« AnteriorContinuar »
ing, and tasting be considered; for that the senses differ it seemeth plain.
Painted tables (in which the art of slanțing is used) appear to the eye as if the parts of them were some higher and some lower than the other, but to the touch they seem not to.
Honey seemeth to the tongue sweet, but unpleasant to the eye; so ointment doth recreate the smell, but it offendeth the taste. Rain-water is profitable to the eyes, but it hurteth the lungs. We may tell then how these things seem to our several senses, but what they are in their own nature we cannot tell; for why should not a man credit any one of his senses as well as the other?
Every object seemeth to be presented diversely unto the several instruments of sense. An apple to the touch seemeth smooth, sweet to the smell, and to the eye yellow; but whether the apple have one of these qualities only, or more than these qualities, who can tell ? The organ hath many pipes, all which are filled with the same blast of wind, varied according to the capacity of the several pipes which receive it ; even so the quality of the apple may be but one, and this one quality may be varied, and seem yellow to the eye, to the touch smooth, and sweet to the smell, by reason of the diverse instruments of the sense, which apprehend this one quality diversely.
It may be also that an apple hath many qualities besides; but we are not able to conceive them all, because we want fit means and instruments to apprehend them. For suppose that some man is born blind and deaf, and yet can touch, smell, and taste : this man will not think that there is any thing which may be seen or heard, because he wanteth the senses of hearing and seeing; he will only think there are those qualities in the object, which by reason of his three senses he conceiveth ; even so the apple may have many more qualities; but we cannot come to know them, because we want fit instruments for that purpose.
If it be replied, that nature hath ordained as many in
struments of sense, as there are sensible objects, I demand, what nature ? for there is a confused controversy about the very essence of nature. Some affirming it to be one thing, others another, few agreeing : so that what the quality of an apple is, or whether it hath one quality or many, I know
Let a man also consider how many things that are separated, and by themselves, appear to differ from that which they seem to be, when they are in a mass or lump; the scrapings of the goat's horn seem white, but in the horn they seem black. The stone tænarus being polished seemeth white, but unpolished and rough it seemeth yellow. Sands being separated appear rough to the touch, but in a great heap soft. I may then report how these things appear; but whether they are so indeed, I know not.
SIR WALTER RALEGH'S
INSTRUCTIONS TO HIS SON
AND TO POSTERITY.
CHAP. I: Virtuous persons to be made choice of for friends. THERE is nothing more becoming any wise man than to make choice of friends ; for by them thou shalt be judged what thou art. Let them therefore be wise and virtuous, and none of those that follow thee for gain; but make election rather of thy betters than thy inferiors, shunning always such as are poor and needy; for if thou givest twenty gifts, and refuse to do the like but once, all that thou hast done will be lost, and such men will become thy mortal enemies. Take also special care that thou never trust any friend or servant with any matter that may endanger thine estate; for so shalt thou make thyself a bondslave to him that thou trustest, and leave thyself always to his mercy. And be sure of this, thou shalt never find a friend in thy young years, whose conditions and qualities will please thee after thou comest to more discretion and judgment; and then all thou givest is lost, and all wherein thou shalt trust such a one will be discovered. Such therefore as are thy inferiors will follow thee but to eat thee out, and when thou leavest to feed them they will hate thee; and such kind of men, if thou preserve thy estate, will always be had : and if thy friends be of better quality than thyself, thou mayest be sure of two things; the first, that they will be more careful to keep thy counsel, because they have more to lose than thou hast; the second, they will esteem thee for thyself, and not for that which thou dost possess; but if thou be
subject to any great vanity or ill, (from which I hope God will bless thee,) then therein trust no man; for every man's folly ought to be his greatest secret. And although I persuade thee to associate thyself with thy betters, or at least with thy peers, yet remember always that thou venture not thy estate with any of those great ones that shall attempt unlawful things; for such men labour for themselves, and not for thee; thou shalt be sure to part with them in the danger, but not in the honour; and to venture a sure estate in present, in hope of a better in future, is mere madness : and great men forget such as have done them service, when they have obtained what they would, and will rather hate thee for saying thou hast been a means of their advancement, than acknowledge it.
I could give thee a thousand examples, and I myself know it, and have tasted it in all the course of my life ; when thou shalt read and observe the stories of all nations, thou shalt find innumerable examples of the like: let thy love therefore be to the best, so long as they do well ; but take heed that thou love God, thy country, thy prince, and thine own estate, before all others; for the fancies of men change, and he that loves to-day hateth to-morrow: but let reason be thy schoolmistress, which shall ever guide thee aright.
CHAP. II. Great care to be had in the choosing of a wife. THE next and greatest care ought to be in the choice of a wife, and the only danger therein is beauty, by which all men in all ages, wise and foolish, have been betrayed. And though I know it vain to use reasons or arguments to dissuade thee from being captivated therewith, there being few or none that ever resisted that witchery; yet I cannot omit to warn thee as of other things, which may be thy ruin and destruction. For the present time, it is true, that every man prefers his phantasy in that appetite before all other worldly desires, leaving the care of honour, credit, and safety in respect thereof : but remember, that though these
affections do not last, yet the bond of marriage dureth to the end of thy life; and therefore better to be borne withal in a mistress than in a wife; for when thy humour shall change, thou art yet free to choose again, (if thou give thyself that vain liberty.) Remember, secondly, that if thou marry for beauty, thou bindest thyself all thy life for that which perchance will never last nor please thee one year ; and when thou hast it, it will be to thee of no price at all, for the desire dieth when it is attained, and the affection perisheth when it is satisfied. Remember, when thou wert a sucking child, that then thou didst love thy nurse, and that thou wert fond of her; after a while thou didst love thy dry-nurse, and didst forget the other; after that thou didst also despise her; so will it be with thee in thy liking in elder years; and, therefore, though thou canst not forbear to love, yet forbear to link, and after a while thou shalt find an alteration in thyself, and see another far more pleasing than the first, second, or third love; yet I wish thee, above all the rest, have a care thou dost not marry an uncomely woman for any respect; for comeliness in children is riches, if nothing else be left them. And if thou have care for thy races of horses and other beasts, value the shape and comeliness of thy children before alliances or riches : have care therefore of both together; for if thou have a fair wife and a poor one, if thine own estate be not great, assure thyself that love abideth not with want; for she is the companion of plenty and honour : for I never yet knew a poor woman exceeding fair that was not made dishonest by one or other in the end. This Bathsheba taught her son Solomon: Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vanity: she saith further; That a wise woman overseeth the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
Have therefore ever more care that thou be beloved of thy wife, rather than thyself besotted on her: and thou shalt judge of her love by these two observations; first, if thou perceive she have a care of thy estate, and exercise herself therein; the other, if she study to please thee and be sweet unto thee in conversation, without thy instruction ;