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   Literary and Philosophical Essays.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
 
Of the Institution and Education of Children
 
To the Ladie Diana of Foix, Countesse of Gurson
 
Michel Eyquem de Montaigne
 
 
I NEVER knew father, how crooked and deformed soever his sonne were, that would either altogether cast him off, or not acknowledge him for his owne: and yet (unlesse he be meerely besotted or blinded in his affection) it may not be said, but he plainly perceiveth his defects, and hath a feeling of his imperfections. But so it is, he is his owne. So it is in my selfe. I see better than any man else, that what I have set downe is nought but the fond imaginations of him who in his youth hath tasted nothing but the paring, and seen but the superficies of true learning: whereof he hath retained but a generall and shapelesse forme: a smacke of every thing in generall, but nothing to the purpose in particular: After the French manner. To be short, I know there is an art of Phisicke; a course of lawes; foure parts of the Mathematikes; and I am not altogether ignorant what they tend unto. And perhaps I also know the scope and drift of Sciences in generall to be for the service of our life. But to wade further, or that ever I tired my selfe with plodding upon Aristotle (the Monarch of our moderne doctrine 1) or obstinately continued in search of any one science: I confesse I never did it. Nor is there any one art whereof I am able so much as to draw the first lineaments. And there is no sholler (be he of the lowest forme) that may not repute himselfe wiser than I, who am not able to oppose him in his first lesson: and if I be forced to it, I am constrained verie impertinently to draw in matter from some generall discourse, whereby I examine, and give a guesse at his natural judgement: a lesson as much unknowne to them as theirs is to me. I have not dealt or had commerce with any excellent booke, except Plutarke or Seneca, from whom (as the Danaides) I draw my water, uncessantly filling, and as fast emptying: some thing whereof I fasten to this paper, but to my selfe nothing at all. And touching bookes: Historie is my chiefe studie, Poesie my only delight, to which I am particularly affected: for as Cleanthes said, that as the voice being forciblie pent in the narrow gullet of a trumpet, at last issueth forth more strong and shriller, so me seemes, that a sentence cunningly and closely couched in measure-keeping Poesie, darts it selfe forth more furiously, and wounds me even to the quicke. And concerning the natural faculties that are in me (whereof behold here an essay), I perceive them to faint under their owne burthen; my conceits, 2 and my judgment march but uncertaine, and as it were groping, staggering, and stumbling at every rush: And when I have gone as far as I can, I have no whit pleased my selfe: for the further I saile the more land I descrie, and that so dimmed with fogges, and overcast with clouds, that my sight is so weakened, I cannot distinguish the same. And then undertaking to speake indifferently of all that presents it selfe unto my fantasie, and having nothing but mine owne natural meanes to imploy therein, if it be my hap (as commonly it is) among good Authors, to light upon those verie places which I have undertaken to treat off, as even now I did in Plutarke, reading his discourse of the power of imagination, wherein in regard of those wise men, I acknowledge my selfe so weake and so poore, so dull and grose-headed, as I am forced both to pittie and disdaine my selfe, yet am I pleased with this, that my opinions have often the grace to jump with theirs, and that I follow them a loofe-off, 3 and thereby possesse at least, that which all other men have not; which is, that I know the utmost difference betweene them and my selfe: all which notwithstanding, I suffer my inventions to run abroad, as weake and faint as I have produced them, without bungling and botching the faults which this comparison hath discovered to me in them. A man had need have a strong backe, to undertake to march foot to foot with these kind of men. The indiscreet writers of our age, amidst their triviall 4 compositions, intermingle and wrest in whole sentences taken from ancient Authors, supposing by such filching-theft to purchase honour and reputation to themselves, doe cleane contrarie. For, this infinite varietie and dissemblance of lustres, makes a face so wan, so ill-favored, and so uglie, in respect of theirs, that they lose much more than gaine thereby. These were two contrarie humours: The Philosopher Chrisippus was wont to foist-in amongst his books, not only whole sentences and other long-long discourses, but whole books of other Authors, as in one, he brought in Euripides his Medea. And Apollodorus was wont to say of him, that if one should draw from out his bookes what he had stolne from others, his paper would remaine blanke. Whereas Epicurus cleane contrarie to him in three hundred volumes he left behind him, had not made use of one allegation. 5 It was my fortune not long since to light upon such a place: I had languishingly traced after some French words, so naked and shallow, and so void either of sense or matter, that at last I found them to be nought but meere French words; and after a tedious and wearisome travell, I chanced to stumble upon an high, rich, and even to the clouds-raised piece, the descent whereof had it been somewhat more pleasant or easie, or the ascent reaching a little further, it had been excusable, and to be borne with-all; but it was such a steepie downe-fall, and by meere strength hewen out of the maine rocke, that by reading of the first six words, me thought I was carried into another world: whereby I perceive the bottome whence I came to be so low and deep, as I durst never more adventure to go through it; for, if I did stuffe any one of my discourses with those rich spoiles, it would manifestly cause the sottishnesse 6 of others to appeare. To reprove mine owne faults in others, seemes to me no more unsufferable than to reprehend (as I doe often) those of others in my selfe. They ought to be accused every where, and have all places of Sanctuarie taken from them: yet do I know how over boldly, at all times I adventure to equall my selfe unto my filchings, and to march hand in hand with them; not without a fond hardie hope, that I may perhaps be able to bleare the eyes of the Judges from discerning them. But it is as much for the benefit of my application, as for the good of mine invention and force. And I doe not furiously front, and bodie to bodie wrestle with those old champions: it is but by flights, advantages, and false offers I seek to come within them, and if I can, to give them a fall. I do not rashly take them about the necke, I doe but touch them, nor doe I go so far as by my bargaine I would seeme to doe; could I but keepe even with them, I should then be an honest man; for I seeke not to venture on them, but where they are strongest. To doe as I have seen some, that is, to shroud themselves under other armes, not daring so much as to show their fingers ends unarmed, and to botch up all their works (as it is an easie matter in a common subject, namely for the wiser sort) with ancient inventions, here and there hudled up together. And in those who endeavoured to hide what they have filched from others, and make it their owne, it is first a manifest note of injustice, then a plaine argument of cowardlinesse; who having nothing of any worth in themselves to make show of, will yet under the countenance of others sufficiencie goe about to make a faire offer: Moreover (oh great foolishnesse) to seek by such cosening 7 tricks to forestall the ignorant approbation of the common sort, nothing fearing to discover their ignorance to men of understanding (whose praise only is of value) who will soone trace out such borrowed ware. As for me, there is nothing I will doe lesse. I never speake of others, but that I may the more speake of my selfe. This concerneth not those mingle-mangles of many kinds of stuffe, or as the Grecians call them Rapsodies, that for such are published, of which kind I have (since I came to yeares of discretion) seem divers most ingenious and wittie; amongst others, one under the name of Capilupus; besides many of the ancient stampe. These are wits of such excellence, as both here and elsewhere they will soone be perceived, as our late famous writer Lipsius, in his learned and laborious work of the Politikes: yet whatsoever come of it, for so much as they are but follies, my intent is not to smother them, no more than a bald and hoarie picture of mine, where a Painter hath drawne not a perfect visage, but mine owne. For, howsoever, these are but my humors and opinions, and I deliver them but to show what my conceit 8 is, and not what ought to be beleeved. Wherein I ayme at nothing but to display my selfe, who peradventure (if a new prentiship change me) shall be another tomorrow. I have no authoritie to purchase believe, neither do I desire it; knowing well that I am not sufficiently taught to instruct others. Some having read my precedent Chapter, 9 told me not long since in mine owne house, I should somewhat more have extended my selfe in the discourse concerning the institution of children. Now (Madam) if there were any sufficiencie in me touching that subject, I could not better employ the same than to bestow it as a present upon that little lad, which ere long threatneth to make a happie issue from out your honorable woombe; for (Madame) you are too generous to begin with other than a man childe. And having had so great a part in the conduct of your successful marriage, I may challenge some right and interest in the greatnesse and prosperitie of all that shall proceed from it: moreover, the ancient and rightfull possession, which you from time to time have ever had, and still have over my sevice, urgeth me with more than ordinarie respects, to wish all honour, well-fare and advantage to whatsoever may in any sort concerne you and yours. And truly, my meaning is but to show that the greatest difficultie, and importing all humane knowledge, seemeth to be in this point, where the nurture and institution of young children is in question. For, as in matters of husbandrie, the labor that must be used before sowing, setting, and planting, yea in planting itselfe, is most certaine and easie. But when that which was sowen, set and planted, commeth to take life; before it come to ripenesse, much adoe, and great varietie of proceeding belongeth to it. So in men, it is no great matter to get them, but being borne, what continuall cares, what diligent attendance, what doubts and feares, doe daily wait to their parents and tutors, before they can be nurtured and brought to any good? The fore-shew of their inclination whilest they are young is so uncertaine, their humours so variable, their promises so changing, their hopes so false, and their proceedings so doubtful, that it is very hard (yea for the wisest) to ground any certaine judgment, or assured successe upon them. Behold Cymon, view Themistocles, and a thousand others, how they have differed, and fallen to better from themselves, and deceive the expectation of such as knew them. The young whelps both of Dogges and Beares at first sight shew their natural disposition, but men headlong embracing this custome or fashion, following that humor or opinion, admitting this or that passion, allowing of that or this law, are easily changed, and soone disguised; yet it is hard to force the natural propension or readinesse of the mind, whereby it followeth, that for want of heedie fore-sight in those that could not guide their course well, they often employ much time in vaine, to addresse young children in those matters whereunto they are not naturally addicted. All which difficulties notwithstanding, mine opinion is, to bring them up in the best and profitablest studies, and that a man should slightly passe over those fond presages, and deceiving prognostikes, which we over precisely gather in their infancie. And (without offence be it said) me thinks that Plato in his Commonwealth allowed them too-too much authoritie.  1
  Madame, Learning joyned with true knowledge is an especiall and gracefull ornament, and an implement of wonderful use and consequence, namely, in persons raised to that degree of fortune wherein you are. And in good truth, learning hath not her owne true forme, nor can she make shew of her beauteous lineaments, if she fall into the hands of base and vile persons. [For, as famous Torquato Tasso saith: “Philosophie being a rich a and noble Queene, and knowing her owne worth, graciously smileth upon and lovingly embraceth Princes and noble men, if they become suiters to her, admitting them as her minions, and gently affoording them all the favours she can; whereas upon the contrarie, if she be wooed, and sued unto by clownes, mechanicall fellowes, and such base kind of people, she holds herselfe disparaged and disgraced, as holding no proportion with them. And therefore see we by experience, that if a true Gentleman or nobleman follow her with any attention, and woo her with importunitie, he shall learne and know more of her, and prove a better scholler in one yeare, than an ungentle or base fellow shall in seven, though he pursue her never so attentively.”] She is much more readie and fierce to lend her furtherance and direction in the conduct of a warre, to attempt honourable actions, to command a people, to treat a peace with a prince of forraine nation, than she is to forme an argument in Logick, to devise a Syllogisme, to canvase a case at the barre, or to prescribe a receit of pills. So (noble Ladie) forsomuch as I cannot perswade myselfe, that you will either forget or neglect this point, concerning the institution of yours, especially having tasted the sweetnesse thereof, and being descended of so noble and learned a race. For we yet possesse the learned compositions of the ancient and noble Earles of Foix, from out whose heroicke loynes your husband and you take your ofspring. And Francis Lord of Candale, your worthie uncle, doth daily bring forth such fruits thereof, as the knowledge of the matchlesse qualitie of your house shall hereafter extend itselfe to many ages; I will therefore make you acquainted with one conceit of mine, which contrarie to the common use I hold, and that is all I am able to affoord you concerning that matter. The charge of the Tutor, which you shall appoint your sonne, in the choice of whom consisteth the whole substance of his education and bringing up; on which are many branches depending, which (forasmuch as I can adde nothing of any moment to it) I will not touch at all. And for that point, wherein I presume to advise him, he may so far forth give credit unto it, as he shall see just cause. To a gentleman borne of noble parentage, and heire of a house that aymeth at true learning, and in it would be disciplined, not so much for gane or commoditie to himselfe (because so abject an end is far unworthie the grace and favour of the Muses, and besides, hath a regard or dependencie of others) nor for externall shew and ornament, but to adorne and enrich his inward minde, desiring rather to shape and institute an able and sufficient man, than a bare learned man; my desire is therefore, that the parents or overseers of such a gentleman be very circumspect, and careful in chusing his director, whom I would rather commend for having a well composed and temperate braine, than a full stuft head, yet both will doe well. And I would rather prefer wisdome, judgement, civill customes, and modest behaviour, than bare and meere literall learning; and that in his charge he hold a new course. Some never cease brawling in their schollers eares (as if they were still pouring in a tonell) to follow their booke, yet is their charge nothing else but to repeat what hath beene told them before. I would have a tutor to correct this part, and that at first entrance, according to the capacitie of the wit he hath in hand, he should begin to make shew of it, making him to have a smacke of all things, and how to choose and distinguish them, without helpe of others, sometimes opening him the way, other times leaving him to open it by himselfe. I would not have him to invent and speake alone, but suffer his disciple to speake when his turne commeth. Socrates, and after him Arcesilaus, made their schollers to speake first, and then would speake themselves. Obest plerumque iis qui discere volunt, auctoritas eorum qui docent: 10 “Most commonly the authoritie of them that teach, hinders them that would learne.”  2
  It is therefore meet that he make him first trot-on before him, whereby he may the better judge of his pace, and so guesse how long he will hold out, that accordingly he may fit his strength; for want of which proportion we often marre all. And to know how to make a good choice, and how far forth one may proceed (still keeping a due measure), is one of the hardest labours I know. It is a signe of a noble, and effect of an undanted spirit, to know how to second, and how far forth he shall condescend to his childish proceedings, and how to guide them. As for myselfe, I can better and with more strength walke up than downe a hill. Those which, according to our common fashion, undertake with one selfe-same lesson, and like maner of education, to direct many spirits of divers formes and different humours, it is no marvell if among a multitude of children, they scarce meet with two or three that reap any good fruit by their discipline, or that come to any perfection. I would not only have him to demand an accompt of the words contained in his lesson, but of the sense and substance thereof, and judge of the profit he hath made of it, not by the testimonie of his memorie, but by the witnesse of his life. That what he lately learned, he cause him to set forth and pourtray the same into sundrie shapes, and then to accommodate it to as many different and severall subjects, whereby he shall perceive, whether he have yet apprehended the same, and therein enfeoffed himselfe, 11 at due times taking his instruction from the institution given by Plato. It is a signe of cruditie and indigestion for a man to yeeld up his meat, even as he swallowed the same; the stomacke hath not wrought his full operation, unlesse it have changed forme, and altered fashion of that which was given him to boyle and concoct.  3
  [Wee see men gape after no reputation but learning, and when they say, such a one is a learned man, they thinke they have said enough;] Our minde doth move at others pleasure, and tyed and forced to serve the fantasies of others, being brought under by authoritie, and forced to stoope to the lure of their bare lesson; wee have beene so subjected to harpe upon one string, that we have no way left us to descant upon voluntairie; our vigor and libertie is cleane extinct. Nunquam tutelœ suæ fiunt: “They never come to their owne tuition.” It was my hap to bee familiarlie acquainted with an honest man at Pisa, but such an Aristotelian, as he held this infallible position; that a conformitie to Aristotles doctrine was the true touchstone and squire 12 of all solid imaginations and perfect veritie; for, whatsoever had no coherencie with it, was but fond Chimeraes and idle humors; inasmuch as he had knowne all, seene all, and said all. This proposition of his being somewhat over amply and injuriously interpreted by some, made him a long time after to be troubled in the inquisition of Rome. I would have him make his scholler narrowly to sift all things with discretion, and harbour nothing in his head by mere authoritie, or upon trust. Aristotles principles shall be no more axiomes unto him, than the Stoikes or Epicurians. Let this diversitie of judgments be proposed unto him, if he can, he shall be able to distinguish the truth from falsehood, if not, he will remaine doubtful.
        Che non men che saper dubbiar m’aggrata. 13
 
No lesse it pleaseth me,
To doubt, than wise to be.
  4
  For if by his owne discourse he embrace the opinions of Xenophon or of Plato, they shall be no longer theirs, but his. He that meerely followeth another, traceth nothing, and seeketh nothing: Non sumus sub Rege, sibi quisque se vindicet: 14 “We are not under a Kings command, every one may challenge himselfe, for let him at least know that he knoweth.” It is requisite he endevour as much to feed himselfe with their conceits, as labour to learne their precepts, which, so he know how to applie, let him hardily forget, where or whence he had them. Truth and reason are common to all, and are no more proper unto him that spake them heretofore, then unto him that shall speake them hereafter. And it is no more according to Platoes opinion than to mine, since both he and I understand and see alike. The Bees do here and there sucke this and cull that flower, but afterward they produce the hony, which is peculiarly their owne, then is it no more Thyme or Majoram. So of peeces borrowed of others, he may lawfully alter, transforme, and confound them, to shape out of them a perfect peece of worke, altogether his owne; alwaies provided his judgment, his travell, 15 studie, and institution tend to nothing, but to frame the same perfect. Let him hardily conceale where or whence he hath had any helpe, and make no shew of anything, but of that which he hath made himselfe. Pirates, pilchers, and borrowers, make a shew of their purchases and buildings, but not of that which they have taken from others: you see not the secret fees or bribes Lawyers take of their Clients, but you shall manifestly discover the alliances they make, the honours they get for their children, and the goodly houses they build. No man makes open shew of his receits, but every one of his gettings. The good that comes of studie (or at least should come) is to prove better, wiser and honester. It is the understanding power (said Epicharmus) that seeth and heareth, it is it that profiteth all and disposeth all, that moveth, swayeth, and ruleth all: all things else are but blind, senselesse, and without spirit. And truly in barring him of libertie to doe any thing of himselfe, we make him thereby more servile and more coward. Who would ever enquire of his scholler what he thinketh of Rhetorike, of Grammar, of this or of that sentence of Cicero? Which things thoroughly fethered (as if they were oracles) are let flie into our memorie; in which both letters and syllables are substantiall parts of the subject. To know by roat is no perfect knowledge, but to keep what one hath committed to his memories charge, is commendable: what a man directly knoweth, that will he dispose-of, without turning still to his booke or looking to his pattern. A meere bookish sufficiencie is unpleasant. All I expect of it is an imbellishing of my actions, and not a foundation of them, according to Platoes mind, who saith, constancie, faith, and sinceritie are true Philosophie; as for other Sciences, and tending elsewhere, they are but garish paintings. I would faine have Paluel or Pompey, those two excellent dauncers of our time, with all their nimblenesse, teach any man to doe their loftie tricks and high capers, only with seeing them done, and without stirring out of his place, as some Pedanticall fellowes would instruct our minds without moving or putting it in practice. And glad would I be to find one that would teach us how to manage a horse, to tosse a pike, to shoot-off a peece, to play upon the lute, or to warble with the voice, without any exercise, as these kind of men would teach us to judge, and how to speake well, without any exercise of speaking or judging. In which kind of life, or as I may terme it, Prentiship, what action or object soever presents it-selfe into our eies, may serve us in stead of a sufficient booke. A prettie pranke of a boy, a knavish tricke of a page, a foolish part of a lackey, an idle tale of any discourse else, spoken either in jest or earnest, at the table or in companie, are even as new subjects for us to worke upon: for furtherance whereof, commerce or common societie among men, visiting of forraine countries, and observing of strange fashions, are verie necessary, not only to be able (after the manner of our yong gallants of France) to report how many paces the Church of Santa Rotonda is in length or breadth, or what rich garments the curtezan Signora Livia weareth, and the worth of her hosen; or as some do, nicely to dispute how much longer or broader the face of Nero is, which they have seene in some old ruines of Italie, than that which is made for him in other old monuments else-where. But they should principally observe, and be able to make certaine relation of the humours and fashions of those countries they have seene, that they may the better know how to correct and prepare their wits by those of others. I would therefore have him begin even from his infancie to travell abroad; and first, that at one shoot he may hit two markes he should see neighbor-countries, namely where languages are most different from ours; for, unlesse a mans tongue be fashioned unto them in his youth, he shall never attaine to the true pronunciation of them if he once grow in yeares. Moreover, we see it received as a common opinion of the wiser sort, that it agreeth not with reason, that a childe be alwaies nuzzled, cockered, dandled, and brought up in his parents lap or sight; forsomuch as their natural kindnesse, or (as I may call it) tender fondnesse, causeth often, even the wisest to prove so idle, so overnice, and so base-minded. For parents are not capable, neither can they find in their hearts to see them checkt, corrected, or chastised, nor indure to see them brought up so meanly, and so far from daintinesse, and many times so dangerously, as they must needs be. And it would grieve them to see their children come home from those exercises, that a Gentleman must necessarily acquaint himselfe with, sometimes all wet and bemyred, other times sweatie and full of dust, and to drinke being either extreme hot or exceeding cold; and it would trouble them to see him ride a rough-untamed horse, or with his weapon furiously incounter a skilful Fencer, or to handle or shoot-off a musket; against which there is no remedy, if he will make him prove a sufficient, compleat, or honest man: he must not be spared in his youth; and it will come to passe, that he shall many times have occasion and be forced to shocke the rules of Physicke.
        Vitamque sub dio et trepidis agat
In rebus. 16
 
Leade he his life in open aire,
And in affaires full of despaire.
  5
  It is not sufficient to make his minde strong, his muskles must also be strengthened: the mind is over-borne if it be not seconded: and it is too much for her alone to discharge two offices. I have a feeling how mine panteth, being joyned to so tender and sensible 17 a bodie, and that lieth so heavie upon it. And in my lecture, I often perceive how my Authors in their writings sometimes commend examples for magnanimitie and force, that rather proceed from a thicke skin and hardnes of the bones. I have knowne men, women and children borne of so hard a constitution, that a blow with a cudgell would lesse hurt them, than a filip would doe me, and so dull and blockish, that they will neither stir tongue nor eyebrowes, beat them never so much. When wrestlers goe about to counterfeit the Philosophers patience, they rather shew the vigor of their sinewes than of their heart. For the custome to beare travell, is to tolerate griefe: Labor callum obducit dolori. 18 “Labour worketh a hardnesse upon sorrow.” Hee must be enured to suffer the paine and hardnesse of exercises, that so he may be induced to endure the paine of the colicke, of cauterie, of fals, of sprains, and other diseases incident to mans bodie: yea, if need require, patiently to beare imprisonment and other tortures, by which sufferance he shall come to be had in more esteeme and accompt: for according to time and place, the good as well as the bad man may haply fall into them; we have seen it by experience. Whosoever striveth against the lawes, threats good men with mischiefe and extortion. Moreover, the authoritie of the Tutor (who should be soveraigne over him) is by the cockering and presence of the parents, hindred and interrupted: besides the awe and respect which the houshold beares him, and the knowledge of the meane, possibilities, and greatnesse of his house, are in my judgement no small lets 19 in a young Gentleman. In this schoole of commerce, and societie among men, I have often noted this vice, that in lieu of taking acquaintance of others, we only this endevour to make our selves knowne to them: and we are more ready to utter such merchandize as we have, than to ingrosse and purchase new commodities. Silence and modestie are qualities very convenient to civil conversation. It is also necessary that a young man be rather taught to be discreetly-sparing and close-handed, than prodigally-wastfull and lavish in his expences, and moderate in husbanding his wealth when he shall come to possesse it. And not to take pepper in the nose for every foolish tale that shall be spoken in his presence, because it is an uncivil importunity to contradict whatsoever is not agreeing to our humour: let him be pleased to correct himselfe. And let him not seeme to blame that in others which he refuseth to doe himselfe, nor goe about to withstand common fashions, Licet sapere sine pompa, sine invidia: 20 “A man may bee wise without ostentation, without envie.” Let him avoid those imperious images of the world, those uncivil behaviours and childish ambition wherewith, God wot, too-too many are possest: that is, to make a faire shew of that which is not in him: endevouring to be reputed other than indeed he is; and as if reprehension and new devices were hard to come by, he would by that meane acquire into himselfe the name of some peculiar vertue. As it pertaineth but to great Poets to use the libertie of arts; so is it tolerable but in noble minds and great spirits to have a preheminence above ordinarie fashions. Si quid Socrates et Aristippus contra morem et consuetudinem fecerunt, idem sibi ne arbitretur licere: Magis enim illi et divinis bonis hanc licentiam assequebantur: 21 “If Socrates and Aristippus have done ought against custome or good manner, let not a man thinke he may doe the same: for they obtained this licence by their great and excellent good parts:” He shall be taught not to enter rashly into discourse or contesting, but when he shall encounter with a Champion worthie his strength; And then would I not have him imploy all the tricks that may fit his turne, but only such as may stand him in most stead. That he be taught to be curious in making choice of his reasons, loving pertinency, and by consequence brevitie. That above all, he be instructed to yeeld, yea to quit his weapons unto truth, as soone as he shall discerne the same, whether it proceed from his adversarie, or upon better advice from himselfe; for he shall not be preferred to any place of eminencie above others, for repeating of a prescript 22 part; and he is not engaged to defend any cause, further than he may approove it; nor shall he bee of that trade where the libertie for a man to repent and re-advise himselfe is sold for readie money. Neque, ut omnia, que præscripta et imperata sint, defendat, necessitate ulla cogitur: 23 “Nor is he inforced by any necessitie to defend and make good all that is prescribed and commanded him.” If his tutor agree with my humour, he shall frame his affection to be a most loyall and true subject to his Prince, and a most affectionate and couragious Gentleman in al that may concerne the honor of his Soveraigne or the good of his countrie, and endevour to suppresse in him all manner of affection to undertake any action otherwise than for a publike good and dutie. Besides many inconveniences, which greatly prejudice our libertie by reason of these particular bonds, the judgment of a man that is waged and bought, either it is lesse free and honest, or else it is blemisht with oversight and ingratitude. A meere and precise Courtier can neither have law nor will to speake or thinke otherwise than favourablie of his Master, who among so many thousands of his subjects hath made choice of him alone, to institute and bring him up with his owne hand. These favours, with the commodities that follow minion 24 Courtiers, corrupt (not without some colour of reason) his libertie, and dazle his judgement. It is therefore commonly seene that the Courtiers-language differs from other mens, in the same state, and to be of no great credit in such matters. Let therefore his conscience and vertue shine in his speech, and reason be his chiefe direction. Let him be taught to confesse such faults as he shall discover in his owne discourses, albeit none other perceive them but himselfe; for it is an evident shew of judgment, and effect of sinceritie, which are the chiefest qualities he aymeth at. That wilfully to strive, and obstinately to contest in words, are common qualities, most apparent in basest mindes: That to readvise and correct himselfe, and when one is most earnest, to leave an ill opinion, are rare, noble, and Philosophicall conditions. Being in companie, he shall be put in minde, to cast his eyes round about, and every where: For I note, that the chiefe places are usually seezed upon by the most unworthie and lesse capable; and that height of fortune is seldome joyned with sufficiencie. I have seene that whilst they at the upper end of a board were busie entertaining themselves with talking of the beautie of the hangings about a chamber, or of the taste of some good cup of wine, many good discourses at the lower end have utterly been lost. He shall weigh the carriage of every man in his calling, a Heardsman, a Mason, a Stranger, or a Traveller; all must be employed; every one according to his worth; for all helps to make up household; yea, the follie and the simplicitie of others shall be as instructions to him. By controlling the graces and manners of others, he shall acquire unto himself envie of the good and contempt of the bad. Let him hardly be possest with an honest curiositie to search out the nature and causes of all things: let him survay whatsoever is rare and singular about him; a building, a fountaine, a man, a place where any battell hath been fought, or the passages of Cæsar or Charlemaine.
        Quæ tellus sit lenta gelu, quæ putris ab æstu,
Ventus in Italiam quis bene vela ferat. 25
 
What land is parcht with heat, what clog’d with frost.
What wind drives kindly to th’ Italian coast.
  6
  He shall endevour to be familiarly acquainted with the customes, with the meanes, with the state, with the dependances and alliances of all Princes; they are things soone and pleasant to be learned, and most profitable to be knowne. In this acquaintance of men, my intending is, that hee chiefely comprehend them, that live but by the memorie of bookes. He shall, by the help of Histories, informe himselfe of the worthiest minds that were in the best ages. It is a frivolous studie, if a man list, but of unvaluable worth to such as can make use of it, and as Plato saith, the only studie the Lacedemonians reserved for themselves. What profit shall he not reap, touching this point, reading the lives of our Plutark? Alwayes conditioned, the master bethinke himselfe whereto his charge tendeth, and that he imprint not so much in his schollers mind the date of the ruine of Carthage, as the manners of Hanniball and Scipio, nor so much where Marcellus died, as because he was unworthy of his devoire 26 he died there: that he teach him not so much to know Histories as to judge of them. It is amongst things that best agree with my humour, the subject to which our spirits doe most diversly applie themselves. I have read in Titus Livius a number of things, which peradventure others never read, in whom Plutarke haply read a hundred more than ever I could read, and which perhaps the author himselfe did never intend to set downe. To some kind of men it is a meere gramaticall studie, but to others a perfect anatomie 27 of Philosophie; by meanes whereof the secretest part of our nature is searched into. There are in Plutarke many ample discourses most worthy to be knowne: for in my judgement, he is the chiefe workmaster of such works, whereof there are a thousand, whereat he hath but slightly glanced; for with his finger he doth but point us out a way to walke in, if we list; and is sometimes pleased to give but a touch at the quickest and maine point of a discourse, from whence they are by diligent studie to be drawne, and so brought into open market. As that saying of his, That the inhabitants of Asia served but one alone, because they could not pronounce one onely syllable, which is Non, gave perhaps both subject and occasion to my friend Boëtie to compose his booke of voluntarie servitude. If it were no more but to see Plutarke wrest a slight action to mans life, or a word that seemeth to beare no such sence, it will serve for a whole discourse. It is pittie men of understanding should so much love brevitie; without doubt their reputation is thereby better, but we the worse. Plutarke had rather we should commend him for his judgement than for his knowledge, he loveth better to leave a kind of longing-desire in us of him, than a satietie. He knew verie well that even in good things too much may be said: and that Alexandridas did justly reprove him spake verie good sentences to the Ephores, but they were over tedious. Oh stranger, quoth he, thou speakest what thou oughtest, otherwise then 28 thou shouldest. Those that have leane and thin bodies stuffe them up with bumbasting. 29 And such as have but poore matter, will puffe if up with loftie words. There is a marvelous cleerenesse, or as I may terme it an enlightning of mans judgement drawne from the commerce of men, and by frequenting abroad in the world; we are all so contrived and compact in our selves, that our sight is made shorter by the length of our nose. When Socrates was demaunded whence he was, he answered, not of Athens, but of the world; for he, who had his imagination more full and farther stretching, embraced all the world for his native Citie, and extended his acquaintance, his societie, and affections to all man-kind: and not as we do, that looke no further than our feet. If the frost chance to nip the vines about my village, my Priest doth presently argue that the wrath of God hangs over our head, and threatneth all mankind: and judgeth that the Pippe 30 is alreadie falne upon the Canibals.  7
  In viewing these intestine and civill broiles of ours, who doth not exclaime, that this worlds vast frame is neere unto a dissolution, and that the day of judgement is readie to fall on us? never remembering that many worse revolutions have been seene, and that whilest we are plunged in griefe, and overwhelmed in sorrow, a thousand other parts of the world besides are blessed with happinesse, and wallow in pleasures, and never thinke on us? whereas, when I behold our lives, our licence, and impunitie, I wonder to see them so milde and easie. He on whose head it haileth, thinks all the Hemispheare besides to be in a storme and tempest. And as that dull-pated Savoyard said, that if the seelie 31 King of France could cunningly have managed his fortune, he might verie well have made himselfe chiefe Steward of his Lords household, whose imagination conceived no other greatnesse than his Masters; we are all insensible of this kind of errour: an errour of great consequence and prejudice. But whosoever shall present unto his inward eyes, as it were in a Table, the Idea of the great image of our universall mother Nature, attired in her richest robes, sitting in the throne of her Majestie, and in her visage shall read so generall and so constant a varietie; he that therein shall view himselfe, not himselfe alone, but a whole Kingdome, to be in respect of a great circle but the smallest point that can be imagined, he onely can value things according to their essentiall greatnesse and proportion. This great universe (which some multiplie as Species under one Genus) is the true looking-glasse wherein we must looke, if we will know whether we be of a good stamp or in the right byase. To conclude, I would have this worlds-frame to be my Schollers choise-booke: 32 So many strange humours, sundrie sects, varying judgements, diverse opinions, different lawes, and fantasticall customes teach us to judge rightly of ours, and instruct our judgement to acknowledge his imperfections and natural weaknesse, which is no easie an apprentiship: So many innovations of estates, so many fals of Princes, and changes of publike fortune, may and ought to teach us, not to make so great accompt of ours: So many names, so many victories, and so many conquests buried in darke oblivion, makes the hope to perpetuate our names but ridiculous, by the surprising of ten Argo-lettiers, 33 or of a small cottage, which is knowne but by his fall. The pride and fiercenesse of so many strange and gorgeous shewes: the pride-puft majestie of so many courts, and of their greatnesse, ought to confirme and assure our sight, undauntedly to beare the affronts and thunder-claps of ours, without feeling our eyes: So many thousands of men, low-laide in their graves afore us, may encourage us not to feare, or be dismaied to go meet so good companie in the other world, and so of all things else. Our life (said Pithagoras) drawes neare unto the great and populous assemblies of the Olympike games, wherein some, to get the glorie and to win the goale of the games, exercise their bodies with all industrie; others, for greedinesse of gaine, bring thither marchandise to sell: others there are (and those be not the worst) that seek after no other good, but to marke how wherefore, and to what end, all things are done: and to be spectators of observers of other mens lives and actions, that so they may the better judge and direct their owne. Unto examples may all the most profitable Discourses of Philosophie be sorted, which ought to be the touch-stone of human actions, and a rule to square them by, to whom may be said.
          ———quid fas optare, quid asper
Vtile nummus habet, patriæ charisque propinquis
Quantum elargiri deceat, quem te Deus esse
Iussit, et humana qua parte locatus es in re. 34
Quid sumus, aut quidnam victuri gignimur. 35
 
What thou maiest wish, what profit may come cleare,
From new-stampt coyne, to friends and countrie deare
What thou ought’st give: whom God would have thee bee,
And in what part mongst men he placed thee.
What we are, and wherefore,
To live heer we were bore.
  8
  What it is to know, and not to know (which ought to be the scope of studie), what valour, what temperance, and what justice is: what difference there is betweene ambition and avarice, bondage and freedome, subjection and libertie, by which markes a man may distinguish true and perfect contentment, and how far-forth one ought to feare or apprehend death, griefe, or shame.
        Et quo quemque modo fugiátque ferátque laborem. 36
 
How ev’ry labour he may plie,
And beare, or ev’ry labour flie.
  9
  What wards or springs move us, and the causes of so many motions in us: For me seemeth, that the first discourses, wherewith his conceit should be sprinkled, ought to be those that rule his manners and direct his sense; which will both teach him to know himselfe, and how to live and how to die well. Among the liberall Sciences, let us begin with that which makes us free: Indeed, they may all, in some sort stead us, as an instruction to our life, and use of it, as all other things else serve the same to some purpose or other. But let us make especiall choice of that which may directly and pertinently serve the same. If we could restraine and adapt the appurtenances of our life to their right byase and natural limits, we should find the best part of the Sciences that now are in use, cleane out of fashion with us: yea, and in those that are most in use, there are certaine by-wayes and deep-flows most profitable, which we should do well to leave, and according to the institution of Socrates, limit the course of our studies in those where profit is wanting.
                ———sapere aude,
Incipe: vivendi qui rectè prorogat horam,
Rusticus expectat dum defluat amnis, at ille
Labitur, et labetur in omne volubilis ævum. 37
 
Be bold to be wise: to begin, be strong,
He that to live well doth the time prolong,
Clowne-like expects, till downe the streame be run,
That runs, and will run, till the world be done.
  10
  It is mere simplicitie to teach our children,
        Quid moveant Pisces, animosaque signa Leonis,
Lotus et Hesperia quid Capricornus aqua. 38
 
What Pisces move, or hot breath’d Leos beames,
Or Capricornus bath’d in western streames,
the knowledge of the starres, and the motion of the eighth spheare, before their owne;
        [Greek]. 39
 
What longs it to the seaven stars, and me,
Or those about Boótes be.
  11
  Anaximenes writing to Pythagoras, saith, “With what sense can I amuse my selfe in the secrets of the Starres, having continually death or bondage before mine eyes?” For at that time the Kings of Persia were making preparations to war against his Countrie. All men ought to say so: Being beaten with ambition, with avarice, with rashnesse, and with superstition, and having such other enemies unto life within him. Wherefore shall I study and take care about the mobility and variation of the world? When hee is once taught what is fit to make him better and wiser, he shall be entertained with Logicke, natural Philosophy, Geometry, and Rhetoricke, then having setled his judgement, looke what science he doth most addict himselfe unto, he shall in short time attaine to the perfection of it. His lecture shall be sometimes by way of talke and sometimes by booke: his tutor may now and then supply him with the same Author, as an end and motive of his institution: sometimes giving him the pith and substance of it ready chewed. And if of himselfe he be not so throughly acquainted with bookes, that hee may readily find so many notable discourses as are in them to effect his purpose, it shall not be amisse that some learned man bee appointed to keepe him company, who at any time of need may furnish him with such munition as hee shall stand in need of; that hee may afterward distribute and dispense them to his best use. And that this kind of lesson be more easie and natural than that of Gaza, who will make question? Those are but harsh, thornie, and unpleasant precepts; vaine, idle and immaterial words, on which small hold may be taken; wherein is nothing to quicken the minde. In this the spirit findeth substance to bide and feed upon. A fruit without all comparison much better, and that will soone be ripe. It is a thing worthy consideration, to see what state things are brought unto in this our age; and how Philosophie, even to the wisest, and men of best understanding, is but an idle, vaine and fantasticall name, of small use and lesse worth, both in opinion and effect. I thinke these Sophistries are the cause of it, which have forestalled the wayes to come unto it: They doe very ill that goe about to make it seeme as it were inaccessible for children to come unto, setting it foorth with a wrimpled, 40 gastlie, and frowning visage; who hath masked her with so counterfet, pale, and hideous a countenance? There is nothing more beauteous, nothing more delightful, nothing more gamesome; and as I may say, nothing more fondly wanton: for she presenteth nothing to our eyes, and preacheth nothing to our eares, but sport and pastime. A sad and lowring looke plainly declareth that that is not her haunt. Demetrius the Gramarian, finding a companie of Philosophers sitting close together in the Temple of Delphos, said unto them, “Either I am deceived, or by your plausible and pleasant lookes, you are not in any serious and earnest discourse amongst your selves;” to whom one of them, named Heracleon the Megarian, answered, “That belongeth to them, who busie themselves in seeking whether the future tense of the verbe [Greek], hath a double [Greek lamda] or that labour to find the derivation of the comparatives, [Greek], [Greek], and of the superlatives [Greek], [Greek], it is they that must chafe in intertaining themselves with their science: as for discourses of Philosophie they are wont to glad, rejoyce, and not to vex and molest those that use them.
        Deprendas animi tormenta latentis in ægro
Corpore, deprendas et gaudia; sumit utrumque
Inde habitum facies. 41
 
You may perceive the torments of the mind,
Hid in sicke bodie, you the joyes may find;
The face such habit takes in either kind.
  12
  That mind which harboureth Philosophie, ought by reason of her sound health, make that bodie also sound and healthie: it ought to make her contentment to through-shine in all exteriour parts: it ought to shapen and modell all outward demeanours to the modell of it: and by consequence arme him that doth possesse it, with a gracious stoutnesse and lively audacite, with an active and pleasing gesture, and with a setled and cheerefull countenance. The most evident token and apparant signe of true wisdome is a constant and unconstrained rejoycing, whose estate is like unto all things above the Moone, that is ever cleare, alwaies bright. It is Baroco 42 and Baralipton, 43 that makes their followers prove so base and idle, and not Philosophie; they know her not but by heare-say; what? Is it not shee that cleereth all stormes of the mind? And teacheth miserie, famine, and sicknesse to laugh? Not by reason of some imaginarie, Epicicles, 44 but by natural and palpable reasons. Shee aymeth at nothing but vertue; it is vertue shee seekes after; which as the schoole saith, is not pitcht on the top of an high, steepie, or inaccessible hill; for they that have come unto her, affirme that cleane-contrarie shee keeps her stand, and holds her mansion in a faire, flourishing, and pleasant plaine, whence as from an high watch tower, she survaieth all things, to be subject unto her, to whom any man may with great facilitie come, if he but know the way or entrance to her palace; for, the pathes that lead unto her are certaine fresh and shadie greene allies, sweet and flowrie waies, whose ascent is even, easier and nothing wearisome, like unto that of heavens vaults. Forsomuch as they have not frequented this vertue, who gloriously, as in a throne of Majestie sits soveraigne, goodly, triumphant, lovely, equally delicious, and couragious, protesting her selfe to be a professed and irreconcileable enemie to all sharpnesse, austeritie, feare, and compulsion; having nature for her guide, fortune and voluptuousnesse for her companions; they according to their weaknesse have imaginarily fained her, to have a foolish, sad, grim, quarelous, spitefull, threatning, and disdainfull visage, with an horride and unpleasant looke; and have placed her upon a craggie, sharpe, and unfrequented rocke, amidst desert cliffes and uncouth crags, as a scar-crow, or bugbeare, to affright the common people with. Now the tutour, which ought to know that he should rather seek to fill the mind and store the will of his disciple, as much, or rather more, with love and affection, than with awe, and reverence unto vertue, may shew and tell him, that Poets follow common humours, making him plainly to perceive; and as it were palpably to feele, that the Gods have rather placed labour and sweat at the entrances which lead to Venus chambers, than at the doores that direct to Pallas cabinets.  13
  And when he shall perceive his scholler to have a sensible feeling of himselfe, presenting Bradamant 45 or Angelica 46 before him, as a Mistresse to enjoy, embelished with a natural, active, generous, and unspotted beautie not uglie or Giant-like, but blithe and livelie, in respect of a wanton, soft, affected, and artificiall-flaring beautie; the one attired like unto a young man, coyfed with a bright-shining helmet, the other disguised and drest about the head like unto an impudent harlot, with embroyderies, frizelings, and carcanets of pearles: he will no doubt deeme his owne love to be a man and no woman, if in his choice he differ from that effeminate shepheard of Phrygia. In this new kind of lesson he shall declare unto him, that the prize, the glorie, and height of true vertue, consisted in the facilitie, profit, and pleasure of his exercises: so far from difficultie and incumbrances, that children as well as men, the simple as soone as the wise, may come unto her. Discretion and temperance, not force or way-wardnesse are the instruments to bring him unto her. Socrates (vertues chiefe favorite) that he might the better walke in the pleasant, natural, and open path of her progresses, doth voluntarily and in good earnest, quit all compulsion. Shee is the nurse and foster-mother of all humane 47 pleasures, who in making them just and upright, she also makes them sure and sincere. By moderating them, she keepeth them in ure 48 and breath. In limiting and cutting them off, whom she refuseth; she whets us on toward those she leaveth unto us; and plenteously leaves us them, which Nature pleaseth, and like a kind mother giveth us over unto satietie, if not unto wearisomnesse, unlesse we will peradventure say that the rule and bridle, which stayeth the drunkard before drunkennesse, the glutton before surfetting, and the letcher before the losing of his haire, be the enemies of our pleasures. If common fortune faile her, it cleerely scapes her; or she cares not for her, or she frames another unto herselfe, altogether her owne, not so fleeting nor so rowling. She knoweth the way how to be rich, mightie and wise, and how to lie in sweet-perfumed beds. She loveth life; she delights in beautie, in glorie, and in health. But her proper and particular office is, first to know how to use such goods temperately, and how to lose them constantly. An office much more noble than severe, without which all course of life is unnatural, turbulent, and deformed, to which one may lawfully joyne those rocks, those incumbrances, and those hideous monsters. If so it happen, that his Disciple prove of so different a condition, that he rather love to give eare to an idle fable than to the report of some noble voiage, or other notable and wise discourse, when he shall heare it; that at the sound of a Drum or clang of a Trumpet, which are wont to rowse and arme the youthly heat of his companions, turneth to another that calleth him to see a play, tumbling, jugling tricks, or other idle lose-time sports; and who for pleasures sake doth not deeme it more delightsome to returne all sweatie and wearie from a victorious combat, from wrestling, or riding of a horse, than from a Tennis-court or dancing schoole, with the prize or honour of such exercises; The best remedy I know for such a one is, to put him prentice to some base occupation, in some good towne or other, yea, were he the sonne of a Duke; according to Platoes rule, who saith “That children must be placed, not according to their fathers conditions, but the faculties of their mind.” Since it is Philosophie that teacheth us to live, and that infancie as well as other ages, may plainly read her lessons in the same, why should it not be imparted unto young Schollers?
        Vdum et molle lutum est, nunc nunc properandus, et acri
Fingendus sine fine rota. 49
 
He’s moist and soft mould, and must by and by
Be cast, made up, while wheele whirls readily.
  14
  We are taught to live when our life is well-nigh spent. Many schollers have been infected with that loathsome and marrow-wasting disease before ever they came to read Aristotles treatise of Temperance. Cicero was wont to say, “That could he out-live the lives of two men, he should never find leasure to study the Lyrike Poets.” And I find these Sophisters both worse and more unprofitable. Our childe is engaged in greater matters; And but the first fifteene or sixteene yeares of his life are due unto Pedantisme, the rest unto action: let us therefore imploy so short time as we have to live in more necessarie instructions. It is an abuse; remove these thornie quiddities of Logike, whereby our life can no whit be amended, and betake our selves to the simple discourses of Philosophy; know how to chuse and fitly to make use of them: they are much more easie to be conceived than one of Bocace his tales. A childe comming from nurse is more capable of them, than he is to learne to read or write. Philosophy hath discourses, whereof infancie as well as decaying old-age may make good use. I am of Plutarkes mind, which is, that Aristotle did not so much ammuse his great Disciple about the arts how to frame Syllogismes, or the principles of Geometric, as he endevoured to instruct him with good precepts concerning valour, prowesse, magnanimitie, and temperance, and an undanted assurance not to feare any thing; and with such munition he sent him, being yet verie young, to subdue the Empire of the world, only with 30000 footmen, 4000 horsemen, and 42000 Crownes in monie. As for other arts and sciences; he saith Alexander honoured them, and commended their excellencie and comlinesse; but for any pleasure he tooke in them, his affection could not easily be drawne to exercise them.
                ———petite hinc juvenesque senesque
Finem animo certum, miserisque viatica canis. 50
 
Young men and old, draw hence (in your affaires)
Your minds set marke, provision for gray haires.
  15
  It is that which Epicurus said in the beginning of his letter to Memiceus: “Neither let the youngest shun nor the oldest wearie himselfe in philosophying, for who doth otherwise seemeth to say, that either the season to live happily is not yet come, or is already past.” Yet would I not have this young gentleman pent-up, nor carelessly cast-off to the heedlesse choler, or melancholy humour of the hasty Schoole-master. I would not have his budding spirit corrupted with keeping him fast-tied, and as it were labouring fourteene or fifteene houres a day poaring on his booke, as some doe, as if he were a day-labouring man; neither doe I thinke it fit, if at any time, by reason of some solitairie or melancholy complexion, he should be seene with an over-indiscreet application given to his booke, it should be cherished in him; for, that doth often make him both unapt for civill conversation and distracts him from better imployments: How many have I seene in my daies, by an over-greedy desire of knowledge, become as it were foolish? Carneades was so deeply plunged, and as I may say besotted in it, that he could never have leasure to cut his haire, or pare his nailes: nor would I have his noble manners obscured by the incivilitie and barbarisme of others. The French wisdome hath long since proverbially been spoken of as verie apt to conceive study in her youth, but most unapt to keepe it long. In good truth, we see at this day that there is nothing lovelier to behold than the young children of France; but for the most part, they deceive the hope which was fore-apprehended of them: for when they once become men, there is no excellencie at all in them. I have heard men of understanding hold this opinion, that the Colleges to which they are sent (of which there are store) doe thus besot them: whereas to our scholler, a cabinet, a gardin, the table, the bed, a solitarinesse, a companie, morning and evening, and all houres shall be alike unto him, all places shall be a study for him: for Philosophy (as a former of judgements, and modeler of customes) shall be his principall lesson, having the privilege to entermeddle her selfe with all things, and in all places. Isocrates the Orator, being once requested at a great banket to speake of his art, when all thought he had reason to answer, said, “It is not now time to doe what I can, and what should now be done, I cannot doe it; For, to present orations, or to enter into disputation of Rhetorike, before a companie assembled together to be merrie, and make good cheere, would be but a medley of harsh and jarring musicke.” The like may be said of all other Sciences. But touching Philosophy, namely, in that point where it treateth of man, and of his duties and offices, it hath been the common judgement of the wisest, that in regard of the pleasantnesse of her conversatione, she ought not to be rejected, neither at banquets nor at sports. And Plato having invited her to his solemne feast, we see how kindly she entertaineth the companie with a milde behaviour, fitly suting her selfe to time and place, notwithstanding it be one of his learned’st and profitable discourses.
        Æquè pauperibus prodest, locupletibus æquè,
Et neglecta æquè pueris senibusque nocebit. 51
 
Poore men alike, alike rich met it easeth,
Alike it, scorned, old and young displeaseth.
  16
  So doubtlesse he shall lesse be idle than others; for even as the paces we bestow walking in a gallerie, although they be twice as many more, wearie us not so much as those we spend in going a set journey: So our lesson being past over, as it were, by chance, or way of encounter, without strict observance of time or place, being applied to all our actions, shall be digested, and never felt. All sports and exercises shall be a part of his study; running, wrestling, musicke, dancing, hunting, and managing of armes and horses. I would have the exterior demeanor or decencie, and the disposition of his person to be fashioned together with his mind: for, it is not a mind, it is not a body that we erect, but it is a man, and we must not make two parts of him. And as Plato saith, They must not be erected one without another, but equally be directed, no otherwise than a couple of horses matched to draw in one selfe-same teeme. And to heare him, doth he not seeme to imploy more time and care in the exercises of his bodie: and to thinke that the minde is together with the same exercised, and not the contrarie? As for other matters, this institution ought to be directed by a sweet-severe mildnesse; Not as some do, who in liew of gently-bidding children to the banquet of letters, present them with nothing but horror and crueltie. Let me have this violence and compulsion removed, there is nothing that, in my seeming, doth more bastardise and dizzie a welborne and gentle nature: If you would have him stand in awe of shame and punishment, doe not so much enure him to it: accustome him patiently to endure sweat and cold, the sharpnesse of the wind, the heat of the sunne, and how to despise all hazards. Remove from him all nicenesse and quaintnesse in clothing, in lying, in eating, and in drinking: fashion him to all things, that he prove not a faire and wantonpuling boy, but a lustie and vigorous boy: When I was a child, being a man, and now am old, I have ever judged and believed the same. But amongst other things, I could never away with this kind of discipline used in most of our Colleges. It had peradventure been lesse hurtfull, if they had somewhat inclined to mildnesse, or gentle entreatie. It is a verie prison of captivated youth, and proves dissolute in punishing it before it be so. Come upon them when they are going to their lesson, and you heare nothing but whipping and brawling, both of children tormented, and masters besotted with anger and chafing. How wide are they, which go about to allure a childs mind to go to its booke, being yet but tender and fearefull, with a stearne-frowning countenance, and with hands full of rods? Oh wicked and pernicious manner of teaching! which Quintillian hath very wel noted, that this imperious kind of authoritie, namely, this way of punishing of children, drawes many dangerous inconveniences within. How much more decent were it to see their school-houses and formes strewed with greene boughs and flowers, than with bloudy burchen twigs? If it lay in me, I would doe as the Philosopher Speusippus did, who caused the pictures of Gladness and Joy, of Flora and of the Graces, to be set up round about his school-house. Where their profit lieth, there should also be their recreation. Those meats ought to be sugred over, that are healthful for childrens stomakes, and those made bitter that are hurtfull for them. It is strange to see how carefull Plato sheweth himselfe in framing of his lawes about the recreation and pastime of the youth of his Citie, and how far he extends himselfe about their exercises, sports, songs, leaping, and dancing, whereof he saith, that severe antiquitie gave the conduct and patronage unto the Gods themselves, namely, to Apollo, to the Muses, and to Minerva. Marke but how far-forth he endevoreth to give a thousand precepts to be kept in his places of exercises both of bodie and mind. As for learned Sciences, he stands not much upon them, and seemeth in particular to commend Poesie, but for Musickes sake. All strangenesse and selfe-particularitie in our manners and conditions, is to be shunned, as an enemie to societie and civill conversation. Who would not be astonished at Demophons complexion, chiefe steward of Alexanders household, who was wont to sweat in the shadow, and quiver for cold in the sunne? I have seene some to startle at the smell of an apple more than at the shot of a peece; some to be frighted with a mouse, some readie to cast their gorge 52 at the sight of a messe of creame, and others to be scared with seeing a fether bed shaken: as Germanicus, who could not abide to see a cock, or heare his crowing. There may haply be some hidden propertie of nature, which in my judgement might easilie be removed, if it were taken in time. Institution hath gotten this upon me (I must confesse with much adoe) for, except beere, all things else that are mans food agree indifferently with my taste. The bodie being yet souple, ought to be accommodated to all fashions and customes; and (alwaies provided, his appetites and desires be kept under) let a yong man boldly be made fit for al Nations and companies; yea, if need be, for al disorders and surfetings; let him acquaint himselfe with al fashions; That he may be able to do al things, and love to do none but those that are commendable. Some strict Philosophers commend not, but rather blame Calisthenes, for losing the good favour of his Master Alexander, only because he would not pledge him as much as he had drunke to him. He shall laugh, jest, dally, and debauch himselfe with his Prince. And in his debauching, I would have him out-go al his fellowes in vigor and constancie, and that he omit not to doe evill, neither for want of strength or knowledge, but for lacke of will. Multum interest utrum peccare quis nolit, aut nesciat: 53 “There is a great difference, whether one have no will, or no wit to doe amisse.” I thought to have honoured a gentleman (as great a stranger, and as far from such riotous disorders as any is in France) by enquiring of him in verie good companie, how many times in all his life he had bin drunke in Germanie during the time of his abode there, about the necessarie affaires of our King; who tooke it even as I meant it, and answered three times, telling the time and manner how. I know some, who for want of that qualitie, have been much perplexed when they have had occasion to converse with that nation. I have often noted with great admiration, that wonderfull nature of Alcibiades, to see how easilie he could sute himselfe to so divers fashions and different humors, without prejudice unto his health; sometimes exceeding the sumptuousnesse and pompe of the Persians, and now and then surpassing the austeritie and frugalitie of the Lacedemonians; as reformed in Sparta, as voluptuous in Ionia.
        Omnis Aristippum decuit color, et status, et res. 54
 
All colours, states, and things are fit
For courtly Artistippus wit.
  17
  Such a one would I frame my Disciple,
          ———quem duplici panno patientia velat,
Mirabor, vitæ via si conversa decebit.
 
Whom patience clothes with sutes of double kind,
I muse, if he another way will find.
 
Personamque feret non inconcinnus utramque. 55
 
He not unfitly may,
Both parts and persons play.
  18
  Loe here my lessons, wherein he that acteth them, profiteth more than he that but knoweth them, whom, if you see, you heare, and if you heare him, you see him. God forbid, saith some bodie in Plato, that to Philosophize, be to learne many things, and to exercise the arts. Hanc amplissimam omnium artium bene vivendi disciplinam, vita magis quam litteris persequnti sunt. 56 “This discipline of living well, which is the amplest of all other arts, they followed rather in their lives than in their learning or writing.” Leo Prince of the Phliasians, enquiring of Heraclides Ponticus, what art he professed, he answered, “Sir, I professe neither art nor science; but I am a Philosopher.” Some reproved Diogenes, that being an ignorant man, he did neverthelesse meddle with Philosophie, to whom he replied, “So much the more reason have I and to greater purpose doe I meddle with it.” Hegesias praid him upon a time to reade some booke unto him: “You are a merry man,” said he “As you chuse naturall and not painted, right and not counterfeit figges to eat, why doe you not likewise chuse, not the painted and written, but the true and naturall exercises?” He shall not so much repeat, as act his lesson. In his actions shall he make repetition of the same. We must observe, whether there bee wisdome in his enterprises, integritie in his demeanor, modestie in his jestures, justice in his actions, judgement and grace in his speech, courage in his sicknesse, moderation in his sports, temperance in his pleasures, order in the government of his house, and indifference in his taste, whether it be flesh, fish, wine, or water, or whatsoever he feedeth upon. Qui disciplinam suam non ostentationem scientiæ sed legem vitæ putet: quique obtemperet ipse sibi, et decretis pareat. 57 “Who thinks his learning not an ostentation of knowledge, but a law of life, and himselfe obayes himselfe, and doth what is decreed.”  19
  The true mirror of our discourses is the course of our lives. Zeuxidamus answered one that demanded of him, why the Lacedemonians did not draw into a booke, the ordinances of prowesse, that so their yong men might read them; “it is,” saith he, “because they would rather accustome them to deeds and actions, than to bookes and writings.” Compare at the end of fifteene or sixteene yeares one of these collegiall Latinizers, who hath imployed all that while onely in learning how to speake, to such a one as I meane. The world is nothing but babling and words, and I never saw man that doth not rather speake more than he ought, than lesse. Notwithstanding halfe our age is consumed that way. We are kept foure or five yeares learning to understand bare words, and to joine them into clauses, then as long in proportioning a great bodie extended into foure or five parts; and five more at least ere we can succinctly know how to mingle, joine, and interlace them handsomly into a subtil fashion, and into one coherent orbe. Let us leave it to those whose profession is to doe nothing else. Being once on my journey to Orleans, it was my chance to meet upon that plaine that lieth on this side Clery, with two Masters of Arts, traveling toward Burdeaux, about fiftie paces one from another; far off behind them, I descride a troupe of horsemen, their Master riding formost, who was the Earle of Rochefocault; one of my servants enquiring of the first of those Masters of Arts, what Gentleman he was that followed him; supposing my servant had meant his fellow-scholler, for he had not yet seen the Earles traine, answered pleasantly, “He is no gentleman, Sir, but a Gramarian, and I am a Logitian.” Now, we that contrariwise seek not to frame a Gramarian, nor a Logitian, but a compleat gentleman, let us give them leave to mispend their time; we have else-where, and somewhat else of more import to doe. So that our Disciple be well and sufficiently stored with matter; words will follow apace, and if they will not follow gently, he shall hale them on perforce. I heare some excuse themselves, that they cannot expresse their meaning, and make a semblance that their heads are so full stuft with many goodly things, but for want of eloquence they can neither utter nor make show of them. It is a meere fopperie. And will you know what, in my seeming, the cause is? They are shadows and Chimeraes, proceeding of some formelesse conceptions, which they cannot distinguish or resolve within and by consequence are not able to produce them in asmuch as they understand not themselves: And if you but marke their earnestnesse, and how they stammer and labour at the point of their deliverie, you would deeme that what they go withall, is but a conceiving, and therefore nothing neere downelying; and that they doe but licke that imperfect and shapelesse lump of matter. As for me, I am of opinion, and Socrates would have it so, that he who had a cleare and lively imagination in his mind, may easilie produce and utter the same, although it be in Bergamask 58 or Welsh, and if he be dumbe, by signes and tokens.
        Verbaque prævisam rem non invita sequentur. 59
 
When matter we fore-know,
Words voluntarie flow.
  20
  As one said, as poetically in his prose, Cum res animum occupavere, verba ambiunt; 60 “When matter hath possest their minds, they hunt after words”; and another: Ipsæ res verba rapiunt: 61 “Things themselves will catch and carry words”: He knowes neither Ablative, Conjunctive, Substantive, nor Gramar, no more doth his Lackey, nor any Oyster-wife about the streets, and yet if you have a mind to it he will intertaine you, your fill, and peradventure stumble as little and as seldome against the rules of his tongue, as the best Master of arts in France. He hath no skill in Rhetoricke, nor can he with a preface fore-stall and captivate the Gentle Readers good will: nor careth he greatly to know it. In good sooth, all this garish painting is easilie defaced, by the lustre of an in-bred and simple truth; for these dainties and quaint devices serve but to ammuse the vulgar sort; unapt and incapable to taste the most solid and firme meat: as Afer verie plainly declareth in Cornelius Tacitus. The Ambassadours of Samos being come to Cleomenes King of Sparta, prepared with a long prolix Oration, to stir him up to war against the tyrant Policrates, after he had listned a good while unto them, his answer was: “Touching your Exordium or beginning I have forgotten it; the middle I remember not; and for your conclusion I will do nothing in it.” A fit, and (to my thinking) a verie good answer; and the Orators were put to such a shift, as they not knew what to replie. And what said another? the Athenians from out two of their cunning Architects, were to chuse one to erect a notable great frame; the one of them more affected and selfe presuming, presented himselfe before them, with a smooth forepremeditated discourse, about the subject of that piece of worke, and thereby drew the judgements of the common people unto his liking; but the other in few words spake thus: “Lords of Athens, what this man hath said I will performe.” In the greatest earnestnesse of Ciceroes eloquence many were drawn into a kind of admiration; But Cato jesting at it, said, “Have we not a pleasant Consull?” A quicke cunning Argument, and a wittie saying, whether it go before or come after, it is never out of season. If it have no coherence with that which goeth before, nor with what commeth after; it is good and commendable in it selfe. I am none of those that think a good Ryme, to make a good Poeme; let him hardly (if so he please) make a short syllable long, it is no great matter; if the invention be rare and good, and his wit and judgement have cunningly played their part. I will say to such a one; he is a good Poet, but an ill Versifier.
        Emunctæ naris, durus componere versus. 62
 
A man whose sense could finely pierce,
But harsh and hard to make a verse.
  21
  Let a man (saith Horace) make his worke loose all seames, measures, and joynts.
        Tempora certa modòsque, et quod prius ordine verbum est, 63
Posterius facias, præponens ultima primis:
Invenias etiam disjecti membra Poetæ. 6463
 
Set times and moods, make you the first word last,
The last word first, as if they were new cast:
Yet find th’ unjoynted Poets joints stand fast.
  22
  He shall for all that, nothing gain-say himselfe, every piece will make a good shew. To this purpose answered Menander those that chid him, the day being at hand, in which he had promised a Comedy, and had not begun the same, “Tut-tut,” said he, “it is alreadie finished, there wanteth nothing but to adde the verse unto it;” for, having ranged and cast the plot in his mind, he made small accompt of feet, of measures, or cadences of verses, which indeed are but of small import in regard of the rest. Since great Ronsarde and learned Bellay have raised our French Poesie unto that height of honour where it now is: I see not one of these petty ballad-makers, or prentise dogrell rymers, that doth not bombast his labours with high-swelling and heaven-disimbowelling words, and that doth not marshall his cadences verie neere as they doe. Plus sonat quam valet. 65 “The sound is more than the weight or worth.” And for the vulgar sort there were never so many Poets, and so few good: but as it hath been easie for them to represent their rymes, so come they far short in imitating the rich descriptions of the one, and rare inventions of the other. But what he shall doe, if he be urged with sophisticall subtilties about a Sillogisme? A gammon of Bacon makes a man drink, drinking quencheth a mans thirst; Ergo, a gammon of bacon quencheth a mans thirst. Let him mock at it, it is more wittie to be mockt at than to be answered. Let him borrow this pleasant countercraft of Aristippus; “Why shall I unbind that, which being bound doth so much trouble me?” Some one proposed certaine Logicall quiddities against Cleanthes, to whom Chrisippus said; use such jugling tricks to play with children, and divert not the serious thoughts of an aged man to such idle matters. If such foolish wiles, Contorta et aculeata sophismata, 66 “Intricate and stinged sophismes,” must perswade a lie, it is dangerous: but if they proove void of any effect, and move him but to laughter, I see not why he shall beware of them. Some there are so foolish that will go a quarter of a mile out of the way to hunt after a quaint new word, if they once get in chace; Aut qui non verba rebus aptant, sed res extrinsecus arcessunt, quibus verba conveniant: “Or such as fit not words to matter, but fetch matter from abroad, whereto words be fitted.” And another, Qui alicujus verbi decore placentis, vocentur ad id quod non proposuerant scribere: 67 “Who are allured by the grace of some pleasing word, to write what they intended not to write.” I doe more willingly winde up a wittie notable sentence, that so I may sew it upon me, than unwinde my thread to go fetch it. Contrariwise, it is for words to serve and wait upon the matter, and not for matter to attend upon words, and if the French tongue cannot reach unto it, let the Gaskonie, or any other. I would have the matters to surmount, and so fill the imagination of him that harkeneth, that he have no remembrance at all of the words. It is a naturall, simple, and unaffected speech that I love, so written as it is spoken, and such upon the paper, as it is in the mouth, a pithie, sinnowie, full, strong, compendious and materiall speech, not so delicate and affected as vehement and piercing.
        Hæc demum sapiet dictio quæ feriet. 68
 
In fine, that word is wisely fit,
Which strikes the fence, the marke doth hit.
  23
  Rather difficult than tedious, void of affection, free, loose and bold, that every member of it seeme to make a bodie; not Pedanticall, nor Frier-like, nor Lawyer-like, but rather downe right, Souldier-like. As Suetonius calleth that of Julius Cæsar, which I see no reason wherefore he calleth it. I have sometimes pleased myselfe in imitating that licenciousnesse or wanton humour of our youths, in wearing of their garments; as carelessly to let their cloaks hang downe over one shoulder; to weare their cloakes scarfe or bawdrikewise, and their stockings loose hanging about their legs. It represents a kind of disdainful fiercenesse of these forraine embellishings, and neglect carelesnesse of art: But I commend it more being imployed in the course and forme of speech. All manner of affectation, namely 69 in the livelinesse and libertie of France, is unseemely in a Courtier. And in a Monarchie every Gentleman ought to addresse himselfe unto 70 a Courtiers carriage. Therefore do we well somewhat to incline to a native and carelesse behaviours. I like not a contexture, where the seames and pieces may be seen: As in a well compact bodie, what need a man distinguish and number all the bones and veines severally? Quæ veritati operam dat oratio, incomposita sit et simplex. 71 Quis accurate loquitur nisi qui vult putide loqui?” 72 “The speach that intendeth trust must be plaine and unpollisht: Who speaketh elaborately, but he that meanes to speake unfavourably?” That eloquence offereth injurie unto things, which altogether drawes us to observe it. As in apparell, it is a signe of pusillanimitie for one to marke himselfe, in some particular and unusuall fashion: so likewise in common speech, for one to hunt after new phrases, and unaccustomed quaint words, proceedeth of a scholasticall and childish ambition. Let me use none other than are spoken in the hals of Paris. Aristophanes the Gramarian was somewhat out of the way, when he reproved Epicurus, for the simplicitie of his words, and the end of his art oratorie, which was onely perspicuitie in speech. The imitation of speech, by reason of the facilitie of it, followeth presently a whole nation. The imitation of judging and inventing comes more slow. The greater number of Readers, because they have found one self-same kind of gowne, suppose most falsely to holde one like bodie. Outward garments and cloakes may be borrowed, but never the sinews and strength of the bodie. Most of those that converse with me, speake like unto these Essayes; but I know not whether they think alike. The Athenians (as Plato averreth) have for their part great care to be fluent and eloquent in their speech; The Lacedemonians endevour to be short and compendious; and those of Creet labour more to bee plentifull in conceits than in language. And these are the best. Zeno was wont to say, “That he had two sorts of disciples; the one he called [Greek], curious to learne things, and those were his darlings, the other he termed [Greek], who respected nothing more than the language.” Yet can no man say, but that to speake well, is most gracious and commendable, but not so excellent as some make it: and I am grieved to see how we imploy most part of our time about that onely. I would first know mine owne tongue perfectly, then my neighbours with whom I have most commerce. I must needs acknowledge, that the Greeke and Latine tongues are great ornaments in a gentleman, but they are purchased at over-high a rate. Use it who list, I will tell you how they may be gotten better, cheaper, and much sooner than is ordinarily used, which was tried in myselfe. My late father, having, by all the meanes and industrie that is possible for a man, sought amongst the wisest, and men of best understanding, to find a most exquisite and readie way of teaching, being advised of the inconveniences then in use; was given to understand that the lingring while, and best part of our youth, that we imploy in learning the tongues, which cost them nothing, is the onely cause we can never attaine to that absolute perfection of skill and knowledge of the Greekes and Romanes. I doe not beleeve that to be the onely cause. But so it is, the expedient my father found out was this; that being yet at nurse, and before the first loosing of my tongue, I was delivered to a Germane (who died since, a most excellent Physitian in France) he being then altogether ignorant of the French tongue, but exquisitely readie and skilfull in the Latine. This man, whom my father had sent for of purpose, and to whom he gave verie great entertainment, had me continually in his armes, and was mine onely overseer. There were also joyned unto him two of his countrimen, but not so learned; whose charge was to attend, and now and then to play with me; and all these together did never entertaine me with other than the Latine tongue. As for others of his household, it was an inviolable rule, that neither himselfe, nor my mother, nor man, nor maid-servant, were suffered to speake one word in my companie, except such Latine words as every one had learned to chat and prattle with me. It were strange to tell how every one in the house profited therein. My Father and my Mother learned so much Latine, that for a need they could understand it, when they heard it spoken, even so did all the household servants, namely such as were neerest and most about me. To be short, we were all so Latinized, that the townes round about us had their share of it; insomuch as even at this day, many Latine names both of workmen and of their tooles are yet in use amongst them. And as for myselfe, I was about six years old, and could understand no more French or Perigordine than Arabike; and that without art, without bookes, rules, or grammer, without whipping or whining, I had gotten as pure a Latin tongue as my Master could speake; the rather because I could neither mingle or confound the same with other tongues. If for an Essay they would give me a Theme, whereas the fashion in Colleges is, to give it in French, I had it in bad Latine, to reduce the same into good. And Nicholas Grouchy, who hath written De comitiis Romanorum, William Guerente, who hath commented Aristotle: George Buchanan, that famous Scottish Poet, and Marke Antonie Muret, whom (while he lived) both France and Italie to this day, acknowledge to have been the best orator: all which have beene my familiar tutors, have often told me, that in mine infancie I had the Latine tongue so readie and so perfect, that themselves feared to take me in hand. And Buchanan, who afterward I saw attending on the Marshall of Brissacke, told me, he was about to write a treatise of the institution of children, and that he tooke the model and patterne from mine: for at that time he had the charge and bringing up of the young Earle of Brissack, whom since we have seene prove so worthy and so valiant a Captaine. As for the Greeke, wherein I have but small understanding, my father purposed to make me learne it by art; But by new and uncustomed meanes, that is, by way of recreation and exercise. We did tosse our declinations and conjugations to the fro, as they doe, who by way of a certaine game at tables learne both Arithmetike and Geometrie. For, amongst other things he had especially beene perswaded to make me taste and apprehend the fruits of dutie and science by an unforced kinde of will, and of mine owne choice; and without any compulsion or rigor to bring me up in all mildnesse and libertie: yea with such kinde of superstition, that, whereas some are of opinion that suddenly to awaken young children, and as it were by violence to startle and fright them out of their dead sleepe in a morning (wherein they are more heavie and deeper plunged than we) doth greatly trouble and distemper their braines, he would every morning cause me to be awakened by the sound of some instrument; and I was never without a servant who to that purpose attended upon me. This example may serve to judge of the rest; as also to commend the judgement and tender affection of so carefull and loving a father: who is not to be blamed, though hee reaped not the fruits answerable to his exquisite toyle and painefull manuring. 73 Two things hindered the same; first the barrennesse and unfit soyle: for howbeit I were of a sound and strong constitution, and of a tractable and yeelding condition, yet was I so heavie, so sluggish, and so dull, that I could not be rouzed (yea were it to goe to play) from out mine idle drowzinesse. What I saw, I saw it perfectly; and under this heavy, and as it were Lethe-complexion did I breed hardie imaginations, and opinions farre above my yeares. My spirit was very slow, and would goe no further than it was led by others; my apprehension blockish, my invention poore; and besides, I had a marvelous defect in my weake memorie: it is therefore no wonder, if my father could never bring me to any perfection. Secondly, as those that in some dangerous sicknesse, moved with a kind of hopefull and greedie desire of perfect health againe, give eare to every Leach or Emperike, 74 and follow all counsels, the good man being exceedingly fearefull to commit any oversight, in a matter he tooke so to heart, suffered himselfe at last to be led away by the common opinion, which like unto the Cranes, followeth ever those that go and yeelded to custome: having those no longer about him, that had given him his first directions, and which they had brought out of Italie. Being but six yeares old I was sent to the College of Guienne, then most flourishing and reputed the best in France, where it is impossible to adde any thing to the great care he had, both to chuse the best and most sufficient masters that could be found, to reade unto me, as also for all other circumstances partaining to my education; wherein contrary to usuall customes of Colleges, he observed many particular rules. But so it is, it was ever a College. My Latin tongue was forthwith corrupted, whereof by reason of discontinuance, I afterward lost all manner of use: which new kind of institution stood me in no other stead, but that at my first admittance it made me to over-skip some of the lower formes, and to be placed in the highest. For at thirteene yeares of age, that I left the College, I had read over the whole course of Philosophie (as they call it) but with so small profit, that I can now make no account of it. The first taste or feeling I had of bookes, was of the pleasure I tooke in reading the fables of Ovids Metamorphosies; for, being but seven or eight yeares old, I would steale and sequester my selfe from all other delights, only to reade them: Forsomuch as the tongue wherein they were written was to me naturall; and it was the easiest booke I knew, and by reason of the matter therein contained most agreeing with my young age. For of King Arthur, of Lancelot du Lake, of Amadis, of Huon of Burdeaux, and such idle time consuming and wit-besotting trash of bookes wherein youth doth commonly ammuse it selfe, I was not so much as acquainted with their names, and to this day know not their bodies, nor what they containe: So exact was my discipline. Whereby I became more carelesse to studie my other prescript lessons. And well did it fall out for my purpose, that I had to deale with a very discreet Master, who out of his judgement could with such dexterite winke at and second my untowardlinesse, and such other faults that were in me. For by that meanes I read over Virgils Æneados, Terence, Plautus, and other Italian Comedies, allured thereunto by the pleasantnesse of their severall subjects: Had be beene so foolishly severe, or so severely froward as to crosse this course of mine, I thinke verily I had never brought any thing from the College, but the hate and contempt of Bookes, as doth the greatest part of our Nobilitie. Such was his discretion, and so warily did he behave himselfe, that he saw and would not see: hee would foster and increase my longing: suffering me but by stealth and by snatches to glut my selfe with those Bookes, holding ever a gentle hand over me, concerning other regular studies. For, the chiefest thing my father required at their hands (unto whose charge he had committed me) was a kinde of well conditioned mildnesse and facilitie of complexion. 75 And, to say truth, mine had no other fault, but a certaine dull languishing and heavie slothfulnesse. The danger was not, I should doe ill, but that I should doe nothing.  24
  No man did ever suspect I would prove a bad, but an unprofitable man: foreseeing in me rather a kind of idlenesse than a voluntary craftinesse. I am not so selfe-conceited but I perceive what hath followed. The complaints that are daily buzzed in mine eares are these; that I am idle, cold, and negligent in offices of friendship, and dutie to my parents and kinsfolkes; and touching publike offices, that I am over singular and disdainfull. And those that are most injurious cannot aske, wherefore I have taken, and why I have not paied? but may rather demand, why I doe not quit, and wherefore I doe not give? I would take it as a favour, they should wish such effects of supererogation in me. But they are unjust and over partiall, that will goe about to exact that from me which I owe not, with more vigour than they will exact from themselves that which they owe; wherein if they condemne me, they utterly cancell both the gratifying of the action, and the gratitude, which thereby would be due to me. Whereas the active well doing should be of more consequence, proceeding from my hand, in regard I have no passive at all. Wherefore I may so much the more freely dispose of my fortune, by how much more it is mine, and of my selfe that am most mine owne. Notwithstanding, if I were a great blazoner of mine owne actions, I might peradventure barre such reproches, and justly upraid some, that they are not so much offended, because I doe not enough, as for that I may, and it lies in my power to doe much more than I doe. Yet my minde ceased not at the same time to have peculiar unto it selfe well setled motions, true and open judgements concerning the objects which it knew; which alone, and without any helpe or communication it would digest. And amongst other things, I verily beleeve it would have proved altogether incapable and unfit to yeeld unto force, or stoope unto violence. Shall I account or relate this qualitie of my nnfancie, which was, a kinde of boldnesse in my lookes, and gentle softness in my voice, and affabilitie in my gestures, and a dexterite in conforming my selfe to the parts I undertooke? for before the age of the
        Alter ab undecimo tum me vix ceperat annus. 76
 
Yeares had I (to make even)
Scarce two above eleven.
I have under-gone and represented the chiefest part in the Latin Tragedies of Buchanan, Guerente, and of Muret; which in great state were acted and plaid in our College of Guienne: wherein Andreas Goveanus our Rector principall; who as in all other parts belonging to his charge, was without comparison the chiefest Rector of France, and my selfe (without ostentation be it spoken) was reputed, if not a chiefe-master, yet a principall Actor in them. It is an exercise I rather commend than disalow in young Gentlemen: and have seene some of our Princes (in imitation of some of former ages) both commendably and honestly, in their proper persons act and play some parts in Tragedies. It hath heretofore been esteemed a lawfull exercise, and a tolerable profession in men of honor, namely in Greece: Aristoni tragico actori rem aperit: huic et genus et fortuna honesta erant: nec ars, quia nihil tale apud Græcos pudori est, ea deformabat: 77 “He imparts the matter to Ariston a Player of tragedies, whose progenie and fortune were both honest; nor did his profession disgrace them, because no such matter is a disparagement amongst the Grecians.”
  25
  And I have ever accused them of impertinencie, that condemne and disalow such kindes of recreations, and blame those of injustice, that refuse good and honest Comedians, or (as we call them) Players, to enter our good townes, and grudge the common people such publike sports. Politike and wel ordered commonwealths endevour rather carefully to unite and assemble their Citizens together; as in serious offices of devotion, so in honest exercises of recreation. Common societie and loving friendship is thereby cherished and increased. And besides, they cannot have more formal and regular pastimes allowed them, than such as are acted and represented in open view of all, and in the presence of the magistrates themselves: And if I might beare sway, I would thinke it reasonable, that Princes should sometimes, at their proper charges, gratifie the common people with them, as an argument of a fatherly affection, and loving goodnesse towards them: and that in populous and frequented cities, there should be Theatres and places appointed for such spectacles; as a diverting of worse inconveniences, and secret actions. But to come to my intended purpose there is no better way to allure the affection, and to entice the appetite: otherwise a man shall breed but asses laden with Bookes. With jerks of rods they have their satchels full of learning given them to keepe. Which to doe well, one must not only harbor in himselfe, but wed and marry the same with his minde.  26
 
Note 1. Learning. [back]
Note 2. Ideas. [back]
Note 3. At a distance. [back]
Note 4. Commonplace. [back]
Note 5. Citation. [back]
Note 6. Foolishness. [back]
Note 7. Cheating. [back]
Note 8. Notion. [back]
Note 9. “Of Pedantism.” [back]
Note 10. CIC. De Nat. l. i. [back]
Note 11. Taken possession. [back]
Note 12. Square. [back]
Note 13. DANTE, Inferno, cant. xi. 93. [back]
Note 14. SEN. Epist. xxxiii. [back]
Note 15. Travail, labor. [back]
Note 16. HOR. l. i. Od. ii. 4. [back]
Note 17. Sensitive. [back]
Note 18. CIC. Tusc. Qu. l. ii. [back]
Note 19. Hindrances. [back]
Note 20. SEN. Epist. ciii. f. [back]
Note 21. CIC. Off. l. i. [back]
Note 22. Fixed beforehand. [back]
Note 23. CIC. Acad. Qu. l. iv. [back]
Note 24. Favorite. [back]
Note 25. PROP. l. iv. El. iii. 39. [back]
Note 26. Task. [back]
Note 27. Dissection, analytical exposition. [back]
Note 28. Than. [back]
Note 29. Padding. [back]
Note 30. A disease. [back]
Note 31. Simple. [back]
Note 32. Book of examples. [back]
Note 33. Mounted bowmen. [back]
Note 34. PERS. Sat. iii. 69. [back]
Note 35. Ib. 67. [back]
Note 36. VIRG. Æn. l. iii. 853. [back]
Note 37. HOR. l. i. Epist. ii. 40. [back]
Note 38. PROP. l. iv. El. i. 85. [back]
Note 39. ANACR. Od. xvii. 10, 11. [back]
Note 40. Wrinkled. [back]
Note 41. JUVEN. Sat. ix. 18. [back]
Note 42. Mnemonic words invented by the scholastic logicians. [back]
Note 43. Mnemonic words invented by the scholastic logicians. [back]
Note 44. A term of the old astronomy. [back]
Note 45. A warlike heroine in Boiardo’s “Orlando Innamorato” and Ariosto’s “Orlando Furioso.” [back]
Note 46. The faithless princess, on account of whom Orlando goes mad, in the same poems. [back]
Note 47. Human. [back]
Note 48. Practice. [back]
Note 49. PERS. Sat. iii. 23. [back]
Note 50. Sat. v. 64. [back]
Note 51. HOR. l. i. Epist. iii. 125. [back]
Note 52. Vomit. [back]
Note 53. HOR. Epist. xvii. 23. [back]
Note 54. HOR. Epist. xvii. 25. [back]
Note 55. CIC. Tusc. Qu. 1. iv. [back]
Note 56. Ib. 29. [back]
Note 57. Ib. l. ii. [back]
Note 58. A rustic dialect of the north of Italy. [back]
Note 59. HOR. Art. Poet. 311. [back]
Note 60. SEN. Controv. l. vii. preæ. [back]
Note 61. CIC. De Fin. l. iii. c. 5. [back]
Note 62. HOR. l. i. Sat. iv. [back]
Note 63. Ib. 58. [back]
Note 64. Ib. 62. [back]
Note 65. SEN. Epist. xl. [back]
Note 66. CIC. Acad. Qu. l. iv. [back]
Note 67. SEN. Epist. liii. [back]
Note 68. Epitaph on Lucan, 6. [back]
Note 69. Especially. [back]
Note 70. Aim at. [back]
Note 71. SEN. Epist. xl. [back]
Note 72. Ib. Epist. lxxv. [back]
Note 73. Cultivation. [back]
Note 74. Doctor or quack. [back]
Note 75. Easiness of disposition. [back]
Note 76. VIRG. Buc. Ecl. viii. 39. [back]
Note 77. LIV. Deo. iii. 1. iv. [back]
 

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