The Fourth Book of the Courtier
This English translation of The Book of the Courtier is that of Sir Thomas Hoby (1561) as edited by Walter Raleigh for David Nutt, Publisher, London, 1900, and partakes of the virtues and faults, as may be, of that edition. It was transcribed by Risa S. Bear at the University of Oregon during the summer of 1997. This edition is provided to the public for nonprofit purposes only; the design is copyright © 1997 The University of Oregon. Corrections and comments to the Publisher, rbear[at]uoregon.edu .
OF THE COURTYER OF COUNT
HINKINGE to write oute the communication that was had the fourth night after the other mentioned in the former bookes, I feele emong sundry discourses a bitter thought that gripeth me in my minde, and maketh me to call to remembraunce worldlie miseries and our deceitfull hopes, and how fortune many times in the verie middes of our race, otherwhile nighe the ende disapointeth our fraile and vaine pourposes, sometime drowneth them before they can once come to have a sight of the haven a farr of. It causeth me therefore to remember that not long after these reasoninges were had, cruell death bereved our house of three moste rare gentilmen, whan in their prosperous age and forwardnesse of honour they most florished, and of them the first was the Lord Gaspar Pallavicin, who assaulted with a sharp disease, and more then once brought to the
last cast, although his minde was of suche courage that for a time in spite of death he kept the soule and bodye together, yet did he ende his naturall course longe beefore he came to his ripe age. A very great losse not in our house onlie and to his friendes and kinsfolke, but to his Countrie and to all Lumbardye. Not longe after died the L. Cesar Gonzaga, which to all that were acquainted with him left a bitter and sorowfull remembraunce of his death. For sins nature so sildome times bringeth furth such kinde of men, as she doeth, meete it seemed that she shoulde not so soone have bereaved us of him. For undoubtedlye a man maye saye that the L. Cesar was taken from us even at the very time whan he beganne to show more then a hope of himself, and to be esteamed as his excellent qualities deserved. For with manye vertuous actes he alreadie gave a good testimony of his worthinesse, and beeside his noblenesse of birthe, he excelled also in the ornament of letters, of marciall prowesse, and of everye woorthie qualitie. So that for his goodnesse, witt, nature, and knowleage, there was nothinge so highe, that might not have bine hoped for at his handes. Within a short while after, the death of M. Robert of Bari was also a great heavinesse to the wholl house: for reason seemed to perswade everie man to take
L. Gaspar Pallavicin.
L. Cesar Gonzaga.
hevily the death of a yonge man of good beehaviour, pleasaunt and most rare in the beawtie of fisnamye and in the makinge of his person, with as lucky and lively towardnes, as a man coulde have wished. These men therfore, had they lived, I beleave would have come to that passe, that unto whoso had knowen them, they woulde have showed a manifest proof, how much the Court of Urbin was worthie to be commended, and howe fournished it was with noble knightes, the whiche (in a maner) all the rest have done that were brought up in it. For trulye there never issued out of the horse of Troy so many great men and capitaines, as there have come menne out of this house for vertue verie singular and in great estimation with al men. For as you knowe Sir Fredericke Fregoso was made archebishop of Salerno. Count Lewis, Bishoppe of Baious. The L. Octavian Fregoso, Duke of Genua. M. Bernarde Bibiena, Cardinal of Santa Maria in Portico. M. Peter Bembo, Secretarye to Pope Leo. The L. Julian was exalted to the Dukedome of Nemours and to the great astate he is presentlye in. The Lord Francescomaria della Roveré, Generall of Roome, he was also made Duke of Urbin: although a much more praise may be given to the house where he was brought up, that in it he hath proved so rare and excellent a Lorde in all vertuous qualities (as a man may beehoulde) then that he atteined unto the Dukedome of Urbin: and no smalle cause thereof (Ithinke) was the noble company where in daily conversation he alwaies hearde and sawe commendable nourtour. Therfore (me thinke) whether it be by happe, or throughe the favour of the sterres, the same cause that so longe a time hath graunted unto Urbin verie good governours, doth still continue and bringeth furth the like effectes. And therefore it is to be hoped that prosperous fortune will still encrease these so vertuous doinges, that the happines of the house and of the State shall not only not diminish, but rather daily encrease: and therof we see alreadye manye evident tokens, emonge whiche (I recken) the cheeffest to be, that the heaven hath graunted suche a Lady as is the Ladye Eleonor Gonzaga the newe Dutchesse.
M. Robert of Bari.
The promotinge of certein mentioned in the booke.
For if ever there were coopled in one bodye alone, knowleage, witt, grace, beawtie, sober conversation, gentilnesse and every other honest qualitie, in her they are so lincked together, that there is made therof a chaine, whiche frameth and setteth furth everie gesture of herres with al these condicions together. Let us therforee proceade in our reasoninges upon the Coutyer, with hope that after us there shall not want suche as shall take notable and woorthye examples of vertue at the presente Court of Urbin, as we nowe do at the former.
L. Eleonor Gonzaga Dut. of Urbin.
It was thought therefore (as the L. Gaspar Pallavicin was wont to reherse) that the next daye after the reasoninges conteined in the laste booke, the L. Octavian was not muche seene: for manye deemed that he had gotten himself out of companye tho thinke well upon that he had to saye without trouble. Therfore whan the company was assembled at the accustomed houre where the Dutchesse was, they made the L. Octavian to be diligentlye sought for, whiche in a good while appered not, so that manye of the Gentilmen and Damselles of the Court fell to daunsynge and to minde other pastymes, supposynge for that night they shoulde have no mre talke of the Courtyer.
And nowe were they all settled about one thinge or an other, whan the L. Octavian came in (almost) no more looked for: and beehouldinge the L. Cesar Gonzaga and the L. Gaspar daunsinge, after he had made his reverence to the Duchesse, he saide smilinge: I had well hoped we shoulde have heard the L. Gaspar speake ill of women this night to, but sins I see him daunce with one, I imagin he is agreede with all. And I am glad that the controversie, or (to terme it better) the reasoninge of the Courtier is thus ended.
Not ended, I warant you, answered the Dutchesse, for I am not such an ennemye to men, as you be to women, and therfore I wil not have the Courtier bereved from his due honour and the fournimentes whiche you youre selfe promised him yester night.
And whan she had thus spoken, she commaunded them all after that daunse was ended to place themselves after the wonted maner, the which was done.
And as they stoode all wyth heedfull expectation, the L. Octavian said: Madom, sins for that I wished manye other good qualities in the Courtier, it foloweth by promise that I muste entreate uppon them, I am well willinge to uttre my minde: not with opinion that I can speake all that might be said in the matter, but only so much as shall suffice to roote that oute of your mind, which yester night was objected to me: namely, that I spake it more to withdrawe the prayses from the Gentilwoman of the Palaice, in doinge you falselye to beleave that other excellent qualities might be added to the Courtier, and with that pollicie prefarre him beefore her, then for that it is so in deede. Therfore to frame my selfe also to the houre, which is later then it was wont to be whan we beegane our reasoninges at other
times, I will be breef. Thus continuinge in the talke that these Lordes have ministred, whiche I full and wholye alowe and confirme, I say, that of thinges which we call good, some there be that simply and of themselves are alwaies good, as temperance, valiant courage, helth, and all vertues that bring quietnesse to mens mindes. Other be good for diverse respectes and for the ende they be applied unto, as that the Courtier (if he be of the perfection that Count Lewis and Sir Friderick have described him) maye in deede be a good thinge and woorthie praise, but for all that not simplye, nor of himself, but for respect of the ende wherto he may be applied. For doubtlesse if the Courtier with his noblenesse of birth, comlie beehaviour, pleasantnesse and practise in so many exercises, should bringe furth no other frute, but to be suche a one for himself, I woulde not thinke to come by this perfect trade of Courtiership, that a man shoulde of reason beestowe so much studye and peynes about it, as who so will compase it must do. But I woulde say rather that manie of the qualities appointed him, as daunsing, singinge and sporting, were lightnesse and vanitie, and in a man of estimation rather to be dispraised then commended: bicause those precise facions, the settinge furth ones selfe, meerie talke and such other matters belonginge to enterteinment of women and love (althoughe perhappes manie other be of a contrary opinion) do many times nothinge elles but womannish the mindes, corrupt youth, and bring them to a most wanton trade of livinge: wherupon afterwarde ensue these effectes, that the name of Italy is brought into sclaunder, and few there be that have the courage, I will not saye to jeoparde their lief, but to entre once into a daunger.
And without peradventure there be infinite other thinges, that if a man beestow his labour and studie about them, woulde bring furth muche more profit both in peace and warr, then this trade of Courtiershipp of it self alone. But in case the Courtiers doinges be directed to the good ende they ought to be and which I meane: me thinke then they should not onlye not be hurtfull or vaine, but most profitable and deserve infinit praise. The ende therfore of a perfect Courtier (wherof hitherto nothinge hath bine spoken) I beleave is to purchase him, by the meane of the qualities whiche these Lordes have given him, in such wise the good will and favour of the Prince he is in service withall, that he may breake his minde to him, and alwaies enfourme him francklye of the trueth of everie matter meete for him to understande, without fear or perill to displease him. And whan he knoweth his minde is bent to commit any thinge unseemlie for him, to be bould to stande with him in it, and to take courage after an honest sort at the favour which he hath gotten him throughe his good qualities, to disswade him from everie ill pourpose, and to set him in the waye of vertue. And so shall the Courtier, if he have the goodnesse in him that these Lordes have geven him accompanied with readinesse of witt, pleasantnesse, wisedome, knowleage in letters and so many other thinges, understande how to beehave himselfe readilye in all occurentes to drive into his Princis heade what honour and profit shall ensue to him and to his by justice, liberalitie, valiauntnesse of
The ende of a Courtier.
courage, meekenesse and by the other vertues that beelong to a good Prince, and contrarie to them. And therefore in mine opinion, as musike, sportes, pastimes, and other pleasaunt facions, are (as a man woulde saye) the floure of Courtlines, even so is the traininge and the helping forward of the Prince to goodnesse and the fearinge him from yvell, the frute of it. And bicause the praise of weldoinge consisteth cheeflye in two pointes, wherof the one is, in chousinge out an ende that our pourpose is directed unto, that is good in deede: the other, the knowleage to find out apt and meete meanes to bringe it to the appointed good ende: sure it is that the mind of him which thinketh to worke so, that his Prince shall not be deceived, nor lead with flaterers, railers and lyers, but shall knowe both the good and the bad and beare love to the one and hatred to the other, is directed to a very good ende. Me thinke again, that the qualities which these Lordes have given the Courtier, may be a good meanes to compasse it: and that, bicause emonge manye vices that we see now adayes in manye of our Princis, the greatest are ignoraunce and self leekinge: and the roote of these two mischeeves is nothing elles but lyinge, which vice is worthelie abhorred of God and man, and more hurtful to Princis then any other, bicause they have more scarsitye
The floure of courtlines.
The frute of it.
then of any thinge elles, of that which they neede to have more plenty of, then of any other thinge: namely, of suche as shoulde tell them the truth and put them in minde of goodnesse: for enemies be not driven of love to to do these offices, but they delite rather to have them live wickedly and never to amende: on the other side, they dare not rebuke them openlye for feare they be punished. As for friendes few of them have free passage to them, and those few have a respect to reprehende their vices so freelye as they do private mens: and many times to coorie favour and to purchase good will, they give themselves to nothinge elles but to feede them with matters that may delite, and content their minde, thoughe they be foule and dishonest. So that of friendes they become flatterers, and to make a hande by that streict familiaritie, they speake and woorke alwaies to please, and for the most part open the way with lyes, which in the Princis minde engender ignorance, not of outwarde matters onlie, but also of his owne selfe. And this may be said to be the greatest and fowlest lye of all
Lies engender ignorance and self leeking.
other, bicause the ignorant minde deceiveth himself and inwardlie maketh lies of himself. Of this it commeth, that great men, beeside that they never understande the truth of any thinge, dronken with the licentious libertye that rule bringeth with it and with abundance of delicacies drowned in pleasures, ar so far out of the way and their mind is so corrupted in seeing themselves alwaies obeyed and (as it wer) woorshipped with so much reverence, and praise, without not onlye anye reproof at all, but also gainsayinge, that through this ignoraunce they wade to an extreeme self leekinge, so that afterwarde they admitt no counsell nor advise of others. And bicause they beleave that the understandinge howe to rule is a most easye matter, and to compasse it there needeth neyther arte nor learninge, but onlye stoutenesse, they bende their minde and all their thoughtes to the maintenance of that port they kepe, thinking it the true happynese to do what a man lusteth. Therfore do some abhorr reason and justice, bicause they weene it a bridle and a certeine meane to bringe them in bondage and to minishe in them the contentation and hartes ease that they have to bear rule, if they should observe it: and their rule were not perfect nor wholl if they shoulde be compelled to obey unto dutie and honetie, bicause they have an opinion that Whoso obeyeth, is no right Lord in deede. Therfore taking these principles for a president and suffering them selves to be lead with selfe leekinge, they wexe loftie, and with a statlye countenance, with sharpe and cruell condicions, with pompous garmentes, golde and jewelles, and with comminge (in a maner) never abrode to be seene, they thinke to gete estimation and authoritie emong men, and to be counted (almost) Goddes: but they are (in my judgement) like the Colosses that were made in Roome the last yeere upon the feast day of the place of Argone, which outwardlye declared a likenesse of great men and horses of
triumph, and inwardly were full of towe and ragges. But the Princis of this sort are so muche woorse, as the Colosses by their owne waightye pese stande upright of them selves, and they bicause they be yll counterpesed and without line or levell placed upon unequall grounde, throughe their owne waightinesse overthrowe them selves, and from one errour renn into infinit. Bicause their ignoraunce beeinge annexed with this false opinion that they can not err, and that the port they kepe commeth of their knowleage, leadeth of them every waye by right or by wronge to lay hande upon possessions bouldly, so they may come by them. But in case they woulde take advisemente to knowe and to woorke that that they ought, they would aswell strive not to reigne as they doe to reigne, bicause they shoulde perceyve what a naughtye and daungerous matter it were for Subjectes that ought to be governed, to be wyser then the Princis that shoulde governe. You may see that ignorance in musike, in daunsinge, in ridinge hurteth no man, yet he that is no musitien is ashamed and aferde to singe in the presence of others, or to daunse, he that can not, or he that sitteth not wel a horse, to ride: but of the unskilfulnes to govern people arrise so manie yvelles, deathes, destructions, mischeeffes and confusions, that it may be called the deadliest plagu upon the earth. And yet some princes most ignorant
Images of horrible greatnesse.
in government, are not bashfull nor ashamed to take upon them to govern I wil not say in the presence of foure or half a dosen persons, but in the face of the world: for their degree is sett on loft, that all eyes beehould them, and therfore not their great vices only, but their least faultes of all are continuallie noted. As yt is written that Cimon was yll spoken of bicause he loved wine, Scipo, sleepe, Lucullus, bancketinges. But wolde God, the Princis of these oure times wolde coople their vices wyth so many vertues as did they of olde time: which yf they were out of the way in any point, yet refused they not the exhortations and lessons of such as they deemed meete to correct those faultes: yea they saught with great instance to frame their lief by the rule of notable personages: as Epaminondas by Lisias of Pythagoras sect: Agesilaus by Xenophon: Scipio by Pan&elig;tius, and infinit others. But in case a grave Philosopher shoulde come beefore enie of our Princes, or who ever beeside, that wolde showe them plainlie and without enie circomstance the horrible face of true vertue and teache them good maners and what the lief of a good Prince ought to be, I ame assured they wolde abhorr him at the first sight, as a most venimous serpent, or elles they wolde make him a laughinge stocke, as a most vile matter. I saye therfore that sins nowadayes Princis are so corrupt through yl usages, ignoraunce and false self leekinge, and that yt is so harde a matter to geve them the knoweleage of the truth and to bende them to vertue, and men with lyes and flatterie and such naughtye meanes seeke to coorie favour wyth them, the Courtier by the meane of those honest qualities that Count Lewis and Sir Friderick have given hym, may soone, and ought to go about so to purchase him the good will and allure unto him the minde of his Prince, that he maye make him a free and safe passage to commune with him in every matter without troublinge him. And yf he be suche a one as is said, he shall compase yt with smalle peine, and so may he alwayes open unto the truth of everie matter at ease. Besyde this by litle and litle distille into his minde goodnesse, and teache him continencie, stoutnesse of courage, justice, temperance, makinge him to taste what sweetenesse is hid under that litle bitternesse, which at the first sight appeereth unto him that withstandeth vices: which are alwaies hurtfull, displeasant and accompanied wyth yl report and shame, even as vertues are profitable, pleasant and praisable, and enflame him to them with the examples of manie famous Capitanes, and of other notable personages, unto whom they of old time used to make ymages of mettal and marble, and sometime of gold, and to set them up in commune haunted places, aswell for the honoure of them, as for an encouragynge of others, that with an honest envie
Igorance of rules.
Princis of olde time were refourmable.
they might also endevour them selves to reach unto that glorie. In this wise maye he leade him throughe the roughe way of vertue (as it were) deckynge yt about with boowes to shadowe yt and strawinge it over wyth sightlye flouers, to ease the greefe of the peinfull journey in hym that is but of a weake force. And sometyme with musike, somtime with armes, and horses, somtyme with rymes and meeter, otherwhyle wyth communication of love, and wyth all those wayes that these Lordes have spoken of, continuallye keepe that mynde of his occupyed in honest pleasure: imprintynge notwythstandynge therin alwayes beesyde (as I have said) in companie with these flickeringe provocations some vertuous condicion, and beeguilinge him with a holsome craft, as the warie phisitiens do, who manye times whan they minister to yonge and tender children in ther sicknesse, a medicin of a bitter taste, annoint the cupp about the brimm with some sweete licour. The Courtier therefore applyinge to such a pourpose this veile of pleasure, in everie time, in everie place, and in everye exercise he shall attaine to his ende, and deserve muche more praise and recompence, then for anie other good woorke that he can do in the worlde, bicause there is no treasure that doeth so universallie profit, as doeth a good Prince, nor anie mischeef so universallie hurt, as an yll Prince. Therfore is there also in peine so bitter and cruell that were a sufficient punishment for those naughtie and wicked Courtiers, that make their honest and pleasant maners and their good qualities a cloke for an ill ende, and by meane of them seeke to come in favour with their Princis for to corrupte them and to straye them from the way of vertue and to lead them to vice. For a man may say, that such as these be, do infect with deadlie poyson, not one vessel wherof one man alone drinketh, but the commune fountain that all the people resorteth to.
Images in the honour of men.
The L. Octavian helde his peace as though he would have said no more, but the L. Gaspar: I can not see, my L. Octavian (said he) that this goodnesse of minde and continincie, and the other vertues whiche you will have the Courtier to showe his Lorde, may be learned: but I suppose that they are given the men that have them, by nature and of God. And that it is so, you may see that there is no man so wicked and of so ill condicions in the world, nor so untemperate and unjust, which if he be asked the question, will confesse him self such a one. But everie man be he never so wicked, is glad to be counted just, continent and good: which shoulde not be so, in case these vertues might be learned, bicause it is no shame not to know the thinge that a man hath not studied, but a rebuke it is not to have that which we ought to be indowed withal of nature. Therefore doeth ech man seeke to cover the defaultes of nature, aswell in the minde, as also in the bodie: the which is to be seene in the blind, lame, crooked and other may[m]ed and deformed creatures. For although these imperfections may be layed to nature, yet doeth it greeve ech man to have them in him self: bicause it seemeth by the testimonie of the self same nature that a man hath that default or blemishe (as it were) for a patent and token of his ill inclination. The fable that is reported of Epimetheus
doeth also confirme myne opinion, whiche was so unskilfull in dividinge the gyftes of nature unto men, that he left them much more needie of everye thinge then all other livinge creatures. Wherupon Prometheus stole the politike wysdome from Minerva and Vulcan that men have to gete their livinge withall. Yet had they not for all that, civill wisdome to gather them selves into Cities, and the knowleage to live with civility, bicause it was kept in the Castle of Jupiter by most circumspect overseears, whiche put Prometheus in suche feare, that he durst not approch nygh them. Wherupon Jupiter takinge pitye upon the miserye of men, that could not felowshipp together for lacke of civill vertue, but were torne in peeces by wielde beastes, he sent Mercury to the earth to carie justice and shame, that these two thinges might fournish Cities and gather Citizins together: and willed that they shoulde be given them, not as other artes were, wherin one counning man sifficeth for manie ignorant, as phisike, but that they should be imprinted in everie man. And ordeyned a lawe, that all such as were without justice and shame, should be banished and put to death, as contagious to the Citie. Beehoulde then (my L. Octavian) God hath graunted these vertues to men, and are not to be learned but be naturall.
Fable of Epimetheus.
Then the L. Octavian somwhat smiling: Will you then, my L. Gaspar (quoth he) have men to be so unfortunate and of so pevish a judgement, that with policie they have found out an art to tame the natures of wield beastes, as beares, wolves, Lions, and may with the same teach a prety bird to fle as a man lust, and retourne back from the wood and from his naturall libertye of his owne accord to snares and bondage, and with the same pollicy can not, or will not finde out artes whereby they maye profit themselves, and with studie and diligence make their mind more perfect? This (in mine opinion) were like as if Phisitiens shoulde studie with all diligence to have the art onlie to heale fellonies in fingers and the read gumme in yonge children, and lay aside the cure of fevers, pleurisie and other sore diseases, the which how out of reason it were everie man may consider. I beleave therfore that the morall vertues are not in us all together by nature, bicause nothinge can at anye time be accustomed unto it, that is naturallie his contrarie: as it is seene in a stone, the whiche though it be cast upward ten thousand times, yet will he never accustome to go up of him selfe. Therefore in case vertues were as natural to us, as heavinesse to the stone, we shoulde never accustome our selves to vice. Nor yet are vices naturall in this sort, for then shoulde we never be vertuous: and a great wickednesse and folie it were, to punishe men for the faultes that came of nature without oure offence: and this errour shoulde the lawes committ, whiche appoint not punishment to the offenders for the trespace that is past, bicause it can not be brought to passe that the thinge that is done, maye not be done, but they have a respect to the time to come, that who so hath offended maye offende no more, or elles with
yll president give not a cause for others to offende. And thus yet they are in opinion that vertues maye be learned, whiche is most true, bicause we are borne apt to receive them, and in like maner vices: and therfore there groweth a custome in us of bothe the one and the other throughe longe use, so that first we practise vertue or vice, after that, we are vertuous or vitious. The contrarie is knowen in the thinges that be geven us of nature, for firste we have the pour to practise them, after that, we do practise: as it is in the senses, for first we can see, heere, feele, after that, we do see, heere and feele: although notwithstandinge many of these doinges be also sett oute more sightle with teachinge. Whereupon good Schoolmaisters do not only instruct their children in letters, but also in good nourtour in eatinge, drinkinge, talking, and goinge with certein gestures meete for the pourpose. Therefore even as in the other artes, so also in the vertues it is behoufful to have a teacher, that with lessons and good exhortations may stirr up and quicken in us these morall vertues, wherof we have the seede inclosed and buried in the soule, and like the good husbande man, till them and open the waye for them, weedinge from about them the briers and darnell of appetites, which many times so shadow and choke our mindes, that they suffre them not to budd nor to bringe furth the happie frutes, which alone ought to be wished to grow in the hartes of men. In this sort then is naturally in everie one of us justice and shame, which (you saye) Jupiter sent to the earth for all men. But even as a bodye without eyes, how sturdie ever he be, if he remove to anie certein place, often times faileth: so the roote of these vertues that be potentiallie engendred in our mindes, yf it be not aided with teaching, doth often come to nought. Bicause if it shoulde be brought into doinge and to his perfect custome, it is not satisfied (as is said) with nature alone: but hath neede of a politike usage and of reason, whiche maye clense and scoure that soule, takinge away the dymm veile of ignorance, wherof arrise (in a maner) all the erroures in men. For in case good and ill were well knowen and perceived, every man would alwaies chouse the good and shonn the yl. Therfore may vertue be said to be (as it were) a wisdome and an understanding to chouse the good: and vice, a lacke of foresight and
Vertues many be learned.
A difference beetween that a man hath by nature and by custome.
an ignorance that leadeth to judge falsely. Bicause men never chouse the il with opinion that it is ill, but they are deceived through a certein likenesse of good.
Then answered the L. Gaspar: Yet are there many that know plainlie they do ill, and do it notwithstanding, and that bicause thei more esteame the present pleasure which they feele, then the punishment that they doubt shall fall upon them, as theeves, murtherers and such other.
The L. Octavian said: True pleasure is alwaies good, and true sorow, evell: therfore these be deceived in taking false pleasure for true, and true sorowe for false: wherupon
manye times through false pleasures, they renn into true displeasures. The art therfore that teacheth to discerne this trueth from falshood, maye in like case be learned: and the vertue by the which we chouse this good in deede, and not that which falsely appeereth to be, may be called true knowleage, and more available for mans lief, then anye other, bicause it expelleth ignorance, of the which (as I have said) springe al evelles.
Then M. Peter Bembo: I wot not, my L. Octavian (quoth he) how the L. Gaspar should graunt you, that of ignoraunce should springe all evelles, and that there be not manye which in offendinge knowe for certeintie that they do offende, neyther are they anye deale deceived in the true pleasure nor yet in the true sorow: bicause it is sure that such as be incontinent judge with reason and uprightly, and know it, wher unto they are provoked by lust contrary to due, to be ill, and therfore they make resistance and sett reason to matche greedy desire, wherupon arriseth the battaile of pleasure and sorow against judgement. Finally reason overcome by greedie desire far the mightier, is cleane without succour, like a shippe, that for a time defendeth herself from the tempestuous Seastormes, at the end beaten with the to raginge violence of windes, her gables and tacklinges broken, yeldeth up to be driven at the will of fortune, without occupying helme or any maner help of
Pilott for her safegard. Furthwith therefore commit they the offences with a certein doubtfull remorse of conscience and (in a maner) whether they will or no, the which they would not do, onlesse they knew the thing that they do to be ill, but without striving of reason would ren wholy headlonge after greedy desire, and then shoulde they not be incontinent, but untemperate, which is much woorse. Therfore is incontinencie said to be a diminished vice, bicause it hath in it a part of reason, and likewise continency an unperfect vertue, bicause it hath in it part of affection: therefore (me thinke) that it can not be said that the offences of the incontinent come of ignorance, or that they be deceived and offende not, whan they know for a truth that they do offende.
The L. Octavian answered: Certesse (M. Peter) youre argument is good, yet (in my minde) it is more apparant then true. For although the incontinent offend with that doubtfulnesse, and reason in their minde striveth againste greedye desire, and that that is yll, seemeth unto them to be ill in deede, yet have they no perfect knowleage of it, nor understand it so throughly as nede requireth. Therefore of this, it is rather a feeble opinion in them, then certeine knowleage, wherby greedie desire overcometh reason, is ignorance, neyther can true knowleage be ever overcome by affection, that proceadeth from the body and not from the mind, and
in case it be wel ruled and governed by reason it becommeth a vertue: if not it becommeth a vice. But such force reason hath, that she maketh the sense alwaies to obey and by wonderous meanes and wayes perceth least ignorance shoulde possesse that, which she ought to have: so that althoughe the spirites and the sinewes, and the bones have no reason in them, yet whan there springeth in us that motion of minde, that the imagination (as it were) pricketh forward and shaketh the bridle to the spirites, all the members are in a readinesse, the feete to renn, the hands to take or to doe that which the minde thinketh upon, and this is also manifestlye knowenn in many, which unwittingly otherwhile eate some lothesome and abhorring meat, but so well dressed that to their taste it appeereth moste delicate: afterwarde understandinge what maner thynge it was, it doeth not only greeve them and loth them in their minde, but the bodie also agreeth with the judgement of the minde, that of force they cast that meate up again.
The L. Octavian folowed on still in his talke, but the L. Julian interruptinge him: My L. Octavian (quoth he) yf I have well understoode, you have said that continencie is an unperfect vertue, bicause it hath in it part of affection: and me seemeth that the vertue (where there in in oure minde a variance beetweene reason and greedie desyre) whiche fighteth and giveth the victorye to reason, ought to be reckened more perfect, then that which overcommeth havinge neyther greedie desire nor anie affection to withstand it: bicause (it seemeth) that that minde absteyneth not from yll for vertues sake, but refrayneth the doing it, bicause he hath no will to it.
Then the L. Octavian: Which (quoth he) wolde you esteame the valianter Capitain, eyther he that hasardeth him selfe in open fight, and notwithstanding vanquisheth his enemies, or he that by his vertue and knowleage weakeneth them in bringinge them in case not able to fight, and so without battaile or anie jeopardie discomfetethe them?
He, quoth the L. Julian, that overcommeth with most suretie, is out of doubt most to be praised, so that this assured victorie of his proceade not through the slackenesse of the ennemies.
The L. Octavian answered: You have judged aright. And therfore I say unto you, that continencie may be compared to a Capitain that fighteth manlie, and though his ennemies be stronge and well appointed, yet geveth he them the overthrowe, but for al that not without much a do
and daunger. But temperance free from all disquietinge, is like the Capitain that without resistance overcommeth and reigneth. And havinge in the mynde where she is, not onlie assuaged, but cleane quenched the fire of gredie desire, even as a good Prince in civill warr dispatcheth the sedicious inward ennemies, and giveth the scepter and wholl rule to reason, so in like case this vertue not enforcing the mind, but powringe therinto through most quiet waies a vehement persuasion that may incline him to honestie, maketh him quiet and full of rest, in everie part equall and of good proportion: and on everie side framed of a certein agreement with him self, that filleth him with such a cleare caulmenesse, that he is never out of pacience: and becommeth full and wholy most obedient to reason, and readie to tourn unto her all his motions, and folow her where she lust to leade him, without anie resistance, like a tender lambe that renneth, standeth and goith alwaies by the ewes side, and moveth only as he seeth her do. This vertue therefore is most perfect, and is cheeflie requisit in Princis, bicause of it arrise manie other.
Then the L. Cesar Gonzaga: I wott not (quoth he) what vertues requisit for Princis may arrise of this temperance, yf it be she that riddeth the mind of affections (as you say) which perhappes were meete for some Monke or Heremite: but I can not see how it should be requisit for a Prince that is couragious, freeharted and of prowesse in marciall feates, for whatsoever is done to him, never to have angre, hatred, good will, disdeigne, lust, nor any affeccion in him: nor how without this he can get him authoritie emonge the people and souldiers.
The L. Octavian answered: I have not said that temperance shoulde throughlye ridd and roote oute of mens mindes, affections: neyther shoulde it be well so to do, bicause there be yet in affections some partes good: but that which in affections is corrupt and striving against honestie, she bringeth to obey unto reason. Therefore it is not meete, to ridd the troublesome disquietnesse of the mind, to roote up affections cleane, for this were as if to avoide dronkennesse, there shoulde be an act established, that no man shoulde drinke wine: or bicause otherwhile in renninge a man taketh a fall, everie man should be forbed renning. Marke them that breake horses, they breake them not from their renninge and comminge on loft, but they will have them to do it at the time and obedience of the rider. The affections therefore that be clensed and tried by temperance are assistant to vertue, as angre, that helpeth manlinesse: hatred against the wicked, helpeth justice, and likewise the other vertues are aided by affections, which in case they were cleane taken away, they woulde leave reason verie feeble and feint, so that it shoulde litle prevaile, like a shipp maister that is without winde in a great caulme. Marvaile ye not then (my L. Cesar) if I have said, that of temperance arrise manie other vertues: for whan a minde is in tune with this harmonie, by the meane of reason he easely receiveth afterward true manlinesse, which maketh him boulde and safe from all daunger, and (in a maner) above worldly passions. Likewise Justice, an undefiled virgin, friend to sobermoode and goodnesse, queene of all other vertues, bicause she teacheth to do that, which a man
ought to do, and to shon that a man ought to shonn, and therfore is she most perfect, bicause through her the woorkes of the other vertues are brought to passe, and she is a helpe to him that hath her both for him selfe and for others: without the which (as it is commanlye said) Jupiter him selfe coulde not well govern his kingdome. Stoutnesse of courage doeth also folowe after these, and maketh them all the greater, but she can not stand alone, bicause whoso hath not other vertues can not be of a stoute courage. Of these then wisdome is guide, which consisteth in a certein judgement to chouse well. And in this happie chayne are also lincked liberalitie, sumptuousnesse, the desire to save a mans estymation, meekenesse, pleasantnesse, courtesie in talke, and manie other which is nowe no time to speake of. But in case oure Courtier wyll do as we have saide, he shall finde them all in his Princis minde: and daylie he shall see springe suche beawtifull floures and frutes, as all the delicious gardeins in the world have not the like: and he shall feele verie great contentacion within him self, whan he remembreth that he hath given him, not the thinges whiche foolish persons give, whiche is, golde, or silver, plate, garmentes, and such matters, wherof he that giveth them hath him self verie great scarsitie, and he that receiveth
Stoutnesse of courage.
them exceading great store: but that vertue, which perhappes among all the matter that belong unto man, is the cheeffest and rarest, that is to say, the maner and way to rule and to reigne in the right kinde. Which alone were sufficient to make men happie, and to bring once again into the worlde the golden age, whiche is written to have bine whan Saturnus reigned in the olde time.
The way to govern well.
The reigne of a good prince.
Here whan the L. Octavian paused a litle as though he would have taken respite, the L. Gaspar said: Whiche recken you (my L. Octavian) the happiest government and that were most to pourpose to bring into the world again that golden age whych you have made mention of, eyther the reigne of so good a Prince, or the governance of a good Commune weale?
The L. Octavian answered: I woulde alwayes prefarr the reigne of a good Prince, bicause it is a government more agreeable to nature, and (if it be lawfull to compare small matters with infinit) more like unto Goddes, whiche one and alone governeth the universall. But leavinge this, ye see that in whatsoever is broughte to passe with the pollicie of man, as armies, great saylinge vesselles, buildynges and other lyke matters, the wholl is committed to one alone, to dyspose therof at his will. Likewise in oure bodye all the membres travaile and are occupied as the hart thinketh good. Beeside this it seemeth meete that people shoulde aswell be governed by one Prince, as manye other livinge creatures be, whom nature teacheth this obedience, as a moste soveraign matter. Marke ye whether deere, cranes and maye other foules, whan thei take their flight do not alwaies set a Prince beefore, whom they folowe and obey. And bees (as it were) with discourse of reason and with such reverence honour their kinge, as the most obedientest people in the world can do. And therefore this is a verie great argument that the soveraigntie of a Prince is more accordinge to nature, then a Commune weales.
Then M. Peter Bembo: And me thinke (quoth he) that
sins God hath given us libertie for a soveraigne gifte, it is not reason that it should be taken from us: nor that one man should be partner of it more then an other, which happeneth under the rule of princis, who for the most part keepe their people in most streict bondage. But in Commune weales well in order this libertie is well kept. Beeside that, both in judgementes and in advisementes it happeneth oftner that the opinion of one alone is false, then the opinion of many, bicause troublous affection either through anger, or throughe spite, or through lust, sooner entreth into mind of one alone then into the multitudes, whiche (in a maner) like a greate quantitie of water, is lesse subject to corruption, then a smalle deale. I saye again that the example of the beastes and foules doth not make to pourpose, for both Deere and Cranes and the rest doe not alwaies sett one and the self formost for them to folowe and obey, but they still chaunge and varie, givinge this prefarment somtime to one, otherwhile to an other, and in this maner it beecommeth rather the fourme of a Commune weale, then of a kingdome, and this maye be called a true and equall libertie, whan they that sometime commaunde, obey again an other while. The example likewise of the bees (me thinke) is not alike, bicause that kinge of theirs is not of their owne kinde: and therefore he that will give unto men a worthie head in deede, must be faine to finde him of an other kinde, and of a more noble nature then mans, if menne (of reason) shoulde obey him, as flockes and heardes of cattell that obey, not a beast their like, but a sheppharde and a hardman, which is a man and of a more woorthie kinde, then theirs. For these respectes, I thynke (my L. Octavian) the government of a Commune weale is more to be coveted, then of a kinge.
Then the L. Octavian: Against your opinion, M. Peter (quoth he) I will alleage but one reason: whiche is, that of
wayes to rule people well, there be onlye three kindes. The one a kingdome: the other, the rule of good men, whiche they of olde tyme called Optimates, the third, the governance of the people. And the transgressinge (to terme it so) and contrarie vice that every one of these is chaunged into beeinge apayred and corrupted, is whan the kingdome beecommeth a Tyrannie: and whan the governance of good men is chaunged into the handes of a few great men and not good: and whan the rule of the people is at the disposition of the communaltye, whiche making a meddlie of the ordres, suffreth the governance of the wholl at the wil of the multitude. Of these three yll governmentes (it is sure) the Tyrannie is the woorst of al, as it may be proved by many reasons. It foloweth then, that of the three good, the kingdome is the best, bicause it is contrarye to the woorste, for (as you knowe) the effectes of contrarie causes, they be also contrarye emong them selves.
Three kindes of wayes to rule.
Nowe as touchinge it, that you have spoken of libertye, I answere, that true liberty ought not to be saide to live as a manne will, but to lyve accordynge to good lawes. And to obey, is no lesse naturall, profitable and necessarye then to commaunde. And some thinges are borne and so appointed and ordeyned by nature to commaunde, as some other to obeysance. Truth it is, that there be two kyndes of bearinge rule, the one Lordlye and forsyble, as maisters over
slaves, and in this doeth the soule commaunde the bodye. The other more milde and tractable, as good Princis by waye of the lawes over their Subjectes, and in this reason commaundeth greedie desire. And ech of these two wayes is profitable: bicause the bodye is created of nature apte to obey the soule, as so is desire, reason. There be also manye menne whose doinges be applied onlye about the use of the body: and such as these be are so farr wide from the vertuous, as the soule from the bodye, and yet bicause they be reasonable creatures, they be so much partners of reason, as they doe no more but know it, for they possesse it not, ne yet have they the use of it. These therefore be naturallye bondemen, and better it is for them and more profitable to obeye, then to beare swey.
Two kindes of wayes to beare swinge.
How good men be to be ruled.
Then saide the L. Gaspar: In what maner wise be they then to be commaunded that be discreete and vertuous and not by nature bonde?
The L. Octavian answered: With that tractable commaundment kinglye and civill. And to such it is well done otherwhile to committe the bearinge of suche offices as be meete for them, that they maye likewise bere swey and rule over others of lesse witt then they be, yet so that the principal governement maye full and wholye depende uppon the cheef Prince. And bicause you have said, that it is an easier matter to corrupt the minde of one, then of a great sort, I saye, that it is also an easier matter to finde one good and wise, then a great sorte. Both good and wise ought a man to suppose a kinge maye be, of a noble progenie, inclined to vertue of hys owne
naturall motion, and throughe the famous memorye of his auncestoures, and brought up in good condicions. And though he be not of an other kinde then man, as you have saide is emonge the bees, yet yf he be helped forwarde with the instructions, bringinge up, and art of the Courtier, whom these Lordes have facioned so wise and good, hee shall be moste wise, moste continent, moste temperate, moste manlye and most juste, full of liberalitie, majestie, holynesse, and mercye: finallye he shall be moste glorious and moste deerely beloved both to God and manne: throughe whose grace he shall atteine unto that heroicall and noble vertue, that shall make him passe the boundes of the nature of manne, and shall rather be called a Demy God, then a manne mortall. For God deliteth in and is the defendour
not of those Princis that will folowe and counterfeit him in showinge great poure, and make themselves to be woorshipped of menne, but of such as beeside poure, whereby they are mightye, endevour themselves to resemble him also in goodnesse and wisdome, wherby the maye have a will and a knowleage to doe well and to be his ministers, distributinge for the beehouf of manne the benifittes and giftes that they receive of him. Therefore even as in the firmamente the sonne and the moone and the other sterres show to the world (as it were) in a glasse a certeine likenesse of God: so uppon the earth a muche more liker image of God are those good Princis that love and woorshippe him, and showe unto the people the cleere light of his justice, accompanied with a shadowe of the heavenlye reason and understandinge: and suche as these be doeth God make partners of his true dealing, rightuousnesse, justice and goodnesse, and of those other happy benifittes which I can not name, that disclose unto the worlde a much more evident proof of the Godhead then doeth the light of the sonne, or the continuall tourninge of the firmament with the sundrye course of the sterres. It is God therfore that hath appointed the people under the custodie of Princis, which ought to have a diligent care over them, that they may make him accompt of it, as good stewardes do their Lord, and love them and thinke their owne, all the profit and losse that happeneth to them, and pricipally above all thing provide for their good astate and welfare. Therefore ought the prince not only to be good, but also to make others good, like the Carpenters square, that is not only straight and just it self, but also maketh Straight and just whatsoever it is occupied about. And the greatest proofe that the Prince is good, is whan the people are good: bicause the lief of the Prince is a lawe and
God the defendour of good Princis.
A good Prince an Image of God.
ringleader of the Citizins, and upon the condicions of him must needes al others depende: neyther is it meete for one that is ignorant, to teach: nor for him that is out of order, to give order: nor for him that falleth, to help up an other. Therfore if the Prince will execute these offices aright, it is requisit that he apply all his studie and diligence to get knowleage, afterward to facion within him selfe and observe unchageablye in everye thinge the lawe of reason, not written in papers, or in mettall, but graven in his owne minde, that it maye be to him alwayes not onlie familier, but inwarde, and live with, as a percell of him: to the intent it may night and day, in everye time and place admonish him and speake to him with his hart, riddinge him of those troublous affections that untemperate mindes feele, whiche bycause on the one side they be (as it were) cast into a moste deepe sleepe of ignorance, on the other overwhelmed with the unquietnesse which they feele through their weyward and blind desires, they are stirred with an unquiet rage, as he that sleepeth otherwhile with straunge and horrible visions: heaping then a greater poure upon their noughtie desire, there is heaped also a greater trouble withall. And whan the Prince can do what he will,then is it great jeopardie least he will the thing that he ought not. Therefore said Bias well, that promotions declare what men be: for even as vesselles while they are emptie, though they have some chinke in them, it can ill be perceived, but
The lief of the kinge a lawe to the people.
if they be filled with licour, they showe by and by on what side the fault is, so corrupt and il disposed mindes syldome discover their vices, but whan they be filled with authoritie. For then they are not able to carie the heavie burdien of poure, but forsake them selves and scatter on every side greedie desire, pride, wrath, solemnesse and such tirannicall facions as they have within them. Whereupon without regard they persecute the good and wise, and promote the wicked. And they can not abide to have frendshippes, assemblies and conferences among Citizens in Cities. But maintein spies, promoters, murtherers and cutthrotes to put men in reare and to make them become feintharted. And they sowe debate and streife to keepe them in division and weake. And of these maners insure infinit damages and the uttre undoinge of the poore people, and often times cruell slaughter or at the least continuall feare to the Tirannes them selves. For good Princis feare not for them selves but for their sakes whom they rule over: and Tyrannes feare verie them whom they rule over. Therfore the more numbre of people they rule over and the mightier they are, the more is their feare and the more ennemies they have. How fearefull (think you) and of what an unquiet mind was Clearus Tirann of Pontus every time he went into the market place, or into the theatre, or to anie banket, or other haunted
Authorities disclose vices.
place? For (as it is written) he slept shutt into a chest. Or Aristodemus of Argos? which of his bed had made to him self a prison (or litle better) for in his palaice he had a litle roume hanginge in the aer, and so high that he should clime to it with a ladder, and there slept he with a woman of his, whose mother overnight tooke away the ladder, and in the morning sett it to again. Cleane contrarie to this therfore ought the lief of a good Prince to be, free and safe and as deere to his subjectes as their owne: and so framed, that he may have a parte of both the doinge and beeholdinge lief, asmuche as shall be beehoufful for the benefit of hys people.
Then the L. Gaspar: And whiche of the two lives, my L. Octavian (quoth he) do you thinke most meete for a Prince?
The L. Octavian answered smilinge: Ye thinke perhappes that I stand in mine owne conceite to be the excellent Courtier that ought to knowe so manye matters, and to applye them to the good end I have spoken of. But remembre your selfe, that these Lordes have facioned him with manie qualityes that be not in me: therefore let us firste doe our best to finde him out, for I remytt me to him both in this and in al other thinges that belong to a good Prince.
Then the L. Gaspar: I thinke (quoth he) that if anye of the qualities geven the Courtier want in you, it is rather musike and daunsinge and the rest of smalle accompt, then such as beelong to the instructing of a Prince and to this ende of Courtlines.
The L. Octavian answered: They are not of small accompt all of them that help to purchase a man the favour of a Prince, which is necessarie (as we have said) before the Courtier aventure to teach him vertue, the which (I trowe) I have showed you may be learned, and profiteth asmuch as ignorance hurteth, whereof springe all vices, and speciallye that false leekinge a man hath of him selfe. Therefore (in mine opinion) I have sufficientlye said, and perhappes more then my promise was.
Then the Dutchesse: We shal be so much the more bounde (quoth she) to your gentilnesse, as ye shall satisfye us more then promise. Therfore sticke not to speake your fansye concerninge the L. Gaspars request. And of good fellowshippe showe us beside whatsoever you woulde teache your Prince, if he had neede of instructions: and sett the case that you have throughlye gotten his favour, so as it maye be lawfull for you to tell him francklye what ever commeth in your minde.
The L. Octavian laughed and said: Yf I had the favour of some Prince that I knowe, and shoulde tell him franckly mine opinion (I doubt me) I shoulde soone lose it: beeside that, to teach hym, I should neede firste to learne my selfe. Notwithstandinge sins it is youre pleasure that I shall answere the L. Gaspar in this also, that (in my minde)
Princis ought to give them selves both to the one and the other of the two lyves, but yet somewhat more to the beehouldinge: bicause this in them is divided into two partes, whereof the one consisteth in knoweynge well and judgeing: the other in commaundinge aryght, and in suche wyse as it shoulde be done, and reasonable matters and suche as they have authoritye in, commaunding them to hym, that of reason ought to obeye, and in time and place accordingely. And of thys spake Duke Friderick, whan he said, He that can commaunde, is alwayes obeyed. And to commaunde is evermore the principall office of Princis, which notwithstandinge ought manye times also to see with their eyes and to be present at the deede doynge, and accordinge to the time and the busenesse otherwhile also be doynge them selves, and yet hath all thys a part wyth action or practise. But the ende of the actyve or doinge lief ought to be the beehouldinge, as of warr, peace, and of peynes, rest.
Therfore is it also the office of a good Prince so to trade his people and with such lawes and statutes, that they maye lyve in rest and in peace, without daunger and with encrease of welth, and injoye praisablye this ende of their practises and actions, which ought to be quietnesse. Bicause there have bine often times manye Commune weales and Princis, that in warr were alwayes most florishinge and mightie, and immediatlye after they have had peace, fell indecaye and lost their puissance and brightnesse, like yron unoccupied. And this came of nothing elles, but bicause they had no good trade of lyving in peace, nor the knowleage to injoie the benefit of ease. And it is not a matter lawfull to be alwayes in warr without seekinge at the ende to come to a peace: although some Princis suppose that their drift ought principally to be, to bringe in subjection their borderers, and therfore traine up their people in a warlyke wyldenesse of spoyle, and murther, and suche matters: they wage them to exercise it, and call it vertue. Wherupon in the olde tyme it was an usage emonge the Scythes, that whoso hadde not slayne some ennemie of his, could not drinke in solemne banckettes of the gobblet that was caried about to his companions. in
How to trade people.
other places the maner was to reare about ones sepulture so manye Obeliskes, as he that laye there buryed had slain of his ennemies. And all these thinges and many mo, were invented to make men warlike, onlye to bring others in subjection, which was a matter (almost) unpossible, bicause it is an infinite peece of woorke, untill all the worlde be brought under obeysance: and not very reasonable, accordinge to the lawe of nature which will not have, that in others the thinge should please us, whiche in our selves is a greefe to us. Therfore ought Princis to make their people warlyke, not for a greedie desire to rule, but to defende themselves the better and their owne people, from whoso woulde attempt to bringe them in bondage, or to do them wrong in any point. Or els to drive out Tirans, and to govern the people well, that were yll handled. Or elles to bringe into bondage them, that of nature were suche, that they deserved to be made bondmen, with entent to govern them well, and to give them ease, rest and peace. And to this ende also ought to be applied the lawes, and al statutes of justice, in punishing the yll, not for malice, but bicause there should be no yll, and least they shoulde be a hinderaunce to the quiet livinge of the good: because in very deede it is an uncomelye matter and woorthie blame, that in warr (which of it selfe is nought) men shoulde showe themselves stout and wise, and in peace and rest (which is good) ignoraunt, and so blockishe that they wiste not howe to injoye a benefit. Even as therfore in warr they ought to bende their people to the profitable and necessarye vertues to come by that ende (which is, peace) so in peace, to come by the end therof also (which is, quietnes) they ought to bend them to honest vertues, which be the end of the profitable. And in this wise shal the sujectes be good, and the Prince shall have manye mo to commende and to rewarde, then to chastise. And the rule both for the subjectes and for the Prince shall be most happye, not Lordly, as the maister over his bondeman, but softe and meeke, as a good father over his good childe.
A custome among the Scythes.
Greate high square stones smaller and smaller unto the top.
Why Princis should make their people warlike.
The ende of lawes.
Then the L. Gaspar: Gladly (quoth he) woulde I understande what maner vertues these are, that be profitable and necessarye in warr, and what honest in peace.
The L. Octavian answered: All be goode and helpe the
tourne, bicause they tende to a good ende. Yet cheeflye in warr is much set by that true manlines, which maketh the minde voide from all passions, so that he not onlye feareth not perilles, but passeth not upon them. Likewise steadfastnesse, and pacyence, abidinge with a quiet and untroubled minde all the strokes of fortune. It is beehouffull likewise in warr and at all other times to have all the vertues that beelonge to honestye, as justice, staidnesse, sobermoode: but muche more in peace and rest, because often times men in prosperitie and rest, whan favourable fortune fauneth upon them, wexe unrighteous, untemperate, and suffre themselves to be corrupted with pleasures. Therfore suche as be in this state have verie greate neede of these vertues, bicause rest bringeth yll condicyons to soone into mens mindes: wherupon arrose a Proverbe in olde time, that Rest is not to be given to bondmen. And it is thought that the Piramides of AElig;gipt were made to kepe the people occupied, bicause Unto everie manne, use to abide peynes is most
profitable. There be more over manie other vertues, all helpfull, but it sufficeth for this time to have spoken this muche: for if I could teach my Prince and traine him in this maner and so vertuous a bringinge uppe (as we have sett furth) in doinge it without anye more (I woulde beeleave) that I had sufficientlye well compased the ende of a good Courtier.
Hugious great stones steeplewise.
Then the L. Gaspar: My L. Octavian (quoth he) bicause you have muche praysed good bringing up, and seemed (in a maner) to beleave that it is the cheef cause to make a man vertuous and good, I would knowe, whether the Courtiers instructing of hys Prince, ought to beegine firste of use and (as it were) daylye facions, that unawares to him may make him to accustome himselfe to weldoinge: or elles whether he ought to beegine it himself in opening unto him with reason the proprety of good and yll, and in makinge him to perceive, beefore he take the matter in hand, which is the good waye and to be folowed and which the yll, and to be shonned: finallye whether into that minde of his, the vertues ought to be driven and grounded with reason and understanding first, or with custome.
The L. Octavian said: You bringe me into overlonge a discourse. yet bicause you shall not thinke that I will slacke for that I am not willing to make answere to your requestes, I saye, that like as the soule and the bodye in us are two thinges, so is the soule divided into two partes: whereof the one hath in it reason, and the other appetite.
Even as therefore in generation the body goith beefore the soule, so doeth the unreasonable part of the soule go before the reasonable: the whiche is plainlye to be descerned in yonge babes, who (in a maner) immediatelye after their birthe uttre angre and fervent appetite, but afterwarde in processe of time reason appeereth. Therfore first must the bodye be cherished beefore the soule: after that, the appetite beefore reason: but the cherishinge of the bodye for a respect to the soule, and of the appetite for a respect to reason. For as the vertue of the minde is made perfecte with learninge, so is the civill wyth custome. Therefore ought there to be a grounde made firste wyth custome, whiche maye governe the appetites not yet apt to conceyve reason: and wyth that good use leade them to goodnesse: afterwarde settle them wyth understandynge, the whyche althoughe she be laste to showe her light, yet doeth she the more perfectlye make the vertues to be injouyed of whoso hathe his mynde well instructed wyth maners, wherein (in mine opinion) consisteth the wholl.
The L. Gaspar said: Beefore ye proceade anye farther, I woulde knowe howe the body should be cherished: bicause
you have saide that we must cherishe it beefore the soule.
Cherishing of the bodye.
The L. Octavian answered smiling: Know of these men that make much of it and are faire and rounde, as for mine (as you see) it is not half well cherished. Yet may there also be much said in this beehalf: as, the time meete for mariage, that children be neither to nigh nor to farr of from the fathers age: exercises, and bringinge up soone after there birth, and in the rest of their lief to make them handsome, towardlie, and livelie.
The L. Gaspar answered: The thing that woulde best please women to make their children handsome and wel-favoured (in my minde) were the felowship that Plato will have of them in his Commune weale, and in that wise.
Then the Lady Emilia smilinge: It is not in the covenaunt (quoth she) that ye shoulde a freshe fall to speake yll of women.
I suppose, answered the L. Gaspar, that I give them a great praise, in sainge that they shoulde desire to have a custome brought up, which is alowed of so woorthye a man.
The L. Cesar Gonzaga said laughing: Let us see whether amonge the L. Octavians lessons (yet I wott not whether he have spoken at all or no) this may take place: and whether it were well done the Prince should establish it for a lawe or no.
The few that I have spoken, answered the L. Octavian, may perhappes be inough to make a good Prince, as Princes go nowadayes. Although if a man would go more narrowly to woorke in the matter, there were muche more for him yet to saye.
Then said the Dutchesse: Sins it costeth us nothinge but woordes, show us of good felowshippe that, that woulde come in youre mind to teach your Prince.
The L. Octavian answered: Manie other matters I woulde teache hym (madam) if I knew them my selfe: and amonge the rest, that he should pike out a certein numbre of Gentilmen emonge his subjectes, of the noblest and wisest, wyth
whom he shoulde debate all matters, and give the authority and free leave to uttre their minde francklye unto him without respect: and take suche order wyth them that they maye well perceive, that in everie thinge he woulde knowe the truth and abhorr lyinge. And beeside this Counsell of the nobilitie, I woulde perswade him to chouse out others amonge the people of a baser degree, of whom he shoulde make an honest substanciall Counsell, that shoulde debate with the Counsell of the nobilitye the affaires of the Citye beelonginge to the commune and private astate. And in this wise shoulde be made, of the Prince, as of the head, of the nobilite and communes, as of the membres, one bodie alone knitt together, the governance wherof should cheeflie depende upon the Prince, yet shoulde the rest beare a stroke also in it: and so shoulde this state have the fourme and maner of the three good governmentes, which is, a kingdome, men of the best sorte, and the people. Afterward I woulde showe him, that of cares beelonging to a Prince, the cheefest is of justice: for maintenance wherof wise and well tryed men shoulde be chosen out for officers, whose wisdome were verie wisdome in deede, accompanied with goodnesse, for elles it is no wisdome, but craft. And where there is a want of this goodnesse, alwayes the art and subtill practise of lawyers is nothing elles, but the uttre decay and destruction of the lawes and judgementes: and the fault of very offence of theirs is to be layed in him that put them in office. I would tell him how that of justice also dependeth the zeale toward God, which beelongeth unto all men and especiallye to Princis, who ought to love him above all
A counsell of noble men.
A counsell of the commons.
Cares in a Prince.
thinges, and to direct all their doinges unto him, as unto the true ende: and (as Xenophon saith) to honoure and love him alwayes, but much more now in prosspiritie, bicause they may afterwarde lefullye with a more confidence call to him for assistance whan they bee in anye adversitye: for it is not possible to govern either himself or others well, without the help of God, wo unto the good sendeth otherwhile good fortune for his minister, to helpe them out of great daungers, sometime adversitye leaste they shoulde slumber so much in prosperity that they myght happen to forgete him, or the wisdome of man, which manie times redresseth ill fortune, as a good player the ill chaunces of the dice, with counninge play at tables. I woulde not forgete also to put the Prince in minde to be devoute indeede, not superstycious, nor given to the vanitie of nigromancy and prophecies: for in case he have accompanied with the wisdome of manne, a godlye zeale and true religion, he shall also have good lucke, and God his defendour, who will alwayes encrease his prospiritie both in peace and warr. Beeside, I woulde declare unto him how he shoulde love his Countrey and his people, keapinge them not in tomuch bondage, for beeing hated of them wherof arrise sedicions, conspiracies, and a thowsand mischeeves beeside: nor yet in to much
libertye, lest he be set at nought, wherof proceadeth the licencious and riotus livinge of the people, theft, robberye and murther withoute anye feare of lawes, often tymes the decay and uttre destruction of cities and kingdoms. Moreover how he shoulde love them that be nighest to him from one degree to an other, observinge among them all in certein matters a like equalitie, as in justice and libertye, and in some matters a reasonable partiality as in beeing liberal, in recompensing, in bestowinge promotions and honours according to the unequalnesse of desertes, which ought not alwaies to exceade, but to be exceaded with recompences. And that in thus doing he should not only be beloved, but (in a maner) worshipped of his subjectes, neither should he neede to commit the guarde of his person to straungers for his own (for the better safegard and profit of them selves) would guarde him with their own person: and ech man woulde willinglye obey the lawes, whan they shoulde see him to obey them him self, and bee (as it were) an uncorrupted keaper and minister of them: and so shall he make all men to conceive suche an assured confidence of him, that if he shoulde happen otherwhile to go biyonde them in anye point, everie one woulde know it were done for a good entent: the self same respect and reverence they woulde have to his will, as they have to the lawes. And thus
To love his Country and people.
shoulde the Citizens mindes be tempered in suche sort, that the good woulde not seeke for more then is requisit, and the badd shoulde not perishe: bicause manie times abundance of wealth is cause of great destruction, as in poore Italy, which hath bine and still is, a prey and bootie in the teeth of straunge nations, aswell for the ill government, as for the abundaunce of riches that is in it. Therfore the best way were, to have the greater part of the Citizins, neyther verye wealthie, nor verye poore: bicause the over wealthy many times were stiff necked and recklesse, the poore, desperate and pikinge. But the meane sort lye not in waite for others, and live with a quiet minde that none lye in waite for them. And where this meane sort are the greater number, they are withall the mightier. And therfore neyther the poore nor riche can woorke anie conspiracie against the Prince, or against others, nor move sedicion. Wherfore to avoide this evyll, the most surest way is universally to maintein a meane. I would counsell him therfore to use these and many other remedies for the pourpose, that in the minde of the subjectes there springe not a longing after newe matters and alteracion of state, whiche most communly they do, either for gain, or elles for promotion that they hope upon, or for losse, or elles for some toile that they be a ferde of. And these sturres in their mindes be engendred some time of hatred and despite that maketh them desperate for the wronges and unshameful dealing that they receive through the covetisenesse, pride, and crueltye, or unlefull lust of the higher powers: otherwhile of a contempt and litle regard that ariseth in theem through
To much welth.
How to ordre his citizins.
the negligence and ill handlinge and lack of foresight in Princis. ANd these two faultes must be prevented with purchasing him the love of the people, and authoritye, whiche is done in rewardinge and promotinge the good and in finding wiselie a remedy, and sometime with rigour, that the evil and sedicious wexe not great: the whiche thinge is easier to be stopped beefore they come to it, then to plucke theym downe againe after they are once come on loft. And I would saye, to restraine the people from renninge into those inconveniences, there is no better way, then to keepe them from yll custommes, and speciallye suche as be put in use and creepe in unawares by litle and litle, bycause they be secrete infections that corrupte Cities beefore a manne can not onlye remedye them, but spie them out. With suche meanes I woulde counsell the Prince to do his best to preserve his subjectes in quiet astate, and to give them the goddes of the mynde, and of the bodye and of fortune: but them of the bodye and of fortune, that they maye exercise them of the minde, whiche the greater and plentier they be, so much the more profitable be they: that happeneth not in them of the bodye, nor of fortune: in case therefore the subjectes bee good and of worthynesse and well bent to the ende of happynes, that Prince shall be a verye great Lorde: for that is a true and a greate governement, under the whyche the subjectes be good, well ruled and well commaunded.
Alteracion of state.
Extortion of the higher powers.
Lacke of wisdome in princis.
That the evell wexe not great.
Goodes of the minde, of the bodye and of fortune.
Then the L. Gaspar: I suppose (quoth he) that he shoulde be but a small Lorde, under whom the subjectes were all good. For in everye place there be fewe good.
The L. Octavian answered: In case some serein Circe shoulde tourne into wilde beastes all the French Kinges subjectes, woulde not you thinke him a smalle Lorde for all he reigned over so manye thousande beastes? And contrarywyse yf onelye the Cattell that scattre abrode feadynge aboute oure Mountaignes here, might become wise menne, and valiaunt Gentilmen, woulde not you thinke that heardmenne that should governe them and have them obedient to them, of heardmen were become great Lordes? you maye see then, that not the multytude of Subjectes, but the woorthynesse of them makes Princis greate.
The Dutchesse, the L. Emilia, and all the rest gave verye diligent ear to the L. Octavians talke for a good while together, but after he had here made a litle stop, as though he had made an end of his talk, the L. Cesar Gonzaga saide: Certesse (my L. Octavian) it can not be saide, but your lessons be good and profitable: yet shoulde I beleave that if ye instructed your prince wyth them, ye deserved rather the name of a good Schoolmaister then of a good Courtier: and he of a good governoure rather then of a good prince. Yet my meaninge is not, but that the care of princis shoulde be to have their people well ruled with justice and good usages, notwithstandinge it maye be sufficient for theym (in my minde) to chouse out good ministers to execute these kinde of matters, but the verie office of them is farr higher. Therefore if I thought myself to be the excellent Courtier that these Lordes have facioned, and in my princis favour, without paraventure I woulde never incline him to any vitious matter: but to atteine unto the good ende (you speake of, and the which I confirme ought to be the frute of the Courtiers travailes and doinges) I woulde endevour to put into his head a certein greatnesse, wyth that princelye sumptuousnesse, and readynes of courage, and unconquered prowesse in armes, that shoulde make him beloved and reverenced of all menne, in such wise, that for this in especiall he shoulde be famous and notable to the worlde. I woulde showe him also, that he ought to accompanye with his greatnesse a familiar gentle beehaviour, with a soft and lovelye kindenesse, and good caste to make muche of his subjectes and straungers discreatlye more and lesse accordinge to their desertes, observing alwaies notwithstandinge the majestye meete for his degre, that shoulde not in anye point suffre him to diminish his authoritie through overmuch abaysinge, nor yet purchase him hatred throughe over soure rigorousnesse: that he ought to be full of liberality and sumptuous, and give unto everye manne without stint, for God (as they say) is the tresurer of freharted princis: make gorgious bankettes, feastes, games, people pleasinge showes, kepe a great number of faire horses for profit in war, and for pleasure in peace, Haukes, Houndes, and all other matters that beelong to the contentation of great Princis and the people. As in our dayes we have seene the L. Francis Gonzaga marquesse of Mantua do, which in these thinges seemeth rather kinge of all Italy, then Lorde over one Citie. I would assay also to bring him to make great buildinges,
Not the multitude, but the woorthy.
both for his honour in lief, and to give a memorie of him to his posteritie, as did Duke Friderick in this noble Palaice, and nowe doeth Pope July in the Temple of Saint Peter, and the waye that goith from the Palaice to his house of pleasure Belvedere, and many other buildinges, as also the olde auntient Romanes did, wherof so many remnantes are to be seene about Roome, Naples, Pozzolo, Baie, Civita Veccia, Porto, and also out of Italy, and so manie other places, which be a great witnes of the prowes of those divine courages. So did Alexander the great in like maner, whiche not satisfied with the fame that he got him worthelie for subduing the world with marcial prowesse, built Alexandria in AElig;gipt, Bucephalia in India, and other Cities in other Countries: and entended to bringe the mountaigne Athos into the shape of a man, and in the left hande of him to builde a verie large Citie, and in the right a greate boule into the whiche should gather al the rivers that rann from it, and thens shoulde fall downe towarde the Sea, a pourpose in verie deede princelye and meete for the great Alexander. These thinges (thinke I) my L. Octavian, beecome a noble and a right Prince, and shall make him both in peace and warr most triumphant, and not put him in the heade of such particuler and smalle matters, and have a respect to take weapon in hande onelye to conquer and vanquishe suche as deserve to be conquered, or to profitt his subjectes withall, or to dispossesse them that governe not as they ought. For in case the Romanes, Alexander, Hanniball and the rest had had these respectes they should never have reached to the toppe of the glorye they did.
Markq. of Mantua.
S. Peters church.
The great Alexander.
Athos a hill in Thracia of a wonderfull height.
The L. Octavian answered them smilinge: Such as had not these respectes shoulde have done the better in case had hadd them: althoughe if ye consider well, ye shall finde that manie had them, and especiallye those auntientest of olde time, as Theseus and Hercules. And thinke not
that Procrustes, Scyron, Caccus, Diomedes, Antheus, and Gerion were anye other then cruell and wicked Tirannes againste whom these noble couraged Demigoddes kept continual and mortall war, and therfore, for ridding the world of such intollerable monstres (for Tyrannes ought not to be called by other name) unto Hercules were made Temples, and sacrifices, and godlye honours given him, bicause the benefit to roote up Tiranes is so profitable to the worlde, that who so doeth it, deserveth a farre greater rewarde, then whatsoever is meete for a mortall man. And of them you have named, do you not thinke that Alexander did profit with his victories the vanquished? sins he so traded those barbarous nations whiche he overcame, with such good maners, that of wylde beastes he made them men? He built manye beawtifull Cities in Countreis ill inhabited, plantinge therin civill kinde of living, and (as it were) coopled Asia and Europe together with the bonde of amitie and holy lawes, so that the vanquished by him were more happie then the rest, bicause emong some he brought in matrimonie: emong other, husbandrie: emong other, religion: emonge other, not to sley, but to make muche of their parentes in their olde age: emong other, the refraining from bedding with their mothers, and a thousand other matters, that might be said for a witnesse of that profit which his victories brought to the world. But leaving aside them of olde time, what enterprise were more noble, more glorious, and more profitable then if Christians would bend their force to conquerr the infidelles. WOuld you not thinke that this warr, prosperously acheved, and beeing the cause of so manye a thousande to be brought from the false sect of Mahumet to the light of the Christian truth, it should be a profit aswel to the vanquished, as to the subduers? And undoubtedly, as Themistocles in times past, being banished out of his Countrey, and imbraced of the king of Persia, and much made of, and honoured with infinit and most rich giftes, said unto his traine: Oh sirs we had
Alexander profited the vanquished.
bine undone, had we not bine undone, even so might then the Turkes and the Moores speake the very same with good cause, for that in their losse should consist their welfare. This happinesse therfore (I hope) we shall come to the sight of, if God graunt so long lief to Monseigneur d'Angoulesme that he may come to the Crowne of Fraunce, who showeth suche a hope of him selfe, as foure nightes agoe the L. Julian spake of. And to the Crowne of England the L. Henry Prince of Wales, who presentlye groweth under his most noble father, in all kinde of vertue, like a tender ympe under the shadow of an excellent tree and laden with frute, to renue him much more beautiful and plentuous whan time shal come, for as our Castilio writeth from thens, and promiseth at hys retourn to tell us more at the full, a man can judge no lesse, but that nature was willing in this Prince to show her counning, planting in one body alone so many excellent vertues, as were sufficient to decke out infinit.
King Francis the first.
Kinge Henry the VIII.
Then said M. Bernard Bibiena: a very great hope of him self promiseth also the L. Charles Prince of Spaine, who not yet fullye tenn yeeres of age, declareth now such a wit, and so certein tokens of goodnes, wisdome, modesty, noble courage and of every vertue, that if the Empire of
Christendome (as it is thought) come to his handes, it is to be reckened upon, that he will darken the name of many Emperours of olde time, and in renowme be compared to the most famous that ever were in the worlde.
The Emperour Charles the V.
Emulation emonge Kinges.
The L. Octavian proceaded: I beeleave therefore that God hath sent suche an so heavenly Princis upon the earth, and made them one like an other in youth, in mightines of armes, in state, in handsomnes and disposition of person, that they may also be minded alike in this good pourpose: and in case anye maner envye or strife of matching others arrise at any time emong them, it shall be, who shall be the first, and most inclined and most couragious in so glorious an enterprise. But let us leave this kinde of talke, and retourne unto our owne. Unto you therfore (my L. Cesar) I say, that such thinges as you would have the Prince to do, be very great and worthye muche praise. But you must understand that if he be not skilfull in that I have saide he ought to have a knowleage in, and have not framed his minde in that wise, and bent it to the waye of vertue, it shall be harde for him to have the knowleage to be noble couraged, liberall, just, quicke-spirited, wise, or to have any other of those qualities that beelong unto him: neither would I have him to be suche a one for anye other thinge, but to have the understanding to put in use these condicions (for as they that build, be not all good workemen, so they that give, be not all liberall) for vertue never hurteth anye man: and manye there be, that laye hande on other mens gooddes to give, and so are lavish of an other mans substance.
Some give to them they ought not, and leave in wretchednesse and miserie such as they be bound to. Other give with a certein yll will and (as it were) with a dispite, so that it is knowen they do it, bicause they can do none other. Other do not onlye kepe it secrete, but they call witnesse of it, and (in a maner) cause their liberalities to be cried. Other foolishlye at a sodeine emptye the fountain of liberalitye, so that afterwarde they can use it no more. Therefore in this point (as in all other matters) he must have a knowleage, and govern him self with the wisdome that is a companion unto all the other vertues whiche for that they are in the midle, be nygh unto the two extremities, that be vices. Wherefore he that hath not knoweleage renneth soone into them. For as it is a harde matter in a circle to find out the pricke in the centre, whiche is the middle, so it is harde to find out the pricke of vertue placed in the middle beetweene two extreme vyces, the one for the overmuch, and the other for the overlittle, and unto these we are inclined sometime to the one, sometime to the other, and this is knowen by the pleasure and greef that is felt within us, for through the one we doe the thinge that we ought not, and through the other we leave undone that, which we ought to do: although pleasure be muche more daungerous, bicause oure judgement is soone lead by it to be corrupted. But bicause the perseverance how farr a man is wide from the centre of vertue, is a hard matter, we ought by litle and litle to drawe backe of our selves to the contrarie part of this extrmytye, whiche we know we be inclined unto, as they do, that make straight crooked staves, for by that meane we shall draw nighe unto vertue, which is placed (as I have said) in that pricke of the meane: wherby it commeth that by manye wayes we be wide, and by one alone we do oure office and dutye: like as Archers by one waye alone hitte the marke, and by manye mysse the pricke. Therefore oftentimes a Prince to be gentle and lowelye, doeth manye thinges contrarie to comelinesse, and so humbleth him selfe that he is nought sett by. Some other to show a grave majestye with authoritye according, beecommeth cruell and untollerable. Some one, to be counted eloquente, entreth into a thowsande straunge matters and longe processes with curious woordes giving ear to hym selfe, so that other men can not for lothsomenesse heare him. Therfore (my L. Cesar) do you not call a smalle matter anye thing that maye better a Prince how small so ever it be. Nor thinke that I judge it to be in the reproofe of my lessons where you say, that a good Governour were
Vertue in the middle.
rather instructed therewithall, then a good Prince: for perhappes there can not be a greater praise nor more comlye for a Prince, then to call him a good Governour. Therfore if it shoulde fall to my lott to instruct him, he should have a care not only to govern the matters already spoken of, but also farre lesser, and understande in peecemeale whatsoever belongeth to his people, asmuch as were possible: and never credite nor trust any officer so muche, as to give him the bridle wholy into his handes, and the disposinge of the wholl government. For no man is most apt to all thinges. And much more hurt commeth of the light beeleaf of Princis, then of mistrusting, whiche otherwhile doeth not onlye not hurt, but oftentimes profiteth exceadingly. Yet in this point a good judgement is verye necessarye in a Prince to descern who deserveth to be put in trust, and who not. I woulde he shoulde have a care to understande the doinges and to be an overseear of his officers ministers. To breake and to ende controversies emonge his subjectes. To take up matters beetweene them and to knitte them together in alliance by marriage. To provide so, that the Citye may be all joyned together and agreeinge in amitye, lyke a private house, well peopled, not poore, quiet, and full of good artificers. To show favour to
A good Prince a good governour.
The Prince towarde his subjectes.
marchaunt men and to helpe them also with stokkes. To be liberall and honourable in housekeepinge towarde straungers and religious persons. To tempre all superfluous matters, bicause throughe the offences committed in these thinges, albeit they appeere but small, cities manye times fall in decay: therefore it is reason that the prince set a stint to the oversumptuous buildinges of private men, bancquettinges, unmesurable doweries of women, their riotous excesse, their pompe in jeweles and apparaile, whiche is nothinge elles but a token of their foly: for (beeside that throughe ambicion and malice that one of the beareth an other, they many times lavish out their livelode and husbandes substance, otherwhile for some pretye jewell or other matter of fansye) sometime they sell their honestie to him that will buye it.
Excesse of women.
Good Princes verye scant.
Then said M. Bernarde Bibiena smilinge: You beegine (my L. Octavian) to to take my L. Gaspars and Phrisios part.
Then the L. Octavian answered in like maner smilyng: The controversye is ended and I entende not nowe to renue it. Therefore wil I speake no more of women, but retourn to my prince.
Phrisio answered: You may now leave him hardely, and be contented to have him suche a one as you have instructed him. For doubtles it wer an easier matter to find out a woman of the qualities the L. Julian hath spoken of, then a prince of the qualities that you would have in him. Therfore (I feare me) he is like the Commune weale of Plato, and we shall never see suche a one, onlesse it bee perhappes in heaven.
The L. Octavian answered: Thinges possible, though they be hard, yet is it to be hoped that they maye be: therefore maye we yet parhappes see him upon the earth in oure time. For althoughe the heavens be so scante in bringinge furth excellent Princis, that in so manye hundreth yeeres we do scantlye see one, yet may this good lucke happen to us.
Then said Count Lewis: I have a good hope of it. For beeside the three great ones that we have named, of whom may be hoped it, that beelongeth to the high degree of a perfect Prince, there be also nowadayes in Italy certein Princes children, which although they be not like to have such power, may happe will supply it with vertue: and he that emonge them all declareth a more towardenesse and promiseth of him selfe a greater hope then anye of the reste (me think) is the L. Fridereick Gonzaga, sonn and heyr so the marquesse of Mantua, and nephewe to oure Dutchesse
here. For beeside the honest inclination to good nourtour and the discreation that he declareth in these tendre yeeres, they that have the bringing upp of him, reporte suche wonderous thinges as touchinge his beeing wittye, desirous of glory, stouthearted, courteious, freeharted, frindlye to justice, so that of so good a beeginning, there can not be loked for but a verye good ende.
L. Fridericke Gonzaga Duke of Mantua.
Then Phrisio: Well, no more of this (quoth he) we will pray unto God that we may se this your hope fulfilled.
Here the L. Octavian tourning him toward the dutches, after a sort as though he had ended as much as he had to saye: You have now heard, madam (quoth he) what I am able to say of the ende of the Courtier, wherin though I have not satisfied in all pointes, it shall suffice me yet, that I have showed, that some other perfection may be given him beside the matters whych these Lordes have spoken of, who (I beleave) have lefte out both this and what so ever I am able to saye, not bycause they knew it not better then I, but bicause they were loth to take the peynes: therefore will I give them leave to go forward, if they have anye thinge elles lefte beehinde to be saide.
Then said the Dutchess: Beeside that it is late (for within a while it will be time for us to make an ende for this night) me thinke, we ought not to mingle anye other talke with this wherin you have gathered together suche sundrye and goodlye matters, that concerninge the ende of Courtlinesse, it may be said, that you are not onlie the perfect Courtier whom we seke for, and able to instruct your Prince well, but also (if fortune be so favourable on your side) ye maye be the good Prince your self, whiche shoulde not be withoute great profit to your Countrey.
The laughed the L. Octavian and said: Perhappes (madam) were I in that astate, it woulde be with me as it is with maye others that can better saye well, then do well.
Here after a little debatinge of the matter to and fro emonge the company, with certein contentions tending to the commendacion of that that had bine spoken, and agreeinge on all handes not yet to be bed time, the L. Julian saide smilinge: Madam, I am so verie an ennemye to crafte and guile, that needes must I speake against the L. Octavian: who for that he is (as I muche doubt him) a secrete conspiratour with the L. Gaspar againste women, hath overshott himselfe in committing of two errours (in mine opinion) very great: wherof the one is, that meaninge to preferr this Courtier beefore the Gentilwoman of the Palaice, and to make him to passe those boundes that she is not able to reache to, he hath also preferred him beefore the Prince, whiche is most unseemlye. The other, that he hath given him suche an ende, that it is evermore harde and otherwhile unpossible for him to comebye it: and yet whan he doeth come by it, he ought not to have the name of a Courtier.
I can not see, quoth the L. Emilia, howe it is harde or unpossible for the Courtier to come bye this his ende, nor yet howe the L. Octavian hath prefarred him beefore the Prince.
Graunt it him not, answered the L. Octavian: for I have not preferred the Courtier beefore the Prince. And as touchinge the ende of Courtlinesse, I dare undertake that I am not overseene in any point.
Then answered the L. Julian: You can not say (my L. Octavian) that alwaies the cause, by which the effect is such as it is, is no more suche as the effect is. Therfore needes must the Courtier, by whose instruction the price must be of such an excellencye, be more excellente then the prince: and in this wise shall he be also of a more woorthinesse then the prince himselfe, which is most unsittinge. Then concerninge the ende of Courtlinesse, that which you have spoken may folowe whan there is litle betwene the age of the prince and the Courtiers: yet verye hardlye, for where there is smalle difference of age, it is likelye there is also smalle difference of knowleage. But in case the prince be olde and the Courtier yong: it is meete that the olde prince knowe more then the yonge Courtier, and where this foloweth not alwaies, it foloweth somtime, and then is the ende which you have appointed to the Courtier unpossible. In case againe the prince be yonge and the Courtier aged, muche a doe shall the COurtier have to wynne him the good will of the prince with those qualities that you have given him. For (to saye the truth) feates of armes and the other exercises beelonge unto yonge menne and be not comelye in age: and musike, daunsinge, feastinges, sportinges, and love, be matters to be laughed at in olde menne, and (me thinke) to an instructor of the lief and maners of a prince, who ought to be a grave person and of authoritie, ripe in yeeres and experience and (if it were possible) a good Philosopher, a good Capitain and to have the knowleage almost of every thinge, they are most unseemly. Wherfore he that instructeth a Prince (I beleve) ought not to be called a Courtier, but deserveth a far greater and a more honourable name. Therfore (my L. Octavian) perdon me in case I have opened this your craftye conveiance, which I thinke my self bounde to do for the honour of my woman, whom you would have to be of lesse worthines then this Courtier of yours, and I wil none of that.
The L. Octavian laughed and saide: A more praise it were for the Gentilwoman of the Palaice (my L. Julian) to exalt her so muche that she maye be equall with the Courtier, then so much to debase the Courtier that he shoulde be equall with the Gentilwoman of the Palaice: for it were not unfitt for the woman also to instruct her ladye, and with her to drawe to the same ende of Courtlinesse, whiche I have said is meete for the Courtier with his prince.
But you seeke more to dispraise the Courtier, then to praise the Gentilwoman of the Palaice, therfore shall it become me also to take part with the Courtier. Now to make you answere to youre objections, you shall understande that I have not saide, that the instruction of the Courtier ought to be the onelye cause why the Prynce shoulde be such a one, for in case he be not inclined of nature and apt to be suche a one, all diligence and exhortacion of the Courtier were in vaine. As in like maner every good husband man should labour in vaine, that would take in hande to tyll and sowe with good graine the barraine sande of the Sea, bicause this barrainnesse in that place is naturall. But whan to the good seede in a frutefull soile with the temperatnesse of aer and rayne meete for the season of the yeere, ther is also applied the diligence of mans husbandinge the grounde, alwaies great abundance of corne is seene to springe plentuouslye: yet for all this, it is not to be saide, that the husbande man alone is the cause of it, although without him all the other thinges do litle or nothinge helpe the pourpose. There be therfore manie Princis, that would be good, in case their myndes were well tylled, and of theym speake I, not of suche as be like the barraine Countrey, and of nature so farr wide from good condicions that no teaching were able to frame their minde to a right trade. And forsomuch as (as we have already said) such custommes
This ende of the Courtyer serveth also for a Gentil woman with her Lady.
and properties be ingendred in us, as oure doinges are, and vertue consisteth in doing and practise, it is not unpossible nor any marveile, that the Courtier should traine his Prince in many vertues, as justice, liberality, noble courage, the practisinge wherof he, through his greatnesse, maye lightlye put in use and make it custome, whiche the Courtier can not do, bicause he hath no meanes to practise theym, and thus the Prince inclined to vertue by the Courtyer, may beecome more vertuous then the Courtier: beesyde that, you muste conceyve that the whettstone which cutteth not a whitt, doeth yet make a toole sharpe: therfore althoughe the Courtier instructeth his Prince, yet (me thinke) it is not to be said that he is of a more woorthynes then his Prince. That the ende of this Courtier is harde and somtime unpossible, and that whan the Courtier doeth come bye it, he ought not to be named a Courtier, but deserveth a greater name, I tell you plainlye, that I denye not this hardnesse, bicause it is no lesse harde to find out so excellent a point that you have alleaged. For in case the Courtier be so yong that he hath not understanding in the thinge, which he ought to have a knowleage in, it is not to the pourpose to speake of him, bicause he is not the Courtier that we entreate upon, neyther is it possible for him that must have a sight in so many thinges to be very yonge. And if it happen moreover the Prince to be so wise and good of him selfe, that he needeth no exhortations or counsell of others (although it be so harde a matter as everye man knoweth) it sufficeth that the Courtier be such a one, as if his Prince had neede, he coulde make him vertuous: and then may he in effect fulfill the other part, not to suffre him to be deceived, and to worke that evermore he may understande the truth of everye thinge, and bolster him against flatterers and raylers, and all suche as shoulde endevour to corrupt his minde with unhonest delites. And in this wise shall he comebye a part of his ende though he can not practise the wholl, which can not be justlye layde to him for a fault, sins he refrayneth the doinge of it upon so good a ground. For were an excellent Phisitien in place where al were sound and in helth, a man ought not therefore to saye, that the Phisitien (althoughe he cured no diseased) wanted of his end. Wherefore as the Phisitiens respect ought to be the
Virtus in actione.
The ende of the Courtier harde.
helthe of men, even so the Courtiers, the vertue of his Prince: and it sufficeth them both to have this end inwardlye grafte in them, whan the want of uttringe it outwardelye in practise, is occasioned by the subjecte, to the whiche thys ende is directed. But in case the Courtier were so olde, that it became him not to be doing in musike, feastinges, sportinges, marcialfeates, and the other slightes of the bodye, yet can it not be saide not wythstandinge, that it were unpossible for him to entre that way in favour with his Prince: for where his age taketh awaye the practisinge of those thinges, it taketh not away the understandinge of them, and if he have practised them in his youth, it maketh him to have so muche the more perfect judgement in them, and giveth a knoweleage to teach theim his Prince so muche the more perfectlye, as yeares and experience bringe knowleage of all thinges with them. And thus shal the aged Courtier, although he exercise not the qualities that he is indowed withal, comebye his ende at length, to instructe well hys Prince. And in case you will not call him a Courtier, it shall nothing offende me, for nature hath not appointed suche narrowe boundes to the dignities of men, that one maye not come up from one to an other: therfore many times meane souldiers arrise to be Capitaines: private men, kinges: priestes, Popes: and scolers, maisters: and so with there degree or dignitie they take their name accordinglye. Wherfore perhappes a man may say that to beecome the Instructer of a Prince were the ende of a Courtier, althoughe I perceive not who should refuse this name of a Perfect Courtier, whiche (in my minde) is woorthie verye great praise. And I can not see but Homer, as he
The Courtiers respect, the vertue of his Prince.
facioned two most excellent personages for example of mans lief, the one in practises (whiche was Achilles) the other in passions and sufferances (which was Ulisses): even so in like maner he minded to facion a perfect Courtier (whiche was Phoenix) who after rehersall of his loves and manye other matters of youth, declareth that he was sent to Achilles by his father Peleus, to be in his companye and to teache him to speake and to do: whiche is nothinge elles but the ende that we have appointed for oure Courtier. Neyther can I thinke that Aristotel and PLato tooke scorne of the name of a perfect Courtier, bicause it is plainlye to be seene that they practised the deedes of Courtiershippe and gave them selves to this ende, the one with the greate Alexander, the other with the kinges of Sicilia. And bicause it is the office of a good Courtier to knowe the nature and inclination of his Prince, and so accordynge to the busynesse and as occasion serveth with slightnesse to entre in favour with him (as we have saide) by those wayes that make him a sure entry, and afterward bend him to vertue, Aristotel so well knew the nature of Alexander, and with slightnesse framed him selfe so well thereafter, that he was beloved and honoured of him more then a father. Wherfore emong many other tokens that Alexander showed him, for a witnesse of his good will, he caused Stagira the citye where he was borne once destroied, to be builded new again. And Aristotel, beeside the directinge him to that glorious end, that was to make the worlde onelye a generall countrey, and all men, as one people, that shoulde live in amitye and agreement together, under one goverment and one lawe, that (like the sonn) should generally geve light to all, he instructed hym in the naturall sciences and in the vertues of the minde full and wholy, that he made him most wise, most manlie, moste continent, and a true morall Philosopher, not in woordes onelye, but in deedes. For there can not be imagined a more noble Philosophy, then to bringe to a civill trade of living such wild people as were the inhabitauntes of Bactria and Caucasus, India and Scithia, and to teache them matrimonie, husbandrye, to honour their fathers, to abstaine from robbing and killinge and from other noughty condicions, and to builde so many noble Cities in straunge Countries, so that infinit throughe those lawes were brought from a wilde lief to live lyke men. And of these thinges in Alexander the Author was Aristotel in practisinge the wayes of a good Courtier. The which Calisthenes coulde not do, for all Aristotel showed him the way of it, who bicause he was a right philosopher and so sharpe a minister of the bare truth without mynglinge it with Courtlinesse, he lost his lief and profited not, but rather
Instructer of a Prince.
Aristotell and Plato were Courtiers.
Both the Dionysses.
The office of a good Courtier.
Aristotel wayed the nature of Alexander.
Stagira destroyed by Philip Alexanders father.
gave a sclaunder to Alexander. With the very same way of Courtlinesse Plato framed Dion the Syracusan. But when he mett afterwarde with Dionysius the Tyrann, like a booke all full of faultes and errours, and rather needful to be cleane blotted out, then altered or corrected, bicause it was not possible to scrape out of him that blott of tiranny wherwithall he was stained so long together, he would not practise therein the wayes of Courtiership, for he thought they shoulde be all in vaine: the whiche our Courtier ought to do also, if his chaunce be to serve a Prince of so ill a nature, that by longe custome is growen in use with vices, as they that have the consumption of the lunges with their desease. For in this case he ought to forsake his service, least he beare the blame of his Lordes yll practises, or feele the hartgreefe that all good men have which serve the wicked.
He rebuked Alexander for beeinge woorshipped as a god, and therfore died upon the rack.
Q. Curt. lib. 8.
The Courtier ought not to serve the wicked.
Here whan the L. Octavian had made a staye, the L. Gaspar sayde: I had not thought oure Courtier hadd bene so woorthy a personage. But sins Aristotel and PLato be his mates, I judge no man ought to disdeigne this name anye more. Yet wott I not whether I may beleave that Aristotel and Plato ever daunsed or were musitiens in all their lief time, or practised other feates of chivalrye.
The L. Octavian answered: Almost it is not lawfull to thinke that these two divine wittes were not skilfull in everye thinge, and therfore it is to be presupposed that they practised what ever beelongeth to Courtlynesse. For where it commeth to pourpose they so penn the matter, that the very craftes maisters them selves know by theyr writinges that they understoode the whol even to the pith and innermost rootes. Wherefore to a Courtier or instructer of a Prince (howe ever ye lust to terme him) that tendeth to the good ende, which we have spoken of, it is not to be said but that all the good qualities which these Lordes have given him do beelonge, though he were never so grave a Philosopher or holie in his maners: bicause they strive not against goodnesse, discreation, knoweleage and will, in all age, and in all time and place.
Then the L. Gaspar: I remembre (quoth he) that these Lordes yesternight reasoninge of the Courtiers qualities,
did alowe him to be a lover, and in makinge rehersall of asmuche as hitherto hath bene spoken, a manne maye pike out a conclusion, That the Courtier (whiche with his worthynesse and credit must incline his Prince to vertue) must in maner of necessite be aged, for knoweleage commeth very syldome times beefore yeeres, and speciallye in matters that bee learned wyth experyence: I can not see, whan hee is well drawen in yeeres, howe it wyll stande well wyth hym to be a lover, considerynge (as it hath bine said the other night) Love frameth not with olde men, and the trickes that in yonge men be galauntnesse, courtesie and precisenesse so acceptable to women, in them are meere folies and fondnesse to be laughed at, and purchase him that useth them hatred of women and mockes of others. Therfore in case this your Aristotel an old Courtier were a lover, and practised the feates that yong lovers do) as some that we have sene in our daies) I feare me, he woulde forgete to teach his Prince: and paraventure boyes would mocke him behinde his backe, and women would have none other delite in him but to make him a jestinge stocke.
The Courtier a lover.
Then said the L. Octavian: SIns all the other qualities appointed to the Courtier are meete for him, althoughe he be olde, me thinke we shoulde not then barr him from this happinesse to love.
Nay rather, quoth the L. GAspar, to take this love from him, is a perfection over and above, and a makynge him to lyve happilie out of miserie and wretchednesse.
M. Peter Bembo said: Remember you not (my L. Gaspar) that the L. Octavian declared the other nighte in his divise of pastymes, although he be not skilfull in love, to knowe yet that there be some lovers, which recken the disdeignes, the angres, the debates and tourmentes whiche they receive of their Ladies, sweete? Wherupon he required to be taught the cause of this sweetenesse. Therefore in case oure Courtier (thoughe he be olde) were kendled with those loves that be sweete without any bitter smacke, he should feele no miserie nor wretchednesse at all. And beeing wise, as we set case he is, he shoulde not be deceived in thinkinge to be meete for him what so ever were meete for yonge men, but in lovinge shoulde perhappes love after a sorte, that might not only not bringe him in sclaunder but to muche praise and great happinesse, without any lothsomnes at all, the which verie sildome or (in maner) never happeneth to yonge men: and so should he neyther lay aside the teachinge of his Prince, nor yet commit any thinge that should deserve the mockinge of boyes.
Then spake the Dutchesse: I am glad (M. Peter) that you have not bine muche troubled, in oure reasoninges this night, for now we maye be the boulder to give you in charge to speake, and to teache the Courtier this so happie a love, which bringeth with it neither sclaunder, nor any inconvenience: for perhappes it shall be one of the necessariest and profitablest qualities that hitherto hath bine given him, theerfore speake of good felowship asmuch as you know therin.
M. Peter laughed and saide: I would be loth (Madam) where I say that it is lefull for olde men to love, it should be an occasion for these Ladyes to thinke me olde: therefore hardely give ye this enterprise to an other.
The Dutchesse answered: You ought not to refuse to be counted olde in knowleage, thoughe ye be yonge in yeeres. Therfore saye on, and excuse your selfe no more.
M. Peter said: Surelye (madam) if I must entreate upon this matter, I must first go aske counsell of my Heremite Lavinello.
The L. Emilia said then halfe in angre: There is never a one in al the company so disobedient as you be (M. Peter) therfore shoulde the Dutchesse doe well to chastice you somewhat for it.
M. Peter said smilinge: For love of God (madam) be not angrye with me, for I will say what ever you will have me.
Goo to, saye on then, answered the L. Emilia.
Then M. Peter after a whiles silence, somewhat settlinge hymselfe as thoughe he shoulde entreat uppon a waightie
matter, said thus: My Lordes, to showe that olde menne maye love not onlie without sclaunder, but otherwhile more happilye then yonge men, I must be enforced to make a litle discourse to declare what love is, and wherein consisteth the happinesse that lovers maye have. Therefore I beseche ye give the hearynge wyth heedefulnesse, for I hope to make you understand, that it were not unsitting for anye man here to be a lover, in case he were xv. or xx. yeeres elder then M. Morello.
Olde men may love without sclaunder.
What love is.
And here after they had laughed a while, M. Peter proceaded: I saye therefore that accordinge as it is defined of the wise menn of olde time, Love is nothinge elles but a certein covetinge to enjoy beawtie: and forsomuch as covetinge longeth for nothinge, but for thinges knowen, it is requisite that knowleage go evermore before coveting, which of his owne nature willeth the good, but of him self is blind, and knoweth it not. Therfore hath nature so ordeined, that to every vertue of knowleag ther is annexed a vertue of longing. And bicause in oure soule there be three maner wayes to know, namelye, by sense, reason, and understandinge: of sense, there arriseth appetite or longinge, which is commune to us with brute beastes: of reason arriseth election or choise, which is proper to man: of understanding, by the which man may be partner with Aungelles, ariseth will. Even as therfore the sense knoweth not but sensible matters and that which may be felt, so the appetyte, or covetinge onlye desireth the same:
and even as the understanding is bent but to beehoulde thinges that may be understoode, so is that wil only fead with spirituall gooddes. Man of nature indowed with reason, placed (as it were) in the middle beetwene these two extremities, may through his choise inclinynge to sense, or reachynge to understandynge, come nigh to the covetinge sometime of the one sometime of the other part. In these sortes therfore may beawtie be coveted, the general name wherof may be applied to al thinges, eyther naturall or artificiall, that are framed in good proportion, and due tempre, as their nature beareth. But speakynge of the beawtie that we meane, which is onlie it, that appeereth in bodies, and especially in the face of mann, and moveth thys fervent covetinge which we call Love, we will terme it an influence of the heavenlie bountifulness, the whiche for all it stretcheth over all thynges that be created (like the light of the Sonn) yet whan it findeth out a face well proportioned, and framed with a certein livelie agreement of severall colours, and set furth with lightes and shadowes, and with an orderly distaunce and limites of lines, therinto it distilleth it self and appeereth most welfavoured, and decketh out and lyghtneth the subject where it shyneth wyth a marveylous grace and glistringe (like the Sonne beames that strike against beawtifull plate of fine golde wrought and sett wyth precyous jewelles) so that it draweth unto it mens eyes with pleasure, and percing through them imprinteth him selfe in the soule, and wyth an unwonted sweetenesse all to stirreth her and delyteth, and settynge her on fire maketh her to covett him. Whan the soule then is taken wyth covetynge to enjoye thys beawtie as a good thynge, in case she suffre her selfe to be guyded with the judgement of sense, she falleth into most deepe erroures, and judgeth the bodie in whyche Beawtye is descerned, to be the principall cause therof: wherupon to enjoye it, she reckeneth it necessarye to joigne as inwardlye as she can wyth that bodye, whyche is false: and therefore who so thinketh in possessynge the
bodye to injoye beawtie, he is farr deceived, and is moved to it, no wyth true knowleage by the choise of reason, but wyth false opinyon by the longinge of sense. Wherupon the pleasure that foloweth it, is also false and of necessytye full of erroures. And therefore into one of the two vyces renn all those lovers that satisfye theyr unhonest lustes with the women whom they love: for eyther assone as they be come to the coveted ende, they not onely feele a fulnesse and lothesomnesse, but also conceyve a hatred against the wyght beloved, as thoughe longinge repented hym of hys offence and acknowleaged the deceite wrought hym by the false judgement of sense, that made hym beleave the yll to be good: or elles they contynue in the verye same covetynge and greedynesse, as thoughe they were not in deede come to the ende, whyche they sought for. And albeit throughe the blynde opynyon that hath made them dronken (to their seeminge) in that instante they feele a contentation, as the deseased otherwhile, that dreame they drinke of some cleare spring, yet be they not satisfied, nor leave of so. And bicause of possessing coveted goodnes there arriseth alwayes quietnesse and satisfaction in the possessors minde, in case this were the true and righte end of there covetinge, whan they possesse it they would be at quietnesse and throughlye satisfied, whiche they be not: but rather deceyved through that likenesse, they furthwith retourn again to unbridled covetinge, and with the very same trouble, which they felt at the first, they fall again into the raginge and most burninge thirst of the thinge, that they hope in vaine to possesse perfectlye. These kind of lovers therfore love most unluckely, for eyther they never comebye their covetinges, whiche is a great unluckinesse: or elles if the do comebye them, they finde the comebye their hurt, ande ende their myseryes with other greater miseries, for both in the
In possessing the body beawtie is not enjoied.
They that love sensuallye.
beginninge and middle of this love, there is never other thinge felt, but afflictions, tourmentes, greeffes, pining, travaile, so that to be wann, vexed with continuall teares, and sighes, to lyve with a discontented minde, to be alwaies dumbe, or to lament, to covet death, in conclusion to be most unlucky are the propreties which (they saye) beelonge to lovers. The cause therfore of this wretchednesse in mens mindes, is principally sense, whiche in youthfull age bereth moste swey, bicause the lustinesse of the fleshe and of the bloode, in that season addeth unto him even so much force, as it withdraweth from reason: therfore doeth it easelye traine the soule to folowe appetite or longinge, for when she seeth her selfe drowned in the earthly prison, bicause she is sett in the office to govern the body, she can not of her self understand plainly at the first the truth of spirituall behouldinge. Wherfore to compasse the understanding of thinges, she must go begg the beginning at the senses, and therfore she beleaveth them, and giveth ear to them, and is contented to be lead by them, especiallye whan they have so much courage, that (in a maner) they enforce her and bicause they be deceitfull they fyll her with errours and false opinions. Wherupon most communlye it happeneth, that yonge men be wrapped in this sensual love, which is a very rebell against reason, and therfore thei make them selves unwoorthy to enjoy the favoures and benifites, which love bestoweth upon his true subjectes, neither in love feele they any other pleasure, then what beastes without reason do, but much more grevous afflictions. Setting the case therfore this to be so, which is most true, I say, that the contrary chaunseth to them of a more ripe age. For in case they, whan the soule is not nowe so much wayed downe with the bodyly burdein, and whan the naturall burning asswageth and draweth to a warmeth, if thei be inflamed with beawty, and to it bend their coveting guided by reasonable choise, they be not deceived, and posses beawtye
Properties of lovers.
perfectly, and therefor through the possessing of it, alwaies goodnes ensueth to them: bicause beauty is good and consequently the true love of it is most good and holy, and evermore bringeth furth good frutes in the soules of them, that with the bridle of reason restraine the yll disposition of sense, the which old men can much sooner do then yong. Yt is not therfore out of reason to say, that olde men may also love without sclaunder and more happily, then yong men: taking notwithstanding this name Olde, not for the age at the pittes brinke, nor when the canelles of the body be so feble, that the soule can not through them worke her feates, but when knowleage in us is in his right strength. And I wil not also hide this from you: namely, that I suppose, where sensuall love in every age is naught, yet in yonge men it deserveth excuse, and perhappes in some case lefull: for although it putteth them in afflictions, daungeres, travailes, and the unfortunatenes that is said, yet are there many that to winne them the good will of their Ladies practise vertuous thinges, which for all they be not bent to a good end, yet are they good of them selves, and so of that much bitternesse they pike out a litle sweetnesse, and through the adversities which they susteine, in the ende they acknowleage their errour. As I judge therfore those yong men that bridle their appetites, and love with reason, to be godlye: so do I houlde excused suche as yelde to sensuall love, wherunto they be so inclined through the weakenesse and frailtie of man: so they showe therin meekenesse, courtesie, and prowesse, and the other worthie condicions that these Lordes have spoken of, and whan those youthfull yeeres be gone and past, leave it of cleane, keapinge alouf from this sensuall covetinge as from the lowermost steppe of the stayers, by the whiche a man may ascende to true love. But in case after they drawe in yeeres once they reserve in their colde hart the fire of appetites, and brynge stoute reason in subjection to feeble sense, it can not bee said how much they are to be blamed: for lyke men without sense they deserve with an everlasting shame to be put in the numbre of unreasonable living creatures, bicause the thoughtes and wayes of sensuall love be farr unsittinge for ripe age.
Here Bembo paused a while as though he woulde brethe him, and whan all thinges were whist M. Morello of Ortona saide: And in case there were some olde man more freshe and lustye and of a better complexion then manye yonge men, whie woulde you not have it lefull for him to love with the love that yonge men love?
The Dutchesse laughed and said: Yf the love of yong men be so unluckye, why would you (M. Morello) that old men should also love with this unluckinesse? But in case you were old (as these men say you be) you woulde not thus procure the hurt of olde men.
M. Morello answered: The hurt of olde men (me seemeth) M. Peter Bembo procureth, who will have them to love after a sort, that I for my part understande not: and (me think) the possessing of this beawtye, whiche he prayseth so muche, without the body, is a dreame.
Do you beeleave M. Morello, quoth then Count Lewis, that beauty is alwaies so good a thing as M. Peter Bembo speaketh of?
Not I in good sooth, answered M. Morello: but I remembre rather that I have seene manie beautifull women of a mostly yll inclination, cruell, and spitefull, and it seemeth that (in a maner) it happeneth alwaies so, for beawtie maketh them proude: and pride, cruell.
Count Lewis saide smilinge: To you perhappes they seeme cruell, bicause they content you not with it, that you would have. But cause M. Peter Bembo to teach you in what sort old men ought to covet beawtye and what to seeke at their Ladies handes, and what to content them selves withall: and in not passinge out of these boundes, ye shal se that they shal be neither proud nor cruell: and wil satisfy you with what you shal require.
M. Morello seemed then somwhat out of pacience, and said: I will not knowe the thinge that toucheth me not. But cause you to be taught how the yonge men ought to covet this beawty, that are not so fresh and lusty as olde men be.
Here Sir Fridericke to pacifie M. Morello and to breake their talke, would not suffer Count Lewis to make answere, but interrupting him said: Perhappes M. Morello is not altogether out of the way in saing that beawty is not alwayes good, for the beautye of women is manye times cause of infinit evilles in the worlde, hatred, warr, mortality, and destruction, wherof the rasinge of Troy can be a good witnesse: and beawtifull women for the most part be eyther proude and cruell (as is saide) or unchast, but M. Morello woulde finde no faulte with that. There be also manye wicked men that have the comelinesse of a beautifull countenance, and it semeth that nature hath so shaped them, bicause they may be the redier to deceive, and that this amiable looke were like a baite that covereth the hooke.
Then M. Peter Bembo: Beleave not (quoth he) but beautie is alwayes good.
Here Count Lewis bicause he woulde retourn again to his former pourpose interrupted him and said: Sins M. Morello passeth not to understand that, which is so necessary for him, teache it me, and showe me howe olde men maye come bye this hapinesse of love, for I will not care to be counted olde, so it may profit me.
M. Peter Bembo laughed and said: First will I take the errour out of these gentilmens minde: and afterwarde will I satisfie you also. So beeginning a fresh: My Lordes (quoth he) I would not that with speakynge ill of beawtie, which is a holy thinge, any of us as prophane and wicked shoulde purchase him the wrath of God. Therfore to give M.
Morello and Sir Fridericke warninge, that they lose not their sight, as Stesichorus did, a peine most meete for who so dispraiseth beawtie, I saye, that beawtie commeth of God, and is like a circle, the goodnesse wherof is the Centre. and therefore, as there can be no circle without a centre, no more can beawty be without goodnesse. Wherupon doeth verie sildome an ill soule dwell in a beawtifull bodye. And therefore is the outwarde beawtie a true signe of the inwarde goodnes, and in bodies thys comelynesse is imprynted more and lesse (as it were) for a marke of the soule, whereby she is outwardlye knowen: as in trees, in whiche the beawtye of the buddes giveth a testimonie of the goodnesse of the frute. And the verie same happeneth in bodies, as it is seene, that Palmastrers by the visage knowe manye tymes the condicions, and otherwhile the thoughtes of menne. And which is more, in beastes also a manne may descerne by the face the qualitie of the courage, whiche in the bodye declareth it selfe as muche as it can. Judge you howe plainlye in the face of a Lion, a horse and an Egle, a manne shall descerne anger, fiersenesse and stoutenesse: in Lambes and Doves simplenesse and verie innocencye: the craftye subtiltye in Foxes and Wolves, and the like (in a maner) in all other livinge creatures. The foule therefore for the most part be also yvell and the beawtifull, good. therfore it maye be said that Beawtie is a face pleasant, meerie, comelye, and to be desired for goodnesse:
A notable Poet whiche lost his sight for writing against Helena, and recanting, had his sight restored him again.
Judgment by the face.
and Foulness a face darke, uglesome, unpleasant and to be shonned for yll. And in case you will consider all thinges, ye shall finde, that what so ever is good and profitable hath also evermore the comelinesse of Beawtie. Behoulde the state of this great Inginn of the world, which God created for the helth and preservation of every thing that was made. The heaven rounde besett with so many heavenly lightes: and in the middle, the Earth invironed wyth the Elementes, and uphelde wyth the verye waight of it selfe: the sonn, that compassinge about giveth light to the wholl, and in winter season draweth to the lowermost signe, afterward by title and litle climeth again to the other part: the Moone, that of him taketh her light, accordinge as she draweth nigh, or goith farther from him: and the other five sterres, that diversly keepe the very same course. These thinges emong them selves have such force by the knitting together of an order so neccessarilye framed, that with altering them any one jott, they shoulde be all lewsed, and the worlde would decaye. They have also suche beawtie and comelinesse, that all the wittes men have, can not imagin a more beawtifull matter. Thinke nowe of the shape of man, which may be called a litle world: in whom every percell of
De Orat. lib. 3.
his body is seene to be necessarily framed by art and not by happ, and then the fourme all together most beawtifull, so that it were a harde matter to judge, whether the members, as the eyes, the nose, the mouth, the eares, the armes, the breast and in like maner the other partes: give eyther more profit to the countenance and the rest of the body, or comelinesse. The like may be said of all other livinge creatures. Beehoulde the fethers of foules, the leaves and bowes of trees, which be given them of nature to keepe them in their beeinge, and yet have they withall a verye great sightlinesse. Leave nature, and come to art. What thinge is so necessaries in saylynge vesselles, as the forepart, the side, the mainyardes, the mast, the sayles, the sterne, owers, ankers, and tacklinges? all these thinges notwithstanding are so welfavoured in the eye, that unto who so beehouldeth them they seeme to have bine found out aswell for pleasure, as for profit. Pillars and great beames uphoulde high buildinges and Palaices, and yet are they no lesse pleasurfull unto the eyes of the beehoulders, then profitable to the buyldinges. When men beegane first to build, in the middle of Temples
Aristot. 8. Phisic.
and houses they reared the ridge of the rouffe, not to make the workes to have a better show, but bicause the water might the more commodiouslie avoide on both sides: yet unto profit there was furthwith adjoined a faire sightlinesse, so that if under the skye where there falleth neyther haile nor rayne a mann should builde a temple, without a reared ridge, it is to be thought, that it coulde have neyther a sightly showe nor any beawtie. Beeside other thinges therfore, it giveth a great praise to the world, in saiynge that it is beawtifull. It is praised, in saiynge, the beawtifull heaven, beawtifull earth, beawtifull sea, beawtifull rivers, beawtifull wooddes, trees, gardeines, beawtifull Cities, beawtifull Churches, houses, armies. In conclusion this comelye and holye beawtie is a wonderous settinge out of everie thinge. And it may be said that Good and beawtifull be after a sort one selfe thinge, especiallie in the bodies of men: of the beawtie wherof the nighest cause (I suppose) is the beawtie of the soule: the which as a partner of the right and heavenlye beawtie, maketh sightlye and beawtifull what ever she toucheth, and most of all, if the bodye, where she dwelleth, be not of so vile a matter, that she can not imprint in it her propertye. Therfore Beawtie is the true monument and spoile of the victorye of the soule, whan she with heavenlye influence beareth rule over materiall and grosse nature, and with her light overcommeth the darkeness of the bodye. It is not then to be spoken that Beawtie maketh women proude or cruel, although it seeme so to M. Morello. Neyther yet ought beawtifull women to beare the blame of that hatred, mortalytie, and destruction, which the unbridled appetites of men are the cause of. I will not nowe denye, but it is possible also to finde in the worlde beawtifull women unchast, yet not bicause beawtie inclineth them to unchast livinge, for it rather plucketh them from it, and leadeth them into the way of vertuous condicions, throughe the affinitie that beawtie hath with goodnesse: but otherwhile yll bringinge up, the continuall provocations of lovers, povertie, hope, deceites, feare, and a thousande other matters overcome the steadfastnesse, yea of beawtifull and good women: and for these and like causes may also beawtifull menn beecome wicked.
The rouffes of houses.
Then said the L. Cesar: In case the L. Gaspars sayinge be true of yesternight, there is no doubt but the faire women be more chast then the foule.
And what was my sayinge? quoth the L. Gaspar.
The L. Cesar answered: If I do well beare in minde, your saiynge was, that the women that are suide to, alwaies refuse to satisfie him that suith to them, but those that are suide to, sue to others. There is no doubt but the beautiful women have alwaies more suyters, and be more instantlye laide at in love, then the foule. Therefore the beawtifull alwayes deny, and consequentlye be more chast, then the foule, whiche not beeinge suied to, sue unto others.
M. Peter Bembo laughed and said: This argument can not be answered to.
Afterwarde he proceaded: It chaunseth also oftentimes, that as the other senses, so the sight is deceyved, and judgeth a face beawtyfull, which in deede is not beawtifull. And bicause in the eyes and in the wholl countenance of some women, a man behouldeth otherwhile a certein lavish wantonnes peincted with dishonest flickeringes, many, whom that maner deliteth bicause it promiseth them an easines to come by the thing, that they covet, cal it beawty: but in deed it is a cloked unshamefastnes, unworthy of so honorable and holy a name.
M. Peter Bembo held his peace, and those Lordes still were earnest upon him to speake somewhat more of this love and of the waye to enjoy beautye aright, and at the last: Me thinke (quoth he) I have showed plainly inough, that olde men may love more happelye then yonge, whiche was my drift, therfore it belongeth not me to entre anye farther.
Count Lewis answered: You have better declared the unluckinesse of yonge men, then the happynesse of olde menn, whom you have not as yet taught, what waye they must folow in this love of theirs: onelye you have saide, that they must suffre them selves to bee guided by reason, and the opinion of many is, that it is unpossible for love to stand with reason.
Bembo notwithstanding saught to make an ende of reasoning, but the Dutchesse desired him to say on, and he beegane thus afreshe: Too unluckie were the nature of man, if oure soule (in the whiche this so fervent covetinge may lightlie arrise) should be driven to nourish it with that onelye, whiche is commune to her with beastes, and coulde
not tourn it to the other noble parte, whiche is propre to her. Therfore sins it is so your pleasure, I wil not refuse to reason upon this noble matter. And bicause I know my self unworthy to talke of the most holye misteries of love, I beseche him to leade my thought and my tunge so, that I may show this excelent Courtier how to love contrarye to the wonted maner of the commune ignorant sort. And even as from my childhode I have dedicated all my wholl lief unto him, so also now that my wordes may be answerable to the same intent, and to the prayse of him: I say therfore, that sins the nature of man in youthfull age is so much inclined to sense, it may be graunted the Courtier, while he is yong, to love sensuallye. But in case afterwarde also in his riper yeres, he chaunse to be set on fire with this coveting of love, he ought to be good and circumspect, and heedful that he beeguyle not him self, to be lead willfullye into the wretchednesse, that in yonge men deserveth more to be pitied then blamed: and contrarywise in olde men, more to be blamed then pitied. Therfore whan an amiable countenance of a beautiful woman commeth in his sight, that is accompanied with noble condicions and honest behaviours, so that as one practised in love, he wotteth well that his hewe hath an agreement with herres, assoone as he is a ware that his eyes snatch that image and carie it to the hart, and that the soule beeginneth to beehoulde it with pleasure, and feeleth within her self the influence that stirreth her and by litle and litle setteth her in heate, and that those livelye spirites, that twinkle out throughe the eyes, put continually freshe nourishment to the fire: he ought in this beginninge to seeke a speedye remedye and to raise up reason, and with her, to fense the fortresse of his hart, and to shutt in such wise the passages against sense and appetites, that they maye entre neyther with force nor subtill practise. Thus if the flame be quenched, the jeopardye is also quenched. But in case it continue or encrease, then must the Courtier determine (when he perceiveth he is taken) to shonn throughlye all filthinesse of commune love, and so entre into the holye way of love with the guide of reason, and first consider that the body, where that beawtye shyneth, is not the fountaine frome whens beauty springeth, but rather bicause beautie is bodilesse and (as we have said) an heavenlie shyning beame, she loseth much of her honoure whan she is coopled with that vile subject and full of corruption, bicause the lesse she is partner therof, the more perfect she is, and cleane sundred frome it, is most perfect.
And as a mann heareth not with his mouth, nor smelleth with hys eares: no more can he also in anye maner wise enjoye beawtye, nor satisfye the desyre that shee stirreth up in oure myndes, with feelynge, but wyth the sense, unto whom beawtie is the very butt to levell at: namelye, the vertue of seeinge. Let him laye aside therefore the blinde judgemente of the sense, and injoye wyth his eyes the bryghtnesse, the comelynesse, the lovynge sparkles, laughters, gestures and all other pleasant fournitours of beawty: especially with hearinge the sweetenesse of her voice, the tunablenesse of her woordes, the melodie of her singinge and playinge on instrumentes (in case the woman beloved be a musitien) and so shall he with most deintie foode feede the soule through the meanes of these two senses, which have litle bodelye substance in them, and be the ministers of reason, without entringe farther towarde the bodye with covetinge unto anye longinge otherwise then honest. Afterward let him obey, please, and honoure with all reverence his woman, and recken her more deere to him then his owne lief, and prefarr all her commodities and pleasures beefore his owne, and love no lesse in her the beauty of the mind, then of the bodye: therfore let him have a care not to suffer her to renn into any errour, but with lessons and good exhortations seeke alwaies to frame her to modestie, to temperance, to true honestye, and so to woorke that there maye never take place in her other then pure thoughtes and farr wide from all filthinesse of vices. And thus in sowinge of vertue in the gardein of that mind, he shall also gather the frutes of most beautifull condicions, and savour them with a marveilous good relise. And this shall be the right engendringe and imprinting of beawtie, the whiche some houlde opinion to be the ende of love. In this maner shall oure Courtier be most acceptable to his Lady, and she will alwayes showe her selfe towarde him tractable, lowlye and sweete in language, and as willinge to please him, as to be beloved of him: and the willes of them both shall be most honest and agreeable, and they consequently shall be most happy.
Beawtye severed from the body is most perfect.
Here M. Morello: The engendringe (quoth he) of beawtye in beawtye aright, were the engendringe of a beawtyfull chylde in a beautifull woman, and I woulde thinke it a more manifest token a great deale that she loved her lover, if she pleased him with this, then with the sweetenesse of language that you speake of.
M. Peter Bembo laughed and said: You must not (M. Morello) passe your boundes. I may tell you, it is not a small token that a woman loveth, whan she giveth unto her lover her beawtye, which is so precious a matter: and by the wayes that be a passage to the soule (that is to say, the sight and the hearinge) sendeth the lookes of her eyes, the image of her countenance, and the voice of her woordes, that perce into the lovers hart, and give a witnes of her love.
M. Morello said: Lookes and woordes may be, and oftentimes are, false witnesses. Therefore whoso hath not a better pledge of love (in my judgement) he is in an yll assurance. And surelye I looked still that you would have made this woman of yours somewhat more courteyous and free towarde the Courtier, then my L. Julian hath made his: but (me seemeth) ye be both of the propretie of those judges, that (to appeere wise) give sentence against their owne.
Bembo said: I am well pleased to have this woman muche more courteyous towarde my Courtier not yonge, then the L. Julians is to the yong: and that with good reason, bicause mine coveteth but honest matters, and therfore may the woman graunt him them all without blame. But my L. Julians woman that is not so assured of the modestye of the yonge man, ought to graunt him the honest matters onlye, and deny him the dishonest. Therefore more happye is mine, that hath graunted him whatsoever he requireth, then the other, that hath parte graunted and parte denyed. And bicause you may moreover the better understande, that reasonable love is more happye then sensuall, I saye unto you, that self same thinges in sensuall ought to be denyed otherwhile, and in reasonable, graunted: bicause in the one, they be honest, and in the other dishonest. Therfore the woman to please her good lover, beside the graunting him merie countenances, familiar and secret talke, jesting, dalying, hand in hand, may also lawfullye and without blame come to kissinge: whiche in sensuall love, accordinge to the L. Julians rules, is not lefull. For sins a
kisse is a knitting together both of body and soule, it is to be feared, least the sensuall lover will be more inclined to the part of the bodye, then of the soule: but the reasonable lover woteth well, that although the mouthe be a percell of the bodye, yet is it an issue for the wordes, that be the enterpreters of the soule, and for the inwarde breth, whiche is also called the soule: and therfore hath a delite to joigne hys mouth with the womans beloved with a kysse: not to stirr him to anye unhonest desire, but bicause he feeleth that, that bonde is the openynge of an entrey to the soules, whiche drawen with a coveting the one of the other, power them selves by tourn, the one into the others bodye, and be so mingled together, that ech of them hath two soules, and one alone so framed of them both ruleth (in a maner) two bodyes. Wherupon a kisse may be said to be rather a cooplinge together of the soule, then of the bodye, bicause it hath suche force in her, that it draweth her unto it, and (as it were) seperateth her from the bodye. For this do all chast lovers covett a kisse, as a cooplinge of soules together. And therfore Plato the divine lover saith, that in kissing, his soule came as farr as his lippes to depart out of the body. And bicause the separatinge of the soule from the matters of the sense and the through coopling her with matters of understanding may be betokened by a kisse, Salomon saith in his heavenlye boke of Balattes, Oh that he would kisse me with a kisse of his mouth, to expresse the desire he had, that hys soule might be ravished through heavenly love to the behouldinge of heavenly beawtie in such maner, that cooplyng her self inwardly with it, she might forsake the body.
They stoode all herkening heedfullie to Bembos reasoninge, and after he had staide a while and sawe that none spake, he sadie: Sins you have made me to beegine to showe oure not yonge Courtier this happye love, I will leade him somewhat farther forwardes, bicause to stande styll at this stay were somewhat perillous for him, consideringe (as we have often times said) the soule is most inclyned to the senses, and for all reason with discourse chouseth well, and knoweth that beawtie not to spring of the bodye, and therfore setteth a bridle to the unhonest desires, yet to beehould it alwaies in that body, doeth oftentimes corrupt the right judgement. And where no other inconvenience insueth upon it, ones absence from the wight beloved carieth a great passion with it: bicause the influence of that beawtie whan it is present, giveth a wonderous delite to the lover, and settinge his hart on fire, quickeneth and melteth certein vertues in a traunce and congeled in the soule, the which nourished with the heat of love, floow about and go bubbling nigh the heart, and thrust out through the eyes those spirites, whiche be most fyne vapoures made of the purest and cleerest parte of the bloode, which receive the image of beawtie, and decke it with a thousande sundrye fournitures. Wherupon the soule taketh a delite, and with a certein wonder is agast, and yet enjoyeth she it, and (as it were) astonied together with the pleasure, feeleth the feare and reverence that men accustomably have towarde holy matters, and thinketh her self to be in paradise. The lover therfore that considereth only the beawtie in the bodye, loseth this treasure and happinesse, assoone as the woman beloved with her departure leaveth the eyes without their brightnes, and consequently the soule, as a widowe without her joye. For sins beawtie is farr of, that influence of love setteth not the hart on fire, as it did in presence. Wherupon the pores be dryed up and wythered, and yet doeth the remembraunce of beawty somwhat stirr those vertues of the soule in such wise, that they seeke to scattre abrode the spirites, and they fyndinge the wayes closed up, have no yssue, and still they seeke to gete out, and so with those shootinges inclosed pricke the soule, and tourment her bitterlye, as yonge chilldren, whan in their tender gummes they beegin to breede teeth. And hens come the teares, sighes, vexations and tourmentes of lovers: bicause the soule is alwayes in affliction and travaile and (in a maner) wexeth woode, untill the beloved beawtie commeth beefore her once again, and then is she immediatlye pacified and taketh breth, and throughlye bent to it, is nouryshed wyth most deintye foode, and by her will, would never depart from so sweete a sight. to avoide therfore the tourment of this absence, and to enjoy beawtie without passion, the Courtier by the helpe of reason muste full and wholy call backe again the coveting of the body to beawtye alone, and (in what he can) beehoulde it in it self simple and pure, and frame it within in his imagination sundred from all matter, and so make it frindlye and lovinge to hys soule, and there enjoye it, and have it with him daye and night, in every time and place, without mystrust ever to lose it: keapinge alwayes fast in minde, that the bodye is a most dyverse thynge from beawtie, and not onlie not encreaseth, but diminisheth the perfection of it. In this wise shall our not yonge Courtier be out of all bitternesse and wretchednes that yong men feele (in a maner) continuallye, as jelousies, suspicions, disdeignes, angres, desperations and certein rages full of madnesse, wherby manye times they be lead into so great errour, that some doe not onely beate the women whom they love: but rid them selves out of their lief. He shal do no wrong to the husband, father, brethren or kinsfolke of the woman beloved. He shall not bringe her in sclaunder. He shall not be in case with much a do otherwhile to refraine hys eyes and tunge from discoverynge his desires to others. He shall not take thought at departure or in absence, bicause he shall ever more carye his precious treasure about wyth him shut fast within his hert. And beeside, through the vertue of imagination he shall facion within himself that beawty muche more faire, then it is in deede. But emong these commodities the lover shal finde an other yet far greater, in case he will take this love for a stayer (as it were to clime up to an other farr higher then it. The whiche he shall bring to passe, if he will go and consider with himself, what a streict bonde it is to be alwaies in the trouble to beehoulde the beawtie of one bodye alone. And therfore to come out of this so narrow a rowme, he shall gather in his thought by litle and litle so manye ornamentes, that meddlinge all beawties together, he shall make an universall concept, and bringe the multitude of them to the unitye of one alone, that is generally spred over all the nature of man. And thus shall he beehoulde no more the particuler beawtie of one woman, but an universall, that decketh out all bodies. Wherupon beeing dymm with this greater light, he shall not passe upon the lesser, and burnynge in a more excellent flame, he shall litle esteame it, that he sett great store by at the first. This stayer of love, though it be verye noble, and such as fewe arrive at it, yet is it not in this sort to be called perfect, forsomuch as where the imagination is of force to make conveiance and hath no knowleage, but through those beeginninges that the senses helpe her wythall, she is not cleane pourged from grosse darkenesse: and therefore though she do consider that universall beawtie in sunder and in it self alone, yet doeth she not well and cleerlye descerne it, nor without some doubtfulness, by reason of the agreement that the fansyes have with the bodye. Wherefore suche as come to thys love, are lyke yonge Birdes almost flushe, whyche for all they flytter a litle their tender wynges, yet dare they not stray farr from the neste, nor commytt theym selves to the wynde and open weather. Whan oure Courtier therfore shall be come to this point, although he maye be called a good and happye lover, in respect of them that he drowned in the miserye of sensuall love, yet wil I not have him to set his hart at rest, but bouldlye proceade farther, folowinge the high way after his guyde, that leadeth him to the point of true happinesse. And thus in steade of going out of his witt with thought, as he must do that will consider the bodilye beawty, he may come into his witt, to behoulde the beawty that is seene with the eyes of the minde, which then beegin to be sharpe and thorough seeinge, whan the eyes of the body lose the floure of their sightlynesse. Therefore the soule rid of vices, purged with the studyes of true Philosophie, occupied in spirituall, and exercised in matters of understandinge, tourninge her to the beehouldyng of her own substance, as it were raysed out of a most deepe sleepe, openeth the eyes that all men have, and fewe occupy, and seeth in her self a shining beame of that lyght, which is the true image of the aungelike beawtye partened with her, whereof she also partneth with the bodye a feeble shadoe: therfore wexed blinde about earthly matters, is made most quicke of sight about heavenlye. And otherwhile whan the stirringe vertues of the body are withdrawen alone through earnest behouldinge, eyther fast bounde through sleepe, whan she is not hindred by them, she feeleth a certein previe smell of the right aungelike beawtie, and ravished with the shining of that light, beeginneth to be inflamed, and so greedilye foloweth after, that (in a maner) she wexeth dronken and beeside her self, for coveting to coople her self with it, havinge founde (to her wening) the footsteppes of God in the beehouldinge of whom (as in her happy end) she seeketh to settle her self. And therfore burninge in this most happye flame, she arryseth to the noblest part of her (which is the understanding) and there no more shadowed with the darke night of earthlye matters, seeth the heavenlye beawtye: but yet doeth she not for all that enjoye it altogether perfectlye, bicause she behouldeth it onlye in her perticular under standinge, which can not conceive the passing great universall beautye: wherupon not throughlye satisfied with this benifit, love giveth unto the soule a greater happines. For like as throughe the perticular beawtye of one bodye he guydeth her to the universall beawtye of all bodies: evenso in the last degree of perfection throughe perticular understandinge he guideth her to the universall understandinge. Thus the soule kindled in the most holy fire of true heavenlye love, fleeth to coople her selfe with the nature of Aungelles, and not onlye cleane forsaketh sense, but hath no more neede of the discourse of reason, for being chaunged into an Aungell, she understandeth al thinges that may be understoode: and without any veile or cloude, she seeth the meine sea of the pure heavenlye beawtye and receveth it into her, and enjoyeth that soveraigne happinesse, that can not be comprehended of the senses. Sins therfore the beawties, which we dayly see with these our dimm eyes in bodies subject to corruption, that neverthelesse be nothinge elles but dreames and most thinne shadowes of beauty, seme unto us so wel favoured and comely, that oftentimes they kendle in us a most burning fire, and with such delite, that we recken no happinesse may be compared to it, that we feele otherwhile through the only looke which the beloved countenance of a woman casteth at us: what happy wonder, what blessed abashement may we recken that to bee, that taketh the soules, whiche come to have a sight of the heavenly beawty? what sweete flame? What soote incense maye a mann beleave that to bee, whiche arriseth of the fountaine of the soveraigne and right beawtye? Whiche is the origin of all other beawtye, whiche never encreaseth nor diminisheth, alwayes beawtyfull, and of it selfe, aswell on the one part as on the other, most simple, onelye like it self, and partner of none other, but in suche wise beawtifull, that all other
beawtifull thinges, be beawtifull, bicause they be partners of the beawtie of it. This is the beawtye unseperable from the high bountye, whiche with her voyce calleth and draweth to her all thynges: and not onlye to the indowed with understandinge giveth understandinge, to the reasonable reason, to the sensuall sense and appetite to live, but also partaketh with the plantes and stones (as a print of her self) stirring, and the natural provocation of their properties. So much therfore is this love greater and happier then others, as the cause that stirreth it, is more excellent. And therefore, as commune fire trieth golde and maketh it fyne, so this most holye fire in soules destroyeth and consumeth what so ever there is mortall in them, and relieveth and maketh beawtyfull the heavenlye part, whyche at the first by reason of the sense was dead and buried in them. This is the great fire in the whiche (the Poetes wryte) that Hercules was burned on the topp of the mountaigne Oeta: and throughe that consumynge with fire, after hys death
was holye and immortall. Thys is the fyrie bushe of Moses: the divided tunges of fire: the inflamed Chariot of Helias: whych doobleth grace and happynesse in their soules that be worthy to see it, whan they forsake thys earthly basenesse and flee up into heaven. Let us therefore bende all oure force and thoughtes of soule to this most holye light, that showeth us the waye which leadeth to heaven: and after it, puttynge of the affections we were clad withall at our comminge downe, let us clime up the stayers, which at the lowermost stepp have the shadowe of sensuall beawty, to the high mansion place where the heavenlye, amiable and right beawtye dwelleth, which lyeth hid in the innermost secretes of God, least unhalowed eyes shoulde come to the syght of it: and there shall we fynde a most happye ende for our desires, true rest for oure travailes, certein remedye for myseryes, a most healthfull medycin for sickenesse, a most sure haven in the troublesome stormes of the tempestuous sea of this life. What tunge mortall is there then (O most holy love) that can sufficientlye prayse thy woothynesse? Thou most beawtifull, most good, most wise, art dirived of the unity of heavenly beautie, goodnesse and wisedome, and therin doeth thou abide, and unto it through it (as in a circle) tournest about. Thou the most sweete bonde of the worlde, a meane beetwext heavenlye and earthlye thynges, wyth a bountifull tempre bendest the High vertues to the government of the lower, and tourninge backe the mindes of mortall men to their beeginning, coolest them with it. Thou with agreement bringest the Elementes in one, stirrest nature to brynge furth, and that, which arriseth and is borne for the succession of the lief. Thou bringest severed matters into one, to the unperfect givest perfectyon, to the unlyke likenesse, to enimitye amitye, to the Earth frute, to the Sea calmnesse, to the heaven lyevelie light. Thou art the father of true pleasures, of grace, peace, lowlynesse and good will, ennemye to rude wildenesse and sluggishnesse, to be short, the beginninge and ende of all goodnesse. And forsomuche as thou delitest to dwell in the floure of beawtyfull bodyes and beawtyfull soules, I suppose that thy abydinge place is nowe here emonge us, and from above otherwhyle showest thy selfe a litle to the eyes and mindes of them that be woorthye to see thee, Therfore vouchsafe (Lorde) to harken to oure prayers, power thy selfe into oure hartes, and wyth the bryghtnesse of thy most holye fire lyghten oure darkenesse, and like a trustie guide in thys blynde mase, showe us the right waye: refourme the falsehoode of the senses, and after longe wandringe in vanitye gyve us the ryght and sounde joye. Make us to smell those spirituall savoures that relieve the vertues of the understandinge, and to heare the heavenlye harmonie so tunable, that no discorde of passion take place anye more in us. Make us dronken with the bottomlesse fountain of contentation that alwaies doeth delite, and never giveth fill, and that giveth a smacke of the right blisse unto who so drinketh of the renning and cleere water therof. Pourge wyth the shininge beames of thy light our eyes from mysty ignoraunce, that they maye no more set by mortall beawty, and wel perceive that the thinges which at the first they thought themselves to see, be not in deede, and those that they saw not, to be in effect. Accept oure soules, that be offred unto thee for a sacrifice. Burn them in the livelye flame that wasteth al grosse filthines, that after they be cleane sundred from the body, thei may be copled with an everlastinge and most sweet bonde to the heavenly beawty. And we severed from oure selves, may be chaunged like right lovers into the beloved, and after we be drawen from the earth, admitted to the feast of the aungelles, where fed with immortall ambrosia and nectar,
A mounteign betweene Thessalia and Macedonia where is the sepulchre of Hercules.
in the ende we maye dye a most happie and livelye death, as in times past died the fathers of olde time, whose soules with most fervent zeale of beehouldinge thou diddest hale from the bodye and coopleddest them with God.
The poetes feigne to be the meate and drinke of the Goddes.
When Bembo had hitherto spoken with such vehemencye, that a man woulde have thought him (as it were) ravished and beeside himselfe, he stoode still without once mooving, houldynge his eyes towarde heaven as astonied, whan the Lady Emilia, whiche together with the rest gave most diligent care to this talke, tooke him by the plaite of hys garment and pluckinge hym a litle, said: Take heede (M. Peter) that these thoughtes make not your soule also to forsake the bodye.
Madam, answered M. Peter, it shoulde not be the first miracle that love hath wrought in me.
Then the Dutchesse and all the rest beegan a fresh to be instant upon M. Bembo that he woulde proceade once more in his talke, and every one thought he felt in his minde (as it were) a certein sparkle of that godly love that pricked him, and they all coveted to heare farther: but M. Bembo: My Lordes (quoth he) I have spoken what the holye furie of love hath (unsaught for) indited to me: now that (it seemeth) he inspireth me no more, I wot not what to say. And I thinke verelie that love will not have his secretes discovered and farther, nor that the Courtier shoulde passe the degree that his pleasure is I shoulde show him, and therfore it is not perhappes lefull to speak anye more in this matter.
Surelye, quoth the Dutchesse, if the not yonge Courtier be such a one that he can folowe this way which you have showed him, of right he ought to be satisfied with so great a happines, and not to envie the yonger.
Then the L. Cesar Gonzaga: The way (quoth he) that leadeth to this happines is so stiepe (in my mind) that (I beleave) it will be much a do to gete to it.
The L. Gaspar said: I beleave it to be harde to gete up for men, but unpossible for women.
The L. Emilia laughed and said: If ye fall so often to offende us, I promise you, ye shall be no more forgiven.
The L. Gaspar answered: it is no offence to you, in saiynge, that womens soules be not so pourged from passions as mens be, nor accustomed in behouldinges, as M. Peter hath said, is necessary for them to be, that will tast of the heavenly love. Therfore it is not read that ever woman hath had this grace: but manie men have had it, as Plato, Socrates, Plotinus, and manie other: and a numbre of our holye fathers, as Saint Francis, in whom a fervent spirite of love imprinted the most holie seale of the five woundes. And nothinge but the vertue of love coulde hale up Saint Paul the Apostle to the sight of those secretes, which is not lawfull for man to speake of: nor show Saint Stephan the heavens open.
Here answered the L. Julian: In this point men shall nothinge passe women, for Socrates him selfe doeth confesse that all the misteries of love which he knew, were oped unto him by a woman, which was Diotima. And the Aungell that with the fire of love imprinted the five woundes in Saint Francis, hath also made some women woorthy of the same print in our age. You must remembre moreover that S. Mari Magdalen had manye faultes forgeven her, bicause she loved muche: an perhappes with no lesse grace then Saint Paul, was she manye times through Aungelyke love haled up to the thirde heaven. And manye other (as I showed you yesterdaye more at large) that for love of the name of Chryste have not passed upon lief, nor feared tourmentes, nor any other kinde of death, how terrible and cruell ever it were. And they were not (as M. Peter wyll have his Courtier to be) aged, but soft and tender maidens, and in the age, when he saith that sensuall love ought to be borne withal in men.
The L. Gaspar began to prepare himself to speake, but the Dutchesse: of this (quoth shee) let M. Peter be judge, and the matter shal stand to his verdite, whether women be not as meete for heavenlie love as men. But bicause the pleade beetweene you may happen to be to longe, It shall not be amisse to deferr it untill to morow.
Nay, to nyght, quoth the L. Cesar Gonzaga.
And how can it be to night? quoth the Dutchesse.
The L. Cesar answered: Bicause it is day already, and showed her the light that begane to entre in at the cliftes of the windowes. Then everie man arrose upon his feete with much wonder, bicause they had not thaught that the reasoninges had lasted longer then the accustomed wont, savinge onelye that they were beegon much later, and with their pleasantnesse had deceived so the Lordes mindes, that they wist not of the going away of the houres. And not one of them felt any heavinesse of slepe in his eyes, the which often happeneth whan a man is up after his accustomed houre to go to bed. Whan the windowes then were opened on the side of the Palaice that hath his prospect toward the high top of Mount Catri, they saw alredie risen in the East a faire morninge like unto the colour of roses, and all sterres voided, savinge onelye the sweete Governesse of the heaven, Venus, whiche keapeth the boundes of the nyght and the day, from whiche appeered to blowe a sweete blast, that filling the aer with a bytinge cold, begane to quicken the tunable notes of the prety birdes, emong the hushing woodes of the hilles at hande. Wherupon they all, takinge their leave with reverence of the Dutchesse, departed toward their lodginges without torche, the light of the day sufficing.
And as they were now passing out at the great chambre doore, the L. Generall tourned hym to the Dutches, and said: Madam, to take up the variance betweene the L. Gaspar and the L. Julian, we will assemble this night with the judge sooner then we did yesterdaye.
The Lady Emilia answered: Upon condicion, that in case my L. Gaspar wyll accuse women, and geve them (as his wont is) some false reporte, he wil also put us in suretye to stand to triall, for I recken him a waveringe starter.