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mobility, and those that were his peers, he contracted friendship with such of them as might be useful to him; and admitted none to his cabinet council, but those that had their fortunes wholly depending upon him. He was moderately furnished with good literature, and the arts; but in such sort as he applied his skill therein to civil policy. For he was well read in history; and was expert in rhetoric, and the art of speaking. And because he attributed much to his good stars, he would pretend more than an ordinary knowledge in astronomy. As for eloquence, and a prompt elocution, that was natural to him, and pure. He was dissolute, and propense to voluptuousness and pleasures; which served well at first for a cover to his ambition : for no man would imagine, that a man so loosely given could harbour any ambitious and vast thoughts in his heart. Notwithstanding, he so governed his pleasures, that they were no hindrance, either to his profit, or to his business: and they did rather whet, than dull the vigour of his mind. He was temperate at his meals; free from niceness and curiosity in his lusts; pleasant and magnificent at public interludes. Thus being accomplished, the same thing was the means of his downfall at last, which in his beginning was a step to his rise, I mean his affectation of popularity. For nothing is more popular, than to forgive our enemies. Through which, either virtue or cunning, he lost his life.
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AUGUSTUS CESAR (if ever any mortal man) was endued with a greatness of mind undisturbed with passions, clear and well ordered; which is evidenced by the high achievements which he performed in his early youth. For those persons which are of a turbulent nature or appetite, do commonly pass their youth in many errors; and about their middle, then and not before, they show forth their perfections: but those that are of a sedate and calm nature, may be ripe for great and glorious actions in their youth. And whereas . the faculties of the mind, no less than the parts and members of the body, do consist and flourish in a good temper of health, and beauty, and strength; so he was, in the strength of the mind, inferior to his uncle Julius; but in the health and beauty of the mind, up rior. For Julius being of an unquiet and uncomposed spirit; (as those who are troubled with tie f ling-sickness for the most part are), notwithstanding he carried on his own ends with much moderation and discretion, yet he did not order his ends well; propounding to himself
vast and high designs, above the reach of a mortal man. But Augustus, as a man sober, and mindful of his mortality, seemed to propound no other ends to himself, than such as were orderly and well weighed, and governed by reason. For, first he was desirous indeed to have the rule and principality in his bands; then he sought to appear worthy of that power which he should acquire : next, to enjoy an high place, he accounted but a transitory thing : lastly, he endeavoured to do such actions as might continue his memory, and leave an impression of his good government to after ages. And therefore, in the beginning of his age, he affected power; in the middle of his age, honour and dignity; in the decline of his years, ease and pleasure; and in the end of his life, he was wholly bent to memory and posterity.
1. A KING is a mortal god on earth, unto whom
t 3. A king that would not feel his crown too heavy for him, must wear it every day; but if he think it too light, he knoweth not of what metal it is made. 4. He must make religion the rule of government, and not to balance the scale; for he that casteth in religion only to make the scales 'even, his own weight is contained in those characters: “Mene, mene, tekel, upharsin;” “ He is found too light, his kingdom shall be taken from him.” 5. And that king that holds not religion the best reason of state, is void of all piety and justice, the supporters of a king. 6. He must be able to give counsel himself, but not rely thereupon; for though happy events justify their counsels, yet it is better that the evil event of good advice be rather imputed to a subject than a sovereign. 7. He is the fountain of honour, which should not run with a waste pipe, lest the courtiers sell the water; and then, as papists say of their holy wells, it loses the virtue. 8. He is the life of the law, not only as he is “a speaking law” himself, but because he animateth the dead letter, making it active towards all his subjects “by rewards and punishments.” 9. A wise king must do less in altering his laws than he may ; for new government is ever dangerous. It being true in the body politic, as in the corporal, that “every sudden change is dangerous;” and though it be for the better, yet it is not without a fearful apprehension; for he that changeth the fundamental laws of a kingdom, thinketh there is no good title to a crown but by conquest. 10. A king that setteth to sale seats of justice, oppresseth the people; for he teacheth his judges to sell justice; and “justice purchased by a bribe will be sold for a bribe.” 11. Bounty and magnificence are virtues very regal, but a prodigal king is nearer a tyrant than a parsimonious; for store at home draweth not his contemplations abroad: but want supplieth itself of what is next, and many times the next way: a king herein must be wise, and know what he may justly do. 12. That king which is not feared, is not loved; and he that is well seen in his craft, must as well study to be feared as loved; yet not loved for fear, but feared for love. 13. Therefore, as he must always resemble him whose great name he beareth, and that as in manifesting the sweet influence of his mercy on the severe stroke of his justice sometimes, so in this not to suffer a man of death to live; for besides that the land doth mourn, the restraint of justice towards sin doth more retard the affection of love than the extent of mercy doth inflame it: and sure where love is [ill] bestowed, fear is quite lost.