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fully, yet (if they have the perfection of boldness) they will but slight it over, and make a turn, and no more ado. Certainly to men of great judgment, bold persons are a sport to behold; nay and to the vulgar also, boldness has somewhat of the ridiculous. For if absurdity be the subject of laughter, doubt not but great boldness is seldom without some absurdity. Especially it is a sport to see, when a bold fellow is out of countenance; for that puts his face into a most shrunken and wooden posture; as needs it must; for in bashfulness the spirits do a little go and come; but with bold men, upon like occasion, they stand at a stay; like a stale1 at chess, where it is no mate, but yet the game cannot stir. But this last were fitter for a satire than for a serious observation. This is well to be weighed; that boldness is ever blind; for it seeth not dangers and inconveniences. Therefore it is ill in counsel, good in execution; so that the right use of bold persons is, that they never command in chief, but be seconds, and under the direction of others. For in counsel it is good to see dangers; and in execution not to see them, except they be very great.


I TAKE Goodness in this sense, the affecting of the weal of men, which is that the Grecians call Philanthropia; and the word humanity (as it is used) is a

1 Stale. Stale-mate, in chess, the position of a king when he cannot move but into check.

little too light to express it. Goodness I call the habit, and Goodness of Nature the inclination. This of all virtues and dignities of the mind is the greatest; being the character of the Deity: and without it man is a busy, mischievous, wretched thing; no better than a kind of vermin. Goodness answers to the theological virtue Charity, and admits no excess, but error. The desire of power in excess caused the angels to fall; the desire of knowledge in excess caused man to fall: but in charity there is no excess; neither can angel or man come in danger by it. The inclination to goodness is imprinted deeply in the nature of man; insomuch that if it issue not towards men, it will take unto other living creatures; as it is seen in the Turks, a cruel people, who nevertheless are kind to beasts, and give alms to dogs and birds; insomuch as Busbechius1 reporteth, a Christian boy in Constantinople had like to have been stoned for gagging in a waggishness a long-billed fowl.2 Errors indeed in this virtue of goodness or charity may be committed. The Italians have an ungracious proverb, Tanto buon che val niente; So good, that he is good for nothing. And one of the doctors of Italy, Nicholas Machiavel,3 had the confidence to put in writing, almost in plain terms, That the Christian

1 Augier Ghislen de Busbec, or Busbecq, or Busbecqué (Latinized, Busbechius here, but better, Busbequius), 1522-1592, a Flemish diplomatist and scholar, ambassador of Ferdinand I. at Constantinople.

2 The bird was a goat-sucker, which the goldsmith fastened over his door with wings spread and jaws distended. The story will be found in Busbequius's letter from Constantinople, p. 179 of ed. 1633. S.

3 Niccolò Machiavelli, 1469-1527, Florentine statesman, author of Discourses on the First Decade of T. Livius, the Prince, and a

faith had given up good men in prey to those that are tyrannical and unjust.1 Which he spake, because indeed there was never law, or sect, or opinion, did so much magnify goodness, as the Christian religion doth. Therefore, to avoid the scandal and the danger both, it is good to take knowledge of the errors of an habit so excellent. Seek the good of other men, but be not in bondage to their faces or fancies; for that is but facility or softness; which taketh an honest mind prisoner. Neither give thou Æsop's cock a gem, who would be better pleased and happier if he had a barley-corn.3 The example of God teacheth the lesson truly; He sendeth his rain, and maketh his sun to shine, upon the just and unjust; but he doth not rain wealth, nor shine History of Florence. Bacon was much attracted towards Machiavelli, who was a kindred spirit, a man of acute intellect and no compelling conscience.


1 Discorsi sopra La Prima Deca di T. Livio. II. 2.

2 Knowledge. Cognizance; notice; only in the phrase, 'to take knowledge of,' that is, 'to take cognizance or notice of, to observe.'

"Take you, as 't were, some distant knowledge of him."

Shakspere. Hamlet. ii. 1.

3 "As a Cock was turning up a Dunghill, he spy'd a Jewel. Well (says he to himself), this sparkling Foolery now to a Lapidary in my place, would have been the making of him, but as for any Use or Purpose of mine, a Barley-Corn had been worth Forty on 't. "The Moral.

"He that 's Industrious in an honest Calling, shall never fail of a Blessing. 'T is the part of a wise Man to prefer Things necessary before Matters of Curiosity, Ornament, or Pleasure." Fable I. A Cock and a Diamond. Fables of Aesop and other Eminent Mythologists: with Morals and Reflexions. By Sir Roger L'Estrange, Kt.

"When peace was renewed with the French in England, divers of the great counsellors were presented from the French with jewels. The Lord Henry Howard was omitted. Whereupon the King said to him: My Lord, how haps it that you have not a jewel as well as the rest? My Lord answered again (alluding to the fable of Aesop): Non sum Gallus, itaque non reperi gemmam.” Bacon. Apophthegmes New and Old. 203 (34).

4 "For he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust." Matthew v. 45.

honour and virtues, upon men equally. Common benefits are to be communicate with all; but peculiar benefits with choice. And beware how in making the portraiture thou breakest the pattern. For divinity maketh the love of ourselves the pattern; the love of our neighbours but the portraiture. Sell all thou hast, and give it to the poor, and follow me:1 but sell not all thou hast, except thou come and follow me; that is, except thou have a vocation wherein thou mayest do as much good with little means as with great; for otherwise in feeding the streams thou 'driest the fountain. Neither is there only a habit of goodness, directed by right reason; but there is in some men, even in nature, a disposition towards it; as on the other side there is a natural malignity. For there be that in their nature do not affect the good of others. The lighter sort of malignity turneth but to a crossness, or frowardness, or aptness to oppose, or difficilness,2 or the like; but the deeper sort to envy and mere mischief. Such men in other men's calamities are, as it were, in season, and are ever on the loading3 part: not so good as the dogs that licked Lazarus' sores; but like flies that are still buzzing upon any thing that is raw; misanthropi,5 that make it their practice to bring men to the bough, and yet have never a tree


1 "If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven; and come and follow me." Matthew xix. 21.

2 Difficilness.

Unreasonableness, stubbornness.

Loading. Present participle active, 'that loads'; hence burdening, aggravating, oppressive.

Luke xvi. 21.

Misanthropi. Misanthropes, that is, from the Greek, haters of


for the purpose in their gardens, as Timon1 had. Such dispositions are the very errours of human nature; and yet they are the fittest timber to make great politiques of; like to knee timber,2 that is good for ships, that are ordained to be tossed; but not for building houses, that shall stand firm. The parts and signs of goodness are many. If a man be gracious and courteous to strangers, it shews he is a citizen of the world, and that his heart is no island cut off from other lands, but a continent that joins to them. If he be compassionate towards the afflictions of others, it shews that his heart is like the noble tree that is wounded itself when it gives the balm. If he easily pardons and remits offences, it shews that his mind is planted above injuries; so that he cannot be shot. If he be thankful for small benefits, it shows that he weighs men's minds, and not their trash. But above all, if he have St. Paul's perfection, that he would wish to be an anathema3 from Christ for the salvation of his brethren, it shews much of a divine nature, and a kind of conformity with Christ himself.

1 Timon of Athens, the Misanthrope. Plutarch, in his Life of Marcus Antonius, tells the story that Timon one day mounted the rostrum in the market-place to announce that he had a fig-tree in his garden on which many citizens had hanged themselves, that he meant to cut the fig-tree down to build on the spot, and thought it well to make the fact known, so that, "if any of you be desperate, you may there go hang yourselves."

2 Knee-timber. Timber having a natural angular bend, suitable for making 'knees' in shipbuilding or carpentry.

8 Anathema, from the Greek, meaning, anything devoted, especially to evil, a curse. The Bible reference is to Romans ix. 3: "For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh." Compare Advancement of Learning, II. xx. 7.

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