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Above all, those are most subject to envy, which carry the greatness of their fortunes in an insolent and proud manner: being never well but while they are showing how great they are, either by outward pomp, or by triumphing over all opposition or competition: whereas wise men will rather do sacrifice to envy, in suffering themselves sometimes of purpose to be crossed and overborne in things that do not much concern them. Notwithstanding so much is true, that the carriage of greatness in a plain and open manner (so it be without arrogancy and vain glory) doth draw less envy than if it be in a more crafty and cunning fashion; for in that course a man doth but disavow fortune, and seemeth to be conscious of his own want in worth, and doth but teach others to envy him.
Lastly, to conclude this part; as we said in the beginning that the act of envy had somewhat in it of witchcraft, so there is no other care of envy but the cure of witchcraft; and that is, to remove the lot, (as they call it,) and to lay it upon another; for which purpose the wiser sort of great persons bring in ever upon the stage somebody upon whom to derive the envy that would come upon themselves; sometimes upon ministers and servants, sometimes upon colleagues and associates, and the like; and for that turn there are never wanting some persons of violent and undertaking natures, who, so they may have. power and business, will take it at any cost.
Now, to speak of public envy: there is yet some good in public envy, whereas in private there is none; for public envy is as an ostracism, that eclipseth men when they grow too great and therefore it is a bridle also to great ones to keep within bounds.
This envy being in the Latin word "invidia," goeth in the modern languages by the name of discontentment; of which we shall speak in handling sedition: it is a disease in a state like to infection: for as infection spreadeth upon that which is sound, and tainteth it; so, when envy is gotten once into a state, it traduceth even the best actions thereof, and turneth them into an ill odour; and therefore there is little won by intermingling of plausible actions: for that doth argue but a weakness and fear of envy, which hurteth so much the more, as it is likewise usual in infections, which, if you fear them, you call them upon you.
This public envy seemeth to bear chiefly upon principal officers or ministers, rather than upon kings and states themselves. But this is a sure rule, that if the envy upon the minister be great, when the cause of it in him is small; or if the envy be general in a manner upon all the ministers of an estate, then the envy (though hidden) is truly upon the state itself And so much of public envy or discontent, and the difference thereof from private envy, which was handled in the first place.
We will add this in general, touching the affection of envy, that of all other affections it is the most importune and continual; for of other affections there is occasion given but now and then; and therefore it was well said, "Invidia festos dies non agit:" for it is ever working upon some or other. And it is also noted, that love and envy do make a man pine, which other affections do not, because they are not so continual. It is also the vilest affection, and the most depraved; for which cause it is the proper attribute of the devil, who is called, "The envious man, that soweth tares amongst the wheat by night;" as it always cometh to pass, that envy worketh subtly, and in the dark, and to the prejudice of good things, such as is the wheat.
THE stage is more beholding to love than the life of man; for as to the stage, love is ever matter of comedies, and now and then of tragedies; but in life it doth much mischief; sometimes like a siren, sometimes like a fury. You may observe, that, amongst all the great and worthy persons, (whereof the memory remaineth, either ancient or recent,) there is not one that hath been transported to the mad degree of love; which shows that great spirits and great business do keep out
this weak passion. You must except, nevertheless, Marcus Antonius, the half partner of the empire of Rome, and Appius Claudius, the decemvir and lawgiver; whereof the former was indeed a voluptuous man and inordinate; but the latter was an austere and wise man: and therefore it seems (though rarely) that love can find entrance, not only into an open heart, but also into a heart well fortified, if watch be not well kept. It is a poor saying of Epicurus, Satis magnum alter alteri theatrum sumus;" as if man, made for the contemplation of heaven, and all noble objects, should do nothing but kneel before a little idol, and make himself a subject, though not of the mouth, (as beasts are,) yet of the eye, which was given him for higher purposes. It is a strange thing to note the excess of this passion, and how it braves the nature and value of things by this, that the speaking in a perpetual hyperbole is comely in nothing but in love neither is it merely in the phrase; for whereas it hath been well said, "that the arch flatterer, with whom all the pretty flatterers have intelligence, is a man's self;" certainly the lover is more; for there was never a proud man thought so absurdly well of himself as the lover doth of the person loved; and therefore it was well said, "that it is impossible to love and to be wise." Neither
doth this weakness appear to others only, and not to the party loved, but to the loved most of all, except the love be reciprocal; for it is
a true rule, that love is ever rewarded either with the reciprocal or with an inward or secret contempt; by how much more the men ought to beware of this passion, which loseth not only other things, but itself. As for the other losses, the poet's relation doth well figure them; "that he that preferred Helena quitted the gifts of Juno and Pallas;" for whosoever esteemeth too much of amorous affection quitteth both riches and wisdom. This passion hath its floods in the very times of weakness, which are, great prosperity and great adversity, though this latter hath been less observed; both which times kindle love, and make it more fervent, and therefore show it to be the child of folly. They do best, who, if they cannot but admit love, yet make it keep quarter, and sever it wholly from their serious affairs and actions of life; fer, if it check once with business, it troubleth men's fortunes, and maketh men that they can no ways be true to their own ends. I know not how, but martial men are given to love; I think it is but as they are given to wine; for perils commonly ask to be paid in pleasures. There is in man's nature a secret inclination and motion towards love of others, which, if it be not spent upon some one, or a few, doth naturally spread itself towards many, and maketh men become humane and charitable, as it is scen sometimes in friars. Nuptial love maketh mankind; friendly love perfecteth it; but wanton love corrupteth and embaseth it.