« AnteriorContinuar »
dation and reputation ; for actions of great felicity may draw wonder, but praise less ; as Cicero said Cæsar, que miremur, habemus; quæ laudemus, expectamus. - Fourtbly, Because the purchases of our own industry are joined commonly with labour aud strife, which gives an edge and appetite, and makes the fruition of our desires more pleasant. Suavis cibus a venatu
On the other side, there be four counter colours to this colour, rather than reprehensions, because they be as large as the colour itself; first because felicity seemeth to be a character of the favour and love of the divine powers, and accordingly worketh both confidence in ourselves, and respect and authority from others. And this felicity extendeth to many casual things, whereunto the care or virtue of man cannot extend, and therefore seemeth to be a larger good; as when Cæsar said to the sailor, Cæsarem portas & fortunam ejus; if he had said, & virtutem ejus, it had been small comfort against a tempest, otherwise than if it might seem upon merit to induce fortune.
Next, whatsoever is done by virtue aud industry, seems to be done by a kind of habit and art, and therefore open to be imitated and followed ; whereas felicity is imitable: so we generally see, that things of nature seem more excellent than things of art, because they be imitable: for, quod imatibile est, potentia quadam vulgatum est.
Thirdly. Felicity commendeth those things which come without our own labour ; for they seem gifts, and the other seems penniworths; whereupon Plutarch saith elegantly of the acts of Timoleon, who was so fortunate, compared with the acts of Agesilaus and Epaminondas; that they were like Homer’s verses, they ran so easily and so well. And therefore it is the word we give unto poesy, terming it a happy vein, because facility seemeth ever to come from happiness.
Fourthly, This same præter spem, vel præter expectatem, doth increase the price and pleasure of many things, and this cannot be incident to those things that proceed from our own care and compass.
10. Gradus privationis major videtur quam gradus diminuti
onis; & rursus gradus inceptionis major videtur, quam gradus incrementi.
It is a position in the mathematics, that there is no proportion between somewhat and nothing, therefore the degree of nullity and quiddity or act, seemeth larger than the degrees of increase and decrease; as to a monoculus it is more to lose one eye, than to a man that hath two eyes. So if one have lost divers children, it is more grief to him to lose the last than all the rest; because he is spes gregis. And therefore Sibylla when she brought her three books, and had burned two, did double the whole price of both the other, because the burning of that had been gradus privationis, and not diminutionis. This colour is reprehended first in those things, the use and service whereof resteth in sufficiency, competency, or determinate quantity: as if a man be to pay one hundred pounds upon a penalty, it is more to him to want twelve pence, than after that twelve pence supposed to be wanting, to want ten shillings more ; so the decay of a man's estate seems to be most touched in the degree, when he first grows behind, more than afterwards, when he proves nothing worth. And hereof the common forms are sera in fundo parsimonia, and as good never a whit, as never the better, &c. It is reprehended also in respect that notion, corruptio unius generatio alterius : so that gradus privationis is many times less matter, because it gives the cause and motive to some new
As when Demosthenes reprehended the people, for hearkening to the conditions offered by king Philip, being not honourable nor equal, he saith they were but elements of their sloth and weakness, which if they were taken away, necessity would teach them stronger resolutions. So doctor Hector was wont to say to the dames of
London, when they complained they were they could not tell how, but yet they could not endure to take any medicine, he would tell them, their way was only to be sick, for then they would be glad to take
medicine. Thirdly, This colour may be reprehended, in respect that the degree of decrease is more sensitive than the degree of privation, for in the mind of man gradus diminutionis may work a wavering between hope and fear, and so keep the mind in suspence, from settling and accommodating in patience and resolution; hereof the common forms are, better eye out, than always ake; make or mar, &c.
For the second branch of this colour, it depends upon the same general reason : bence grew the common place of extolling the beginning of every thing; dimidium facti quibene cæpit habet. This made the astrologers so idle as to judge of a man's nature and destiny, by the constellation of the moment of his nativity or conception. This colour is reprehended, because many inceptions are but as Epicurus termeth them, tentamenta, that is, imperfect offers and essays, which vanish and come to no substance without an iteration ; so as in such cases the second degree seems the worthiest, as the body-horse in the cart, that draweth more than the fore-horse: hereof the common forms are,
the second blow makes the fray, the second word makes the bargain ; alter malo principium dedit, alter modum abstulit, &c. Another reprehension of this colour is in respect of defatigation, which makes perseverance of greater dignity than inception, for chance or instinct of nature may cause inception; but settled affection, or judgment, maketh the continuance.
Thirdly, this colour is reprehended in such things, which have a natural course and inclination, contrary to an inception. So that the inception is continually evacuated and gets no start, but there behoveth prima inceptio, as in the common form, non progredi est regredi, qui non proficit deficit, running against the hill; rowing against the stream, &c. For if it be with the stream or with the hill, then the degree of inception is more than all the rest.
Fourthly, this colour is to be understood of gradus inceptionis a potentia ad actum, comparatus cum gradu ab actu ad incrementum. For other wise, major videtur gradus ab impotentia, ad potentiam ; quam a potentia ad actum.