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country where he travelleth, which will be a good key to his inquiry; let him keep also a diary ; let him not stay long in one city or town, more or less as the place deserveth, but not long; nay, when he stayeth in one city or town, let him change his lodging from one end and part of the town to another, which is a great adamant? of acquaintance ; let him sequester himself from the company of his countrymen, and diet in such places where there is good company of the nation where he travelleth; let him, upon his removes from one place to another, procure recommendation to some person of quality residing in the place whither he removeth, that he may use his favour in those things he desireth to see or know; thus he may abridge his travel with much profit.
As for the acquaintance which is to be sought in travel, that which is most of all profitable is acquaintance with the secretaries and employed men of ambassadors; for so in travelling in one country he shall suck the experience of many. Let him also see and visit eminent persons in all kinds, which are of great name abroad, that he may be able to tell how the life agreeth with the fame: for quarrels, they are with care and discretion to be avoided; they are commonly for mistresses, healths,' place, and words: and let a man beware how he keepeth company with choleric and quarrelsome persons; for they will engage him into their own quarrels. When a traveller returneth home, let him not leave the countries where he hath travelled altogether behind him, but maintain a correspondence by letters with those of his acquaintance which are of most worth ; and let his travel appear rather in his discourse than in his apparel or gesture; and in his discourse let him be rather advised 4 in his answers than forward to tell stories: and let it appear that he doth not change his country manners for those of foreign parts; but only prick in some flowers of that he hath learned abroad into the customs of his own country
OF WISDOM FOR A MAN'S SELF.
An ant is a wise creature for itself, but it is a shrewd 5 thing in an orchard or garden: and certainly men that are great lovers of themselves waste the public. Divide with reason between self-love and society; and be so true to thyself as thou be not false to others, specially to thy king and country. It is a poor centre of a man's actions, himself. It is right earth; for that only stands fast upon his own centre ;6 whereas all things that have affinity with the heavens, move upon the centre of another, which they benefit.. The referring of all to a man's self is more tolerable in a sovereign prince, because themselves are not only themselves, but their good and evil is at the peril of the public fortune: but it is a desperate evil in a servant to a prince, or a citizen in a republic ; for whatsoever affairs pass such a man's hands, he crooketh them to his own ends, which must needs be often eccentric to the ends of his master or State: therefore let princes or States choose such servants as have not this mark, except they mean their service should be made but the accessary. That which maketh the effect more pernicious is, that all proportion is lost. It were disproportion enough for the servant's good to be preferred before the master's; but yet it is a greater extreme, when a little good of the servant shall carry things against a great good of the master's: and yet that is the case of bad officers, treasurers, ambassadors, generals, and other false and corrupt servants ; which set a bias upon their bowl, of their own petty ends and envies, to the overthrow of their master's great and important affairs. And, for the most part, the good such servants receive is after the model of their own fortune ; but the hurt they sell for that good is after the model of their master's fortune. And certainly it is the nature of extreme self-lovers, as they will set a house on fire, an 8 it were but to roast their eggs: and yet these men many times hold credit with their masters because their study is but to please them, and profit themselves; and for either respect they will abandon the good of their affairs.
1 Adamant is the old name for the loadstone. 2 What are now called attachés.
3 He probably means the refusing to join on the occasion of drinking healths when taking wine.
4 Advised is circumspect, deliberate. Often so in Shakespeare.
5 Shrewd, here, is ill or mischievous. So in King Henry the Eighth. V., 2: “Do my Lord of Canterbury a shrewd turn, and he is your friend for ever.”
Wisdom for a man's self is, in many branches thereof, a depraved thing: it is the wisdom of rats, that will be sure to leave a house somewhat before it fall: it is the wisdom of the fox, that thrusts out the badger who digged and made room for him: it is the wisdom of crocodiles, that shed tears when they would devour. But that which is specially to be noted is, that those which (as Cicero says of Pompey) are sui amantes, sine rivali,' are many times unfortunate; and whereas they have all their time sacrificed to themselves, they become in the end themselves sacrifices to the inconstancy of fortune, whose wings they thought by their self-wisdom to have pinioned.
6 Bacon adhered to the old astronomy, which made the Earth the centre of the system. The Copernican system was not generally received in England till many years later,
7 A vias is, properly, a weight placed in one side of a bowl, which deflects it from the straight line. 8 An, for if, occurs continually in Shakespeare.
As the births of living creatures at first are ill-shapen, so are all innovations, which are the births of time ; yet, notwithstanding, as those that first bring honour into their family are commonly more worthy than most that succeed, so the first precedent (if it be good) is seldom attained by imitation: for ill, to man's nature as it stands perverted, hath a natural motion strongest in continuance; but good, as a forced motion, strongest at first. Surely every medicine is an innovation; and he that will not apply new remedies must expect new evils: for time is the greatest innovator; and if time of course alter things to the worse, and wisdom and counsel shall not alter them to the better, what shall be the end ? It is true that what is settled by custom, though it be not good, yet at least it is fit; and those things which have long gone together are, as it were, confederate within themselves: whereas new things piece not so well but, though they help by their utility, yet they trouble by their inconformity; besides, they are like strangers, more admired, and less favoured. All this is true, if time stood still ; which, contrariwise, moveth so round, that a froward retention of custom is as turbulent a thing as an innovation ; and they that reverence too much old times are but a scorn to the new. It were good, therefore, that men in their innovations would follow the example of time itself, which indeed innovateth greatly, but quietly, and by degrees scarce to be perceived; for, otherwise, whatsoever is new is unlooked for; and ever it mends some, and
; pairs : other; and he that is holpen* takes it for a fortune, and
9 “Lovers of themselves, without a competitor.”
2 Round, as applied to speech or action, means plain, bold, downright, decided. So Polonius, in Hamlet, says, “I went round to work.” But the word sometimes appears to have the sense of rapid. And so Addison seems to use it: “Sir Roger heard them on a round trot”; though here it may very well mean downright or décided.
3 To pair is, properly, to make less or worse. So the Earl of Somerset to King James: “I only cleave to that which is so little, as that it will suffer no pairing or diminution.” The word has long been out of use except in impair.
4 Holpen, or holp, is the old preterite of help. Used continually in the Psal. ter; often in Shakespeare also.
thanks the time; and he that is hurt, for a wrong, and imputeth it to the author. It is good also not to try experiments in States, except the necessity be urgent, or the utility evident; and well to beware that it be the reformation that draweth on the change, and not the desire of change that pretendeth the reformation: 5 and lastly, that the novelty, though it be not rejected, yet be held for a su et;& and, as the Scripture saith, “That we make a stand upon the ancient way, and then look about us, and discover what is the straight and right way, and so to walk in it.”
OF SEEMING WISE. It hath been an opinion, that the French are wiser than they seem, and the Spaniards seem wiser than they are; but, howsoever it be between nations, certainly it is so between man and man; for, as the apostle saith of godliness, “Having a show of godliness, but denying the power thereof”; so certainly there are, in points of wisdom and sufficiency, that do nothing or little very solemnly; magno conatu nugas. It is a ridiculous thing, and fit for a satire to persons of judgment, to see what shifts these formalists have, and what prospectives' to make superficies to seem body, that hath depth and bulk. Some are so close and reserved, as they will not show their wares but by à dark light, and seem always to keep back somewhat; and when they know within themselves they speak of that they do not well know, would nevertheless seem to others to know of that which they may not well speak. Some help themselves with countenance and gesture, and are wise by signs; as Cicero saith of Piso, that when he answered him he fetched one of his brows up to his forehead, and bent the other down to his chin; Respondes, altero ad frontem sublato, altero ad mentum depresso supercilio, crudelitatem tibi non placere. Some think to bear it
5 For some capital observations on this subject, see, among the pieces from Burke, page 213; also, pages 257–259.
6 “Held for a suspect” of course means the same as “held in suspicion.” Shakespeare bas a like usage repeatedly. So in The Comedy of Errors, iii., 1: “ You draw within the compass of suspect th' unviolated honour of your wife.”
7 Sufficiency appears to be used here in the sense of authority, or full power. So Shakespeare, in Measure for Measure, i., 1: “ Then no more remains but t' add sufficiency, as your worth is able, and let them work.”
8 “Achieve nothing with a nighty effort."
9 Prospective is an old term for a perspective glass. So Daniel, as quoted by Nares: “Take here this prospective, and therein note and tell what thou seest, for well mayest thou there observe their shadows." Through such prospectives things were often made to seem very different from what they really were.
1 “With one brow raised to your forehead, the other bent downward to your chin, you answer that cruelty delights you not.”
by speaking a great word, and being peremptory; and go on, and tako by admittance that which they cannot make good. Some, wbatsoever is beyond their reach, will seem to despise, or make light of it, as impertinent or curious;2 and só would have their ignorance seem judgment. Some are never without a difference, and commonly, by amusing men with a subtilty, blanch * the matter; of whom A. Gellius saith, Hominem delirum, qui verborum minutiis rerum frangit pondera. Of which kind also Plato, in his Protagoras, bringeth in Prodicus in scorn, and maketh hiin make a speech that consisteth of distinctions from the beginning to the end. Generally, such men, in all deliberations, find ease to be of the negative side, and affect a credit to object and foretell difficulties; for, when propositions are denied, there is an end of them; but if they be allowed, it requireth a new work; which false point of wisdom is the bane of business. To conclude, there is no decaying merchant, or inward beggar, hath so many tricks to uphold the credit of their wealth as these empty persons have to maintain the credit of their sufficiency. Seeming wise men may make shift to get opinion ; but let no man choose them for employment; for, certainly, you were better take for business a man somewhat absurd than over-formal.
It had been hard for him that spake it to have put more truth and untruth together in few words than in that speech, “Whosoever is delighted in solitude, is either a wild beast or a god”:7 for it is most true, that a natural and secret hatred and aversation towards 8 society in any man hath somewhat of the savage beast; but it is most untrue that it should have any character at all of the Divine nature, except it proceed, not out of a pleasure in solitude, but out of a love and desire to seques
2 Impertinent is irrelevant ; and curious is over-nice. 3 Difference in the sense of subtile distinction.
4 Blanch, here, is evade or elude. So Bacon, again, in his Henry the Seventh : “The judges of that time thought it was a dangerous thing to admit ifs and ans to qualify the words of treason, whereby every man might express his malice, and blanch his danger.” So too in Reliquiæ Wattoniance : "I suppose you will not blanch Paris in your way."
5 "A foolish inan, who fritters away weighty matters by fine-spun trifling with words.”
6 One really insolvent, though to the world he does not appcar so.