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a man weighs it rightly, rather liberal of another man's than of his own.
56. Ambition is like choler; if it can move, it makes men active; if it be stopped, it becomes adust, and makes men melancholy.
57. To take a soldier without ambition, is to pull
off his spurs.
58. Some ambitious men seem as skreens to princes in matters of danger and envy. For no man will take such parts, except he be like the seeld dove, that mounts and mounts, because he cannot see about him.
59. Princes and states should choose such ministers as are more sensible of duty than rising; and should discern a busy nature from a willing mind.
60. A man's nature runs either to herbs or weeds; therefore let him seasonably water the one, and destroy the other.
61. If a man look sharply and attentively, he shall see fortune; for though she be blind, she is not invisible.
62. Usury bringeth the treasure of a realm or state into few hands : for the usurer being at certainties, and others at uncertainties; at the end of the game most of the money will be in the box.
63. Virtue is best in a body that hath rather dignity of presence, than beauty of aspect. The beautiful prove accomplished, but not of great spirit ; and study, for the most part, rather behaviour than virtue.
64. The best part of beauty is that which a picture cannot express.
65. He who builds a fair house upon an ill seating commits himself to prison.
66. If you will work on any man, you must either know his nature and fashions, and so lead him; or his ends, and so persuade him; or his weaknesses and disadvantages, and so awe him; or those that have interest in him, and so govern him.
67. Costly followers, among whom we may reckon those who are importunate in suits, are not to be liked; lest, while a man maketh his train longer, he make his wings shorter.
68. Fame is like a river that beareth up things light and swollen, and drowns things weighty and solid.
69. Seneca saith well, that anger is like ruin, which breaks itself upon that it falls.
70. Excusations, cessions, modesty itself well governed, are but arts of ostentation.
71. High treason is not written in ice; that when the body relenteth, the impression should go away.
72. The best governments are always subject to be like the fairest crystals, wherein every icicle or grain is seen, which in a fouler stone is never perceived.
73. Hollow church papists are like the roots of nettles, which themselves sting not; but yet they bear all the stinging leaves.
CIVIL CONVERSATION. 1. To deceive mens expectations generally, with cautel, argueth a staid mind, and unexpected constancy: viz. in matters of fear, anger, sudden joy or grief, and all things which may affect or alter the mind in public or sudden accidents, or such like.
2. It is necessary to use a stedfast countenance, not wavering with action, as in moving the head or hand too much, which sheweth a fantastical, light, and fickle operation of the spirit, and consequently like mind as gesture : only it is sufficient, with leisure, to use a modest action in either.
3. In all kinds of speech, either pleasant, grave, severe, or ordinary, it is convenient to speak leisurely, and rather drawingly, than hastily; because hasty speech 'confounds the memory, and oftentimes, besides unseemliness, drives a man either to a non-plus or unseemly stammering, harping upon that which should follow ; whereas a slow speech confirmeth the memory, addeth a conceit of wisdom to the hearers, besides a seemliness of speech and countenance.
4. To desire in discourse to hold all arguments, is ridiculous, wanting true judgement; for in all things no man can be exquisite.
5, 6. To have common places to discourse, and to want variety, is both tedious to the hearers, and shews a shallowness of conceit; therefore it is good to vary, and suit speeches with the present occasions ; and to have a moderation in all our speeches, especially in jesting of religion, state, great persons, weighty and important business, poverty, or any thing deserving pity.
7. A long continued speech, without a good speech of interlocution, sheweth slowness: and a good reply, without a good set speech, sheweth shallowness and weakness.
8. To use many circumstances, ere you come to the matter, is wearisome; and to use none at all, is but blunt.
9. Bashfulness is a great hindrance to a man, both of uttering his conceit, and understanding what is propounded unto him: wherefore it is good to press himself forwards with discretion, both in speech, and company of the better sort.
Usus promptos facit.
AN ESSAY ON DEATH. 1. I HAVE often thought upon death, and I find it the least of all evils. All that which is past is as a dream; and he that hopes or depends upon time coming, dreams waking. So much of our life as we have discovered is already dead; and all those hours which we share, even from the breasts of our mother, until we return to our grand-mother the earth, are part of our dying days; whereof even this is one, and those that succeed are of the same nature, for we die daily; and as others have given place to us, so we must in the end give way to others.
2. Physicians, in the name of death include all sor, row, anguish, disease, calamity, or whatsoever can fall in the life of man, either grievous or unwelcome: but these things are familiar unto us, and we suffer them every hour; therefore we die daily, and I am older since I affirmed it.
3. I know many wise men, that fear to die; for the change is bitter, and flesh would refuse to prove it : besides, the expectation brings terror, and that exceeds the evil. But I do not believe, that any man fears to be dead, but only the stroke of death : and such are my hopes, that if heaven be pleased, and nature renew but my lease for twenty-one years more, without asking longer days, I shall be strong enough to acknowledge without mourning that I was begotten mortal. Virtue walks not in the highway, though she go per alta ; this is strength and the blood to virtue, to contemn things that be desired, and to neglect that which is feared.
4. Why should man be in love with his fetters, though of gold? Art thou drowned in security? Then I say thou art perfectly dead. For though thou movest, yet thy soul is buried within thee, and thy good angel either forsakes his guard or sleeps. There is nothing under heaven, saving a true friend, who cannot be counted within the number of moveables, unto which my heart doth lean. And this dear freedom hath begotten me this peace, that I mourn not for that end which must be, nor spend one wish to have one minute added to the incertain date of my years. It was no mean apprehension of Lucian, who says of Menippus, that in his travels through hell he knew not the kings of the earth from other men, but only by their louder cryings and tears: which was fostered in them through the remorseful memory of the good days they had seen, and the fruitful havings which they so unwillingly left behind them: he that was well seated, looked back at his portion, and was loth to forsake his farmand others either minding marriages, pleasures, profit, or preferment, desired to be excused from death's banquet: they had made an appointment with earth, looking at the blessings, not the hand that enlarged them, forgetting how unclothedly they came hither, or with what naked ornaments they were arrayed.
5. But were we servants of the precept given, and observers of the heathens rule memento mori, and not become benighted with this seeming felicity, we should enjoy it as men prepared to lose, and not wind up our thoughts upon so perishing a fortune: he that is not slackly strong, as the servants of pleasure, how can he be found unready to quit the veil and false visage of his perfection ? The soul having shaken off her flesh, doth then set up for herself, and contemning things that are under, shews what finger hath enforced her; for the souls of idiots are of the same piece with those of statesmen, but now and then nature is at a fault, and this good guest of ours takes soil in an imperfect body, and so is slackened from shewing her wonders ; like an excellent musician, which cannot utter himself upon a defective instrument.
6. But see how I am swerved, and lose my course, touching at the soul, that doth least hold action with death, who hath the surest property in this frail act; his stile is the end of all flesh, and the beginning of incorruption.
This ruler of monuments leads men for the most part out of this world with their heels forward ; in token that he is contrary to life; which being obtained, sends men headlong into this wretched theatre, where being arrived, their first language is that of mourning. Nor in my own thoughts, can I compare men more fitly to any thing, than to the Indian fig-tree, which being ripened to his full height, is said to decline his branches down to the earth ; whereof she conceives again, and they become roots in their own stock
So man having derived his being from the earth, first lives the life of a tree, drawing his nourishment as