Page:Behemoth 1889.djvu/65

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

enemies. Fortitude is a royal virtue; and though it be necessary in such private men as shall be soldiers, yet, for other men, the less they dare, the better it is both for the commonwealth and for themselves. Frugality (though perhaps you will think it strange) is also a royal virtue: for it increases the public stock, which cannot be too great for the public use, nor any man too sparing of what he has in trust for the good of others. Liberality also is a royal virtue: for the commonwealth cannot be well served without extraordinary diligence and service of ministers, and great fidelity to their Sovereign; who ought therefore to be encouraged, and especially those that do him service in the wars. In sum, all actions and habits are to be esteemed good or evil by their causes and usefulness in reference to the commonwealth, and not by their mediocrity, nor by their being commended. For several men praise several customs, and that which is virtue with one, is blamed by others; and, contrarily, what one calls vice, another calls virtue, as their present affections lead them.

B. Methinks you should have placed among the virtues that, which, in my opinion, is the greatest of all virtues, religion.

A. So I have; though, it seems, you did not observe it. But whither do we digress from the way we were in?

B. I think you have not digressed at all; for I suppose, your purpose was, to acquaint me with the history, not so much of those actions that passed in the time of the late troubles, as of their causes, and of the councils and artifice by which they were brought to pass. There be divers men that have written the history, out of whom I might have learned what they did, and somewhat also of the contrivance; but I find little in them of what I would ask. Therefore, since you were pleased to enter into this discourse at my request, be pleased also to inform me after my own method; and for the danger of confusion that may arise from that, I will take care to bring you back to the place from whence I drew you; for I well remember where it was.