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and in every thing, except it be against an enemy. A man is the best friend in trouble, but a woman may be equal to him in the days of joy: a woman can as well increase our comforts, but cannot so well lessen our sorrows: and therefore we do not carry women with us when we go to fight: but, in peaceful cities and times, virtuous women are the beauties of society and the prettinesses of friendship. And when we consider that few persons in the world have all those excellences, by which friendship can be useful and illustrious, we may as well allow women as men to be friends; since they can have all that which can be necessary and essential to friendships, and these cannot have all by which friendships can be accidentally improved; in all, some abatements will be made; and we shall do too much honour to women if we reject them from friendships because they are not perfect: for if to friendships we admit imperfect men, because no man is perfect; he that rejects women, does find fault with them because they are not more perfect than men; which either does secretly affirm that they ought and can be perfect, or else it openly accuses men of injustice and partiality.
I hope you will pardon me that I am a little gone from my undertaking: I went aside to wait upon the women and to do countenance to their tender virtues: I am now returned, and, if I were to do the office of a guide to uninstructed friends, would add the particulars following. Madam, you need not read them now, but when any friends come to be taught by your precept and example how to converse in the noblest conjurations, you may put these into better words and tell them,
1. That the first law of friendship is, they must neither ask of their friend what is indecent; nor grant it if themselves be asked. For it is no good office to make my friend more vicious or more a fool; I will restrain his folly, but not nurse it; I will not make my groom the officer of my lust and vanity. There are villains who sell their souls for bread, that offer sin and vanity at a price: I should be unwilling my friend should know I am vicious; but if he could be brought to minister to it, he is not worthy to be my friend and if I could offer it to him, I do not deserve to clasp hands with a virtuous person.
2. Let no man choose him for his friend whom it shall be possible for him ever after to hate; for though the society may justly be interrupted, yet love is an immortal thing, and I will never despise him whom I could once think worthy of my love. A friend that proves not good, is rather to be suffered, than any enmities be entertained: and there are some outer offices of friendship and little drudgeries, in which the less worthy are to be employed, and it is better that he be below-stairs than quite thrown out of doors.
3. There are two things which a friend can never pardon, a treacherous blow and the revealing of a secret, because these are against the nature of friendship; they are the adulteries of it, and dissolve the union; and in the matters of friendship, which is the marriage of souls, these are the proper causes of divorce: and therefore I shall add this only, that secrecy is the chastity of friendship, and the publication of it is a prostitution and direct debauchery; but a secret, treacherous wound is a perfect and unpardonable apostasy. I remember a pretty apologue that Bromiard tells,—A fowler in a sharp frosty morning having taken many little birds for which he had long watched, began to take up his nets; and nipping the birds on the head laid them down. A young thrush, espying the tears trickling down his cheeks by reason of the extreme cold, said to her mother, that certainly the man was very merciful and compassionate that wept so bitterly over the calamity of the poor birds: but her mother told her more wisely, that she might better judge of the man's disposition by his hand than by his eye;-and if the hands do strike treacherously, he can never be admitted to friendship, who speaks fairly and weeps pitifully. Friendship is the greatest honesty and ingenuity in the world.
4. Never accuse thy friend, nor believe him that does; if thou dost, thou hast broken the skin: but he that is angry with every little fault, breaks the bones of friendship. And when we consider that in society and the accidents of every day, in which no man is constantly pleased or displeased with the same things, we shall find reason to impute the change unto ourselves; and the emanations of the sun are still glorious, when our eyes are sore: and we have no reason to be angry with an eternal light, because we have a
changeable and a mortal faculty. But however, do not think thou didst contract alliance with an angel, when thou didst take thy friend into thy bosom; he may be weak as well as thou art, and thou mayest need pardon as well as he; and that man loves flattery more than friendship, who would not only have his friend, but all the contingencies of his friend, to humour him.
5. Give thy friend counsel wisely and charitably, but leave him to his liberty whether he will follow thee or no: and be not angry if thy counsel be rejected: for advice is no empire, and he is not my friend that will be my judge whether I will or no. Neoptolemus had never been honoured with the victory and spoils of Troy, if he had attended to the tears and counsel of Lycomedes, who being afraid to venture the young man, fain would have had him sleep at home safe in his little island. He that gives advice to his friend and exacts obedience to it, does not the kindness and ingenuity of a friend, but the office and pertness of a schoolmaster.
6. Never be a judge between thy friends in any matter where both set their hearts upon the victory: if strangers or enemies be litigants, whatever side thou favourest, thou gettest a friend; but when friends are the parties thou losest
7. Never comport thyself so, as that my friend can be afraid of thee: for then the state of the relation alters when a new and troublesome passion supervenes. "Oderunt quos metuunt."" Perfect love casteth out fear;" and no man is friend to a tyrant; but that friendship is tyranny where the love is changed into fear, equality into empire, society into obedience; for then all my kindness to him also will be no better than flattery.
8. When you admonish your friend, let it be without bitterness; when you chide him, let it be without reproach; when you praise him, let it be with worthy purposes, and for just causes, and in friendly measures; too much of that is flattery, too little is envy: if you do it justly, you teach him
true measures; but when others praise him, rejoice, though they praise not thee, and remember that if thou esteemest his praise to be thy disparagement, thou art envious, but neither just nor kind.
9. When all things else are equal, prefer an old friend before a new. If thou meanest to spend thy friend, and make gain of him till he be weary, thou wilt esteem him as a beast of burden, the worse for his age: but if thou esteemest him by noble measures, he will be better to thee by thy being used to him, by trial and experience, by reciprocation of endearments, and an habitual worthiness. An old friend is like old wine, which when a man hath drunk, he doth not desire new, because he saith "the old is the better." But every old friend was new once; and if he be worthy, keep the new one till he become old.
10. After all this, treat thy friend nobly, love to be with him, do to him all the worthinesses of love and fair endearment, according to thy capacity and his; bear with his infirmities till they approach towards being criminal; but never dissemble with him, never despise him, never leave him. Give him gifts and upbraid him not, and refuse not his kindnesses, and be sure never to despise the smallness or the impropriety of them. "Confirmatur amor beneficio accepto:" "A gift (saith Solomon) fasteneth friendships." For as an eye that dwells long upon a star, must be refreshed with lesser beauties and strengthened with greens and lookingglasses, lest the sight become amazed with too great a splendour; so must the love of friends sometimes be refreshed with material and low caresses; lest by striving to be too divine it become less human; it must be allowed its share of both: it is human in giving pardon and fair construction, and openness and ingenuity, and keeping secrets; it hath something that is divine, because it is beneficent; but much because it is eternal.
y Extra fortunam est, quicquid donatur amicis ;
Quas dederis, solas semper habebis opes.-Mart. lib. 5. ẹp. 43.
Quòd colit ingratas pauper amicitias.
Quis largitur opes veteri, fidôque sodali?-Ep. 19.
IF you shall think it fit that these papers pass further than your own eye and closet, I desire they may be consigned into the hands of my worthy friend Dr. Wedderburne : for I do not only expose all my sickness to his cure, but I submit my weaknesses to his censure; being as confident to find of him charity for what is pardonable, as remedy for what is curable: but indeed, Madam, I look upon that worthy man as an idea of friendship; and if I had no other notices of friendship or conversation to instruct me than his, it were sufficient: for whatsoever I can say of friendship, I can say of his; and as all that know him reckon him amongst the best physicians, so I know him worthy to be reckoned amongst the best friends.