An emblem for the text

His Morall Characters or
Description of Maners
translated by
Joseph Healey


Oftentimes heretofore considering of this business that good attention, I did much wonder whence it should be that all Greece beeing of clime and temperature of aire, and Grecians in general bred adn trained up after one fashion, should notwithstanding in manners and behaviour be so different and unlike. I therefore, O Polycles, having a long time observed the divers dispositions of men, having now lived ninety-nine years, have conversed with all sorts of natures bad and good, and compairing them togither: I took it my part to set down in this discourse their severall fashions and maners of life. For I am of opinion, my Polycles, that our children will prove the honester and better conditioned, if we shall leave them good precedents of imitation: that of good children they may prove better men.

But now to the purpose: It shall be your endevour to attend and examine what I say. Therefore not to over-preface to that which must be sayd; I will begin with those which delight in cavilling. And first I will define the vice it self: Then I will describe a Caviller by his fashion and maners; afterwards, I will generally set down other affections of the mind.

I. Cavilling

Cavilling or cavillation (if wee 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 remember 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 some other ear for your stories. Shall I believe you, or disable his credit? But take heed hwo 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 than Vipers.

II. Of Flattery

Flattery may be sayd to be a foul deformed custom in common 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 your reputation. For there being at that time assembled more than thirty persons, and quesiton 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 Flatter 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 profusely to his face. When he hath spoken, he breaketh our into an exclamation, with a O well spoken! And if he break a jest upon any, the Flatterer laughs as if he were tickled; muffling 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 hom 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. Whatsoever belongeth to the women’s Academy, as paintings, preservings, 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 Theater, taking the cushions from the boy, he setteth them up himself: he commendeth the situation and building of the house; the well tilling and husbanding of the ground. In conclusion, you shall alwayes note a flatterer to speak and do, what he presumeth will be most pleasant and agreeable.

III. Of Garrulitie

Garrulity is a slippery loosenesse, or a babling of a long inconsiderate 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, tha tmodern men are worse than those of elder times: that corn is too cheap, as rents are now improve’d: that there are too many strangers dwelling in the Town: That the Seas, after the Dionysian feasts, will be more smooth, and obedient to Saylors: and tha tif ther efall 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 goudn: that ’tis a hard world: and that men have much ado to live: and that when the holy Ceremonies were celebreated, Damippus set up othe 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 mysteries, Mense Boedromione, Apaturia, Pyanepsione, Posideone, the Dionysia 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 out-run an Ague. For ’tis a miserable condition, to continue long with those which cannot distinguish the seasons of business and leisure.

IV. Of Rusticity or Clownishness

Rusticity may seem to be an ignorance of honesty and comeliness. 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 sweet as a gilliflower: that wears shoes much larger than 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 mercinaries, who do his drudgery in the country: one that sitteth so with his hose drawn up at the 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 Celler, 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 meats from Archias, it was his fashion to carry it himself.

V. 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 sleek-stone or Smooth-boot (as we terme him) is he, that saluteth a man as farre off, as his eye can carry level; stileth him Most worthy; admireth his fortune; and taketh him by both the hands, detaineth him, not suffering him to pass. But having a whil accompanied him, is very inquisitive when he shall see him again; embroidering and painting out his praise. The same being chosen and Arbitrator, endevoureth not only to content him on whose behalfe he is chosen, but the adverse part likewise, that so he may be held and 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 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. Hee 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 Turkizeth 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 Theaters, he placeth 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; buyes a Satyr, and Sicilian Doves; and boxes of Treacle, of those which are of a round form; and slaves, those that are somewaht bending and oblique, brought from Lacedaemon; and Tapistry, wherein the Persians are woven and set out. He hath a little yard, gravelled, fit for wrestling; and a Tennis Court. And these parts of his house, his maner is to offer your present unto any he meets, whether Philosopher or Sophister, 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 himselfe, saith: I pray you, whose wrestling place is this?

VI. 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 railed upon; it of the garb or disposition of a crafty Imposter; a lewd dirty fellow, daring ot do any thing but that is fit. He is not ashamed, being sober, in a cool bloud, to dance Country dances and Matachines, as a Zany or Pantalon; and when the Jugglers shew their tricks, to go to every specatator 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 wil 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 shal dwell longer in prison, then in his own house. This is one of those, which ever and anon have a throng about them, calling to them al 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 of the beginning; some scantily a word; others he telleth some part of the whole; affecting to publish and protest his damnable disposition. He is full of suits and actions; both such as hee suggesteth against others; and such as are framed against him. He is a common maker of affidavit for other men’s absence. Hee suborneth actions against himself: In his bosom he bears a box, and in his hand a bundle of papers. And such is his impudence, hee gives himselfe out to be Generall of the Petti-foggers and Knights of the Post. Hee puts out money to use: and for a groat, takes daily three farthings. He goes oftentimes into the Fish-market, Taverns, Cooks shops, and Shambles: and the money that he gets by his brocage, 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 pesterd with their clamors.

VII. Of Loquacity or Overspeaking

Loquacity is a looseness or intemperance of speech. A pratling fellow is he, who saith to him with whom he discourseth, whatsoever hee beginneth to say, anticipates him; that hee knoweth all already, and that the other saith nothing to purpose; and that if he will apply himself to him, he shall understand somewhat: Then interrupting him, Take heed, saith he, that you forget not that you would say, 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 assembled together. And those, being seriously imployed, he wearies, tires, and puts to flight. Coming into Plays, and wrestling places, he keepeth boys from learning; pratling with their Master: 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 Lacedemonians under Lysander their Generall: and if ever he spake well publickly himselfe that must come in too. And thus speaing, 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, wehter 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 not such a 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 goe to bed, to talk them asleep.

VIII. Of News-forging, or Rumour-spreading

Fame-spreading, is a devising of deeds and words at the fancy or pleasure of the Inventor. A News-monger he is, hwo 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 anything in store? why then I will feast you with my choicest intelligence. Then hath he at hand soem cast Captain, or cassierd Souldier, or some Fifes boy lately come from war, of whom he aht heard soem very strange stuff, I warrant you: always producing such authors as no man can control. He will tell him, hee heard that Polyperchon 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, replyeth he: for it is bruited all the Town over by a general voice. The rumor spreadeth, all generally agree in this report of the war; 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 hee 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 unfortunate Cassander! O carefull desolate man! This can misfortune do. Cassander was a very powerfull man in his time, and of a very great command: but I would entreat you to keep this to your self; and yet he runneth to every one to tell them of it. I do much wonder what pleasure men shuld 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 inconveniences.

For, it fals 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 were 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 ears they set on the Pillory with their tedious unjointed tales?

IX. Of Impudency

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 deceived; 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 of 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 meat he willeth the Butcher to bethink himself if in ought eh were beholding unto him. Then sitting by the scales, if he can he will throw in some bit of flesh, or (rather than fail) soem bone inot 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 strnagers which lodge with him, desire to see a Play in the Theater, he bespeaketh a place for them; and under their expence intrudeth himself, his children and their pedant. And if he meet any an which hath bought some small commodities, he beggeth part of them of him. And when he goeth to any neighbour’s house, to borrow salt, barly, meal, or any like: such is his impudence he enforceth them to bring anything, so borrowed, home to his house. Likewise in the Baths, coming to the pans and kettles after he hath filled the bucket, washeth himself; not without the storms and clamors of him that keepeth the Bath; and when he hath done, saith I am bathed; And turning to the Bather or Bath-keeper, saith, Sir, now I thank you for nothing.

X. 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 quarters 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 ocmpany 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: hee will tosse, turmoil, 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 therof, lest there be any encroaching, or any thing removed. If any debtor miss his day but a minute, hee is sure to pay soundly for forbearance; besides usury upon usury, if he continue it. If he invite 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, tha tshe lend out no salt, oyle, meale or the like: for you little think, 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 always too little for them and out of fashion. Small troughs wherein they annoint 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 a good store of Fullers earth, to keep them from soil and spotting.

XI. Of Obscenity, or Ribaldry

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 hee 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 will 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 that the oil 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 buys 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, hee notes it, lest the boys that wait, meete with it.

XII. 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, interrupts 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 entreat 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 invited to a marriage. Those that are weary with a long journey, hee invites to walk. Oftentimes, rising out of the middest 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 undertake those things, which men are unwilling to do, or in modesty refuse. Those which sacrifice and feast he makes great love to, hoping to get a snatch. If a man beat his servant in his presence, he will tell him that he had a boy that he himself beat after that fashion, who hanged himself presently after. If he be chosen Arbitrator betwixt two at difference, which desire earnestly to be accorded, he sets them out further than ever they were before.

XIII. Of impertinent diligence, or

That which we term a foolish sedulity or officiousness, is a counterfeiting of our words and actions with a shew or ostentation 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 already together by the ears. He will lead you the way he knowes not himself: losing himself, and him whom he undertaketh to conduct. And coming to a General, or a man of great name in Armes, demandeth when he will set a battail; and what service he will comannd him the next day after to-morrow. And coming to his father, he telleth him that now his mother is asleep in her chamber. And that the Physician has forbidden his Patient the use of wine: this fellow perswades him not so much to inthrall himself to his Physician’s directions; but to put his constitution 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 himself to the circumstant multitude: what need I swear now, having sworn oftentimes heretofore?

XIV. Of Blockishness, Dulness, or Stupidity

You may define blockishness to bee a dulness or slowness of 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 uopn a peremptory day, forgets himself, and goes into the country: and sitting in the Theater, falls asleep; and when all are gone, is there left alone. The same, when he hath overgorg’d himself, rising in the night to make room for more meat, 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 funeral, 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 himself: 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 carried out by the holy gate: How many? sayth he, I would you and I had so many.

XV. Of Stubbornness, Obstinacy, or Fierceness

Contumacy or stubbornness is an hardness or harshness in the passages of common life. A stubborn or harsh fellow is so framed; as if you aske him where such a man is, answereth churlishly; What have I to doe with him? trouble me not. Being saluted, he saluteth not again. When he selleth any thing, if you demand his price, he vouchsafeth no 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, ar enot given them for nothing. 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 himself; but with this sting of reproach, Well, come on, hatchet after helve, I’le lose this too.

XVI. Of Superstition

Superstition we may define, A reverend awfull respect to a Soveraignty or divine power. But he is superstitious, which with washt hands, and beign 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 teh way, he will not go forward untill another hath past before him, or he hath thrown three stones over the way. If he see any Serpents in an house, there hee will build a Chapell. Shining stones which are in the ocmmon ways, he doth anoint with oil out of a viall; not departing untill he hath worshipped them upon his knees. But if a Mouse hath gnawn his meal 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 Sepulcher: 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 months 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 those women which minister, commandeth himselfe 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.

XVII. Of Causeless Complaining

A causeless complaint, is an expostulation fram’d upon no ground. These are the maners of a querulous wayward man: That if a friend send him a modicum form a banquet, he will say to him that brings it, This it he reason I was not invited: you vouchsafe me not a little pottage and your hedge-wine. And when his misrtis hisseth him, I wonder (saith he) if these are not flattering kisses. He’s displeased with Jupiter: not only if he do not rain, but if he send it late: And finding 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 therunto; 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 cheerfull, now be merry: I have great cause, hee will say, when I must repay this money back again, and be beholding for it besides.

XVIII. 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 know what he paid. If he beare money about him, hee tells it at every furlong. Lying in bed, he askes 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 without shoes he riseth out of his bed, lighteth a candle, surveighs all; and hardly falls asleep again for distrust. When he comes to his debtors for his use money, he goes strong with his witnesses. 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 again, bfore they are well at home with them. He biddeth his boy, not to follow them at heels, but to go before them, lest they make escape with them. And to those which bid him make note of any thing they borrow: nay, sayth he, lay downe rather; for my men are not at leisure to come and ask it.

XIX. Of Nastiness

Nastiness, 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, pox, 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 meat, to talk with his mouth full, and not to breathe, but to belch in the midst of his draught; to use rank oil in his bathings; to come into the Hall or Senate house, with Clothes stained and full of spots. Whosoever went to Sooth-sayers he would not spare them but give them foul language. 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, hee all-to-bespawleth him who skinketh at the feast.

XX. Of Unpleasantness, or Tediousness

If we should define Tediousnesse, it is a trouble some kinde of conversing, without any other damage or prejudice. A tedious 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 hee who now cometh unto him, is ready to go abroad; and that a little lingring may hurt him: Only I wisht him to forbear, untill I had some little conference with you. Likewise, taking the child from the Nurse, he puts meat half chew’d into the mouth, as Nurses are wont; and callimg him Pretty, and Lovely, will cull and stroke him. At his meat he tels you, that he tooke elleborus, which stuck so in his guts, 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 she was delivered of him. 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, hee brings forth his Parasite, that they may see what maner of brain it is: And in his Feast, turning himselfe to him, hee sayth; You Parisite, looke that you content them well.

XXI. Of a base and frivolous
affectation of praise

You may term this Affectation, a shallow, petty, bastard Ambition, altogether illiberall and degenerous. But the foolish ambitious fellow is he, who being invited to supper, desireth to sit by the master of the Feast; who brings his sonne from Delphi only that he might cut his haire; who is very desirous to have a Lacquey an Aethiopian; who, if he pay but a pound in silver, affecteth to pay it in money lately coined. And if he sacrifice an ox, his maner is to place the fore-part of his head circle 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 nights, all other things being delivered to his boy to bear home, he comes cloked into the market place and there walks his stations. And if a little dor 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 Aesculapius, hanging up still new crownes hee shall weare it away. And he himselfe is daily bedawbed with onions. All things which belong to the charge of the Magistrates, whom they call Prytanes, he himselfe is very carefull of: that when they have offered, hee may recount the maner to the people. Therefore crowned, and clothed in white, he comes forth into the Assembly and sayth: We Prytanes, O Athenians, doe 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.

XXII. Of Illiberality, or Servility

Illiberality, or Servility, is too great a contempt of glory, proceeding from the like desire to spare expence. An illiberal fellow is he, who if hee 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 Commonwealth, 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 them selves and eat their own meat. The Captaine of the Galley which himselfe set forth, he layes old planks under his Cabin to spare his own. Coming out of the Marketplace, 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 Morning, as soon as he riseth, he sweeps the house, and fleas the beds hilmselfe, and turns the wrong side of his wild cloke outwards.

XXIII. The Boastful Man (vi)

Boastfulness would seem to be, in fact, pretension to advantages which one does not possess.

The Boastful Man is one who will stand in the bazaar talking to foreigners of the great sums which he has at sea; he will discourse of the vastness of his money-lending business, and the extent of his personal gains and losses; and, while thus drawing the long-bow, will send of his boy to the bank, where he keeps – a drachma. He loves, also, to impose upon his companion by the road with a story of how he served with Alexander, and on what terms he was with him, and what a number of gemmed cups he brought home; contending, too, that the Asiatic artists are superior to those of Europe; and all this when he has never been out of Attica. Then he will say that a letter has come from Antipater – ‘this is the third’ – requiring his presence in Macedonia; and that, though he was offered the privilege of exporting timber free of duty, he has declined it, that no person whatever may be able to traduce him further for being more friendly than is becoming with Macedonia. He will state, too, that in the famine his outlay came to more than five talents in presents to the distressed citizens: (‘he never could say No’;) and actually, although the persons sitting near him are strangers, he will request one of them to set up the counters; when, reckoning by sums of six hundred drachmas or of a mina, and plausibly assigning names to each of these, he will make a total of as many as ten talents. This, he will say, was what he contributed in the way of charities; adding that he does not count any of the trierarchies or public services which he has performed. Also he will go up to the sellers of the best horses, and pretend that he desires to buy; or, visiting the upholstery mart, he will ask to see draperies to the value of two talents, and quarrel with his slave for having come out without gold. When he is living in a hired house he will say (to any one who does not know better) that it is the family mansion; but that he means to sell it, as he finds it too small for his entertainments.

XXIV. The Arrogant Man (iv)

Arrogance is a certain scorn for all the world beside oneself.

The Arrogant man is one who will say to a person who is in a hurry that he will see him after dinner when he is taking his walk. He will profess to recollect benefits which he has conferred. As he saunters in the streets, he will decide cases for those who have made him their referee. When he is nominated to public offices, he will protest his inability to accept them, alleging that he is too busy. He will not permit himself to give any man the first greeting. He is apt to order persons who have anything to sell, or who wish to hire anything from him, to come to him at daybreak. When he walks in the streets, he will not speak to those whom he meets, keeping his head bent down, or at other times, when so it pleases him, erect. If he entertains his friends, he will not dine with them himself, but will appoint a subordinate to preside. As soon as he sets out on a journey, he will send some one forward to day that he is coming. He is not likely to admit a visitor when he is anointing himself, or bathing, or at table. It is quite in his manner, too, when he is reckoning with any one, to bid his slave push the counters apart, set down the total, and charge it to the other’s account. In writing a letter, he will not say ‘I should be much obliged,’ but ‘I wish it to be thus and thus’; or ‘I have sent to you for’ this or that; or ‘You will attend to this strictly’; or ‘Without a moments delay.’

XXV. The Coward (xxvii)

Cowardice would seem to be, in fact, the shrinking of the soul through fear.

The Coward is one who, on a voyage, will protest that the promontories are pirates; and, if a high sea gets up, will ask if there is any one on board who has not been initiated. He will put up his head and ask the steersman if he is half-way, and what he thinks of the face of the heavens; remarking to the person sitting next him that a certain dream makes him feel uneasy; and he will take of his tunic and give it to his slave; or he will beg them to put him ashore.

On land also, when he is campaigning, he will call to him those who are going out to the rescue, and bid them come and stand by him and look about them first; saying that it is hard to make out which is the enemy. Hearing shouts and seeing men falling, he will remark to those who stand by him that he has forgotten in his haste to bring his sword, and will run to the tent; where, having sent his slave out to reconnoitre the position of the enemy, he will hide the sword under his pillow, and then spend a long time in pretending to look for it. And seeing from the tent a wounded comrade being carried in, he will run towards him and cry ‘Cheer up!’; he will take him into his arms and carry him; he will tend and sponge him; he will sit by him and keep the flies off his wound – in short, he will do anything rather than fight with the enemy. Again, when the trumpeter has sounded the signal for battle, he will cry, as he sits in the tent, ‘Bother! you will not allow the man to get a wink of sleep with your perpetual bugling!’ Then, covered with blood from the other’s wound, he will meet those who are returning from the fight, and announce to them, ‘I have run some risk to save one of our fellows’; and he will bring in the men of his deme and of his tribe to see his patient, at the same time explaining to each of them that he carried him with his own hands to the tent.

XXVI. The Oligarch (xxix)

The Oligarchical temper would seem to consist in a love of authority, covetous, not of gain, but of power.

The Oligarch is one who, when the people are deliberating whom they shall associate with the archon as joint directors of the procession, will come forward and express his opinion that these directors ought to have plenary powers; and, if others propose ten, he will say that ‘one is sufficient,’ but that ‘he must be a man.&#8217. Of Homer’s poetry he has mastered only this line, –

No good comes of manifold rule; let the ruler be one:

of the rest he is absolutely ignorant. It is very much in his manner to use phrases of this kind: ‘We must meet and discuss these matters by ourselves, and get clear of the rabble and the market-place’; ‘we must leave off courting office, and being slighted or graced by these fellows’; ‘either they or we must govern the city.’ He will go out about the middle of the day with his cloak gracefully adjusted, his hair daintily trimmed, his nails delicately pared, and strut through the Odeum Street, making such remarks as these: ‘There is no living in Athens for the informers’; ‘we are shamefully treated in the courts by the juries’; ‘I cannot conceive what people want with meddling in public affairs’; ‘how ungrateful the people are – always the slaves of a largess or a bribe’; and ‘how ashamed I am when a meagre, squalid fellow sits down by me in the Ecclesia!’ ‘When,’ he will ask, ‘will they have done ruining us with these public services and trierarchies? How detestable that set of demagogues is! Theseus’ (he will say) ‘was the beginning of mischief to the State. It was he who reduced it from twelve cities to one, and undid the monarchy. And he was rightly served, for he was the people’s first victim himself.’

And so on to foreigners and to those citizens who resemble him in their disposition and their politics.

XXVII. The Late-Learner (viii)

Late-learning would seem to mean the pursuit of exercises for which one is too old.

The Late-Learner is one who will study passages for recitation when he is sixty, and break down in repeating them over his wine. He will take lessons from his son in ‘Right Wheel,’ ‘Left Wheel,’ ‘Right-about-face.’ At the festivals of heroes he will match himself against boys for a torch-race; nay, it is just like him, if haply he is invited to a temple of Heracles, to throw off his cloak and seize the ox in order to bend its neck back. He will go into the palaestras and try an encounter; at a conjuror’s performance he will sit out three or four audiences, trying to learn the songs by heart; and, when he is initiated into the rites of Sabazius, he will be eager to acquit himself best in the eyes of the priest. Riding into the country on another’s horse, he will practise his horsemanship by the way; and, falling, will break his head. On a tenth-day festival he will assemble persons to play the flute with him. He will play at tableaux vivants with his footman; and will have matches of archery and javelin-throwing with his children’s attendant, whom he exhorts, at the same time, to learn from him, – as if the other knew nothing about it either. At the bath he will wriggle frequently, as if wrestling, in order that he may appear educated; and, when women are near, he will practise dancing-steps, warbling his own accompaniment.

XXVIII. The Evil-Speaker (xxi)

The habit of Evil-speaking is a bent of the mind towards putting things in the worst light.

The Evil-speaker is one who, when asked who so-and-so is, will reply, in the style of genealogists, ‘I will begin with his parentage. This person’s father was originally called Sosias; in the ranks he came to rank as Sosistratus; and, when he was enrolled in his deme, as Sosidemus. His mother, I may add, is a noble damsel of Thrace – at least she is called “my life” in the language of Corinth – and they say that such ladies are esteemed noble in their own country. Our friend himself, as might be expected from his parentage, is – a rascally scoundrel.’ He is very fond, also, of saying to one: ‘Of course – I understand that sort of thing; you do not err in your way of describing it to our friends and me. These women snatch the passers-by out of the very street…That is a house which has not the best of characters…Really there is something in that proverb about the women…In short, they have a trick of gossiping with men, – and they answer the hall-door themselves.’

It is just like him, too, when others are speaking evil, to join in: – ‘And I hate that man above all men. He looks a scoundrel – it is written on his face; and his baseness – it defies description. Here is proof – he allows his wife, who brought him six talents of dowry and has borne him a child, three copper coins for the luxuries of the table; and makes her wash with cold water on Poseidon’s day.’ When he is sitting with others, he loves to criticise one who has just left the circle; nay, if he has found an occasion, he will not abstain from abusing his own relations. Indeed, he will say all manner of injurious things of his friends and relatives, and of the dead; misnaming slander ‘plain speaking,’ ‘democratic,’ ‘independence,’ and making it the chief pleasure of his life.

[Thus can the sting of ill temper produce in men the character of insanity and frenzy.]