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Anger is certainly a kind of baseness; as it appears well in the weakness of those subjects in whom it reigns; children, women, old folks, sick folks. Only men must beware, that they carry their Anger rather with scorn, than with fear: so that they may seem rather to be above the injury, than below it, which is a thing easily done, if a man will give law to himself in it.
For the second point. The causes and motives of Anger are chiefly three: first, to be too sensible of hurt: for no man is angry that feels not himself hurt; and therefore tender and delicate persons must needs be often angry; they have so many things to trouble them, which more robust natures have little sense of. The next is, the apprehension and construction of the injury offered, to be in the circumstances thereof full of contempt. For contempt is that which putteth an edge upon Anger, as much or more than the hurt itself : and therefore when men are ingenious in picking out circumstances of contempt, they do kindle their Anger much.
Lastly, opinion of the touch of a man's reputation doth multiply and sharpen Anger: wherein the remedy is, that a man should have, as Gonsalvo was wont to say, “ His web of honour thicker than to be pierced by any imaginary contempt." But in all refrainings of Anger, it is the best remedy to win time, and to make a
man's self believe that the opportunity of his revenge is not yet come; but that he foresees a time for it, and so to still himself in the mean time, and reserve it.
To contain Anger from mischief, though it take hold of a man, there be two things, whereof
you must have special caution : the one, of extreme bitterness of words, especially if they be aculeate and proper; for “ reproaches of a common sort” are nothing so much. And again, that in Anger a man reveal no secrets; for that makes him not fit for society. The other, that you do not peremptorily break off in any business in a fit of Anger; but howsoever you show bitterness, do not act any thing that is not revocable.
For raising, and appeasing, Anger in another : it is done chiefly by choosing of times, when men are frowardest and worst disposed, to incense them; again, by gathering (as was touched before) all that you can find out to aggravate the contempt. And the two remedies are by the contraries : the former, to take good times, when first to relate to a man an angry business : for the first impression is much; and the other is, to sever as much as may be the construction of the injury from the point of contempt; imputing it to misunderstanding, fear, passion, or what you will.
Or Wicissitude of Things. SOLOMON saith, “ There is no new thing upon the earth.” So that as Plato had an imagination, “ that all knowledge was but a remembrance :" so Solomon giveth his sentence," that all novelty is but oblivion :" whereby you may see, that the river of Lethe runneth as well above ground as below. There is an abstruse astrologer that saith, “ If it were not for two things that are constant, (the one is, that the fixed stars ever stand at like distance one from another, and never come nearer together, nor go further asunder; the other, that the diurnal motion perpetually keepeth time) no individual would last one moment." Certain it is, that the matter is in a perpetual flux, and never at a stay. The great winding-sheets that bury all things in oblivion, are two; deluges and earthquakes. As for conflagrations and great droughts, they do not merely dispeople, but destroy. Phaëton's car went but a day: and the three years' drought, in the time of Eliaş, was but particular, and left people alive. As for the great burnings by lightnings, which are often in the West Indies, they are but narrow.
But in the other two destructions, by deluge and earthquake, it is further to be noted, that the remnant of people which hap to be re
served, are commonly ignorant and mountainous people, that can give no account of the time past; so that the oblivion is all one, as if none had been left. If you consider well of the people of the West Indies, it is very probable that they are a newer or younger people, than the people of the old world. And it is much more likely, that the destruction that hath heretofore been there, was not by earthquakes, as the Egyptian priest told Solon, concerning the Island of Atlantis, " that it was swallowed by an earthquake”): but rather, it was desolated by a particular deluge ; for earthquakes are seldom in those parts. But on the other side, they have such pouring rivers, as the rivers of Asia, and Africa, and Europe, are but brooks to them. Their Andes likewise, or mountains, arë far higher than those with us; whereby it seems, that the remnants of generations of men were in such a particular deluge saved. As for the observation that Machiavel hath, that the jealousy of sects doth much extinguish the memory of things,traducing Gregory the Great, that he did what in him lay to extinguish all heathen antiquities; I do not find that those zeals do any great effects, nor last long; as it appeared in the succession of Sabinian, who did revive the former antiquities.
The Vicissitude or mutations in the superior globe, are no fit matter for this present argument. It may be, Plato's great year, if the world should last so long, would have some effect; not in renewing the state of like individuals, (in unison with those, that conceive the celestial bodies have more accurate influences upon these things below, than indeed they have), but in gross. Comets, out of question, have likewise power and effect over the gross and mass of things : but they are rather gazed upon, and waited upon in their journey, than wisely observed in their effects, especially in their respective effects; that is, what kind of comet' for magnitude, colour, version of the beams, placing in the region of heaven, or lasting, produceth par. ticular effects.
There is a toy of which I have heard, and I would not have it slighted, but considered a littlethey say it is observed in the Low Countries, (I know not in what part) that every five-and-thirty years, the same kind and suit of years and weathers comes about again, as great frosts, great wet, great droughts, warm winters, summers with little heat, and the like; and they call it the prime. It is a thing I do rather mention, because, computing backwards, I have found some concurrence.
But to leave these points of nature, and come to men. The greatest Vicissitude of things amongst men, is, the Vicissitude of sects and religions : for those orbs rule in men's minds most. The true