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times upon kindness, sometimes upon trouble of telligenced in every several kind. The second mind and weakness, they open themselves; es- is, to keep a good mediocrity in liberty of speech pecially if they be put to it with a counter-dissi-and secrecy; in most things liberty: secrecy mulation, according to the proverb of Spain, "Di | where it importeth; for liberty of speech inmentira, y sacaras verdad." (Tell a lie and find the truth.)
viteth and provoketh liberty to be used again, and so bringeth much to a man's knowledge; and secrecy, on the other side, induceth trust and inwardness. The last is, the reducing of a man's self to this watchful and serene habit, as to make account and purpose, in every conference and action, as well to observe as to act. For as Epictetus would have a philosopher in every particular action to say to himself, "Et hoc volo, et etiam
As for the knowing of men, which is at second hand from reports; men's weaknesses and faults are best known from their enemies, their virtues and abilities from their friends, their customs and times from their servants, their conceits and opinions from their familiar friends, with whom they discourse most. General fame is light, and the opinions conceived by superiors or equals are de-institutum servare;" so a politic man in every ceitful: for to such, men are more masked: "Verior fama e domesticis emanat."
thing should say to himself, "Et hoc volo, ac etiam aliquid addiscere." I have stayed the lonBut the soundest disclosing and expounding of ger upon this precept of obtaining good informamen is by their natures and ends, wherein the tion, because it is a main part by itself, which anweakest sort of men are best interpreted by their swereth to all the rest. But, above all things, caunatures, and the wisest by their ends. For it was tion must be taken that men have a good stay and both pleasantly and wisely said, though I think hold of themselves, and that this much knowledge very untruly, by a nuncio of the pope, returning | do not draw on much meddling: for nothing is from a certain nation where he served as lieger; more unfortunate than light and rash intermedwhose opinion being asked touching the appoint-dling in many matters. So that this variety of ment of one to go in his place, he wished that in any case they did not send one that was too wise; because no very wise man would ever imagine what they in that country were like to do. And certainly it is an error frequent for men to shoot over, and to suppose deeper ends, and more compass-reaches than are: the Italian proverb being elegant, and for the most part true:
"Di danari, di senno, e di fede,
C'e ne manco che non credi."
(There is commonly less money, less wisdom, and less good faith than men do account upon.)
knowledge tendeth in conclusion but only to this, to make a better and freer choice of those actions which may concern us, and to conduct them with the less error and the more dexterity.
The second precept concerning this knowledge is, for men to take good information touching their own person, and well to understand themselves: knowing that, as St. James saith, though men look oft in a glass, yet they do suddenly forget themselves; wherein as the divine glass is the word of God, so the politic glass is the state of the world, or times wherein we live, in the which we are to behold ourselves.
For men ought to take an impartial view of their own abilities and virtues; and again of their wants and impediments; accounting these with the most, and those other with the least; and from this view and examination to frame the considerations following.
But princes, upon a far other reason, are best interpreted by their natures, and private persons by their ends; for princes being at the top of human desires, they have for the most part no particular ends whereto they aspire, by distance from which a man might take measure and scale of the rest of their actions and desires; which is one of the causes that maketh their hearts more First, to consider how the constitution of their inscrutable. Neither is it sufficient to inform nature sorteth with the general state of the times; ourselves in men's ends and natures, of the which if they find agreeable and fit, then in all variety of them only, but also of the predominan- things to give themselves more scope and liberty; cy, what humour reigneth most, and what end is but if differing and dissonant, then in the whole principally sought. For so we see, when Tigel-course of their life to be more close, retired, and linus saw himself outstripped by Petronius Tur- reserved: as we see in Tiberius, who was never pilianus in Nero's humours of pleasures, "metus cjus rimatur" (he wrought upon Nero's fears,) whereby he broke the other's neck.
seen at a play, and came not into the senate in twelve of his last years; whereas Augustus Cæsar lived ever in men's eyes, which Tacitus ob serveth, " Alia Tiberio morum via."
But to all this part of inquiry the most compendious way resteth in three things: the first, to Secondly, to consider how their nature sorteth have general acquaintance and inwardness with with professions and courses of life, and accordthose which have general acquaintance and look | ingly to make election, if they be free; and, if most into the world; and especially according to engaged, to make the departure at the first opporthe diversity of business, and the diversity of per-tunity: as we see was done by Duke Valentine, sons to have privacy and conversation with some that was designed by his father to a sacerdotal one friend, at least, which is perfect and well in- profession, but quitted it soon after in regard of VOL. I.-30
his parts and inclination; being such, neverthe- | of a few. But if it be carried with decency and less, as a man cannot tell well whether they were government, as with a natural, pleasant, and inworse for a prince or for a priest.
genious fashion; or at times when it is mixed with some peril and unsafety, as in military persons; or at times when others are most envied; or with easy and careless passage to it and from it, without dwelling too long, or being too serious; or with an equal freedom of taxing a man's
Thirdly, to consider how they sort with those whom they are like to have competitors and concurrents; and to take that course wherein there is most solitude, and themselves like to be most eminent: as Julius Cæsar did, who at first was an orator or pleader; but when he saw the excel-self, as well as gracing himself; or by occasion lency of Cicero, Hortensius, Catulus, and others, for eloquence, and saw there was no man of reputation for the wars but Pompeius, upon whom the state was forced to rely, he forsook his course begun toward a civil and popular greatness, and transferred his designs to a martial greatness.
Fourthly, in the choice of their friends and dependences, to proceed according to the composition of their own nature: as we may see in Casar; all whose friends and followers were men active and effectual, but not solemn, or of reputation.
of repelling or putting down others' injury or insolence; it doth greatly add to reputation: and surely not a few solid natures, that want this ventosity, and cannot sail in the height of the winds, are not without some prejudice and disadvantage by their moderation.
But for these flourishes and enhancements of virtue, as they are not perchance unnecessary, so it is at least necessary that virtue be not disvalued and embased under the just price; which is done in three manners: by offering and obtruding a man's self; wherein men think he is rewarded, when he is accepted; by doing too much, which will not give that which is well done leave to settle, and in the end induceth satiety; and by finding too soon the fruit of a man's virtue, in commendation, applause, honour, favour; wherein if a man be pleased with a little, let him hear what is truly said; "Cave ne insuetus rebus majoribus videaris, si hæc te res parva sicuti magna
Fifthly, to take special heed how they guide themselves by examples, in thinking they can do as they see others do; whereas perhaps their natures and carriages are far differing. In which error it seemeth Pompey was, of whom Cicero saith, that he was wont often to say, "Sylla potuit, ego non potero?" Wherein he was much abused, the natures and proceedings of himself and his example being the unlikest in the world; | delectat." the one being fierce, violent, and pressing the fact; But the covering of defects is of no less imthe other solemn, and full of majesty and circum-portance than the valuing of good parts; which stance, and therefore the less effectual.
But this precept touching the politic knowledge of ourselves, hath many other branches, whereupon we cannot insist.
may be done likewise in three manners, by caution, by colour, and by confidence. Caution is when men do ingeniously and discreetly avoid to be put into those things for which they are not Next to the well understanding and discerning proper: whereas, contrariwise, bold and unquiet of a man's self, there followeth the well opening spirits will thrust themselves into matters without and revealing a man's self; wherein we see no- difference, and so publish and proclaim all their thing more usual than for the more able men to wants. Colour is, when men make a way for make the less show. For there is a great advan-themselves, to have a construction made of their tage in the well setting forth of a man's virtues, faults and wants, as proceeding from a better fortunes, merits; and again, in the artificial cover-cause, or intended for some other purpose: for of ing of a man's weaknesses, defects, disgraces; the one it is well said, "Sæpe latet vitium proxistaying upon the one, sliding from the other; mitate boni," and therefore whatsoever want a cherishing the one by circumstances, gracing the man hath, he must see that he pretend the virtue other by exposition, and the like: wherein we see that shadoweth it; as if he be dull, he must afwhat Tacitus saith of Mutianus, who was the fect gravity; if a coward, mildness; and so the greatest politician of his time, "Omnium quæ rest: for the second, a man must frame some prodixerat feceratque arte quâdam ostentator:" which bable cause why he should not do his best, and requireth indeed some art, lest it turn tedious and why he should dissemble his abilities; and for arrogant; but yet so as ostentation, though it be that purpose must use to dissemble those abilities to the first degree of vanity, seemeth to me rather which are notorious in him, to give colour that his a vice in manners than in policy: for as it is said, true wants are but industries and dissimulations. “Audacter, calumniare, semper aliquid hæret:" For confidence, it is the last but surest remedy; so, except it be in a ridiculous degree of deform-namely, to depress and seem to despise whatsoity, “Audacter te vendita, semper aliquid hæret." For it will stick with the more ignorant and inferior sort of men, though men of wisdom and rank do smile at it, and despise it; and yet the authority won with many doth countervail the disdain
ever a man cannot attain; observing the good principle of the merchants, who endeavour to raise the price of their own commodities, and to beat down the price of others. But there is a confidence that passeth this other; which is, to
face out a man's own defects, in seeming to conceive that he is best in those things wherein he is failing; and, to help that again, to seem on the other side that he hath least opinion of himself in those things wherein he is best: like as we shall see it commonly in poets, that if they show their verses, and you except to any, they will say, that that line cost them more labour than any of the rest; and presently will seem to disable and suspect rather some other line, which they know well enough to be the best in the number. But above all, in this righting and helping of a man's self in his own carriage, he must take heed he show not himself dismantled, and exposed to scorn and injury, by too much dulceness, goodness, and facility of nature; but show some sparkles of liberty, spirit, and edge: which kind of fortified carriage, with a ready rescuing of a man's self from scorns, is sometimes of necessity imposed upon men by somewhat in their person or fortune; but it ever succeedeth with good felicity.
Another precept of this knowledge, which hath some affinity with that we last spake of, but with difference, is that which is well expressed, "Fatis accede Deisque," that men do not only turn with the occasions, but also run with the occasions, and not strain their credit or strength to over hard or extreme points; but choose in their actions that which is most passable: for this will preserve men from foil, not occupy them too much about one matter, win opinion of moderation, please the most, and make a show of a perpetual felicity in all they undertake; which cannot but mightily increase reputation.
Another part of this knowledge seemeth to have some repugnancy with the former two, but not as I understand it; and it is that which Demosthenes uttereth in high terms; "Et quemadmodum receptum est, ut exercitum ducat imperator, sic et a cordatis viris res ipsæ ducendæ; ut quæ ipsis videntur, ea gerantur, et non ipsi eventus tantum persequi cogantur." For, if we observe, we shall find two different kinds of sufficiency in managing of business: some can make use of occasions aptly and dexterously, but plot little; some can urge and pursue their own plots well, but cannot accommodate nor take in; either of which is very imperfect without the other.
Another precept of this knowledge is, by all possible endeavour to frame the mind to be pliant and obedient to occasion; for nothing hindereth men's fortunes so much as this; "Idem manebat, neque idcm decebat," men are where they were, when occasions turn: and therefore to Cato, whom Livy maketh such an architect of fortune, he Another part of this knowledge is the observing addeth, that he had "versatile ingenium." And a good mediocrity in the declaring, or not declarthereof it cometh that these grave solemn wits, ing a man's self: for although depth of secrecy, which must be like themselves, and cannot make and making way, qualis est via navis in mari,” departures, have more dignity than felicity. But (which the French call sourdes menées, when in some it is nature to be somewhat viscous and men set things in work without opening theminwrapped, and not easy to turn; in some it is a selves at all,) be sometimes both prosperous and conceit, that is almost a nature, which is, that admirable; yet many times "Dissimulatio errores men can hardly make themselves believe that parit, qui dissimulatorem ipsum illaqueant;" and they ought to change their course, when they therefore, we see the greatest politicians have in have found good by it in former experience. For a natural and free manner professed their desires, Machiavel noted wisely, how Fabius Maximus rather than been reserved and disguised in them; would have been temporizing still, according to for so we see that Lucius Sylla made a kind of his old bias, when the nature of the war was profession, "that he wished all men happy or altered and required hot pursuit. In some other unhappy, as they stood his friends or enemies." it is want of point and penetration in their judg- So Cæsar, when he went first into Gaul, made no ment, that they do not discern when things have scruples to profess, "that he had rather be first in a period, but come in too late after the occasion; a village than second at Rome." So again, as as Demosthenes compareth the people of Athens soon as he had begun the war we see what Cicero to country fellows, when they play in a fence saith of him, "Alter (meaning of Cæsar) non school, that if they have a blow, then they remove | recusat, sed quodammodo postulat, ut, ut est, sic their weapon to that ward, and not before. In appelletur tyrannus." So we may see in a letter some other it is a loathness to leese labours passed, of Cicero to Atticus, that Augustus Cæsar in his and a conceit that they can bring about occasions very entrance into affairs, when he was a darling to their ply; and yet in the end, when they see of the senate, yet in his harangues to the people no other remedy, then they come to it with disad- would swear, "Ita parentis honores consequi vantage; as Tarquinius, that gave for the third liceat," which was no less than the tyranny; save part of Sibylla's books the treble price, when he that, to help it, he would stretch forth his hand might at first have had all three for the simple. towards a statue of Cæsar's that was erected in But from whatsoever root or cause this restiveness the place: whereat many men laughed, and wonof mind proceedeth, it is a thing most prejudicial;|dered, and said, Is it possible? or, Did you ever and nothing is more politic than to make the wheels of our mind concentric and voluble with the wheels of fortune.
hear the like to this? and yet thought he meant no hurt; he did it so handsomely and ingenuously. And all these were prosperous: whereas Pompey,
who tended to the same end, but in a more dark | I may condemn with like reason as Machiavel and dissembling manner, as Tacitus saith of him, "Occultior, non melior," wherein Sallust concurreth, "ore probo, animo inverecundo," made it his design, by infinite secret engines to cast the state into an absolute anarchy and confusion, that the state might cast itself into his arms for necessity and protection, and so the sovereign power be put upon him, and he never seen in it: and when he had brought it, as he thought, to that point, when he was chosen consul alone, as never any was, yet he could make no great matter of it, because men understood him not; but was fain, in the end, to go the beaten track of getting arms into his hands, by colour of the doubt of Cæsar's designs: so tedious, casual, and unfortunate are these deep dissimulations: whereof, it seemeth, Tacitus made his judgment, that they were a cunning of an inferior form in regard of true policy; attributing the one to Augustus, the other to Tiberius; where, speaking of Livia, he saith, "Et cum artibus mariti simulatione filii bene composita:" for surely the continual habit of dissimulation is but a weak and sluggish cunning, and not greatly politic.
Another precept of this architecture of fortune is, to accustom our minds to judge of the proportion or value of things, as they conduce and are material to our particular ends; and that to do substantially, and not superficially. For we shall find the logical part, as I may term it, of some men's minds good, but the mathematical part erroneous; that is, they can well judge of consequences, but not of proportions and comparasons, preferring things of show and sense before things of substance and effect. So some fall in love with access to princes, others with popular fame and applause, supposing they are things of great purchase: when in many cases they are but matters of envy, peril, and impediment.
So some measure things according to the labour and difficulty, or assiduity, which are spent about them; and think, if they be ever moving, that they must needs advance and proceed: as Cæsar saith in a despising manner of Cato the Second, when he describeth how laborious and indefatigable he was to no great purpose; "Hæc omnia magno studio agebat." So in most things men are ready to abuse themselves in thinking the greatest means to be best, when it should be the fittest.
As for the true marshalling of men's pursuits towards their fortune, as they are more or less material, I hold them to stand thus: first the amendment of their own minds; for the remove of the impediments of the mind will sooner clear the passages of fortune than the obtaining fortune will remove the impediments of the mind. In the second place I set down wealth and means, which I know most men would have placed first; because of the general use which it beareth to wards all variety of occasions: but that opinion,
doth that other, that moneys were the sinews of the wars; whereas, saith he, the true sinews of the wars are the sinews of men's arms, that is, a valiant, populous, and military nation: and he voucheth aptly the authority of Solon, who, when Creesus showed him his treasury of gold, said to him, that if another came that had better iron, he would be master of his gold. In like manner it may be truly affirmed, that it is not moneys that are the sinews of fortune, but it is the sinews and steel of men's minds, wit, courage, audacity, resolution, temper, industry, and the like. In the third place I set down reputation, because of the peremptory tides and currents it hath; which, they be not taken in their due time, are seldom recovered, it being extreme hard to play an aftergame of reputation. And lastly, I place honour, which is more easily won by any of the other three, much more by all, than any of them can be purchased by honour. To conclude this precept, as there is order and priority in matter, so is there in time, the preposterous placing whereof is one of the commonest errors; while men fly to their ends when they should intend their beginnings, and do not take things in order of time as they come on, but marshal them according to greatness, and not according to instance; not observing the good precept, “Quod nunc instat agamus."
Another precept of this knowledge is, not to embrace any matters which do occupy too great a quantity of time, but to have that sounding in a man's ears, "Sed fugit interea, fugit irreparabile tempus:" and that is the cause why those which take their course of rising by professions of burden, as lawyers, orators, painful divines, and the like, are not commonly so politic for their own fortunes, otherwise than in their ordinary way, because they want time to learn particulars, to wait occasions, and to devise plots.
Another precept of this knowledge is, to imitate nature, which doth nothing in vain; which surely a man may do if he do well interlace his business, and bend not his mind too much upon that which he principally intendeth. For a man ought in every particular action so to carry the motions of his mind, and so to have one thing under another, as if he cannot have that he seeketh in the best degree, yet to have it in a second, or so in a third; and if he can have no part of that which he purposed, yet to turn the use of it tɔ somewhat else; and if he cannot make any thing of it for the present, yet to make it as a seed of somewhat in time to come; and if he can contrive no effect or substance from it, yet to win some good opinion by it, or the like. So that he should exact account of himself of every action, to reap somewhat, and not to stand amazed and confused if he fail of that he chiefly meant: for nothing is more impolitic than to mind actions wholly one by one; for he that doth so leeseth infinite occa
sions which intervene, and are many times more proper and propitious for somewhat that he shall need afterwards, than for that which he urgeth for the present; and therefore men must be perfect in that rule, "Hæc oportet facere, et illa non omittere.'
Another precept of this knowledge is, not to engage a man's self peremptorily in any thing, though it seem not liable to accident; but ever to have a window to fly out at, or a way to retire: following the wisdom in the ancient fable of the two frogs, which consulted when their plash was dry, whither they should go; and the one moved to go down into a pit, because it was not likely the water would dry there; but the other answered, "True, but if it do, how shall we get out again?" Another precept of this knowledge is, that ancient precept of Bias, construed not to any point of perfidiousness, but only to caution and mode“Et ama tanquam inimicus futurus, et odi tanquam amaturus;" for it utterly betrayeth all utility for men to embark themselves too far in unfortunate friendships, troublesome spleens, and childish and humorous envies or emulations. But I continue this beyond the measure of an example; led, because I would not have such knowledges, which I note as deficient, to be thought things imaginative or in the air, or an observation or two much made of, but things of bulk and mass, whereof an end is hardlier made than a beginning. It must be likewise conceived, that in these points which I mention and set down, they are far from complete tractates of them, but only as small pieces for patterns. And lastly, no man, I suppose, will think that I mean fortunes are not obtained without all this ado; for I know they come tumbling into some men's laps; and a number obtain good fortunes by diligence in a plain way, little intermeddling, and keeping themselves from gross errors.
But as Cicero, when he setteth down an idea of a perfect orator, doth not mean that every pleader should be such; and so likewise, when a prince or a courtier hath been described by such as have handled those subjects, the mould hath used to be made according to the perfection of the art, and not according to common practice: so I understand it, that it ought to be done in the description of a politic man, I mean politic for his own fortune.
But it must be remembered all this while, that the precepts which we have set down are of that kind which may be counted and called "bonæ
As for evil arts, if a man would set down for himself that principle of Machiavel, "that a man seek not to attain virtue itself, but the appearance only thereof; because the credit of virtue is a help, but the use of it is cumber:" or that other of his principles, "that he presuppose, that men are not fitly to be wrought otherwise but by fear; and therefore that he seek to have
every man obnoxious, low, and in strait," which the Italians call "seminar spine," to sow thorns; or that other principle, contained in the verse which Cicero citeth, "Cadant amici, dummodo inimici intercidant," as the Triumvirs, which sold, every one to other, the lives of their friends for the deaths of their enemies: or that other protestation of L. Catalina, to set on fire and trouble states, to the end to fish in droumy waters, and to unwrap their fortunes, "Ego si quid in fortunis meis excitatum sit incendium, id non aqua, sed ruina restinguam:" or that other principle of Lysander "that children are to be deceived with comfits, and men with oaths:" and the like evil and corrupt positions, whereof, as in all things, there are more in number than of the good: certainly, with these dispensations from the laws of charity and integrity, the pressing of a man's fortune may be more hasty and compendious. But it is in life as it is in ways, the shortest way is commonly the foulest, and surely the fairer way is not much about.
But men, if they be in their own power, and do bear and sustain themselves, and be not carried away with a whirlwind or tempest of ambition, ought, in the pursuit of their own fortune, to set before their eyes not only that general map of the world, that all things are vanity and vexation of spirit," but many other more particular cards and directions: chiefly that,-that being, without well-being, is a curse,—and the greater being the greater curse; and that all virtue is most rewarded, and all wickedness most punished in itself: according as the poet saith excellently:
"Quæ vobis, quæ digna, viri, pro laudibus istis
And so of the contrary. . And, secondly, they ought to look up to the eternal providence and divine judgment, which often subverteth the wisdom of evil plots and imaginations, according to that Scripture," He hath conceived mischief, and shall bring forth a vain thing." And although men should refrain themselves from injury and evil arts, yet this incessant and sabbathless pursuit of a man's fortune leaveth not the tribute which we owe to God of our time; who, we see, demandeth a tenth of our substance, and a seventh, which is more strict, of our time: and it is to small purpose to have an erected face towards heaven, and a perpetual grovelling spirit upon earth, eating dust, as doth the serpent, "Atque affigit humo divinæ particulam auræ." And if any man flatter himself that he will employ his fortune well, though he should obtain it ill, as was said concerning Augustus Cæsar, and after of Septimius Severus, "that either they should never have been born, or else they should never have died," they did so much mischief in the pursuit and ascent of their greatness, and so much good when they were established; yet these