OF A KING’S BEHAVIOR IN INDIFFERENT THINGS
THE THIRD BOOK
IT is a true old saying, That a King is as one set on a stage, whose smallest actions and gestures, all the people gazingly do behold: and therefore although a King be never so precise in the discharging of his Office, the people, who seeth but the outward part, will ever judge of the substance, by the circumstances; and according to the outward appearance, if his behavior be light or dissolute, will conceive pre-occupied conceits of the Kings inward intention: which although with time, (the trier of all truth,) it will evanish, by the evidence of the contrary effects, yet interim patitur iustus; and prejudged conceits will, in the mean time, breed contempt, the mother of rebellion and disorder. And besides that, it is certain, that all the indifferent actions and behavior of a man, have a certain holding and dependance, either upon virtue or vice, according as they are used or ruled: for there is not a middle betwixt them, no more than betwixt their rewards, heaven and hell.
Be careful then, my Son, so to frame all your indifferent actions and outward behavior, as they may serve for the furtherance and forth-setting of your inward virtuous disposition.
The whole indifferent actions of a man, I divide in two sorts; in his behavior in things necessary, as food, sleeping, raiment, speaking, writing, and gesture; and in things not necessary, though convenient and lawful, as pastimes or exercises, and using of company for recreation.
As to the indifferent things necessary, although that of themselves they cannot bee wanted, and so in that case are not indifferent; as likewise in-case they bee not used with moderation, declining so to the extremity, which is vice; yet the quality and form of using them, may smell of virtue or vice, and be great furtherers to any of them.
To begin then at the things necessary; one of the most public indifferent actions of a King, and that many, especially strangers, will narrowly take heed to; is his manner of refection at his Table, and his behavior thereat. Therefore, as Kings use oft to eat publicly, it is meet and honourable that ye also do as well to eschew the opinion that ye love not to haunt company, which is one of the marks of a Tyrant; as likewise, that your delight to eat privately, be not thought to be for private satisfying of your gluttony; which ye would be ashamed should be publicly seen. Let your Table be honourably served; but serve your appetite with few dishes, as yong Cyrus did: which both is the most wholesome, and freest from the vice of delicacy, which is a degree of gluttony. And use most to eat of reasonably-gross, and common-meats; as well for making your body strong and durable for travel at all occasions, either in peace or in war: as that ye may be the heartier received by your mean Subjects in their houses, when their cheer may suffice you: which otherwise would be imputed to you for pride and daintiness, and breed coldness and disdain in them. Let all your food be simple, without composition or sauces; which are more like medicines than meat. The using of them was counted amongst the ancient Romans a filthy vice of delicacy; because they serve only for pleasing of the taste, and not for satisfying of the necessity of nature; abhorring Apicius their own citizen, for his vice of delicacy and monestrous gluttony. Like as both the Grecians and Romans had in detestation the very name of Philoxenus, for his filthy wish of a Crane-craig. And therefore was that sentence used amongst them, against these artificial false appetites, optimum condimentum fames. But beware with using excess of meat and drink; and chiefly, beware of drunkenness, which is a beastly vice, namely in a King: but specially beware with it, because it is one of those vices that increaseth with age. In the form of your meat-eating, be neither uncivil, like a gross Cynic; nor affectedly dainty, like a dainty dame; but eat in a manly, round, and honest fashion. It is no ways comely to dispatch affairs, or to be pensive at meat: but keep then an open and cheerful countenance, causing to read pleasant histories unto you, that profit may be mixed with pleasure: and when ye are not disposed, entertain pleasant, quick, but honest discourses.
And because meat provoketh sleeping, be also moderate in your sleep; for it goeth much by use: and remember that if your whole life were divided in four parts, three of them would be found to be consumed on meat, drink, sleep, and unnecessary occupations.
But albeit ordinary times would commonly be kept in meat and sleep; yet use your self some-times so, that any time in the four and twenty hours may be alike to you for any of them; that thereby your diet may be accommodate to your affairs, and not your affairs to your diet: not therefore using your self to over great softness and delicacy in your sleep, more than in your meat; and specially in-case ye have ado with the wars.
Let not your Chamber be throng and common in the time of your rest, as well for comeliness as for eschewing of carrying reports out of the same. Let them that have the credit to serve in your Chamber, be trusty and secret; for a King will have need to use secrecy in many things: but yet behave your self so in your greatest secrets, as ye need not be ashamed, suppose they were all proclaimed at the market cross: But specially see that those of your Chamber be of a sound fame, and without blemish.
Take no heed to any of your dreams, for all prophecies, visions, and prophetic dreams are accomplished and ceased in Christ: And therefore take no heed to fret either in dreams, or any other things; for that error proceedeth of ignorance, and is unworthy of a Christian, who should be assured, Omnia esse pura Puns, as Paul saith; all days and meats being alike to Christians.
Next followeth to speak of the on-putting whereof is the ordinary action that followeth next to sleep. Be also moderate in your raiment, neither over superfluous, like a debauched waster; nor yet over base, like a miserable wretch; not artificially trimmed and decked, like a Courtesan, nor yet over sluggishly clothed, like a country clown; not over lightly like a Candy soldier or a vain young Courtier; nor yet over gravely, like a Minister: but in your garments be proper, cleanly, comely and honest, wearing your clothes in a careless, yet comely form: keeping in them a middle form, ituer Togatos & Paludatos, betwixt the gravity of the one and lightness of the other: thereby to signifie, that by your calling ye are mixed of both the professions; Togatus, as a Judge making and pronouncing the Law; Paludatus, by the power of the sword: as your office is likewise mixed, betwixt the Ecclesiastical and civil estate: For a King is not mere laicus, as both the Papists and Anabaptists would have him, to the which error also the Puritans incline over far. But to return to the purpose of garments, they ought to be used according to their first institution by God, which was for three causes: first to hide our nakedness and shame; next and consequently, to make us more comely; and thirdly, to preserve us from the injuries of heat and cold. If to hide our nakedness and shame-full parts, then these natural parts ordained to be hid, should not be represented by any indecent forms in the clothes: and if they should help our comeliness, they should not then by their painted preened fashion, serve for baits to filthy lechery, as false hair and cosmetics does amongst unchaste women: and if they should preserve vs from the injuries of heat and cold, men should not, like senseless stones, contemn God, in making light the seasons, glorying to conquer honour on heat and cold. And although it be praise-worthy and necessary in a Prince, to be patiens algoris & cestus, when he shall have ado with wars won the fields; yet I think it more meet that ye go both clothed and armed, than naked to the battle, except you would make you light for away-running: and yet for cowards, metus addit alas. And shortly, in your clothes keep a proportion, as well with the seasons of the year, as of your age: in the fashions of them being careless, using them according to the common form of the time, some-times more richly, some-times more meanly clothed, as occasion serveth, without keeping any precise rule therein: For if your mind be found occupied won them, it will be thought idle otherwise, and ye shall be accounted in the number of one of these compti iuuenes; which will make your spirit and judgment to be less thought of. But specially eschew to be effeminate in your clothes, in perfuming, preening, or such like: and fail never in time of wars to be most spruce and bravest, both in clothes and countenance. And make not a fool of yourself in disguising or wearing long hair or nails, which are but excrements of nature, and bewray such mis-users of them, to be either of a vindictive, or a vain light natural. Especially, make no vows in such vain and outward things, as concern either meat or clothes.
Let your self and all your Court wear no ordinary armor with your clothes, but such as is knightly and honourable; I mean rapier-swords, and daggers: For quarrelsome weapons in the Court, betokens confusion in the country. And therefore banish not only from your Court, all traitorous offensive weapons, forbidden by the Laws, as guns and such like (whereof I spake already) but also all traitorous defensive arms, as secrets, plate-sleeves, and such like unseen armor: For, besides that the wearers thereof, may be presupposed to have a secret evil intention, they want both the uses that defensive armor is ordained for; which is, to be able to hold out violence, and by their outward glancing in their enemies eyes, to strike a terror in their hearts: Where by the contrary, they can serve for neither, being not only unable to resist, but dangerous for shots, and giving no outward show against the enemy; being only ordained, for betraying under trust, whereof honest men should be ashamed to bear the outward badge, not resembling the thing they are not. And for answer against these arguments, I know none but the old Scots fashion; which if it be wrong, is no more to be allowed for ancientness, than the old Masse is, which also our forefathers used.
The next thing that ye have to take heed to, is your speaking and language; whereunto I join your gesture, since action is one of the chiefest qualities, that is required in an orator: for as the tongue speaketh to the ears, so doeth the gesture speak to the eyes of the auditor. In both your speaking and your gesture, use a natural and plain form, not painted over with artifice: for (as the French-men say) Rien contre-faict fin: but eschew all affected forms in both.
In your language be plain, honest, natural, comely, clean, short, and sententious, eschewing both the extremities, as well in not Using any rustical corrupt type of speech, as book-language, and pen and ink-horn terms: and least of all dainty and effeminate terms. But let the greatest part of your eloquence consist in a natural, clear, and sensible form of the delivery of your mind, built ever upon certain and good grounds; tempering it with gravity, quickness, or merriness, according to the subject, and occasion of the time; not taunting in Theology, nor alleging and profaning the Scripture in drinking purposes, as over many do.
Use also the like form in your gesture; neither looking silly, like a stupid pedant; nor unsettled, with an uncouth morgue, like a new-come-over Cavalier: but let your behavior be natural, grave, and according to the fashion of the country. Be not over-sparing in your courtesies, for that will be imputed to incivility and arrogance: nor yet over prodigal in joking or nodding at every step: for that form of being popular, becometh better aspiring Absaloms, than lawful Kings: framing ever your gesture according to your present actions: looking gravely and with a majesty when ye sit in judgment, or give audience to Ambassadors, homely, when ye are in private with your own servants: merrily, when ye are at any pastime or merry discourse; and let your countenance smell of courage and magnanimity when ye are at the wars. And remember (I say over again) to be plain and sensible in your language: for besides that it is the tongue’s office, to be the messenger of the mind, it may be thought a point of imbecility of spirit in a King, to speak obscurely, much more untruly; as if he stood in awe of any in uttering his thoughts.
Remember also, to put a difference betwixt your form of language in reasoning, and your pronouncing of sentences, or declaring of your will in judgement, or any other ways in the points of your office: For in the former case, ye must reason pleasantly and patiently, not like a king, but like a private man and a scholar; otherwise, your impatience of contradiction will be interpreted to be for lack of reason on your part. Where in the points of your office, ye should ripely advise indeed, before ye give forth your sentence: but from the time it be given forth, the suffering of any contradiction diminisheth the majesty of your authority, and maketh the processes endless. The like form would also be observed by all your inferior judges and Magistrates.
Now as to your writing, which is nothing else, but a form of en-registrate speech; use a plain, short, but stately style, both in your Proclamations and missives, especially to foreign Princes. And if your engine spur you to write any works, either in verse or in prose, I cannot but allow you to practice it: but take no longsome works in hand, for distracting you from your calling.
Flatter not your self in your labors, but before they be set forth, let them first be privily censured by some of the best skilled men in that craft, that in these works ye meddle with. And because your writes will remain as true pictures of your mind, to all posterities; let them be free of all uncomeliness and un-honesty: and according to Horace his counsel
Nonumque premantur in annum.
I mean both your verse and your prose; letting first that fury and heat, wherewith they were written, cool at leisure; and then as an uncouth judge and censor, revising them over again, before they be published,
quia nescit vox missa reuerti
If ye would write worthily, choose subjects worthy of you, that be not full of vanity, but of virtue; eschewing obscurity, and delighting ever to be plain and sensible. And if ye write in verse, remember that it is not the principal part of a Poem to rhyme right, and flow well with many pretty words: but the chief commendation of a Poem is, that when the verse shall be shaken sundry in prose, it shall be found so rich in quick inventions, and poetic flowers, and in fair and pertinent comparisons; as it shall retain the luster of a Poem, although in prose. And I would also advise you to write in your own language: for there is nothing left to be said in Greek and Latin already; and enough of poor scholars would match you in these languages; and besides that, it best becometh a King to purify and make famous his own tongue; wherein he may go before all his subjects; as it setteth him well to do in all honest and lawful things.
And amongst all unnecessary things that are lawful and expedient, I think exercises of the body most commendable to be used by a young Prince, in such honest games or pastimes, as may further ability and maintain health: For albeit I grant it to be most requisite for a King to exercise his engine, which surely with idleness will rust and become blunt; yet certainly bodily exercises and games are very commendable; as well for banishing of idleness (the mother of all vice) as for making his body able and durable for travel, which is very necessary for a King. But from this count I debar all rough and violent exercises, as the football; more meet for laming, than making able the users thereof: As likewise such tumbling tricks as only serve for Comedians and Balladines, to win their bread with. But the exercises that I would have you to use (although but moderately, not making a craft of them) are running, leaping, wresting, fencing, dancing, and playing at the catch or tennis, archery, pall mall and such like other fair and pleasant field-games. And the most honourable and most commendable games that ye can use, are on horseback: for it becometh a Prince best of any man, to be a fair and good horse-man. Use therefore to ride and control great and courageous horses; that I may say of you, as Philip said of great Alexander his son, Maxedoui/a ou’ se xwrei~. And specially use such games on horse-back, as may teach you to handle your arms thereon; such as the tilt, the ring, and low-riding for handling of your sword.
I cannot omit here the hunting, namely with running hounds; which is the most honourable and noblest sort thereof: for it is a thievish form of hunting to shoot with guns and bows; and greyhound hunting is not so martial a game: But because I would not be thought a partial praiser of this sport, I remit you to Xenophon, an old and famous writer, who had no mind of flattering you or me in this purpose: and who also setteth down a fair pattern, for the education of a young king, under the supposed name of Cyrus.
As for hawking I condemn it not, but I must praise it more sparingly, because it neither resembleth the wars so near as hunting doth, in making a man hardy, and skillfully ridden in all grounds, and is more uncertain and subject to mischances; and (which is worst of all) is there-through an extreme stirrer up of passions: But in using either of these games, observe that moderation, that ye slip not therewith the hours appointed for your affairs, which ye ought ever precisely to keep; remembering that these games are but ordained for you, in enabling you for your office, for the which ye are ordained.
And as for sitting house-pastimes, wherewith men by driving time, spur a free and fast enough running horse (as the proverb is) although they are not profitable for the exercise either of mind or body, yet can I not utterly condemn them; since they may at times supply the room, which being empty, would be patent to pernicious idleness, quia nihil potest esse vacuum. I will not therefore agree with the curiosity of some learned men in our age, in forbidding cards, dice, and other such like games of hazard; although otherwise surely I reverence them as notable and godly men: For they are deceived therein, in founding their argument upon a mistaken ground, which is, that the playing at such games, is a kind of casting of lot, and therefore unlawful; wherein they deceive themselves: For the casting of lot was used for trial of the truth in any obscure thing, that otherwise could not be gotten cleared; and therefore was a sort of prophecy: where by the contrary, no man goeth to any of these plays, to clear any obscure truth, but only to gage so much of his own money, as he pleaseth, upon the hazard of the running of the cards or dice, as well as he would do upon the speed of a horse or a dog, or any such like wager: And so, if they be unlawful, all wagers upon uncertainties must likewise be condemned: Not that thereby I take the defence of vain carders and dicers, that waste their money, and their time (whereof few consider the preciousness) upon prodigal and continual playing: no, I would rather allow it to be discharged, where such corruption cannot be eschewed. But only I cannot condemn you at some times, when ye have no other thing to do (as a good King will be seldom) and are weary of reading, or evil disposed in your person, and when it is foul and stormy weather; then, I say, may ye lawfully play at the cards or tables: For as to dicing, I think it becometh best debauched soldiers to play at, on the head of their drums, being only ruled by hazard, and subject to knavish cheating. And as for the chess, I think it over fond, because it is over-wise and Philosophic a folly: For where all such light plays, are ordained to free men’s heads for a time, from the fashious thoughts on their affairs; it by the contrary filleth and troubleth men’s heads, with as many fashious toys of the play, as before it was filled with thoughts on his affairs.
But in your playing, I would have you to keep three rules: first, or ye play, consider ye do it only for your recreation, and resolve to hazard the loss of all that ye play; and next, for that cause play no more than ye care to cast among Pages: and last, play always fair play precisely, that ye come not in use of tricking and lying in least: otherwise, if ye cannot keep these rules, my counsel is that ye all utterly abstain from these plays: For neither a mad passion for loss, nor falsehood used for desire of game, can be called a play.
Now, it is not only lawful, but necessary, that ye have company meet for every thing ye take on hand, as well in your games and exercises, as in your grave and earnest affairs: But learn to distinguish time according to the occasion choosing your company accordingly. Confer not with hunters at your counsel, nor in your counsel affairs: nor dispatch not affairs at hunting or other games. And have the like respect to the seasons of your age, using your sorts of recreation and company therefore, agreeing thereunto: For it becometh best, as kindliest, every age to smell of their own quality, insolence and unlawful things being always eschewed: and not that a colt should draw the plough, and an old horse run away with the harrows. But take heed specially, that your company for recreation, be chosen of honest persons, not defamed or vicious, mixing filthy talk with merriness,
Corrumpunt bonos mores colloquia prauai
And chiefly abstain from haunting before your manage, the idle company of dames, which are nothing else, but irritamenta libidinis. Be ware likewise to abuse your self, in making your sporters your counselors: and delight not to keep ordinarily in your company, Comedians or Balladines: for the Tyrants delighted most in them, glorying to be both authors and actors of Comedies and Tragedies themselves: Whereupon the answer that the poet Philoxenus disdainfully gave to the Tyrant of Syracuse there-about, is now come in a proverb, reduc me in latomias. And all the ruse that Nero made of himself when he died, was Qualis artifex pereo? meaning of his skill in minstrelsy, and playing of Tragedies: as indeed his whole life and death, was all but one Tragedy.
Delight not also to be in your own person a player upon instruments; especially on such as commonly men win their living with: nor yet to be fine of any mechanic craft: Leur esprit s ‘en fuit au bout des doigts, saith Du Bartas: whose works, as they are all most worthy to be read by any Prince, or other good Christian; so would I especially wish you to be well versed in them. But spare not sometimes by merry company, to be free from importunity; for ye should be ever moved with reason, which is the only quality whereby men differ from beasts; and not with importunity: For the which cause (as also for augmenting your Majesty) ye shall not be so facile of access-giving at all times, as I have been; and yet not altogether retired or locked up, like the Kings of Persia; appointing also certain hours for public audience.
And since my trust is, that God hath ordained you for more Kingdoms than this (as I have oft already said) press by the outward behavior as well of your own person, as of your court, in all indifferent things, to allure piece and piece, the rest of your kingdoms, to follow the fashions of that kingdom of yours, that ye find most civil, easiest to be ruled, and most obedient to the Laws: for these outward and indifferent things will serve greatly for allurements to the people, to embrace and follow virtue. But beware of extorting or constraining them thereto; letting it be brought on with time, and at leisure; specially by so mixing through alliance and daily conversation, the inhabitants of every kingdom with other, as may with time make them to grow and weld all in one: Which may easily be done betwixt these two nations, being both but one isle of Britain, and already joined in unity of Religion and language. So that even as in the times of our ancestors, the long wars and many bloody battles betwixt these two countries, bred a natural and hereditary hatred in every of them, against the other: the uniting and welding of them hereafter in one, by all sort of friendship, commerce, and alliance, will by the contrary produce and maintain a natural and inseparable unity of love amongst them. As we have already (praise be to God) a great experience of the good beginning hereof, and of the quenching of the old hate in the hearts of both the people; procured by the means of this long and happy amity, between the Queen my dearest sister and me; which during the whole time of both our Reigns, hath ever been inviolably observed.
And for conclusion of this my whole Treatise, remember my Son, by your true and constant depending upon God, to look for a blessing to all your actions in your office: by the outward using thereof, to testify the inward uprightness of your heart; and by your behavior in all indifferent things, to set forth the lively image of your virtuous disposition; and in respect of the greatness and weight of your burden, to be patient in hearing, keeping your heart free from preoccupation, ripe in concluding, and constant in your resolve
For better it is to bide at your resolution, although there were some defect in it, than by daily changing, to effectuate nothing: taking the pattern thereof from the microcosm of your own body; wherein ye have two eyes, signifying great foresight and providence, with a narrow looking in all things; and also two ears, signifying patient hearing, and that of both the parties: but ye have but one tongue, for pronouncing a plain, sensible, and uniform sentence; and but one head, and one heart, for keeping a constant & uniform resolution, according to your apprehension: having two hands and two feet, with many fingers and toes for quick execution, in employing all instruments meet for effectuating your deliberations.
But forget not to digest ever your passion, before ye determine upon anything, since Ira furor breuis est uttering only your anger according to the Apostles rule, Irascimini, sed ne peccetis: taking pleasure, not only to reward, but to advance the good, which is a chief point of a King’s glory (but make none over-great, but according as the power of the country may bear) and punishing the evil; but every man according to his own offence: punishing nor blaming the father for the son, nor the brother for the brother; much less generally to hate a whole race for the fault of one: for noxa caput sequitur.
And above all, let the measure of your love to every one, be according to the measure of his virtue; letting your favor to be no longer tied to any, than the continuance of his virtuous disposition shall deserve: not admitting the excuse upon a just revenge, to procure oversight to an injury: For the first injury is committed against the party; but the parties revenging thereof at his own hand, is a wrong committed against you, in usurping your office, whom-to only the sword belongeth, for revenging of all the injuries committed against any of your people.
Thus hoping in the goodness of God, that your natural inclination shall have a happy sympathy with these precepts, making the wise-man’s school-master, which is the example of others, to be your teacher, according to that old verse, Foelix quem faciunt aliena pericula cautum; eschewing so the over-late repentance by your own experience, which is the school-master of fools; I will for end of all, require you my Son, as ever ye think to deserve my fatherly blessing, to keep continually before the eyes of your mind, the greatness of your charge: making the faithful and due discharge thereof, the principal but ye shoot at in all your actions: counting it ever the principal, and all your other actions but as accessories, to be employed as means for the furthering of that principal. And being content to let others excel in other things, let it be your chiefest earthly glory, to excel in your own craft: according to the worthy counsel and charge of Anchises to his posterity, in that sublime and heroical Poet, wherein also my diction is included;
Excudent alij spirantia mollius æra,
Credo equidem, & viuos ducent de marmore vultus,
Orabunt causas melius, coelique meatus
Describent radio, & surgentia sydera dicent.
Tu, regere imperio populos, Romane, memento
(Hæ tibi erunt artes) pacique imponere morem,
‘Parcere subiectis, & debellare superbos.