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with matter; and judgement will grow, as years grow in you. Be humble and obedient to your master; for unless you frame yourself to obey others, yea, and feel in yourself what obedience is, you shall never be able to teach others how to obey you, Be courteous of gesture, and affable to all men, with diversity of reverence according to the dignity of the person. There is nothing, that winneth so much with so little cost. Use moderate diet, so as after your meat you may find your wit fresher and not duller, and your body more lively and not more heavy.* Seldom drink wine; and yet sometimes do: lest, being enforced to drink upon the sudden, you should find yourself inflamed. Use exercise of body, but such as is without peril of your joints or bones. It will increase your force, and enlarge your breath. Delight to be cleanly, as well in all parts of your body, as in your garments. It shall make you grateful in each company, and otherwise loathsome. Give yourself to be merry; for you degenerate from your father, if you find not yourself most able in wit and body to do any thing, when you be most merry: but let your mirth be ever void of all scurrility and biting words to any man; for a wound given by a word is oftentimes
*If ever you expect to have a sound body, as well as a sound mind, carefully avoid intemperance: the most temperate and sober persons are subject to sickness and diseases; but the intemperate can never be long without them.' (Hale.)
+ The Rechabites were commanded by their father not to drink wine; and they obeyed it, and had a blessing for it. My command to you is not so strict. I allow you the moderate use of wine and strong drink at your meats: I only forbid you the excess, or the unnecessary use of it, and those places and companies and artifices, that are temptations to it.' (Hale.)
harder to be cured, than that which is given with the sword. Be you rather a hearer and bearer away of other men's talk, than a beginner or procurer of speech; otherwise you shall be counted to delight to hear yourself speak.* If you hear a wise sentence, or an apt phrase, commit it to your memory, with respect to the circumstance when you shall speak it. Lét never oath be heard to come out of your mouth, nor word of ribaldry; detest it in others: so shall custom make to yourself a law against it in yourself.† Be modest in each assembly, and rather be rebuked of light fellows for maiden-like shamefacedness, than of your sad friends for pert boldness. Think upon
*He, that cannot refrain from much speaking, is like a city without walls; and less pains in the world a man cannot take, than to hold his tongue. Therefore, if thou observest this rule in all assemblies, thou shalt seldom err: restrain thy choler; hearken much, and speak little for the tongue is the instrument of the greatest good and greatest evil, that is done in the world." (Ralegh.)
You will particularly practise that first and greatest rule for pleasing in conversation, as well as for drawing instruction and improvement from the company of one's superiors in age and knowledge; namely, to be a patient, attentive, and well-bred hearer, and to answer with modesty.' Pythagoras injoined his scholars an absolute silence for a long noviciate. I am far from approving such a taciturnity: but I highly recommend the end and intent of Pythagoras' injunction; which is, to dedicate the first parts of life more to hear and learn, than to be presuming, prompt, and flippant in hazarding one's own rude notions of things.' (Lord Chatham's Letters to his Nephew.')
+Avoid swearing in your ordinary communication, unless called to it by the magistrate; and not only the grosser oaths, but imprecations, earnest and deep protestations. As you have the commendable example of good men to justify a solemn oath before a magistrate, so you have the precept of our Saviour for bidding it otherwise.' (Hale.)
Be not over-earnest, loud, or insolent in talking, for it is
every word that you will speak, before you utter it; and remember how nature hath rampired up as it were the tongue with teeth, lips, yea, and hair without the lips, and all betokening reins or bridles for the loose use of that member.* Above all things, tell no untruth, no not in trifles. The custom of it is naught and let it not satisfy you, that for a time the hearers take it for a truth; for after, it will be known as it is, to your shame: for there cannot be a greater reproach to a gentleman, than to be accounted a liar. Study and endeavour yourself to be virtuously occupied; so shall you make such an habit of well doing in you, that you shall not know how to do evil,
unseemly; and earnest and loud talking makes you overshoot and lose your business: when you should be considering and pondering your thoughts, and how to express them significantly to the purpose, you are striving to keep your tongue going, and to silence an opponent, not with reason but with noise. (Hale.)
* You have two eyes and two ears, but one tongue: you know my meaning. The last you may imprison, as nature hath already done with a double fence, and lips; or else she may imprison you. According to our countryman Mr. Hoskyn's advice, when he was in the Tower,
Vincula da linguæ, vel tibi vincla dabit.'
+Let your speech be true, never speaking any thing for a truth, which you know or believe to be false. It is a great sin against God, that gave you a tongue to speak your mind, and not to speak a lie: it is a great offence against humanity itself; for, where there is no truth, there can be no safe society between man and man: and it is an injury to the speaker; for beside the bare disreputation it casts upon him, it doth in time bring a man to that baseness of mind, that he can scarcely tell how to tell a truth, or to avoid lying even when he hath no colour or necessity for it: and in time he comes to such a pass, that as another man cannot believe he tells a truth, so he himself
though you would. Remember, my son, the noble blood you are descended of by your mother's side: and think, that only by virtuous life and good actions you may be an ornament to that illustrious family; and, otherwise, through vice and sloth you shall be counted labes generis, one of the greatest curses that can happen to man.
Well, my little Philip, this is enough for me, and too much I fear for you. But, if I shall find that this light meal of digestion nourish any thing the weak stomach of your young capacity, I will, as I find the same grow stronger, feed it with tougher food. "Your loving father, so long as you live in the fear of God,
From his uncle the Earl of Leicester's letter to Archbishop Parker in 1569, requesting a licence to allow young Sidney to eat flesh in Lent, it may be inferred that his health was delicate. This did not, however, prevent him from completing his education at Oxford, where he was placed in the course of that year, under the tuition of Dr. Thomas Thornton, a very learned man, characterised as the common refuge for young poor scholars of great hopes and parts,' and distinguished as the preceptor, the benefactor, and the friend of William Camden.
In the same year likewise, in order most pro
scarcely knows when he tells a lie. And observe it, a lie ever returns with discovery and shame at the last.' (Hale.)
found a liar; for a lying
Take heed also, that thou be not spirit is hateful both to God and man. A liar is, commonly, a coward; for he dares not avow truth. He is trusted of no man; he can have no credit, neither in public nor private.' (Ralegh.)
bably to unite the rival interests of two illustrious families, Leicester, with the approbation of the parents on both sides, projected his nephew's marrying Anne, the eldest daughter of Sir William Cecil: but, possibly from the tender age of the parties themselves, the arrangement was not realised. His public disputation with Mr. Carew, subsequently author of the Survey of Cornwall,' and his friendly and flattering attention to Camden, are recorded as highly honourable to his academical career.*
"It has been justly remarked," observes Dr. Zouch, "that the interval between the ages of sixteen and one and twenty years-a period, at which the cares of a common education cease, or are much relaxed-is that precise season of life, which requires all the attention of the most vigilant, and all the address of the wisest governors." With Mr. Sidney it did not pass away unimproved. He cultivated not one art, or one science, but the whole circle of arts and sciences; his capacious and comprehensive mind aspiring to pre-eminence in every part of knowledge attainable by men, of genius or industry. "Such, indeed," we are told by Fuller, "was his appetite for learning, that he could never be fed fast enough therewith; and so quick and strong his digestion, that he soon turned it into wholesome nourishment, and thrived healthily thereon." To him every invention was communicated, and from him received it's appropriate encouragement and reward. There was not (says Greville) a cunning painter,
* For some time he appears also to have pursued his studies at the sister-university, where he had an opportunity of consolidating with his relation Mr. Fulke Greville, the friendship, which had already commenced between them at school.