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a great time, and yet revive upon the occasion of temptation : like as it was with Æsop's damsel, turned from a cat to a woman, who sat very demurely at the board's end, till a mouse ran before her. Therefore let a man either avoid the occasion altogether, or put himself often to it, that he may be little moved with it. A man's Nature is best perceived in privateness; for there is no affectation in passion, for that putteth a man out of his precepts, and in a new case of experiment, for there custom leaveth him. They are happy men whose natures sort with their vocations; otherwise they may say, “My mind has wandered to many objects;" when they converse in those things they do not affect. In studies, whatsoever a man commandeth upon himself, let him set hours for it; but whatsoever is agreeable to his Nature, let him take no care for any set times, for his thoughts will fly to it of themselves; so as the spaces of other business or studies will suffice. A man's Nature runs either to herbs or weeds; therefore let him seasonably water the one, and destroy the other.
Of Custom and Education.
M EN'S thoughts are much according to their inclination, their discourse and speeches according to their learning and infused opinions; but their
deeds are after as they have been accustomed : and therefore, as Machiavel well noteth, (though in an ill-favoured instance) there is no trusting to the force of nature nor to the bravery of words, except it be corroborate by Custom. His instance is, that for the achieving of a desperate conspiracy, a man should not rest upon the fierceness of any man's nature, or his resolute undertakings; but take such an one as hath had his hands formerly in blood. But Machiavel knew not of a Friar Clement, nor a Ravilliac, nor a Jaureguy, nor a Baltazer Gerrard; yet this rule holdeth still, that nature, nor the engagement of words, are not so forcible as Customs. Only superstition is now so well advanced, that men of the first blood are as firm as butchers by occupation, and votary resolution is made equipollent to Custom, even in matter of blood. In other things the predominancy of Custom is every where visible, insomuch as a man would wonder to hear men profess, protest, engage, give great words, and then do just as they have done before; as if they were dead images, and engines moved only by the wheels of Custom. We see also the reign or tyranny of Custom, what it is. The Indians (I mean the sect of their Wise Men) lay themselves quietly upon a stack of wood, and so sacrifice themselves by fire. Nay, the wives strive to be burned with the corpses of their husbands. The lads of Sparta, of ancient time, were wont to be scourged upon the altar of Diana without so much as squeaking. I remember in the beginning of Queen Elizabeth's time, of England, an Irish rebel condemned, put up a petition to the Deputy that he might be hanged in a wyth, and not in a halter, because it had been so used with former rebels. There be monks in Russia, for penance, that will sit a whole night in a vessel of water, till they be engaged with hard ice. Many examples may be put down of the force of Custom, both upon mind and body. Therefore since Custom is the principal magistrate of man's life, let men by all means endeavour to obtain good Customs. Certainly Custom is most perfect when it beginneth in young years : this we call Education, which is in effect but an early Custom. So we see in languages, the tongue is more pliant to all expressions and sounds, the joints are more supple to all feats of activity and motions in youth than afterwards. For it is true, the late learners cannot so well take the ply, except it be in some minds that have not suffered themselves to fix, but have kept themselves open and prepared to receive continual amendment, which is exceeding rare. But if the force of Custom, simple and separate, be great, the force of Custom copulate, and conjoined, and collegiate, is far greater. . For there example teacheth, company comforteth, emulation quicken,
eth, glory raiseth: so as in such places the force of Custom is in his exaltation. Certainly the great multiplication of virtues upon human nature, resteth upon societies well ordained and disciplined : for Commonwealths and good Governments do nourish virtue grown, but do not much mend the seeds. But the misery is, that the most effectual means are now applied to the ends least to be desired.
Of Fortune. It cannot be denied, but outward accidents conduce much to Fortune : favour, opportunity, death of others, occasion fitting virtue. But chiefly the mould of a man's fortune is in his own hands. “ Every man is the maker of his own Fortune," saith the poet. And the most frequent of external causes is, that the folly of one man is the Fortune of another. For no man prospers so suddenly, as by others errors. “A serpent, unless he devours a serpent, does not become a dragon.” Overt and apparent virtues bring forth praise; but there be secret and hidden virtues that bring forth Fortune : certain deliveries of a man's self, which have no name. The Spanish name, Desemboltura, partly expresseth them, when there be not stands nor restiveness in a man's nature, but that the wheels of his mind keep way with the wheels of his Fortune. For so Livy (after he had described Cato Major, in these words, “ There was such strength of body and mind in that man, that, in whatsoever place he had been born, he seemed as if he would have made his own Fortune”) falleth upon that that he had a versatile genius. Therefore if a man look sharply and attentively, he shall see Fortune : for though she be blind, yet she is not invisible. The. way of Fortune is like the milky way in the sky, which is a meeting or knot of a number of small stars ; not seen asunder, but giving light together : so are there a number of little, and scarce discerned virtues, or rather faculties and customs, that make men fortunate. The Italians note some of them, such as a man would little think : when they speak of one that cannot do amiss, they will throw in, into his other conditions that he hath, poco di . matto. And certainly, there be not two more fortunate properties, than to have a little of the fool, and not too much of the honest. Therefore extreme lovers of their country, or masters, were never fortunate; neither can they be. For when a . man placeth his thoughts without himself, he goeth not his own way. An hasty Fortune maketh an enterpriser and remover, (the French hath it better, enterprenant, or remuant); but the exercised Fortune maketh the able man. Fortune is to be ho