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lions under the throne; being circumspect that they do not check or oppose any points of sovereignty. Let not judges also be so ignorant of their own right, as to think there is not left to them, as a principal part of their office, a wise use and application of laws. For they may remember what the apostle saith of a greater law than theirs; Nos scimus quia lex bona est, modo quis ed utatur legitime.1
LVII. OF ANGER.
To seek to extinguish Anger utterly is but a bravery2 of the Stoics. We have better oracles: Be angry, but sin not. Let not the sun go down upon your anger.3 Anger must be limited and confined both in race and in time. We will first speak how the natural inclination and habit to be angry may be attempered1. and calmed. Secondly, how the particular motions of anger may be repressed, or at least refrained from doing mischief. Thirdly, how to raise anger or appease anger in another.
1 "But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully." I. Timothy i. 8. Bacon quotes the Vulgate, varying the language slightly. It is there, "Scimus autem quia bona est lex, si quis ea legitime utatur."
2 Bravery. Bravado; boast. 3 Ephesians iv. 26.
"And thou, O human heart of mine,
Be still, refrain thyself, and wait."
Arthur Hugh Clough. Poems on Life and Duty. In a London Square. ii.
For the first; there is no other way but to meditate and ruminate well upon the effects of anger, how it troubles man's life. And the best time to do this, is to look back upon anger when the fit is thoroughly over. Seneca saith well, That anger is like ruin, which breaks itself upon that it falls.1 The Scripture exhorteth us To possess our souls in patience.2 Whosoever is out of patience, is out of possession of his soul. Men must not turn bees;
animasque in vulnere ponunt.3
Anger is certainly a kind of baseness; as it appears well in the weakness of those subjects in whom it reigns; children, women, old folks, sick folks. Only men must beware that they carry their anger rather with scorn than with fear; so that they may seem rather to be above the injury than below it; which is a thing easily done, if a man will give law to himself in it.
For the second point; the causes and motives of anger are chiefly three. First, to be too sensible of hurt; for no man is angry that feels not himself hurt; and therefore tender and delicate persons must needs be oft angry; they have so many things to trouble them, which more robust natures have little sense of. The next is, the apprehension and construction of the injury offered to be, in the circumstances thereof, full of contempt for con
1 "Ruinis simillima, quae super id quod oppressere franguntur.” Seneca. De Ira. Liber I. 1.
2 "In your patience possess ye your souls." Luke xxi. 19.
And put their lives in the sting. P. Vergili Maronis Georgicon Liber IV. 238. Bees were supposed to die when they lost their stings.
tempt is that which putteth an edge upon anger, as much or more than the hurt itself. And therefore when men are ingenious in picking out circumstances of contempt, they do kindle their anger much. Lastly, opinion of the touch1 of a man's reputation doth multiply and sharpen anger. Wherein the remedy is, that a man should have, as Consalvo was wont to say, telam honoris crassiorem.2 But in all refrainings of anger, it is the best remedy to win time; and to make a man's self believe, that the opportunity of his revenge is not yet come, but that he foresees a time for it; and so to still himself in the mean time, and reserve it.
To contain3 anger from mischief, though it take hold of a man, there be two things whereof you must have special caution. The one, of extreme bitterness of words, especially if they be aculeate1 and proper;5 for communia maledicta are nothing so much; and again, that in anger a man reveal no secrets; for that makes him not fit for society.
1 Touch. Censure; blame. "I never bare any touch of conscience with greater regret.' Eikon Basilike.
2 A thicker web of honor. Consalvo is Gonzalo Fernandez y Aguilar, 1453-1515, commonly called Gonsalvo de Cordova, or El Gran Capitan, 'the Great Captain.' He commanded the armies of Ferdinand the Catholic, and took an active part in the conquest of Granada. "Consalvo would say: The honour of a soldier ought to be of a good strong web; meaning, that it should not be so fine and curious, that every little disgrace should catch and stick to it." Bacon. Apophthegmes New and Old. 180 (89). Compare also, Advancement of Learning, II. xx. 12.
3 Contain. Restrain.
"We can contain ourselves,
Were he the veriest antic in the world."
Shakspere. The Taming of the Shrew. Induction. i.
Aculedte. Pointed; incisive; stinging.
5 Proper. Appropriate. General reproaches.
The other, that you do not peremptorily break off, in any business, in a fit of anger; but howsoever you shew bitterness, do not act anything that is not revocable.
For raising and appeasing anger in another; it is done chiefly by choosing of times, when men are frowardest and worst disposed, to incense them. Again, by gathering (as was touched before) all that you can find out to aggravate the contempt. And the two remedies are by the contraries. The former to take good times, when first to relate to a man an angry1 business; for the first impression is much; and the other is, to sever, as much as may be, the construction of the injury from the point of contempt; imputing it to misunderstanding, fear, passion, or what you will.
LVIII. OF VICISSITUDE OF THINGS.
SALOMON Saith, There is no new thing upon the earth. So that as Plato had an imagination, That all knowledge was but remembrance; 3 so Salomon giveth his sentence, That all novelty is but oblivion. Whereby you may see that the river of Lethe run
3 The doctrine that 'all knowledge is but remembrance' is expounded by Plato in the two Dialogues, Phaedo, 72 and Meno, 81. In "The First Book of Francis Bacon; of the Proficience and Advancement of Learning, Divine and Human, To the King," Bacon asserts, with fulsome flattery, "I have often thought, that of all the persons living that I have known, your Majesty were the best instance to make a man of Plato's opinion, that all knowledge is but remembrance."
neth as well above ground as below. There is an abstruse astrologer that saith, if it were not for two things that are constant, (the one is, that the fixed stars ever stand at like distance one from another, and never come nearer together, nor go further asunder; the other, that the diurnal motion perpetually keepeth time,) no individual would last one moment. Certain it is, that the matter is in a perpetual flux,1 and never at a stay. The great winding-sheets, that bury all things in oblivion, are two; deluges and earthquakes. As for conflagrations and great droughts, they do not merely dispeople and destroy. Phaëton's 2 car went but a day. And the three years' drought in the time of Elias3 was but particular, and left people alive. As for the great burning by lightnings, which are often in the West Indies, they are but narrow. But in the other two destructions, by deluge and earthquake, it is further to be noted, that the remnant of people which hap5 to be re
A continuous succession of changes of condition, composition, or substance; fluctuation. "The language of this country being always upon the flux, the struldbrugs of one age do not understand those of another." Swift. Travels into several Remote Nations of the World. By Lemuel Gulliver. A Voyage to Laputa, etc. Part III. Chapter 10.
2 Phaeton, or Phaethon, in Greek mythology, was the son of Helios and Clymene. He obtained permission from Helios to drive the chariot of the sun across the heavens for one day, but unable to check his horses he was overthrown and nearly set the world on fire. To punish his presumption Zeus struck him with a thunderbolt and cast him into the river Po.
3 I. Kings xvii. 1. and xviii. 1.
4 Particular. Partial, not universal. ""T is ridiculous to put off, or drown, the general flood of Noah in that particular inundation of Deucalion." Sir Thomas Browne. Religio Medici. Part I. Section 22.
5 Hap. To have the 'hap,' fortune, or luck ('to do' something, or with clause); happen.
"Hap what hap may, I'll roundly go about her."