« ПретходнаНастави »
Sylla did a little resent thereat, and began to speak great, Pompey turned upon him again, and in effect bad him be quiet; “For that more men adored the sun-rising than the sun-setting.” With Julius, Decimus Brutus had obtained that interest, as he set him down in his testament, for heir in remainder after his nephew. And this was the man that had power with him, to draw him forth to his death. For when Cæsar would have discharged the senate, in regard of some ill presages, and specially a dream of Calpurnia; this man lifted him gently by the arm out of his chair, telling him, he hoped he would not dismiss the senate, till his wife had dreamed a better dream. And it seemeth his favour was so great, as Antonius in a letter, which is recited“ word for word” in one of Cicero's Philippics, called him venefica,“ witch ;" as if he had enchanted Cæsar. Augustus raised Agrippa (though of mean birth) to that height, as when he consulted with Mæcenas about the marriage of his daughter Julia, Mæcenas took the liberty to tell him, “That he must either marry his daughter to Agrippa, or take away his life; there was no third way, he had made him so great." With Tiberius Cæsar, Sejanus had
ascended to that height, as they two were termed .' and reckoned as a pair of Friends. Tiberius in a
letter to him saith, “Out of regard to our Friendship, I have not concealed these matters ;” and the
whole senate dedicated an altar to Friendship, as to a goddess, in respect of the great dearness of Friendship between them two. The like or more was between Septimius Severus and Plantianus : for he forced his eldest son to marry the daughter of Plantianus, and would maintain Plantianus in doing affronts to his son, and did write also in a letter to the senate these words; “ I love the man so well, as I wish he may over-love me.” Now if these princes had been as a Trajan, or a Marcus Aurelius, a man might have thought, that this had proceeded of an abundant goodness of nature ; but being men so wise, of such strength and severity of mind, and so extreme lovers of themselves, as all these were ; it proveth most plainly, that they found their own felicity (though as great as ever happened to mortal men) but as an half piece, except they might have a Friend to make it entire; and yet, which is more, they were princes that had wives, sons, nephews, and yet all these could not supply the comfort of Friendship ,
It is not to be forgotten, what Commineus observeth of his master, Duke Charles the Hardy; namely, “ That he would communicate his secrets with none; and least of all those secrets which troubled him most.” Whereupon he goeth on, and saith, that towards his latter time, “That closeness did impair, and a little perish his understanding.”
Surely, Commineus might have made the same judgment also, if it had pleased him, of his second master, Lewis the Eleventh, whose closeness was indeed his tormentor. The parable of Pythagoras is dark, but true, Cor ne edito, “ Eat not the heart.” Certainly if a man would give it a hard phrase, those that want Friends to open themselves unto, are cannibals of their own hearts. But one thing is most admirable, (wherewith I will conclude this first fruit of Friendship,) which is, that this communicating of a man's self to his friend, works two contrary effects; for it redoubleth joys, and cutteth griefs in halfs : for there is no. man that imparteth his joys to his Friend, but he joyeth the more; and no man that imparteth his griefs to his Friend, but he grieveth the less. So that it is in truth of operation upon a man's mind of like virtue, as the Alchymists use to attribute to their stone for man's body, that it worketh all contrary effects, but still to the good and benefit of nature : but yet, without praying in aid of alchymists, there is a manifest image of this in the ordinary course of nature : for in bodies union strengtheneth and cherisheth any natural action; and on the other side, weakeneth and dulleth any violent impression; and even so it is of minds.
The second fruit of Friendship is healthful and sovereign for the understanding, as the first is for the affections: for Friendship maketh indeed a fair day in the affections from storm and tempests; but it maketh day-light in the understanding, out of darkness and confusion of thoughts. Neither is this to be understood only of faithful counsel which a man receiveth from his Friend: but before you come to that, certain it is, that whosoever hath his mind fraught with many thoughts, his wits and understanding do clarify and break up in the communicating and discoursing with another; he tosseth his thoughts more easily, he marshalleth them more orderly, he seeth how they look when they are turned into words. Finally, he waxeth wiser than himself; and that more by an hour's discourse, than by a day's meditation. It was well said by Themistocles to the King of Persia ; " That speech was like cloth of Arras opened and put abroad ; whereby the imagery doth appear in figure, whereas in thoughts they lie but as in packs.” Neither is this second fruit of Friendship, in opening the understanding, restrained only to such Friends as are able to give a man counsel (they indeed are best); but even without that a man learneth of himself, and bringeth his own thoughts to light, and whettęth his wits as against a stone, which itself cuts not. In a word, a man were better relate himself to a statue or picture, than to suffer his thoughts to pass in smother.
And now, to make this second fruit of Friendship complete, that other point which lieth more open, and falleth within vulgar observation, which is faithful counsel from a Friend. Heraclitus saith well in one of his enigmas; “ Dry light is ever the best.”. And certain it is, that the light that a man receiveth by counsel from another, is drier and purer than that which cometh from his own understanding and judgment, which is ever infused and drenched in his affections and customs ; so as there is as much difference between the counsel that a Friend giveth, and that a man giveth himself, as there is between the counsel of a friend, and of a flatterer: for there is no such flatterer, as in a man's self; and there is no such remedy against flattery of a man's self, as the liberty of a friend. Counsel is of two sorts; the one concerning manners, the other concerning business. For the first; the best preservative to keep the mind in health, is the faithful admonition of a Friend. The calling of a man's self to a strict account is a medicine sometimes too piercing and corrosive. Reading good books of morality, is a little flat and dead. Observing our faults in others, is sometimes unproper for our case. But the best receipt (best, I say, to work, and best to take) is the admonition of a Friend. It is a strange thing to behold, what gross errors, and extreme absurdities, many (espe