« PreviousContinue »
when the world hath fewest barbarous people, but such as commonly will not marry, or generate, except they know means to live, (as it is almost every where at this day, except Tartary,) 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 commonly such states are grown rich in the time of their degenerating; and so the prey inviteth, and their decay in valour encourageth
As for the weapons, it hardly falleth under rule and observation: yet we see even they have returns and vicissitudes; for certain it is, that ordnance 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 improvements, 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 ordnance do exceed all arietations and ancient inventions: the third is, the commodio use of them; as that they may serve in all weathe
that the carriage 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 valour, 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 skilful 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 its infancy, when it is but beginning, and almost childish; then its youth, when it is luxuriant and juvenile; then its strength of years, when it is solid and reduced; and, lastly, its 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.
APPENDIX TO ESSAYS.
A FRAGMENT OF AN ESSAY OF FAME. *
THE poets make Fame a monster: they describe 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 parables; as that she gathereth strength in going; that she goeth upon the ground, and yet hideth her head in the clouds; that in the day-time she sitteth in a watch-tower, and flyeth 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, thereupon in anger brought forth Fame; for certain it is, that rebels, figured by the giants and seditious fames and libels, are but brothers and sisters, masculine 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
* Published by Dr. Rawley in his Resuscitatio.
Fame is of
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 multiplied; and how they may be checked and laid dead; things concerning the nature of fame. that force, as there is scarcely any great action wherein it hath not a great part, especially in the war. Mucianus undid Vitellius by a fame that he scattered, that Vitellius had in purpose to remove the legions of Syria into Germany, and the legions of Germany into Syria; whereupon the legions of Syria were infinitely inflamed. Julius Cæsar took Pompey unprovided, and laid asleep his industry and preparations by a fame that he cunningly gave out, how Cæsar'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 bashaws, to conceal the death of the Great Turk from the janizaries and men of war, to save the sacking of Con stantinople, and other towns, as their manner is. Themistocles made Xerxes, king of Persia, post
apace out of Græcia, by giving out that the Grecians had a purpose to break his bridge of ships which he had made athwart 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 every where therefore let all wise governors have as great a watch and care over fames, as they have of the actions and designs themselves.
[THE REST WAS NOT FINISHED.]
OF A KING.*
1. A king is a mortal god on earth, unto whom the living God hath lent his own name as a great honour; but withal told him, he should die like a man, lest he should be proud and flatter himself, that God hath with his name imparted unto him his nature also.
2. Of all kind of men, God is the least beholden unto them; for he doth most for them, and they do ordinarily least for him.
3. A king that would not feel his crown too heavy for him, must wear it every day; but if he think it too light, he knoweth not of what metal it is made.
4. He must make religion the rule of government, and not to balance the scale; for he that casteth in religion only to make the scales even, his own weight is contained in those characters, " Mene, mene, tekel, "upharsin, He is found too light, his kingdom shall "be taken from him."
5. And that king that holds not religion the best
* See note K at the end.