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VIRTUE is like a rich stone, best plain set; and surely virtue is best in a body that is comely, though not of delicate features; and that hath rather dignity of presence, than beauty of aspect; neither is it almost seen, that very beautiful persons are otherwise of great virtue; as if nature were rather busy not to err, than in labour to produce excellency; and therefore they prove accomplished, but not of great spirit; and study rather behaviour than virtue. But this holds not always: for Augustus Cæsar, Titus Vespasianus, Philip le Belle of France, Edward the Fourth of England, Alcibiades of Athens, Ismael the sophy of Persia, were all high and great spirits, and yet the most beautiful men of their times. In beauty, that of favour is more than that of colour; and that of decent and gracious motion more than that of favour. That is the best part of beauty which a picture cannot express; no, nor the
first sight of the life. There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion. A man cannot tell whether Apelles, or Albert Durer, were the more trifler; whereof the one would make a personage by geometrical proportions: the other, by taking the best parts out of divers faces, to make one excellent. Such personages, I think, would please no body but the painter that made them: not but I think a painter may make a better face than ever was; but he must do it by a kind of felicity, (as a musician that maketh an excellent air in music,) and not by rule. A man shall see faces, that, if you examine them part by part, you shall find never a good; and yet altogether do well. If it be true, that the principal part of beauty is in decent motion, certainly it is no marvel, though persons in years seem many times more amiable; " pulchrorum autumnus pulcher;" for no youth can be comely but by pardon, and considering the youth as to make up the comeliness. Beauty is as summer-fruits, which are easy to corrupt, and cannot last; and, for the most part, it makes a dissolute youth, and an age a little
out of countenance; but yet certainly again, if it light well, it maketh virtues shine, and vices blush.
DEFORMED persons are commonly even with nature; for as nature hath done ill by them, so do they by nature, being for the most part (as the scripture saith,) "void of natural affection:" and so they have their revenge of nature. Certainly there is a consent between the body and the mind, and where nature erreth in the one, she ventureth in the other: "ubi peccat in uno, periclitatur in altero:" but because there is in man an election, touching the frame of his mind, and a necessity in the frame of his body, the stars of natural inclination are sometimes obscured by the sun of discipline and virtue; therefore it is good to consider of deformity, not as a sign which is more deceivable, but as a cause which seldom faileth of the effect. Whoso
ever hath any thing fixed in his person that doth induce contempt, hath also a perpetual spur in himself to rescue and deliver himself from scorn; therefore, all deformed persons are extreme bold; first, as in their own defence, as being exposed to scorn, but in process of time by a general habit. Also it stirreth in them industry, and especially of this kind, to watch and observe the weakness of others, that they may have somewhat, to repay. Again, in their superiors, it quencheth jealousy towards them, as persons that they think they may at pleasure despise; and it layeth their competitors and emulators asleep, as never believing they should be in possibility of advancement till they see them in possession: so that upon the matter, in a great wit, deformity is an advantage to rising. Kings, in ancient times, (and at this present in some countries,) were wont to put great trust in eunuchs, because they that are envious towards all are more obnoxious and officious towards one: but yet their trust towards them hath rather been as to good spials, and good whisperers, than good magistrates and officers: and much like is the rea
son of deformed persons. Still the ground is, they will, if they be of spirit, seek to free themselves from scorn; which must be either by virtue or malice: and, therefore, let it not be marvelled, if sometimes they prove excellent persons; as was Agesilaus, Zanger the son of Solyman, Æsop, Gasca, president of Peru; and Socrates may go likewise amongst them with others.