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they be stout and daring, it may precipitate their designs, and prove dangerous. As for the pulling of them down, if the affairs require it, and that it may not be done with safety suddenly, the only way is, the interchange continually of favours and disgraces, whereby they may not know what to expect, and be, as it were, in a wood. Of ambitions, it is less harmful the ambition to prevail in great things, than that other to appear in everything; for that breeds confusion, and mars business : but yet, it is less danger to have an ambitious man stirring in business, than great in dependencies. He that seeketh to be eminent amongst able men, hath a great task ; but that is ever good for the public : but he that plots to be the only figure amongst ciphers, is the decay of a whole age. Honour hath three things in it: the vantage ground to do good ; the approach to kings and principal persons; and the raising of a man's own fortunes. He that hath the best of these intentions, when he aspireth, is an honest man ; and that prince that can discern of these intentions in another that aspireth, is a wise prince. Generally, let princes and states choose such ministers as are more sensible of duty than of rising, and such as love business rather upon conscience than upon bravery; and let them discern a busy nature, from a willing mind.
XXXVII.-OF MASQUES AND TRIUMPHS.' THESE things are but toys to come amongst such serious observations; but yet, since princes will have such things, it is better they should be graced with elegancy, than daubed with cost. Dancing to song, is a thing of great state and pleasure. I understand it that the song be in quire, placed aloft, and accompanied with some broken music; and the ditty fitted to the device. Acting in song, especially in dialogues, hath an extreme good grace ; I say acting, not dancing (for that is a mean and vulgar thing); and the voices of the dialogue would be strong and manly (a base and a tenor; no treble), and the ditty high and tragical, not nice or dainty. Several quires placed one over against another, and taking the voice by catches anthem-wise, give great
pleasure. Turning dances into figure is a childish curiosity; and generally, let it be noted, that those things which I here set down are such as do naturally take the sense, and not respect petty wonderments. It is true, the alterations of scenes, so it be quietly and without noise, are things of great beauty and pleasure ; for they feed and relieve the eye before it be full of the same object. Let the scenes abound with light, specially coloured and varied ; and let the masquers, or any other that are to come down from the scene, have some motions
upon the scene itself before their coming down; for it draws the eye strangely, and makes it with great pleasure to desire to see that, it cannot perfectly discern. Let the songs be loud and cheerful, and not chirpings or pulings :a let the music likewise be sharp and loud, and well placed. The colours that show best by candlelight, are white, carnation, and a kind of sea-water green; and ouches,b or spangs, as they are of no great cost, so they are of most glory. As for rich embroidery, it is lost, and not discerned. Let the suits of the masquers be graceful, and such as become the person when the vizors are off ; not after examples of known attires ; Turks, soldiers, mariners, and the like. Let anti-masquesa not be long; they have been commonly of fools, satyrs, baboons, wild men, antics, beasts, sprites, witches, Ethiopes, pigmies, turquets, nymphs, rustics, Cupids, statues moving, and the like. As for angels, it is not comical enough to put them in anti-masques : and anything that is hideous, as devils
, giants, is, on the other side, as unfit; but chiefly, let the music of them be recreative, and with some strange changes. Some sweet odours suddenly coming forth, without any drops falling, are, in such a company as there is steam and heat, things of great pleasure and refreshment. Double masques, one of man, another of ladies, addeth state and
Chirpings like the noise of young birds. b Jewels or necklaces.
Spangles, or O's of gold or silver. Beckmann says that these were invented in the beginning of the seventeenth century. See Beckmann's Hist. of Inventions (Bohn's Stand. Lib.), vol. i. p. 424.
d Or antick-masques, were ridiculous" interludes dividing the acts of the more serious masque. These were performed by hired actors, while the masque was played by ladies and gentlemen. The rule was, the characters were to be neither serious nor hideous. The « Comus” of Milton is an admirable specimen of a masque.
variety ; but all is nothing, except the room be kept clear and neat.
For justs, and tourneys, and barriers, the glories of them are chiefly in the chariots, wherein the challengers make their entry; especially if they be drawn with strange beasts: as lions, bears, camels, and the like; or in the devices of their entrance, or in the bravery of their liveries, or in the goodly furniture of their horses and armour. But enough of these toys.
XXXVIII.-OF NATURE IN MEN. NATURE is often hidden, sometimes overcome, seldom extinguished. Force maketh nature more violent in the return; doctrine and discourse maketh nature less importune ; but custom only doth alter and subdue nature. He that seeketh victory over his nature, let him not set himself too great nor too small tasks ; for the first will make him dejected by often failings, and the second will make him a small proceeder, though by often prevailings : and at the first, let him practise with helps, as swimmers do with bladders, or rushes; but, after a time, let him practise with disadvantages, as dancers do with thick shoes ; for it breeds great perfection, if the practice be harder than the use. Where nature is mighty, and therefore the victory hard, the degrees had need be, first to stay and arrest nature in time; like to him that would say over the four and twenty letters when he was angry; then to go less in quantity : as if one should, in forbearing wine, come from drinking healths to a draught at a meal ; and lastly, to discontinue altogether : but if a man have the fortitude and resolution to enfranchise himself at once, that is the best :
“ Optimus ille animi vindex lædentia pectus
Vincula qui rupit, dedoluitque semel.”a Neither is the ancient rule amiss, to bend nature as a wand to a contrary extreme, whereby to set it right; understanding it where the contrary extreme is no vice. Let not a man force a habit upon himself with a perpetual continuance, but with some intermission : for both the pause reinforceth che new onset; and if a man that is not perfect be ever in practice, he shall as well practise his errors as his abilities, and induce one habit of both; and there is no means to help this but by seasonable intermissions ; but let not a man trust his victory over his nature too far; for nature will lie buried a great time, and yet revive upon the occasion, or temptation ; like as it was with Æsop's damsel, turned from a cat to a woman, who sat very demurely at the board's end till a mouse ran before her : therefore, let a man either avoid the occasion altogether, or put himself often to it, that he may be little moved with it. A man's nature is best perceived in privateness, for there is no affectation ; in passion, for that putteth a man out of his precepts; and in a new case or experiment, for there custom leaveth him. They are happy men whose natures sort with their vocations ; otherwise they may say, “ Multum incola fuit anima mea,
* “He is the best asserter of the liberty of his mind who bursts the chains that gall his breast, and at the same moment ceases to grieve." This quotation is from Ovid's Remedy of Love.
,," when they converse in those things they do not affect. In studies, whatsoever a inan commandeth upon himself, let him set hours for it; but whatsoever is agreeable to his nature, let him take no care for any set times; for his thoughts will fly to it of themselves, so as the spaces of other business or studies will suffice. A man's nature runs either to herbs or weeds; therefore let him seasonably water the one, and destroy the other.
V XXXIX.–OF CUSTOM AND EDUCATION. MEN's thoughts are much according to their inclination :: their discourse and speeches according to their learning and infused opinions; but their deeds are after as they have been accustomed : and, therefore, as Machiavel well noteth (though in an evil-favoured instance), there is no trusting to the force of nature, nor to the bravery of words, except it be corroborate by custom. His instance is, that for the achieving of a desperate conspiracy, a man should not rest upon the fierceness of any man's nature, or his resolute undertakings; but take such a one as hath had his hands formerly in blood; but Machiavel knew not of a Friar Clement, nor a Ravillac, nor a Jaureguy, nor a Baltazar Gerard ; d yet his rule holdeth still, that nature, nor the ongagement of words, are not so forcible as custom. Only superstition is now so well advanced, that men of the first blood are as firm as butchers by occupation; and votaryo resolution is made equipollent to custom even in matter of blood. In other things, the predominancy of custom is everywhere visible, insomuch as a man would wonder to hear men profess, protest, engage, give great words, and then do just as they have done before, as if they were dead images and engines, moved only by the wheels of custom. We see also the reign or tyranny of custom, what it is. The Indians ? (I mean the sect of their wise men) lay themselves quietly upon a stack of wood, and so sacrifice themselves by fire : nay, the wives strive to be burned with the corpses of their husbands. The lads of Sparta, of ancient time, were wont to be scourged upon the altar of Diana, without so much as quecking.. I remember, in the beginning of Queen Elizabeth's time of England, an Irish rebel condemned, put up a petition to the deputy that he might be hanged in a withe, and not in a halter, because it had been so used with former rebels. There be monks in Russia for penance, that will sit a whole night in a vessel of water, till they be engaged with hard ice. Many examples may be put of the force of custom, both upon mind and body : therefore, since custom is the principal magistrate of man's life, let men by all means endeavour to obtain good customs. Certainly, custom is most perfect when it beginneth in young years : this we call education, which is, in effect, but an early custom.
b “My soul has long been a sojourner.”
* “The wish is father to the thought," is a proverbial saying of similar meaning
He murdered Henry IV. of France, in 1610.
Philip II. of Spain having, in 1582, set a price upon the head of William of Nassau, prince of Orange, the leader of the Protestants, Jaureguy attempted to assassinate him, and severely wounded him.
He assassinated William of Nassau, in 1584. It is supposed that. this fanatic meditated the crime for six years.
e A resolution prompted by a vow of devotion to a particular pritciple or creed.
He alludes to the Hindoos, and the ceremony of Suttee, encouraged by the Brahmins.