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ing to the thinges forepaste, and divining by an Enchaunteresse called Acrasia; and of thinges to come, maketh a pleasing Anal- therfore craved of the Faery Queene, to apysis of all.
point him some knight to performe that The beginning therefore of my history, adventure; which being assigned to Sir if it were to be told by an Historiographer Guyon, he presently went forth with that should be the twelfth booke, which is the same Palmer: which is the beginning of the last; where I devise that the Faery Queene second booke, and the whole subject thereof. kept her Annuall feaste xii. dayes; uppon The third day there came in a Groome, who which xii. severall dayes, the occasions of complained before the Faery Queene, that the xii. severall adventures hapned, which, a vile Enchaunter, called Busirane, had in being undertaken by xii. severall knights, hand a most faire Lady, called Amoretta, are in these xii. books severally handled and whom he kept in most grievous torment, bediscoursed. The first was this. In the be- cause she would not yield him the pleasure ginning of the feast, there presented him of her body. Whereupon Sir Scudamour, selfe a tall clownishe younge man, who fall- the lover of that Lady, presently tooke on ing before the Queene of Faries, desired a him that adventure. But being vnable to boone (as the manner then was) which dur- performe it by reason of the hard Enchaunting that feast she might not refuse; which ments, after long sorrow, in the end met was that hee might have the atchievement of with Britomartis, who succoured him, and any adventure, which during that feaste reskewed his loue. should happen: that being graunted, he But by occasion hereof many other adrested him on the floore, unfitte through his ventures are intermedled; but rather as Acrusticity for a better place. Soone after cidents then intendments: As the love of entred a faire Ladye in mourning weedes, Britomart, the overthrow of Marinell, the riding on a white Asse, with a dwarfe be- misery of Florimell, the vertuousnes of Belhind her leading a warlike steed, that bore phæbe, the lasciviousness of Hellenora, and the Armes of a knight, and his speare in the
many the like. dwarfes hand. Shee, falling before the Thus much, Sir, I have briefly overronne Queene of Faeries, complayned that her to direct your understanding to the welfather and mother, an ancient King and head of the History; that from thence gathQueene, had bene by an huge dragon many ering the whole intention of the conceit, ye years shut up in a brasen Castle, who thence may as in a handfull gripe al the discourse, suffred them not to yssew; and therefore be- 'which otherwise may happily seeme tedious sought the Faery Queene to assygne her and confused. So, humbly craving the consome one of her knights to take on him that tinuance of your honorable favour towards exployt. Presently that clownish person, me, and th' eternall establishment of your upstarting, desired that adventure: whereat happines, I humbly take leave. the Queene much wondering, and the Lady
23. Ianuary 1589, much gainesaying, yet he earnestly impor
Yours most humbly affectionate, tuned his desire. In the end the Lady told
Ed. Spenser. him, that unlesse that armour which she brought would serve him (that is, the armour of a Christian man specified by Saint
“THE BRAVE COURTIER" Paul, vi. Ephes.) that he could not succeed in that enterprise; which being forth with
EDMUND SPENSER put upon him, with dewe furnitures there
[A portrait of Sir Philip Sidney, from unto, he seemed the goodliest man in al that
Mother Hubberds Tale] company, and was well liked of the Lady. And eftesoones taking on him knighthood, Yet the brave Courtier, in whose beauteous and mounting on that straunge Courser, he thought went forth with her on that adventure: Regard of honour harbours more than where beginneth the first booke, viz.
Doth loath such base condition, to backbite A gentle knight was pricking on the playne.
Anies good name for envie or despite: &c.
He stands on tearmes of honourable minde, The second day ther came in a Palmer, Ne will be carried with the common winde bearing an Infant with bloody hands, whose Of Courts inconstant mutabilitie, Parents he complained to have bene slayn Ne after everie tattling fable flie;
But heares and sees the follies of the rest, And thereof gathers for himselfe the best. He will not creepe, nor crouche with fained
face, But walkes upright with comely stedfast
pace, And unto all doth yeeld due curtesie; But not with kissed hand belowe the knee, As that same Apish crue is wont to doo: For he disdaines himselfe t'embase theretoo. He hates fowle leasings, and vile flatterie, Two filthie blots in noble gentrie; And lothefull idlenes he doth detest, The canker worme of everie gentle brest; The which to banish with faire exercise Of knightly feates, he daylie doth devise: Now menaging the mouthes of stubborne
steedes, Now practising the proofe of warlike
deedes, Now his bright armes assaying, now his
speare, Now the nigh aymed ring away to beare. At other times he casts to sew the chace Of swift wilde beasts, or runne on foot a
race, T'enlarge his breath, (large breath in armes
most needfull) Or els by wrestling to wex strong and heed
full, Or his stiffe armes to stretch with Eughen
bowe, And manly legs, still passing too and fro, Without a gowned beast him fast beside, A vaine ensample of the Persian pride; Who, after he had wonne th’ Assyrian
foe, Did ever after scorne on foote to goe. Thus when this Courtly Gentleman with
toyle Himselfe hath wearied, he doth recoyle Unto his rest, and there with sweete delight Of Musicks skill revives his toyled spright; Or els with Loves, and Ladies gentle sports, The joy of youth, himselfe he recomforts; Or lastly, when the bodie list to pause, His minde unto the Muses he withdrawes : Sweete Ladie Muses, Ladies of delight, Delights of life, and ornaments of light! With whom he close confers with wise dis
course, Of Natures workes, of heavens continuall
course, Of forreine lands, of people different, Of kingdomes change, of divers gouvern
With which he kindleth his ambitious
sprights To like desire and praise of noble fame, The onely upshot whereto he doth ayme: For all his minde on honour fixed is, To which he levels all his purposis, And in his Princes service spends his dayes, Not so much for to gaine, or for to raise Himselfe to high degree, as for his grace, And in his liking to winne worthie place, Through due deserts and comely carriage, In whatso please employ his personage, That may be matter meete to gaine him
praise: For he is fit to use in all assayes, Whether for Armes and warlike amenaunce, Or else for wise and civill governaunce. For he is practiz'd well in policie, And thereto doth his Courting most applie: To learne the enterdeale of Princes strange, To marke th’ intent of Counsells, and the
change Of states, and eke of private men somewhile, Supplanted by fine falshood and faire guile; Of all the which he gathereth what is fit T'enrich the storehouse of his powerfull
wit, Which through wise speaches and grave con
ference He daylie eekes, and brings to excellence.
Such is the rightfull Courtier in his kinde.
COUNSELS OF EXPERIENCE 1
[From Essays or Counsels Civil and Moral, published 1597, 1612, 1625]
1. Of Truth “What is truth ?" said jesting Pilate; and would not stay for an answer. Certainly there be that delight in giddiness, and count it a bondage to fix a belief, affecting freewill in thinking, as well as in acting. And though the sects of philosophers of that kind be gone, yet there remain certain discoursing wits which are of the same veins, though there be not so much blood in them as was in those of the ancients. But it is not only the difficulty and labor which men take in finding out of truth; nor again, that when it is found, it imposeth upon men's thoughts, that doth bring lies in favor: but
ment, Of dreadfull battailes of
1 Bacon says of the Essays: "I have endeavored to make them not vulgar, but of a nature whereof a man shall find much in experience and little in books, so as they are neither repetitions nor fancies."
a natural though corrupt love of the lie the errors, and wanderings, and mists, and itself. One of the later school of the Gre- tempests, in the vale below”; so always that cians examineth the matter, and is at a this prospect be with pity, and not with stand to think what should be in it, that swelling or pride. Certainly it is heaven men should love lies: where neither they upon earth to have a man's mind move in make for pleasure, as with poets; nor for charity, rest in providence, and turn upon advantage, as with the merchant; but for the poles of truth. the lie's sake. But I cannot tell: this same To pass from theological and philosophtruth is a naked and open daylight, that ical truth to the truth of civil business, it doth not show the masques, and mummeries, will be acknowledged, even by those that and triumphs of the world half so stately practice it not, that clear and round dealing and daintily as candle-lights. Truth may is the honor of man's nature, and that mixperhaps come to the price of a pearl that ture of falsehood is like alloy in coin-of gold showeth best by day; but it will not rise to and silver, which may make the metal work the price of a diamond or carbuncle, that the better, but it embaseth it; for these showeth best in varied lights. A mixture winding and crooked courses are the goings of a lie doth ever add pleasure. Doth any of the serpent, which goeth basely upon man doubt that if there were taken out of the belly, and not upon the feet. There is men's minds vain opinions, flattering hopes, no vice that doth so cover a man with shame false valuations, imaginations as one would, as to be found false and perfidious; and and the like, but it would leave the minds therefore Montaigne saith prettily, when of a number of men poor shrunken things, he inquired the reason why the word of the full of melancholy and indisposition, and lie should be such a disgrace, and such an unpleasing to themselves ? One of the odious charge. “If it be well weighed, to fathers, in great severity, called poesy vinum say that a man lieth, is as much as to say daemonum i because it filleth the imagina- that he is brave towards God, and a coward tion, and yet it is but with the shadow of a towards man." For a lie faces God, and lie. But it is not the lie that passeth through shrinks from man. Surely the wickedness the mind, but the lie that sinketh in and of falsehood and breach of faith cannot settleth in it that doth the hurt, such as we possibly be so highly expressed as in that spake of before. But howsoever these things it shall be the last peal to call the judgments are thus in men's depraved judgments and of God upon the generations of men : it affections, yet truth, which only doth judge being foretold, that when Christ cometh, itself, teacheth that the inquiry of truth, "he shall not find faith upon the earth.” which is the love-making, or wooing of it; the knowledge of truth, which is the pres
2. Of Travel ence of it; and the belief of truth, which Travel in the younger sort is a part of is the enjoying of it, is the sovereign good education ; in the elder a part of experience. of human nature. The first creature of God, He that traveleth into a country before he in the works of the days, was the light of hath some entrance into the language, goeth the sense; the last was the light of reason; to school, and not to travel.
That young and his Sabbath work, ever since, is the illu- men travel under some tutor or grave servmination of his spirit. First he breathed ant, I allow well; so that he be such a one light upon the face of the matter, or chaos ; that hath the language, and hath been in then he breathed light into the face of man; the country before; whereby he may be able and still he breatheth and inspireth light to tell them what things are worthy to be into the face of his chosen. The poet, that seen in the country where they go, what acbeautified the sect that was otherwise in- quaintances they are to seek, what exerferior to the rest, saith yet excellently well, cises or discipline the place yieldeth. For “It is a pleasure to stand upon the shore, else young men shall go hooded, and look and to see ships tost upon the sea; a pleas- abroad little. It is a strange thing, that in ure to stand in the window of a castle, and sea voyages, where there is nothing to be to see a battle, and the adventures thereof seen but sky and sea, men should make below; but no pleasure is comparable to the diaries, but in land travel, wherein so much standing upon the vantage ground of truth is to be observed, for the most part they (a hill not to be commanded, and where the omit it: as if chance were fitter to be regair is always clear and serene), and to see istered than observation. Let diaries there
fore be brought in use. The things to be
seen and observed are: the courts of princes, see and visit eminent persons in all kinds, specially when they give audience to ambas- which are of great name abroad; that he sadors: the courts of justice, while they sit may be able to tell how the life agreeth and hear causes: and so of consistories ec- with the fame. For quarrels, they are with clesiastic: the churches and monasteries, care and discretion to be avoided: they are with the monuments which are therein ex- commonly for mistresses, healths, place, and tant: the walls and fortifications of cities words. And let a man beware how he keepand towns, and so the havens and harbors : eth company with choleric and quarrelsome antiquities and ruins; libraries, colleges, dis- persons; for they will engage him into their putations, and lectures, where any are; ship- own quarrels. When a traveler returneth ping and navies: houses, and gardens of home, let him not leave the countries where state and pleasure near great cities; ar- he hath traveled altogether behind him, but mories, arsenals, magazines, exchanges, maintain a correspondence by letters with burses, warehouses; exercises of horseman- those of his acquaintance which are of most ship, fencing, training of soldiers and the worth. And let his travel appear rather in like; comedies, such whereunto the better his discourse than in his apparel or gesture; sort of persons do resort; treasuries of jew- and in his discourse, let him be rather adels and robes, cabinets and rarities; and to vised in his answers than forward to tell conclude, whatsoever is memorable in the stories; and let it appear that he doth not places where they go. After all which, the change his country manners for those of tutors or servants ought to make diligent foreign parts; but only prick in some flowinquiry. As for triumphs, masks, feasts, ers of that he hath learned abroad, into weddings, funerals, capital executions, and the customs of his own country. such shows, men need not to be put in mind of them; yet they are not to be neglected.
3. Of Studies If you will have a young man to put his Studies serve for delight, for ornament, travel into a little room, and in short time and for ability. Their chief use for delight to gather much, this you must do: first, as is in privateness and retiring; for ornament was said, he must have some entrance into is in discourse; and for ability is in the the language before he goeth. Then he judgment and disposition of business. For must have such a servant, or tutor, as know- expert men can execute, and perhaps judge eth the country, as was likewise said. Let of particulars, one by one; but the general him carry with him also some card or book counsels and the plots and marshaling of describing the country where he traveleth, affairs come best from those that are which will be a good key to his inquiry. Let learned. To spend too much time in studies him keep also a diary. Let him not stay is sloth; to use them too much for ornalong in one city or town; more or less as ment is affectation; to make judgment the place deserveth, but not long: nay, when wholly by their rules is the humor of a he stayeth in one city or town, let him scholar. They perfect nature, and are perchange his lodging from one end and part fected by experience. For natural abilities of the town to another, which is a great are like natural plants, that need pruning adamant of acquaintance. Let him seques- by study; and studies themselves do give ter himself from the company of his coun
forth directions too much at large, except trymen, and diet in such places where there they be bounded in by experience. Crafty is good company of the nation where he men contenin studies, simple men admire traveleth. Let him, upon his removes from them, and wise men use them. For they one place to another, procure recommenda- teach not their own use; but that is a wistion to some person of quality residing in dom without them, and above them, won by the place whither he removeth, that he may observation. Read not to contradict and use his favor in those things he desireth to confute; nor to believe and take for see or know. Thus he may abridge his granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but travel with much profit.
to weigh and consider. Some books are to As for the acquaintance which is to be be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some sought in travel, that which is most of all few to be chewed and digested—that is, profitable is acquaintance with the secre- some books are to be read only in parts, taries and employed men of ambassadors; others to be read, but not curiously, and for so in traveling in one country, he shall some few to be read wholly, and with dilisuck the experience of many. Let him also gence and attention.
Some books also may
be read by deputy, and extracts made of twenty letters when he was angry); then to them by others; but that would be only in go less in quantity (as if one should, in forthe less important arguments and the bearing wine, come from drinking healths meaner sort of books; else distilled books to a draught at a meal); and, lastly, to disare like common distilled waters, flashy continue altogether. But if a man have the things. Reading maketh a full man, con- fortitude and resolution to enfranchise himference a ready man, and writing an exact self at once, that is the best :
And therefore if a man write little he had need have a great memory; if he
Optimus ille animi vindex lædentia pectus confer little he had need have a present wit;
Vincula qui rupit, dedoluitque semel.1 and if he read little he had need have much Neither is the ancient rule amiss, to bend cunning to seem to know that he doth not. nature as a wand, to a contrary extreme, Histories make men wise, poets witty, the whereby to set it right; understanding it mathematics subtle, natural philosophy where the contrary extreme is no vice. deep, moral grave, logic and rhetoric able Let not a man force a habit upon himself to contend, Abeunt studia in mores. Nay, with a perpetual continuance; but with there is no stond or impediment in the wit some intermission. For both the pause rebut may be wrought out by fit studies, like in forceth the new onset; and if a man that as diseases of the body may have appropri- is not perfect be ever in practice, he shall ate exercises. Bowling is good for the stone as well practice his errors as his abilities, and reins, shooting for the lungs and breast, and induce one habit of both : and there is gentle walking for the stomach, riding for no means to help this but by seasonable inthe head, and the like. So if a man's wit termissions. But let not a man trust his be wandering, let him study the mathemat- victory over his nature too far; for nature ics, for in demonstrations, if his wit be will lay buried a great time, and yet revive called away never so little, he must begin upon the occasion or temptation. Like as again; if his wit be not apt to distinguish it was with Æsop's damsel, turned from a or find differences, let him study the school- cat to a woman, who sat very demurely at men, for they are cymini sectores; ? if he be the board's end till a mouse ran before her. not apt to beat over matters and to call up Therefore, let a man either avoid the occaone thing to prove and illustrate another, sion altogether, or put himself often to it, let him study the lawyer's cases.
that he may be little moved with it. defect of the mind may have a special re- A man's nature is best perceived in priceipt.
vateness; for there is no affectation: in 4. Of Nature in Men
passion, for that putteth a man out of his Nature is often hidden, sometimes over
precepts; and in a new case or experiment,
for there custom leaveth him. come, seldom extinguished. Force maketh nature more violent in the return; doctrine
They are happy men whose natures sort and discourse maketh nature less impor- with their vocations; otherwise they may tune; but custom only doth alter and subdue
say, Multum incola fuit anima mea," when nature.
they converse in those things they do not He that seeketh victory over his nature,
affect. In studies, whatsoever a man comlet him not set himself too great nor too
mandeth upon himself, let him set hours small tasks; for the first will make him de
for it; but whatsoever is agreeable to his jected by often failing, and the second will
nature, let him take no care for any set make him a small proceeder, though by often
times : for his thoughts will fly to it of themprevailings. And, at the first, let him prac- selves, so as the spaces of other business or tice with helps, as swimmers do with blad
studies will suffice. ders or rushes; but after a time, let him
A man's nature runs either to herbs or practice with disadvantages, as dancers do
weeds; therefore let him seasonably water with thick shoes; for it breeds great perfec
the one, and destroy the other. tion if the practice he harder than the use.
5. Of Great Place Where nature is mighty, and therefore
Men in Great Place are thrice servants; the victory hard, the degrees had need be, first to stay and arrest nature in time (like
servants of the Sovereign or State, servants to him that would say over the four-and
1 "He is the best vindicator of his mind, who
breaks the chains that gall his breast and at the i Studies develop into habits.
same moment ceases to grieve." 2 Hair-splitters.
2 "My soul has long been a sojourner."