« FöregåendeFortsätt »
owner were of more vertue than he is that whiche he shewed agayne his enemies? If succedeth, the robe beinge worne, it min- it were only in his dignitie, it therwith issheth his praise to them whiche knewe or cessed, and he was (as I mought say) efthaue herde of the vertue of him that firste sones unnoble; and than was his prowesse owed it. If he that weareth it be viciouse, un rewarded, whiche was the chiefe and origiit more detecteth howe moche he is unworthy nall cause of that dignitie: whiche were into weare it, the remembraunce of his noble congruent and without reason. If it were guneetour makynge men to abhorre the re- in his prowesse, prowesse consistynge of proche gyuen by an iuell successour. If the valiant courage and martiall policie, if they firste owner were nat vertuouse, hit con- styll remaine in the persone, he may neuer demneth him that weareth it of moche fol- be without nobilitie, whiche is the commendaishenesse, to glorie in a thinge of so base tion, and as it were, the surname of vertue. estimation, whiche lacking beautie or glosse, The two Romanes called bothe Decii, were can be none ornament to hym that weareth of the base astate of the people, and nat of it, nor honorable remembrance to hym that the great blode of the Romanes, yet for the first owed it.
preseruation of their countray they auowed But nowe to confirme by true histories, to die, as it were in a satisfaction for all that accordynge as I late affirmed, nobilitie their countray. And so with valiant hartes is nat onely in dignitie, auncient lignage, they perced the hoste of their enemies, and nor great reuenues, landes, or possessions. valiuntly fightynge, they died there honorLete yonge gentilmen haue often times tolde ably, and by their example gaue suche auto them, and (as it is vulgarely spoken) | dacitie and courage to the residue of the layde in their lappes, how Numa Pompilius Romanes, that they employed so their was taken from husbandry, whiche he exer- strengthe agayne their enemies, that with eised, and was made kynge of Romanes by litle more losse they optained victorie. election of the people. What caused it sup- Ought nat these two Romanes, whiche by pose you but his wisedome and vertue? their deth gaue occasion of victorie, be called whiche in hym was very nobilitie, and that noble? I suppose no man that knoweth nobilitie broughte hym to dignitie. And if what reason is will denie it. that were nat nobilitie, the Romanes were More ouer, we have in this realme coynes meruailousely abused, that after the dethe which be called nobles; as longe as they be of Romulus their kynge, they hauynge seene to be golde, they be so called. But if amonge them a hundred senatours, whom they be counterfaicted, and made in brasse, Romulus did sette in autoritie, and also the coper, or other vile metal, who for the print blode roiall, and olde gentilmen of the Sa-only calleth them nobles? Wherby it apbynes, who, by the procurement of the wiues pereth that the estimation is in the metall, of the Romanes, beinge their doughters, in- and nat in the printe or figure. And in a babited the citie of Rome, they wolde nat of horse or good grehounde we prayse that we some of them electe a kynge, rather than se in them, and nat the beautie or goodnesse aduance a ploughman and stranger to that of their progenie. Whiche proueth that in Rutoritie.
estemyng of money and catell we be ladde Quintius hauyng but xxx acres of lande, by wysedome, and in approuynge of man, and beinge ploughman therof, the Senate to whom beastis and money do serue, we be and people of Rome sent a messager to only induced by custome. shewe him that they had chosen him to be Thus I conclude that nobilitie is nat after dictator, whiche was at that time the highest the vulgare opinion of men, but is only the dignitie amonge the Romanes, and for thre rrayse and surname of vertue; whiche the monethes had autoritie roiall. Quintius lenger it continueth in a name or lignage, herynge the message, lette his ploughe the more is nobilitie extolled and meruailed stande, and wente in to the citie and pre- at. pared his hoste againe the Samnites, and vainquisshed them valiauntly. And that
OF VIRTUOUS AND GENTLE DISCIPLINE done, he surrendred his office, and beinge discharged of the dignitie, he repaired
[The Letter to Sir Walter Raleigh, setting agayne to his ploughe, and applied it diligently.
forth the purpose of The Faerie Queene] I wolde demaunde nowe, if nobilitie were Sir, knowing how doubtfully all Allegoonly in the dignitie, or in his prowesse, ries may be construed, and this booke of
mine, which I have entituled the Faery the one, in the exquisite depth of his judgeQueene, being a continued Allegory, or ment, formed a Commune welth, such as it darke conceit, I haue thought good, as well should be; but the other in the person of for avoyding of gealous opinions and mis- Cyrus, and the Persians, fashioned a govconstructions, as also for your better light ernement, such as might best be: So much in reading thereof, (being so by you com- more profitable and gratious is doctrine by manded,) to discover unto you the general ensample, then by rule. So have I laboured intention and meaning, which in the whole to doe in the person of Arthure: whome I course thereof I have fashioned without ex- conceive, after his long education by Timon, pressing of any particular purposes, or by to whom he was by Merlin delivered to be accidents, therein occasioned. The generall brought up, so soone as he was borne of the end therefore of all the booke is to fashion Lady Igrayne, to have seene in a dream or a gentleman or noble person in vertuous vision the Faery Queen, with whose exceland gentle discipline: Which for that I lent beauty ravished, he awaking resolved conceived shoulde be most plausible and to seeke her out; and so being by Merlin pleasing, being coloured with an historicall armed, and by Timon throughly instructed, fiction, the which the most part of men de- he went to seeke her forth in Faerye land. light to read, rather for variety of matter In that Faery Queene I meane glory in my then for profite of the ensample. I chose generall intention, but in my particular I the historye of King Arthure, as most fitte conceive the most excellent and glorious perfor the excellency of his person, being made son of our soveraine the Queene, and her famous by many mens former workes, and kingdome in Faery land. And yet, in some also furthest from the daunger of envy, and places els, I doe otherwise shadow her. For suspition of present time. In which I have considering she beareth two persons, the one followed all the antique Poets historicall; of a most royall Queene or Empresse, the first Homere, who in the Persons of Aga- other of a most vertuous and beautifull memnon and Ulysses hath ensampled a good Lady, this latter part in some places I doe governour and a vertuous man, the one in expresse in Belphæbe, fashioning her name his Ilias, the other in his Odysseis; then ,
according to your owne excellent conceipt of Virgil, whose like intention was to doe in Cynthia, (Phæbe and Cynthia being both the person of Aeneas: after him Ariosto names of Diana). So in the person of comprised them both in his Orlando: and Prince Arthure I sette forth magnificence in lately Tasso dissevered them againe, and particular; which vertue, for that (accordformed both parts in two persons, namelying to Aristotle and the rest) it is the perthat part which they in Philosophy call fection of all the rest, and conteineth in it Ethice, or vertues of a private man, coloured them all, therefore in the whole course I in his Rinaldo; the other named Politice in mention the deedes of Arthure applyable to his Godfredo. By ensample of which excel- that vertue, which I write of in that booke. lente Poets, I labour to pourtraict in Ar- But of the xii. other vertues, I make xii. thure, before he was king, the image of a other knights the patrones, for the more vabrave knight, perfected in the twelve private riety of the history: Of which these three morall vertues, as Aristotle hath devised; bookes contayn three. the which is the purpose of these first twelve The first of the knight of the Redcrosse, bookes : which if I finde to be well accepted, in whome I expresse Holynes: The seconde I may be perhaps encoraged to frame the of Sir Guyon, in whome I sette forth Temother part of polliticke vertues in his per- peraunce: The third of Britomartis, a Lady son, after that hee came to be king.
Knight, in whome I picture Chastity. But, "To some, I know, this Methode will seeme because the beginning of the whole worke displeasaunt, which had rather have good dis- seemeth abrupte, and as depending upon cipline delivered plainly in way of precepts, other antecedents, it needs that ye know the or sermoned at large, as they use, then thus occasion of these three knights seuerall adclowdily enwrapped in Allegoricall devises. ventures. For the Methode of a Poet hisBut such, me seeme, should be satisfide with torical is not such, as of an Historiographer. the use of these dayes, seeing all things ac- For an Historiographer discourseth of afcounted by their showes, and nothing es- fayres orderly as they were donne, accountteemed of, that is not deliglatfull and pleas- ing as well the times as the actions; but a ing to commune sence. For this cause is Poet thrusteth into the middest, even where Xenophon preferred before Plato, for that it most concerneth him, and there recours
ing to the thinges forepaste, and divining by an Enchaunteresse called Acrasia; and of thinges to come, maketh a pleasing Anal- therfore craved of the Faery Queene, to apysis of all.
point him some knight to performe that The beginning therefore of my history, adventure; which being assigned to Sir if it were to be told by an Historiographer Guyon, he presently went forth with that should be the twelfth booke, which is the same Palmer: which is the beginning of the last; where I devise that the Faery Queene second booke, and the whole subject thereof. kept her Annuall feaste xii. dayes; uppon The third day there came in a Groome, who which xii. severall dayes, the occasions of complained before the Faery Queene, that the xii. severall adventures hapned, which, a vile Enchaunter, called Busirane, had in being undertaken by xii. severall knights, hand a most faire Lady, called Amoretta, are in these xii. books severally handled and whom he kept in most grievous torment, bediscoursed. The first was this. In the be- cause she would not yield him the pleasure ginning of the feast, there presented him of her body. Whereupon Sir Scudamour, selfe a tall clownishe younge man, who fall- the lover of that Lady, presently tooke on ing before the Queene of Faries, desired a him that adventure. But being vnable to boone (as the manner then was) which dur- performe it by reason of the hard Enchaunting that feast she might not refuse; which ments, after long sorrow, in the end met was that hee might have the atchievement of with Britomartis, who succoured him, and any adventure, which during that feaste reskewed his loue. should happen: that being graunted, he But by occasion hereof many other adrested him on the floore, unfitte through his ventures are intermedled; but rather as ACrusticity for a better place. Soone after cidents then intendments: As the love of entred a faire Ladye in mourning weedes, Britomart, the overthrow of Marinell, the riding on a white Asse, with a dwarfe be- misery of Florimell, the vertuousnes of Belhind her leading a warlike steed, that bore phæbe, the lasciviousness of Hellenora, and the Armes of a knight, and his speare in the
many the like. dwarfes hand. Shee, falling before the Thus much, Sir, I have briefly overronne Queene of Faeries, complayned that her to direct your understanding to the welfather and mother, an ancient King and head of the History; that from thence gathQueene, had bene by an huge dragon many ering the whole intention of the conceit, ye years shut up in a brasen Castle, who thence may as in a handfull gripe al the discourse,
a suffred them not to yssew; and therefore be- | 'which otherwise may happily seeme tedious sought the Faery Queene to assygne her and confused. So, humbly craving the consome one of her knights to take on him that tinuance of your honorable favour towards exployt. Presently that clownish person, me, and th’ eternall establishment of your upstarting, desired that adventure: whereat happines, I humbly take leave. the Queene much wondering, and the Lady
23. Ianuary 1589, much gainesaying, yet he earnestly impor- Yours most humbly affectionate, tuned his desire. In the end the Lady told
Ed. Spenser. him, that unlesse that armour which she brought would serve him (that is, the armour of a Christian man specified by Saint Paul, vi. Ephes.) that he could not succeed
“THE BRAVE COURTIER” in that enterprise; which being forth with
EDMUND SPENSER put upon him, with dewe furnitures there
[A portrait of Sir Philip Sidney, from unto, he seemed the goodliest man in al that
Mother Hubberds Tale] company, and was well liked of the Lady. And eftesoones taking on him knighthood, Yet the brave Courtier, in whose beauteous and mounting on that straunge Courser, he thought went forth with her on that adventure: Regard of honour harbours more than where beginneth the first booke, viz.
Doth loath such base condition, to backbite A gentle knight was pricking on the playne.
Anies good name for envie or despite: &c.
He stands on tearmes of honourable minde, The second day ther came in a Palmer, Ne will be carried with the common winde bearing an Infant with bloody hands, whose Of Courts inconstant mutabilitie, Parents he complained to have bene slayn Ne after everie tattling fable flie;
But heares and sees the follies of the rest, And thereof gathers for himselfe the best. He will not creepe, nor crouche with fained
face, But walkes upright with comely stedfast
pace, And unto all doth yeeld due curtesie; But not with kissed hand belowe the knee, As that same Apish crue is wont to doo: For he disdaines himselfe t'embase theretoo. He hates fowle leasings, and vile flatterie, Two filthie blots in noble gentrie; And lothefull idlenes he doth detest, The canker worme of everie gentle brest; The which to banish with faire exercise Of knightly feates, he daylie doth devise: Now menaging the mouthes of stubborne
steedes, Now practising the proofe of warlike
deedes, Now his bright armes assaying, now his
speare, Now the nigh aymed ring away to beare. At other times he casts to sew the chace Of swift wilde beasts, or runne on foot a
race, T' enlarge his breath, (large breath in armes
most needfull) Or els by wrestling to wex strong and heed
full, Or his stiffe armes to stretch with Eughen
bowe, And manly legs, still passing too and fro, Without a gowned beast him fast beside, A vaine ensample of the Persian pride; Who, after he had wonne th’ Assyrian
foe, Did ever after scorne on foote to goe. Thus when this Courtly Gentleman with
toyle Himselfe hath wearied, he doth recoyle Unto his rest, and there with sweete delight Of Musieks skill revives his toyled spright; Or els with Loves, and Ladies gentle sports, The joy of youth, himselfe he recomforts; Or lastly, when the bodie list to pause, His minde unto the Muses he withdrawes : Sweete Ladie Muses, Ladies of delight, Delights of life, and ornaments of light! With whom he close confers with wise dis
course, Of Natures workes, of heavens continuall
course, Of forreine lands, of people different, Of kingdomes change, of divers gouvern
ment, Of dreadfull battailes of renowmed
With which he kindleth his ambitious
sprights To like desire and praise of noble fame, The onely upshot whereto he doth ayme: For all his minde on honour fixed is, To which he levels all his purposis, And in his Princes service spends his dayes, Not so much for to gaine, or for to raise Himselfe to high degree, as for his grace, And in his liking to winne worthie place, Through due deserts and comely carriage, In whatso please employ his personage, That may be matter meete to gaine him
praise: For he is fit to use in all assayes, Whether for Armes and warlike amenaunce, Or else for wise and civill governaunce. For he is practiz'd well in policie, And thereto doth his Courting most applie: To learne the enterdeale of Princes strange, To marke th' intent of Counsells, and the
change Of states, and eke of private men somewhile, Supplanted by fine falshood and faire guile; Of all the which he gathereth what is fit T'enrich the storehouse of his powerfull
wit, Which through wise speaches and grave con
ference He daylie eekes, and brings to excellence.
Such is the rightfull Courtier in his kinde.
COUNSELS OF EXPERIENCE
FRANCIS BACON [From Essays or Counsels Civil and Moral, published 1597, 1612, 1625]
1. Of Truth "What is truth?" said jesting Pilate; and would not stay for an answer. Certainly there be that delight in giddiness, and count it a bondage to fix a belief, affecting freewill in thinking, as well as in acting. And though the sects of philosophers of that kind be gone, yet there remain certain discoursing wits which are of the same veins, though there be not so much blood in them as was in those of the ancients. But it is not only the difficulty and labor which men take in finding out of truth; nor again, that when it is found, it imposeth upon men's thoughts, that doth bring lies in favor: but a natural though corrupt love of the lie itself. One of the later school of the Grecians examineth the matter, and is at a stand to think what should be in it, that men should love lies: where neither they make for pleasure, as with poets; nor for advantage, as with the merchant; but for the lie's sake. But I cannot tell: this same truth is a naked and open daylight, that doth not show the masques, and mummeries, and triumphs of the world half so stately and daintily as candle-lights. Truth may perhaps come to the price of a pearl that showeth best by day; but it will not rise to the price of a diamond or carbuncle, that showeth best in varied lights. A mixture of a lie doth ever add pleasure. Doth any man doubt that if there were taken out of men's minds vain opinions, flattering hopes, false valuations, imaginations as one would, and the like, but it would leave the minds of a number of men poor shrunken things, full of melancholy and indisposition, and unpleasing to themselves? One of the fathers, in great severity, called poesy vinum daemonum i because it filleth the imagination, and yet it is but with the shadow of a lie. But it is not the lie that passeth through the mind, but the lie that sinketh in and settleth in it that doth the hurt, such as we spake of before. But howsoever these things are thus in men's depraved judgments and affections, yet truth, which only doth judge itself, teacheth that the inquiry of truth, which is the love-making, or wooing of it; the knowledge of truth, which is the presence of it; and the belief of truth, which is the enjoying of it, is the sovereign good of human nature. The first creature of God, in the works of the days, was the light of the sense; the last was the light of reason; and his Sabbath work, ever since, is the illumination of his spirit. First he breathed light upon the face of the matter, or chaos; then he breathed light into the face of man; and still he breatheth and inspireth light into the face of his chosen. The poet, that beautified the sect that was otherwise inferior to the rest, saith yet excellently well, “It is a pleasure to stand upon the shore, and to see ships tost upon the sea; a pleasure to stand in the window of a castle, and to see a battle, and the adventures thereof below; but no pleasure is comparable to the standing upon the vantage ground of truth (a hill not to be commanded, and where the air is always clear and serene), and to see 1 devil's wine
1 Bacon says of the Essays: “I have endeavored to make them not vulgar, but of a nature whereof a man shall find much in experience and little in books, so as they are neither repetitions nor fancies."
the errors, and wanderings, and mists, and tempests, in the vale below”; so always that this prospect be with pity, and not with swelling or pride. Certainly it is heaven upon earth to have a man's mind move in charity, rest in providence, and turn upon the poles of truth.
To pass from theological and philosophical truth to the truth of civil business, it will be acknowledged, even by those that practice it not, that clear and round dealing is the honor of man's nature, and that mixture of falsehood is like alloy in coin of gold and silver, which may make the metal work the better, but it embaseth it; for these winding and crooked courses are the goings of the serpent, which goeth basely upon the belly, and not upon the feet. There is no vice that doth so cover a man with shame as to be found false and pertidious; and therefore Montaigne saith prettily, when he inquired the reason why the word of the lie should be such a disgrace, and such an odious charge. "If it be well weighed, to say that a man lieth, is as much as to say that he is brave towards God, and a coward towards man.” For a lie faces God, and shrinks from man. Surely the wickedness of falsehood and breach of faith cannot possibly be so highly expressed as in that it shall be the last peal to call the judgments of God upon the generations of men: it being foretold, that when Christ cometh, "he shall not find faith upon the earth."
2. Of Travel Travel in the younger sort is a part of education ; in the elder a part of experience. He that traveleth into a country before he hath some entrance into the language, goeth to school, and not to travel. That young men travel under some tutor or grave servant, I allow well; so that he be such a one that hath the language, and hath been in the country before; whereby he may be able to tell them what things are worthy to be seen in the country where they go, what acquaintances they are to seek, what exercises or discipline the place yieldeth. For else young men shall go hooded, and look abroad little. It is a strange thing, that in sea voyages, where there is nothing to be seen but sky and sea, men should make diaries, but in land travel, wherein so much is to be observed, for the most part they omit it: as if chance were fitter to be registered than observation. Let diaries therefore be brought in use. The things to be