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habits and faculties, several, and to be distinguished. For if a man have that penetration of judgment, as he can discern what things are to be laiil open,
and what to be secreted, and what to be showed at half lights, and to whom, and when, (which indeed are arts of state, and arts of life, as Tacitus well calleth them) to him a habit of Dissimulation is a hinderance, and a poorness. But if a man cannot attain to that judgment, then it is left to him generally to be close, and a Dissembler. For where a man cannot choose or vary in particulars, there it is good to take the safest and wariest way in general ; like the going softly by one that cannot well see. Certainly the ablest men that ever were, have had all an openness and frankness of dealing, and a name of certainty and veracity: but then they were like horses, well managed; for they could tell passing well, when to stop or turn; and at such times, when they thought the case indeed required Dissimulation, if then they used it, it came to pass, that the former opinion spread abroad of their good faith, and clearness of dealing, made them almost invisible.
There are three degrees of this hiding and veiling of man's self. The first-closeness, reservation, and secresy; when a man leaveth himself without observation, or without hold to be taken what he is. The second, Dissimulation in the negative; when a man lets fall signs and arguments, that he is not
that he is. And the third, Simulation in the affirmative; when a man industriously and expressly feigns and pretends to be that he is not.
For the first of these, secresy: it is indeed the virtue of a Confessor; and assuredly the secret man heareth many confessions : for who will open himself to a blab, or a babbler ? But if a man be thought secret, it inviteth discovery, as the more close air sucketh in the more open : and as in confession, the revealing is not for worldly use, but for the ease of a man's heart; so, secret men come to the knowledge of many things in that kind, while men rather discharge their minds, than impart their minds. In few words, mysteries are due to secresy. Besides (to say truth) nakedness is uncomely, as well in mind as in body; and it addeth no small reverence to men’s manners and actions, if they be not altogether open. As for talkers, and futile persons, they are commonly vain, and credulous withal. For he that talketh what he knoweth, will also talk what he knoweth not. Therefore set it down, that an habit of secresy is both politic and moral. And in this part it is good, that a man's face give his tongue leave to speak. For the discovery of man's self, by the tracks of his countenance, is a great weakness and betraying, by how much it is many times more marked and believed, than a man's words.
For the second, which is Dissimulation: it followeth many times upon secresy by a necessity; so that he that will be secret, must be a Dissembler in some degree. For men are too cunning, to suffer a man to keep an indifferent carriage between both, and to be secret without swaying the balance on either side. They will so beset a man with questions, and draw him on, and pick it out of him, that without an absurd silence, he must show an inclination one way; or if he do not, they will gather as much by his silence, as by his speech : as for equivocations, or oraculous speeches, they cannot hold out long: so that no man can be secret, except he give himself a little scope of Dissimulation, which is, as it were, but the skirts or train of secresy.
But for the third degree, which is Simulation, and false profession: that I hold more culpable, and less politic, except it be in great and rare matters. And therefore a general custom of Simulation (which is this last degree) is a vice, rising either of a natural falseness or fearfulness, or of a mind that hath some main faults; which because a man must needs disguise, it maketh him practise Simulation in other things, lest his hand should be out of use.
The great advantages of Simulation and Dissimulation are three. First, to lay asleep opposition, and to surprise: for where a man's intentions are published, it is an alarm to call up all that are
against them. The second is, to reserve to a man's self a fair retreat: for if a man engage himself by a manifest declaration, he must go through, or take a fall. The third is, the better to discover the mind of another: for to him that opens himself, men will hardly show themselves adverse, but will (fair) let him go on, and turn their freedom of speech to freedom of thought. And therefore it is a good shrewd proverb of the Spaniard, “ Tell a lie, and
, find a troth ;" as if there were no way of discovery but by Simulation.
There be also three disadvantages to set it even. The first, that Simulation and Dissimulation commonly carry with them a show of fearfulness, which in any business doth spoil the feathers of round flying up to the mark. The second, that it puzzleth and perplexeth the conceits of many, that perhaps would otherwise co-operate with him, and makes a man walk almost alone to his own ends.
The third and greatest is, that it depriveth a man of one of the most principal instruments for action, which is trust and belief. The best composition and temperature is, to have openness in fame and opinion, secresy in habit, Dissimulation in seasonable use, and a power to feign if there be no remedy.
Of Parents and Children. THE joys of Parents are secret, and so are their griefs and fears; they cannot utter the one, nor they will not utter the other. Children sweeten labours, but they make misfortunes more bitter: they increase the cares of life, but they mitigate the remembrance of death. The perpetuity by generation is common to beasts; but memory, merit, and noble works, are proper to men: and surely a man shall see the noblest works and foundations have proceeded from childless men, which have sought to express the images of their minds, where those of their bodies have failed: so the care of posterity is most in them that have no posterity. They that are the first raisers of their houses, are most indulgent towards their Children; beholding them as the continuance, not only of their kind, but of their work, and so both Children and Creatures.
The difference in affection of Parents towards their several Children, is many times unequal, and sometimes unworthy, especially in the mother; as Solomon saith, “A wise son rejoiceth the father, but an ungracious son shames the mother.” A man shall see, where there is a house full of Children, one or two of the eldest respected, and the youngest made wantons ; but in the midst, some that are as