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then inauspicious, disastrous—hence its meaning, which it bears in this passage, of wicked, dishonest, evil.
Crooked, in its moral sense, is the opposite of right, just as physically it is the opposite of straight. The straightforward path of duty is the right way to walk in; when a man departs from this way, and endeavours to obtain his end by improper means, we say he is following crooked courses.
In the next sentence Bacon says that cunning practices are
a mark not only of dishonesty but of inability. 4. “pack the cards —to arrange the cards fraudulently with the
view of securing the game. We still retain the word pack in its bad sense : to pack a jury; a pack of thieves ; a packed
assembly; to pack off (i.e. to send away unceremoniously). 5. canvasses and factions'-successes sought by soliciting indi.
viduals and forming parties, not by openly contesting great
questions and principles. 6. such men'—those who study and try to win over individual 7. 'alley'-i.e. bowling-alley. He means that there are some
bad players who can yet play bowls well on ground to which they are accustomed, but they soon manifest their want of skill when they have to play on strange ground. The word aim,' used immediately afterwards, bears out this explana
tion. 8. Send them both naked among strangers and you will see.' 9. • haberdashers'-i.e. small traders, petty retail dealers ; now
the word is restricted to linendrapers. The derivation of the word is doubtful ; it is said to have come from the habit of the Flemings who settled in England in the fourteenth century of standing at their shop-doors and accosting the passers-by with 'Haber das heer?'-'Will you take this, sir?'
Bacon's meaning is, Because these cunning men are like haberdashers, and deal in petty tricks, it will be well for me to
expose some of those tricks which they commonly keep in stock. 10. 'wait upon '-watch closely, observe narrowly. 11. Yet this ought to be done so as not to attract notice, but should
give place to an affectation of modesty and timidity if the person seems to suspect that he is being watched. present dispatch '-pressing importance. • Counsellor. He probably is referring to Walsingham, who
was both a Privy Councillor and Secretary of State to Queen Elizabeth, whom he served with arduous fidelity. He was a man of subtle policy, with agents and spies in almost every court; and it was said of him that he outdid the Jesuits in their own bow, and overreached them in their own equivo
cation.' 14. • discourse of estate'-conversation upon affairs of state. 15. 'mought'-obsolete form of might.
16. 'moving things '-bringing forward matters. 17. cross '—thwart. 18. took himself up'-checked himself. 19. •lay a bait'-set a trap, offer an enticement: bait is connected
with the verb bite. The reference is to Neh. ii, 1. tender'-delicate; requiring great care in handling,
Bacon illustrates his meaning by referring to Narcissus, who was a freedman of the Emperor Claudius and a servile panderer to his master's vices. Messalina, the wife of Claudius, formed a wicked attachment with Caius Silius, and compelled him to divorce his wife for her sake. Narcissus cautiously disclosed the matter to the emperor, and Silius
was put to death. 21. by-matter?--something not of material consequence.; some
thing beside the real object of the letter.
Notice that the sentence here used is ungrammatical, that and he being both nominatives to the verb would, and there
fore the latter of them unnecessary. 22. like '—likely. 23. 'work upon '-desire to entrap. 24. 'apposed '-questioned ; examined. The examiner, whose
business it is to put questions in the Court of Exchequer, is called the apposer.
An instance of the trick which Bacon here exposes is the conduct of Edmund, the bastard son of the Earl of Gloster,
in King Lear, I, ii. 25. kept good quarter'—kept on good terms.
See note 14, Essay X. 26. .cat in the pan'-i.e. the cate (or cake) in the frying-pan. The
allusion is to the dexterity of cooks, who turn pan.cates (pancakes) by tossing. The word cate is connected with cater, caterer (Fr. achater), juncate.
'Though my cates be mean, take them in good part'
-Shakespeare, Comedy of Errors, III, i.
27. 'That he did not have divergent aims, but looked solely to the
safety of the emperor.' The quotation is from Tacitus' Annals, xiv, 57:
Burrhus was prefect of the Prætorian Guards, and Tigelli
nus was an unprincipled minister and flatterer of Nero. 28. As we say, to put leading questions, ise. questions which suggest
their own answers. 29. 'fetch'-go round; 'beat about the bush.' 30.
• Paul's'-St Paul's Cathedral, which at this time was a common
place for promenade, gossip, and traffic. 31. resorts and falls '-devices to be resorted to and risks to be
avoid He means that many cunning men, knowing a few of the common devices and dangers of business, are enabled at first to command some success, but have no power of
general management. 32. 'find out pretty looses '.
3'-discharge from their bow at a venture some shafts which seen well aimed.
'Loose' is a name now obselete for discharge. 'In throwing a dart or javelin we force back our arms to make our loose
the stronger'-BEN JONSON. 33. wits of direction'-clever men able to direct others. 34. 'putting tricks upon_them'—imposing on them; playing
tricks. So in the Tempest, Stephano says, on first seeing Caliban, 'Do you put tricks upon's with savages and men of
Ind?' 35. 'The wise man gives heed to his own footsteps; the fool turns
aside to deceit'-—Prov. xiv, 15; Eccles. xiv, 2.
ANALYSIS OF ESSAY XXII.
I. Cunning is a sinister or crooked wisdom which deserves to be
1. Closely watching your hearer's features.
(a.) A mere postscript.
(c.) The disclosure of which seems to result from surprise. 10. Hurting your rival by
(a.) Leading him into some ill-judged remark.
to know which of you originated the mischief.
15. Trying to surprise by suddenness. III. All these petty tricks, however, do not constitute ability, and
the wise man avoids them.
XXIII.-OF WISDOM FOR A MAN'S SELF.
(1612, enlarged 1625.) An ant is a wise creature for itself, but it is a shrewd ? thing in an orchard 2 or garden; and certainly men that are great lovers of themselves waste the public. Divide with reason between Self-love and Society;3 and be so true to thyself as thou be not false to others, especially to thy king and country. It is a poor centre of a man's actions, himself. It is right earth; 4 for that only stands fast upon his own centre; whereas all things that have affinity with the heavens, move upon the centre of another, which they benefit. The referring of all to a man's self is more tolerable in a sovereign prince, because themselves are not only themselves, but their good and evil is at the peril of the public fortune ;6 but it is a desperate? evil in a servant to a prince, or a citizen in a republic; for whatsoever affairs pass such a man's hands, he crooketh them to his own ends, which must needs be often eccentric to 8 the ends of his master or state; therefore let princes or states choose such servants as have not this mark ;9 except they mean their service should be made but the accessary. That which maketh the effect more pernicious is, that all proportion is lost; it were disproportion enough for the servant's good to be preferred before the master's; but yet it is a greater extreme, when a little good of the servant shall carry thing3 against a great good of the master's :10 and yet that is the case of bad officers, treasurers, ambassadors, generals, and other false and corrupt servants; which set a bias upon their bowl,11 of their own petty ends and envies, to the overthrow of their master's great and important affairs : and, for the most part, the good such servants receive is after the model of their own fortune ; but the hurt they sell for that good is after the model of their master's fortune: and certainly it is the nature of extreme self-lovers, as they will set
house on fire, an it were but to roast their eggs; and yet these men many times
hold credit with their masters because their study is but to please them, and profit themselves; and for either respect they will abandon the good of their affairs.
Wisdom for a man's self is, in many branches thereof, a depraved thing : it is the wisdom of rats, that will be sure to leave a house somewhat before it fall : it is the wisdom of the fox, that thrusts out the badger who digged and made room for him : it is the wisdom of crocodiles, that shed tears when they would devour. But that which is specially to be noted is, that those which (as Cicero says of Pompey) are, sui amantes, sine rivali,' 13 many times unfortunate; and whereas they have all their times sacrificed to themselves, they become in the end themselves sacrifices to the inconstancy of Fortune, whose wings they thought by their self-wisdom to have pinioned.
NOTES ON ESSAY XXIII.
1. shrewd '-injurious, mischievous, vicious; it properly means
cursed, from the verb beshrew. So in Shakespeare : 'Her eldest sister is so cursed and shrewd.'
‘Beshrew thee, cousin, which did'st lead me forth
Of that sweet way I was in to despair'-SHAKESPEARE. 2. orchard'-i.e, wort-yard. Cf. vineyard. 3. Take carefully the mean between the two extremes of selfishness
Every man owes a duty to himself as well as a duty to others, nor is he a selfish man who looks rigidly after the preservation of what is due to himself. Religion and social economy give their sanction to both these duties : ' Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.' And in society we are all bound together so closely and our interests so interlace that it is perfectly true that the man who most earnestly consults his own interests, most efficiently secures, at the same time, those of the community at large. National prosperity is the aggregate of a number of instances of individual prosperity. Misers, beggars, and spendthrifts are alike the ants of society, and waste the public. Nothing which inflicts injury on the nation can be of permanent benefit to any person or class of persons in the nation, and selfishness consists in seizing our own benefit regardless of its ultimate effect upon the whole community. This has too often been the case in what are