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paramount to obligation of sovereignty, and make the king tanquam unus ex nobis ; as was to be seen in the League 2 of France. When factions are carried too high and too violently, it is a sign of weakness in princes; and much to the prejudice both of their authority and business. The motions of factions under kings ought to be like the motions (as the astronomers speak) of the inferior orbs, which may have their proper motions, but yet still are quietly carried by the higher motion of primum mobile.
LII. OF CEREMONIES AND RESPECTS.3
HE that is only real, had need have exceeding great parts of virtue; as the stone had need to be rich that is set without foil. But if a man mark it well, it is in praise and commendation of men as it is in gettings and gains: for the proverb is true, That light gains make heavy purses; for light gains come thick, whereas great come but now and then. So it
1 As one of us.
2 The Holy League was formed by the Roman Catholic interests in 1576 under the leadership of Henry, Duke of Guise. Henry III. of France weakly joined the League which directed its main efforts towards preventing the succession of Henry of Navarre, his heir, and a Protestant. The Duke of Guise became so powerful as to set up pretensions to the throne. Henry III. fled from Paris, and ultimately entered into an alliance with Henry of Navarre and the Huguenots. King in name only, he took the part of a pawn in the great game Henry of Guise and Henry of Navarre were playing.
8 Respects. Deferential good wishes; complimentary regards. 4 Foil. A piece of gold or silver leaf set behind a gem to give it color or lustre.
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 festivals. Therefore it doth much add to a man's reputation, and is (as queen Isabella1 said) like perpetual letters commendatory, to have good forms. To attain 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 labour too much to express them, he shall lose their grace; which is to be natural and unaffected. Some men's behaviour is like a verse, wherein every syllable is measured how can a man comprehend great matters, that breaketh his mind too much to small observations?2 Not to use ceremonies at all, is to teach others not to use them again; and so diminisheth 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 certainly there is a kind of conveying of effectual and imprinting 3 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 there
1 Isabella I., the Catholic, 1451-1504, daughter and heiress of Juan II. of Castile, and queen of Ferdinand V. (II. of Aragon and III. of Naples). Isabella's enduring title to fame is that she believed in Columbus, and equipped the three little ships, the Santa Maria, the Niña, and the Pinta, with which he set forth from Palos, August 3, 1492, to discover America. "Queen Isabell of Spain used to say: Whosoever hath a good presence and a good fashion, carries letters of recommendation." Bacon. Apophthegmes New and Old. 99 (74).
2 Observations. Observances.
3 Imprinting. impressive.
That imprints or impresses something on the mind;
fore it is good a little to keep state. Amongst a
"You'll never meet a more sufficient man.'
2 Curious. Minutely accurate; exact; precise. 3 Ecclesiastes xi. 4.
4 Point-device. Precise; nice; scrupulously neat; finical. your hose should be ungarter'd, your bonnet unbanded, your sleeve unbutton'd, your shoe untied, and everything about you demonstrating a careless desolation. But you are no such man: you are rather point-device in your accoutrements.' Shakspere. As You Like It. iii. 2.
5 For Bacon's own admirable definition of behaviour as the 'garment of the mind,' read the Advancement of Learning, II. xxiii. 3.
LIII. OF PRAISE.
PRAISE is the reflexion of virtue. But it is as the glass or body which giveth the reflexion. If it be from the common people, it is commonly 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 perceiving at all. But shews, and species virtutibus similes,1 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 filleth all round about, and will not easily away.3 For the odours 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 common attributes, which may serve every man; if he
1 Appearances similar to virtues. "Is Calpurnio genere ortus, ac multa insignesque familias paterna nobilitate complexus, claro apud vulgum rumore erat per virtutem, aut species virtutibus similes." P. Cornelii Taciti Annalium Liber XV. 48.
2 A good name is like unto a fragrant ointment. Bacon has here in mind Ecclesiastes vii. 1, where the proverb is, "A good name is better than precious ointment."
3 Away. Go away. Elliptical use, with verb suppressed, simulating an imperative, or rarely, as here, an infinitive.
"For 'get you gone,' she doth not mean away!"
Shakspere. The Two Gentlemen of Verona. iii. 1.
be a cunning flatterer, he will follow the archflatterer, 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 imprudent flatterer, look wherein a man is conscious to himself that he is most defective, and is most out of countenance in himself, that will the flatterer entitle him to perforce, spretá conscientia.1 Some praises come of good wishes and respects, which is a form due in civility to kings and great persons, laudando præcipere,2 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;3 insomuch as it was a proverb amongst the Grecians, that he that was praised to his hurt, should have a push1 rise upon his nose; as we say, that a blister will rise upon one's tongue that tells a lie. Certainly moderate praise, used with opportunity, and not vulgar, is that which doth the good. Salomon saith, He that praiseth his friend aloud, rising early, it shall be to him no better than a curse.5 Too much magnifying of man or matter doth irritate contradiction, and procure envy and scorn. To praise a man's self cannot be decent, except it be in rare cases; but to praise a
1 Conscience being despised.
2 To instruct by praising.
3 Flatterers are the worst kind of enemies. "Causa periculi non crimen ullum, aut querela laesi cujusquam, sed infensus virtutibus Princeps, et gloria viri, ac pessimum inimicorum genus, laudantes." Cornelii Taciti Vita Agricolae. Caput 41.
4 Push. Pimple.
5 "He that blesseth his friend with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, it shall be counted a curse to him.” Proverbs xxvii. 14.