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VIII. Of Marriage and Single


E that hath Wife and Children, hath given Hostages to Fortune ; for they are Impediments to great Enterprises,

either of Virtue or Mischief. Certainly the best Works, and of greatest Merit for the Public, have proceeded from the unmarried or Childless Men; which, both in Affection and Means have married and endowed the Public. Yet it were great Reason that those that have Children should have greatest Care of future Times ; unto which, they know they must tranfmit their dearest Pledges. Some there are, who though they lead a Single Life, yet their Thoughts do end with themselves, and account future Times, Impertinences. Nay, there are some other, that account Wife and Children but as Bills of Charges. Nay more, there are some foolish rich covetous Men, that take a pride in having no Children, because they may be thought so much the richer. For perhaps they have heard some talk; Such a one is a great rich Man ; and another except to it; rea, but he hath a great Charge of Children : as if it were an Abatement to his Riches. But the most ordinary cause of a Single Life is Liberty ;

See Antitheta, No. 5.


especially in certain Self-pleasing and humorous Minds, which are fo fenfible of every Restraint, as they will go near to think their Girdles and Garters to be Bonds and Shackles. Unmarried Men are best Friends, best Masters, best Servants ; but not always best Subjects; for they are light to run away; and almost all Fugitives are of that Condition. A Single Life doth well with Churchmen; for Charity will hardly water the Ground where it must first fill a Pool. It is indifferent for Judges and Magistrates: for if they be facile, and corrupt, you shall have a Servant five times worse than a Wife. For Soldiers, I find the Generals commonly, in their Hortatives, put Men in mind of their Wives and Children. And I think the Despising of Marriage amongst the Turks maketh the vulgar Soldier more base. Certainly, Wife and Children are a kind of Discipline of Humanity; and Single Men, though they be many

times more Charitable, because their Means are less exhaust ; yet, on the other side, they are more cruel and hardhearted (good to make severe Inquisitors), because their Tenderness is not so oft called upon. Grave Natures, led by Custom, and therefore constant, are commonly loving Hufbands ; as was said of Ulyles; Vetulam suam prætulit Immortalitati.2 Chaste Women are often proud and froward, as presuming upon the Merit of their Chastity. It is one of the best Bonds both of Chastity and Obedience in the Wife, if she think her Husband wife ; which she will never

2 Plut. Gryll. 1. Comp. Odyfl. v. 218.


do if she find him Jealous. Wives are young Men's Mistresses ; Companions for middle Age ; and old Men's Nurses. So as a Man


have Quarrel to marry when he will. But yet he was reputed one of the wise Men, that made Answer to the Question, When a Man should marry?

- A Young Man not yet, an Elder Man not at all.3 It is often seen, that bad Husbands have very good Wives : whether it be that it raiseth the Price of their Husbands' Kindness when it comes ; or that the Wives take a Pride in their Patience. But this never fails, if the bad Husands were of their own choosing, against their Friends' Consent ; for then they will be sure to make good their own Folly.


ix. Of Envy. HERE be none of the Affections which

have been noted to fascinate, or be9

witch, but Love, and Envy. They

both have vehement Wishes; they frame themselves readily into Imaginations and Suggestions; and they come easily into the Eye, especially upon the presence of the Objects; which are the Points that conduce to Fascination, if any such Thing there be. We see likewise, the Scripture calleth Envy an Evil Eye : and the Aftrologers call the evil Influences of the Stars Evil

3 Thales. Vide Diog. Laert. i. 26. Comp. Plut. Symp. iii. 3. · Cf. Antitheta, No. 16. .This perhaps refers to James iv. 5.


Aspects; so that still, there seemeth to be acknowledged, in the Act of Envy, an Ejaculation, or Irradiation of the Eye. Nay, some have been so curious as to note, that the Times, when the Stroke or Percussion of an Envious Eye doth most hurt, are, when the Party envied is beheld in Glory or Triumph; for that sets an Edge upon Envy: and besides, at such times, the Spirits of the Person envied, do come forth most into the outward Parts, and so meet the Blow.

But leaving these Curiosities (though not unworthy to be thought on in fit place,) we will handle what Persons are apt to Envy others; what Persons are most subject to be envied themselves ; and what is the Difference between public, and private Envy.

A Man, that hath no Virtue in himself, ever envieth Virtue in others. For Men's Minds will either feed

upon their own Good, or upon other's Evil; and who wanteth the one will prey upon the other; and whoso is out of Hope to attain to another's Virtue will seek to come at even hand by depressing another's Fortune.

A Man that is Busy and Inquisitive is commonly Envious : for to know much of other Men's Matters cannot be because all that Ado may concern his own Estate : therefore it must needs be that he taketh a kind of Play-pleasure in · looking upon the Fortunes of others : neither can he that mindeth but his own Business find much matter for Envy. For Envy is a Gadding Passion, and walketh the Streets, and doth not

keep home; Non eft Curiofus, quin idem fit Malevolus. 3

Men of Noble Birth are noted to be envious towards New Men when they rise ; for the diftance is altered ; and it is like a Deceit of the Eye, that when others come on they think themselves go back.

Deformed Persons and Eunuchs, and Old Men and Bastards are Envious : for he that cannot possibly mend his own case, will do what he can to impair another’s ; except these Defects light upon a very brave and Heroical Nature, which thinketh to make his natural Wants part of his Honour ; in that it should be said, that a Eunuch, or a Lame Man, did such great Matters ; affecting the Honour of a Miracle: as it was in Narses the Eunuch, and Agefilaus, and Tamerlane, that were Lame men.

The same is the Case of Men that rise after Calamities and Misfortunes; for they are as Men fallen out with the Times, and think other Men's Harms a Redemption of their own Sufferings.

They that desire to excel in too many Matters, out of Levity and Vain-glory, are ever Envious ; for they cannot want Work; it being impossible, but many, in some one of those Things, should surpass them. Which was the Character of Adrian the Emperor, that mortally envied Poets and Painters, and Artificers in Works wherein he had

vein to excel.*

3 This is from the Stichus of Plautus, act ii. sc. 1. In some editions it is act iii. sc. I. Cf. Plut. de Curios. I.

• Spartian Vit. Adrian. 15.


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