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on the ground that cheap food is desirable, that bread and meat should not be sold beyond such and such a price, the result would be that every one would be driven-unless he would submit to be starved—to evade the law; and he would have to pay for his food more than he otherwise would, to cover (1) the cost of the contrivances for the evasion of the law, and (2) a compensation to the seller for the risk, and also for the discredit, of that evasion. Even so, a man who is in want of money, and can find no one to lend it him at a legal interest, is either driven (as Bacon himself remarks), to sell his property at a ruinous loss, or else he borrows of some Jew, who contrives to evade the law; and he has to pay for that evasion. Suppose, for instance, he could borrow (if there were no usury-laws) at eight per cent., he will have to pay, perhaps, virtually twelve per cent., because (1) he has to resort to a man who incurs disgrace by his trade, and who will require a greater profit to compensate for the discredit; and (2) he will have to receive part of his loan in goods which he does not want, at an exorbitant price, or in some other way to receive less, really, than he does nominally.

ESSAY XLII. OF YOUTH AND AGE.

A

MAN that is young in years may be old in hours, if he

have lost no time; but that happeneth rarely. Generally, youth is like the first cogitations, not so wise as the second, for there is a youth in thoughts as well as in ages; and yet the invention of young men is more lively than that of old, and imaginations stream into their minds better, and, as it were, more divinely. Natures that have much heat, and great and violent desires and perturbations, are not ripe for action till they have passed the meridian of their years; as it was with Julius Cæsar and Septimius Severus, of the latter of whom it is said, 'Juventutem egit, erroribus, imo furoribus plenam :" and yet he was the ablest emperor almost of all the list; but reposed' natures may do well in youth, as it is seen in Augustus Cæsar, Cosmus Duke of Florence, Gaston De Fois, and others. On the other side, heat and vivacity in age is an excellent composition for business. Young men are fitter to invent than to judge, fitter for execution than for counsel, and fitter for new projects than for settled business; for the experience of age, in things that fall within the compass of it, directeth them, but in new things abuseth' them. The errors of young men are the ruin of business, but the errors of aged men amount but to this—that more might have been done, or sooner. Young men, in the conduct and manage of actions, embrace more than they can hold; stir more than they can quiet; fly to the end, without consideration of the means and degrees; pursue some few principles which they have chanced upon, absurdly; care noto to innovate, which draws unknown inconveniences; use extreme remedies at first; and that, which doubleth all errors, will not acknowledge or retract them, like an unready horse that will neither stop nor turn. Men of age object too much, consult too long, adventure too little, repent too soon, and seldom drive business home to the full period,' but content themselves with the mediocrity of success. Certainly it is good to compound employments of both; for that will be good for the present, because the virtues of either age may correct the defects of both; and good for succession, that young men may be learners, while men in age are actors; and, lastly, good for externo accidents, because authority followeth old men, and favour and popularity youth; but, for the moral part, perhaps, youth will have the preeminence, as age hath for the politic. A certain rabbin, upon the text, ‘Your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams," inferreth that young men are admitted nearer to God than old, because vision is a clearer revelation than a dream; and, certainly, the more a man drinketh of the world, the more it intoxicateth; and age doth profit' rather in the powers of understanding, than in the virtues of the will and affections. There be some have an over-early ripeness in their years, which fadeth betimes: these are, first, such as have brittle wits, the edge whereof is soon turned ; such as was Hermogenes the rhetorician, whose books are exceeding subtle, who afterwards waxed stupid: a second sort is of those that have some natural dispositions, which have better grace in youth than in age, such as is a fluent and luxurious speech, which becomes youth well, but not age; so Tully saith of Hortensius, 'Idem manebet, neque idem decebat:" the third is of such as take too high a strain at the first, and are magnanimous more than tract of years' can uphold; as was Scipio Africanus, of whom Livy saith in effect, “ Ultima primis cedebant."

"His youth was not only full of errors, but of frantic passions.'—Spartian, Vit. Sev.

* Reposed. Calm. With wondrous reposedness of mind, and gentle words, Reputation answered.'—Translation of Boccalini, 1626.

• Composition. Temperament. See page 330. * Abuse. To deceive ; to lead astray.

• Nor be with all those tempting words abused.' Pope. Manage. Management.

* The manage of my state.'-Shakespere. & Care not. Are not cautious,

5

* Period. Completion; perfection. “In light-conserving stones, the light will appear greater or lesser, until they come to their utmost period.'— Digby. ? Extern. External.

• When my outward action doth demonstrate
The native act and figure of my heart,
In compliment extern, 'tis not long after,
But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve,

For daws to peck at.'—Shakespere. 8 Joel ii. 28.

4 Profit. To improve. “That thy profiting may appear unto all men.'-1 72m ir. 15. “It is a great means of profiting yourself to copy diligently excellent designs.'— Dryden.

o Waxed. To grow; to become. Paul and Barnabas waxed bold.'-Acts xiii, 46, 1. He remained the same; but the same was no longer becoming to him.'Cic. Brut. 95. 9 Tract. Course.

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Many readers of Aristotle's admirable description (in the Rhetoric) of the Young and the Old, (in which he gives so decided a preference to the character of the young,) forget, that he is describing the same man at different periods of life, since the old must have been young. As it is, he gives just the right view of the character of the natural man,' (as the Apostle Paul expresses it,) which is, to become-on the whole,-gradually worse, when no superior and purifying principle has been implanted. Some people fancy that a man grows good by growing old, without taking any particular pains about it. But “The older the crab-tree the more crabs it bears,' says the proverb. Unless a correcting principle be engrafted, though a man may, perhaps, outgrow the vices and follies of youth; but other vices, and even worse, will come in their stead. If, indeed, a wilding tree be grafted, when young, with a good fruit tree, then, the older it is, if it be kept well pruned, the more good fruit it will bear.

*My fansies all are fled,
And tract of time begins to weave

Grey haires upon my head.'— Lord Vaux.
(This is supposed to be the original of Shakespere's

grave-digger's song in Hamlet.)
* The last fell short of the first.'—Livy, xxxviii. 53.

'A man that is young in years may be old in hours, if he have

lost no time.

Many are apt to overlook, with regard to mental qualifications, what Bacon has here said, that the junior in years may be the senior in experience. And this may be not only from his having had better opportunities, but also from his understanding better how to learn from experience. Several different men, who have all had equal, or even the very same, experience, that is, have been witnesses or agents in the same transactions, will often be found to resemble so many different men looking at the same book: one, perhaps, though he distinctly sees black marks on white paper, has never learned his letters; another can read, but is a stranger to the language in which the book is written; another has an acquaintance with the language, but understands it imperfectly; another is familiar with the language, but is a stranger to the subject of the book, and wants power or previous instruction to enable him fully to take in the author's drift; while another again perfectly comprehends the whole.

“The object that strikes the eye is to all of these persons the same; the difference of the impressions produced on the mind of each is referable to the differences in their minds."

And this explains the fact, which I have already touched upon in the notes on the Essay "Of seeming Wise,' namely, the great discrepancy that we find in the results of what are called Experience and Common-sense, as contradistinguished from Theory.

* Political Economy, Lect. iii.

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