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Love and Self-love

The Squire's Speech in the Tiltyard

  MOST excellent and most glorious Queen, give me leave, I beseech your Majesty, to offer my master his complaint and petition; complaint that coming hither to your Majesty's most happy day, he is tormented with the importunity of a melancholy dreaming Hermit, a mutinous brain-sick Soldier, and a busy tedious Secretary. His petition is that he may be as free as the rest, and at least whilst he is here, troubled with nothing but with care how to please and honour you.



The Hermit's Speech in the Presence

    Though our ends be diverse, and therefore may be one more just than another, yet the complaint of this Squire is general, and therefore alike unjust against us all. Albeit he is angry that we offer ourselves to his master uncalled, and forgets we come not of ourselves but as the messengers of Self-love, from whom all that comes should be well taken. He saith when we come we are importunate. If he mean that we err in form, we have that of his master, who being a lover useth no other form of soliciting. If he will charge us to err in matter, I for my part will presently prove that I persuade him to nothing but for his own good. For I wish him to leave turning over the book of fortune, which is but a play for children, where there be so many books of truth and knowledge better worthy the revolving, and not fix his view only upon a picture in a little table, where there be so many tables of histories, yea to life, excellent to behold and admire. Whether he believe me or no, there is no prison to the prison of the thoughts, which are free under the greatest tyrants. Shall any man make his conceit as an anchor, mured up with the compass of one beauty or person, that may have the liberty of all contemplation? Shall he exchange the sweet traveling through the universal variety for one wearisome and endless round or labyrinth? Let thy master, Squire, offer his service to the Muses. It is long since they received any into their court. They give alms continually at their gate, that many come to live upon; but few have they ever admitted into their palace. There shall he find secrets not dangerous to know, sides and parties not factious to hold, precepts and commandments not penal to disobey. The gardens of love wherein he now playeth himself are fresh to-day and fading to-morrow, as the sun comforts them or is turned from them. But the gardens of the Muses keep the privilege of the golden age; they ever nourish and are in league with time. The monuments of wit survive the monuments of power: the verses of a poet endure without a syllable lost, while states and empires pass many periods. Let him not think he shall descend, for he is now upon a hill as a ship is mounted upon the ridge of a wave; but that hill of the Muses is above tempests, always clear and calm; a hill of the goodliest discovery that man can have, being a prospect upon all the errors and wanderings of the present and former times. Yea, in some cliff it leadeth the eye beyond the horizon of time, and giveth no obscure divinations of times to come. So that if he will in deed lead vitam vitalem, a life that unites safety and dignity, pleasure and merit; if he will win admiration without envy; if he will be in the feast and not in the throng, in the light and not in the heat; let him embrace the life of study and contemplation. And if he will accept of no other reason, yet because the gift of the Muses will enworthy him in his love, and where he now looks on his mistress's outside with the eyes of sense, which are dazzled and amazed, he shall then behold her high perfections and heavenly mind with the eyes of judgment, which grow stronger by more nearly and more directly viewing such an object.



The Soldier's Speech

    Squire, the good old man hath said well to you, but I dare say thou wouldst be sorry to leave to carry thy master's shield, and to carry his books, and I am sure thy master had rather be a falcon, a bird of prey, than a singing-bird in a cage. The Muses are to serve martial men, to sing their famous actions, and not to be served by them. Then hearken to me.
    It is the wars that giveth all spirits of valour not only honour but contentment. For mark whether ever you did see a man grown to any honourable commandment in the wars, but whensoever he gave it over he was ready to die with melancholy? Such a sweet felicity is in that noble exercise, that he that hath tasted it thoroughly is distasted for all other. And no marvel; for if the hunter take such solace in his chase, if the matches and wagers of sport pass away with such satisfaction and delight, if the looker-on be affected with pleasure in the representation of a feigned tragedy, think what contentment a man receiveth when they that are equal to him in nature from the height of insolency and fury are brought to the condition of a chased prey, when a victory is obtained whereof the victories of games are but counterfeits and shadows, and when in a lively tragedy a man's enemies are sacrificed before his eyes to his fortune. Then for the dignity of military profession, is it not the truest and perfectest practice of all virtues? of wisdom, in disposing those things which are most subject to confusion and accident; of justice, in continual distributing rewards; of temperance, in exercising of the straitest discipline; of fortitude, in toleration of all labours and abstinence from effeminate delights; of constancy, in bearing and digesting the greatest variety of fortune. So that when all other places and professions require but their several virtues, a brave leader in the wars must be accomplished with all. It is the wars that are the tribunal seat, where the highest rights and possessions are decided; the occupation of kings, the root of nobility, the protection of all estates; and lastly, lovers never thought their profession sufficiently graced, till they have compared it to a warfare. All that in any other profession can be wished for is but to live happily: but to be a brave commander in the field, death itself doth crown the head with glory. Therefore, Squire, let thy master go with me, and though he be resolved in the pursuit of his love, let him aspire to it by the noblest means. For ladies count it no honour to subdue them with their fairest eyes, which will be daunted with the fierce encounter of an enemy; and they will quickly discern a champion fit to wear their glove, from a page not worthy to carry their pantofle. Therefore I say again, let him seek his fortune in the field, where he may either lose his love, or find new arguments to advance it.



The Statesman's Speech

    Squire, my advice to thy master shall be as a token wrapped up in words; but then will it show itself fair, when it is unfolded in his actions. To wish him to change from one humour to another, were but as if for the cure of a man in pain one should advise him to lie upon the other side, but not enable him to stand on his feet. If from a sanguine delightful humour of love he turn to a melancholy retired humour of contemplation, or a turbulent boiling humour of the wars, what doth he but change tyrants? Contemplation is a dream, love a trance, and the humour of war is raving. These be shifts of humour, but no reclaiming to reason. I debar him not studies nor books, to give him store and variety of conceit, to refresh his mind, to cover sloth and indisposition, and to draw to him from those that are studious respect and commendation. But let him beware lest they possess not too much of his time, that they abstract not his judgment from present experience, nor make him presume upon knowing much to apply the less. For the wars, I deny him no enterprise that shall be worthy in greatness, likely in success, or necessary in duty; not mixed with any circumstance of jealousy, but duly laid upon him. But I would not have him take the alarm from his own humour, but from the occasion; and I would again he should know an employment from a discourting. And for his love, let it not so disarm his heart within, as it make him too credulous to favour, nor too tender to unkindnesses, nor too apt to depend upon the heart he knows not. Nay in his demonstration of love let him not go too far; for these silly lovers, when they profess such infinite affection and obligation, they tax themselves at so high a rate that they are ever under arrest. It makes their service seem nothing, and every cavil or imputation very great. But what, Squire, is thy master's end? If to make the prince happy he serves, let the instructions to employed men, the relations of ambassadors, the treaties between princes, and actions of the present time, be the books he reads: let the orations of wise princes or experimented counsellors in council or parliament, and the final sentences of grave and learned judges in weighty and doubtful causes, be the lectures he frequents. Let the holding of affection with confederates without charge, the frustrating of the attempts of enemies without battles, the entitling of the Crown to new possessions without show of wrong, the filling of the prince's coffers without grudging, the appeasing tumults and seditions without violence, the keeping of men in appetite without impatience, be the inventions he seeks out. Let policy and matter of state be the chief, and almost the only thing he intends. But if he will believe Philautia, and seek most his own happiness, he must not of them embrace all kinds, but make choice, and avoid all matter of peril, displeasure, and charge, and turn them over to some novices that know not manacles from bracelets, nor burdens from robes. For himself, let him set for matters of commodity and strength, though they be joined with envy. Let him not trouble himself too laboriously to sound into any matter deeply, or to execute anything exactly; but let him make himself cunning rather in the humours and drifts of persons than in the nature of business and affairs. Of that it sufficeth to know only so much as may make him able to make use of other men's wits, and to make again a smooth and pleasing report. Let him entertain the proposition of others, and ever rather let him have an eye to the circumstances than to the matter itself; for then shall he ever seem to add somewhat of his own: and besides, when a man doth not forget so much as a circumstance, men do think his wit doth superabound for the substance. In his counsels let him not be confident, for that will rather make him obnoxious to the success; but let him follow the wisdom of oracles, which uttered that which might ever be applied to the event. And ever rather let him take the side which is likeliest to be followed, than that which is soundest and best, that everything may seem to be carried by his direction. To conclude, let him be true to himself, and avoid all tedious reaches of state that are not merely pertinent to his particular. And if he will needs pursue his affection, and go on his course, what can so much advance him in his own way? The merit of war is too outwardly glorious to be inwardly grateful, and it is the exile of his eye, which looking with such affection upon the picture, cannot but with infinite contentment behold the life. But when his mistress shall perceive that his endeavours are [to] become a true supporter of her, a discharge of her care, a watch man of her person, a scholar of her wisdom, an instrument of her operation, and a conduit of her virtue, this with his diligences, successes, humility, and patience, may move her to give him further degrees and approaches to her favour. So that I conclude I have traced him the way to that which hath been granted to some few, amare et sapere, to love and be wise.



The Reply of the Squire

    Wandering Hermit, storming Soldier, and hollow Statesman, the enchanting orators of Philautia, which have attempted by your high charms to turn resolved Erophilus into a statua deprived of action, or into a vulture attending about dead bodies, or into a monster with a double heart; with infinite assurance, but with just indignation and forced patience, I have suffered you to bring in play your whole forces. For I would not vouch safe to combat you one by one, as if I trusted to the goodness of my breath and not the goodness of my strength, which little needeth the advantage of your severing, and much less of your disagreeing. Therefore, first, I would know of you all what assurance you have of the fruit whereto you aspire. You (Father) that pretend to truth and knowledge, how are you assured that you adore not vain chimeras and imaginations? that in your high prospect, when you think men wander up and down, that they stand not indeed still in their place, and it is some smoke or cloud between you and them which moveth, or else the dazzling of your own eyes? Have not many which take themselves to be inward counsellors with Nature, proved but idle believers, that told us tales which were no such matter? And, Soldier, what security have you for these victories and garlands which you promise to yourself? Know you not of many which have made provision of laurel for the victory, and have been fain to exchange it with cypress for the funeral? of many which have bespoken fame to sound their triumphs, and have been glad to pray her to say nothing of them, and not to discover them in their flights? Corrupt Statesman, you that think by your engines and motions to govern the wheel of fortune; do you not mark that clocks cannot be long in temper, that jugglers are no longer in request when their tricks and sleights are once perceived? Nay do you not see that never any man made his own cunning and practice (without religion, honour, and moral honesty) his foundation, but he overbuilt himself, and in the end made his house a windfall? But give ear now to the comparison of my master's condition, and acknowledge such s difference as is betwixt the melting hail-stone and the solid pearl. Indeed it seemeth to depend as the globe of the earth seemeth to hang in the air; but yet it is firm and stable in itself. It is like a cube or die-form, which toss it or throw it any way, it ever lighteth upon a square. Is he denied the hopes of favours to come? He can resort to the remembrance of contentments past: destiny cannot repeal that which is past. Doth he find the acknowledgment of his affection small? He may find the merit of his affection the greater: fortune cannot have power over that which is within. Nay his falls are like the falls of Antaeus; they renew his strength. His clouds are like the clouds of harvest, which make the sun break forth with greater force; his wanes and changes are like the moon, whose globe is all light towards the sun when it is all dark towards the world; such is the excellency of her nature and of his estate. Attend, you beadsman of the Muses, you take your pleasure in a wilderness of variety; but it is but of shadows. You are as a man rich in pictures, medals, and crystals. Your mind is of the water, which taketh all forms and impressions, but is weak of substance. Will you compare shadows with bodies, picture with life, variety of many beauties with the peerless excellency of one? the element of water with the element of fire? And such is the comparison between knowledge and love. Come out (man of war), you must be ever in noise. You will give laws, and advance force, and trouble nations, and remove landmarks of kingdoms, and hunt men, and pen tragedies in blood: and that which is worst of all, make all the virtues accessary to bloodshed. Hath the practice of force so deprived you of the use of reason, as that you will compare the interruption of society with the perfection of society, the conquest of bodies with the conquest of spirits, the terrestrial fire which destroyeth and dissolveth with the celestial fire which quickeneth and giveth life? And such is the comparison between the soldier and the lover. And as for you, untrue Politique, but truest bondman to Philautia, you that presume to bind occasion and to overwork fortune, I would ask you but one question. Did ever any lady, hard to please, or disposed to exercise her lover, enjoin him so hard tasks and commandments, as Philautia exacteth of you? While your life is nothing but a continual acting upon a stage; and that your mind must serve your humour, and yet your outward person must serve your end; so as you carry in one person two several servitudes to contrary masters. But I will leave you to the scorn of that mistress whom you undertake to govern; that is, to fortune, to whom Philautia hath bound you. And yet, you commissioners of Philautia, I will proceed one degree further. If I allowed both of your assurance and of your values as you have set them, may not my master enjoy his own felicity, and have all yours for advantage? I do not mean that he should divide himself in both pursuits, as in your fainting tales towards the conclusion you did yield him; but because all these are in the hands of his mistress more fully to bestow than they can be attained by your addresses, knowledge, fame, and fortune. For the Muses, they are tributary to her Majesty for the great liberties they have enjoyed in her kingdom during her most flourishing reign; in thankfulness whereof they have adorned and accomplished her Majesty with the gifts of all the sisters. What library can present such a story of great actions as her Majesty carrieth in her royal breast by the often return of this happy day? What worthy author or favourite of the Muses is not familiar with her? Or what language wherein the Muses have used to speak is unknown to her? Therefore, the hearing of her, the observing of her, the receiving instructions from her, may be to Erophilus a lecture exceeding all dead monuments of the Muses. For Fame, can all the exploits of the war win him such a title, as to have the name of favoured and selected servant of such a Queen? For Fortune, can any insolent politique promise to himself such a fortune by making his own way, as the excellency of her nature cannot deny to a careful, obsequious, and dutiful servant? And if he could, were it equal honour to obtain it by a shop of cunning as by the gift of such a hand?
    Therefore Erophilus' resolution is fixed: he renounceth Philautia, and all her enchantments. For her recreation, he will confer with his muse: for her defence and honour, he mill sacrifice his life in the wars, hoping to be embalmed in the sweet odours of her remembrance; to her service will he consecrate all his watchful endeavours; and will ever bear in his heart the picture of her beauty, in his actions of her will, and in his fortune of her grace and favour.
[@ Bacon, Works VIII, 378-86]