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to be like the motions (as the astronomers speak) of the inferior orbs, which may have their proper motion, but yet still are quietly carried by the higher motion of primum mobile, “ the main spring or impulse.”
Of Ceremonies and Respects. He that is only real, had need have exceeding great parts of virtue; as the stone had need to be rich, that is set 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 said)
“ 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 com
prehend 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 to diminish respect to himself; especially, they are 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 passions 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 society, 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 would grant his opinion, let it be with some distinction; if you would 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 sufficient otherwise, their en
viers will be sure to give them that attribute, to disadvantage of their greater virtues. It is loss also in business, to be too full of Respects, or to be too curious in observing times and opportunities. Solomon saith : 6. He that considereth the wind shall not sow, and he that looketh to the clouds shall not reap.” A wise man will not 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.
Of Praise. PRAISE is the reflection of virtue, but it is as the 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 shows, and species virtutibus similes, serve best with them. Certainly fame is like a river that beareth up things light and swoln, and drowns things weighty and solid: but if persons of quality and judgment concur, then it is, (as the Scripture saith), “ A good name is like fragrant
ointment;" 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-flatterer, 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, " in spite of conscience.” Some Praises come of good wishes and respects, which is a form due in civility to kings and great persons : “ By praising men for qualities which they do not possess, to point out to them what qualities they ought to possess;" 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: “ The worst kind of enemies is that of flatterers ;” 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 tell a lie.” Certainly, moderate Praise, used with opportunity, and not vulgar, is that which doth the good. Solomon saith : “ He that praiseth his friend aloud, rising early, it shall be to him no better than a curse.” Too much magnifying of a 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 the 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, Shireri, which is under-sherriffries, as if they were but matters for under-sheriffs and catchpoles : though many times those under-sheriffries do more good than their high speculations. Saint Paul, when he boasts of himself, he doth oft interlace,“ I speak like a fool;" but speaking of his calling, he saith, “ I magnify my apostleship, or I glory in my apostleship.”