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death come from Spain ; for then it will be sure to be long &-coming

You had better take for business a man somewhat absurd, than over-formal.

Those who want friends to whom to open their griefs, are eannibals of their own hearts.

Number itself importeth not much in armies, where the people are of weak courage ; for (as Virgil says) it never troubles a wolf how many the sheep be.

Let states, that - aim at greatness, take heed how their nobility and gentry multiply too fast. In coppice woods, if you leave your staddles too thick, you shall never have clean underwood, but shrubs and bushes.

A civil war is like the heat of a fever ; but a foreign war is like the heat of exercise, and serveth to keep the body in health.

Suspicions among thoughts are like bats among birds, they erer fly by twilight.

Base natures, if they find themselves once suspected, will never be true.

Men ought to find the difference between saltness and bitterness. Certainly he that hath a satirical vein, as he maketh others afraid of his wit, so he had need be afraid of others' memory.

Discretion in speech is more than eloquence.

Men seem neither well to understand their riches, nor their strength ; of the former they believe greater things than they should and of the latter much less. And from hence fatal pillars have bounded the progress of learning.

Riches are the baggage of virtue ; they cannot be spared nor left behind, but they hinder the march.

Great riches have sold more men than ever they have bought out.

He that defers his charity till he is dead, is (if a man weighs it rightly) rather liberal of another man's, than of

his own,

Ambition is like choler; if he can move, it makes meu active; if it be stopped, it becomes adust, and makes meu melancholy

To take a soldier without ambition, is to pull off his spurs.

Some ambitious men seen as screens to princes in matters of danger and envy. For no man will take such parts, except he be like the seeld dove, that mounts and mounts, because he cannot see about him.

Princes and states should choose such ministers as are more sensible of duty than rising; and should discern a busy nature from a willing mind. A man's nature runs either to herbs or w


therefore let him seasonably water the one, and destroy the other.

If a man look sharp and attentively, he shall see fortune; for though she be blind, she is not invisible.'

Usury bringeth the treasure of the realm or state into a few hands : for the usurer being at certainties, and the others at uncertainties ; at the end of the game most of the money will be in the box.

Beauty is best in a body that hath rather dignity of presence, than beauty of aspect. The beautiful

prove accomplished, but not of great spirit ; and study, for the most part, rather behaviour than virtue.

The best part of beauty, is that which a picture cannot express.

He who builds a fair house upon an ill seat, commits himself to prison.

would work on any man, you must either know his nature and fashions, and so lead him ; or his ends, and so persuade him ; or his weaknesses and disadvantages, and so awe him ; or those that have interest in him, and so govern him.

Costly followers (among whom we may reckon those who are importunate in suits) are not to be liked ; lest while a man maketh his train longer, he maketh his wings shorter.

Fame is like a river, that beareth up things liglit and swollen, and drowns things weighty and solid.

If you

Seneca saith well, that anger is like rain, that breaks itself upon

that it falls. Excusations, cessions, modesty itself well governed, are but arts of ostentation.

High treason is not written in ice ; that when the body relenteth, the impression should go away.

The best governments are always subject to be like the fairest crystals, when every icicle or grain is seen, which in a fouler stone is never perceived.

In great place ask counsel of both times : of the ancient time what is best, and of the latter time what is fittest.

The virtue of prosperity is temperance, of adversity fortitude, which in morals is the more heroical virtue. Prosperity is the blessing of the Old Testament, adversity the blessing of the New, which carrieth the greater benediction and the clearer revelation of God's favour.


To deceive men's expectations generally (with cautel), argueth a staid mind, and unexpected constancy; viz. in matters of fear, anger, sudden joy or grief, and all things which may affect or alter the mind in public or sudden accidents, or such like.

It is necessary to use a steadfast countenance, not waving with action, as in moving the head or hand too much, which showeth a fantastical light and fickle operation of the spirit, and consequently like mind as gesture : only it is sufficient, with leisure, to use a modest action in either.

In all kinds of speech, either pleasant, grave, severe, or ordinary, it is convenient to speak leisurely, and rather drawingly, than hastily ; because hasty speech confounds the inemory, and oftentimes (besides unseemliness) drives a man either to a nonplus or unseemly stammering, harping upon that which should follow ; whereas a slow speech confirmeth the memory, addeth a conceit of wisdom to the hearers, besides a seemliness of speech and countenance.

To desire in discourse to hold all arguments, is ridiculous, wanting true judgment ; for in all things no man can be exquisite.

To have common-places to discourse, and to want variety, is both tedious to the hearers, and shows a shaliowness of conceit; therefore it is good to vary, and suit speeches with the present occasions ; and to have a moderation in all our speeches, especially in jesting, of religion, state, great persons, weighty and important business, poverty, or anything deserving pity.

To use many circumstances, ere you come to matter, is wearisome : and to use none at all, is but blunt.

Bashfulness is a great hinderance to a man, both of uttering his conceit, and understanding what is propounded unto him ; wherefore, it is good to press himself forwards with discretion, both in speech, and company of the better fort.

Usus promptos facit.



PREFACE. The earliest antiquity lies buried in silence and oblivion, excepting the remains we have of it in sacred writ. This silence was succeeded by poetical fables, and these, at length, by the writings we now enjoy ; so that the concealed and secret learning of the ancients seems separated from the history and knowledge of the

following ages by a veil, or partition-wall of fables, interposing between the things that are lost and those that remain.b

Many may imagine that I am here entering upon a work of fancy, or amusement, and design to use a poetical liberty, in explaining poetical fables. It is true, fäbles in general are composed of ductile matter, that may be drawn into great variety ly a witty talent or an inventive genius, and be delivered of plausible meanings which they never contained. But this procedure has already been carried to excess; and great numbers, to procure the sanction of antiquity to their own notions and inventions, have miserably wrested and abused the fables of the ancients.

Nor is this only a late or unfrequent practice, but of ancient date, and common even to this day. Thus Clirysippus, like an interpreter of dreams, attributed the opinions of the Stoics to the poets of old ; and the chemists, at present, more childishly apply the poetical transformations to their experiments of the furnace. And though I have well weighed and considered all this, and thoroughly seen into the levity which the mind indulges for allegories and allusions, yet I cannot but retain a high value for the ancient mythology. And, certainly, it were very injudi

* Most of these fables are contained in Ovid's Metamorphoses and Fasti, and are fully explained in Bohn's Classical Library translation.

\ Varro distributes the ages of the world into three periods ; viz, the unknown, the fabulous, and the historical. Of the former we have no accounts but in Scripture ; for the second we must consult the ancient poets, such as Hesiod, Honer, or those who wrote still earlier, and then again come back to Ovid, who, in his Metamorphoses, seems, in imitation perhaps of some ancient Greek poet, to have intended a complete collection, or a kind of continued and connected history of the fabulousige, especially with regard to changes, revolutions, or transformations.

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