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adverse fortune; which is one of the great- | divine, and most immersed in the senses, est impediments of virtue, and imperfec- and denied generally the immortality of the tions of manners. For if a'man's mind be soul, yet came to this point, that whatsoever deeply seasoned with the consideration of motions the spirit of man could act and perthe mortality and corruptible nature of form without the organs of the body, they things, he will easily concur with Epictetus, thought might remain after death, which who went forth one day and saw a woman were only those of the understanding, and weeping for her pitcher of earth that was not of the affection: so immortal and incorbroken; and went forth the next day and ruptible a thing did knowledge seem unto saw a woman weeping for her son that was them to be. But we, that know by divine dead, and thereupon said: Heri vidi fra- revelation that not only the understanding gilem frangi, hodie vidi mortalem mori. but the affections purified, not only the spirit
Lastly, leaving the vulgar arguments, that but the body changed, shall be advanced to by learning man excelleth man in that immortality, do disclaim in these rudiments wherein man excelleth beasts; that by learn- of the senses. ing ‘man ascendeth to the heavens and their motions, where in body he cannot come, and
2. Some Defects in Learning the like; let us conclude with the dignity Another error is an impatience of doubt and excellency of knowledge and learning and haste to assertion without due and main that whereunto man's nature doth most ture suspension of judgment. For the two aspire, which is, immortality or continu- ways of contemplation are not unlike the ance: for to this tendeth generation, and two ways of action commonly spoken of by raising of houses and families; to this tend the ancients; the one plain and smooth in buildings, foundations, and monuments; to the beginning, and in the end impassable; this tendeth the desire of memory, fame, and the other rough and troublesome in the encelebration, and in effect the strength of all trance, but after a while fair and even. So other human desires. We see then how far it is in contemplation; if a man will begin the monuments of wit and learning are more with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but durable than the monuments of power or of if he will be content to begin with doubts, the hands. For have not the verses of he shall end in certainties. Homer continued twenty-five hundred years, Another error is in the manner of the or more, without the loss of a syllable or tradition and delivery of knowledge, which letter; during which time, infinite palaces, is for the most part magistral and peremptemples, castles, cities, have been decayed tory, and not ingenuous and faithful; in a and demolished? It is not possible to have sort as may be soonest believed, and not the true pictures or statues of Cyrus, Alex- easiliest examined. It is true, that in comander, Caesar; no, nor of the kings or great pendious treatises for practice that form personages of much later years; for the is not to be disallowed: but in the true hanoriginals cannot last, and the copies cannot dling of knowledge, men ought not to fall but leese of the life and truth. But the either on the one side into the vein of Velimages of men's wits and knowledges remain leius the Epicurean: Nil tam metuens, quam in books, exempted from the wrong of time, ne dubitare aliqua de re videretur; nor on and capable of perpetual renovation. Nei- the other side into Socrates his ironical ther are they fitly to be called images, be- doubting of all things; but to propound cause they generate still, and cast their seeds things sincerely with more or less asseverain the minds of others, provoking and caus- tion, as they stand in a man's own judgment ing infinite actions and opinions in succeed- proved more or less. ing ages: so that, if the invention of the Other errors there are in the scope that ship was thought so noble, which carrieth men propound to themselves, whereunto riches and commodities from place to place, they bend their endeavors; for whereas the and consociateth the most remote regions in more constant and devote kind of profesparticipation of their fruits, how much more sors of any science ought to propound to are letters to be magnified, which, as ships, themselves to make some additions to their pass through the vast seas of time, and science, they convert their labors to aspire make ages so distant to participate of the to certain second prizes : as to be a profound wisdom, illuminations, and inventions the interpreter or commenter, to be a sharp one of the other? Nay further, we see champion or defender, to be a methodical some of the philosophers which were least compounder or abridger; and so the patrimony of knowledge cometh to be sometimes vanity only, or as a bondwoman, to acquire improved, but seldom augmented.
and gain to her master's use; but as a But the greatest error of all the rest is spouse, for generation, fruit, and comthe mistaking or misplacing of the last or fort. farthest end of knowledge: for men have Amongst so many great foundations of entered into a desire of learning and knowl- colleges in Europe, I find it strange that edge, sometimes upon a natural curiosity they are all dedicated to professions, and and inquisitive appetite; sometimes to en- rone left free to arts and sciences at large. tertain their minds with variety and de- For if men judge that learning should be light; sometimes for ornament and reputa- referred to action, they judge well; but in tion; and sometimes to enable them to vic
this they fall into the error described in tory of wit and contradiction; and most the ancient fable, in which the other parts times for lucre and profession; and seldom of the body did suppose the stomach had sincerely to give a true account of their
been idle, because it neither performed the gift of reason, to the benefit and use of
office of motion, as the limbs do, nor of men: as if there were sought in knowledge
sense, as the head doth; but yet, notwitha couch whereupon to rest a searching and
standing, it is the stomach that digesteth restless spirit; or a tarrasse, for a wander- and distributeth to all the rest : so if any. ing and variable mind to walk up and down man think philosophy and universality to with a fair prospect; or a tower of state, for a proud mind to raise itself upon; or a
be idle studies, he doth not consider that all fort or commanding ground, for strife and
professions are from thence served and sup
plied. And this I take to be a great cause contention; or a shop, for profit or sale;
that hath hindered the progression of learnand not a rich storehouse, for the glory of
ing, because these fundamental knowledges the Creator and the relief of man's estate.
have been studied but in passage. For if But this is that which will indeed dignify and exalt knowledge, if contemplation and
you will have a tree bear more fruit than
it hath used to do, it is not anything you action may be more nearly and straitly conjoined and united together than they have
can do to the boughs, but it is the stirring
of the earth and putting new mould about been; a conjunction like unto that of the two highest planets, Saturn, the planet of
the roots that must work it. Neither is it rest and contemplation, and Jupiter, the
to be forgotten, that this dedicating of foun
dations and dotations to professory learnplanet of civil society and action: howbeit, I do not mean, when I speak of use and
ing hath not only had a malign aspect and
influence upon the growth of sciences, but action, that end before-mentioned of the
hath also been prejudicial to states and applying of knowledge to lucre and profession; for I am not ignorant how much
governments. For hence it proceedeth that that diverteth and interrupteth the prose
princes find a solitude in regard of able cution and advancement of knowledge, like
men to serve them in causes of state, be
cause there is no education collegiate which unto the golden ball thrown before Ata
is free; where such as were so disposed lanta, which while she goeth aside and
might give themselves to histories, modern stoopeth to take up, the race is hindered;
languages, books of policy and civil disDeclinat cursus, aurumque volubile course, and other the like enablements unto tollit.
service of estate. Neither is my meaning, as was spoken of Socrates, to call philosophy down from
3. Of the Architecture of Fortune heaven to converse upon the earth; that is to The opinion of Aristotle seemeth to me a leave natural philosophy aside, and to ap- negligent opinion, that of those things ply knowledge only to manners and policy. which consist by nature nothing can be But as both heaven and earth do conspire changed by custom; using for example, that and contribute to the use and benefit of if a stone be thrown ten thousand times up, man; so the end ought to be, from both it will not learn to ascend; and that by philosophies to separate and reject vain often seeing or hearing, we do not learn speculations, and whatsoever is empty and to see or hear the better. For though this void, and to preserve and augment what principle be true in things wherein nature soever is solid and fruitful: that knowledge is peremptory (the reason whereof iwe canmay not be as a courtesan, for pleasure and not now stand to discuss), yet it is other
wise in things wherein nature admitteth a latitude. For he might see that a strait glove will come more easily on with use; and that a wand will by use bend otherwise than it grew; and that by use of the voice we speak louder and stronger; and that by use of enduring heat or cold, we endure it the better, and the like: which latter sort have a nearer resemblance unto that subject of manners he handleth, than those instances which he allegeth. But allowing his conclusion, that virtues and vices consist in habit, he ought so much the more to have taught the manner of superinducing that habit: for there be many precepts of the wise ordering the exercises of the mind, as there is of ordering the exercises of the body; whereof we will recite a few. · The first shall be, that we beware we take not at the first either too high a strain, or too weak: for if too high, in a diffident nature you discourage, in a confident nature you breed an opinion of facility, and so a sloth; and in all natures you breed a farther expectation than can hold out, and so an insatisfaction in the end: if too weak on the other side, you may not look to perform and overcome any great task.
Another precept is, to practice all things chiefly at two several times, the one when the mind is best disposed, the other when it is worst disposed; that by the one you may gain a great step, by the other you may work out the knots and stonds of the mind, and make the middle times the more easy and pleasant.
Another precept is, that which Aristotle mentioneth by the way, which is to bear ever towards the contrary extreme of that whereunto we are by nature inclined; like unto the rowing against the stream, or making a wand straight by bending him contrary to his natural crookedness.
Another precept is, that the mind is brought to anything better, and with more sweetness and happiness, if that whereunto you pretend be not first in the intention, but tanquam aliud agendo, because of the natural hatred of the mind against necessity and constraint. Many other axioms there are touching the managing of exercise and custom; which being so conducted doth prove indeed another nature; but being governed by chance doth commonly prove but an ape of nature, and bringing forth that which is lame and counterfeit. ...
But there is a kind of culture of the
mind that seemeth yet more accurate and elaborate than the rest, and is built upon this ground; that the minds of all men are at some times in a state more perfect, and at other times in a state more depraved. The purpose therefore of this practice is to fix and cherish the good hours of the mind, and to obliterate and take forth the evil. The fixing of the good hath been practiced by two means, vows or constant resolutions, and observances or exercises; which are not to be regarded so much in themselves, as because they keep the mind in continual obedience. The obliteration of the evil hath been practiced by two means, some kind of redemption or expiation of that which is past, and an inception or account de novo, for the time to come. But this part seemeth sacred and religious, and justly; for all good moral philosophy, as was said, is but a handmaid to religion.
Wherefore we will conclude with that last point, which is of all other means the most compendious and summary, and again, the most noble and effectual to the reducing of the mind unto virtue and good estate; which is the electing and propounding unto a man's self good and virtuous ends of his life, such as may be in a reasonable sort within his compass to attain. For if these two things be supposed, that a man set before him honest and good ends, and again, that he be resolute, constant, and true unto them; it will follow that he shall mould himself into all virtue at once. And this indeed is like the work of nature; whereas the other course is like the work of the hand. For as when a carver makes an image, he shapes only that part whereupon he worketh, (as if he be upon the face, that part which shall be the body is but a rude stone still, till such time as he comes to it;) but, contrariwise, when nature makes a flower or living creature, she formeth rudiments of all the parts at one time: so in obtaining virtue by habit, while a man practiceth temperance, he doth not profit much to fortitude, nor the like: but when he dedicateth and applieth himself to good ends, look, what virtue soever the pursuit and passage towards those ends doth commend unto him, he is invested of a precedent disposition to conform himself thereunto. ...
Wherein it may appear at the first a new and unwonted argument to teach men how to raise and make their fortune; a doctrine
wherein every man perchance will be ready est means to be best, when it should be the to yield himself a disciple, till he see the fittest. difficulty; for fortune layeth as heavy im- As for the true marshalling of men's purpositions as virtue; and it is as hard and suits towards their fortune, as they are severe a thing to be a true politique, as to more or less material, I hold them to stand be truly moral. But the handling hereof thus: first the amendment of their own concerneth learning greatly, both in honor minds. For the remove of the impediments and in substance: in honor, because prag- of the mind will sooner clear the passages matical men may not go away with an opin- of fortune, than the obtaining fortune will ion that learning is like a lark, that can remove the impediments of the mind. In mount, and sing, and please herself, and the second place, I set down wealth and nothing else; but may know that she holdeth means; which I know most men would have as well of the hawk, that can soar aloft, placed first, because of the general use and can also descend and strike upon the which it beareth towards all variety of ocprey: in substance, because it is the perfect casions. But that opinion I may condemn law of inquiry of truth, that nothing be in with like reason as Machiavel doth that the globe of matter, which should not be other, that moneys were the sinews of the likewise in the globe of crystal, or form; wars; whereas, saith he, the true sinews of that is, that there be not any thing in being the wars are the sinews of men's arms, that and action, which should not be drawn and is, a valiant, populous, and military nation: collected into contemplation and doctrine. and he voucheth aptly the authority of Neither doth learning admire or esteem of Solon, who, when Cræsus showed him his this architecture of fortune, otherwise than treasury of gold, said to him, that if another as of an inferior work: for no man's fortune came that had better iron, he would be can be an end worthy of his being; and master of his gold. In like manner it many times the worthiest men do abandon may be truly affirmed, that it is not their fortune willingly for better respects: moneys that are the sinews of fortune, but nevertheless fortune, as an organ of but it is the sinews and steel of men's virtue and merit, deserveth the considera- minds, wit, courage, audacity, resolution.
tion, temper, industry, and the like. In Another precept of this architecture of the third place I set down reputation, befortune is, to accustom our minds to judge cause of the peremptory tides and currents of the proportion or value of things, as it hath; which, if they be not taken in their they conduce and are material to our par- due time, are seldom recovered, it being ticular ends: and that to do substantially, extreme hard to play an after game of repuand not superficially. For we shall find the tation. And lastly, I place honor, which is logical part, as I may term it, of some more easily won by any of the other three, men's minds good, but the mathematical much more by all, than any of them can be part erroneous; that is, they can well judge purchased by honor. To conclude this preof consequences, but not of proportions cept, as there is order and priority in matand comparisons, preferring things of show ter, so is there in time, the preposterous and sense before things of substance and placing whereof is one of the commonest effect. So some fall in love with access to errors: while men fly to their ends when princes, others with popular fame and ap- they should intend their beginnings, and plause, supposing they are things of great do not take things in order of time as they purchase: when in many cases they are but come on, but marshal them according to matters of envy, peril, and impediment. So greatness, and not according to instance; some measure things according to the labor not observing the good precept, Quod nunc and difficulty, or assiduity, which are spent
instat agamus. about them; and think, if they be ever moving, that they must needs advance and
4. This Third Period of Time proceed; as Cæsar saith in a despising man- Thus have I concluded this portion of ner of Cato the second, when he describeth learning touching civil knowledge; and with how laborious and indefatigable he was to civil knowledge have concluded human philno great purpose; Hæc omnia magno studio osophy; and with human philosophy, philagebat. So in most things men are ready osophy in general. And being now at some to abuse themselves in thinking the great- pause, looking back into that I have passed IV. IDEAS OF THE STATE
through, this writing seemeth to me, si nunquam fallit imago, as far as man can judge of his own work, not much better than that uoise or sound which musicians make while they are tuning their instruments: which is nothing pleasant to hear, but yet is a cause why the music is sweeter afterwards: so have I been content to tune the instruments of the Muses, that they may play that have better hands. And surely, when I set before me the condition of these times, in which learning hath made her third visitation or circuit in all the qualities thereofas the excellency and vivacity of the wits of this age; the noble helps and lights which we have by the travails of ancient writers; the art of printing, which communicateth books to men of all fortunes; the openness of the world by navigation, which hath disclosed multitudes of experiments, and a mass of natural history; the leisure wherewith these times abound, not employing men so generally in civil business, as the states of Græcia did, in respect of their popu
larity, and the state of Rome, in respect of the greatness of their monarchy; the present disposition of these times at this instant to peace; the consumption of all that ever can be said in controversies of religion, which have so much diverted men from other sciences; the perfection of your Majesty's learning, which as a Phænix may call whole vollies of wits to follow you; and the inseparable propriety of time, which is ever more and more to disclose truth–I cannot but be raised to this persuasion that this third period of time will far surpass that of the Grecian and Roman learning: only if men will know their own strength, and their own weakness both; and take one from the other, light of invention, and not fire of contradiction; and esteem of the inquisition of truth as of an enterprise, and not as of a quality or ornament; and employ wit and magnificence to things of worth and excellency, and not to things vulgar and of popular estimation.
I am almoste ashamed, righte wellbeloved Peter Giles, to send unto you this boke of the Utopian commen wealth, welniegh after a yeres space, whiche I am sure you looked for within a moneth and a halfe. And no marveil. For you knewe well ynough that I was alreadye disbourdened of all the laboure and studye belongynge to the invention in this worke, and that I had no nede at al to trouble my braines about the disposition, or conveiaunce of the matter: and therfore had herein nothing els to do, but only to rehearse those thinges, whiche you and I together hard maister Raphael tel and declare. Wherefore there was no cause why I shuld study to set forth the matter with eloquence: forasmuch as his talke could not be fine and eloquent, beynge firste
not studied for, but suddein and unpremeditate, and then, as you know, of a man better sene in the Greke language, then in the latin tonge. And my writynge, the neigher it should approche to his homely plaine, and simple speche, somuche the niegher shuld it go to the trueth: which is the onelye marke, whereunto I do and ought to directe all my travail and study herin. I graunte and confesse, frende Peter, myselfe discharged of so muche laboure, havinge all these thinges ready done to my hande, that almooste there was nothinge left for me to do. Elles either the invention, or the disposition of this matter myghte have required of a witte neither base, neither at al unlearned, both some time and leasure, and also some studie. But if it were requisite, and necessarie, that the matter shoulde also have been wrytten eloquentlie, and not alone truelye: of a sueretie that thynge coulde I have perfourmed by no tyme nor studye. But now seynge all these cares, stayes, and lettes were taken awaye, wherein elles so muche laboure and studye shoulde have bene employed, and that there remayned no other thynge for me to do, but onelye to write playnelie the mat
1 The word means "nowhere." The selections are taken from the English translation, 1551. The first edition, in Latin, appeared in 1516.