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good conditions" (as an old courtier observes), "but as every man hath
means, or more potent friends, so he is preferred." With us in France
([3954]for so their own countryman relates) "most part the matter is
carried by favour and grace; he that can get a great man to be his
mediator, runs away with all the preferment." _Indignissimus plerumque
praefertur, Vatinius Catoni, illaudatus laudatissimo_;

[3955] - - - "servi dominantur; aselli
Ornantur phaleris, dephalerantur equi."

An illiterate fool sits in a man's seat, and the common people hold him
learned, grave and wise. "One professeth" ([3956]Cardan well notes) "for a
thousand crowns, but he deserves not ten, when as he that deserves a
thousand cannot get ten." _Solarium non dat multis salem._ As good horses
draw in carts, as coaches. And oftentimes, which Machiavel seconds, [3957]
_Principes non sunt qui ob insignem virtutem principatu digni sunt_, he
that is most worthy wants employment; he that hath skill to be a pilot
wants a ship, and he that could govern a commonwealth, a world itself, a
king in conceit, wants means to exercise his worth, hath not a poor office
to manage, and yet all this while he is a better man that is fit to reign,
_etsi careat regno_, though he want a kingdom, [3958]"than he that hath
one, and knows not how to rule it:" a lion serves not always his keeper,
but oftentimes the keeper the lion, and as [3959]Polydore Virgil hath it,
_multi reges ut pupilli ob inscitiam non regunt sed reguntur_. Hieron of
Syracuse was a brave king, but wanted a kingdom; Perseus of Macedon had
nothing of a king, but the bare name and title, for he could not govern it:
so great places are often ill bestowed, worthy persons unrespected. Many
times, too, the servants have more means than the masters whom they serve,
which [3960]Epictetus counts an eyesore and inconvenient. But who can help
it? It is an ordinary thing in these days to see a base impudent ass,
illiterate, unworthy, insufficient, to be preferred before his betters,
because he can put himself forward, because he looks big, can bustle in the
world, hath a fair outside, can temporise, collogue, insinuate, or hath
good store of friends and money, whereas a more discreet, modest, and
better-deserving man shall lie hid or have a repulse. 'Twas so of old, and
ever will be, and which Tiresias advised Ulysses in the [3961]
poet, - _Accipe qua ratione queas ditescere_, &c., is still in use; lie,
flatter, and dissemble: if not, as he concludes, - _Ergo pauper eris_, then
go like a beggar as thou art. Erasmus, Melancthon, Lipsius, Budaeus,
Cardan, lived and died poor. Gesner was a silly old man, _baculo innixus_,
amongst all those huffing cardinals, swelling bishops that flourished in
his time, and rode on foot-clothes. It is not honesty, learning, worth,
wisdom, that prefers men, "The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to
the strong," but as the wise man said, [3962]Chance, and sometimes a
ridiculous chance. [3963]_Casus plerumque ridiculus multos elevavit._ 'Tis
fortune's doings, as they say, which made Brutus now dying exclaim, _O
misera virtus, ergo nihil quam verba eras, atqui ego te tanquam rem
exercebam, sed tu serviebas fortunae._ [3964]Believe it hereafter, O my
friends! virtue serves fortune. Yet be not discouraged (O my well deserving
spirits) with this which I have said, it may be otherwise, though seldom I
confess, yet sometimes it is. But to your farther content, I'll tell you a
[3965]tale. In Maronia pia, or Maronia felix, I know not whether, nor how
long since, nor in what cathedral church, a fat prebend fell void. The
carcass scarce cold, many suitors were up in an instant. The first had rich
friends, a good purse, and he was resolved to outbid any man before he
would lose it, every man supposed he should carry it. The second was my
lord Bishop's chaplain (in whose gift it was), and he thought it his due to
have it. The third was nobly born, and he meant to get it by his great
parents, patrons, and allies. The fourth stood upon his worth, he had newly
found out strange mysteries in chemistry, and other rare inventions, which
he would detect to the public good. The fifth was a painful preacher, and
he was commended by the whole parish where he dwelt, he had all their hands
to his certificate. The sixth was the prebendary's son lately deceased, his
father died in debt (for it, as they say), left a wife and many poor
children. The seventh stood upon fair promises, which to him and his noble
friends had been formerly made for the next place in his lordship's gift.
The eighth pretended great losses, and what he had suffered for the church,
what pains he had taken at home and abroad, and besides he brought
noblemen's letters. The ninth had married a kinswoman, and he sent his wife
to sue for him. The tenth was a foreign doctor, a late convert, and wanted
means. The eleventh would exchange for another, he did not like the
former's site, could not agree with his neighbours and fellows upon any
terms, he would be gone. The twelfth and last was (a suitor in conceit) a
right honest, civil, sober man, an excellent scholar, and such a one as
lived private in the university, but he had neither means nor money to
compass it; besides he hated all such courses, he could not speak for
himself, neither had he any friends to solicit his cause, and therefore
made no suit, could not expect, neither did he hope for, or look after it.
The good bishop amongst a jury of competitors thus perplexed, and not yet
resolved what to do, or on whom to bestow it, at the last, of his own
accord, mere motion, and bountiful nature, gave it freely to the university
student, altogether unknown to him but by fame; and to be brief, the
academical scholar had the prebend sent him for a present. The news was no
sooner published abroad, but all good students rejoiced, and were much
cheered up with it, though some would not believe it; others, as men
amazed, said it was a miracle; but one amongst the rest thanked God for it,
and said, _Nunc juvat tandem studiosum esse, et Deo integro corde servire_.
You have heard my tale: but alas it is but a tale, a mere fiction, 'twas
never so, never like to be, and so let it rest. Well, be it so then, they
have wealth and honour, fortune and preferment, every man (there's no
remedy) must scramble as he may, and shift as he can; yet Cardan comforted
himself with this, [3966]"the star Fomahant would make him immortal," and
that [3967]after his decease his books should be found in ladies' studies:
[3968]_Dignum laude virum Musa vetat mori_. But why shouldst thou take thy
neglect, thy canvas so to heart? It may be thou art not fit; but a
[3969]child that puts on his father's shoes, hat, headpiece, breastplate,
breeches, or holds his spear, but is neither able to wield the one, or wear
the other; so wouldst thou do by such an office, place, or magistracy: thou
art unfit: "And what is dignity to an unworthy man, but (as [3970]
Salvianus holds) a gold ring in a swine's snout?" Thou art a brute. Like a
bad actor (so [3971]Plutarch compares such men in a tragedy, _diadema fert,
at vox non auditur_: Thou wouldst play a king's part, but actest a clown,
speakest like an ass. [3972]_Magna petis Phaeton et quae non viribus
istis_, &c., as James and John, the sons of Zebedee, did ask they knew not
what: _nescis temerarie nescis_; thou dost, as another Suffenus, overween
thyself; thou art wise in thine own conceit, but in other more mature
judgment altogether unfit to manage such a business. Or be it thou art more
deserving than any of thy rank, God in his providence hath reserved thee
for some other fortunes, _sic superis visum_. Thou art humble as thou art,
it may be; hadst thou been preferred, thou wouldst have forgotten God and
thyself, insulted over others, contemned thy friends, [3973]been a block, a
tyrant, or a demigod, _sequiturque superbia formam_: [3974]"Therefore,"
saith Chrysostom, "good men do not always find grace and favour, lest they
should be puffed up with turgent titles, grow insolent and proud."

Injuries, abuses, are very offensive, and so much the more in that they
think _veterem ferendo invitant novam_, "by taking one they provoke
another:" but it is an erroneous opinion, for if that were true, there
would be no end of abusing each other; _lis litem generat_; 'tis much
better with patience to bear, or quietly to put it up. If an ass kick me,
saith Socrates, shall I strike him again? And when [3975]his wife Xantippe
struck and misused him, to some friends that would have had him strike her
again, he replied, that he would not make them sport, or that they should
stand by and say, _Eia Socrates, eia Xantippe_, as we do when dogs fight,
animate them the more by clapping of hands. Many men spend themselves,
their goods, friends, fortunes, upon small quarrels, and sometimes at other
men's procurements, with much vexation of spirit and anguish of mind, all
which with good advice, or mediation of friends, might have been happily
composed, or if patience had taken place. Patience in such cases is a most
sovereign remedy, to put up, conceal, or dissemble it, to [3976]forget and
forgive, [3977]"not seven, but seventy-seven times, as often as he repents
forgive him;" Luke xvii. 3. as our Saviour enjoins us, stricken, "to turn
the other side:" as our [3978]Apostle persuades us, "to recompense no man
evil for evil, but as much as is possible to have peace with all men: not
to avenge ourselves, and we shall heap burning coals upon our adversary's
head." "For [3979]if you put up wrong" (as Chrysostom comments), "you get
the victory; he that loseth his money, loseth not the conquest in this our
philosophy." If he contend with thee, submit thyself unto him first, yield
to him. _Durum et durum non faciunt murum_, as the diverb is, two
refractory spirits will never agree, the only means to overcome is to
relent, _obsequio vinces_. Euclid in Plutarch, when his brother had angered
him, swore he would be revenged; but he gently replied, [3980]"Let me not
live if I do not make thee to love me again," upon which meek answer he was

[3981] "Flectitur obsequio curvatus ab arbore ramus,
Frangis si vires experire tuas."

"A branch if easily bended yields to thee,
Pull hard it breaks: the difference you see."

The noble family of the Colonni in Rome, when they were expelled the city
by that furious Alexander the Sixth, gave the bending branch therefore as
an impress, with this motto, _Flecti potest, frangi non potest_, to signify
that he might break them by force, but so never make them stoop, for they
fled in the midst of their hard usage to the kingdom of Naples, and were
honourably entertained by Frederick the king, according to their callings.
Gentleness in this case might have done much more, and let thine adversary
be never so perverse, it may be by that means thou mayst win him; [3982]
_favore et benevolentia etiam immanis animus mansuescit_, soft words pacify
wrath, and the fiercest spirits are so soonest overcome; [3983]a generous
lion will not hurt a beast that lies prostrate, nor an elephant an
innocuous creature, but is _infestus infestis_, a terror and scourge alone
to such as are stubborn, and make resistance. It was the symbol of Emanuel
Philibert, Duke of Savoy, and he was not mistaken in it, for

[3984] "Quo quisque est major, magis est placabilis irae,
Et faciles motus mens generosa capit."

"A greater man is soonest pacified,
A noble spirit quickly satisfied."

It is reported by [3985]Gualter Mapes, an old historiographer of ours (who
lived 400 years since), that King Edward senior, and Llewellyn prince of
Wales, being at an interview near Aust upon Severn, in Gloucestershire, and
the prince sent for, refused to come to the king; he would needs go over to
him; which Llewellyn perceiving, [3986]"went up to the arms in water, and
embracing his boat, would have carried him out upon his shoulders, adding
that his humility and wisdom had triumphed over his pride and folly," and
thereupon he was reconciled unto him and did his homage. If thou canst not
so win him, put it up, if thou beest a true Christian, a good divine, an
imitator of Christ, [3987]("for he was reviled and put it up, whipped and
sought no revenge,") thou wilt pray for thine enemies, [3988]"and bless
them that persecute thee;" be patient, meek, humble, &c. An honest man will
not offer thee injury, _probus non vult_; if he were a brangling knave,
'tis his fashion so to do; where is least heart is most tongue; _quo
quisque stultior, eo magis insolescit_, the more sottish he is, still the
more insolent: [3989]"Do not answer a fool according to his folly." If he
be thy superior, [3990]bear it by all means, grieve not at it, let him take
his course; Anitus and Melitus [3991]"may kill me, they cannot hurt me;" as
that generous Socrates made answer in like case. _Mens immota manet_,
though the body be torn in pieces with wild horses, broken on the wheel,
pinched with fiery tongs, the soul cannot be distracted. 'Tis an ordinary
thing for great men to vilify and insult, oppress, injure, tyrannise, to
take what liberty they list, and who dare speak against? _Miserum est ab eo
laedi, a quo non possis queri_, a miserable thing 'tis to be injured of
him, from whom is no appeal: [3992]and not safe to write against him that
can proscribe and punish a man at his pleasure, which Asinius Pollio was
aware of, when Octavianus provoked him. 'Tis hard I confess to be so
injured: one of Chilo's three difficult things: [3993]"To keep counsel;
spend his time well; put up injuries:" but be thou patient, and [3994]leave
revenge unto the Lord. [3995]"Vengeance is mine and I will repay, saith the
Lord" - "I know the Lord," saith [3996]David, "will avenge the afflicted and
judge the poor." - "No man" (as [3997]Plato farther adds) "can so severely
punish his adversary, as God will such as oppress miserable men."

[3998] "Iterum ille rem judicatam judicat,
Majoreque mulcta mulctat."

If there be any religion, any God, and that God be just, it shall be so; if
thou believest the one, believe the other: _Erit, erit_, it shall be so.
Nemesis comes after, _sero sed serio_, stay but a little and thou shalt see
God's just judgment overtake him.

[3999] "Raro antecedentem scelestum
Deseruit pede poena claudo."

"Yet with sure steps, though lame and slow,
Vengeance o'ertakes the trembling villain's speed."

Thou shalt perceive that verified of Samuel to Agag, 1 Sam. xv. 33. "Thy
sword hath made many women childless, so shall thy mother be childless
amongst other women." It shall be done to them as they have done to others.
Conradinus, that brave Suevian prince, came with a well-prepared army into
the kingdom of Naples, was taken prisoner by king Charles, and put to death
in the flower of his youth; a little after (_ultionem Conradini mortis_,
Pandulphus Collinutius _Hist. Neap. lib. 5._ calls it), King Charles's own
son, with two hundred nobles, was so taken prisoner, and beheaded in like
sort. Not in this only, but in all other offences, _quo quisque peccat in
eo punietur_, [4000]they shall be punished in the same kind, in the same
part, like nature, eye with or in the eye, head with or in the head,
persecution with persecution, lust with effects of lust; let them march on
with ensigns displayed, let drums beat on, trumpets sound taratantarra, let
them sack cities, take the spoil of countries, murder infants, deflower
virgins, destroy, burn, persecute, and tyrannise, they shall be fully
rewarded at last in the same measure, they and theirs, and that to their

[4001] "Ad generum Cereris sine caede et sanguine pauci
Descendunt reges et sicca morte tyranni."

"Few tyrants in their beds do die,
But stabb'd or maim'd to hell they hie."

Oftentimes too a base contemptible fellow is the instrument of God's
justice to punish, to torture, and vex them, as an ichneumon doth a
crocodile. They shall be recompensed according to the works of their hands,
as Haman was hanged on the gallows he provided for Mordecai; "They shall
have sorrow of heart, and be destroyed from under the heaven," Thre. iii.
64, 65, 66. Only be thou patient: [4002]_vincit qui patitur_: and in the
end thou shalt be crowned. Yea, but 'tis a hard matter to do this, flesh
and blood may not abide it; 'tis _grave, grave_! no (Chrysostom replies)
_non est grave, o homo_! 'tis not so grievous, [4003]"neither had God
commanded it, if it had been so difficult." But how shall it be done?
"Easily," as he follows it, "if thou shalt look to heaven, behold the
beauty of it, and what God hath promised to such as put up injuries." But
if thou resist and go about _vim vi repellere_, as the custom of the world
is, to right thyself, or hast given just cause of offence, 'tis no injury
then but a condign punishment; thou hast deserved as much: _A te
principium, in te recredit crimen quod a te fuit; peccasti, quiesce_, as
Ambrose expostulates with Cain, _lib. 3. de Abel et Cain_. [4004]Dionysius
of Syracuse, in his exile, was made to stand without door, _patienter
ferendum, fortasse nos tale quid fecimus, quum in honore essemus_, he
wisely put it up, and laid the fault where it was, on his own pride and
scorn, which in his prosperity he had formerly showed others. 'Tis [4005]
Tully's axiom, _ferre ea molestissime homines non debent, quae ipsorum
culpa contracta sunt_, self do, self have, as the saying is, they may thank
themselves. For he that doth wrong must look to be wronged again; _habet et
musca splenem, et formicae sua bills inest_. The least fly hath a spleen,
and a little bee a sting. [4006]An ass overwhelmed a thistlewarp's nest,
the little bird pecked his galled back in revenge; and the humble-bee in
the fable flung down the eagle's eggs out of Jupiter's lap. Bracides, in
Plutarch, put his hand into a mouse's nest and hurt her young ones, she bit
him by the finger: [4007]I see now (saith he) there is no creature so
contemptible, that will not be revenged. 'Tis _lex talionis_, and the
nature of all things so to do: if thou wilt live quietly thyself, [4008]do
no wrong to others; if any be done thee, put it up, with patience endure
it, for [4009]"this is thankworthy," saith our apostle, "if any man for
conscience towards God endure grief, and suffer wrong undeserved; for what
praise is it, if when ye be buffeted for you faults, ye take it patiently?
But if when you do well, ye suffer wrong, and take it patiently, there is
thanks with God; for hereunto verily we are called." _Qui mala non fert,
ipse sibi testis est per impatientiam quod bonus non est_, "he that cannot
bear injuries, witnesseth against himself that he is no good man," as
Gregory holds. [4010]"'Tis the nature of wicked men to do injuries, as it
is the property of all honest men patiently to bear them." _Improbitas
nullo flectitur obsequio_. The wolf in the [4011]emblem sucked the goat (so
the shepherd would have it), but he kept nevertheless a wolf's nature;
[4012]a knave will be a knave. Injury is on the other side a good man's
footboy, his _fidus Acliates_, and as a lackey follows him wheresoever he
goes. Besides, _misera est fortuna quae caret inimico_, he is in a
miserable estate that wants enemies: [4013]it is a thing not to be avoided,
and therefore with more patience to be endured. Cato Censorius, that
upright Cato of whom Paterculus gives that honourable eulogium, _bene fecit
quod aliter facere non potuit_, was [4014]fifty times indicted and accused
by his fellow citizens, and as [4015]Ammianus well hath it, _Quis erit
innocens si clam vel palam accusasse sufficiat_? if it be sufficient to
accuse a man openly or in private, who shall be free? If there were no
other respect than that of Christianity, religion and the like, to induce
men to be long-suffering and patient, yet methinks the nature of injury
itself is sufficient to keep them quiet, the tumults, uproars, miseries,
discontents, anguish, loss, dangers that attend upon it might restrain the
calamities of contention: for as it is with ordinary gamesters, the gains
go to the box, so falls it out to such as contend; the lawyers get all; and
therefore if they would consider of it, _aliena pericula cantos_, other
men's misfortunes in this kind, and common experience might detain them.
[4016]The more they contend, the more they are involved in a labyrinth of
woes, and the catastrophe is to consume one another, like the elephant and
dragon's conflict in Pliny; [4017]the dragon got under the elephant's
belly, and sucked his blood so long, till he fell down dead upon the
dragon, and killed him with the fall, so both were ruined. 'Tis a hydra's
head, contention; the more they strive, the more they may: and as
Praxiteles did by his glass, when he saw a scurvy face in it, brake it in
pieces: but for that one he saw many more as bad in a moment: for one
injury done they provoke another _cum foenore_, and twenty enemies for one.
_Noli irritare crabrones_, oppose not thyself to a multitude: but if thou
hast received a wrong, wisely consider of it, and if thou canst possibly,
compose thyself with patience to bear it. This is the safest course, and
thou shalt find greatest ease to be quiet.

[4018]I say the same of scoffs, slanders, contumelies, obloquies,
defamations, detractions, pasquilling libels, and the like, which may tend
any way to our disgrace: 'tis but opinion; if we could neglect, contemn, or
with patience digest them, they would reflect on them that offered them at
first. A wise citizen, I know not whence, had a scold to his wife: when she
brawled, he played on his drum, and by that means madded her more, because
she saw that he would not be moved. Diogenes in a crowd when one called him
back, and told him how the boys laughed him to scorn, _Ego, inquit, non
rideor_, took no notice of it. Socrates was brought upon the stage by
Aristophanes, and misused to his face, but he laughed as if it concerned
him not: and as Aelian relates of him, whatsoever good or bad accident or
fortune befel him going in or coming out, Socrates still kept the same
countenance; even so should a Christian do, as Hierom describes him, _per
infamiam et bonam famam grassari ad immortalitatem_, march on through good
and bad reports to immortality, [4019]not to be moved: for honesty is a
sufficient reward, probitas sibi, praemium; and in our times the sole
recompense to do well, is, to do well: but naughtiness will punish itself
at last, [4020]_Improbis ipsa nequitia supplicium_. As the diverb is,

"Qui bene fecerunt, illi sua facta sequentur;
Qui male fecerunt, facta sequentur eos:"

"They that do well, shall have reward at last:
But they that ill, shall suffer for that's past."

Yea, but I am ashamed, disgraced, dishonoured, degraded, exploded: my
notorious crimes and villainies are come to light (_deprendi miserum est_),
my filthy lust, abominable oppression and avarice lies open, my good name's
lost, my fortune's gone, I have been stigmatised, whipped at post,
arraigned and condemned, I am a common obloquy, I have lost my ears,
odious, execrable, abhorred of God and men. Be content, 'tis but a nine
days' wonder, and as one sorrow drives out another, one passion another,
one cloud another, one rumour is expelled by another; every day almost,
come new news unto our ears, as how the sun was eclipsed, meteors seen in
the air, monsters born, prodigies, how the Turks were overthrown in Persia,
an earthquake in Helvetia, Calabria, Japan, or China, an inundation in
Holland, a great plague in Constantinople, a fire at Prague, a dearth in
Germany, such a man is made a lord, a bishop, another hanged, deposed,
pressed to death, for some murder, treason, rape, theft, oppression, all
which we do hear at first with a kind of admiration, detestation,
consternation, but by and by they are buried in silence: thy father's dead,
thy brother robbed, wife runs mad, neighbour hath killed himself; 'tis
heavy, ghastly, fearful news at first, in every man's mouth, table talk;
but after a while who speaks or thinks of it? It will be so with thee and
thine offence, it will be forgotten in an instant, be it theft, rape,
sodomy, murder, incest, treason, &c., thou art not the first offender, nor
shalt not be the last, 'tis no wonder, every hour such malefactors are
called in question, nothing so common, _Quocunque in populo, quocunque sub
axe_? [4021]Comfort thyself, thou art not the sole man. If he that were
guiltless himself should fling the first stone at thee, and he alone should

Online LibraryRobert BurtonThe Anatomy of Melancholy → online text (page 64 of 138)