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terations of scenes, so it be quietly, and without noise, are things of great beauty and pleasure: for they feed and relieve the eye, before it be full of the same object. Let the scenes abound with light, especially coloured and varied ; and let the Maskers, or any other that are to come down from the scene, have some motions upon the scene itself, before their coming down; for it draws the eye strangely, and makes it with great pleasure to desire to see that it cannot perfectly discern. Let the songs be loud and cheerful, and not chirpings or pulings. Let the music likewise be sharp and loud, and well placed. The colours that show best by candle-light, are white, carnation, and a kind of sea-water green; and oes or spangs, as they are of no great cost, so they are of most glory. As for rich embroidery, it is lost, and not discerned. Let the suits of Maskers be graceful, and such as become the person when the vizars are off, not after examples of known attires: Turks, soldiers, mariners, and the like. Let Anti-masks not be long; they have been commonly of fools, satyrs, baboons, wild men, antics, beasts, spirits, witches, Æthiopes, Pygmies, Turquets, nymphs, rustics, cupids, statues moving, and the like. As for angels, it is not comical enough to put them in Anti-masks; and any thing that is hideous, as devils, giants, is on the other side as unfit. But chiefly, let the music of
them be recreative, and with some strange changes. Some sweet odours suddenly coming forth, without any drops falling, are in such a company, as there is steam and heat, things of great pleasure and refreshment. Double Masks, one of men, another of ladies, addeth state and variety. But all is nothing, except the room be kept clear and neat.
For justs, and turneys, and barriers, the glories of them are chiefly in the chariots, wherein the challengers make their entry, especially if they be drawn with strange beasts, as lions, bears, camels, and the like: or in the devices of their entrance, or in the bravery of their liveries, or in the goodly furniture of their horses and armour. But enough of these toys.
Of Nature in Men. NATURE is often hidden, sometimes overcome, seldom extinguished. Force maketh nature more violent in the return; doctrine and discourse maketh nature less importune: but custom only doth alter and subdue nature. He that seeketh victory over his nature, let him not set himself too great, nor too small tasks, for the first will make him dejected, by often failings; and the second will make him a small proceeder, though by often prevailings. And at the first, let him practise with helps, as
swimmers do with bladders or rushes : but after a time let him practise with disadvantages, as dancers do with thick shoes; for it breeds great perfection, if the practice be harder than the use. Where Nature is mighty, and therefore the victory hard, the degrees had need be, first, to stay and arrest Nature in time, like to him that would say over the four-and-twenty letters when he was angry, than to go less in quantity; as if one should, in forbearing wine, come from drinking healths to a draught at a meal, and lastly to discontinue altogether: but if a man have the fortitude and resolution to enfranchise himself at once, that is the best : “ He is the best reformer of his mind, who has at once broken the chains which debased his heart, and has repented.”
Neither is the ancient rule amiss, to bend Nature as a wand to a contrary extreme, whereby to set it right, understanding it where the contrary extreme is no vice. Let not a man force a habit upon himself with a perpetual continuance, but with some intermission; for both the pause reinforceth the new onset: and if a man that is not perfect be ever in practice, he shall as well practise his errors, as his abilities, and induce one habit of both: and there is no means to help this, but by seasonable intermission. But let pot a man trust his victory over his Nature too far; for Nature will lie buried a great time, and yet revive upon the occasion of temptation : like as it was with Æsop's damsel, turned from a cat to a woman,
who sat very
demurely at the board's end, till a mouse ran before her. Therefore let a man either avoid the occasion altogether, or put himself often to it, that he may be little moved with it. A man's Nature is best perceived in privateness; for there is no affectation in passion, for that putteth a man out of his precepts, and in a new case of experiment, for there custom leaveth him. They are happy men whose natures sort with their vocations; otherwise they may say, “My mind has wandered to many objects;" when they converse in those things they do not affect. In studies, whatsoever a man commandeth upon himself, let him set hours for it; but whatsoever is agreeable to his Nature, let him take no care for any set times, for his thoughts will fly to it of themselves; so as the spaces of other business or studies will suffice. A man's Nature runs either to herbs or weeds; therefore let him seasonably water the one, and destroy the other.
Of Custom and Education. Men's thoughts are much according to their inclination, their discourse and speeches according to their learning and infused opinions; but their
deeds are after as they have been accustomed : and therefore, as Machiavel well noteth, (though in an ill-favoured instance) there is no trusting to the force of nature nor to the bravery of words, except it be corroborate by Custom. His instance is, that for the achieving of a desperate conspiracy, a man should not rest upon the fierceness of any man's nature, or his resolute undertakings; but take such an one as hath had his hands formerly in blood. But Machiavel knew not of a Friar Clement, nor a Ravilliac, nor a Jaureguy, nor a Baltazer Gerrard ; yet this rule holdeth still, that nature, nor the engagement of words, are not so forcible as Customs. Only superstition is now so well advanced, that men of the first blood are as firm as butchers by occupation, and votary resolution is made equipol·lent to Custom, even in matter of blood. In other things the predominancy of Custom is every where visible, insomuch as a man would wonder to hear men profess, protest, engage, give great words, and then do just as they have done before; as if they were dead images, and engines moved only by the wheels of Custom. We see also the reign or tyranny of Custom, what it is. The Indians (I mean the sect of their Wise Men) lay themselves quietly upon a stack of 'wood, and so sacrifice themselves by fire. Nay, the wives strive to be burned with the corpses of their husbands. The lads of Sparta,