William Baldwin.

The sayings of the wise; or, Food for thought. A book of moral wisdom, gathered from the ancient philosophers online

. (page 1 of 12)
Online LibraryWilliam BaldwinThe sayings of the wise; or, Food for thought. A book of moral wisdom, gathered from the ancient philosophers → online text (page 1 of 12)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook




The Sayings of the Wise.

A Christian Library.

A POPULAR Series of Religious Literature.

Edited by

ProfeBsor EDWARD ARBER, D. Litt. (Oxon), F.8.A.,
Fellow of King's College, London.

In these popular Editions, all Latin, Greek, and learned, Notes are

1. Dean W. Whittingham. A Brief Disconrse of the Troiibles of

Frankfort. 1554-1658 A.D. - - 58. net.

2, The Torments of Protestant Slaves in the French King's Galleys,

and in the Dungeons of Marseilles. 1686-1707 A.D. Edited
by Prof. E. Arber, D. Litt., F.S.A. - - - 6s. net.

h. The Sayings of the Wise, or Food for Thought. A Book of
Moral Wisdom, gathered from the ancient Philosophers.
By W. Baldwin 88. 6d. net.

Hie Sayiuf/s of the Wise^


Food for Thought.

A Book of Moral Wisdom, gathered
from the ancient Philosophers.


William Baldwin

1666 A.D.

Elliot Stock. 62, Paternoster Row, E.G.
* 1908.



General Preface.

The central purpose of this Series of Books is
not to excite the least ill will or prejudice towards
any existing body of Christian men and women
whatsoever : but rather to implant and cherish in
the hearts of all its Readers a perfect detestation
and execration of Compulsion in Religion; and of
Persecution for Religious Opinions.

Christian History only too sadly demonstrates
the truth of our blessed Lord's saying, ' I came not
to send peace; but a sword'; because we mortals
will not act upon the Golden Principle of Life
that he has given us, ' By this shall all men know
that ye are my disciples ; if ye have love one to
another.' E.A.



General Preface v.

Contents vii.-x.

Introduction - xi., xii.

The Title Page of the First Edition.

A Treatise of Moral Philosophy containing The Sayings of the Wise.

20 January 1547. .... 1

The Epistle to the Earl of Hertford 3, 4

The Title Page of the Revised Edition.

The Treatise of Moral Philosophy containing the Sayings of the Wise.

[1555.] 5

The Epistle to the Earl of Hertford 7, 8

The Prologue to the Reader 9-12

Book I.

The Lives and Witty Answers of the Philosophers - - " 13-77

I. Of the Beginning of Philosophy - - - - 13, 14

II. Of the Parts of Philosophy 15

III. Of the Beginning of Moral Philosophy ... 16
i IV. Of the kinds of Teaching of Moral Philosophy - 17

V. The Order of this Book 18, 19

VI. Hermes, Trismegistus 20-22

VII. Pythagoras - - 23-26



VIII. Thales . . . " 27-29

IX. Solon 30-32

X. Chilo - 33, 34

XI. Bias - - - - 35, 36

XII. Periander 37, 38

XIII. Anacharsis 39, 40

XIV. Myson 41

XV. Epimenides 42, 43

XVI. Anaxagoras 44, 45

XVII. Pherecydes - 46, 47

XVIII. Socrates - - 48-53

XIX. Xenophon - - 54, 55

XX. Aristippus - - - - - 56, 57

XXI. Plato 58-60

XXII. Xenocrates - - 61, 62

XXIII. Arcesilaus 63, 64

XXIV. Aristotle 65, 66

XXV. Diogenes 67-69

XXVI. Antisthenes 70, 71

XXVII. Isocrates - - - - - - - - - 72, 73

XXVIII. Plutarch - - - 74, 75

XXIX. Seneca 76, 77

Book II.
Of Precepts and Counsels.








Of the profit of Moral Philosophy

Of God ; of his power, and of his works

Of the Soul ; and [the] governance thereof

Of the World ; the love, and pleasures, thereof

Of Death : not to be feared - - - -

Of Friendship, and Friends - - - -

Of Counsel and Counsellors - - - -

92, 93
99, 100



VIII. Of Riches and Poverty 101, 102

IX. Of Silence, Speech, and Communication - - - 103, 104

X. Of Kings, Rulers, and Governors ; how they should

rule their subjects 105-107

XI. The Precepts of the Wise - - - - - - 108-123

The Conclusion 124

Book III.

Of Proverbs and Adages.


I. The use of Proverbs and Adages 125, 126

II. Of Wisdom, Learning, and Understanding - - - 127-130

III. Of Justice, Laws, Cities, and Governors - - - 131, 132

IV. Of Power, Honour, Virtue, and Strength - - - 133, 134

V. Of Liberality, Patience, Use, and Diligence - - 135, 136

VI. Of Knowledge, Ignorance, and Error - - - - 137, 138

VII. Of Money and Covetousness 139, 140

VIII. Of the Tongue, of Fair Speech ; and of Flattery - 141, 142

IX. Of Truth, of Faith, of Error, and Lying ... 143

X. Of Bringing up and Manners ; of Dispositions and

Instruction . . . . j . . . 144, 145

XI. Of Love, Lust, and Lechery 146

XII. Of Marriage and Married Folk - - - - - 147-150

XIII. Of Sorrow, Gladness, Fear, and Boldness - - - 151

XIV. Of Anger, Wrath, Envy, Malice, and Revenge - - 152, 153

XV. Of Liberty and Bondage, Masters and Servants - 154-156

XVI. Of Women, Wine, and Drunkenness - - - - 157-159
XVII.-XXII. Divers Sentences of sundry Matters - - 160-167
XXIII. Of Benefits, and of Unthankfulness - - - - 168-170

Pithy Metres of divers Matters 171-176

The Things that cause a quiet life.

Written by M. V. Martialis,

Englished by Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey - - - 177



Book IV.

Of Proverbs and Semblables - - - - - - 178, 179

Hermes, Socrates, Plato - - 180-185

Aristotle, Plutarch, Seneca .-..-.. 186-190

A Table 191, 192

Index 193.195





RANCIS BACON, Viscount Saint Albans, in his Essay, ' Of Study,

states, ..

Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed,
and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books
are to be read only in parts ; others to be read, but not
curiously [niinutely~\ ; and some few to be read wholly, and
with diligence and attention.

This short Volume belongs to the last of these Classes of Works.

2. One of the great difficulties that young folks have to contend
with, in their starting in life, is to gain true ideas as to how other
people are likely to act ; or, to put it in other words, to know what are
the normal motives of the human heart.

Here then are studies of Human Nature made by the quick-witted
Greeks more than two thousand years ago. If what they said concern-
ing Men and Manners, in that far off Age, and in that totally different
civilization from ours, is also true in the present day ; it is likely to be
universally true to the end of Time. For Human Nature remains the
same through all the Ages.

That is why these Sayings may be so helpful to the young : while
their elders will be able to confirm many of them, from their own
personal experience.

3. Baldwin had a very humble opinion of this Work. He regarded
it as a blunt Whetstone; whereon its readers might sharpen their wits,
by discriminating and weighing the various Sayings of which it is

These Sayings touch upon most of the things that concern a human
beiiig in his passage through ^his mortal life : so that everyone can
learn something from them.

4. The following Lives of the Philosophers are but slight Sketches ;
written according to the Classical Knowledge that existed in England
in the year 1547 a.d.




Some of the statements in them, however, are wholly fictitious ;
such as the following :

The Pillars of Stone, on which it was said that the Sons of Seth
engraved, before the Flood, their knowledge of Astronomy, pp. 14, 21.

Also the Letter said to have been written by Plutarch to the
Emperor Trajan, pp. 74, 75.

And likewise the statement that the Philosopher Seneca was a
disciple, at Kome, of the Apostle Paul. p. 76.

But though these are all mere Legends, they are very pleasant
ones ; and one could wish that they had all been true.

Scattered through these Lives will be found a number of pithy

4. There are two contributions to English Literary History in
this Work :

{a) The Translation from Euripides by Roger Ascham, at page 173.

(h) The Earl of Surrey's Translation of Martial's Epigram on
' The things that cause a quiet life,' at page 177.

It is noticeable this latter Translation appeared in the First Edition
of this book, the printing of which was finished on 20th January 1547 ;
or ten years earlier than its reappearance in Tottell's ' Miscellany ' in

The Earl of Surrey was beheaded on the 21st of that same January
1547 : and therefore this Poem is the only piece of his English Verse
that was ever published in his lifetime.

Edward Arber.


[The Title Page of the First Edition.]

A treatise of 3\4oral Philosophy^


The Sayings of the Wise.

Gathered and Englished hy

William Baldypin.

Imprinted at London,

in Fleet street, at the sign of the Sun,

over against the Conduit,

hy Edivar^ Whitchurche,

W January 1547,

8 Baldwin.

To the Right Honourable the Lord Edward

Beauchamp, Earl of Hertford, W. Baldwin

wisheth increase of Virtue, Honour,

and Learning,

WHEN I HAD finished this Treatise, Right
Honourable Lord, I thought it meet, according
to the good and accustomed usage of Writers,
to dedicate it unto some worthy person ; whose
thankful receiving and allowing thereof, might
cause it to be the better accepted of others.

And forsomuch as it was not of value to be given to
any ancient Councillor, which are all therein sufficiently
seen already; I judged it most convenient to be given to
some that were younger. Among whom, forsomuch as
your learning and virtuous towardness was greatly com-
mended of divers and sundry credible persons, I doubted
not but that your good disposition (naturally taken of your
virtuous parents) would take in worth the gift of this
simple Treatise ; which although it answer not fully unto
your estate, yet disagreeth it not much with your age :
which, with your good report and virtuous disposition, hath
embolden me to dedicate it unto you, rather than unto any
other; humbly beseeching you to pardon mine audacity
herein, and to take in good part the simpleness of my gift.
In which so doing, ye shall not only ensue [folloiv^
the steps of your excellent father [, Edwaed Seymouk,
Duke of Someeset], whom GOD, for his excellent and
manifold virtues joined with very gentleness, hath called to
tltf high Office [of] Pro^ctor of this Realm, under our
Sovereign Lord, the King's Royal Majesty ; but shall also
cause others the more gladly to desire it, to the great
encouraging of me and others like : which, for the com-
modity of our country, would gladly help forward all


The Epistle to the First Edition. 1547.

honest and virtuous studies ; among whom, although I am
the least, both in age, learning, and wit, yet is my goodwill
not much behind the foremost.

And because that your Lordship may the better know
how to use this Treatise, and all others, of Moral Philosophy ;
I have, in my Prologue to the Reader, shewed the right use
thereof; wishing that all which shall read the book, shall
first note the Prologue : that Philosophy may have her
lawful praise ; the Holy Scriptures, their due service and
reverence ; and GOD, his honour, worship, and glory. Who
keep your Lordship, with your honourable parents, in
health and felicity !


[The Title Page of the Revised Edition here reprinted.]

^he Treatise of 3Vloral Philosophy


The Sayings of the JVise.

Neivly perused and augmented by

William ^aldwin^
first Author thereof.

Imprinted at London,

in Fleet street, at the sign of the Sun,

over against the Conduit,

by John Waylande,


Love, and Live !

To the Right Honourable my Lord Edward
Beauchamp, Earl of Hertford.

THE SAME TREATISE of Moral Philosophy, which,
eight years passed, I dedicated to your Lordship,
I have, at the Printer's request, newly perused,
picked [decked'] , and augmented : which I was the
willinger to do, because that Master Palfreyman,
in his book bearing the same Title, wherein he hath couched
[comprised the] most part thereof, though in another order,
hath left out that which many most desire ; as that which
only answereth the name and title of the Volume. For
anything is unaptly called, a Treatise, wherein the matter
treated of, is not formally defined, discussed, and sundered
into the parts ; which caused me to search out, and as well
as I could to declare, the Beginning and Original, with all
the Members, of Philosophy, in my former Treatise : which
I would wish had been, with the rest of the book [of 1547],
allowed, if it be allowable ; or if it be not, to have been
altered and made perfect, so should the book have been
rightly intituled.

I say not this, if it like your Lordship, to disallow
Master Palfreyman's diligence, or any others that would
take pains in the like matter. For, as I said and say still,
in the Fifth Chapter of my First Book, the chiefest cause
why I did put it forth was, to provoke others more learnedly
to handle my rude beginnings. Yet meaned I not neither
to have had my Work altered : but to have had it remain
^ill, as it was, a Blunt ^hetstone.

I hoped that some learned therein would have perused
the Rabbis ; some others, the Romans ; some others, the
Sages of our own country; and have severally gathered
together their Lives and Sentences : and thereout made


The Epistle. 1555.

such like and better Volumes, than I had stolen from among
the Latins and Grecians.

I thought nothing less than to have any other man plow
with my oxen ; or to alter, or augment, my doings : which,
perchance, if I had thought meet, I could, and would, have
done as well as any other.

It may, and will, be thought, I am sure, but untruly,
that I have taken this labour in hand again, rather to
redeem my name and glory, than for any other cause :
which is not so. And yet is a good name such a loss to
him that hath none other riches, as may provoke a wiser
than I, and that by the wisest judgement, to endeavour,
with tooth and nail, as well to preserve, as to procure, it.

But, sure, if Master Palfeeyman had, with his Addi-
tions, writ forth my first book [Edition] ; and then, as it
was your Lordship's, had so rededicated it [to you]: I would
never have stirred my pen more therein ; so little I esteem
the greatest damage. Not that I am grieved to have my
good Lord [Henky] Hastinos [Earl of Huntingdon, the
Dedicatee of Palfreynian's Work] joined with your Lordship
in patronage of my rude Works ; whom, if it might please
him to vouchsafe it, I would gladly make sole Patron of as
good a matter : no, sure[ly], for the more that allow it, the
gladder am I.

Neither envy I Master Palfreyman's benefit : for I
desire every man's preferment; and chiefly theirs, which
would further honest studies. But yet would I not have
your Lordship to lose your own ! although I know your
natural gentleness to be such as can be therewith right
well contented.

Wherefore, eftsoons [again] , I humbly commend it to
your good Lordship : beseeching you to take it in good
worth ; and so to apply it, as you have done hitherto, that
it may shine in all your doings, and be defended and
garnished with your lifely [lifelike] practice.

I beseech GOD [to] preserve you, with my good Lord
your brother and all others your kinsfolk ; and to increase
you in virtue and honour !

Yours to command,

William Baldwin.

The Prologue to the Reader.

WHEN PERICLES HAD gathered an army,
making [an] Expedition towards the Battle of
Peloponessus, having his navy ready rigged
and at the point to launch forth; suddenly,
there chanced so great a darkness, through an
eclipse of the sun, that the day was as dark as if it had been
night, insomuch that the stars appeared. At which so
sudden and prodigious a wonder, the Pilot being amazed
and afraid, as were also divers of the Soldiers, [he] refused
to sail any farther.

Which when Pericles perceived (whether it were in
contempt of Astronomy, or to encourage his astonished
Soldiers), he took his cloak, and blindfolded therewith the
Mariner's eyes : and, at the last, uncovering them again, he
asked him, ' If he thought it any wonder because his eyes
had been covered a while ; and yet were never the worse
therefore ? ' And when the Pilot answered, ' That it was
not ! ' 'No more is it,' said Pericles, ' although the Moon
shadowing the Sun, take away his light for a season]'

And so, contemning a good admonition sent as then by
GOD, he sailed forward : to the destruction of his Soldiers ;
besides the great detriment of all the whole land of Grecia.
In like manner, there be many, now a days, which, as
Pericles despised Astronomy, despise all other Sciences ;
devising proper toys, as he did, to dash them out of counte-
nance, running headlong through ignorance into contempt
of all Good Learning: not only inventing trifling toys; but
also wresting the Holy Scriptures (which they understand
not) for their peevish purpose.

* For if it chance them* to be unprov [id] ed with any of
the good Sayings of the ancient Philosophers ; which so
plainly impugneth lattacJi\ their vices, that they be unable
by good reason to refel [refute] it : then on goeth the brazen
face ! and a cloak [pretext] must be sought out of Scripture,


The Prologue. 1547.


either to deface all Philosophy, or else to blind men's eyes

But if they understood the Scriptures, or if arrogancy
would let them learn to understand them as they be truly
meaned [meant'], then should they, confessing their lewd
[hase~\ and wilful blindness, be ashamed of their many vices ;
and cease to dispraise that, that is greatly to be commended.

For although, good Reader, that Philosophy is not to
be compared with the most holy Scriptures; yet is it not
utterly to be des^Dised. Which (if men will credit the holy
Doctors) may be proved by the judgement of Saint
Augustine ; which, in his book, De Doctrina Christiana,
Cap. XL., exhorteth us to the reading thereof, saying, * If
they which be called Philosophers, especially of Plato his
Sect, have spoken aught that is true, and appertinent
[appropriate] to our Faith : we ought, not only not to fear
it ; but also to challenge it, as our own, from them which are
no right owners thereof. For like as the Egyptians had
not only idols and great burdens, which the Israelites did
hate and flee ; but also vessels, ornaments, and goodly
jewels of gold and silver, which the Israelites, departing
from Egypt, (under the colour of borrowing) stole privily
from them, not of their own mind but by the command-
ment of GOD, to turn that to a better use which the
Egyptians abused. So, in the doctrine of the Gentiles, are
not only contained superstitious and feigned Rites, with
great burdens of vain labour; all which, we Christians
(following Chkist out from among the unbelieving Gentiles)
should utterly detest and avoid : but also much Good
Learning, meet for to serve the Truth ; with some most
profitable Precepts of Good Manners, wherein are found
some Truth, how to worship the eternal and only GOD, etc'

These be the words, judgement, and counsel, of that
most holy Doctor concerning Philosophy. The which, if
many had well remembered, which (under the title of
Philosophical Science) have, with Sophistry, corrupted the
true sense of holy Scripture : neither should there have
been such contention as now reigneth everywhere ; neither
faultless Philosophy have been so much despised.

Yet think not, loving Reader, that I allow Philosophy

1547. The Prologue.

to be Scripture's Interpreter : but, rather, would have it as
an Handmaiden to persuade such things as Scripture doth
command. In which kind when it is used, then may all
the praises be verified thereupon, with which the ancient
Philosophers have magnified it.

Among whom, Demosthenes, the most famous Orator
among the Grecians, calleth it, namely, the Moral Part, An
Invention and Gift of GOD. After whom, Ciceeo, the most
excellent and eloquent Orator among the Romans, calleth
it, The Guide of Life, and the Expulser \_Expeller\ of Vice.
These, and many more like, commendations have been
thereto attributed; which advance it exceedingly, neither
disagreeing with the holy Scriptures.

Wherefore every Christian man ought diligently to
apply it, namely, The Moral Part ; which GOD wrote first
in the hearts of men : and, afterward, willing to have every
man to know it, he wrote it in the Tables of Stone which
he gave to Moses; promising, by him, a reward for such
things which, before, were observed for Virtue's sake.

So that Moral Philosophy may well be called. That part
of GOD's Law which giveth Precepts of Outward Behaviour;
which differeth from the Gospel: inasmuch as the Gospel
promiseth Remission of Sins, Reconciling to GOD, and the
gift of the HOLY GHOST and of Eternal Life, for Chkist's
sake. Which Promise is revealed to us from above, [it being]
not able to be comprehended by Reason; according to the
saying of Saint John, 'The Son, which is in his Father's
bosom, hath shewed it to us' [John i. 18] : and as for
Philosophy, [it] is nothing else, but the observing, and
eschewing, of such things as Reason judgeth to be good,
and bad, in the mutual conversation of life ; to which GOD
hath promised a reward, or threatened a punishment.

So that the Gospel is comprehended only by Faith ;
and Philosophy is judged by Reason. Reason only was
the cause why all the Philosophers have so extolled
Philosophy: which considered that nothing was so requi-
site and behoveful for Man's Life, as to live together well
and lovingly.

• For like as Life canmot be maintained without Meat
and Drink, and other like good gifts of Nature; no more
could it continue long without Laws and Manners : the
lack whereof, Saint John, in his Epistle, argueth to be the
lack of Godliness, saying, 'If we love not our neighbour


The Prologue. 1547.

whom we see; how can we say, *'We love GOD!" whom we
see not?' [1 John vi. 20.] Which text, being well pondered,
maketh as much for the commendation of Moral Philosophy
as any of Saint Paul's do, to the dispraise thereof.

Wherefore, I humbly beseech thee, most gentle Reader,
to take in good part this simple Philosophical Treatise ;
and so to use it, as Saint Augustine hath taught us,
* taking the good, and leaving the bad ' : neither reverencing
it as the Gospel; neither yet despising it as a thing of no

And since the Holy Scriptures are now come to light,
and we Christians have professed to follow and fulfil the
same; having also innumerable blessings and rewards
promised of GOD for our so doing : let us be ashamed that
a Drop, or Spark, of Reason should do more in the heathen
Infidels, as we call them; than all the Promises of GOD
among us, which take upon us the name of Christians!
And let us so endeavour ourselves, every man in his trade of
living, to use such Moral Virtues and Virtuous Behaviour
one towards another, that our Love and Charity used
towards our brethren may testify our Faith and Love
towards GOD! To whom, be all praise, honour, and glory,
for ever and ever!





The Lives and Witty Answers of the

Chapter I.
Of the Beginning of Philosophy.

SOME, PERHAPS, (seeing we intend to speak of a
kind of Philosophy) will move this Question, more
curious than necessary, What Philosophy is ?
Where, and How, it hegan ? and. Who were the
Inventors thereof ? Whereof the first part is not so
easy, but the other is as hard, to be answered.

For Philosophy is a Desire of Wisdom and Knowledge
in things Divine, Natural, and Moral, naturally graffed
\_eng7^afted~\ in the lieart of Man. Or else, Certain Observa-
tions, Rules, and Instructions, teaching Man the knowledge
of all manner [of] things : which definition serveth best
for our purpose.

Of the first Inventors whereof, sith Isince'] there is so
great variance among Writers, some attributing it to one
and some to another; as the Thracians to Orpheus, the
Grecians to Linus, the Lybians to Atlas, the Phoenicians
to OcHUS, the Persians to their Magi, the Assyrians to their
Chaldees, the Indians to their Gymnosophists [Buddhist
ascetics'] of which Buddha was the chief, the Italians to
Pythagoras, and the French to their Druids : each one of
them bringing probable reasons to confirm herein their
opinions, it shall be hard for a man of our Time (in which
mamy Writings are lost, ©r at least hid) fully herein to
satisfy their question.

Nevertheless, forasmuch as GOD himself (as witnesseth
our most holy Scriptures) is the Author and Beginner of
Wisdom ; yea, Wisdom itself : which is called, of the


The Origin of Philosophers and Philosophy.

Philosophers, Sophia : therefore I suppose that GOD, who
always loved most the Hebrews, taught it to them first. If
ye ask, To whom '? I think, as also testifieth Josephus, to

1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

Online LibraryWilliam BaldwinThe sayings of the wise; or, Food for thought. A book of moral wisdom, gathered from the ancient philosophers → online text (page 1 of 12)