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that is wholly acquainted with a man's estate1 will beware, by furthering any present business, how he dasheth upon other inconvenience. And therefore rest not upon scattered counsels; they will rather distract and mislead, than settle and direct.
After these two noble fruits of friendship, (peace in the affections, and support of the judgment,) followeth the last fruit; which is like the pomegranate, full of many kernels; I mean aid and bearing a part in all actions and occasions. Here the best way to represent to life the manifold use of friendship, is to cast and see how many things there are which a man cannot do himself; and then it will appear that it was a sparing speech of the ancients, t to say, that a friend is another himself; for that2 a friend is far more than himself. Men have their time, and die many times in desire of some things which they principally take to heart; the bestowing of a child, the finishing of a work, or the like. If a man have a true friend, he may rest almost secure that the care of those things will continue after him. So that a man hath, as it were, two lives in his desires. A man hath a body, and that body is confined to a place; but where friendship is, all offices of life are as it were granted to him and his deputy. For he may exercise them by his friend. How many things are there which a man cannot, with any face or comeliness, say or do himself? A man can scarce allege his own merits with modesty, much less
extol them;1 a man cannot sometimes brook to supplicate or beg; and a number of the like. But all these things are graceful in a friend's mouth, which are blushing in a man's own. So again, a man's person hath many proper2 relations which he cannot put off. A man cannot speak to his son but as a father; to his wife but as a husband; to his enemy' but upon terms: whereas a friend may speak as the case requires, and not as it sorteth with the person. But to enumerate these things were endless; I have given the rule, where a man cannot fitly play his own part: if he have not a friend, he may quit the stage.3
1 "It is an abominable thing for a man to commend himself." Quoted in Sterne's Tristram Shandy, Vol. I. Ch. xxii., from Dr. Joseph Hall, Bishop of Exeter, Divine Art of Meditation. 2 Proper.
"And so, with great imagination,
Proper to madmen, led his powers to death,
Shakspere. II. King Henry IV. i. 3.
8 In the last year of Bacon's life, at the special request of his friend, Sir Tobie Matthew, he rewrote entirely the essay on Friendship, to commemorate their lifelong intimacy. Sir Tobie Matthew, 1577-1655, courtier, diplomatist, and writer, was the son of Tobie, or Tobias, Matthew, Archbishop of York. Bacon and Matthew, who was the junior by sixteen years, became friends when Matthew entered Parliament, in 1601, and their affection knew no break through every variation of both their fortunes. Bacon held a high opinion of Matthew's literary judgment, and submitted his writings to him for criticism from time to time, among other pieces his book, De Sapientia Veterum, with an accompanying letter, dated Feb. 17, 1610.
In 1618, Matthew, who had lived in Italy, and had there become a Roman Catholic, published in London an Italian translation of the Essays, entitled, Saggi Morali del Signore Francesco Bacono, Cavaliero inglese, gran cancelliero d'Inghelterra, con un' altro suo Trattato della Sapienza degli Antichi.
A dedicatory letter to Cosimo dei Medici II., Grand Duke of Tuscany, eulogizes Sir Francis Bacon, praising him not only for the qualities of his intellect, but also for those of the heart and will, and moral understanding: "being a man most sweet in his conversation and ways, grave in his judgment, invariable in his fortunes, splendid in his expenses; a friend unalterable to his friends;
XXVIII. OF EXPENSE.
RICHES are for spending, and spending for honour and good actions. Therefore extraordinary expense must be limited by the worth of the occasion; for voluntary undoing may be as well for a man's country as for the kingdom of heaven. But ordinary expense ought to be limited by a man's estate; and governed with such regard, as1 it be within his compass; and not subject to deceit and abuse of servants; and ordered to the best shew, that the bills may be less than the estimation abroad. Certainly, if a man will keep2 but of even hand, his ordinary expenses ought to be but to the half of his receipts; and if he think to wax rich, but to the third part. It is no baseness for the greatest to descend and look into their own estate. Some forbear it, not upon negligence alone, but doubting
an enemy to no man; a most hearty and indefatigable servant to the King, and a most earnest lover of the Public,-having all the thoughts of that large heart of his set upon adorning the age in which he lives, and benefiting as far as possible the whole human race.'
When Bacon was impeached, Matthew was of the few who remained faithful to him. He wrote a letter to his old friend, in his disgrace and downfall, which Bacon compared to 'old gold.'
The episode is the most pleasing personal one in Bacon's life, and should be remembered to his credit in any judgment of the baseness of his conduct towards Essex.
1 As. That.
2 Keep but of even hand. Balance his expenses carefully.
8 Doubt. To fear, be afraid (that something uncertain will take
or has taken place); to suspect.
to bring themselves into melancholy, in respect1 they shall find it broken. But wounds cannot be cured without searching. He that cannot look into his own estate at all, had need both choose well those whom he employeth, and change them often; for new are more timorous and less subtle. He that can look into his estate but seldom, it behoveth him to turn all to certainties. A man had need, if he be plentiful in some kind of expense, to be as saving again in some other. As if he be plentiful in diet, to be saving in apparel; if he be plentiful in the hall, to be saving in the stable; and the like. For he that is plentiful in expenses of all kinds will hardly be preserved from decay. In clearing of a man's estate, he may as well hurt himself in being too sudden, as letting it run on too long. For hasty selling is commonly as disadvantageable2 as interest. Besides, he that clears at once will relapse; for finding himself out of straits, he will revert to his customs: but he that cleareth by degrees induceth a habit of frugality, and gaineth as well upon his mind as upon his estate. Certainly, who3 hath a state to repair, may not despise small things; and commonly it is less dishonourable to abridge petty charges, than to stoop to petty gettings. A man ought warily to begin charges which once begun will continue: but in matters that return not he may be more magnificent.
1 Respect. Relation, regard, case.
2 Disadvantageable. Disadvantageous.
Who. He who.
"I dare do all that may become a man;
Who dares do more, is none."
Shakspere. Macbeth. i. 7.
XXIX. OF THE TRUE GREATNESS OF KINGDOMS AND ESTATES.
THE speech of Themistocles the Athenian, which was haughty and arrogant in taking so much to himself, had been a grave and wise observation and censure, applied at large to others. Desired at a feast to touch a lute, he said, He could not fiddle, but yet he could make a small town a great city. These words (holpen a little with a metaphor) may express two differing abilities in those that deal in business of estate. For if a true survey be taken of counsellors and statesmen, there may be found (though rarely) those which can make a small state great, and yet cannot fiddle: as on the other side, there will be found a great many that can fiddle very cunningly, but yet are so far from being able to make a small state great, as3 their gift lieth the other way; to bring a great and flourishing estate to ruin and decay. And, certainly those degenerate arts and shifts, whereby many counsellors and governors gain both favour with their masters and estimation with the vulgar, deserve no better name than fiddling; being things rather pleasing for the time, and graceful to themselves only, than tending to the
1 Bacon quotes from Plutarch's Life of Themistocles, or the Life of Cimon, where Themistocles's haughty speech is repeated. He makes the same quotation in the Advancement of Learning, V. I. iii. 8.
2 Cunningly. Skilfully. Compare Psalms cxxxvii. 5: "If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning,” i.e. her skill.
3 As. That.