Imatges de pàgina
PDF
EPUB

OF DELAYS, AND OF CUNNING.

" hoc agere.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

are but familiar meetings, where matters are to be deceived with too long shadows (as soine rather talked on than debated ; and they run have been when the moon was low and shone too swift to the order or act of council. It on their enemy's back), and so to shoot off bewere better that in causes of weight the matter fore their time; or to teach dangers to come were propounded one day and not spoken to on by over-early buckling towards them is antill next day ; "in nocte consilium :” so was other extreme. The ripeness or unripeness of it done in the commission of union between the occasion (as we said) must ever be well England and Scotland, which was a grave and weighed ; and generally it is good to commit orderly assembly. I commend set days for the beginnings of all great actions to Argos petitions ; for both it gives the suitors more with his hundred eyes, and the ends to Bri. certainty for their attendance and it frees the areus with his hundred hands ; first to watch, meetings for matters of estate, that they may and then to speed; for the helmet of Pluto,

In choice of committees for which maketh the politic man to go invisible, ripening business for the council, it is better to is secrecy in council, and celerity in execution choose indifferent persons than to make an in for when things are once come to the execudifferency by putting in those that are strong tion, there is no secrecy comparable to celerity; on both sides. I commend also standing like the motion of a bullet in the air, which commissions ; as for trade, for treasure, for flieth so swift as it outruns the eye. war, for suits, for some provinces ; for where there be divers particular councils, and but one council of estate (as it is in Spain),

OF CUNNING. they are, in effect, no more than standing We take cunning for a sinister or crooked commissions, save that they have greater au wisdom ; and certainly there is a great differthority. Let such as are to inform councils ence between a cunning man and a wise man, out of their particular professions (as lawyers, not only in point of honesty, but in point of seamen, mintmen, and the like), be first heard ability. There be that can pack the cards, before committees; and then, as occasion serves, and yet cannot play well; so that there are before the council; and let them not come in some that are good in canvasses and factions, multitudes, or in a tribunitious manner; for that are otherwise weak men. Again, it is that is to clamour councils, not to inform them. one thing to understand persons, and another A long table and a square table, or seats about thing to understand matters ; for many are the walls, seem things of form, but are things perfect in men's humours, that are not greatly of substance; for at a long table a few at the capable of the real part of business, which is upper end, in effect, sway all the business; but the constitution of one that hath studied men in the other form there is more use of the more than books. Such men are fitter for counsellors' opinions that sit lower. A king, practice than for counsel, and they are good when he presides in council, let him beware but in their own alley: turn them to new men, how he opens his own inclination too much in and they have lost their aim: so as the old that which he propoundeth; for else counsel rule, to know a fool from a wise man, “ Mitte lors will but take the wind of him, and in ambos nudos ad ignotos, et videbis," doth stead of giving free counsel, will sing him a scarce hold for them; and, because these cun. song of “ placebo."

ning men are like haberdashers of small wares, it is not amiss to set forth their shop.

It is a point of cunning to wait upon him OF DELAYS.

with whom you speak with your eye, as the FORTUNE is like the market, where many Jesuits give it in precept; for there be many times, if you can stay a little, the price will wise men who have secret hearts and transfall; and, again, it is sometimes like a Sibylla's parent countenances : yet this would be done offer, which at first offereth the commodity at with a demure abasing of your eye sometimes, full, then consumeth part and part, and still as the Jesuits also do use. holdeth up the price ; for occasion (as it is in Another is, that when you have any thing the common verse) turneth a bad noddle after to obtain of present dispatch, you entertain she hath presented her locks in front, and no and amuse the party with whom you deal with hold taken ; or, at least, turneth the handle some other discourse, that he be not too much of the bottle first to be received, and after the awake to make objections. I knew a counbelly which is hard to clasp. There is surely sellor and secretary, that never came to Queen no greater wisdom than well to time the be. Elizabeth of England with bills to sign, but ginnings and onsets of things. Dangers are he would always first put her into some disno more light, if they once seem light; and course of state, that she might less mind the more dangers have deceived men than forced bills. them : nay, it were better to meet some dan The like surprise may be made by moving

way, though they come nothing near, things when the party is in haste, and cannot than to keep too long a watch upon their ap stay to consider advisedly of that is moved. proaches; for if a man watch too long, it is If a man would cross a business that Ire odds he will fall asleep. On the other side, doubts some other would do handsomely and

gers half

22

OF WISDOM FOR A MAN'S SELF.

effectually move, let him pretend to wish it matter passed between two, to make it appear well, and move it himself, in such sort as may from which of them it first moved and began. soil it.

It is a way that some men have, to glance The breaking off in the midst of that one and dart at others by justifying themselves

by was about to say, as if he took himself up, negatives; as to say, “This I do not ;' as Tibreeds a greater appetite in him, with whom gellinus did towards Burrhus, “ se non diver. you confer, to know more.

sas spes, sed incolumitatem imperatoris sim, And because it works better when any thing pliciter spectare.” seemeth to be gotten from you by question, Some have in readiness so many tales and than if you offer it of yourself, you may lay a stories, as there is nothing they would insi. bait for a question, by showing another visage nuate, but they can wrap it into a tale; which and countenance than you are wont; to the serveth both to keep themselves more on guard, end, to give occasion for the party to ask what and to make others carry it with more pleasure. the matter is of the change, as Nehemiah did, It is a good point of cunning for a man to “And I had not before that time been sad be shape the answer he would have in his own fore the king."

words and propositions ; for it makes the other In things that are tender and unpleasant, party stick the less. it is good to break the ice by some whose It is strange how long some men will lie in words are of less weight, and to reserve the wait to speak somewhat they desire to say ; more weighty voice to come in as if by chance, and how far about they will fetch, and how 80 that he may be asked the question upon many other matters they will beat over to come the other's speech ; as Narcissus did, in relat near it: it is a thing of great patience, but yet ing to Claudius the marriage of Messalina

of much use. and Silius.

A sudden, bold, and unexpected question In things that a man would be seen in him. doth many times surprise a man, and lay him self, it is a point of cunning to borrow the open. Like to him, that, having changed his name of the world; as to say, “ The world name, and walking in Paul's, another sud. says," or, “ There is a speech abroad.” denly came behind him and called him by his

I knew one that, when he wrote a letter, he true name, whereat, straightway he looked would put that which was most material in back. the postcript, as if it had been a bye matter. But these small wares and petty points of

I knew another that, when he came to have cunning are infinite, and it were a good deed speech, he would pass over that that he intended to make a list of them; for that nothing doth most: and go forth and come back again, and more hurt in a state than that cunning men speak of it, as a thing he had almost forgot.

pass for wise. Some procure themselves to be surprised at But certainly some there are that know the such times as it is like the party that they resorts and falls of business, that cannot sink work upon will suddenly come upon them, and into the main of it; like a house that hath be found with a letter in their hand, and doing convenient stairs and entries, but never a fair somewhat which they are not accustomed, to room: therefore you shall see them find out the end they may be opposed of those things pretty looses in the conclusion, but are no which of themselves they are desirous to utter. ways able to examine or debate matters : and

It is a point of cunning, to let fall those yet commonly they take advantage of their words in a man's own name which he would inability, and would be thought wits of di. have another man learn and use, and there rection. Some build rather upon the abusing upon take advantage. I knew two that were of others, and (as we now say) putting tricks competitors for the secretary's place in Queen upon them, than upon the soundness of their Elizabeth's time, and yet kept good quarter be own proceedings : but Solomon saith, “ Prutween themselves, and would confer one with dens advertit ad gressus suos: stultus divertit another upon the business, and one of them ad dolos.” said, that to be a secretary in the declination of a monarchy was a ticklish thing, and that he did not affect it: the other straight caught

OF WISDOM FOR A MAN'S SELF. up those words, and discoursed with divers of An ant is a wise creature for itself, but it is his friends, that he had no reason to desire to a shrewd thing in an orchard or garden ; and be secretary in the declining of a monarchy. certainly men that are great lovers of them. The first man took hold of it, and found means selves waste the public. Divide with reason it was told the queen; who, hearing of a de between self-love and society; and be só true clination of monarchy, took it so ill, as she to thyself, as thou be not false to others, eśm would never after hear of the other's suit. pecially to thy king and country. It is a

There is a cunning, which we in England poor centre of man's actions, himself. It call “ T'he turning of the cat in the pan;" is right earth; for that only stands fast upon which is, when that which a man says to an his own centre ; whereas all things that have other, he lays as if another had said it to him; affinity with the heavens move upon the and, to say truth, it is not easy,

when such a centre of another, which they benefit The

OF INNOVATIONS, AND OF DISPATCH. referring of all to a man's self is more tole at first. Surely every medicine is an inno. rable in a sovereign prince, because them. vation, and he that will not apply new reme. selves are not only themselves, but their good dies must expect new evils ; for time is the and evil are at the peril of the public fortune : greatest innovator; and if time of course but it is a desperate evil in a servant to a alter things to the worse, and wisdom and prince, or a citizen in a republic; for what counsel shall not alter them to the better, soever affairs pass such a man's hands, he what shall be the end ? It is true, that what crooketh them to his own ends: which must is settled by custom, though it be not good, needs be often eccentric, to the ends of his yet at least it is fit; and those things which master or state : therefore let princes or states have long gone together are, as it were, conchoose such servants as have not this mark ; federate within themselves; whereas new except they mean their service should be things piece not so well; but, though they made but the accessary. That which maketh help by their utility, yet they trouble by their the effect more pernicious is, that all propor- inconformity: besides, they are like strangers, tion is lost; it were disproportion enough for more admired, and less favoured. All this the servant's good to be preferred before the is true, if time stood still ; which, contrarimaster's; but yet it is a greater extreme, wise, moveth so round, that a froward retenwhen a little good of the servant shall carry tion of custom is as turbulent a thing as an things against the great good of the master's : innovation ; and they that reverence too much and yet that is the case of bad officers, trea old times are but a scorn to the new. It surers, ambassadors, generals, and other false were good, therefore, that men, in their inand corrupt servants ; which set a bias upon novations, would follow the example of time their bowl, of their own petty ends and en itself, which indeed innovateth greatly, but vies, to the overthrow of their master's great quietly, and by degrees scarce to be perceived; and important affairs: and, for the most part, for otherwise, whatsoever is new is unlooked the good such servants receive is after the for ; and ever it mends some, and pairs others; model of their own fortune ; but the hurt and he that is holpen takes it for a fortune, they sell for that good is after the model of and thanks the time; and he that is hurt, their master's fortune : and certainly it is for a wrong, and imputeth it to the author. the nature of extreme self-lovers, as they will It is good also not to try experiments in set a house on fire, and it were but to roast states, except the necessity be urgent, or the their eggs ; and yet these men many times utility evident; and well to beware that it hold credit with their masters, because their be the reformation that draweth on the study is but to please them, and profit them change, and not the desire of change that selves; and for either respect they will aban pretendeth the reformation : and lastly, that don the good of their affairs.

the novelty, though it be not rejected, yet be Wisdom for a man's self is, in many held for a suspect; and, as the scripture branches thereof, a depraved thing: it is the saith, “ That we make a stand upon the anwisdom of rats, that will be sure to leave a cient way, and then look about us, and disa house sometime before it fall : it is the wis cover what is the straight and right way, and dom of the fox, that thrusts out the badger so to walk in it." who digged and made room for him: it is the wisdom of crocodiles, that shed tears when they would devour. But that which is

OF DISPATCH.

specially to be noted is, that those which (as AFFECTED dispatch is one of the most danCicero says of Pompey) are,

66 sui amante,

gerous things to business that can be : it is sine rivali,” are many times unfortunate; like that which the physicians call predigesand whereas they have all their time sacri tion, or hasty digestion ; which is sure to ficed to themselves, they become in the end fill the body full of crudities, and secret themselves sacrifices to the inconstancy of seeds of diseases: therefore measure not disfortune, whose wings they thought by their patch by the time of sitting, but by the ad. self-wisdom to have pinioned.

vancement of the business: and as, in races, it not the large stride, or high lift, that

makes the speed; so, in business, the keepOF INNOVATIONS.

ing close to the matter, and not taking of it As the births of living creatures at first are too much at once, procureth dispatch. It is ill shapen, so are all innovations, which are the care of some only to come off speedily the births of time ; yet notwithstanding, as for the time, or to contrive some false periods those that first bring honour into their fa of business, because they may seem men of mily are commonly more worthy than most dispatch : but it is one thing to abbreviate that succeed, so the first precedent (if it be by contracting, another by cutting off ; and good) is seldom attained by imitation ; for business so handled at several sittings, or ill tó man's nature, as it stands perverted, meetings, goeth commonly backward and forhath a natural motion strongest in continu ward in an unsteady manner. I knew a wise ance; but good, as a forced motion, strongest man, that had it for a bye-word, when he saw

24

OF SEEMING WISE, AND OF FRIENDSHIP.

men hasten to a conclusion, “ Stay a little, but denying the power thereof;": so certainly that we may make an end the sooner.

there are in points of wisdom and sufficiency, On the other side, true dispatch is a rich that do nothing or little very solemnly : thing ; for time is the measure of business, " magno conatu nugas.” It is a ridiculous as money is of wares ; and business is bought thing, and fit for a satire to persons of judg. at a dear hand where there is small dispatch. ment, to see what shifts these formalists have, The Spartans and Spaniards have been noted and what prospectives to make superfices to to be of small dispatch: “ Mi venga la mu seem body that hath depth and bulk. Some erte de Spagna;' “ Let my death come are so close and reserved, as they will not from Spain,” for then it will be sure to be show their wares but by a dark light, and long in coming.

seem always to keep back somewhat; and Give good hearing to those that give the when they know within themselves they speak first information in business, and rather di. of that they do not well know, would never. rect them in the beginning than interrupt theless seem to others to know of that which them in the continuance of their speeches; they may not well speak. Some help themfor he that is put out of his own order will go selves with countenance and gesture, and are forward and backward, and be more tedious wise by signs ; as Cicero saith of Piso, that while he waits upon his memory, than he when he answered him he fetched one of his could have been if he had gone on in his own brows up to his forehead, and bent the other course; but sometimes it is seen that the mo. down to his chin; “ respondes, altero ad derator is more troublesome than the actor. frontem sublato, altero ad mentum depresso

Iterations are commonly loss of time; but supercilio, crudelitatem tibi non placere.' there is no such gain of time as to iterate Some think to bear it by speaking a great often the state of the question ; for it chaseth word, and being peremptory, and go on, and * away many a frivolous speech as it is coming *ake by admittance that which they cannot forth. Long and curious speeches are as fit make good. Some, whatsoever is beyond for dispatch, as a robe, or mantle, with a their reach, will seern to despise, or make long train, is for a race. Prefaces, and pas- light of it, as impertinent or curious, and so sages, and excusations, and other speeches of would have their ignorance seem judgment. reference to the person, are great wastes of Some are never without a difference, and comtime; and though they seem to proceed of monly by amusing men with a subtlety, modesty, they are bravery. Yet beware of blanch the matter ; of whom A. Gellius being too material when there is any impedi- saith “ hominem delirium, qui verborum, ment, or obstruction, in men's wills; for minutiis rerum frangit pondera.” Of which preoccupation of mind ever requireth preface kind also Plato, in his Protagoras, bringeth of speech, like a fomention to make the un. in Prodicus in scorn, and maketh him make guent enter.

a speech that consisteth of distinctions from Above all things, order, and distribution, the beginning to the end. Generally such and singling out of parts, is the life of dis men, in all deliberations, find ease to be of patch ; so as the distribution be not too sub the negative side, and affect a credit to object tile: for that doth not divide will never enter and foretell difficulties ; for when propositions well into business; and he that divideth too are denied, there is an end of them ; but if much will never come out of it clearly. To they be allowed, it requireth a new work ; choose time is to save time; and an unseason which false point of wisdom is the bane of able motion is but beating the air. There be business. To conclude, there is no decayingthree parts of business, the preparation ; the merchant, or inward beggar, hath so many debate, or examination ; and the perfection; tricks to uphold the credit of their wealth, as whereof, if you look for dispatch, let the these empty persons have to maintain the middle only be the work of many, and the credit of their sufficiency. Seeming wise men first and last the work of few. The proceed. may make shift to get opinion; but let no ing upon somewhat conceived in writing doth man choose them for employment; for cerfor the most part facilitate dispatch: fortainly, you were better take for business a though it should be wholly rejected, yet that man somewhat surd than over-formal. negative is more pregnant of direction than an indefinite, as ashes are more generative than dust.

OF FRIENDSHIP.

It hath been hard for him that spake it, to OF SEEMING WISE.

have put more truth and untruth together in

few words than in that speech, “Whosoever It hath been an opinion, that the French is delighted in solitude is either a wild beast are wiser than they seem, and the Spaniards or a god :" for it is most true, that a natural seem wiser than they are: but howsoever it and secret hatred and aversion towards sobe between nations, certainly it is so between ciety, in any man, hath somewhat of the man and man; for, as the apostle saith of savage beast: but it is most untrue, that it godliness, “ Having a show of godliness, should have any character at all of the divine

[blocks in formation]

nature, except it proceed, not out of a plea- them in the same manner, using the word sure in solitude, but out of a love and desire which is received between private men. to sequester a man's self for a higher conver L. Sylla, when he commanded Rome, raised sation : such as is found to have been falsely Pompey (after surnamed the Great) to that and feignedly in some of the heathens ; as height, that Pompey vaunted himself for Epimenides, the Candian ; Numa, the Ro- Sylla's overmatch ; for when he had carried man; Empedocles, the Sicilian; and Apol- the consulship for a friend of his, against the lonius of Tyana ; and truly and really in pursuit of Sylla, and that Sylla did a little divers of the ancient hermits and holy fathers resent thereat, and began to speak great, of the church. But little do men perceive Pompey turned upon him again, and in effect what solitude is, and how far it extendeth ; bade him be quiet ; for that more men adored for a crowd is not company, and faces are the sun rising than the sun setting. With but a gallery of pictures, and talk but a Julius Cæsar, Decimus Brutus had obtained tinkling cymbal where there is no love. The that interest, as he set him down in his testaLatin adage meeteth with it a little: “magna ment for heir in remainder after his nephew; civitas, magna solitudo;” because in a great and this was the man that had power with town friends are scattered, so that there is him to draw him forth to his death: for when not that fellowship, for the most part, which Cæsar would have discharged the senate, in is in less neighbourhoods : but we may go regard of some ill presages, and specially a. farther, and affirm most truly, that it is a dream of Calpurnia, this man lifted him gently mere and miserable solitude to want true by the arm out of his chair, telling him he friends, without which the world is but a hoped he would not dismiss the senate till his wilderness ; and even in this scene also of wife had dreamed a better dream; and it solitude, whosoever in the frame of his na seemed his favour was so great as Antonius, ture and affections is unfit for friendship, he in a letter which is recited verbatim in one of taketh it of the beast, and not from hu Cicero's Philippics, called him “ venefica," manity.

-- witch ;" as if he had enchanted Cæsar. A principal fruit of friendship is the ease Augustus raised Agrippa (though of mean and discharge of the fulness of the heart, birth) to that height, as, when he consulted which passions of all kinds do cause and in Mæcenas about the marriage of his daughter duce. We know diseases of stoppings and Julia, Mæcenas took the liberty to tell him, suffocations are the most dangerous in the that he must either marry his daughter to body; and it is not much otherwise in the Agrippa, or take away his life: there was no mind ; you may take sarza to open the liver, third way, he had made him so great. With steel to open the spleen, flower of sulphur Tiberius Cæsar, Sejanus had ascended to that for the lungs, castoreum for the brain ; but height, as they two were termed and reckoned no receipt openeth the heart but a true friend, as a pair of friends. Tiberius, in a letter to to whom you may impart griefs, joys, fears, him, saith,“ hæc pro amicitia nostra non ochopes, suspicions, counsels, and whatsoever cultavi;" and the whole senate dedicated an lieth upon the heart to oppress it, in a kind altar to friendship, as to a goddess, in respect of civil shrift or confession.

to the great dearness of friendship between It is a strange thing to observe how high a

them two.

The like, or more, was between rate great kings and monarchs do set upon Septimius Severus and Plautianus; for he this fruit of friendship whereof we speak : so forced his eldest son to marry the daughter of great, as they purchase it many times at the Plautianus, and would often maintain Plauhazard of their own safety and greatness : tianus in doing affronts to his son; and did for princes, in regard of the distance of their write also, in a letter to the senate, by these fortune from that of subjects and servants, words : " I love the man so well as I wish cannot gather this fruit, except (to make he may overlive me.” Now, if these princes themselves capable thereof) they raise some had been as a Trajan, or a Narcus Aurelius, persons to be as it were companions, and al a man might have thought that this had promost equals to themselves, which many times ceeded of an abundant goodness of nature ; sorteth to inconvenience. The modern lan but being men so wise, of such strength and guages give unto such persons the name of severity of mind, and so extreme lovers of favourites, or privadoes, as if it were matter themselves, as all these were, it proveth, of grace, or conversation ; but the Roman Inost plainly, that they found their own feliname attaineth the true use and cause thereof, city (though as great as ever happened to naming them “participes curarum ;" for it mortal men) but as a halfpiece, except they is that which tieth the knot: and we see might have a friend to make it entire; and plainly that this hath been done, not by weak yet, which is more, they were princes that and passionate princes only, but by the wisest had wives, sons, nephews; yet all these could and most politic that ever reigned, who have not supply the comfort of friendship. oftentimes joined to themselves some of their It is not to be forgotten what Comineus ob. servants, whom both themselves have called serveth of his first master, Duke Charles the friends, and allowed others likewise to call Hardy, namely, that he would communicate

« AnteriorContinua »