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3. With equals be ceremonious, with inferiors familiar; but
make yourself cheap with no one. 4. In supporting another be careful to assert your own
(a.) Giving your meaning to his opinion, or
(6.) Following him only upon some condition. 5. Be careful not to be too perfect in compliment.' 6. Let your behaviour be, like your dress, easy and be
LIII.-OF PRAISE. (1612, enlarged 1625.) PRAISE is the reflection of Virtue ; but it is glass, or body, which giveth the reflection. If it be from the common people, it is commonly false and naught, and rather followeth vain persons than virtuous : for the common people understand not many excellent Virtues: the lowest Virtues draw Praise from them, the middle Virtues work in them astonishment or admiration ;2 but of the highest Virtues they have no sense or perceiving at all; but shows and species virtutibus similes,3 serve best with them. Certainly, Fame is like a river, that beareth up things light and swollen, and drowns things weighty and solid; but if persons of quality 4 and judgment concur, then it is (as the Scripture saith), 'Nomen bonum instar unguenti fragrantis; '5 it filleth all round about, and will not easily away ; 6 for the odours of ointments are more durable than those of flowers.
There be so many false points of Praise, that a man may justly hold it a suspect. Some Praises proceed merely of flattery; and if he be an ordinary flatterer, he will have certain common attributes, which may serve every man ; if he be a cunning flatterer, he will follow the arch-flatterer, which is a man's self, and wherein a man thinketh best of himself, therein the flatterer will uphold him most: but if he be an impudent flatterer, look ! 10 wherein a man is conscious to himself that he is most defective, and is most out of countenance 11 in himself, that will the flatterer entitle him to, perforce, 12
spretà conscientia.13 Some Praises come of good wishes and respects,14 which is a form due in civility to kings and great persons, laudando præcipere ; 15 when by telling men what they are, they represent to them what they should be. Some men are praised maliciously to their hurt, thereby to stir envy and jealousy towards them; * Pessimum genus inimicorum laudantium ;'16 insomuch as it was a proverb amongst the Grecians, that,' he that was praised to his hurt, should have a push 17 rise upon his nose;' as we say, that a blister will rise upon one's tongue that tells a lie. Certainly, moderate praise, used with opportunity, and not vulgar, is that which doth the good. Salomon saith, 'He that praiseth his friend aloud, rising early, it shall be to him no better than a curse.' 18 Too much magnifying of man or matter doth irritate 19 contradiction, and procure envy and scorn.
To praise a man's self cannot be decent, except it be in rare cases; but to praise 20 a man's office or profession, he may do it with good grace, and with a kind of magnanimity. The Cardinals of Rome, which are Theologues, 21 and Friars, and Schoolmen, have a phrase of notable contempt and scorn towards civil business; for they call all temporal business of wars, embassages, judicature, and other employments, 'sbirrerie,' which is under-sheriffries, as if they were but matters for undersheriffs and catchpoles ; 22 though many times those under-sheriffries do more good than their high speculations. St Paul, when he boasts of himself, he doth oft interlace, ' I speak like a fool ; ' 23 but speaking of his calling, he saith, Magnificabo apostolatum meum.' 24
NOTES ON ESSAY LIII.
1. "glass, or body.' He means that just as the appearance pre
sented by the reflection of an object depends upon the character of the mirror or other surface which reflects it, so praise varies not only according as the person who is praised varies, but rather according to the character of the person who praises. In the next sentence he goes on to show that
praise coming through the medium of common people'is
often distorted, 'false and naught.' admiration'-wonder. See also note 7, Essay XXIV. 3. 'Appearances resembling virtues.' 4. quality'-noble birth. See also note 37, Essay XV. 5. “A good name is like sweet-smelling ointment.' He is quoting
from Eccles. vii, 1, but the words in our Authorised Version
are, ' A good name is better than precious ointment.' 6. "away'—for go away. The omission of the verb is not unusual, as in the expression 'Whither away?' for ' Where are you
'Love hath wings and will away'-WALLER. It is also used idiomatically for let us go, and for the imperative begone. It is also used as almost equivalent to the word tolerate : 'I cannot away with such treatment' means 'I cannot bear it,' or 'go with it,' just as by another idiom
we should say, 'I cannot abide it. 7. "a suspect '-i.e. a suspected thing. See also note 15, Essay
XXIV. 8. serve?-be applicable to. 9. 'arch-flatterer." So also in Essay XXVII, he says,
is as much difference between the counsel that a friend giveth, and that a man giveth himself, as there is between the counsel of a friend and of a flatterer : for there is no such flatterer as
is a man's self.' 10. “look!'-used interjectionally, like lo! mark you! behold! 11. 'out of countenance'-ashamed of himself; conscious of short
perforce'-forcing his flattery on you against your own will. 13. '(Your own) conscience condemning (you, while he flatters).' 14. respects. The word is here used as in the preceding essay,
not in Bacon's usual sense, but for deference, esteem. 15. • To instruct by praising.'. 16. • The worst kind of enemies are those who flatter.' He is pro
bably king of what Tacitus says of Agricola : 'Causa periculi non crimen ullum aut querela læsi cujusquam, sed infensus virtutibus princeps, et gloria viri, ac pessimum inimi
corum genus, laudantes ’ - Agricola, 41. 17. push '-pimple. 18. Prov. xxvii, 14: 'He that blesseth his friend with a loud voice,
rising early in the morning, it shall be counted a curse to
him. 19. 'irritate'
- we use the word provoke, 1.6. call forth. to praise'-as regards praising. Theologues'—theologians. We have the same suffix in
pedagogue. 22. catchpoles '-perhaps more properly spelt catch-polls. This
was a name of unpopularity and contempt, like our bum
bailiff, for a sergeant or menial officer whose business it was to arrest offenders and drag them off to prison-by the head or poll, as the name implies.
But there is some authority for the spelling catchpole ; for a law-officer when going to arrest formerly carried with him a pole with a barbarous apparatus at the end for catching his victim ; the apparatus was readily slipped round the neck, and strong springs immediately tightened it, so that the prisoner was garrotted. See Chambers's Book of Days,
vol. ii, p. 365. 23. 2. Cor. xi, 23. 24. 'I will magnify my apostleship.' He alludes to Rom. xi, 13,
where the words in our version are : ‘Inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office.'
ANALYSIS OF ESSAY LIII.
I. Praise is a mere reflection of virtue :
1. Therefore it is modified by the character of the one who
praises. 2. Thus the praise of ' common people' is often worthless,
(a.) Praise highly the lowest virtues.
(c.) Cannot understand the highest virtues. II. Praise being a suspicious thing, it is well to notice its marks :
1. Praises from flattery are
(a.) Ordinary. (6.) Cunning.
(c.) Impudent. 2. Praises from real respect may be instructive to the person
praised. 3. Praises from malice are often ruinous. 4. Self-praise is indecent, but praise of one's office often has
LIV.—OF VAIN GLORY. (1612.) It was prettily devised of Æsop,--the fly sat upon the axle-tree of the chariot-wheel, and said, 'What a dust do I raise !' So are there some vain persons, that, whatsoever goeth alone,2 or moveth upon greater means,3 if they have
never so little hand in it, they think it is they that carry it. They that are glorious 5 must needs be factious; for all bravery 6 stands upon comparisons. They must needs be violent to make good their own vaunts; neither can they be secret, and therefore not effectual ;? but according to the French proverb, 'Beaucoup de bruit, peu de fruit;'-'much bruit,8 little fruit.'
Yet, certainly, there is use of this quality in civil affairs : where there is an opinion 10 and fame to be created, either of Virtue or greatness, these men are good trumpeters. Again, as Titus Livius noteth, in the case of Antiochus and the Ætolians, 11 there are sometimes great effects of cross lies; a man that negotiates between two princes, to draw them to join in a war against the third, doth extol the forces of either of them above measure, the one to the other : and sometimes he that deals between man and man, raiseth his own credit with both, by pretending greater interest 13 than he hath in either; and in these, and the like kinds, it often falls out, that somewhat is produced of nothing; for lies are sufficient to breed opinion, and opinion brings on substance.
In Military Commanders and Soldiers, Vain Glory is an essential point; for as iron sharpens iron, so by glory, one courage sharpeneth another. In cases of great enterprise upon charge and adventure, 14 a composition 15 of glorious natures doth put life into business; and those that are of solid and sober natures, have more of the ballast than of the sail. In fame of learning, the flight will be slow without some feathers of ostentation : ' Qui de contemnendâ gloriâ libros scribunt, nomen suum inscri
Socrates, Aristotle, Galen,17 were men full of ostentation : certainly, Vain Glory helpeth to perpetuate a man's memory; and Virtue was never so beholden to human nature, as it received his due at the second
Neither had the Fame of Cicero, Seneca, Plinius Secundus, 19 borne her 20 age so well if it had not been joined with some vanity in themselves; like unto varnish, that makes seelings 21 not only shine, but last.