From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
The Characters is a book by Greek philosopher Theophrastus (371 – c. 287 BC) which contains thirty brief, vigorous and trenchant outlines of moral types, which form a most valuable picture of the life of his time, and in fact of human nature in general. Writing the "character sketch" as a scholastic exercise also originated in Theophrastus's typology.
They are the first recorded attempt at systematic character writing. The book has been regarded by some as an independent work; others incline to the view that the sketches were written from time to time by Theophrastus, and collected and edited after his death; others, again, regard the Characters as part of a larger systematic work, but the style of the book is against this. Theophrastus has found many imitators in this kind of writing, notably Hall (1608), Sir Thomas Overbury (1614–16), Bishop Earle (1628) and Jean de La Bruyère (1688), who also translated the Characters into French. George Eliot also took inspiration from Theophrastus' Characters, most notably in her book of caricatures, Impressions of Theophrastus Such.
- "Impurity or beastliness is not hard to be defined. It is a licentious lewd jest. He is impure or flagitious, who meeting with modest women, sheweth that which taketh his name of shame or secrecy. Being at a Play in the Theatre, when all are attentively silent, he in a cross conceit applauds, or claps his hands: and when the Spectators are exceedingly pleased, he hisseth: and when all the company is very attentive in hearing and beholding, he lying alone belcheth or breaketh wind, as if Æolus were bustling in his Cave; forcing the Spectators to look another way: and when the Hall or Stage is fullest of company, comming to those which sell nuts and apples, and other fruits standing by them, taketh them away and muncheth them; and wrangleth about their price and such like baubles. He will call to him a stranger he never saw before; and stay one whom he seeth in great haste. If he hear of a man that hath lost a great suit, and is condemn'd in great charges, as he passeth out of the Hall, commeth unto him, and gratulateth, and biddeth God give him joy. And when he hath bought meat, and hired Musicions, he sheweth to all he meeteth and invites them to it. And being at a Barbar's shop, or an anointing place, he telleth the company that that night he is absolutely resolved to drink drunk. If he keep a Tavern, he wil give his best friends his baptised wine, to keep them in the right way. At plays when they are most worthy the seeing, hee suffereth not his children to go to them. Then he sendeth them, when they are to be seene for nothing, for the redeemers of the Theaters. When an Ambassador goes abroad, leaving at home his victual which was publickly given him, he beggeth more of his Camerado's. His manner is to lode his man, which journeys with him, with Cloke-bags and carriages, like a Porter; but taketh an order that his belly be light enough. When he anoints himself, he complaines the oil is rank; and anoints him self with that which he pays not for. If a boy find a brass piece or a counter, he cries half part. These likewise are his. If he buy anything, he buys it by the Phidonian measure, but he measureth miserably to his servants; shaving, and pinching them to a grain. If he be to pay thirty pound he will be sure it shal want three groats. When he feasteth any of his Allies; his boys that attend, are fed out of the common: and if there scape away but half a raddish or any fragment, he notes it, lest the boys that wait, meete with it." , translation by John Earle (bishop)
Cavilling · Flattery · Garrulitie · Rusticity · Smoothness · Senselessness · Loquacity · News-forging · Impudency · Avarice · Obscenity · Unseasonableness · Impertinent Diligence · Blockishness · Stubbornness · Superstition · Complaining · Diffidence · Nastiness · Unpleasantness · Affectation · Illiberality · Ostentation · Pride · Timidity · Oligarchy · Late-learning · Detraction
The study of the Character, as it is now known, was conceived by Aristotle’s student Theophrastus. In The Characters (c. 319 BC), Theophrastus introduced the “character sketch,” which became the core of “the Character as a genre.” It included 30 character types. Each type is said to be an illustration of an individual who represents a group, characterized by his most prominent trait. The Theophrastan types are as follows:
It is unclear wherefrom Theophrastus derived these types, but many strongly resemble those from Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics. Despite the fact that Theophrastus sought to portray character types and not individuals, some of the sketches may have been drawn from observations of actual persons in Athenian public life. Although the preface of the work implies the intention to catalogue “human nature, associate[ed] with all sorts and conditions of men and contrast[ed] in minute detail the good and bad among them,” many other possible types are left unrepresented. These omissions are especially noticeable because each of the thirty characters represents a negative trait (“the bad”); some scholars have therefore suspected that another half of the work, covering the positive types (“the good”), once existed. This preface, however, is certainly fictitious, i.e. added in later times, and cannot therefore be a source of any allegation. Nowadays many scholars also believe that the definitions found in the beginning of each sketch are later additions.
(<r. 373-288 B. C.)
Is for Theophrastus, w writes Quintilian, <( there is such a di- vine beauty in his language, that he may be said even to have derived his name* from it.* While this <( divine beauty w found its vehicle in a melody peculiar to the Greek lan- guage and not to be translated, those who read Healey's version of the (< Characters * will not be at a loss for suggestions of Quintilian's reasons for admiring them. As the author of these <( Characters, w Theophrastus is the founder of a distinct modern school which em- braces Sir Thomas Overbury, La Bruyere, John Earle, Owen Felltham, and Thomas Fuller, — each of whom has borrowed and used to ad- vantage methods of character sketching and moralizing which be- longed originally to (< ethical characters 8 of the great successor of Aristotle.
The authorities are not agreed on the date of the birth of Theo- phrastus, but fix it between 373 and 368 B. C. His birthplace was Eresus, on the island of Lesbos, and after studying there under Leu- ciphus (Alciphus ?) he went to Athens and became a disciple of Plato. Becoming an intimate friend of Aristotle who made him the guardian of his children, he was made chief of the Peripatetic school after Aristotle's death and presided over it until his own death in 288 B. C. He was greatly honored by his own generation and was studied by students of science and literature as long as Greek re- mained a living tongue. Besides his <( Characters, w Theophrastus wrote extensively on science and philosophy, — notably a <( History of Plants w and a w History of Physics, w parts of which are still extant.
- Theophrastus, i. e. , the Divine Speaker.
THE « CHARACTERS » OF THEOPHRASTUS* (Translated by Healey. The Complete Text of the Temple Edition)
Cavilling or cavillation (if we should define it rudely) is a wresting of actions and words to the worse or sadder part. A Caviller is he, who will entertain his enemies with a pretence of love; who applaudeth those publickly, whom secretly he seeketh to supplant. If any man traduce or deprave him, he easily pardoneth him without any expostulation. He passeth by jests broken upon him, and is very affable with those which challenge him of any injury by him to them done. Those which desire hastily to speak with him, he giveth them a Come-again. Whatsoever he doth, he hideth; and is much in deliberation. To those which would borrow money of him, his answere is, 'Tis a dead time; I sell nothing. And when he selleth little, then he braggeth of much. When he heareth any thing he will make shew not to observe it: He will deny he hath seen what he saw. If he bargain for any thing in his own wrong, he will not re- member it. Some things he will consider of: some things he knows; some things he knows not; others he wonders at. These words are very usuall with him : I do not believe it ; I think not so; I wonder at it ; Of some of these, I was so perswaded before. He will tell you, You mistake him for another: he had no such speech with me. This is beyond belief: find out some other ear for your stories. Shall I believe you, or disable his credit ? But take you heed how you give credit to these received sayings, veiled and infolded with so many windings of dissimulation. Men of these manners are to be shunned more
Flattery may be sayd to be a foul deformed custom in com- mon life, making for the advantage of the Flatterer. A Flatterer is such a one, as if he walk or converse with you, will thus say unto you: Do you observe, how all men's eyes are upon you ? I have not noted any in this Town, to be so much beheld. Yesterday in the Gallery you had reason to be proud of
- With Healey's spelling retained throughout.
your reputation. For there being at that time assembled more than thirty persons, and question being made which should be the worthiest Citizen; the company being very impatient it should be disputed, concluded all upon you. These and such- like he putteth upon him. If there be the least mote upon his clothes, or if there should be none, he maketh a shew to take it off: or if any small straw or feather be gotten into his locks, the Flatterer taketh it away; and smiling saith, you are grown gray within these few dayes for want of my company, and yet your hair is naturally as black as any man of your years. If he reply, the Flatterer proclaimeth silence, praiseth him palpably and pro- fusely to his face. When he hath spoken, he breaketh out into an exclamation, with a O well spoken! And if he break a jest upon any, the Flatterer laughs as if he were tickled; muf- fling himself in his cloak, as if he could not possibly forbear. As he meeteth any, he plaieth the Gentleman-usher, praying them to give way; as if his Patron were a very great person. He buys pears and apples, and bears them home to his children, and gives them (for the most part) in his presence: and kissing them, crieth out, O the worthy Father's lively picture! If he buy a shoe, if he be present, he swears his foot is far handsomer, and that the shoe mis-shapes it. If at any time he should repair to visit a friend, the Flatterer plays the Herbinger; runs before, and advertiseth them of his coming: and speedily returning back again, telleth him that he hath given them notice thereof. What- soever belongeth to the women's Academy, as paintings, preserv- ings, needle-works, and such like, he discourseth of them like my Lady's woman. Of all the guests, he first commends the wine, and always sitting by his Ingle, courts him; asking him how sparingly he feeds, and how he bridles it: and taking some speciall dish from the Table, taketh occasion to commend it. He is busy and full of questions; whether this man be not cold; why he goes so thinne; and why he will not go better cloth 'd ? Then he whispers in his Patron's ear: and, while others speak, his eye is still upon him. At the Theatre, taking the cushions from the boy, he setteth them up himself: he commendeth the situation and building of the house ; the well tilling and husband- ing of the ground. In conclusion, you shall alwayes note a Flat- terer to speak and do, what he presumeth will be most pleasing and agreeable.
Garrulity is a slippery loosenesse, or a babling of a long in- considerate speech. A Pratler or Babler is such an one, that unseasonably setting upon any stranger, will commend his wife unto him ; or tell his last night's dreams, or what meates, or how many dishes he had at such a feast: and when you listen to him, or that he grows a little encouraged with your attention, he will complain, that modern men are worse than those of elder times: that corn is too cheap, as rents are now improv'd: that there are too many strangers dwelling in the Town: That the Seas, after the Dionysian feasts, will be more smooth, and obedi- ent to the Saylors: and that if there fall good store of raine, there will be greater plenty of those things, which yet are lockt up in the bowels of the earth : and the next year he will till his ground: That 'tis a hard world: and that men have much ado to live: and that when the holy Ceremonies were celebrated, Damippus set up the greatest light: inquireth therefore how many columnes are in the Odeum : and yesterday, he sayth, I was wamble-cropt, and (saving your presence) parbreak't: and what day of the moneth is this ? but if any man lend him attention, he shall never be clear of him. He will tell you that the mys- teries, <c Mense Boedromione," (< Apaturia," a Pyanepsione, 8 w Posi- deone," the <( Dionysia, w which now are, were wont to be celebrated. These kind of men are to be shunned, with great wariness and speed, as a man would prevent or outrun an Ague. For 'tis a miserable condition, to continue long with those which cannot distinguish the seasons of business and leisure.
Of Rusticity or Clownishness
Rusticity may seem to be an ignorance of honesty and comli- ness. A Clown or rude fellow is he, who will go into a crowd or press, when he hath taken a purge: And he that sayth, that Garlick is as sweet as a gillifiower: that wears shoes much larger then his feet: that speaks always very loud: who, distrusting his friends and familiars, in serious affairs adviseth with his servants: who, the things which he heard in the Senate, imparteth to his mercenaries, who do his drudgery in the country;
one that sitteth so with his hose drawn up at his knee as you might see his skin. Upon the way whatsoever strange accident he encountreth, he wondreth at nothing. But if he see an ox, an ass, or a goat, then the man is at a stand, and begins to look about him: proud when he can rob the cupboard or the Cellar, and then snap up a scrap; very carefull that the wench that makes the bread take him not napping. He grinds, caters, drudges, purveighs, and plays the Sutler, for all things belonging to a house provision. When he is at dinner, he casts meat to his beasts; if any body knock at the door, he listens like a Cat for a mouse. Calling his dog to him, and taking him by the snout: This fellow, saith he, keeps my ground, my house, and all that is in it. If he receive money, he rejects it as light; and desireth to have it changed. If he have lent his plough, his scythe, or his sack, he sends for them again at midnight, if he chance to thinke of them in his sleep.
Coming into the City, whomsoever he meeteth, he asketh the price of hides and salt fish, and whether there be any plays this new moon: and so soon as he doth alight, he tells them all that he will be trimmed: And this fellow still sings in the Bath; and clowts his shoes with hob-nails. And because it was the same way to receive his salt meates from Archias, it was his fashion to carry it himself.
Of Fair Speech or Smoothness
Smoothness, or fawning, if we should define it, is an encounter containing many allurements to pleasure; and those (for the most part) not more honest than they should be. But a sleekstone or Smooth-boot (as we terme him) is he, that sa- luteth a man as farre off, as his eye can carry level; stileth him Most worthy; admireth his fortune; and taking him by both the hands, detaineth him, not suffering him to pass. But having a while accompanied him, is very inquisitive when he shall see him again; embroidering and painting out his praise. The same being chosen an Arbitrator, endevoureth not only to con- tent him on whose behalfe he is chosen, but the adverse part likewise, that so he may be held an indifferent friend to them both. He maintaineth, when strangers speak wiser and juster things than his own fellow-Citizens. Being invited to a feast, he
entreateth the master of the entertainment to send in for his children: and when they are come, he swears they resemble their father, as near as one figg doth another. Then calling them to him, he kisseth them, and setteth them by him: and jesting with others of the company, saith he, Compare them with the father, they are as like him, as an apple is like an oyster. He will suffer others sleeping to rest in his bosom, when he is loden with a sore burden. He trimmeth himselfe often : he keepeth his teeth clean and white : changeth and Tur- kizeth his clothes. His walk is commonly in that part, where the Goldsmiths' and Bankers' tables are: and useth those places of activity where young youths do exercise themselves. At shews and in the Theatres, he place th himself next the Praetors; but in the Courts of Justice he seldom appears. But he buys presents to send to his friend at Byzantium. Little dogges, and Hymettian honey he sends to Rhodes: and he tells his fellow-Citizens that he doth these things. Besides, he keeps an ape at home; buys a Satyr, and Sicilian Doves; and boxes of Treacle, of those which are of a round form; and slaves, those that are somewhat bending and oblique, brought from Lacedae- mon ; and Tapistry, wherein the Persians are woven and set out. He hath a little yard, graveled, fit for wrestling; and a Tennis Court. And these parts of his house, his manner is to offer your present unto any he meets, whether Philosopher or Sophis- ter, or those which exercise themselves in Arms, or Musick, that they may use their cunning: which while they do, he speaks to one of the lookers on, as if he were but a meer spectator him- selfe saith : I pray you, whose wrestling place is this ?
Of Senselessness or Desperate Boldness
Senselessness is that, whereby a man dareth both speak and do against the laws and rules of honesty. The man is he, which readily (or rashly) takes an oath; who is careless of his reputation; reckons little, to be railed upon; is of the garb or disposition of a crafty Imposter; a lewd dirty fellow, daring to do any thing but that is fit. He is not ashamed, being sober, in cool bloud, to dance Country dances and Matachines, as a Zany or Pantalon; and when the Juggelers shew their tricks, to go to every spectator and beg his offering: And if any man
bring a token and would pay nothing, then to wrangle and brabble extremely; fit to keep an Alehouse, or an Inn: to be a Pandar or a Toll-gatherer, a fellow that will forbear no foul or base course: He will be a common Crier, a Cook, a Dicer; he denies his mother food. Being convicted of theft, he shall be drawn and haled by head and shoulders; he shall dwell longer in prison, than in his own house. This is one of those, which ever and anon have a throng about them, calling to them all they meet, to whom they speak in a great broken tone, rayling on them.
And thus they come and go, before they understand what the matter is: whilst he telleth some the beginning; some scantily a word; others he telleth some little part of the whole; affecting to publish and protest his damnable disposition. He is full of suits and actions; both such as he suggesteth against others; and such as are framed against him. He is a common maker of affidavit for other men's absence. He suborneth actions against himselfe : In his bosom he bears a box, and in his hand a bundle of papers. And such is his impudence, he gives himselfe out to be Generall of the Petti-foggers and Knights of the Post. He puts out money to use: and for a groat, takes daily three far- things. He goes oftentimes into the Fish-market, Taverns, Cooks shops, and Shambles: and the money that he gets by his broc- age, he commonly hides in his mouth. These men are very hard to be indured: their tongues are traded in detraction: and when they rail, they do it in such a stormy and tempestuous fashion, as all Courts and Taverns are pestered with their clamors.
Of Loquacity or Overspeaking
Loquacity is a loosenesse or intemperance of speech. A prat- ling fellow is he, who saith to him with whom he discours- eth, whatsoever he beginneth to say, anticipates him; That he knoweth all already, and that the other saith nothing to pur- pose; and that if he will apply himselfe to him, he shall under- stand somewhat. Then interrupting him, Take heed, saith he, that you forget not that you would say, etc. You do well that you have called it to mind, etc. How necessary and usefull a thing confidence is! There's something that I have omitted now, etc. You apprehend it very readily, etc. I did expect that we
should thus jump together, etc. And seeking- the like occasions of pratling and verbosity, permitteth them no truce nor breathing time with whom he discourseth. And when he hath killed these, then he assaulteth fresh men in troops, when they are many as- sembled together. And those being seriously imployed, he wearies, tires, and puts to flight. Coming into Plays, and wrestling places, he keepeth the boys from learning; pratling with their Masters: and if any offer to go away, he followeth them to their houses. If any thing done publickly be known to him, he will report as private. Then he will tell you of the warre, when Aristophanes that noble Orator lived: or he will tell you a long tedious tale of that battaile which was fought by the Lacedaemonians under Ly- sander their Generall : and, if ever he spake well publickly himselfe, that must come in too. And thus speaking, he inveigheth against the giddy multitude; and that so lamely, and with such torment to the hearers ; as that one desireth the art of oblivion ; another sleeps ; a third gives him over in the plain field. In conclusion, whether he sit in judgment (except he sit alone) or if he behold any sports, or if he sit at table; he vexeth his Pew-fellow with his vile, impertinent, importunate prattle: for it is a hell to him to be silent. A secret in his brest is a cole in his mouth. A Swallow in a chimney makes no such noise. And, so his humour be advanced, he's contented to be flouted by his very boyes, which jear him to his face; entreating him, when they go to bed, to
talk them asleep.
Of News Forging or Rumour Spreading
Fame spreading is a devising of deeds and words at the fancy or pleasure of the Inventor. A Newsmonger he is, who meeting with his acquaintance, changing his countenance and smiling, asketh whence come you now ? How go the rules now ? Is there any news stirring ? And still spurring him with questions, tells him there are excellent and happy occurrents abroad. Then, before he answereth, by way of prevention asketh, have you any thing in store ? why then I will feast you with my choicest intelligence. Then hath he at hand some cast Captain, or cassierd Souldier, or some Fifes boy lately come from warre, of whom he hath heard some very strange stuff, I warrant you: alwayes producing such authors as no man can control. He will tell him, he heard that Polyspherchon and the King discomfited
and overthrew his enemies, and that Cassander was taken prisoner. But if any man say unto him, Do you believe this ? Yes marry do I believe it, replieth he: for it is bruited all the Town over by a generall voice. The rumour spreadeth, all generally agree in this report of the warre ; and that there was an exceeding great overthrow. And this he gathereth by the very countenance and carriage of these great men which sit at the stern. Then he proceedeth and tells you further, That he heard by one which came lately out of Macedonia, who was present at all which passed, that now these five days he hath bin kept close by them. Then he falleth to terms of commiseration. Alas, good, but unfortu- nate Cassander ! O caref ull desolate man ! This can misfortune do. Cassander was a very powerfull man in his time, and of a very great commaund: but I would entreat you to keep this to yourselfe; and yet he runneth to every one to tell them of it. I do much wonder what pleasure men should take in devising and dispersing those rumours. The which things, that I mention not the basnesse and deformity of a lie, turne them to many incon- veniences.
For, it falls out oftentimes that while these, mountebanklike, draw much company about them, in the Baths and such like places, some good Rogues steal away their clothes, others, sitting in a porch or gallery, while they overcome in a sea, or a land- fight, are fined for not appearance. Others, while with their words they valiantly take Cities, loose their suppers. These men lead a very miserable and wretched life. For what Gallery is there, what shop, wherein they waste not whole days, with the penance of those whose eares they set on the Pillory with their tedious
unjointed tales ?
Impudence may be defined, A neglect of reputation for dirty Lucre's sake. An impudent man is he, who will not stick to attempt to borrow money of him, whom he hath already de- ceived; or from whom he fraudulently somewhat detaineth. When he sacrificeth, and hath season'd it with salt, layeth it up and suppeth abroad : and calling his Page or Lacquey, causing him to take up the scraps, in every man's hearing saith, You honest man, fall to, I pray you, do not spare. When he buyeth any meate he willeth the Butcher to bethink himselfe if in aught he were beholding- unto him. Then sitting by the scales, if he can he will throw in some bit of flesh, or (rather than fail) some bone into the scales: the which if he can slily take away againe, he thinkes he hath done an excellent piece of service ; if not, then he will steal some scrap from a table, and laughing sneak away. If any strangers which lodge with him desire to see a Play in the Theatre, he bespeaketh a place for them; and under their expence intrudeth himselfe, his children and their pedant. And if he meet any man which hath bought some small com- modities, he beggeth part of them of him. And when he goeth to any neighbour's house, to borrow salt, barly, meale, or any the like : such is his impudence he enforceth them to bring any thing, so borrowed, home to his house. Likewise in the Baths, coming to the pans and kettles after he hath filled the bucket, washeth himselfe ; not without the storms and clamours of him that keepeth the Bath; and when he hath done, saith, I am bathed; and turn- ing to the Bather or Bath-keeper, saith, Sir, now I thank you for nothing.
Of Base Avarice or Parsimony
Base or sordid Parsimony is a desire to save or spare expence without measure of discretion. Basely parsimonious he is, who being with his feast-companions doth exact and stand upon a farthing as strictly as if it were a quarter's rent of his house; and telleth how many drinking cups are taken out, as if he were jealous of some Leger-demain ; one of all the company that offereth the leanest sacrifice to Diana. Now what expence soever he is at, he proclaimeth and aggravateth it, as a great disbursement. If any of his servants breake but a pitcher, or an earthen pot, he defalketh it out of their wages. If his wife loose but a Trevet, the Beacons are on fire: he will tosse, tur- moil, and ransack every corner in the house; beds, bedsteds, nothing must be spared. He selleth at such rates, that no man can do good upon it. No man may borrow any thing of him ; scantly light a stick of fire, for feare of setting his house on fire, not part with so much as a rotten fig, or a withered olive. Every day he surveighs his grounds and the buttals thereof, lest there be any encroaching, or any thing removed. If any debtor miss his day but a minute, he is sure to pay soundly for for-
bearance; besides usury upon usury, if he continue it. If he in- vite any, he entertains them so as they rise hungry: and when he goes abroad, if he can scape scottfree, he comes fasting home. He chargeth his wife, that she lend out no salt, oyle, meale, or the like: for you little thinke, saith he, what these come to in a year. In a word, you shall see their Chests mouldy, their keys rusty; for themselves, their habit and diet is alwayes too little for them and out of fashion. Small troughs wherein they anoint themselves: their heads shaven, to save barbing: their shoes they put off at noon days, to save wearing: they deal with the Fullers, when they make clean their clothes, to put in good store of Fullers earth, to keep them from soil and spotting.
Of Obscenity or Ribaldry
Impurity or beastliness is not hard to be defined. It is a licen- tious lewd jest. He is impure or flagitious, who, meeting with modest women, converseth of that which taketh its name of shame or secrecy. Being at a Play in the Theatre, when all are attentively silent, he in a cross conceit applauds, or claps his hands: and when the Spectators are exceedingly pleased, he hisseth: and when all the company is very attentive in hearing and beholding, he lying alone maketh noises, as if .^Eolus were bustling in his Cave; forcing the Spectators to look another way: and when the Hall or Stage is fullest of company, coming to those which sell nuts and apples, and other fruits standing by them, taketh them away and muncheth them ; and wrangleth about their price and such like baubles. He will call to him a stranger he never saw before; and stay one whom he seeth in great haste. If he hear of a man that hath lost a great suit, and is condemn'd in great charges, as he passeth out of the Hall, cometh unto him, and gratulateth, and biddeth God give him joy. And when he hath bought meate, and hired Musicians, he sheweth to all he meeteth and invites them to it. And being at a Barber's shop, or an anointing place, he telleth the company that that night he is absolutely resolved to drink drunk. If he keep a Tavern, he will give his best friends his baptised wine, to keep them in the right way. At plays when they are most worthy the seeing, he suffereth not his children to go to them. Then he sendeth them, when they are to be seen for nothing,
for the redeemers of the Theatres. When an Ambassador goes abroad, leaving at home his victuall which was publickly given him, he beggeth more of his Camerado's. His manner is to lode his man, which journeys with him, with Cloke-bags and carriages, like a Porter; but taketh an order that his belly be light enough, When he anoints himselfe, he complaines the oyle is rank; and anoints himself with that which he pays not for. If a boy find a brass piece or a counter, he cries half part. These likewise are his. If he buy any thing, he buys it by the Phidon- ian measure, but he measureth miserably to his servants; shav- ing, and pinching them to a grain. If he be to pay thirty pound he will be sure it shall want three groats. When he feasteth any of his Allies, his boys that attend, are fed out of the common: and if there scape away but half a raddish or any fragment, he
notes it, lest the boys that wait, meete with it.
Of Unseasonableness or Ignorance of Due Convenient Times
Unseasonableness is a troublesome bourding and assaulting of those, with whom we have to do. An unseasonable fellow is he, who coming to his friend when he is very busy, in- terrupts him, and obtrudes his own affairs to be deliberated and debated: or cometh a gossiping to his Sweet-heart, when she is sick of an ague. His manner is likewise to intreat him to solicit or intercede for him, who is already condemn'd for suretyship. He selleth his horse to buy hay: produceth his witnesses, when judgement is given: inveigheth against women, when he is in- vited to a marriage. Those that are very weary with a long journey, he invites to walk. Oftentimes, rising out of the mid- dest of many, which sit about him, as if he would recount some Strange accident, tells them for news an old tedious tale, which they all knew to be trivial before. He is very forward to under- refuse. Those which sacrifice and feast he makes great love to, hoping to get a snatch. If a man beat his servant in his pres- ence, he will tell him that he had a boy that he himselfe beat after that fashion, who hanged himselfe presently after. If he be take those things, which men are unwilling to do, or in modesty chosen Arbitrator betwixt two at difference, which desire ear- nestly to be accorded, he sets them out further than ever they
Of Impertinent Diligence or Over-Officiousness
That which we term a foolish sedulity or officiousness is a counterfeiting of our words and actions with a shew or os- tentation of love. The manners of such men are these. He vainly undertaketh what he is not able to perform. A matter generally confest to be just, he will with many words, insisting upon some one particular, maintain that it cannot be argued. He causeth the boy or waiter, to mingle more wine by much than all the guests can drink. He urgeth those further, who are al- ready together by the eares. He will lead you the way he knowes not himselfe : losing himselfe, and him whom he undertaketh to conduct. And coming to a Generall, or a man of great name in Armes, demandeth when he will set a battaile; and what service he will command him the next day after to-morrow. And com- ing to his father, he telleth him that now his mother is asleep in her chamber. And that the Physician hath forbidden his Pa- tient the use of wine: this fellow perswades him not so much to inthrall himselfe to his Physician's directions; but to put his con- stitution to it a little. If his wife chance to die, he will write upon her tomb the name of Husband, Father, Mother, and her Country: adding this Inscription, All these people were of very honest life and reputation. And if he be urged to take his oath, turning himselfe to the circumstant multitude: what need I swear now, having sworn oftentimes heretofore ?
Of Blockishness, Dulness, or Stupidity
You may define blockishness to be a dulness or slowness of the mind; where there be question to speak or do. A blockish fellow is he, who after he hath cast up an account, asketh him who stands next him what the sum was; or one, who having a cause to be heard upon a peremptory day, forgets himselfe, and goes into the country: and sitting in the Theatre, falls asleep; and when all are gone, is there left alone. The same, when he hath overgorg'd himselfe, rising in the night to make room for more meate, stumbleth upon his neighbour's dog, and is all to-bewearied. The same, having laid up somewhat very carefully, when he looks for it cannot find it. When he heareth that some friend of his is dead, and that he is intreated
to the funerall, looking sourly, and wringing out a tear or two, sayth; Much good may't do him. When he receiveth money, he calls for witnesses; and winter growing on, he quarrels with his man because he bought him no cucumbers. When he is in the Country, he seethes Lentils himselfe : and so over-salts them, that they cannot be eaten. And when it raineth, How pleasant, saith he, is this Star-water! Being asked how many people were car- ried out by the holy gate: How many? saith he, I would you
and I had so many.
Of Stubbornness, Obstinacy, or Fierceness
Contumacy or stubbornness is an hardness or harshness in the passages of common life. A stubborn or harsh fel- low is so framed; as if you ask him where such a man is, answereth churlishly : What have I to do with him ? trouble me not. Being saluted, he saluteth not againe. When he sell- eth any thing, if you demand his price, he vouchsafeth not an answer; but rather asketh the buyer what fault he findeth with his wares. Unto religious men, which at solemn feasts present the gods with gifts, he is wont to say, That the gifts which they receive from above are not given them for noth- ing. If any man casually or unwittingly thrust him, or tread on his foot, it is an immortall quarrell; he is inexorable. And when he refuseth a friend, that demandeth a small sum of money, he cometh after voluntary, and bringeth it himselfe ; but with this sting of reproach, Well, come on, hatchet after helve,
I'le even lose this too.
Superstition we may define, A reverend awfull respect to a Sovereignty or divine power. But he is superstitious, which with washt hands, and being besprinkled with holy water out of the Temple, bearing a bay leaf in his mouth, walketh so a whole day together. If that a Weasel cross the way, he will not go forward until another hath past before him, or he hath thrown three stones over the way. If he see any Serpents in an house, there he will build a Chapell. Shining stones which are
in the common ways, he doth anoint with oyle out of a viall ; not departing until he hath worshipped them upon his knees. But if a Mouse hath gnawn his meale bag, he repaireth instantly to his wizards, adviseth with them what were best to be done: who if they answer, that it should be had to the Botchers to mend, our superstitious man, neglecting the Sooth-sayers' direction, shall in honour to his religion emptie his bag and cast it away. He doth also oftentimes perfume, or purify his house : He stayeth not long by any grave or Sepulchre: He goeth not to funeralls, nor to any woman in child-bed. If he chance to have a vision, or any thing that's strange, in his sleep, he goeth to all the Sooth- sayers, Diviners, and Wizards, to know to what god or goddess he should present his vows: and to the end he may be initiated in holy Orders, he goes often unto the Orphetulists, how many moneths with his wife, or if she be not at leisure, with his Nurse, and his daughters. Besides, in corners, before he go from thence, sprinkling water upon his head, he purgeth by sacrifice: and calling for those women which minister, commandeth him- selfe to be purged with the sea-onion, or bearing about of a whelp. But if he see any mad man, or one troubled with the falling sickness, all frighted and disquieted, by way of charm, his
manner is to spit upon his bosom.
Of Causeless Complaining
A causeless complaint is an expostulation fram'd upon no ground. These are the manners of a querulous wayward man: That if a friend send him a modicum from a ban- quet, he will say to him that brings it, This is the reason I was not invited: you vouchsafe me not a little pottage and your hedge-wine. And when his mistris kisseth him, I wonder (saith he) if these be not flattering kisses. He's displeased with Jupi- ter: not only if he do not rain, but if he send it late: And find- ing a purse upon the way, he complaineth that he never found any great treasure. Likewise when he hath bought a slave for little or nothing, having importuned him that sold him thereunto; I wonder, saith he, if I should ever have bought any thing of worth so cheape. If any man bring him glad tidings, that God hath sent him a son, he answereth: If you had told me I had lost half my wealth, then you had hit it. Having gained a cause
by all men's voices, he complains (notwithstanding) of him that
pleadeth for him, for that he omitted many things that were due
to him. Now if his friends do contribute to supply his wants,
and if some one say unto him; Now be cheerful, now be merry:
I have great cause, he will say, when I must repay this money
back againe, and be beholding for it besides.
Of Diffidence or Distrust
Diffidence or distrust is that which makes us jealous of fraud from all men. A diffident or distrustfull man is he, who if he send one to buy victualls, sends another after him to knowe what he paid. If he beare money about him, he tells it at every furlong. Lying in his bed, he asks his wife if she have lockt her casket; if his chests be fast lockt; if the doors be fast bolted: and although she assure it, notwithstanding, naked, with- out shoes, he riseth out of his bed, lighteth a candle, surveighs all; and hardly falls asleep againe for distrust. When he comes to his debtors for his use-money, he goes strong with his wit- nesses. When he is to turne or trim some old gaberdine, he putteth it not to the best Fuller, but to him that doth best secure the return of his commodity. If any man borrow any pots, any pails, or pans, if he lend them it is very rare: but commonly he sends for them instantly againe, before they are well at home with them. He biddeth his boy, not to follow them at the heels, but to go before them, lest they make escape with them. And to those which bid him make a note of any thing they borrow: nay, saith he, lay downe rather: for my men
are not at leisure to come and ask it.
Foulness is a neglect, or carelessness of the body; a slovenry or beastliness very lothsome to men. A nasty beastly fellow is he, who having a leprosy, or other contagious disease, wearing long and lothsome nails, intrudeth himselfe into company; and saith: Gentlemen of race and antiquity have these diseases; and that his Father and Grandfather were subject to the same. This fellow having ulcers in his legs, nodes or hard tumors in his fingers, seeketh no remedy for them ; suffering them to grow incurable ; hairy as a Goat ; black and worm-eaten
teeth, foul breath; with him 'tis frequent and familiar to wipe his nose when he is at meate, to talk with his mouth full, to use rank oyle in his bathings, to come into the Hall or Senate house with Clothes all stained and full of spots. Whosoever went to Sooth-sayers, he would not spare them, but give them foul lan- guage. Oftentimes, when supplications and sacrifices were made, he would suffer the bowl to fall out of his hand (as it were casually, but) purposely: then he would take up a great laughter, as if some prodigy or ominous thing had happened. When he heareth any Fidlers he cannot hold but he must keep time, and with a kind of mimicall gesticulation (as it were) applaud and imitate their chords. Then he railes on the Fidler as a trouble- cup; because he made an end no sooner: and while he would spit beyond the table, he all-to-bespawleth him who skinketh at the feast.
Of Unpleasantness or Tediousness
If we should define Tediousness, it is a troublesome kinde of conversing, without any other damage or prejudice. A tedi- ous fellow is he, who wakeneth one suddenly out of his sleep which went lately to bed; and being entred, troubleth him with impertinent loud prating: and that he who now cometh unto him, is ready to go aboard; and that a little lingring may hurt him : Only I wisht him to forbear, until I had some little con- ference with you. Likewise, taking the child from the Nurse, he puts meate half chew'd into the mouth, as Nurses are wont; and calling him Pretty, and Lovely, will cull and stroke him. At his meate he tells you, that he tooke elleborus, which stuck so that it wroght with him upwards and downwards. Then he tells you that his sieges were blacker than broth, that's set to. He delighteth to enquire of his mother, his friends being present, what day he was born. He will tell that he hath very cold water in his cestern, and complaineth that his house lyeth so open to passengers, as if it were a publick Inn. And when he entertaineth any guests, he brings forth his Parasite, that they may see what manner of brain it is: And in his Feast, turning himselfe to him, he saith; You Parasite, look that you content them well.
Of a Base and Frivolous Affectation of Praise
You inay term this Affectation, a shallow, petty, bastard Ambi- tion, altogether illiberall and degenerous. But the foolish ambitious fellow is he, who, being invited to supper, de- sireth to sit by the master of the Feast; who brings his sonne from Delphi only that he might cut his haire; who is very de- sirous to have a Lacquey an ^Ethiopian ; who, if he pay but a pound in silver, affecteth to pay it in money lately coined. And if he sacrifice an ox, his manner is to place the fore-part of his head circled with garlands in the entry of the door, that all men that enter may know that he hath killed an ox. And when he goes in state and pomp with other Knights, all other things be- ing delivered to his boy to bear home, he comes cloked into the market place and there walks his stations. And if a little dog or whippet of his die, O he makes him a tomb, and writes upon a little pillar or Pyramis: Surculus Melitensis, a Melitean Plant. And when he doth consecrate an iron ring to ^Esculapius, hang- ing up still new crownes he shall weare it away. And he him- selfe is daily bedawbed with onions. All things which belong to the charge of the Magistrates, whom they call Prytanes, he him- selfe is very carefull of: that when they have offered, he may recount the manner to the people. Therefore crowned, and clothed in white, he comes forth into the Assembly and sayeth: We Prytanes, O Athenians, do performe our holy Ceremonies and rites to the mother of the gods, and have sacrificed. Therefore, expect all happy and prosperous events. These things thus related, he returneth home to his house; reporting to his wife, that all things have succeeded beyond expectation.
Of Illiberality or Servility
Illiberality, or Servility, is too great a contempt of glory, pro- ceeding from the like desire to spare expence. An illiberall fellow is he, who if he should gaine the victory in a Tragick encounter, would consecrate to Bacchus a wooden bowl, wherein his name should be inscribed. He is likewise one, who in a needfull distressed season of the Common-wealth, when by the Citizens there is given a very extraordinary contribution, rising up in a full assembly, is either silent or gets him gone. Being
to bestow his daughter, and the sacrifices slaine, he selleth all the flesh, save what is used in holy rites: and he hireth such as are to waite and attend upon the marriage only for that time, which shall diet themselves and eat their own meate. The Captain of the Galley which himselfe set forth, he layes old planks under his Cabin to spare his owne. Coming out of the market place, he puts the flesh he bought in his bosom; and upon any occasion, is forc'd to keep in, till his clothes be made clean. In the Morn- ing, as soon as he riseth, he sweeps the house, and fleas the beds himselfe, and turns the wrong side of his wild cloke outwards.
Ostentation may be sayd to be a vanting or setting out of some good things which are not present. A vanter or forth putter is he that boasts upon the Exchange that he hath store of bank-money: and this he tells to strangers; and is not daunted to discover all his usuring Trade, shewing how high he is grown in gaine. As he travels, if he get a companion, he will tell you he served under Alexander in that noble expedi- tion; and what a number of jewelled drinking pots he brought away. He will maintain, though others dissent, That the Artifi- cers of Asia are better than these of Europe : then, that Arts and Letters came from Antipater; who (they say) ran into Mace- donia, scantly accompanied with two more. He, when there was granted a free exportation, when the courtesy was offered him, refused it because he would shun all manner of obloquy. The same man in the dearth of corn gave more than five talents to the poor. But if he sit by those who know him not, he entreat- eth them to cast accompt and reckon the number of those to whom he hath given : the which if they fall out to be six hun- dred, his accompt doubled, and their names being added to every one, it will easily be effected; so that anon ten talents will be gathered, the which he affirmeth that he gave to the relief of the poor: And yet in this accompt, I reckon not the Gallies that I did command myselfe; and the other services which I under- took for the good of the Common- wealth. The same man com- ing to those which sell Barbs, Jennets, and other horses of price, he bears them in hand he would buy them in the Fair ad Ten- toria. Of those which expose their wares to sale, he calleth to
see a garment of two talents price, and chideth his boy extremely,
that he dare follow him without gold. Lastly, dwelling in an
hired house, if he have speech with any that knowes it not, he
will tell him the house was his Father's; but because it is not
of receipt for his train, and entertainment of his friends, he hath
an intention to make it away.
Pride is a contempt of all others save itselfe. A proud man is of this quality: If any man desire to speak with him speedily he will tell him that he will, after supper, walk a turne or two with him. If any man be oblig'd unto him, he will command him to remember the favour; nay, he will urge him to it. He will never come unto any man first. They that buy any thing, or hire any thing of him, he disdains not to admit them, come as early as they list. As he walks bending downe his head, speaks to no man that he meets. If he invites any friends, he sups not with them himselfe; but commits the care of their entertainment unto some one that is at his devotion. When he goes to visit any man, he sends his herbenger before, to signify his approach. When he is to be anointed, or when he feeds, he admits none to his presence. If he clear an accompt with any, he commands his boy to cast away the Compters; and when he casts up the sum, makes the reckoning (as it were) to another. In his letters he never writes, You shall oblige me, but, This I would have done: I have sent one to you that shall receive it. See it be not otherwise, and that speedily.
Of Timidity or Fearefulness
Fearefulness may seeme to be a timorous distrustfull dejection of the mind. A fearefull man is of this fashion : if he be at sea, he fears the Promontories to be the enemies' Navy; and at every cross gale or billow, asketh if the Sailors be expert; whether there be not some Novices amongst them, or no. When the Pilot gives the ship but a little clout, he asketh if the ship holde a middle course. He knows not well whether he should fear or hope. He telleth him that sits next him, how he was terrifi'd with a dream not long since; then he puts off his shirt,
and gives it the boy; entreats the Sailors to set him on shore.
Being in service at land, he calleth his fellow-souldiers unto him,
and looking earnestly upon them, saith; 'Tis hard to know
whether you be enemies, or no. Hearing a bustling, and seeing
some fall, he tells them, That for pure hast he had forgotten his
two-hand sword: and so soon as by running he hath recovered
his tent, he sendeth the boy to scout warily where the enemy
is: Then hideth he his long sword under his pillow: then he
spendeth much time in seeking of it. And if by chance he see
any wounded brought over toward the tent, he runneth to him,
encourageth him, bids him take a man's heart, and be resolute.
He's very tender over him, and wipes away the corruption of
his wound with a sponge: he drives away the flies. He had
rather do any work about the house than fight: He careth not
how little blood he looseth himselfe; His two-heel'd sword is his
best weapon: When the Trumpet sounds a charge, sitting in his
tent: A mischief on him (saith he), he disquieteth the poor
wounded man, he can take no rest for him. He loves the blood
and glory of another man's wound. He will brag when he
comes out of the field, how many friends he brought off with
the hazard of his owne life. He brings to the hurt man many
of the same band to visit him: and tells them all that he with
his owne hand brought him into his tent.
Of an Oligarchy, or the Manners of the Principal Sort, which Sway in a State
An Oligarchy may seeme to be a vehement desire of honour, without desire of gaine. Oligarchs, or principal men in a State, have these conditions. When the people consult, whether the Magistrate should have any associate added unto him in the setting out of their shews and pomps, he steppeth forth uncalled for, and pronounceth himselfe worthy of that honour. He hath learned this only verse of Homer: —
^Non mulios regnare bonum est, rex iinicus esto. y)
<( The State is at an evil stay, Where more than one the Sceptre sway. w
These sayings are frequent with them. 'Tis fit that we
assemble ourselves together, deliberate and determine finally:
That we free ourselves of the multitude : That we intercept their
claim of any place of magistracy or government. If any do them
affront or injury, He and I (say they) are not compatible in this
city. About noon they go abroad, their beards and haire cut of
a midling size, their nails curiously pared, strouting it in the
Law-house, saying; There is no dwelling in this City: That they
are too much pestered and importuned with multitudes of suitors
and causes; That they are very much ashamed, when they see
any man in the Assembly beggarly or slovenly; and that all the
Orators are an odious profession; and that Theseus was the first,
which brought this contagion into Cities and Common-wealths.
The like speeches they have with strangers, and such Citizens as
are of their own faction.
Of Late Learning
Late, or unseasonable learning, is a desire of getting better furnitures and abilities in the going down of our strength, and the declining of our age. Of those men this is their manner. When such men are threescore years of age, they learn verses out of Poets by heart: and these they begin to sing in their cups and collations. No sooner they have begun, but they forget the rest. Such an one learns of his son, how in serv- ice they turn to the right hand and the left. When he goes into the Country, riding upon a borrowed horse, practising how to salute those he meeteth, without a lighting, falling all-to- bemoils himselfe. He dooth practise at the Quintin.
He will learn of one, and teach him againe, as if his Master were unskilfull. He likewise wrestling and bathing doth manage
his blind cheeks very wildly.
On Detraction or Backbiting
Detraction is a proneness or swarving of the mind into the worst part in our speech and discourse. A Detractor is thus conditioned: If he be questioned what such an one is, as if he should play the Herald, and set down his pedigree, he begins with the first of his Family. This man's father, saith he, was first called Socias. After he followed the warres, they
called him Sosistratus: then from one of the meany he was made
an Officer (forsooth). His Mother was noble of Tressa: the
which sort of women, say they, are noble when they are at home.
And this fellow, for all his pretended gentry, is a very lewd
knave. He proceedeth and telleth you, That these are the women
which entice men out of their way: He joineth with others
which traduce the absent, and saith, I hate the man you blame
exceedingly. If you note his face, it discovereth a lewd fellow
very worthy of hatred. If you look to his villainies, nothing more
flagitious. He gives his wife three farthing tokens to go to
market with. In the moneth of January, when the colds are
greatest, he compelleth her to wash. His manner is, sitting
amongst much company, to rise up and snarl at any; not to
spare those that are at rest, and cannot reply.