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NOTES ON ESSAY LI.
1. He means that the best way to rule is not to have too much
regard to factions, but to try to carry those measures of public advantage (general') as to which opposing factions are agreed; or else to act in such a way as to conciliate and
manage particular individuals. 2. •Mean'-low-born, low in station. For the same advice as
Bacon gives here, see also note 39, Essay XI. 3. "beginners'- -men who are beginning to rise; men who have
yet to make their way to fortune.
Bacon means that although a rising man is obliged to side himself with a party so as to secure his own interests, yet he should carefully avoid joining an extreme party, but should ally himself with one that is moderate, and holds some views
in common with other parties. 4. 'giveth best way'—is a better means of ensuring success; make
the way to fortune more open. We still use the expression
to make way for to get on, to be fortunate. 5. 'firmer in conjunction'-holds more compactly and strictly to
its professed opinions (and is therefore more likely to become
strong). 6. stiff'-obstinately consistent. 7. •Lucullus.' Lucius Licinius Lucullus (B.C. 115-57) was a
famous Roman consul and general, who distinguished him. self in the Social War, and in the wars against Mithridates and Tigranes. At length, however, he was thwarted in his military designs by a mutiny of his soldiers, and was deprived of his command, and recalled to Rome. In his political life he was regarded as the friend and champion of the senate, while Pompey and Cæsar, whom he opposed, were identified
with the cause of the people. 8. cashiered'-dismissed, deprived of office. 9. He shows no rigour or power except when opposing others,
but is unable to take command himself. 10. placed'—successful in obtaining a position of honour or
emolument. II. take in'-take up, become friendly. 12. bolike '-probably, perhaps, in all likelihood. 13. purchase '—something more to be gained or acquired. 14. 'it.' The pronoun is used without any determined antecedent,
and it is necessary to substitute some such words as honour, glory, etc. He means that when two opposing factions are evenly balanced, a man who deserts one for the other is sure to gain glory, because his loss to the one side and his gain to the other destroys the balance, and he gets all the credit for the victory which his coming over causes.
15. casteth them'-gives the preponderance to one side. We
have this use of the word in the expression 'casting vote.' 16. "trueness to a man's self'-consistent selfishness. 17. ' As though he were one of ourselves.' 18. "the League.' See note 16, Essay XV. 19. proper’-belonging to themselves. See note 3, Essay VII. 20. primum mobile.'
See note 19, Essay XV; and note 9, Essay XVII.
ANALYSIS OF ESSAY LI.
1. No part of good government.
3. And even by them only moderately. II. General truths with regard to factions: 1. Low and weak factions are often strong and become
ruin of the other.
(a.) Lucullus against Pompey and Cæsar.
(a.) Become great men; or,
(6.) Are 'ciphers and cashiered.' 3. Successful men often desert the factions by means of
which they rose; and generally this is a safe plan for
getting further advancement.
4. Neutrality is often a sign of selfishness. III. Kings ought not to side with factions, but to keep their own
power like 'primum mobile.'
LII._OF CEREMONIES AND RESPECTS.
(1597, enlarged 1625.) He that is only real, had need have exceeding great parts of Virtue; as the stone had need to be rich that is set without foil;1 but if a man mark it well, it is in praise and commendation of men, as it is in gettings and gains : for the proverb is true, that ' Light gains make heavy purses;'
for light gains come thick, whereas great come but now and then : so it is true, that small matters win great commendation, because they are continually in use and in note : whereas the occasion of any great Virtue cometh but on Festivals; therefore it doth much add to a man's reputation, and is (as Queen Isabella 2 said) like perpetual letters commendatory, to have good forms.3
To attain them it almost sufficeth not to despise them; for so shall a man observe them in others; and let him trust himself with the rest; for if he labour too much to express them, he shall lose their grace; which is to be natural and unaffected. Some men's behaviour is like a verse, wherein every syllable is measured; how can a man comprehend great matters, that breaketh his mind too much to small observations ? Not to use Ceremonies at all, is to teach others not to use them again ;5 and so diminisheth respect to himself; especially they be not to be omitted to strangers and formal Natures ; 6 but the dwelling upon them, and exalting them above the moon, is not only tedious, but doth diminish the faith and credit of him that speaks; and, certainly, there is a kind of conveying of effectual and imprinting passages amongst compliments, which is of singular use, if a man can hit
Amongst a man's peers, a man shall be sure of familiarity; and therefore it is good a little to keep state: amongst a man's inferiors, one shall be sure of reverence; and therefore it is good a little to be familiar. He that is too much in anything, so that he giveth another occasion of satiety, maketh himself cheap. To apply one's self to others, is good; so it be with demonstration that a man doth it upon regard and not upon facility.8 It is a good precept generally in seconding another, yet to add somewhat of one's own: as if
you will grant his opinion, let it be with some distinction; if you will follow his motion, let it be with condition; if you allow his counsel, let it be with alleging further reason.
Men had need beware how they be too perfect in compliments;' for be they never so sufficient otherwise,
their enviers will be sure to give them that attribute, 10 to the disadvantage of their greater virtues. It is loss also in business to be too full of respects, 11 or to be too curious 12 in observing times and opportunities. Salomon saith, 'He that considereth the wind shall not sow, and he that looketh to the clouds shall not reap.' 13 A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds. Men's behaviour should be like their apparel, not too strait 14 point de Vice, 15 but free for exercise or motion.
NOTES ON ESSAY LII.
1. .foil'-adornment. It is a term used in jewellery to denote
either the thin leaf (French feuille, Latin folium) of metal placed under precious stones to increase their brilliancy, or something of another colour near which jewels were set so as to increase their brilliancy by contrast.
*As she a black silk cap on him began
To set for foil of his milk-white to serve'-SIDNEY,
*The sullen passage of thy weary steps
2. Queen Isabella' of Castile, A.D. 1451-1504.
-manners. So we say of some act of bad manners that it is in bad form; and we speak of the form of a player at cricket or of a rider.
The earth was without form and void'-Gen. i, 2. . He hath no form nor comeliness '-Isa. liii, 2.
4. He means that for the acquirement of good manners all that is
necessary is to observe them in others, by which means they will be acquired naturally and unaffectedly; while if a man tries to behave well, the very effort will be a constraint that must prevent him from behaving well. In demeanour, ease
and natural behaviour is everything. 5. again'-towards your own self. Latin 'erga te. 6. .formal Natures' —men who stand upon ceremony, and attach
great importance to forms. So Shakespeare (As. You Like It, II, vii) describes the Justice as
With eyes severe, and beard of formal cut,
And so Laertes of Polonius (Hamlet, IV, iv):
His obscure funeral,
7. too much in anything '--too much addicted to one course of
conduct and behaviour. 8. •facility'-selfish motives; desire to promote one's own
interests. See note 33, Essay XI.
He means that it is a good thing to seek to conciliate others so long as you make it apparent that you do this solely out of regard for them, and not because you hope to get anything out of them. The following sentence is intended to exemplify and enforce this statement, and means if you wish it to be apparent that your conduct proceeds from real respect, and not from servility, be careful, even when giving support, to assert your independence by qualifying that
support by some distinction or condition. 9. too perfect in compliments'—having such a reputation for
being complimentary as to be considered nothing more than
a flatterer. 10. that attribute'-the character of being mere flatterers. II. respects'-deference. This, as in the title of the essay, is
an unusual use of the word. See note 34, Essay XI, and
note 6, Essay XIV. 12. "curious '—careful, precise, particular. 13. Eccles. xi, 4: 'He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and
he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap.' 14. strait' ---strict, precise, probably with a notion of tight-fitting. 15. point de Vice'—very precise; exact in the extreme. The
origin of the term is very uncertain, but it appears to have been the name of a lace of very fine pattern; point-lace is fine lace wrought with a needle.
ANALYSIS OF ESSAY LII.
I. Good manners are of constant use, and like perpetual letters of
recommendation. II. Rules for good manners:
1. They should be acquired chiefly from observing them in
others, so that they may be natural and unaffected. 2. To disregard them yourself breeds discourtesy in others;
to be excessively particular about them breeds suspicion.