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Renascence Editions

Montaigne's Essays


Table of Contents.

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.


AT WHAT time King Pirrhus came into Italie, after he had survaid the marshalling of the Armie, which the Romans sent against him: 'I wot not,' said he, 'what barbarous men these are (for so were the Grecians wont to call all strange nations) 'but the disposition of this Armie, which I see, is nothing barbarous.' So said the Grecians of that which Flaminius sent into their countrie: And Philip viewing from a Tower the order and distribution of the Romaine camp, in his kingdome under Publius Sulpitius Galba. See how a man ought to take heed, lest he over-weeningly follow vulgar opinions, which should be measured by the rule of reason, and not by the common report. I have had long time dwelling with me a man, who for the space of ten or twelve yeares had dwelt in that other worlde which in our age was lately discovered in those parts where Villegaignon first landed, and surnamed Antartike France. This discoverie of so infinit and vast a countrie, seemeth worthy great consideration. I wot not whether I can warrant my selfe, that some other be not discovered hereafter, sithence so many worthy men, and better learned than we are, have so many ages beene deceived in this. I feare me our eies be greater than our bellies, and that we have more curiositie than capacitie. We embrace all, but we fasten nothing but wind. Plato maketh Solon to report (Plat. Tim.) that he had learn't of the Priests of the Citie of Says in Ægypt, that whilom, and before the generall Deluge, there was a great land called Atlantis, situated at the mouth of the strait of Gibraltar, which contained more firme land than Affrike and Asia together. And that the kings of that countrie did not only possesse that Iland, but had so farre entred into the maine land, that of the bredth of Affrike, they held as farre as Ægypt; and of Europes length, as farre as Tuscanie: and that they undertooke to invade Asia, and to subdue all the nations that compasse the Mediterranean Sea, to the gulfe of Mare-Maggiore [the Black Sea], and to that end they traversed all Spaine, France and Italie, so farre as Greece, where the Athenians made head against them; but that a while after, both the Athenians themselves, and that great Iland, were swallowed up by the Deluge. It is verie likely this extreme ruine of waters wrought strange alterations in the habitations of the earth; as some hold that the Sea hath divided Sicilie from Italie,
Hæc loca vi quandam, et vasta convulsa ruina
Dissiluisse ferunt, cum protinus utraque tellus
Vna foret. -- Virg Æn. iii 414, 416.

Then say, sometimes this land by that forsaken,
And that by this, we re split, and ruine-shaken,
Whereas till then both lands as one were taken.

Cypres from Suria, the Iland of Negroponto from the maine land of Beotia, and in other places joyned lands that were sundred by the Sea, filling with mud and sand the chanels betweene them.
------ sterilisque diu palus aptaque remis
Vicinas urbes alit, et grave sentit aratrum. Hor. Art. Poet. 65.

The fenne long barren, to be row'd in, now
Both feeds the neighbour townes, and feeles the plow.

  But there is no great apparence the said Iland should be the new world world we have lately discovered; for it wellnigh touched Spaine, and it were an incredible effect of inundation to have removed the same more than twelve hundred leagues, as we see it is. Besides, our moderne Navigations have now almost discovered that it is not an Iland, but rather firme land, and a continent, with the East Indias on one side, and the countries lying under the two Poles on the other; from which if it be divided, it is with so narrow a strait and intervall, that it no way deserveth to be named an Iland: For, it seemeth there are certaine motions in these vast bodies, some naturall, and other some febricitant, as well as in ours. When I consider the impression my river of Dordoigne worketh in my time, toward the right shoare of her descent, and how much it hath gained in twentie yeares, and how many foundations of divers houses it hath overwhelmed and violently carried away; I confesse it to be an extraordinarie agitation: for, should it alwaies keepe one course, or had it ever kept the same, the figure of the world had ere this beene overthrowne: But they are subject to changes and alterations. Sometimes they overflow and spread themselves on one side, sometimes on another; and other times they containe themselves in their naturall beds or chanels: I speak not of sudden inundations, whereof we now treat the causes. In Medoc alongst the Sea-coast, my brother the Lord of Arsacke, may see a towne of his buried under the sands, which the sea casteth up before it: The tops of some buildings are yet to be discerned. His Rents and Demaines have beene changed into barren pastures. The inhabitants thereabouts affirme, that some yeares since, the Sea encrocheth so much upon them, that they have lost foure leagues of firme land: These sands are her fore-runners. And we see great hillocks of gravell moving, which march halfe a league before it, and usurpe on the firme land. The other testimonie of antiquitie, to which some will referre this discoverie, is in Aristotle (if at least that little booke of unheard of wonders be his) where he reporteth that cortaine Carthaginians having sailed athwart the Atlantike Sea, without the strait of Gibraltar, after long time, they at last discovered a great fertill Iland, all replenished with goodly woods, and watred with great and deepe rivers, farre distant from al land, and that both they and others, allured by the goodnes and fertility of the same, went thither with their wives, children, and household, and there began to inhabit and settle themselves. The Lords of Carthage seeing their countrie by little and little to be dispeopled, made a law and expresse inhibition, that upon paine of death no more men should goe thither, and banished all that were gone thither to dwell, fearing (as they said) that in successe of time, they would so multiply as they might one day supplant them, and overthrow their owne estate. This narration of Aristotle hath no reference unto our new found countries. This servant I had, was a simple and rough-hewen fellow: a condition fit to yeeld a true testimonie. For, subtile people may indeed marke more curiously, and observe things more exactly, but they amplifie and glose them: and the better to perswade, and make their interpretations of more validitie, they cannot chuse but somewhat alter the storie. They never represent things truly, but fashion and maske them according to the visage they saw them in; and to purchase credit to their judgement, and draw you on to beleeve them, they commonly adorne, enlarge, yea, and hyperbolize the matter. Wherein is required either a most sincere reporter, or a man so simple, that he may, have no invention to build upon, and to give a true likelihood unto false devices, and be not wedded to his owne will. Such a one was my man; who besides his owne report, hath many times shewed me divers Mariners and Merchants, whom hee had knowne in that voyage. So am I pleased with his information, that I never enquire what Cosmographers say of it. We had need of Topographers to make us particular narrations of the places they have beene in. For some of them, if they have the advantage of us, that they have seene Palestine, will challenge a privilege, to tell us newes of all the world besides. I would have every man write what he knowes, and no more: not only in that, but in all other subjects. For one may have particular knowledge of the nature of one river, and experience of the qualitie of one fountaine, that in other things knowes no more than another man: who neverthelesse to publish this little scantling, will undertake to write of all the Physickes. From which vice proceed divers great inconveniences. Now to returne to my purpose I finde (as farre as I have beene informed) there is nothing in that nation that is either barbarous or savage, unless men call that barbarisme which is not common to them. As indeed, we have no other ayme of truth and reason, than the example and Idea of the opinions and customes of the countrie we live in. There is ever perfect religion, perfect policie, perfect and compleat use of all things. They are even savage, as we call those fruits wilde which nature of her selfe a nd of her ordinarie progresse hath produced: whereas indeed, they are those which our selves have altered by our artificiall devices, and diverted from their common order, we should rather terme savage. In those are the true and most profitable vertues, and naturall properties most lively and vigorous, which in these we have bastardized, apphing them to the pleasure of our corrupted taste. And if notwithstanding, in divers fruits of those countries that were never tilled, we shall finde that in respect of ours they are most excellent, and as delicate unto our taste; there is no reason, art should gaine the point of honour of our great and puissant mother Nature. We have so much by our inventions surcharged the beauties and riches of her workes, that we have altogether overchoaked her: yet where ever her puritie shineth, she makes our vaine and frivolous enterprises wonderfully ashamed.
Et veniunt haderæ sponte sua melius,
Surgit et in solis formsior arbutus antris.
Et volucres nulla dulcius arte canunt.-- Propert. i El. ii. 10.

Ivies spring better of their owne accord,
Unhaunted spots much fairer trees afford.
Birds by no art much sweeter notes record.

  All our endeavour or wit cannot so much as reach to represent the nest of the least birdlet, its contexture, beautie, profit and use, no nor the web of a seely spider. All things (saith Plato) are produced either by nature, by fortune, or by art. The greatest and fairest by one or other of the two first, the least and imperfect by the last. Those nations seeme therefore so barbarous unto me, because they have received very little fashion from humane wit, and are yet neere their originall naturalitie. The lawes of nature doe yet command them which are but little bastardized by ours, and that with such puritie, as I am sometimes grieved the knowledge of it came no sooner to light, at what time there were men that better than we could have judged of it. I am sorie Lycurgus and Plato had it not: for me seemeth that what in those nations we see by experience, doth not only exceed all the pictures wherewith licentious Poesie hath proudly imbellished the golden age, and all her quaint inventions to faine a happy condition of man, but also the conception and desire of Philosophy. They could not imagine a genuitie so pure and simple as we see it by experience; nor ever beleeve our societie might be maintained with so little art and humane combination. It is a nation, would I answer Plato, that hath no kinde of traffike, no knowledge of Letters, no intelligence of numbers, no name of magistrate, nor of politike superioritie; no use of service, of riches or of povertie; no contracts, no successions, no partitions, no occupation but idle; no respect of kindred, but common, no apparell but naturall, no manuring of lands, no use of wine, corne, or mettle. The very words that import lying, falshood, treason, dissimulations, covetousnes, envie, detraction, and pardon, were never heard of amongst them. How dissonant would hee finde his imaginarie common-wealth from this perfection?
Hos natura modos primum dedit.

Nature at first uprise,
These manners did devise.

  Furtherrnore, they live in a country of so exceeding pleasant and temperate situation, that as my testimonies have told me, it is verie rare to see a sicke body amongst them; and they have further assured me, they never saw any man there either shaking with the palsie, tooth lesse, with eies dropping, or crooked and stooping through age. They are seated along the sea-coast, encompassed toward the land with huge and steepie mountaines, having betweene both, a hundred leagues or thereabout of open and champaine ground. They have great abundance of fish and flesh, that have no resemblance at all with ours, and eat them without any sawces or skill of Cookerie, but plaine boiled or broiled. The first man that brought a horse thither, althongh he had in many other voyages conversed with them, bred so great a horror in the land, that before they could take notice of him, they slew him with arrowes. Their buildings are very long, and able to containe two or three hundred soules, covered with barkes of great trees, fastned in the ground at one end, enterlaced and joyned close together by the tops, after the manner of some of our Granges; the covering whereof hangs downe to the ground, and steadeth them as a flancke. They have a kinde of wood so hard, that ryving and cleaving the same, they make blades, swords, and gridirons to broile their meat with. Their beds are of a kinde of cotten cloth, fastened to the house roofe, as our ship-cabbanes: everie one hath his severall couch for the women lie from their husbands. They rise with the Sunne, and feed for all day, as soone as they are up: and make no more meales atter that. They drinke not at meat, as Suidas reporteth, of some other people of the East, which dranke after meales but drinke many times a day, and are much given to pledge carowses. Their drinke is made of a certaine root, and of the colour of our Claret wines, which lasteth but two or three daies; they drinke it warme: It hath somewhat a sharpe taste, wholesome for the stomack, nothing heady, but laxative for such as are not used unto it, yet verie pleasing to such as are accustomed unto it. In stead of bread, they use a certaine white composition, like unto Corianders confected. I have eaten some, the taste whereof is somewhat sweet and wallowish. They spend the whole day in dancing. Their young men goe a hunting after wilde beasts with bowes and arroes. Their women busie themselves therewhil'st with warming of their drinke, which is their chiefest office. Some of their old men, in the morning before they goe to eating, preach in common to all the household, walking from one end of the house to the other, repeating one selfe-same sentence many times, till he have ended his turne (for their buildings are a hundred paces in length) he commends but two things unto his auditorie. First valour against their enemies, then lovingnesse unto their wives. They never misse (for their restrainte) to put men in minde of this dutie, that it is their wives whiche keepe their drinke luke-warme and well-seasoned. The forme of their beds, cords, swords blades, and woodden bracelets, wherewith they cover their hand wrists, when they fight, and great Canes open at one end, by the sound of which they keepe time and cadence in their dancing, are in many places to be seene, and namely in mine owne house. They are shaven all over, much more close and cleaner than wee are, with no other Razors than of wood or stone. They beleeve their soules to be eternall, and those that have deserved well of their Gods to be placed in that part of heaven where the Sunne riseth, and the cursed toward the West in opposition. They have certaine Prophets and Priests which commonly abide in the mountaines, and very seldome shew themselves unto the people; but when they come downe there is a great feast prepared, and a solemne assembly of manie towneshipes together (each grange as I have described maketh a village, and they are about a French league one from another.) The Prophet speakes to the people in public, exhorting them to embrace vertue, and follow their dutie. All their moral discipline containeth but these two articles; first an undismaied resolution to warre, then an inviolable affection to their wives. Hee doth also Prognosticate of things to come, and what successe they shall hope for in their enterprises hee neither swadeth or disswadeth them from warre but if he chance to misse of his divination, and that it succeed otherwise than hee foretold them, if hee be taken, he is hewen in a thousand peeces, and condemned for a false Prophet. And therefore he that hath once misreckoned himselfe is never seene againe. Divination is the gift of God; the abusing whereof should be a punishable imposture. When the Divines amongst the Scythians had foretold an untruth, they were couched along upon hurdles full of heath or brushwood, drawne by oxen, and so manicled hand and foot, burned to death. Those which manage matters subject to the conduct of man's sufficiencie are excusable, although they shew the utmost of their skill. But those that gull and conicatch us with the assurance of an extraordinarie facultie, and which is beyond our knowledge, ought to be double punished; first because they performe not the effect of their promise, then for the rashnesse of their imposture and unadvisednesse of their fraud. They warre against the nations that lie beyond their mountaines, to which they go naked, having no other weapons than bowes or woodden swords, sharpe at one end as our broaches are. It is an admirable thing to see the constant resolution of their combats, which never end but by effusion of blood and murther: for they know not what feare or rowts are. Every Victor brings home the head of the enemie he hath slaine as a Trophey of his victorie, and fasteneth the same at the entrance of his dwelling place. After they have long time used and entreated their prisoners well, and with all commodities they can devise, he that is the Master of them; sommining a great assembly of his acquaintance; tieth a corde to one of the prisoners armes, by the end whereof he holds him fast, with some distance from him, for fear he might offend him, and giveth the other arme, bound in like manner, to the dearest friend he hath, and both in the presence of all the assembly kill him with swords: which done, they roast and then eat him in common, and send some slices of him to such of their friends as are absent. It is not, as some imagine, to nourish themselves with it (as anciently the Scithians wont to doe), but to represent an extreme and inexpiable revenge. Which we prove thus; some of them perceiving the Portugales, who had confederated themselves with their adversaries, to use another kinde of death when they tooke them prisoners; which was, to burie them up to the middle, and against the upper part of the body to shoot arrowes, and then being almost dead, to hang them up; they supposed, that the people of the other world (as they who had sowed the knowledge of many vices amongst their neighbours, and were much more cunning in all kindes of evils and mischiefe than they) under-tooke not this manner of revenge without cause, and that consequently it was more smartfull and cruell than theirs, and thereupon began to leave their old fashion to follow this. I am not sorie we note the barbarous horror of such an action, but grieved, that prying so narrowly into their faults we are so blinded in ours. I thinke there is more barbarisme in eating men alive, than to feed upon them being dead; to mangle by tortures and torments a body full of lively sense, to roast him in peeces, and to make dogs and swine to gnaw and teare him in mammocks (as we have not only read, but seene very lately, yea and in our owne memorie, not amongst ancient enemies, but our neighbours and fellow-citizens; and which is worse, under pretence of pietie and religion) than to roast and eat him after he is dead. Chrysippus and Zeno, arch-pillars of the Stoicke sect, have supposed that it was no hurt at all in time of need, and to what end soever, to make use of our carrion bodies, and to feed upon them, as did our forefathers, who being besieged by Cæsar in the Citie of Alexia, resolved to sustaine the famine of the siege, with the bodies of old men, women, and other persons unserviceable and unfit to fight.
Vascones (fama est) alimentis talibus usi
Produxere ammas .-- Juven. Sat. xv. 93.

Gascoynes (as fame reports)
Liv'd with meats of such sortes.

  And Physitians feare not, in all kindes of compositions availefull to our health, to make use of it, be it for outward or inward applications. But there was never any opinion found so unnaturall and immodest, that would excuse treason, treacherie, disloyaltie, tyrannie, crueltie, and such like, which are our ordinarie faults. We may then well call them barbarous, in regard to reasons rules, but not in respect of us that exceed them in all kindes of barbarisme. Their warres are noble and generous and have as much excuse and beautie as this humane infirmitie may admit: they ayme at nought so much, and have no other foundation amongst them, but the meere jelousie of vertue. They contend not for the gaining of new lands; for to this day they yet enioy that natural ubertie and fruitfulnesse, which without labouring toyle, doth in such plenteous abundance furnish them with all necessary things, that they need not enlarge their limits. They are yet in that happy estate as they desire no more than what their naturall necessities direct them: whatsoever is beyond it, is to them superfluous. Those that are much about one age, doe generally enter-call one another brethren, and such as are younger they call children, and the aged are esteemed as fathers to all the rest. These leave this full possession of goods in common, and without division to their heires, without other claim or title but that which nature doth plainely impart unto all creatures, even as shee brings them into the world. If their neighbours chance to come over the mountaines to assaile or invade them, and that they get the victorie over them, the Victors conquest is glorie, and the advantage to be and remaine superior in valour and vertue: else have they nothing to doe with the goods and spoyles of the vanquished, and so returne into their countrie, where they neither want any necessarie thing, nor lacke this great portion, to know how to enjoy their condition happily, and are contented with what nature affoordeth them. So doe these when their turne commeth. They require no other ransome of their prisoners, but an acknowledgement and confession that they are vanquished. And in a whole age, a man shall not finde one that doth not rather embrace death, than either by word or countenance remissely to yeeld one jot of an invincible courage. There is none seene that would not rather be slaine and devoured, than sue for life, or shew any feare. They use their prisoners with all libertie, thatl they may so much the more hold their lives deare and precious, and commonly entertaine them with threats of future death, with the torments they shall endure, with the preparations intended for that purpose, with mangling and slicing of their members, and with the feast that shall be kept at their charge. All which is done, to wrest some remisse, and exact some faint yeelding speech of submission from them, or to possesse them with a desire to escape or run away; that so they may have the advantage to have danted and made them afraid, and to have forced their constancie. For certainly true victorie consisteth in that only point.
          ------ Victoria nulla est
Quam quæ confessos animo quoque subjugat hostes.
                                                        -- Claud. vi. Cons. Hon. Pan. 245.

No conquest such, as to suppresse
Foes hearts, the conquest to confesse.

  The Hungarians, a most warre-like nation, were whilome wont to pursue their prey Tio longer than they had forced their enemie to yeeld unto their mercy. For, having wrested this confession from him, they set him at libertie without offence or ransome, except it were to make him sweare never after to beare armes against them. Wee get many advantages of our enemies, that are but borrowed and not ours: It is the qualitie of porterly-rascall, and not of vertue, to have stronger armes and sturdier legs: Disposition is a dead and corporall qualitie. It is a tricke of fortune to make our enemie stoope, and to bleare his eies with the Sunnes-light: It is a pranke of skill and knowledge to be cunning in the art of fencing, and which may happen unto a base and worthelesse man. The reputation and worth of a man consisteth in his heart and will: therin consists true honour: Constancie is valour, not of armesand legs but of minde and courage; it consisteth not of the spirit and courage of our horse, nor of our armes, but in ours. He that obstinately faileth in his courage, Si succiderit, de genu pugnat. 'If hee slip or fall he fights upon his knee.' He that in danger of imminent death is no whit danted in his assurednesse; he that in yeelding up his ghost beholding his enemie with a scornefull and fierce looke, he is vanquished, not by us, but by fortune: he is slaine, but not conquered. The most valiant are often the most unfortunate. So are there triumphant losses in envie of victories. Not those foure sister victories, the fairest that ever the Sunne beheld with his allseeing eie, of Salamis, of Plateæ, of Mycale, and of Sicilia, durst ever dare to oppose all their glorie together to the glorie of the King Leonidas his discomfiture and of his men, at the passage of Thermopylæ: what man did ever run with so glorious an envie or more ambitious desire to the goale of a combat, than Captaine Ischolas to an evident losse and overthrow? who so ingeniously or more politikely did ever assure himselfe of his welfare than he of his ruine? he was appointed to defend a certaine passage of Peloponesus against the Arcadians, which finding himselfe altogether unable to performe, seeing the nature of the place and inequalitie of the forces, and resolving that whatsoever should present it selfe unto his enemie, must necessarily be utterly defeated: On the other side, deeming it unworthy both his vertue and magnanimitie, and the Lacedemonian name, to faile or faint in his charge, betweene these two extremities he resolved upon a meane and indifferent course, which was this. The  youngest and best-disposed of his troupe he reserved for the service and defence  of their countrie, to which hee sent them backe; and with those whose losse was least, and who might best be spared, he determined to maintaine that passage, and by their death to force the enemie to purchase the entrance of it as deare as possibly he could; as indeed it followed. For being suddenly environed round by the Arcadians, after a great slaughter made of them, both himselfe and all his were put to the sword. Is any Trophey assigned for conquerours that is not more duly due unto these conquered? A true conquest respecteth rather an undanted resolution, an honourable end, than a faire escape, and the honour of vertue doth more consist in combating than in beating. But to returne to our historie, these prisoners, howsoever they are dealt withall, are so farre from yeelding, that contrariwise during two or three moneths that they are kept, they ever carry a cheerfull countenance, and urge their keepers to hasten their triall, they outragiously dote and injure them. They upbraid them with their cowardlinesse, and with the number of battels they have lost againe theirs. I have a song made by a prisoner, wher ein is this clause, 'Let them boldly come altogether, and flocks in multitudes, to feed on him; for with him they shall feed upon their fathers and grandfathers, that heretofore have served his body for food and nourishment: These muscles,' saith he, 'this flesh, and these veines, are your owne; fond men as you are, know you not that the substance of your forefathers limbes is yet tied unto ours? Taste them welle for in them shall you finde the relish of your owne flesh:' An invention, that hath no shew of barbarisme. Those that paint them dying, and that represent this action, when they are put to execution, delineate the prisoners spitting in their executioners faces, and making mowes at them. Verily, so long as breath is in their body they never cease to brave and defie them, both in speech and countenance. Surely in respect of us these are very savage men: for either they must be so in good sooth, or we must be so indeed; There is a wondrous difference betweene their forme and ours. Their men have many wives, and by how much more they are reputed valiant so much the greater is their number. The manner and beautie of their marriages is wondrous strange and remarkable: For, the same jealousie our wives have to keepe us from the love and affection of other women, the same have theirs to procure it. Being more carefull for their husbands honour and content than of any thing else, they endevour and apply all their industrie to have as many rivals as possibly they can, forasmuch as it is a testimonie of their husbands vertue. Our women would count it a wonder, but it is not so: It is vertue properly Matrimoniall, but of the highest kinde. And in the Bible, Lea, Rachell, Sara, and Iacobs wives brought their fairest maiden servants into their husbands beds. And Livia seconded the lustfull appetites of Augustus to her great prejudice. And Stratonica, the wife of King Dejotarus did not only bring the most beauteous chamber-maide that served her to her husbands bed, but very carefully brought up the children he begot on her, and by all possible meanes aided and furthered them to succeed in their fathers royaltie. And least a man should thinke that all this is done by a simple and servile or awefull dutie unto their custome, and by the impression of their ancient customes authoritie, without discourse or judgement, and because they are so blockish and dull- spirited, that they can take no other resolution, it is not amisse we alleage some evidence of their sufficiencie. Besides what I have said of one of their warlike songs, I have another amorous canzonet, which beginneth in this sense: 'Adder stay, stay good adder, that my sister may by the patterne of thy partie-coloured coat drawe the fashion and worke of a rich lace, for me to give unto my love; so may thy beautie, thy nimblenesse or disposition be ever preferred before all other serpents.' The first couplet is the burthen of the song. I am so conversant with Poesie that I may judge this invention hath no barbarisme at all in it, but is altogether Anacreontike. Their language is a kinde of pleasant speech, and hath a pleasing sound, and some affinitie with the Greeke terminations. Three of that nation, ignorant how deare the knowledge of our corruptions will one day cost their repose, securitie, and happinesse, and how their ruine shall proceed from this commerce, which I imagine is already well advanced (miserable as they are to have suffered themselves to be so cosened by a desire of new-fangled novelties, and to have quit the calmnesse of their climate to come and see ours), were at Roane in the time of our late King Charles the ninth, who talked with them a great while. They were shewed our fashions, our pompe, and the forme of a faire citie; afterward some demanded their advice, and would needs know of them what things of note and admirable they had observed amongst us: they answered three things, the last of which I have forgotten, and am very sorie for it, the other two I yet remember. They said, 'First they found it very strange that so many tall men with long beards, strong and well armed, as it were about the Kings person [it is very likely they meant the Switzers of his guard] would submit themselves to obey a beardlesse childe, and that we did not rather chuse one amongst them to command the rest.' Secondly (they have a manner of phrase whereby they call men but a moytie one of another.) 'They had perceived there were men amongst us full gorged with all sorts of commodities, and others which, hunger- starved and bare with need and povertie, begged at their gates: and found it strange these moyties so needy could endure such an injustice, and that they tooke not the others by the throate, or set fire on their houses.' I talked a good while with one of them, but I had so bad an interpreter, who did so ill apprehend my meaning, and who through his foolishnesse was so troubled to conceive my imaginations, that I could draw no great matter from him. Touching that point, wherein I demanded of him what good he received by the superioritie he had amongst his countriemen (for he was a Captaine and our Mariners called him King), he told me it was to march foremost in any charge of warre: further, I asked him how many men did follow him, hee shewed me a distance of place, to signifie they were as many as might be contained in so much round, which I guessed to be about 4 or 5 thousand men: moreover, demanded if when warres were ended, all his authoritie expired; he answered, that hee had only this left him, which was, that when he went on progresse, and visited the villages depending of him, the inhabitants prepared paths and high-waies athwart the hedges of their woods, for him to passe through at ease. All this is not verie ill; but what of that? They weare no kinde of breeches nor hosen.

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