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nature, except it proceed, not out of a pleasure in solitude, but out of a love and desire to sequestei a man's self for a higher conversation: such as i: found to have been falsely and feignedly in some of the heathen, as Epimenides the Candian, Numa the Roman, Empedocles the Sicilian, and Apollo nius of Tyana; and truly and really in divers of the ancient hermits and holy fathers of the Church But little do men perceive what solitude is, and how far it extendeth; for a crowd is not company and faces are but a gallery of pictures, and talk but a tinkling cymbal, where there is no love. The Latin adage meeteth with it a little, “ Magna civitas, magna solitudo"; because in a great town friends are scattered, so that there is not that fellowship, for the most part, which is in less neighbourhoods. But we may go further, and affirm most truly that it is a mere ? and miserable solitude to want true friends, without which the world is but a wilderness. And even in this sense also of solitude, whosoever in the frame of his nature and affections is unfit for friendship, he taketh it of the beast, and not from humanity.
A principal fruit of friendship is the ease and discharge of the fulness and swellings of the heart, which passions of all kinds do cause and induce. We know diseases of stoppings and suffocations are the most dangerous in the body, and it is not much otherwise in the mind; you may take sarza to open the liver, steel to open the spleen, flowers of sulphur for the lungs, castoreum for the brain, but no receipt openeth the heart but a true friend, to
1 2 Utter.
whom you may impart griefs, joys, fears, hopes, suspicions, counsels, and whatsoever lieth upon the heart to oppress it, in a kind of civil shrift or confession.
It is a strange thing to observe how high a rate great kings and monarchs do set upon this fruit of friendship whereof we speak; so great as they pur
chase it many times at the hazard of their own l' safety and greatness. For princes, in regard of
the distance of their fortune from that of their subjects and servants, cannot gather this fruit except,
to make themselves capable thereof, they raise 3. some persons to be, as it were, companions and
almost equals to themselves, which many times .; sorteth to inconvenience. The modern languages
give unto such persons the name of favourites or privadoes, as if it were matter of grace or conversation, but the Roman name attaineth the true use and cause thereof, naming them" participes curarum," 1 for it is that which tieth the knot,
And we see plainly that this hath been done, not · by weak and passionate princes only, but by the
wisest and most politic that ever reigned; who have
oftentimes joined to themselves some of their ser1 vants, whom both themselves have called friends,
and allowed others likewise to call them in the same manner, using the word which is received between private men.
L. Sylla, when he commanded Rome, raised Pompey, after surnamed the Great, to that height that Pompey vaunted himself for Sylla's overmatch. For when he had carried the consulship for a friend of his against the pursuit of Sylla, and
i Partners in cares.
that Sylla did a little resent thereat, and began to speak great, Pompey turned upon him again, and in effect bade him be quiet, for that more men adored the sun rising than the sun setting.” With Julius Cæsar, Decimus Brutus had obtained that interest, as he set him down in his testament for heir in remainder after his nephew. And this was the man that had power with him to draw him forth to his death. For when Cæsar would have discharged the senate, in regard of some ill presages, and especially a dream of Calpurnia, this man lifted him gently by the arm out of his chair, telling him he hoped he would not dismiss the senate till his wife had dreamt a better dream. And it seemeth his favour was so great as Antonius, in a letter which is recited verbatim in one of Cicero's Philippics, calleth him “ venefica," witch, as if he had enchanted Cæsar. Augustus raised Agrippa, though of mean birth, to that height as, when he consulted with Mæcenas about the marriage of his daughter Julia, Mæcenas took the liberty to tell him, " That he must either marry his daughter to Agrippa or take away his life; there was no third way, he had made him so great." With Tiberius Cæsar, Sejanus had ascended to that height as they two were termed and reckoned as a pair of friends. Tiberius in a letter to him saith: * Hæc pro amicitia nostra non occultavi "; 1 and the whole senate dedicated an altar to friendship, as to a goddess, in respect of the great dearness of friendship between them two. The like or more was between Septimius Severus
1 On account of our fri ship I have not kept these things back.
and Plautianus. For he forced his eldest son to marry the daughter of Plautianus, and would often maintain Plautianus in doing affronts to his son; and did write also in a letter to the senate by these words: “I love the man so well as I wish he may over-live me.” Now, if these princes had been as a Trajan, or a Marcus Aurelius, a man might have thought that this had proceeded of an abundant goodness of nature; but being men so wise, of such strength and severity of mind, and so extreme lovers of themselves, as all these were, it proveth most plainly that they found their own felicity, though as great as ever happened to mortal men, but as a half-piece, except they mought have a friend to make it entire. And yet, which is more, they were princes which had wives, sons, nephews; and yet all these could not supply the comfort of friendship.
It is not to be forgotten what Commineus o$serveth of his first master, Duke Charles the Hardy; namely, that he would communicate his secrets with none, and least of all those secrets which troubled him most. Whereupon he goeth on, and saith that towards his latter time that closeness did impair, and a little perish his understanding." Surely Commineus mought have made the same judgment also, if it had pleased him, of his second master, Louis XI., whose closeness was indeed his tormentor. The parable of Pythagoras is dark but true: Cor ne edito,” eat not the heart. Certainly, if a man would give it a hard phrase, those that want friends to open themselves unto are cannibals of their own hearts. But one thing is most admirable (wherewith I
will conclude this first-fruit of friendship), which is, that this communicating of a man's self to his friend works two contrary effects: for it redoubleth joys, and cutteth griefs in halves. For there is no man that imparteth his joys to his friend, but he joyeth the more; and no man that imparteth his griefs to his friend, but he grieveth the less. So that it is, in truth, of operation upon a man's mind, of like virtue as the alchemists used to attribute to their stone for man's body, that it worketh all contrary effects, but still to the good and benefit of nature. But yet, without praying in aid of alchemists, there is a manifest image of this in the ordinary course of nature.
For in bodies, union strengtheneth and cherisheth any natural action, and, on the other side, weakeneth and dulleth any violent impression: and even so is it of minds.
The second fruit of friendship is healthful and sovereign for the understanding, as the first is for the affections. For friendship maketh indeed a fair day in the affections from storm and tempests; but it maketh daylight in the understanding out of darkness and confusion of thoughts. Neither is this to be understood only of faithful counsel, which a man receiveth from his friend; but before you come to that, certain it is, that whosoever hath his mind fraught with many thoughts, his wits and understanding do clarify and break up in the communicating and discoursing with another: he tosseth his thoughts more easily, he marshalleth them more orderly, he seeth how they look when they are turned into words; finally, he waxeth wiser than himself, and that more by an hour's