UTEL [ History of English | English Composition | Literary Authors | Literary Works | Literary Criticism ]


UTEL

Essays (1625)

Title Page | Prev Essay | Next Essay

Sir Francis Bacon


Essay 9

Of Enuy.
1 THere be none of the Affections, which haue beene noted to fascinate, or bewitch, but Loue, and Enuy. They both haue vehement wishes; They frame themselues readily into Imaginations, and Suggestions; And they come easily into the Eye; especially vpon the presence of the Obiects; which are the Points, that conduce to Fascination, if any such Thing there be. We see likewise, the Scripture calleth Enuy, An Euill Eye: And the Astrologers, call the euill Influences of the Starrs, Euill Aspects; So that still, there seemeth to be acknowledged, in the Act of Enuy, an Eiaculation, or Irradiation of the Eye. Nay some haue beene so curious, as to note, that the Times, when the Stroke, or Percussion of an Enuious Eye doth most hurt, are, when the Party enuied is beheld in Glory, or Triumph; For that sets an Edge vpon Enuy; And besides, at such times, the Spirits of the person Enuied, doe come forth, most into the outward Parts, and so meet the Blow.
2 But leauing these Curiosities, ( though not vnworthy, to be thought on, in fit place, ) wee will handle, what Persons are apt to Enuy others; What persons are most Subiect to be Enuied themselues; And, What is the Difference between Publique, and priuate Enuy.
3 A man, that hath no vertue in himselfe, euer enuieth Vertue in others. For Mens Mindes, will either feed vpon their owne Good, or vpon others Euill; And who wanteth the one, wil prey vpon the other; And who so is out of Hope to attaine to anothers Vertue, will seeke to come at euen hand, by Depressing an others Fortune.            
4 A man that is Busy, and Inquisitiue, is commonly Enuious: For to know much of other Men s Matters, cannot be, because all that Adoe may concerne his owne Estate: Therfore it must needs be, that he taketh a kinde of plaie-pleasure, in looking vpon the Fortunes of others; Neither can he, that mindeth but his own Businesse, finde much matter for Enuy. For Enuy is a Gadding Passion, and walketh the Streets, and doth not keepe home; Non est curiosus, quin idem sit maleuolus.
5 Men of Noble birth, are noted, to be enuious towards New Men, when they rise. For the distance is altered; And it is like a deceipt of the Eye, that when others come on, they thinke themselues goe backe.
6 Deformed Persons, and Eunuches, and Old Men, and Bastards, are Enuious: For he that cannot possibly mend his owne case, will doe what he can to impaire anothers; Except these Defects light, vpon a very braue, and Heroicall Nature; which thinketh to make his Naturall Wants, part of his Honour: In that it should be said, that an Eunuch, or a Lame Man, did such great Matters; Affecting the Honour of a Miracle; as it was in Narses the Eunuch, and Agesilaus, and Tamberlanes, that were Lame men.
7 The same, is the Case of Men, that rise after Calamities, and Misfortunes; For they are, as Men fallen out with the times; And thinke other Mens Harmes, a Redemption, of their owne Sufferings.
8 They, that desire to excell in too many Matters, out of Leuity, and Vaine glory, are euer Enuious; For they cannot want worke; It being impossible, but many, in some one of those Things, should surpasse them. Which was the Character of Adrian the Emperour, that mortally Enuied Poets, and Painters, and Artificers, in Works, wherein he had a veine to excell.
9 Lastly, neare Kinsfolks, and Fellowes in Office, and those that haue beene bred together, are more apt to Enuy their Equals, when they are raised. For it doth vpbraid vnto them, their owne Fortunes; And pointeth at them, and commeth oftner into their remembrance, and incurreth likewise more into the note of others: And Enuy euer redoubleth from Speech and Fame. Cains Enuy, was the more vile, and Malignant, towards his brother Abel; Because, when his Sacrifice was better accepted, there was no Body to looke on. Thus much for those that are apt to Enuy.
10 Concerning those that are more or lesse subiect to Enuy: First, Persons of eminent Vertue, when they are aduanced, are lesse enuied. For their Fortune seemeth but due vnto them; and no man Enuieth the Payment of a Debt, but Rewards, and Liberality rather. Againe, Enuy is euer ioyned, with the Comparing of a Mans Selfe; And where there is no Comparison, no Enuy; And therfore Kings, are not enuied, but by Kings. Neuerthelesse, it is to be noted, that vnworthy Persons, are most enuied, at their first comming in, and afterwards ouercome it better; wheras contrariwise, Persons of Worth, and Merit, are most enuied, when their Fortune continueth long. For by that time, though their Vertue be the same, yet it hath not the same Lustre; For fresh Men grow vp, that darken it.
11 Persons of Noble Bloud, are lesse enuied, in their Rising: For it seemeth, but Right, done to their Birth. Besides, there seemeth not much added to their Fortune; And Enuy is as the Sunne Beames, that beat hotter, vpon a Bank or steepe rising Ground; then vpon a Flat. And for the same reason, those that are aduanced by degrees, are lesse enuied, then those that are aduanced suddainly, and per saltum.
12 Those that haue ioyned with their Honour, great Trauels, Cares, or Perills, are lesse subiect to Enuy. For Men thinke, that they earne their Honours hardly, and pitty them sometimes; And Pitty, euer healeth Enuy: Wherefore, you shall obserue that the more deepe, and sober sort of Politique persons, in their Greatnesse, are euer bemoaning themselues, what a Life they lead; Chanting a Quanta patimur. Not that they feele it so, but onely to abate the Edge of Enuy. But this is to be vnderstood, of Businesse, that is laid vpon Men, and not such as they call vnto themselues. For Nothing increaseth Enuy more, then an vnnecessary, and Ambitious Ingrossing of Businesse. And nothing doth extinguish Enuy more, then for a great Person, to preserue all other inferiour Officers, in their full Rights, and Preheminences, of their Places. For by that meanes, there be so many Skreenes betweene him, and Enuy.
13 Aboue all, those are most subiect to Enuy, which carry the Greatnesse of their Fortunes, in an insolent and proud Manner: Being neuer well, but while they are shewing, how great they are, Either by outward Pompe, or by Triumphing ouer all Opposition, or Competition; whereas Wise men will rather doe sacrifice to Enuy; in suffering themselues, sometimes of purpose to be crost, and ouerborne in things, that doe not much concerne them. Notwithstanding, so much is true; That the Carriage of Greatnesse, in a plaine and open manner ( so it be without Arrogancy, and Vaine glory ) doth draw lesse Enuy, then if it be in a more crafty, and cunning fashion. For in that course, a Man doth but disauow Fortune; And seemeth to be conscious, of his owne want in worth; And doth but teach others to Enuy him.
14 Lastly, to conclude this Part; As we said in the beginning, that the Act of Enuy, had somewhat in it, of Witchcraft; so there is no other Cure of Enuy, but the cure of Witchcraft: And that is, to remoue the Lot ( as they call it ) and to lay it vpon another. For which purpose, the wiser Sort of great Persons, bring in euer vpon the Stage, some Body, vpon whom to deriue the Enuie, that would come vpon themselues; Sometimes vpon Ministers, and Seruants; Sometimes vpon Colleagues and Associates; and the like; And for that turne, there are neuer wanting, some Persons of violent and vndertaking Natures, who so they may haue Power, and Businesse, will take it at any Cost.
15 Now to speake of Publique Enuy. There is yet some good in Publique Enuy; whereas in Priuate, there is none. For Publique Enuy is as an Ostracisme, that eclipseth Men, when they grow too great. And therefore it is a Bridle also to Great Ones, to keepe them within Bounds.
16 This Enuy, being in the Latine word Inuidia, goeth in the Moderne languages, by the name of Discontentment: Of which we shall speake in handling Sedition. It is a disease, in a State, like to Infection. For as Infection, spreadeth vpon that, which is sound, and tainteth it; So when Enuy, is gotten once into a State, it traduceth euen the best Actions thereof, and turneth them into an ill Odour. And therefore, there is little won by intermingling of plausible Actions. For that doth argue, but a Weaknesse, and Feare of Enuy, which hurteth so much the more, as it is likewise vsuall in Infections; which if you feare them, you call them vpon you.
17 This publique Enuy, seemeth to beat chiefly, vpon principall Officers, or Ministers, rather then vpon Kings, & Estates themselues. But this is a sure Rule, that if the Enuy vpon the Minister, be great, when the cause of it, in him, is smal; or if the Enuy be generall, in a manner, vpon all the Ministers of an Estate; then the Enuy ( though hidden ) is truly vpon the State it selfe. And so much of publike enuy or discontentment, & the difference therof from Priuate Enuy, which was handled in the first place.
18 We will adde this, in generall, touching the Affection of Enuy; that of all other Affections, it is the most importune, and continuall. For of other Affections, there is occasion giuen, but now and then: And therefore, it was well said, Inuidia festos dies non agit. For it is euer working vpon some, or other. And it is also noted, that Loue and Enuy, doe make a man pine, which other Affections doe not; because they are not so continuall. It is also the vilest Affection, and the most depraued; For which cause, it is the proper Attribute of the Deuill, who is called; The Enuious Man, that soweth tares amongst the wheat by night. As it alwayes commeth to passe, that Enuy worketh subtilly, and in the darke; And to the preiudice of good things, such as is the Wheat.

Title Page | Prev Essay | Next Essay
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.
Electronic edition copyrighted to Ian Lancashire.
Permission is hereby granted for non-commercial educational, research, and personal use and copying. These texts may not be re-distributed in any form other than their current ones. No one is permitted to mount these texts on their own servers for public use or for use by a set of subscribers, except by special written permission of the editor.
HTML files generated by Dennis G. Jerz and Christopher Douglas for the University of Toronto English Library, under the direction of Professor Ian Lancashire.

UTEL [ History of English | English Composition | Literary Authors | Literary Works | Literary Criticism ]