« ZurückWeiter »
sarily a ruưe remark, but one which is irrelevant, not per
taining to the subject in hand. 7. bills of charges '-items of expense. 8. because '-in order that. 9. except’-take exception, disagree, deny. 16. humorous'-capricious, whimsical, eccentric. The word
here refers to any humour : in modern days, however, we
have restricted its signification to a playful humour. II. 'as they will go near -that they will almost. 12. "condition'-state of life (i.e. they are unmarried).
The reader will doubtless be reminded of the exception of Macduff in Shakespeare's Macbeth, who deserted his wife and children, and fled to England:
Why in that rawness left you wife and child
Those precious motives, those strong knots of love ?' 13. Churchmen'-clergymen. Bacon, like Queen Elizabeth,
was in favour of the celibacy of the clergy. The meaning of the illustration Bacon uses, is that a married clergyman must devote his means mainly to his family, ('pool'), while a celibate can distribute it in charitable help to others (' water
the ground'). 14. indifferent'-of no consequence either way. He means that
if a judge is himself easy to be influenced in his administration, and open to bribes, it makes little difference whether he is married or single, for in the one case his wife, in the other some one of his servants, will encourage the corruption and benefit by it. In most cases, however, he says, a corrupt servant is more mischievous than a wife who takes
bribes. 15. 'for'—preposition=as regards (not the conjunction for=be
cause). 16. hortatives '-addresses, exhortations. 17. exhaust'—for exhausted. It appears to have been a rule,
naturally suggested by euphony, that when a verb ended in
*These things, indeed, you have articulate'-1 Henry IV.
'An ingraft infirmity'--Othello.
19. mistresses'--i.e., as we should say, sweethearts.
He means that the wife is valued in early wedded days for love, later on for companionship, and at last for her care and attendance in infirmity. 80 as '—so that. quarrel'-pretext, excuse. So also in Essay XXIX: “The Turk hath at hand for cause of war the propagation of his
law or sect, a quarrel that he may always command.' 22. one of the wise men.' He refers to Thales (about B.C. 640
to 545), one of the so-called seven wise men of Greece. The story is preserved of him both by Diogenes Laertius (i, 26), and by Plutarch (Symp. Probl., iii, 6), that being urged by his mother, but against his own will, to marry, he put her off by saying that it was too soon; and afterwards
when she renewed her importunities, he said it was too late. 23. • this '-i.e. that wives take a pride in their patience. If
against advice and entreaty a good wife has married a bad husband, she will never complain of it, for that would be to acknowledge and expose her own previous folly.
ANALYSIS OF ESSAY VIII.
1. By increasing risk it deters from 'great enterprises.'
perhaps, however, not so with soldiers. II. Argument for marriage, viz., that it is a 'discipline of humanity.' III. Probable issue of marriage (surmising that there is always a
pretext for it):
IX.—OF ENVY. (1625.) THERE be none of the affections which have been notedi to fascinate or bewitch but Love and Envy: 2 they both have vehement wishes; they frame themselves readily into imaginations and suggestions; and they come easily into the eye, especially upon the presence of the objects which are the points that conduce to fascination, if any such thing there be. We see, likewise, the Scripture calleth envy an evil eye,' and the astrologers call the evil influences4 of the stars evil aspects ;5 so that still 6 there seemeth to be acknowledged, in the act of Envy, an ejaculation, or irradiation of the eye: nay, some have been so curious 8 as to note that the times, when the stroke or percussion of an envious eye doth most hurt, are, when the party envied is beheld in glory or triumph ; for that sets an edge upon Envy; and besides, at such times, the spirits of the person envied do come forth most into the outward parts, and so meet the blow.
But leaving these curiosities (though not unworthy to be thought on in fit place), we will handle what persons are apt to envy others, what persons are most subject to be envied themselves, and what is the difference between public and private Envy.
A man that hath no virtue in himself ever envieth virtue in others, for men's minds will either feed upon their own good or upon others' evil; and who wanteth the one will prey upon the other; and whoso is out of hope to attain to another's virtue will seek to come at even hando by depressing another's fortune.
A man that is busy 10 and inquisitive is commonly envious; for to know much of other men's matters cannot be because all that ado 11 may concern his own estate ; therefore it must needs be that he taketh a kind of play-pleasure 12 in looking upon the fortunes of others : neither can he that mindeth but his own business find much matter for Envy; for Envy is a gadding passion, and walketh the streets, and doth not keep home: 'Non est curiosus, quin idem sit malevolus.'13
Men of noble birth are noted to be envious towards new men when they rise, for the distance is altered ; and it is like a deceit 14 of the eye, that when others come on they think themselves back.
Deformed persons and eunuchs, and old men and bastards, 15 are envious; for he that cannot possibly mend
his own case will do what he can to impair another's; except these defects light upon a very brave and heroical nature, which thinketh to make his natural wants part of his honour; in that 16 it should be said, “ That a eunuch, or a lame man, did such great matters,' affecting the honour of a miracle: as it was in Narses 17 the eunuch, and Agesilaus and Tamerlane, that were lame men.
The same is the case of men that rise after calamities and misfortunes; for they are as men fallen out 18 with the times, and think other men's harms a redemption of their own sufferings.
They that desire to excel in too many matters, out of levity 19 and vain-glory, are ever envious, for they cannot want work: it being impossible, but many, in some one of those things, should surpass them ; which was the character of Adrian 20 the emperor, that mortally envied poets and painters, and artificers in works, wherein he had a vein 21 to excel.
Lastly, near kinsfolk and fellows in office, and those that have been bred together, are more apt to envy their equals when they are raised; for it doth upbraid unto them their own fortunes, and pointeth at them, and cometh oftener into their remembrance, and incurreth likewise more into the note 22 of others; and Envy ever redoubleth from speech and fame. Cain's envy was the more vile and malignant towards his brother Abel, because when his sacrifice was better accepted, there was nobody to look on.23 Thus much for those that are apt to Envy.
Concerning those that are more or less subject to Envy: First, persons of eminent virtue, when they are advanced, are less envied, for their fortune seemeth but due unto them; and no man envieth the payment of a debt, but rewards and liberality rather. Again, Envy is ever joined with the comparing of a man's self; and where there is no comparison, no Envy; and therefore kings are not envied but by kings. Nevertheless, it is to be noted that unworthy persons are most envied at their first coming in, and afterwards overcome it better; whereas,
contrariwise, persons of worth and merit are most envied when their fortune continueth long; for 24 by that time, though their virtue be the same, yet it hath not the same lustre ; for fresh men grow up that darken it.
Persons of noble blood are less envied in their rising ; for it seemeth but right done to their birth : besides, there seemeth not so much added to their fortune; and Envy is as the sunbeams, that beat hotter upon a bank or steep rising ground than upon a flat; and, for the same reason, those that are advanced by degrees are less envied than those that are advanced suddenly, and per saltum.2
Those that have joined with their honour great travels, 28 cares, or perils, are less subject to Envy; for men think that they earn their honours hardly, and pity them sometimes; and pity ever healeth Envy: wherefore
shall observe, that the more deep and sober sort of politic persons, in their greatness, are ever bemoaning themselves what a life they lead, chanting a quanta patimur, 27 not that they feel it so, but only to abate the edge of Envy ; but this is to be understood of business that is laid upon men, and not such as they call unto themselves;28 for nothing increaseth Envy more than an unnecessary and ambitious engrossing of business; and nothing doth extinguish Envy more than for a great person to preserve all other inferior officers in their full rights and pre-eminences of their places; for, by that means, ther
be so many screens between him and Envy.
Above all, those are most subject to Envy which carry the greatness of their fortunes in an insolent and proud manner, being never well but while they are showing how great they are, either by outward pomp or by triumphing over all opposition or competition : whereas wise men will rather do sacrifice to Envy, in suffering themselves, sometimes of purpose, ,29 to be crossed 30 and overborne in things that do not much concern them.31 Notwithstanding, so much is true, that the carriage 32 of greatness in a plain and open manner (so it be without arrogancy