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Essays by Francis Bacon

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self, above human frailty. As it is in particular
persons, so it is in nations. Never was there such a
state for magnanimity as Rome. Of this state hear
what Cicero saith: Quam volumus licet, patres con-
scripti, nos amemus, tamen nec numero Hispanos,
nec robore Gallos, nec calliditate Poenos, nec arti-
bus Graecos, nec denique hoc ipso hujus gentis et
terrae domestico nativoque sensu Italos ipsos et
Latinos; sed pietate, ac religione, atque hac una
sapientia, quod deorum immortalium numine
omnia regi gubernarique perspeximus, omnes
gentes nationesque superavimus.

Of Superstition

IT WERE better to have no opinion of God at all,
than such an opinion, as is unworthy of him.
For the one is unbelief, the other is contumely;
and certainly superstition is the reproach of the
Deity. Plutarch saith well to that purpose: Surely
(saith he) I had rather a great deal, men should
say, there was no such man at all, as Plutarch,
than that they should say, that there was one Plu-
tarch, that would eat his children as soon as they
were born; as the poets speak of Saturn. And as the
contumely is greater towards God, so the danger is
greater towards men. Atheism leaves a man to
sense, to philosophy, to natural piety, to laws, to
reputation; all which may be guides to an outward
moral virtue, though religion were not; but super-
stition dismounts all these, and erecteth an abso-
lute monarchy, in the minds of men. Therefore
theism did never perturb states; for it makes men
wary of themselves, as looking no further: and we
see the times inclined to atheism (as the time of
Augustus Caesar) were civil times. But supersti-
tion hath been the confusion of many states, and
bringeth in a new primum mobile, that ravisheth
all the spheres of government.The master of super-
stition, is the people; and in all superstition, wise
men follow fools; and arguments are fitted to prac-
tice, in a reversed order. It was gravely said by
some of the prelates in the Council of Trent, where
the doctrine of the Schoolmen bare great sway,
that the Schoolmen were like astronomers, which
did feign eccentrics and epicycles, and such en-
gines of orbs, to save the phenomena; though they
knew there were no such things; and in like man-
ner, that the Schoolmen had framed a number of
subtle and intricate axioms, and theorems, to save
the practice of the church. The causes of supersti-
tion are: pleasing and sensual rites and ceremonies;
excess of outward and pharisaical holiness; over-
great reverence of traditions, which cannot but
load the church; the stratagems of prelates, for
their own ambition and lucre; the favoring too
much of good intentions, which openeth the gate
to conceits and novelties; the taking an aim at
divine matters, by human, which cannot but
breed mixture of imaginations: and, lastly, bar-
barous times, especially joined with calamities
and disasters. Superstition, without a veil, is a de-
formed thing; for, as it addeth deformity to an
ape, to be so like a man, so the similitude of super-
stition to religion, makes it the more deformed.
And as wholesome meat corrupteth to little worms,
so good forms and orders corrupt, into a number of
petty observances. There is a superstition in avoid-
ing superstition, when men think to do best, if they
go furthest from the superstition, formerly re-
ceived; therefore care would be had that (as it
fareth in ill purgings) the good be not taken away
with the bad; which commonly is done, when the
people is the reformer.

Of Travel

TRAVEL, in the younger sort, is a part of edu-
cation, in the elder, a part of experience. He
that travelleth into a country, before he hath some
entrance into the language, goeth to school, and
not to travel. That young men travel under some
tutor, or grave servant, I allow well; so that he be
such a one that hath the language, and hath been
in the country before; whereby he may be able
to tell them what things are worthy to be seen, in
the country where they go; what acquaintances
they are to seek; what exercises, or discipline, the
place yieldeth. For else, young men shall go
hooded, and look abroad little. It is a strange thing,
that in sea voyages, where there is nothing to be
seen, but sky and sea, men should make diaries;
but in land-travel, wherein so much is to be ob-
served, for the most part they omit it; as if chance
were fitter to be registered, than observation. Let
diaries, therefore, be brought in use. The things to
be seen and observed are: the courts of princes,
especially when they give audience to ambassa-
dors; the courts of justice, while they sit and hear
causes; and so of consistories ecclesiastic; the
churches and monasteries, with the monuments
which are therein extant; the walls and fortifica-
tions of cities, and towns, and so the heavens and
harbors; antiquities and ruins; libraries; colleges,
disputations, and lectures, where any are; ship-
ping and navies; houses and gardens of state and
pleasure, near great cities; armories; arsenals;
magazines; exchanges; burses; warehouses; exer-
cises of horsemanship, fencing, training of sol-
diers, and the like; comedies, such whereunto the
better sort of persons do resort; treasuries of jewels
and robes; cabinets and rarities; and, to conclude,
whatsoever is memorable, in the places where
they go. After all which, the tutors, or servants,
ought to make diligent inquiry. As for triumphs,
masks, feasts, weddings, funerals, capital execu-
tions, and such shows, men need not to be put in
mind of them; yet are they not to be neglected. If
you will have a young man to put his travel into a
little room, and in short time to gather much, this
you must do. First, as was said, he must have some
entrance into the language before he goeth. Then
he must have such a servant, or tutor, as knoweth
the country, as was likewise said. Let him carry
with him also, some card or book, describing the
country where he travelleth; which will be a good
key to his inquiry. Let him keep also a diary. Let
him not stay long, in one city or town; more or less
as the place deserveth, but not long; nay, when he
stayeth in one city or town, let him change his
lodging from one end and part of the town, to an-
other; which is a great adamant of acquaintance.
Let him sequester himself, from the company of
his countrymen, and diet in such places, where
there is good company of the nation where he
travelleth. Let him, upon his removes from one
place to another, procure recommendation to some
person of quality, residing in the place whither he
removeth; that he may use his favor, in those
things he desireth to see or know. Thus he may
abridge his travel, with much profit. As for the
acquaintance, which is to be sought in travel; that
which is most of all profitable, is acquaintance
with the secretaries and employed men of ambas-
sadors: for so in travelling in one country, he shall
suck the experience of many. Let him also see, and
visit, eminent persons in all kinds, which are of
great name abroad; that he may be able to tell,
how the life agreeth with the fame. For quarrels,
they are with care and discretion to be avoided.
They are commonly for mistresses, healths, place,
and words. And let a man beware, how he keepeth
company with choleric and quarrelsome persons;
for they will engage him into their own quarrels.
When a traveller returneth home, let him not
leave the countries, where he hath travelled, alto-
gether behind him; but maintain a correspond-
ence by letters, with those of his acquaintance,
which are of most worth. And let his travel appear
rather in his discourse, than his apparel or gesture;
and in his discourse, let him be rather advised in
his answers, than forward to tell stories; and let it
appear that he doth not change his country man-
ners, for those of foreign parts; but only prick in
some flowers, of that he hath learned abroad, into
the customs of his own country.

Of Empire

IT IS a miserable state of mind, to have few
things to desire, and many things to fear; and
yet that commonly is the case of kings; who, being
at the highest, want matter of desire, which makes
their minds more languishing; and have many rep-
resentations of perils and shadows, which makes
their minds the less clear. And this is one reason
also, of that effect which the Scripture speaketh of,
That the king's heart is inscrutable. For multitude
of jealousies, and lack of some predominant de-
sire, that should marshal and put in order all the
rest, maketh any man's heart, hard to find or
sound. Hence it comes likewise, that princes many
times make themselves desires, and set their hearts
upon toys; sometimes upon a building; sometimes
upon erecting of an order; sometimes upon the ad-
vancing of a person; sometimes upon obtaining
excellency in some art, or feat of the hand; as Nero
for playing on the harp, Domitian for certainty
of the hand with the arrow, Commodus for play-
ing at fence, Caracalla for driving chariots, and
the like. This seemeth incredible, unto those that
know not the principle, that the mind of man, is
more cheered and refreshed by profiting in small
things, than by standing at a stay, in great. We see
also that kings that have been fortunate conquer-
ors, in their first years, it being not possible for
them to go forward infinitely, but that they must
have some check, or arrest in their fortunes, turn
in their latter years to be superstitious, and melan-
choly; as did Alexander the Great; Diocletian; and
in our memory, Charles the Fifth; and others: for
he that is used to go forward, and findeth a stop,
falleth out of his own favor, and is not the thing
he was.

To speak now of the true temper of empire, it is
a thing rare and hard to keep; for both temper, and
distemper, consist of contraries. But it is one thing,
to mingle contraries, another to interchange them.
The answer of Apollonius to Vespasian, is full of
excellent instruction. Vespasian asked him, What
was Nero's overthrow? He answered, Nero could
touch and tune the harp well; but in government,
sometimes he used to wind the pins too high, some-
times to let them down too low. And certain it is,
that nothing destroyeth authority so much, as the
unequal and untimely interchange of power
pressed too far, and relaxed too much.

This is true, that the wisdom of all these latter
times, in princes' affairs, is rather fine deliveries,
and shiftings of dangers and mischiefs, when they
are near, than solid and grounded courses to keep
them aloof. But this is but to try masteries with
fortune. And let men beware, how they neglect
and suffer matter of trouble to be prepared; for no
man can forbid the spark, nor tell whence it may
come. The difficulties in princes' business are many
and great; but the greatest difficulty, is often in
their own mind. For it is common with princes
(saith Tacitus) to will contradictories, Sunt pler-
umque regum voluntates vehementes, et inter se
contrariae. For it is the solecism of power, to think
to command the end, and yet not to endure the

Kings have to deal with their neighbors, their
wives, their children, their prelates or clergy, their
nobles, their second-nobles or gentlemen, their
merchants, their commons, and their men of war;
and from all these arise dangers, if care and cir-
cumspection be not used.

First for their neighbors; there can no general
rule be given (for occasions are so variable), save
one, which ever holdeth, which is, that princes do
keep due sentinel, that none of their neighbors do
ever grow so (by increase of territory, by embrac-
ing of trade, by approaches, or the like), as they
become more able to annoy them, than they were.
And this is generally the work of standing coun-
sels, to foresee and to hinder it. During that trium-
virate of kings, King Henry the Eighth of England,
Francis the First King of France, and Charles the
Fifth Emperor, there was such a watch kept, that
none of the three could win a palm of ground, but
the other two would straightways balance it,
either by confederation, or, if need were, by a war;
and would not in any wise take up peace at inter-
est. And the like was done by that league (which
Guicciardini saith was the security of Italy) made
between Ferdinando King of Naples, Lorenzius
Medici, and Ludovicus Sforza, potentates, the one
of Florence, the other of Milan. Neither is the opin-
ion of some of the Schoolmen, to be received, that a
war cannot justly be made, but upon a precedent
injury or provocation. For there is no question, but
a just fear of an imminent danger, though there be
no blow given, is a lawful cause of a war.

For their wives; there are cruel examples of
them. Livia is infamed, for the poisoning of her
husband; Roxalana, Solyman's wife, was the
destruction of that renowned prince, Sultan Mus-
tapha, and otherwise troubled his house and suc-
cession; Edward the Second of England, his queen,
had the principal hand in the deposing and mur-
der of her husband. This kind of danger, is then to
be feared chiefly, when the wives have plots, for
the raising of their own children; or else that they
be advoutresses.

For their children; the tragedies likewise of
dangers from them, have been many. And gen-
erally, the entering of fathers into suspicion of
their children, hath been ever unfortunate. The
destruction of Mustapha (that we named before)
was so fatal to Solyman's line, as the succession of
the Turks, from Solyman until this day, is sus-
pected to be untrue, and of strange blood; for that
Selymus the Second, was thought to be supposi-
tious. The destruction of Crispus, a young prince of
rare towardness, by Constantinus the Great, his
father, was in like manner fatal to his house; for
both Constantinus and Constance, his sons, died
violent deaths; and Constantius, his other son, did
little better; who died indeed of sickness, but after
that Julianus had taken arms against him. The de-
struction of Demetrius, son to Philip the Second of
Macedon, turned upon the father, who died of
repentance. And many like examples there are;
but few or none, where the fathers had good by
such distrust; except it were, where the sons were
up in open arms against them; as was Selymus the
First against Bajazet; and the three sons of Henry
the Second, King of England.

For their prelates; when they are proud and
great, there is also danger from them; as it was in
the times of Anselmus, and Thomas Becket, Arch-
bishops of Canterbury; who, with their croziers,
did almost try it with the king's sword; and yet
they had to deal with stout and haughty kings,
William Rufus, Henry the First, and Henry the
Second. The danger is not from that state, but
where it hath a dependence of foreign authority;
or where the churchmen come in and are elected,
not by the collation of the king, or particular
patrons, but by the people.

For their nobles; to keep them at a distance, it is
not amiss; but to depress them, may make a king
more absolute, but less safe; and less able to per-
form, any thing that he desires. I have noted it, in
my History of King Henry the Seventh of Eng-
land, who depressed bis nobility; whereupon it
came to pass, that his times were full of difficulties
and troubles; for the nobility, though they con-
tinued loyal unto him, yet did they not co-operate
with him in his business. So that in effect, he was
fain to do all things himself.

For their second-nobles; there is not much dan-
ger from them, being a body dispersed. They may
sometimes discourse high, but that doth little hurt;
besides, they are a counterpoise to the higher no-
bility, that they grow not too potent; and, lastly,
being the most immediate in authority, with the
common people, they do best temper popular com-

For their merchants; they are vena porta; and
if they flourish not, a kingdom may have good
limbs, but will have empty veins, and nourish
little. Taxes and imposts upon them, do seldom
good to the king's revenue; for that that he wins in
the hundred, he leeseth in the shire; the particular
rates being increased, but the total bulk of trading,
rather decreased.

For their commons; there is little danger from
them, except it be, where they have great and po-
tent heads; or where you meddle with the point of
religion, or their customs, or means of life.

For their men of war; it is a dangerous state,
where they live and remain in a body, and are
used to donatives; whereof we see examples in the
janizaries, and pretorian bands of Rome; but train-
ings of men, and arming them in several places,
and under several commanders, and without
donatives, are things of defence, and no danger.

Princes are like to heavenly bodies, which cause
good or evil times; and which have much venera-
tion, but no rest. All precepts concerning kings,
are in effect comprehended in those two remem-
brances: memento quod es homo; and memento
quod es Deus, or vice Dei; the one bridleth their
power, and the other their will.

Of Counsel

THE greatest trust, between man and man, is
the trust of giving counsel. For in other con-
fidences, men commit the parts of life; their lands,
their goods, their children, their credit, some par-
ticular affair; but to such as they make their coun-
sellors, they commit the whole: by how much the
more, they are obliged to all faith and integrity.
The wisest princes need not think it any diminu-
tion to their greatness, or derogation to their suf-
ficiency, to rely upon counsel. God himself is not
without, but hath made it one of the great names
of his blessed Son: The Counsellor. Solomon hath
pronounced, that in counsel is stability. Things
will have their first, or second agitation: if they be
not tossed upon the arguments of counsel, they
will be tossed upon the waves of fortune; and be
full of inconstancy, doing and undoing, like the
reeling of a drunken man. Solomon's son found
the force of counsel, as his father saw the necessity
of it. For the beloved kingdom of God, was first
rent, and broken, by ill counsel; upon which coun-
sel, there are set for our instruction, the two marks
whereby bad counsel is for ever best discerned;
that it was young counsel, for the person; and
violent counsel, for the matter.

The ancient times, do set forth in figure, both
the incorporation, and inseparable conjunction, of
counsel with kings, and the wise and politic use of
counsel by kings: the one, in that they say Jupi-
ter did marry Metis, which signifieth counsel;
whereby they intend that Sovereignty, is married
to Counsel: the other in that which followeth,
which was thus: They say, after Jupiter was mar-
ried to Metis, she conceived by him, and was with
child, but Jupiter suffered her not to stay, till she
brought forth, but eat her up; whereby he became
himself with child, and was delivered of Pallas
armed, out of his head. Which monstrous fable
containeth a secret of empire; how kings are to
make use of their counsel of state. That first, they
ought to refer matters unto them, which is the first
begetting, or impregnation; but when they are
elaborate, moulded, and shaped in the womb of
their counsel, and grow ripe, and ready to be
brought forth, that then they suffer not their coun-
sel to go through with the resolution and direc-
tion, as if it depended on them; but take the matter
back into their own hands, and make it appear to
the world, that the decrees and final directions
(which, because they come forth, with prudence
and power, are resembled to Pallas armed) pro-
ceeded from themselves; and not only from their
authority, but (the more to add reputation to them-
selves) from their head and device.

Let us now speak of the inconveniences of coun-
sel, and of the remedies. The inconveniences that
have been noted, in calling and using counsel, are
three. First, the revealing of affairs, whereby they
become less secret. Secondly, the weakening of the
authority of princes, as if they were less of them-
selves. Thirdly, the danger of being unfaithfully
counselled, and more for the good of them that
counsel, than of him that is counselled. For which
inconveniences, the doctrine of Italy, and practice
of France, in some kings' times, hath introduced
cabinet counsels; a remedy worse than the disease.

As to secrecy; princes are not bound to commu-
nicate all matters, with all counsellors; but may
extract and select. Neither is it necessary, that he
that consulteth what he should do, should declare
what he will do. But let princes beware, that the
unsecreting of their affairs, comes not from them-
selves. And as for cabinet counsels, it may be their
motto, plenus rimarum sum: one futile person,
that maketh it his glory to tell, will do more hurt
than many, that know it their duty to conceal. It is
true there be some affairs, which require extreme
secrecy, which will hardly go beyond one or two
persons, besides the king: neither are those coun-
sels unprosperous; for, besides the secrecy, they
conunonly go on constantly, in one spirit of direc-
tion, without distraction. But then it must be a
prudent king, such as is able to grind with a hand-
mill; and those inward counsellors had need also
be wise men, and especially true and trusty to the
king's ends; as it was with King Henry the Seventh
of England, who, in his great business, imparted
himself to none, except it were to Morton and Fox.

For weakening of authority; the fable showeth
the remedy. Nay, the majesty of kings, is rather
exalted than diminished, when they are in the
chair of counsel; neither was there ever prince, be-
reaved of his dependences, by his counsel, except
where there hath been, either an over-greatness
in one counsellor, or an over-strict combination in
divers; which are things soon found, and holpen.

For the last inconvenience, that men will coun-
sel, with an eye to themselves; certainly, non
inveniet fidem super terram is meant, of the na-
ture of times, and not of all particular persons.
There be, that are in nature faithful, and sincere,
and plain, and direct; not crafty and involved; let
princes, above all, draw to themselves such na-
tures. Besides, counsellors are not commonly so
united, but that one counsellor, keepeth sentinel
over another; so that if any do counsel out of fac-
tion or private ends, it commonly comes to the
king's ear. But the best remedy is, if princes know
their counsellors, as well as their counsellors
know them:

Principis est virtus maxima nosse suos.

And on the other side, counsellors should not be
too speculative into their sovereign's person. The
true composition of a counsellor, is rather to be
skilful in their master's business, than in his na-
ture; for then he is like to advise him, and not feed
his humor. It is of singular use to princes, if they
take the opinions of their counsel, both separately
and together. For private opinion is more free;
but opinion before others, is more reverent. In
private, men are more bold in their own humors;
and in consort, men are more obnoxious to others'
humors; therefore it is good to take both; and of
the inferior sort, rather in private, to preserve free-
dom; of the greater, rather in consort, to preserve
respect. It is in vain for princes, to take counsel
concerning matters, if they take no counsel like-
wise concerning persons; for all matters are as
dead images; and the life of the execution of af-
fairs, resteth in the good choice of persons. Neither
is it enough, to consult concerning persons secun-
dum genera, as in an idea, or mathematical de-
scription, what the kind and character of the
person should be; for the greatest errors are com-
mitted, and the most judgment is shown, in the
choice of individuals. It was truly said, optimi con-
siliarii mortui: books will speak plain, when coun-
sellors blanch.Therefore it is good to be conversant
in them, specially the books of such as themselves
have been actors upon the stage.

The counsels at this day, in most places, are but
familiar meetings, where matters are rather talked
on, than debated. And they run too swift, to the
order, or act, of counsel. It were better that in
causes of weight, the matter were propounded one
day, and not spoken to till the next day; in nocte
consilium. So was it done in the Commission of
Union, between England and Scotland; which
was a grave and orderly assembly. I commend set
days for petitions; for both it gives the sudtors more
certainty for their attendance, and it frees the
meetings for matters of estate, that they may hoc
agere. In choice of committees; for ripening busi-
ness for the counsel, it is better to choose indifferent
persons, than to make an indifferency, by putting
in those, that are strong on both sides. I commend
also standing commissions; as for trade, for treas-
ure, for war, for suits, for some provinces; for
where there be divers particular counsels, and but
one counsel of estate (as it is in Spain), they are, in
effect, no more than standing commissions: save
that they have greater authority. Let such as are
to inform counsels, out of their particular profes-
sions (as lawyers, seamen, mintmen, and the like)
be first heard before committees; and then, as oc-
casion serves, before the counsel. And let them not
come in multitudes, or in a tribunitious manner;
for that is to clamor counsels, not to inform them.
A long table and a square table, or seats about the
walls, seem things of form, but are things of sub-
stance; for at a long table a few at the upper end, in
effect, sway all the business; but in the other form,
there is more use of the counsellors' opinions, that
sit lower. A king, when he presides in counsel, let
him beware how he opens his own inclination too
much, in that which he propoundeth; for else
counsellors will but take the wind of him, and in-
stead of giving free counsel, sing him a song of

Of Delays

FORTUNE is like the market; where many
times if you can stay a little, the price will fall.
Again, it is sometimes like Sibylla's offer; which at
first, offereth the commodity at full, then con-
sumeth part and part, and still holdeth up the
price. For occasion (as it is in the common verse)
turneth a bald noddle, after she hath presented her
locks in front, and no hold taken; or at least turneth
the handle of the bottle, first to be received, and
after the belly, which is hard to clasp. There is
surely no greater wisdom, than well to time the
beginnings, and onsets, of things. Dangers are no
more light, if they once seem light; and more dan-
gers have deceived men, than forced them. Nay,
it were better, to meet some dangers half way,
though they come nothing near, than to keep too
long a watch upon their approaches; for if a man
watch too long, it is odds he will fall asleep. On the
other side, to be deceived with too long shadows
(as some have been, when the moon was low, and
shone on their enemies' back), and so to shoot off
before the time; or to teach dangers to come on, by
over early buckling towards them; is another ex-
treme. The ripeness, or unripeness, of the occasion
(as we said) must ever be well weighed; and gener-
ally it is good, to commit the beginnings of all
great actions to Argus, with his hundred eyes, and
the ends to Briareus, with his hundred hands; first
to watch, and then to speed. For the helmet of
Pluto, which maketh the politic man go invisible,
is secrecy in the counsel, and celerity in the execu-
tion. For when things are once come to the execu-
tion, there is no secrecy, comparable to celerity;
like the motion of a bullet in the air, which flieth
so swift, as it outruns the eye.

Of Cunning

WE TAKE cunning for a sinister or crooked
wisdom. And certainly there is a great dif-
ference, between a cunning man, and a wise man;
not only in point of honesty, but in point of ability.
There be, that can pack the cards, and yet cannot
play well; so there are some that are good in can-
vasses and factions, that are otherwise weak men.
Again, it is one thing to understand persons, and
another thing to understand matters; for many
are perfect in men's humors, that are not greatly
capable of the real part of business; which is the
constitution of one that hath studied men, more
than books. Such men are fitter for practice, than
for counsel; and they are good, but in their own
alley: turn them to new men, and they have lost
their aim; so as the old rule, to know a fool from a
wise man, Mitte ambos nudos ad ignotos, et vide-
bis, doth scarce hold for them. And because these
cunning men, are like haberdashers of small
wares, it is not amiss to set forth their shop.

It is a point of cunning, to wait upon him with
whom you speak, with your eye; as the Jesuits give
it in precept: for there be many wise men, that
have secret hearts, and transparent countenances.
Yet this would be done with a demure abasing of
your eye, sometimes, as the Jesuits also do use.

Another is, that when you have anything to
obtain, of present despatch, you entertain and
amuse the party, with whom you deal, with some
other discourse; that he be not too much awake to
make objections. I knew a counsellor and secre-
tary, that never came to Queen Elizabeth of Eng-
land, with bills to sign, but he would always first
put her into some discourse of estate, that she
mought the less mind the bills.

The like surprise may be made by moving
things, when the party is in haste, and cannot stay
to consider advisedly of that is moved.

If a man would cross a business, that he doubts
some other would handsomely and effectually
move, let him pretend to wish it well, and move it
himself in such sort as may foil it.

The breaking off, in the midst of that one was
about to say, as if he took himself up, breeds a
greater appetite in him with whom you confer, to
know more.

And because it works better, when anything
seemeth to be gotten from you by question, than
if you offer it of yourself, you may lay a bait for a
question, by showing another visage, and counte-
nance, than you are wont; to the end to give occa-
sion, for the party to ask, what the matter is of the
change? As Nehemias did; And I had not before
that time, been sad before the king.

In things that are tender and unpleasing, it is
good to break the ice, by some whose words are of
less weight, and to reserve the more weighty voice,
to come in as by chance, so that he may be asked
the question upon the other's speech: as Narcissus
did, relating to Claudius the marriage of Messa-
lina and Silius.

In things that a man would not be seen in him-
self, it is a point of cunning, to borrow the name of
the world; as to say, The world says, or There is a
speech abroad.

I knew one that, when he wrote a letter, he
would put that, which was most material, in the
postscript, as if it had been a by-matter.

I knew another that, when he came to have
speech, he would pass over that, that he intended
most; and go forth, and come back again, and
speak of it as of a thing, that he had almost forgot.

Some procure themselves, to be surprised, at
such times as it is like the party that they work
upon, will suddenly come upon them; and to be
found with a letter in their hand, or doing some-
what which they are not accustomed; to the end,
they may be apposed of those things, which of
themselves they are desirous to utter.

It is a point of cunning, to let fall those words in
a man's own name, which he would have another
man learn, and use, and thereupon take advan-
tage. I knew two, that were competitors for the
secretary's place in Queen Elizabeth's time, and
yet kept good quarter between themselves; and
would confer, one with another, upon the busi-
ness; and the one of them said, That to be a secre-
tary, in the declination of a monarchy, was a
ticklish thing, and that he did not affect it: the
other straight caught up those words, and dis-
coursed with divers of his friends, that he had no
reason to desire to be secretary, in the declination
of a monarchy. The first man took hold of it, and
found means it was told the Queen; who, hearing
of a declination of a monarchy, took it so ill, as she
would never after hear of the other's suit.

There is a cunning, which we in England call,
the turning of the cat in the pan; which is, when
that which a man says to another, he lays it as if
another had said it to him. And to say truth, it is
not easy, when such a matter passed between two,
to make it appear from which of them it first
moved and began.

It is a way that some men have, to glance and
dart at others, by justifying themselves by nega-
tives; as to say, This I do not; as Tigellinus did
towards Burrhus, Se non diversas spes, sed incolu-
mitatem imperatoris simpliciter spectare.

Some have in readiness so many tales and
stories, as there is nothing they would insinuate,
but they can wrap it into a tale; which serveth both
to keep themselves more in guard, and to make
others carry it with more pleasure. It is a good
point of cunning, for a man to shape the answer
he would have, in his own words and propositions;
for it makes the other party stick the less.

It is strange how long some men will lie in wait
to speak somewhat they desire to say; and how far
about they will fetch; and how many other mat-
ters they will beat over, to come near it. It is a thing
of great patience, but yet of much use.

A sudden, bold, and unexpected question doth
many times surprise a man, and lay him open.
Like to him that , having changed his name, and
walking in Paul's, another suddenly came behind
him, and called him by his true name, whereat
straightways he looked back.

But these small wares, and petty points, of cun-
ning, are infinite; and it were a good deed to make
a list of them; for that nothing doth more hurt in
a state, than that cunning men pass for wise.

But certainly some there are that know the re-
sorts and falls of business, that cannot sink into
the main of it; like a house that hath convenient
stairs and entries, but never a fair room. Therefore,
you shall see them find out pretty looses in the con-
clusion, but are no ways able to examine or debate
matters. And yet commonly they take advantage
of their inability, and would be thought wits of
direction. Some build rather upon the abusing of
others, and (as we now say) putting tricks upon
them, than upon soundness of their own proceed-
ings. But Solomon saith, Prudens advertit ad gres-
sus suos; stultus divertit ad dolos.

Of Wisdom

AN ANT is a wise creature for itself, but it is a
shrewd thing, in an orchard or garden. And
certainly, men that are great lovers of themselves,
waste the public. Divide with reason; between self-
love and society; and be so true to thyself, as thou
be not false to others; specially to thy king and
country. It is a poor centre of a man's actions, him-
self. It is right earth. For that only stands fast upon
his own centre; whereas all things, that have af-
finity with the heavens, move upon the centre of
another, which they benefit. The referring of all
to a man's self, is more tolerable in a sovereign
prince; because themselves are not only them-
selves, but their good and evil is at the peril of the
public fortune. But it is a desperate evil, in a ser-
vant to a prince, or a citizen in a republic. For
whatsoever affairs pass such a man's hands, he
crooketh them to his own ends; which must needs
be often eccentric to the ends of his master, or state.
Therefore, let princes, or states, choose such ser-
vants, as have not this mark; except they mean
their service should be made but the accessory.
That which maketh the effect more pernicious, is
that all proportion is lost. It were disproportion
enough, for the servant's good to be preferred be-
fore the master's; but yet it is a greater extreme,
when a little good of the servant, shall carry things
against a great good of the master's. And yet that
is the case of bad officers, treasurers, ambassadors,
generals, and other false and corrupt servants;
which set a bias upon their bowl, of their own
petty ends and envies, to the overthrow of their
master's great and important affairs. And for the
most part, the good such servants receive, is after
the model of their own fortune; but the hurt they
sell for that good, is after the model of their
master's fortune. And certainly it is the nature of
extreme self-lovers, as they will set an house on fire,
and it were but to roast their eggs; and yet these
men many times hold credit with their masters,
because their study is but to please them, and profit
themselves; and for either respect, they will aban-
don the good of their affairs.

Wisdom for a man's self is, in many branches
thereof, a depraved thing. It is the wisdom of rats,
that will be sure to leave a house, somewhat before
it fall. It is the wisdom of the fox, that thrusts out
the badger, who digged and made room for him.
It is the wisdom of crocodiles, that shed tears when
they would devour. But that which is specially to
be noted is, that those which (as Cicero says of
Pompey) are sui amantes, sine rivali, are many
times unfortunate. And whereas they have, all
their times, sacrificed to themselves, they become
in the end, themselves sacrifices to the inconstancy
of fortune, whose wings they thought, by their
self-wisdom, to have pinioned.

Of Innovations

AS THE births of living creatures, at first are ill-
shapen, so are all innovations, which are the
births of time. Yet notwithstanding, as those that
first bring honor into their family, are commonly
more worthy than most that succeed, so the first
precedent (if it be good) is seldom attained by
imitation. For ill, to man's nature, as it stands
perverted, hath a natural motion, strongest in con-
tinuance; but good, as a forced motion, strongest
at first. Surely every medicine is an innovation;
and he that will not apply new remedies, must
expect new evils; for time is the greatest innovator;
and if time of course alter things to the worse, and
wisdom and counsel shall not alter them to the
better, what shall be the end? It is true, that what
is settled by custom, though it be not good, yet at
least it is fit; and those things which have long
gone together, are, as it were, confederate within
themselves; whereas new things piece not so well;
but though they help by their utility, yet they
trouble by their inconformity. Besides, they are
like strangers; more admired, and less favored. All
this is true, if time stood still; which contrariwise
moveth so round, that a froward retention of cus-
tom, is as turbulent a thing as an innovation; and
they that reverence too much old times, are but a
scorn to the new. It were good, therefore, that men
in their innovations would follow the example of
time itself; which indeed innovateth greatly, but
quietly, by degrees scarce to be perceived. For
otherwise, whatsoever is new is unlooked for; and
ever it mends some, and pairs others; and he that
is holpen, takes it for a fortune, and thanks the
time; and he that is hurt, for a wrong, and imput-
eth it to the author. It is good also, not to try experi-
ments in states, except the necessity be urgent, or
the utility evident; and well to beware, that it be
the reformation, that draweth on the change, and
not the desire of change, that pretendeth the refor-
mation. And lastly, that the novelty, though it be
not rejected, yet be held for a suspect; and, as the
Scripture saith, that we make a stand upon the
ancient way, and then look about us, and discover
what is the straight and right way, and so to walk
in it.

Of Dispatch

AFFECTED dispatch is one of the most danger-
ous things to business that can be. It is like
that, which the physicians call predigestion, or
hasty digestion; which is sure to fill the body full of
crudities, and secret seeds of diseases. Therefore
measure not dispatch, by the times of sitting, but
by the advancement of the business. And as in
races it is not the large stride or high lift that makes
the speed; so in business, the keeping close to the
matter, and not taking of it too much at once, pro-
cureth dispatch. It is the care of some, only to come
off speedily for the time; or to contrive some false
periods of business, because they may seem men
of dispatch. But it is one thing, to abbreviate by
contracting, another by cutting off . And business
so handled, at several sittings or meetings, goeth
commonly backward and forward in an unsteady
manner. I knew a wise man that had it for a by-
word, when he saw men hasten to a conclusion,
Stay a little, that we may make an end the sooner.

On the other side, true dispatch is a rich thing.
For time is the measure of business, as money is
of wares; and business is bought at a dear hand,
where there is small dispatch. The Spartans and
Spaniards have been noted to be of small dispatch;
Mi venga la muerte de Spagna; Let my death come
from Spain; for then it will be sure to be long in

Give good hearing to those, that give the first
information in business; and rather direct them
in the beginning, than interrupt them in the con-
tinuance of their speeches; for he that is put out of
his own order, will go forward and backward, and
be more tedious, while he waits upon his memory,
than he could have been, if he had gone on in his
own course. But sometimes it is seen, that the
moderator is more troublesome, than the actor.

Iterations are commonly loss of time. But there
is no such gain of time, as to iterate often the state
of the question; for it chaseth away many a frivo-
lous speech, as it is coming forth. Long and curious
speeches, are as fit for dispatch, as a robe or mantle,
with a long train, is for race. Prefaces and pas-
sages, and excusations, and other speeches of refer-
ence to the person, are great wastes of time; and
though they seem to proceed of modesty, they are
bravery. Yet beware of being too material, when
there is any impediment or obstruction in men's
wills; for pre-occupation of mind ever requireth
preface of speech; like a fomentation to make the
unguent enter.

Above all things, order, and distribution, and
singling out of parts, is the life of dispatch; so as the
distribution be not too subtle: for he that doth not
divide, will never enter well into business; and he
that divideth too much, will never come out of it
clearly. To choose time, is to save time; and an un-
seasonable 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:
for though it should be wholly rejected, yet that
negative is more pregnant of direction, than an
indefinite; as ashes are more generative than dust.

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
show of godliness, but denying the power thereof;
so certainly there are, in point of wisdom and suf-
ficiently, that 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 these formalists have, and what prospectives
to make superficies to seem body, that hath depth
and bulk. Some are so close and reserved, as they
will not show their wares, but by a dark light; and
seem always to keep back somewhat; and when
they know within themselves, they speak of that
they do not well know, would nevertheless seem
to others, to know of that which they may not well
speak. Some help themselves with countenance
and gesture, and are wise by signs; as Cicero saith
of Piso, that when he answered him, he fetched
one of his brows up to his forehead, and bent the
other down to his chin; Respondes, altero ad fron-
tem sublato, altero ad mentum depresso super-
cilio, crudelitatem tibi non placere. Some think
to bear it by speaking a great word, and being per-
emptory; and go on, and take by admittance, that
which they cannot make good. Some, whatsoever
is beyond their reach, will seem to despise, or make
light of it, as impertinent or curious; and so would
have their ignorance seem judgment. Some are
never without a difference, and commonly by
amusing men with a subtilty, blanch the matter;
of whom A. Gellius saith, Hominem delirum, qui
verborum minutiis rerum frangit pondera. Of
which kind also, Plato, in his Protagoras, bringeth
in Prodius in scorn, and maketh him make a
speech, that consisteth of distinction from the be-
ginning to the end. Generally, such men in all
deliberations find ease to be of the negative side,
and affect a credit to object and foretell difficul-
ties; for when propositions are denied, there is an
end of them; but if they be allowed, it requireth a
new work; which false point of wisdom is the bane
of business. To conclude, there is no decaying mer-
chant, or inward beggar, hath so many tricks to
uphold the credit of their wealth, as these empty
persons have, to maintain the credit of their suf-
ficiency. Seeming wise men may make shift to get
opinion; but let no man choose them for employ-
ment; for certainly you were better take for busi-
ness, a man somewhat absurd, than over-formal.

Of Friendship

IT HAD been hard for him that spake it to have
put more truth and untruth together in few
words, than in that speech, Whatsoever is delighted
in solitude, is either a wild beast or a god. For it is
most true, that a natural and secret hatred, and
aversation towards society, in any man, hath
somewhat of the savage beast; but it is most un-
true, that it should have any character at all, of the
divine nature; except it proceed, not out of a pleas-
ure in solitude, but out of a love and desire to
sequester a man's self, for a higher conversation:
such as is found to have been falsely and feignedly
in some of the heathen; as Epimenides the Can-
dian, Numa the Roman, Empedocles the Sicilian,
and Apollonius of Tyana; and truly and really, in
divers of the ancient hermits and holy fathers of
the church. But little do men perceive what soli-
tude is, and how far it extendeth. For a crowd is
not company; and faces are but a gallery of pic-
tures; and talk but a tinkling cymbal, where
there is no love. The Latin adage meeteth with it a
little: Magna civitas, magna solitudo; because in
a great town friends are scattered; so that there is
not that fellowship, for the most part, which is in
less neighborhoods. But we may go further, and
affirm most truly, that it is a mere and miserable
solitude to want true friends; without which the
world is but a wilderness; and even in this sense
also of solitude, whosoever in the frame of his
nature and affections, is unfit for friendship, he
taketh it of the beast, and not from humanity.

A principal fruit of friendship, is the ease and
discharge of the fulness 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, flowers
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

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, ex-
cept (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 lan-
guages give unto such persons the name of favor-
ites, or privadoes; as if it were matter of grace, or
conversation. But the Roman name attaineth the
true use and cause thereof, naming them parti-
cipes curarum; for it is that which tieth the knot.
And we see plainly that this hath been done, not
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 other likewise to call them in
the same manner; using the word which is re-
ceived 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 began 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 sun setting. With
Julius Caesar, 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 Caesar would have
discharged the senate, in regard of some ill pres-
ages, 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 dreamt a better dream.
And it seemeth his favor 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 Caesar. Augustus raised
Agrippa (though of mean birth) to that height, as
when he consulted with Maecenas, about the mar-
riage of his daughter Julia, Maecenas 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
Tiberius Caesar, 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,
Haec pro amicitia 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 Plautianus.
For he forced his eldest son to marry the daughter
of Plautianus; and would often maintain Plau-
tianus, in doing affronts to his son; 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 men 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 mought 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 friend-

It is not to be forgotten, what Comineus observ-
eth 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 on, and
saith that towards his latter time, that closeness
did impair, and a little perish his understanding.
Surely Comineus mought 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 carnnibals of their own hearts. But one thing
is most admirable (wherewith I will conclude this
first fruit of friendship), which is, that this com-
municating of a man's self to his friend, works
two contrary effects; for it redoubleth joys, and
cutteth griefs in halves. 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
friend, but he grieveth the less. So that it is in truth,
of operation upon a man's mind, of like virtue as
the alchemists 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 alchemists, 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 impres-
sion: and even so it is of minds.

The second fruit of friendship, is healthful and
sovereign for the understanding, as the first is for
the affections. For friendship maketh indeed a fair
day in the affections, from storm and tempests; but
it maketh daylight in the understanding, out of
darkness, and confusion of thoughts. Neither is
this to be understood only of faithful counsel,
which a man receiveth from his friend; but before
you come to that, certain it is, that whosoever hath
his mind fraught with many thoughts, his wits
and understanding do clarify and break up, in the
communicating and discoursing with another; he
tosseth his thoughts more easily; he marshalleth
them more orderly, he seeth how they look when
they are turned into words: finally, he waxeth
wiser than himself; and that more by an hour's
discourse, than by a day's meditation. It was well
said by Themistocles, to the king of Persia, That
speech was like cloth of Arras, opened and put
abroad; whereby the imagery doth appear in
figure; whereas in thoughts they lie but as in
packs. Neither is this second fruit of friendship, in
opening the understanding, restrained only to
such friends as are able to give a man counsel;
(they indeed are best;) but even without that, a
man learneth of himself, and bringeth his own
thoughts to light, and whetteth his wits as against
a stone, which itself cuts not. In a word, a man
were better relate himself to a statua, or picture,
than to suffer his thoughts to pass in smother.

Add now, to make this second fruit of friendship
complete, that other point, which lieth more open,
and falleth within vulgar observation; which is
faithful counsel from a friend. Heraclitus saith
well in one of his enigmas, Dry light is ever the
best. And certain it is, that the light that a man
receiveth by counsel from another, is drier and
purer, than that which cometh from his own
understanding and judgment; which is ever in-
fused, and drenched, in his affections and customs.
So as there is as much difference between the coun-
sel, that a friend giveth, and that a man giveth
himself, as there is between the counsel of a friend,
and of a flatterer. For there is no such flatterer as
is a man's self; and there is no such remedy against
flattery of a man's self, as the liberty of a friend.
Counsel is of two sorts: the one concerning man-
ners, the other concerning business. For the first,
the best preservative to keep the mind in health, is
the faithful admonition of a friend. The calling of
a man's self to a strict account, is a medicine, some-
time too piercing and corrosive. Reading good
books of morality, is a little flat and dead. Observ-
ing our faults in others, is sometimes improper for
our case. But the best receipt (best, I say, to work,
and best to take) is the admonition of a friend.
It is a strange thing to behold, what gross errors
and extreme absurdities many (especially of the
greater sort) do commit, for want of a friend to tell
them of them; to the great damage both of their
fame and fortune: for, as St. James saith, they are
as men that look sometimes into a glass, and pres-
ently forget their own shape and favor. As for
business, a man may think, if he win, that two
eyes see no more than one; or that a gamester seeth
always more than a looker-on; or that a man in
anger, is as wise as he that hath said over the four
and twenty letters; or that a musket may be shot
off as well upon the arm, as upon a rest; and such
other fond and high imaginations, to think him-
self all in all. But when all is done, the help of good
counsel, is that which setteth business straight.
And if any man think that he will take counsel,
but it shall be by pieces; asking counsel in one
business, of one man, and in another business, of
another man; it is well (that is to say, better, per-
haps, than if he asked none at all); but he runneth
two dangers: one, that he shall not be faithfully
counselled; for it is a rare thing, except it be from
a perfect and entire friend, to have counsel given,
but such as shall be bowed and crooked to some
ends, which he hath, that giveth it. The other, that
he shall have counsel given, hurtful and unsafe
(though with good meaning), and mixed partly of
mischief and partly of remedy; even as if you
would call a physician, that is thought good for
the cure of the disease you complain of, but is unac-
quainted with your body; and therefore may put
you in way for a present cure, but overthroweth
your health in some other kind; and so cure the
disease, and kill the patient. But a friend that is
wholly acquainted with a man's estate, will be-
ware, by furthering any present business, how he
dasheth upon other inconvenience. And therefore
rest not upon scattered counsels; they will rather
distract and mislead, than settle and direct.

After these two noble fruits of friendship (peace
in the affections, and support of the judgment),
followeth the last fruit; which is like the pome-
granate, full of many kernels; I mean aid, and
bearing a part, in all actions and occasions. Here
the best way to represent to life the manifold use
of friendship, is to cast and see how many things
there are, which a man cannot do himself; and
then it will appear, that it was a sparing speech of
the ancients, to say, that a friend is another him-
self; for that a friend is far more than himself.
Men have their time, and die many times, in de-
sire of some things which they principally take to
heart; the bestowing of a child, the finishing of a
work, or the like. If a man have a true friend, he
may rest almost secure that the care of those things
will continue after him. So that a man hath, as it
were, two lives in his desires. A man hath a body,
and that body is confined to a place; but where
friendship is, all offices of life are as it were granted
to him, and his deputy. For he may exercise them
by his friend. How many things are there which
a man cannot, with any face or comeliness, say or
do himself? A man can scarce allege his own
merits with modesty, much less extol them; a man
cannot sometimes brook to supplicate or beg; and
a number of the like. But all these things are grace-
ful, in a friend's mouth, which are blushing in a
man's own. So again, a man's person hath many
proper relations, which he cannot put off. A man
cannot speak to his son but as a father; to his wife
but as a husband; to his enemy but upon terms:
whereas a friend may speak as the case requires,
and not as it sorteth with the person. But to enu-
merate these things were endless; I have given the
rule, where a man cannot fitly play his own part;
if he have not a friend, he may quit the stage.

Of Expense

RICHES are for spending, and spending for
honor and good actions. Therefore extra-
ordinary expense must be limited by the worth of
the occasion; for voluntary undoing, may be as
well for a man's country, as for the kingdom of
heaven. But ordinary expense, ought to be limited
by a man's estate; and governed with such regard,
as it be within his compass; and not subject to de-
ceit and abuse of servants; and ordered to the best
show, that the bills may be less than the estima-
tion abroad. Certainly, if a man will keep but of
even hand, his ordinary expenses ought to be but
to the half of his receipts; and if he think to wax
rich, but to the third part. It is no baseness, for the
greatest to descend and look into their own estate.
Some forbear it, not upon negligence alone, but
doubting to bring themselves into melancholy, in
respect they shall find it broken. But wounds can-
not be cured without searching. He that cannot
look into his own estate at all, had need both 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 be-
hooveth 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 plenti-
ful in diet, to be saving in apparel; if he be plenti-
ful 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 disadvantage-
able as interest. Besides, he that clears at once will
relapse; for finding himself out of straits, he will
revert to his custom: but he that cleareth by de-
grees, induceth a habit of frugality, and gaineth
as well upon his mind, as upon his estate. Cer-
tainly, who hath a state to repair, may not despise
small things; and commonly it is less dishonor-
able, 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 magni-

Of the True

THE speech of Themistocles the Athenian,
which was haughty and arrogant, in taking
so much to himself, had been a grave and wise
observation and censure, applied at large to others.
Desired at a feast to touch a lute, he said, He could
not fiddle, but yet he could make a small town, a
great city. These words (holpen a little with a
metaphor) may express two differing abilities, in
those that deal in business of estate. For if a true
survey be taken of counsellors and statesmen,
there may be found (though rarely) those which
can make a small state great, and yet cannot fid-
dle; as on the other side, there will be found a great
many, that can fiddle very cunningly, but yet are
so far from being able to make a small state great,
as their gift lieth the other way; to bring a great
and flourishing estate, to ruin and decay. And cer-
tainly whose degenerate arts and shifts, whereby
many counsellors and governors gain both favor
with their masters, and estimation with the vulgar,
deserve no better name than fiddling; being things
rather pleasing for the time, and graceful to them-
selves only, than tending to the weal and advance-
ment of the state which they serve. There are also
(no doubt) counsellors and governors which may
be held sufficient (negotiis pares), able to manage
affairs, and to keep them from precipices and
manifest inconveniences; which nevertheless are
far from the ability to raise and amplify an estate
in power, means, and fortune. But be the workmen
what they may be, let us speak of the work; that
is, the true greatness of kingdoms and estates, and
the means thereof. An argument fit for great and
mighty princes to have in their hand; to the end
that neither by over-measuring their forces, they
leese themselves in vain enterprises; nor on the
other side, by undervaluing them, they descend to
fearful and pusillanimous counsels.

The greatness of an estate, in bulk and territory,
doth fall under measure; and the greatness of
finances and revenue, doth fall under computa-
tion. The population may appear by musters; and
the number and greatness of cities and towns by
cards and maps. But yet there is not any thing
amongst civil affairs more subject to error, than
the right valuation and true judgment concerning
the power and forces of an estate. The kingdom of
heaven is compared, not to any great kernel or nut,
but to a grain of mustard-seed: which is one of the
least grains, but hath in it a property and spirit
hastily to get up and spread. So are there states,
great in territory, and yet not apt to enlarge or
command; and some that have but a small dimen-
sion of stem, and yet apt to be the foundations of
great monarchies.

Walled towns, stored arsenals and armories,
goodly races of horse, chariots of war, elephants,
ordnance, artillery, and the like; all this is but a
sheep in a lion's skin, except the breed and disposi-
tion of the people, be stout and warlike. Nay, num-
ber (itself) in armies importeth not much, where
the people is of weak courage; for (as Virgil saith)
It never troubles a wolf, how many the sheep be.
The army of the Persians, in the plains of Arbela,
was such a vast sea of people, as it did somewhat
astonish the commanders in Alexander's army;
who came to him therefore, and wished him to set
upon them by night; and he answered, He would
not pilfer the victory. And the defeat was easy.
When Tigranes the Armenian, being encamped
upon a hill with four hundred thousand men, dis-
covered the army of the Romans, being not above
fourteen thousand, marching towards him, he
made himself merry with it, and said, Yonder men
are too many for an embassage, and too few for a
fight. But before the sun set, he found them enow
to give him the chase with infinite slaughter.
Many are the examples of the great odds, between
number and courage; so that a man may truly
make a judgment, that the principal point of great-
ness in any state, is to have a race of military men.
Neither is money the sinews of war (as it is trivially
said), where the sinews of men's arms, in base and
effeminate people, are failing. For Solon said well
to Croesus (when in ostentation he showed him his
gold), Sir, if any other come, that hath better iron,
than you, he will be master of all this gold. There-
fore let any prince or state think solely of his forces,
except his militia of natives be of good and valiant
soldiers. And let princes, on the other side, that
have subjects of martial disposition, know their
own strength; unless they be otherwise wanting
unto themselves. As for mercenary forces (which
is the help in this case), all examples show, that
whatsoever estate or prince doth rest upon them,
he may spread his feathers for a time, but he will
mew them soon after.

The blessing of Judah and Issachar will never
meet; that the same people, or nation, should be
both the lion's whelp and the ass between bur-
thens; neither will it be, that a people overlaid
with taxes, should ever become valiant and mar-
tial. It is true that taxes levied by consent of the
estate, do abate men's courage less: as it hath been
seen notably, in the excises of the Low Countries;
and, in some degree, in the subsidies of England.
For you must note, that we speak now of the heart,
and not of the purse. So that although the same
tribute and tax, laid by consent or by imposing, be
all one to the purse, yet it works diversely upon the
courage. So that you may conclude, that no people
overcharged with tribute, is fit for empire.

Let states that aim at greatness, take heed how
their nobility and gentlemen do multiply too fast.
For that maketh the common subject, grow to be a
peasant and base swain, driven out of heart, and in
effect but the gentleman's laborer. Even as you
may see in coppice woods; if you leave your stad-
dles too thick, you shall never have clean under-
wood, but shrubs and bushes. So in countries, if the
gentlemen be too many, the commons will be base;
and you will bring it to that, that not the hundred
poll, will be fit for an helmet; especially as to the
infantry, which is the nerve of an army; and so
there will be great population, and little strength.
This which I speak of, hath been nowhere better
seen, than by comparing of England and France;
whereof England, though far less in territory and
population, hath been (nevertheless) an over-
match; in regard the middle people of England
make good soldiers, which the peasants of France
do not. And herein the device of king Henry the
Seventh (whereof I have spoken largely in the
History of his Life) was profound and admirable;
in making farms and houses of husbandry of a
standard; that is, maintained with such a propor-
tion of land unto them, as may breed a subject to
live in convenient plenty and no servile condition;
and to keep the plough in the hands of the owners,
and not mere hirelings. And thus indeed you shall
attain to Virgil's character which he gives to an-
cient Italy:

Terra potens armis atque ubere glebae.

Neither is that state (which, for any thing I know,
is almost peculiar to England, and hardly to be
found anywhere else, except it be perhaps in
Poland) to be passed over; I mean the state of free
servants, and attendants upon noblemen and
gentlemen; which are no ways inferior unto the
yeomanry for arms. And therefore out of all ques-
tions, the splendor and magnificence, and great
retinues and hospitality, of noblemen and gentle-
men, received into custom, doth much conduce
unto martial greatness. Whereas, contrariwise, the
close and reserved living of noblemen and gentle-
men, causeth a penury of military forces.

By all means it is to be procured, that the trunk
of Nebuchadnezzar's tree of monarchy, be great
enough to bear the branches and the boughs; that
is, that the natural subjects of the crown or state,
bear a sufficient proportion to the stranger sub-
jects, that they govern.Therefore all states that are
liberal of naturalization towards strangers, are fit
for empire. For to think that an handful of people
can, with the greatest courage and policy in the
world, embrace too large extent of dominion, it
may hold for a time, but it will fail suddenly. The
Spartans were a nice people in point of naturaliza-
tion; whereby, while they kept their compass,
they stood firm; but when they did spread, and
their boughs were becomen too great for their
stem, they became a windfall, upon the sudden.
Never any state was in this point so open to receive
strangers into their body, as were the Romans.
Therefore it sorted with them accordingly; for
they grew to the greatest monarchy. Their manner
was to grant naturalization (which they called jus
civitatis), and to grant it in the highest degree; that
is, not only jus commercii, jus connubii, jus haere-
ditatis; but also jus suffragii, and jus honorum.
And this not to singular persons alone, but likewise
to whole families; yea to cities, and sometimes to
nations. Add to this their custom of plantation of
colonies; whereby the Roman plant was removed
into the soil of other nations. And putting both
constitutions together, you will say that it was not
the Romans that spread upon the world, but it was
the world that spread upon the Romans; and that
was the sure way of greatness. I have marvelled,
sometimes, at Spain, how they clasp and contain
so large dominions, with so few natural Spaniards;
but sure the whole compass of Spain, is a very great
body of a tree; far above Rome and Sparta at the
first. And besides, though they have not had that
usage, to naturalize liberally, yet they have that
which is next to it; that is, to employ, almost indif-
ferently, all nations in their militia of ordinary
soldiers; yea, and sometimes in their highest com-
mands. Nay, it seemeth at this instant they are
sensible, of this want of natives; as by the Prag-
matical Sanction, now published, appeareth.

It is certain that sedentary, and within-door
arts, and delicate manufactures (that require
rather the finger than the arm), have, in their na-
ture, a contrariety to a military disposition. And
generally, all warlike people are a little idle, and
love danger better than travail. Neither must they
be too much broken of it, if they shall be preserved
in vigor. Therefore it was great advantage, in the
ancient states of Sparta, Athens, Rome, and others,
that they had the use of slaves, which commonly
did rid those manufactures. But that is abolished,
in greatest part, by the Christian law. That which
cometh nearest to it, is to leave those arts chiefly to
strangers (which, for that purpose, are the more
easily to be received), and to contain the principal
bulk of the vulgar natives, within those three
kinds, - tillers of the ground; free servants; and
handicraftsmen of strong and manly arts, as
smiths, masons, carpenters, etc.; not reckoning
professed soldiers.

But above all, for empire and greatness, it im-
porteth most, that a nation do profess arms, as their
principal honor, study, and occupation. For the
things which we formerly have spoken of, are but
habilitations towards arms; and what is habilita-
tion without intention and act? Romulus, after his
death (as they report or feign), sent a present to the
Romans, that above all, they should intend arms;
and then they should prove the greatest empire of
the world. The fabric of the state of Sparta was
wholly (though not wisely) framed and composed,
to that scope and end. The Persians and Macedo-
nians had it for a flash. The Gauls, Germans,
Goths, Saxons, Normans, and others, had it for a
time. The Turks have it at this day, though in great
declination. Of Christian Europe, they that have it
are, in effect, only the Spaniards. But it is so
plain, that every man profiteth in that, he most
intendeth, that it needeth not to be stood upon. It
is enough to point at it; that no nation which doth
not directly profess arms, may look to have great-
ness fall into their mouths. And on the other side,
it is a most certain oracle of time, that those states
that continue long in that profession (as the Ro-
mans and Turks principally have done) do won-
ders. And those that have professed arms but for
an age, have, notwithstanding, commonly at-
tained that greatness, in that age, which main-
tained them long after, when their profession and
exercise of arms hath grown to decay.

Incident to this point is, for a state to have those
laws or customs, which may reach forth unto them
just occasions (as may be pretended) of war. For
there is that justice, imprinted in the nature of
men, that they enter not upon wars (whereof so
many calamities do ensue) but upon some, at the
least specious, grounds and quarrels. The Turk
hath at hand, for cause of war, the propagation of
his law or sect; a quarrel that he may always com-
mand. The Romans, though they esteemed the
extending the limits of their empire, to be great
honor to their generals, when it was done, yet they
never rested upon that alone, to begin a war. First,
therefore, let nations that pretend to greatness
have this; that they be sensible of wrongs, either
upon borderers, merchants, or politic ministers;
and that they sit not too long upon a provocation.
Secondly, let them be prest, and ready to give aids
and succors, to their confederates; as it ever was
with the Romans; insomuch, as if the confederate
had leagues defensive, with divers other states,
and, upon invasion offered, did implore their aids
severally, yet the Romans would ever be the fore-
most, and leave it to none other to have the honor.
As for the wars which were anciently made, on
the behalf of a kind of party, or tacit conformity of
estate, I do not see how they may be well justified:
as when the Romans made a war, for the liberty of
Grecia; or when the Lacedaemonians and Athe-
nians, made wars to set up or pull down democ-
racies and oligarchies; or when wars were made
by foreigners, under the pretence of justice or pro-
tection, to deliver the subjects of others, from
tyranny and oppression; and the like. Let it suf-
fice, that no estate expect to be great, that is not
awake upon any just occasion of arming.

No body can be healthful without exercise,
neither natural body nor politic; and certainly to
a kingdom or estate, a just and honorable war, is
the true exercise. A civil war, indeed, is like the
heat of a fever; but a foreign war is like the heat of
exercise, and serveth to keep the body in health;
for in a slothful peace, both courages will effemi-
nate, and manners corrupt. But howsoever it be
for happiness, without all question, for greatness,
it maketh to be still for the most part in arms; and
the strength of a veteran army (though it be a
chargeable business) always on foot, is that which
commonly giveth the law, or at least the reputa-
tion, amongst all neighbor states; as may well be
seen in Spain, which hath had, in one part or other,
a veteran army almost continually, now by the
space of six score years.

To be master of the sea, is an abridgment of a
monarchy. Cicero, writing to Atticus of Pompey
his preparation against Caesar, saith, Consilium
Pompeii plane Themistocleum est; putat enim,
qui mari potitur, eum rerum potiri. And, without
doubt, Pompey had tired out Caesar, if upon vain
confidence, he had not left that way. We see the
great effects of battles bv sea. The battle of Actium,
decided the empire of the world. The battle of Le-
panto, arrested the greatness of the Turk. There be
many examples, where sea-fights have been final
to the war; but this is when princes or states have
set up their rest, upon the battles. But thus much
is certain, that he that commands the sea, is at
great liberty, and may take as much, and as little,
of the war as he will. Whereas those that be strong-
est by land, are many times nevertheless in great
straits. Surely, at this day, with us of Europe, the
vantage of strength at sea (which is one of the prin-
cipal dowries of this kingdom of Great Britain) is
great; both because most of the kingdoms of Eu-
rope, are not merely inland, but girt with the sea
most part of their compass; and because the wealth
of both Indies seems in great part, but an accessory
to the command of the seas.

The wars of latter ages seem to be made in the
dark, in respect of the glory, and honor, which
reflected upon men from the wars, in ancient time.
There be now, for martial encouragement, some
degrees and orders of chivalry; which nevertheless
are conferred promiscuously, upon soldiers and
no soldiers; and some remembrance perhaps, upon
the scutcheon; and some hospitals for maimed sol-
diers; and such like things. But in ancient times,
the trophies erected upon the place of the victory;
the funeral laudatives and monuments for those
that died in the wars; the crowns and garlands per-
sonal; the style of emperor, which the great kings
of the world after borrowed; the triumphs of the
generals, upon their return; the great donatives
and largesses, upon the disbanding of the armies;
were things able to inflame all men's courages.
But above all, that of the triumph, amongst the
Romans, was not pageants or gaudery, but one of
the wisest and noblest institutions, that ever was.
For it contained three things: honor to the general;
riches to the treasury out of the spoils; and dona-
tives to the army. But that honor, perhaps were not
fit for monarchies; except it be in the person of the
monarch himself, or his sons; as it came to pass in
the times of the Roman emperors, who did impro-
priate the actual triumphs to themselves, and their
sons, for such wars as they did achieve in person;
and left only, for wars achieved by subjects, some
triumphal garments and ensigns to the general.

To conclude: no man can by care taking (as the
Scripture saith) add a cubit to his stature, in this
little model of a man's body; but in the great frame
of kingdoms and commonwealths, it is in the
power of princes or estates, to add amplitude and
greatness to their kingdoms; for by introducing
such ordinances, constitutions, and customs, as we
have now touched, they may sow greatness to
their posterity and succession. But these things are
commonly not observed, but left to take their

Of Regiment


THERE is a wisdom in this; beyond the rules of
physic: a man's own observation, what he
finds good of, and what he finds hurt of, is the best
physic to preserve health. But it is a safer conclu-
sion to say, This agreeth not well with me, there-
fore, I will not continue it; than this, I find no
offence of this, therefore I may use it. For strength
of nature in youth, passeth over many excesses,
which are owing a man till his age. Discern of the
coming on of years, and think not to do the same
things still; for age will not be defied. Beware of
sudden change, in any great point of diet, and, if
necessity enforce it, fit the rest to it. For it is a secret
both in nature and state, that it is safer to change
many things, than one. Examine thy customs of
diet, sleep, exercise, apparel, and the like; and try,
in any thing thou shalt judge hurtful, to discon-
tinue it, by little and little; but so, as if thou dost
find any inconvenience by the change, thou come
back to it again: for it is hard to distinguish that
which is generally held good and wholesome,
from that which is good particularly, and fit for
thine own body. To be free-minded and cheerfully
disposed, at hours of meat, and of sleep, and of
exercise, is one of the best precepts of long lasting.
As for the passions, and studies of the mind; avoid
envy, anxious fears; anger fretting inwards;
subtle and knotty inquisitions; joys and exhilara-
tions in excess; sadness not communicated. Enter-
tain hopes; mirth rather than joy; variety of
delights, rather than surfeit of them; wonder and
admiration, and therefore novelties; studies that
fill the mind with splendid and illustrious objects,
as histories, fables, and contemplations of nature.
If you fly physic in health altogether, it will be too
strange for your body, when you shall need it. If
you make it too familiar, it will work no extra-
ordinary effect, when sickness cometh. I commend
rather some diet for certain seasons, than frequent
use of physic, except it be grown into a custom. For
those diets alter the body more, and trouble it less.
Despise no new accident in your body, but ask
opinion of it. In sickness, respect health prin-
cipally; and in health, action. For those that put
their bodies to endure in health, may in most sick-
nesses, which are not very sharp, be cured only
with diet, and tendering. Celsus could never have
spoken it as a physician, had he not been a wise
man withal, when he giveth it for one of the great
precepts of health and lasting, that a man do vary,
and interchange contraries, but with an inclina-
tion to the more benign extreme: use fasting and
full eating, but rather full eating; watching and
sleep, but rather sleep; sitting and exercise, but
rather exercise; and the like. So shall nature be
cherished, and yet taught masteries. Physicians
are, some of them, so pleasing and conformable to
the humor of the patient, as they press not the true
cure of the disease; and some other are so regular,
in proceeding according to art for the disease, as
they respect not sufficiently the condition of the
patient. Take one of a middle temper; or if it may
not be found in one man, combine two of either
sort; and forget not to call as well, the best ac-
quainted with your body, as the best reputed of
for his faculty.

Of Suspicion

SUSPICIONS amongst thoughts, are like bats
amongst birds, they ever fly by twilight. Cer-
tainly they are to be repressed, or at least well
guarded: for they cloud the mind; they leese
friends; and they check with business, whereby
business cannot go on currently and constantly.
They dispose kings to tyranny, husbands to jeal-
ousy, wise men to irresolution and melancholy.
They are defects, not in the heart, but in the brain;
for they take place in the stoutest natures; as in the
example of Henry the Seventh of England. There
was not a more suspicious man, nor a more stout.
And in such a composition they do small hurt. For
commonly they are not admitted, but with exami-
nation, whether they be likely or no. But in fearful
natures they gain ground too fast. There is nothing
makes a man suspect much, more than to know
little; and therefore men should remedy suspicion,
by procuring to know more, and not to keep their
suspicions in smother. What would men have? Do
they think, those they employ and deal with, are
saints? Do they not think, they will have their own
ends, and be truer to themselves, than to them?
Therefore there is no better way, to moderate sus-
picions, than to account upon such suspicions as
true, and yet to bridle them as false. For so far a
man ought to make use of suspicions, as to provide,
as if that should be true, that he suspects, yet it
may do him no hurt. Suspicions that the mind of
itself gathers, are but buzzes; but suspicions that
are artificially nourished, and put into men's
heads, by the tales and whisperings of others, have
stings. Certainly, the best mean, to clear the way
in this same wood of suspicions, is frankly to com-
municate them with the party, that he suspects;
for thereby he shall be sure to know more of the
truth of them, than he did before; and withal shall
make that party more circumspect, not to give
further cause of suspicion. But this would not be
done to men of base natures; for they, if they find
themselves once suspected, will never be true. The
Italian says, Sospetto licentia fede; as if suspicion,
did give a passport to faith; but it ought, rather, to
kindle it to discharge itself.

Of Discourse

SOME, in their discourse, desire rather com-
mendation 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 common places, 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 honorablest 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 con-
versation, to vary and intermingle speech of the
present occasion, with arguments, tales with rea-
sons, 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, any thing 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 ques-
tions 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 trouble-
some; 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 use to do, with
those that dance too long galliards. If you dis-
semble, 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

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