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Renascence Editions

Montaigne's Essays: Book II


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.


THERE is both name, and the thing: the name is a voice which noteth and signifieth the thing: the name is neither part of thing nor of substance: it is a stranger-piece joyned to the thing and from it. God who in and by himselfe is all fulnesse, and the type of all perfection, cannot inwardly be augmented or encreased: yet may his name be encreased and augmented by the blessing and praise which we give unto his exteriour workes; which praise and blessing, since we cannot incorporate into him, forsomuch as no accession of good can be had unto him, we ascribe it unto his name, which is a part without him, and the neerest unto him. And that is the reason why glory and honour appertaineth to God only. And there is nothing so repugnant unto reason as for us to goe about to purchase any for our selves: for being inwardly needy and defective, and our essence imperfect and ever wanting amendment, we ought only labour about that. We are all hollow and empty, and it is not with breath and words we should fil our selves. We have need of a more solide substance to repaire our selves. An hunger starved man might be thought most simple rather to provide himselfe of a faire garment then of a good meales-meat: we must runne to that which most concerneth us. Gloria in excelsis Deo, et in terra pax hominibus. (Luke ii. 14.) 'Glory be to God on high, and peace on earth amongst men,' as say our ordinary prayers. We are in great want of beautie, health, wisdome, vertue, and such like essentiall parts. Exteriour ornaments may be sought for when we are once provided of necessary things. Divinitie doth very amply and pertinently treate of this subject, but I am not very conversant with it. Chrysippus and Diogenes have beene the first and most constant authors of the contempt of glory. And amongst all sensualities, they said, there was as none so dangerous nor so much to be avoided as that which commeth unto us by the approbation of others. Verily experience makes us thereby feele and undergoe many damageable treasons. Nothing so much empoisoneth princes as flattery. Nor nothing whereby the wicked minded gaine so easie credit about them; nor any enticement so fit, nor pandership so ordinary to corrupt the chastity of women, then to feed and entertaine them with their praises. The first enchantment the Syrens employed to deceive Ulisses is of this nature.
Deca vers nous, deca, o treslouable Ulisse,
Et le plus grand honneur dont la Grece fleurisse.

Turne to us, to us turne, Ulisses thrice-renowned,
The principall renowne wherewith all Greece is crowned.

   Philosophers said that all the worlds glory deserved not that a man of wisdome should so much as stretch forth his finger to acquire it.
Gloria quantalibet quid erit, si gloria tantum est? -- Juven. Sat. vii. 81.
Never so gIorious name,
What ist, be it but fame?
   I say for it alone: for it drawes many commodities after it, by which it may yeeld it selfe desirable: it purchaseth us good will: it makes us lesse exposed to others injuries and offences and such like things. It was also one of the principall degrees of Epicurus: for that precept of his sect, HIDE THY LIFE, which forbideth men to meddle with public charges and negotiations, doth also necessarily presuppose that a man should despise despise glory, which is an approbation the world makes of those actions we give evidence of. He that bids usto hide our life and care but for our selves, and would not have us know of others, would also have us not to be honoured and glorified thereby. So doth he counsel Idomeneus by no meanes to order his actions by the vulgar opinion and publike reputation: unlesse it be to avoide other accidentall in-commodities which the contempt of men might bring unto him. Those discourses (are in mine advise) very true and reasonable: but I wot not how we are double in our selves, which is the cause that what we beleeve we beleeve it not, and cannot rid our selves of that which we condemne. Let us consider the last words of Epicurus, and which he speaketh as he is dying: they are notable and worthy such a Philosopher: but yet they have some badge of his names commendations, and of the humour which by his precepts he had disavowed. Behold here a letter which he edited a little before he yeelded up the ghost. 'Epicurus to Hermachus health and greeting. Whilst I passe the happy, and even the last day of my life, I write this, accompanied neverthelesse with such paine in my bladder and anguish in my entrails, that nothing can be added unto the greatnesse of it; yet was it recompensed with the pleasure which the remembrance of my inventions and discourses brought unto my soule. Now as requireth the affection which even from the infancy thou hast borne me and Philosophy, embrace the protection of Metrodorus his children.' Loe here his letter. And which makes me interpret that the pleasure which in his soule he saith to feele of his inventions, doth in some sort respect the reputation which after his death he thereby hoped to attaine, is the ordinance of his last will and testament, by which he willeth that Aminomachus and Timocrates his heires should for the celebration of his birth-day every month of January supply all such charges as Hermachus should appoint: and also for the expence he might be at on the twentieth of every moon for the feasting and entertainment of the Philosophers his familiar friends, who in the honour of his memorie and of Metrodorus should meete together. Carneades hath been chiefe of the contrary opinion and hath maintained that glory was in it selfe to bee desired, even as we embrace our posthumes for themselves, having neither knowledge nor jovissanee of them. This opinion hath not missed to be more commonly followed as are ordinarily those that fit most and come nearest our inclinations. Aristotle amongst externall goods yeeldeth the first ranke unto it: and avoideth as two extreme vices the immoderation either in seeking or avoiding it. I beleeve that had we the bookes which Cicero writ upon this subject, we should heare strange matters of him: for he was so fond in this passion as had he dared he would (as I thinke) have easily falne into the excesse that others fell in; which is that even vertue was not to be desired but for the honour which ever waited on it
Paulum sepultæ distat inertiæ
Celata virtus. -- Hor. Car. iv. Od. ix. 29.

There is but little difference betweene
Vertue conceal'd, unskilfulnesse unseene.

   Which is so false an opinion, as I am vexed it could ever enter a mans understanding that had the honour to beare the name of a philosopher. If that were true a man needed not to be vertuous but in publike: and we should never need to keepe the soules operations in order and rule, which is the true seate of vertue, but only so much as they might come to the knowledge of others. Doth then nothing else belong unto it, but craftily to faile, and subtilly to cozen? If thou knowest a serpent to be hidden in any place (saith Carneades) to which he by whose death thou hopest to reape commodity goeth unawares to sit upon, thou committest a wicked act if thou warne him not of it: and so much the more because thy action should be knowne but to thy selfe. If we take not the law of weldoing from our selves: if impunity be justice in us: to how many kindes of treacherie are we daily to abandon our selves? That which Sp. Peduceus did, faithfully to restore the riches which C. Plotius had committed to his only trust and secrecie, and as my selfe have done often, I thinke not so commendable, as I would deeme it execrable, if we had not done it. And I thinke it beneficiall we should in our daies be mindfull of Publius Sextilius Rufus his example, whom Cicero accuseth that he had received a great inheritance against his conscience: not only not repugnant, but agreeing with the lawes. And M. Crassus and Q. Hortensius, who by reason of their authority and might, having for certaine Quidities been called by a stranger to the succession of a forged will, that so he might make his share good: they were pleased not to be partakers of his forgery, yet refused not to take some profit of it: very closely had they kept themselves under the countenance of the accusations, witnesses, and lawes. Meminerint Deum se habere testem, id est (ut ego arbitror) mentem suam: 'Let them remember they have God to witnesse, that is (as I construe it) their owne minde.' Vertue is a vaine and frivolous thing if it draw her commendation from glory. In vaine should we attempt to make her keepe her rancke apart, and so should we disjoyne it from fortune: for what is more casuall then reputation? Profecto, fortuna in omni re dominator: Ea res cuizetas ex libidine magis quam ex vero celebrat obscuratque: 'Fortune governeth in all things, and either advaileth or abaseth them rather by froward disposition then upri ght judgement.' To make actions to be knowne and seene, is the meere work of fortune. It is chance that applieth glory unto us, according to her temeritie. I have often seene it to goe before desert; yea, and many times to outgoe merit by very much. He that first bethought himselfe of the resemblance betweene shadow and glory, did better than he thought of. They are exceeding vaine things. It also often goeth before her body, and sometimes exceeds by much in length. Those who teach nobilitie to seeke in valour nothing but honour: Quasi non sit honestum quod nobilitatum non sit: 'As though it were not honest except it were ennobled:' what gaine they by it? But to instruct them never to hazard themselves unlesse they be seene of others; and to be very heedy whether such witnesses are by that may report newes of their valour, whereas a thousand occasions to doe well are daily offered, and no man by to marke them? How many notable, particular actions are buried in the throng of a battel. Whosoever ammuseth himselfe to controle others, in so confused a burly-burly, is not greatly busied about it: and produceth the testimony which he giveth of his fellowes proceedings or exploits against himselfe. Vera et sapiens animi magnitude, honestum illud quod maxime naturam sequitur, in factis positum, non in gloria indicat: 'A true and wise magnanimitie seemeth that honesty which especially followeth Nature, to consist in good actions and not in glory.' All the glory I pretend in my life is, that I have lived quietly. Quietly not according to Metrodorus, Arcesilas, or Aristippus, but according to my selfe. Since philosophy could never find any way for tranquillity that might be generally good, let every man in his particular seeke for it. To whom are Cæsar and Alexander beholding for that infinite greatnes of their renowne, but to fortune? How many men hath she suppressed in the beginning of their progresse, of whom we have no knowledge at all, who bare the same courage that others did, if the ill fortune of their chance had not staid them even in the building of their enterprises? Amongst so many and so extreame dangers (to my remembrance) I never read that Cæsar received any hurt. A thousand have dyed in lesse danger than the least of those he escaped. Many worthy exploits and excellent deedes must be lost before one can come to any good. A man is not alwaies upon the top of the breach, nor in the front of an army, in the sight of his generall, as upon a stage. A man may be surprised betweene a hedge and a ditch. A man is sometimes put to his sodaine shifts, as to try his fortune against a hens-roost, to ferret out foure seely shotte out of some barne, yea and sometimes straggle alone from his troupes; and enterprise according as necessity and occasion offereth it selfe. And if it be well noted (in mine advice) it will be found, and experience doth teach it, that the least blazoned occasions are the most dangerous, and that in our late home-warres, more good men have perished in slight and little importing occasions, and in contention about a small cottage, than in worthy atchievements and honourable places. Whoso thinketh his death ill emploied, except it be in some glorious exploit or famous attempt, in lieu of dignifying his death, he happily obscureth his life: suffring in the meane time many just and honor-affoording opportunities to escape, where in he might and ought adventure himselfe. And all just occasions are glorious enough; his owne conscience publishing them sufficiently to all men. Gloria nostra et testimonium conscientiæ nostra: (2 Cor. i. 12. Aug. Hom. xxxv.) 'Our glory is the testimony of our conscience.' He that is not an honest man but by that which other men know by him, and because he shall the better be esteemed; being knowne to be so, that will not do well but upon condition his vertue may come to the knowledge of men; such a one is no man from whom any great service may be drawne, or good expected.
Credo ch'il resto di quel verno, cose
Facesse degne di tenerne conto,
Ma fur fin' a quel tempo si nascose,
Che non e colpa mia s'hor' non le conto,
Per che Orlando a far' opre virtuose
Piu ch' a narrle poi sempre era pronto
Ne mai fu alcun' de li suoi fatti espresso,
Senon quando hebbe testimonii appresso. -- Ariost. Orl. can. xi. stan. 81.

I guesse, he of that winter all the rest
Atchiev'd exploits, whereof to keepe account,
But they untill that time were so supprest,
As now my fault 'tis not, them not to count,
Because Orlando ever was more prest
To doe, than tell deeds that might all surmount.
Nor was there any of his deeds related
Unlesse some witnesse were associated.

   A man must goe to warres for his devoirs sake, and expect this recompence of it, which cannot faile all worthy actions, how secret soever; no not to vertuous thoughts: it is the contentment that a well disposed conscience receiveth in it selfe by well doing. A man must be valiant for himselfe and for the advantage he hath to have his courage placed in a constant and assured seate, to withstand all assaults of fortune.
Virtus repulsæ nescia sordidæ,
Intaminatis fulget honoribus:
Nec sumit aut ponit secures
Arbitrio popularis auræ. -- Hor. Car. iii. Od. ii. 17.

Vertue unskill'd to take repulse that's base,
In undefiled honors earely shines,
At the dispose of peoples airy grace S
he signes of honor tak's not, nor resignes.

   It is not only for an exterior shew or ostentation that our soule must play her part, but inwardly within our selves, where no eyes shine but ours: there it doth shroud us from the feare of death, of sorrowes and of shame: there it assureth us from the losse of our children, friend, and fortunes; and when opportunitie is offerd, it also leades us to the dangers of warre. Non emoluntento aliquo, sedi psius honestatis decore: (Cic. Fin i.) 'Not for any advantage, but for the gracefulnes of honestie it selfe.' Thls benefit is much greater, and more worthie to be wished and hoped than honor and glory, which is nought but a favorable judgment that is made of us. We are often driven to empanell and select a jury of twelve men out of a whole countrie to determine of an acre of land: And the judgement of our inclinations and actions (the weightiest and hardest matter that is) we referre it to the idle breath of the vaine voice of the common sort and base raskalitie, which is the mother of ignorance, of injustice and inconstancie. Is it reason to make the life of a wise man depend on the judgement of fooles? An quidquam stultius, quam quos singulos contemnas, eos aliquid putare esse universos? (Ælian. Var. Hist. ii. c. 1.) 'Is there anything more foolish then to thinke that al together they are oughts, whom every one single you would set at noughts? Whosoever aimeth to please them hath never done. It is a Butt, that hath neither forme nor holdfast. Nil tam inæstimabile est, quam aninti multitudinis: 'Nothing is so incomprehensible to be just waied, as the minds of the multitude.' Demetrius said merrily of the common peoples voice, that he made no more reckoning of that which issued from out his mouth above, then of that which came from a homely place below; and saith moreover: Ego hoc judico, si quando turpe non sit, tamen non esse non turpe, quum id a multitudine laudetur: (Cic. Fin. Bon. ii.) 'Thus I esteem of it, if of it selfe it be not dishonest, yet can it not but be dishonest, when it is applauded [by] the many.' No art, no mildnesse of spirit might direct our steps to follow so stragling and disordered a guide. In this breathie confusion of bruites and frothy Chaos of reports and of vulgar opinions, which still push us on, no good course can be established. Let us not propose so fleeing and so wavering an end unto our selves. Let us constantly follow reason: And let the vulgar approbation follow us that way. If it please: And as it depends all on fortune, we have no law to hope for it, rather by any other way then by that. Should I not follow a strait path for its straightnesse, yet would I do it because experience hath taught me that in the end it is the happiest and most profitable. Dedit hoc providentia hominibus munus at honesta magis juvarent: ' Mans providence hath given him this gift, that honest things should more delight and availe him.' The ancient Sailer said thus to Neptune in a great storme, 'Oh God, thou shalt save me if thou please, if not, thou shalt lose me; yet will I keep my helme still fast,' I have in my daies seene a thousand middle, mungrell and ambiguous men, and whom no man doubted to be more worldly-wise than my selfe, lose themselves, where I have saved my selfe.
Risi successu posse carere dolos -- Ovid. Epist. Penel. v. 18.

I smild to see that wily plots
Might want successe (and leave men sots).

   Paulus Emilius going to the glorious expedition of Macedon, advertised the people of Rome during his absence not to speake of his actions: For the licence of judgements is an especiall let in great affaires. Forasmuch as all men have not the constancy of Fabius against common, contrary and detracting voices: who loved better to have his authority dismembred by mens vaine fantasies, then not to performe his charge so well, with favourable and popular applause. There is a kind of I know not what naturall delight that man hath to heare himselfe commended, but wee yeeld too-too much unto it.
Laudari haud metuam, neque enim mihi cornea fibra est,
Sed recti finemque extremumque esse recuso
Euge tuum et belle. -- Pers. Sat. i. 47.

Nor feare I to be prais'd, for my guttes are not horne,
But that the utmost end of good should be, I scorne,
Thy O well said, well done, well plaid.'

   I care not so much what I am with others, as I respect what I am in my selfe. I will bee rich by my selfe and not by borrowing. Strangers see but external apparances and events: every man can set a good face upon the matter, when within he is full of care, griefe and infirmities. They see not my heart when they looke upon my outward countenance. There is great reason the hypocrisie that is found in war should be discovered: for, what is more easie in a man of practise then to flinch in dangers and to counterfeit a gallant and a boaster when his heart is full of faintnesse and ready to droope for feare? There are so many waies to shunne occasions for a man to hazard himselfe in particular, that we shall have deceived the world a thousand times before we need engage our selves into any perillous attempt; and even when wee find our selves entangled in it, wee shall not want skill how to cloake our sport with a good face, searne countenance, and bold speeches; although our heart doe quake within us. And hee that had the use of the Platonicall Ring, whose vertue was to make him invisible that wore it upon his finger, if it were turned toward the flat of the hand; many would hide themselves when they should most make shewe of their worth, and would be sorie to be placed in so honourable a place where necessity may be their warrant of safetie.
Falsus honor iuvat, et mendax infamia terra
Quem nisi mendosum et mendacem  -- Hor. i. Ep. xvi. 39.

False honour tickles; false defame affrights,
Whom, but the faulty, and false-fierd sprights?

   See how all those judgements that men make of outward apparences are wonderfully uncertaine and doubtfull, and there is no man so sure a testimony, as every man is to himselfe: How many horse-boye's have we in them as parteners and companions of our glory? He that keepes his stand in an open trench, what doth he more, but divers poore pioners doe as much before him, who open the way for him, and with their bodies shelter him for poore sixpence a day, and happily for lesse?
         ----- non quicguid turbida Roma
Elevet, acced as, examenque improbum in illa
Castiges trutina, nec te quæsiveris extra. -- Pers. Sat. i. 5.

If troublous Rome set ought at nought, make you not one,
Nor chastise you unjust examination
In balance of their lode:
Nor seeke your selfe abrode.

   We call that a magnifying of our name, to extend and diperse the same in many mouthes; we will have it to be received in good part, and that its increase redound to his benefit: this is al that is most excusable in its desseigne. But the infirmity of its excesse proceeds so farre that many labour to have the world speake of them, howsoever it be. Trogus Pompeius saith of Herostratus, and Titus Livius of Manlius Capitolinus, that they were more desirous of great then good reputation. It is an ordinary fault; we endevour more that men should speake of us, then how and what they speake, and it sufficeth us that our name run in mens mouthes, in what manner soever. It seemeth that to be knowen is in some sort to have life and continuance in other mens keeping. As for me I hold that I am but in my selfe; and of this other life of mine which consisteth in the knowledge of my friends, being simply and barely considered in my self well I wot, I neither feele fruite or jovissance of it, but by the vanitie of fantasticall opinion. And when I shall be dead, I shall much lesse have a feeling of it: And shall absolutely lose the use of true utilities which sometimes accidentally follow it: I shall have no more fastnesse to take hold on reputation, nor whereby it may either concerne or come unto mee. For, to expect my name should receive it, First, I have no name that is sufficiently mine: of two I have, the one is common to all my race, yea and also to others. There is a family at Paris and another at Montpellier called Montaigne, another in Britany, and one in Xaintonge, surnamed de la Montaigne. The removing of one onely syllable may so confound our webbe, as I shall have a share in their glory, and they perhaps a part of my shame. And my Ancestors have heretofore beene surnamed Higham or Eyquem, a surname which also belongs to a house well knowen in England. As for my other name, it is any bodies that shall have a minde to it. So shall I happily honour a Porter in my stead. And suppose I had a particular marke or badge for my selfe, what can it marke when I am no more extant? May it desseigne or favour inanity?
-----nunc levior cippus non imprimit ossa?
Laudat posteritas; nunc non e manibus illis,
Nunc non e tumulo fortunataque favilla
Nascuntur violæ? -- Ibid. 37.

Doth not the grave-stone on such bones sit light?
Posterity applaudes: from such a spright,
From such a tombe, from ashes blessed so,
Shall there not Violets (in cart-lodes) grow?

   But of this I have spoken elsewhere. As for the rest, in a whole battell, where ten thousand are either maymed or slaine, there are not peradventure fifteene that shall be much spoken off. It must be some eminent greatness or important consequence that fortune hath joyned unto it to make a private action prevaile, not of a meane shot alone, but of a chieftaine: for to kill a man or two or tenne; for one to present himselfe undantedly to death, is indeed something to every one of us in particular: for a mans free-hold goes on it: But in regarde of the world they are such ordinary things, so many are daily seene, and so sundry alike must concurre together to produce a notable effect, that wee can looke for no particular commendation by them.
---- casus multis hic cognitus, ac iam
Tritus, et e medio fortuno ductus acervo. -- Juven. Sat. xiii. 9.

This case is knowne of many, worne with nothing,
Drawne from the midle heape of fortunes doting.

   Of so many thousands of worthie-valiant men, which fifteene hundred yeares since have died in France with their weapons in hand, not one hundred have come to our knowledge: The memory not onely of the Generals and Leaders, but also of the battels and victories lieth now low-buried in oblivion. The fortunes of more than halfe the world, for want of a register, stirre not from their place, and vanish away without continuance. Had I all the unknowne events in my possession, I am perswaded I might easily supplant those that are knowne in all kindes of examples. What, of the Romanes themselves and of the Græcians, amongst so many writers and testimonies, and so infinit rare exploites and matchles examples, how are so few of them come to our notice?
Ad nos vix tenuis famæ perlabitur aura. -- Virg. Æn. vii.646.

Scarcely to us doth passe
Fames thin breath, how it was.

   It shall be much, if a hundred yeares hence the civill warres which lately we have had in France, be but remembred in grosse. The Lacedemonians, as they were going to their battles, were wont to sacrifice unto the Muses to the end their deedes might be well written and worthily registred; deeming it a divine favor and unusuall grace, that noble actions might finde testimonies able to give them life and memory. Thinke we that at every shot that hits us or at every dangerous attempt we runne into to have a clarke present to enrole it : and besides, it may be that an hundred clarkes shall write them, whose commentaries shall not continue three daies and shall never come to anybodys sight. We have but a thousandth part of ancient writings: It is Fortune, which according to her favor gives them either shorter or longer life; and what we have, we may lawfully doubt of, whether it be the worse, since we never saw the rest. Histories are not written upon every small trifle: It is requisite that a man have beene conqueror of an Empire or of a Kingdome; a man must have obtained two and fiftie set battles, and ever with a lesser number of men, as Cæsar did. Tenne thousand good-fellowes, and many great captaines have died most valiantly and coragiously in pursuite of her, whose names have continued no longer then their wives and children lived:
------- quos fama obscura recondit. -- Virg. Æn. v. 292.

Whom fame obscure before
Layes up in unknowne store.

   Even of those whom we see to doe excellently well, if they have but once continued so three months, or so many yeares, there is no more speech of them then if they had never bin. Whosoever shall in due measure proportion and impartially consider, of what kinde of people, and of what deedes the glory is kept in the memory of bookes, he shall finde there are few actions and very few persons that may justly pretend any right in them. How many vertuous men have we seene to survive their owne reputation, who even in their presence have seen the honor and glorie which in their young daies they had right-justly purchased, to be cleane extinguished? And doe we for three yeares of this fantasticall and imaginarie life lose and foregoe our right and essentiall life, and engage our selves in a perpetuall death? The wiser sort propose a right-fairer and much more just end unto themselves, to so urgent and weighty an enterprise. Recte facti, f ecisse merces est: Officii fructi, ipsum officium est: (Senec. Epist. lxxxi.) 'The reward of well-doing is the doing, and the fruit of our duty is our duty.' It might peradventure be excusable in a Painter or other artificer, or also in a Rhetorician or Gramarian, by his labours to endevor to purchase a name: But the actions of vertue are themselves too-too noble to seeke any other reward then by their own worth and merit, and especially to seeke it in the vanity of mans judgement. If this false-fond opinion doe notwithstanding serve and stead a common wealth to hold men to their dutie: if the people be thereby stirred up to vertue: if Princes be any way touched to see the world blesse and commend the memorie of Trajan, and detest the remembrance of Nero: if that doth moove them to see the name of that arch-villanie, heretofore so dreadfull and so much redoubted of all, so boldly cursed and so freely outraged by the first scholer that undertakes him: Let it hardly be increased, and let us (as much as in us l ieth) still foster the same amongst ourselves. And Platoe employing all meanes to make his Citizens vertuous, doth also perswade them not to contemne the peoples good estimation. And saith that through some divine inspiration it commeth to passe that even the wicked know often, as well by word as by opinion, how to distinguish justly the good from the bad. This man, together with his master, are wonderfull and bold workmen to joyne divine operations and revelations wheresoever humane force faileth. And therefore did perventure Timon (deeming thereby to wrong him) surname him the great forger of miracles. Vt tragici poetæ confugiunt ad Deum, cum explicare argumenti exitum non possunt. (Cic. Nat. Deor. i.) 'As Poets that write Tragedies have recourse to some God when they cannot unfold the end of their argument.' Since men by reason of their insufliciencie cannot well pay themselves with good lawfull coine, let them also employ false money. This meane hath beene practised by all the law-givers: And there is no common wealth where there is not some mixture either of ceremonious vanity or of false opinion, which as a restraint serveth to keepe the people in awe and dutie. It is therefore that most of them have such fabulous grounds and trifling beginnings, and enriched with supernaturall mysteries. It is that which hath given credit unto adulterate and unlawfull religions, and hath induced men of understanding to favour and countenance them. And therefore did Noma and Sertorius, to make their men have a better beliefe, feed them with this foppery: the one, that the Nimph Egeria, the other that his white Hinde, brought him all the councels he tooke from the Gods. And the same authority which Numa gave his lawes under the title of this Goddesses patronage, Zoroaster, Law-giver to the Bactrians and Persians, gave it to his, under the name of the God Oromazis. Trismegistus, of the Ægyptians, of Mercury: Zamolzis, of the Scithians, of Vesta: Charondas, of the Chalcedonians, of Saturne: Minos, of the Candiots, of Jupiter: Lycurgus, of the Lacedemonians, of Apollo: Dracon and Solon, of the Athenians, of Minerva. And every common wealth hath a God to her chiefe: al others falsly, but that truly which Moses instituted for the people of Jewry descended from Ægypt. The Bedoins religion (as saith the Lord of Jouinvile) held among other things that his soule which among them all died for his Prince went directly into another more happy body much fairer and stronger than the first: by means whereof they much more willingly hazarded their lives for his sake.
In ferrum mens prona viris animæque capaces
Mortis: et ignavum est redituræ parcere vitæ. -- Lucan. i. 461.

Those men sword minded, can death entertaine,
Thinke base to spare the life that turnes againe.

    Loe here, although very vaine , a most needfull doctrine and profitable beliefe. Everie Nation hath store of such examples in it selfe. But this subject would require a severall discourse. Yet to say a word more concerning my former purpose: I do not counsell Ladies any longer to call their duty honour: vt enim consuetudo loquitur, id solum dicitur honestum, quod est populari fama gloriosum: (Cic. Fin. ii.) 'For as custome speakes, that only is called honest which is glorious by popular report.' Their duty is the marke; their honour but the barke of it. Nor doe I perswade them to give us this excuse of their refusall in payment; for I suppose their intentions, their desire, and their will, which are parts wherein honour can see nothing, forasmuch as nothing appeareth outwardly, there are yet more ordered then the effects.
Quæ, quia non liceat, non facit, illa facit. -- Ovid. Am. iii. El. iv. 4.

She doth it, though she do it not
Because she may not doe't (Got wot).

   The offence both toward God and in conscience would be as great to desire it as to effect the same. Besides, they are in themselves actions secret and hid; it might easily be, they would steale some one from others knowledge, whence honour dependeth, had they no other respect to their duty and affection which they beare unto chastity, in regard of it selfe. Each honorable person chuseth rather to lose his honour than to forgoe his conscience.

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