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too high a strain at first, and are more magnanimous than the course of years can uphold. As was Scipio Africanus, of whom Livy says, "ultima primis cedebant." The later acts of his life were inferior to the first.
SUSPICIONS among thoughts are like bats among birds, they will fly by night. Certainly they are to be repressed, or at least well guarded, for they cloud the mind, separate friends, and clash with business; they dispose kings to tyranny, husbands to jealousy, wise men to irresolution and melancholy. They are defects not in the heart but in the brain, for they take place in the firmest natures, as in the composition of Henry the Seventh of England, there was not a more suspicious man, nor a more firm; and in such a composition they do little
hurt. For commonly they are not admitted without the appearance of probability; but in fearful natures they gain ground too fast. Nothing makes a man suspect much, more than knowing little; and therefore we should remedy suspicion by endeavouring to know more, and not smother our suspicions.
What would men have? Do they think those whom they employ and deal with, are saints? Do they not think they will have their own ends and be truer to themselves than to their employers? Therefore there is no better way to moderate suspicions, than to reckon such suspicions true, and yet to bridle them as false. We ought so far to use suspicions, as to take care that if true, that which we suspect may do us no hurt. Suspicions that the mind itself gathers are but buzzes ; but suspicions that are artificially nourished and suggested by the tales and whisperings of others have stings. Certainly the best method to clear the way in such a wood of suspicions is frankly to communicate them to the party suspected; for thereby we shall be sure to know more of the truth of them than we did before; and at the same time render that party more circumspect, not to give further cause of suspicion.
But this should not be done to men of base natures; for such, if they find themselves once suspected, will never be true. The Italians say
"sospetta licenzia fide," as if suspicion gave a passport to fidelity, but it ought rather to kindle it to discharge itself.
PRAISE is as the reflection of virtue, but it is as the glass, or body that gives the reflection. If it be from the common people it is commonly false, and rather follows vain persons than virtuous. For the common people understand not many excellent virtues. The lowest virtues draw praise from them, the middle virtues work in them astonishment or admiration, but of the highest virtues, they have no sense or perception, and appearances, virtutibus similes, or semblances of virtue, serve best with them. Certainly fame is like a river, that bears up things light and swollen, and drowns things weighty and solid. But if persons of quality and judg
Suspicion dismisses fidelity.”
ment concur, then it is as the scripture says, "nomen bonum instar unguenti fragrantis." A good name is sweet smelling odour.
There are so many false points of praise that we may justly deem it suspicious. Some praises proceed merely from flattery, and a common flatterer will have certain common attributes which may serve every man. A cunning flatterer will follow the arch flatterer, which is a man's self; will uphold him most in that wherein he thinks best of himself. But if he be an impudent flatterer, look wherein a man is most conscious to himself that he is most defective and is most out of countenance in himself, that will the flatterer entitle him to perform. Specta conscientia. Some praises come of good wishes and respects, which is a form due in civility to kings and great persons; laudando præcipere, to instruct by praising, whereby telling men what they are, they represent to them what they should be. Some men are praised maliciously to their hurt, thereby to stir envy and jealousy towards them; pessimum genus inimicorum laudantium, the worst of all species of flatterers, insomuch that it was a proverb among the Greeks, that he who was praised to his hurt should have a pimple rise on his nose; as we say that a blister will rise upon his tongue
who tells a lie.
Moderate praise used opportunely is that which does good. Solomon says, he that praiseth his
friend aloud rising early, it shall be to him no better than a curse. Magnifying any man or matter too much excites contradiction, and procures envy and scorn. To praise ourselves cannot be decent, except it be in rare cases; but our office or profession may be praised with a good grace and a kind of magnanimity. The Cardinals of Rome, who are theologians and friars, and schoolmen, have a phrase of notable contempt and scorn towards civil business, for they call all temporal business of wars, embassies, judicature, and other employments, Sbirrerie, which is under-sheriffries, as if they were but matters for under-sheriffs and catchpoles, though many times those under-sheriffries do more good than their high speculations. Saint Paul, when he boasts of himself, often interlaces "I speak like a fool," but speaking of his calling he says "I glory in my apostleship."