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enterprises, either of virtue or mischief. Certainly the best works, and of greatest merit for the public, have proceeded from the unmarried or childless men, which, both in affection and means, have married and endowed the public. Yet it were great reason that those that have children should have greatest care of future times, unto which they know they must transmit their dearest pledges. Some there are who, though they lead a single life, yet their thoughts do end with themselves, and account future times impertinences; nay, there are some other that account wife and children but as bills of charges; nay more, there are some foolish, rich, covetous men, that take a pride in having no children, because they may be thought so much the richer; for, perhaps they have heard some talk, "Such an one is a great rich man," and another except to it, "Yea, but he hath a great charge of children;" as if it were an abatement to his riches. But the most ordinary cause of a single life is liberty, especially in certain self-pleasing and humorous minds, which are so sensible of every restraint, as they will go near to think their girdles and garters to be bonds and shackles. Unmarried men are best friends, best masters, best servants; but not always best subjects, for they are light to run away, and almost all fugitives are of that condition. A single life doth well with churchmen, for charity will hardly water the ground where it must first fill a pool. It is indifferent for judges and magistrates; for if they be facile and corrupt, you shall have a servant five times worse than a wife. For soldiers, I find the generals commonly, in
1 His meaning is, that if clergymen have the expenses of a family to support, they will hardly find means for the exercise of benevolence toward their parishioners.
their hortatives, put men in mind of their wives and children; and I think the despising of marriage amongst the Turks maketh the vulgar soldier more base. Certainly, wife and children are a kind of discipline of humanity; and single men, though they be many times more charitable, because their means are less exhaust, yet, on the other side, they are more cruel and hard-hearted, (good to make severe inquisitors,) because their tenderness is not so oft called upon. Grave natures, led by custom, and therefore constant, are commonly loving husbands, as was said of Ulysses, "Vetulam suam prætulit immortalitati." 1 Chaste women are often proud and froward, as presuming upon the merit of their chastity. It is one of the best bonds, both of chastity and obedience, in the wife, if she think her husband wise, which she will never do if she find him jealous. Wives are young men's mistresses, companions for middle age, and old men's nurses, so as a man may have a quarrel to marry when he will; but yet he was reputed one of the wise men that made answer to the question when a man should marry, "A young man not yet, an elder man not at all." & It is often seen that bad husbands have very good wives; whether it be that it raiseth the price of their husbands' kindness when it comes, or that the wives take a pride in their patience; but this never fails, if the bad husbands were of their own choosing, against their friends' consent, for then they will be sure to make good their own folly.
1" He preferred his aged wife Penelope to immortality." This was when Ulysses was entreated by the goddess Calypso to give up all thoughts of returning to Ithaca, and to remain with her in the enjoyment of immortality. - Plut. Gryll. 1.
2" May have a pretext," or 66
THERE be none of the affections which have been noted to fascinate or bewitch, but love and envy. They both have vehement wishes; they frame themselves readily into imaginations and suggestions, and they come easily into the eye, especially upon the presence of the objects which are the points that conduce to fascination, if any such thing there be. We see, likewise, the Scripture calleth envy an evil eye:1 and the astrologers call the evil influences of the stars evil aspects; so that still there seemeth to be acknowledged, in the act of envy, an ejaculation, or irradiation of the eye; nay, some have been so curious as to note that the times, when the stroke or percussion of an envious eye doth most hurt, are, when the party envied is beheld in glory or triumph, for that sets an edge upon envy; and besides, at such times, the spirits of the person envied do come forth most into the outward parts, and so meet the blow.
But, leaving these curiosities, (though not unworthy to be thought on in fit place,) we will handle what persons are apt to envy others; what persons are most subject to be envied themselves; and what is the difference between public and private envy.
1 So prevalent in ancient times was the notion of the injurious effects of the eye of envy, that, in common parlance, the Romans generally used the word " 'præfiscini,' without risk of enchantment," or " fascination," when they spoke in high terms of themselves. They supposed that they thereby averted the effects of enchantment produced by the evil eye of any envious person who might at that moment possibly be looking upon them. Lord Bacon probably here alludes to St. Mark vii. 21, 22: "Out of the heart of men proceedeth- deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye." Solomon also speaks of the evil eye, Prov. xxiii. 6, and xxviii. 22.
A man that hath no virtue in himself, ever envieth virtue in others; for men's minds will either feed upon their own good, or upon others' evil; and who wanteth the one will prey upon the other; and whoso is out of hope to attain to another's virtue, will seek to come at even hand1 by depressing another's fortune.
A man that is busy and inquisitive, is commonly envious; for to know much of other men's matters cannot be, because all that ado may concern his own estate; therefore, it must needs be that he taketh a kind of play-pleasure in looking upon the fortunes of others; neither can he that mindeth but his own business find much matter for envy; for envy is a gadding passion, and walketh the streets, and doth not keep home: "Non est curiosus, quin idem sit malevolus." 2
Men of noble birth are noted to be envious towards new men when they rise, for the distance is altered; and it is like a deceit of the eye, that when others come on they think themselves go back.
Deformed persons and eunuchs, and old men and bastards, are envious; for he that cannot possibly mend his own case, will do what he can to impair another's; except these defects light upon a very brave and heroical nature, which thinketh to make his natural wants part of his honor; in that it should be said, "That a eunuch, or a lame man, did such great matters," affecting the honor of a miracle; as it was in Narses the eunuch,
1 To be even with him.
2"There is no person a busybody, but what he is ill-natured too." This passage is from the Stichus of Plautus.
8 Narses superseded Belisarins in the command of the armies of Italy, by the orders of the Emperor Justinian. He defeated Totila, the king of the Goths, (who had taken Rome,) in a deci
and Agesilaus and Tamerlane,1 that were lame
The same is the case of men that rise after calamities and misfortunes; for they are as men fallen out with the times, and think other men's harms a redemption of their own sufferings.
They that desire to excel in too many matters, out of levity and vainglory, are ever envious, for they cannot want work; it being impossible but many, in some one of those things, should surpass them; which was the character of Adrian the emperor, that mortally envied poets and painters, and artificers in works, wherein he had a vein to excel.2
Lastly, near kinsfolk and fellows in office, and those that have been bred together, are more apt to envy their equals when they are raised; for it doth upbraid unto them their own fortunes, and pointeth at them, and cometh oftener into their remembrance, and incurreth likewise more into the note of others; and envy ever redoubleth from speech and fame. Cain's envy was the more vile and malignant towards his brother Abel, be
sive engagement, in which the latter was slain. He governed Italy with consummate ability for thirteen years, when he was ungratefully recalled by Justin the Second, the successor of Justinian.
1 Tamerlane, or Timour, was a native of Samarcand, of which territory he was elected emperor. He overran Persia, Georgia, Hindostan, and captured Bajazet, the valiant Sultan of the Turks, at the battle of Angora, 1402, whom he is said to have inclosed in a cage of iron. His conquests extended from the Irtish and Volga to the Persian Gulf, and from the Ganges to the Grecian Archipelago. While preparing for the invasion of China, he died, in the 70th year of his age, A. D. 1405. He was tall and corpulent in person, but was maimed in one hand, and lame on the right side.
2 Spartian Vit. Adrian, 15.
8 Comes under the observation.