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and vain-glory) doth draw less Envy than if it be in a more crafty and cunning fashion ; for in that 33 course a man doth but disavow Fortune, 34 and seemeth to be conscious of his own want in worth, and doth but teach others to envy him.
Lastly, to conclude this part, as we said in the beginning that the act of Envy had somewhat in it of witchcraft, so there is no other cure of Envy but the cure of witchcraft; and that is, to remove the lot 35 (as they call it), and to lay it upon another; for which purpose the wiser sort of great persons bring in ever upon the stage somebody upon whom to derive 36 the Envy that would come upon themselves; sometimes upon ministers and servants, sometimes upon colleagues and associates, and the like; and, for that turn, there are never wanting some persons of violent and undertaking37 natures, who, so they may have power and business, will take it at any cost.
Now, to speak of public Envy: there is yet some good in public Envy, whereas in private there is none; for public Envy is an ostracism,38 that eclipseth men when they grow too great; and therefore it is a bridle also to great ones, to keep them within bounds.
This Envy, 39 being in the Latin word invidia, goeth in the modern languages by the name of discontentment, of which we shall speak in handling Sedition. It is a disease in a state like to infection; for as infection spreadeth upon that which is sound, and tainteth it, so, when Envy is gotten once into a state, it traduceth even the best actions thereof, and turneth them into an ill odour; and therefore there is little won by intermingling of plausible actions,40 for that doth argue but a weakness and fear of Envy, which 41 hurteth so much the more, as it is likewise usual in infections, which, if you fear them, you call them upon you.
This public Envy seemeth to beat chiefly upon principal officers or ministers rather than upon kings and estates 42 themselves. But this is a sure rule, that if the Envy upon the minister be great, when the cause of it in
him is small, or if the Envy be general in a manner upon all the ministers of an estate, then the Envy (though hidden) is truly upon the state itself. And so much of public Envy or discontentment, and the difference thereof from private Envy, which was handled in the first place.
We will add this in general, touching the affection of Envy, that of all other affections it is the most importune 43 and continual; for of other affections there is occasion given but now and then; and therefore it was well said, 'Invidia festos dies non agit : 144 for it is ever working upon some or other. And it is also noted that Love and Envy do make a man pine, which other affections do not, because they are not so continual. It is also the vilest affection, and the most depraved ; for which cause it is the proper attribute of the devil, who is called “The envious man, that soweth tares amongst the wheat by night ; '45 as it always cometh to pass that Envy worketh subtilely, and in the dark, and to the prejudice of good things, such as is the wheat.
NOTES ON ESSAY IX. noted'-observed, seen. 2. “Envy.' Envy is a grudging and malignant feeling aroused by
seeing another's superiority or success.
In ancient times (and indeed many traces of it still remain among us) envy was supposed to be a powerful and really mischievous influence possessed by the person who envied, and the instrument or means of the enchantment was the eye, hence called the evil eye. The history of the word envy shows this; it is derived through the French envie, from the Latin invidia, which comes from the verb invideo=to look askance, or to look with an evil eye. There can be no doubt that the foolish and unkind prejudices which many people still feel, and often express, against those who are unfortunate enough to squint is a relic of the belief that such persons had this power of the evil eye.
In some parts of Ireland, children or cattle who fall suddenly ill are said to be eye-bitten, and the fault is laid at the door of eye-biting witches. The same, doubtless, holds true of places in England and Scotland.
There are still people who are cruel and superstitious enough to attribute every mischance or difficulty, even in such simple matters es churning butter or trying to light a fire, to the influence of the evil eye, and various charms have been recommended for counteracting the mischief. Probably the common practice, of placing the poker to lean against a fire that will not burn up, is supposed to be efficacious in un. doing the effects of some evil eye that has looked at the fire, because it makes the sign of the cross with the bars of the grate.
The belief in the evil eye has prevailed even from ancient times and in all parts of the world. St Paul alludes to it in Gal. iii, 1 : 'O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you?' (υμάς εβάσκανεν.) An earlier reference is in Ecclus. xiv, 8-10: "The envious man hath a wicked eye.' Virgil refers to it in eclogue iii :
Nescio quis teneros oculos mihi fascinat agnos.' In Egypt the belief is still common, and the Turks firmly believe in the evil eye of an enemy or infidel, seeking to avert its ill effects from themselves by painting passages from the Koran before their houses, and from their horses by rich and superfluous caparison.
The first paragraph in this essay shows that Bacon believed in this bewitching power of the evil eye. Of several other interesting passages from his works bearing on the same subject, we have space to refer to one only, from his Natural History: 'Envy emitteth some malign and poisonous spirit which taketh hold of the spirit of another, and is likewise of
greater force when the cast of the eye is oblique.' 3. Nark vii, 22. 4. •influences'-flowings; streams. So in L'Allegro, Milton speaks of
Store of ladies, whose bright eyes.
Rain influence, and judge the prize.' 5. Sevil aspects '--evil lookings at us. The supposed influence of 7. ejaculation '—something thrown out. 8. curious'-inquisitive; minutely careful; precise about details.
the stars in doing men harm is still preserved in the word
disaster. 6. still '—always. So in Essay XI: 'Old townsmen that will be
still sitting at their street door.'
Can never hold his peace '-Ben JONSON.
So in the next paragraph, 'curiosities' are things to be looked
into and examined minutely. 9. to come at even hand'-to be even with him. 10. busy '-prying; meddlesome. The same meaning is contained
in the compound 'busy-body.' 11. 'ado’-trouble; labour; fuss. Used as a substantive, but really
another form of the verb to do. 12. “play-pleasure '—theatrical pleasure; pleasures one finds in
gazing at a theatrical performance. 13. "There is no meddlesome man who is not also malevolent.' The
quotation is from Plautus, a Roman comic poet, B.C. 255 to
184. 14. deceit – deception (just as he uses conceit for conception). 15. bastards '-.e. literally base-born persons. An apt example
of an envious bastard is Edmund in King Lear; of a bastard
of very brave and heroical nature,' Richard Faulconbridge in
King John. 16. in that'-in order that. • Affecting '—making affectation
or pretence of. 17. Narses '—a eunuch in the service of the Emperor Justinian at
Constantinople, who rose to high dignities and performed some famous military exploits; he vanquished the Goths, conquered Rome, and rescued Italy from the Ostrogoths; 24. .for.' It can hardly be said that Bacon here gives a good
died A.D. 568. Agesilaus '—king of Sparta, B.C. 398 to 361. • Tamerlane,' more properly called Timur or Timur-Beg, was a
famous Mogul Sultan (A.D. 1336 to 1405). He successfully invaded Persia, Turkestan, Southern Russia, India (making a triumphal entry into Delhi), and died while on a similar
expedition against China. 18. 'fallen out’–become unfriendly; on bad terms with. 19. levity'—fickleness; changeableness; want of perseverance. 20. •Adrian,' or Hadrian, Roman emperor, A.D. 117 to 138. He
favoured literature and the arts, and carried out many great architectural works. It is said that because the architect Apollodorus spoke ill of one of his plans for a temple, he
banished him, and eventually had him put to death.
vein'-natural ability. 22. incurreth ... more into the note'-comes more prominently
forward into our notice. The verb incur (analogous to recur, occur, concur) now generally means to run against or
run into, but here it means to run forth; to obtrude itself. 23. nobody to look on.' He means that Cain's envy was the
more contemptible and inexcusable, because, when his brother Abel was preferred to he was not subjected to any public disgrace, for no one knew of it but themselves.
reason for the statement he has made, and indeed many of the general propositions advanced in this essay are unwarrantable as such, though doubtless in making them he had always in view some particular exemplifications from which he made a rough and hasty generalisation. Thus in the preceding paragraph, when he speaks of the envy of 'near kinsfolk,' he must be referring to personal experience, perhaps to himself and his cousin Cecil.
The only sense in which Bacon's statement here can be received as generally true is, that from unworthy persons we expect little, and from those whom we approve of we expect too much in their advancement, and thus in both cases are
often deceived. 25. per saltum'-by a jump, i.e. all at once. 26. travels '-labours. French travail. So in Milton (Paradise Lost) :
"What think'st thou of our empire now, though earn'd
With travel difficult?' 27. quanta patimur'—what great things we suffer. 28. call unto themselves’-do voluntarily and unnecessarily;
make for themselves. 29.
of purpose'-purposely; intentionally. 30.
crossed'-thwarted; disappointed. 31. do not much concern them'—are not regarded as of much
consequence. 32. "carriage '—bearing; manner of carrying; behaviour and
demeanour under. 33.
• that'-the latter. 34. disavow Fortune'-tries to conceal or disown the fact that
Fortune has been undeservedly favourable to him. 35. remove the lot'—i.e., as we sometimes say, change the luck. In
witchcraft the omen or lot which foretold impending mischief was regarded also as the cause of it, and to avert the mischief (which was considered inevitable) it was necessary not to destroy the omen but to get rid of it, i.e. transfer it to some one else.
Thus some people foolishly believe that what is called a crowing hen is a sure sign of a death, which also cannot be avoided by killing the hen but only by transferring it and its accompanying ill-omen to the possession of some
one else. 36. derive'- to turn aside; to drain off from (Latin de and rivus). 37. undertaking '-venturesome; willing to incur risk.
* It is the cowish terror of his spirit
That dares not undertake'-King Lear. ostracism?
-an institution among the Athenians designed to afford a means for quietly removing from the State, with