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better, and some to the worse; omnium consensu, capax imperii, nisi imperasset, saith Tacitus of Galba: but of Vespasian he saith; solus imperantium Vespasianus mutatus in melius. Though the one was meant of sufficiency, the other of manners and affection. It is an assured sign of a worthy and generous spirit, whom honour amends. For honour is, or should be, the place of virtue: and as in nature things move violently to their place, and calmly in their place; so virtue in ambition is violent, in authority settled and calm. All rising to great place is by a winding-stair; and if there be factions, it is good to side a man's self whilst he is in the rising; and to balance himself when he is placed. Use the memory of thy predecessor fairly and tenderly; for if thou dost not, it is a debt will sure be paid when thou art gone. If thou have colleagues, respect them, and rather call them when they look not for it, than exclude them when they have reason to look to be called. Be not too sensible, or too remembering of thy place in conversation, and private answers to suitors; but let it rather be said, When he sits in place he is another man.

XII. OF BOLDNESS. ·

It is a trivial grammar-school text, but yet worthy a wise man's consideration. Question was asked of Demosthenes, what was the chief part of an orator? He answered, Action. What next?-Action. What next again?-Action. He said it that knew it best; and had by nature himself no advantage in that he commended. A strange thing, that that part of an orator, which is but superficial, and rather the virtue of a player, should be placed so high above those other noble parts of invention, elocution, and the rest: nay almost alone, as if it were all in all. But the reason is plain. There is in human nature, generally, more of the fool than of the wise; and therefore those faculties by which the foolish part of men's minds is taken, are most potent. Wonderful like is the case of boldness in civil business; what first ?-Boldness. What second and third ?-Boldness. And yet bold

ness is a child of ignorance and baseness, far inferior to other parts. But nevertheless it doth fascinate, and bind hand and foot those that are either shallow in judgment, or weak in courage, which are the greatest part; yea, and prevaileth with wise men at weak times; therefore we see it hath done wonders in popular states, but with senates and princes less; and more ever upon the first entrance of bold persons into action, than soon after; for boldness is an ill keeper of promise. Surely, as there are mountebanks for the natural body, so there are mountebanks for the politic body: men that undertake great cures, and perhaps have been lucky in two or three experiments, but want the grounds of science, and therefore cannot hold out; nay, you shall see a bold fellow many times do Mahomet's miracle. Mahomet made the people believe that he would call a hill to him, and from the top of it offer up his prayers for the observers of his law. The people assembled: Mahomet called the hill to come to him again and again; and when the hill stood still he was never a whit abashed, but said, "If the hill will not come to Mahomet, Mahomet will go to the hill." So these men, when they have promised great matters, and failed most shamefully, yet, if they have the perfection of boldness, they will but slight it over, and make a turn, and no more ado. Certainly to men of great judgment bold persons are a sport to behold; nay, and to the vulgar also boldness hath somewhat of the ridiculous for if absurdity be the subject of laughter, doubt you not but great boldness is seldom without some absurdity: especially it is a sport to see when a bold fellow is out of countenance, for that puts his face into a most shrunken and wooden posture, as needs it must; for in bashfulness the spirits do a little go and come; but with bold men, upon like occasion, they stand at a stay; like a stale at chess, where it is no mate, but yet the game cannot stir: but this last were fitter for a satire, than for a serious observation. This is well to be weighed, that boldness is ever blind; for it seeth not dangers and inconve⚫niences: therefore it is ill in counsel, good in execu

tion: so that the right use of bold persons, is, that they never command in chief, but be seconds, and under the direction of others. For in counsel, it is good to see dangers; and in execution not to see them, except they be very great.

XIII. OF GOODNESS, AND GOODNESS OF NA

TURE.

I TAKE goodness in this sense, the affecting of the weal of men, which is that the Grecians called philanthropia; and the word humanity, as it is used, is a little too light to express it. Goodness I call the habit, and goodness of nature the inclination. This of all virtues and dignities of the mind is the greatest, being the character of the Deity; and without it man is a busy, mischievous, wretched thing, no better than a kind of vermin. Goodness answers to the theological virtue charity, and admits no excess but error. The desire of power in excess caused the angels to fall; the desire of knowledge in excess caused man to fall: but in charity there is no excess; neither can angel or man come in danger by it. The inclination to goodness is imprinted deeply in the nature of man; insomuch, that if it issue not towards men, it will take unto other living creatures; as it is seen in the Turks, a cruel people, who nevertheless are kind to beasts, and give alms to dogs and birds: insomuch, as Busbechius reporteth, a Christian boy in Constantinople had liked to have been stoned, for gagging, in a waggishness, a long-billed fowl. Errors indeed in this virtue of goodness or charity may be committed The Italians have an ungracious proverb; Tanto buon che val niente; So good that he is good for nothing. And one of the doctors of Italy, Nicholas Machiavel, had the confidence to put in writing, almost in plain terms, that the Christian faith had given up good men in prey to those that are tyrannical and unjust: which he spake, because indeed there was never law, or sect, or opinion, did so much magnify goodness, as the Christian religion doth: therefore to avoid the scandal, and the danger both, it is good to take know-.

ledge of the errors of a habit so excellent. Seek the good of other men, but be not in bondage to their faces or fancies; for that is but facility or softness, which taketh an honest mind prisoner. Neither give thou Æsop's cock a gem, who would be better pleased, and happier if he had a barley-corn. The example of God teacheth the lesson truly; he sendeth his rain and maketh his sun to shine upon the just and the unjust; but he doth not rain wealth nor shine honour and virtues upon men equally: common benefits are to be communicated with all, but peculiar benefits with choice. And beware, how in making the portraiture thou breakest the pattern; for divinity maketh the love of ourselves the pattern, the love of our neighbours but the portraiture: Sell all thou hast, and give it to the poor, and follow me. But sell not all thou hast, except thou come and follow me; that is, except thou have a vocation, wherein thou mayest do as much good with little means as with great: for otherwise, in feeding the streams thou driest the fountain. Neither is there only a habit of goodness directed by right reason; but there is in some men, even in nature, a disposition towards it; as on the other side there is a natural malignity. For there be, that in their nature do not affect the good of others. The lighter sort of malignity turneth but to a crossness, or frowardness, or aptness to oppose, or difficilness, or the like; but the deeper sort to envy, and mere mischief. Such men, in other men's calamities, are as it were in season, and are ever on the loading part: not so good as the dogs that licked Lazarus' sores, but like flies that are still buzzing upon any thing that is raw; Misanthropi, that make it their practice to bring men to the bough, and yet have never a tree for the purpose in their gardens, as Timon had. Such dispositions are the very errors of human nature, and yet they are the fittest timber to make great politics of; like to knee-timber, that is good for ships that are ordained to be tossed, but not for building houses that shall stand firm. The parts and signs of goodness are many. If a man be gracious and courteous to stran

gers it shews he is a citizen of the world, and that his heart is no island cut off from other lands, but a continent that joins to them. If he be compassionate towards the afflictions of others, it shews that his heart is like the noble tree that is wounded itself when it gives the balm. If he easily pardons and remits offences, it shews that his mind is planted above injuries, so that he cannot be shot. If he be thankful for small benefits, it shews that he weighs men's minds, and not their trash. But above all, if he have St. Paul's perfection, that he would wish to be an anathema from Christ for the salvation of his brethren, it shews much of a divine nature, and a kind of conformity with Christ himself.

XIV. OF NOBILITY.

WE will speak of nobility first as a portion of an estate, then as a condition of particular persons. A monarchy, where there is no nobility at all, is ever a pure and absolute tyranny; as that of the Turks: for nobility attempers sovereignty, and draws the eyes of the people somewhat aside from the line royal. But for democracies, they need it not; and they are commonly more quiet, and less subject to sedition, than where there are stirps of nobles; for men's eyes are upon the business, and not upon the persons; or if upon the persons, it is for the business sake, as fittest and not for flags and pedigree. We see the Switzers last well, notwithstanding their diversity of religion, and of cantons; for utility is their bond, and not respects. The United Provinces of the Low Countries, in their government, excel: for where there is an equality, the consultations are more indifferent, and the payments and tributes more cheerful. A great and potent nobility addeth majesty to a monarch, but diminisheth power; and putteth life and spirit into the people, but presseth their fortune. It is well when nobles are not too great for sovereignty, nor for justice; and yet maintained in that height as the insolency of inferiors may be broken upon them, before it come on too fast upon the majesty of kings. A numerous nobility

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