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greater things than they should, and of the latter much less. And from hence certain fatal pillars have bounded the progress of learning.
52. Riches are the baggage of virtue; they cannot be spared, nor left behind, but they hinder the march.
53. Great riches have sold more men than ever they have bought out.
54. Riches have wings, and sometimes they fly away of themselves, and sometimes they must be set flying to bring in more.
55. He that defers his charity till he is dead, is, if a man weighs it rightly, rather liberal of another man's than of his own.
56. Ambition is like choler; if it can move, it makes men active ; if it be stopped, it becomes adust, and makes men melancholy.
57. To take a soldier without ambition, is to pull
off his spurs.
58. Some ambitious men seem as skreens to princes in matters of danger and envy, For no man will take such parts, except he be like the seeld dove, that mounts and mounts, because he cannot see about him.
59. Princes and states should choose such ministers as are more sensible of duty than rising ; and should discern a busy nature from a willing mind.
60. A man's nature runs either to herbs or weeds; therefore let him seasonably water the one, and destroy the other.
61. If a man look sharply and attentively, he shall see fortune; for though she be blind, she is not invisible.
62. Usury bringeth the treasure of a realm or state into few hands : for the usurer being at certainties, and others at uncertainties ; at the end of the game most of the money will be in the box.
63. Beauty is best in a body that hath rather dignity of presence, than beauty of aspect. The beautiful prove accomplished, but not of great spirit; and study, for the most part, rather behaviour than virtue.
64. The best part of beauty is that which a picture cannot express. 65. He who builds a fair house upon an ill seat,
a commits himself to prison.
66. If you will work on any man, you must either know his nature and fashions, and so lead him; or his ends, and so persuade him; or his weaknesses and disadvantages, and so awe him; or those that have interest in him, and so govern him.
67. Costly followers, (among whom we may reckon those who are importunate in suits) are not to be liked ; lest, while a man maketh his train longer, he maketh his wings shorter.
68. Fame is like a river that beareth up things light and swollen, and drowns things weighty and solid.
69. Seneca saith well, that anger is like rain, which breaks itself upon that it falls.
70. Excusations, cessions, modesty itself well governed, are but arts of ostentation.
71. High treason is not written in ice; that when the body relenteth, the impression should go away.
72. The best governments are always subject to be like the fairest crystals, wherein every icicle or grain is seen, which in a fouler stone is never perceived.
73. Hollow church papists are like the roots of nettles, which themselves sting not; but yet they bear all the stinging leaves.
FOR CIVIL CONVERSATION.
BY SIR FRANCIS BACON.*
To deceive men's expectations generally (which cautel) argueth a staid mind, and unexpected constancy: viz. in matters of fear, anger, sudden joy or grief, and all things which may affect or alter the mind in public or sudden accidents, or such like.
It is necessary to use a stedfast countenance, not wavering with action, as in moving the head or hand too much, which sheweth a fantastical, light, and fickle operation of the spirit, and consequently like mind as gesture: only it is sufficient, with leisure, to use a modest action in either.
In all kinds of speech, either pleasant, grave, severe, or ordinary, it is convenient to speak leisurely, and rather drawingly, than hastily; because hasty
, speech confounds the memory, and oftentimes, besides unseemliness, drives a man either to a non-plus or unseemly stammering, harping upon that which should follow; whereas a slow speech confirmeth the memory, addeth a conceit of wisdom to the hearers,
* From the Remains.
SHORT NOTES FOR CIVIL CONVERSATION.
besides a seemliness of speech and countenance. To desire in discourse to hold all arguments, is ridiculous, wanting true judgment; for in all things no man can be exquisite.
To have common places to discourse, and to want variety, is both tedious to the hearers, and shews a shallowness of conceit : therefore it is good to vary, and suit speeches with the present occasions; and to have a moderation in all our speeches, especially in jesting of religion, state, great persons, weighty and important business, poverty, or any thing deserving pity.
A long continued speech, without a good speech of interlocution, sheweth slowness: and a good reply, without a good set speech, sheweth shallowness and weakness.
To use many circumstances, ere you come to the matter, is wearisome ; and to use none at all, is but blunt.
Bashfulness is a great hinderance to a man, both of uttering his conceit, and understanding what is propounded unto him; wherefore it is good to press himself forwards with discretion, both in speech, and company of the better sort.
“ Usus promptos facit.”