« AnteriorContinuar »
hear, whether they be grave, serious, sober, wise, discreet persons. If they be such, their speeches commonly are like themselves, and well deserve your attention and obser
2. But if they be light, impertinent, vain, passionate persons, their speech is, for the most part, accordingly; and the best advantage that you will gain by their speech, is but thereby to learn their dispositions; to discern their failings, and to make yourselves the more cautious, both in your conversation with them, and in your own speech and deportment; for in the unseemliness of their speech you may better discern and avoid the like in yourselves.
3. If any person, that you do not very well know to be a person of truth, sobriety and weight, relate strange stories, be not too ready or easy to believe them, nor report them after him. And yet, unless he be one of your familiar acquaintance, be not too forward to contradict him; or, if the necessity of the occasion require you to declare your opinion of what is so reported, let it be modestly and gently, not too bluntly or coarsely. By this mean, on the one side, you will avoid being abused by your too much credulity; on the other side, you will avoid quarrels and distaste.
4. If any man speak any thing to the disadvantage or reproach of one that is absent, be not too ready to believe it; only observe and remember it; for it may be it is not true, or it is not all true, or some other circumstances were mingled with it, which might give the business reported a justification, or, at least, an allay, an extenuation, or a reasonable
5. If any person report unto you some injury done to you by another, either in words or deeds, do not be over-hasty in believing it, nor suddenly angry with the person so accused; for it is possible it may be false or mistaken; and how unseemly a thing will it be, when your credulity and passion shall perchance carry you, upon a supposed injury, to do wrong to him that hath done you none.
6. When a person is accused or reported to have injured you, before you give yourself leave to be angry, think with yourself, why should I be angry before I am certain it is true; or, if it be true, how can I tell how much I
should be angry, till I know the whole matter? Though it may be he hath done me wrong, yet, possibly, it is misrepresented, or it was done by mistake, or, it may be, he is sorry for it.
7. I will not be angry till I know there be cause, and if there be cause, yet I will not be angry till I know the whole cause; for till then, if I must be angry at all, yet I know not how much to be angry; it may be it is not worth my anger, or, if it be, it may be it deserves but a little. This will keep your mind and carriage upon such occasions in a due temper and order; and will disappoint malicious or officious tale-bearers.
8. If a man, whose integrity you do not very well know, make you great and extraordinary professions and promises, give him as kind thanks as may be, but give not much credit to it. Cast about with yourself what may be the reason of his wonderful kindness; it is twenty to one but you will find something that he aims at besides kindness to you.
9. If a man flatter and commend you to your face, or to one that he thinks will tell you of it, it is a thousand to one, either he hath deceived and abused you some way, or means to do so. Remember the fable of the fox commending the singing of the crow, when she had somewhat in her mouth that the fox liked.
10. If a person be cholerick, passionate, and give you ill language, remember, first, rather to pity him than to be moved into anger and passion with him; for, most certainly, that man is in a distemper, and disordered. Observe him calmly, and you shall see in him so much perturbation and disturbance, that you will easily believe he is not a pattern to be imitated by you; and, therefore, return not choler for anger; for you do but put yourself into a kind of frenzy because you see him so.
11. Be sure you return not railing, reproaching or reviling for reviling; for it doth but kindle more heat; and you will find silence, or at least very gentle words, the most exquisite revenge for reproaches that can be; for either it will cure the distemper in the other, and make him see and be sorry for his passion, or it will torment him with more perturbation and disturbance.
12. Some men are excellent in the knowledge of hus
bandry, some of planting, some of gardening, some in the mathematicks, some in one kind, some in another; in all your conversation, learn as near as you can wherein the skill and excellence of any person lies, and put him upon talk of that subject, and observe it, and keep it in memory or writing; by this mean you will glean up the worth and excellence of every person you meet with, and at an easy rate put together that which may be for your use upon all
CONCLUSION OF JUDGE HALE'S ADVICE TO HIS CHILDREN.
CONVERSE not with a liar or a swearer, or a man of obscene or wanton language; for either he will corrupt you, or at least it will hazard your reputation to be one of the like making. And if it doth neither, yet it will fill your memory with such discourses that will be troublesome to you in after-time, and the returns of the remembrance of the passages which you long since heard of this nature, will haunt you, when your thoughts should be better employed.
2. Let your speech be true; never speak any thing for a truth which you know or believe to be false. It is a great sin against God, who gave you a tongue, to speak your offence against humanity itself; for where there is no truth, there can be no safe society between man and man.
3. As you must be careful not to lie, so you must avoid coming near to it you must not equivocate; you must not speak that absolutely, which you have but by hearsay or relation; you must not speak that as upon knowledge, which you have but by conjecture or opinion only.
4. Let your words be few, especially when your betters, or strangers, or men of experience or understanding, are present; for you do yourself at once two great mischiefs. First, you betray and discover your own weakness and folly Secondly, you rob yourself of that opportunity, which you might otherwise have, to gain knowledge, wisdom and experience, by hearing those whom you silence by your impertinent talking.
5. Be not over-earnest, loud or violent in talking; for
it is unseemly; and earnest and loud talking make you overshoot. and lose your business. When you should be considering and pondering your thoughts, and how to express them significantly, and to the purpose, you are striving to keep your tongue going, and to silence an opponent, not with reason, but with noise.
6. Be careful not to interrupt another in his talk; hear him out; you will understand him the better, and be able to give him the better answer. It may be, if you will give him leave, he will say something more than you have yet heard, or well understood, or that which you did not expect.
7. Always before you speak, especially where the business is of moment, consider beforehand, weigh the sense of your mind, which you intend to utter; think upon the expressions you intend to use, that they may be significant, pertinent and inoffensive; and whereas it is the ordinary course of inconsiderate persons to speak their words, and then to think, or not to think till they speak; think first and speak after, if it be in any matter of moment or serious
8. Be sure you give not an ill report to any that you are not sure deserves it. And in most cases, though a man de serve ill, yet you should be sparing to report him so. In some cases, indeed, you are bound, in honesty and justice, to give that account concerning the demerit or default of a person that he deserves.
9. Avoid scoffing, and bitter and biting jeering, and jesting, especially at the condition, credit, deformity or natural defects of any person; for these leave a deep impression, and are most apparent injustice; for, were you so used, you would take it amiss; and many times such an injury costs a man dear, when he little thinks of it.
10. Be very careful that you give no reproachful, bitter, men'acing or spiteful words to any person; nay, not to servants, or other persons of an inferiour condition. There is no person so mean but that you may stand in need of him in one kind, or at some time or another. Good words make friends, bad words make enemies; it is the best prudence in the world to make as many friends as honestly you can.
11. If there be occasion for you to speak in any company, always be careful, if you speak at all, to speak latest,
especially if strangers are in company; for by this mean you will have the advantage of knowing the sense, judgement, temper and relations of others, which may be a great light and help to you in ordering your speech; and you will better know the inclination of the company, and speak with more advantage and acceptation, and with more security against giving offence.
12. Be careful that you commend not yourselves; it is the most useless thing that can be. You should avoid flattery from others, but especially decline flattering yourselves. It is a sign your reputation is small and sinking, if your own tongues must be your flatterers and commenders; and it is a fulsome and unpleasing thing for others to hear it.
13. Abhor all foul, unclean and obscene speeches; it is a sign that the heart is corrupt;" and such kind of speeches will make it worse; it will taint and corrupt yourselves and those who hear it, and bring disreputation on those who use it.
14. Never use any profane speeches, nor make jests of scripture expressions. When you use the names of God or Christ, or any passages or words of the holy scripture, use them with reverence and seriousness, and not lightly or scurrilously, for it is taking the name of God in vain.
15. If you hear any unseemly expressions used in religious exercises, you must be careful to forget and not to publish them; or if you at all mention them, let it be with pity and sorrow, not with derision or reproach.
BRUTUS' SPEECH ON THE DEATH OF CESAR.
ROMANS, COUNTRYMEN, AND LOVERS,
HEAR me, for my cause; and be silent, that you may hear. Believe me, for mine honour; and have respect for mine honour, that you may believe. Censure me, in your wisdom; and awake your senses, that you may the better judge.
2. If there be any in this assembly, any dear friend of Cæsar, to him I say, that Brutus' love to Cæsar was no less than his. If, then, that friend 'demand, why Brutus rose against Cæsar, this is my answer; not that I loved Cæsa less, but that I loved Rome more.