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of whom it is said, “ He passed his Youth in errors, nay even full of madness ;” and yet he was the ablest Emperor almost of all the list. posed natures may do well in Youth, as it is seen in Augustus Cæsar, Cosmus Duke of Florence, Gaston de Fois, and others. On the other side, heat and vivacity in Age is an excellent composition for business. Young men are fitter to invent than to judge, fitter for execution than for counsel, and fitter for new projects than for settled business; for the experience of Age in things that fall within the compass of it, directeth them, but in new things abuseth them. The errors of young men are the ruin of business; but the errors of aged men amount but to this, that more might have been done
Young Men, in the conduct and manage of actions, embrace more than they can hold; stir more than they can quiet; fly to the end without consideration of the means and degrees; pursue some few principles which they have chanced upon absurdly; care not to innovate, which draws unknown inconveniences; use extreme remedies at first, and, that which doubleth all errors, will not acknowledge or retract them, like an unready horse, that will neither stop nor turn. Men of Age object too much, consult too long, adventure too little, repent too soon, and seldom drive business home to the full period, but content themselves
with a mediocrity of success. Certainly it is good to compound employments of both; for that will be good for the present, because the virtues of either age may correct the defects of both, and good for succession, that Young Men may be learners, while men in Age are actors. And lastly, good for extern accidents, because authority followeth Old Men, and favour and popularity Youth. But for the moral part perhaps Youth will have the pre-eminence, as Age hath for the politic. A certain Rabbin upon
Your Young Men shall see visions, and your Old Men shall dream dreams," inferreth, that young men are admitted nearer to God than old, because vision is a clearer revelation than a dream. And certainly the more a man drinketh of the world, the more it intoxicateth ; and Age doth profit rather in the powers of understanding, than in the virtues of the will and affections. There be some have an over-early ripeness in their years, , which fadeth betimes: these are first such as have brittle wits, the edge whereof is soon turned; such as was Hermogenes the rhetorician, whose books are exceeding subtile, who afterwards waxed stupid. A second sort is of those that have some natural dispositions which have better grace in Youth than in Age; such as is a fluent and luxuriant speech, which becomes Youth well, but not Age: so Tully saith of Hortensius, “ He remained the same, but the same did not become him." The third is, of such as take too high a strain at the first, and are magnanimous more than tract of years can uphold: as was Scipio Affricanus, of whom Livy saith in effect, “ The latter part of his life did not come up to the first."
Of Beauty. VIRTUE is like a rich stone, best plain set; and surely, virtue is best in a body that is comely, though not of delicate features, and that hath rather dignity of presence, than beauty of aspect. Neither is it almost seen that
persons are otherwise of great virtue; as if nature were rather busy not to err, than in labour to produce excellency; and therefore they prove accomplished, but not of great spirit, and study rather behaviour than virtue. But this holds not always, for Augustus Cæsar, Titus Vespasianus, Philip le Bel of France, Edward the Fourth of England, Alcibiades of Athens, Ismael the Sophi of Persia, were all high and great spirits, and yet the most beautiful men of their times. In Beauty, that of favour is more than that of colour; and that of decent and gracious motion, more than that of favour. That is the best part of Beauty which a picture cannot express, po nor the first sight of the life. There is
no excellent Beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion. A man cannot tell, whether Apelles or Albert Durer were the more trifler; whereof the one would make a personage by geometrical proportions, the other by taking the best parts out of divers faces to make one excellent. Such personages I think would please nobody, but the painter that made them. Not but I think a painter may make a better face than ever was; but he inust do it by a kind of felicity, (as a musician that maketh an excellent air in music) and not by rule. A man shall see faces, that if you examine them part by part, you shall find never a good, and yet all together do well. If it be true, that the principal part of Beauty is in decent motion, certainly it is no marvel though persons in years seem many times more amiable, “Of all beautiful things, Autumn is the most beautiful;" for no youth can be comely but by pardon, and considering the youth as to make up the comeliness. Beauty is as summer-fruits, which are easy to corrupt, and cannot last; and for the most part it makes a dissolute youth, and an age, a little out of countenance; but yet certainly again, if it light well, it maketh virtues shine, and vices blush.
Of Beformity. DEFORMED persons are commonly even with Nature; for as Nature hath done ill by them, so do they by Nature, being for the most part (as the Scripture saith) void of natural affection, and so they have revenge of Nature. Certainly, there is a consent between the body and the mind; and where Nature erreth in the one, she ventureth in the other: “Ubi peccat in uno, periclitatur in altero.”
Where she errs in the one, there is danger that she will do so in the other.” But because there is in man an election touching the frame of his mind, and a necessity in the frame of his body, the stars of natural inclination are sometimes obscured by the sun of discipline and virtue: therefore it is good to consider of Deformity, not as a sign which is more deceivable, but as a cause which seldom faileth of the effect. Whosoever hath any thing fixed in his person that doth induce contempt, hath also a perpetual spur in himself to rescue and deliver himself from scorn. Therefore all deformed persons are extreme bold.
First, as in their own defence, as being exposed to scorn, but in process of time, by a general habit. Also it stirreth in them industry, and especially of this kind, to watch and observe the weakness of others, that they may have somewhat to repay. Again, in their