See the "Advancement of Learning," and the treat se

Augmentis," under the title Rhetoric.



I send you the last part of the best book of Aristotle of Stagira, who, as your Lordship knoweth, goeth for the best author. But saving the civil respect which is due to a received estimation, the man being a Grecian, and of a hasty wit, having hardly a discerning patience, much less a teaching patience, hath so delivered the matter, as I am glad to do the part of a good house-hen, which without any strangeness will sit upon pheasants eggs. And yet perchance some that shall compare my lines with Aristotle's lines, will muse by what art, or rather by what revelation, I could draw these conceits out of that place. But I, that should know best, do freely acknowledge, that I had my light from him; for where he gave me not matter to perfect, at the least he gave me occasion to invent. Wherein as I do him right, being myself a man that am as free from envying the dead in contemplation, as from envying the living in action or fortune: so yet nevertheless still I say, and I speak it more largely than before, that in perusing the writings of this person so much celebrated, whether it were the impediment of his wit, or that he did it upon glory and affectation to be subtile, as one that if he had seen his own conceits clearly and perspicuously delivered, perhaps would have been out of love with them himself; or else upon policy, to


keep himself close, as one that had been a challenger of all the world, and had raised infinite contradiction: to what cause soever it is to be ascribed, I do not find him to deliver and unwrap himself well of that he seemeth to conceive; nor to be a master of his own knowledge. Neither do I for my part also, though I have brought in a new manner of handling this argument, to make it pleasant and lightsome, pretend so to have overcome the nature of the subject, but that the full understanding and use of it will be somewhat dark, and best pleasing the taste of such wits as are patient to stay the digesting and soluting unto themselves of that which is sharp and subtile. Which was the cause, joined with the love and honour which I bear to your lordship, as the person I know to have many virtues, and an excellent order of them, which moved me to dedicate this writing to your lordship after the ancient manner: choosing both a friend, and one to whom I conceived the argument was agreeable.


In deliberatives the point is, what is good, and what is evil, and of good what is greater, and of evil what is less.

So that the persuader's labour is to make things appear good or evil, and that in higher or lower degree, which as it may be performed by true and solid reasons, so it may be represented also by colours, popularities and circumstances, which are of such force, as they sway the ordinary judgment either of a weak man, or of a wise man, not fully and considerately attending and pondering the matter. Besides their power to alter the nature of the subject in appearance, and so to lead to errour, they are of no less use to quicken and strengthen the opinions and persuasions which are true for reasons plainly delivered, and always after one manner, especially with fine and fastidious minds, enter but heavily and dully: whereas if they be varied and have more life and vigour put into them by these forms and insinuations, they cause a stronger apprehension, and many times suddenly win the mind to a resolution. Lastly, to make a true and safe judgment, nothing can be of greater use and defence to the mind, than the discovering and reprehension of these Colours, shewing in what cases they hold, and in what they deceive: which as it cannot be done, but out of a very universal knowledge of the nature of things, so being performed, it so cleareth man's judgment and election, as it is the less apt to slide into any errour.

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1. Cui ceteræ partes vel sectæ secundas unanimiter deferunt, cum singulæ principatum sibi vindicent, melior reliquis videtur. Nam primas quæque ex zelo videtur sumere, secundas autem ex vero et merito tribuere.

2. Cujus excellentia vel exsuperantia melior, id toto genere melius.

3. Quod ad veritatem refertur majus est quam quod ad opinionem. Modus autem et probatio ejus quod ad opinionem pertinet hæc est, quod quis si clam putaret fore facturus non esset.

4. Quod rem integram servat bonum, quod sine receptu est malum. Nam se recipere non posse impotentiæ genus est, potentia autem bonum.

5. Quod ex pluribus constat et divisibilibus, est majus quam quod ex paucioribus et magis unum: nam omnia per partes considerata majora videntur, quare et pluralitas partium magnitudinem præ se fert: fortius autem operatur pluralitas partium si ordo absit, nam inducit similitudinem infiniti, et impedit comprehensionem.

6. Cujus privatio bona, malum; cujus privatio mala, bonum.

7. Quod bono vicinum, bonum: quod a bono remotum, malum.

S. Quod quis culpa sua contraxit, majus malum, quod ab externis imponitur, minus malum.

9. Quod opera et virtute nostra partum est, majus bonum; quod ab alieno beneficio vel ab indulgentia fortunæ delatum est, minus bonum.

10. Gradus privationis major videtur quam gradus diminutionis; et rursus gradus inceptionis major videtur, quam gradus incrementi.

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