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Essays by Francis Bacon

Part 4 out of 4

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come but now and then. So it is true, that small
matters win great commendation, because they
are continually in use and in note: whereas the
occasion of any great virtue, cometh but on festi-
vals. Therefore it doth much add to a man's reputa-
tion, and is (as Queen Isabella said) like perpetual
letters commendatory, to have good forms. To at-
tain them, it almost sufficeth not to despise them;
for so shall a man observe them in others; and let
him trust himself with the rest. For if he labor too
much to express them, he shall lose their grace;
which is to be natural and unaffected. Some men's
behavior is like a verse, wherein every syllable is
measured; how can a man comprehend great mat-
ters, that breaketh his mind too much, to small
observations? Not to use ceremonies at all, is to
teach others not to use them again; and so dimin-
isheth respect to himself; especially they be not to
be omitted, to strangers and formal natures; but
the dwelling upon them, and exalting them above
the moon, is not only tedious, but doth diminish
the faith and credit of him that speaks. And cer-
tainly, there is a kind of conveying, of effectual
and imprinting passages amongst compliments,
which is of singular use, if a man can hit upon it.
Amongst a man's peers, a man shall be sure of
familiarity; and therefore it is good, a little to keep
state. Amongst a man's inferiors one shall be sure
of reverence; and therefore it is good, a little to be
familiar. He that is too much in anything, so that
he giveth another occasion of satiety, maketh him-
self cheap. To apply one's self to others, is good; so
it be with demonstration, that a man doth it upon
regard, and not upon facility. It is a good precept
generally, in seconding another, yet to add some-
what of one's own: as if you will grant his opinion,
let it be with some distinction; if you will follow
his motion, let it be with condition; if you allow
his counsel, let it be with alleging further reason.
Men had need beware, how they be too perfect in
compliments; for be they never so sufficient other-
wise, their enviers will be sure to give them that
attribute, to the disadvantage of their greater vir-
tues. It is loss also in business, to be too full of re-
spects, or to be curious, in observing times and
opportunities. Solomon saith, He that considereth
the wind, shall not sow, and he that looketh to
the clouds, shall not reap. A wise man will make
more opportunities, than he finds. Men's behavior
should be, like their apparel, not too strait or point
device, but free for exercise or motion.

Of Praise

PRAISE is the reflection of virtue; but it is as
the glass or body, which giveth the reflec-
tion. If it be from the common people, it is com-
monly false and naught; and rather followeth vain
persons, than virtuous. For the common people
understand not many excellent virtues. The lowest
virtues draw praise from them; the middle virtues
work in them astonishment or admiration; but of
the highest virtues, they have no sense of perceiv-
ing at all. But shows, and species virtutibus similes,
serve best with them. Certainly fame is like a river,
that beareth up things light and swoln, and drowns
things weighty and solid. But if persons of quality
and judgment concur, then it is (as the Scripture
saith) nomen bonum instar unguenti fragrantis.
It fireth all round about, and will not easily away.
For the odors of ointments are more durable, than
those of flowers. There be so many false points of
praise, that a man may justly hold it a suspect.
Some praises proceed merely of flattery; and if he
be an ordinary flatterer, he will have certain com-
mon attributes, which may serve every man; if he
be a cunning flatterer, he will follow the arch-
flatterer, which is a man's self; and wherein a man
thinketh best of himself, therein the flatterer will
uphold him most: but if he be an impudent flat-
terer, look wherein a man is conscious to himself,
that he is most defective, and is most out of counte-
nance in himself, that will the flatterer entitle him
to perforce, spreta conscientia. Some praises come
of good wishes and respects, which is a form due, in
civility, to kings and great persons, laudando
praecipere, when by telling men what they are,
they represent to them, what they should be. Some
men are praised maliciously, to their hurt, thereby
to stir envy and jealousy towards them: pessimum
genus inimicorum laudantium; insomuch as it
was a proverb, amongst the Grecians, that he that
was praised to his hurt, should have a push rise
upon his nose; as we say, that a blister will rise
upon one's tongue, that tells a lie. Certainly mod-
erate praise, used with opportunity, and not vul-
gar, is that which doth the good. Solomon saith,
He that praiseth his friend aloud, rising early, it
shall be to him no better than a curse. Too much
magnifying of man or matter, doth irritate con-
tradiction, and procure envy and scorn. To praise
a man's self, cannot be decent, except it be in rare
cases; but to praise a man's office or profession, he
may do it with good grace, and with a kind of mag-
nanimity. The cardinals of Rome, which are theo-
logues, and friars, and Schoolmen, have a phrase
of notable contempt and scorn towards civil busi-
ness: for they call all temporal business of wars,
embassages, judicature, and other employments,
sbirrerie, which is under-sheriffries; as if they
were but matters, for under-sheriffs and catch-
poles: though many times those under-sheriffries
do more good, than their high speculations. St.
Paul, when he boasts of himself, he doth oft inter-
lace, I speak like a fool; but speaking of his calling,
he saith, magnificabo apostolatum meum.

Of Vain-glory

IT WAS prettily devised of AEsop, The fly sat
upon the axle-tree of the chariot wheel, and
said, What a dust do I raise! So are there some vain
persons, that whatsoever goeth alone, or moveth
upon greater means, if they have never so little
hand in it, they think it is they that carry it. They
that are glorious, must needs be factious; for all
bravery stands upon comparisons. They must
needs be violent, to make good their own vaunts.
Neither can they be secret, and therefore not ef-
fectual; but according to the French proverb,
Beaucoup de bruit, peu de fruit; Much bruit little
fruit. Yet certainly, there is use of this quality in
civil affairs. Where there is an opinion and fame to
be created, either of virtue or greatness, these men
are good trumpeters. Again, as Titus Livius noteth,
in the case of Antiochus and the AEtolians, There
are sometimes great effects, of cross lies; as if a
man, that negotiates between two princes, to draw
them to join in a war against the third, doth extol
the forces of either of them, above measure, the
one to the other: and sometimes he that deals be-
tween man and man, raiseth his own credit with
both, by pretending greater interest than he hath
in either. And in these and the like kinds, it often
falls out, that somewhat is produced of nothing;
for lies are sufficient to breed opinion, and opinion
brings on substance. In militar commanders and
soldiers, vain-glory is an essential point; for as
iron sharpens iron, so by glory, one courage sharp-
eneth another. In cases of great enterprise upon
charge and adventure, a composition of glorious
natures, doth put life into business; and those that
are of solid and sober natures, have more of the
ballast, than of the sail. In fame of learning, the
flight will be slow without some feathers of osten-
tation. Qui de contemnenda gloria libros scri-
bunt, nomen, suum inscribunt. Socrates, Aristotle,
Galen, were men full of ostentation. Certainly
vain-glory helpeth to perpetuate a man's memory;
and virtue was never so beholding to human na-
ture, as it received his due at the second hand.
Neither had the fame of Cicero, Seneca, Plinius
Secundus, borne her age so well, if it had not been
joined with some vanity in themselves; like unto
varnish, that makes ceilings not only shine but
last. But all this while, when I speak of vain-glory,
I mean not of that property, that Tacitus doth at-
tribute to Mucianus; Omnium quae dixerat fece-
ratque arte quadam ostentator: for that proceeds
not of vanity, but of natural magnanimity and
discretion; and in some persons, is not only comely,
but gracious. For excusations, cessions, modesty
itself well governed, are but arts of ostentation.
And amongst those arts, there is none better than
that which Plinius Secundus speaketh of, which is
to be liberal of praise and commendation to others,
in that, wherein a man's self hath any perfection.
For saith Pliny, very wittily, In commending
another, you do yourself right; for he that you
commend, is either superior to you in that you
commend, or inferior. If he be inferior, if he be to
be commended, you much more; if he be superior,
if he be not to be commended, you much less.
Glorious men are the scorn of wise men, the ad-
miration of fools, the idols of parasites, and the
slaves of their own vaunts.

Of Honor

THE winning of honor, is but the revealing of
a man,s virtue and worth, without disadvan-
tage. For some in their actions, do woo and effect
honor and reputation, which sort of men, are
commonly much talked of, but inwardly little
admired. And some, contrariwise, darken their
virtue in the show of it; so as they be undervalued
in opinion. If a man perform that, which hath not
been attempted before; or attempted and given
over; or hath been achieved, but not with so good
circumstance; he shall purchase more honor, than
by effecting a matter of greater difficulty or virtue,
wherein he is but a follower. If a man so temper
his actions, as in some one of them he doth content
every faction, or combination of people, the music
will be the fuller. A man is an ill husband of bis
honor, that entereth into any action, the failing
wherein may disgrace him, more than the carry-
ing of it through, can honor him. Honor that is
gained and broken upon another, hath the quick-
est reflection, like diamonds cut with facets. And
therefore, let a man contend to excel any competi-
tors of his in honor, in outshooting them, if he can,
in their own bow. Discreet followers and servants,
help much to reputation. Omnis fama a domesticis
emanat. Envy, which is the canker of honor, is
best extinguished by declaring a man's self in
his ends, rather to seek merit than fame; and by
attributing a man's successes, rather to divine
Providence and felicity, than to his own virtue or

The true marshalling of the degrees of sovereign
honor, are these: In the first place are conditores
imperiorum, founders of states and common-
wealths; such as were Romulus, Cyrus, Caesar,
Ottoman, Ismael. In the second place are legis-
latores, lawgivers; which are also called second
founders, or perpetui principes, because they gov-
ern by their ordinances after they are gone; such
were Lycurgus, Solon, Justinian, Eadgar, Alphon-
sus of Castile, the Wise, that made the Siete Parti-
das. In the third place are liberatores, or salvatores,
such as compound the long miseries of civil
wars, or deliver their countries from servitude of
strangers or tyrants; as Augustus Caesar, Vespasi-
anus, Aurelianus, Theodoricus, King Henry the
Seventh of England, King Henry the Fourth of
France. In the fourth place are propagatores or
propugnatores imperii; such as in honorable wars
enlarge their territories, or make noble defence
against invaders. And in the last place are patres
patriae; which reign justly, and make the times
good wherein they live. Both which last kinds need
no examples, they are in such number. Degrees of
honor, in subjects, are, first participes curarum,
those upon whom, princes do discharge the great-
est weight of their affairs; their right hands, as
we call them. The next are duces belli, great leaders
in war; such as are princes' lieutenants, and do
them notable services in the wars. The third are
gratiosi, favorites; such as exceed not this scant-
ling, to be solace to the sovereign, and harmless to
the people. And the fourth, negotiis pares; such as
have great places under princes, and execute their
places, with sufficiency. There is an honor, like-
wise, which may be ranked amongst the greatest,
which happeneth rarely; that is, of such as sacri-
fice themselves to death or danger for the good of
their country; as was M. Regulus, and the two

Of Judicature

JUDGES ought to remember, that their office is
jus dicere, and not jus dare; to interpret law,
and not to make law, or give law. Else will it be
like the authority, claimed by the Church of Rome,
which under pretext of exposition of Scripture,
doth not stick to add and alter; and to pronounce
that which they do not find; and by show of an-
tiquity, to introduce novelty. Judges ought to be
more learned, than witty, more reverend, than
plausible,and more advised, than confident. Above
all things, integrity is their portion and proper
virtue. Cursed (saith the law) is he that removeth
the landmark. The mislayer of a mere-stone is to
blame. But it is the unjust judge, that is the capital
remover of landmarks, when he defineth amiss, of
lands and property. One foul sentence doth more
hurt, than many foul examples. For these do but
corrupt the stream, the other corrupteth the foun-
tain. So with Solomon, Fons turbatus, et vena
corrupta, est justus cadens in causa sua coram
adversario. The office of judges may have reference
unto the parties that use, unto the advocates that
plead, unto the clerks and ministers of justice
underneath them, and to the sovereign or state
above them.

First, for the causes or parties that sue. There be
(saith the Scripture) that turn judgment, into
wormwood; and surely there be also, that turn it
into vinegar; for injustice maketh it bitter, and
delays make it sour. The principal duty of a judge,
is to suppress force and fraud; whereof force is the
more pernicious, when it is open, and fraud, when
it is close and disguised. Add thereto contentious
suits, which ought to be spewed out, as the surfeit
of courts. A judge ought to prepare his way to a
just sentence, as God useth to prepare his way, by
raising valleys and taking down hills: so when
there appeareth on either side an high hand, vio-
lent prosecution, cunning advantages taken, com-
bination, power, great counsel, then is the virtue
of a judge seen, to make inequality equal; that he
may plant his judgment as upon an even ground.
Qui fortiter emungit, elicit sanguinem; and where
the wine-press is hard wrought, it yields a harsh
wine, that tastes of the grape-stone. Judges must
beware of hard constructions, and strained infer-
ences; for there is no worse torture, than the tor-
ture of laws. Specially in case of laws penal, they
ought to have care, that that which was meant for
terror, be not turned into rigor; and that they
bring not upon the people, that shower whereof
the Scripture speaketh, Pluet super eos laqueos;
for penal laws pressed, are a shower of snares upon
the people. Therefore let penal laws, if they have
been sleepers of long, or if they be grown unfit for
the present time, be by wise judges confined in the
execution: Judicis officium est, ut res, ita tempora
rerum, etc. In causes of life and death, judges ought
(as far as the law permitteth) in justice to remem-
ber mercy; and to cast a severe eye upon the
example, but a merciful eye upon the person.

Secondly, for the advocates and counsel that
plead. Patience and gravity of hearing, is an essen-
tial part of justice; and an overspeaking judge is no
well-tuned cymbal. It is no grace to a judge, first
to find that, which he might have heard in due
time from the bar; or to show quickness of conceit,
in cutting off evidence or counsel too short; or to
prevent information by questions, though perti-
nent. The parts of a judge in hearing, are four: to
direct the evidence; to moderate length, repetition,
or impertinency of speech; to recapitulate, select,
and collate the material points, of that which hath
been said; and to give the rule or sentence. What-
soever is above these is too much; and proceedeth
either of glory, and willingness to speak, or of im-
patience to hear, or of shortness of memory, or of
want of a staid and equal attention. It is a strange
thing to see, that the boldness of advocates should
prevail with judges; whereas they should imitate
God, in whose seat they sit; who represseth the pre-
sumptuous, and giveth grace to the modest. But it
is more strange, that judges should have noted
favorites; which cannot but cause multiplication
of fees, and suspicion of by-ways. There is due from
the judge to the advocate, some commendation
and gracing, where causes are well handled and
fair pleaded; especially towards the side which
obtaineth not; for that upholds in the client, the
reputation of his counsel, and beats down in him
the conceit of his cause. There is likewise due to the
public, a civil reprehension of advocates, where
there appeareth cunning counsel, gross neglect,
slight information, indiscreet pressing, or an over-
bold defence. And let not the counsel at the bar,
chop with the judge, nor wind himself into the
handling of the cause anew, after the judge hath
declared his sentence; but, on the other side, let
not the judge meet the cause half way, nor give
occasion to the party, to say his counsel or proofs
were not heard.

Thirdly, for that that concerns clerks and minis-
ters. The place of justice is an hallowed place; and
therefore not only the bench, but the foot-place;
and precincts and purprise thereof, ought to be
preserved without scandal and corruption. For
certainly grapes (as the Scripture saith) will not
be gathered of thorns or thistles; either can justice
yield her fruit with sweetness, amongst the briars
and brambles of catching and polling clerks, and
ministers. The attendance of courts, is subject to
four bad instruments. First, certain persons that
are sowers of suits; which make the court swell,
and the country pine. The second sort is of those,
that engage courts in quarrels of jurisdiction, and
are not truly amici curiae, but parasiti curiae, in
puffing a court up beyond her bounds, for their
own scraps and advantage. The third sort, is of
those that may be accounted the left hands of
courts; persons that are full of nimble and sinister
tricks and shifts, whereby they pervert the plain
and direct courses of courts, and bring justice into
oblique lines and labyrinths. And the fourth, is the
poller and exacter of fees; which justifies the com-
mon resemblance of the courts of justice, to the
bush whereunto, while the sheep flies for defence
in weather, he is sure to lose part of his fleece. On
the other side, an ancient clerk, skilful in prece-
dents, wary in proceeding, and understanding in
the business of the court, is an excellent finger of
a court; and doth many times point the way to the
judge himself.

Fourthly, for that which may concern the sov-
ereign and estate. Judges ought above all to re-
member the conclusion of the Roman Twelve
Tables; Salus populi suprema lex; and to know
that laws, except they be in order to that end, are
but things captious, and oracles not well inspired.
Therefore it is an happy thing in a state, when
kings and states do often consult with judges; and
again, when judges do often consult with the king
and state: the one, when there is matter of law,
intervenient in business of state; the other, when
there is some consideration of state, intervenient
in matter of law. For many times the things de-
duced to judgment may be meum and tuum, when
the reason and consequence thereof may trench to
point of estate: I call matter of estate, not only the
parts of sovereignty, but whatsoever introduceth
any great alteration, or dangerous precedent; or
concerneth manifestly any great portion of peo-
ple. And let no man weakly conceive, that just
laws and true policy have any antipathy; for they
are like the spirits and sinews, that one moves with
the other. Let judges also remember, that Solo-
mon's throne was supported by lions on both sides:
let them be lions, but yet lions under the throne;
being circumspect that they do not check or oppose
any points of sovereignty. Let not judges also be
ignorant of their own right, as to think there is not
left to them, as a principal part of their office, a
wise use and application of laws. For they may
remember, what the apostle saith of a greater law
than theirs; Nos scimus quia lex bona est, modo
quis ea utatur legitime.

Of Anger

TO SEEK to extinguish anger utterly, is but a
bravery of the Stoics. We have better oracles:
Be angry, but sin not. Let not the sun go down
upon your anger. Anger must be limited and con-
fined, both in race and in time. We will first speak
how the natural inclination and habit to be angry,
may be attempted and calmed. Secondly, how the
particular motions of anger may be repressed, or
at least refrained from doing mischief. Thirdly,
how to raise anger, or appease anger in another.

For the first; there is no other way but to medi-
tate, and ruminate well upon the effects of anger,
how it troubles man's life. And the best time to do
this, is to look back upon anger, when the fit is
thoroughly over. Seneca saith well, That anger is
like ruin, which breaks itself upon that it falls.
The Scripture exhorteth us to possess our souls in
patience. Whosoever is out of patience, is out of
possession of his soul. Men must not turn bees;

... animasque in vulnere ponunt.

Anger is certainly a kind of baseness; as it ap-
pears well in the weakness of those subjects in
whom it reigns; children, women, old folks, sick
folks. Only men must beware, that they carry
their anger rather with scorn, than with fear; so
that they may seem rather to be above the injury,
than below it; which is a thing easily done, if a
man will give law to himself in it.

For the second point; the causes and motives of
anger, are chiefly three. First, to be too sensible of
hurt; for no man is angry, that feels not himself
hurt; and therefore tender and delicate persons
must needs be oft angry; they have so many things
to trouble them, which more robust natures have
little sense of. The next is, the apprehension and
construction of the injury offered, to be, in the cir-
cumstances thereof, full of contempt: for contempt
is that, which putteth an edge upon anger, as much
or more than the hurt itself. And therefore, when
men are ingenious in picking out circumstances of
contempt, they do kindle their anger much. Lastly,
opinion of the touch of a man's reputation, doth
multiply and sharpen anger. Wherein the remedy
is, that a man should have, as Consalvo was wont
to say, telam honoris crassiorem. But in all refrain-
ings of anger, it is the best remedy to win time;
and to make a man's self believe, that the oppor-
tunity of his revenge is not yet come, but that he
foresees a time for it; and so to still himself in the
meantime, and reserve it.

To contain anger from mischief, though it take
hold of a man, there be two things, whereof you
must have special caution. The one, of extreme bit-
terness of words, especially if they be aculeate and
proper; for cummunia maledicta are nothing so
much; and again, that in anger a man reveal no
secrets; for that, makes him not fit for society. The
other, that you do not peremptorily break off, in
any business, in a fit of anger; but howsoever you
show bitterness, do not act anything, that is not

For raising and appeasing anger in another; it
is done chiefly by choosing of times, when men
are frowardest and worst disposed, to incense
them. Again, by gathering (as was touched before)
all that you can find out, to aggravate the con-
tempt. And the two remedies are by the contraries.
The former to take good times, when first to relate
to a man an angry business; for the first impres-
sion is much; and the other is, to sever, as much as
may be, the construction of the injury from the
point of contempt; imputing it to misunderstand-
ing, fear, passion, or what you will.

Of Vicissitude

SOLOMON saith, There is no new thing upon
the earth. So that as Plato had an imagination,
That all knowledge was but remembrance; so
Solomon giveth his sentence, That all novelty is
but oblivion. Whereby you may see, that the river
of Lethe runneth as well above ground as below.
There is an abstruse astrologer that saith, If it were
not for two things that are constant (the one is,
that the fixed stars ever stand a like distance one
from another, and never come nearer together, nor
go further asunder; the other, that the diurnal
motion perpetually keepeth time), no individual
would last one moment. Certain it is, that the mat-
ter is in a perpetual flux, and never at a stay. The
great winding-sheets, that bury all things in ob-
livion, are two; deluges and earthquakes. As for
conflagrations and great droughts, they do not
merely dispeople and destroy. Phaeton's car went
but a day. And the three years' drought in the time
of Elias, was but particular, and left people alive.
As for the great burnings by lightnings, which are
often in the West Indies, they are but narrow. But
in the other two destructions, by deluge and earth-
quake, it is further to be noted, that the remnant
of people which hap to be reserved, are commonly
ignorant and mountainous people, that can give
no account of the time past; so that the oblivion is
all one, as if none had been left. If you consider
well of the people of the West Indies, it is very
probable that they are a newer or a younger peo-
ple, than the people of the Old World. And it is
much more likely, that the destruction that hath
heretofore been there, was not by earthquakes (as
the Egyptian priest told Solon concerning the
island of Atlantis, that it was swallowed by an
earthquake), but rather that it was desolated by a
particular deluge. For earthquakes are seldom in
those parts. But on the other side, they have such
pouring rivers, as the rivers of Asia and Africk and
Europe, are but brooks to them. Their Andes, like-
wise, or mountains, are far higher than those with
us; whereby it seems, that the remnants of gen-
eration of men, were in such a particular deluge
saved. As for the observation that Machiavel hath,
that the jealousy of sects, doth much extinguish
the memory of things; traducing Gregory the
Great, that he did what in him lay, to extinguish
all heathen antiquities; I do not find that those
zeals do any great effects, nor last long; as it ap-
peared in the succession of Sabinian, who did
revive the former antiquities.

The vicissitude of mutations in the superior
globe, are no fit matter for this present argument.
It may be, Plato's great year, if the world should
last so long, would have some effect; not in renew-
ing the state of like individuals (for that is the fume
of those, that conceive the celestial bodies have
more accurate influences upon these things below,
than indeed they have), but in gross. Comets, out
of question, have likewise power and effect, over
the gross and mass of things; but they are rather
gazed upon, and waited upon in their journey,
than wisely observed in their effects; specially in,
their respective effects; that is, what kind of comet,
for magnitude, color, version of the beams, plac-
ing in the reign of heaven, or lasting, produceth
what kind of effects.

There is a toy which I have heard, and I would
not have it given over, but waited upon a little.
They say it is observed in the Low Countries (I
know not in what part) that every five and thirty
years, the same kind and suit of years and weath-
ers come about again; as great frosts, great wet,
great droughts, warm winters, summers with little
heat, and the like; and they call it the Prime. It is
a thing I do the rather mention, because, comput-
ing backwards, I have found some concurrence.

But to leave these points of nature, and to come
to men. The greatest vicissitude of things amongst
men, is the vicissitude of sects and religions. For
those orbs rule in men's minds most. The true re-
ligion is built upon the rock; the rest are tossed,
upon the waves of time. To speak, therefore, of the
causes of new sects; and to give some counsel con-
cerning them, as far as the weakness of human
judgment can give stay, to so great revolutions.
When the religion formerly received, is rent by
discords; and when the holiness of the professors
of religion, is decayed and full of scandal; and
withal the times be stupid, ignorant, and bar-
barous; you may doubt the springing up of a new
sect; if then also, there should arise any extrava-
gant and strange spirit, to make himself author
thereof. All which points held, when Mahomet
published his law. If a new sect have not two prop-
erties, fear it not; for it will not spread. The one is
the supplanting, or the opposing, of authority es-
tablished; for nothing is more popular than that.
The other is the giving license to pleasures, and a
voluptuous life. For as for speculative heresies
(such as were in ancient times the Arians, and now
the Armenians), though they work mightily upon
men's wits, yet they do not produce any great al-
terations in states; except it be by the help of civil
occasions. There be three manner of plantations of
new sects. By the power of signs and miracles; by
the eloquence, and wisdom, of speech and persua-
sion; and by the sword. For martyrdoms, I reckon
them amongst miracles; because they seem to ex-
ceed the strength of human nature: and I may do
the like, of superlative and admirable holiness of
life. Surely there is no better way, to stop the rising
of new sects and schisms, than to reform abuses; to
compound the smaller differences; to proceed
mildly, and not with sanguinary persecutions;
and rather to take off the principal authors by win-
ning and advancing them, than to enrage them
by violence and bitterness.

The changes and vicissitude in wars are many;
but chiefly in three things; in the seats or stages of
the war; in the weapons; and in the manner of the
conduct. Wars, in ancient time, seemed more to
move from east to west; for the Persians, Assyrians,
Arabians, Tartars (which were the invaders) were
all eastern people. It is true, the Gauls were west-
ern; but we read but of two incursions of theirs:
the one to Gallo-Grecia, the other to Rome. But east
and west have no certain points of heaven; and no
more have the wars, either from the east or west,
any certainty of observation. But north and south
are fixed; and it hath seldom or never been seen
that the far southern people have invaded the
northern, but contrariwise. Whereby it is manifest
that the northern tract of the world, is in nature
the more martial region: be it in respect of the stars
of that hemisphere; or of the great continents that
are upon the north, whereas the south part, for
aught that is known, is almost all sea; or (which is
most apparent) of the cold of the northern parts,
which is that which, without aid of discipline,
doth make the bodies hardest, and the courages

Upon the breaking and shivering of a great state
and empire, you may be sure to have wars. For
great empires, while they stand, do enervate and
destroy the forces of the natives which they have
subdued, resting upon their own protecting forces;
and then when they fail also, all goes to ruin, and
they become a prey. So was it in the decay of the
Roman empire; and likewise in the empire of
Almaigne, after Charles the Great, every bird tak-
ing a feather; and were not unlike to befall to
Spain, if it should break. The great accessions and
unions of kingdoms, do likewise stir up wars; for
when a state grows to an over-power, it is like a
great flood, that will be sure to overflow. As it hath
been seen in the states of Rome, Turkey, Spain,
and others. Look when the world hath fewest bar-
barous peoples, but such as commonly will not
marry or generate, except they know means to live
(as it is almost everywhere at this day, except Tar-
tary), there is no danger of inundations of people;
but when there be great shoals of people, which go
on to populate, without foreseeing means of life
and sustentation, it is of necessity that once in an
age or two, they discharge a portion of their people
upon other nations; which the ancient northern
people were wont to do by lot; casting lots what
part should stay at home, and what should seek
their fortunes. When a warlike state grows soft and
effeminate, they may be sure of a war. For com-
monly such states are grownm rich in the time of
their degenerating; and so the prey inviteth, and
their decay in valor, encourageth a war.

As for the weapons, it hardly falleth under rule
and observation: yet we see even they, have re-
turns and vicissitudes. For certain it is, that ord-
nance was known in the city of the Oxidrakes in
India; and was that, which the Macedonians
called thunder and lightning, and magic. And it
is well known that the use of ordnance, hath been
in China above two thousand years. The conditions
of weapons, and their improvement, are; First, the
fetching afar off; for that outruns the danger; as
it is seen in ordnance and muskets. Secondly, the
strength of the percussion; wherein likewise ord-
nance do exceed all arietations and ancient inven-
tions. The third is, the commodious use of them; as
that they may serve in all weathers; that the car-
riage may be light and manageable; and the like.

For the conduct of the war: at the first, men
rested extremely upon number: they did put the
wars likewise upon main force and valor; pointing
days for pitched fields, and so trying it out upon
an even match and they were more ignorant in
ranging and arraying their battles. After, they
grew to rest upon number rather competent, than
vast; they grew to advantages of place, cunning
diversions, and the like: and they grew more skil-
ful in the ordering of their battles.

In the youth of a state, arms do flourish; in the
middle age of a state, learning; and then both of
them together for a time; in the declining age of a
state, mechanical arts and merchandize. Learning
hath his infancy, when it is but beginning and
almost childish; then his youth, when it is luxuri-
ant and juvenile; then his strength of years, when
it is solid and reduced; and lastly, his old age, when
it waxeth dry and exhaust. But it is not good to look
too long upon these turning wheels of vicissitude,
lest we become giddy. As for the philology of
them, that is but a circle of tales, and therefore not
fit for this writing.

Of Fame

THE poets make Fame a monster. They de-
scribe her in part finely and elegantly, and
in part gravely and sententiously. They say, look
how many feathers she hath, so many eyes she
hath underneath; so many tongues; so many
voices; she pricks up so many ears.

This is a flourish. There follow excellent par-
ables; as that, she gathereth strength in going;
that she goeth upon the ground, and yet hideth her
head in the clouds; that in the daytime she sitteth
in a watch tower, and flieth most by night; that
she mingleth things done, with things not done;
and that she is a terror to great cities. But that
which passeth all the rest is: They do recount that
the Earth, mother of the giants that made war
against Jupiter, and were by him destroyed, there-
upon in an anger brought forth Fame. For certain
it is, that rebels, figured by the giants, and seditious
fames and libels, are but brothers and sisters, mas-
culine and feminine. But now, if a man can tame
this monster, and bring her to feed at the hand,
and govern her, and with her fly other ravening
fowl and kill them, it is somewhat worth. But we
are infected with the style of the poets. To speak
now in a sad and serious manner: There is not, in
all the politics, a place less handled and more
worthy to be handled, than this of fame. We will
therefore speak of these points: What are false
fames; and what are true fames; and how they
may be best discerned; how fames may be sown,
and raised; how they may be spread, and multi-
plied; and how they may be checked, and laid
dead. And other things concerning the nature of
fame. Fame is of that force, as there is scarcely any
great action, wherein it hath not a great part; es-
pecially in the war. Mucianus undid Vitellius, by
a fame that he scattered, that Vitellius had in pur-
pose to remove the legions of Syria into Germany,
and the legions of Germany into Syria; where-
upon the legions of Syria were infinitely inflamed.
Julius Caesar took Pompey unprovided, and laid
asleep his industry and preparations, by a fame
that he cunningly gave out: Caesar's own soldiers
loved him not, and being wearied with the wars,
and laden with the spoils of Gaul, would forsake
him, as soon as he came into Italy. Livia settled
all things for the succession of her son Tiberius, by
continual giving out, that her husband Augustus
was upon recovery and amendment, and it is an
usual thing with the pashas, to conceal the death
of the Great Turk from the janizaries and men of
war, to save the sacking of Constantinople and
other towns, as their manner is. Themistocles made
Xerxes, king of Persia, post apace out of Grecia, by
giving out, that the Grecians had a purpose to
break his bridge of ships, which he had made ath-
wart Hellespont. There be a thousand such like
examples; and the more they are, the less they
need to be repeated; because a man meeteth with
them everywhere. Therefore let all wise governors
have as great a watch and care over fames, as they
have of the actions and designs themselves.

[This essay was not finished]

A Glossary

Abridgment: miniature
Absurd: stupid, unpolished
Abuse: cheat, deceive
Aculeate: stinging
Adamant: loadstone
Adust: scorched
Advoutress: adulteress
Affect: like, desire
Antic: clown
Appose: question
Arietation: battering-ram
Audit: revenue
Avoidance: secret outlet
Battle: battalion
Bestow: settle in life
Blanch: flatter, evade
Brave: boastful
Bravery: boast, ostentation
Broke: deal in brokerage
Broken: shine by comparison
Broken music: part music
Cabinet: secret
Calendar: weather forecast
Card: chart, map
Care not to: are reckless
Cast: plan
Cat: cate, cake
Charge and adventure: cost and
Check with: interfere
Chop: bandy words
Civil: peaceful
Close: secret, secretive
Collect: infer
Compound: compromise
Consent: agreement
Curious: elaborate
Custom: import duties
Deceive: rob
Derive: divert
Difficileness: moroseness
Discover: reveal
Donative: money gift
Doubt: fear
Equipollent: equally powerful
Espial: spy
Estate: state
Facility: of easy persuasion
Fair: rather
Fame: rumor
Favor: feature
Flashy: insipid
Foot-pace: lobby
Foreseen: guarded against
Froward: stubborn
Futile: babbling
Globe: complete body
Glorious: showy, boastful
Humorous: capricious
Hundred poll: hundredth head
Impertinent: irrelevant
Implicit: entangled

In a mean: in moderation
In smother: suppressed
Indifferent: impartial
Intend: attend to
Leese: lose
Let: hinder
Loose: shot
Lot: spell
Lurch: intercept
Make: profit, get
Manage: train
Mate: conquer
Material: business-like
Mere-stone: boundary stone
Muniting: fortifying
Nerve: sinew
Obnoxious: subservient, liable
Oes: round spangles
Pair: impair
Pardon: allowance
Passable: mediocre
Pine-apple-tree: pine
Plantation: colony
Platform: plan
Plausible: praiseworthy
Point device: excessively precise
Politic: politician
Poll: extort
Poser: examiner
Practice: plotting
Preoccupate: anticipate
Prest: prepared
Prick: plant
Proper: personal
Prospective: stereoscope
Proyne: prune
Purprise: enclosure
Push: pimple
Quarrel: pretext
Quech: flinch
Reason: principle
Recamera: retiring-room
Return: reaction
Return: wing running back
Rise: dignity
Round: straight
Save: account for
Scantling: measure
Seel: blind
Shrewd: mischievous
Sort: associate
Spial: spy
Staddle: sapling
Steal: do secretly
Stirp: family
Stond: stop, stand
Stoved: hot-housed
Style: title
Success: outcome
Sumptuary law: law against
Superior globe: the heavens
Temper: proportion
Tendering: nursing
Tract: line, trait
Travel: travail, labor
Treaties: treatises
Trench to: touch
Trivial: common
Turquet: Turkish dwarf
Under foot: below value
Unready: untrained
Usury: interest
Value: certify
Virtuous: able
Votary: vowed
Wanton: spoiled
Wood: maze
Work: manage, utilize

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