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obliging him to him, giving him part both of dignities and
offices, to the end that the many honors and much wealth./
bestowed on him, may restrain his desires from other
honors, and other wealth, and that those many charges
cause him to fear changes that may fall, knowing he/ is
not able to stand without his master. And when both
the Princes and the servants are thus disposed, tKey
may rely the one upon the other: when otherwise,
the end will ever prove hurtfull for the one
as well as for the other.


That Flatterers are to be avoyded.

WILL not omit one principle of great in-
portance, being an errour from which
Princes with much difficulty defend them-
selves, unlesse they be very discreet, and
make a very good choice ; and this is
concerning flatterers ; whereof all writings
are full : and that because men please
themselves so much in their own things,
and therein cozen themselves, that very hardly can they
escape this pestilence ; and desiring to escape it, there is
danger of falling into contempt ; for there is no other way
to be secure from flattery, but to let men know, that they
displease thee not in telling thee truth : but when every one
hath this leave, thou losest thy reverence. Therefore ought


a wise Prince take a third course, making choyce of some CHAP,
understanding men in his State, and give only to them a XXIII
free liberty of speaking to him the truth ; and touching That
those things only which he inquires of, and nothing else ; flatterers
but he ought to be inquisitive of every thing, and hear their lyoy^ed!
opinions, and then afterwards advise himself after his own
manner ; and in these deliberations, and with every one of
them so carrie himself, that they all know, that the more
freely they shall speak, the better they shall be liked of:
and besides those, not give eare to any one ; and thus pursue
the thing resolved on, and thence continue obstinate 4n the
resolution taken. He who does otherwise, either falls upon
flatterers, or often changes upon the varying of opinions,
from whence proceeds it that men conceive but slightly of
him. To this purpose I will alledge you a moderne example.
Peter Lucas a servant of Maximilians the present Emperor,
speaking of his Majesty, said that he never advised with any
body, nor never did any thing after his own way : which was
because he took a contrary course to what we have now
said : for the Emperor is a close man, who communicates
his secrets to none, nor takes counsel of any one ; but as
they come to be put in practise, they begin to be discovered
and known, and so contradicted by those that are near
about him ; and he as being an easy man, is quickly wrought
from them. Whence it comes that what he does to day, he
undoes on the morrow ; and that he never understands him-
self what he would, nor what he purposes, and that there is
no grounding upon any of his resolutions. A Prince there-
fore ought alwayes to take counsel!, but at his owne pleasure,
and not at other mens ; or rather should take away any mans
courage to advise him of any thing, but what he askes : but
he ought well to aske at large, and then touching the
things inquird of, be a patient hearer of the truth ; and
perceiving that for some respect the truth were conceald
from him, be displeased thereat. And because some men
have thought that a Prince that gaines the opinion to bee
wise, may bee held so, not by his owne naturall indowments,
but by the good counsells he hath about him ; without
XX 345



are to be


question they are deceivd ; for this is a generall rule and
never failes, that a Prince who of himselfe is not wise, can
never be well advised, unlesse he should light upon one alone,
wholly to direct and govern him, who himself were a very
wise man. In this case it is possible he may be well
governd : but this would last but little : for that governor
in a short time would deprive him of his State ; but a Prince
not having any parts of nature, being advised of more then
one, shall never be able to unite these counsels : of himself
shall he never know how to unite them ; and each one of
the Counsellers, probably will follow that which is most
properly his owne; and he shall never find the meanes to
amend or discerne these things; nor can they fall out
otherwise, because men alwayes prove mischievous, unlesse
upon some necessity they be forc'd to become good : we
conclude therefore, that counsells from whencesoever they
proceed, must needs take their beginning from the Princes
wisdome, and not the wisdome of the Prince from good

Plutarch, de
adulatore et
amico discer-

In this Chapter our Authour prescribes some rules how to avoyd
flattery, and not to fall into contempt. The extent of these two
extreames is so large on both sides, that there is left but a very
narrow path for the right temper to walke between them both :
and happy were that Prince, who could light on so good a Pilote
as to bring him to Port between those rocks and those quicksands.
Where Majesty becomes familiar, unlesse endued with a super-
eminent vertue, it loses all awfull regards : as the light of the
Sunne, because so ordinary, because so common, we should little
value, were it not that all Creatures feele themselves quickned
by the rayes thereof. On the other side, Omnis insipiens arro-
gantid et plausibus capitur, Every foole is taken with his owne pride
and others flatteryes : and this foole keeps company so much with
all great wise men, that hardly with a candle and lantern can
they be discernd betwixt. The greatest men are more subject
to grosse and palpable flatteries ; and especially the greatest of
men, who are Kings and Princes : for many seek the Rulers
favour. Prov. 28. 26. For there are divers meanes whereby
private men are instructed ; Princes have not that good hap : but
they whose instruction is of most importance, so sooue as they
have taken the government upon them, no longer srxSer any



reproovers : for but few have accesse unto them^ and they who
familiary converse with them, doe and say all for favour. Isocrat^
to NicocleSj All are afraid to give him occasion of displeasure^
though by telling him truth. To this purpose therefore sayes
one ; a Prince excells in learning to ride the great horse, rather
than in any other exercise, because his horse being no flatterer,
will shew him he makes no difference between him and another
man, and unlesse he keepe his seate well, will lay him on the
ground. This is plaine dealing. Men are more subtile, more
double-hearted, they have a heart and a heart neither is their
tongue their hearts true interpreter. CoUnsell in the heart of man
is like deepe waters ; but a man of understanding will draw it out,
Prov, 20. 5. This understanding is most requisite in a Prince,
inasmuch as the whole Globe is in his hand, and the inferiour
Orbes are swayed by the motion of the highest. And therefore
surely it is the honour of a King to search out such a secret :
Prov. 26. 2. His counsellours are his eyes and eares ; as they
ought to be dear to him, so they ought to be true to him, and
make him the true report of things without disguise. If they
prove false eyes, let him pluck them out ; he may as they use
glasse eyes, take them forth without paine, and see never a whit
the worse for it. The wisdome of a Princes Counsellours is a
great argument of the Princes wisdome. And being the choyce
of them imports the Princes credit and safety, our Authour will
make him amends for his other errours by his good advice in his
22 Chap, whether I referre him.




are to be


Wherefore the Princes of Italy have lost their

HEN these things above said are well

observed, they make a new Prince seeme

as if he had been of old, and presently

render him more secure and firme in the

State, thalQ if he had already grown

ancient therein : for a new Prince is much

more observd in his action, than a Prince

by inheritance ; and when they are known

to bee vertuous, men are much more gaind and oblig'd to

them thereby, than by the antiquity of their blood : for men

" 347


CHAP. XXIV are much more taken by things present, than by things past,
Wherefore and when in the present they find good, they content them-
the Princes of selves therein, and seeke no further ; or rather they undertake
^K*'-^^^^*^"^* the defence of him to their utmost, when the Prince is not
eir a es. ■,ya,jjting in other matters to himself; and so shall he gaine
double glory to have given a beginning to a new Principality,
adornd, and strengthnd it with good lawes, good arms,
good friends, and good_ examples; as he shall have double
shame, that is born a Prince, and by reason of his small
discretion hath lost it. And if we shall consider those Lords,
I that in Italy have lost their States in our dayes, as the King
of Naples, the Duke of Milan, and others; first we shall
find in them a common defect, touching their armes, for the
reasons which have been above discoursd at length. After-
wards we shall see some of them, that either shall have had
the people for their enemies ; or be it they had the people
I to friend, could never know how to assure themselves of the
, great ones : for without such defects as these. States are not
lost, which have so many nerves, that they are able to
maintaine an army in the feld. Philip of Macedon, not the
father of Alexander the Great, but he that was vanquished
by Titus Quintius, had not much State in regard of the
greatnesse of the Romanes dnd of Greece that assail'd him ;
neverthelesse in that he was a warlike man and knew how
to entertaine the people, and assure himself of the Nobles,
for many yeares he made the warre good against them : and
though at last some town perhaps were taken from him, yet
the Kingdome remaind in his hands still. Wherefore these
our Princes who for many yeares had continued in their
Principalities, for having afterwards lost them, let them not
blame Fortune, but their own sloth; because they never
having thought during the time of quiet, that they could
suifer a change (which is the common fault of men, while
faire weather lasts, not to provide for the tempest) when
afterwards mischiefes came upon them, thought rather
upon flying from them, than upon their defence, and hop'd
that the people, weary of the vanquishers insolence, would
recall them : wliich course when the others faile, is good :
348 ^


but very ill is it to leave the other remedies for that : for CHAP. XXIV
a man wou'd never go to fall, beleeving another would Wherefore
come to take him up : which may either not come to the Princes of
passe, or if it does, it is not for thy security, because Italy have lost
that defence of his is vile, and depends not upon thee ; *^®''* S***^^-
but those defences only are good, certaine, and
durable, which depend upon thy owne selfe, and
thy owne vertues.


How great power Fortune hath in humane
affaires, and what meanes there is to resist it.

T is not unknown unto me, how that many
have held opinion, and still hold it, that
the affaires of the world are so governd
by fortune, and by God, that men by
their wisdome cannot amend or alter
them ; or rather that there is no remedy
for them : and hereupon they would
think that it were of no availe to
take much paines in any thing, but leave all to be governd
by chance. This opinion hath gain'd the more credit in
our dayes, by reason of the great alteration of things,
which we have of late seen, and do every day see, beyond
all humane conjecture: upon which, I sometimes think-
ing, am in some parte inclind to their opinion : never-
thelesse not to extinguish quite our owne free will, I
think it may be true, that Fortune is the mistrisse of one
halfe of our actions; but yet that she lets us have rule
of the other half, or little lesse. And I liken her to a
precipitous torrent, which when it rages, over-flows the
plaines, overthrowes the trees, and buildings, removes the
earth from one side, and laies it on another, every one flyes
before it, every one yeelds to the fury thereof, as unable to


power For-
tune hath
in humane


CHAP. XXV withstand it ; and yet however it be thus, when the times
How great are calmer, men are able to make provision against these
excesses, with banks and fences so, that afterwards when it
swels again, it shall all passe smoothly along, within its
channel!, or else the violence thereof shall not prove so
licentious and hurtful!. In like manner befals it us with
fortune, which there shewes her power where vertue is not
ordeind to resist her, and thither turnes she all her forces,
where she perceives that no provisions nor resistances are
made to uphold her. And if you shall consider Italy,
which is the seat of these changes, and that which hath
given them their motions, you shall see it to be a plaine
field, without any trench or bank ; which had it been fenc'd
with convenient vertue as was Germany, Spain or France ;
this inundation would never have causd these great altera-
tions it hath, or else would it not have reach'd to us : and
this shall suffice to have said, touching the opposing of
fortune in generall. But restraining my selfe more to
particulars, I say that to day we see a Prince prosper and
flourish and to morrow utterly go to ruine ; not seeing that
he hath alterd any condition or quality ; which I beleeve
arises first from the causes which we have long since run over,
that is because that Prince that relies wholly upon fortune,
runnes as her wheele turnes. I beleeve also, that he proves the
fortunate man, whose manner of proceeding meets with the
quality of the time ; and so likewise he unfortunate from whose
course of proceeding the, times differ: for we see that men,
inThe things that induce them to the end, (which every one
propounds to himselfe, as glorjr and riches) proceed therein
diversly ; some with respects, others more bold, and rashly ;
one with violence, and the other with cunning ; the one with
patience, th'other with its contrary; and every one by
severall wayes may attaine thereto ; we see also two very
respective and wary men, the one come to his purpose,
and th'other not ; and in like maner two equally prosper,
taking divers course ; the one being wary the other head-
strong; which proceeds from nothing else, but from the
quality of the times, which agree, or not, with their pro-


ceedings. From hence arises that which I said, that two CHAP. XXV
working diversly, produce the same effect : and two equaly How gi-eat
working, the one attains his end, the other not. Hereupon power For-
also depends the alteration of the good ; for if to one that *"'?^ ^^^^
behaves himself with warinesse and patience, times and affaires^"^
affaires turne so favourably, that the carriage of his businesse
prove well, he prospers ; but if the times and afiaires chance,
he is ruind, because he changes not his manner of proceeding :
nor is there any man so wise, that can frame himselfe here-
unto ; as well because he cannot go out of the way, from
that whereunto Nature inclines him : as also, for that one
having alwayes prospei*d, walking such a way, cannot be
perswaded to leave it ; and therefore the respective and wary
man, when it is fit time for him to use violence and force,
knows not how to put it in practice, whereupon he is ruind :
but if he could change his disposition with the times and the
affaires, he should not change his fortune. Pope Julius the
second proceeded in all his actions with very great violence,
and found the times and things so conformable to that his
manner of proceeding that in all of them he had happy
successe. Consider the first exploit he did at Bolonia, even
while John Bentivolio lived : the Venetians were not well
contented therewith ; the King of Spaine likewise with the
French, had treated of that enterprise; and notwith-
standing al this, he stirrd up by his own rage and fiercenesse,
personally undertook that expedition : which action of his
put in suspence and stopt Spaine and the Venetians ; those
for feare, and the others for desire to recover the Kingdome
of Naples ; and on the other part drew after him the King
of France; for that King seeing him already in motion,
and desiring to hold him his friend, whereby to humble the
Venetians, thought he could no way deny him his souldiers,
without doing him an open injury. Julius then effected
that with his violent and heady motion, which no other
Pope with all humane wisdome could ever have done ; for
if he had expected to part from Rome with his conclusions
settled, and all his affaires ordered before hand, as any other
Pope would have done, he had never brought it to passe :


power For-
tune hath
in humane


CHAP. XXV For the King of France would have devised a thousand
How great excuses, and others would have put him in as many feares.
I will let passe his other actions, for all of them were alike,
and all of them prov'd lucky to him ; and the brevity of his
life never sufferd him to feele the contrary : for had he litt
upon such times afterwards, that it had been necessary for
him to proceed with respects, there had been his utter ruine ;
for he would never have left those wayes, to which he had been
naturally inclind. I conclude then, fortune varying, and men
continuing still obstinate to their own wayes, prove happy,
while these accord together : and as they disagree, prove un-
happy : and I think it true, that it is better to be heady than
wary ; because Fortune is a mistresse ; and it is necessary, to
keep her in obedience to ruffle and force her : and we see,
that she suffers her self rather to be masterd by those,
than by others that proceed coldly. And therefore, as a
mistresse, shee is a friend to young men, because they are
lesse respective, more rough, and command her with more

I have considered the 26 Chapter, as representing me a full
view of humane policy and cunning : yet me thinks it cannot
satisfie a Christian in the causes of the good and bad successe of
things. The life of man is like a game at Tables ; skill availes
much I grant, but that 's not all : play thy game well, but that
will not winne : the chance thou throwest must accord with thy
play. Examine this ; play never so surely, play never so probably,
unlesse the chance thou castest, lead thee forward to advantage,
all hazards are losses, and thy sure play leaves thee in the lurch.
The sum of this is set down in Ecclesiastes chap. 9. v. 11. The
race is not to the swift, nor the battell to the strong : neither yet
bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor
yet favour to men of skill ; but time and chance hapeneth to them
all. Our cunning Author for all his exact rules he delivere in
his books, could not fence against the despight of Fortune, as he
complaines in his Epistle to this booke. Nor that great example
of policy, Duke Valentine, whome our Author commends to
Princes for his crafts-master, could so ruffle or force his mistresse
Fortune, that he could keep her in obedience. Man can
contribute no more to his actions than vertue and wisdome : but
the successe depends upon a power above. Surely there is "the


finger of god ; or as Prov. 16. v. 33. 'The lot is cast into the CHAP. XXV
' lap, but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord.' It was tr
not Josephs wisdome made all things thrive under his hand ; "^ ^^
but because the Lord was with him ; and that which he did, the f^^x, t?,'"
Lord made it to prosper. Gen. 39. Surely this is a blessing . ^®
proceeding from the divine providence, which beyond humane '^'^''™*°*
capacity so cooperateth with the causes, as that their effects ™*'''®®-
prove answerable, and sometimes (that we may know there is
something above the ordinary causes) the success returns with
such a supereminency of worth, that it far exceeds the vertue of
the ordinary causes.


An Exhortation to free Italy from the

AVING then weigh'd all things above dis-
cours'd, and devising with my self, whether
at this present in Italy the time might
serve to honor a new Prince, and whether
there were matter that might minister
occasion to a wise and valorous Prince, to
introduce such a forme, that might do
honor to him, and good to the whole
generality of the people in the countrey : me thinks so
many things concurre in favor of a new Prince, that I
know not whether there were ever any time more proper for
this purpose. And if as I said, it was necessary, desiring to
see Moses his vertue, that the children of Israel should be
inthrald in .^gypt ; and to have experience of the magna-
nimity of Cyrus his mind, that the Persians should be
Oppressed by the Medes ; and to set forth the excellency of
Theseus, that the Athenians should be dispersed ; so at this
present now we are desirous to know the valor of an Italian
spirit, it were necessary Italy should be reduced to the same
termes it is now in, and were in more slavery than the
Hebrews were; more subject than the Persians, more
YY 353


CHAP. XXVI scatterd than the Athenians ; without head, without order,
An Exhorta- battered, pillaged, rent asunder, overrun, and had under-
tion to free gone all kind of destruction. And however even in these
Italy from the later dayes, we have had some kind of shew of hope in some
ar anans. ^^^^ whereby we might have conjectur'd, that he had been
ordained for the deliverance hereof, yet it prov'd afterwards,
that in the very height of all his actions he was curb'd by
fortune, insomuch that this poore countrey remaining as it
were without life, attends still for him that shall heal her
wounds, give an end to all those pillagings and sackings of
/ Lombardy, to those robberies and taxations of the King-
dome, and of Tuscany, and heal them of their soars, now
this long time gangren'd. We see how she makes her
prayers to God, that he send some one to redeem her from
these Barbarous cruelties and insolencies. We see her also
wholly ready and disposed to follow any colours, provided
there be any one take them up. Nor do we see at this
present, that she can look for other, than your Illustrious
Family, to become Cheiftain of this deliverance, which hath
now by its own vertue and Fortune been so much exalted,
and favored by God and the Church, whereof it now holds
the Principality : and this shall not be very hard for you to
do, if you shall call to mind the former actions, and lives of
those that are above named. And though those men were
very rare and admirable, yet were they men, and every one
of them began upon less occasion than this ; for neither was
their enterprize more just than this, nor more easie; nor
was God more their friend, than yours. Here is very great
justice: for that war is just, that is necessary; and those
armes are religious, when there is no hope left otherwhere,
but in them. Here is an exceeding good disposition therel i :
nor can there be, where there is a good disposition, a great
difficulty, provided that use be made of those orders, which
I propounded for aim and direction to you. Besides this,
here we see extraordinary things without example eflFected
by God; the sea was opened, a cloud guided the way,
devotion poured forth the waters, and it rain'd down
Manna ; all these things have concurred in your greatness,


the rest is left for you to do. God will not do every thing CHAP. XXVI
himself, that he may not take from us our free will, and An Exhorta-
part of that glory that belongs to us. Neither is it a tiontofree
marvel, if any of the aforenamed Italians have not been Italy from the
able to compass that, which we may hope your illustrious S^'"'*"^"^*
family shall : though in so many revolutions of Italy, and
so many feats of war, it may seem that the whole military
vertue therein be quite extinguisht ; for this arises from that
the ancient orders thereof were not good ; and there hath
since been none that hath known how to invent new ones.
Nothing can so much honor a man rising anew, as new laws
and new ordinances devised by him : these things when they
have a good foundation given them, and contain in them
their due greatness, gain him reverence and admiration ; and
in Italy their wants not the matter wherein to introduce

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