Imágenes de páginas

lated into Latin), and my portions of Natural History, to the Prince; and these I dedicate to your Grace; being of the best fruits that by the good encrease which God gives to my pen and labours I could yield. God lead your Grace by the hand.

Your Grace's most obliged and

faithful seruant,



1. Of Truth.

2. Of Death.

3. Of Unity in Religion.

4. Of Revenge.

5. Of Adversity.

24. Of Innovations. 25. Of Dispatch.

26. Of Seeming Wise.

27. Of Friendship.

28. Of Expense.

6. Of Simulation and Dissim- 29. Of the True Greatness of

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13. Of Goodness, and Goodness 37. Of Masks and Triumphs.

of Nature.

14. Of Nobility.

38. Of Nature in Men.

39. Of Custom and Education.

15. Of Seditions and Troubles. 40. Of Fortune.

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23. Of Wisdom for a Man's 48. Of Followers and Friends.

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50. Of Studies.

51. Of Faction.

54. Of Vain Glory.

55. Of Honour and Reputation.

52. Of Ceremonies and Re- 56. Of Judicature.


53. Of Praise.

57. Of Anger.

58. Of Vicissitude of Things.




WHAT is Truth? said jesting Pilate; and would not stay for an answer. Certainly there be that delight in giddiness,1 and count it a bondage to fix a belief; affecting free-will in thinking, as well as in acting. And though the sects of philosophers of that kind be gone, yet there remain certain discoursing wits 2 which are of the same veins, though there be not so much blood in them as was in those of the ancients. But it is not only the difficulty and labour which men take in finding out of truth; nor again that when it is found it imposeth upon men's thoughts; 3 that doth bring lies in favour; but a natural though corrupt love of the lie itself. One of the later school of the Grecians examineth the matter, and is at a stand to think what should be in it, that men should love lies, where neither they make for pleasure, as with poets, nor for advantage, as with the merchant; but

1 Cogitationum vertigine.

2 ingenia quædam ventosa et discursantia.

3 nec quæ ex eâ inventâ cogitationibus imponitur captivitas.

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for the lie's sake.

But I cannot tell: this same truth is a naked and open day-light, that doth not shew the masks and mummeries and triumphs of the world, half so stately and daintily as candle-lights. Truth may

perhaps come to the price of a pearl, that sheweth best by day; but it will not rise to the price of a diamond or carbuncle, that sheweth best in varied lights. A mixture of a lie doth ever add pleasure. Doth any

man doubt, that if there were taken out of men's minds vain opinions, flattering hopes, false valuations, imaginations as one would, and the like, but it would leave the minds of a number of men poor shrunken things, full of melancholy and indisposition, and unpleasing to themselves? One of the Fathers, in great severity, called poesy vinum dæmonum [devil's-wine], because it filleth the imagination; and yet it is but with the shadow of a lie. But it is not the lie that passeth through the mind, but the lie that sinketh in and settleth in it, that doth the hurt; such as we spake of before. But howsoever these things are thus in men's depraved judgments and affections, yet truth, which only doth judge itself, teacheth that the inquiry of truth, which is the love-making or wooing of it, the knowledge of truth, which is the presence of it, and the belief of truth, which is the enjoying of it, is the sovereign good of human nature. The first creature of God, in the works of the days, was the light of the sense; the last was the light of reason; and his sabbath work ever since, is the illumination of his Spirit. First he breathed light upon the face of the matter or chaos; then he breathed light into the face of man; and still he breatheth and inspireth light into the face of his chosen.

The poet that beautified the sect that

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