Soul Calibur 5 Quick Battle Titles For Essays

Quick Battle is a single player mode filled with CPU opponents at various difficulty level. The difficulty of the opponent is determined by their rank, E5 is the weakest and A1 is the strongest. The opponents that you fight against will most likely be created characters although their will be some instances where you would face against the original character.

The only reason to play this mode would be to unlock all the titles. Each opponent you face in Quick Battle holds a title and to unlock that title you would need to defeat them.

Opponents in the "Beginner" level are very easy to defeat. The opponents in the "Intermediate" level are a bit harder towards the higher ranks but are still fairly easy with practice. The opponents in the "Advance" level are very hard especially the "A" rank opponents and you're really going to have to work at it to defeat them.

NameStyleTitleArea
Wellcook Xiba Amateur Spain, Europe
NameStyleTitleArea
BIRD Maxi Hermit United States
Hrist Hilde Battle Debut Canada
NameStyleTitleArea
Belladona Dampierre Frivolous Poland
Bruce Aeon Strongest in Town Australia
Eight Nightmare Impatient China
MysteriousBudo Natsu Field Runner Japan
T110 Voldo Stalker Japan
unica Mitsurugi Wooden Shield Japan
Zer0 Pyrrha Bad Boy China
NameStyleTitleArea
Hurimaru Alpha Patroklos Trainee Japan
Lexi Natsu Escape Artist United States
Malrose Raphael Wild Dancer Cuba
MiGaOh Mitsurugi Broken Fanged Tiger Phillipines
NegInk6060 Ezio Auditore Assassin Trainee United States
OishiOishi Mitsurugi Unforgettable Japan
syuki Cervantes Waiting Man Japan
Yan Leixia Just Kidding! Hong Kong
NameStyleTitleArea
DekoPon Aeon Low Attacker Japan
Faraz2Newday Pyrrha Omega Shearing Technique Iran
Gabriel Kilik Champion of Ruin Italy
hige16g Voldo Drunkard Egypt
Meranya Raphael Aims for Low Attacks Canada
Ninguisung Leixia Hip Swordsman China
Pepesilvia Z.W.E.I. Little Scoundrel Canada
QuietWyatt Z.W.E.I. Spoiled Brat China
NameStyleTitleArea
DiamondJoe Hilde Kind Hearted Spain
Erieysa Pyrrha Copper Shield Canada
Joseph Siegfried Old Soldier United States
KooPaVetLLi Patroklos Training Soldier United States
Qatif Siegfried Fake Genius Iraq
Shazraile Mitsurugi Peaceful Man Malaysia
Viktor Dampierre Farting Baron Russia
Yafuzi Viola Retiree Brazil
NameStyleTitleArea
Aerine Z.W.E.I. Light Infantry France
Alistair Kilik Fake Edge Master United Kingdom
Amaya Viola Master of Charm Japan
DiegoUmeharez Patroklos Rep. My Town Mexico
Kisa Pyrrha Adjacent Type Japan
Rozaya Z.W.E.I. Beast's Instincts Mexico
ZoaH Natsu In Fighter Indonesia
NameStyleTitleArea
Abigaill Hilde Efficiency Counts United Kingdom
Ghulum Siegfried Going for Ring Outs Saudi Arabia
Hinata Tira Gloomy Tira Japan
KazuneAya Tira Jolly Tira Japan
Kerrigan Astaroth Leg Crusher United States
LuXun Yoshimitsu Door Knocker is Back China
Rundlescunder Voldo Close Range Fighter Algeria
Saki Natsu Wild Woman Japan
ShadowGX13 Pyrrha Omega Hurricane Ecuador
NameStyleTitleArea
Elizabeth Elysium Rampant Spirit United Kingdom
Globine Tira Vampire Swtzerland
Kotone Devil Jin Mishima Style Pupil Brazil
Kusanagi Ivy Ordinary Person Japan
Mr.Harakiri Yoshimitsu Gambler United States
MysthMoon Pyrrha Great Heaven's Rider Brazil
SpeedLancer Hilde Spear Soldier Finland
TormentorCIP Ivy Ruffian Germany
VonCoso Raphael Narcissist Swordsman Italy
NameStyleTitleArea
Adrianna Raphael Performer Romania
Cold84Darkness Leixia Tricky Fencer Korea
DreadKnight Nightmare Pure Soul Wave United Kingdom
Fatih Maxi Beauty Turkey
GLIDE Astaroth Entertainer United States
LJ Astaroth Apprentice Grappler United States
Natasha Ivy Leg Shearer Ukraine
Thorkild Astaroth Raging Bull Denmark
vonCorra Xiba Horizontal Flash Hungary
NameStyleTitleArea
Erika Z.W.E.I. Acrobat Germany
GailSilvermoon Pyrrha Parry Aim Germany
Gicchi Z.W.E.I. Solid Man Japan
Groovy Pyrrha Alluring Step Chile
Heaven Viola Out Fighter Japan
HotRodDave Maxi Catalyst Legend Japan
Ozanius Siegfried Heavy Infantry Turkey
Tsubo-G Leixia Call Me Master China
Vincent Raphael Romantic Swordsman France
NameStyleTitleArea
Agbayani Maxi Guillotine Dance Phillipines
Britsprzt Pyrrha Angel Walker Sweden
BoaMorte Alpha Patroklos Lieutenant Brazil
Eka Xiba Going Strong Thailand
Ghost Kilik Advanced Soldier Russia
go2sleep Astaroth Old Type United States
Julia Elysium Reflector France
Leonel Ezio Auditore Sniper Dominican Republic
MaDuShi Xiba Impact Barrier China
Midajah Natsu Side Step Demon India
SafaraDiadem Xiba Crane's Range Egypt
TERAMOS Algol Split Second Watcher Italy
Tetubusi Astaroth Wild War Cry United Kingdom
Thamires Leixia Seductive Swordsman Japan
Worsel Z.W.E.I. Seizing Fangs United States
NameStyleTitleArea
AttackerM20 Aeon Earth Crawler Japan
Beck Dampierre Le Bello's Bluff Portugal
Gandora Cervantes Mercenary Captain Portugal
Helena Pyrrha Omega Berserker Germany
Kamonegi3 Patroklos Taste Justice! Japan
Mooshywooshy Natsu Shreds Russia
Mr.Moustache Cervantes Sturdy Beard France
Oliva Leixia Dancer United States
Puxenana Tira Double-Edged Ring Brazil
Salem Patroklos Wise Beast Germany
Sined Viola Long Range Fighter United Arab Emirates
NameStyleTitleArea
Kingvoldo222 Voldo Mantis Crawler Spain
Jaguar Natsu Blade Player Mexico
Meldonik Yoshimitsu Match Expert Slovakia
Nouf Patroklos Loyal Knight Saudi Arabia
Ring Ivy Anticipated Newcomer Poland
Soultrip Voldo
Iropractic Australia
Tunkun
Xiba
Reversal Magician
Phillipines
Woahhzz Z.W.E.I. Fantastita United States
NameStyleTitleArea
AKANE Tira Circular Magician Japan
Arexx Nightmare Spoiling Flap Jack Netherlands
ChaK1rA Raphael Vertical Flash Japan
Charlotte Hilde Faraway Demon France
theCursed Ezio Auditore Raving Eagle Romania
DEATHDEALER Cervantes The Grim Reaper Greece
FionaVacante Nightmare Unrestrained Spirit Italy
GuardianWolf Patroklos Stop Consecutive Win United Kingdom
Li Long Maxi Angry Kickboxer China
Mistress Ivy Low Attack Breaker Brazil
Oum Aeon Grappler Japan
Rin Mitsurugi Shaver Fest Japan
Shadowhatchi Devil Jin Soaring Wings Japan
NameStyleTitleArea
Brother XVII Siegfried Stancer Germany
Caleb Cervantes
Crusher United Arab Emirates
Daydream Nightmare Soul Explosion Japan
HanHyoJoo Xiba Breaker Korea
magicdolphin Devil Jin Grappling Master Japan
oz-shiron Ivy Beautiful Calamity Japan
Saitoh Astaroth Bull Rush Committee France
Scarlet Tira Shriek Noise Dance United States
Valentina Raphael Voila! Mermet de Vec Spain
WINGHILL Astaroth Reckless Fool Iran
XAKI Cervantes Perfect Geo Da Ray United States
NameStyleTitleArea
Aria Elysium Demon of Close Range United Kingdom
Dwelta Devil Jin Weaponless Argentina
Girlinblue Viola Impenitrable Domain Croatia
HEATBEST Mitsurugi Simple and Sturdy Taiwan
koo_i Natsu Phantom Japan
Ooofmatic Viola Uncrowned Emperor United States
Shadowfoxy Leixia Water Moon France
Tamiya Alpha Patroklos Aiki Heart Japan
Valendale Pyrrha Angel's Blow Nigeria
Violet Yoshimitsu Breaker China
Xavier Dampierre Wizard of Knockdowns Belgium
NameStyleTitleArea
Abigale Raphael Alluring Swordsman France
Alice Z.W.E.I. New Type United Kingdom
BYS Pyrrha Omega Point-Blank Fighter Japan
Dreamkiller Viola Evading Master United States
Eduardo Aeon Green Scales of Rage Columbia
Fantoma Voldo Death Roller France
Hakim Patroklos Impact Master Yemen
Laurel Patroklos Rep, My Country United States
LiquidImpact Z.W.E.I. Key to Returns United States
lolo Yoshimitsu Initiation to Manji Mexico
Mick Leixia Ultimate Aiki Skill United States
Phoenix Kilik Runaway Train United States
Ramon Pyrrha Omega Matchless in Force United States
Rellda Alpha Patroklos Seizer of Time Brazil
Runebook Cervantes Combo Master Indonesia
NameStyleTitleArea
Alexis de Leon Cervantes Expert Fighter France
Craig Cervantes Black Knight Spain
Docvizzo Alpha Patroklos Laoshi Germany
Kristie Natsu He Who Teases Canada
Laurana Pyrrha Steel Shield Norway
Malek Ivy Trembling Cage France
Stella Hilde Piercing Lancee Hungary
SwitchBlade Ivy Aloof Whip User United States
Valhran Cervantes Captain Bulgaria
NameStyleTitleArea
Christina Siegfried Firepower is Best Italy
FilthieRich Devil Jin Blade Sealer Phillipines
Hwang Devil Jin The Golden Leg Korea
LostProvidence Alpha Patroklos Squall Blow Japan
Olib Edge Master Master of the Sword China
RTD Z.W.E.I. Black Wolf United States
t3hmAsTar0th Astaroth Hands of Destruction Bangladesh
Tsubaki Mitsurugi Master Muichimoji Japan
Zenkar Astaroth Unrelated Link Adept Turkey
NameStyleTitleArea
Maxou Alpha Patroklos Master of Sheathing France
MinSeRin Pyrrha Angel's Dance Korea
Ramon Devil Jin Grappling King Slovakia
ShadowBlade Ezio Auditore White Death United States
SilentWall Nightmare King of Destruction Canada
Trelll Xiba Pole Successor United States
Unknown Aeon Lord of the Sea Other
NameStyleTitleArea
AniMat Yoshimitsu Master of Range Canada
Baronvonburf Aeon Jet-Black Tempest Germany
Faciano064 Xiba Ling-Sheng Su Master Hong Kong
Isis Elysium Phoenix Egypt
Kunpaetku Astaroth God of Destruction Other
Lobo Mitsurugi Tenpu-Kosai Master United States
Partisan Patroklos Major France
RedRightHand Siegfried Hold Master Ireland
NameStyleTitleArea
theCursed Ezio Auditore Master of Grappling Romania
Harada TEKKEN Devil Jin Mishima Style Master Japan
Hibiki Mitsurugi Master of Mist Japan
HiyaD Patroklos Awakened Soul Japan
Musashi Mitsurugi Eternal Pursuer Japan
Stiltzkin Hilde Moonlit Dancing Austria
Vanessa Leixia Baffling Sword Dance Vietnam
NameStyleTitleArea
Aris Voldo Puppet of Loyalty United States
Blackout Ezio Auditore Master Assassin Italy
BLT Hilde Dawn Victory Japan
Chaos Kilik Red Lotus Japan
Cheo Tira Death Bird of Ring Taiwan
Daishi Pyrrha Omega Soul Successor Japan
DantheNightmare Nightmare Nightmare of the End France
dusk0naka Natsu Swift Sealing Knife Japan
FUG Cervantes Pillager of the Seas United States
Ha7Me125 Aeon The Murky Eyed Japan
Haruki Dampierre Lying Dreamy King Japan
Irasea Pyrrha New Generation Czech
Jericho Mitsurugi Strong Sword Villain United States
MCZ Kayane Leixia Stream Dance France
KillerGreg Astaroth Executioner Japan
MINAMI NAIKOS Algol Rough Giant Star Japan
oosaka Maxi Flower of Dark Night Japan
plasma Siegfried Flash of Conviction Japan
sorel shuntaroh Xiba Supernova Japan
Thuggish Pond Raphael Serenade of Madness United States
Yoshivy Ivy Cursed Bloodline Japan
NameStyleTitleArea
Alissa Alpha Patroklos Katana Master France
Belial Mitsurugi King of 100 Swords Russia
Calibur Master Edge Master Edge Master Other
Sigfrancis Siegfried Hero of Turmoil Germany
YOTORY Mitsurugi Legendary Swordsman Japan

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Story -1607 A.D.-Previous
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OF SOLITUDE

LET US pretermit that long comparison betwixt the active and the solitary life; and as for the fine sayings with which ambition and avarice palliate their vices, that we are not born for ourselves but for the public, let us boldly appeal to those who are in public affairs; let them lay their hands upon their hearts, and then say whether, on the contrary, they do not rather aspire to titles and offices and that tumult of the world to make their private advantage at the public expense. The corrupt ways by which in this our time they arrive at the height to which their ambitions aspire, manifestly enough declares that their ends cannot be very good. Let us tell ambition that it is she herself who gives us a taste of solitude; for what does she so much avoid as society? What does she so much seek as elbow-room? A man may do well or ill everywhere; but if what Bias says be true, that the greatest part is the worse part, or what the Edition: current; Page: [12] Preacher says: there is not one good of a thousand:—

“Good men forsooth are scarce: there are hardly as many as there are gates of Thebes or mouths of the rich Nile,”

the contagion is very dangerous in the crowd. A man must either imitate the vicious or hate them: both are dangerous things, either to resemble them because they are many or to hate many because they are unresembling to ourselves. Merchants who go to sea are in the right when they are cautious that those who embark with them in the same bottom be neither dissolute blasphemers nor vicious other ways, looking upon such society as unfortunate. And therefore it was that Bias pleasantly said to some, who being with him in a dangerous storm implored the assistance of the gods: “Peace, speak softly,” said he, “that they may not know you are here in my company.” And of more pressing example, Albuquerque, viceroy in the Indies for Emmanuel, king of Portugal, in an extreme peril of shipwreck, took a young boy upon his shoulders, for this only end that, in the Edition: current; Page: [13] society of their common danger his innocence might serve to protect him, and to recommend him to the divine favor, that they might get safe to shore. ’Tis not that a wise man may not live everywhere content, and be alone in the very crowd of a palace; but if it be left to his own choice, the schoolman will tell you that he should fly the very sight of the crowd: he will endure it if need be; but if it be referred to him, he will choose to be alone. He cannot think himself sufficiently rid of vice, if he must yet contend with it in other men. Charondas punished those as evil men who were convicted of keeping ill company. There is nothing so unsociable and sociable as man, the one by his vice, the other by his nature. And Antisthenes, in my opinion, did not give him a satisfactory answer, who reproached him with frequenting ill company, by saying that the physicians lived well enough amongst the sick: for if they contribute to the health of the sick, no doubt but by the contagion, continual sight of, and familiarity with diseases, they must of necessity impair their own.

Now the end, I take it, is all one, to live at Edition: current; Page: [14] more leisure and at one’s ease: but men do not always take the right way. They often think they have totally taken leave of all business, when they have only exchanged one employment for another: there is little less trouble in governing a private family than a whole kingdom. Wherever the mind is perplexed, it is in an entire disorder, and domestic employments are not less troublesome for being less important. Moreover, for having shaken off the court and the exchange, we have not taken leave of the principal vexations of life:—

“Reason and prudence, not a place with a commanding view of the great ocean, banish care;”

ambition, avarice, irresolution, fear, and inordinate desires, do not leave us because we forsake our native country:—

“Black care sits behind the horseman;”

they often follow us even to cloisters and philosophical schools; nor deserts, nor caves, hair-shirts, nor fasts, can disengage us from them:—

“The fatal shaft adheres to the side.”

Edition: current; Page: [15]

One telling Socrates that such a one was nothing improved by his travels: “I very well believe it,” said he, “for he took himself along with him:”—

“Why do we seek climates warmed by another sun? Who, an exile from his country, also flees from himself?”

If a man do not first discharge both himself and his mind of the burden with which he finds himself oppressed, motion will but make it press the harder and sit the heavier, as the lading of a ship is of less encumbrance when fast and bestowed in a settled posture. You do a sick man more harm than good in removing him from place to place; you fix and establish the disease by motion, as stakes sink deeper and more firmly into the earth by being moved up and down in the place where they are designed to stand. Therefore, it is not enough to get remote from the public; ’tis not enough to shift the soil only; a man must flee from the popular conditions that have taken possession of his soul, he must sequester and come again to himself:—

“You say, perhaps, you have broken your Edition: current; Page: [16] chains: the dog who after long efforts has broken his cord, still in his flight drags a heavy portion of it after him.”

We still carry our fetters along with us. ’Tis not an absolute liberty; we yet cast back a look upon what we have left behind us; the fancy is still full of it:—

“But unless the mind is purified, what internal combats and dangers must we incur in spite of all our efforts! How many bitter anxieties, how many terrors, follow upon unregulated passion! What destruction befalls us from pride, lust, petulant anger! What evils arise from luxury and sloth!”

Our disease lies in the mind, which cannot escape from itself;

“In culpa est animus, qui se non effugit unquam,”

and therefore is to be called home and confined within itself: that is the true solitude, and that may be enjoyed even in populous cities and the courts of kings, though more commodiously apart.

Now, since we will attempt to live alone, and to waive all manner of conversation Edition: current; Page: [17] amongst men, let us so order it that our content may depend wholly upon ourselves; let us dissolve all obligations that ally us to others; let us obtain this from ourselves, that we may live alone in good earnest, and live at our ease too.

Stilpo having escaped from the burning of his town, where he lost wife, children, and goods, Demetrius Poliorcetes seeing him, in so great a ruin of his country, appear with an undisturbed countenance, asked him if he had received no loss! To which he made answer, No; and that, thank God, nothing was lost of his. This also was the meaning of the philosopher Antisthenes, when he pleasantly said, that “men should furnish themselves with such things as would float, and might with the owner escape the storm;” and certainly a wise man never loses anything if he have himself. When the city of Nola was ruined by the barbarians, Paulinus, who was bishop of that place, having there lost all he had, himself a prisoner, prayed after this manner: “O Lord, defend me from being sensible of this loss; for Thou knowest they have yet touched nothing of that which Edition: current; Page: [18] is mine.” The riches that made him rich and the goods that made him good, were still kept entire. This it is to make choice of treasures that can secure themselves from plunder and violence, and to hide them in such a place into which no one can enter and that is not to be betrayed by any but ourselves. Wives, children, and goods must be had, and especially health, by him that can get it; but we are not so to set our hearts upon them that our happiness must have its dependence upon them; we must reserve a backshop, wholly our own and entirely free, wherein to settle our true liberty, our principal solitude and retreat. And in this we must for the most part entertain ourselves with ourselves, and so privately that no exotic knowledge or communication be admitted there; there to laugh and to talk, as if without wife, children, goods, train, or attendance, to the end that when it shall so fall out that we must lose any or all of these, it may be no new thing to be without them. We have a mind pliable in itself, that will be company; that has wherewithal to attack and to defend, to receive and to give: let us not then Edition: current; Page: [19] fear in this solitude to languish under an uncomfortable vacuity:—

“In solitude, be a multitude to thyself.”

Virtue is satisfied with herself, without discipline, without words, without effects. In our ordinary actions there is not one of a thousand that concerns ourselves. He that thou seest scrambling up the ruins of that wall, furious and transported, against whom so many harquebuss-shots are levelled; and that other all over scars, pale, and fainting with hunger, and yet resolved rather to die than to open the gates to him; dost thou think that these men are there upon their own account? No; peradventure in the behalf of one whom they never saw and who never concerns himself for their pains and danger, but lies wallowing the while in sloth and pleasure: this other slavering, blear-eyed, slovenly fellow, that thou seest come out of his study after midnight, dost thou think he has been tumbling over books to learn how to become a better man, wiser, and more content? No such matter; he will there end his days, but Edition: current; Page: [20] he will teach posterity the measure of Plautus’ verses and the true orthography of a Latin word. Who is it that does not voluntarily exchange his health, his repose, and his very life for reputation and glory, the most useless, frivolous, and false coin that passes current amongst us? Our own death does not sufficiently terrify and trouble us; let us, moreover, charge ourselves with those of our wives, children, and family: our own affairs do not afford us anxiety enough; let us undertake those of our neighbors and friends, still more to break our brains and torment us:—

“Ah! can any man conceive in his mind or realize what is dearer than he is to himself?”

Solitude seems to me to wear the best favor in such as have already employed their most active and flourishing age in the world’s service, after the example of Thales. We have lived enough for others; let us at least live out the small remnant of life for ourselves; let us now call in our thoughts and intentions to ourselves, and to our own ease and repose. ’Tis no light thing to make a Edition: current; Page: [21] sure retreat; it will be enough for us to do without mixing other enterprises. Since God gives us leisure to order our removal, let us make ready, truss our baggage, take leave betimes of the company, and disentangle ourselves from those violent importunities that engage us elsewhere and separate us from ourselves.

We must break the knot of our obligations, how strong soever, and hereafter love this or that, but espouse nothing but ourselves: that is to say, let the remainder be our own, but not so joined and so close as not to be forced away without flaying us or tearing out part of our whole. The greatest thing in the world is for a man to know that he is his own. ’Tis time to wean ourselves from society when we can no longer add anything to it; he who is not in a condition to lend must forbid himself to borrow. Our forces begin to fail us; let us call them in and concentrate them in and for ourselves. He that can cast off within himself and resolve the offices of friendship and company, let him do it. In this decay of nature which renders him useless, burdensome, and importunate to others, let him take Edition: current; Page: [22] care not to be useless, burdensome, and importunate to himself. Let him soothe and caress himself, and above all things be sure to govern himself with reverence to his reason and conscience to that degree as to be ashamed to make a false step in their presence:—

“For ’tis rare that men have respect and reverence enough for themselves.”

Socrates says that boys are to cause themselves to be instructed, men to exercise themselves in well-doing, and old men to retire from all civil and military employments, living at their own discretion, without the obligation to any office. There are some complexions more proper for these precepts of retirement than others. Such as are of a soft and dull apprehension, and of a tender will and affection, not readily to be subdued or employed, whereof I am one, both by natural condition and by reflection, will sooner incline to this advice than active and busy souls, which embrace all, engage in all, are hot upon everything, which offer, present, and give themselves up to every occasion. We are to use these accidental and extraneous Edition: current; Page: [23] commodities, so far as they are pleasant to us, but by no means to lay our principal foundation there; ’tis no true one; neither nature nor reason allows it so to be. Why therefore should we, contrary to their laws, enslave our own contentment to the power of another? To anticipate also the accidents of fortune, to deprive ourselves of the conveniences we have in our own power, as several have done upon the account of devotion, and some philosophers by reasoning; to be one’s own servant, to lie hard, to put out our own eyes, to throw our wealth into the river, to go in search of grief; these, by the misery of this life, aiming at bliss in another; those by laying themselves low to avoid the danger of falling: all such are acts of an excessive virtue. The stoutest and most resolute natures render even their seclusion glorious and exemplary:—

“When means are deficient, I laud a safe and humble condition, content with little: but when things grow better and more easy, I all the same say that you alone are wise and live well, whose invested money is visible in beautiful villas.”

Edition: current; Page: [24]

A great deal less would serve my turn well enough. ’Tis enough for me, under fortune’s favor, to prepare myself for her disgrace, and, being at my ease, to represent to myself, as far as my imagination can stretch, the ill to come; as we do at jousts and tiltings, where we counterfeit war in the greatest calm of peace. I do not think Arcesilaus the philosopher the less temperate and virtuous for knowing that he made use of gold and silver vessels, when the condition of his fortune allowed him so to do; I have indeed a better opinion of him than if he had denied himself what he used with liberality and moderation. I see the utmost limits of natural necessity: and considering a poor man begging at my door, ofttimes more jocund and more healthy than I myself am, I put myself into his place, and attempt to dress my mind after his mode; and running, in like manner, over other examples, though I fancy death, poverty, contempt, and sickness treading on my heels, I easily resolve not to be affrighted, forasmuch as a less than I takes them with so much Edition: current; Page: [25] patience; and am not willing to believe that a less understanding can do more than a greater, or that the effects of precept cannot arrive to as great a height as those of custom. And knowing of how uncertain duration these accidental conveniences are, I never forget, in the height of all my enjoyments, to make it my chiefest prayer to Almighty God, that He will please to render me content with myself and the condition wherein I am. I see young men very gay and frolic, who nevertheless keep a mass of pills in their trunk at home, to take when they’ve got a cold, which they fear so much the less, because they think they have remedy at hand. Every one should do in like manner, and, moreover, if they find themselves subject to some more violent disease, should furnish themselves with such medicines as may numb and stupefy the part.

The employment a man should choose for such a life ought neither to be a laborious nor an unpleasing one; otherwise ’tis to no purpose at all to be retired. And this depends upon every one’s liking and humor. Mine has no manner of complacency for husbandry, Edition: current; Page: [26] and such as love it ought to apply themselves to it with moderation:—

“And I endeavor to make circumstances subject to me, and not me subject to circumstances.”

Husbandry is otherwise a very servile employment, as Sallust calls it; though some parts of it are more excusable than the rest, as the care of gardens, which Xenophon attributes to Cyrus; and a mean may be found out betwixt the sordid and low application, so full of perpetual solicitude, which is seen in men who make it their entire business and study, and the stupid and extreme negligence, letting all things go at random which we see in others:

“Democritus’ cattle eat his corn and spoil his fields, whilst his soaring mind ranges abroad without the body.”

But let us hear what advice the younger Pliny gives his friend Caninius Rufus upon the subject of solitude: “I advise thee, in the full and plentiful retirement wherein thou art, to leave to thy hinds the care of thy husbandry, Edition: current; Page: [27] and to addict thyself to the study of letters, to extract from thence something that may be entirely and absolutely thine own.” By which he means reputation; like Cicero, who says that he would employ his solitude and retirement from public affairs to acquire by his writings an immortal life.

“Is all that thou hast learned so far nothing, unless another knows that thou knowest?”

It appears to be reason, when a man talks of retiring from the world, that he should look quite out of himself. These do it but by halves: they design well enough for themselves when they shall be no more in it; but still they pretend to extract the fruits of that design from the world, when absent from it, by a ridiculous contradiction.

The imagination of those who seek solitude upon the account of devotion, filling their hopes and courage with certainty of divine promises in the other life, is much more rationally founded. They propose to themselves God, an infinite object in goodness and power; the soul has there wherewithal, at full Edition: current; Page: [28] liberty, to satiate her desires: afflictions and sufferings turn to their advantage, being undergone for the acquisition of eternal health and joy; death is to be wished and longed for, where it is the passage to so perfect a condition; the asperity of the rules they impose upon themselves is immediately softened by custom, and all their carnal appetites baffled and subdued, by refusing to humor and feed them, these being only supported by use and exercise. This sole end of another happily immortal life is that which really merits that we should abandon the pleasures and conveniences of this; and he who can really and constantly inflame his soul with the ardor of this vivid faith and hope, erects for himself in solitude a more voluptuous and delicious life than any other sort of existence.

Neither the end, then, nor the means of this advice pleases me; we always relapse ill from fever into fever. This book-employment is as painful as any other, and as great an enemy to health, which ought to be the first thing considered; neither ought a man to be allured with the pleasure of it, which is the same that destroys the frugal, the avaricious, Edition: current; Page: [29] the voluptuous, and the ambitious man. The sages give us caution enough to beware the treachery of our desires, and to distinguish true and entire pleasures from such as are mixed and complicated with greater pain. For the most of our pleasures, say they, wheedle and caress only to strangle us, like those thieves the Egyptians called Philistae; if the headache should come before drunkenness, we should have a care of drinking too much; but pleasure, to deceive us, marches before and conceals her train. Books are pleasant, but if, by being over-studious, we impair our health and spoil our good-humor, the best pieces we have, let us give it over; I, for my part, am one of those who think, that no fruit derived from them can recompense so great a loss. As men who have long felt themselves weakened by indisposition, give themselves up at last to the mercy of medicine and submit to certain rules of living, which they are for the future never to transgress; so he who retires, weary of and disgusted with the common way of living, ought to model this new one he enters into by the rules of reason, and to institute and Edition: current; Page: [30] establish it by premeditation and reflection. He ought to have taken leave of all sorts of labor, what advantage soever it may promise, and generally to have shaken off all those passions which disturb the tranquillity of body and soul, and then choose the way that best suits with his own humor:—

“Unusquisque sua noverit ire via.”

In husbandry, study, hunting, and all other exercises, men are to proceed to the utmost limits of pleasure, but must take heed of engaging further, where trouble begins to mix with it. We are to reserve so much employment only as is necessary to keep us in breath and to defend us from the inconveniences that the other extreme of a dull and stupid laziness brings along with it. There are sterile knotty sciences, chiefly hammered out for the crowd; let such be left to them who are engaged in the world’s service. I for my part care for no other books, but either such as are pleasant and easy, to amuse me, or those that comfort and instruct me how to regulate my life and death:—

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“Silently meditating in the healthy groves, whatever is worthy of a wise and good man.”

Wiser men, having great force and vigor of soul, may propose to themselves a rest wholly spiritual: but for me, who have a very ordinary soul, it is very necessary to support myself with bodily conveniences; and age having of late deprived me of those pleasures that were more acceptable to me, I instruct and whet my appetite to those that remain, more suitable to this other season. We ought to hold with all our force, both of hands and teeth, the use of the pleasures of life that our years, one after another, snatch away from us:—

“Let us snatch the sweets; it is for us, as long as thou livest: thou wilt become ashes, and a spirit and a myth.”

Now, as to the end that Pliny and Cicero propose to us of glory, ’tis infinitely wide of my account. Ambition is of all others the most contrary humor to solitude; glory and repose are things that cannot possibly inhabit in one and the same place. For so much as Edition: current; Page: [32] I understand, these have only their arms and legs disengaged from the crowd; their soul and intention remain confined behind more than ever:—

“Dost thou, then, old man, collect food for others’ ears?”

they have only retired to take a better leap, and by a stronger motion to give a brisker charge into the crowd. Will you see how they shoot short? Let us put into the counterpoise the advice of two philosophers, of two very different sects, writing, the one to Idomeneus, the other to Lucilius, their friends, to retire into solitude from worldly honors and affairs. “You have,” say they, “hitherto lived swimming and floating; come now and die in the harbor: you have given the first part of your life to the light, give what remains to the shade. It is impossible to give over business, if you do not also quit the fruit; therefore disengage yourselves from all concern of name and glory; ’tis to be feared the lustre of your former actions will give you but too much light, and follow you into your most private retreat. Quit with other Edition: current; Page: [33] pleasures that which proceeds from the approbation of another man: and as to your knowledge and parts, never concern yourselves; they will not lose their effect if yourselves be the better for them. Remember him, who being asked why he took so much pains in an art that could come to the knowledge of but few persons? ‘A few are enough for me,’ replied he; ‘I have enough with one; I have enough with never a one.’ He said true; you and a companion are theatre enough to one another, or you to yourself. Let the people be to you one, and be you one to the whole people. ’Tis an unworthy ambition to think to derive glory from a man’s sloth and privacy: you are to do like the beasts of chase, who efface the track at the entrance into their den. You are no more to concern yourself how the world talks of you, but how you are to talk to yourself. Retire yourself into yourself, but first prepare yourself there to receive yourself: it were a folly to trust yourself in your own hands, if you cannot govern yourself. A man may miscarry alone as well as in company. Till you have rendered yourself one before whom you dare not Edition: current; Page: [34] trip, and till you have a bashfulness and respect for yourself:—

“Let honest things be ever present to the mind;”

present continually to your imagination Cato, Phocion, and Aristides, in whose presence the fools themselves will hide their faults, and make them controllers of all your intentions; should these deviate from virtue, your respect to those will set you right; they will keep you in this way to be contented with yourself; to borrow nothing of any other but yourself; to stay and fix your soul in certain and limited thoughts, wherein she may please herself, and having understood the true and real goods, which men the more enjoy the more they understand, to rest satisfied, without desire of prolongation of life or name.” This is the precept of the true and natural philosophy, not of a boasting and prating philosophy, such as that of the two former.

A CONSIDERATION UPON CICERO

ONE WORD more by way of comparison betwixt these two. There are to be gathered out of the writings of Cicero and the younger Pliny (but little, in my opinion, resembling his uncle in his humors) infinite testimonies of a beyond measure ambitious nature; and amongst others, this for one, that they both, in the sight of all the world, solicit the historians of their time not to forget them in their memoirs; and fortune, as if in spite, has made the vanity of those requests live upon record down to this age of ours, while she has long since consigned the histories themselves to oblivion. But this exceeds all meanness of spirit in persons of such a quality as they were, to think to derive any great renown from babbling and prating; even to the publishing of their private letters to their friends, and so withal, that though some of them were never sent, the opportunity being lost, they nevertheless presented them to the light, with this worthy excuse that they were unwilling to lose their labors and lucubrations. Was it not very well becoming two Edition: current; Page: [36] consuls of Rome, sovereign magistrates of the republic that commanded the world, to spend their leisure in contriving quaint and elegant missives, thence to gain the reputation of being versed in their own mother-tongues? What could a pitiful schoolmaster have done worse, whose trade it was thereby to get his living? If the acts of Xenophon and Caesar had not far transcended their eloquence, I scarce believe they would ever have taken the pains to have written them; they made it their business to recommend not their speaking, but their doing. And could the perfection of eloquence have added a lustre suitable to a great personage, certainly Scipio and Laaelius had never resigned the honor of their comedies, with all the luxuriances and elegances of the Latin tongue, to an African slave; for that the work was theirs, its beauty and excellence sufficiently declare; Terence himself confesses as much, and I should take it ill from any one that would dispossess me of that belief.

’Tis a kind of mockery and offence to extol a man for qualities misbecoming his condition, Edition: current; Page: [37] though otherwise commendable in themselves, but such as ought not, however, to be his chief talent; as if a man should commend a king for being a good painter, a good architect, a good marksman, or a good runner at the ring: commendations that add no honor, unless mentioned altogether and in the train of those that are properly applicable to him, namely, justice and the science of governing and conducting his people both in peace and war. At this rate, agriculture was an honor to Cyrus, and eloquence and the knowledge of letters to Charlemagne. I have in my time known some, who by writing acquired both their titles and fortune, disown their apprenticeship, corrupt their style, and affect ignorance in so vulgar a quality (which also our nation holds to be rarely seen in very learned hands), and to seek a reputation by better qualities. Demosthenes’ companions in the embassy to Philip, extolling that prince as handsome, eloquent, and a stout drinker, Demosthenes said that those were commendations more proper for a woman, an advocate, or a sponge, than for a king:—

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“In the fight, overthrow your enemy, but be merciful to him when fallen.”

’Tis not his profession to know either how to hunt or to dance well:—

“Others shall plead at the bar, and describe the spheres, and point out the glittering stars; let this man learn to rule the nations.”

Plutarch says, moreover, that to appear so excellent in these less necessary qualities is to produce witness against a man’s self, that he has spent his time and applied his study ill, which ought to have been employed in the acquisition of more necessary and more useful things. So that Philip, king of Macedon, having heard that great Alexander his son sing once at a feast to the wonder of the best musicians there: “Art thou not ashamed,” said he to him, “to sing so well?” And to the same Philip a musician, with whom he was disputing about some things concerning his art: “Heaven forbid, sir,” said he, “that so great a misfortune should ever befall you as to understand these things better than I.” A king should be able to answer as Iphicrates Edition: current; Page: [39] invective after this manner: “And what art thou that thou bravest it at this rate art thou a man at arms, art thou an archer, art thou a pikeman?” “I am none of all this; but I know how to command all these.” And Antisthenes took it for an argument of little value in Ismenias that he was commended for playing excellently well upon a flute.

I know very well, that when I hear any one dwell upon the language of my essays, I had rather a great deal he would say nothing: ’tis not so much to elevate the style as to depress the sense, and so much the more offensively as they do it obliquely; and yet I am much deceived if many other writers deliver more worth noting as to the matter, and, how well or ill soever, if any other writer has sown things much more material, or at all events more downright, upon his paper than myself. To bring the more in, I only muster up the heads; should I annex the sequel, I should trebly multiply the volume. And how many stories have I scattered up and down in this book that I only touch upon, which, should any one more curiously search into, they would find matter enough to produce infinite Edition: current; Page: [40] essays. Neither those stories nor my quotations always serve simply for example, authority, or ornament; I do not only regard them for the use I make of them: they carry sometimes besides what I apply them to, the seed of a more rich and a bolder matter, and sometimes, collaterally, a more delicate sound both to myself who will say no more about it in this place, and to others who shall be of my honor.

But returning to the speaking virtue: I find no great choice betwixt not knowing to speak anything but ill, and not knowing to speak anything but well:—

“A carefully arranged dress is no manly ornament.”

The sages tell us that, as to what concerns knowledge, ’tis nothing but philosophy; and as to what concerns effects, nothing but virtue, which is generally proper to all degrees and to all orders.

There is something like this in these two other philosophers, for they also promise eternity to the letters they write to their friends; but ’tis after another manner, and Edition: current; Page: [41] by accommodating themselves, for a good end, to the vanity of another; for they write to them that if the concern of making themselves known to future ages, and the thirst of glory, do yet detain them in the management of public affairs, and make them fear the solitude and retirement to which they would persuade them, let them never trouble themselves more about it, forasmuch as they shall have credit enough with posterity to ensure them that were there nothing else but the letters thus written to them, those letters will render their names as known and famous as their own public actions could do. And besides this difference, these are not idle and empty letters, that contain nothing but a fine jingle of well-chosen words and delicate couched phrases, but rather replete and abounding with grand discourses of reason, by which a man may render himself not more eloquent, but more wise, and that instruct us not to speak, but to do well. Away with that eloquence that enchants us with itself, and not with actual things! unless you will allow that of Cicero to be of so supreme a perfection as to form a complete body of itself.

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I shall farther add one story we read of him to this purpose, wherein his nature will much more manifestly be laid open to us. He was to make an oration in public, and found himself a little straitened for time to make himself ready at his ease; when Eros, one of his slaves, brought him word that the audience was deferred till the next day, at which he was so ravished with joy that he enfranchised him for the good news.

Upon this subject of letters, I will add this more to what has been already said, that it is a kind of writing wherein my friends think I can do something; and I am willing to confess I should rather have chosen to publish my whimsies that way than any other, had I had to whom to write; but I wanted such a settled intercourse, as I once had, to attract me to it, to raise my fancy, and to support me. For to traffic with the wind, as some others have done, and to forge vain names to direct my letters to, in a serious subject, I could never do it but in a dream, being a sworn enemy to all manner of falsification. I should have been more diligent and more confident had I had a judicious and indulgent Edition: current; Page: [43] friend whom to address, than thus to expose myself to the various judgments of a whole people, and I am deceived if I had not succeeded better. I have naturally a humorous and familiar style, but it is a style of my own, not proper for public business, but, like the language I speak, too compact, irregular, abrupt, and singular; and as to letters of ceremony that have no other substance than a fine contexture of courteous words, I am wholly to seek. I have neither faculty nor relish for those tedious tenders of service and affection; I believe little in them from others, and I should not forgive myself should I say to others more than I myself believe. ’Tis, doubtless, very remote from the present practice; for there never was so abject and servile prostitution of offers: life, soul, devotion, adoration, vassal, slave, and I cannot tell what, as now; all which expressions are so commonly and so indifferently posted to and fro by every one and to every one, that when they would profess a greater and more respectful inclination upon more just occasions, they have not wherewithal to express it. I mortally hate all air of flattery, which is the Edition: current; Page: [44] cause that I naturally fall into a shy, rough, and crude way of speaking, that, to such as do not know me, may seem a little to relish of disdain. I honor those most to whom I show the least honor, and where my soul moves with the greatest cheerfulness, I easily forget the ceremonies of look and gesture, and offer myself faintly and bluntly to them to whom I am the most devoted: methinks they should read it in my heart, and that the expression of my words does but injure the love I have conceived within. To welcome, take leave, give thanks, accost, offer my service, and such verbal formalities as the ceremonious laws of our modern civility enjoin, I know no man so stupidly unprovided of language as myself; and I have never been employed in writing letters of favor and recommendation, that he, in whose behalf it was written, did not think my meditation cold and imperfect. The Italians are great printers of letters; I do believe I have at least a hundred several volumes of them; of all which those of Annibale Caro seem to me to be the best. If all the paper I have scribbled to the ladies at the time when my hand was Edition: current; Page: [45] really prompted by my passion, were now in being, there might, peradventure, be found a page worthy to be communicated to our young inamoratas, that are besotted with that fury. I always write my letters post-haste—so precipitately, that though I write intolerably ill, I rather choose to do it myself, than to employ another; for I can find none able to follow me: and I never transcribe any. I have accustomed the great ones who know me to endure my blots and dashes, and upon paper without fold or margin. Those that cost me the most pains, are the worst; when I once begin to draw it in by head and shoulders, ’tis a sign that I am not there. I fall to without premeditation or design; the first word begets the second, and so to the end of the chapter. The letters of this age consist more in fine edges and prefaces than in matter. Just as I had rather write two letters than close and fold up one, and always assign that employment to some other, so, when the real business of my letter is despatched, I would with all my heart transfer it to another hand to add those long harangues, offers, and prayers, that we place at the bottom, and Edition: current; Page: [46] should be glad that some new custom would discharge us of that trouble; as also of superscribing them with a long legend of qualities and titles, which for fear of mistakes, I have often not written at all, and especially to men of the long robe and finance; there are so many new offices, such a dispensation and ordering of titles of honor, that ’tis hard to set them forth aright: yet, being so dearly bought, they are neither to be altered nor forgotten without offence. I find it equally in bad taste to encumber the fronts and inscriptions of the books we commit to the press with such.

THAT THE TASTE FOR GOOD AND EVIL DEPENDS IN GOOD PART UPON THE OPINION WE HAVE OF THEM.

MEN (says an ancient Greek sentence) are tormented with the opinions they have of things and not by the things themselves. It were a great victory obtained for the relief of our miserable human condition, could this proposition be established for certain and true throughout. For if evils have no admission Edition: current; Page: [47] into us but by the judgment we ourselves make of them, it should seem that it is, then, in our own power to despise them or to turn them to good. If things surrender themselves to our mercy, why do we not convert and accommodate them to our advantage? If what we call evil and torment is neither evil nor torment of itself, but only that our fancy gives it that quality, it is in us to change it, and it being in our own choice, if there be no constraint upon us, we must certainly be very strange fools to take arms for that side which is most offensive to us, and to give sickness, want, and contempt a bitter and nauseous taste, if it be in our power to give them a pleasant relish, and if, fortune simply providing the matter, ’tis for us to give it the form. Now, that what we call evil is not so of itself, or at least to that degree that we make it, and that it depends upon us to give it another taste and complexion (for all comes to one), let us examine how that can be maintained.

If the original being of those things we fear had power to lodge itself in us by its own authority, it would then lodge itself alike, Edition: current; Page: [48] and in like manner, in all; for men are all of the same kind, and saving in greater and less proportions, are all provided with the same utensils and instruments to conceive and to judge; but the diversity of opinions we have of those things clearly evidences that they only enter us by composition; one person, peradventure, admits them in their true being, but a thousand others give them a new and contrary being in them. We hold death, poverty, and pain for our principal enemies; now, this death, which some repute the most dreadful of all dreadful things, who does not know that others call it the only secure harbor from the storms and tempests of life, the sovereign good of nature, the sole support of liberty, and the common and prompt remedy of all evils? And as the one expect it with fear and trembling, the others support it with greater ease than life. That one complains of its facility:—

“O death! wouldst that thou might spare the coward, but that valor alone should pay thee tribute.”

Now, let us leave these boastful courages. Edition: current; Page: [49] Theodorus answered Lysimachus, who threatened to kill him, “Thou wilt do a brave feat,” said he, “to attain the force of a cantharides.” The majority of philosophers are observed to have either purposely anticipated, or hastened and assisted their own death. How many ordinary people do we see led to execution, and that not to a simple death, but mixed with shame and sometimes with grievous torments, appear with such assurance, whether through firm courage or natural simplicity, that a man can discover no change from their ordinary condition; settling their domestic affairs, commending themselves to their friends, singing, preaching, and addressing the people, nay, sometimes sallying into jests, and drinking to their companions, quite as well as Socrates?

One that they were leading to the gallows told them they must not take him through such a street, lest a merchant who lived there should arrest him by the way for an old debt. Another told the hangman he must not touch his neck for fear of making him laugh, he was so ticklish. Another answered his confessor, who promised him he should that day Edition: current; Page: [50] sup with our Lord, “Do you go then,” said he, “in my room; for I for my part keep fast to-day.” Another having called for drink, and the hangman having drunk first, said he would not drink after him, for fear of catching some evil disease. Everybody has heard the tale of the Picard, to whom, being upon the ladder, they presented a common wench, telling him (as our law does sometimes permit) that if he would marry her they would save his life; he, having a while considered her and perceiving that she halted: “Come, tie up, tie up,” said he, “she limps.” And they tell another story of the same kind of a fellow in Denmark, who being condemned to lose his head, and the like condition being proposed to him upon the scaffold, refused it, by reason the girl they offered him had hollow cheeks and too sharp a nose. A servant at Toulouse being accused of heresy, for the sum of his belief referred himself to that of his master, a young student, prisoner with him, choosing rather to die than suffer himself to be persuaded that his master could err. We read that of the inhabitants of Arras, when Louis XI. took that city, a great Edition: current; Page: [51] many let themselves be hanged rather than they would say, “God save the King.” And amongst that mean-souled race of men, the buffoons, there have been some who would not leave their fooling at the very moment of death. One that the hangman was turning off the ladder cried: “Launch the galley,” an ordinary saying of his. Another, whom at the point of death his friends had laid upon a bed of straw before the fire, the physician asking him where his pain lay: “Betwixt the bench and the fire,” said he, and the priest, to give him extreme unction, groping for his feet which his pain had made him pull up to him; “You will find them,” said he, “at the end of my legs.” To one who being present exhorted him to recommend himself to God: “Why, who goes thither?” said he; and the other replying: “It will presently be yourself, if it be His good pleasure.” “Shall I be sure to be there by to-morrow night?” said he. “Do but recommend yourself to Him,” said the other, “and you will soon be there.” “I were best then,” said he, “to carry my recommendations myself.”

In the kingdom of Narsingah to this day Edition: current; Page: [52] the wives of their priests are buried alive with the bodies of their husbands; all other wives are burnt at their husbands’ funerals, which they not only firmly but cheerfully undergo. At the death of their king, his wives and concubines, his favorites, all his officers, and domestic servants, who make up a whole people, present themselves so gaily to the fire where his body is burnt, that they seem to take it for a singular honor to accompany their master in death. During our late wars of Milan, where there happened so many takings and retakings of towns, the people, impatient of so many changes of fortune, took such a resolution to die, that I have heard my father say he there saw a list taken of five-and-twenty masters of families who made themselves away in one week’s time: an incident somewhat resembling that of the Xanthians, who being besieged by Brutus, fell—men, women, and children—into such a furious appetite of dying, that nothing can be done to evade death which they did not to avoid life; insomuch that Brutus had much difficulty in saving a very small number.

Every opinion is of force enough to cause Edition: current; Page: [53] itself to be espoused at the expense of life. The first article of that valiant oath that Greece took and observed in the Median war, was that every one should sooner exchange life for death, than their own laws for those of Persia. What a world of people do we see in the wars betwixt the Turks and the Greeks, rather embrace a cruel death than uncircumcise themselves to admit of baptism? An example of which no sort of religion is incapable.

The kings of Castile having banished the Jews out of their dominions, John, king of Portugal, in consideration of eight crowns a head, sold them a retreat into his for a certain limited time, upon condition that the time fixed coming to expire they should be gone, and he to furnish they with shipping to transport them into Africa. The day comes, which once lapsed they were given to understand that such as were afterward found in the kingdom should remain slaves; vessels were very slenderly provided; and those who embarked in them were rudely and villainously used by the passengers, who, besides other indignities, kept them cruising Edition: current; Page: [54] upon the sea, one while forwards and another backwards, till they had spent all their provisions, and were constrained to buy of them at so dear a rate and so long withal, that they set them not on shore till they were all stripped to the very shirts. The news of this inhuman usage being brought to those who remained behind, the greater part of them resolved upon slavery and some made a show of changing religion. Emmanuel, the successor of John, being come to the crown, first set them at liberty, and afterwards altering his mind, ordered them to depart his country, assigning three ports for their passage. He hoped, says Bishop Osorius, no contemptible Latin historian of these later times, that the favor of the liberty he had given them having failed of converting them to Christianity, yet the difficulty of committing themselves to the mercy of the mariners and of abandoning a country they were now habituated to and were grown very rich in, to go and expose themselves in strange and unknown regions, would certainly do it. But finding himself deceived in his expectation, and that they were all resolved Edition: current; Page: [55] upon the voyage, he cut off two of the three ports he had promised them, to the end that the length and incommodity of the passage might reduce some, or that he might have opportunity, by crowding them all into one place, the more conveniently to execute what he had designed, which was to force all the children under fourteen years of age from the arms of their fathers and mothers, to transport them from their sight and conversation, into a place where they might be instructed and brought up in our religion. He says that this produced a most horrid spectacle: the natural affection betwixt the parents and their children, and moreover their zeal to their ancient belief, contending against this violent decree, fathers and mothers were commonly seen making themselves away, and by a yet much more rigorous example, precipitating out of love and compassion their young children into wells and pits, to avoid the severity of this law. As to the remainder of them, the time that had been prefixed being expired, for want of means to transport them they again returned into slavery. Some also turned Christians, Edition: current; Page: [56] upon whose faith, as also that of their posterity, even to this day, which is a hundred years since, few Portuguese can yet rely; though custom and length of time are much more powerful counsellors in such changes than all other constraints whatever. In the town of Castelnaudari, fifty heretic Albigeois at one time suffered themselves to be burned alive in one fire rather than they would renounce their opinions:—

“How often have not only our leaders, but whole armies, run to a certain and manifest death.”

I have seen an intimate friend of mine run headlong upon death with a real affection, and that was rooted in his heart by divers plausible arguments which he would never permit me to dispossess him of, and upon the first honorable occasion that offered itself to him, precipitate himself into it, without any manner of visible reason, with an obstinate and ardent desire of dying. We have several examples in our own times of persons, even young children, who for fear of some little inconvenience have despatched themselves. Edition: current; Page: [57] And what shall we not fear, says one of the ancients to this purpose, if we dread that which cowardice itself has chosen for its refuge?

Should I here produce a long catalogue of those, of all sexes and conditions and sects, even in the most happy ages, who have either with great constancy looked death in the face, or voluntarily sought it, and sought it not only to avoid the evils of this life, but some purely to avoid the satiety of living, and others for the hope of a better condition elsewhere, I should never have done. Nay, the number is so infinite that in truth I should have a better bargain on’t to reckon up those who have feared it. This one therefore shall serve for all: Pyrrho the philosopher being one day in a boat in a very great tempest, showed to those he saw the most affrighted about him, and encouraged them, by the example of a hog that was there, nothing at all concerned at the storm. Shall we then dare to say that this advantage of reason, of which we so much boast, and upon the account of which we think ourselves masters and emperors over the rest of all creation, was given Edition: current; Page: [58] us for a torment? To what end serves the knowledge of things if it renders us more unmanly? if we thereby lose the tranquillity and repose we should enjoy without it? and if it put us into a worse condition than Pyrrho’s hog? Shall we employ the understanding that was conferred upon us for our greatest good to our own ruin; setting ourselves against the design of nature and the universal order of things, which intend that every one should make use of the faculties, members, and means he has to his own best advantage?

But it may, peradventure, be objected against me: Your rule is true enough as to what concerns death; but what will you say of indigence? What will you, moreover, say of pain, which Aristippus, Hieronimus, and most of the sages have reputed the worst of evils; and those who have denied it by word of mouth have, however, confessed it in effect? Posidonius being extremely tormented with a sharp and painful disease, Pompeius came to visit him, excusing himself that he had taken so unseasonable a time to come to hear him discourse of philosophy. “The gods forbid,” Edition: current; Page: [59] said Posidonius to him, “that pain should ever have the power to hinder me from talking,” and thereupon fell immediately upon a discourse of the contempt of pain; but, in the meantime, his own infirmity was playing his part, and plagued him to purpose; to which he cried out, “Thou mayest work thy will, pain, and torment me with all the power thou hast, but thou shalt never make me say that thou art an evil.” This story that they make such a clutter withal, what has it to do, I fain would know, with the contempt of pain? He only fights it with words, and in the meantime, if the shootings and dolors he felt did not move him, why did he interrupt his discourse? Why did he fancy he did so great a thing in forbearing to confess it an evil? All does not here consist in the imagination; our fancies may work upon other things: but here is the certain science that is playing its part, of which our senses themselves are judges:—

“Which, if they be not true, all reasoning may also be false.”

Shall we persuade our skins that the jerks of Edition: current; Page: [60] a whip agreeably tickle us, or our taste that a potion of aloes is vin de Grave? Pyrrho’s hog is here in the same predicament with us; he is not afraid of death, ’tis true, but if you beat him he will cry out to some purpose. Shall we force the general law of nature, which in every living creature under heaven is seen to tremble under pain? The very trees seem to groan under the blows they receive. Death is only felt by reason, forasmuch as it is the motion of an instant:—

“Death has been, or will come: there is nothing of the present in it;”

“And death has less pain than the delay of it;”

a thousand beasts, a thousand men, are sooner dead than threatened. That also which we principally pretend to fear in death is pain, its ordinary forerunner: yet, if we may believe a holy father:—

“That which follows death makes death bad.”

And I should yet say, more probably, that Edition: current; Page: [61] neither that which goes before nor that which follows after is at all of the appurtenances of death.

We excuse ourselves falsely: and I find by experience that it is rather the impatience of the imagination of death that makes us impatient of pain, and that we find it doubly grievous as it threatens us with death. But reason accusing our cowardice for fearing a thing so sudden, so inevitable, and so insensible, we take the other as the more excusable pretence. All ills that carry no other danger along with them but simply the evils themselves, we treat as things of no danger: the toothache or the gout, painful as they are, yet being not reputed mortal, who reckons them in the catalogue of diseases?

But let us presuppose that in death we principally regard the pain; as also there is nothing to be feared in poverty but the miseries it brings along with it of thirst, hunger, cold, heat, watching, and the other inconveniences it makes us suffer, still we have nothing to do with anything but pain. I will grant, and very willingly, that it is the worst incident of our being (for I am the man Edition: current; Page: [62] upon earth who the most hates and avoids it, considering that hitherto, I thank God, I have had so little traffic with it), but still it is in us, if not to annihilate, at least to lessen it by patience; and though the body and the reason should mutiny, to maintain the soul, nevertheless, in good condition. Were it not so, who had ever given reputation to virtue, valor, force, magnanimity, and resolution? where were their parts to be played if there were no pain to be defied?

“Courage is greedy of danger.”

Were there no lying upon the hard ground, no enduring, armed at all points, the meridional heats, no feeding upon the flesh of horses and asses, no seeing a man’s self hacked and hewed to pieces, no suffering a bullet to be pulled out from amongst the shattered bones, no sewing up, cauterizing and searching of wounds, by what means were the advantage we covet to have over the vulgar to be acquired? ’Tis far from flying evil and pain, what the sages say, that of actions equally good, a man should most covet to perform that wherein there is greater labor and pain.

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“For men are not only happy by mirth and wantonness, by laughter and jesting, the companion of levity, but ofttimes the serious sort reap felicity from their firmness and constancy.”

And for this reason it has ever been impossible to persuade our forefathers but that the victories obtained by dint of force and the hazard of war were not more honorable than those performed in great security by stratagem or practice:—

“A good deed is all the more a satisfaction by how much the more it has cost us.”

Besides, this ought to be our comfort, that naturally, if the pain be violent, ’tis but short; and if long, nothing violent:—

  • “Si gravis, brevis;
  • Si longus, levis.”

Thou wilt not feel it long if thou feelest it too much; it will either put an end to itself or to thee; it comes to the same thing; if thou canst not support it, it will export thee:—

“Remember that the greatest pains are Edition: current; Page: [64] terminated by death; that slighter pains have long intermissions of repose, and that we are masters of the more moderate sort: so that, if they be tolerable, we bear them; if not, we can go out of life, as from a theatre, when it does not please us.”

That which makes us suffer pain with so much impatience is the not being accustomed to repose our chiefest contentment in the soul; that we do not enough rely upon her who is the sole and sovereign mistress of our condition. The body, saving in the greater or less proportion, has but one and the same bent and bias; whereas the soul is variable into all sorts of forms; and subject to herself and to her own empire, all things whatsoever, both the senses of the body and all other accidents: and therefore it is that we ought to study her, to inquire into her, and to rouse up all her powerful faculties. There is neither reason, force, nor prescription that can anything prevail against her inclination and choice. Of so many thousands of biasses that she has at her disposal, let us give her one proper to our repose and conversation, and then we shall not only be sheltered and Edition: current; Page: [65] secured from all manner of injury and offence, but moreover gratified and obliged, if she will, with evils and offences. She makes her profit indifferently of all things; error, dreams, serve her to good use, as loyal matter to lodge us in safety and contentment. ’Tis plain enough to be seen that ’tis the sharpness of our mind that gives the edge to our pains and pleasures: beasts that have no such thing, leave to their bodies their own free and natural sentiments, and consequently in every kind very near the same, as appears by the resembling application of their motions. If we would not disturb in our members the jurisdiction that appertains to them in this, ’tis to be believed it would be the better for us, and that nature has given them a just and moderate temper both to pleasure and pain; neither can it fail of being just, being equal and common. But seeing we have enfranchised ourselves from her rules to give ourselves up to the rambling liberty of our own fancies, let us at least help to incline them to the most agreeable side. Plato fears our too vehemently engaging ourselves with pain and pleasure, forasmuch as Edition: current; Page: [66] these too much knit and ally the soul to the body; whereas I rather, quite contrary, by reason it too much separates and disunites them. As an enemy is made more fierce by our flight, so pain grows proud to see us truckle under her. She will surrender upon much better terms to them who make head against her; a man must oppose and stoutly set himself against her. In retiring and giving ground, we invite and pull upon ourselves the ruin that threatens us. As the body is more firm in an encounter, the more stiffly and obstinately it applies itself to it, so is it with the soul.

But let us come to examples, which are the proper game of folks of such feeble force as myself; where we shall find that it is with pain as with stones, that receive a brighter or a duller lustre according to the foil they are set in, and that it has no more room in us than we are pleased to allow it:—

“They suffered so much the more, as they associated themselves with suffering.”

We are more sensible of one little touch of a Edition: current; Page: [67] surgeon’s lancet than of twenty wounds with a sword in the heat of fight. The pains of child-bearing, said by the physicians and by God himself to be great, and which we pass through with so many ceremonies—there are whole nations that make nothing of them. I set aside the Lacedaemonian women, but what else do you find in the Swiss among our foot-soldiers, if not that, as they trot after their husbands, you see them to-day carry the child at their necks that they carried yesterday in their bellies? The counterfeit Egyptians we have amongst us go themselves to wash theirs, so soon as they come into the world, and bathe in the first river they meet. Besides so many wenches as daily drop their children by stealth, as they conceived them, that fair and noble wife of Sabinus, a patrician of Rome, for another’s interest, endured alone, without help, without crying out, or so much as a groan, the bearing of twins. A poor simple boy of Lacedaemon having stolen a fox (for they more fear the shame of stupidity in stealing than we do the punishment of the knavery), and having got it under his coat, rather endured the tearing out of Edition: current; Page: [68] his bowels than he would discover his theft. And another offering incense at a sacrifice, suffered himself to be burned to the bone by a coal that fell into his sleeve, rather than disturb the ceremony. And there have been a great number, for a sole trial of virtue, following their institutions, who have at seven years old endured to be whipped to death without changing their countenance. And Cicero has seen them fight in parties, with fists, feet, and teeth, till they have fainted and sunk down, rather than confess themselves overcome:—

“Custom could never conquer nature; she is ever invincible; but we have infected the mind with shadows, delights, negligence, sloth; we have grown effeminate through opinions and corrupt morality.”

Every one knows the story of Scaevola, that having slipped into the enemy’s camp to kill their general, and having missed his blow, to repair his fault, by a more strange invention and to deliver his country, he boldly confessed to Porsenna, who was the king he had Edition: current; Page: [69] a purpose to kill, not only his design, but moreover added that there were then in the camp a great number of Romans, his accomplices in the enterprise, as good men as he; and to show what a one he himself was, having caused a pan of burning coals to be brought, he saw and endured his arm to broil and roast, till the king himself, conceiving horror at the sight, commanded the pan to be taken away. What would you say of him that would not vouchsafe to respite his reading in a book whilst he was under incision? And of the other that persisted to mock and laugh in contempt of the pains inflicted upon him; so that the provoked cruelty of the executioners that had him in handling, and all the inventions of tortures redoubled upon him, one after another, spent in vain, gave him the bucklers? But he was a philosopher. But what! a gladiator of Caesar’s endured, laughing all the while, his wounds to be searched, lanced, and laid open:—

“What ordinary gladiator ever groaned? Which of them ever changed countenance? Which of them not only stood or fell indecorously? Edition: current; Page: [70] Which, when he had fallen and was commanded to receive the stroke of the sword, contracted his neck.”

Let us bring in the women too. Who has not heard at Paris of her that caused her face to be flayed only for the fresher complexion of a new skin? There are who have drawn good and sound teeth to make their voices more soft and sweet, or to place the other teeth in better order. How many examples of the contempt of pain have we in that sex? What can they not do, what do they fear to do, for never so little hope of an addition to their beauty?

“Who carefully pluck out their grey hairs by the roots, and renew their faces by peeling off the old skin.”

I have seen some of them swallow sand, ashes, and do their utmost to destroy their stomachs to get pale complexions. To make a fine Spanish body, what racks will they not endure of girding and bracing, till they have notches in their sides cut into the very quick, and sometimes to death?

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It is an ordinary thing with several nations at this day to wound themselves in good earnest to gain credit to what they profess; of which our king relates notable examples of what he has seen in Poland and done towards himself. But besides this, which I know to have been imitated by some in France, when I came from that famous assembly of the Estates at Blois, I had a little before seen a maid in Picardy, who to manifest the ardor of her promises, as also her constancy, give herself, with a bodkin she wore in her hair, four or five good lusty stabs in the arm, till the blood gushed out to some purpose. The Turks give themselves great scars in honor of their mistresses, and to the end they may the longer remain, they presently clap fire to the wound, where they hold it an incredible time to stop the blood and form the cicatrice; people that have been eyewitnesses of it have both written and sworn it to me. But for ten aspers there are there every day fellows to be found that will give themselves a good deep slash in the arms or thighs. I am willing, however, to have the testimonies nearest to us when we have most Edition: current; Page: [72] need of them; for Christendom furnishes us with enough. After the example of our blessed Guide there have been many who have crucified themselves. We learn by testimony very worthy of belief, that King St. Louis wore a hair-shirt till in his old age his confessor gave him a dispensation to leave it off; and that every Friday he caused his shoulders to be drubbed by his priest with five small chains of iron which were always carried about amongst his night accoutrements for that purpose.

Guillaume, our last Duke of Guienne, the father of that Eleanor who transmitted that duchy to the houses of France and England, continually for the last ten or twelve years of his life wore a suit of armor under a religious habit by way of penance. Foulques, Count of Anjou, went as far as Jerusalem, there to cause himself to be whipped by two of his servants, with a rope about his neck, before the sepulchre of our Lord. But do we not, moreover, every Good Friday, in various places, see great numbers of men and women beat and whip themselves till they lacerate and cut the flesh to the very bones? I have Edition: current; Page: [73] often seen it, and ’tis without any enchantment; and it was said there were some amongst them (for they go disguised) who for money undertook by this means to save harmless the religion of others, by a contempt of pain, so much the greater, as the incentives of devotion are more effectual than those of avarice. Q. Maximus buried his son when he was a consul, and M. Cato his when praetor elect, and L. Paulus both his, within a few days one after another, with such a countenance as expressed no manner of grief. I said in my days of one, that he had disappointed the divine justice; for the violent death of three grown-up children of his being one day sent him, for a severe scourge, as it is to be supposed, he was so far from being afflicted at the accident, that he rather took it for a particular grace and favor of heaven. I do not follow these monstrous humors, though I lost two or three at nurse, if not without grief, at least without repining, and yet there is hardly any accident that pierces nearer to the quick. I see a great many other occasions of sorrow, that should they happen to me I should Edition: current; Page: [74] hardly feel; and have despised some, when they have befallen me, to which the world has given so terrible a figure that I should blush to boast of my constancy:—

“By which one may understand that grief is not in nature, but in opinion.”

Opinion is a powerful party, bold, and without measure. Whoever so greedily hunted after security and repose as Alexander and Caesar did after disturbance and difficulties? Teres, the father of Sitalces, was wont to say that when he had no wars, he fancied there was no difference betwixt him and his groom. Cato the consul, to secure some cities of Spain from revolt, only interdicting the inhabitants from wearing arms, a great many killed themselves:—

“A fierce people, who thought there was no life without war.”

How many do we know who have forsaken the calm and sweetness of a quiet life at home amongst their acquaintance, to seek out the horror of unhabitable deserts; and having precipitated themselves into so abject a condition Edition: current; Page: [75] as to become the scorn and contempt of the world have hugged themselves with the conceit, even to affectation. Cardinal Borromeo, who died lately at Milan, amidst all the jollity that the air of Italy, his youth, birth, and great riches, invited him to, kept himself in so austere a way of living, that the same robe he wore in summer served him for winter too; he had only straw for his bed, and his hours of leisure from affairs he continually spent in study upon his knees, having a little bread and a glass of water set by his book, which was all the provision of his repast, and all the time he spent in eating.

I know some who consentingly have acquired both profit and advancement from cuckoldom, of which the bare name only affrights so many people.

If the sight be not the most necessary of all our senses, ’tis at least the most pleasant; but the most pleasant and most useful of all and yet a great many have conceived a mortal hatred against them only for this, that they were too pleasant, and have deprived themselves of them only for their value: as much thought he of his eyes that put them out. Edition: current; Page: [76] The generality and more solid sort of men look upon abundance of children as a great blessing; I, and some others, think it as great a benefit to be without them. And when you ask Thales why he does not marry, he tells you, because he has no mind to leave any posterity behind him.

That our opinion gives the value to things is very manifest in the great number of those which we do, not so much prizing them, as ourselves, and never considering either their virtues or their use, but only how dear they cost us, as though that were a part of their substance; and we only repute for value in them, not what they bring to us, but what we add to them. By which I understand that we are great economizers of our expense: as it weighs, it serves for so much as it weighs. Our opinion will never suffer it to want of its value: the price gives value to the diamond; difficulty to virtue; suffering to devotion; and griping to physic. A certain person, to be poor, threw his crowns into the same sea to which so many come, in all parts of the world, to fish for riches. Epicurus says that to be rich is no relief, but only an alteration, Edition: current; Page: [77] of affairs. In truth, it is not want, but rather abundance, that creates avarice. I will deliver my own experience concerning this affair.

I have since my emergence from childhood lived in three sorts of conditions. The first, which continued for some twenty years, I passed over without any other means but what were casual and depending upon the allowance and assistance of others, without stint, but without certain revenue. I then spent my money so much the more cheerfully, and with so much the less care how it went, as it wholly depended upon my overconfidence of fortune. I never lived more at my ease; I never had the repulse of finding the purse of any of my friends shut against me, having enjoined myself this necessity above all other necessities whatever, by no means to fail of payment at the appointed time, which also they have a thousand times respited, seeing how careful I was to satisfy them; so that I practised at once a thrifty, and withal a kind of alluring, honesty. I naturally feel a kind of pleasure in paying, as if I eased my shoulders of a troublesome Edition: current; Page: [78] weight and freed myself from an image of slavery; as also that I find a ravishing kind of satisfaction in pleasing another and doing a just action. I except payments where the trouble of bargaining and reckoning is required; and in such cases, where I can meet with nobody to ease me of that charge, I delay them, how scandalously and injuriously soever, all I possibly can, for fear of the wranglings for which both my humor and way of speaking are so totally improper and unfit. There is nothing I hate so much as driving a bargain; ’tis a mere traffic of cozenage and impudence, where, after an hour’s cheapening and hesitating, both parties abandon their word and oath for five sols’ abatement. Yet I always borrowed at great disadvantage; for, wanting the confidence to speak to the person myself, I committed my request to the persuasion of a letter, which usually is no very successful advocate, and is of very great advantage to him who has a mind to deny. I, in those days, more jocundly and freely referred the conduct of my affairs to the stars, than I have since done to my own providence and judgment. Most good managers Edition: current; Page: [79] look upon it as a horrible thing to live always thus in uncertainty, and do not consider, in the first place, that the greatest part of the world live so: how many worthy men have wholly abandoned their own certainties, and yet daily do it, to the winds, to trust to the inconstant favor of princes and of fortune? Caesar ran above a million of gold, more than he was worth, in debt to become Caesar; and how many merchants have begun their traffic by the sale of their farms, which they sent into the Indies,

“Through so many ungovernable seas.”

In so great a siccity of devotion as we see in these days, we have a thousand and a thousand colleges, that pass it over commodiously enough, expecting every day their dinner from the liberality of Heaven. Secondly, they do not take notice that this certitude upon which they so much rely is not much less uncertain and hazardous than hazard itself. I see misery as near beyond two thousand crowns a year as if it stood close by me; for besides that it is in the power of chance to make a hundred breaches to Edition: current; Page: [80] poverty through the greatest strength of our riches—there being very often no mean betwixt the highest and the lowest fortune:—

“Fortune is made of glass: at the moment when it is resplendent, it is broken,”

and to turn all our barricadoes and bulwarks topsy-turvy, I find that, by divers causes, indigence is as frequently seen to inhabit with those who have estates as with those that have none; and that, peradventure, it is then far less grievous when alone than when accompanied with riches. These flow more from good management than from revenue;

“Every one is the maker of his own fortune;”

and an uneasy, necessitous, busy, rich man seems to me more miserable than he that is simply poor.

“Poor in the midst of riches, which is the sorest kind of poverty.”

The greatest and most wealthy princes are by poverty and want driven to the most extreme Edition: current; Page: [81] necessity; for can there be any more extreme than to become tyrants and unjust usurpers of their subjects’ goods and estates?

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