The Works of Francis Bacon, Volume 1/Essays/Of Deformity

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XLIV. OF DEFORMITY.

Deformed persons are commonly even with mature; for as nature hath done ill by them, so do they by nature, being, for the most part, (as the Scripture saith,) "void of natural affection;" and so they have their revenge of natures. Certainly there is a consent between the body and the mind, and where nature erreth in the one, she ventureth in the other: "ubi peccat in uno, periclitatur in altero:" but because there is in man an election, touching the frame of his mind, and a necessity in the frame of his body, the stars of natural inclination are sometimes obscured by the sun of discipline and virtue; therefore it is good to consider of deformity, not as a sign which is more deceivable, but as a cause which seldom faileth of the effect. Whosoever hath any thing fixed in his person that doth induce contempt, hath also a perpetual spur in himself to rescue and deliver himself from scorn; therefore, all deformed persons are extreme bold; first, as in their own defence, as being exposed to scorn, but in process of time by a general habit. Also it stirreth in them industry, and especially of this kind, to watch and observe the weakness of others, that they may have somewhat to repay. Again, in their superiors, it quencheth jealousy towards them, as persons that they think they may at pleasure despise: and it layeth their competitors and emulators asleep, as never believing they should be in possibility of advancement till they see them in possession: so that upon the matter, in a great wit, deformity is an advantage to rising. Kings, in ancient times, (and at this present in some countries,) were wont to put great trust in eunuchs, because they that are envious towards all are more obnoxious and officious towards one; but yet their trust towards them hath rather been as to good spials, and good whisperers, than good magistrates and officers: and much like is the reason of deformed persons. Still the ground is, they will, if they be of spirit, seek to free themselves from scorn; which must be either by virtue or malice; and, therefore, let it not be marvelled, if sometimes they prove excellent persons; as was Agesilaus, Zanger the son of Solyman, Æsop, Gasca, president of Peru; and Socrates may go likewise amongst them, with others.

This work was published before January 1, 1924, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.