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The Best of the World's Classics, Restricted to prose. Volume III (of X) - Great Britain and Ireland I
by Francis W. Halsey
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THE BEST

of the

WORLD'S CLASSICS

RESTRICTED TO PROSE

HENRY CABOT LODGE

Editor-in-Chief

FRANCIS W. HALSEY

Associate Editor

With an Introduction, Biographical and Explanatory Notes, etc.

IN TEN VOLUMES

Vol. III

GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND—I



FUNK & WAGNALLS COMPANY

NEW YORK AND LONDON



COPYRIGHT, 1909, BY

FUNK & WAGNALLS COMPANY

* * * * *



The Best of the World's Classics

VOL. III

GREAT BRITAIN AND

IRELAND—I

1281-1745

* * * * *



CONTENTS

VOL. III—GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND—I

RICHARD DE BURY—(Born in 1281, died in 1345.)

In Praise of Books. (From the "Philobiblon")

SIR JOHN MANDEVILLE—(Reputed author.)

I The Route from England to Constantinople. (From the "Travels")

II At the Court of the Great Chan. (From the "Travels")

JOHN WYCLIF—(Born about 1324, died in 1384.)

The Baptism of Christ. (Being a translation from the Gospel of Mark)

GEOFFREY CHAUCER—(Born about 1340, died in 1400.)

Of Acquiring and Using Riches. (One of the prose "Canterbury Tales")

WILLIAM CAXTON—(Born about 1422, died in 1491.)

Of True Nobility and Chivalry. (From the "Game and Playe of Chesse." Translated by Caxton from the French original)

SIR THOMAS MALORY—(Born about 1430, died after 1470.)

Of the Finding of a Sword for Arthur. (From the "Morte d'Arthur")

SIR THOMAS MORE—(Born in 1478, died in 1535.)

Life in Utopia. (From the "Utopia")

JOHN KNOX—(Born in 1505, died in 1572.)

An Interview with Mary Queen of Scots. (From the "History of the Reformation in Scotland")

ROGER ASCHAM—(Born in 1515, died in 1568.)

Of Gentle Methods in Teaching. (From the "Schoolmaster")

JOHN FOXE—(Born in 1516, died in 1587.)

The Death of Anne Boleyn. (From the "Book of Martyrs")

SIR WALTER RALEIGH—(Born in 1552, died in 1618.)

The Mutability of Human Affairs. (From the Preface to the "History of the World")

FRANCIS BACON—(Born in 1561, died in 1626.)

I Of Travel. (From the "Essays")

II Of Riches. (From the "Essays")

III Of Youth and Age. (From the "Essays")

IV Of Revenge. (From the "Essays")

V Of Marriage and Single Life. (From the "Essays")

VI Of Envy. (From the "Essays")

VII Of Goodness and Goodness of Nature. (From the "Essays")

VIII Of Studies. (From the "Essays")

IX Of Regiment of Health. (From the "Essays")

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE—(Born in 1564, died in 1616.)

I Brutus to His Countrymen. (From "Julius Caesar")

II Shylock in Defense of His Race. (From the "Merchant of Venice")

III Hamlet to the Players. (From "Hamlet, Prince of Denmark")

BEN JONSON—(Born in 1573, died in 1637.)

Shakespeare and Other Wits. (From "Timber; or, Discoveries Made Upon Men and Matter")

IZAAK WALTON—(Born in 1593, died in 1683.)

I The Antiquity of Angling. (From Part I, Chapter IV, of "The Compleat Angler")

II Of the Trout. (From Part I, Chapter IV, of "The Compleat Angler")

III The Death of George Herbert. (From the "Lives")

JAMES HOWELL—(Born in 1595, died in 1666.)

I The Bucentaur Ceremony in Venice. (From the "Familiar Letters")

II The City of Rome in 1621. (From the "Familiar Letters")

SIR THOMAS BROWNE—(Born in 1605, died in 1682.)

I Of Charity in Judgments. (From the "Religio Medici")

II Nothing Strictly Immortal. (From Chapter V of "Urn Burial")

JOHN MILTON—(Born in 1608, died in 1674.)

I Of His Own Literary Ambition. (From "The Reason of Church Government")

II A Complete Education Defined. (From the "Tractate on Education")

III On Reading in His Youth. (From the "Apology for Smectymnus")

IV In Defense of Books. (From the "Areopagitica")

V A Noble and Puissant Nation. (From the "Areopagitica")

VI Of Fugitive and Cloistered Virtue. (From the "Areopagitica")

LORD CLARENDON—(Born in 1608, died in 1674.)

Of Charles I. (From the "History of the Rebellion")

THOMAS FULLER—(Born in 1608, died in 1661.)

Qualities of the Good Schoolmaster. (From "The Holy and Profane State")

JEREMY TAYLOR—(Baptized in 1613, died in 1667.)

The Benefits of Adversity. (From the "Rules and Exercises of Holy Dying")

ABRAHAM COWLEY—(Born in 1618, died in 1667.)

I Of Obscurity. (From the "Essays")

II Of Procrastination. (From the "Essays")

GEORGE FOX—(Born in 1624, died in 1691.)

An Interview with Oliver Cromwell. (From the "Journal")

JOHN BUNYAN—(Baptized in 1628, died in 1668.)

I A Dream of the Celestial City. (From "The Pilgrim's Progress")

II The Death of Valiant-for-truth and of Stand-fast. (From "The Pilgrim's Progress")

III Ancient Vanity Fair. (From "The Pilgrim's Progress")

JOHN DRYDEN—(Born in 1631, died in 1700.)

Of Elizabethan Dramatists. (From the "Essay on Dramatic Poetry")

SAMUEL PEPYS—(Born in 1633, died in 1703.)

I Of Various Doings of Mr. and Mrs. Pepys. (From the "Diary")

II England Without Cromwell. (From the "Diary")

GILBERT BURNET—(Born in 1643, died in 1715.)

Charles II. (From the "History of Our Own Times")

DANIEL DEFOE—(Born in 1661, died in 1731.)

I The Shipwreck of Crusoe. (From "The Life and Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe")

II The Rescue of Man Friday. (From "The Life and Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe")

III In the Time of the Great Plague. (From the "History of the Great Plague")

JONATHAN SWIFT—(Born in 1667, died in 1745.)

I On Pretense in Philosophers. (From "Gulliver's Travels")

II On the Hospitality of the Vulgar. (From No. 1 of The Tatler)

III The Art of Lying in Politics. (From The Examiner)

IV A Meditation upon a Broomstick

V Gulliver Among the Giants. (From "Gulliver's Travels")

JOSEPH ADDISON—(Born in 1672, died in 1719.)

I In Westminster Abbey. (From No. 26 of The Spectator)

II Will Honeycomb and His Marriage. (From Nos. 105 and 530 of The Spectator)

III Pride of Birth. (From No. 137 of The Guardian)

IV Sir Roger and His Home. (From Nos. 2 and 106 of The Spectator)

* * * * *



GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND—I

1281-1745



RICHARD DE BURY

Born in 1281, died in 1345; the son of Sir Richard Aungerville, his own name being taken from his birthplace, Bury St. Edmonds; educated at Oxford, and became a Benedictine monk; tutor to Edward III; dean of Wells Cathedral in 1333; bishop of Durham the same year; high chancellor of England in 1334; founded a library at Oxford; his "Philobiblon" first printed at Cologne in 1473.



IN PRAISE OF BOOKS[1]

The desirable treasure of wisdom and knowledge, which all men covet from the impulse of nature, infinitely surpasses all the riches of the world; in comparison with which, precious stones are vile, silver is clay, and purified gold grains of sand; in the splendor of which, the sun and moon grow dim to the sight; in the admirable sweetness of which, honey and manna are bitter to the taste. The value of wisdom decreaseth not with time; it hath an ever-flourishing virtue that cleanseth its possession from every venom. O celestial gift of divine liberality, descending from the Father of light to raise up the rational soul even to heaven; thou art the celestial alimony of intellect, of which whosoever eateth shall yet hunger, and whoso drinketh shall yet thirst; a harmony rejoicing the soul of the sorrowful, and never in any way discomposing the hearer. Thou art the moderator and the rule of morals, operating according to which none err. By thee kings reign, and lawgivers decree justly. Through thee, rusticity of nature being cast off, wits and tongues being polished, and the thorns of vice utterly eradicated, the summit of honor is reached and they become fathers of their country and companions of princes, who, without thee, might have forged their lances into spades and plowshares, or perhaps have fed swine with the prodigal son.

Where, then, most potent, most longed-for treasure, art thou concealed? and where shall the thirsty soul find thee? Undoubtedly, indeed, thou hast placed thy desirable tabernacle in books, where the Most High, the Light of light, the Book of Life, hath established thee. There then all who ask receive, all who seek find thee, to those who knock thou openest quickly. In books Cherubim expand their wings, that the soul of the student may ascend and look around from pole to pole, from the rising to the setting sun, from the north and from the south. In them the Most High, Incomprehensible God himself is contained and worshiped. In them the nature of celestial, terrestrial, and infernal beings is laid open. In them the laws by which every polity is governed are decreed, the offices of the celestial hierarchy are distinguished, and tyrannies of such demons are described as the ideas of Plato never surpassed, and the chair of Crito never sustained.

In books we find the dead as it were living: in books we foresee things to come; in books warlike affairs are methodized; the rights of peace proceed from books. All things are corrupted and decay with time. Satan never ceases to devour those whom he generates, insomuch that the glory of the world would be lost in oblivion, if God had not provided mortals with a remedy in books. Alexander, the ruler of the world; Julius[2] the invader of the world and the city, the first who in unity of person assumed the empire in arms and arts; the faithful Fabricius,[3] the rigid Cato, would at this day have been without a memorial if the aid of books had failed them. Towers are razed to the earth, cities overthrown, triumphal arches moldered to dust; nor can the king or pope be found, upon whom the privilege of a lasting name can be conferred more easily than by books. A book made renders succession to the author; for as long as the book exists, the author, remaining immortal, can not perish; as Ptolemy witnesseth; in the prolog of his Almagest,[4] he (he says) is not dead, who gave life to science.

What learned scribe, therefore, who draws out things new and old from an infinite treasury of books, will limit their price by any other thing whatsoever of another kind? Truth, overcoming all things, which ranks above kings, wine, and women, to honor which above friends obtains the benefit of sanctity, which is the way that deviates not, and the life without end, to which the holy Boethius attributes a threefold existence in the mind, in the voice, and in writing, appears to abide most usefully and fructify most productively of advantage in books. For the truth of the voice perishes with the sound. Truth, latent in the mind, is hidden wisdom and invisible treasure; but the truth which illuminates books, desires to manifest itself to every disciplinable sense, to the sight when read, to the hearing when heard; it, moreover, in a manner commends itself to the touch, when submitting to be transcribed, collated, corrected, and preserved. Truth confined to the mind, tho it may be the possession of a noble soul, while it wants a companion and is not judged of, either by the sight or the hearing, appears to be inconsistent with pleasure. But the truth of the voice is open to the hearing only, and latent to the sight (which shows as many differences of things fixt upon by a most subtle motion), beginning and ending as it were simultaneously. But the truth written in a book being not fluctuating, but permanent, shows itself openly to the sight passing through the spiritual ways of the eyes, as the porches and halls of common sense and imagination; it enters the chamber of intellect, reposes itself upon the couch of memory, and there congenerates the eternal truth of the mind.

Lastly, let us consider how great a commodity of doctrine exists in books, how easily, how secretly, how safely they expose the nakedness of human ignorance without putting it to shame. These are the masters that instruct us without rods and ferulas, without hard words and anger, without clothes or money. If you approach them, they are not asleep; if investigating you interrogate them, they conceal nothing; if you mistake them, they never grumble, if you are ignorant, they can not laugh at you.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 1: From the "Philobiblon," a treatise on books, translated from the original Latin into English in 1852 by John Englis. The Latin text and a new translation by Andrew J. West were printed by the Grolier Club of New York in 1887.]

[Footnote 2: The reference is to Julius Caesar.]

[Footnote 3: The Roman Consul, general and ambassador to Pyrrhus in 280, who was noted for inflexible honesty.]

[Footnote 4: The best-known work of Ptolemy of Alexandria, astronomer and mathematician, who lived in the first half of the second century.]



SIR JOHN MANDEVILLE

Reputed author of a book of "Travels" of the fourteenth century, a compilation intended as a guide to pilgrims in the Holy Land, and based upon works by William of Boldensele (1336) and Friar Odoric of Pordenone (1330).



I.

THE ROUTE FROM ENGLAND TO CONSTANTINOPLE[5]

He that will pass over the sea and come to land, to go to the city of Jerusalem, he may wend many ways, both on sea and land, after the country that he cometh from; for many of them come to one end. But trow not that I will tell you all the towns, and cities and castles that men shall go by; for then should I make too long a tale; but all only some countries and most principal steads that men shall go through to go the right way.

First, if a man come from the west side of the world, as England, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, or Norway, he may, if that he will, go through Almayne and through the kingdom of Hungary, that marches to the land of Polayne, and to the land of Pannonia,[6] and so to Silesia.

And the King of Hungary is a great lord and a mighty, and holds great lordships and much land in his hand. For he holds the kingdom of Hungary, Sclavonia, and of Comania a great part, and of Bulgaria that men call the land of Bougiers, and of the realm of Russia a great part, whereof he has made a duchy, that lasts unto the land of Nyfland,[7] and marches to Prussia. And men go through the land of this lord, through a city that is called Cypron,[8] and by the castle of Neasburghe, and by the evil town, that sit toward the end of Hungary. And there pass men the river Danube. This river of Danube is a full great river, and it goeth into Almayne, under the hills of Lombardy, and it receives into him forty other rivers, and it runs through Hungary and through Greece and through Thrace, and it enters into the sea, toward the east so rudely and so sharply, that the water of the sea is fresh and holds its sweetness twenty mile within the sea.

And after, go men to Belgrade, and enter into the land of Bourgiers; and there pass men a bridge of stone that is upon the river of Marrok.[9] And men pass through the land of Pyncemartz and come to Greece to the city of Nye, and to the city of Fynepape,[10] and after to the city of Dadrenoble,[11] and after to Constantinople, that was wont to be called Bezanzon.[12] And there dwells commonly the Emperor of Greece. And there is the most fair church and the most noble of all the world; and it is of Saint Sophie. And before that church is the image of Justinian the emperor, covered with gold, and he sits upon a horse crowned. And he was wont to hold a round apple of gold in his hand; but it is fallen out thereof. And men say there, that it is a token that the emperor has lost a great part of his lands and of his lordships; for he was wont to be Emperor of Roumania and of Greece, of all Asia the less, and of the land of Syria, of the land of Judea in the which is Jerusalem, and of the land of Egypt, of Persia, and of Arabia. But he has lost all but Greece; and that land he holds all only. And men would many times put the apple into the image's hand again, but it will not hold it. This apple betokens the lordship that he had over all the world, that is round. And the other hand he lifts up against the East, in token to menace the misdoers. This image stands upon a pillar of marble at Constantinople.



II

AT THE COURT OF THE GREAT CHAN[13]

The men of Tartary have let make another city that is called Caydon. And it has twelve gates, and between the two gates there is always a great mile; so that the two cities, that is to say, the old and the new, have in circuit more than twenty mile.

In this city is the court of the great Chan in a full great palace and the most passing fair in all the world, of the which the walls be in circuit more than two mile. And within the walls it is full of other palaces. And in the garden of the great palace there is a great hill, upon the which there is another palace; and it is the most fair and the most rich that any man may devise. And all about the palace and the hill be many trees bearing many diverse fruits. And all about the hill be ditches great and deep, and beside them be great fish ponds on that one part and on that other. And there is a full fair bridge to pass over the ditches. And in these vivaries be so many wild geese and ganders and wild ducks and swans and herons that it is without number. And all about these ditches and vivaries is the great garden full of wild beasts. So that when the great Chan will have any disport on that, to take any of the wild beasts or of the fowls, he will let chase them and take them at the windows without going out of his chamber.

This palace, where his court is, is both great and passing fair. And within the palace, in the hall, there be twenty-four pillars of fine gold. And all the walls be covered within of red skins of beasts that men call panthers, that be fair beasts and well smelling; so that for the sweet odor of those skins no evil air may enter into the palace. Those skins be as red as blood, and they shine so bright against the sun, that scarcely no man may behold them. And many folk worship these beasts, when they meet them first at morning, for their great virtue and for the good smell that they have. And those skins they prize more than tho they were plate of fine gold.

And in the midst of this palace is the reservoir for the great Chan, that is all wrought of gold and of precious stones and great pearls. And at four corners of the reservoir be four serpents of gold. And all about there is made large nets of silk and gold and great pearls hanging all about the reservoir. And under the reservoir be conduits of beverage that they drink in the emperor's court. And beside the conduits be many vessels of gold, by the which they that be of household drink at the conduit.

And the hall of the palace is full nobly arrayed, and full marvellously attired on all parts in all things that men apparel with any hall. And first, at the chief of the hall is the emperor's throne, full high, where he sits at the meat. And that is of fine precious stones, bordered all about with pure gold and precious stones, and great pearls. And the steps that he goes up to the table be of precious stones mingled with gold.

And at the left side of the emperor's seat is the seat of his first wife, one degree lower than the emperor; and it is of jasper, bordered with gold and precious stones. And the seat of his second wife is also another seat more lower than his first wife; and it is also of jasper, bordered with gold, as that other is. And the seat of the third wife is also more low, by a degree, than the second wife. For he has always three wives with him, where that ever he be.

And after his wives, on the same side, sit the ladies of his lineage yet lower, after that they be of estate. And all those that be married have a counterfeit made like a man's foot upon their heads, a cubit long, all wrought with great pearls, fine and orient, and above made with peacocks' feathers and of other shining feathers; and that stands upon their heads like a crest, in token that they be under man's foot and under subjection of man. And they that be unmarried have none such.[14]

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 5: From the "Travels," the earliest extant book written in English. In this specimen the spelling has been in part modernized. First printed by Wynkyn de Worde in 1429. "Mandeville" has been called the "Father of English Prose."]

[Footnote 6: An old name for Hungary.]

[Footnote 7: Now known as Livonia, one of the Baltic provinces of Russia.]

[Footnote 8: Now Oedenburg, a city of Hungary.]

[Footnote 9: The Morava, one of the chief rivers of Servia.]

[Footnote 10: Philippolis.]

[Footnote 11: Adrianople.]

[Footnote 12: An old form of the word Byzantium, a town founded by Megariaus in the seventh century B.C. When Constantine founded the city to which he gave his own name, Byzantium, lying east of it, was included within the city limits.]

[Footnote 13: From the "Travels."]

[Footnote 14: The quaint words in which "Mandeville" concludes his book are these: "And I, John Mandeville, knight, above said (altho I be unworthy), that departed from our countries and passed the sea, the year of grace a thousand three hundred and twenty-two, that have passed many lands and many isles and countries, and searched many full strange places, and have been in many a full good honorable company, and at many a fair deed of arms (albeit that I did none myself, for mine unable insuffisance), now I am come home, in spite of myself, to rest, for gouts arthritic that me distrain, that define the end of my labor; against my will (God knows)."]



JOHN WYCLIF

Born about 1324, died in 1384; "The Morning Star of the Reformation"; educated at Oxford; rector in Lincolnshire and Buckinghamshire; Royal ambassador to papal nuncios at Bruges in 1374; in sermons attacked the Church of Rome; five papal bulls, authorizing his imprisonment, signed against him; threw off allegiance to the Church and wrote fearlessly against papal claims; died of paralysis; his bones in 1428 exhumed and burnt and his ashes cast into the river Swift by order of the synod of Constance; his translation of the Bible from the Vulgate, completed about 1382 was the first complete translation ever made.



THE BAPTISM OF CHRIST[15]

1. The bigynnynge of the gospel of Jhesu Crist, the sone of God.

2. As it is writun in Ysaie, the prophete, Lo! I send myn angel bifore thi face, that schal make thi weye redy before thee.

3. The voyce of oon cryinge in desert. Make ye redy the weye of the Lord, make ye his pathis rihtful.

4. Jhon was in desert baptisynge, and prechinge the baptym of penaunce, into remiscioun of synnes.

5. And alle men of Jerusalem wenten out to him, and al the cuntree of Judee; and weren baptisid of him in the flood of Jordan, knowlechinge her synnes.

6. And John was clothid with heeris of camelis, and a girdil of skyn abowte his leendis; and he eet locusts, and hony of the wode, and prechide, seyinge:

7. A strengere than I schal come aftir me, of whom I knelinge am not worthi for to vndo, or vnbynde, the thwong of his schoon.

8. I have baptisid you in water; forsothe he shal baptise you in the Holy Goost.

9. And it is don in thoo dayes, Jhesus came fro Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptisid of Joon in Jordan.

10. And anoon he styinge vp of the water, sayth heuenes openyd, and the Holy Goost cummynge doun as a culuere, and dwellynge in hym.

11. And a voys is maad fro heuenes, thou art my sone loued, in thee I haue plesid.

12. And anon the Spirit puttide hym in to desert.

13. And he was in desert fourty dayes and fourty nightis, and was temptid of Sathanas, and was with beestis and angelis mynstriden to hym.

14. Forsothe aftir that Joon was taken, Jhesus came in to Galilee, prechinge the gospel of the kyngdam of God,

15. And seiynge, For tyme is fulfillid, and the kyngdam of God shal come niy; forthinke yee, or do yee penaunce, and bileue yee to the gospel.

16. And he passynge bisidis the see of Galilee, say Symont, and Andrew, his brother, sendynge nettis into the see; sothely thei weren fishers.

17. And Jhesus seide to hem, Come yee after me; I shal make you to be maad fishers of men.

18. And anoon the nettis forsaken, thei sueden hym.

19. And he gon forth thennes a litil, say James of Zebede, and Joon, his brother, and hem in the boot makynge nettis.

20. And anoon he clepide him; and Zebede, her fadir, left in the boot with hirid seruantis, their sueden hym.

21. And thei wenten forth in to Cafarnaum, and anoon in the sabotis he gon yn into the synagoge, taughte them.

22. And thei wondreden on his techynge; sothely he was techynge hem, as hauynge power, and not as scribis.

23. And in the synagoge of hem was a man in an vnclene spirit, and he cried,

24. Seyinge, What to vs and to thee, thou Jhesu of Nazareth? haste thou cummen bifore the tyme for to destroie vs? Y woot thot thou art the holy of God.

25. And Jhesus thretenyde to hym, seyinge, Wexe dowmb, and go out of the man.

26. And the vnclene goost debrekynge hym, and cryinge with grete vois, wente awey fro hym.

27. And alle men wondriden, so that thei soughten togidre among hem, seyinge, What is this thinge? what is this newe techyng? for in power he comaundith to vnclene spirits, and thei obeyen to hym.

28. And the tale, or tything, of hym wente forth anoon in to al the cuntree of Galilee.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 15: Part of Chapter I of the Gospel of St. Mark, as translated by Wyclif. It will be noted that Wyclif's orthography is irregular, the same word being often spelled differently on the same page. This selection is printed in the original as a specimen of the English of Wyclif's time.]



GEOFFREY CHAUCER

Born about 1340, died in 1400; son of a London vintner; taken prisoner in Brittany in 1359 while serving with the king's army; sent to Italy on a royal embassy in 1374 and again in 1378; besides the "Canterbury Tales," wrote many books; a large number once attributed to him are now considered spurious.



OF ACQUIRING AND USING RICHES[16]

When Prudence had heard her husband avaunt himself of his riches and of his money, disparaging the power of his adversaries, she spake and said in this wise: Certes, dear sir, I grant you that ye are rich and mighty, and that riches are good to 'em that have well obtained 'em, and that well can use 'em; for, just as the body of a man may not live without soul, no more may it live without temporal goods, and by riches may a man get him great friends; and therefore saith Pamphilus: If a neatherd's daughter be rich, she may chose of a thousand men which she will take to her husband; for of a thousand men one will not forsake her nor refuse her. And this Pamphilus saith also: If thou be right happy, that is to say, if thou be right rich, thou shalt find a great number of fellows and friends; and if thy fortune change, that thou wax poor, farewell friendship and fellowship, for thou shalt be all alone without any company, except it be the company of poor folk. And yet saith this Pamphilus, moreover, that they that are bond and thrall of linage should be made worthy and noble by riches.

And just as by riches there come many goods, so by poverty come there many harms and evils; and therefore says Cassiodore,[17] poverty the mother of ruin, that is to say, the mother of overthrowing or falling down; and therefore saith Piers Alphonse: One of the greatest adversities of the world is when a free man by kind, or of birth, is constrained by poverty to eat the alms of his enemy. And the same saith Innocent in one of his books; he saith that sorrowful and mishappy is the condition of a poor beggar, for if he asks not his meat he dieth of hunger, and if he ask he dieth for shame; and dire necessity constraineth him to ask; and therefore saith Solomon: That better it is to die than for to have such poverty; and, as the same Solomon saith: Better it is to die of bitter death, than for to live in such wise.

By these reasons that I have said unto you, and by many other reasons that I could say, I grant you that riches are good to 'em that well obtained them, and to him that well uses riches; and therefore will I shew you how ye should behave you in gathering of your riches, and in what manner ye should use 'em. First, ye should get 'em without great desire, by good leisure, patiently, and not over hastily, for a man that is too desiring to get riches abandoneth him first to theft and to all other evils; and therefore saith Solomon: He that hasteth him too busily to wax rich, he shall be not innocent: he saith also, that the riches that hastily cometh to a man soon lightly goeth and passeth from a man, but that riches that cometh little and little waxeth alway and multiplieth. And, sir, ye should get riches by your wit and by your travail, unto your profit, and that without wrong or harm doing to any other person; for the law saith: There maketh no man himself rich, if he do harm to another wight; that is to say, that Nature defendeth and forbiddeth by right, that no man make himself rich unto the harm of another person.

And Tullius[18] saith: That no sorrow, no dread of death, nothing that may fall unto a man, is so much against nature as a man to increase his owyn profit to harm of another man. And though the great men and the mighty men get riches more lightly than thou, yet shalt thou not be idle nor slow to do thy profit, for thou shalt in all wise flee idleness; for Solomon saith: That idleness teacheth a man to do many evils; and the same Solomon saith: That he that travaileth and busieth himself to till his land, shall eat bread, but he that is idle, and casteth him to no business nor occupation, shall fall into poverty, and die for hunger. And he that is idle and slow can never find convenient time for to do his profit; for there is a versifier who saith, that the idle man excuseth him in winter because of the great cold, and in summer then by reason of the heat.

For these causes, saith Cato, waketh and inclineth you not over much to sleep, for over much rest nourisheth and causeth many vices; and therefore saith St. Jerome: Do some good deeds, that the devil, which is our enemy, find you not unoccupied, for the devil he taketh not lightly unto his working such as he findeth occupied in good works.

Then thus in getting riches ye must flee idleness; and afterward ye should use the riches which ye have got by your wit and by your travail, in such manner, that men hold you not too scarce, nor too sparing, nor fool-large, that is to say, over large a spender; for right as men blame an avaricious man because of his scarcity and niggardliness, in the same wise he is to blame that spendeth over largely; and therefore saith Cato: Use (saith he) the riches that thou hast obtained in such manner, that men have no matter nor cause to call thee neither wretch nor miser, for it is a great shame to a man to have a poor heart and a rich purse; he saith also: The goods that thou hast obtained, use 'em by measure, that is to say, spend measurably, for they that foolishly waste and squander the goods that they have, when they have no more proper of 'eir own, that they prepare to take the goods of another man. I say, then, that ye should flee avarice, using your riches in such manner, that men say not that your riches are buried, but that ye have 'em in your might and in your wielding; for a wise man reproveth the avaricious man, and saith thus in two verse: Whereto and why burieth a man his goods by his great avarice, and knoweth well that needs must he die, for death is the end of every man as in this present life.

And for what cause or reason joineth he him, or knitteth he him so fast unto his goods, that all his wits will not dissever him or depart him from his goods, and knoweth well, or ought to know, that when he is dead he shall nothing bear with him out of this world? And therefore saith St. Augustine, that the avaricious man is likened unto hell, that the more it swalloweth the more desire it hath to swallow and devour. And as well as ye would eschew to be called an avaricious man or a chinch, as well should ye keep you and govern you in such wise, that men call you not fool-large; therefore, saith Tullius: The goods of thine house should not be hid nor kept so close, but that they might be opened by pity and debonnairety, that is to say, to give 'em part that have great need; but the goods should not be so open to be every man's goods.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 16: One of the only two "Canterbury Tales" that were written in prose, its title being "The Tale of Melibaeus." The spelling here has been partly modernized.]

[Footnote 17: Statesman and historian; born about 464 A.D.; an administrative officer under Odoacer Theodoric, whose works were published in 1679.]

[Footnote 18: Cicero.]



WILLIAM CAXTON

Born about 1422, died in 1491; the first English printer; began to translate the "Histories de Troye" in 1469 and issued the work in 1474, either at Cologne or Bruges; translated and had printed in 1475 "The Game and Playe of Chesse," the second printed English book; set up a press in Westminster, London, in 1476, where he continued to print books until his death.



OF TRUE NOBILITY AND CHIVALRY[19]

The knight ought to be made all armed upon an apt horse, in such wise that he have an helmet on his head, and a spear in his right hand, and covered with his shield; a sword and a mace on his left side; clad with an hauberk and plates before his breast; leg harness on his legs; spurs on his heels; on his hands his gauntlets. His horse well broken and taught, and apt to battle, and covered with his arms. When the knights be made they be bayned or bathed. That is the sign that they should lead a new life and new manners; also they wake all the night in prayers and orisons unto God that he will give them grace that they may get that thing that they may not get by nature. The king or prince girdeth about them a sword, in sign that they should abide and keep him of whom they take their dispences and dignity.

Also a knight ought to be wise, liberal, true, strong, and full of mercy and pity, and keeper of the people, and of the law, and right as chivalry passeth other in virtue, in dignity, in honor, and in reverence, right so ought he to surmount all other in virtue; for honor is nothing else but to do reverence to another person for the good and virtuous disposition that is in him. A noble knight ought to be wise and proved before he be made knight; it behoveth him that he had long time used the war and arms; that he may be expert and wise for to govern others. For since a knight is captain of a battle, the life of them that shall be under him lieth in his hand, and therefore behooveth him to be wise and well advised. For sometimes art, craft and engine is more worth than strength of hardiness of a man that is not proved in arms, for otherwhile it happeneth that when the prince of the battle relies on and trusteth in his hardiness and strength, and will not use wisdom and engine for to run upon his enemies, he is vanquished and his people slain. Therefore saith the philosopher that no man should choose young people to be captains and governors, forasmuch as there is no certainty in their wisdom. Alexander of Macedon vanquished and conquered Egypt, Judaea, Chaldee, Africa, and Assyria unto the marches of Bragmans more by the counsel of old men than by the strength of the young men.

The very true love of the common weal and profit now-a-days is seldom found. Where shalt thou find a man in these days that will expose himself for the worship and honor of his friend or for the common weal. Seldom or never shall he be found. Also the knights should be large and liberal, for when a knight hath regard unto his singular profit by his covetousness, he despoileth his people. For when the soldiers see that they put them in peril, and their master will not pay them their wages liberally, but intendeth to his own proper gain and profit, then, when the enemies come, they turn soon their backs and flee oftentimes. And thus it happeneth by him that intendeth more to get money than victory, that his avarice is ofttimes cause of his confusion.

Then let every knight take heed to be liberal, in such wise that he ween not nor suppose that his scarcity be to him a great winning or gain. And for this cause he be the less loved of his people, and that his adversary withdraw to him them by large giving. For ofttime battle is advanced more for getting of silver than by the force and strength of men. For men see all day that such things as may not be achieved by force of nature be gotten and achieved by force of money. And forsomuch it behooveth to see well to that when the time of battle cometh, that he borrow not, nor make no curtailment. For no man may be rich that leaveth his own, hoping to get and take of others. Then alway all their gain, and winning ought to be common among them except their arms. For in like wise as the victory is common, so should the despoil and booty be common unto them. And therefore David, that gentle knight in the first book of Kings in the last chapter, made a law: that he that abode behind by malady or sickness in the tents should have as much part of the booty as he that had been in the battle. And for the love of this law he was made afterward king of Israel.

Alexander of Macedon came in a time like a simple knight unto the court of Porus, king of Ind, for to espy the estate of the king and of the knights of the court. And the king received him right worshipfully and demanded many things of Alexander and of his constancy and strength, nothing weening that he had been Alexander, but Antigone, one of his knights. And after he had him to dinner; and when they had served Alexander in vessel of gold and silver with diverse meats, after that he had eaten such as pleased him, he voided the meat and took the vessel and held it to himself and put it in his bosom or sleeves. Whereof he was accused unto the king. After dinner then the king called him and demanded wherefore he had taken his vessel, and he answered: Sir King, my lord, I pray thee to understand and take heed thyself and also thy knights. I have heard much of thy great highness, and that thou art more mighty and puissant in chivalry and in dispences than is Alexander, and therefore I am come to thee, a poor knight, which am named Antigone, for to serve thee. Then it is the custom in the court of Alexander that what thing a knight is served with, all is his, meat and vessel and cup. And therefore I had supposed that this custom had been kept in thy court, for thou art richer than he. When the knights heard this, anon they left Porus, and went to serve Alexander, and thus he drew to him the hearts of them by gifts, which afterward slew Porus that was king of Ind, and they made Alexander king thereof. Therefore remember, knight, alway that with a closed and shut purse thou shalt never have victory. Ovid saith that he that taketh gifts, he is glad therewith, for they win with gifts the hearts of the gods and of men.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 19: From the "Game and Playe of Chesse," translated by Caxton from the French original.]



SIR THOMAS MALORY

Born about 1430, died after 1470; compiler and translator of the "Morte d'Arthur" from French prose romances which had been built up on earlier poems dealing with the life and death of King Arthur and the knights of the Round Table; the "Morte d'Arthur" printed by Caxton in 1485.



OF THE FINDING OF A SWORD FOR ARTHUR[20]

And so Merlin and he departed, and as they rode King Arthur said, "I have no sword." "No matter," said Merlin; "hereby is a sword that shall be yours and I may." So they rode till they came to a lake, which was a fair water and a broad; and in the midst of the lake King Arthur was aware of an arm clothed in white samite, that held a fair sword in the hand. "Lo," said Merlin unto the King, "yonder is the sword that I spake of."

With that they saw a damsel going upon the lake. "What damsel is that?" said the King. "That is the Lady of the Lake," said Merlin; "and within that lake is a reach, and therein is as fair a place as any is on earth, and richly beseen; and this damsel will come to you anon, and then speak fair to her that she will give you that sword." Therewith came the damsel to King Arthur, and saluted him, and he her again. "Damsel," said the King, "what sword is that which the arm holdeth yonder above the water? I would it were mine, for I have no sword." "Sir King," said the damsel of the lake, "that sword is mine, and if ye will give me a gift when I ask it you, ye shall have it." "By my faith," said King Arthur, "I will give you any gift that you will ask or desire." "Well," said the damsel, "go ye into yonder barge, and row yourself unto the sword, and take it and the scabbard with you; and I will ask my gift when I see my time."

So King Arthur and Merlin alighted, tied their horses to two trees, and so they went into the barge. And when they came to the sword that the hand held, King Arthur took it up by the handles, and took it with him; and the arm and the hand went under the water, and so came to the land and rode forth.

Then King Arthur saw a rich pavilion. "What signifieth yonder pavilion?" "That is the knight's pavilion that ye fought with last—Sir Pellinore; but he is out; for he is not there: he hath had to do with a knight of yours, that hight Eglame, and they have foughten together a great while, but at the last Eglame fled, and else he had been dead; and Sir Pellinore hath chased him to Carlion, and we shall anon meet with him in the highway." "It is well said," quoth King Arthur; "now have I a sword, and now will I wage battle with him and be avenged on him." "Sir, ye shall not do so," said Merlin: "for the knight is weary of fighting and chasing; so that ye shall have no worship to have a do with him. Also he will not lightly be matched of one knight living: and therefore my counsel is, that yet let him pass; for he shall do you good service in short time, and his sons after his days. Also ye shall see that day in short space, that ye shall be right glad to give him your sister to wife." "When I see him," said King Arthur, "I will do as ye advise me."

Then King Arthur looked upon the sword and liked it passing well. "Whether liketh you better," said Merlin, "the sword or the scabbard?" "Me liketh better the sword," said King Arthur. "Ye are more unwise," said Merlin; "for the scabbard is worth ten of the sword: for while ye have the scabbard upon you, ye shall lose no blood, be ye never so sore wounded—therefore keep well the scabbard alway with you." So they rode on to Carlion.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 20: From the "Morte d'Arthur."]



SIR THOMAS MORE

Born in 1478, died in 1535; met Erasmus in London in 1497; after 1503 devoted himself mainly to politics; entered Parliament in 1504; ambassador to Flanders in 1515; published "Utopia" in 1516; privy counsellor to Henry VIII in 1518; present with the King at the Field of the Cloth of Gold in 1520; speaker of the House of Commons in 1523; defended the papacy against Luther; succeeded Wolsey as chancellor in 1529; refused in 1534 to take the oath of adherence to the act vesting the succession in the issue of Anne Boleyn and committed to the Tower, indicted for high treason and executed July 6th, 1535.



LIFE IN UTOPIA[21]

There are fifty-four cities in the island, all large and well built, the manners, customs, and laws of which are the same, and they are all contrived as near in the same manner as the ground on which they stand will allow. The nearest lie at least twenty-four miles' distance from one another, and the most remote are not so far distant but that a man can go on foot in one day from it to that which lies next it. Every city sends three of their wisest senators once a year to Amaurot, to consult about their common concerns; for that is the chief town of the island, being situated near the center of it, so that it is the most convenient place for their assemblies. The jurisdiction of every city extends at least twenty miles; and where the towns lie wider, they have much more ground. No town desires to enlarge its bounds, for the people consider themselves rather as tenants than landlords.

They have built, over all the country, farmhouses for husbandmen; which are well contrived, and furnished with all things necessary for country labor. Inhabitants are sent, by turns, from the cities to dwell in them; no country family has fewer than forty men and women in it, besides two slaves. There is a master and a mistress set over every family, and over thirty families there is a magistrate. Every year twenty of this family come back to the town after they have stayed two years in the country, and in their room there are other twenty sent from the town, that they may learn country work from those that have been already one year in the country, as they must teach those that come to them the next from the town. By this means such as dwell in those country farms are never ignorant of agriculture, and so commit no errors which might otherwise be fatal and bring them under a scarcity of corn. But tho there is every year such a shifting of the husbandmen, to prevent any man being forced against his will to follow that hard course of life too long, yet many among them take such pleasure in it that they desire leave to continue in it many years.

These husbandmen till the ground, breed cattle, hew wood and convey it to the towns either by land or water, as is most convenient. They breed an infinite multitude of chickens in a very curious manner: for the hens do not sit and hatch them, but a vast number of eggs are laid in a gentle and equal heat in order to be hatched; and they are no sooner out of the shell, and able to stir about, but they seem to consider those that feed them as their mothers, and follow them as other chickens do the hen that hatched them. They breed very few horses, but those they have are full of mettle, and are kept only for exercising their youth in the art of sitting and riding them; for they do not put them to any work, either of plowing or carriage, in which they employ oxen. For tho their horses are stronger, yet they find oxen can hold out longer; and as they are not subject to so many diseases, so they are kept upon a less charge and with less trouble. And even when they are so worn out that they are no more fit for labor, they are good meat at last. They sow no corn but that which is to be their bread: for they drink either wine, cider, or perry, and often water, sometimes boiled with honey or licorice, with which they abound; and tho they know exactly how much corn will serve every town and all that tract of country which belongs to it, yet they sow much more, and breed more cattle, than are necessary for their consumption, and they give that overplus of which they make no use to their neighbors.

When they want anything in the country which it does not produce, they fetch that from the town, without carrying anything in exchange for it. And the magistrates of the town take care to see it given them; for they meet generally in the town once a month, upon a festival day. When the time of harvest comes, the magistrates in the country send to those in the towns, and let them know how many hands they will need for reaping the harvest; and the number they call for being sent to them, they commonly dispatch it all in one day.

He that knows one of their towns knows them all—they are so like one another, except where the situation makes some difference. I shall therefore describe one of them, and none is so proper as Amaurot; for as none is more eminent (all the rest yielding in precedence to this, because it is the seat of their supreme council), so there was none of them better known to me, I having lived five years all together in it.

It lies upon the side of a hill, or rather a rising ground. Its figure is almost square: for from the one side of it, which shoots up almost to the top of the hill, it runs down, in a descent for two miles, to the river Anider; but it is a little broader the other way that runs along by the bank of that river. The Anider rises about eighty miles above Amaurot, in a small spring at first. But other brooks falling into it, of which two are more considerable than the rest, as it runs by Amaurot it is grown half a mile broad; but it still grows larger and larger, till after sixty miles' course below it, it is lost in the ocean. Between the town and the sea, and for some miles above the town, it ebbs and flows every six hours with a strong current. The tide comes up about thirty miles so full that there is nothing but salt water in the river, the fresh water being driven back with its force; and above that, for some miles, the water is brackish; but a little higher, as it runs by the town, it is quite fresh; and when the tide ebbs, it continues fresh all along to the sea. There is a bridge cast over the river, not of timber, but of fair stone, consisting of many stately arches; it lies at that part of the town which is farthest from the sea, so that the ships, without any hindrance, lie all along the side of the town.

There is likewise another river that runs by it, which, tho it is not great, yet it runs pleasantly, for it rises out of the same hill on which the town stands, and so runs down through it and falls into the Anider. The inhabitants have fortified the fountain-head of this river, which springs a little without the towns; that so, if they should happen to be besieged, the enemy might not be able to stop or divert the course of the water, nor poison it; from thence it is carried in earthen pipes to the lower streets. And for those places of the town to which the water of that small river can not be conveyed, they have great cisterns for receiving the rain-water, which supplies the want of the other.

The town is compassed with a high and thick wall, in which there are many towers and forts; there is also a broad and deep dry ditch, set thick with thorns, cast round three sides of the town, and the river is instead of a ditch on the fourth side. The streets are very convenient for all carriage, and are well sheltered from the winds. Their buildings are good, and are so uniform that a whole side of a street looks like one house. The streets are twenty feet broad. There lie gardens behind all their houses; these are large, but inclosed with buildings, that on all hands face the streets, so that every house has both a door to the street and a back door to the garden. Their doors have all two leaves, which, as they are easily opened, so they shut of their own accord; and there being no property among them, every man may freely enter into any house whatsoever. At every ten years' end they shift their houses by lots. They cultivate their gardens with great care, so that they have both vines, fruits, herbs, and flowers in them; and all is so well ordered and so finely kept that I never saw gardens anywhere that were both so fruitful and so beautiful as theirs. And this humor of ordering their gardens so well is not only kept up by the pleasure they find in it, but also by an emulation between the inhabitants of the several streets, who vie with each other. And there is, indeed, nothing belonging to the whole town that is both more useful and more pleasant. So that he who founded the town seems to have taken care of nothing more than of their gardens; for they say the whole scheme of the town was designed at first by Utopus, but he left all that belonged to the ornament and improvement of it to be added by those that should come after him, that being too much for one man to bring to perfection.

Their records, that contain the history of their town and state, are preserved with an exact care, and run backward seventeen hundred and sixty years. From these it appears that their houses were at first low and mean, like cottages, made of any sort of timber, and were built with mud walls and thatched with straw. But now their houses are three stories high; the fronts of them are faced either with stone, plastering, or brick, and between the facings of their walls they throw in their rubbish. Their roofs are flat; and on them they lay a sort of plaster, which costs very little, and yet is so tempered that it is not apt to take fire, and yet resists the weather more than lead. They have great quantities of glass among them, with which they glaze their windows; they use also in their windows a thin linen cloth, that is so oiled or gummed that it both keeps out the wind and gives free admission to the light.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 21: The "Utopia" was written originally in Latin. It derived its name from an imaginary island, the seat of an ideal state. Ralph Robinson made a translation into English in 1551. Another translation was made by Bishop Burnet in 1633.]



JOHN KNOX

Born in 1505, died in 1572; early influenced by George Wishart, a Lutheran refugee who had found an asylum in Scotland; a royal chaplain in 1550; assisted in the revision of the Prayer-book; fled to the Continent after the accession of Mary Tudor and visited Calvin; preached for a time at Frankfort and afterward traveled and preached in Scotland; occupied himself with the organization of the Presbyterian Church, having frequent dramatic encounters with Mary, Queen of Scots, whose sympathies were Catholic.



AN INTERVIEW WITH MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS[22]

The queen, in a vehement fume, began to cry out that never prince was handled as she was. "I have," said she, "borne with you in all your rigorous manner of speaking, both against myself and against my uncles; yea, I have sought your favors by all possible means. I offered unto you presence and audience, whensoever it pleased you to admonish me, and yet I cannot be quit of you. I avow to God I shall be anes [once] revenged." And with these words scarcely could Marnock, her secret chamber-boy, get napkins to hold her eyes dry for the tears; and the owling, besides womanly weeping, stayed her speech.

The said John did patiently abide all the first fume, and at opportunity answered: "True it is, Madam, your Grace and I have been at diverse controversies, into the which I never perceived your Grace to be offended at me. But when it shall please God to deliver you from that bondage of darkness and error, in the which ye have been nourished, for the lack of true doctrine, your majesty will find the liberty of my tongue nothing offensive. Without the preaching-place, Madam, I think few have occasion to be offended at me, and there, Madam, I am not master of myself, but man [must] obey Him who commands me to speak plain, and to flatter no flesh upon the face of the earth."

"But what have ye to do," said she, "with my marriage?"

"If it please your majesty," said he, "patiently to hear me, I shall shew the truth in plain words. I grant your Grace offered me more than ever I required; but my answer was then, as it is now, that God hath not sent me to await upon the courts of princesses, nor upon the chambers of ladies; but I am sent to preach the evangel of Jesus Christ to such as please to hear it; and it hath two parts—repentance and faith. And now, Madam, in preaching repentance, of necessity it is, that the sins of men be so noted, that they may know wherein they offend; but so it is, that the most part of your nobility are so addicted to your affections, that neither God, His word, nor yet their commonwealth, are rightly regarded. And therefore, it becomes me so to speak that they may know their duty."

"What have ye to do," said she, "with my marriage? Or what are ye within this commonwealth?"

"A subject born within the same," said he, "Madam. And, albeit I neither be earl, lord, nor baron within it, yet has God made me—how abject that ever I be in your eyes—a profitable member within the same. Yea, Madam, to me it appertains no less to forewarn of such things as may hurt it, if I foresee them, than it does to any of the nobility; for both my vocation and conscience craves plainness of me. And therefore, Madam, to yourself I say that which I speak in public place: whensoever that the nobility of this realm shall consent that ye be subject to an unfaithful husband, they do as much as in them lieth to renounce Christ, to banish His truth from them, to betray the freedom of this realm, and perchance shall in the end do small comfort to yourself."

At these words, owling was heard, and tears might have been seen in greater abundance than the matter required. John Erskine of Dun—a man of meek and gentle spirit—stood beside, and entreated what he could to mitigate her anger, and gave unto her many pleasing words of her beauty, of her excellence, and how that all the princes of Europe would be glad to seek her favors. But all that was to cast oil in the flaming fire. The said John stood still, without any alteration of countenance, for a long season, while that the queen gave place to her inordinate passion, and in the end he said: "Madam, in God's presence I speak: I never delighted in the weeping of any of God's creatures; yea, I can scarcely well abide the tears of my own boys, whom my own hand corrects, much less can I rejoice in your majesty's weeping. But, seeing that I have offered unto you no just occasion to be offended, but have spoken the truth, as my vocation craves, I may sustain, albeit unwillingly, your majesty's tears, rather than hurt my conscience, or betray my commonwealth."

Herewith was the queen more offended, and commanded the said John to pass forth of the cabinet, and to abide further of her pleasure in the chamber. The Laird of Dun tarried, and Lord John of Coldingham came into the cabinet, and so they both remained with her near the space of an hour. The said John stood in the chamber, as one whom men had never seen—so were all effrayed—except that the Lord Ochiltree bare him company; and therefore began he to forge talking of the ladies, who were there sitting in all their gorgeous apparel, which espied, he merrily said: "O fair ladies, how pleasant were this life of yours if it should ever abide, and then in the end that we might pass to heaven with all this gay gear! But fie upon that knave Death, that will come whether we will nor not! And when he has laid on his arrest, the foul worms will be busy with this flesh, be it never so tender; and the silly soul, I fear, shall be so feeble, that it can neither carry with it gold, garnishing, targeting, pearl, nor precious stones." And by such means procured he the company of women; and so passed the time till that the Laird of Dun willed him to depart to his house.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 22: From the "History of the Reformation in Scotland." The spelling has been modernized. After the arrival of Mary in Scotland in 1561, Knox had several interviews with her, followed by an open rupture with her party in the government of Scotland, and by his retirement into comparative privacy. Burton, the historian of Scotland, believes that the dialog here given took place in French, rather than in the language in which Knox reports it. Mary's habitual speech was French and Knox knew the language well.]



ROGER ASCHAM

Born in 1515, died in 1568; educated at Cambridge, where he taught Greek; became a tutor to Princess Elizabeth, afterward to the Queen, in 1548; served as Latin Secretary to Queens Mary and Elizabeth, 1563-68; his work, "The Schoolmaster," published in 1570.



OF GENTLE METHODS IN TEACHING[23]

Yet some will say that children, of nature, love pastime, and mislike learning; because, in their kind, the one is easy and pleasant, the other hard and wearisome. Which is an opinion not so true as some men ween. For the matter lieth not so much in the disposition of them that be young, as in the order and manner of bringing up by them that be old; nor yet in the difference of learning and pastime. For, beat a child if he dance not well, and cherish him tho he learn not well, you shall have him unwilling to go to dance, and glad to go to his book; knock him always when he draweth his shaft ill, and favor him again tho he fault at his book, you shall have him very loth to be in the field, and very willing to be in the school. Yea, I say more, and not of myself, but by the judgment of those from whom few wise men will gladly dissent; that if ever the nature of man be given at any time, more than other, to receive goodness, it is in innocency of young years, before that experience of evil have taken root in him. For the pure clean wit of a sweet young babe is like the newest wax, most able to receive the best and fairest printing; and like a new bright silver dish never occupied, to receive and keep clean any good thing that is put into it.

And thus, will in children, wisely wrought withal, may easily be won to be very well willing to learn. And wit in children, by nature, namely memory, the only key and keeper of all learning, is readiest to receive and surest to keep any manner of thing that is learned in youth. This, lewd and learned, by common experience know to be most true. For we remember nothing so well when we be old as those things which we learned when we were young. And this is not strange, but common in all nature's works. "Every man seeth (as I said before) new wax is best for printing, new clay fittest for working, new-shorn wool aptest for soon and surest dyeing, new fresh flesh for good and durable salting." And this similitude is not rude, nor borrowed of the larder-house, but out of his school-house, of whom the wisest of England need not be ashamed to learn. "Young grafts grow not only soonest, but also fairest, and bring always forth the best and sweetest fruit; young whelps learn easily to carry; young popinjays learn quickly to speak." And so, to be short, if in all other things, tho they lack reason, sense, and life, the similitude of youth is fittest to all goodness, surely nature in mankind is most beneficial and effectual in their behalf.

Therefore, if to the goodness of nature be joined the wisdom of the teacher, in leading young wits into a right and plain way of learning; surely children kept up in God's fear, and governed by His grace, may most easily be brought well to serve God and their country, both by virtue and wisdom.

But if will and wit, by farther age, be once allured from innocency, delighted in vain sights, filled with foul talk, crooked with wilfulness, hardened with stubbornness, and let loose to disobedience; surely it is hard with gentleness, but impossible with severe cruelty, to call them back to good frame again. For where the one perchance may bend it, the other shall surely break it: and so, instead of some hope, leave an assured desperation, and shameless contempt of all goodness; the furthest point in all mischief, as Xenophon doth most truly and most wittily mark.

Therefore, to love or to hate, to like or to contemn, to ply this way or that way to good or to bad, ye shall have as ye use a child in his youth.

And one example whether love or fear doth work more in a child for virtue and learning, I will gladly report; which may be heard with some pleasure, and followed with more profit.

Before I went into Germany, I came to Broadgate in Leicestershire, to take my leave of that noble lady, Jane Grey, to whom I was exceeding much beholding. Her parents, the duke and duchess, with all the household, gentlemen and gentlewomen, were hunting in the park. I found her in her chamber, reading Phaedo Platonis in Greek, and that with as much delight as some gentlemen would read a merry tale in Boccace. After salutation and duty done, with some other talk, I asked her why she would leese [lose] such pastime in the park? Smiling she answered me: "I wisse, all their sport in the park is but a shadow to that pleasure that I find in Plato. Alas! good folk, they never felt what true pleasure meant." "And how came you, madame," quoth I, "to this deep knowledge of pleasure? and what did chiefly allure you unto it, seeing not many women, but very few men, have attained thereunto?" "I will tell you," quoth she, "and tell you a truth, which perchance ye will marvel at. One of the greatest benefits that ever God gave me, is, that He sent me so sharp and severe parents, and so gentle a schoolmaster. For when I am in presence either of father or mother, whether I speak, keep silence, sit, stand, or go, eat, drink, be merry, or sad, be sewing, playing, dancing, or doing anything else, I must do it, as it were, in such weight, measure, and number, even so perfectly, as God made the world; or else I am so sharply taunted, so cruelly threatened, yea, presently, sometimes with pinches, nibs, and bobs, and other ways which I will not name, for the honor I bear them, so without measure misordered, that I think myself in hell, till time come that I must go to Mr. Elmer; who teacheth me so gently, so pleasantly, with such fair allurements to learning, that I think all the time nothing whiles I am with him. And when I am called from him, I fall on weeping, because whatsoever I do else but learning, is full of grief, trouble, fear, and whole misliking unto me. And thus my book hath been so much my pleasure, and bringeth daily to me more pleasure and more, that in respect of it, all other pleasures, in very deed, be but trifles and troubles unto me."

I remember this talk gladly, both because it is so worthy of memory, and because also it was the last talk that ever I had, and the last time that ever I saw that noble and worthy lady.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 23: From "The Schoolmaster."]



JOHN FOXE

Born in 1516, died in 1587; educated at Oxford; became in 1584 tutor to the children of Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey; in order to escape persecution as a Protestant, fled to the Continent at the accession of Mary Tudor; returned to England in 1559, becoming in 1563 prebendary in Salisbury Cathedral; his "Book of Martyrs" first published in 1563.



THE DEATH OF ANNE BOLEYN[24]

In certain records thus we find, that the king, being in his justs at Greenwich, suddenly, with a few persons, departed to Westminster; and the next day after, Queen Anne, his wife, was had to the Tower, with the Lord Rochford, her brother, and certain other, and the nineteenth day after, was beheaded. The words of this worthy and Christian lady, at her death, were these: "Good Christian people, I am come hither to die; for, according to the law, and by the law, I am judged to death, and therefore I will speak nothing against it. I am come hither to accuse no man, nor to speak anything of that whereof I am accused, and condemned to die; but I pray God save the king, and send him long to reign over you, for a gentler or a more merciful prince was there never; and to me he was a very good, a gentle, and a sovereign lord. And if any person will meddle of my cause, I require them to judge the best. And thus I take my leave of the world, and of you all; and I heartily desire you all to pray for me. The Lord have mercy on me; to God I recommend my soul." And so she kneeled down, saying, "To Christ I commend my soul; Jesus, receive my soul," repeating the same divers times, till at length the stroke was given, and her head was stricken off.

And this was the end of that godly lady and queen. Godly I call her, for sundry respects, whatsoever the cause was, or quarrel objected against her. First, her last words, spoken at her death, declared no less her sincere faith and trust in Christ than did her quiet modesty utter forth the goodness of the cause and matter, whatsoever it was. Besides that, to such as wisely can judge upon cases occurrent, this also may seem to give a great clearing unto her, that the king, the third day after, was married in his whites unto another. Certain this was, that for the rare and singular gifts of her mind, so well instructed, and given toward God, with such a fervent desire unto the truth, and setting forth of sincere religion, joined with like gentleness, modesty, and pity toward all men, there have not many such queens before her borne the crown of England. Principally, this one commendation she left behind her, that, during her life, the religion of Christ most happily flourished, and had a right prosperous course.

Many things might be written more of the manifold virtues, and the quiet moderation of her mild nature; how lowly she would bear, not only to be admonished, but also of her own accord would require her chaplains plainly and freely to tell whatsoever they saw in her amiss. Also, how bountiful she was to the poor, passing not only the poor example of other queens, but also the revenues almost of her estate: insomuch that the alms which she gave in three-quarters of a year, in distribution, is summed to the number of fourteen or fifteen thousand pounds; besides the great piece of money which her Grace intended to impart into four sundry quarters of the realm, as for a stock, there to be employed to the behoof of poor artificers and occupiers. Again, what a zealous defender she was of Christ's gospel all the world doth know, and her acts do and will declare to the world's end. Amongst which other her acts, this is one, that she placed Master Hugh Latimer in the bishopric of Worcester, and also preferred Dr. Sharton to his bishopric, being then accounted a good man. Furthermore, what a true faith she bore unto the Lord, this one example may stand for many: for that, when King Henry was with her at Woodstock,[25] and there being afraid of an old blind prophecy, for the which neither he nor other kings before him durst hunt in the said park of Woodstock, nor enter into the town of Oxford, at last, through the Christian and faithful counsel of that queen, he was so armed against all infidelity, that both he hunted in the aforesaid park, and also entered into the town of Oxford, and had no harm. But because touching the memorable virtues of this worthy queen, partly we have said something before, partly because more also is promised to be declared of her virtuous life (the Lord so permitting), by other who then were about her, I will cease in this matter further to proceed.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 24: From the "Book of Martyrs."]

[Footnote 25: At Woodstock was one of the residences of Henry VIII and earlier kings. The Black Prince was born there and Elizabeth was there imprisoned by Queen Mary. After the battle of Blenheim, the place was given in perpetuity to Marlborough, and his famous residence Blenheim erected there. It is about eight miles from Oxford.]



SIR WALTER RALEIGH

Born in 1552, died in 1618; educated at Oxford; commanded an English Company in Ireland in 1580; a favorite of Queen Elizabeth; obtained a charter to colonize Virginia in 1584, and sent out several expeditions, none of which founded permanent settlements; introduced tobacco into Europe, and the potato into Ireland; took an active part against the Armada in 1588; explored the Oronoko in 1595; charged with having plotted to place Arabella Stuart on the throne in 1603, and sent to the Tower, where he wrote his "History of the World"; sailed again for the Oronoko in 1616; and on his return, the expedition having failed, condemned and executed.



THE MUTABILITY OF HUMAN AFFAIRS[26]

If we truly examine the difference of both conditions—to wit, of the rich and mighty, whom we call fortunate, and of the poor and opprest, whom we count wretched—we shall find the happiness of the one, and the miserable estate of the other, so tied by God to the very instant, and both so subject to interchange (witness the sudden downfall of the greatest princes, and the speedy uprising of the meanest persons), as the one hath nothing so certain whereof to boast, nor the other so uncertain whereof to bewail itself.

For there is no man so assured of his honor, of his riches, health, or life but that he may be deprived of either, or all, the very next hour or day to come. Quid vesper vehat, incertum est; what the evening will bring with it is uncertain.

And yet ye can not tell, saith St. James, what shall be to-morrow. To-day he is set up, and to-morrow he shall not be found, for he is turned into dust, and his purpose perisheth. And altho the air which compasseth adversity be very obscure, yet therein we better discern God than in that shining light which environeth worldly glory; through which, for the clearness thereof, there is no vanity which escapeth our sight. And let adversity seem what it will—to happy men, ridiculous, who make themselves merry at other men's misfortunes; and to those under the cross, grievous—yet this is true, that for all that is past, to the very instant, the portions remaining are equal to either. For, be it that we have lived many years (according to Solomon), "and in them all we have rejoiced"; or be it that we have measured the same length of days, and therein have evermore sorrowed; yet, looking back from our present being, we find both the one and the other—to wit, the joy and the wo—sailed out of sight; and death, which doth pursue us and hold us in chase from our infancy, hath gathered it. Quicquid aetatis retro est, mors tenet; whatsoever of our age is past, death holds it.

So as, whosoever he be to whom fortune hath been a servant, and the time a friend, let him but take the account of his memory (for we have no other keeper of our pleasures past), and truly examine what it hath reserved, either of beauty and youth, or foregone delights; what it hath saved, that it might last, of his dearest affections, or of whatever else the amorous springtime gave his thoughts of contentment, then invaluable, and he shall find that all the art which his elder years have can draw no other vapor out of these dissolutions than heavy, secret, and sad sighs. He shall find nothing remaining but those sorrows which grow up after our fast-springing youth, overtake it when it is at a stand, and overtop it utterly when it begins to wither; insomuch as, looking back from the very instant time, and from our now being, the poor, diseased, and captive creature hath as little sense of all his former miseries and pains as he that is most blest, in common opinion, hath of his forepast pleasures and delights. For whatsoever is cast behind us is just nothing; and what is to come, deceitful hope hath it. Omniae quae eventura sunt in incerto jacent. Only those few black swans I must except who, having had the grace to value worldly vanities at no more than their own price, do, by retaining the comfortable memory of a well-acted life, behold death without dread, and the grave without fear, and embrace both as necessary guides to endless glory....

If we seek a reason of the succession and continuance of boundless ambition in mortal men, we may add, that the kings and princes of the world have always laid before them the actions, but not the ends of those great ones which preceded them. They are always transported with the glory of the one, but they never mind the misery of the other, till they find the experience in themselves. They neglect the advice of God while they enjoy life, or hope it, but they follow the counsel of death upon his first approach. It is he that puts into man all the wisdom of the world without speaking a word, which God, with all the words of His law, promises, or threats, doth not infuse. Death, which hateth and destroyeth man, is believed; God, which hath made him and loves him, is always deferred. "I have considered," saith Solomon, "all the works that are under the sun, and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit"; but who believes it, till death tells it us? It was death, which, opening the conscience of Charles V. made him enjoin his son Philip to restore Navarre, and King Francis I. of France to command that justice should be done upon the murderers of the Protestants in Merindol and Cabrieres, which till then he neglected.

It is therefore death alone that can suddenly make man to know himself. He tells the proud and insolent that they are but abjects, and humbles them at the instant, makes them cry, complain, and repent, yea, even to hate their forepassed happiness. He takes the account of the rich, and proves him a beggar, a naked beggar, which hath interest in nothing but in the gravel that fills his mouth. He holds a glass before the eyes of the most beautiful, and makes them see therein their deformity and rottenness, and they acknowledge it.

O eloquent, just, and mighty Death! whom none could advise, thou hast persuaded; what none hath dared, thou hast done; and whom all the world hath flattered, thou only hast cast out of the world and despised; thou hast drawn together all the far-stretched greatness, all the pride, cruelty, and ambition of man, and covered it all over with these two narrow words, Hic jacet!

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 26: From the preface to the "History of the World."]



FRANCIS BACON

Born in 1561, died in 1626; commonly styled "Lord" Bacon, but incorrectly, his title being Baron Verulam and Viscount St. Albans; educated at Cambridge; entered Parliament in 1584; solicitor-general in 1607; privy counsellor in 1616; lord keeper in 1617; lord chancellor in 1618; tried for bribery, condemned, fined and removed from office in 1621; one of the chief founders of modern inductive science; author of "Advancement of Learning" (1605), the "Novum Organum" (1620), "Essays" (1597-1625), a "History of Henry VII" (1622) and other works.



I

OF TRAVEL[27]

Travel, in the younger sort, is a part of education, in the elder, a part of experience. He that traveleth into a country before he hath some entrance into the language, goeth to school, and not to travel. That young men travel under some tutor, or grave servant, I allow well; so that he be such a one that hath the language, and hath been in the country before; whereby he may be able to tell them what things are worthy to be seen in the country where they go; what acquaintances they are to seek; what exercises or discipline the place yieldeth. For else young men shall go hooded, and look abroad little. It is a strange thing, that in sea voyages, where there is nothing to be seen but sky and sea, men should make diaries; but in land-travel, wherein so much is to be observed, for the most part they omit it; as if chance were fitter to be registered than observation. Let diaries therefore be brought in use. The things to be seen and observed are: the courts of princes, specially when they give audience to ambassadors; the courts of justice, while they sit and hear causes; and so of consistories ecclesiastic; the churches and monasteries, with the monuments which are therein extant; the walls and fortifications of cities and towns, and so the havens and harbors; antiquities and ruins; libraries, colleges, disputations, and lectures, where any are; shipping and navies; houses and gardens of state and pleasure, near great cities; armories; arsenals; magazines; exchanges; burses; warehouses; exercises of horsemanship, fencing, training of soldiers, and the like; comedies, such whereunto the better sort of persons do resort; treasuries of jewels and robes; cabinets and rarities; and, to conclude, whatsoever is memorable in the places where they go. After all which the tutors or servants ought to make diligent study. As for triumphs, masks, feasts, weddings, funerals, capital executions, and such shows, men need not to be put in mind of them; yet are they not to be neglected.

If you will have a young man to put his travel into a little room, and in short time to gather much, this you must do. First, as was said, he must have some entrance into the language before he goeth. Then he must have such a servant or tutor as knoweth the country, as was likewise said. Let him carry with him also some card or book describing the country where he traveleth; which will be a good key to his inquiry. Let him keep also a diary. Let him not stay long in one city or town; more or less as the place deserveth, but not long; nay, when he stayeth in one city or town, let him change his lodging from one end and part of the town to another; which is a great adamant of acquaintance. Let him sequester himself from the company of his countrymen, and diet in such places where there is good company of the nation where he traveleth. Let him, upon his removes from one place to another, procure recommendation to some person of quality residing in the place whither he removeth; that he may use his favor in those things he desireth to see or know. Thus he may abridge his travel with much profit.

As for the acquaintance which is to be sought in travel; that which is most of all profitable is acquaintance with the secretaries and employed men of ambassadors: for so in traveling in one country he shall suck the experience of many. Let him also see and visit eminent persons in all kinds, which are of great name abroad; that he may be able to tell how the life agreeth with the fame. For quarrels, they are with care and discretion to be avoided. They are commonly for mistresses, healths, place, and words. And let a man beware how he keepeth company with choleric and quarrelsome persons; for they will engage him into their own quarrels. When a traveler returneth home, let him not leave the countries where he hath traveled altogether behind him; but maintain a correspondence by letters with those of his acquaintance which are of most worth. And let his travel appear rather in his discourse than in his apparel or gesture; and in his discourse let him be rather advised in his answers, than forwards to tell stories; and let it appear that he doth not change his country manners for those of foreign parts; but only prick in some flowers of that he hath learned abroad into the customs of his own country.



II

OF RICHES

I cannot call riches better than the baggage of virtue. The Roman word is better, impedimenta. For as the baggage is to an army, so is riches to virtue. It cannot be spared nor left behind, but it hindereth the march; yea, and the care of it sometimes loseth or disturbeth the victory. Of great riches there is no real use, except it be in the distribution; the rest is but conceit. So saith Solomon, "Where much is, there are many to consume it; and what hath the owner but the sight of it with his eyes?" The personal fruition in any man cannot reach to feel great riches: there is a custody of them; or a power of dole and donative of them; or a fame of them; but no solid use to the owner. Do you not see what feigned prices are set upon little stones and rarities? and what works of ostentation are undertaken, because there might seem to be some use of great riches? But then you will say, they may be of use to buy men out of dangers or troubles. As Solomon saith, "Riches are as a stronghold, in the imagination of the rich man."

But this is excellently exprest, that it is in imagination, and not always in fact. For certainly great riches have sold more men than they have bought out. Seek not proud riches, but such as thou mayest get justly, use soberly, distribute cheerfully, and leave contentedly. Yet have no abstract or friarly contempt of them. But distinguish as Cicero saith well of Rabirius Posthumus, In studio rei amplificandae apparebat, non avaritiae praedam, sed instrumentum bonitari quaeri.[28] Harken also to Solomon, and beware of hasty gathering of riches: Qui festinat ad divitias, non erit insons.[29] The poets feign, that when Plutus (which is Riches) is sent from Jupiter, he limps and goes slowly; but when he is sent from Pluto, he runs and is swift of foot. Meaning that riches gotten by good means and just labor pace slowly; but when they come by the death of others (as by the course of inheritance, testaments, and the like), they come tumbling upon a man. But it might be applied likewise to Pluto, taking him for the devil. For when riches come from the devil (as by fraud and oppression and unjust means), they come upon speed.

The ways to enrich are many, and most of them foul. Parsimony is one of the best, and yet is not innocent; for it withholdeth men from works of liberality and charity. The improvement of the ground is the most natural obtaining of riches; for it is our great mother's blessing, the earth's; but it is slow. And yet where men of great wealth do stoop to husbandry, it multiplieth riches exceedingly. I knew a nobleman in England, that had the greatest audits of any man in my time; a great grazier, a great sheep-master, a great timber man, a great collier, a great corn-master, a great lead-man, and so of iron, and a number of the like points of husbandry. So as the earth seemed a sea to him, in respect of the perpetual importation. It was truly observed by one, that himself came very hardly to a little riches, and very easily to great riches. For when a man's stock is come to that, that he can expect the prime of markets, and overcome those bargains which for their greatness are few men's money, and be partner in the industries of younger men, he cannot but increase mainly.

The gains of ordinary trades and vocations are honest; and furthered by two things chiefly: by diligence, and by a good name for good and fair dealing. But the gains of bargains are of a more doubtful nature; when men shall wait upon others' necessity, broke by servants and instruments to draw them on, put off others cunningly that would be better chapmen, and the like practises, which are crafty and naught. As for the chopping of bargains, when a man buys not to hold but to sell over again, that commonly grindeth double, both upon the seller and upon the buyer. Sharings do greatly enrich, if the hands be well chosen that are trusted. Usury is the certainest means of gain, tho one of the worst; as that whereby a man doth eat his bread in sudore vultus alieni;[30] and besides, doth plough upon Sundays. But yet certain tho it be, it hath flaws; for that the scriveners and brokers do value unsound men to serve their own turn. The fortune in being the first in an invention or in a privilege doth cause sometimes a wonderful overgrowth in riches; as it was with the first sugar man in the Canaries.[31] Therefore if a man can play the true logician, to have as well judgment as invention, he may do great matters; especially if the times be fit.

He that resteth upon gains certain shall hardly grow to great riches; and he that puts all upon adventures doth oftentimes break and come to poverty: it is good therefore to guard adventures with certainties, that may uphold losses. Monopolies, and co-emption of wares for re-sale, where they are not restrained, are great means to enrich; especially if the party have intelligence what things are like to come into request, and so store himself beforehand. Riches gotten by service, tho it be of the best rise, yet when they are gotten by flattery, feeding humors, and other servile conditions, they may be placed amongst the worst. As for fishing for testaments and executorships (as Tacitus saith of Seneca, testamenta et orbos tamquam indagine capi,[32]) it is yet worse; by how much men submit themselves to meaner persons than in service. Believe not much them that seem to despise riches; for they despise them that despair of them; and none worse when they come to them. Be not penny-wise; riches have wings, and sometimes they fly away of themselves, sometimes they must be set flying to bring in more. Men leave their riches either to their kindred, or to the public; and moderate portions prosper best in both. A great estate left to an heir, is as a lure to all the birds of prey round about to seize on him, if he be not the better established in years and judgment. Likewise glorious gifts and foundations are like sacrifices without salt; and but the painted sepulchers of alms, which soon will putrefy and corrupt inwardly. Therefore measure not thine advancements by quantity, but frame them by measure: and defer not charities till death; for, certainly, if a man weigh it rightly, he that doth so is rather liberal of another man's than of his own.



III

OF YOUTH AND AGE

A man that is young in years may be old in hours, if he have lost no time. But that happeneth rarely. Generally, youth is like the first cogitations, not so wise as the second. For there is a youth in thoughts, as well as in ages. And yet the invention of young men is more lively than that of old; and imaginations stream into their minds better, and as it were more divinely. Natures that have much heat and great and violent desires and perturbations are not ripe for action till they have passed the meridian of their years; as it was with Julius Caesar and Septimius Severus. Of the latter of whom it is said, Juventutem egit erroribus, imo furoribus, plenam.[33] And yet he was the ablest emperor, almost, of all the list. But reposed natures may do well in youth. As it is seen in Augustus Caesar, Cosmus Duke of Florence, Gaston de Foix, 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, or sooner. 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.

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 favor and popularity youth. But for the moral part, perhaps youth will have the preeminence, as age hath for the politic. A certain rabbin, upon the text, 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[34] the rhetorician, whose books are exceeding subtle; who afterwards waxed stupid.

A second sort is of those that have some natural dispositions which find 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,[35] Idem manebat, neque idem decebat. 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 Africanus, of whom Livy saith[36] in effect, Ultima primis cedebant.



IV

OF REVENGE

Revenge is a kind of wild justice; which the more man's nature runs to, the more ought law to weed it out. For as for the first wrong, it doth but offend the law; but the revenge of that wrong putteth the law out of office. Certainly, in taking revenge, a man is but even with his enemy; but in passing it over, he is superior; for it is a prince's part to pardon. And Solomon, I am sure, saith, It is the glory of a man to pass by an offense. That which is past is gone, and irrevocable; and wise men have enough to do with things present and to come; therefore they do but trifle with themselves, that labor in past matters. There is no man doth a wrong for the wrong's sake; but thereby to purchase himself profit, or pleasure, or honor, or the like. Therefore why should I be angry with a man for loving himself better than me? And if any man should do wrong merely out of ill-nature, why, yet it is but like the thorn or brier, which prick and scratch, because they can do no other.

The most tolerable sort of revenge is for those wrongs which there is no law to remedy; but then let a man take heed the revenge be such as there is no law to punish; else a man's enemy is still beforehand, and it is two for one. Some, when they take revenge, are desirous the party should know whence it cometh. This is the more generous. For the delight seemeth to be not so much in doing the hurt as in making the party repent. But base and crafty cowards are like the arrow that flieth in the dark. Cosmus,[37] Duke of Florence, had a desperate saying against perfidious or neglecting friends, as if those wrongs were unpardonable: You shall read (saith he) that we are commanded to forgive our enemies; but you never read that we are commanded to forgive our friends. But yet the spirit of Job was in a better tune: Shall we (saith he) take good at God's hands, and not be content to take evil also? And so of friends in a proportion. This is certain, that a man that studieth revenge keeps his own wounds green, which otherwise would heal and do well. Public revenges are for the most part fortunate; as that for the death of Caesar; for the death of Pertinax;[38] for the death of Henry the Third of France;[39] and many more. But in private revenges it is not so. Nay rather, vindictive persons live the life of witches; who, as they are mischievous, so end they infortunate.



V

OF MARRIAGE AND SINGLE LIFE

He that hath wife and children hath given hostages to fortune; for they are impediments to great enterprises, either of virtue or mischief. Certainly the best works, and of greatest merit for the public, have proceeded from the unmarried or childless men; which both in affection and means have married and endowed the public. Yet it were great reason that those that have children should have greatest care of future times; unto which they know they must transmit their dearest pledges. Some there are, who tho they lead a single life, yet their thoughts do end with themselves, and account future times impertinences. Nay, there are some other that account wife and children but as bills of charges. Nay more, there are some foolish rich covetous men, that take a pride in having no children, because they may be thought so much the richer. For perhaps they have heard some talk, Such an one is a great rich, man, and another except to it, Yea, but he hath a great charge of children; as if it were an abatement to his riches.

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