Imágenes de páginas




see what feigned prices are set
little stones and rarities? And
works of ostentation are undertaken, be-
cause there might seem to be some use
of great riches? But then you will say,
they may be of use, to buy men out of
dangers or troubles. As Solomon saith,
'Riches are as a stronghold in the im-
agination of the rich man.' But this is



chosen. I knew one was wont to say in scorn, He must needs be a wise man, he speaks so much of himself.' And there is but one case wherein a man may commend himself with good grace, and that is in commending virtue in another, especially if it be such a virtue whereunto himself pretendeth. Speech of touch towards others should be sparingly used, for discourse ought to be as 10 excellently expressed, that it is in ima field, without coming home to any man. I knew two noblemen of the west part of England, whereof the one was given to scoff, but kept ever royal cheer in his house. The other would ask of those 15 that had been at the other's table, 'Tell truly, was there never a flout or dry blow given?' To which the guest would answer, such and such a thing passed. The lord would say, 'I thought he would 20 mar a good dinner.' Discretion of speech is more than eloquence, and to speak agreeably to him with whom we deal is more than to speak in good words or in good order. A 25 good continued speech, without a good speech of interlocution, shows slowness; and a good reply, or second speech, without a good settled speech, showeth shallowness and weakness. As we see 30 in beasts, that those that are weakest in the course are yet nimblest in the turn, as it is betwixt the greyhound and the hare. To use too many circumstances ere one come to the matter is weari- 35 some; to use none at all is blunt.


agination, and not always in fact. For certainly great riches have sold more men than they have bought out. Seek not proud riches, but such as mayest get justly, use soberly, distribute cheerfully, and leave contentedly. have no abstract or friarly contempt of them, but distinguish, as Cicero saith well of Rabirius Posthumus, In studio rei amplificandae, apparebat, non avaritiae praedam, sed instrumentum bonitati quaeri [In his efforts to increase his wealth, it was clear that he did not seek a prey for avarice but an instrument for doing good]. Hearken also to Solomon, and beware of hasty gathering of riches: Qui festinat ad divitias, non erit insons [He that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent]. The poets feign that when Plutus (which is riches) is sent from Jupiter, he limps, and goes slowly, but when he is sent from Pluto, he runs, and is swift of foot; meaning that riches gotten by good means and just labor pace slowly, but when they come by the death of others (as by the course of inheritance, testaments, and the like), they come tumbling upon a man: but it might be applied likewise to Pluto taking him for 40 the devil; for when riches come from the devil (as by fraud, and oppression, and unjust means) they come upon speed. The ways to enrich are many, and most of them foul; parsimony is one of the best, and yet is not innocent, for it withholdeth men from works of liberality and charity. The improvement of the ground is the most natural obtaining of riches, for it is our great mother's blessing, the earth's; but it is slow: and yet, where men of great wealth do stoop to husbandry, it multiplieth riches exceedingly. I knew a nobleman in England that had the greatest audits of any man in my time, a great grazier, a great sheep master, a great timber man, a great collier, a great corn master, a great lead man, and so of iron and a

I cannot call riches better than the baggage of virtue. The Roman word is better, impedimenta, for as the baggage is to an army so is riches to virtue. It cannot be spared, nor left behind, but it 45 hindereth the march, yea, and the care of it sometimes loseth or disturbeth the victory. Of great riches there is no real use, except it be in the distribution; the rest is but conceit. So saith Solomon, 50 'Where much is, there are many to consume it; and what hath the owner but the sight of it with his eyes?' The personal fruition in any man cannot reach to feel great riches; there is a 55 custody of them, or a power of dole and donative of them, or a fame of them, but no solid use to the owner. Do you not

[ocr errors]

number of the like points of husbandry; so as the earth seemed a sea to him in respect of the perpetual importation. It was truly observed by one, 'That himself came very hardly to a little riches, and very easily to great riches'; for when a man's stock is come to that, that he can expect the prime of markets, and overcome those bargains, which for their greatness are few men's money, and be 10 themselves to meaner persons than in partner in the industries of younger

the best rise, yet when they are gotten by flattery, feeding humors, and other servile conditions, they may be placed amongst the worst. As for fishing for 5 testaments and executorships, as Tacitus saith of Seneca, Testamenta et orbos tanquam indagine capi [he took in bequests and wardships as with a net]; it is yet worse, by how much men submit

service. Believe not much them that

men, he cannot but increase mainly. seem to despise riches, for they despise

The gains of ordinary trades and voca

tions are honest, and furthered by two things chiefly: by diligence, and by a is good name for good and fair dealing; ut the gains of bargains are of a more doubtful nature, when men shall wait wpon others' necessity; broke by servants, and instruments to draw them on; put 20 others cunningly that would be better hapmen, and the like practices, which re crafty and naught. As for the chopping of bargains, when a man buys ot to hold, but to sell over again, that 25 commonly grindeth double, both upon the seller and upon the buyer. Sharings do greatly enrich, if the hands be well chosen that are trusted. Usury is the Certainest means of gain, though one of 30 the worst, as that whereby a man doth eat his bread in sudori vultus alieni fin the sweat of another man's brow]; and besides, doth plough upon Sundays. But yet certain though it be, it hath 35 daws, for that the scriveners and brokers do value unsound men, to serve their own turn. The fortune in being the first n an invention, or in a privilege, doth

them that despair of them, and none worse when they come to them. Be not penny-wise; riches have wings, and sometimes they fly away of themselves, sometimes they must be set flying to bring in more. Men leave their riches either to their kindred, or to the public; and moderate portions prosper best in both. A great estate left to an heir is as a lure to all the birds of prey round about to seize on him, if he be not the better stablished in years and judgments. Likewise glorious gifts and foundations are like sacrifices without salt, and but the painted sepulchers of alms, which soon will putrefy and corrupt inwardly. Therefore measure not thine advancements by quantity, but frame them by measure: and defer not charities till death; for, certainly, if a man weigh it rightly, he that doth so is rather liberal of another man's than of his own.


A man that is young in years may be

cause sometimes a wonderful overgrowth 40 old in hours if he have lost no time.

riches, as it was with the first sugarman in the Canaries. Therefore, if a an can play the true logician, to have swell judgment as invention, he may great matters, especially if the times 45 e fit. He that resteth upon gains cerain shall hardly grow to great riches. And he that puts all upon adventures, oth oftentimes break, and come to overty: it is good therefore to guard 50 adventures with certainties that may upcold losses. Monopolies, and co-empon of wares for resale, where they are ot restrained, are great means to enrich, pecially if the party have intelligence 55 hat things are like to come into rewest, and so store himself beforehand. diches gotten by service, though it be of

But that happeneth rarely. Generally youth is like the first cogitations, not so wise as the second. For there is а youth in thoughts as well as in ages. And yet the invention of young men is more lively than that of old; and imaginations stream into their minds, better and, as it were, more divinely. Natures that have much heat, and great and violent desires and perturbations, are not ripe for action till they have passed the meridian of their years, as it was with Julius Cæsar and Septimius Severus, of the latter of whom it is said, Juventutem egit erroribus, imo furoribus plenam [he spent a youth full of errors, and even of acts of madness]. And yet he was the ablest emperor almost of all the


the edge whereof is soon turned — such as was Hermogenes, the rhetorician, whose books are exceeding subtle, who afterwards waxed stupid. A second sort is of those that have some natural dispositions, which have better grace in youth than in age, such as is a fluent and luxuriant speech, which becomes youth well, but not age; so Tully saith of

decebat. [He continued the same, when it was no longer becoming]. The third is of such as take too high a strain at the first, and are magnanimous more than tract of years can uphold; as was Scipio Africanus, of whom Livy saith in effect, Ultima primis cedebant [His end fell below his beginning].


list. But reposed natures may do well in youth, as it is seen in Augustus Cæsar, Cosmos, Duke of Florence, Gaston de Fois, and others. On the other side, heat and vivacity in age is an excellent composition for business. Young men are fitter to invent than to judge, fitter for execution than for counsel, and fitter for new projects than for settled business. For the experience of age, in 10 Hortensius, Idem manebat, neque idem things that fall within the compass of it, directeth them; but in new things abuseth them. The errors of young men are the ruin of business; but the errors of aged men amount but to this, that 15 more might have been done, or sooner. Young men, in the conduct and manage of actions, embrace more than they can hold; stir more than they can quiet; fly to the end, without consideration of the 20 means and degrees; pursue some few principles, which they have chanced upon, absurdly; care not to innovate, which draws unknown inconveniences; use extreme remedies at first; and, that 25 which doubleth all errors, will not acknowledge or retract them, like an unready horse, that will neither stop nor turn. Men of age object too much, consult too long, adventure too little, repent 30 too soon, and seldom drive business home to the full period, but content themselves with a mediocrity of success. Certainly it is good to compound employments of both, for that will be good for the pres- 35 ent, because the virtues of either age may correct the defects of both; and good for succession, that young men may be learners, while men in age are actors; and, lastly, good for extern ac-40 cidents, because authority followeth old men, and favor and popularity youth. But for the moral part perhaps youth will have the preeminence, as age hath for the politic. A certain rabbin upon 45 the text, Your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams,' inferreth that young men are admitted nearer to God than old, because vision is a clearer revelation than 50 a dream. And certainly the more a man drinketh of the world the more it intoxicateth; and age doth profit rather in the powers of understanding than in the virtues of the will and affections. 55 There be some have an over-early ripeness in their years, which fadeth betimes; these are, first, such as have brittle wits,

It is generally better to deal by speech than by letter, and by the mediation of a third than by a man's self. Letters are good, when a man would draw an answer by letter back again; or when it may serve for a man's justification afterwards to produce his own letter; or where it may be danger to be interrupted, or heard by pieces. To deal in person is good, when a man's face breedeth regard, as commonly with inferiors; or in tender cases, where a man's eye upon the countenance of him with whom he speaketh may give him a direction how far to go; and generally, where a man will reserve to himself liberty, either to disavow or to expound. In choice of instruments, it is better to choose men of a plainer sort, that are like to do that that is committed to them, and to report back again faithfully the success, than those that are cunning to contrive out of other men's business somewhat to grace themselves, and will help the matter in report, for satisfaction sake. Use also such persons as affect the business wherein they are employed, for that quickeneth much; and such as are fit for the matter, as bold men for expostulation, fair-spoken men for persuasion. crafty men for inquiry and observation froward and absurd men for business that doth not well bear out itself. Use also such as have been lucky, and prevailed before in things wherein you have employed them; for that breeds

confidence, and they will strive to maintain their prescription.


abilities are like natural plants, that need pruning by study; and studies themselves do give forth directions too much at large, except they be bounded in by experience. Crafty men contemn studies, simple men admire them, and wise men use them. For they teach not their own use; but that is a wisdom without them, and above them, won by observation. Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider. Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to

It is better to sound a person with whom one deals, afar off, than to fall upon the point at first, except you mean to surprise him by some short question. It is better dealing with men in appetite, than with those that are where they would be. If a man deal with another upon conditions, the start or first per- 10 formance is all; which a man cannot reasonably demand, except either the nature of the thing be such which must go before; or else a man can persuade the other party, that he shall still need 15 be chewed and digested that is, some him in some other thing; or else that he be counted the honester man. All practice is to discover, or to work. Men discover themselves in trust, in passion, at unawares; and of necessity, 20 when they would have somewhat done, and cannot find an apt pretext. If you would work any man, you must either know his nature and fashions, and so lead him, or his ends, and so persuade 25 him, or his weakness and disadvantages, and so awe him, or those that have interest in him, and so govern him. In dealing with cunning persons, we must ever consider their ends to interpret 30 their speeches, and it is good to say little to them, and that which they least look for. In all negotiations of difficulty a man may not look to sow and reap at once, but must prepare business, and so 35 ripen it by degrees.



books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention. Some books also may be read by deputy, and extracts made of them by others; but that would be only in the less important arguments and the meaner sort of books; else distilled books are like common distilled waters, flashy things. Reading maketh a full man, conference a ready man, and writing an exact man. And therefore if a man write little he had need have a great. memory; if he confer little he had need have a present wit; and if he read little he had need have much cunning to seem to know that he doth not. Histories make men wise, poets witty, the mathematics subtle, natural philosophy deep, moral grave, logic and rhetoric able to contend, Abeunt studia in mores [Studies develop into habits]. Nay, there is no stond or impediment in the wit but may be wrought out by fit studies, like 40 as diseases of the body may have appropriate exercises. Bowling is good for the stone and reins, shooting for the lungs and breast, gentle walking for the stomach, riding for the head, and the like. So if a man's wit be wandering, let him study the mathematics, for in demonstrations, if his wit be called away never so little, he must begin again; if his wit be not apt to distinguish or find differences, let him study the schoolmen, for they are cymini sectores [hairsplitters]; if he be not apt to beat over matters and to call up one thing to prove and illustrate another, let him study the lawyer's cases. So every defect of the mind may have a special receipt.


Studies serve for delight, for ornament, and for ability. Their chief use for delight is in privateness and retiring; for ornament is in discourse; and for ability is in the judgment and disposition of business. For expert men can cute, and perhaps judge of particulars, one by one; but the general counsels and the plots and marshalling of affairs come best from those that are learned. 50 To spend too much time in studies is sloth; to use them too much for ornament is affectation; to make judgment wholly by their rules is the humor of a scholar. They perfect nature, and are 55 perfected by experience. For natural


Browne is described by Mr. Saintsbury as 'the greatest prose-writer perhaps, when all things are taken together, in the whole range of English,' and all critics are agreed that he is one of the greatest. He was educated at Winchester and Oxford, studied medicine abroad, and took his doctor's degree at Leyden. He was only thirty when he wrote the work by which he is best known, Religio Medici, or A Physician's Religion. Circulated at first in manuscript, it was twice printed surreptitiously in 1642, and an authorized edition was published in 1643. It at once attracted attention and was translated into Latin, Dutch, French, and German. In 1637 Browne settled at Norwich, and there he spent the rest of his life in the enjoyment of a wide fame, both as a scholar and as a physician. He was knighted when Charles II visited the city in 1671. He wrote a great deal, and left many tracts, which were published after his death. His most considerable work is an exposure of popular superstitions entitled Pseudodoxia Epidemica or Vulgar and Common Errors (1648). Ten years later appeared Hydriotaphia Urn Burial, or a Discourse of the Sepulchral Urns lately found in Norfolk and The Garden of Cyrus, or the Quincuncial Lozenge, net-work plantations of the Ancients, artificially, naturally, mystically considered. Of the latter Coleridge says that Browne finds 'quincunxes in heaven above, quincunxes in earth below, quincunxes in the mind of man, quincunxes in tones, in optic nerves, in roots of trees, in leaves, in everything.' Browne has, however, much rarer virtues than curious learning and quaintness of phrase: he expresses the deep thoughts of an unusually well-balanced mind in a style not merely clear and dignified, but rich with a sustained and subtle harmony as of solemn music.



For my religion though there be several circumstances that might persuade the world I have none at all, as 5 the general scandal of my profession, the natural course of my studies, the indifferency of my behavior and discourse in matters of religion, neither violently defending one, nor with that common ardor and contention opposing another; yet in despite hereof, I dare, without usurpation, assume the honorable style of a christian. Not that I merely owe this title to the font, my education, or clime wherein I was born, as being bred up either to confirm those principles my parents instilled into my understanding, or by a general consent proceed in the religion of my country: but having in 20 my riper years and confirmed judgment, seen and examined all, I find myself obliged by the principles of grace, and the law of mine own reason, to embrace no other name but this: neither doth herein my zeal so far make me forget the 25 general charity I owe unto humanity, as rather to hate than pity Turks, Infidels, and (what is worse) Jews; rather con

tenting myself to enjoy that happy style, than maligning those who refuse so glorious a title.

But because the name of a christian is become too general to express our faith, there being a geography of religion as well as lands, and every clime distinguished not only by their laws and limits, but circumscribed by their doc10 trines and rules of faith; to be particular, I am of that reformed new-cast religion, wherein I dislike nothing but the name; of the same belief our Savior taught, the apostles disseminated, the fathers authorized, and the martyrs confirmed, but by the sinister ends of princes, the ambition and avarice of prelates, and the fatal corruption of times, so decayed, impaired, and fallen from its native beauty, that it required the careful and charitable hands of these times to restore it to its primitive integrity. Now the accidental occasion whereupon, the slender means whereby, the low and abject condition of the person by whom so good a work was set on foot, which in our adversaries beget contempt and scorn, fills me with wonder, and is the very same objection the in

« AnteriorContinuar »