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some discourse of estate, e that she might the less mind the bills.
The like surprise may be made by moving things when the party is in haste, and cannot stay to consider advisedly of that is moved. If
man would cross a business that he doubts some other would handsomely and effectually move, let him pretend to wish it well, and move it himself, in such sort as may foil it.
The breaking off in the midst of that, one was about to say, as if he took himself up, breeds a greater appetite in him, with whom you confer, to know more.
And because it works better when anything seemeth to be gotten from you by question than if you offer it of yourself, you may lay a bait for a question, by showing another visage and countenance than you are wont; to the end, to give occasion for the party to ask what the matter is of the change, as Nehemiah 8 did, “ And I had not before that time been sad before the king.”
In things that are tender and unpleasing, it is good to break the ice by some whose words are of less weight, and to reserve the more weighty voice to come in as by chance, so that he may be asked the question upon the other's speech; as Narcissus did, in relating to Claudius the marriage of Messalina and Silius.
In things that a man would not be seen in himself, it is a point of cunning to borrow the name of the world ; as to say, “ The world says," or “There is a speech abroad.”
I knew one, that when he wrote a letter, he would put that which was most material in the postscript, as if it had been a by-matter.
Discussing matters. 8 He refers to the occasion when Nehemiah, on presenting the wine, as cupbearer to King Artaxerxes, appeared sorrowful, and on being asked the reason of it, entreated the king to allow Jerusalem to be rebuilt. Nehemiah ü. 1.
b This can hardly be called a marriage, as at the time of the intrigue Messalina was the wife of Claudius : but she forced Caius Silius, of whom she was deeply enamoured, to divorce his own wife, that she her. self might enjoy his society. The intrigue was disclosed to Claudius by Narcissus, who was his freedman, and the parder to his infamous vices on which Silius was put to death.
1 knew another, that when he came to have speech,i he would pass over that that he intended most : and
forth and come back again, and speak of it as of a thing that he had almost forgot.
Some procure themselves to be surprised at such times as it is like the party that they work upon will suddenly come upon them, and to be found with a letter in their hand, or doing somewhat which they are not accustomed, to the end they may be opposed ofk those things which of themselves they are desirous to utter.
It is a point of cunning to let fall those words in a man's own name, which he would have another man learn and use, and thereupon take advantage. I knew two that were competitors for the secretary's place, in Queen Elizabeth's time, and yet kept good quarterl between themselves, and would confer one with another upon the business ; and the one of them said, that to be a secretary in the declination of a monarchy was a ticklish thing, and that he did not affect it:m the other straight caught up those words, and discoursed with divers of his friends, that he had no reason to desire to be secretary in the declination of a mona
narchy. The first man took hold of it, and found means it was told the queen; who, hearing of a declination of a monarchy, took it so ill, as she would never after hear of the other's suit.
There is a cunning, which we in England call “ the turning of the cat in the pan ;" which is, when that which a man says to another, he lays it as if another had said it to him ; and, to say truth, it is not easy, when such a matter passed between two, to make it appear from which of them it first moved and began.
It is a way that some men have, to glance and dart at others by justifying themselves by negatives; as to say, “This I do not;" as Tigellinus did towards Burrhus, “Se non diversas spes, sed incolumitatem imperatoris simpliciter spectare."
Some have in readiness so many tales and stories, as there
To speak in his turn.
* Be questioned upon. | Kept on good terms.
m Desire it. n “That he did not have various hopes in view, but solely the safety of the emperor.” Tigellinus was the profligate minister of Nero, and Africanus Burrhus was the chief of the Prætorian guards.
is nothing they would insinuate, but they can wrap it into a tale ;' which serveth both to keep themselves more in guard, and to make others carry it with more pleasure.
It is a good point of cunning for a man to shape the answer he would have in his own words and propositions ; for it makes the other party stick the less.
It is strange how long some men will lie in wait to speak somewhat they desire to say ; and how far about they will fetch,P and how many other matters they will beat over to come near it : it is a thing of great patience, but yet of much use.
A sudden, bold, and unexpected question doth many times surprise a man, and lay him open. Like to him, that, having changed his name, and walking in Paul's, 9 another suddenly came behind him and called him by his true name, whereat straightways he looked back.
But these small wares and petty points of cunning are infinite, and it were a good deed to make a list of them ; for that nothing doth more hurt in a state than that cunning men pass for wise.
But certainly some there are that know the resorts' and fallss of business that cannot sink into the main of it ;t like a house that hath convenient stairs and entries, but never a fair room: therefore you shall see them find out pretty looses u in the conclusion, but are noways able to examine or debate matters : and yet commonly they take advantage of their inability, and would be thought wits of direction. Some build rather
the abusing of others, and (as we now say) putting tricks upon them, than upon soundness of their own proceedings : but Solomon saith, “ Prudens advertit ad gressus suos : stultus divertit ad dolos.”
• As Nathan did when he reproved David for his criminality with Bathsheba. 2 Samuel xii.
P Use indirect stratagems.
9 He alludes to the old Cathedral of St. Paul in London, which, in the sixteenth century, was a common lounge for idlers. * Movements, or springs.
Chances, or vicissitudes. • Enter deeply into.
Faults, or weak points. = "The wise man gives heed to his own footsteps; the fool turneth aside to the snare." No doubt be here alludes to Ecclesiastes xiv. 2, which passage is thus rendered in our version : “ The wise man's eyes pre in his head : but the fool walketh in darkness."
XXIII.-OF WISDOM FOR A MAN'S SELF.
An ant is a wise creature for itself, but it is a shrewda thing in an orchard or garden : and certainly men that are great lovers of themselves waste the public. Divide with reason between self-love and society; and be so true to thyself as thou be not false to others, specially to thy king and country. It is a poor centre of a man's actions, himself. It is right earth ; for that only stands fast
his own centre; b whereas all things that have affinity with the heavens, move upon the centre of another, which they benefit. The referring of all to a man's self, is more tolerable in a sovereign prince, because themselves are not only themselves, but their good and evil is at the peril of the public fortune ; but it is a desperate evil in a servant to a prince, or a citizen in a republic ; for whatsoever affairs pass such a man's hands, he crooketh them to his own ends, which must needs be often eccentric to the ends of his master or state : therefore let princes or states choose such servants as have not this mark; except they inean their service should be made but the accessary. That which maketh the effect more pernicious is, that all proportion is lost ; it were disproportion enough for the servant's good to be preferred before the master's ; but yet it is a greater extreme, when a little good of the servant shall
carry things against a great good of the master's : and yet that is the case of bad officers, treasurers, ambassadors, generals, and other false and corrupt servants; which set a bias
upon their bowl, of their own petty ends and envies, to the overthrow of their master's great and important affairs : and, for the most part, the good such servants receive is after the model of their own fortune ; but the hurt they sell for
; that good is after the model of their master's fortune : and certainly it is the nature of extreme self-lovers, as they will set a house on fire, an it were but to roast their
and yet these men many times hold credit with their masters because their study is but to please them, and profit themselves; and for either respect they will abandon the good of their affairs.
b It must be remembered that Dacon was not a favourer of the Copernican system,
Wisdom for a man's self is, in many branches thereof, a depraved thing : it is the wisdom of rats, that will be sure to leave a house somewhat before it fall : it is the wisdom of the fox, that thrusts out the badger who digged and made room for him : it is the wisdom of crocodiles, that shed tears when they would devour. But that which is specially to be noted, is, that those which (as Cicero says of Pompey) are, “ sui amantes, sine rivali,” are many times unfortunate; and whereas they have all their times sacrificed to themselves, they become in the end themselves sacrifices to the inconstancy of fortune, whose wings they thought by their self-wisdom to have pinioned.
As the births of living creatures at first are ill-shapen, sc are all innovations, which are the births of time ; yet notwithstanding, as those that first bring honour into their family are commonly more worthy than most that succeed, so the first precedent (if it be good) is seldom attained by imitation; for ill to man's nature as it stands perverted, hath a natural motion strongest in continuance ; but good, as a forced motion, strongest at first. Surely every medicine a is an innovation, and he that will not apply new remedies must expect new evils ; for time is the greatest innovator ; and if
: time of course alter things to the worse, and wisdom and counsel shall not alter them to the better, what shall be the end ? It is true, that what is settled by custom, though it be not good, yet at least it is fit; and those things which have long gone together, are, as it were, confederate within themselves; whereas new things piece not so well; but, though they help by their utility, yet they trouble by their inconformity : besides, they are like strangers, more admired and less favoured. All this is true, if time stood still
C “Lovers of themselves without a rival."
b Adopted to each other.