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Sir Francis Bacon


Essay 52

Of Ceremonies and Respects.
1 HE that is only Reall, had need haue Exceeding great Parts of Vertue: As the Stone had need to be Rich, that is set without Foile. But if a Man marke it well, it is in praise and Commendation of Men, as it is in Gettings and Gaines: For the Prouerbe is true, That light Gaines make heauy Purses; For light Gaines come thick, whereas Great come but now and then. So it is true, that Small Matters win great Commendation, because they are continually in Vse, and in note: whereas the Occasion of any great Vertue, commeth but on Festiuals. Therefore it doth much adde, to a Mans Reputation, and is, ( as Queene Isabella said ) Like perpetuall Letters Commendatory, to haue good Formes. To Attaine them, it almost sufficeth, not to despise them: For so shall a Man obserue them in Others: And let him trust himselfe with the rest. For if he Labour too much to Expresse them, he shall lose their Grace; Which is to be Naturall and Vnaffected. Some Mens Behauiour, is like a Verse, wherein euery Syllable is Measured: How can a man comprehend great Matters, that breaketh his Minde too much to small Obseruations? Not to vse Ceremonies at all, is to teach Others not to vse them againe; And so diminisheth Respect to himselfe: Especially they be not to be omitted to Strangers, and Formall Natures: But the Dwelling vpon them, & Exalting them aboue the Moone, is not only Tedious, but doth Diminish the Faith and Credit of him that speakes. And certainly, there is a Kinde, of Conueying of Effectuall and Imprinting Passages, amongst Complements, which is of Singular vse, if a Man can hit vpon it. Amongst a Mans Peeres, a Man shall be sure of Familiaritie; And therefore, it is good a little to keepe State. Amongst a Mans Inferiours, one shall be sure of Reuerence; And therefore it is good a little to be Familiar. He that is too much in any Thing, so that he giueth another Occasion of Sacietie, maketh himselfe cheape. To apply Ones Selfe to others, is good: So it be with Demonstration, that a Man doth it vpon Regard, And not vpon Facilitie. It is a good Precept, generally in Seconding Another, yet to adde somewhat of Ones Owne: As if you will grant his Opinion, let it be with some Distinction; If you will follow his Motion, let it bee with Condition; If you allow his Counsell, let it be with Alledging further Reason. Men had need beware, how they be too Perfect in Complements; For be they neuer so Sufficient otherwise, their Enuiers will be sure to giue them that Attribute, to the Disaduantage of their greater Vertues. It is losse also in businesse, to be too full of Respects, or to be too Curious in Obseruing Times and Opportunities. Salomon saith; He that considereth the wind, shall not Sow, and he that looketh to the Clouds, shall not reape. A wise Man will make more Opportunities then he findes. Mens Behauiour should be like their Apparell, not too Strait, or point Deuice, but Free for Exercise or Motion.

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Edited by Ian Lancashire (Dept. of English, University of Toronto) Assisted by Allison Hay.
As published in I. Lancashire, in collaboration with J. Bradley, W. McCarty, M. Stairs, and T. R. Wooldridge. Using TACT and Electronic Texts: Text-Analysis Computing Tools Vers. 2.1 for MS-DOS and PC DOS. New York: Modern Language Association of America, 1996. CD-ROM.
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