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L.-OF STUDIES." STUDIES serve for delight, for ornament, and for ability. Their chief use for delight, is in privateness and retiring ; for ornament, is in discourse; and for ability, is in the judgment and disposition of business ; for expert men can execute, and perhaps judge of particulars, one by one : but the general counsels, and the plots and marshalling of affairs come best from those that are learned. To spend too much time in studies, is sloth; to use them too much for ornament, is affectation; to make judgment wholly by their rules, is the 'humour of a scholar: they perfect nature, and are perfected by experience : for natural abilities are like natural plants, that need pruning by study; and studies themselves do give forth directions too much at large, except they be bounded in by experience. Crafty men contemn studies, simple, men admire them, and wise men use them; for they teach not their own use; but that is a wisdom without them and above them, won by observation. Read not to contradict and confute, nor to believe and take for granted, nor to find talk and discourse, but to weigh and consider. Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested ; that is, some books are to be read only in parts; others to be read but not curiously ; b and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention. Some books also may be read by deputy, and extracts made of them by ochers; but that would be only in the less important arguments and the meaner sort of books ; else distilled books are, like common distilled waters, flashy things. Reading maketh a full man ; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man; and, therefore, if a man write little, he had need have a great memory ; if he confer little, he had need have a present wit; and if he read little, he had need have much cunning, to seem to know that he doth not. Histories make men wise ; poets, witty; the mathematics, subtile; natural philosophy, deep; moral
, grave; logic and rhetoric, able to contend : “ Abeunt studia iní
• This formed the first Essay in the earliest edition of the work. Attentively.
Vapid ; without taste or spirit.
mores ; nay, there is no stand or impediment in the wit, but may be wrought out by fit studies : like as diseases of the body may have appropriate exercises; bowling is good for the stone and reins, shooting for the lungs and breast, gentle walking for the stomach, riding for the head and the like; so if a man's wit be wandering, let him study the mathematics; for in demonstrations, if his wit be called away never so little, he must begin again ; if his wit be not apt to distinguish or find difference, let him study the schoolmen; for they are “Cymini sectores.”e If he be not apt to beat over matters, and to call up one thing to prove and illustrate another, let him study the lawyers' cases : so every defect of the mind may have a special receipt.
LI.-OF FACTION. Many have an opinion not wise, that for a prince to. govern his estate, or for a great person to govern his proceedings, according to the respect of factions, is a principal part of policy ; whereas, contrariwise, the chiefest wisdom is, either in ordering those things which are general, and wherein men of several factions do nevertheless agree, or in dealing with correspondence to particular persons, one by one : but I say not, that the consideration of factions is to be neglected. Mean men in their rising must adhere; but great men, that have strength in themselves, were better to maintain themselves indifferent and neutral : yet even in beginners, to adhere so moderately, as he be a man of the one faction, which is most passable with the other, commonly giveth best way. The lower and weaker faction is the firmer in conjunction ; and it is often seen, that a few that are stiff, do tire out a great number that are more moderate. When one of the factions is extinguished, the remaining subdivideth ; as the faction between Lucullus and the rest of the nobles of the senate (which they called “ optimates”) held d “Studies become habits.”
Splitters of cummin-seeds;" or, as we now say, “splitters of straws “hairs.” Butler says of Hudibras
“ He could distinguish and divide
A hair 'twixt south and south-west side ”
out a while against the faction of Pompey and Cæsar; but when the senate's authority was pulled down, Cæsar and Pompey soon after brake. The faction or party of Antonius and Octavianus Cæsar, against Brutus and Cassius, held out likewise for a time; but when Brutus and Cassius were overthrown, then soon after Antonius and Octavianus brake and subdivided. These examples are of wars, but the same holdeth in private factions : and therefore, those that are seconds in factions, do many times, when the faction subdivideth, prove principals; but many times also they prove ciphers and cashiered; for many a man's strength is in opposition ; and when that faileth, he groweth out of use. It is commonly seen, that men once placed, take in with the contrary faction to that by which they enter; thinking, belike, that they have the first sure, and now are ready for a new purchase. The traitor in faction lightly goeth away with it; for when matters have stuck long in balancing, the winning of some one man casteth them, a and he getteth all the thanks. The even carriage between two factions proceedeth not always of moderation, but of a trueness to a man's self, with end to make use of both. Certainly, in Italy, they hold it a little suspect in popes, when they have often in their mouth 6 Padre comune :”b and take it to be a sign of one that meaneth to refer all to the greatness of his own house. Kings had need beware how they side themselves, and make themselves as of a faction or party ; for leagues within the state are ever pernicious to monarchies; for they raise an obligation paramount to obligation of sovereignty, and make the king “ tanquam unus ex nobis ;”c as was to be seen in the League of France. When factions are carried too high and too violently, it is a sign of weakness in princes, and much to the prejudice both of their authority and business. The motions of factions under kings, ought to be like the motions (as the astronomers speak) of the inferior orbs, which may have their proper motions, but yet still are quietly carried by the higher motion of “ primum mobile.”
• Causes one side to preponderate.
b " The common father." :“As one of us." Henry III. of France, favouring the League formed by the Duke of Guise and Cardinal De Lorraine against the Protestants, soon found that through the adoption of that policy he had forfeited the respect of his subjects. d See a Note to Essay 15.
LII.-OF CEREMONIES AND RESPECTS. 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 ; 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 a said) like perpetual letters commendatory, to have good forms; 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; and so diminisheth respect to himself; especially they be not to be omitted to strangers and formal natures; 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 upon it. 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. 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
* Of Castile. She was the wife of Ferdinand of Arragon, and was the patroness of Columbus.
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, to the disadvantage of their greater virtues. It is loss also in business to be too full of respects, or to be too curious in observing times and opportunities. Solomon saith, “ He that considereth the wind shall not sow, and he that looketh to the clouds shall not reap." A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds. Men's behaviour should be like their apparel, not too strait or point device, but free for exercise or motion.
V LIII.–OF PRAISE. 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 nought, 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 ; but of the highest virtues they have no sense or perceiving at all ; but shows and “species virtutibus similes," 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 and judgment concur, then it is (as the Scripture saith), • Nomen bonum instar unguenti fragrantis ;"b it filleth all round about, and will not easily away ; for the odours of ointments are more durable than those of flowers. There be
b The words in our version are, “He that observeth the wind shall not sow, and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap.”—Ecclesiastes xi. 4.
c Exact in the extreme. Point-de-vice was originally th name of a kind of lace of very fine pattern.
8.“ Appearances resembling virtues." b “A
good name is like sweet-smelling ointment." The wcrds in our version are, “A good name is better than precious ointment."-Ecclesiastes vi. 1.