Imágenes de página

observe, that the more deep and sober sort of politic persons in their greatness are ever bemoaning themselves what. a life they lead, chanting a “quanta patimur;" not that they feel it so, but only to abate the edge of envy: but this is to be understood of business that is laid upon men, and not such as they call unto themselves ; for nothing increaseth envy more than an unnecessary and ambitious ingrossing of business; and nothing doth extinguish envy more than for a great person to preserve

all other inferior officers in their full rights and pre-eminences of their places; for by that means there be so many screens between him

and envy:

Above all, those are most subject to envy which

carry the greatness of their fortunes in an insolent and proud manner; being never well but while they are shewing how great they are, either by outward pomp, or by triumphing over all opposition or competition ; whereas wise men will rather do sacrifice to envy, in suffering themselves sometimes of

purpose to be crossed and overborn in things that do not much concern them. Notwithstanding so much is true, that the carriage of greatness

in a plain and open manner, (so it be without arrogancy and vain glory,) doth draw less envy than if it be in a more crafty and cunning fashion ; for in that course a man doth but disavow fortune, and seemeth to be conscious of his own want in worth, and doth but teach others to envy him.

Lastly, to conclude this part, as we said in the beginning that the act of envy had somewhat in it of witchcraft, so there is no other cure of

envy but the cure of witchcraft; and that is, to remove the lot, (as they call it), and to lay it upon another; for which


the wiser sort of great persons bring in ever upon the stage somebody upon whom to derive the envy that would come upon themselves; sometimes upon ministers and servants; sometimes upon colleagues and associates, and the like; and for that turn there are never wanting some persons of violent and undertaking natures, who, so they may have power and business, will take it at any cost.

Now to speak of public envy: there is yet some good in public envy, whereas in private there is none; for public envy is an ostracism, that eclipseth men when they grow too

so, when

great; and therefore it is a bridle also to great ones to keep within bounds.

This envy, being in the Latin word “in. “ vidia," goeth in the modern languages by the name of discontentment; of which we shall speak in handling sedition. It is a disease in a state like to infection ; for as infection spreadeth upon that which is sound and tainteth it;

envy is gotten once into a state it traduceth even the best actions thereof, and turneth them into an ill odour; and therefore there is little won by intermingling of plausible actions; for that doth

argue but a weakness and fear of envy, which hurteth so much the more, as it is likewise usual in infections, which if you fear them you call them upon you.

This public envy seemeth to bear chiefly upon principal officers or ministers, rather than upon kings and states themselves. But this is a sure rule, that if the envy upon the minister be great when the cause of ii in him is small; or if the envy be general in a manner upon all the ministers of an estate, then the envy (though hidden) is truly upon the state itself. And so much of public envy or dis

contentment, and the difference thereof from private envy, which was handled in the first place.

We will add this in general touching the affection of envy, that of all other affections it is the most importune and continual; for of other affections there is occasion given but now and then ; and therefore it was well said, “ In“ vidia festos dies non agit :” for it is ever working upon some or other. And it is also noted, that love and envy do make a man pine, which other affections do not, because they are not so continual. It is also the vilest affection, and the most depraved ; for which cause it is the proper attribute of the devil, who is called, “ The evious man that soweth tares amongst “ the wheat by night;" as it always cometh to pass that envy worketh subtilly, and in the dark, and to the prejudice of good things, such as is the wheat.


The stage is more beholding to love than the life of man; for, as to the stage, love is ever matter of comedies, and now and then of tragedies; but in life it doth much mischief; sometimes like a siren, sometimes like a fury. You may observe, that amongst all the great and worthy persons, (whereof the memory remaineth, either ancient or recent,) there is not one that hath been transported to the mad degree of love ; which shews that great spirits and great business do keep out this weak passion. You must except, nevertheless, Marcus Antonius, the half partner of the empire of Rome, and Appius Claudius, the decemvir and lawgiver; whereof the former was indeed a voluptuous man, and inordinate ; but the latter was an austere and wise man; and therefore it seems, (though rarely), that love can find entrance, not only into an open heart, but also into a heart well fortified, if watch be not well kept. It is a poor saying of Epi. curus, “ Satis magnum alter alteri theatrum “ sumus;" as if a man, made for the contem

« AnteriorContinuar »