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ruined. At this entrance, Leonidas, one of the kings of Sparta, with 300 Lacedæmonians, assisted with 1000 Tegeatæ and Mantineans, and 1000 Arcadians, and other Peloponnesians, to the number of 3100 in the whole; besides 100 Phocians, 400 Thebans, 700 Thespians, and all the forces—such as they were—of the bordering Locrians, defended the passage two whole days together against that huge army of the Persians. The valour of the Greeks appeared so excellent in this defence, that in the first day's fight Xerxes is said to have three times leaped out of his throne, fearing the destruction of his army by one handful of those men, whom not long before he had utterly despised ; and when the second day's attempt upon the Greeks had proved vain, he was altogether ignorant how to proceed further, and so might have continued, had not a runagate Grecian taught him a secret way, by which part of his army might ascend the ledge of mountains, and set upon the backs of those who kept the straits. But when the most valiant of the Persian army had almost enclosed the small forces of the Greeks, then did Leonidas, king of the Lacedæmonians, with his -300, and 700 Thespians, which were all that abode by him, refuse to quit the place which they had undertaken to make good, and with admirable courage not only resist that world of men which charged them on all sides, but, issuing out of their strength, made so great a slaughter of their enemies, that they might well be called vanquishers, though all of them were slain upon the place. Xerxes' having lost in this last fight, together with 20,000 other soldiers and captains, two of his own brethren, began to doubt what inconvenience might befall him by the virtuel of such as had not been present at these battles, with whom he knew that he shortly was to deal. Especially of the Spartans he stood in great fear, whose manhood had appeared singular in this trial, which caused him very carefully to inquire what numbers they could bring into the field. It is reported of Dieneces, the Spartan, that when one thought to have terrified him by saying that the flight of the Persian arrows was so thick as would hide the sun, he answered thus : 'It is very good news, for then shall we fight in the cool shade.
FRANCIS BACON: 1561-1626.
Bacon, Lord High Chancellor of England, Baron Verulam, and latterly
Viscount St Albans, is the greatest of England's prose writers. He wrote upon history and law, the advancement of learning, and nearly all matters relating to the cultivation of mind. His most important work is The Instauration of the Sciences, but of all his productions his Essays are the most generally read. In no other writer is so much splendid thought to be found expressed in such admirable language.
OF STUDIES. From his Essays.
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 inuch 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 ; 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 others; 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 haye 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, subtle ; natural philosophy, deep; moral, grave; logic and rhetoric, able to contend : ‘Abeunt studia in mores' [ Studies influence the manners']; nay, there is no stond? 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 differences, let him study the schoolmen, for they are cumini sectores' [“ dividers of cummin seed '];? if he be not apt to beat over matters, and to call upon one thing to prove and illustrate another, let him study the lawyers' cases—so every defect of the mind may have a special receipt.
Some in their discourse desire rather commendation of wit, in being able to hold all arguments, than of judgment, in discerning what is true ; as if it were a praise to know what might be said, and not what should be thought. Some have certain commonplaces and themes, wherein they are good, and want variety; which kind of poverty is for the most part tedious, and, when it is once perceived, ridiculous. The honourablest part of talk is to give the occasion ; and again to moderate and pass to son what else, for then a man leads the dance. It is good in discourse, and speech of conversation, to vary and intermingle speech of the present occasion with arguments, tales with reasons, asking of questions with telling of opinions, and jest with earnest ; for it is a dull thing to tire, and as we say now, to jade anything too far. As for jest, there be certain things which ought to be privileged from it: namely, religion, matters of state, great persons, any man's present business of importance, and any case that deserveth pity; yet there be some that think their wits have been asleep, except they dart out somewhat that is piquant, and to the quick; that is a vein which would be bridled :
Parce puer stimulis, et fortius utere loris.
And, generally, 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. He that questioneth much shall learn much, and content much ; but especially if he apply his questions to the skill of the persons whom he asketh ; for he shall give them occasion to please themselves in speaking, and himself shall continually gather knowledge ; but let his questions not be troublesome, for that is fit for a poser; and let him be sure to leave other men their turns to speak: nay, if there be any that would reign and take up all the time, let him find means to take them off, and bring others on, as musicians used to do with those that dance too long galliards.1 If you dissemble sometimes your knowledge of that you are thought to know, you shall be thought, another time, to know that you know not. Speech of a man's self ought to be seldom, and well chosen. I knew one was wont to say in scorn: 'He must needs be a wise man, he speaks so much of himself ;' and there is but one case wherein a man may commend himself with a good grace, and that is in commending virtue in another, especially if it be such a virtue whereunto himself pretendeth. Speech of touch towards others should be sparingly used ; for discourse ought to be as a field, without coming home to any man. I knew two noblemen, of the west part of England, whereof the one was given to scoff, but kept ever royal cheer in his house ; the other would ask. of those that had been at the other's table : “Tell truly, was there
a flout or dry blow given ? To which the guest would answer: "Such and such a thing passed.' The lord would say : ‘I thought he would mar a good dinner. Discretion of speech is more than eloquence; and to speak agreeable to him with whom we deal, is more than to speak in good words, or in good order. A good continued speech, without a good speech of interlocution, shews slowness; and a good reply, or second speech, without a good settled speech, sheweth shallowness and weakness. As we see in beasts, that those that are weakest in the course, are yet nimblest in the turn; as it is betwixt the greyhound and the hare. To use too many circumstances ere one come to the matter, is wearisome; to use none at all, is blunt.
1 Lively dances.
JOSEPH HALL: 1574-1656.'
Hall, Bishop of Norwich, was distinguished for his defence of Episcopacy
during the ascendency of the Presbyterians. He wrote a variety of sermons, meditations, and controversial tracts, the most popular of which are his Occasional Meditations and Characters of Virtues and Vices. From the pithy and sententious character of his style he has been called 'The English Seneca.'
THE HYPOCRITE. From The Characters of Virtues and Vices.
A hypocrite is the worst kind of player, by so much that he acts the better part; which hath always two faces, ofttimes two hearts : that can compose his forehead to sadness and gravity, while he bids his heart be wanton and careless within, and, in the meantime, laughs within himself to think how smoothly he hath cozened the beholder. In whose silent face are written the characters of religion, which his tongue and gestures pronounce, but his hands recant. That hath a clean face and garment, with a foul soul; whose mouth belies his heart, and his fingers belie his mouth. Walking early up into the city, he turns into the great church, and salutes one of the pillars on one knee, worshipping that God which at home he cares not for, while his eye is fixed on some window or some passenger, and his heart knows not whither his lips go. He rises, and, looking about with admiration, complains of our frozen charity, commends the ancient. At church he will ever sit where he may be seen. best, and in the midst of the sermon pulls out his tables in haste, as if he feared to lose that note; when he writes either his forgotten errand, or nothing. Then he turns his Bible with a noise, to seek. an omitted quotation, and folds the leaf as if he had found it, and asks aloud the name of the preacher, and repeats it, whom he publicly salutes, thanks, praises in an honest mouth. command tears when he speaks of his youth, indeed, because it is past, not because it was sinful ; himself is now better, but the times are worse. All other sins he reckons up with detestation, while he loves and hides his darling in his bosom ; all his speech returns to himself, and every occurrent draws in a story to his own praise. When he should give, he looks about him, and says, Who sees me? no alms nor prayers fall from him without a witness ; belike lest God should deny that he hath received them; and when he hath