Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

be bowed and crooked to some ends which he hath that giveth it. The other, that he shall have Counsel given hurtful and unsafe (though with good meaning) and mixt partly of Mischief and partly of Remedy: even as if you would call a Physician, that is thought good for the Cure of the Disease you complain of, but is unacquainted with your body; and therefore, may put you in way for a present Cure, but overthroweth your Health in some other kind; and so cure the Difease, and kill the Patient. But a Friend, that is wholly acquainted with a man's estate, will beware by furthering any present Business, how he dasheth upon other Inconvenience. And therefore rest not upon scattered Counsels : they will rather distract and mislead than settle and direct.

After these two noble Fruits of Friendship (Peace in the Affections, and Support of the Judgement,) followeth the last Fruit, which is like the Pomegranate, full of many kernels; I mean Aid and bearing a part in all Actions and Occasions. Here the best way to represent to life the manifold use of Friendship is to cast and see how many things there are which a Man cannot do himself; and then it will appear that it was a sparing Speech of the Ancients, to say, That a Friend is another himself:15 for that a Friend is far more than himfelf. Men have their time, and die many times in defire of some things which they principally take to Heart; the bestowing of a Child, the finishing of a Work, or the like. If a Man have a true

15 Arist. Magn. Moral. ii, 11 and 15. Eth. Eud. vii. 12.

Friend, he may rest almost secure that the Care of those things will continue after him; so that a man hath, as it were, two Lives in his desires. A Man hath a Body, and that Body is confined to a Place; but where Friendship is, all Offices of Life are, as it were, granted to him and his deputy; for he may exercise them by his Friend. How many things are there which a Man cannot, with any face or comeliness, say or do himself? A Man can scarce allege his own Merits with modesty, much less extol them: a Man cannot sometimes brook to supplicate, or beg, and a number of the like ; but all these things, are graceful in a Friend's Mouth, which are blushing in a Man's own. So again, a Man's person hath many proper Relations which he cannot put off. A Man cannot speak to his Son but as a Father; to his Wife but as a Husband; to his Enemy but upon Terms; whereas a Friend may speak as the case requires, and not as it sorteth with the person. But to enumerate these things were endless: I have given the Rule, where a Man cannot fitly play his own Part; if he have not a Friend he may quit the stage.

XXVIII. Of Expense.

[ocr errors]

ICHES are for Spending; and Spend

ing for Honour and good Actions. Therefore extraordinary Expense must

be limited by the worth of the occafion; for voluntary Undoing may be as well for a Man's Country as for the Kingdom of Heaven. But ordinary Expense ought to be limited by a man's Estate, and governed with such regard, as it be within his compass; and not subject to Deceit and Abuse of Servants; and ordered to the best Shew, that the Bills may be less than the Estimation abroad. Certainly, if a Man will keep but of Even Hand, his ordinary Expenses ought to be but to the Half of his Receipts; and if he think to wax Rich, but to the third part. It is no Baseness for the Greatest to descend and look into their own Estate. Some forbear it, not upon Negligence alone, but doubting to bring themselves into Melancholy, in respect they shall find it broken; but Wounds cannot be cured without searching. He that cannot look into his own Estate at all, had need both choose well those whom he employeth, and change them often : for New are more timorous, and less subtile. He that can look into his Estate but feldom, it behoveth him to turn all to certainties. A Man had need, if he be plentiful in some kind of Expense, to be as saving again in some other. As if he be plentiful in Diet, to be saving in Apparel :

if he be plentiful in the Hall, to be saving in the Stable: and the like : for he that is plentiful in Expenses of all kinds will hardly be preserved from decay. In clearing of a Man's Eftate, he may as well hurt himself in being too sudden, as in letting it run on too long: for hasty Selling is commonly as disadvantageable as interest. Besides, he that clears at once will relapse ; for finding himself out of Straits, he will revert to his Customs : but he that cleareth by Degrees induceth a Habit of Frugality, and gaineth as well upon his Mind as upon his Eftate. Certainly, who hath a State to repair may not despise small things : and, commonly, it is less dishonourable to abridge petty Charges than to stoop to petty gettings. A Man ought warily to begin Charges, which once begun will continue ; but in Matters that return not he may be more magnificent.

xxix. Of the true Greatness of

Kingdoms and Estates.

HE Speech of Themistocles: the Athe

nian, which was haughty and arrogant, in taking so much to himself, had

been a grave and wise Observation and Censure, applied at large to others. Desired at a Feast to touch a Lute, he said, He could not

IV. Plut. Themift. 2. Cimon, 9. Cf. Adv. of L. 1. iii. 7.

[graphic]

fiddle, but yet he could make a small Town, a great City. These words (holpen a little with a Metaphor) may express two different Abilities in those that deal in Business of Estate. For if a true Survey

be taken of Counsellors and Statesmen, there may be found (though rarely) thofe which can make a Small State great, and yet cannot fiddle ; as, on the other side, there will be found a great many

that can fiddle very cunningly, but yet are so far from being able to make a Small State great, as their Gift lieth the other way; to bring a great and flourishing Estate to Ruin and Decay. And, certainly, those degenerate Arts and Shifts, whereby many Counsellors and Governors gain both Favour with their Masters, and Estimation with the Vulgar, deserve no better name than Fiddling; being things rather pleasing for the time, and graceful to themselves only, than tending to the Weal and Advancement of the State which they serve. There are also (no doubt) Counsellors and Governors which may be held fufficient, Negotiis pares, able to manage Affairs, and to keep them from Precipices and manifest Inconveniences; which nevertheless, are far from the Ability to raise and amplify an Estate in Power, Means, and Fortune. But be the workmen what they may be, let us speak of the Work; that is, The true Greatness of Kingdoms and Estates, and the Means thereof. An Argument fit for great and mighty Princes to have in their hand; to the end that neither by over-measuring their Forces, they lose

? An expression of Tacitus. Ann. vi. 39. and xvi, 18.

« AnteriorContinuar »