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unsound men to serve their own turn. The fortune, in being the first in an invention, or in a privilege, doth cause sometimes a wonderful overgrowth in riches, as it was with the first sugar man in the Canaries : therefore, if a man can play the true logician, to have as well judgment as invention, he may do great matters, especially if the times be fit: he that resteth upon gains certain, shall hardly grow to great riches ; and he that puts all upon adventures, doth oftentimes break and come to poverty: it is good, therefore, to guard adventures with certainties that may uphold losses. Monopolies, and coemption of wares for re-sale, where they are not restrained, are great means to enrich ; especially if the party have intelligence what things are like to come into request, and so store himself beforehand. Riches gotten by service, though it be of the best rise, yet when they are gotten by flattery, feeding humours, and other servile conditions, they may be placed amongst the worst. As for fishing for testaments and executorships (as Tacitus saith of Seneca, “ testamenta et orbus tamquam indagine capi,") it is yet worse, by how much men submit themselves to meaner persons than in service. Believe not much, them, that seem to despise riches, for they despise them that despair of them; and none worse when they come to them. Be not penny-wise; riches have wings, and sometimes they fly away of themselves, sometimes they must be set flying to bring in more. Men leave their riches either to their kindred, or to the public; and moderate portions prosper best in
both. A great state left to an heir, is as a lure to all the birds of prey round about to seize on him, if he be not the better established in years and judgment: likewise, glorious gifts and foundations are like sacrifices without salt; and but the painted sepulchres of alms, which soon will putrefy and corrupt inwardly: therefore measure not thine advancements by quantity, but frame them by measure : and defer not charities till death; for, certainly, if a man weigh it rightly, he that doth so is rather liberal of another man's than of his own.
Xxxv. OF PROPHECIES. I mean not to speak of divine prophecies, nor of heathen oracles, nor of natural predictions ;- but only of prophecies that have been of certain memory, and from hidden causes. Saith the Pythonissa to Saul, * To-morrow thou and thy son shall be with me." Virgil hath these verses from Homer :
" At domus Æneæ cunctis dominabitur oris,
« Et nati natorum, et qui nascentur ab illis.* A prophecy as it seems of the Roman empire. Seneca the tragedian hath these verses:
is Venient annis
Homeri Ilias. r. 307-308.
Νύν δε δή Αινείαο βιη Τρώεσσιν ανάξει, ,
Και παίδες παίδων, τοί κεν μετόπισθε γένωνται. These noble lines are there uttered by Neptune, but are happily transferred by Virgil to Apollo.
“ Detegat orbes; nec sit terris
“ Ultima Thule:”. a prophecy of the discovery of America. The daughter of Polycrates dreamed that Jupiter bathed her father, and Apollo anointed him; and it came to pass that he was crucified in an open place, where the sun made his body run with sweat, and the rain washed it. Philip of Macedon dreamed he sealed up his wife's belly; whereby he did expound it, that his wife should be barren; but Aristander the soothsayer told him his wife was with child, because men do not use to seal vessels that are empty. A phantasm that appeared to M. Brutus in his tent, said to him, “ Philippis iterum me videbis.” Tiberius said to Galba, “ Tu quoque, Galba, degustabis imperium.” In Vespasian's time there went a prophecy in the East, that those that should come forth of Judea, should reign over the world; which though it may be was meant of our Saviour, yet Tacitus expounds it of Vespasian. Domitian dreamed, the night before he was slain, that a golden head was growing out of the nape of his neck; and indeed the succession that followed him, for many years, made golden times. Henry the Sixth of England said of Henry the Seventh, when he was a lad, and gave him water, « This is the lad that shall enjoy the crown for which “ we strive."
strive.” When I was in France, I heard from one Dr. Pena, that the queen mother, who was given to curious arts, caused the king her husband's nativity to be calculated under a false name; and the astrologer gave a judgment, that he should be killed in a duel; at which the queen laughed, thinking her
husband to be above challenges and duels : but he was slain upon a course at tilt, the splinters of the staff of Montgomery going in at his beaver. The trivial prophecy which I heard when I was a child, and queen Elizabeth was in the flower of her years, was,
“ When hempe is sponne
“ England's done :" whereby it was generally conceived, that after the princes had reigned which had the principal letters of that word hempe (which were Henry, Edward, Mary, Philip, and Elizabeth), England should come to utter confusion; which, thanks be to God, is verified only in the change of the name; for that the king's style is now no more of England but of Britain. There was also another prophecy before the year of eighty-eight, which I do not well understand.
“ There shall be seen upon a day,
“ For after wars shall you have none." It was generally conceived to be meant of the Spanish fleet that came in eighty-eight: for that the king of Spain's surname, as they say, is Norway. The prediction of Regiomontanus,
“ Octogesimus octavus mirabilis annus," was thought likewise accomplished in the sending of that great fleet, being the greatest in strength, though not in number, of all that ever swam upon
As for Cleon's dream, I think it was a jest;
it was, that he was devoured of a long dragon; and it was expounded of a maker of sausages,
that troubled him exceedingly. There are numbers of the like kind ; especially if you include dreams, and predictions of astrology; but I have set down these few only of certain credit, for example. My judgment is, that they ought all to be despised, and ought to serve but for winter talk by the fireside : though when I say despised, I mean it as for belief; for otherwise, the spreading or publishing of them is in no sort to be despised, for they have done much mischief; and I see many severe laws made to suppress them. That that hath given them grace, and some credit, consisteth in three things. First, that men mark when they hit, and never mark when they miss; as they do, generally, also of dreams. The second is, that probable conjectures, or obscure traditions, many times turn themselves into prophecies; while the nature of man, which coveteth divination, thinks it no peril to foretell that which indeed they do but collect : as that of Seneca's verse ; for so much was then subject to demonstration, that the globe of the earth had great parts beyond the Atlantic, which might be probably conceived not to be all sea : and adding thereto the tradition in Plato's Timæus, and his Atlanticus, it might encourage one to turn it to a prediction. The third and last (which is the great one), is, that almost all of them, being infinite in number, have been impostures, and by idle and crafty brains, merely contrived and feigned, after the event past.