Imágenes de páginas

that love abideth not with want, for she is thy companion of plenty and honour. I never yet knew a poor woman exceeding fair, that was not made dishonest by one or other in the end. SIR WALTER RALECH.

HAVE ever more care that thou be beloved of thy wife, rather than thyself besotted on her, and thou shalt judge of her love by these two observations: First, if thou perceive she have a care of thy estate, and exercise herself therein; the other, if she study to please thee, and be sweet unto thee in conversation, without thy instruction; for love needs no teaching nor precept.

On the other side, be not sour or stern to thy wife, for cruelty engendereth no other thing than hatred let her have equal part of thy estate whilst thou livest, if thou find her sparing and honest; but what thou givest after thy death, remember that thou givest it to a stranger, and most times to an enemy; for he that shall marry thy wife will despise thee, thy memory, and thine, and shall possess the quiet of thy labours, the fruit which thou hast planted, enjoy thy love, and spend with joy and ease what thou hast spared, and gotten with care and travel. Yet, always remember, that thou leave not thy wife to be a shame unto thee after thou art dead, but that she may live according to thy estate, especially if thou hast few children, and them

provided for. But howsoever it be, or whatsoever thou find, leave thy wife no more than of necessity thou must, but only during her widowhood; for if she love again, let her not enjoy her second love in the same bed wherein she loved thee, nor fly to future pleasures with those feathers which death hath pulled from thy wings; but leave thy estate to thy house and children, in which thou livest upon earth, whilst it lasteth. To conclude, wives were ordained to continue the generation of men, not to transfer them and diminish them, either in continuance or ability, and therefore thy house and estate, which liveth in thy son and not in thy wife, is to be preferred.*

[ocr errors]



*The above observations must not be considered as having arisen from any mean or sel sh principle in the mind of our illustrious knight; for they have been approved and acted upon by the wisest of mankind. His letter to his wife, after his condemnation to the scaffold, gives exemplary proof of his conjugal affection and liberality of sentiment, as may be seen in the following extract: "Dear wife, I beseech you, for my "soul's sake, pay all poor men. When I am dead, no doubt you shall be much sought unto, for the world thinks I was very rich; have a care to the fair pretences of men, for no greater misery can befal you in this life, than to become a prey unto the world, and after to be despised. I speak (God knows) not to dissuade you from marriage, for it will "be best for you, both in respect of God and the world. As " for me, I am no more your's, nor you mine, death hath "cut us asunder, and God hath divided me from the world, "and you from me. Remember your poor child, for his fa"ther's sake, who loved you in his happiest estate. I sued "for my life, but God knows, it was for you and your's that "I desired it; for know it, my dear wife, your child is the "child of a true man, who, in his own respect, despiseth "death and his mis-shapen and ugly forms."

Remains of Sir Walter Ralegh. 1669.

IT is one of the best bonds, both of chastity and obedience in the wife, if she think her husband wise, which she will never do if she find him jealous.


SEE whether a cage can please a bird, or whether a dog grow not fiercer with tying? What doth jealousy, but stir up the mind to think what it is from which they are restrained? For they are treasures, or things of great delight, which men use to hide, for the aptness they have to each man's fancies: and the thoughts once awakened to that, harder sure it is to keep those thoughts from accomplishment, than it had been before to have kept the mind (which, being the chief part, by this means is defiled) from thinking.

[merged small][ocr errors]


Nobility of blood

Is but a glitt'ring and fallacious good;

The nobleman is he, whose noble mind

Is fill'd with inbred worth, unborrow'd from his kind.

Virtue's the certain mark, by heaven design'd,
That's always stamp'd upon a noble mind:
If from such illustrious fathers came,

By copying them, your high extract proclaim.

In vain you urge the merit of your race,


And boast that blood which you yourselves debase.


NOBILITY without virtue and wisdom, is blood indeed, but blood truly without bones and sinews, and so of itself, without the other, very weak to bear the burden of weighty affairs. The greatest ship, indeed, commonly carrieth the greatest burden, but yet always with the greatest jeopardy, not only for the persons and goods committed unto it, but even for the ship itself, except it be governed with the greater wisdom.

But nobility, governed by learning and wisdom, is, indeed, most like a fair ship, having tide and wind at will, under the rule of a skilful master: when, contrariwise, a ship carried, yea, with the highest tide and greatest wind, lacking a skilful master, most commonly doth either sink itself upon

sands, or break itself upon rocks. And even so, how many have been either drowned in vain pleasure, or overwhelmed by stout wilfulness, the histories of England be able to afford over many examples unto us. Therefore, ye great and noble men's children, if ye will have rightfully that praise, and enjoy surely that place which your fathers have, and elders had, and left unto you, ye must keep it as they gat it, and that is, by the only way of virtue, wisdom, and worthiness.


THE multiplying of nobility, and other degrees of quality, in an over proportion to the common people, doth speedily bring a state to necessity; and so doth likewise an over-grown clergy; for they bring nothing to the stock.


A GREAT and potent nobility addeth majesty to a monarch, but diminisheth power; and 'putteth life and spirit into the people, but presseth their fortune.

A numerous nobility causeth poverty and inconvenience in a state: for it is a surcharge of expense; and, besides, it being of necessity that many of the nobility fall in time to be weak in fortune, it maketh a kind of disproportion between honour and means.


« AnteriorContinuar »