Page images

of fame, and servants of business. So as In the discharge of thy place set before they have no freedom, neither in their per- thee the best examples; for imitation is a sons, nor in their actions, nor in their times.

globe of precepts. And after a time set It is a strange desire to seek power and to before thee thine own example, and examlose liberty: or to seek power over others ine thyself strictly whether thou didst not and to lose power over a man's self. The best at first. Neglect not also the examples rising unto place is laborious; and by pains of those that have carried themselves ill in men come to greater pains: and it is some- the same place; not to set off thyself by times base; and by indignities men come to taxing their memory, but to direct thyself dignities. The standing is slippery and the what to avoid. Reform, therefore, without regress is either a downfall or at least an bravery, or scandal of former times and eclipse, which is a melancholy thing. Cum persons: but yet set it down to thyself, as non sis qui fueris, non esse cur velis vivere.1 well to create good precedents as to follow Nay, retire men cannot when they would, them. Reduce things to the first institution, neither will they when it were reason, but and observe wherein and how they have deare impatient of privateness, even in age generated: but yet ask counsel of both times; and sickness, which require the shadow; of the ancient time, what is best; and of the like old townsmen, that will be still sitting latter time, what is fittest. Seek to make at their street door, though thereby they thy course regular, that men may know beoffer age to scorn. Certainly great persons forehand what they may expect; but be not had need to borrow other men's opinions to too positive and peremptory, and express think themselves happy. For if they judge thyself well when thou digressest from thy by their own feeling, they cannot find it; rule. Preserve the right of thy place, but but if they think with themselves what other stir not questions of jurisdiction; and men think of them, and that other men rather assume thy right in silence and de would fain be as they are, then they are facto than voice it with claims and chalhappy as it were by report, when, perhaps, lenges. Preserve likewise the rights of inthey find the contrary within. For they are ferior places, and think it more honor to the first that find their own griefs, though direct in chief than to be busy in all. Emthey be the last that find their own faults. brace and invite helps and advices touchCertainly, men in great fortunes are stran- ing the execution of thy place; and do not gers to themselves, and while they are in the drive away such as bring thee information, puzzle of business, they have no time to tend as meddlers, but accept of them in good their health, either of body or mind. Illi part. mors gravis incubat, qui notus nimis omni- The vices of authority are chiefly four: bus, ignotus moritur sibi.2

delays, corruption, roughness, and facility. In place there is license to do good and For delays: give easy access; keep times evil, whereof the latter is a curse; for in appointed; go through with that which is evil, the best condition is not to will, the in hand, and interlace not business but of second not to can. But power to do good necessity. For corruption : do not only bind is the true and lawful end of aspiring. For thine own hands or thy servants' hands from good thoughts, though God accept them, yet taking, but bind the hands of suitors also towards men are little better than good from offering. For integrity used doth the dreams, except they be put in act; and that one; but integrity professed, and with a cannot be without power and place, as the manifest detestation of bribery, doth the vantage and commanding ground. Merit other. And avoid not only the fault but and good works is the end of man's motion, the suspicion. Whosoever is found variaand conscience of the same is the accom- ble and changeth manifestly without maniplishment of man's rest. For if a man can fest cause, giveth suspicion of corruption. be a partaker of God's theater, he shall like- Therefore always when thou changest thine wise be partaker of God's rest. Et conversus opinion or course, profess it plainly, and Deus, ut aspiceret opera quæ fecerunt ma- declare it, together with the reasons that nus suæ, vidit quod omnia essent bona move thee to change; and do not think to nimis; 3 and then the Sabbath.

steal it. A servant or a favorite, if he be

inward, and no other apparent cause of es1 "Since you are not what you were, there is no reason why you should wish to live."

teem, is commonly thought but a by-way to 2 "Death presses heavily upon him who dies unknown to himself, though known to all others."

close corruption. For roughness; it is a needless cause of discontent: severity breedeth fear, but roughness breedeth hate. Even of some, only to come off speedily for the reproofs from authority ought to be grave, time, or to contrive some false periods of and not taunting. As for facility, it is business, because they may seem men of worse than bribery. For bribes come but dispatch; but it is one thing to abbreviate now and then; but if importunity or idle by contracting, another by cutting off; and respects lead a man, he shall never be with- business so handled at several sittings or out. As Solomon saith, To respect persons meetings goeth commonly backward and foris not good, for such a man will transgress ward in an unsteady manner. I knew a for a piece of bread.

3 Gen. i. 31.

wise man that had it for a byword, when he It iš most true that was anciently spoken, saw men hasten to a conclusion, "Stay a A place showeth the man, And it showeth little, that we may make an end the sooner.” some to the better, and some to the worse. On the other side, true dispatch is a rich Omnium consensu, capax imperii, nisi imper- thing; for time is the measure of business, "asset, saith Tacitus of Galba, but of Ves- as money is of wares; and business is bought pasian he saith, Solus imperantium Vespa- at a dear hand where there is small dissianus mutatus in melius. Though the one patch. The Spartans and Spaniards have was meant of sufficiency, the other of man- been noted to be of small dispatch: Mi ners and affection. It is an assured sign venga la muerte de Spagna, “Let my death of a worthy and generous spirit, whom come from Spain,” for then it will be sure to honor amends. For honor is, or should be, be long in coming. the place of virtue: and as in nature things Give good hearing to those that give the move violently to their place and calmly in first information in business; and rather their place, so virtue in ambition is violent, direct them in the beginning than interrupt in authority settled and calm.

them in the continuance of their speeches; All rising to great place is by a winding for he that is put out of his own order will stair; and if there be factions, it is good to go forward and backward, and be more side a man's self whilst he is in the rising,

tedious while he waits upon his memory, and to balance himself when he is placed.

than he could have been if he had gone on Use the memory of thy predecessor fairly in his own course. But sometimes it is seen and tenderly; for if thou dost not, it is a that the moderator is more troublesome than debt will surely be paid when thou art gone.

the actor. If thou have colleagues, respect them; and Iterations are commonly loss of time; but rather call them when they look not for it, there is no such gain of time as to iterate than exclude them when they have reason often the state of the question; for it chasto look to be called. Be not too sensible or eth away many a frivolous speech as it is too remembering of thy place in conversa- coming forth. Long and curious speeches tion and private answers to suitors; but let are as fit for dispatch as a robe or mantle it rather be said, When he sits in place he is with a long train is for a race. Prefaces, another man.

and passages, and excusations, and other

speeches of reference to the person are great 6. Of Dispatch

wastes of time; and though they seem to

proceed of modesty, they are bravery. Yet Affected dispatch is one of the most dan

beware of being too material when there is gerous things to business that can be. It is like that which the physicians call prediges wills; for pre-occupation of mind ever re

any impediment or obstruction in men's tion, or hasty digestion, which is sure to fill

quireth preface of speech, like a fomentathe body full of crudities and secret seeds

tion to make the unguent enter. of diseases. Therefore measure not dispatch

Above all things, order and distribution by the times of sitting, but by the advancement of the business. And as in races, it is

and singling out of parts is the life of dis

patch, so as the distribution be not too not the large stride, or high lift, that makes

subtle; for he that doth not divide will never the speed, so in business, the keeping close

enter well into business, and he that dividto the matter, and not taking of it too much

eth too much will never come out of it at once, procureth dispatch. It is the care

clearly. To choose time is to save time;

and an unseasonable motion is but beating 1 Had he never reigned he would always have been thought worthy to have been Emperor.

the air. There be three parts of businessa Vespasian was the only one of the Roman Em

the preparation, the debate or examination, perors who was improved by wearing the Imperial purple.

and the perfection; whereof, if you look for

Tu regere imperio populos, Romane, me

mento, Hæ tibi erunt artes, etc.

dispatch, let the middle only be the work of many, and the first and last the work of few. The proceeding upon somewhat conceived in writing doth for the most part facilitate dispatch; for though it should be wholly rejected, yet that negative is more pregnant of direction than an indefinite, as ashes are more generative than dust.



[From The Advancement of Learning, 1605]

1. In Praise of Learning And as for the disgraces which Learning receiveth from Politiques, they be of this nature; that Learning doth soften men's minds, and makes them more unapt for the honor and exercise of arms; that it doth mar and pervert men's dispositions for matter of government and policy, in making them too curious and irresolute by variety of reading, or too peremptory or positive by strictness of rules and axioms, or too immoderate and overweening by reason of the greatness of examples, or too incompatible and differing from the times by reason of the dissimilitude of examples; or at least, that it doth divert men's travails from action and business, and bringeth them to a love of leisure and privateness; and that it doth bring into states a relaxation of discipline, whilst every man is more ready to argue than to obey and execute. Out of this conceit, Cato, surnamed the Censor, one of the wisest men indeed that ever lived, when Carneades the philosopher came in embassage to Rome, and that the young men of Rome began to flock about him, being allured with the sweetness and majesty of his eloquence and learning, gave counsel in open senate that they should give him his dispatch with all speed, lest he should infect and enchant the minds and affections of the youth, and at unawares bring in an alteration of the manners and customs of the state. Out of the same conceit or humor did Virgil, turning his pen to the advantage of his country, and the disadvantage of his own profession, make a kind of separation between policy and government, and between arts and sciences, in the verses so much renowned, attributing and challenging the one to the Romans and leaving and yielding the other to the Grecians :

So likewise we see that Anytus, the accuser of Socrates, laid it as an article of charge and accusation against him, that he did, with the variety and power of his discourses and disputations, withdraw young men from due reverence to the laws and customs of their country, and that he did profess a dangerous and pernicious science, which was, to make the worse matter seem the better, and to suppress truth by force of eloquence and speech.

But these, and the like imputations, have rather a countenance of gravity than any ground of justice: for experience doth warrant, that both in persons and in times, there hath been a meeting and concurrence in Learning and Arms, flourishing and excelling in the same men and the same ages. For, as for men, there cannot be a better nor the like instance, as of that pair, Alexander the Great and Julius Cæsar the Dictator; whereof the one was Aristotle's scholar in philosophy, and the other was Cicero's rival in eloquence: or if any man had rather call for scholars that were great generals, than generals that were great scholars, let him take Epaminondas the Theban, or Xenophon the Athenian; whereof the one was the first that abated the power of Sparta, and the other was the first that made way to the overthrow of the monarchy of Persia. And this concurrence is yet more visible in times than in persons, by how much an age is a greater object than a man. For both in Egypt, Assyria, Persia, Græcia, and Rome, the same times that are most renowned for arms, are likewise most admired for learning, so that the greatest authors and philosophers, and the greatest captains and governors have lived in the same ages. Neither can it otherwise be: for as in man the ripeness of strength of the body and mind cometh much about an age, save that the strength of the body cometh the more early: so in states Arms and Learning, whereof the one correspondeth to the body, the other to the soul of man, have a concurrence or near sequence in times.

And for matter of Policy and Government, that learning should rather hurt, than enable thereunto, is a thing very improbable: we see it is accounted an error to commit a natural body to empiric physicians, which commonly have a few pleasing receipts whereupon they are confident and adventurous, but know neither the causes of diseases, nor the complexions of patients, nor peril of accidents, nor the true method of cures: we see it is a like error to rely upon advocates or lawyers, which are only men of practice and not grounded in their books, who are many times easily surprised when matter falleth out besides their experience, to the prejudice of the causes they handle:

; so by like reason it cannot be but a matter of doubtful consequence if states be managed by empiric Statesmen, not well mingled with men grounded in learning. But contrariwise, it is almost without instance contradictory that ever any government was disastrous that was in the hands of learned governors. For howsoever it hath been ordinary with politic men to extenuate and disable learned men, by the names of Pedantes; yet in the records of time it appeareth, in many particulars, that the governments of princes in minority (notwithstanding the infinite disadvantage of that kind of state) have nevertheless excelled the government of princes of mature age, even for that reason which they seek to traduce, which is, that by that occasion the state hath been in the hands of Pedantes; for so was the state of Rome for the first five years, which are so much magnified, during the minority of Nero, in the hands of Seneca, a Pedanti; so it was again, for ten years' space or more, during the minority of Gordianus the younger, with great applause and contentation in the hands of Misitheus, a Pedanti: so was it before that, in the minority of Alexander Severus, in like happiness, in hands not much unlike, by reason of the rule of the women, who were aided by the teachers and preceptors. Nay, let a man look into the government of the bishops of Rome, as, by name, into the government of Pius Quintus, and Sextus Quintus, in our times, who were both at their entrance esteemed but as pedantical friars, and he shall find that such popes do greater things, and proceed upon truer principles of estate, than those which have ascended to the papacy from an education and breeding in affairs of estate and courts of princes; for although men bred in learning are perhaps to seek in points of convenience and accommodating for the present, which the Italians call Ragioni di stato, whereof the same Pius Quintus could not hear spoken

with patience, terming them inventions against religion and the moral virtues; yet on the other side, to recompense that, they are perfect in those same plain grounds of religion, justice, honor, and moral virtue, which if they be well and watchfully pursued, there will be seldom use of those other, no more than of physic in a sound or well dieted body. Neither can the experience of one man's life furnish examples and precedents for the events of one man's life: for, as it happeneth sometimes that the grandchild, or other descendant, resembleth the ancestors more than the son; so many times occurrences of present times may sort better with ancient examples than with those of the latter or immediate times; and lastly, the wit of one man can no more countervail learning than one man's means can hold way with a common purse.

And as for those particular seducements, or indispositions of the mind for policy and government, which Learning is pretended to insinuate; if it be granted that any such thing be, it must be remembered withal, that Learning ministereth in every of them greater strength of medicine or remedy than it offereth cause of indisposition or infirmity. For if by a secret operation it make men perplexed and irresolute, on the other side by plain precept it teacheth them when and upon what ground to resolve; yea, and how to carry things in suspense without prejudice, till they resolve; if it make men positive and regular, it teacheth them what things are in their nature demonstrative, and what are conjectural, and as well the use of distinctions and exceptions, as the latitude of principles and rules. If it mislead by disproportion or dissimilitude of examples, it teacheth men the force of circumstances, the errors of comparisons, and all the cautions of application; so that in all these it doth rectify more effectually than it can pervert. And these medicines it conveyeth into men's minds much more forcibly by the quickness and penetration of examples. For let a man look into the errors of Clement the seventh, so lively described by Guicciardine, who served under him, or into the errors of Cicero, painted out by his own pencil in his Epistles to Atticus, and he will fly apace from being irresolute. Let him look into the errors of Phocion, and he will beware how he be obstinate or inflexible. Let him but read the fable of Ixion, and it will hold him from

being vaporous or imaginative. Let him defend the possession of the mind against look into the errors of Cato the second, idleness and pleasure, which otherwise at and he will never be one of the Antipodes, unawares may enter to the prejudice of to tread opposite to the present world. both.

And for the conceit that Learning should Again for that other conceit that Learndispose men to leisure and privateness, and ing should undermine the reverence of laws make men slothful; it were a strange thing and government, it is assuredly a mere deif that which accustometh the mind to a pravation and calumny, without all shadow perpetual motion and agitation should in- of truth. For to say that a blind custom duce slothfulness: whereas contrariwise it of obedience should be a surer obligation may be truly affirmed, that no kind of men than duty taught and understood, it is to love business for itself but those that are affirm, that a blind man may tread surer learned; for other persons love it for profit, by a guide than a seeing man can by a as a hireling, that loves the work for the light. And it is without all controversy, wages; or for honor, as because it beareth that learning doth make the minds of men them up in the eyes of men, and refresheth gentle, generous, maniable, and pliant to their reputation, which otherwise would government; whereas ignorance makes them wear; or because it putteth them in mind churlish, thwart, and mutinous: and the of their fortune, and giveth them occasion

evidence of time doth clear this assertion, to pleasure and displeasure; or because it considering that the most barbarous, rude, exerciseth some faculty wherein they take

and unlearned times have been most subject pride, and so entertaineth them in good to tumults, seditions, and changes. humor and pleasing conceits towards them- It taketh away the wildness and barbarselves; or because it advanceth any other

ism and fierceness of men's minds. . . . It their ends. So that, as it is said of untrue taketh away all levity, temerity, and insovalors, that some men's valors are in the

lency, by copious suggestion of all doubts eyes of them that look on; so such men's and difficulties, and acquainting the mind to industries are in the eyes of others, or at

balance reasons on both sides, and to turn least in regard of their own designments :

back the first offers and conceits of the only learned men love business as an action

mind, and to accept of nothing but examaccording to nature, as agreeable to health

ined and tried. It taketh away vain admiof mind as exercise is to health of body,

ration of anything, which is the root of all taking pleasure in the action itself, and not

weakness: for all things are admired either in the purchase: for that of all men they

because they are new, or because they are are the most indefatigable, if it be towards

great. For novelty, no man that wadeth in any business which can hold or detain their

learning or contemplation thoroughly, but mind.

will find that printed in his heart Nil novi And that Learning should take up too

super terram. Neither can any man marvel much time or leisure; I answer, the most

at the play of puppets, that goeth behind

the curtain, and adviseth well of the motion. active or busy man that hath been or can

And for magnitude, as Alexander the Great, be, hath, no question, many vacant times of

after that he was used to great armies, and leisure, while he expecteth the times and re

the great conquests of the spacious provturns of business (except he be either tedi

inces in Asia, when he received letters out ous and of no dispatch, or lightly and un

of Greece, of some fights and services there, worthily ambitious to meddle in things that which were commonly for a passage or a may be better done by others): and then the

fort, or some walled town at the most, he question is but how these spaces and times

said, It seemed to him that he was adverof leisure shall be filled and spent; whether

tised of the Battle of the Frogs and the in pleasures or in studies; as was well an

Mice, that the old tales went of. So cerswered by Demosthenes to his adversary tainly, if a man meditate much upon the Æschines, that was a man given to pleasure, universal frame of nature, the earth with and told him, That his orations did smell men upon it (the divineness of souls erof the lamp: Indeed (said Demosthenes) cept,) will not seem much other than an there is a great difference between the ant-hill, whereas some ants carry corn, and things that you and I do by lamp-light. So some carry their young, and some go empty, as no man need doubt that learning will ex- and all to-and-fro a little heap of dust. It pulse business, but rather it will keep and taketh away or mitigateth fear of death, or

« PreviousContinue »