I may not yet conclude, think to appease passions, or quiet the mind, till such time as I have likewise removed some other of their more eminent and ordinary causes, which produce so grievous tortures and discontents: to divert all, I cannot hope; to point alone at some few of the chiefest, is that which I aim at.
Repulse.] Repulse and disgrace are two main causes of discontent, but to an understanding man not so hardly to be taken. Caesar himself hath been denied, and when two stand equal in fortune, birth, and all other qualities alike, one of necessity must lose. Why shouldst thou take it so grievously? It hath a familiar thing for thee thyself to deny others. If every man might have what he would, we should all be deified, emperors, kings, princes; if whatsoever vain hope suggests, insatiable appetite affects, our preposterous judgment thinks fit were granted, we should have another chaos in an instant, a mere confusion. It is some satisfaction to him that is repelled, that dignities, honours, offices, are not always given by desert or worth, but for love, affinity, friendship, affection, great men's letters, or as commonly they are bought and sold. "Honours in court are bestowed not according to men's virtues and good conditions" (as an old courtier observes), "but as every man hath means, or more potent friends, so he is preferred." With us in France ( for so their own countryman relates) "most part the matter is carried by favour and grace; he that can get a great man to be his mediator, runs away with all the preferment." Indignissimus plerumque præfertur, Vatinius Catoni, illaudatus laudatissimo;
------"servi dominantur; aselli
Ornantur phaleris, dephalerantur equi."
"Slaves govern; asses are decked with trappings; horses are deprived of them."
An illiterate fool sits in a man's seat, and the common people hold him learned, grave and wise. "One professeth" ( Cardan well notes) "for a thousand crowns, but he deserves not ten, when as he that deserves a thousand cannot get ten." Solarium non dat multis salem. As good horses draw in carts, as coaches. And oftentimes, which Machiavel seconds, Principes non sunt qui ob insignem virtutem principatu digni sunt, he that is most worthy wants employment; he that hath skill to be a pilot wants a ship, and he that could govern a commonwealth, a world itself, a king in conceit, wants means to exercise his worth, hath not a poor office to manage, and yet all this while he is a better man that is fit to reign, etsi careat regno, though he want a kingdom, "than he that hath one, and knows not how to rule it:" a lion serves not always his keeper, but oftentimes the keeper the lion, and as Polydore Virgil hath it, multi reges ut pupilli ob inscitiam non regunt sed reguntur. Hieron of Syracuse was a brave king, but wanted a kingdom; Perseus of Macedon had nothing of a king, but the bare name and title, for he could not govern it: so great places are often ill bestowed, worthy persons unrespected. Many times, too, the servants have more means than the masters whom they serve, which Epictetus counts an eyesore and inconvenient. But who can help it? It is an ordinary thing in these days to see a base impudent ass, illiterate, unworthy, insufficient, to be preferred before his betters, because he can put himself forward, because he looks big, can bustle in the world, hath a fair outside, can temporise, collogue, insinuate, or hath good store of friends and money, whereas a more discreet, modest, and better-deserving man shall lie hid or have a repulse. 'Twas so of old, and ever will be, and which Tiresias advised Ulysses in the poet,-- Accipe qua ratione queas ditescere, &c., is still in use; lie, flatter, and dissemble: if not, as he concludes,-- Ergo pauper eris, then go like a beggar as thou art. Erasmus, Melancthon, Lipsius, Budaeus, Cardan, lived and died poor. Gesner was a silly old man, baculo innixus, amongst all those huffing cardinals, swelling bishops that flourished in his time, and rode on foot-clothes. It is not honesty, learning, worth, wisdom, that prefers men, "The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong," but as the wise man said, Chance, and sometimes a ridiculous chance. Casus plerumque ridiculus multos elevavit. 'Tis fortune's doings, as they say, which made Brutus now dying exclaim, O misera virtus, ergo nihil quam verba eras, atqui ego te tanquam rem exercebam, sed tu serviebas fortunæ. ("O wretched virtue! you are therefore nothing but words, and I have all this time been looking upon you as a reality, while you are yourself the slave of fortune.") Believe it hereafter, O my friends! virtue serves fortune. Yet be not discouraged (O my well deserving spirits) with this which I have said, it may be otherwise, though seldom I confess, yet sometimes it is. But to your farther content, I'll tell you a tale. In Maronia pia, or Maronia felix, I know not whether, nor how long since, nor in what cathedral church, a fat prebend fell void. The carcass scarce cold, many suitors were up in an instant. The first had rich friends, a good purse, and he was resolved to outbid any man before he would lose it, every man supposed he should carry it. The second was my lord Bishop's chaplain (in whose gift it was), and he thought it his due to have it. The third was nobly born, and he meant to get it by his great parents, patrons, and allies. The fourth stood upon his worth, he had newly found out strange mysteries in chemistry, and other rare inventions, which he would detect to the public good. The fifth was a painful preacher, and he was commended by the whole parish where he dwelt, he had all their hands to his certificate. The sixth was the prebendary's son lately deceased, his father died in debt (for it, as they say), left a wife and many poor children. The seventh stood upon fair promises, which to him and his noble friends had been formerly made for the next place in his lordship's gift. The eighth pretended great losses, and what he had suffered for the church, what pains he had taken at home and abroad, and besides he brought noblemen's letters. The ninth had married a kinswoman, and he sent his wife to sue for him. The tenth was a foreign doctor, a late convert, and wanted means. The eleventh would exchange for another, he did not like the former's site, could not agree with his neighbours and fellows upon any terms, he would be gone. The twelfth and last was (a suitor in conceit) a right honest, civil, sober man, an excellent scholar, and such a one as lived private in the university, but he had neither means nor money to compass it; besides he hated all such courses, he could not speak for himself, neither had he any friends to solicit his cause, and therefore made no suit, could not expect, neither did he hope for, or look after it. The good bishop amongst a jury of competitors thus perplexed, and not yet resolved what to do, or on whom to bestow it, at the last, of his own accord, mere motion, and bountiful nature, gave it freely to the university student, altogether unknown to him but by fame; and to be brief, the academical scholar had the prebend sent him for a present. The news was no sooner published abroad, but all good students rejoiced, and were much cheered up with it, though some would not believe it; others, as men amazed, said it was a miracle; but one amongst the rest thanked God for it, and said, Nunc juvat tandem studiosum esse, et Deo integro corde servire. You have heard my tale: but alas it is but a tale, a mere fiction, 'twas never so, never like to be, and so let it rest. Well, be it so then, they have wealth and honour, fortune and preferment, every man (there's no remedy) must scramble as he may, and shift as he can; yet Cardan comforted himself with this, "the star Fomahant would make him immortal," and that after his decease his books should be found in ladies' studies: Dignum laude virum Musa vetat mori. (Hor. "The muse forbids the praiseworthy man to die.") But why shouldst thou take thy neglect, thy canvas so to heart? It may be thou art not fit; but a child that puts on his father's shoes, hat, headpiece, breastplate, breeches, or holds his spear, but is neither able to wield the one, or wear the other; so wouldst thou do by such an office, place, or magistracy: thou art unfit: "And what is dignity to an unworthy man, but (as Salvianus holds) a gold ring in a swine's snout?" Thou art a brute. Like a bad actor (so Plutarch compares such men in a tragedy, diadema fert, at vox non auditur: Thou wouldst play a king's part, but actest a clown, speakest like an ass. Magna petis Phæton et quæ non viribus istis, &c., as James and John, the sons of Zebedee, did ask they knew not what: nescis temerarie nescis; thou dost, as another Suffenus, overween thyself; thou art wise in thine own conceit, but in other more mature judgment altogether unfit to manage such a business. Or be it thou art more deserving than any of thy rank, God in his providence hath reserved thee for some other fortunes, sic superis visum. Thou art humble as thou art, it may be; hadst thou been preferred, thou wouldst have forgotten God and thyself, insulted over others, contemned thy friends, been a block, a tyrant, or a demigod, sequiturque superbia formam: "Therefore," saith Chrysostom, "good men do not always find grace and favour, lest they should be puffed up with turgent titles, grow insolent and proud."
Injuries, abuses, are very offensive, and so much the more in that they think veterem ferendo invitant novam, "by taking one they provoke another:" but it is an erroneous opinion, for if that were true, there would be no end of abusing each other; lis litem generat; 'tis much better with patience to bear, or quietly to put it up. If an ass kick me, saith Socrates, shall I strike him again? And when his wife Xantippe struck and misused him, to some friends that would have had him strike her again, he replied, that he would not make them sport, or that they should stand by and say, Eia Socrates, eia Xantippe, as we do when dogs fight, animate them the more by clapping of hands. Many men spend themselves, their goods, friends, fortunes, upon small quarrels, and sometimes at other men's procurements, with much vexation of spirit and anguish of mind, all which with good advice, or mediation of friends, might have been happily composed, or if patience had taken place. Patience in such cases is a most sovereign remedy, to put up, conceal, or dissemble it, to forget and forgive, "not seven, but seventy-seven times, as often as he repents forgive him;" Luke xvii. 3. as our Saviour enjoins us, stricken, "to turn the other side:" as our Apostle persuades us, "to recompense no man evil for evil, but as much as is possible to have peace with all men: not to avenge ourselves, and we shall heap burning coals upon our adversary's head." "For if you put up wrong" (as Chrysostom comments), "you get the victory; he that loseth his money, loseth not the conquest in this our philosophy." If he contend with thee, submit thyself unto him first, yield to him. Durum et durum non faciunt murum, as the diverb is, two refractory spirits will never agree, the only means to overcome is to relent, obsequio vinces. Euclid in Plutarch, when his brother had angered him, swore he would be revenged; but he gently replied, "Let me not live if I do not make thee to love me again," upon which meek answer he was pacified.
"Flectitur obsequio curvatus ab arbore ramus,
Frangis si vires experire tuas."
"A branch if easily bended yields to thee,
Pull hard it breaks: the difference you see."
The noble family of the Colonni in Rome, when they were expelled the city by that furious Alexander the Sixth, gave the bending branch therefore as an impress, with this motto, Flecti potest, frangi non potest, to signify that he might break them by force, but so never make them stoop, for they fled in the midst of their hard usage to the kingdom of Naples, and were honourably entertained by Frederick the king, according to their callings. Gentleness in this case might have done much more, and let thine adversary be never so perverse, it may be by that means thou mayst win him; favore et benevolentia etiam immanis animus mansuescit, soft words pacify wrath, and the fiercest spirits are so soonest overcome; a generous lion will not hurt a beast that lies prostrate, nor an elephant an innocuous creature, but is infestus infestis, a terror and scourge alone to such as are stubborn, and make resistance. It was the symbol of Emanuel Philibert, Duke of Savoy, and he was not mistaken in it, for
"Quo quisque est major, magis est placabilis iræ,
Et faciles motus mens generosa capit."
"A greater man is soonest pacified,
A noble spirit quickly satisfied."
It is reported by Gualter Mapes, an old historiographer of ours (who lived 400 years since), that King Edward senior, and Llewellyn prince of Wales, being at an interview near Aust upon Severn, in Gloucestershire, and the prince sent for, refused to come to the king; he would needs go over to him; which Llewellyn perceiving, "went up to the arms in water, and embracing his boat, would have carried him out upon his shoulders, adding that his humility and wisdom had triumphed over his pride and folly," and thereupon he was reconciled unto him and did his homage. If thou canst not so win him, put it up, if thou beest a true Christian, a good divine, an imitator of Christ, ("for he was reviled and put it up, whipped and sought no revenge,") thou wilt pray for thine enemies, "and bless them that persecute thee;" be patient, meek, humble, &c. An honest man will not offer thee injury, probus non vult; if he were a brangling knave, 'tis his fashion so to do; where is least heart is most tongue; quo quisque stultior, eo magis insolescit, the more sottish he is, still the more insolent: "Do not answer a fool according to his folly." If he be thy superior, bear it by all means, grieve not at it, let him take his course; Anitus and Melitus "may kill me, they cannot hurt me;" as that generous Socrates made answer in like case. Mens immota manet, though the body be torn in pieces with wild horses, broken on the wheel, pinched with fiery tongs, the soul cannot be distracted. 'Tis an ordinary thing for great men to vilify and insult, oppress, injure, tyrannise, to take what liberty they list, and who dare speak against? Miserum est ab eo lædi, a quo non possis queri, a miserable thing 'tis to be injured of him, from whom is no appeal: and not safe to write against him that can proscribe and punish a man at his pleasure, which Asinius Pollio was aware of, when Octavianus provoked him. 'Tis hard I confess to be so injured: one of Chilo's three difficult things: "To keep counsel; spend his time well; put up injuries:" but be thou patient, and leave revenge unto the Lord. "Vengeance is mine and I will repay, saith the Lord"--"I know the Lord," saith David, "will avenge the afflicted and judge the poor."--"No man" (as Plato farther adds) "can so severely punish his adversary, as God will such as oppress miserable men."
"Iterum ille rem judicatam judicat,
Majoreque mulcta mulctat."
Arcturus in Plaut. "He adjudicates judgment again, and punishes with a still greater penalty."
If there be any religion, any God, and that God be just, it shall be so; if thou believest the one, believe the other: Erit, erit, it shall be so. Nemesis comes after, sero sed serio, stay but a little and thou shalt see God's just judgment overtake him.
"Raro antecedentem scelestum
Deseruit pede p?na claudo."
"Yet with sure steps, though lame and slow,
Vengeance o'ertakes the trembling villain's speed."
Thou shalt perceive that verified of Samuel to Agag, 1 Sam. xv. 33. "Thy sword hath made many women childless, so shall thy mother be childless amongst other women." It shall be done to them as they have done to others. Conradinus, that brave Suevian prince, came with a well-prepared army into the kingdom of Naples, was taken prisoner by king Charles, and put to death in the flower of his youth; a little after (ultionem Conradini mortis, Pandulphus Collinutius Hist. Neap. lib. 5. calls it), King Charles's own son, with two hundred nobles, was so taken prisoner, and beheaded in like sort. Not in this only, but in all other offences, quo quisque peccat in eo punietur, they shall be punished in the same kind, in the same part, like nature, eye with or in the eye, head with or in the head, persecution with persecution, lust with effects of lust; let them march on with ensigns displayed, let drums beat on, trumpets sound taratantarra, let them sack cities, take the spoil of countries, murder infants, deflower virgins, destroy, burn, persecute, and tyrannise, they shall be fully rewarded at last in the same measure, they and theirs, and that to their desert.
"Ad generum Cereris sine cæde et sanguine pauci
Descendunt reges et sicca morte tyranni."
"Few tyrants in their beds do die,
But stabb'd or maim'd to hell they hie."
Oftentimes too a base contemptible fellow is the instrument of God's justice to punish, to torture, and vex them, as an ichneumon doth a crocodile. They shall be recompensed according to the works of their hands, as Haman was hanged on the gallows he provided for Mordecai; "They shall have sorrow of heart, and be destroyed from under the heaven," Thre. iii. 64, 65, 66. Only be thou patient: vincit qui patitur: and in the end thou shalt be crowned. Yea, but 'tis a hard matter to do this, flesh and blood may not abide it; 'tis grave, grave! no (Chrysostom replies) non est grave, o homo! 'tis not so grievous, "neither had God commanded it, if it had been so difficult." But how shall it be done? "Easily," as he follows it, "if thou shalt look to heaven, behold the beauty of it, and what God hath promised to such as put up injuries." But if thou resist and go about vim vi repellere, as the custom of the world is, to right thyself, or hast given just cause of offence, 'tis no injury then but a condign punishment; thou hast deserved as much: A te principium, in te recredit crimen quod a te fuit; peccasti, quiesce, as Ambrose expostulates with Cain, lib. 3. de Abel et Cain. Dionysius of Syracuse, in his exile, was made to stand without door, patienter ferendum, fortasse nos tale quid fecimus, quum in honore essemus, he wisely put it up, and laid the fault where it was, on his own pride and scorn, which in his prosperity he had formerly showed others. 'Tis Tully's axiom, ferre ea molestissime homines non debent, quæ ipsorum culpa contracta sunt, self do, self have, as the saying is, they may thank themselves. For he that doth wrong must look to be wronged again; habet et musca splenem, et formicæ sua bills inest. The least fly hath a spleen, and a little bee a sting. An ass overwhelmed a thistlewarp's nest, the little bird pecked his galled back in revenge; and the humble-bee in the fable flung down the eagle's eggs out of Jupiter's lap. Bracides, in Plutarch, put his hand into a mouse's nest and hurt her young ones, she bit him by the finger: I see now (saith he) there is no creature so contemptible, that will not be revenged. 'Tis lex talionis, and the nature of all things so to do: if thou wilt live quietly thyself, do no wrong to others; if any be done thee, put it up, with patience endure it, for "this is thankworthy," saith our apostle, "if any man for conscience towards God endure grief, and suffer wrong undeserved; for what praise is it, if when ye be buffeted for you faults, ye take it patiently? But if when you do well, ye suffer wrong, and take it patiently, there is thanks with God; for hereunto verily we are called." Qui mala non fert, ipse sibi testis est per impatientiam quod bonus non est, "he that cannot bear injuries, witnesseth against himself that he is no good man," as Gregory holds. "'Tis the nature of wicked men to do injuries, as it is the property of all honest men patiently to bear them." Improbitas nullo flectitur obsequio. The wolf in the emblem sucked the goat (so the shepherd would have it), but he kept nevertheless a wolf's nature; a knave will be a knave. Injury is on the other side a good man's footboy, his fidus Achates, and as a lackey follows him wheresoever he goes. Besides, misera est fortuna quæ caret inimico, he is in a miserable estate that wants enemies: it is a thing not to be avoided, and therefore with more patience to be endured. Cato Censorius, that upright Cato of whom Paterculus gives that honourable eulogium, bene fecit quod aliter facere non potuit, was fifty times indicted and accused by his fellow citizens, and as Ammianus well hath it, Quis erit innocens si clam vel palam accusasse sufficiat? if it be sufficient to accuse a man openly or in private, who shall be free? If there were no other respect than that of Christianity, religion and the like, to induce men to be long-suffering and patient, yet methinks the nature of injury itself is sufficient to keep them quiet, the tumults, uproars, miseries, discontents, anguish, loss, dangers that attend upon it might restrain the calamities of contention: for as it is with ordinary gamesters, the gains go to the box, so falls it out to such as contend; the lawyers get all; and therefore if they would consider of it, aliena pericula cantos, other men's misfortunes in this kind, and common experience might detain them. The more they contend, the more they are involved in a labyrinth of woes, and the catastrophe is to consume one another, like the elephant and dragon's conflict in Pliny; the dragon got under the elephant's belly, and sucked his blood so long, till he fell down dead upon the dragon, and killed him with the fall, so both were ruined. 'Tis a hydra's head, contention; the more they strive, the more they may: and as Praxiteles did by his glass, when he saw a scurvy face in it, brake it in pieces: but for that one he saw many more as bad in a moment: for one injury done they provoke another cum f?nore, and twenty enemies for one. Noli irritare crabrones, oppose not thyself to a multitude: but if thou hast received a wrong, wisely consider of it, and if thou canst possibly, compose thyself with patience to bear it. This is the safest course, and thou shalt find greatest ease to be quiet.
I say the same of scoffs, slanders, contumelies, obloquies, defamations, detractions, pasquilling libels, and the like, which may tend any way to our disgrace: 'tis but opinion; if we could neglect, contemn, or with patience digest them, they would reflect on them that offered them at first. A wise citizen, I know not whence, had a scold to his wife: when she brawled, he played on his drum, and by that means madded her more, because she saw that he would not be moved. Diogenes in a crowd when one called him back, and told him how the boys laughed him to scorn, Ego, inquit, non rideor, took no notice of it. Socrates was brought upon the stage by Aristophanes, and misused to his face, but he laughed as if it concerned him not: and as Aelian relates of him, whatsoever good or bad accident or fortune befel him going in or coming out, Socrates still kept the same countenance; even so should a Christian do, as Hierom describes him, per infamiam et bonam famam grassari ad immortalitatem, march on through good and bad reports to immortality, not to be moved: for honesty is a sufficient reward, probitas sibi, præmium; and in our times the sole recompense to do well, is, to do well: but naughtiness will punish itself at last, Improbis ipsa nequitia supplicium. As the diverb is,
"Qui bene fecerunt, illi sua facta sequentur;
Qui male fecerunt, facta sequentur eos:"
"They that do well, shall have reward at last:
But they that ill, shall suffer for that's past."
Yea, but I am ashamed, disgraced, dishonoured, degraded, exploded: my notorious crimes and villainies are come to light (deprendi miserum est), my filthy lust, abominable oppression and avarice lies open, my good name's lost, my fortune's gone, I have been stigmatised, whipped at post, arraigned and condemned, I am a common obloquy, I have lost my ears, odious, execrable, abhorred of God and men. Be content, 'tis but a nine days' wonder, and as one sorrow drives out another, one passion another, one cloud another, one rumour is expelled by another; every day almost, come new news unto our ears, as how the sun was eclipsed, meteors seen in the air, monsters born, prodigies, how the Turks were overthrown in Persia, an earthquake in Helvetia, Calabria, Japan, or China, an inundation in Holland, a great plague in Constantinople, a fire at Prague, a dearth in Germany, such a man is made a lord, a bishop, another hanged, deposed, pressed to death, for some murder, treason, rape, theft, oppression, all which we do hear at first with a kind of admiration, detestation, consternation, but by and by they are buried in silence: thy father's dead, thy brother robbed, wife runs mad, neighbour hath killed himself; 'tis heavy, ghastly, fearful news at first, in every man's mouth, table talk; but after a while who speaks or thinks of it? It will be so with thee and thine offence, it will be forgotten in an instant, be it theft, rape, sodomy, murder, incest, treason, &c., thou art not the first offender, nor shalt not be the last, 'tis no wonder, every hour such malefactors are called in question, nothing so common, Quocunque in populo, quocunque sub axe (Amongst people in every climate). Comfort thyself, thou art not the sole man. If he that were guiltless himself should fling the first stone at thee, and he alone should accuse thee that were faultless, how many executioners, how many accusers wouldst thou have? If every man's sins were written in his forehead, and secret faults known, how many thousands would parallel, if not exceed thine offence? It may be the judge that gave sentence, the jury that condemned thee, the spectators that gazed on thee, deserved much more, and were far more guilty than thou thyself. But it is thine infelicity to be taken, to be made a public example of justice, to be a terror to the rest; yet should every man have his desert, thou wouldst peradventure be a saint in comparison; vexat censura columbas, poor souls are punished; the great ones do twenty thousand times worse, and are not so much as spoken of.
"Non rete accipitri tenditur neque milvio,
Qui male faciunt nobis; illis qui nil faciunt tenditur."
"The net's not laid for kites or birds of prey,
But for the harmless still our gins we lay."
Be not dismayed then, humanum est errare, we are all sinners, daily and hourly subject to temptations, the best of us is a hypocrite, a grievous offender in God's sight, Noah, Lot, David, Peter, &c., how many mortal sins do we commit? Shall I say, be penitent, ask forgiveness, and make amends by the sequel of thy life, for that foul offence thou hast committed? recover thy credit by some noble exploit, as Themistocles did, for he was a most debauched and vicious youth, sed juventæ maculas præclaris factis delevit, but made the world amends by brave exploits; at last become a new man, and seek to be reformed. He that runs away in a battle, as Demosthenes said, may fight again; and he that hath a fall may stand as upright as ever he did before. Nemo desperet meliora lapsus, a wicked liver may be reclaimed, and prove an honest man; he that is odious in present, hissed out, an exile, may be received again with all men's favours, and singular applause; so Tully was in Rome, Alcibiades in Athens. Let thy disgrace then be what it will, quod fit, infectum non potest esse, that which is past cannot be recalled; trouble not thyself, vex and grieve thyself no more, be it obloquy, disgrace, &c. No better way, than to neglect, contemn, or seem not to regard it, to make no reckoning of it, Deesse robur arguit dicacitas: if thou be guiltless it concerns thee not:
"Irrita vaniloquæ quid curas spicula linguæ,
Latrantem curatne alta Diana canem?"
(Camerar. emb. 61. cent. 3. "Why should you regard the harmless shafts of a vain-speaking tongue--does the exalted Diana care for the barking of a dog?")
Doth the moon care for the barking of a dog? They detract, scoff and rail, saith one, and bark at me on every side, but I, like that Albanian dog sometimes given to Alexander for a present, vindico me ab illis solo contemptu, I lie still and sleep, vindicate myself by contempt alone. Expers terroris Achilles armatus: as a tortoise in his shell, virtute mea me involvo, or an urchin round, nil moror ictus a lizard in camomile, I decline their fury and am safe.
"Integritas virtusque suo munimine tuta,
Non patet adversæ morsibus invidiæ:"
"Virtue and integrity are their own fence,
Care not for envy or what comes from thence."
Let them rail then, scoff, and slander, sapiens contumelia non afficitur, a wise man, Seneca thinks, is not moved, because he knows, contra Sycophantæ morsum non est remedium, there is no remedy for it: kings and princes, wise, grave, prudent, holy, good men, divine, are all so served alike. O Jane a tergo quem nulla ciconia pinsit, Antevorta and Postvorta, Jupiter's guardians, may not help in this case, they cannot protect; Moses had a Dathan, a Corath, David a Shimei, God himself is blasphemed: nondum felix es si te nondum turba deridet. It is an ordinary thing so to be misused. Regium est cum bene faceris male audire, the chiefest men and most understanding are so vilified; let him take his course. And as that lusty courser in Aesop, that contemned the poor ass, came by and by after with his bowels burst, a pack on his back, and was derided of the same ass: contemnentur ab iis quos ipsi prius contempsere, et irridebuntur ab iis quos ipsi prius irrisere, they shall be contemned and laughed to scorn of those whom they have formerly derided. Let them contemn, defame, or undervalue, insult, oppress, scoff, slander, abuse, wrong, curse and swear, feign and lie, do thou comfort thyself with a good conscience, in sinu gaudeas, when they have all done, "a good conscience is a continual feast," innocency will vindicate itself: and which the poet gave out of Hercules, diis fruitur iratis, enjoy thyself, though all the world be set against thee, contemn and say with him, Elogium mihi præ, foribus, my posy is, "not to be moved, that my palladium, my breastplate, my buckler, with which I ward all injuries, offences, lies, slanders; I lean upon that stake of modesty, so receive and break asunder all that foolish force of liver and spleen." And whosoever he is that shall observe these short instructions, without all question he shall much ease and benefit himself.
In fine, if princes would do justice, judges be upright, clergymen truly devout, and so live as they teach, if great men would not be so insolent, if soldiers would quietly defend us, the poor would be patient, rich men would be liberal and humble, citizens honest, magistrates meek, superiors would give good example, subjects peaceable, young men would stand in awe: if parents would be kind to their children, and they again obedient to their parents, brethren agree amongst themselves, enemies be reconciled, servants trusty to their masters, virgins chaste, wives modest, husbands would be loving and less jealous: if we could imitate Christ and his apostles, live after God's laws, these mischiefs would not so frequently happen amongst us; but being most part so irreconcilable as we are, perverse, proud, insolent, factious, and malicious, prone to contention, anger and revenge, of such fiery spirits, so captious, impious, irreligious, so opposite to virtue, void of grace, how should it otherwise be? Many men are very testy by nature, apt to mistake, apt to quarrel, apt to provoke and misinterpret to the worst, everything that is said or done, and thereupon heap unto themselves a great deal of trouble, and disquietness to others, smatterers in other men's matters, tale-bearers, whisperers, liars, they cannot speak in season, or hold their tongues when they should, Et suam partem itidem tacere cum aliena est oratio: they will speak more than comes to their shares, in all companies, and by those bad courses accumulate much evil to their own souls (qui contendit, sibi convicium facit) their life is a perpetual brawl, they snarl like so many dogs, with their wives, children, servants, neighbours, and all the rest of their friends, they can agree with nobody. But to such as are judicious, meek, submissive, and quiet, these matters are easily remedied: they will forbear upon all such occasions, neglect, contemn, or take no notice of them, dissemble, or wisely turn it off. If it be a natural impediment, as a red nose, squint eyes, crooked legs, or any such imperfection, infirmity, disgrace, reproach, the best way is to speak of it first thyself, and so thou shalt surely take away all occasions from others to jest at, or contemn, that they may perceive thee to be careless of it. Vatinius was wont to scoff at his own deformed feet, to prevent his enemies' obloquies and sarcasms in that kind; or else by prevention, as Cotys, king of Thrace, that brake a company of fine glasses presented to him, with his own hands, lest he should be overmuch moved when they were broken by chance. And sometimes again, so that it be discreetly and moderately done, it shall not be amiss to make resistance, to take down such a saucy companion, no better means to vindicate himself to purchase final peace: for he that suffers himself to be ridden, or through pusillanimity or sottishness will let every man baffle him, shall be a common laughing stock to flout at. As a cur that goes through a village, if he clap his tail between his legs, and run away, every cur will insult over him: but if he bristle up himself, and stand to it, give but a counter-snarl, there's not a dog dares meddle with him: much is in a man's courage and discreet carriage of himself.
Many other grievances there are, which happen to mortals in this life, from friends, wives, children, servants, masters, companions, neighbours, our own defaults, ignorance, errors, intemperance, indiscretion, infirmities, &c., and many good remedies to mitigate and oppose them, many divine precepts to counterpoise our hearts, special antidotes both in Scriptures and human authors, which, whoso will observe, shall purchase much ease and quietness unto himself: I will point out a few. Those prophetical, apostolical admonitions are well known to all; what Solomon, Siracides, our Saviour Christ himself hath said tending to this purpose, as "fear God: obey the prince: be sober and watch: pray continually: be angry but sin not: remember thy last: fashion not yourselves to this world, &c., apply yourselves to the times: strive not with a mighty man: recompense good for evil, let nothing be done through contention or vainglory, but with meekness of mind, every man esteeming of others better than himself: love one another;" or that epitome of the law and the prophets, which our Saviour inculcates, "love God above all, thy neighbour as thyself:" and "whatsoever you would that men should do unto you, so do unto them," which Alexander Severus writ in letters of gold, and used as a motto, Hierom commends to Celantia as an excellent way, amongst so many enticements and worldly provocations, to rectify her life. Out of human authors take these few cautions, "know thyself. Be contented with thy lot. Trust not wealth, beauty, nor parasites, they will bring thee to destruction. Have peace with all men, war with vice. Be not idle. Look before you leap. Beware of 'had I wist.' Honour thy parents, speak well of friends. Be temperate in four things, lingua, locis, oculis, et poculis. Watch thine eye. Moderate thine expenses. Hear much, speak little, sustine et abstine. If thou seest ought amiss in another, mend it in thyself. Keep thine own counsel, reveal not thy secrets, be silent in thine intentions. Give not ear to tale-tellers, babblers, be not scurrilous in conversation: jest without bitterness: give no man cause of offence: set thine house in order: take heed of suretyship. Fide et diffide, as a fox on the ice, take heed whom you trust. Live not beyond thy means. Give cheerfully. Pay thy dues willingly. Be not a slave to thy money; omit not occasion, embrace opportunity, lose no time. Be humble to thy superiors, respective to thine equals, affable to all, but not familiar. Flatter no man. Lie not, dissemble not. Keep thy word and promise, be constant in a good resolution. Speak truth. Be not opiniative, maintain no factions. Lay no wagers, make no comparisons. Find no faults, meddle not with other men's matters. Admire not thyself. Be not proud or popular. Insult not. Fortunam reverentur habe. Fear not that which cannot be avoided. Grieve not for that which cannot be recalled. Undervalue not thyself. Accuse no man, commend no man rashly. Go not to law without great cause. Strive not with a greater man. Cast not off an old friend, take heed of a reconciled enemy. If thou come as a guest stay not too long. Be not unthankful. Be meek, merciful, and patient. Do good to all. Be not fond of fair words. Be not a neuter in a faction; moderate thy passions. Think no place without a witness. Admonish thy friend in secret, commend him in public. Keep good company. Love others to be beloved thyself. Ama tanquam osurus. Amicus tardo fias. Provide for a tempest. Noli irritare crabrones. Do not prostitute thy soul for gain. Make not a fool of thyself to make others merry. Marry not an old crony or a fool for money. Be not over solicitous or curious. Seek that which may be found. Seem not greater than thou art. Take thy pleasure soberly. Ocymum ne terito. Live merrily as thou canst. Take heed by other men's examples. Go as thou wouldst be met, sit as thou wouldst be found, yield to the time, follow the stream. Wilt thou live free from fears and cares? Live innocently, keep thyself upright, thou needest no other keeper," &c. Look for more in Isocrates, Seneca, Plutarch, Epictetus, &c., and for defect, consult with cheese-trenchers and painted cloths.