« ZurückWeiter »
derneath: so many tongues; so many voices; she pricks up so many ears. This is a flourish: there follow excellent parables; as, that she gathereth strength in going; that she goeth upon the ground, and yet hideth her head in the clouds. That in the day-time she sitteth in a watch-tower, and flieth most by night: that she mingleth things done, with things not done; and that she is a terror to great cities: but that which passeth all the rest is, they do recount that the Earth, mother of the giants, that made war against Jupiter, and were by him destroyed, thereupon, in anger, brought forth Fame: for certain it is, that rebels figured by the giants and seditious fames, and libels, are but brothers and sisters, masculine and feminine. But now if a man can tame this monster, and bring her to feed at the hand, and govern her, and with her fly other ravening fowl, and kill them, it is somewhat worth. But we are infected with the style of the poets. To speak now in a sad and serious manner: there is not in all the politics, a place less handled, and more worthy to be handled, than this of Fame. We will therefore speak of these points: What are false Fames; and what are true Fames; and how they may be best discerned; how Fames may be sown and raised; how they may be spread and multiplied, and how they may be checked and laid dead; and other things concerning the nature of Fame. Fame is of such force, that there is scarcely any great action wherein it hath not a great part, especially in the war. Mucianus undid Vitellius by a fame that he scattered—that Vitellius had in purpose to remove the legions of Syria into Germany, and the legions of Germany into Syria: whereupon the legions of Syria were infinitely inflamed. Julius Caesar took Pompey unprovided, and laid asleep his industry and preparations, by a fame that he cunningly gave out, how Caesar's own soldiers loved him not; and being wearied with the wars, and laden with the spoils of Gaul, would forsake him as soon as he came into Italy. Livia settled all things for the succession of her son Tiberius, by continual giving out, that her husband Augustus was upon recovery and amendment. And it is an usual thing with the Bashaws, to conceal the death of the Great Turk from the Janizaries and men of war, to save the sacking of Constantinople, and other towns, as their manner is. Themistocles made Xerxes, king of Persia, post apace out of Graecia, by giving out that the Graecians had a purpose to break his bridge of ships, which he had made athwart Hellespont. There be a thousand such like examples; and the more they are, the less they need to be repeated, because a man meeteth with them every where: therefore let all wise governors have as great a watch and care over Fames, as they have of the actions and designs themselves.
character of gulius (tasar.
JULIUs CAESAR was partaker at first of an exercised fortune, which turned to his benefit; for it abated the haughtiness of his spirit, and whetted his industry. He had a mind, turbulent in his desires and affections; but in his judgment and understanding very serene and placid : and this appears by his easy deliverances of himself, both in his transactions and in his speech; for no man ever resolved more swiftly, or spake more perspicuously and plainly. There was nothing forced or difficult in his expressions. But in his will and appetite, he was of that condition, that he never rested in those things he had gotten; but still thirsted and pursued after new; yet so, that he would not rush into new affairs rashly, but settle and make an end of the former, before he attempted fresh actions: so that he would pnt a seasonable period to all his undertakings. And therefore, though he won many battles in Spain, and weakened their forces by degrees; yet he would not give over, nor despise the reliques of the civil war there, till he had seen all things composed:
but then as soon as that was done, and the state settled, instantly he advanced in his expedition against the Parthians. He was, no doubt, of a very noble mind; but yet such as aimed more at his own particular advancement than at any merits for the common good. For he referred all things to himself; and was the true and perfect centre of all his own actions. By which means, being so fast tied to his ends, he was still prosperous, and prevailed in his purposes; insomuch that neither country, nor religion, nor good turns done him, nor kindred, nor friendship, diverted his appetite, or bridled him from pursuing his own ends. Neither was he much inclined to works of perpetuity: for he established nothing for the future; he founded no sumptuous buildings; he procured to be enacted no wholesome laws; but still minded himself, and so his thoughts were confined within the circle of his own life. He sought indeed after fame and reputation, because he thought they might be profitable to his designs: otherwise, in his inward thoughts, he propounded to kimself rather absoluteness of power, than honour and fame. For as for honour and fame, he pursued not after them for themselves; but because they were the instruments of power and greatness. And therefore he was carried on through a natural inclination, not by any rules that he had learned, to affect the sole command; and rather to enjoy the same, than to seem worthy of it. And by this means he won much reputation amongst the people, who are no valuers of true worth: but amongst the nobility and great men, who were tender of their own honours, it procured him no more than this, that he incurred the brand of an ambitious and daring man. Neither did they much err from the truth who thought him so; for he was by nature exceeding bold; and never did put on any show of modesty, except it were for some purposes. Yet, notwithstanding, he so attempered his boldness, that it neither impeached him of rashness, nor was burthensome to men; nor rendered his nature suspected; but was conceived to flow out of an innate sincerity and freeness of behaviour, and the nobility of his birth: and in all other things he passed, not for a crafty and deceitful person, but for an open-hearted and plain-dealing man. And whereas he was indeed an arch-politician, that could counterfeit and dissemble sufficiently well, and was wholly compounded of frauds and deceits; so that there was nothing sincere in him, but all artificial; yet he covered and disguised himself so, that no such vices appeared to the world; but he was generally reputed to proceed plainly and uprightly with all men. Howbeit, he did not stoop to any