Sidor som bilder

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

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

T' enlarge his breath, (large breath in armes most needfull)

Or els by wrestling to wex strong and heedfull,

Or his stiffe armes to stretch with Eughen


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

Did ever after scorne on foote to goe.

Thus when this Courtly Gentleman with

Himselfe hath wearied, he doth recoyle
Unto his rest, and there with sweete delight
Of Musicks 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-

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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

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

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

Which through wise speaches and grave conference

He daylie eekes, and brings to excellence. Such is the rightfull Courtier in his kinde.



[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

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."

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a natural though corrupt love of the lie the errors, and wanderings, and mists, and itself. One of the later school of the Gre- tempests, in the vale below”; so always that cians examineth the matter, and is at a this prospect be with pity, and not with stand to think what should be in it, that swelling or pride. Certainly it is heaven men should love lies: where neither they upon earth to have a man's mind move in make for pleasure, as with poets; nor for charity, rest in providence, and turn upon advantage, as with the merchant; but for the poles of truth. the lie's sake. But I cannot tell: this same To pass from theological and philosophtruth is a naked and open daylight, that ical truth to the truth of civil business, it doth not show the masques, and mummeries, will be acknowledged, even by those that and triumphs of the world half so stately practice it not, that clear and round dealing and daintily as candle-lights. Truth may is the honor of man's nature, and that mixperhaps come to the price of a pearl that ture of falsehood is like alloy in coin of gold showeth best by day; but it will not rise to and silver, which may make the metal work the price of a diamond or carbuncle, that the better, but it embaseth it; for these showeth best in varied lights. A mixture winding and crooked courses are the goings of a lie doth ever add pleasure. Doth any of the serpent, which goeth basely upon man doubt that if there were taken out of the belly, and not upon the feet. There is men's minds vain opinions, flattering hopes, no vice that doth so cover a man with shame false valuations, imaginations as one would, as to be found false and perfidious; and and the like, but it would leave the minds therefore Montaigne saith prettily, when of a number of men poor shrunken things, he inquired the reason why the word of the full of melancholy and indisposition, and lie should be such a disgrace, and such an unpleasing to themselves? One of the odious charge. “If it be well weighed, to fathers, in great severity, called poesy vinum say that a man lieth, is as much as to say daemonum i because it filleth the imagina- that he is brave towards God, and a coward tion, and yet it is but with the shadow of a towards man.” For a lie faces God, and lie. But it is not the lie that passeth through shrinks from man. Surely the wickedness the mind, but the lie that sinketh in and of falsehood and breach of faith cannot settleth in it that doth the hurt, such as we possibly be so highly expressed as in that spake of before. But howsoever these things it shall be the last peal to call the judgments are thus in men's depraved judgments and of God upon the generations of men: it affections, yet truth, which only doth judge being foretold, that when Christ cometh, itself, teacheth that the inquiry of truth, "he shall not find faith upon the earth." which is the love-making, or wooing of it; the knowledge of truth, which is the pres

2. Of Travel ence of it; and the belief of truth, which Travel in the younger sort is a part of is the enjoying of it, is the sovereign good education ; in the elder a part of experience. of human nature. The first creature of God, He that traveleth into a country before he in the works of the days, was the light of hath some entrance into the language, goeth the sense; the last was the light of reason;

to school, and not to travel. That young and his Sabbath work, ever since, is the illu- men travel under some tutor or grave servmination of his spirit. First he breathed ant, I allow well; so that he be such a one light upon the face of the matter, or chaos; that hath the language, and hath been in then he breathed light into the face of man; the country before; whereby he may be able and still he breatheth and inspireth light to tell them what things are worthy to be into the face of his chosen. The poet, that seen in the country where they go, what acbeautified the sect that was otherwise in- quaintances they are to seek, what exerferior to the rest, saith yet excellently well, cises or discipline the place yieldeth. For “It is a pleasure to stand upon the shore, else young men shall go hooded, and look and to see ships tost upon the sea; a pleas- abroad little. It is a strange thing, that in ure to stand in the window of a castle, and sea voyages, where there is nothing to be to see a battle, and the adventures thereof seen but sky and sea, men should make below; but no pleasure is comparable to the diaries, but in land travel, wherein so much standing upon the vantage ground of truth is to be observed, for the most part they (a hill not to be commanded, and where the omit it: as if chance were fitter to be regair is always clear and serene), and to see istered than observation. Let diaries there1 devil's wine

fore be brought in use. The things to be seen and observed are: the courts of princes, see and visit eminent persons in all kinds, specially when they give audience to ambas- which are of great name abroad; that he sadors: the courts of justice, while they sit may be able to tell how the life agreeth and hear causes: and so of consistories ec- with the fame. For quarrels, they are with clesiastic: the churches and monasteries, care and discretion to be avoided: they are with the monuments which are therein ex- commonly for mistresses, healths, place, and tant: the walls and fortifications of cities words. And let a man beware how he keepand towns, and so the havens and harbors: eth company with choleric and quarrelsome antiquities and ruins; libraries, colleges, dis- persons; for they will engage him into their putations, and lectures, where any are; ship- own quarrels. When a traveler returneth ping and navies: houses, and gardens of home, let him not leave the countries where state and pleasure near great cities; ar- he hath traveled altogether behind him, but mories, arsenals, magazines, exchanges, maintain a correspondence by letters with burses, warehouses; exercises of horseman- those of his acquaintance which are of most ship, fencing, training of soldiers and the worth. And let his travel appear rather in like; comedies, such whereunto the better his discourse than in his apparel or gesture; sort of persons do resort; treasuries of jew- ] and in his discourse, let him be rather adels and robes, cabinets and rarities; and to vised in his answers than forward to tell conclude, whatsoever is memorable in the stories; and let it appear that he doth not places where they go. After all which, the change his country manners for those of tutors or servants ought to make diligent foreign parts; but only prick in some flowinquiry. As for triumphs, masks, feasts, ers of that he hath learned abroad, into weddings, funerals, capital executions, and the customs of his own country. such shows, men need not to be put in mind of them; yet they are not to be neglected.

3. Of Studies If you will have a young man to put his Studies serve for delight, for ornament, travel into a little room, and in short time and for ability. Their chief use for delight to gather much, this you must do: first, as is in privateness and retiring; for ornament was said, he must have some entrance into is in discourse; and for ability is in the the language before he goeth. Then he judgment and disposition of business. For must have such a servant, or tutor, as know- expert men can execute, and perhaps judge eth the country, as was likewise said. Let of particulars, one by one; but the general him carry with him also some card or book counsels and the plots and marshaling of describing the country where he traveleth, affairs come best from those that are which will be a good key to his inquiry. Let learned. To spend too much time in studies him keep also a diary. Let him not stay is sloth; to use them too much for ornalong in one city or town; more or less as ment is affectation; to make judgment the place deserveth, but not long: nay, when wholly by their rules is the humor of a he stayeth in one city or town, let him scholar. They perfect nature, and are perchange his lodging om one end and part fected by experience. For natural abilities of the town to another, which is a great are like natural plants, that need pruning adamant of acquaintance. Let him seques- by study; and studies themselves do give ter himself from the company of his coun- forth directions too much at large, except trymen, and diet in such places where there they be bounded in by experience. Crafty is good company of the nation where he

men contenin studies, simple men admire traveleth. Let him, upon his removes from them, and wise men use them. For they one place to another, procure recommenda-teach not their own use; but that is a wistion to some person of quality residing in dom without them, and above them, won by the place whither he removeth, that he may observation. Read not to contradict and use his favor in those things he desireth to confute; nor to believe and take for see or know.

Thus he may abridge his granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but travel with much profit.

to weigh and consider. Some books are to As for the acquaintance which is to be be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some sought in travel, that which is most of all few to be chewed and digested—that is, profitable is acquaintance with the secre- some books are to be read only in parts, taries and employed men of ambassadors; others to be read, but not curiously, and for so in traveling in one country, he shall some few to be read wholly, and with dilisuck the experience of many. Let him also gence and attention. Some books also may



be read by deputy, and extracts made of twenty letters when he was angry); then to them by others; but that would be only in go less in quantity (as if one should, in forthe less important arguments and the bearing wine, come from drinking healths meaner sort of books; else distilled books to a draught at a meal); and, lastly, to disare like common distilled waters, flashy continue altogether. But if a man have the things. Reading maketh a full man, con- fortitude and resolution to enfranchise himference a ready man, and writing an exact self at once, that is the best :

And therefore if a man write little he had need have a great memory; if he

Optimus ille animi vinder lædentia pectus confer little he had need have a present wit;

Vincula qui rupit, dedoluitque semel. and if he read little he had need have much Neither is the ancient rule amiss, to bend cunning to seem to know that he doth not. nature as a wand, to a contrary extreme, Histories make men wise, poets witty, the whereby to set it right; umderstanding it mathematics subtle, natural philosophy where the contrary extreme is no vice. deep, moral grave, logic and rhetoric able Let not a man force a habit upon himself to contend, Abeunt studia in mores. Nay, with a perpetual continuance; but with there is no stond or impediment in the wit some intermission. For both the pause rebut may be wrought out by fit studies, like ir forceth the new onset; and if a man that as diseases of the body may have appropri- is not perfect be ever in practice, he shall ate exercises. Bowling is good for the stone as well practice his errors as his abilities, and reins, shooting for the lungs and breast, and induce one habit of both: and there is gentle walking for the stomach, riding for no means to help this but by seasonable inthe head, and the like. So if a man's wit termissions. But let not a man trust his be wandering, let him study the mathemat- | victory over his nature too far; for nature ies, for in demonstrations, if his wit be will lay buried a great time, and yet revive called away never so little, he must begin upon the occasion or temptation. Like as · again; if his wit be not apt to distinguish it was with Æsop's damsel, turned from a or find differences, let him study the school- cat to a woman, who sat very demurely at men, for they are cymini sectores; ? if he be the board's end till a mouse ran before her. not apt to beat over matters and to call up Therefore, let a man either avoid the occaone thing to prove and illustrate another, sion altogether, or put himself often to it, let him study the lawyer's cases.

So every

that he may be little moved with it. defect of the mind may have a special re- A man's nature is best perceived in priceipt.

vateness; for there is no affectation: in 4. Of Nature in Men

passion, for that putteth a man out of his Nature is often hidden, sometimes over

precepts; and in a new case or experiment,

for there custom leaveth him. come, seldom extinguished. Force maketh nature more violent in the return; doctrine

They are happy men whose natures sort and discourse maketh nature less impor

with their vocations; otherwise they may tune; but custom only doth alter and subdue

say, Multum incola fuit anima mea, when nature.

they converse in those things they do not He that seeketh victory over his nature,

affect. In studies, whatsoever a man comlet him not set himself too great nor too

mandeth upon himself, let him set hours small tasks; for the first will make him de

for it; but whatsoever is agreeable to his jected by often failing, and the second will

nature, let him take no care for any set make him a small proceeder, though by often

times: for his thoughts will fly to it of themprevailings. And, at the first, let him prac

selves, so as the spaces of other business or

studies will suffice. tice with helps, as swimmers do with bladders or rushes; but after a time, let him

A man's nature runs either to herbs or practice with disadvantages, as dancers do

weeds; therefore let him seasonably water with thick shoes; for it breeds great perfec

the one, and destroy the other. tion if the practice he harder than the use.

5. Of Great Place Where nature is mighty, and therefore the victory hard, the degrees had need be,

Men in Great Place are thrice servants; first to stay and arrest nature in time (like

servants of the Sovereign or State, servants to him that would say over the four-and

1 "He is the best vindicator of his mind, who

breaks the chains that gall his breast and at the i studies develop into habits.

same moment ceases to grieve." 2 Hair-splitters.

2 “My soul has long been a sojourner.”

of fame, and servants of business. So as they have no freedom, neither in their persons, nor in their actions, nor in their times. It is a strange desire to seek power and to lose liberty: or to seek power over others and to lose power over a man's self. The rising unto place is laborious; and by pains men come to greater pains: and it is sometimes base; and by indignities men come to dignities. The standing is slippery and the regress is either a downfall or at least an eclipse, which is a melancholy thing. Cum non sis qui fueris, non esse cur velis vivere.1 Nay, retire men cannot when they would, neither will they when it were reason, but are impatient of privateness, even in age and sickness, which require the shadow; like old townsmen, that will be still sitting at their street door, though thereby they offer age to scorn. Certainly great persons had need to borrow other men's opinions to think themselves happy. For if they judge by their own feeling, they cannot find it; but if they think with themselves what other men think of them, and that other men would fain be as they are, then they are happy as it were by report, when, perhaps, they find the contrary within. For they are the first that find their own griefs, though they be the last that find their own faults. Certainly, men in great fortunes are strangers to themselves, and while they are in the puzzle of business, they have no time to tend their health, either of body or mind. Illi mors gravis incubat, qui notus nimis omnibus, ignotus moritur sibi.2

In place there is license to do good and evil, whereof the latter is a curse; for in evil, the best condition is not to will, the second not to can. But power to do good is the true and lawful end of aspiring. For good thoughts, though God accept them, yet towards men are little better than good dreams, except they be put in act; and that cannot be without power and place, as the vantage and commanding ground. Merit and good works is the end of man's motion, and conscience of the same is the accomplishment of man's rest. For if a man can be a partaker of God's theater, he shall likewise be partaker of God's rest. Et conversus Deus, ut aspiceret opera quæ fecerunt manus suæ, vidit quod omnia essent bona nimis; and then the Sabbath.


1 "Since you are not what you were, there is no reason why you should wish to live."

2 "Death presses heavily upon him who dies unknown to himself, though known to all others." 3 Gen. i. 31.

In the discharge of thy place set before thee the best examples; for imitation is a globe of precepts. And after a time set before thee thine own example, and examine thyself strictly whether thou didst not best at first. Neglect not also the examples of those that have carried themselves ill in the same place; not to set off thyself by taxing their memory, but to direct thyself what to avoid. Reform, therefore, without bravery, or scandal of former times and persons: but yet set it down to thyself, as well to create good precedents as to follow them. Reduce things to the first institution, and observe wherein and how they have degenerated: but yet ask counsel of both times; of the ancient time, what is best; and of the latter time, what is fittest. Seek to make thy course regular, that men may know beforehand what they may expect; but be not too positive and peremptory, and express thyself well when thou digressest from thy rule. Preserve the right of thy place, but stir not questions of jurisdiction; and rather assume thy right in silence and de facto than voice it with claims and challenges. Preserve likewise the rights of inferior places, and think it more honor to direct in chief than to be busy in all. Embrace and invite helps and advices touching the execution of thy place; and do not drive away such as bring thee information, as meddlers, but accept of them in good part.

The vices of authority are chiefly four: delays, corruption, roughness, and facility. For delays: give easy access; keep times appointed; go through with that which is in hand, and interlace not business but of necessity. For corruption: do not only bind thine own hands or thy servants' hands from taking, but bind the hands of suitors also from offering. For integrity used doth the one; but integrity professed, and with a manifest detestation of bribery, doth the other. And avoid not only the fault but the suspicion. Whosoever is found variable and changeth. manifestly without manifest cause, giveth suspicion of corruption. Therefore always when thou changest thine opinion or course, profess it plainly, and declare it, together with the reasons that move thee to change; and do not think to steal it. A servant or a favorite, if he be inward, and no other apparent cause of esteem, is commonly thought but a by-way to close corruption. For roughness; it is a needless cause of discontent: severity breed

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