Juan Huarte.

Examen de ingenios = The examination of mens wits : in whicch by discouering the varietie of natures, is shewed for what profession each one is apt, and how far he shall profit therein online

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Online LibraryJuan HuarteExamen de ingenios = The examination of mens wits : in whicch by discouering the varietie of natures, is shewed for what profession each one is apt, and how far he shall profit therein → online text (page 1 of 26)
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Francis A.Countway
Library of Medicine





^^./^:^ .^J.7^.*-^ ^^^-^ - ^ ^^^

Digitized by the Internet Archive

in 2010 with funding from

Open Knowledge Commons and Harvard Medical School





"^ of mens Wits,

In whicch^by diTcouering the varicrie of natures,

isfhewed for what profeffion each one is apt^

and how far he (hall profit therein.

By John Hiutrte.

Tranflate d out of thcSpani/h tongue by

M. CamiUo Camuii,

Englifhed out of his Italian, by (/i<^<J.^^ ^ /"clAju:^ ^ £^yf


Trinted by ^tA dam fflip^ for

Richard Watktns^

I S 9 A^



fi fy^




Ood Sir, your ^oo{e rcturneth
vntojou clad in a Cornijhga"
bar dine y which if it become
him not vpel,the fault is not in
the flufe, but in the botching Tailor, rpho
neuer bound Trentice to the occupation,
and working only for his pafe^time, could
hardly obferue the prectje rules of mea^
jure ; butjuch as it is,yours it is, andyours
is the work^man, entirely addiBed to reue-
rence you for your vertues , toloueyoufor
your kindnejle, andfo more readie in de-
Jtre,than able in power to teftife the fame,
doe with my deweU remembrance tak^
leauey re fling

At your di^polltion.

K. c.

l5^^ j*"-^**'_ yf ^ ^aSitJi^jTr 5=»i^> c»mit -w^sSu ump^k Jti^fct ^vtTk /t?>«v' f^a^K j\J\''^



of !Dc^^ y/:^////?>our Soueraigne.

^^^ O the end that Artificers may
attaine the perfedion requi^
fie for the vfe of the common^
v/ealth^me-thinketh (Catho-
tholike roiali Maieftic) a law
{hould be enacted, that no
carpenter fhould exercercifc himfclfe in any work
which appertained to the occupation of an huC*
bandman,nor a tailor to that of an architeA, and
that the Aduocat fhould not ininifter Phifickc,
nor the Phifition play the Aduocat,but ecah one
cxcercife only that art to which he beareth a na<
turallinclination^and letpaffe the refidue . For
confidering how ba(e and narrowly bounded
a mans wit is for one thing and no more , I haue
alwaies held it for a matter certaine. That no man
can be pei fecflly feene in two arts^ without failing


To the king ofSpaine^

in one ofthem- now to the end he may not crre
in chufing that which fitteth beft with his owne
natiirejthere fhould be deputed in the common-
wcalth,mcn of great wifedome and knowledge,
who might difcouer each ones wit in his tender
age^and caufe him perforce to ftudie that fcience
which IS agreeable for him^not permitting him to
make his owne choice : whence this good would
cnfuc to your flatcs and fignioriesi that in them
(liould refidcthe rareft artificers of the world,,
and their workes (hould be of the greateffc per^
fe<ftion3for nought elfe than becaufe they vnited
art with nature^The like would I that the vniuerfi-
ties of our kingdomes did put in pracftife, for fee-
ing they allow not that a fcholer fliould paffeto
another facukie^vnleflre he perfecftly vnderftand
the Latine tongue, they fhould hauc alfo cxami-
nerSjto trie whether he who purpofeth to ftudie
(uch a wir as is requifitfor euery of thcfe fcicnces,
for othcrwife ^ befides the dammage that fuch a
one fhall worke afterwards to the Common^'
wealth^by vfing an art wherein he is not skilled,
it is a greefe to fee that a man fhould take paines,
and beat his brains about a matter wherein he

A ii) cannot


To the I^ng cfSpaine.

cannot reapc anyaduantage. For that at this day
fuch a diligence is not vfed, thofe who had not a
wit fit for Diuinitiejhatie deftroied the Chriftian
relfpion.So doe thofe who are vntoward for Phi>
ficke3{]iortenmanya mans daies : neither pot-
fcffcch the Legal! Science that perfecflion which
it might receiue^becaufe It is not made knowne,
to what reafonable power the vie and interpreta-
tion of the laws appertaineth. All the antient Phi-
lofophers found by experience, that where na-
ture doth not difpofe a man to knowledge,it fal>
leth out a fiiperfluous labour to toile in the rules
ofart^ut none hath cleerely and diftindly deli^
tiered what that nature is which maketh a man
able for one fcience , andvncapaple of another,
nor how many dii^-ercnces ofvvictes there are
found in mankind , nor what Arts or Sciences
doe anfwcr each in particular,nor by what tokens
this may be kno wn^ which is the thing that moil

Thefefoure points (though they feeme vnpot
fible)containcthe matter whereof I am to en-
treat, befides many others appurtenant to the
purpofeofthis docflrinejwith intention that cu-
rious parents may hauean art & maner to difco^


To the l^ng ofSpaine.

tier the vvic of their chjldrenjand may vveet how
to {et cch of them in hand with that fcience wher-'
in he (hall principally profit, And this is an aduife
which Gden fay th was giuen his father , namely
that he fhould fet him to ftudie Phificke^becaule
for that fcience he had a lingular wit* B y which
your maieftie (hall vnderltand how much itim-
portcth the common-wealth, that there be efta-
blifhedin the fame a choice^ and examination of
wits for the fcicnces, feeing fro the fludy which
Calen beftowcd in Phifick, there enfued fo great
good to the difeafed of his time^and he left (b ma>
ny remedies in writing for the pofteritie.Euen as
Baldn^iz notable man in profefsion of the lavves)
vvhen he ftudied and pradifed Phifick, it he had
pafTed further therein,vvouIdhaue prooued but
an or d inarie P hifi tian , as he was not better , for
that he wanted the difference of vvic requific for
this fcience,but the lavves fhould haue lofl one of
the greateft helps that might be found amongft
men for expounding them.

When I therfore purpofed to reduce this new
mannerofPhilofophietoartj and toproue the
lame in fome vvits,I remembered my felfe of your
Maieflie^as the beftknovvnejand one, at whom

A iiv\ the

To the king ofSpaine.

the whole world wonderethjbeholding a Prince

offo great knowledge and vviTedome^ofwhome

here we cannot conueniently entreat , the laft:

chapter faue one is your conuenient place,where

your Maieftie fhall fee the purport of your ownc

wit, and the art and learning wherewith you

would hauc benefited your common- wealth

if you had bene a priuat pcrfon , as by

nature you are our king and


5^ The fecond Proeme to

the Reader*

^H^^ Plato would teach any do&rine
i graue^fuhttle^mddiuided from the
ipulgar opinion y he made chotfe a,^
tnongHhis fcholers offuch adhere-
s* putidbeliwittedyand to thofe only
he impmedhis mindyk^nowtng by experience ^ that ta
teach delicat matters to perfons of bap ^-underfian-
dingywas loffe oftimejiojfe ofpains^and loj^e of lear-
ning. Thepcondthtngwhtch he did after this choife
madt^ was topreuentthem with certaine prefuptoft-
tioHs^cleare and true y which fhould not be wide from
his conclufion : for the Jpiecoes and fentences which
njnlooked for are delmered againji that which tht
*vulgarbeleeuethyat the beginning ferue for nought
elfcyifuch pretention not being made^than to put m a
confufionhim that liHeneth^and to breed fuch aloa-
thing in mens minds ^as it caufeth them to loofe their



good ajfeElion^ and to abhorre anddetefi this doSiriiu
This manner of proceeding xcould /, th^t Imight
oh feme with thee , ( curious Reader) if meanes
could he njfed^ that I might firft treate with thee,
anddifcouerbetweene thee and me the difpoftio7j of
thyrvit* For if ithe fuch asisrequiftteforthisdo^
Brine, and e fir anged from the ordinarie capacities^
Iwouldinfecret tell thee fuch new andfpccidllcon^
ceitesy as thou wouldefl neuer haue thought could fall
within the compafSe oja mans imagimtion Bnt inaf*
much as this will not he ^ mdthis worke muft iffue
in public ke for all fortes, I could not hut fet thy
brumes fomewhi\t a worke : for if thy wit be of the
common and y^ulgar alloy ^ I know right well thoH
art alreadieperfuddedy that the number ofthefci^
ences, and their perfection , hath beenaccompli(hed
many dales Agoe. tAnd heereto thou art moouedby x
ydine reafon y that they hauing found out no- more
what to ad,it is a token ^that now there is in nothings
any morenouelties. Now if by hap thou art p offered
effuch an opinion , go no further ^ nor read thou mie
longer on^ for thouwiltbe much agreeued , to fee how
miferable a difference of wit pofjejfeth thee. But if
thou he difcreet, well compounded^andfufferentyl will



deliueryntothee 3 concluporjs 'very trm^ albeit for
their noueltie they are worthie of great mamelL

The fir ft is^tbat of many dijjereces ofxvit^ vcbich are
in mankind jone only xoithfreheminmcecanfallto tny
lot^ifalreadie^nztif^reyOsyerie mighty^ atfuchtime
as P)e framed it for thee , didnot bejiow allher ende-
uour^ mnjnitingtwo onely ^ or three ^ or (jnthatfhe
could not effecl tbefime) I ft thee a dolt , anddefri -
ued of them all.

Thefecond^that to emry difference of wit there an^
fwereth in ^reheminencejbut one only fciencCy and no
more of that condition . So as if thou diuine not to
chufe that which anfwereth thy natur all ability ythoif
(halt be Very remijfe in the reft , though thou fly them
night a?2d day.

Thethirdy that after thou haft knowen which the
fcienceisy that mofl anfvereth thy wit ^ there re/1 eth
yet (that thou mayfl not he deceiued ) another greater
difficulties which is ^ whether thine abi 'itie be more
dppliable to thepraSlickjhan the theoric^jfor thefe 2
rwoparts(be it whatfcience it mil) are Jo opfofite be^
themfeiuesy 6^ require witsfo different ^th^t they may
be placed one againfl the others as if they were contra^
ries. Hard are thefe fentecesjbutyet they hme greater



dijficuhie andloArdnefe ^ vz. thatrve cannot appeale
from them^nor pretend that we ham receiued wrong.
For God being the iXtithor of nature^and feeing thtit^e
gaue not to each man more than one difference of wit y
(:tslhauefaydbefore)through the oppoftion or diffi -
cultie which c ombre th 'Vsin ^uniting themjhe applied
himfelfeto her ^andofthe Sciences which are dtftri-
hmedamongU men by gr<xce^it is a miracle^ fin ane^
mmem degree Joe giue more thm one. But there are
(fayth S. Paulej diuifions of graces ^and the fame ^i -
Tit 3 there are dim^ons ofmtm^eries y and the fame
laordy there are diuifions of operations -^ but the fame
Cod^who worketh all things in allperfons ♦ To euery
one isgmen theminiflerie ofthejpiritfor Profit : and
to one is giuen by thefpirit the word ofwifedome ^ to
another that of knowledge yafter the fame fpirit ^ to a^
nothtr fayth Jn the fame fpirit ^ and to another the
grace of healingy in the fame fpirit ^ to another the
wording of ^ertuesyto another prophecieng^ and the
defcription of fpirits ^ to others the njarietie of
toungs^to another the interpretation ofxcords : but
onefelfefpirity which diuideth to euery one as him
pleafethyWorketh all thefe things.

This be flowing offciences(I doubt not)Gody/ethy


to the Reader.

hauing regard to thewit and naturaU di^ojition Oj
e^ery per/on » For the Tdents which he difirtbutedy
inS.Mditthcv^^the/ame EuangeltH fayth ^ that he
gaue them njnto euery one according to his proper

^ndto thinke that thefe fufernaturall Sciences
require not fame dr^ofitions in the fuhie£iy before
theybetnfufedyisan errour njtry great : for when
God formed Adzm andEuc^it is certaine that before
he filkd them with wtfedeme , he injirumcntalizsd
their braine infuchfortyos they might receiueit mth
€afe\andferueasa commodious mjirument ^ there*
witkto be able to difcourfe^md to forme re(kfons.And
therefore the dmine fcripture fayth -^ God gme them
Anh'eartto thinke^ani filled them with the difcipline
ofynderftanding^mdthat accordtngxo the difference
of which euery one partakethy one fcience is infufedy
andnot mother yor mare orleffeof each of them y is a
thing which may be'vnderftoodby this example of our
ft f ft parents for God filling them both with wtfedomcy
It ts a verifyed conclufiony that he infufed the le^er
portion into her ^ for which reafon the Diuines
fay y that the diuell tooke hardtnefieto begudehsr,
anddurfl not tempt the man^ as fearing his much

wife dome:


mfedome The reafon hereof ( as hereafter we mil
proue)iSythatthe naturall coinpofttion which the wo'
man had in herbraine^ is not caf able of much wtty
nor much wifedomejn the ^Angelic all fuh fiances ^we
fhallfindalfo the like count and reafon : for Cody to
giue an angell more degrees oj glorie and higher gifts y
firftgiueth him a more deltcat nature 5 and if you e»-
mtre of the Diuines whereto this deltcat nature fer^
ueth^they anfvoer y that the oAngell who hiXth the dee^
fefi ynderftanding:,and the beH nature yWith mofifa^
ctlitie conuerteth himfelfe Vnto Cody andrufeth his
gift with the more ejfcacie 5 and that the like feti"
deth in men. Hence vpe cleerely infcrre^ that then he^
ing an eleSlion ofwit for jcimces fuprnaturall^ and
that^not whatfoeuer difference of abiliticyis their com-^
modioHs inUrumentyhumme learning(with more rea^
fon^requireth the fame ^ becaufeit is to be learned by
men^ith the force of their wit.

To be able then to diflinguifh and difcerne theft
natur all differences ofmansroit^Andto applie to each
by art^thatfcience wherein he may prof ty is the in^
tentioncfthismyipoorke. If I bring the fame to end
(aslhme purpofed)we wdlyeeld the glorie to Cody
feeingfrom his hand froceedeth whatfoeuer is good


to the Reader.

undceruine: andifnot^thou ^orcefi we/I {difcrcet
Readerjthat it is imfoj^hle both to deuife m art , md
to reduce the fame to ferfeSiion. Vwfo long and Urge
arehtimane fciencesy that amans life fufftceth not to
findthem out^andto giuethern that f erf eSlton which -

ThefirHinuenterftrforrneth^ery much^ ifh$
difcouerfome notable prmci^lesytothe end that fuch
as come aftet^maymth this feed take an occafion to
amplifietheart^ and to bring it into that e Htm at ion
and account which is due thereunto . Ariftotle allu -
dmg hereuntofayth : that the errors ofthofe who fir (I
began to handle matters of Vhilofofhie^are to be held
in great reuerence^forit prooutnga matter fodiffi^
cultyto deuife new thifrgSyandfo eafit to advnto that
which hath bene alreadie fpoken and treated of ^ the
defeEts of the fir fl defer ue not ( by this feafon) to be
much reproouedpeither hewho addeth ought;, men -
teth any great commendation:! confejfe that this my
wor^e cannot be excufed from fome errors ^ feeing the
matter isfo delicat^and no way fore-opened to entreat
thereof ♦ But if the fame be in a matter where the
lender flandiug hath place to thinke^ in this cafe I
pray thee {wit tie Reader )that before thou giue fen-



fence thou read ouer the whoUt^arkcy And ajpite thy

Jelfe what the difference of thine ownervtt is , and if

in the works thou find ought which in thtm opiniofi is

wtwe/Ifayd^confiderwellofthe reafons which Jxvay

the moH againftityCindifthoucanHnot refolue^ then

tmnetore^dtheeUuenth chapter ^ for m that

jhalt thou find the anfwer which

thej may receiue.









































The Examination or Triall of mens

wits and diipofitions.


H^ prooHeth by an example ythat if a Child haue not the
dijftifition and ahiliutyrvhich is requijitf^r thatfcience rvher^
v»to he willaddi^ himfelfe^ it is afuferfluom labour to be in^

^JlruBed therein bygoodfchoolemaiJierSytohatieJlore ofbookes^

^ [>mi> <3^>4"^ He opinion of Cicero was good, who, i Bookecf
that his fbnneJ^4r/^tf might proue fuch ^^^"^•
a one in that kind of learning, which
himfeife had madechoifc of, as he de-
fired; iudged, that it fufficed to {cn^
him toaplaceoffludie^forenowmed
and famous in the world^as that of ^4-
them^ and to glue him Cratippusfot his fchoolemaifter,
who was the greateft Philofopher of thofe daies,bringing
him vp in a citielb populous, where, through the great
concourfe of people which thither affembled , he fliould
of necefsitie haue many examples and profitings of ftran-
gers, fit to teach him by experience thofe things which
appertained to the knov/ledge that himfeife was to learne.
But, notwithftandingall this diligence, and much more

. B befides^

'^a ATndlofWits^

^ befideSjWhich (as a good father) hevfed, prouiding him
bookes^and writingTome vnto him of his own head 5 the
; Hifiorians report, that he prooued but a Cods-head,with

little eloquence,andIcfIephilofophie5 (a matter vfuall a-
mongftmen^that the fonneabies the much wifedome of
thefather.) VerelyC/V^^-i? greatly beguiled himfelfe, ima.
gining that albeit his fonne were not iffued out of natures
haridSjWith that wit and habilitfe which is requifit for elo-
quence and philofophiejyet by means of the good indu-
firie of fuch a teacher^and the many books, and ejcamplcs
of L^/^^^^/jtogither with the yoong mans continuall en-
deuour^and proceflc of time^the defeds of his vndcrftan-
ding would be amended ; but we fee, that finally he de.
ceiued hiriifelfe;- neither do I maruell thereat^for he had
many exarriples to this purpo{e,which encourages! him to
beleeue, that the fame might alfo befall in the perfoh of
his fonne.
Bookcof For the fame Ciccrd reports in his booke o? Dejlinie,
Deftiniei: that 2^^;?^fj^4fbfiidaWitv for the ftudie of

Naturall and Morall philofophie, of whome Plato fayd.
That he hada fchoierjWbo flood in need of a (purre ; and
yet notwithftanding,through the good induftiie of fuch
a maifter^and the continuall trauell of Zenocrates himfelfe,
he became a very grekPhilofophcr . And he writes the
like alfo QiCl€antes;^)\o was fo doltifli and void of vnder-
ftanding , that no teacher would receiue him into his
fcboole ; whereat the yoong rnan agreeucd and afhamed,
endured fo great toile in ftudying , that he came after-
wards to be called a fecond Hercules for wifedome . No
lefl£ vntoward for matters of eloquece, feemed the wit of
Bemoflhenes^ of whome it is fayd, that when he was now
growne bigjhe could not yet fi^eake plaine, but labouring
and applying the art,by hearing of good ceacherSj he pro ^


ATriallofWtts. 3

uedthe befl: Oratour of the world : andfpecially (asC/-
cero recounts) he could no.r pronounce the letter. R^ for
thathedidlbmwhatftafnerjandyetbypradifehegrewto _
articular it fo well^as if he had neucr had that way any de-
fed. Hence tooketharproucrbehis originall^which faith.
That mans wit in matters of fcienccjis like a plaier at dicc^
for if any one proouevniuckie in throwing his chaunce>
by artificial! pradife he comes to amend his euill fortune.
But none of the(e examples produced by Cicero , remains
withoutaconuenientanfwerinmydodrine: for (as we
will hereafter proue)there is in yongmen a certaine duL
nes,which argues a greater wit in another age, than if the
fame had bene fliarpe from their childhood : nay it is a
iudgement that they will prooue lowtifti menjwhen they
beginveryfoonetodilcourfqandbe quickeof conceipt.
Wherefore, if Cicero had known the true tokens by which
witsareintheirfirftagetobcdikouered, he would haue
hddiid.%oodii§;CiC^xhzx Bemofihenes was rude and flow
o£fpeech,andthat-^r;;i7^r4;^jhadneedofa fpurre whileft
he learned . I take not from agoodinftrudorart, and
induflrie, their vertue and force, to manure wits, as
well rude as phant; but that which I will fay, is, that if a
yoongman hauenotof himfelfe an vnderflanding capa-
ble of precepts and rules, which properly belong to the
art he would learne,and to none other, that the diligence ^i>iaiogeof
vfed by Cicero with his fonne , was as vaine as that which ^yXMfy yn-
any other parent flial vfe with his fonne^will be in thelike. som?«!!Jfaf
Thofe who haue read Flato lliall eafily kno w^that this do-, }^'' compariroa
•drine is truCjWho reports th^t5't>Yr4?t'i was the fbnne fas hewughtbydc-
healfo reported himfelfe)of a midwife, & that as his mo- Skd'th"eniat-
ther (albeit (he were much praifed in thc^rt) could not fchSiIrhimfeife
make a woman to be deliucred^that before her comming jj^ined^oknow
to her was not with child ^fo he (performing the like ot- hisSigHiL

■'15 ;: C^l thefamc.

D ij nee

4 tATriallofWits.

fice as his mother) could not make his fcholers bring
foorth any rcience,ifof themfelues they had not their vn*
derftanding conceitied therwith;. He was of opinion^that
fcienccs were(as it were)naturall to thofe men only, who
had their wits appliablc therevnto ^and that in fueh it be-
fell^aswc fee by experience in thofe who haue forgotten
fomewhat which they firft knew 3 who if wc put them la
mind but ofoneword,gather from that alltherefidue.

Maiflers (for ought that I can gather) haue none other
t^cc with their fchoUers, than to bring learning to their
remembrance/orifthey haue a fruitful! wit, they-make
them with this only to bring forth woonderfulconceipts,
otherwife they do but affli<S themfelues, and thole whom
Mans Wife- ^^^5^ inftrud:,nor euer obtaine their defires.And(at leaft if
dome, is nJt I werc a :teacher ) before Ireceiued any f choler into my
whTrXewe fchoolc , I would gtow to mauy trfals and experiments
bouerDokc^n wlth him, vntiU I might difcouer the qualitie of his wit,
ffr-!^thr' and ifl found it by nature direded to that fciencc whcre-
hTidthisopi- pflmadeprofeffionj would willingly receiiie him, for it
breeds a great contentment in the teacher, to inftru6t one
of goodtowardlineffe : andifnot,! v/outd counfailehim
to ftudie that fcicnce,which were moft agreeable with his
wit.But if I faw, that he had no difpofition or capacitie for
any fort of learning, I would friendly and with gentle
words tell him ; Brother, you haue no means to proue a
man of that prof effion which you haue vndertaken, take
care not to loofe your time and your labour, and prouide
you fome other trade of liuing, which requires not fo
greatanhabilitieasappertaineth to learning . Hereof is
ftcne very plaine experience , for we behold a great num-
ber offchollers enter thecourfe ofwhatfoeuer fcience,and
(be the teacher very good or very bad) finally cucry day
fome prooue of great skilljfome of meane j and fome in



tATrUllofWtts. , 5

their whole courfcjhauc done nought elfe than leefetheir
time^fpend their goods^and beat their brains without any
maner of profit. ;

I wot nerc whence this efl'ed may fpring , they all hea-
ring one felfe teachcr^and with equall diligence and caie,
and perhaps the dull take more paine than the wittie, and
this difficultie growes the greater, by feeing that thofc
who are vnto ward for one fcicnce^are very apt to another,
and the toward in one fort of learning, paffing to another
fort,canvnderftand nothing. But my felfe am at leafl a
good witnelle in this truth; for there were three compa-
nions ofvs, who entered together to ftudie the Latine
toong,and one ofvs learned the fame with great facilities
therefl could neuermakeany commendable compofiti-
on ^ but all paffing on to Logicke^one of thofe who could
not learne Grammer^proued in that art a principall Aegle,
and the other two^ in the whole, neuer learned one ready
point ; then all three comming to heare Aflrologie, it was
a matter worthieofconfiderationj that he who could no
skill of Latine or Logicke, in few daie^ knew more in A-
flrologie than his maifler that taught them, and the reft
could neuer learne it. I then maruelling hereat, began
forthwith to make difcourfes, and play the Philofopher
hereon,and fo 1 found that euery fcience required a fpeci-
all and particular wit ^ which reaued from that, waslitde
worth in other forts of learning. And if this be true (as
verely it is,and we will fb prouc it hereafter)he that at this
dayfhouldenterintothefchoolesof our times, making
proofe and aflay of the fcholers wits,how many would he
change from one fcience to another,& how many would
he fend into the fields for dolts andvnable to learne .<*
and how many would he call backe of thofe,who for want
of abilitie arc occupied in bafe exercifes,and yet their wits

Online LibraryJuan HuarteExamen de ingenios = The examination of mens wits : in whicch by discouering the varietie of natures, is shewed for what profession each one is apt, and how far he shall profit therein → online text (page 1 of 26)