« AnteriorContinuar »
the one to Gallo-Græcia, the other to Rome :but east and west bave no certain points of heaven ; and no more have the wars, either from the east or west, any certainty of observation : but north and south are fixed; and it hath seldom or never been seen that the far southern people have invaded the northern, but contrariwise; whereby it is manifest, that the northern tract of the world is in nature the more martial region ; be it in respect of the stars of that hemisphere, or of the great continents that are upon the north; whereas the south part, for aught that is known, is almost all sea; or, (which is most apparent,) of the cold of the northern parts, which is that, which, without aid of discipline, doth make the bodies hardest, and the courage warmest.
Upon the breaking and shivering of a great state and empire, you may be sure to have wars; for great empires, while they stand, do enervate and destroy the forces of the natives which they have subdued, resting upon their own protecting forces; and then, when they fail also, all goes to ruin, and they become a prey ; so it was in the decay of the Roman empire, and likewise in the empire of Al
maigne, after Charles the Great, every bird taking a feather; and were not unlike to befal to Spain, if it should break. The great accessions and unions of kingdoms do likewise stir up wars: for when a state grows to an over power, it is like a great flood that will be sure to overflow; as it hath been seen in the states of Rome, Turkey, Spain, and others.
Look when the world hath fewest barbarous people, but such as commonly will not marry or generate except they know means to live, (as it is almost every where at this day, except Tartary,) there is no danger of inundations of people : but when there be great shoals of people, which go on to populate without foreseeing means of life and sustentation, it is of necessity that once in an age or two they discharge a portion of their people upon other nations, which the ancient northern people were wont to do by lot; casting lots what part should stay at home, and what should seek their fortunes.
When a warlike state grows soft and effeminate, they may be sure of a war : for commonly such states are grown rich in the time of their degenerating ; and" so the prey inviteth,
and their decay in valour encourageth a war.
As for the weapons, it hardly falleth under rule and observation : yet we see even they have returns and vicissitudes; for certain it is, that ordnance was known in the city of the Oxydraces in India ; and was that which the Macedonians called thunder and lightning and magic; and it is well known that the use of ordnance hath been in China above two thousand years. The conditions of weapons and their improvement are, first, the fetching afar off ; for that outruns the danger, as it is seen in ordnance and muskets : secondly, the strength of the percussion ; wherein likewise ordnance do exceed all arietations, and ancient inventions: the third is, the commodious use of them; as that they may serve in all weathers; that the carriage may be light and manageable, and the like.
For the conduct of the war: at the first, men rested extremely upon number: they did put the wars likewise upon main force and valour, pointing days for pitched fields, and so trying it out upon an even match ; and they were more ignorant in ranging and arraying
their battles. After they grew to rest upon number, rather competent than vast; they grew to advantages of place, cunning diversions, and the like; and they grew more skilful in the ordering of their battles.
In the youth of a state, arms do flourish; in the middle age of a state, learning ; and then both of them together for a time: in the declining age of a state, mechanical arts and merchandize. Learning hath its infancy, when it is but beginning, and almost childish ; then its youth, when it is luxuriant and juvenile ; then its strength of years, when it is solid and reduced; and lastly, its old age, when it waxeth dry and exhaust: but it is not good to look too long upon these turning wheels of vicissitude, lest we become giddy: as for the philology of them, that is but a circle of tales, and therefore not fit for this writing.
A FRAGMENT OF AN ESSAY
The poets make Fanie a monster: they describe her in part finely and elegantly, and in part gravely and sententiously: they say, Look how many feathers she hath, so many eyes she hath underneath, so many tongues, so many voices, she pricks up so many ears.
This is a' flourish: there follow 'excellent parables; as that she gathereth strength in going ; that she goeth upon the ground, and yet hideth her head in the clouds; that in the day-time she sitteth in a watch-tower, and flyeth most by night; that she mingleth things done with things not done; and that she is a terror to great cities : but that which passeth all the rest is, they do recount that the earth, mother of the giants that made war against Jupiter and were by him destroyed, thereupon in anger brought forth fame; for certain it is, that rebels, figured' by the giants and seditious fames and libels, are but brothers and sisters, masculine and feminine : but now if a man