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But few have
obvious, play the principal part in instruction. observed that there ought to be not only a wise choice and course of exercises, but a wise intermission of them also; for it is well observed by Cicero, "that men in their exercises for the most part exercise their faults as well as their faculties," so that an ill habit is sometimes acquired along with the good. It is safer therefore to intermit exercises from time to time and return to them after a while, than continually to pursue and press them. But enough of this. Certainly these are matters not very grand or imposing at first sight, yet of singular fruit and efficacy. For as the good or ill thriving of plants depends chiefly upon the good or ill treatment they received when they were young and tender; and as the immense increase of the Roman empire is by some deservedly attributed to the virtue and wisdom of the first six kings, who were in truth as the tutors and guardians of it in its infancy 2; so surely the culture and ordering of youthful or tender years has a power which, though latent and not perceptible to everybody, neither length of time nor assiduity and earnestness of labour in mature age can afterwards countervail. It will not be amiss to observe also, that even mean faculties, when they fall into great men or great matters, sometimes work great and important effects. Of this I will adduce a memorable example; the rather, because the Jesuits appear not to despise this kind of discipline; therein judging (as I think) well. It is a thing indeed, if practised professionally, of low repute; but if it be made a part of discipline, it is of excellent use. I mean stage-playing: an art which strengthens the memory, regulates the tone and effect of the voice and pronunciation, teaches a decent carriage of the countenance and gesture, gives not a little assurance, and accustoms young men to bear being looked at. The example which I shall give, taken from Tacitus, is that of one Vibulenus, formerly an actor, then a soldier in the Pannonian legions. This man had at the death of Augustus raised a mutiny, whereupon Blæsus, the lieutenant, committed some of the mutineers to prison. The soldiers however broke in and let them out; whereupon Vibulenus getting up to speak, began thus; "These poor innocent wretches you have restored to light and life; but who shall restore life to my brother, or my brother to me? whom, 2 Macchiavelli, Discorsi, i. 19.
1 Cic. De Orator. i. 33.
being sent hither in message from the legions of Germany, to treat of the common cause, this man has murdered last night by some of his swordsmen, whom he keeps and arms for the execution of soldiers. Answer, Blæsus, where have you thrown his body? Enemies themselves deny not burial. When with kisses and tears I shall have satiated my grief, command me also to be slain beside him; only let these my fellows, seeing we are put to death for no crime, but because we consulted for the good of the legions, have leave to bury us." With which words he excited such excessive jealousy and alarm, that, had it not shortly afterwards appeared that nothing of the sort had happened, nay, that he had never had a brother, the soldiers would hardly have kept their hands off the prefect; but the fact was that he played the whole thing as if it had been a piece on the stage.
And now I am come to the end of my treatise concerning Rational Knowledges; wherein if I have sometimes made the divisions other than those that are received, yet let it not be thought that I disallow all those divisions which I do not use. For there is a double necessity imposed upon me of altering the divisions. First, because to reduce into one class things next in nature, and to gather into one bundle things wanted for use, are operations differing in the very end and intention For as a secretary of a king or state, when he arranges his papers in his study or general cabinet, puts those things together, no doubt, which are of like nature,-treaties by themselves in one place, instructions by themselves in another, foreign letters, domestic letters, and the like, each apart by themselves,—but when on the contrary he arranges them in his boxes or particular cabinet, he puts those together which, though of different kinds, he thinks he will have occasion to use together; so in this general cabinet of knowledge it was necessary for me to make the divisions according to the nature of the things themselves, whereas if I had been to handle any particular knowledge I should have adopted the divisions fittest for use and practice. Secondly, because the introduction of the Desiderata, and the incorporation of them with the rest, involved as a consequence an alteration in the distribution of the existing sciences. For suppose (by way of demonstration) that the arts which we now have are as 15, and that the same with the desiderata
added are as 20; I say that the factors of the number 15 are not the same with the factors of the number 20. For the factors of 15 are 3 and 5; the factors of 20 are 2, 4, 5, and 10. It is plain therefore that these things could not be otherwise. And so much for the Logical Sciences.
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