صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

old; and imaginations stream into their minds better, and, as it were, more divinely. Natures that have much heat, and great and violent desires and perturbations, are not ripe

for action till they have passed the meridian of their years; 10 as it was with Julius Cæsar, and Septimius Severus. Of the

latter of whom it is said, Juventutem egit erroribus, imo furoribus, plenam. And yet he was the ablest emperor, almost, of all the list. But reposed natures may do well in

youth. As it is seen in Augustus Cæsar, Cosmus, Duke of 15 Florence, Gaston de Fois, and others. On the other side,

. heat and vivacity in age is an excellent composition for busi


Young men are fitter to invent than to judge; fitter for execution than for counsel; and fitter for new projects 20 than for settled business. For the experience of age, in

things that fall within the compass of it, directeth them; but in new things, abuseth them. The errors of young men are the ruin of business; but the errors of aged men amount

but to this, that more might have been done, or sooner. 25 Young men, in the conduct and manage of actions, embrace

more than they can hold; stir more than they can quiet; fly to the end, without consideration of the means and degrees; pursue some few principles which they have chanced

upon absurdly; care not to innovate, which draws unknown 30 inconveniences; use extreme remedies at first; and, that

which doubleth all errors, will not acknowledge or retract them; like an unready horse, that will neither stop nor turn.

Men of age object too much, consult too long, adventure too little, repent too soon, and seldom drive business home 35 to the full period, but content themselves with a mediocrity

of success. Certainly, it is good to compound employments of both; for that will be good for the present, because the virtues of either age may correct the defects of both; and good for succession, that young men may be learners, while


men in age are actors; and, lastly, good for extern accidents, 40 because authority followeth old men, and favor and popularity youth. But for the moral part, perhaps youth will have the pre-eminence, as age hath for the politic. A certain rabbin, upon the text, Your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams, inferreth that young men 45 are admitted nearer to God than old, because vision is a clearer revelation than a dream. And certainly, the more a man drinketh of the world, the more it intoxicateth; and age doth profit rather in the powers of understanding, than in the virtues of the will and affections. There be some have an 50 over-early ripeness in their years, which fadeth betimes.

These are, first, such as have brittle wits, the edge whereof is soon turned; such as was Hermogenes the rhetorician, whose books are exceeding subtle, who afterwards waxed stupid. A second sort is of those that have some natural dis- 55 positions which have better grace in youth than in age; such as is a fluent and luxuriant speech, which becomes youth well, but not age; so Tully saith of Hortensius, Idem manebat, neque idem decebat. The third is of such as take too high a strain at the first, and are magnanimous more than tract of years 60 can uphold. As was Scipio Africanus, of whom Livy saith in effect, Ultima primis cedebant.

[blocks in formation]

Studies serve for delight, for ornament, and for ability. Their chief use for delight is in privateness and retiring; for ornament, is in discourse; and for ability, is in the judgment and disposition of business. For expert men can execute, and perhaps judge of particulars, one by one; but the general 5 counsels, and the plots and marshalling of affairs, come best from those that are learned. To spend too much time in studies is sloth; to use them too much for ornament is affectation; to make judgment wholly by their rules is the

25 may

10 humour of a scholar. They perfect nature, and are perfecitd

by experience; for natural abilities are like natural plants, that need pruning by study; and studies themselves do give forth directions too much at large, except they be bounded in

by experience. 15 Crafty men contemn studies, simple men admire them,

and wise men use them; for they teach not their own use; but that is a wisdom without them and above them, won by observation. Read not to contradict and confute; nor to

believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; 20 but to weigh and consider. Some books are to be tasted,

others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested; that is, some books are to be read only in parts; others to be read, but not curiously; and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.) Some books also

be read by deputy, and extracts made of them by others; but that would be only in the less important arguments, and the meaner sort of books; else distilled books are like common distilled waters, flashy things. Reading maketh a full man;

conference a ready man; and writing an exact man. 30 And therefore, if a man write little, he had need have a

great memory; if he confer little, he had need have a present wit; and if he read little, he had need have much cunning, to seem to know that he doth not. Histories

make men wise; poets witty; the mathematics subtle; 35 natural philosophy deep; moral, grave; logic and rhetoric

able to contend. Abeunt studia in mores. Nay, there is no stond or impediment in the wit, but may be wrought out by fit studies; like as diseases of the body may have appro

priate exercises. Bowling is good for the stone and reins; 40 shooting for the lungs and breast; gentle walking for the

stomach; riding for the head; and the like. So if a man's wit be wandering, let him study the mathematics; for in demonstrations, if his wit be called away never so little, he must begin again. If his wit be not apt to distinguish or find differences, let him study the schoolmen; for they are 45 cymini sectores. If he be not apt to beat over matters, and to call up one thing to prove and illustrate another, let him study the lawyers' cases. So every defect of the mind may have a special receipt.




A Boast of Tamburlaine
(From Tamburlaine the Great, Part I; Act IV, Scene II)

Now clear the triple region of the air,
And let the Majesty of Heaven behold
Their scourge and terror tread on emperors.
Smile stars, that reigned at my nativity,
And dim the brightness of your neighbour lamps !
Disdain to borrow light of Cynthia !
For I, the chiefest lamp of all the earth,
First rising in the East with mild aspect,
But fixèd now in the meridian line,
Will send up fire to your turning spheres,
And cause the sun to borrow light of you.
My sword struck fire from his coat of steel
Even in Bithynia, when I took this Turk;
As when a fiery exhalation,
Wrapt in the bowels of a freezing cloud
Fighting for passage, makes the welkin crack,
And casts a flash of lightning to the earth :
But ere I march to wealthy Persia,
Or leave Damascus and the Egyptian fields,
As was the fame of Clymene's brain-sick son,
That almost burnt the axle-tree of heaven,
So shall our swords, our lances, and our shot
Fill all the air with fiery meteors :
Then when the sky shall wax as red as blood
It shall be said I made it red myself,
To make me think of nought but blood and war.



25 5



The Passionate Shepherd to His Love
Come live with me and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove,
That hills and valleys, dales and fields,
Woods or steepy mountains yields.
And we will sit upon the rocks,
Seeing the shepherds feed their flocks,
By shallow rivers to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.
And I will make thee beds of roses,
And a thousand fragrant posies,

of flowers and a kirtle
Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle;
A gown made of the finest wool,
Which from our pretty lambs we pull;
Fair linèd slippers for the cold,
With buckles of the purest gold;
A belt of straw and ivy buds,
With coral clasps and amber studs;
And if these pleasures may thee move,
Come live with me and be my

The shepherd swains shall dance and sing
For thy delights each May morning;
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me and be my love.




Songs from the Plays
(From Two Gentlemen of Verona)
Who is Silvia? what is she,

That all our swains commend her?
Holy, fair, and wise is she;

The heaven such grace did lend her,
That she might admirèd be.


« السابقةمتابعة »