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habit, and that which is but verbal, and swimming only in conceit; for the one upon the occasion presented is quickened and redoubled, the other is amazed and confused.
Quomodo in aquis resplendent vultus prospicientium, sic corda hominum manifesta sunt prudentibus.
Here the mind of a wise man is compared to a glass, wherein the images of all diversity of natures and customs are represented, from which representation proceedeth that application,
Qui sapit, innumeris moribus aptus erit.
Thus have I stayed somewhat longer upon these sentences politic of Solomon than is agreeable to the proportion of an example, led with a desire to give authority to this part of knowledge which I noted as deficient, by so excellent a precedent; and have also attended them with brief observations, such as to my understanding offer no violence to the sense, though I know they may be applied to a more divine use; but it is allowed even in divinity, that some interpretations, yea and some writings, have more of the eagle than others; but taking them as instructions for life, they might have received large discourse, if I would have broken them and illustrated them by deducements and examples.
Neither was this in use only with the Hebrews, but it is generally to be found in the wisdom of the more ancient times; that as men found out any observation that they thought was good for life, they would gather it and express it in parable, or aphorism, or fable. But for fables, they were vicegerents and supplies where examples failed: now that the times abound with history, the aim is better when the mark is alive. And therefore the form of writing, which of all others is the fittest for this variable argument of negotiation and occasions, is that which Machiavel chose wisely and aptly for government; namely, discourse upon histories or examples: for knowledge drawn freshly, and in our view, out of particulars, knoweth the way best to particulars again; and it hath much greater life for practice when the
discourse attendeth upon the example, than when the example attendeth upon the discourse. For this is no point of order, as it seemeth at first, but of substance for when the example is the ground, being set down in a history at large, it is set down with all circumstances, which may sometimes control the discourse thereupon made, and sometimes supply it as a very pattern for action; whereas the examples alleged for the discourse's sake, are cited succinctly, and without particularity, and carry a servile aspect toward the discourse which they are brought in to make good.
But this difference is not amiss to be remembered, that as history of times is the best ground for discourse of government, such as Machiavel handleth, so history of lives is the most proper for discourse of business, because it is more conversant in private actions. Nay, there is a ground of discourse for this purpose fitter than them both, which is discourse upon letters; such as are wise and weighty, as many are of Cicero ad Atticum, and others. For letters have a great and more particular representation of business than either chronicles or lives. Thus have we spoken both of the matter and form of this part of civil knowledge, touching negotiation, which we note to be deficient.
But yet there is another part of this part, which differeth as much from that whereof we have spoken, as sapere and sibi sapere; the one moving as it were to the circumference, the other to the centre: for there is a wisdom of counsel, and again there is a wisdom of pressing a man's own fortune, and they do sometimes meet, and often sever: for many are wise in their own ways that are weak for government or counsel; like ants, which is a wise creature for itself, but very hurtful for the garden. This wisdom the Romans did take much knowledge of: Nam pol sapiens, saith the comical poet, fingit fortunam sibi; and it grew to an adage, Faber quisque fortunæ propriæ: and Livy attributeth it to Cato the first, in hoc viro tanta vis animi et ingenii inerat, ut quocunque loco natus esset, sibi ipse fortunam facturus videretur.
This conceit or position, if it be too much declared and professed, hath been thought a thing impolitic and unlucky, as was observed in Timotheus the Athenian; who having done many great services to the estate in his government, and giving an account thereof to the people, as the manner was, did conclude every particular with this clause, " and in this "fortune had no part." And it came so to pass that he never prospered in any thing he took in hand afterwards; for this is too high and too arrogant, savouring of that which Ezekiel saith of Pharaoh, Dicis, Fluvius est meus, et ego feci memetipsum: or of that which another prophet speaketh, that men offer sacrifices to their nets and snares; and that which the poet expresseth,
Dextra mihi Deus, et telum, quod missile libro,
For these confidences were ever unhallowed, and unblessed and therefore those that were great politicians indeed ever ascribed their successes to their felicity, and not to their skill or virtue. For so Sylla surnamed himself Felir not Magnus: so Cæsar said to the master of the ship, Cæsarem portas et fortunam ejus.
But yet nevertheless these positions, Faber quisque fortunæ suæ; Sapiens dominabitur astris; Invia virtuti nulla est via, and the like, being taken and used as spurs to industry, and not as stirrups to insolency, rather for resolution than for presumption or outward declaration, have been ever thought sound and good, and are, no question, imprinted in the greatest minds, who are so sensible of this opinion, as they can scarce contain it within: As we see in Augustus Cæsar, who was rather diverse from his uncle, than inferior in virtue, how when he died, he desired his friends about him to give him a Plaudite, as if he were conscient to himself that he had played his part well upon the stage. This part of knowledge we do report also as deficient; not but that it is practised too much, but it hath not been reduced to writing. And therefore lest it should seem to any that it is not comprehen
Faber for de ambitu
sible by axiom, it is requisite, as we did in the former, that we set down some heads or passages of it.
Wherein it may appear at the first a new and unwonted argument to teach men how to raise and make their fortune: a doctrine, wherein every man perchance will be ready to yield himself a disciple till he seeth difficulty; for fortune layeth as heavy impositions as virtue, and it is as hard and severe a thing to be a true politician, as to be truly moral. But the handling thereof concerneth learning greatly, both in honour and in substance: In honour, because pragmatical men may not go away with an opinion that learning is like a lark, that can mount, and sing, and please herself, and nothing else; but may know that she holdeth as well of the hawk, that can soar aloft, and can also descend and strike upon the prey. In substance, because it is the perfect law of inquiry of truth, “that nothing be in the globe of matter, which "should not be likewise in the globe of crystal, or "form;" that is, that there be not any thing in being and action, which should not be drawn and collected into contemplation and doctrine. Neither doth learning admire or esteem of this architecture of fortune, otherwise than as of an inferior work: for no man's fortune can be an end worthy of his being, and many times the worthiest men do abandon their fortune willingly for better respects; but nevertheless fortune, as an organ of virtue and merit, deserveth the consideration.
First, therefore, the precept which I conceive to be most summary towards the prevailing in fortune, is to obtain that window which Momus did require; who seeing in the frame of man's heart such angles and recesses, found fault there was not a window to look into them; that is, to procure good informations of particulars touching persons, their natures, their desires and ends, their customs and fashions, their helps and advantages, and whereby they chiefly stand; so again their weaknesses and disadvantages, and where they lie most open and obnoxious; their friends, factions, and dependencies; and again their opposites, enviers, competitors, their moods and times, Sola viri
molles aditus et tempora noras; their principles, rules, and observations, and the like: and this not only of persons, but of actions, what are on foot from time to time, and how they are conducted, favoured, opposed, and how they import, and the like. For the knowledge of present actions is not only material in itself, but without it also the knowledge of persons is very erroneous; for men change with the actions, and whilst they are in pursuit they are one, and when they return to their nature they are another. These informations of particulars, touching persons and actions, are as the minor propositions in every active syllogism, for no excellency of observations, which are as the major propositions, can suffice to ground a conclusion, if there be error and mistaking in the minors.
That this knowledge is possible, Solomon is our surety, who saith, Consilium in corde viri tanquam aqua profunda, sed vir prudens exhauriet illud: and although the knowledge itself falleth not under precept, because it is of individuals, yet the instructions for the obtaining of it may.
We will begin therefore with this precept, according to the ancient opinion, that the sinews of wisdom are slowness of belief and distrust: that more trust be given to countenances and deeds than to words; and in words, rather to sudden passages and surprised words than to set and purposed words. Neither let that be feared which is said, fronti nulla fides; which is meant of a general outward behaviour, and not of the private and subtile motions and labours of the countenance and gesture; which, as Q. Cicero elegantly saith, is animi janua," the gate of the mind.” None more close than Tiberius, and yet Tacitus saith of Gallus, Etenim vultu offensionem conjectaverat. So again, noting the differing character and manner of his commending Germanicus and Drusus in the senate, he saith, touching his fashion wherein he carried his speech of Germanicus, thus: Magis in speciem adornatis verbis, quam ut penitus sentire videretur; but of Drusus thus, Paucioribus, sed intentior, et fida oratione: and in another place, speaking of his cha