of women and children, do so infinite times present themselves unto inevitable dangers, for the defence of their Gods and liberty: This generous obstinacy to endure all extremities, all difficulties and death, more easily and willingly, then basely to yeelde unto their domination, of whom they have so abhominably beene abused: some of them choosing rather to starve with hunger and fasting, being taken, then to accept food at their enemies handes, so basely victorious: I perceive, that whoseever had undertaken them man to man, without ods of armes, of experience or of number, should have had as dangerous a warre, or perhaps more, as any we see amongst us.
Why did not so glorious a conquest happen under Alexander, or during the time of the ancient Greekes and Romanes? or why befell not so great a change and alteration of Empires and people under such hands as would gently have polished, reformed and incivilized what in them they deemed to be barbarous and rude: or would have nourished and fostered those good seedes which nature had there brought foorth: adding not onely to the manuring of their grounds and ornaments of their cities such artes as we had, and that no further then had beene necessary for them, but there-withall joyning unto the originall vertues of the country those of the ancient Grecians and Romanes? What reputation and what reformation would all that farre spredding world have found, if the examples, demeanors and pollicies wherewith we first presented them had called and allured those uncorrupted nations to the admiration and imitation of vertue, and had established betweene them and us a brotherly society and mutuall correspondency? How easie a matter had it beene profitably to reforme and christianly to instruct minds yet so pure and new, so willing to bee taught, being for the most part endowed with so docile, so apt and so yeelding naturall beginnings? Whereas, contrarywise, we have made use of their ignorance and inexperience, to drawe them more easily unto treason, fraude, luxurie, avarice and all manner of inhumanity and cruelty, by the example of our life and patterne of our customes. Who ever raised the service of marchandize and benefit of traffick to so high a rate? So many goodly citties ransacked and raged; so many nations destroyed and made desolate; so infinite millions of harmelesse people of all sexes, states and ages, massacred, ravaged and put to the sword; and the richest, the fairest and the best part of the world topsiturvied, ruined and defaced for the traffick of Pearles and Pepper. Oh mechanicall victories, oh base conquest. Never did greedy revenge, publik wrongs or generall enmities, so moodily enrage and so passionately incense men against men, unto so horrible hostilities, bloody dissipation, and miserable calamities.
Certaine Spaniardes, coasting alongst the Sea in search of mines, fortuned to land in a very fertile, pleasant and well peopled country, unto the inhabitants whereof they declared their intent and shewed their accustomed perswasions; saying, That they were quiet and well-meaning men, comming from farre-countries, being sent from the King of Castile, the greatest King of the habitable earth, unto whom the Pope, representing God on earth, had given the principality of all the Indies. That if they would become tributaries to him, they should bee most kindly used and courteously entreated: They required of them victualles for their nourishment, and some gold for the behoofe of certaine Physicall experiments. Moreover, they declared unto them the beleeving in one onely God and the trueth of our religion, which they perswaded them to embrace, adding thereto some minatorie threates. Whose answer was this: That happily they might be quiet and well meaning, but their countenance shewed them to be otherwise: As concerning their King, since he seemed to beg, he shewed to be poore and needy; And for the Pope, who had made that distribution, he expressed himselfe a man loving dissention, in going about to give unto a third man a thing which was not his owne, so to make it questionable and litigious amongst the ancient possessors of it. As for victualles, they should have part of their store; And for gold, they had but little, and that it was a thing they made very small accoumpt of, as meerely unprofitable for the service of their life; whereas all their care was but how to passe it happily and pleasantly, and therefore, what quantity soever they should finde, that onely excepted which was employed about the service of their Gods, they might bouldly take it. As touching one onely God, the discourse of him had very well pleased them; but they would by no meanes change their religion under which they had for so long time lived so happily; and that they were not accustomed to take any counsell, but of their friends and acquaintance. As concerning their menaces, it was a signe of want of judgement to threaten those whose nature, condition, power and meanes was to them unknowne. And therefore they should with all speed hasten to avoid their dominions (forsomuch as they were not wont to admit or take in good part the kindnesses and remonstrances of armed people, namely, of strangers) otherwise they would deale with them as they had done with such others, shewing them the heads of certaine men sticking upon stakes about their Citie, which had lately beene executed.
Loe here an example of the stammering of this infancy. But so it is, neither in this nor in infinite other places, where the Spaniards found not the merchandise they sought for, neither made stay or attempted any violence whatsoever other commodity the place yeelded: witnesse my Canibales. Of two the most mighty and glorious Monarkes of that world, and peradventure of all our Westerne parts, Kings over so many Kings, the last they deposed and overcame; He of Peru, having by them been taken in a battell, and set at so excessive a ransome that it exceedeth all beliefe, and that truely paide: and by his conversation having given them apparant signes of a free, liberall, undanted, and constant courage, and declared to be of a pure, noble, and well composed understanding; a humour possessed the conquerors, after they had most insolently exacted from him a Million three hundred five and twenty thousand, and five hundred waights of golde, besides the silver and other precious things, which amounted to no lesse a summe (so that their horses were all shood of massive gold), to discover (what disloyalty or treachery soever it might cost them) what the remainder of this Kings treasure might be, and without controlment enjoy whatever he might have hidden or concealed from them. Which to compasse, they forged a false accusation and proofe against him, that hee practised to raise his provinces, and intended to induce his subjects to some insurrection, so to procure his liberty. Whereupon, by the very judgement of those who had complotted this forgery and treason against him, hee was condemned to be publikely hanged and strangled; having first made him to redeeme the torment of being burned alive by the baptisme which at the instant of his execution in charity they bestowed upon him; a horrible and the like never heard of accident, which neverthelesse he undismaiedly endured with an unmoved manner and truly-royall gravity, without ever contradicting himselfe either in countenance or speech. And then, somewhat to mitigate and circumvent those silly unsuspecting people, amazed and astonished at so strange a spectacle, they counterfeited a great mourning and lamentation for his death, and appointed his funeralls to bee solemnely and sumptuously celebrated.
The other King of Mexico, having a long time manfully defended his besieged city, and in the tedious siege shewed whatever pinching- sufferance and resolute-perseverance can effect, if ever any courageous Prince or warre-like people shewed the same; and his disastrous successe having delivered him alive into his enemies hands, upon conditions to bee used as beseemed a King: who during the time of his imprisonment did never make the least shew of any thing unworthy that glorious title. After which victory, the Spaniards, not finding that quantitie of gold they had promised themselves, when they had ransacked and ranged all corners, they by meanes of the cruellest tortures and horriblest torments they could possibly devise, beganne to wrest and draw some more from such prisoners as they had in keeping. But unable to profit any thing that way, finding stronger hearts than their torments, they in the end fell to such moody outrages, that, contrary to all law of nations and against their solemne vowes and promises, they condemned the King himselfe and one of the chiefest Princes of his Court, to the Racke, one in presence of another: the Prince, environed round with hot burning coales, being overcome with the exceeding torment, at last in most pitious sort turning his dreary eyes toward his Master, as if hee asked mercy of him for that hee could endure it no longer; The king, fixing rigorously and fierce his lookes upon him, seeming to upbraid him with his remisnesse and pusilanimity, with a sterne and setled voyce uttered these few words unto him: 'What, supposest then I am in a cold bath? am I at more ease than thou art?' Whereat the silly wretch immediately fainted under the torture, and yeelded up the ghost. The king, half rosted, was carried away: Not so much for pitty (for what ruth could ever enter so barbarous mindes, who upon the furnished information of some odde piece or vessell of golde they intended to get, would broyle a man before their eyes, and not a man onely, but a king, so great in fortune and so renowned in desert?), but for as much as his unmatched constancy did more and more make their inhumane cruelty ashamed, they afterwards hanged him, because he had couragiously attempted by armes to deliver himselfe out of so long captivity and miserable subjection; where he ended his wretched life, worthy an high minded and never danted Prince. At another time, in one same fire, they caused to be burned all alive foure hundred common men and threescore principall Lords of a Province, whom by the fortune of warre they had taken prisoners. These narrations we have out of their owne bookes, for they do not onely avouch, but vauntingly publish them. May it bee they doe it for a testimony of their justice or zeale toward their religion? Verily they are wayes over-different and enemies to so sacred an ende. Had they proposed unto themselves to enlarge and propagate our religion, they would have considered that it is not amplified by possession of lands, but of men; and would have beene satisfied with such slaughters as the necessity of warre bringeth, without indifferently adding thereunto so bloody a butchery as upon savage beasts, and so universall as fire or sword could ever attaine unto having purposely preserved no more than so many miserable bond- slaves, as they deemed might suffice for the digging, working and service of their mines: So that divers of their chieftains have beene executed to death, even in the places they had conquered, by the appointment of the Kings of Castile, justly offended at the seld-seene horror of their barbarous demeanours, and well nigh all disesteemed, contemned and hated. God hath meritoriously permitted that many of their great pillages and ill-gotten goods have either beene swallowed up by the revenging Seas in transporting them, or consumed by the intestine warres and civill broiles wherewith themselves have devoured one another; and the greatest part of them have been overwhelmed and buried in the bowels of the earth, in the very places they found them, without any fruit of their victory. Touching the objection which some make, that the receipt, namely in the hands of so thrifty, wary and wise a Prince, doth so little answer the foreconceived hope which was given unto his predecessors, and the said former aboundance of riches, they met withall at the first discovery of this new-found world (for although they bring home great quantity of gold and silver, we perceive the same to be nothing, in respect of what might be expected thence), it may be answered, that the use of money was there altogether unknowne; and consequently that all their gold was gathered together, serving to no other purpose than for shew, state and ornament, as a moovable reserved from father to sonne by many puissant Kings, who exhausted all their mines to collect so huge a heape of vessels or statues for the ornament of their Temples, and embellishing of their Pallaces; whereas all our gold is employed in commerce and trafficke betweene man and man. Wee mince and alter it into a thousand formes; wee spend, wee scatter and disperse the same to severall uses. Suppose our King should thus gather and heape up all the gold they might for many ages hoard up together, and keepe it close and untouched. Those of the kingdome of Mexico were somewhat more encivilized, and better artists, than other nations of that world. And as wee doe, so judged they, that this Universe was neare his end, and tooke the desolation wee brought amongst them as an infallible signe of it. They beleeved the state of the world to bee divided into five ages, as in the life of five succeeding Sunnes, whereof foure had already ended their course or time; and the same which now shined upon them was the fifth and last. The first perished together with all other creatures, by an universall inundation of waters. The second by the fall of the heavens upon us, which stifled and overwhelmed every living thing: in which age they affirme the Giants to have beene, and shewed the Spaniards certaine bones of them, according to whose proportion the stature of men came to bee, of the height of twenty handfuls. The third was consumed by a violent fire, which burned and destroyed all. The fourth by a whirling emotion of the ayre and windes, which with the violent fury of it selfe remooved and overthrew divers high mountaines: saying that men dyed not of it, but were transformed into Munkeis. (Oh what impressions doth not the weakenesse of mans beliefe admit?) After the consummation of this fourth Sunne, the world continued five and twenty yeares in perpetuall darkenesse, in the fifteenth of which one man and one woman were created, who renewed the race of man-kinde. Ten yeares after, upon a certaine day, the Sunne appeared as newly created, from which day beginneth ever since the calculation of their yeares. On the third day of whose creation, died their ancient Gods, their new ones have day by day beene borne since. In what manner this last Sunne shall perish, my aucthor could not learne of them. But their number of this fourth change doth jumpe and meete with that great conjunction of the Starres which eight hundred and odde yeares since, according to the Astrologians supposition, produced divers great alterations and strange novelties in the world. Concerning the proud pompe and glorious magnificence by occasion of which I am fallen into this discourse, nor Grece, nor Rome, nor Ægipt, can (bee it in profit, or difficultie or nobility) equall or compare sundrie and divers of their workes. The cawcy or high-way which is yet to bee seene in Peru, erected by the Kings of that countrie, stretching from the city of Quito unto that of Cusco (containing three hundred leagues in length), straight, even, and fine, and twentie paces in breadth curiously paved, raysed on both sides with goodly high masonrie-walles, all along which, on the inner side, there are two continuall running streames, pleasantly beset with beauteous trees, which they call Moly. In framing of which, where they mette any mountaines or rockes, they have cut, raised and levelled them, and filled all below places with lime and stone. At the ende of every dayes journey as stations, there are built stately great pallaces, plenteously stored with all manner of victuals, apparrell and armes, as well for dayelie wayfaring men as for such armies that might happen to passe that way. In the estimation of which work I have especially considered the difficulty, which in that place is particularly to bee remembred. For they built with no stones that were lesse then ten foote square: they had no other meanes to cary or transport them then by meere strength of armes to draw and dragge the carriage they needed: they had not so much as the arte to make scaffolds, nor knew other devise then to raise so much earth or rubbish against their building according as the worke riseth, and afterward to take it away againe. But returne we to our coaches. In steade of them and of all other carrying beastes, they caused themselves to be carryed by men, and upon their shoulders. This last King of Peru, the same day hee was taken, was thus carried upon rafters or beames of massive Golde, sitting in a faire chaire of state, likewise all of golde, in the middle of his battaile. Looke how many of his porters as were slaine to make him fall (for all their endevour was to take him alive) so many others, and as it were avye, tooke and underwent presently the place of the dead: so that they could never be brought down or made to falle, what slaughter soever was made of those kinde of people, untill such time as a horseman furiously ranne to take him by some part of his body, and so pulled him to the ground.