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LII. Of Ceremonies and
E that is only real, had need have ex
ceeding great Parts of Virtue : As the Stone had need to be Rich, that is fet
without Foil. But if a Man mark it well, it is in Praise and Commendation of Men, as it is in Gettings and Gains : For the Proverb is true, That light Gains make heavy Purses; for light Gains come thick, whereas Great come but now and then. So it is true, that small Matters win great Commendation, because they are continually in Use, and in note : whereas the Occasion of any great Virtue, cometh but on Festivals. Therefore it doth much add, to a Man's Reputation, and is, (as Queen Isabella faid) Like perpetual Letters commendatory, to have good Forms. To attain them, it almost sufficeth, not to despise them: For so shall a Man observe them in Others : And let him trust himself with the rest. For if he labour too much to express them, he shall lose their Grace; which is to be natural and unaffected. Some Men's Behaviour is like a Verse, wherein every Syllable is measured: How can a Man comprehend great Matters, that breaketh his Mind too much to small Observations ? Not to use Ceremonies at all is to teach Others not to use them again ; and so diminisheth Respect to himself: Especially they be not to be omitted to Strangers, and formal Natures : But the dwelling upon them, and exalting them above the Moon, is not only tedious, but doth diminish the Faith and Credit of him that speaks. And certainly, there is a Kind of Conveying of effectual and imprinting Passages, amongst Compliments, which is of singular use, if a Man can hit upon it. Amongst a Man's Peers, a Man shall be sure of Familiarity; and therefore, it is good a little to keep State. Amongst a Man's Inferiors, One shall be sure of Reverence; and therefore it is good a little to be familiar. He that is too much in any Thing, so that he giveth another Occasion of Satiety, maketh himself cheap. To apply One's Self to others is good : So it be with Demonstration, that a Man doth it upon Regard, and not upon Facility. It is a good Precept, generally in seconding Another, yet to add somewhat of One's own: As if you will grant his Opinion, let it be with some Distinction; if you will follow his Motion, let it be with Condition ; if you allow his Counsel, let it be with alleging further Reason. Men had need beware, how they be too Perfect in Compliments; for be they never so fufficient otherwise, their Enviers will be sure to give them that Attribute, to the Disadvantage of their greater Virtues. It is lofs also in Business, to be too full of Respects, or to be too curious in observing Times and Opportunities. Solomon faith ; He that confidereth the Wind, shall not fow, and he that looketh to the Clouds, shall not reap. A wise Man will make more Opportunities than he finds. Men's Behaviour should be like their Apparel, not too strait, or point device, but free for exercise or motion.
LIII. Of Praise.
RAISE is the Reflection of Virtue.
But it is Glass, or Body, which giveth the Reflection. If it be from the
Common People, it is commonly false and naught : And rather followeth vain Persons, than virtuous : For the Common People understand not many excellent Virtues : The lowest Virtues draw Praise from them; the middle Virtues work in them Astonishment, or Admiration ; But of the highest Virtues, they have no Sense, or perceiving at all. But Shews, and Species Virtutibus fimiles, serve best with them. Certainly, Fame is like a River, that beareth up Things light and swollen, and drowns Things weighty and solid : But if Persons of Quality and Judgement concur, then it is, (as the Scripture faith) Nomen bonum inStar Unguenti fragrantis. It filleth all round about, and will not easily away. For the Odours of Ointments are more durable than those of Flowers. There be so many false Points of Praise, that a Man may justly hold it a suspect. Some Praises proceed merely of Flattery; and if he be an ordinary Flatterer, he will have certain common Attributes, which may serve every Man; if he be a cunning Flatterer, he will follow the Arch-fatterer, which is a Man's Self; and wherein a Man thinketh best of himself, therein the Flatterer will uphold him most: But if he be an impudent Flatterer, look wherein a Man is conscious to himself, that he is most defective, and is most out of Countenance in himself, that will the Flatterer entitle him to, perforce, Spretâ Conscientiâ. Some Praises come of good Wishes, and Respects, which is a Form due in Civility to Kings, and Great Persons, Laudando præcipere; when by telling Men what they are, they represent to them what they should be. Some Men are praised maliciously to their Hurt, thereby to stir Envy and Jealousy towards them; Pellimum Genus Inimicorum Laudantium ; Insomuch as it was a Proverb, amongst the Grecians; that, He that was praised to his Hurt, should have a Push rise upon his Nose: As we say; That a Blister will rise upon one's Tongue, that tells a lie. Certainly moderate Praise, used with Opportunity, and not vulgar, is that which doth the Good. Solomon faith ; He that praiseth his Friend aloud, rising early, it fall be to him no better than a Curse. Too much magnifying of Man or Matter, doth irritate Contradiction, and procure Envy and Scorn. To praise a Man's Self, cannot be decent, except it be in rare Cases : But to praise a Man's Office or Profession, he may do it with good Grace, and with a kind of Magnanimity. The Cardinals of Rome, which are Theologues, and Friars, and Schoolmen, have a Phrase of notable Contempt and Scorn, towards civil Business: for they call all temporal Business, of Wars, Embassages, Judicature, and other Employments, Sbirrerie; which is Under Sheriffries; as if they were but matters for Under
Sheriffs and Catchpoles; though many times those Under Sheriffries do more good, than their High Speculations. St. Paul, when he boasts of himself, he doth oft interlace; I speak like a Fool; but speaking of his calling, he faith ; Magnificabo Apoftolatum meum.
LIV. Of Vain Glory.
T was prettily devised of Æsop; the
Fly sate upon the Axle-tree of the Chariot-wheel, and said, What a Duft do I
raise? So are there fome Vain Perfons, that whatsoever goeth alone, or moveth upon greater Means, if they have never so little Hand in it, they think it is they that carry it. They that are Glorious, muft needs be Factious; for all Bravery stands upon Comparisons. They must needs be violent, to make good their own Vaunts. Neither can they be secret, and therefore not effectual; but according to the French Proverb; Beaucoup de Bruit, peu de Fruit: Much Bruit, little Fruit. Yet certainly there is Use of this Quality, in civil Affairs. Where there is an Opinion, and Fame to be created, either of Virtue or Greatness, these Men are good Trumpeters. Again, as Titus Livius noteth, in the Case of Antiochus and the Ætolians; There are sometimes great Effects of cross Lies; as if a Man, that negotiates between Two Princes, to draw them to join