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to keep things steady: for without that ballast the ship will roll too much. At the least, a prince may animate and inure some meaner persons, to be as it were scourges to ambitious men. As for the having of them obnoxious to ruin, if they be of fearful natures, it may do well; but if they be stout and daring, it may precipitate their designs, and prove dangerous. As for the pulling of them down, if the affairs require it, and that it may not be done with safety suddenly, the only way is, the interchange continually of favours and disgraces ; whereby they may not know what to expect, and be as it were in a wood. Of Ambitions, it is less harmful the Ambition to prevail in great things, than that other to appear in every thing; for that breeds confusion, and mars business. But yet it is less danger, to have an ambitious man stirring in business, than great in dependences. He that seeketh to be eminent amongst able men, hath a great task; but that is ever good for the public: but he that plots to be the only figure amongst cyphers, is the decay of an whole age. Honour hath three things in it: the vantage-ground to do good, the approach to kings and principal persons, and the raising of a man's own fortunes. He that hath the best of these intentions when he aspireth, is an honest man; and that prince that can discern of these intentions in another that aspireth, is a wise
prince. Generally, let princes and states choose such ministers as are more sensible of duty, than of rising; and such as love business rather upon conscience, than upon bravery; and let them discern a busy nature from a willing mind.
Of Masks and Triumphs. THESE things are but toys, to come amongst such serious observations. · But yet, since princes will have such things, it is better they should be graced with elegancy, than daubed with cost. Dancing to song, is a thing of great state and pleasure. I understand it, that the song be in choir, placed aloft, and accompanied with some broken music, and the ditty fitted to the device. Acting in song, especially in dialogues, hath an extreme good grace; I say acting, not dancing, (for that is a mean and vulgar thing): and the voices of the dialogue would be strong and manly, (a base, and a tenor, no treble) and the ditty high and tragical, not nice or dainty. Several choirs placed one over against another, and taking the voice by catches, anthem-wise, give great pleasure. Turning dances into figure, is a childish curiosity; and generally let it be noted, that those things which I here set down, are such as do naturally take the sense, and not respect petty wonderments. It is true, the alterations of scenes, so it be quietly, and without noise, are things of great beauty and pleasure: for they feed and relieve the eye, before it be full of the same object. Let the scenes abound with light, especially coloured and varied ; and let the Maskers, or any other that are to come down from the scene, have some motions upon the scene itself, before their coming down; for it draws the eye strangely, and makes it with great pleasure to desire to see that it cannot perfectly discern. Let the songs be loud and cheerful, and not chirpings or pulings. Let the music likewise be sharp and loud, and well placed. The colours that show best by candle-light, are white, carnation, and a kind of sea-water green; and oes or spangs, as they are of no great cost, so they are of most glory. As for rich embroidery, it is lost, and not discerned. Let the suits of Maskers be graceful, and such as become the person when the vizars are off, not after examples of known attires ; Turks, soldiers, mariners, and the like. Let Anti-masks not be long; they have been commonly of fools, satyrs, baboons, wild men, antics, beasts, spirits, witches, Æthiopes, Pygnies, Turquets, nymphs, rustics, cupids, statues moving, and the like. As for angels, it is not comical enough to put them in Anti-masks; and any thing that is hideous, as devils, giants, is on the other side as unfit. But chiefly, let the music of
them be recreative, and with some strange changes. Some sweet odours suddenly coming forth, without any drops falling, are in such a company, as there is steam and heat, things of great pleasure and refreshment. Double Masks, one of men, another of ladies, addeth state and variety. But all is nothing, except the room be kept clear and neat. .
For justs, and turneys, and barriers, the glories of them are chiefly in the chariots, wherein the challengers make their entry, especially if they be drawn with strange beasts, as lions, bears, camels, and the like: or in the devices of their entrance, or in the bravery of their liveries, or in the goodly furniture of their horses and armour. But enough of these toys.
Of Nature in Men. NATURE is often hidden, sometimes overcome, seldom extinguished. Force maketh nature more violent in the return; doctrine and discourse maketh nature less importune: but custom only doth alter and subdue nature. He that seeketh victory over his nature, let him not set himself too great, nor too small tasks, for the first will make him dejected, by often failings; and the second will make him a small proceeder, though by often prevailings. And at the first, let him practise with helps, as
swimmers do with bladders or rushes : but after a time let him practise with disadvantages, as dancers do with thick shoes ; for it breeds great perfection, if the practice be harder than the use. Where Nature is mighty, and therefore the victory hard, the degrees had need be, first, to stay and arrest Nature in time, like to him that would say over the four-and-twenty letters when he was angry, than to go less in quantity; as if one should, in forbearing wine, come from drinking healths to a draught at a meal, and lastly to discontinue altogether: but if a man have the fortitude and resolution to enfranchise himself at once, that is the best : “ He is the best reformer of his mind, who has at once broken the chains which debased his heart, and has repented.”
Neither is the ancient rule amiss, to bend Nature as a wand to a contrary extreme, whereby to set it right, understanding it where the contrary extreme is no vice. Let not a man force a habit upon himself with a perpetual continuance, but with some intermission; for both the pause reinforceth the new onset: and if a man that is not perfect be ever in practice, he shall as well practise his errors, as his abilities, and induce one habit of both: and there is no means to help this, but by seasonable intermission. But let not a man trust his victory over his Nature too far; for Nature will lie buried