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choose well those whom he employeth, and change them often, for new are more timorous and less subtle. He that can look into his estate but seldom, it behooveth him to turn all to certainties. A man had need, if he be plentiful in some kind of expense, to be as saving again in some other as if he be plentiful in diet, to be saving in apparel; if he be plentiful in the hall, to be saving in the stable; and the like. For he that is plentiful in expenses of all kinds will hardly be preserved from decay.

In clearing of a man's estate, he may as well hurt himself in being too sudden, as in letting it run on too long, for hasty selling is commonly as disadvantageable as interest. Besides, he that clears at once will relapse, for, finding himself out of straits, he will revert to his customs; but he that cleareth by degrees induceth a habit of frugality, and gaineth as well upon his mind as upon his estate. Certainly, who hath a state to repair may not despise small things, and, commonly, it is less dishonourable to abridge petty charges than to stoop to petty gettings. A man ought warily to begin charges, which once begun will continue; but in matters that return not, he may be more magnificent.


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 preceived, ridiculous. The honourablest part of talk is to give the occasion, and again to moderate and pass to somewhat 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" (Spare the whip, lad, and hold the reins tighter). 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 to bring others on, as musicians used to do with those that dance to long galliards. 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 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 never 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 agreeably 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, shows slowness, and a good reply, or second speech, without a good settled speech, showeth 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.


A MAN that is young in years may be old in hours, if he have lost no time, but that happeneth rarely. Generally youth is like the first cogitations, not so wise as the second, for there is a youth in thoughts as well as in ages. And yet the invention of young men is more lively than that of old, and imaginations stream into their minds better, and, as it were, more divinely. Natures that have much heat and great and violent desires and perturbations, are not ripe for action till they have passed the meridian of their years, as it was with Julius Cæsar and Septimius Severus, of the latter of whom it is said, "Juventutem egit erroribus, imo furoribus plenam" (He spent a youth full of errors, indeed full of acts of madness). And yet he was the ablest emperor almost of all the list. But reposed natures may do well in youth, as it is seen in Augustus Cæsar, Cosmus duke of Florence, Gaston de Foix, and others. On the other side, heat and vivacity in age is an excellent composition for business. Young men are fitter to invent than to judge, fitter for execution than for counsel, and fitter for new projects than for settled business; for the experience of age, in things that fall within

the compass of it, directeth them, but in new things abuseth them. The errors of young men are the ruin of business; but the errors of aged men amount but to this, that more might have been done, or sooner.

Young men, in the conduct and manage of actions, embrace more than they can hold, stir more than they can quiet; fly to the end, without consideration of the means and degrees; pursue some few principles which they have chanced upon absurdly; care not to innovate, which draws unknown inconveniences; use extreme remedies at first; and, that which doubleth all errors, will not acknowledge or retract them, like an unready horse, that will not neither stop nor turn. Men of age object too much, consult too long, adventure too little, repent too soon, and seldom drive business home to the full period, but content themselves with a mediocrity of success.

Certainly it is good to compound employments of both, for that will be good for the present, because the virtues of either age may correct the defects of both; and good for succession, that young man may be learners, while men in age are actors; and, lastly, good for externe accidents, because authority followeth old men, and favour and popularity youth. But for the moral part, perhaps youth will have the pre-eminence, as age hath for the politic. A certain rabbin, upon the text, "Your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams,' inferreth that young men are admitted nearer to God than old, because vision is a clearer revelation than a dream. And certainly, the more a man drinketh of the world, the more it intoxicateth; and age doth profit rather in the powers of understanding then in the virtues of the will and affections.

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There be some have an over-early ripeness in their years, which fadeth betimes. These are, first, such as have brittle wits, the edge whereof is soon turned, — such as was Hermogenes the rhetorician, whose books are exceeding subtle, who afterward waxed stupid. A second sort is of those that have some natural dispositions, which

have better grace in youth than in age, such as is a fluent and luxuriant speech, which becomes youth well, but not age; so Tully saith of Hortensius, "Idem manebat, neque idem decebat" (He remained the same, when it was no longer seemly). The third is of such as take too high a strain at the first, and are magnanimous more than tract of years can uphold; as was Scipio Africanus, of whom Livy saith, in effect, "Ultima primis cadebant' (His end fell short of his beginning).


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 much 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 have 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; mathematics, subtile; natural philosophy, deep; moral, grave; logic and rhetoric, able to contend. "Abeunt studia in "(Studies result in habits). Nay, there is no stand or impediment in the wit, but may be brought 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 difference, let him study the schoolmen, for they are "cymini sectores" (hair-splitters). If he be not apt to beat over matters and to call up one thing to prove and illustrate another, let him study the lawyers' cases. So every defect of the mind may have a special receipt.



MOSES in describing the work of Creation attributeth speech unto God: “God said, let there be light; let there be a firmament; let the waters under the heaven be gathered together into one place; let the earth bring forth; let there be lights in the firmament of heaven." Was this the only intent of Moses, to signify the infinite greatness of God's power by the easiness of his accomplishing such effects, without travail, pain, or labour? Surely it seemed that God had herein besides this a further purpose,

namely, first, to teach that God did not work as a necessary but as a voluntary agent, intending beforehand and decreeing with himself that which did outwardly proceed from him; secondly, to show that God did then institute a law natural to be observed by creatures, and therefore, according to the manner of laws, the institution thereof is described as being established by solemn injunction. His commanding those things to be which are, and to be in such sort as they are, to keep that tenor and course which they do, importeth the establishment of Nature's law. This world's first creation, and the preservation since of things created, what is it but only so far forth a manifestation by execution, what the eternal law of God is concerning things natural? And as it cometh to pass in a kingdom rightly a kingdom rightly ordered that after a law is once published it presently takes effect far and wide, all states framing themselves thereunto; even so let us think it fareth in the natural course of the world; since the time that God did first proclaim the edicts of his law upon it, heaven and earth have hearkened unto his voice, and their labour hath been to do his will. He made a law for the rain, he gave his decree unto the sea that the waters should not pass his commandment. Now if Nature should intermit her course, and leave altogether, though it were but for a while, the observation of her own laws; if those principal and mother elements of the world, whereof all things in this lower world are made, should lose the qualities which they now have; if the frame of the heavenly arch erected over our heads should loosen and dissolve itself; if celestial spheres should forget their wonted motions, and by irregular volubility turn themselves any way as it might happen; if the prince of the lights of heaven, which now as a giant. doth run his unwearied course, should, as it were through a languishing faintness, begin to stand and to rest himself; if the moon should wander from her beaten way; the times and seasons of the year blend themselves by disorder and confused mixture; the winds breathe out their

last gasp, the clouds yield no rain, the earth be defeated of heavenly influence, the fruits of the earth pine away as children at the withered breasts of their mothers, no longer able to yield them relief; what would become of man himself, whom all these things do now serve? See we not plainly that obedience of creatures unto the law of nature is the stay of the whole world?




CERTAINLY the limits of adorning and beautifying the body are not so narrow, so strict, as by some sour men they are sometimes conceived to be. Differences of ranks, of ages, of nations, of customs, make great differences in the enlarging, or contracting of these limits, in adorning the body; and that may come near sin at some time, and in some places, which is not so always, nor everywhere. Amongst the women there, the Jewish women, it was so general a thing to help themselves with aromatical oils, and liniments, as that that which is said by the prophet's poor widow, to the prophet Elisha, that she had nothing in the house but a pot of oil, is very properly by some collected from the original word, that it was not oil for meat, but oil for unction, aromatical oil, oil to make her look better; she was but poor, but a widow, but a prophet's widow, (and likely to be the poorer for that) yet she left not that. We see that even those women, whom the kings were to take for their wives, and not for mistresses, (which is but a later name for concubines) had a certain, and a long time assigned to be prepared by these aromatical unctions, and liniments for beauty. Neither do those. that consider, that when Abraham was afraid to lose his wife Sara in Egypt, and that every man that saw her, would fall in love with her, Sara was then above threescore, and when the king Abimelech did fall in love with her, and take her from Abraham, she was fourscore and ten, they

do not assign this preservation of her complexion, and habitude to any other thing, than the use of those unctions, and liniments, which were ordinary to that nation. But yet though the extent and limit of this adorning the body, may be larger than some austere persons will allow, yet it is not so large, as that it should be limited only, by the intention and purpose of them that do it; so that if they that beautify themselves, mean no harm in it, therefore there should be no harm in it; for, except they could as well provide, that others should take no harm, as that they should mean no harm, they may participate of the fault. And since we find such an impossibility in rectifying and governing our own senses, (we cannot take our own eye, nor stop our own ear, when we would) it is an unnecessary, and insupportable burden, to put upon our score, all the lascivious glances, and the licentious wishes of other persons, occasioned by us, in over-adorning ourselves.

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