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the buyer. Sharings do greatly enrich, if the hands be well chosen that are trusted. Usury is the certainest means of gain, though one of the worst; as that whereby a man doth eat his bread, “in sudore vultûs alieni ;”b and besides, doth plough upon Sundays : but yet certain though it be, it hath flaws; for that the scriveners and brokers do value unsound men to serve their own turn. The fortune, in being the first in an invention, or in a privilege, doth cause sometimes a wonderful overgrowth in riches, as it was with the first sugarmani in the Canaries : therefore, if a man can play the true logician, to have as well judgment as invention, he may do great matters, especially if the times be fit: he that resteth upon gains certain, shall bardly grow to great riches ; and he that puts all upon adventures, doth oftentimes break and come to poverty : it is good, therefore, to guard adventures with certainties that may uphold losses. Monopolies, and coemption of wares for resale, where they are not restrained, are great means to enrich ; especially if the party have intelligence what things are like to come into request, and so store himself beforehand. Riches gotten by service, though it be of the best rise, yet when they are gotten by flattery, feeding humours, and other servile conditions, they may be placed amongst the worst. As for fishing for testaments and executorships (as Tacitus saith of Seneca, " Testamenta et orbos tanquam indagine capi"), it is yet worse, by how much men submit themselves to meaner persons than in service. Believe not much them that seem to despise riches, for they despise them that despair of them ; and none worse when they come to them. wise ; riches have wings, and sometimes they fly away of themselves, sometimes they must be set flying to bring in
Men leave their riches either to their kindred, or to the public; and moderate portions prosper best in both. A great state left to an heir, is as a lure to all the birds of prey round about to seize on him, if he be not the better stablished in years and judgment : likewise, glorious gifts
Be not penny and foundations are like sacrifices without salt; and but the painted sepulchres of alms, which soon will putrefy and corrupt inwardly : therefore measure not thine advancements by quantity, but frame them by measure : and defer not charities till death; for, certainly, if a man weigh it rightly, he that doth so is rather liberal of another man's than of his
h « In the sweat of another's brow." He alludes to the wurus vf Genesis iii. 19 : “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread.“
i Planter of sugar-canes.
k “Wills and childless persons were caught by him as though with a hunting-net."
XXXV.-OF PROPHECIES. I MEAN not to speak of divine prophecies, nor of heathen oracles, nor of natural predictions; but only of prophecies that have been of certain memory, and from hidden causes. Saith the Pythonissa a to Saul, “ To-morrow thou and thy sons shall be with me.” Virgil hath these verses from Homer :
“ Hic domus Æneæ cunctis dominabitur oris,
Et nati natorum, et qui nascentur ab illis.” A prophecy as it seems of the Roman empire. Seneca th 9 tragedian hath these verses :
Ultima Thule :"C a prophecy of the discovery of America. The daughter of Polycratesd dreamed that Jupiter bathed her father, and
“ Pythoness,” used in the sense of witch. He alludes to the witch of Endor, and the words in Samuel xxviii. 19. He is, however, mistaken in attributing these words to the witch ; it was the spirit of Samuel that said, “To-morrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me.
b “But the house of Æneas shall reign over every shore, both his children's children, and those who shall spring from them.”
“After the lapse of years, ages will come in which Ocean shall relat his chains around the world, and a vast continent shall appear, ani Tiphys shall explore new regions, and Thule shall be no longor the utmost verge of earth.”
4 He was king of Samos, and was treacher ously put to death by Orætes, the governor of Magnesia, in Asia Miyor. His daughter, in consequence of her dream, atteinpted to dissua le him from visiting Orætes, but in vain.
Apollo anointed him; and it came to pass that he was crucified in an open place, where the sun made his body run with sweat, and the rain washed it. Philip of Macedon dreamed he sealed up his wife's belly ; whereby he did expound it, that his wife should be barren; but Aristander the soothsayer told him his wife was with child, because men do not use to seal vessels that are empty. A phantasm that appeared to M. Brutus in his tent, said to him, “ Philippis iterum me videbis.”e Tiberius said to Galba, “ Tu quoque, Galba, degustabis imperium.” In Vespasian's time
, ! there went a prophecy in the East, that those that should come fo:th of Judea, should reign over the world; which though is may be was meant of our Saviour, yet Tacitus expounds it of Vespasian. Domitian dreamed, the night before he was slain, that a golden head was growing out of the nape of his neck; and indeed the succession that followed him, for many years, made golden times. Henry the Sixth of England said of Henry the Seventh, when he was a lad, and gave him water, “ This is the lad that shall enjoy the crown for which we strive.” When I was in France, I heard from one Dr. Pena, that the queen mother,s who was given to curious arts, caused the king her husband's nativity to be calculated under a false name; and the astrologer gave a judgment, that he should be killed in a duel ; at which the queen laughed, thinking her husband to be above challenges and duels ; but he was slain upon a course at tilt, the splinters of the staff of Montgomery going in at his beaver. The trivial prophecy which I heard when I was a child, and Queen Elizabeth was in the flower of her years, was,
: whereby it was generally conceived, that after the princes had reigned which had the principal letters of that word hempe (which were Henry, Edward, Mary, Philip, and Elizabeth), England should come to utter confusion; which thanks be to God, is verified only in the change of the name ; for that
England's done spunde
• “Thou shalt see me again at Philippi."
s Catherine de Medicis, the wife of Henry II. of France, who diec from a wound accidentally received in a tournam.cnt.
the king's style is now no more of England, but of Britain.. There was also another prophecy before the year of eightyeight, which I do not well understand.
• There shall be seen upon a day,
Between the Baugh and the May,
For after wars shall you have none."
“Octogesimus octavus mirabilis annus,” was thought likewise accomplished in the sending of that great fleet, being the greatest in strength, though not in number, of all that ever swam upon the sea. As for Cieon's dream, I think it was a jest; it was, that he was devoured of a long dragon : and it was expounded of a maker of sausages, that troubled him exceedingly. There are numbers of the like kind; especially if you include dreams, and predictions of astrology : but I have set down these few only of certain credit, for example. My judgment is, that they ought all to be despised, and ought to serve but for winter talk by the fireside : though when I say despised, I mean it as for belief; for otherwise, the spreading or publishing of them is in no sort to be despised, for they have done much mischief; and I see many severe laws made to suppress
James I. being the first monarch of Great Britain.
Aristophanes, in his Comedy of The Knights, satirizes Cleon, the A thenian demagogue. He introduces a declaration of the oracle that the Eagle of hides (by whom Cleon was meant, his father having been a tanner) should be conquered by a serpent, which Demosthenes, one of the characters in the play, expounds as meaning a maker of sausages. How Lord Bacon could for a moment doubt that this was a mere jest, it is difficult to conjecture. The following is a literal translation of a portion of the passage from The Knights (l. 197) :“But when a leather eagle with crookeu talons shall have seized with its jaws a serpent, a stupid creature, a drinker of blood, then the tan-pickle of the Paphlagonians is destroyed ; but upon the sellers of sausages the Deity bestows great glory, unless they choose rather to sell sausager
them. That that hath given them grace, and some credit, consisteth in three things. First, that men mark when they hit, and never mark when they miss ;' as they do, generally, also of dreams. The second is, that probable conjectures, or obscure traditions, many times turn themselves into prophecies; while the nature of man, which coveteth divination, thinks it no peril to foretell that which indeed they do but collect : as that of Seneca's verse ; for so much was then subject to demonstration, that the globe of the earth had great parts beyond the Atlantic, which might be probably conceived not to be all sea : and adding thereto the tradition in Plato's Timæus, and his Atlanticus,m it might encourage one to turn it to a prediction. The third and last (which is the great one) is, that almost all of them, being infinite in number. have been impostures, and by idle and crafty brains, merely contrived and feigned, after the event past.
XXXVI.-OF AMBITION. AMBITION is like choler, which is a humour that maketh men active, earnest, full of alacrity, and stirring, if it be not stopped : but if it be stopped, and cannot have its way,
it becometh adust,a and thereby malign and venomous: so ambitious men, if they find the way open for their rising, and still get forward, they are rather busy than dangerous; but if they be checked in their desires, they become secretly discontent, and look upon men and matters with an evil eye, and are best pleased when things go backward ; which is the worst property in a servant of a prince or state : therefore
? This is a very just remark. So-called strange coincidences, and wonderful dreams that are verified, when the point is considered, are really not at all marvellous. We never hear of the 999 dreams that are not verified, but the thousandth that happens to precede its fulfilment is blazoned by unthinking people as a marvel. It would be a much more wonderful thing if dreams were not occasionally verified.
m Under this name he alludes to the Critias of Plato, in which an imaginary “terra incognita” is discoursed of under the name of the “New Atlantis.” It has been conjectured from this by some, that Plato really did believe in the existence of a continent on the other side of the zlobe.
· Hot and fiery.