Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

unseasonable motion is but beating the air. There be three parts of business, the preparation ; the debate, or examination ; and the perfection ; whereof,

if

you look for dispatch, let the middle only be

the work of many, and the first and last the work of few. The proceeding upon somewhat conceived in writing doth for the most part facilitate dispatch :

[ocr errors][merged small]

Legative is more pergnant of direction than an indeênîte, as ashes are more generative than dust.

XXVI. OF SEEMING WISE.
It hath been an opinion, that the French are

wiser than they seem, and the Spaniards seem wiser than they are; but howsoever it be between nations, certainly it is so between man and man ; for as the

apostle saith of godliness, “ Having a shew of god*\ness, but denying the power thereof;" so certainly there are in points of wisdom and sufficiency, fhat do nothing or little very solemnly : ** magno

“conatu nugas." It is a ridiculous thing, and fit for

a satire to persons of judgment, to see what shifts

i these formalists have, and what prospectives to

make superfices to seem body that hath depth and iulk. Some are so close and reserved, as they will mit shew their wares but by a dark light, and seem ilways to keep back somewhat ; and when they imów within themselves they speak of that they do Mit well know, would nevertheless seem to others W know of that which they may not well speak. \me help themselves with countenance and gesTIe, and are wise by signs; as Cicero saith of Piso, •

[ocr errors]

friendship, he taketh it of the beast, and not from humanity. A principal fruit offriendship is the ease and discharge of thè fulmess and swellings of the heart, which passions of all kinds do cause and induce. We know diseases of stoppings and suffocations are the most dangerous in the body; and it is not much otherwise in the mind ; you may take sarza to open the liver, steel to open the spleen, flower of sulphur for the lungs, castoreum for the brain; but no receipt openeth the heart but a true friend, to whom you may impart griefs, joys, fears, hopes, suspicions, counsels, and whatsoever lieth upon the heart to oppress it, in a kind of civil shrift or confession. It is a strange thing to observe how high a rate great kings and monarchs do set upon this fruit of friendship whereof we speak: so great, as they purchase it many times at the hazard of their own safety and greatness: for princes, in regard of the distance of their fortune from that of their subjects and servants, cannot gather this fruit, except (to make themselves capable thereof) they raise some persons to be as it were companions, and almost equals to themselves, which many times sorteth to inconvenience. The modern languages give unto such persons the name of favourites, or privadoes, as if it were matter of grace, or conversation ; but the Roman name attaineth the true use and cause thereof, maming them “ participes curarum ;" for it is that which tieth the knot: and we see plainly that this hath been done, mot by weak and passionate princes only, but by the wisest and most politic that ever reigned, who have oftentimes joined to themselves some of their servants, whom both themselves have called friends, and allowed others fikewise to call them in the same manner, using the word which is received between private men. L. Sylla, when he commanded Rome, raised Pompey (after surnamed the Great) to that height, that Pompey vaunted himself for Sylla's over-match; for when he had carried the consulship for a friend of his, against the pursuit of Sylla, and that Sylla did a little resent thereat, and begam to speak great, Pompey turned upon him again, and in effect bade him be quiet ; for that more men adored the sun rising than the sum setting. With Julius Cæsar, Decimus Brutus had obtained that interest, as he set him down in his testament for heir in remainder after his nephew ; and this was the man that had power with him to draw him forth to his death : for when Cæsar would have discharged the senate, in regard of some ill presages, and specially a dream of Calpurnia, this man lifted him gently by the arm out of his chair, telling him he hoped he would not dismiss the senate till his wife had dreamed a better dream ; and it seemeth his favour was so great, as Antonius, in a letter which is recited verbatim in one of Cicero's Philippics, calleth him * venefica," —* witch ;" as if he had enchanted Cæsar. Augustus raised Agrippa (though of mean birth) to that height, as, when he consulted with Mæcenas about the marriage of his daughter Julia, Mæcenas took the liberty to tell him, that he must either marry his daughter to Agrippa, or take away his life : there was no third way, he had made him so great. With Tiberus Cæsar, Sejanus had ascended to that height as they two were termed and reckoned as a pair of friends. Tiberius, in a letter to him, saith, “ hæc pro amicitiâ nostra non occultavi;" and the whole senate dedicated an altar to Friendship, as to a goddess, in respect of the great dearness of friendship between them two. The like, or more, was between Septimius Severus and Plantianus ; for he forced his eldest son to marry the daughter of Plantianus, and would often maintain Plantianus in doing affronts to his som ; and did write also, in a letter to the senate, by these words: “ I love the man so well, as I wish he may over-live me." Now, if these princes had been as a Trajan, or a Marcus Aurelius, a man might have thought that this had proceeded of an abundant goodness of nature ; but being mem so wise, of such strength and severity of mind, and so extreme lovers of themselves, as all these were, it proveth most plainly, that they found their own felicity (though as great as ever happened to mortal men) but as an half piece, except they might have a friend to make it entire ; and yet, which is more, they were princes that had wives, sons, nephews ; and yet all these could not supply the comfort of friendship. It is not to be forgotten what Comineus observeth of his first master, duke Charles the Hardy, namely, that he would communicate his secrets with

none; and least of all, those secrets which troubled him most. Whereupon he goeth om, and saith that towards his latter time that closeness did impair and a little perish his understanding. Surely Comineus might have made the same judgment also, if it had pleased him, of his second master, Lewis the Eleventh, whose closeness was indeed his tormentor. The parable of Pythagoras is dark, but true, “ Cor * ne edito,"—* eat not the heart." Certainly, if a man would give it a hard phrase, those that want friends to open themselves unto are cannibals of their own hearts : but one thing is most admirable (wherewith I will conclude this first fruit of friendship), which is, that this communicating of a man's self to his friend works too contrary effects for it redoubleth joys, and cutteth griefs in halfs; for there is no man that imparteth his joys to his friend, but he joyeth the more: and no man that imparteth his griefs to his ffiend, but he grieveth the less. So that it is, in truth, of operation upon a man's mimd of like virtue as the alchymists use to attribute to their stone for man's body, that it worketh all contrary effects, but still to the good and benefit of nature: but yet, without praying in aid of alchymists, there is a manifest image of this in the ordinary course of nature; for, in bodies, union strengtheneth and cherisheth any natural action ; and, on the other side, weakeneth and dulleth any violent impression; and even so it is of minds. The second fruit of friendship is healthful and sovereign for the understanding, as the first is for

« ZurückWeiter »