Francis Bacon (15611626). Apophthegms New and Old. 1857.
New and Old
† 1. WHEN Queen Elizabeth had advanced Ralegh, she was one day playing on the virginals, and my Lo. of Oxford and another nobleman stood by. It fell out so, that the ledge before the jacks was taken away, so as the jacks were seen: My Lo. of Oxford and the other nobleman smiled, and a little whispered: The Queen marked it, and would needs know What the matter was? My Lo. of Oxford answered; That they smiled to see that when Jacks went up Heads went down.
2. (16.) Henry the Fourth of France his Queen was great1 with child. Count Soissons, that had his expectation upon the crown, when it was twice or thrice thought that the Queen was with child before, said to some of his friends, That it was but with a pillow. This had some ways come to the Kings ear; who kept it till when2 the Queen waxed great; called3 the Count Soissons to him, and said, laying his hand upon the Queens belly, Come, cousin, it is no pillow.4Yes, Sir, (answered the Count of Soissons,)5it is a pillow for all France to sleep upon.
3. (26.) There was a conference in Parliament between the Upper house and the Lower,6 about a Bill of Accountants, which came down from the Lords to the Commons; which bill prayed, that the lands of accountants, whereof they were seized when they entered upon their office, mought be liable to their arrears to the Queen. But the Commons desired that the bill mought not look back to accountants that were already, but extend only to accountants hereafter. But the Lo. Treasurer said, Why, I pray,7if you had lost your purse by the way, would you look forwards, or would you look back? The Queen hath lost her purse.
4. (1.) Queen Elizabeth, the morrow of her coronation, went to the chapel; and in the great chamber, Sir John Rainsford, set on by wiser men, (a knight that had the liberty of a buffone,) besought the Queen aloud; That now this good time when prisoners were delivered, four prisoners amongst the rest mought likewise have their liberty, who were like enough to be kept still in hold. The Queen asked; Who they were? And he said: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, who had long been imprisoned in the Latin tongue; and now he desired they mought go abroad among the people in English. The Queen answered, with a grave countenance; It were good (Rainsford) they were spoken with themselves, to know of them whether they would be set at liberty?8
5. (29.) The Lo. Keeper, Sir Nicholas Bacon, was asked his opinion by Queen Elizabeth of one of these Monopoly Licences. And he answered; Will you have me speak truth, Madam? Licentiâ omnes deteriores sumus: We are all the worse for a licence.9
6. (206.) Pace, the bitter Fool, was not suffered to come at the Queen,10 because of his bitter humour. Yet at one time some persuaded the Queen that he should come to her; undertaking for him that he should keep compass.11 So he was brought to her, and the Queen said: Come on, Pace: now we shall hear of our faults. Saith Pace; I do not use to talk of that that all the town talks of.
7. (30.) My Lo. of Essex, at the succour of Rhoan, made twenty-four knights, which at that time was a great matter.12 Divers of those gentlemen were of weak and small means; which when Queen Elizabeth heard, she said, My Lo. mought have done well to have built his alms-house before he made his knights.
† 8. A great officer in France was in danger to have lost his place; but his wife, by her suit and means making, made his peace; whereupon a pleasant fellow said, That he had been crushed, but that he saved himself upon his horns.
9. (2.) Queen Anne Bullen, at the time when she was led to be beheaded in the Tower, called one of the Kings privy chamber to her, and said to him; Commend me to the King, and tell him he is13constant in his course of advancing me. From a private gentlewoman he made me a marquisse;14and from a marquisse a queen; and now he had left15no higher degree of earthly honour, he hath made me a martyr.16
10. (207.) Bishop Latimer said, in a sermon at court; That he heard great speech that the King was poor and many ways were propounded to make him rich: For his part he had thought of one way, which was, that they should help the King to some good office, for all his officers were rich.
11. (122.) Cæsar Borgia, after long division between him and the Lords of Romagna, fell to accord with them. In this accord there was an article, that he should not call them at any time all together in person: The meaning was, that knowing his dangerous nature, if he meant them treason, some one mought be free to revenge the rest.17 Nevertheless he did with such art and fair usage win their confidence, that he brought them all together to counsel at Sinigalia;18 where he murthered them all. This act, when it was related unto Pope Alexander his father by a Cardinal, as a thing happy, but very perfidious, the Pope said; It was they that had broke their covenant first, in coming all together.
12. (54.) Pope Julius the third, when he was made Pope, gave his hat unto a youth, a favourite of his, with great scandal. Whereupon at one time a Cardinal, that mought be free with him, said modestly to him: What did your Holiness see in that young man, to make him Cardinal? Julius answered, What did you see in me, to make me Pope?
13. (55.) The same Julius, upon like occasion of speech, why he should bear so great affection to the same young man, would say; That he had found by astrology that it was the youths destiny to be a great prelate; which was impossible, except himself were Pope; And therefore that he did raise him, as the driver on of his own fortune.
14. (56.) Sir Thomas Moore had only daughters at the first; and his wife did ever pray for a boy. At last he had a boy; which after, at mans years, proved simple.19 Sir Thomas said to his wife; Thou prayedst so long for a boy, that he will be a boy as long as he lives.
15. (58.) Sir Thomas Moore, the day20 he was beheaded, had a barber sent to him, because his hair was long, which was thought would make him more commiserable21 with the people. The barber came to him and asked him, Whether he would be pleased to be trimmed? In good faith, honest fellow, (said Sir Thomas,) the King and I have a suit for my head, and till the title be cleared I will do no cost upon it.
16. (59.) Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, a great champion of the Papists,22 was wont to say of the Protestants, who ground upon the Scripture, That they were like posts, that bring truth in their letters, and lies in their mouths.
17. (125.) The Lacedæmonians were besieged by the Athenians in the Fort23 of Peile; which was won, and some slain and some taken. There was one said to one of them that was taken, by way of scorn, Were not they brave men that lost their lives at the Fort of Peile? He answered, Certainly a Persian arrow is much to be set by, if it can choose out a brave man.
18. (208.) After the defeat of Cyrus the younger, Falinus was sent by the King to the Grecians, (who had for their part rather victory than otherwise,) to command them to yield their arms. Which when it was denied, Falinus said to Clearchus; Well then, the King lets you know, that if you remove from the place where you are now encamped, it is war: if you stay, it is truce. What shall I say you will do? Clearchus answered, It pleaseth us as it pleaseth the King. How is that? saith Falinus. Saith Clearchus, If we remove, war: if we stay, truce. And so would not disclose his purpose.
19. (126.) Clodius was acquit by a corrupt jury, that had palpably taken shares of money. Before they gave up their verdict, they prayed of the Senate a guard, that they might do their consciences freely; for Clodius was a very seditious young nobleman. Whereupon all the world gave him for condemned. But acquitted he was. Catulus, the next day, seeing some of them that had acquitted him together, said to them; What made you to ask of us a guard? Were you afraid your money should have been taken from you?
20. (127.) At the same judgment, Cicero gave in evidence upon oath: and the jury (which consisted of fifty-seven) passed against his evidence. One day in the Senate, Cicero and Clodius being in altercation, Clodius upbraided him and said: The jury gave you no credit. Cicero answered, Five-and-twenty gave me credit: but there were two-and-thirty that gave you no credit, for they had their money aforehand.
21. (80.) Many men, especially such as affect gravity, have a manner after other mens speech to shake their heads. Sir Lionel Cranfield would say,24That it was as men shake a bottle, to see if there were any wit in their head or no.
† 22. Sir Thomas Moore (who was a man in all his lifetime that had an excellent vein in jesting) at the very instant of his death, having a pretty long beard, after his head was upon the block, lift it up again, and gently drew his beard aside, and said, This hath not offended the King.
23. (60.) Sir Thomas Moore had sent him by a suitor in the chancery two silver flagons. When they were presented by the gentlemans servant, he said to one of his men; Have him to the cellar, and let him have of my best wine. And turning to the servant, said, Tell thy master, friend, if he like it, let him not spare it.
24. (129.) Diogenes, having seen that the kingdom of Macedon, which before was contemptible and low, began to come aloft, when he died, was asked; How he would be buried? He answered, With my face downward; for within a while the world will be turned upside down, and then I shall lie right.
26. (201.) Themistocles in his lower fortune was in love with a young gentleman who scorned him. When he grew to his greatness, which was soon after, he sought to him: but Themistocles said; We are both grown wise, but too late.
† 27. Demonax the philosopher, when he died, was asked touching his burial. He answered, Never take care for burying me, for stink will bury me. He that asked him, said again: Why, would you have your body left to dogs and ravens to feed upon? Demonax answered, Why, what great hurt is it, if having sought to do good, when I lived, to men, my body do some good to beasts, when I am dead.
† 28. Jack Roberts was desired by his tailor, when the reckoning grew somewhat high, to have a bill of his hand. Roberts said; I am content, but you must let no man know it. When the tailor brought him the bill, he tore it, as in choler, and said to him; You use me not well; you promised me nobody should know it, and here you have put in, Be it known unto all men by these presents.
29. (131.) When Lycurgus was to reform and alter the state of Sparta, in the consultation one advised that it should be reduced to an absolute popular equality. But Lycurgus said to him: Sir, begin it in your own house.
† 30. Phocion the Athenian, (a man of great severity, and no ways flexible to the will of the people,) one day when he spake to the people, in one part of his speech was applauded: Whereupon he turned to one of his friends, and asked; What have I said amiss?
32. (122.) Bion, that was an atheist, was shewed in a port-city, in a temple of Neptune, many tables or pictures of such as had in tempests made their vows to Neptune, and were saved from shipwrack: and was asked; How say you now, do you not acknowledge the power of the Gods? But he said; Yes, but where are they painted that have been drowned after their vows?
33. (202.) Bias25 was sailing, and there fell out a great tempest, and the mariners, that were wicked and dissolute fellows, called upon the Gods; But Bias said to them; Peace, let them not know ye are here.
† 35. There was a minister deprived for inconformity, who said to some of his friends; That if they deprived him, it should cost an hundred mens lives. The party understood it as if, being a turbulent fellow, he would have moved sedition, and complained of him. Whereupon being convented and apposed upon that speech, he said; His meaning was, that if he lost his benefice, he would practise physic; and then he thought he should kill an hundred men in time.
36. (61.) Michael Angelo, the famous painter, painting in the Popes chapel the portraiture of hell and damned souls, made one of the damned souls so like a Cardinal that was his enemy, as everybody at first sight knew it: Whereupon the Cardinal complained to Pope Clement, desiring26 it might be defaced; Who said to him, Why, you know very well, I have power to deliver a soul out of purgatory, but not out of hell.27
38. (209.) Alcibiades came to Pericles, and stayed a while ere he was admitted. When he came in, Pericles civilly excused it, and said; I was studying how to give my account. But Alcibiades said to him; If you will be ruled by me, study rather how to give no account.
39. (133.) Cicero was at dinner, where there was an ancient lady that spake of her years, and said; She was but forty years old. One that sat by Cicero rounded him in the ear, and said; She talks of forty years old, and she is far more, out of question. Cicero answered him again; I must believe her, for I have heard her say so any time these ten years.
40. (68.) Pope Adrian the sixth was talking with the Duke of Sesa; That Pasquil gave great scandal, and that he would have him thrown into the river. But Sesa answered; Do it not (holy father) for then he will turn frog; and whereas now he chants but by day, he will then chant both by day and night.28
41. (134.) There was a soldier that vaunted before Julius Cæsar of hurts he had received in his face. Julius Cæsar knowing him to be but a coward, told him; You were best take heed, next time you run away, how you look back.
† 42. There was a Bishop that was somewhat a delicate person, and bathed twice a day. A friend of his said to him; My lord, why do you bathe twice a day? The Bishop answered; Because I cannot conveniently bathe thrice.
† 44. Secretary Bourns son kept a gentlemans wife in Shropshire, who lived from her husband with him. When he was weary of her, he caused her husband to be dealt with to take her home, and offered him five hundred pounds for reparation. The gentleman went to Sir Henry Sidney, to take his advice upon this offer; telling him; That his wife promised now a new life; and, to tell him truth, five hundred pounds would come well with him; and besides, that sometimes he wanted a woman in his bed. By my troth, (said Sir Henry Sidney) take her home, and take the money; and then whereas other cuckolds wear their horns plain, you may wear yours gilt.
45. (69.) There was a gentleman in Italy that wrate to a great friend of his, upon his advancement29 to be Cardinal; That he was very glad of his advancement, for the Cardinals own sake; but he was sorry that himself had lost so good a friend.30
† 46. When Rabelais lay on his death-bed, and they gave him the extreme unction, a familiar friend of his came to him afterwards, and asked him; How he did? Rabelais answered; Even going my journey, they have greased my boots already.
47. (70.) There was a King of Hungary took a Bishop in battle, and kept him prisoner. Whereupon the Pope writ a monitory to him, for that he had broken the privilege of Holy Church, and taken his son. The King sent an embassage to him, and sent withal the armour wherein the Bishop was taken, and this only in writing, Vide num hæc sit vestis filii tui.31
48. (135.) There was a suitor to Vespasian, who, to lay his suit fairer, said; It was for his brother; whereas indeed it was for a piece of money. Some about Vespasian, to cross him, told the Emperor, That the party his servant spake for was not his brother; but that it was upon a bargain. Vespasian sent for the party interested, and asked him; Whether his mean32was his brother or no? He durst not tell untruth to the Emperor, and confessed; That he was not his brother. Whereupon the Emperor said, This do, fetch me the money, and you shall have your suit dispatched. Which he did. The courtier, which was the mean, solicited Vespasian soon after about his suit. Why, (saith Vespasian,) I gave it last day to a brother of mine.
49. (211.) When Vespasian passed from Jewry to take upon him the empire, he went by Alexandria, where remained two famous philosophers, Apollonius and Euphrates. The Emperor heard them discourse touching matter of state, in the presence of many. And when he was weary of them, he brake off, and in a secret derision, finding their discourses but speculative, and not to be put in practice, said; O that I might govern wise men, and wise men govern me.
50. (212.) Cardinal Ximenes, upon a muster which was taken against the Moors, was spoken to by a servant of his to stand a little out of the smoke of the harquebuss; but he said again; That that was his incense.33
51. (136.) Vespasian asked of Apollonius, what was the cause of Neros ruin? who answered; Nero could tune the harp well; but in government he did always wind up the strings too high, or let them down too low.
† 52. Mr. Bromley, Solicitor, giving in evidence for a deed which was impeached to be fraudulent, was urged by the counsel on the other side with this presumption; that in two former suits, when title was made, that deed was passed over in silence, and some other conveyance stood upon. Mr. Justice Catyline taking in with that side, asked the Solicitor, I pray thee, Mr. Solicitor, let me ask you a familiar question; I have two geldings in my stable, and I have divers times business of importance, and still I send forth one of my geldings, and not the other; would you not think I set him aside for a jade? No, my Lord, (saith Bromley,) I would think you spared him for your own saddle.
53. (45.) Alonso Cartilio was informed by his steward of the greatness of his expence, being such as he could not hold out with. The Bishop asked him; Wherein it chiefly rose? His steward told him; In the multitude of his servants. The Bishop bad him make a note of those that were necessary, and those that mought be put off.34 Which he did. And the Bishop taking occasion to read it before most of his servants, said to his steward; Well, let these remain because I need them; and these other also because they need me.
54. (19.) Queen Elizabeth was wont to say, upon the Commission of Sales; That the commissioners used her like strawberry wives, that laid two or three great strawberries at the mouth of their pot, and all the rest were little ones; so they made her two or three good prices of the first particulars, but fell straightways.
56. (46.) Mr. Marbury the preacher would say; That God was fain to do with wicked men, as men do with frisking jades in a pasture, that cannot take them up, till they get them at a gate. So wicked men will not be taken up till the hour of death.
† 57. Thales, as he looked upon the stars, fell into the water; Whereupon it was after said; That if he had looked into the water he might have seen the stars; but looking up to the stars he could not see the water.
58. (22.) The book of deposing Richard35 the second, and the coming in of Henry the fourth, supposed to be written by Dr. Hayward, who was committed to the Tower for it, had much incensed queen Elizabeth. And she asked Mr. Bacon, being then of her learned counsel; Whether there were no treason contained in it? Mr. Bacon intending to do him a pleasure, and to take off the Queens bitterness with a jest,36 answered; No, madam, for treason I cannot deliver opinion that there is any, but very much felony. The Queen, apprehending it gladly, asked; How, and wherein? Mr. Bacon answered; Because he had stolen many of his sentences and conceits out of Cornelius Tacitus.
59. (199.) Mr. Popham,37 when he was Speaker, and the Lower House38 had sat long, and done in effect nothing; coming one day to Queen Elizabeth, she said to him; Now, Mr. Speaker, what hath passed in the Lower House?39 He answered, If it please your Majesty, seven weeks.
60. (47.) Pope Xystus the fifth, who was a poor40 mans son, and his fathers house ill thatched, so that the sun came in in many places, would sport with his ignobility, and say; He was nato di casa illustre: son of an illustrious house.
61. (48.) When the King of Spain conquered Portugal, he gave special charge to his lieutenant that the soldiers should not spoil, lest he should alienate the hearts of the people. The army also suffered much scarcity of victual. Whereupon the Spanish soldiers would afterwards say; That they had won the King a kingdom, as the kingdom of heaven useth to be won; by fasting and abstaining from that that is another mans.
62. (108.) Cicero married his daughter to Dolabella, that held Cæsars party: Pompey had married Julia, that was Cæsars daughter. After, when Cæsar and Pompey took arms one against the other, and Pompey had passed the seas, and Cæsar possessed Italy, Cicero stayed somewhat long in Italy, but at last sailed over to join with Pompey; who when he came unto him, Pompey said; You are welcome; but where left you your son-in-law? Cicero answered; With your father-in-law.
65. (23.) Queen Elizabeth, being to resolve upon a great officer, and being by some, that canvassed for others, put in some doubt of that person whom she meant to advance, called for Mr. Bacon, and told him; She was like one with a lanthorn seeking a man; and seemed unsatisfied in the choice she had of men for that place. Mr. Bacon answered her; That he had heard that in old time there was usually painted on the church walls the Day of Doom, and God sitting in judgement, and St. Michael by him with a pair of balance;41and the soul and the good deeds in the one balance, and the faults and the evil deeds in the other; and the souls balance went up far too light: Then was our Lady painted with a great pair of beads, casting them into the light balance, to make up the weight:42so (he said) place and authority, which were in her hands to give, were like our ladys beads, which though men, through divers imperfections, were too light before, yet when they were cast in, made weight competent.
† 67. Mr. Mason of Trinity college sent his pupil to another of the fellows, to borrow a book of him; who told him; I am loth to lend my books out of my chamber; but if it please thy tutor to come and read upon it in my chamber, he shall as long as he will. It was winter; and some days after, the same fellow sent to Mr. Mason to borrow his bellows; but Mr. Mason said to his pupil; I am loth to lend my bellows out of my chamber; but if thy tutor would come and blow the fire in my chamber, he shall as long as he will.
68. (110.) Nero did cut a youth, as if he would have transformed him into a woman,47 and called him wife. There was a senator of Rome that said secretly to his friend; It was pity Neros father had not such a wife.
69. (111.) Galba succeeded Nero, and his age being much despised, there was much licence and confusion in Rome. Whereupon a senator said in full senate, It were better live where nothing is lawful, than where all things are lawful.
† 70. In Flanders by accident a Flemish tiler fell from the top of a house upon a Spaniard, and killed him, though he escaped himself. The next of the blood prosecuted his death with great violence against the tiler. And when he was offered pecuniary recompence, nothing would serve him but lex talionis. Whereupon the judge said to him; That if he did urge that kind of sentence, it must be, that he should go up to the top of the house, and thence fall down upon the tiler.
71. (24.) Queen Elizabeth was dilatory enough in suits, of her own nature; and the lord treasurer Burleigh, to feed her humour,48 would say to her; Madam, you do well to let suitors stay; for I shall tell you, Bis dat, qui cito dot: If you grant them speedily, they will come again the sooner.
72. (49.) They feigned49 a tale of Sixtus Quintus,50 that after his death he went to hell; and the porter of hell said to him; You have some reason to offer yourself to this place;51but yet52I have order not to receive you: you have a place of your own, purgatory; you may go thither. So he went away, and sought purgatory a great while, and could find no such place. Upon that he took heart, and went to heaven, and knocked; and St. Peter asked; Who was there? He said, Sixtus Pope. Whereunto St. Peter said, Why do you knock? you have the keys. Sixtus answered, It is true; but it is so long since they were given, as I doubt the wards of the lock be altered.
73. (50.) Charles King of Swede, a great enemy of the Jesuits, when he took any of their colleges, he would hang the old Jesuits, and put the young to his mines, saying; That since they wrought so hard above ground, he would try how they could work under ground.
74. (51.) In Chancery, one time, when the counsel of the parties set forth the boundaries of the land in question, by the plot; And the counsel of one part said, We lie on this side, my lord; And the counsel of the other part said, We lie on this side: the Lord Chancellor Hatton stood up and said, If you lie on both sides, whom will you have me to believe.
75. (109.) Vespasian and Titus his eldest son were both absent from Rome when the empire was cast upon him.53 Domitian his younger son was at Rome, who took upon him the affairs; and being of a turbulent spirit, made many changes, and displaced divers officers and governors of provinces, sending them successors. So when Vespasian came to Rome, and Domitian came into his presence, Vespasian said to him; Son, I looked when you would have sent me a successor.
77. (31.) The deputies of the reformed religion, after the massacre which was55 upon St. Bartholomews day, treated with the King and Queen-Mother, and some other of the counsel, for a peace. Both sides were agreed upon the articles. The question was, upon the security of performance.56 After some particulars propounded and rejected, the Queen-Mother said; Why, is not the word of a King sufficient security? One of the deputies answered; No, by St. Bartholomew, Madam.
78. (12.) When the Archduke did raise his siege from Grave, the then secretary came to queen Elizabeth; and the Queen, having intelligence first,57 said to the secretary, Wot you what? The Archduke is risen from the Grave. He answered, What, without the trumpet of the Archangel? The Queen replied; Yes, without sound of trumpet.
† 79. Francis the first used for his pleasure sometimes to go disguised. So walking one day in the company of the Cardinal of Bourbon near Paris, he met a peasant with a new pair of shoes upon his arm. So he called him to him and said; By our lady, these be good shoes, what did they cost thee? The peasant said; Guess. The King said; I think some five sols. Saith the peasant; You have lyed; but a carolois. What villain, (saith the Cardinal of Bourbon) thou art dead; it is the King. The peasant replied; The devil take him, of you and me, that knew so much.
80. (217.) There was a conspiracy against the Emperor Claudius by Scribonianus, examined in the senate; where Claudius sat in his chair, and one of his freed servants stood at the back of his chair. In the examination, that freed servant, who had much power with Claudius, very saucily had almost all the words: and amongst other things, he asked in scorn one of the examinates, who was likewise freed servant of Scribonianus; I pray, sir, if Scribonianus had been Emperor what would you have done? He answered; I would have stood behind his chair and held my peace.
81. (137.) Dionysius the tyrant, after he was deposed, and brought to Corinth, kept a school. Many used to visit him; and amongst others, one, when he came in, opened his mantle and shook his clothes; thinking to give Dionysius a gentle scorn; because it was the manner to do so for them that came in to him while he was tyrant. But Dionysius said to him; I pray thee do so rather when thou goest out, that we may see thou stealest nothing away.
82. (241.) Hannibal said of Fabius Maximus and of Marcellus (whereof the former waited upon him, that he could make no progress; and the latter had many sharp fights with him); that he feared Fabius like a tutor; and Marcellus like an enemy.
83. (138.) Diogenes, one terrible frosty morning, came into the market-place, and stood naked, quaking, to shew his tolerancy.58 Many of the people came about him, pitying him. Plato passing by, and knowing he did it to be seen, said to the people, as he went by, If you pity him indeed, leave him alone.
84. (72.) Sackford, Master of the Requests59 to Queen Elizabeth, had divers times moved for audience, and been put off. At last he came to the Queen in a progress, and had on a new pair of boots. When he came in, the Queen60 said to him, Fie sloven, thy new boots stink. Madam, (said he,) it is not my new boots that stink, but it is the stale bills that I have kept so long.
85. (218.) One was saying; That his great grandfather and grandfather and father died at sea. Said another that heard him; And I were as you, I would never come at sea. Why, (saith he,) where did your great grandfather and grandfather and father die? He answered; Where but in their beds? Saith the other; And I were as you, I would never come in bed.
86. (139.) Aristippus was earnest suitor to Dionysius for somewhat, who would give no ear to his suit. Aristippus fell at his feet; Then Dionysius granted it. One that stood by said afterwards to Aristippus; You a philosopher, and to be so base as to throw yourself at the tyrants feet to get a suit? Aristippus answered; The fault is not mine, but the fault is in Dionysius, that carries his ears in his feet.
† 87. There was a young man in Rome, that was very like Augustus Cæsar. Augustus took knowledge of it, and sent for the man, and asked him; Was your mother never at Rome? He answered; No, sir, but my father was.
† 88. A physician advised his patient, that had sore eyes, that he should abstain from wine. But the patient said, I think rather, sir, from wine and water;61for I have often marked it in blear eyes, and I have seen water come forth, but never wine.
† 89. When Sir Thomas Moore was Lord Chancellor, he did use, at mass, to sit in the chancel; and his lady in a pew. And because the pew stood out of sight, his gentleman-usher ever after service came to the ladys pew, and said; Madam, my Lord is gone. So when the Chancellors place was taken from him, the next time they went to church, Sir Thomas himself came to his ladys pew, and said; Madam, my Lord is gone.
90. (73.) At an act of the Commencement, the answerer gave for his question; That an aristocracy was better than a monarchy. The replier, who was a dissolute fellow,62 did tax him; That being a private bred man, he would give a question of state. The answerer said; That the replier did much wrong the privilege of scholars; who would be much straitened if they should give questions of nothing but such things wherein they are practised. And added; We have heard yourself dispute of virtue, which no man will say you put much in practice.
94. (142.) One said to Aristippus; It is a strange thing, why should men rather give to the poor, than to philosophers. He answered; Because they think themselves may sooner come to be poor, than to be philosophers.
96. (146.) It fell out so, that as Livia went abroad in Rome, there met her naked young men that were sporting in the streets; which Augustus was64 about severely to punish in them; but Livia spake for them, and said, It was no more to chaste women than so many statuas.
97. (75.) Alonso of Arragon was wont to say, in commendation of age, That age appeared to be best in four things: Old wood best to burn; old wine to drink; old friends to trust; and old authors to read.65
98. (76.) It was said of Augustus, and afterwards the like was said of Septimius Severus, both which did infinite mischief in their beginnings, and infinite good towards their ends; That they should either have never been born or never died.
101. (144.) When it was represented to Alexander, to the advantage of Antipater, who was a stern and imperious man, that he only of all his lieutenants wore no purple, but kept the Macedonian habit of black, Alexander said; Yes, but Antipater is all purple within.68
† 104. A Grecian captain, advising the confederates that were united against the Lacedæmonians touching their enterprise, gave opinion that they should go directly upon Sparta, saying; That the state of Sparta was like rivers; strong when they had run a great way, and weak towards their head.
106. (148.) Lucullus entertained Pompey in one of his magnificent houses. Pompey said; This is a marvellous fair and stately house for the summer: but methinks it should be very cold for winter. Lucullus answered; Do you not think me as wise as divers fowl are, to remove with the season?72
107. (149.) Plato entertained some of his friends at a dinner, and had in the chamber a bed or couch, neatly and costly furnished. Diogenes came in, and got upon the bed, and trampled upon it, and said;73I trample upon the pride of Plato. Plato mildly answered; But with greater pride.
109. (150.) Pompey being commissioner for sending grain to Rome in time of dearth, when he came to the sea, he found it very tempestuous and dangerous, insomuch as those about him advised him by no means to embark. But Pompey said; It is of necessity that I go, not that I live.
† 111. Charles the Bald allowed one, whose name was Scottus, to sit at the table with him, for his pleasure. Scottus sat on the other side of the table. One time the King being merry with him, said to him; What is there between Scot and Sot? Scottus answered; The table only.
112. (79.) Ethelwold, Bishop of Winchester, in a famine, sold all the rich vessels and ornaments of the Church, to relieve the poor with bread; and said, There was no reason that the dead temples of God should be sumptuously furnished, and the living temples suffer penury.
† 113. There was a marriage made between a widow of great wealth, and a gentleman of great house that had no estate or means. Jack Roberts said; That marriage was like a black pudding; the one brought blood, and the other brought suet and oatmeal.74
114. (151.) Demosthenes was upbraided by Æschines, that his speeches did smell of the lamp. But Demosthenes said; Indeed there is a great deal of difference between that that you and I do by lamp-light.
116. (242.) When King Edward the Second was amongst his torturers, who hurried him to and fro, that no man should know where he was, they set him down upon a bank: and one time, the more to disguise his face, shaved him, and washed him with cold water of a ditch by: The King said; Well, yet I will have warm water for my beard. And so shed abundance of tears.
117. (203.) The Turk75 made an expedition into Persia, and because of the strait jaws of the mountains of Armenia, the bashas consulted which way they should get in. Says a natural fool that stood by;76Heres much ado how you should77get in; but I hear nobody take care how you should get out.
118. (220.) Sir Thomas Moore, when the counsel of the party pressed him for a longer day,78 said; Take Saint Barnabys day, which is the longest day in the year. Now Saint Barnabys day was within few days following.
120. (154.) Philo Judæus saith; That the sense is like the sun; For the sun seals up the globe of heaven, and opens the globe of earth: so the sense doth obscure heavenly things, and reveal earthly things.
121. (222.) Cassius, after the defeat of Crassus by the Parthians, whose weapons were chiefly arrows, fled to the city of Carras, where he durst not stay any time, doubting to be pursued and besieged. He had with him an astrologer, who said to him; Sir, I would not have you go hence, while the moon is in the sign of Scorpio. Cassius answered, I am more afraid of that of Sagittarie.79
122. (155.) Alexander, after the battle of Granicum, had very great offers made him by Darius. Consulting with his captains concerning them, Parmenio said; Sure I would accept of these offers, if I were as Alexander. Alexander answered; So would I, if I were as Parmenio.
† 124. Augustus Cæsar was invited to supper by one of his old friends that had conversed with him in his less fortunes, and had but ordinary entertainment. Whereupon, at his going, he said; I did not know you and I were so familiar.81
127. (112.) Augustus Cæsar did write to Livia, who was over-sensible of some ill-words that had been spoken of them both: Let it not trouble thee, my Livia, if any man speak ill of us; for we have enough, that no man can do ill unto us.
130. (200.) Agathocles, after he had taken Syracusa, the men whereof, during the siege, had in a bravery spoken of him all the villany that mought be, sold the Syracusans for slaves, and said; Now if you use such words of me, I will tell your masters of you.
† 131. Dionysius the elder, when he saw his son in many things very inordinate, said to him; Did you ever know me do such things? His son answered; No, but you had not a tyrant to your father. The father replied; No, nor you, if you take these courses, will have a tyrant to your son.
† 132. Callisthenes the philosopher, that followed Alexanders court, and hated the King, was asked by one; How one should become the famousest man in the world? and answered; By taking away him that is.
133. (52.) Sir Edward Coke was wont to say, when a great man came to dinner to him, and gave him no knowledge of his coming; Well, since you sent me no word of your coming, you shall dine with me; but if I had known of your coming,83I would have dined with you.
134. (115.) The Romans, when they spake to the people, were wont to call84 them; Ye Romans. When commanders in war spake to their army, they called85 them; My soldiers. There was a mutiny in Cæsars army, and somewhat the soldiers would have had, but they would not declare themselves in it: only they demanded a dimission86 or discharge, though with no intention it should be granted; but knowing that Cæsar had at that time great need of their service, thought by that means to wrench him to their other desires. Whereupon with one cry they asked dimission.87 But Cæsar, after silence made, said; I for my part, ye Romans: which admitted them88 to be dismissed. Which voice they had no sooner heard, but they mutined89 again, and would not suffer him to go on90 until he had called them by the name of soldiers. And so with that one word he appeased the sedition.
137. (118.) Diogenes begging, as divers philosophers then used, did beg more of a prodigal man, than of the rest that were present: Whereupon one said to him; See your baseness, that when you find a liberal mind, you will take most of.93No, (said Diogenes,) but I mean to beg of the rest again.
139. (25.) Sir Nicholas Bacon being Keeper of the Seal,94 when Queen Elizabeth, in progress, came to his house at Redgrave,95 and said to him; My Lord, what a little house have you gotten? said,96Madam, my house is well, but it is you that have made me too great for my house.
142. (53.) A great nobleman,97 upon the complaint of a servant of his, laid a citizen by the heels, thinking to bend him to his servants desire. But the fellow being stubborn, the servant came to his lord, and told him; Your lordship, I know, hath gone as far as well you may, but it works not; for yonder fellow is more perverse than before. Said my lord, Lets forget him a while, and then he will remember himself.
† 143. One came to a Cardinal in Rome, and told him; That he had brought his lordship a dainty white palfrey, but he fell lame by the way. Saith the Cardinal to him; Ill tell thee what thou shalt do; go to such a Cardinal, and such a Cardinal, (naming him some half a dozen Cardinals,) and tell them as much; and so whereas by thy horse, if he had been sound, thou couldest have pleased but one, with thy lame horse thou mayest please half a dozen.
144. (120.) Iphicrates the Athenian, in a treaty that he had with the Lacedæmonians for peace, in which question was about security for observing the same,98 said, The Athenians would not accept of any security, except the Lacedæmonians did yield up unto them those things, whereby it mought be manifest that they could not hurt them if they would.
146. (81.) After a great fight, there came to the camp of Consalvo, the great captain, a gentleman proudly horsed and armed. Diego de Mendoza asked the great captain; Whos this? Who answered; It is Saint Ermin, who never appears but after a storm.99
† 147. There was a captain sent to an exploit by his general, with forces that were not likely to achieve the enterprise. The captain said to him; Sir, appoint but half so many. Why? (saith the general.) The captain answered; Because it is better fewer die than more.100
148. (121.) They would say of the Duke of Guise, Henry, that had sold and oppignerated all his patrimony, to suffice the great donatives that he had made; That he was the greatest usurer of France, because all his state was in obligations.101
150. (224.) There was a harbinger who had lodged a gentleman in a very ill room, who expostulated with him somewhat rudely; but the harbinger carelessly said; You will take pleasure in it when you are out of it.102
† 151. There was a curst page, that his master whipt naked; and when he had been whipt, would not put on his clothes; and when his master bade him, said to him; Take them you, for they are the hangmans fees.
152. (82.) There was one that died greatly in debt. When it was reported in some company, where divers of his creditors were, that he was dead, one began to say; In good faith,103then he hath carried five hundred ducats of mine with him into the other world. And another of them said; And two hundred of mine. And some others spake of several sums of theirs.104 Whereupon one that was amongst them said; Well I see105now that though a man cannot carry any of his own with him into the other world, yet he may carry other mens.106
153. (83.) Francis Carvajall, that was the great captain of the rebels of Peru, had often given the chase to Diego Centeno, a principal commander of the Emperors party. He was afterwards taken by the Emperors lieutenant, Gasca, and committed to the custody of Diego Centeno, who used him with all possible courtesy; insomuch as Carvajall asked him; I pray, Sir, who are you that use me with this courtesy? Centeno said; Do not you know Diego Centeno! Carvajall answered; In good faith, Sir,107I have been so used to see your back, as I knew not your face.
156. (159.) Cato the elder, being aged, buried his wife, and married a young woman. His son came to him, and said; Sir, what have I offended you, that you have brought a step-mother into your house? The old man answered; Nay, quite contrary, son; thou pleasest me so well, as I would be glad to have more such.
157. (160.) Crassus the orator had a fish, which the Romans called110Muræna, that he had made very tame and fond of him. The fish died, and Crassus wept for it. One day falling in contention with Domitius in the senate, Domitius said; Foolish Crassus, you wept for your Muræna. Crassus replied; Thats more than you did for both your wives.
158. (161.) Philip, Alexanders father, gave sentence against a prisoner, what time he was drowsy, and seemed to give small attention. The prisoner, after sentence was pronounced, said; I appeal. The King somewhat stirred, said; To whom do you appeal? The prisoner answered; From Philip when he gave no ear, to Philip when he shall give ear.
159. (204.) The same Philip111 maintained argument with a musician, in points of his art, somewhat peremptorily. But the musician said to him; God forbid, Sir, your fortune were so hard, that you should know these things better than I.112
160. (162.) There was a philosopher that disputed with Adrian the Emperor, and did it but weakly. One of his friends that had been by, afterwards said to him; Methinks you were not like yourself, last day, in argument with the Emperor; I could have answered better myself. Why, said the philosopher, would you have me contend with him that commands thirty legions?
† 161. Diogenes was asked in a kind of scorn; What was the matter, that philosophers haunted rich men, and not rich men philosophers? He answered; Because the one knew what they wanted, the other did not.
163. (225.) The same Demetrius113 would at times retire himself from business, and give himself wholly to pleasures. One day of those his retirings,114 giving out that he was sick, his father Antigonus came on the sudden to visit him, and met a fair dainty youth coming out of his chamber. When Antigonus came in, Demetrius said; Sir, the fever left me right now. Antigonus replied, I think it was he that I met at the door.
164. (85.) There was a merchant far in debt that died.115 His goods and household stuff were set forth to sale. There was one that bought only a pillow, and said;116This pillow sure is good to sleep upon, since he could sleep that owed so many debts.117
165. (86.) A lover met his lady in a close chair, she thinking to go118 unknown. He came and spake to her. She asked him; How did you know me? He said; Because my wounds bleed afresh. Alluding to the common tradition, that the wounds of a body slain, in the presence of him that killed him, will bleed afresh.119
166. (87.) A gentleman brought music to his ladys window, who120 hated him, and had warned him oft away; and when he persisted,121 she threw stones at him. Whereupon a friend of his that was in his company, said to him;122What greater honour can you have to your music, than that stones come about you, as they did to Orpheus?
172. (163.) When Alexander passed into Asia, he gave large donatives to his captains, and other principal men of virtue; insomuch as Parmenio asked him; Sir, what do you keep for yourself? He answered; Hope.
173. (229.) Antigonus used oft to go disguised, and listen at the tents of his soldiers: and at a time heard some that spoke very ill of him. Whereupon he opened the tent a little, and said to them; If you will speak ill of me, you should go a little further off.
174. (164.) Vespasian set a tribute upon urine. Titus his son emboldened himself to speak to his father of it: and represented it as a thing indign and sordid. Vespasian said nothing for the time; but a while after, when it was forgotten, sent for a piece of silver out of the tribute money, and called to his son, bidding him smell to it; and asked him; Whether he found any offence? Who said, No. Why lo,123 (saith Vespasian again,) and yet this comes out of urine.
† 175. There were two gentlemen, otherwise of equal degree, save that the one was of the ancienter house.124 The other in courtesy asked his hand to kiss: which he gave him; and he kissed it; but said withal, to right himself, by way of friendship; Well, I and you, against any two of them: putting himself first.
176. (165.) Nerva the Emperor succeeded Domitian, who was tyrannical; so as125 in his time many noble houses were overthrown by false accusations; the instruments whereof were chiefly Marcellus and Regulus. The Emperor126 one night supped privately with some six or seven: amongst which there was one that was a dangerous man, and began to take the like courses as Marcellus and Regulus had done. The Emperor fell into discourse of the injustice and tyranny of the former time, and by name of the two accusers; and said; What should we do with them, if we had them now? One of them that were127 at supper, and was a free-spoken senator, said; Marry, they should sup with us.
177. (166.) There was one that found a great mass of money, digged under ground in his grandfathers house. And being somewhat doubtful of the case, signified it to the Emperor that he had found such treasure. The Emperor made a rescript thus; Use it. He writ back again, that the sum was greater than his estate or condition could use. The Emperor writ a new rescript thus; Abuse it.
178. (198.) A Spaniard was censuring to a French gentleman the want of devotion amongst the French; in that, whereas in Spain, when the Sacrament goes to the sick, any that meets with it turns back and waits upon it to the house whither it goes; but in France, they only do reverence, and pass by. But the French gentleman answered him; There is reason for it; for here with us Christ is secure amongst his friends; but in Spain there be so many Jews and Maranos, that it is not amiss for him to have a convoy.
179. (88.) Coranus the Spaniard, at a table at dinner, fell into an extolling of his own father, and said; If he could have wished of God, he could not have chosen amongst men a better father. Sir Henry Savill said, What, not Abraham? Now Coranus was doubted to descend of a race of Jews.
183. (169.) Aristippus being reprehended of luxury by one that was not rich, for that he gave six crowns for a small fish, answered; Why what would you have given? The other said; Some twelve pence. Aristippus said again; And six crowns is no more with me.
184. (32.) There was a French gentleman speaking with an English, of the law Salique; that women were excluded to inherit129 the crown of France. The English said; Yes, but that was meant of the women themselves, not of such males as claimed by women. The French gentleman said; Where do you find that gloss? The English answered; Ill tell you, Sir: look on the backside of the record of the law Salique, and there you shall find it indorsed: meaning130 there was no such thing at all as the law Salique, but that it was a fiction.131
185. (33.) There was a friar in earnest dispute132 about the law Salique, that would needs prove it by Scripture; citing that verse of the Gospel; Lilia agri non laborant neque nent: which is as much as to say (saith he) that133the flower-de-luces of France cannot descend neither to distaff nor spade: that is, not to a woman, nor to a peasant.
186. (167.) Julius Cæsar, as he passed by, was by acclamation of some that were suborned called134King, to try how the people would take it. The people shewed great murmur and distaste at it. Cæsar, finding where the wind stood, slighted it, and said; I am not King, but Cæsar; as if they had mistook135 his name. For Rex was a surname amongst the Romans, as King is with us.
188. (99.) There was a gentleman that came to the tilt all in orange-tawny, and ran very ill. The next day he came138 all in green, and ran worse. There was one of the lookers-on asked another; Whats the reason that this gentleman changeth his colours? The other answered Sure, because it may be reported that the gentleman in the green ran worse than the gentleman in the orange-tawny.
191. (190.) There was a law made by the Romans against the bribery and extortion of the governors of provinces. Cicero saith, in a speech of his to the people; That he thought the provinces would petition to the state of Rome to have that law repealed. For (saith he) before the governors did bribe and extort as much as was sufficient for themselves; but now they bribe and extort as much as may be enough not only for themselves, but for the judges and jurors and magistrates.
192. (171.) Archidamus King of Lacedæmon, having received from Philip King of Macedon, after Philip had won the victory of Chæronea upon the Athenians, proud letters, writ back to him; That if he measured his own shadow, he would find it no longer than it was before his victory.
193. (172.) Pyrrhus, when his friends congratulated to him his victory over the Romans, under the conduct of Fabricius, but with great slaughter of his own side, said to them again; Yes, but if we have such another victory, we are undone.
194. (173.) Cineas was an excellent orator and statesman, and principal friend and counsellor to Pyrrhus; and falling in inward talk with him, and discerning the Kings endless ambition,142 Pyrrhus opened himself to him; That he intended first a war upon Italy,143and hoped to atchieve it. Cineas asked him; Sir, what will you do then? Then (saith he) we will attempt Sicily.144 Cineas said; Well, Sir, what then? Then (saith Pyrrhus) if the Gods favour145us, we may conquer Africk and Carthage.146What then, Sir? saith Cineas. Nay then (saith Pyrrhus) we may take our rest, and sacrifice and feast every day, and make merry with our friends. Alas, Sir, (said Cineas) may we not do so now, without all this ado?
195. (231.) The ambassadors of Asia Minor came to Antonius, after he had imposed upon them a double tax, and said plainly to him; That if he would have two tributes in one year, he must give them two seed-times and two harvests.
† 197. Lamia the courtezan had all power with Demetrius King of Macedon; and by her instigations he did many unjust and cruel acts. Whereupon Lysimachus said; That it was the first time that ever he knew a whore play in a tragedy.
200. (90.) Brisquet,148 jester to Francis the first of France, did keep a calendar of fools, wherewith he did use to make the King sport; telling him ever the reason why he put every one149 into his calendar. So when Charles the fifth passed, upon confidence of the noble nature of Francis, thorough France, for the appeasing of the rebellion of Gaunt, Brisquet put him into his calendar. The King asking the cause, he said;150Because you having suffered at the hands of Charles the greatest bitterness that ever prince did from other,151he would trust his person into your hands. Why, Brisquet, (said the King) what wilt thou say, if thou seest him pass152in as great safety as if it were153thorough the midst of Spain? Saith Brisquet; Why then I will put out him, and put in you.154
202. (57.) Sir Fulke Grevill,155 in Parliament, when the Lower House in a great business of the Queens,156 stood much upon precedents, said unto them; Why should you stand so much upon precedents? The times hereafter will be good or bad: If good, precedents will do no harm; if bad, power will make a way where it finds none.
203. (34.) When peace was renewed with the French in England, divers of the great counsellors were presented from the French with jewels. The Lord Henry Howard157 was omitted. Whereupon the King said to him; My Lord, how haps it that you have not a jewel as well as the rest? My Lord answered again, (alluding158 to the fable in Æsop;) Non sum Gallus, itaque non reperi gemmam.
205. (175.) Alexander sent to Phocion a great present of money. Phocion said to the messenger; Why doth the King send to me and to none else? The messenger answered; Because he takes you to be the only good man in Athens. Phocion replied; If he think so, pray let him suffer me to be good still.159
207. (102.) Æneas Sylvius, that was Pius Secundus,160 was wont to say; That the former Popes did wisely to set the lawyers on work161to debate, whether the donation of Constantine the Great to Sylvester162were good and valid in law or no? the better to skip over the matter in fact, whether there were163any such thing at all or no?
208. (176.) At a banquet, where those that were called the Seven Wise Men of Greece were invited by the embassador of a barbarous King, the embassador related, That there was a neighbour King, mightier than his master, picked quarrels with him, by making impossible demands, otherwise threatening war; and now at that present had demanded of him to drink up the sea. Whereunto one of the Wise Men said; I would have him undertake it. Why (saith the embassador) how shall he come off? Thus, (saith the Wise Man:) Let that King first stop the rivers that run into the sea, which are no part of the bargain, and then your master will perform it.
209. (177.) At the same banquet, the embassador desired the Seven, and some other wise men that were at the banquet, to deliver every one of them some sentence or parable, that he mought report to his King the wisdom of Græcia. Which they did. Only one was silent. Which the embassador perceiving, said to him; Sir, let it not displease you, why do not you say somewhat that I may report? He answered, Report to your lord, that there are of the Grecians that can hold their peace.
212. (93.) A Papist being opposed by a Protestant, that they had no Scripture for images, answered; Yes; for you read that the people laid their sick in the streets, that the shadow of Saint Peter mought come upon them; and that a shadow was an image; and the obscurest of images.164
† 213. There is an ecclesiastical writer of the Papists, to prove antiquity of confession in the form that it now is, doth note, that in very ancient times, even in the primitive times, amongst other foul slanders spread against the Christians, one was; That they did adore the genitories of their priests. Which (he saith) grew from the posture of the confessant and the priest in confession: which is, that the confessant kneels down, before the priest sitting in a raised chair above him.
† 214. Epaminondas, when his great friend and colleague in war was suitor to him to pardon an offender, denied him. Afterwards, when a concubine of his made the same suit, he granted it to her; which when Pelopidas seemed to take unkindly, he said; Such suits are to be granted to whores, but not to personages of worth.
215. (178.) The Lacedæmonians had in custom to speak very short. Which, being in empire,165 they mought do at pleasure. But after their defeat at Leuctra, in an assembly of the Grecians, they made a long invective against Epaminondas; who stood up, and said no more but this; I am glad we have taught you to speak long.
† 216. Fabricius, in conference with Pyrrhus, was tempted to revolt to him; Pyrrhus telling him, that he should be partner of his fortunes, and second person to him. But Fabricius answered, in a scorn, to such a motion; Sir, that would not be good for yourself: for if the Epirotes once knew me, they will rather desire to be governed by me than by you.
217. (179.) Fabius Maximus being resolved to draw the war in length, still waited upon Hannibals progress to curb him; and for that purpose he encamped upon the high grounds. But Terentius his colleague fought with Hannibal, and was in great peril of overthrow. But then Fabius came down166 the high grounds and got the day: Whereupon Hannibal said; That he did ever think that that same cloud that hanged upon the hills, would at one time or other give a tempest.
218. (246.) There was a cowardly Spanish soldier, that in a defeat the Moors gave, ran away with the foremost. Afterwards, when the army generally fled, this soldier was missing. Whereupon it was said by some, that he was slain. No sure, (saith one) he is alive; for the Moors eat no hares flesh.167
219. (180.) Hanno the Carthaginian was sent commissioner by the state, after the second Carthaginian war, to Rome,168 to supplicate for peace, and in the end obtained it. Yet one of the sharper senators said; You have often broken with us the peaces whereunto you have been sworn; I pray, by what Gods will you swear? Hanno answered; By the same Gods that have punished the former perjury so severely.
222. (181.) Cæsar after first he had169 possessed Rome, Pompey being fled, offered to enter the sacred treasury, to take the moneys that were there stored. Metellus, tribune of the people, did forbid him. And when Metellus was violent in it, and would not desist, Cæsar turned to him, and said; Presume no further, or I will lay you dead. And when Metellus was with those words somewhat astonished, Cæsar added; Young man, it had been easier for me to do this than to speak it.
224. (14.) The counsel did make remonstrance unto Queen Elizabeth of the continual conspiracies against her life; and namely of a late one: and shewed her a rapier, taken from a conspirator, that had a false chape, being of brown paper, but gilt over, as it could not be known from a chape of metal; which was devised to the end that without drawing the rapier mought give a stab; and upon this occasion advised her170 that she should go less abroad to take the air, weakly accompanied, as she used. But the Queen answered; That she had rather be dead, than put in custody.
226. (101.) Zelim was the first of the Ottomans that did shave his beard, whereas his predecessors wore it long. One of his Bashas asked him; Why he altered the custom of his predecessors? He answered; Because you Bashas shall not lead me by the beard, as you did them.
† 229. Queen Elizabeth was entertained by my Lord Burleigh at Theobalds: and at her going away, my Lord obtained of the Queen to make seven knights. They were gentlemen of the country, of my Lords friends and neighbours. They were placed in a rank, as the Queen should pass by the hall; and to win antiquity of knighthood, in order, as my Lord favoured; though indeed the more principal gentlemen were placed lowest. The Queen was told of it, and said nothing; but when she went along, she passed them all by, as far as the screen, as if she had forgot it: and when she came to the screen, she seemed to take herself with the manner, and said; I had almost forgot what I promised. With that she turned back, and knighted the lowest first, and so upward. Whereupon Mr. Stanhope, of the privy-chamber, a while after told her: Your Majesty was too fine for my Lord Burleigh. She answered; I have but fulfilled the Scripture; The first shall be last, and the last first.
230. (195.) Simonides being asked of Hiero; What he thought of God? asked a seven-nights time to consider of it. And at the seven-nights end he asked a fortnights time. At the fortnights end, a month. At which Hiero marvelling, Simonides answered; That the longer he thought on it,171the more difficult he found it.
233. (197.) Socrates was pronounced by the oracle of Delphos to be the wisest man of Greece; which he would put from himself, ironically172 saying; There could be nothing in him173to verify the oracle, except this; that he was not wise, and knew it; and others were not wise, and knew it not.
234. (238.) Cato the elder, what time many of the Romans had statuas erected in their honour, was asked by one in a kind of wonder; Why he had none? and answered; He had much rather men should ask and wonder why he had no statua, than why he had a statua.
† 235. Sir Fulke Grevill had much and private access to Queen Elizabeth, which he used honourably, and did many men good; yet he would say merrily of himself; That he was like Robin Goodfellow; For when the maids spilt the milkpans, or kept any racket, they would lay it upon Robin; So what tales the ladies about the Queen told her, or rather bad offices that they did, they would put it upon him.
236. (196.) Socrates, when there was shewed him174 the book of Heraclitus the Obscure, and was asked his opinion of it, answered; Those things that I understood were excellent; I imagine, so were those that I understood not; but they require a diver of Delos.
† 238. Stilpo the philosopher, when the people flocked about him, and that one said to him; The people come wondering about you, as if it were to see some strange beast. No, (saith he) it is to see a man which Diogenes sought with his lanthorn.
† 240. There was a politic sermon, that had no divinity in it, was preached before the King. The King, as he came forth, said to Bishop Andrews; Call you this a sermon? The Bishop answered; And it please your majesty, by a charitable construction, it may be a sermon.
241. (103.) Bishop175 Andrews was asked at the first coming over of the Bishop176 of Spalato; Whether he were a Protestant or no? He answered; Truly I know not, but he is a Detetstant, of divers opinions of Rome.177
242. (182.) Caius Marius was general of the Romans against the Cimbers, who came with such a sea of multitude178 upon Italy. In the fight, there was a band of the Cadurcians, of a thousand, that did notable service. Whereupon, after the fight, Marius did denizen them all for citizens of Rome, though there was no law to warrant it. One of his friends did represent179 it unto him, that he had transgressed the law, because that privilege was not to be granted but by the people. Whereto Marius answered; That for the noise of arms he could not hear the laws.
246. (215.) Augustus Cæsar, out of great indignation against his two daughters, and Posthumus Agrippa, his grandchild, whereof the first two were infamous, and the last otherwise unworthy, would say; That they were not his seed, but some imposthumes that had broken from him.
248. (183.) Pompey did consummate the war against Sertorius, when Metellus had brought the enemy somewhat low. He did also consummate the war against the fugitives, whom Crassus had before defeated in a great battle. So when Lucullus had had great and glorious victories against Mithridates and Tigranes, yet Pompey, by means his friends made, was sent to put an end to that war. Whereupon Lucullus, taking indignation, as a disgrace offered to himself, said; That Pompey was a carrion crow, that when others had strucken down bodies, he came to prey upon them.181
251. (187.) Hiero visited by Pythagoras, asked him; Of what condition he was? Pythagoras answered; Sir, I know you have been at the Olympian games. Yes, saith Hiero. Thither (saith Pythagoras) come some to win the prizes. Some come to sell their merchandize, because it is a kind of mart of all Greece. Some come to meet their friends, and make merry, because of the great confluence of all sorts. Others come only to look on. I am one of them that come to look on. Meaning it of philosophy, and the contemplative life.
252. (107.) Mr. Bettenham182 used to say; That riches were like muck; when it lay upon an heap, it gave but a stench and ill odour; but when it was spread upon the ground, then it was cause of much fruit.
256. (234.) Cæsar in his book that he made against Cato (which is lost) did write, to shew the force of opinion and reverence of a man that had once obtained a popular reputation; That there were some that found Cato drunk, and they were ashamed instead of Cato.
257. (191.) Aristippus, sailing in a tempest, shewed signs of fear. One of the seamen said to him, in an insulting manner; We that are plebeians are not troubled; you, that are a philosopher, are afraid. Aristippus answered; There is not the like wager upon it, for me to perish and you.185
258. (192.) There was an orator that defended a cause of Aristippus, and prevailed. Afterwards he asked Aristippus; Now, in your distress, what did Socrates do you good? Aristippus answered; Thus; in making true that good which you said of me.186
261. (15.) The lady Paget, that was very private with Queen Elizabeth, declared herself much against her match187 with Monsieur. After Monsieurs death, the Queen took extreme grief (at least as she made shew), and kept188 within her bedchamber and one antechamber for three weeks space, in token of mourning. At last she came forth into her privy chamber, and admitted her ladies to have access unto her; and amongst the rest my lady Paget presented herself, and came to her with a smiling countenance. The Queen bent her brows, and seemed to be highly displeased, and said to her; Madam, you are not ignorant of my extreme grief, and do you come to me with a countenance of joy? My lady Paget answered; Alas, and it please your Majesty, it is impossible for me to be absent from you three weeks, but that when I see you I must look cheerfully. No, no, (said the Queen, not forgetting her former averseness from189 the match), you have some other conceit in it; tell me plainly. My lady answered; I must obey you. It is this. I was thinking how happy your Majesty was, in that you married not Monsieur; for seeing you take such thought for his death, being but your friend, if he had been your husband, sure it would have cost you your life.
262. (94.) Sir Edward Dyer, a grave and wise gentleman, did much believe in Kelley the alchymist; that he did indeed the work, and made gold: insomuch as he went himself into Germany, where Kelley then was, to inform himself fully thereof. After his return, he dined with my Lord of Canterbury, where at that time was at the table Dr. Browne, the physician. They fell in talk of Kelley. Sir Edward Dyer, turning to the Archbishop, said; I do assure your Grace, that that I shall tell you is truth. I am an eye-witness thereof, and if I had not seen it, I should not have believed it. I saw Master Kelley put of the base metal into the crucible, and after it was set a little upon the fire, and a very small quantity of the medicine put in, and stirred with a stick of wood, it came forth in great proportion perfect gold, to the touch, to the hammer, to the test. Said the Bishop;190You had need take heed what you say, Sir Edward Dyer, for here is an infidel at the board. Sir Edward Dyer said again pleasantly; I would have looked for an infidel sooner in any place than at your Graces table. What say you, Dr. Browne? saith the Bishop.191 Dr. Browne answered, after his blunt and huddling manner, The gentleman hath spoken enough for me. Why (saith the Bishop192) what hath he said? Marry, (saith Dr. Browne) he said he would not have believed it except he had seen it; and no more will I.
264. (95.) Doctor Johnson said; That in sickness there were three things that were material: the physician, the disease, and the patient. And if any two of these joined, then they have193the victory. For, Ne Hercules quidem contra duos. If the physician and the patient join, then down goes the disease; for the patient recovers. If the physician and the disease join, then down goes the patient; that is where the physician mistakes the cure.194If the patient and the disease join, then down goes the physician; for he is discredited.
† 269. There was in Oxford a cowardly fellow that was a very good archer. He was abused grossly by another, and moaned himself to Walter Ralegh, then a scholar, and asked his advice; What he should do to repair the wrong had been offered him? Ralegh answered; Why, challenge him at a match of shooting.
270. (100.) Whitehead, a grave divine, was much esteemed by Queen Elizabeth, but not preferred, because he was against the government of Bishops. He was of a blunt stoical nature.196 He came one day to the Queen, and the Queen happened to say to him; I like thee the better, Whitehead, because thou livest unmarried. He answered again; In troth, Madam, I like you the worse for the same cause.
† 271. There was a nobleman that was lean of visage, but immediately after his marriage he grew pretty plump and fat. One said to him, Your lordship doth contrary to other married men; for they at the first wax lean, and you wax fat. Sir Walter Ralegh stood by and said; Why, there is no beast, that if you take him from the common and put him into the several, but he will wax fat.
273. (97.) Dr. Laud197 said; That some hypocrites and seeming mortified men, that held down their heads, were like little images that they place in the very bowing of the vaults of churches, that look as if they held up the church, but are but puppets.198
274. (104.) It was said among some of the grave prelates of the council of Trent, in which the school-divines bore the sway; That the school-men were like the astronomers; who to save the phenomena, framed to their conceit eccentrics and epicycles, and a wonderful engine of orbs, though no such things were: so they, to save the practice of the church, had devised a number of strange positions.
276. (35.) The Lo. Henry Howard, being Lord Privy Seal, was asked by the King openly at the table, (where commonly he entertained the King,) upon the sudden;199My lord, have you not a desire to see Rome? My lord Privy Seal answered, Yes, indeed, Sir. The King said, And why? My lord answered, Because, and it please your Majesty, it was once the seat of the greatest monarchy, and the seminary of the bravest men in the world, amongst the heathen: and then again,200because after it was the see of so many holy Bishops in the primitive church, most of them martyrs. The King would not give it over, but said; And for nothing else? My lord answered; Yes, and it please your Majesty, for two things especially.201The one, to see him, who they say hath such a power to forgive other mens sins, to confess his own sins upon his knees before a chaplain or priest; and the other is, to hear Antichrist say his creed.
277. (235.) There was a nobleman said of a great counsellor; That he would have made the worst farrier in the world, for he never shod horse but he cloyed him: so he never commended any man to the King for service, or upon occasion of suit, or otherwise, but that he would come in in the end with a But, and drive in a nail to his disadvantage.
† 278. There was a lady of the west country, that gave great entertainment at her house to most of the gallant gentlemen thereabout; and amongst others, Sir Walter Ralegh was one. This lady, though otherwise a stately dame, was a notable good housewife; and in the morning betimes she called to one of her maids that looked to the swine, and asked; Is the piggy served? Sir Walter Raleghs chamber was fast by the ladys, so as he heard her. A little before dinner, the lady came down in great state into the great chamber, which was full of gentlemen: And as soon as Sir Walter Ralegh set eye upon her; Madam, (saith he) is the piggy servd? The lady answered, You know best whether you have had your breakfast.
279. (237.) There was a gentleman fell very sick, and a friend of his said to him; Surely, you are in danger; I pray send for a physician. But the sick man answered; It is no matter, for if I die, I will die at leisure.
280. (193.) There was an Epicurean vaunted, that divers of other sects of philosophers did after turn Epicureans, but there was never any Epicurean that turned to any other sect. Whereupon a philosopher that was of another sect, said; The reason was plain, for that cocks may be made capons, but capons could never be made cocks.
Note 8. Queen Elizabeth, the morrow of her coronation; (it being the custom to release prisoners at the inauguration of a prince;) went to the Chapel; and in the Great Chamber, one of her courtiers who was well known to her, either out of his own motion, or by the instigation of a wiser man, presented her with a petition; and before a great number of courtiers besought her with a loud voice; That now this good time there might be four or five principal prisoners more released; those were the four Evangelists and the Apostle Saint Paul, who had been long shut up in an unknown tongue, as it were in prison; so as they could not converse with the common people. The Queen answered very gravely; That it was best first to enquire of them, whether they would be released or no. R. [back]
Note 33. Melch. I. 2. 5. where however the occasion is said to have been not the taking a muster against the Moors, but the going to see an altar erected at Madrid, fuera de la puerta de Moros, and being saluted by the harquebusseers. [back]
Note 99. the storm. R. Compare Melch. II. 3. 3.: where the story is in one respect better told. Consalvo having just disembarked, three ships were seen approaching; Venia delante in uno dellos un cavallero armado que se avia quedado atrás. A collection of French apophthegms gives it thus: Le grand Capitaine Gonsalvo voiant venir un sien gentilhomme au devant de lui bien en ordre et richement armé, après la journée de Serignolle; et que les affaires estoient à seurté; dit à la compagnie: nous ne devons desormais avoir peur de la tourmente. Car Saint Herme nous est apparu.Apophthegmata Græca, Latina, Italica, Gallica, Hispanica, collecta a Gerærdo Suningro. Leidensi, 1609. [back]
Note 101. They would say of the Duke of Guise, Henry; That he was the greatest usurer in France, for that he had turned all his estate into obligations; meaning that he had sold and oppignorated all his patrimony to give large donatives to other men. R. [back]
Note 127. was. R. This variation (which is obviously wrong), coupled with others of the same kind, makes me suspect that the text of the edition of 1661 has suffered from a correcting editor. It may be that he had no choice: for the collection may have been made up from a rough imperfect or illegible copy, containing passages which could only be supplied by conjecture. But it strikes me that very few of these different readings are such as Bacon himself would have thought improvements. In this case the history of the change may be easily divined. One of them that were at supper, and was a free-spoken senator, struck the editor as an incorrect sentence: were and was could not both be right; and as a senator could not be plural, were must be replaced by was. Unfortunately, in attending to the grammar without attending to the sense, he in effect puts the remark into the mouth of the very person at whom it was aimed. He should have let were stand, and put who for and. [back]
Note 146. we may conquer the kingdom of Carthage. R. Compare Erasmuss version of this anecdote (V. Pyrrh. 24.), from which it seems to be compressed: where the order of the proposed conquests is Rome, Italy, Sicily, Libya and Carthage, Macedonia and Greece. [back]
Note 170. and namely, that a man was lately taken who stood ready in a very dangerous and suspicious manner to do the deed; and they shewed her the weapon wherewith he thought to have acted it, and therefore they advised her, &c. R. [back]
Note 198. were like the little images in the vaults or roofs of churches, which look and bow down as if they held up the church, when as they bear no weight at all. R. [back]
Note 199. The same Earl of Northampton, then Lord Privy Seal, was asked by King James openly at the table, where commonly he entertained the King with discourse; the King asked him upon the sudden. R. [back]