Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

renown and veneration was the name of these two the great philosopher, who dedicated divers of his princes in those days, that they would have it as books of philosophy unto hini : he was attended a perpetual addition in all the emperors' styles. with Callisthenes and divers other learned perIn this emperor's times also the church for the sons, that followed him in camp, throughout his most part was in peace; so as in this sequence journeys and conquests. What price and estiof six princes we do see the blessed effects of mation he had learning in doth notably appear in learning in sovereignty, painted forth in the these three particulars: first, in the envy he used greatest table of the world.

to express that he bore towards Achilles, in this, But for a tablet, or picture of smaller volume, that he had so good a trumpet of his praises as (not presuming to speak of your majesty that Homer's verses; secondly, in the judgment or liveth,) in my judgment the most excellent is that solution he gave touching that precious cabinet of of Queen Elizabeth, your immediate predecessor Darius, which was found among his jewels; in this part of Britain; a princess that, if Plutarch whereof question was made what thing was worwere now alive to write lives by parallels, would thy to be put into it; and he gave his opinion for trouble him, I think, to find for her a parallel Homer's works: thirdly, in his letter to Aristotle, amongst women. This lady was endued with after he had set forth his books of nature, wherein learning in her sex singular, and rare even he expostulated with him for publishing the secrets amongst masculine princes; whether we speak or mysteries of philosophy; and gave him to underof learning, language, or of science, modern, or stand that himself esteemed it more to excel other ancient, divinity or humanity: and unto the very men in learning and knowledge than in power last year of her life she was accustomed to appoint and empire. And what use he had of learning set hours for reading, scarcely any young student doth appear, or rather shine, in all his speeches in any university more daily, or more duly. As and answers, being full of science, and use of for her government, I assure myself I shall not science, and that in all variety. exceed, if I do affirm that this part of the island And herein again it may seem a thing scholasnever had forty-five years of better times; and yet tical, and somewhat idle, to recite things that not through the calmness of the season, but every man knoweth; but yet, since the argument through the wisdom of her regimen. For if there I handle leadeth me thereunto, I am glad that be considered of the one side, the truth of religion men shall perceive I am as willing to flatter, if established, the constant peace and security, the they will so call it, an Alexander, or a Cæsar, or good administration of justice, the temperate use an Antoninus, that are dead many hundred years of the prerogative, not slackened, nor much since, as any that now liveth: for it is the disstrained, the flourishing state of learning, sortable playing of the glory of learning in sovereignty to so excellent a patroness, the convenient estate that I propound to myself, and not a humour of of wealth and means, both of crown and subject, declaiming in any man's praises. Observe then the habit of obedience, and the moderation of dis- the speech he used of Diogenes, and see if it tend contents; and there be considered, on the other not to the true state of one of the greatest quesside, the differences of religion, the troubles of tions of moral philosophy; whether the enjoying neighbour countries, the ambition of Spain, and of outward things, or the contemning of them, be opposition of Rome: and then, that she was soli- the greatest happiness: for when he saw Diotary and of herself: these things, I say, considered, genes so perfectly contented with so little, he said as I could not have chosen an instance so recent to those that mocked at his condition; "Were I and so proper, so, I suppose, I could not have not Alexander, I would wish to be Diogenes.” chosen one more remarkable or eminent to the But Seneca inverteth it, and saith; “ Plus erat, purpose now in hand, which is concerning the quod hic nollet accipere, quàm quod ille posset conjunction of learning in the prince with felicity dare.” (There were more things which Diogenes in the people.

would have refused, than there were which AlexNeither hath learning and influence an operation ander could have given.) only upon civil merit and moral virtue, and the Observe again that speech which was usual arts or temperature of peace and peaceable go- with him, " That he felt his mortality chiefly in vernment; but likewise it hath no less power and two things, sleep and lust;" and see if it were not efficacy in enablement towards martial and milita- a speech extracted out of the depth of natural phiry virtue and prowess; as may be notably repre-losophy, and liker to have come out of the mouth sented in the examples of Alexander the Great, of Aristotle or Democritus, than from Alexander. and Cæsar the Dictator, mentioned before, but now See again that speech of humanity and poesy: in fit place to be resumed; of whose virtues and when upon the bleeding of his wounds, he called acts in war there needs no note or recital, having unto him one of his flatterers, that was wont to asbeen the wonders of time in that kind: but of cribe to him divine honour, and said, “Look, this their affections towards learning, and perfections is very blood; this is not such a liquor Homei in learning, it is pertinent to say somewhat. speaketh of, which ran from Venus's hand, when

Alexander was bred and taught under Aristotle it was pierced by Diomedes.”

66

a

See likewise his readiness in reprehension of ters; when, upon Darius's great offers, Parmenio logic, in the speech he used to Cassander, upon a had said, “Surely I would accept these offers, complaint that was made against his father Anti- were I as Alexander;" saith Alexander, “So pater; for when Alexander happened to say, would I, were I as Parmenio."

Do you think these men would have come from Lastly, weigh that quick and acute reply, which so far to complain, except they had just cause of he made when he gave so large gifts to his friends grief?” And Cassander answered, “ Yea, that and servants, and was asked what he did reserve was the matter, because they thought they should for himself, and he answered, “ Hope:" weigh, not be disproved." Said Alexander laughing : I say, whether he had not cast up his account -- See the subtilties of Aristotle, to take a matter right, because hope must be the portion of all that both ways, .pro et contra,'" &c.

resolve upon great enterprises. For this was But note again how well he could use the same Cæsar's portion when he went first into Gaul, his art, which he reprehended, to serve his own hu- estate being then utterly overthrown with larmour; when bearing a secret grudge to Callis- gesses. And this was likewise the portion of thenes, because he was against the new ceremony that noble prince, howsoever transported with amof his adoration, feasting one night where the bition, Henry, Duke of Guise, of whom it was same Callisthenes was at the table, it was moved usually said, that he was the greatest usurer in by some after supper, for entertainment sake, that France, because he had turned all his estate into Callisthenes, who was an eloquent man, might obligations. speak of some theme or purpose, at his own To conclude therefore: as certain critics are choice: which Callisthenes did; choosing the used to say hyperbolically, " That if all sciences praise of the Macedonian nation for his discourse, were lost, they might be found in Virgil;" so cerand performing the same with so good manner, tainly this may be said truly, there are the prints as the hearers were much ravished; whereupon and footsteps of learning in those few speeches Alexander, nothing pleased, said, “ It was easy to which are reported of this prince: the admiration be eloquent upon so good a subject. But,” saith of whom, when I consider him not, as Alexander he, “turn your style, and let us hear what you the Great, but as Aristotle's scholar, hath carried can say against us :" which Callisthenes present- me too far. ly undertook, and did with that sting and life, As for Julius Cæsar, the excellency of his learnthat Alexander interrupted him, and said, “ The ing needeth not be argued from his education, or goodness of the cause made him eloquent before, his company, or his speeches; but in a further and despite made him eloquent then again." degree doth declare itself in his writings and

Consider further, for tropes of rhetoric, that ex- works; whereof some are extant and permanent, cellent use of a metaphor or translation, wherewith and some unfortunately perished. For, first, we he taxed Antipater, who was an imperious and ty- see, there is left unto us that excellent history of rannous governor: for when one of Antipater's his own wars, which he entitled only a commenfriends commended him to Alexander for his mo- tary, wherein all succeeding times have admired deration, that he did not degenerate, as his other the solid weight of matter, and the real passages lieutenants did, into the Persian pride in use of and lively images of actions and persons, expresspurple, but kept the ancient habit of Macedon, of ed in the greatest propriety of words and perspiblack; " True," saith Alexander, “but Antipater cuity of narration that ever was; which that it is all purple within." Or that other, when Par- was not the effect of a natural gift, but of learning menio came to him in the plain of Arbela, and and precept, is well witnessed by that work of his, showed him the innumerable multitude of his entitled, “ De Analogia,” being a grammatical enemies, especially as they appeared by the infi- philosophy, wherein he did labour to make this nite number of lights, as it had been a new firma- same “vox ad placitum” to become “vox ad liciment of stars, and thereupon advised him to assailtum," and to reduce custom of speech to conthem by night: whereupon he answered, “ That gruity of speech; and took, as it were, the picture he would not steal the victory."

of words from the life of reason. For matter of policy, weigh that significant So we receive from him, as a monument both distinction, so much in all ages embraced, that he of his power and learning, the then reformed commade between his two friends, Hephæstion and putation of the year; well expressing, that he Craterus, when he said, “ That the one loved Al- took it to be as great a glory to himself to observe exander, and the other loved the king:” describ- and know the law of the heavens, as to give 'aw ing the principal difference of princes' best ser- to men upon the earth. vants, that some in affection love their person, So likewise in that book of his, “ Anti-Cato," and others in duty love their crown.

it may easily appear that he did aspire as well to Weigh also that excellent taxation of an error, victory of wit as victory of war; undertaking ordinary with counsellors of princes, that they therein a conflict against the greatest champion counset their masters according to the model of with the pen that then lived, Cicero the orator. their own inind and fortune, and not of their mas- So again in his book of Apophthegms,"

which he collected, we see that he esteemed it But to return, and conclude with him : it is more honour to make himself but a pair of tables, evident, himself knew well his own perfection in to take the wise and pithy words of others, than learning, and took it upon him; as appeared when, to have every word of his own to be made an upon occasion some spake what a strange resoluapophthegm or an oracle, as vain princes, by cus- tion it was in Lucius Sylla to resign his dictature; tom of flattery, pretend to do. And yet if I should he scoffing at him, to his own advantage, answerenamerate divers of his speeches, as I did those ed, “That Sylla could not skill of letters, and of Alexander, they are truly such as Solomon therefore knew not how to dictate.” noteth, when he saith, “ Verba sapientum tan- And here it were fit to leave this point, touching quam aculei, et tanquam clavi in altum defixi :" the concurrence of military virtue and learning, whereof, I will only recite three, not so delect- for what example would come with any grace able for elegancy, but admirable for vigour and after those two of Alexander and Cæsar ? were efficacy.

it not in regard of the rareness of circumstance, As, first, it is reason he be thought a master of that I find in one other particular, as that which words, that could with one word appease a mutiny did so suddenly pass from extreme scorn to exin his army, which was thus : The Romans, treme wonder ; and it is of Xenophon the philowhen their generals did speak to their army, did sopher, who went from Socrates's school into Asia, use the word “ Milites;"' but when the magistrates in the expedition of Cyrus the younger, against spake to the people they did use the word “ Quiri. King Artaxerxes. This Xenophon at that time tes.” The soldiers were in tumult, and seditiously was very young, and never had seen the wars beprayed to be cashiered; not that they so meant, fore ; neither had any command in the army, but but by expostulations thereof to draw Cæsar to only followed the war as a voluntary for the love other conditions ; wherein he being resolute not and conversation of Proxenus his friend. He to give way, after some silence, he began his was present when Falinus came in message from speech, “ Ego, Quirites:" which did admit them the great king to the Grecians, after that Cyrus already cashiered; wherewith they were so sur- was slain in the field, and they a handful of men prised, crossed, and confused, as they would not left to themselves in the midst of the king's terrisuffer him to go on in his speech, but relinquished tories, cut off from their country by many navitheir demands, and made it their suit to be again gable rivers, and many hundred miles. The called by the name of “ Milites."

message imported, that they should deliver up The second speech was thus : Cæsar did ex- their arms, and submit themselves to the king's tremely affect the name of king; and some were mercy. To which message before answer was set on, as he passed by, in popular acclamation made, divers of the army conferred familiarly with to salute him king; whereupon, finding the cry Falinus: and amongst the rest Xenophon happened weak and poor, he put it off thus, in a kind of jest, to say, “Why, Falinus, we have now but these as if they had mistaken his sụrname; “ Non rex two things left, our arms and our virtue! and if we sum, sed Cæsar;" a speech, that if it be searched, yield up our arms, how shall we make use of our the life and fulness of it can scarce be expressed : virtue ?” Whereto Falinus, smiling on him, said, for, first, it was a refusal of the name, but yet not " If I be not deceived, young gentleman, you are serious : again, it did signify an infinite confi- | an Athenian: and I believe you study philosodence and magnanimity, as if he presumed Cæsar phy, and it is pretty that you say : but you are was the greater title; as by his worthiness it is much abused, if you think your virtue can withcome to pass till this day ; but chiefly it was a stand the king's power." Here was the scorn; speech of great allurement toward his own pur- the wonder followed ; which was, that this young pose; as if the state did strive with him but for scholar, or philosopher, after all the captains were a name, whereof mean families were vested; for murdered in parley by treason, conducted those ten Rex was a surname with the Romans, as well as thousand foot, through the heart of all the king's King is with us.

high countries, from Babylon to Græcia in safety, The last speech which I will mention, was in despite of all the king's forces, to the astonishused to Metellus; when Cæsar, after war declar- ment of the world, and the encouragement of the ed, did possess himself of the city of Rome; at Grecians in time succeeding to make invasion which time entering into the inner treasury to take upon the kings of Persia : as was after purposed the money there accumulated, Metellus, being tri- by Jason the Thessalian, attempted by Agesilaus hune, forbade him; whereto Cæsar said, “ That the Spartan, and achieved by Alexander the Maif he did not desist he would lay him dead in the cedonian, all upon the ground of the act of that place." And presently taking himself up, he young scholar. added, " Adolescens, durius est mihi hoc dicere To proceed now from imperial and military quàm facere.” Young mạn, it is harder for me virtue to moral and private virtue: first, it is an to speak than to do it. A speech compounded of assured truth, which is contained in the verses : the greatest terror and greatest clemency that

“Scilicet ingenuas didicisse fideliter artes, could proceed out of the mouth of man.

Emollit mores, nec sinit esse feros.'

Q

:

:

It taketh away the wildness and barbarism and tible of growth and reformation. For the unfierceness of men's minds : but indeed the accent learned man knows not what it is to descend into had need be upon “ fideliter :” for a little super- himself, or to call himself to account; nor the ficial learning doth rather work a contrary effect. pleasure of that “suavissima vita, indies sentire It taketh away all levity, temerity, and insolency, se fieri meliorem.” The good parts he hath he by copious suggestion of all doubts and difficul- will learn to show to the full, and use them dexties, and acquainting the mind to balance reasons terously, but not much to increase them; the on both sides, and to turn back the first offers and faults he hath he will learn how to hide and conceits of the mind, and to accept of nothing but colour them, but not much to amend them : like examined and tried. It taketh away vain admi- an ill mower, that mows on still, and never whets ration of any thing, which is the root of all weak- his scythe. Whereas with the learned man it ness : for all things are admired, either because fares otherwise, that he doth ever intermix the they are new, or because they are great. For no-correction and amendment of his mind with the velty, no man that wadeth in learning or contem- use and employment thereof. Nay further, in plation throughly, but will find that printed in his general and in sum, certain it is that " veritas" heart, “ Nil novi super terram.” Neither can any and bonitas” differ but as the seal and the print: man marvel at the play of puppets, that goeth be- for truth prints goodness; and they be the clouds hind the curtain, and adviseth well of the motion. of error which descend in the storms of passions And for magnitude, as Alexander the Great, after and perturbations. that he was used to great armies, and the great From moral virtue let us pass on to matter of conquests of the spacious provinces in Asia, power and commandment, and consider whether when he received letters out of Greece, of some in right reason there be any comparable with fights and services there, which were commonly that wherewith knowledge investeth and crownfor a passage or a fort, or some walled town at the eth man's nature. We see the dignity of the most, he said, " It seemed to him, that he was comniandment is according to the dignity of the advertised of the battle of the frogs and the mice, commanded : to have commandment over beasts, that the old tales went of.” So certainly, if a man as herdsmen have, is a thing contemptible; to meditate much upon the universal frame of na- have commandment over children, as schoolmasture, the earth with men upon it, (the divineness ters have, is a matter of small honour; to have of souls except,) will not seem much other than commandment over galley-slaves is a disparagean ant-hill, where as some ants carry corn, and ment rather than an honour. Neither is the comsome carry their young, and some go empty, and mandment of tyrants much better, over people all to-and-fro a little heap of dust. It taketh away which have put off the generosity of their minds: or mitigateth fear of death, or adverse fortune; and therefore it was ever holden that honours in which is one of the greatest impediments of virtue, free monarchies and commonwealths had a sweetand imperfections of manners. For if a man's ness more than in tyrannies; because the commind be deeply seasoned with the consideration mandment extendeth more over the wills of men, of the mortality and corruptible nature of things, and not only over their deeds and services. And he will easily concur with Epictetus, who went therefore, when Virgil putteth himself forth to forth one day and saw a woman weeping for her attribute to Augustus Cæsar the best of human pitcher of earth that was broken; and went forth honours, he doth it in these words: the next day and saw a woman weeping for her

“ victorque volentes son that was dead : and thereupon said, “ Heri Per populos dat jura, viamque affectat Olympo.” vidi fragilem frangi, hodie vidi mortalenı mori.” But the commandment of knowledge is yet higher And therefore Virgil did excellently and profound than the commandment over the will; for it is a ly couple the knowledge of causes and the con- commandment over the reason, belief, and underquest of all fears together, as " concomitantia :" standing of man, which is the highest part of the “Felix, qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas,

mind, and giveth law to the will itself: for there Quique metus omnes, et inexorabile fatum

is no power on earth which setteth up a throne or Subjecit pedibus, strepitumque Acherontis avari.”

chair of state in the spirits and souls of men, and It were too long to go over the particular reme- in their cogitations, imaginations, opinions, and dies which learning doth minister to all the dis- beliefs, but knowledge and learning. And thereeases of the mind; sometimes purging the ill- fore we see the detestable and extreme pleasure humours, sometimes opening the obstructions, that arch-heretics, and false prophets, and impos sometimes helping digestion, sometimes increas-tors are transported with, when they once find 1. ing appetite, sometimes healing the wounds and themselves that they have a superiority in thu. exulcerations thereof, and the like; and therefore faith and conscience of men; so great, that, it I will conclude with that which hath “ rationem they have once tasted of it, it is seldom seen that totius,” which is, that it disposeth the constitu- any torture or persecution can make them relintion of the mind not to be fixed or settled in the quish or abandon it. But as this is that which defects thereof, but still to be capable and suscep- the author of the « Revelation" calleth the depth or profoundness of Satan;" so by argument of 1 of houses and families; to this buildings, founcontraries, the just and lawful sovereignty over dations, and monuments; to this tendeth the demen's understanding, by force of truth rightly in- sire of memory, fame, and celebration, and in terpreted, is that which approacheth nearest to the effect the strength of all other human desires. similitude of the divine rule.

We see then how far the monuments of wit and As for fortune and advancement, the beneficence learning are more durable than the monuments of of learning is not so confined to give fortune only power or of the hands. For have not the verses to states and commonwealths, as it doth not like- of Homer continued twenty-five hundred years, wise give fortune to particular persons. For it or more, without the loss of a syllable or letter; was well noted long ago, that Homer hath given during which time, infinite palaces, temples, casmore men their livings, than either Sylla, or tles, eities, have been decayed and demolished ? Cæsar, or Augustus ever did, notwithstanding It is not possible to have the true pictures or statheir great largesses and donatives, and distribu- tues of Cyrus, Alexander, Cæsar; no nor of the tions of lands to so many legions : and no doubt kings or great personages of much later years ; it is hard to say, whether arms or learning have for the originals cannot last, and the copies cannot advanced greater numbers. And in case of but lose of the life and truth. But the images of sovereignty we see, that if arms or descent have men's wits and knowledges remain in books, excarried away the kingdom, yet learning hath empted from the wrong of time, and capable of carried the priesthood, which ever hath been in perpetual renovation. Neither are they fitly to be some competition with empire.

called images, because they generate still, and Again, for the pleasure and delight of know- cast their seeds in the minds of others, provoking ledge and learning, it far surpasseth all other in and causing infinite actions and opinions in sucnature: for, shall the pleasures of the affections ceeding ages : so that, if the invention of the ship so exceed the senses, as much as the obtaining was thought so noble, which carrieth riches and of desire or victory exceedeth a song or a dinner; commodities from place to place, and consociateth and must not, of consequence, the pleasures of the most remote regions in participation of their the intellect or understanding exceed the plea- fruits, how much more are letters to be magnified, sures of the affections? We see in all other which, as ships, pass through the vast seas of pleasures there is satiety, and after they be used, time, and make ages so distant to participate of their verdure departeth ; which showeth well they the wisdom, illuminations, and inventions, the be but deceits of pleasure, and not pleasures; one of the other? Nay further, we see, some and that it was the novelty which pleased, and of the philosophers which were least divine, and not the quality: and therefore we see that volup- most immersed in the senses, and denied genetuous men turn friars, and ambitious princes turn rally the immortality of the soul, yet came to this melancholy. But of knowledge there is no point, that whatsoever motions the spirit of man satiety, but satisfaction and appetite are per- could act and perform without the organs of the petually interchangeable; and therefore appear- body, they thought, might remain after death, eth to be good in itself simply, without fallacy or which were only those of the understanding, and accident. Neither is that pleasure of small effi- not of the affections; so immortal and incorrupticacy and contentment to the mind of man, which ble a thing did knowledge seem unto them to be. the poet Lucretius describeth elegantly,

But we, that know by divine revelation, that not

only the understanding but the affections purified, “ Buave mari magno, turbantibus æquora ventis,” &c.

not only the spirit but the body changed, shall be “ It is a view of delight,” saith he, " to stand advanced to immortality, do disclaim these rudior walk upon the shore side, and to see a ship ments of the senses. But it must be remembered tossed with tempest upon the sea; or to be in a both in this last point, and so it may likewise be fortified tower, and to see two battles join upon a needful in other places, that in probation of the plain; but it is pleasure incomparable, for the dignity of knowledge or learning, I did in the mind of man to be settled, landed and fortified in beginning separate divine testimony from human, the certainty of truth; and from thence to descry which method I have pursued, and so handled and behold the errors, perturbations, labours, and them both apart. wanderings up and down of other men.”

Nevertheless, I do not pretend, and I know it Lastly, leaving the vulgar arguments, that by will be impossible for me, by any pleading of learning man excelleth man in that wherein man mine, to reverse the judgment, either of Æsop's excelleth beasts; that by learning man ascendeth cock, that preferred the barleycorn before the gem; to the heavens and their motions, where in body or of Midas, that being chosen judge between he cannot come, and the like; let us conclude Apollo president of the Muses, and Pan god of the with the dignity and excellency of knowledge and flocks, judged for plenty; or of Paris, that judged learning in that whereunto man's nature doth for beauty and love against wisdom and power; nor most aspire, which is, immortality or continu- of Agrippina, “occidat matrem, modo imperet,” ance: for to this tendeth generation, and raising that preferred empire with conditions never so dr.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »