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De negotiis ge
putation ; for where reputation is, almost every thing becometh ; but where that is not, it must be supplied by puntos and compliments. Again, there is no greater impediment of action, than an over-curious observance of decency, and the guide of decency, which is time and season. For as Solomon saith, Qui respicit ad ventos non seminat ; et qui respicit ad nubes, non metet : a man must make his opportunity as oft as find it. To conclude; behaviour seemeth to me as a garment of the mind, and to have the conditions of a garment. For it ought to be made in fashion; it ought not to be too curious ; it ought to be shaped so as to set forth any good making of the mind, and hide any deformity ; and above all, it ought not to be too strait, or restrained for exercise or motion. But this part of civil knowledge hath been elegantly handled, and therefore I cannot report it for deficient.
The wisdom touching Negotiation or Business hath not been hitherto collected into writing, to the great derogation of learning, and the professors of learning, For from this root springeth chiefly that note or opinion, which by us is expressed in adage to this effect; that there is no great concurrence between learning and wisdom. For of the three wisdoms which we have set down to pertain to civil life, for wisdom of behaviour, it is by learned men for the most part despised, as an inferior to virtue, and an enemy to meditation; for wisdom of government, they acquit themselves well when they are called to it, but that happeneth to few : but for the wisdom of business, wherein man's life is most conversant, there be no books of it, except some few scattered advertisements, that have no proportion to the magnitude of this subject. For if books were written of this, as the other, I doubt not but learned men, with mean experience, would far excel men of long experience, without learning, and outshoot them in their own bow.
Neither needeth it at all to be doubted, that this knowledge should be so variable, as it falleth not
under precept; for it is much less infinite than science of government, which, we see, is laboured, and in some part reduced. Of this wisdom, it seemeth, some of the ancient Romans, in the saddest and wisest times, were professors; for Cicero reporteth, that it was then in use for senators that had name and opinion for general wise men, as Coruncanius, Curius, Lælius, and many others, to walk at certain hours in the place, and to give audience to those that would use their advice; and that the particular citizens would resort unto them, and consult with them of the marriage of a daughter, or of the employing of a son, or of a purchase or bargain, or of an accusation, and every other occasion incident to man's life. So as there is a wisdom of counsel and advice even in private cases, arising out of a universal insight into the affairs of the world; which is used indeed upon particular cases propounded, but is gathered by general observation of cases of like nature. For so we see in the book which Q. Cicero writeth to his brother, De petitione consulatus, being the only book of business, that I know, written by the ancients, although it concerned a particular action then on foot, yet the substance thereof consisteth of many wise and politic axioms, which contain not a temporary, but a perpetual direction in the case of popular elections. But chiefly we may see in those aphorisms which have place amongst divine writings, composed by Solomon the king, of whom the Scriptures testify, that his heart was as the sands of the sea, encompassing the world and all worldly matters : we see, I say, not a few profound and excellent cautions, precepts, positions, extending to much variety of occasions; whereupon we will stay a while, offering to consideration some number of examples.
Sed et cunctis sermonibus, qui dicuntur, ne accommodes aurem tuam, ne forte audias servum tuum maledicentem tibi.
Here is recommended the provident stay of inquiry of that which we would be loath to find : as it was
judged great wisdom in Pompeius Magnus that he burned Sertorius's papers unperused.
Vir sapiens, si cum stulto contenderit, sive irascatur, sive rideat, non inveniet requiem.
Here is described the great disadvantage which a wise man hath in undertaking a lighter person than himself, which is such an engagement, as whether a man turn the matter to jest, or turn it to heat, or howsoever he change copy, he can no ways quit himself well of it.
Qui delicate a pueritia nutrit servum suum, postea sentiet eum contumacem.
Here is signified, that if a man begin too high a pitch in his favours, it doth commonly end in unkindness and unthankfulness.
Vidisti virum velocem in opere suo, coram regibus stabit, nec erit inter ignobiles.
Here is observed, that of all virtues for rising to honour, quickness of dispatch is the best ; for superiors many times love not to have those they employ too deep or too sufficient, but ready and diligent.
Vidi cunctos viventes, qui ambulant sub sole, cum adolescente secundo, qui consurgit pro eo.
Here is expressed that which was noted by Sylla first, and after him by Tiberius; Plures adorant solem orientem, quam occidentem vel meridianum.
Si spiritus potestatem habentis ascenderit super te, locum tuum ne dimiseris, quia curatio faciet ces sare peccata marima.
Here caution is given, that upon displeasure, retiring is of all courses the unfittest; for a man leaveth things at worst, and depriveth himself of means to make them better.
Erat civitas parva, et pauci in ea viri, venit contra eam rex magnus, et vadavit eam, instruxitque munitiones per gyrum, et perfecta est obsidio ; inventusque est in ea vir pauper et sapiens, et liberavit eam per sapientiam suam, et. nullus deinceps recordatus est hominis illius pauperis.
Here the corruption of states is set forth, that esteem not virtue or merit longer than they have use of it.
Mollis responsio frangit iram.
Here is noted, that silence or rough answer exasperateth ; but an answer present and temperate pacifieth.
Iter pigrorum, quasi sepes spinarum.
Here is lively represented how laborious sloth proveth in the end; for when things are deferred to the last instant, and nothing prepared beforehand, every step findeth a brier or an impediment, which catcheth or stoppeth.
Melior est finis orationis, quam principium.
Here is taxed the vanity of formal speakers, that study more about prefaces and inducements, than upon the conclusions and issues of speech.
Qui cognoscit in judicio faciem, non bene facit; iste et pro buccella panis deseret veritatem.
Here is noted, that a judge were better be a briber, than a respecter of persons ; for a corrupt judge offendeth not so lightly as a facile.
Vir pauper.calumnians pauperes, similis est imbri vehementi, in quo paratur fames.
Here is expressed the extremity of necessitous extortions, figured in the ancient fable of the full and the hungry horse-leech.
Fons turbatus pede, et vena corrupta, est justus cadens coram impio.
Here is noted, that one judicial and exemplar iniquity in the face of the world, doth trouble the fountains of justice more than many particular injuries passed over by connivance.
Qui subtrahit aliquid a patre et a matre, et dicit hoc non esse peccatum, particeps est homicidii.
Here is noted, that whereas men in wronging their best friends, use to extenuate their fault, as if they might presume or be bold upon them, it doth contrariwise indeed aggravate their fault, and turneth it from injury to impiety.
Noli esse amicus homini iracundo, nec ambulato cum homine furioso.
Here caution is given, that in the election of our friends we do principally avoid those which are impatient, as those that will espouse us to many factions and quarrels.
Qui conturbat domum suam, possidebit ventum.
Here is noted, that in domestical separations and breaches men do promise to themselves quieting of their mind and contentment, but still they are deceived of their expectation, and it turneth to wind.
Filius sapiens lætificat patrem: filius vero stultus mæstitia est matri sua.
Here is distinguished, that fathers have most comfort of the good proof of their sons; but mothers have most discomfort of their ill proof, because women have little discerning of virtue, but of fortune.
Qui celat delictum, quærit amicitiam; sed qui altero sermone repetit, separat fæderatos.
Here caution is given, that reconcilement is better managed by an amnesty, and passing over that which is past, than by apologies and excusations.
In omni opere bono erit abundantia ; ubi autem verba sunt plurima, ibi frequenter egestas.
Here is noted, that words and discourse abound most where there is idleness and want.
Primus in sua causa justus; sed venit altera pars, et inquirit in eum.
Here is observed, that in all causes the first tale possesseth much, in such sort, that the prejudice thereby wrought will be hardly removed, except some abuse or falsity in the information be detected.
Verba bilinguis quasi simplicia, et ipsa perveniunt ad interiora ventris.
Here is distinguished, that flattery and insinuation, which seemeth set and artificial, sinketh not far; but that entereth deep which hath show of nature, liberty, and simplicity.
Qui erudit derisorem, ipse sibi injuriam facit ; et qui arguit impium, sibi maculam generat.
Here caution is given how.we tender reprehension to arrogant and scornful natures, whose manner is to esteem it for contumely, and accordingly to return it.
Da sapienti occasionem, et addetur ei sapientia. Here is distinguished the wisdom brought into