' That he went with them in vain ! ' And when, according to
the laws, he should therefore pay a forfeit ; he counselled
the Rulers to take good heed to the Common-weal, saying,
That Philip, with gifts, had corrupted all the other Am-
bassadors ; but could not make him grant, by any manner
[of] means : which they hearing, esteemed him more than
ever they did before; but sent [him], another time, to
Antipater, to redeem the prisoners which he had taken in
Antipater desired him to dine with him : which he
denying, said, ' I come not to dine and banquet, nor to take
pleasure with thee : but* to redeem my fellows from the
sorrows which they suffer with thee ! ' And when Antipater
heard the wisdom, and saw the constant mind, of the man ;
he, gently entreating him, delivered his prisoners.
Xenocrates would die for Plato. xenocrates.
When DiONYSius, in his presence, said to Plato, ' Some-
body shall take from thee thy head !' Xenocrates said,
' That shall they not ; except they take away mine first ! '
He lived holily ; and wrote exceeding many goodly
Works : and died, being eighty-two years old.
His goodly Counsels shall be spoken of in their places.
ARCESILAUS, THE SON of Seuthus, as saith
Apollodorus, was a good Philosopher; and very
studious in Plato's Works. He was first an
hearer of Autolycus a Mathematician ; and,
afterwards, of Theophrastus.
He was a very witty fellow, and of a prompt spirit, and
grave in communication ; and much exercised in writing :
and gave his mind to Poetry.
He delighted so much in Homer, that, every night,
before he slept, he would read somewhat in him.
He learned Geometry of Hipponicus, and was thereto
so dull, and yet so well learned in the craft, that he would
say. That Geometry fell into his mouth, as he gaped.
Hearing men singing Metres [Verses] that he had
made ; yet ill-favouredly : he kicked them on the sides,
saying, ' Ye break mine ; and I will break yours ! '
Being called to a sick man, [and] perceiving that he
was sick for thought, and lack of riches; he conveyed, under
his pillow, a sack full of money : which he, finding, was so
joyous that he recovered straightway s.
When he was bid to solve a riddle at a banquet ; he
said. That the chiefest point of Wisdom was, to know to
what purpose each time was meetest.
Being reproved, because he challenged not a young
man, whom he had a right to [do] ; he excused himself
properly, saying, 'It is not possible to draw soft cheese
with a hook ! '
Being asked, What man was most in trouble, thought,
aiid care? he said, 'He .that desireth most to be at quiet
He called old age. The Haven of all Tribulations.
He said, ' It was a great evil not to be able to suffer
evil ! '
His death at Athens. Arcesiiaus.
To an envious man, which was very sorrowful, he said,
' I know not well, whether evil hath chanced to thee ; or
good to another.' Signifying thereby that envious men are
as sorrowful for others' prosperity as for their own
As he sailed among thieves by chance, they met with
ships of true folk : which the thieves espying, said, ' We
may chance to die, if we be known ! ' ' And so may I,'
quoth he, ' if we be not known.'
These and such like Answers he gave : and died at
Athens, when he was eighty years old ; being overcome
with too much wine.
He was reputed more among the Athenians tlian any
other of the Philosophers.
His pithy Proverbs shall be spoken of hereafter.
ARISTOTLE, THE SON of Nicomachus, a Stagirite,
was well beloved of Amyntas, King of Macedonia ;
both for his learning and also for his wisdom.
He was Plato's disciple; and [sur] passed far all
the rest of his fellows.
He had a small [iveak^ voice, small legs, and small
eyes. He would go richly apparelled, with rings and chains,
minionly [daintily'] rounded and shaven. He had a son,
NicoMACH, by a Leman.
He was so well learned, that Philip, King of Macedonia,
sent for him to teach his son, Alexander [the Great].
He came to Athens again, and kept the Schools there ;
and died when he was sixty-three years old.
He was an excellent good Physician; and wrote thereof
many goodly Works. He used to wash himself in a basin
of hot oil ; and to carry a bladder of hot oil at his stomach.
He used also, when he slept, to hold a ball of brass in his
hand with a pan under [af] his bedside ; that when it fell,
it might wake him.
Being asked. What [ad] vantage a man might get by
lying ? he answered. To be unbelieved, when he telleth the
Many times, when he inveighed against the Athenians,
he would say. That they had found out both Fruits and
Laws ; but knew how to use neither of them.
He would say. That the roots of the Liberal Sciences
were bitter ; but the fruits, very sweet.
It was told him, thai) one railed on him. To which he
answered, ' When I am away ; let him beat me too ! '
Being asked. How much the Learned differed from the
Ignorant ? he answered. As much as the Quick differ from
3 Baldwin. 8 65
Friendship, one Soul dwelling in many bodies. Aristotle.
He would say, That Learning in Prosperity was a
garnishing \_adornment^ ; and in Adversity, a refuge.
To one that boasted that he was a citizen of a noble
City, he said, ' Boast not of that ! but see that thou be
worthy to be of such a noble City ! '
Being asked, What was Friendship ? he said, ' One
Soul dwelling in many bodies.'
Being asked, What he got by Philosophy ? he said, ' I
can do that unbidden ; which some can scarce do, compelled
by the Law.'
Being railed on, to his face ; and the Railer asking him,
Whether he had touched [nettled] or no ? he said, ' Good
Lord ! I minded thee not yet ! '
Being reproved, because he gave wages to one that was
scarce [ly] honest, he said, ' I give it to the man ; and not to
his manners ! '
Thus, and such like, he spake ; and wrote many goodly
books of which we have, though not the one half, yet so
much as, in our Age, is thought sufficient for one man to
have known and written. Out of which, his most pithy
Proverbs, for our purpose, shall be added in place most
DIOGENES, AS SAITH Diocles, was born in a
town called Sinope. His father, called ICESius
Mensak, being imprisoned for counterfeiting
their coin ; Diogenes (which was of counsel with
him) fled, and came to Athens : where he met with
Antisthenes ; whom (being unwilling to receive him ; for
why \hecause\ he would never teach any) he overcame with
his perseverance. And when his Master, on a time, took
up a staff to beat him ; he put under his head, saying,
' Strike ! for thy staff is not able to drive me away ; so long
as thou canst teach me aught ! '
He lived simply, as one that was out of his country ;
and comforted himself much with beholding the little
mouse, which neither desired chamber, nor feared the dark,
nor was desirous more of one meat than of another : whose
nature, as nigh as he could, he followed.
He wore a double cloak; and made him [self] a bag,
wherein he wrapped him [self] when he slept, and put
therein his meat : and used one place for all purposes ; both
to eat, to sleep, and to talk in.
When he was diseased, he went with a staff ; which,
afterward, he carried with him always : not only in the city,
but also in all other places.
He wrote to one to make him a Cell : which, because he
tarried long for, he took a Barrel or a Tun, and made that
When he had any grave matter, he would call the
people to hear him ; which when they regarded not, he
•rould sing pleasantly. .To which, when many resorted, he
would say, ' To hear foolishness, ye run apace : but to hear
any weighty matter, ye scarce put forth your foot.
He wondered at [the] Grammarians ; which could shew
of other folks' lewdness, and neglected their own.
^ I pray tliee, let the sun shine on me ! ' Diogenes.
He reproved [the] Musicians ; because they took great
care that their instruments should agree; and their own
manners agreed not.
He rebuked the Mathematicians, which beheld the sun,
the moon, and the stars ; and neglected the business that
lay before their feet.
He taunted the Orators ; because they studied to speak
that [which] was just; and followed not the same in their
He dispraised the People : which (while they sacrificed,
and gave thanks, for their health) would make great
banquets ; which were against their health.
He wondered that Servants could stand and see men
eat ; and snatched not away their meat.
Being mocked, because he anointed his feet with odours,
and not his head ; he said, ' The savour goeth from the head
into the air ; but from the feet up to the nose.'
Being asked. What time a man should dine ? he said,
* A rich man when he will ; and a poor man when he may.'
When one had given him a blow upon the ear ; he said,
'I wist \_hnew'] well, I had left somewhat uncovered.'
To young lads that stood about him, saying, ' We will
beware that thou bite us not ! ', he said, ' Tush ! Fear not !
for a dog eateth not beets [beet-roots'] ! '
On a fool's house that had written [thereon] , ' No evil
shall enter here ! ' ; he wrote, ' Where then shall the Master
of the house enter ? '
When Alexander [the Great] stood between him and
the sun ; and bade him ask what he would of him ; he said,
' I pray thee, let the sun shine upon me ! '
When he saw a Writing set upon a riotous man's house,
signifying that the house was to be sold ; he said to the
house, 'I thought so much, thou shouldest surfeit so long,
till, at last, thou wouldest spue out thy master ! '
When a man, that was very superstitious, said, ' I can
cut off thy head at one stroke ! ' ' Yea,' quoth he, ' but if I
stand on thy left side, I can make thee tremble ! '
Being asked, ' What beast biteth sorest ? he said, ' Of
wild beasts, a Backbiter; and of tame beasts, a Flatterer.'
Being asked. Why gold looked so wan [pale, sickly'] ?
' Because,' quoth he, 'it hath many lying in wait for it.'
As he beheld a tree, whereon many women were hanged,
he said, ' Would God ! every tree bare such fruit ! '
Diogenes. ' Shut youF gates ! that the town run not out ! *
When he entered into a very small town, called, Minda,
which had mighty great gates, he cried to the citizens,
' How, Sirs ! shut your gates ! that the town run not out ! '
When he saw one, which had been a weak Wrestler,
become a Physician, ' What ! ', quoth he, ' intendest thou
now to overcome them, which heretofore have overcome
Beholding Archers shooting, when one that could not
skill [shoot] should shoot ; he ran to the Mark, saying,
* Here will I be ; for fear lest he hit me ! '
To one that asked him a foolish question; he gave none
answer. Being asked why he held his peace, he said,
* Silence is the answer of foolish questions.'
Innumerable such pretty Answers and Taunts he used,
which whoso listeth [wisJietK] to hear, shall find in [the]
' Apophthegms ' of Ekasmus : which be no less finely handled
in the English [by Nicholas Udall] than in the Latin ;
besides that it is also more plain and perfect.
This Diogenes lived ninety years : and died, being
bit of a dog, [as] some write. Others say, That he stifled
himself, with the long holding of his breath.
After whose death, there was great strife among his
Scholars, who should have his body to bury. Nevertheless,
the strife was appeased by the Elders ; and they buried him
by the Gate that leadeth to Isthmus : and made him a fair
Tomb, and set a Pillar with a dog thereupon ; and set
thereto a goodly Epitaph.
His good Precepts and Proverbs shall follow in their
ANTISTHENES, THE SON of Antisthenes, was
born at Athens ; and was [a] disciple to GoRGiAS
the Orator, of whom he learned to plead : and from
him, he went to Socrates, of whom he learned
Wisdom and Moral Philosophy.
To a young man that would be his Scholar, which
asked, What he needed to his learning ? he answered, ' A
new book, and a new wit ! '
When it was told him, that Plato spake evil of him ;
he said, ' It is kingly to be evil spoken of ; when a man
He would say, ' That it were better for a man, in his
necessity, to fall among Ravens, than among Flatterers.
For Ravens will eat none but dead folk ; but Flatterers will
eat men being alive.'
He would say, ' That cities must needs decay ; where
good men were not known from the bad ! '
Being praised of evil men ; he said ' I fear me, that I
have done some evil ! '
He would say, * That it was a great oversight, since
they purged their wheat from darnel [c^ocMe] and their
wars of cowardly soldiers, that they purged not their
Common-weal of envious people.'
Being asked of a man, What was best to learn ? he said,
' To unlearn the evil that thou hast learned ! '
He always took Plato for proud, disdainous, and high-
minded : insomuch that when he met him at a Triumph,
whereas there were many goodly and courageous neighing
horses, he said, ' O, Plato ! thou wouldest have made a
goodly horse ! '
He wrote many proper and pithy Sentences ; which
shall be spoken of hereafter.
He died of a disease, when he was very old.
Antisthenes. Diogenes's offer to him, when sick.
It is said that, when he was sick, Diogenes came to
visit him, having a blade by his side : and when he said,
' Who shall rid me from my disease ? ' Diogenes, showing
him his sword, said, ' This same shall ! ' To which
Antisthenes said, ' I spake of my grief ; and not of my
life ! '
There were more of his name ; but he lieth buried at
[SOCRATES WAS A Grecian born; and came of a good
kindred ; and was, in his youth, well brought up in all
kinds of good manners. When he came to age and
discretion, he was a hearer of GORGIAS the Orator :
whose disciple he continued until such time as he was
well learned, both in Natural, and also in Moral, Philosophy.
As some say. He was in the time of Ahasuerus the
King : and was of such fame for his Learning, namely, for
Moral Philosophy, that he seemed to many, rather a God
than a man.
He lived virtuously, with such faithfulness in friend-
ship, and continence of his body, and with such pithy
counsel ; as very few hath been like him since.
He wrote many goodly books in his youth ; which he
followed in his age : of which his goodly Counsels to
Demonicus testify his wit and his learning in Moral
Philosophy : besides others which he wrote of Natural
He lived [a] long time : for, as Valerius Maximus
saith, when he was ninety-three years old, he set forth an
excellent book, full of the spirit. In his Works, he praised
Virtue as [the] Head Fountain of all manner [of] riches;
and exhorted all men thereunto.
To one that asked him. If he would be a King '? he
ansvfered, That he would not. Being asked. Wherefore ?
he said, *If I judge rightfully, I cannot eschew [avoid'] the
hatred of many men ; and again if I judge wrongfully, I
cannot eschew the pains of eternal damnation. Wherefore,
I had rather live poorly, assured of the bliss of Heaven ;
than, in doubt thereof, possessing all worldly riches.'
Being asked, * How a man might keep himself from
anger ? he answered, ' In remembering that GOD looketh
always upon him.'
isocrates. What a man ought not to do.
In his time, men delighted much in black hair ; where-
fore one of his neighbours dyed his head black : and when
one asked him, Why his neighbour did so ? he (featly
[neatly^ taunting his neighbour's foolishness) answered,
' Because no man should ask counsel, nor learn any wisdom,
of him.' What would he say now , trow me! if he
saw these Wives, that not only colour their hair ; but also
paint their faces !
He used, oftentimes, in his prayers, to desire GOD to
keep and save him from the danger of his friends ; rather
than from [that of] his enemies. And being demanded of
one that heard him. Why he j)rayed so ? he said, ' As for
mine enemy, I can beware of ; for why [because^ I trust
him not : so can I not of my friend, because I trust him !
Being asked, What a man ought not to do ; although it
were just and true ? He answered, ' To praise himself ! '
He lived one hundred and two years ; and died for very
age : and was buried honourably.
The rest of his Sayings shall be spoken of hereafter.
PLUTARCH THE PHILOSOPHER was a man of a
wonderful wit, well brought up in his youth, well
instructed in manners, and well furnished in all
kinds of Learning ; which (growing up as well in
virtue and learning, as in body and years) was
chosen, and that worthily, to be the bringer up of the
Emperor Tkajan : whom he so well instructed, that his
glory thereby was greatly augmented ; as it is said in
PoLCKATicus, the Fifth Book.
He Avas faithful in his sayings, and eloquent in his
words; very diligent and wary in his manners, and of
a chaste life and good conversation.
He gave his mind much to instruct and teach others ;
and wrote many books. Of which, one, intituled, ' The
Education of Youth,' we have in the English tongue :
drawn thereinto by the excellent and famous Knight, Sir
Thomas Elyot (whose good zeal and love, both to further
good learning, and to profit his country, appeareth as well
thereby, as by other many Works which he hath pained
himself [endeavoured, taken pains] to bring into our
language) : which sheweth well his good affection that he
had to the Common-weal.
He wrote another book, called, ' The Instruction of
Trajan ' : in which he setteth out the Office of a Prince,
and what he ought to be, so excellently as no man can
He wrote also another hook, entii\edi Archigranimatum',
wherein he teacheth Rulers and Officers how to govern
themselves ; with divers other things.
Among which, the Letter that he wrote to Trajan,
what time he was created Emperor, is worthy to be
remembered : in the end whereof he saith thus, — ' Thou
shalt rule all things even as thou wouldest, if thou go not
Plutarch. His letter to the Emperor Trajan.
from thyself ; and if thou dispose all thy works to Virtue,
all things shall prosper with thee ! And as touching the
governance of thy Common-weal, I have taught therein
already : which if thou follow, thou shalt follow me, thy
master, Plutakch, as an example of good living ; but if
thou do otherwise, then shall this my Letter be a witness
that I gave thee, neither counsel, nor any example, there-
When he was aged, he died ; and was buried honourably.
His goodly Proverbs, Adages, Parables, and Semblables
shall follow in their places.
Of \LucAiis Anncetis] Seneca.
SENECA THE PHILOSOPHER, and [an] excellent
well learned man, was born in Corduba [Cordova];
and therefore called, Cordubensis. He was [a]
disciple to Stratus the Stoic ; and was LucAN the
He flourished at Rome, in the time of the Emperor
and Tyrant Nero ; whom he taught in his youth in
Learning and Manners : which, afterwards, was [the] cause
of his death.
In the time of Seneca, Peter and Paul came to
Rome ; and preached there. And when many of Nero the
Emperor's house gathered together to hear Paul, Seneca,
among the rest, was so familiar with him, and delighted
so much to hear the divine Science and Wisdom which he
saw in him, that it grieved him to be separate at any time
from his communication : insomuch that when he might
not talk with him mouth to mouth, he used communication
by letters oft sent between them.
He read also the Writings and Doctrines of Paul
before the Emperor Nero ; and got him the love and favour
of everybody : insomuch that the Senate wondered much
This Seneca was a man of a very chaste life ; and so
good, that Saint Jerome numbereth him in his Beadrow
[Catalogue] of Saints : provoked thereto by his Epistles ;
which are intituled, ' Seneca to Paul, and Paul to Seneca.'
After he [had] lived into a mean \7n0derate] age, he was
slain of Nero the Tyrant ; two years before Peter and
Paul suffered their glorious martyrdom.
For Nero, on a day, beholding him, and (calling to
mind how he, when he was his Master, did beat him) he
conceived hatred against him : and (being desirous to
This First Book teaches a man to shape an Answer.
revenge himself, and to put him to death) gave him licence
to choose what kind of death he would. Wherefore Seneca
(seeing that his tyranny could not be appeased, and sup-
posing that to die in a bain [bath] was the easiest kind of
death) desired to be let blood in the veins of his arms ; and
so died. Which death, as some think, was foreshewed in
his name, Seneca, that is to say, Se-necans, which signifieth
in English, 'A killer of himself.'
He wrote in his lifetime many goodly books : out of
which shall be piked [picked, chosen] some of the most
pithy Sentences, both of Precepts and Counsels, as also of
Proverbs, Adages, Parables, and Semblables ; which in their
places hereafter shall follow.
And because the Lives of these before written are
sufficient for our purpose ; and because we be desirous to be
as short as we might be : here we will finish the First Book ;
wishing heartily that all men, that the same shall read,
may have grace to follow the good examples therein
The Sum of the First Book.
In this First Book of Philosophers' Lives,
Wherein their Answers are partly contained ;
A man may learn (as chance thereto him drives)
To shape an Answer. Or, if he be constrained
To wrath or anger, or other passions like ;
Here he shall see, how like lusts were refrained
Of heathen ,men : who thought it shame to strike ;
When good occasion oft times them thereto pained.
THE SECOND BOOK.
Of Precepts and Counsels.
Of the profit of Moral Philosophy.
IT IS NOT unknown to any, which have any knowledge
at all, how profitable and needful it is for men to have
the knowledge of Moral Philosophy; in which whoso is
ignorant is worse than a brute beast : and therefore it
might here have been well omitted.
Yet, nevertheless, to satisfy the desires of some, and to
stop the mouths of some others, which peradventure would
be glad, according to the Proverb, ' to seek a knot in a
rush'; and, again, to help and encourage others, whom either
ignorance or negligence holdeth back : it shall be necessary,
though not all, yet at the least to shew some, of the innu-
merable commodities that thereunto be joined.
Wherein omitting the discommodities which, for lack
thereof, daily augment and grow ; as Malice, Hatred, Envy,
Pride, Lack of Love, Deceits, Robberies, Thefts, Murders,
Bloody Battles, Seditions, Decay of Cities, Decay of Com-
mon-weals, Spoiling of Realms, and utter Desolation of
Peoples and Kingdoms: what can be a greater commodity,
than for every man peaceably to possess his own? Which
peaceable agreement : since it can none otherways be got
nor when it is got be preserved, but by Love ; which only
springeth of agreement in manners and moral virtues, what
thing ought men more to embrace ?
Again, if we consider. The divinity of our Soul, which
GOD hath created to his own likeness ; and the rewards
thereto due, for the Manners which it hath used in this
life : what worldly thing shall be able to be compared
Again, if we consider. How needful it is, as the only
What can be better than Good Manners.
help that GOD hath given us, to supply that which Nature
hath left unperfect; then shall we know what a Jewel it is !
For whereas Nature bringeth forth all other creatures
able to help themselves ; clothing them and giving them
food without [their] taking any pain [s] or labour therefore :
only Man is born naked, and destitute of power to help
himself. Yea, as saith Pliny, not one born to his own use;
neither is any man able to live himself alone. For if he
had all the wool in the world ; yet if it were not carded,
spun, dressed, and brought into cloth, it would not defend
him from the cold. Again, if he had all the grain that
springeth on the earth ; yet if it were unground and
unbaked, it would be unmeet meat. Which since they be
divers men's offices ; one man alone cannot do them all.
And since therefore it is not so, that no man can live
alone ; but must, of necessity, both help and be holpen
l^fieljyed^ of others ; what can be better than Good Manners,
that make every man glad and willing to do one for
another? that joineth us together in love and friendship;