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Title: The gift of friendship
Author: Addison, Joseph, Thoreau, H. D., Carlyle, Thomas, Bacon, Francis, Anthusa, Mackenzie, Henry, Johnson, Dr., Goldsmith, Oliver, Steele, Sir Richard, Aristotle, Berkeley, George, Montaigne, Michel de
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                        THE GIFT OF FRIENDSHIP

                           THE FOULIS BOOKS

                     [Illustration: frontispiece]



                            THE · GIFT · OF
                              FRIENDSHIP.

                       [Illustration: colophon]

                          ILLUSTRATED BY H C
                            PRESTON MACGOUN
                                 R S W

                              T N FOULIS
                          London & Edinburgh

                        _Printed October 1910_

        Edinburgh: T. and A. CONSTABLE, Printers to His Majesty



CONTENTS


I. R. W. EMERSON

                                                                    PAGE

Friendship                                                             1

II. H. D. THOREAU

Friends and Friendship                                                45

III. THOMAS CARLYLE

The Sentiment of Friendship                                           79

IV. HENRY MACKENZIE

On the Acquisition of Friends                                         89

V. OLIVER GOLDSMITH

On Friendship                                                         99

VI. DR. JOHNSON

The Pleasures of Friendship                                          109

VII. DR. JOHNSON

The True Art of Friendship                                           119

VIII. GEORGE BERKELEY

The Virtue of Friendship                                             137

IX. SIR RICHARD STEELE

On the Choice of Friends                                             151

X. JOSEPH ADDISON

The Qualifications of Friendship                                     161

XI. FRANCIS BACON

Of Friendship                                                        173

XII. MONTAIGNE

Of Friendship                                                        193

XIII. ANTHUSA TO ST. JOHN

Ideal Friendship                                                     231

XIV. ARISTOTLE

The Blessings of Friendship                                          247



ILLUSTRATIONS

From Water-Colour Drawings by H. C. PRESTON MACGOUN, R.S.W.


‘We snatch at the slowest fruit in the whole garden of God’ _Frontispiece_

                                                             _Facing page_

‘My friends have come to me unsought. The great God gave them to me’   56

‘It is a spiritual gift, worthy of him to give and of me to receive’  136

‘Then shall we meet ... as water with water’                          216



SELECTED AND
EDITED BY
ALFRED H. HYATT

TO MY FRIEND

FRED. G. BOWLES



I

FRIENDSHIP

RALPH WALDO EMERSON



FRIENDSHIP


[Sidenote: An element of love]

We have a great deal more kindness than is ever spoken. Maugre all the
selfishness that chills like east winds the world, the whole human
family is bathed with an element of love like a fine ether. How many
persons we meet in houses whom we scarcely speak to, whom yet we honour,
and who honour us; how many we see in the street, or sit with in church,
whom, though silently, we warmly rejoice to be with! Read the language
of these wandering eye-beams. The heart knoweth.

The effect of the indulgence of this human affection is a certain
cordial exhilaration. In poetry, and in common

[Sidenote: Affection the sweetness of life]

speech, the emotions of benevolence and complacency which are felt
towards others are likened to the material effects of fire; so swift or
much more swift, more active more cheering are these fine inward
irradiations. From the highest degree of passionate love, to the lowest
degree of goodwill, they make the sweetness of life.

Our intellectual and active powers increase with our affection. The
scholar sits down to write, and all his years of meditation do not
furnish him with one good thought or happy expression; but it is
necessary to write a letter to a friend--and, forthwith, troops of
gentle thoughts invest themselves on every hand with chosen words. See,
in any house where virtue and self-respect abide, the palpitation which
the approach of a stranger causes. A commended stranger is expected

[Sidenote: A stranger’s arrival]

and announced, and an uneasiness betwixt pleasure and pain invades all
the hearts of a household. His arrival almost brings fear to the good
hearts that would welcome him. The house is dusted, all things fly into
their places, the old coat is exchanged for the new, and they must get
up a dinner if they can. Of a commended stranger, only the good report
is told by others, only the good and new is heard by us. He stands to us
for humanity. He is what we wish. Having imagined and invested him, we
ask how we should stand related in conversation and action with such a
man, and are uneasy with fear. The same idea exalts conversation with
him. We talk better than we are wont. We have the nimblest fancy, a
richer memory, and our dumb devil has taken leave for the time. For long
hours we

[Sidenote: Rich communications]

can continue a series of sincere, graceful, rich communications, drawn
from the oldest, secretest experience, so that they who sit by, of our
own kinsfolk and acquaintance, shall feel a lively surprise at our
unusual powers. But as soon as the stranger begins to intrude his
partialities, his definitions, his defects, into the conversation, it is
all over. He has heard the first, the last, and best he will ever hear
from us. He is no stranger now. Vulgarity, ignorance, misapprehension
are old acquaintances. Now, when he comes, he may get the order, the
dress, and the dinner--but the throbbing of the heart, and the
communications of the soul, no more.

What is so pleasant as these jets of affection which make a young world
for me again? What so delicious as a just and firm encounter of two, in
a thought,

[Sidenote: A thanksgiving for friends]

in a feeling? How beautiful, on their approach to this beating heart,
the steps and forms of the gifted and the true! The moment we indulge
our affections, the earth is metamorphosed; there is no winter, and no
night; all tragedies, all ennuis, vanish--all duties even; nothing fills
the proceeding eternity but the forms all radiant of beloved persons.
Let the soul be assured that somewhere in the universe it should rejoin
its friend, and it would be content and cheerful alone for a thousand
years.

I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old
and the new. Shall I not call God the Beautiful, who daily showeth
himself so to me in his gifts? I chide society, I embrace solitude, and
yet I am not so ungrateful as not to see the wise, the lovely, and

[Sidenote: Friends come unsought]

the noble-minded, as from time to time they pass my gate. Who hears me,
who understands me, becomes mine--a possession for all time. Nor is
nature so poor but she gives me this joy several times, and thus we
weave social threads of our own, a new web of relations; and, as many
thoughts in succession substantiate themselves, we shall by and by stand
in a new world of our own creation, and no longer strangers and pilgrims
in a traditionary globe. My friends have come to me unsought. The great
God gave them to me. By oldest right, by the divine affinity of virtue
with itself, I find them, or rather not I, but the Deity in me and in
them derides and cancels the thick walls of individual character,
relation, age, sex, circumstance, at which he usually connives, and now
makes many one. High

[Sidenote: The nobility of friendship]

thanks I owe you, excellent lovers, who carry out the world for me to
new and noble depths, and enlarge the meaning of all my thoughts. These
are new poetry of the first Bard--poetry without stop--hymn, ode, and
epic, poetry still flowing, Apollo and the Muses chanting still. Will
these, too, separate themselves from me again, or some of them? I know
not, but I fear it not; for my relation to them is so pure that we hold
by simple affinity, and the Genius of my life being thus social, the
same affinity will exert its energy on whomsoever is as noble as these
men and women, wherever I may be.

I confess to an extreme tenderness of nature on this point. It is almost
dangerous to me to ‘crush the sweet poison of misused wine’ of the
affections. A new person is to me a great event, and hinders

[Sidenote: A great event]

me from sleep. I have often had fine fancies about persons which have
given me delicious hours; but the joy ends in the day; it yields no
fruit. Thought is not born of it; my action is very little modified. I
must feel pride in my friend’s accomplishments as if they were mine--and
a property in his virtues. I feel as warmly when he is praised as the
lover when he hears applause of his engaged maiden. We over-estimate the
conscience of our friend. His goodness seems better than our goodness,
his nature finer, his temptations less. Everything that is his--his
name, his form, his dress, books, and instruments--fancy enhances. Our
own thought sounds new and larger from his mouth.

Yet the systole and diastole of the heart are not without their analogy
in

[Sidenote: The golden hour of friendship]

the ebb and flow of love. Friendship, like the immortality of the soul,
is too good to be believed. The lover, beholding his maiden, half knows
that she is not verily that which he worships; and in the golden hour of
friendship we are surprised with shades of suspicion and unbelief. We
doubt that we bestow on our hero the virtues in which he shines, and
afterwards worship the form to which we have ascribed this divine
inhabitation. In strictness, the soul does not respect men as it
respects itself. In strict science all persons underlie the same
condition of an infinite remoteness. Shall we fear to cool our love by
mining for the metaphysical foundation of this Elysian temple? Shall I
not be as real as the things I see? If I am, I shall not fear to know
them for what they are. Their essence

[Sidenote: A magnificent conception]

is not less beautiful than their appearance, though it needs finer
organs for its apprehension. The root of the plant is not unsightly to
science, though for chaplets and festoons we cut the stem short. And I
must hazard the production of the bald fact amidst these pleasing
reveries, though it should prove an Egyptian skull at our banquet. A man
who stands united with his thought conceives magnificently of himself.
He is conscious of a universal success, even though bought by uniform
particular failures. No advantages, no powers, no gold or force, can be
any match for him. I cannot choose but rely on my own poverty more than
on your wealth. I cannot make your consciousness tantamount to mine.
Only the star dazzles; the planet has a faint, moon-like ray. I hear

[Sidenote: The shadow of the Phenomenal]

what you say of the admirable parts and tried temper of the party you
praise, but I see well that for all his purple cloaks I shall not like
him, unless he is at last a poor Greek like me. I cannot deny it, O
friend, that the vast shadow of the Phenomenal includes thee also in its
pied and painted immensity,--thee, also, compared with whom all else is
shadow. Thou art not Being, as Truth is, as Justice is,--thou art not my
soul, but a picture and effigy of that. Thou hast come to me lately, and
already thou art seizing thy hat and cloak. It is not that the soul puts
forth friends as the tree puts forth leaves, and presently, by the
germination of new buds, extrudes the old leaf? The law of nature is
alternation forevermore. Each electrical state super-induces the
opposite. The soul environs

[Sidenote: The search after friendship]

itself with friends, that it may enter into a grander self-acquaintance
or solitude; and it goes alone for a season, that it may exalt its
conversation or society. This method betrays itself along the whole
history of our personal relations. The instinct of affection revives the
hope of union with our mates, and the returning sense of insulation
recalls us from the chase. Thus every man passes his life in the search
after friendship, and if he should record his true sentiment, he might
write a letter like this to each new candidate for his love.

DEAR FRIEND,--If I was sure of thee, sure of thy capacity, sure to match
my mood with thine, I should never think again of trifles in relation to
thy comings and goings. I am not very wise; my moods are quite
attainable; and I respect thy

[Sidenote: A letter to a friend]

genius; it is to me as yet unfathomed; yet dare I not presume in thee a
perfect intelligence of me, and so thou art to me a delicious torment.
Thine ever, or never.

Yet these uneasy pleasures and fine pains are for curiosity, and not for
life. They are not to be indulged. This is to weave cobweb, and not
cloth. Our friendships hurry to short and poor conclusions, because we
have made them a texture of wine and dreams, instead of the tough fibre
of the human heart. The laws of friendship are austere and eternal, of
one web with the laws of nature and of morals. But we have aimed at a
swift and petty benefit, to suck a sudden sweetness. We snatch at the
slowest fruit in the whole garden of God, which many summers and many
winters must ripen. We seek our friend not sacredly, but with an
adulterate

[Sidenote: Friendship’s laws]

passion which would appropriate him to ourselves. In vain. We are armed
all over with subtle antagonisms, which, as soon as we meet, begin to
play, and translate all poetry into stale prose. Almost all people
descend to meet. All association must be a compromise, and, what is
worst, the very flower and aroma of the flower of each of the beautiful
natures disappears as they approach each other. What a perpetual
disappointment is actual society, even of the virtuous and gifted! After
interviews have been compassed with long foresight, we must be tormented
presently by baffled blows, by sudden, unseasonable apathies, by
epilepsies of wit and of animal spirits, in the heyday of friendship and
thought. Our faculties do not play us true, and both parties are
relieved by solitude.

[Sidenote: Society a perpetual disappointment]

I ought to be equal to every relation. It makes no difference how many
friends I have, and what content I can find in conversing with each, if
there be one to whom I am not equal. If I have shrunk unequal from one
contest, the joy I find in all the rest becomes mean and cowardly. I
should hate myself, if then I made my other friends my asylum.

    ‘The valiant warrior famoused for fight,
    After a hundred victories, once foiled,
    Is from the book of honour razed quite,
    And all the rest forgot for which he toiled.’

Our impatience is thus sharply rebuked. Bashfulness and apathy are a
tough husk, in which a delicate organisation is protected from premature
ripening. It would be lost if it knew itself before any of the best
souls were yet ripe enough to know and own it.

[Sidenote: The good spirit of our life]

Respect the _Naturlangsamkeit_ which hardens the ruby in a million
years, and works in duration, in which Alps and Andes come and go as
rainbows. The good spirit of our life has no heaven which is the price
of rashness. Love, which is the essence of God, is not for levity, but
for the total worth of man. Let us not have this childish luxury in our
regards, but the austerest worth; let us approach our friend with an
audacious trust in the truth of his heart, in the breadth, impossible to
be overturned, of his foundations.

The attractions of this subject are not to be resisted, and I leave, for
the time, all account of subordinate social benefit, to speak of that
select and sacred relation which is a kind of absolute, and which even
leaves the language of love suspicious

[Sidenote: Friendship not to be treated daintily]

and common, so much is this purer, and nothing is so much divine.

I do not wish to treat friendships daintily, but with roughest courage.
When they are real, they are not glass threads or frostwork, but the
solidest thing we know. For now, after so many ages of experience, what
do we know of nature, or of ourselves? Not one step has man taken toward
the solution of the problem of his destiny. In one condemnation of folly
stand the whole universe of men. But the sweet sincerity of joy and
peace, which I draw from this alliance with my brother’s soul, is the
nut itself, whereof all nature and all thought is but the husk and
shell. Happy is the house that shelters a friend! It might well be
built, like a festal bower or arch, to entertain him a single day.
Happier, if he know the

[Sidenote: A friend’s house]

solemnity of that relation, and honour its law! He who offers himself a
candidate for that covenant comes up, like an Olympian to the great
games where the first-born of the world are the competitors. He proposes
himself for contests where Time, Want, Danger are in the lists, and he
alone is victor who has truth enough in his constitution to preserve the
delicacy of his beauty from the wear and tear of all these. The gifts of
fortune may be present or absent, but all the speed in that contest
depends on intrinsic nobleness, and the contempt of trifles. There are
two elements that go to the composition of friendship, each so sovereign
that I can detect no superiority in either, no reason why either should
be first named. One is Truth. A friend is a person with whom I may be
sincere.

[Sidenote: The elements of friendship]

Before him I may think aloud. I am arrived at last in the presence of a
man so real and equal, that I may drop even those undermost garments of
dissimulation, courtesy, and second thought, which men never put off,
and may deal with him with the simplicity and wholeness with which one
chemical atom meets another. Sincerity is the luxury allowed, like
diadems and authority, only to the highest rank, _that_ being permitted
to speak truth as having none above it to court or conform unto. Every
man alone is sincere. At the entrance of a second person, hypocrisy
begins. We parry and fend the approach of our fellow-man by compliments,
by gossip, by amusements, by affairs. We cover up our thought from him
under a hundred folds. I knew a man, who, under a certain religious
frenzy, cast off this drapery, and,

[Sidenote: Every man alone is sincere]

omitting all compliment and commonplace, spoke to the conscience of
every person he encountered, and that with great insight and beauty. At
first he was resisted, and all men agreed he was mad. But persisting, as
indeed he could not help doing, for some time in this course, he
attained to the advantage of bringing every man of his acquaintance into
true relations with him. No man would think of speaking falsely with
him, or of putting him off with any chat of markets or reading-rooms.
But every man was constrained by so much sincerity to the like
plain-dealing, and what love of nature, what poetry, what symbol of
truth he had, he did certainly show him. But to most of us society shows
not its face and eye, but its side and its back. To stand in true
relations with men in a false age

[Sidenote: We can seldom go erect]

is worth a fit of insanity, is it not? We can seldom go erect. Almost
every man we meet requires some civility,--requires to be humoured; he
has some fame, some talent, some whim of religion or philanthropy in his
head that is not to be questioned, and which spoils all conversation
with him. But a friend is a sane man who exercises not my ingenuity, but
me. My friend gives me entertainment without requiring any stipulation
on my part. A friend, therefore, is a sort of paradox in nature. I who
alone am, I who see nothing in nature whose existence I can affirm with
equal evidence to my own, behold now the semblance of my being, in all
its height, variety, and curiosity, reiterated in a foreign form; so
that a friend may well be reckoned the masterpiece of nature.

[Sidenote: A friend the masterpiece of nature]

The other element of friendship is tenderness. We are holden to men by
every sort of tie, by blood, by pride, by fear, by hope, by lucre, by
lust, by hate, by admiration, by every circumstance and badge and
trifle, but we can scarce believe that so much character can subsist in
another as to draw us by love. Can another be so blessed, and we so
pure, that we can offer him tenderness? When a man becomes dear to me, I
have touched the goal of fortune. I find very little written directly to
the heart of this matter in books. And yet I have one text which I
cannot choose but remember. My author says--‘I offer myself faintly and
bluntly to those whose I effectually am, and tender myself least to him
to whom I am the most devoted.’ I wish that friendship should have feet,
as well

[Sidenote: The goal of fortune]

as eyes and eloquence. It must plant itself on the ground before it
vaults over the moon. I wish it to be a little of a citizen before it is
quite a cherub. We chide the citizen because he makes love a commodity.
It is an exchange of gifts, of useful loans; it is good neighbourhood;
it watches with the sick; it holds the pall at the funeral; and quite
loses sight of the delicacies and nobility of the relation. But though
we cannot find the god under this disguise of a sutler, yet, on the
other hand, we cannot forgive the poet if he spins his thread too fine,
and does not substantiate his romance by the municipal virtues of
justice, punctuality, fidelity, and pity. I hate the prostitution of the
name of friendship to signify modish and worldly alliances. I much
prefer the company of plough-boys

[Sidenote: The name of friendship]

and tin-pedlars to the silken and perfumed amity which celebrates its
days of encounter by a frivolous display, by rides in a curricle, and
dinners at the best taverns. The end of friendship is a commerce the
most strict and homely that can be joined; more strict than any of which
we have experience. It is for aid and comfort through all the relations
and passages of life and death. It is fit for serene days, and graceful
gifts, and country rambles, but also for rough roads and hard fare,
shipwreck, poverty, and persecution. It keeps company with the sallies
of the wit and the trances of religion. We are to dignify to each other
the daily needs and offices of man’s life, and embellish it by courage,
wisdom, and unity. It should never fall into something usual and
settled, but should be alert and

[Sidenote: The end of friendship]

inventive, and add rhyme and reason to what was drudgery.

Friendship may be said to require natures so rare and costly, each so
well tempered and so happily adapted, and withal so circumstanced (for
even in that particular, a poet says, love demands that the parties be
altogether paired), that its satisfaction can very seldom be assured. It
cannot subsist in its perfection, say some of those who are learned in
this warm lore of the heart, betwixt more than two. I am not quite so
strict in my terms, perhaps because I have never known so high a
fellowship as others. I please my imagination more with a circle of
godlike men and women variously related to each other, and between whom
subsists a lofty intelligence. But I find this law of _one to one_
peremptory for

[Sidenote: Friendship consummated]

conversation, which is the practice and consummation of friendship. Do
not mix waters too much. The best mix as ill as good and bad. You shall
have very useful and cheering discourse at several times with two
several men, but let all three of you come together, and you shall not
have one new and hearty word. Two may talk and one may hear, but three
cannot take part in a conversation of the most sincere and searching
sort. In good company there is never such discourse between two, across
the table, as takes place when you leave them alone. In good company,
the individuals merge their egotism into a social soul exactly
coextensive with the several consciousnesses there present. No
partialities of friend to friend, no fondnesses of brother to sister, of
wife to husband, are there pertinent,

[Sidenote: The law of _one to one_]

but quite otherwise. Only he may then speak who can sail on the common
thought of the party, and not poorly limited to his own. Now this
convention, which good sense demands, destroys the high freedom of great
conversation, which requires an absolute running of two souls into one.

No two men but, being left alone with each other, enter into simpler
relations. Yet it is affinity that determines _which_ two shall
converse. Unrelated men give little joy to each other; will never
suspect the latent powers of each. We talk sometimes of a great talent
for conversation, as if it were a permanent property in some
individuals. Conversation is an evanescent relation, no more. A man is
reputed to have thought and eloquence; he cannot, for all that, say a
word to

[Sidenote: Of conversation]

his cousin or his uncle. They accuse his silence with as much reason as
they would blame the insignificance of a dial in the shade. In the sun
it will mark the hour. Among those who enjoy his thought, he will regain
his tongue.

Friendship requires that rare mean betwixt likeness and unlikeness, that
piques each with the presence of power and of consent in the other
party. Let me be alone to the end of the world, rather than that my
friend should overstep, by a word or a look, his real sympathy. I am
equally balked by antagonism and by compliance. Let him not cease an
instant to be himself. The only joy I have in his being mine, is that
the _not mine_ is _mine_. I hate, where I looked for a manly
furtherance, or at least a manly resistance, to find a mush of
concession.

[Sidenote: Friendship’s requirements]

Better be a nettle in the side of your friend than his echo. The
condition which high friendship demands is ability to do without it.
That high office requires great and sublime parts. There must be very
two, before there can be very one. Let it be an alliance of two large,
formidable natures, mutually beheld, mutually feared, before yet they
recognise the deep identity which beneath these disparities unites them.

He only is fit for this society who is magnanimous; who is sure that
greatness and goodness are always economy; who is not swift to
intermeddle with his fortunes. Let him not intermeddle with this. Leave
to the diamond its ages to grow, nor expect to accelerate the births of
the eternal. Friendship demands a religious treatment. We talk of
choosing

[Sidenote: Friendship’s demand]

our friends, but friends are self-elected, Reverence is a great part of
it. Treat your friend as a spectacle. Of course he has merits that are
not yours, and that you cannot honour, if you must needs hold him close
to your person. Stand aside; give those merits room; let them mount and
expand. Are you the friend of your friend’s buttons, or of his thought?
To a great heart he will be a stranger in a thousand particulars, that
he may come near in the holiest ground. Leave it to girls and boys to
regard a friend as property, and to suck a short and all-confounding
pleasure, instead of the noblest benefit.

Let us buy our entrance to this guild by a long probation. Why should we
desecrate noble and beautiful souls by intruding on them? Why insist on
rash

[Sidenote: Friends are self-elected]

personal relations with your friend? Why go to his house, or know his
mother and brother and sisters? Why be visited by him at your own? Are
these things material to our covenant? Leave this touching and clawing.
Let him be to me a spirit. A message, a thought, a sincerity a glance
from him, I want, but not news, nor pottage. I can get politics, and
chat, and neighbourly conveniences from cheaper companions. Should not
the society of my friend be to me poetic, pure, universal, and great as
nature itself? Ought I to feel that our tie is profane in comparison
with yonder bar of cloud that sleeps on the horizon, or that clump of
waving grass that divides the brook? Let us not vilify, but raise it to
that standard. That great, defying eye, that scornful beauty of his mien
and action, do not

[Sidenote: A friend’s society]

pique yourself on reducing, but rather fortify and enhance. Worship his
superiorities; wish him not less by a thought, but hoard and tell them
all. Guard him as thy counterpart. Let him be to thee for ever a sort of
beautiful enemy, untamable, devoutly revered, and not a trivial
conveniency to be soon outgrown and cast aside. The hues of the opal,
the light of the diamond, are not to be seen, if the eye is too near. To
my friend I write a letter, and from him I receive a letter. That seems
to you a little. It suffices me. It is a spiritual gift worthy of him to
give, and of me to receive. It profanes nobody. In these warm lines the
heart will trust itself, as it will not to the tongue, and pour out the
prophecy of a godlier existence than all the annals of heroism have yet
made good.

[Sidenote: A beautiful enemy]

Respect so far the holy laws of this fellowship as not to prejudice its
perfect flower by your impatience for its opening. We must be our own
before we can be another’s. There is at least this satisfaction in the
crime, according to the Latin proverb--you can speak to your accomplice
on even terms. _Crimen quos inquinat, æquat._ To those whom we admire
and love, at first we cannot. Yet the least defect of self-possession
vitiates, in my judgment, the entire relation. There can never be deep
peace between two spirits, never mutual respect, until, in their
dialogue, each stands for the whole world.

What is so great as friendship, let us carry with what grandeur of
spirit we can. Let us be silent--so we may hear the whisper of the gods.
Let us not interfere.

[Sidenote: We must be our own]

Who set you to cast about what you should say to the select souls, or
how to say anything to such? No matter how ingenious, no matter how
graceful and bland. There are innumerable degrees of folly and wisdom,
and for you to say aught is to be frivolous. Wait, and thy heart shall
speak. Wait until the necessary and everlasting overpowers you, until
day and night avail themselves of your lips. The only reward of virtue
is virtue; the only way to have a friend is to be one. You shall not
come nearer a man by getting into his house. If unlike, his soul only
flees the faster from you, and you shall never catch a true glance of
his eye. We see the noble afar off, and they repel us; why should we
intrude? Late--very late--we perceive that no arrangements, no
introductions, no consuetudes or habits of society,

[Sidenote: Select souls]

would be of any avail to establish us in such relations with them as we
desire--but solely the uprise of nature in us to the same degree it is
in them; then shall we meet as water with water; and if we should not
meet them then, we shall not want them, for we are already they. In the
last analysis, love is only the reflection of a man’s own worthiness
from other men. Men have sometimes exchanged names with their friends,
as if they would signify that in their friend each loved his own soul.

The higher the style we demand of friendship, of course the less easy to
establish it with flesh and blood. We walk alone in the world. Friends,
such as we desire, are dreams and fables. But a sublime hope cheers ever
the faithful heart, that elsewhere, in other regions of the

[Sidenote: The last analysis]

universal power, souls are now acting, enduring, and daring, which can
love us, and which we can love. We may congratulate ourselves that the
period of nonage, of follies, of blunders, and of shame is passed in
solitude, and when we are finished men, we shall grasp heroic hands in
heroic hands. Only be admonished by what you already see, not to strike
leagues of friendship with cheap persons, where no friendship can be.
Our impatience betrays us into rash and foolish alliances which no God
attends. By persisting in your path, though you forfeit the little you
gain the great. You demonstrate yourself, so as to put yourself out of
the reach of false relations, and you draw to you the first-born of the
world--those rare pilgrims whereof only one or two wander in nature at
once, and before whom the vulgar great show as spectres and shadows
merely.

[Sidenote: Desired friends are dreams and fables]

It is foolish to be afraid of making our ties too spiritual, as if so we
could lose any genuine love. Whatever correction of our popular views we
make from insight, nature will be sure to bear us out in, and though it
seem to rob us of some joy, will repay us with a greater. Let us feel,
if we will, the absolute insulation of man. We are sure that we have all
in us. We go to Europe, or we pursue persons, or we read books, in the
instinctive faith that these will call it out and reveal us to
ourselves. Beggars all. The persons are such as we; the Europe an old
faded garment of dead persons; the books their ghosts. Let us drop this
idolatry. Let us give over this mendicancy. Let us even bid our dearest
friends farewell, and defy them, saying,

[Sidenote: A friend is Janus-faced]

‘Who are you? Unhand me: I will be dependent no more.’ Ah! seest thou
not, O brother, that thus we part only to meet again on a higher
platform, and only be more each other’s, because we are more our own? A
friend is Janus-faced: he looks to the past and the future. He is the
child of all my foregoing hours, the prophet of those to come, and the
harbinger of a greater friend.

I do then with my friends as I do with my books. I would have them where
I can find them, but I seldom use them. We must have society on our own
terms, and admit or exclude it on the slightest cause. I cannot afford
to speak much with my friend. If he is great, he makes me so great that
I cannot descend to converse. In the great days, presentiments hover
before me in the firmament. I ought

[Sidenote: Spiritual astronomy]

then to dedicate myself to them. I go in that I may seize them, I go out
that I may seize them. I fear only that I may lose them receding into
the sky in which now they are only a patch of brighter light. Then,
though I prize my friends, I cannot afford to talk with them and study
their visions, lest I lose my own. It would indeed give me a certain
household joy to quit this lofty seeking, this spiritual astronomy, or
search of stars, and come down to warm sympathies with you; but then I
know well I shall mourn always the vanquishing of my mighty gods. It is
true, next week I shall have languid moods, when I can well afford to
occupy myself with foreign objects; then I shall regret the lost
literature of your mind, and wish you were by my side again. But if you
come, perhaps you will

[Sidenote: New visions]

fill my mind only with new visions, not with yourself but with your
lustres, and I shall not be able any more than now to converse with you.
So I will owe to my friends this evanescent intercourse. I will receive
from them, not what they have, but what they are. They shall give me
that which properly they cannot give, but which emanates from them. But
they shall not hold me by any relations less subtle and pure. We will
meet as though we met not, and part as though we parted not.

It has seemed to me lately more possible than I knew, to carry a
friendship greatly, on one side, without due correspondence on the
other. Why should I cumber myself with regrets that the receiver is not
capacious? It never troubles the sun that some of his rays fall wide and
vain into ungrateful space, and

[Sidenote: The essence of friendship]

only a small part on the reflecting planet. Let your greatness educate
the crude and cold companion. If he is unequal, he will presently pass
away; but thou art enlarged by thy own shining, and, no longer a mate
for frogs and worms, dost soar and burn with the gods of the empyrean.
It is thought a disgrace to love unrequited. But the great will see that
true love cannot be unrequited. True love transcends the unworthy
object, and dwells and broods on the eternal, and when the poor
interposed mask crumbles, it is not sad, but feels rid of so much earth,
and feels its independency the surer. Yet these things may hardly be
said without a sort of treachery to the relation. The essence of
friendship is entireness, a total magnanimity and trust. It must not
surmise or provide for infirmity. It treats its object as a god, that it
may deify both.

[Illustration]



II

FRIENDS AND FRIENDSHIP

HENRY D. THOREAU



FRIENDS & FRIENDSHIP


[Sidenote: The familiar word]

No word is oftener on the lips of men than Friendship, and indeed no
thought is more familiar to their aspirations. All men are dreaming of
it, and its drama, which is always a tragedy, is enacted daily. It is
the secret of the universe. You may thread the town, you may wander the
country, and none shall ever speak of it, yet thought is everywhere busy
about it, and the idea of what is possible in this respect affects our
behaviour toward all new men and women and a great many old ones.
Nevertheless, I can remember only two or three essays on this subject in
all literature. No wonder that the Mythology, and Arabian

[Sidenote: The most interesting drama]

Nights, and Shakespeare, and Scott’s novels entertain us: we are poets
and fablers and dramatists and novelists ourselves. We are continually
acting a part in a more interesting drama than any written. We are
dreaming that our Friends are our _Friends_, and that we are our
Friends’ _Friends_. Our actual Friends are but distant relations of
those to whom we are pledged. We never exchange more than three words
with a Friend in our lives on that level to which our thoughts and
feelings almost habitually rise.

One goes forth prepared to say, ‘Sweet Friends!’ and the salutation is,
‘Damn your eyes!’ But never mind; faint heart never won true Friend.

Oh, my Friend, may it come to pass once, that when you are my Friend I
may be yours.

[Sidenote: The name of friendship]

Of what use the friendliest dispositions even, if there are no hours
given to Friendship, if it is for ever postponed to unimportant duties
and relations? Friendship is first, Friendship last. But it is equally
impossible to forget our Friends, and to make them answer to our ideal.
When they say farewell, then indeed we begin to keep them company. How
often we find ourselves turning our backs on our actual Friends that we
may go and meet their ideal cousins! I would that I were worthy to be
any man’s Friend.

What is commonly honoured with the name of Friendship is no very
profound or powerful instinct. Men do not, after all, _love_ their
friends greatly. I do not often see the farmers made seers and wise to
the verge of insanity by their Friendship for one another. They are not
often

[Sidenote: Friendship wrong ascribed]

transfigured and translated by love in each other’s presence.

I do not observe them purified, refined, and elevated by the love of a
man. If one abates a little the price of his wood, or gives a neighbour
his vote at town-meeting, or a barrel of apples, or lends him his wagon
frequently, it is esteemed a rare instance of Friendship. Nor do the
farmers’ wives lead lives consecrated to Friendship. I do not see the
pair of farmer Friends of either sex prepared to stand against the
world. There are only two or three couples in history.

To say that a man is your Friend means commonly no more than this, that
he is not your enemy. Most contemplate only what would be the accidental
and trifling advantages of Friendship, as that the Friend can assist in
time of

[Sidenote: Friends to be spiritual ministers]

need by his substance, or his influence, or his counsel; but he who
foresees such advantages in this relation proves himself blind to its
real advantage, or indeed wholly inexperienced in the relation itself.
Such services are particular and menial compared with the perpetual and
all-embracing service which it is. Even the utmost goodwill and harmony
and practical kindness are not sufficient for Friendship, for Friends do
not live in harmony merely, as some say, but in melody. We do not wish
for Friends to feed and clothe our bodies--neighbours are kind enough
for that--but to do the like office to our spirits. For this, few are
rich enough, however well disposed they may be. For the most part we
stupidly confound one man with another. The dull distinguish only races
or nations, or at

[Sidenote: The importance of friendship]

most classes, but the wise man, individuals. To his Friend a man’s
peculiar character appears in every feature and in every action, and it
is thus drawn out and improved by him.

Think of the importance of Friendship in the education of men.

    ‘He that hath love and judgment too,
    Sees more than any other doe.’

It will make a man honest; it will make him a hero; it will make him a
saint. It is the state of the just dealing with the just, the
magnanimous with the magnanimous, the sincere with the sincere, man with
man.

And it is well said by another poet--

    ‘Why love among the virtues is not known,
    Is that love is them all contract in one.’

All the abuses which are the object of reform with the philanthropist,
the statesman,

[Sidenote: The intercourse of friends]

and the housekeeper are unconsciously amended in the intercourse of
Friends. A Friend is one who incessantly pays us the compliment of
expecting from us all the virtues, and who can appreciate them in us. It
takes two to speak the truth--one to speak and another to hear. How can
one treat with magnanimity mere wood and stone? If we dealt only with
the false and dishonest, we should at last forget how to speak truth.
Only lovers know the value and magnanimity of truth, while traders prize
a cheap honesty, and neighbours and acquaintance a cheap civility. In
our daily intercourse with men our nobler faculties are dormant and
suffered to rust.

None will pay us the compliment to expect nobleness from us. Though we
have gold to give, they demand only copper.

[Sidenote: A neighbour’s reply]

We ask our neighbour to suffer himself to be dealt with truly,
sincerely, nobly; but he answers no by his deafness. He does not even
hear this prayer. He says practically, I will be content if you treat me
as ‘no better than I should be,’ as deceitful, mean, dishonest, and
selfish. For the most part, we are contented so to deal and to be dealt
with, and we do not think that for the mass of men there is any truer
and nobler relation possible. A man may have _good_ neighbours, so
called, and acquaintances, and even companions, wife, parents, brothers,
sisters, children, who meet himself and one another on this ground only.
The State does not demand justice of its members, but thinks that it
succeeds very well with the least degree of it, hardly more than rogues
practice; and so do the neighbourhood and the

[Sidenote: Our lives are divine and miraculous]

family. What is commonly called Friendship even is only a little more
honour among rogues.

But sometimes we are said to _love_ another--that is, to stand in a true
relation to him, so that we give the best to, and receive the best from,
him. Between whom there is hearty truth, there is love; and in
proportion to our truthfulness and confidence in one another, our lives
are divine and miraculous, and answer to our ideal. There are passages
of affection in our intercourse with mortal men and women such as no
prophecy had taught us to expect, which transcend our earthly life and
anticipate Heaven for us. What is this Love that may come right into the
middle of a prosaic Goffstown day, equal to any of the gods; that
discovers a new world, fair and fresh and

[Sidenote: Heaven anticipated]

eternal, occupying the place of the old one, when to the common eye a
dust has settled on the universe? which world cannot else be reached,
and does not exist. What other words, we may almost ask, are memorable
and worthy to be repeated than those which love has inspired? It is
wonderful that they were ever uttered. They are few and rare indeed;
but, like a strain of music, they are incessantly repeated and modulated
by the memory. All other words crumble off with the stucco which
overlies the heart. We should not dare to repeat these now aloud. We are
not competent to hear them at all times.

The books for young people say a great deal about the _selection_ of
Friends; it is because they really have nothing to say about _Friends_.
They mean associates

[Illustration]

[Sidenote: Affinity of friends]

and confidants merely. ‘Know that the contrariety of foe and Friend
proceeds from God.’ Friendship takes place between those who have an
affinity for one another, and is a perfectly natural and inevitable
result. No professions nor advances will avail. Even speech, at first,
necessarily has nothing to do with it; but it follows after silence, as
the buds in the graft do not put forth into leaves till long after the
graft has taken. It is a drama in which the parties have no part to act.
We are all Mussulmen and fatalists in this respect.

Impatient and uncertain lovers think that they must say or do something
kind whenever they meet; they must never be cold. But they who are
Friends do not know what they _think_ they must, but what they _must_.
Even their

[Sidenote: A sublime phenomenon]

Friendship is to some extent but a sublime phenomenon to them.

The true and not despairing Friend will address his Friend in some such
terms as these:--

‘I never asked thy leave to let me love thee--I have a right. I love
thee not as something private and personal, which is _your own_, but as
something universal and worthy of love, _which I have found_. Oh, how I
think of you! You are purely good--you are infinitely good. I can trust
you for ever. I did not think that humanity was so rich. Give me an
opportunity to live.’

‘You are the fact in a fiction--you are the truth more strange and
admirable than fiction. Consent only to be what you are. I alone will
never stand in your way.’

[Sidenote: The fact in a fiction]

‘This is what I would like--to be as intimate with you as our spirits
are intimate--respecting you as I respect my ideal. Never to profane one
another by word or action, even by a thought. Between us, if necessary,
let there be no acquaintance.’

‘I have discovered you; how can you be concealed from me?’

The Friend asks no return but that his Friend will religiously accept
and wear and not disgrace his apotheosis of him. They cherish each
other’s hopes. They are kind to each other’s dreams.

Though the poet says, ‘’Tis the pre-eminence of Friendship to impute
excellence,’ yet we can never praise our Friend, nor esteem him
praiseworthy, nor let him think that he can please us by any
_behaviour_, or ever _treat_ us well enough.

[Sidenote: Friendship pre-eminent]

That kindness which has so good a reputation elsewhere can least of all
consist with this relation, and no such affront can be offered to a
Friend, as a conscious goodwill, a friendliness which is not a necessity
of the Friend’s nature.

The sexes are naturally most strongly attracted to one another by
constant constitutional differences, and are most commonly and surely
the complements of each other. How natural and easy it is for man to
secure the attention of woman to what interests himself! Men and women
of equal culture, thrown together, are sure to be of a certain value to
one another, more than men to men. There exists already a natural
disinterestedness and liberality in such society, and I think that any
man will more confidently carry his favourite books to read to

[Sidenote: Perfect equality required]

some circle of intelligent women than to one of his own sex. The visit
of man to man is wont to be an interruption, but the sexes naturally
expect one another. Yet Friendship is no respecter of sex; and perhaps
it is more rare between the sexes than between two of the same sex.

Friendship is, at any rate, a relation of perfect equality. It cannot
well spare any outward sign of equal obligation and advantage. The
nobleman can never have a Friend among his retainers, nor the king among
his subjects. Not that the parties to it are in all respects equal, but
they are equal in all that respects or affects their Friendship. The
one’s love is exactly balanced and represented by the other’s. Persons
are only the vessels which contain the nectar, and the hydrostatic

[Sidenote: Impossible friendships]

paradox is the symbol of love’s law. It finds its level and rises to its
fountainhead in all breasts, and its slenderest column balances the
ocean.

    ‘And love as well the shepherd can
    As can the mighty nobleman.’

The one sex is not, in this respect, more tender than the other. A
hero’s love is as delicate as a maiden’s.

Confucius said, ‘Never contract Friendship with a man who is not better
than thyself.’ It is the merit and preservation of Friendship that it
takes place on a level higher than the actual characters of the parties
would seem to warrant. The rays of light come to us in such a curve that
every man whom we meet appears to be taller than he actually is. Such
foundation has civility. My Friend is that one whom I can associate with
my choicest

[Sidenote: My friend]

thought. I always assign to him a nobler employment in my absence than I
ever find him engaged in; and I imagine that the hours which he devotes
to me were snatched from a higher society. The sorest insult which I
ever received from a Friend was when he behaved with the licence which
only long and cheap acquaintance allows to one’s faults, in my presence,
without shame, and still addressed me in friendly accents. Beware, lest
thy Friend learn at last to tolerate one frailty of thine, and so an
obstacle be raised to the progress of thy love. There are times when we
have had enough even of our Friends, when we begin inevitably to profane
one another, and must withdraw religiously into solitude and silence,
the better to prepare ourselves for a loftier intimacy. Silence is the

[Sidenote: The language of friendship]

ambrosial night in the intercourse of Friends, in which their sincerity
is recruited and takes deeper root.

Friendship is never established as an understood relation. Do you demand
that I be less your Friend that you may know it? Yet what right have I
to think that another cherishes so rare a sentiment for me? It is a
miracle which requires constant proofs. It is an exercise of the purest
imagination and the rarest faith. It says by a silent but eloquent
behaviour--‘I will be so related to thee as thou canst imagine; even so
thou mayest believe. I will spend truth--all my wealth on thee,’--and
the Friend responds silently through his nature and life, and treats his
Friend with the same divine courtesy. He knows us literally through
thick and thin. He never asks for a sign

[Sidenote: Not words but meanings]

of love, but can distinguish it by the features which it naturally
wears. We never need to stand upon ceremony with him with regard to his
visits. Wait not till I invite thee, but observe that I am glad to see
thee when thou comest. It would be paying too dear for thy visit to ask
for it. Where my Friend lives there are all riches and every attraction,
and no slight obstacle can keep me from him. Let me never have to tell
thee what I have not to tell. Let our intercourse be wholly above
ourselves, and draw us up to it.

The language of Friendship is not words, but meanings. It is an
intelligence above language. One imagines endless conversations with his
Friend, in which the tongue shall be loosed, and thoughts be spoken
without hesitancy or

[Sidenote: Acquaintances and friends]

end; but the experience is commonly far otherwise. Acquaintances may
come and go, and have a word ready for every occasion; but what puny
word shall he utter whose very breath is thought and meaning? Suppose
you go to bid farewell to your Friend who is setting out on a journey;
what other outward sign do you know than to shake his hand? Have you any
palaver ready for him then? any box of salve to commit to his pocket?
any particular message to send by him? any statement which you had
forgotten to make?--as if you could forget anything. No; it is much that
you take his hand and say Farewell; that you could easily omit; so far
custom has prevailed. It is even painful, if he is to go, that he should
linger so long. If he must go, let him go quickly. Have you any _last_
words?

[Sidenote: The word of words]

Alas, it is only the word of words which _you_ have so long sought and
found not; you have not a _first_ word yet. There are few even whom I
should venture to call earnestly by their most proper names. A name
pronounced is the recognition of the individual to whom it belongs. He
who can pronounce my name aright, he can call me, and is entitled to my
love and service. Yet reserve is the freedom and abandonment of lovers.
It is the reserve of what is hostile or indifferent in their natures to
give place to what is kindred and harmonious.

The violence of love is as much to be dreaded as that of hate. When it
is durable it is serene and equable. Even its famous pains begin only
with the ebb of love, for few are indeed lovers, though all would fain
be. It is one proof of a man’s

[Sidenote: Man’s fitness for friendship]

fitness for Friendship that he is able to do without that which is cheap
and passionate. A true Friendship is as wise as it is tender. The
parties to it yield implicitly to the guidance of their love, and know
no other law nor kindness. It is not extravagant and insane, but what it
says is something established henceforth, and will bear to be
stereotyped. It is a truer truth, it is better and fairer news, and no
time will ever shame it, or prove it false. This is a plant which
thrives best in a temperate zone, where summer and winter alternate with
one another. The Friend is a _necessarius_, and meets his Friend on
homely ground; not on carpets and cushions, but on the ground and on
rocks they will sit, obeying the natural and primitive laws. They will
meet without any outcry, and part without loud

[Sidenote: Friendship not an idle sympathy]

sorrow. Their relation implies such qualities as the warrior prizes; for
it takes a valour to open the hearts of men as well as the gates of
castles. It is not an idle sympathy and mutual consolation merely, but a
heroic sympathy of aspiration and endeavour.

       *       *       *       *       *

Friendship is not so kind as is imagined; it has not much human blood in
it, but consists with a certain disregard for men and their erections,
the Christian duties and humanities, while it purifies the air like
electricity. There may be the sternest tragedy in the relation of two
more than usually innocent and true to their highest instincts. We may
call it an essentially heathenish intercourse, free and irresponsible in
its nature, and practising all the virtues gratuitously. It is

[Sidenote: Godlike intercourse]

not the highest sympathy merely, but a pure and lofty society, a
fragmentary and godlike intercourse of ancient date, still kept up at
intervals, which, remembering itself, does not hesitate to disregard the
humbler rights and duties of humanity. It requires immaculate and
godlike qualities full-grown, and exists at all only by condescension
and anticipation of the remotest future. We love nothing which is merely
good and not fair, if such a thing is possible. Nature puts some kind of
blossom before every fruit, not simply a calyx behind it. When the
Friend comes out of his heathenism and superstition, and breaks his
idols, being converted by the precepts of a newer testament; when he
forgets his mythology, and treats his Friend like a Christian, or as he
can afford; then Friendship ceases to be Friendship,

[Sidenote: The cessation of friendship]

and becomes charity; that principle which established the almshouse is
now beginning with its charity at home, and establishing an almshouse
and pauper relations there.

As for the number which this society admits, it is at any rate to be
begun with one, the noblest and greatest that we know, and whether the
world will ever carry it further, whether, as Chaucer affirms,

    ‘There be mo sterres in the skie than a pair,’

remains to be proved;

    ‘And certaine he is well begone
    Among a thousand that findeth one.’

We shall not surrender ourselves heartily to any, while we are conscious
that another is more deserving of our love. Yet Friendship does not
stand for numbers; the Friend does not count his

[Sidenote: We cannot have too many friends]

Friends on his fingers; they are not numerable. The more there are
included by this bond, if they are indeed included, the rarer and
diviner the quality of the love that binds them. I am ready to believe
that as private and intimate a relation may exist by which three are
embraced as between two. Indeed, we cannot have too many friends; the
virtue which we appreciate we to some extent appropriate, so that thus
we are made at last more fit for every relation of life. A base
Friendship is of a narrowing and exclusive tendency, but a noble one is
not exclusive; its very superfluity and dispersed love is the humanity
which sweetens society, and sympathises with foreign nations; for though
its foundations are private, it is, in effect, a public affair and a
public advantage, and the Friend more

[Sidenote: Faults attract faults]

than the father of a family deserves well of the state.

The only danger in Friendship is that it will end. It is a delicate
plant, though a native. The least unworthiness, even if it be unknown to
one’s self, vitiates it. Let the Friend know that those faults which he
observes in his Friend his own faults attract. There is no rule more
invariable than that we are paid for our suspicions by finding what we
suspected. By our narrowness and prejudices we say, I will have so much
and such of you, my Friend, no more. Perhaps there are none charitable,
none disinterested, none wise, noble, and heroic enough for a true and
lasting Friendship.

I sometimes hear my Friends complain finely that I do not appreciate
their fineness. I shall not tell them whether I do

[Sidenote: Silence is better than speech]

or not. As if they expected a vote of thanks for every fine thing which
they uttered or did. Who knows but it was finely appreciated. It may be
that your silence was the finest thing of the two. There are some things
which a man never speaks of which are much finer kept silent about. To
the highest communications we only lend a silent ear. Our finest
relations are not simply kept silent about, but buried under a positive
depth of silence never to be revealed. It may be that we are not even
yet acquainted. In human intercourse the tragedy begins, not when there
is misunderstanding about words, but when silence is not understood.
Then there can never be an explanation. What avails it that another
loves you if he does not understand you? Such love is a curse. What sort
of

[Sidenote: The man with the ears]

companions are they who are presuming always that their silence is more
expressive than yours? How foolish, and inconsiderate, and unjust, to
conduct as if you were the only party aggrieved! Has not your Friend
always equal ground of complaint? No doubt my friends sometimes speak to
me in vain, but they do not know what things I hear which they are not
aware that they have spoken. I know that I have frequently disappointed
them by not giving them words when they expected them, or such as they
expected. Whenever I see my Friend I speak to him; but the expecter, the
man with the ears, is not he. They will complain too that you are hard.
O ye that would have the cocoa-nut wrong side outwards, when next I weep
I will let you know. They ask for words and deeds, when a

[Sidenote: My friend is my real brother]

true relation is word and deed. If they know not of these things, how
can they be informed? We often forbear to confess our feelings, not from
pride, but for fear that we could not continue to love the one who
required us to give such proof of our affection.

       *       *       *       *       *

My Friend is not of some other race or family of men, but flesh of my
flesh, bone of my bone. He is my real brother. I see his nature groping
yonder so like mine. We do not live far apart. Have not the fates
associated us in many ways? It says in the Vishnu Purana: ‘Seven paces
together is sufficient for the friendship of the virtuous, but thou and
I have dwelt together.’ Is it of no significance that we have so long
partaken of the

[Sidenote: Friendship consecrated by time]

same loaf, drank at the same fountain, breathed the same air summer and
winter, felt the same heat and cold; that the same fruits have been
pleased to refresh us both, and we have never had a thought of different
fibre the one from the other!

       *       *       *       *       *

As surely as the sunset in my latest November shall translate me to the
ethereal world, and remind me of the ruddy morning of youth; as surely
as the last strain of music which falls on my decaying ear shall make
age to be forgotten, or, in short, the manifold influences of Nature
survive during the term of our natural life, so surely my Friend shall
for ever be my Friend, and reflect a ray of God to me, and time shall
foster and adorn and consecrate our Friendship, no

[Sidenote: Love for a friend]

less than the ruins of temples. As I love Nature, as I love singing
birds, and gleaming stubble, and flowing rivers, and morning and
evening, and summer and winter, I love thee, my Friend.

[Illustration]



III

THE SENTIMENT OF FRIENDSHIP

THOMAS CARLYLE



THE SENTIMENT OF FRIENDSHIP


[Sidenote: A university friend]

Let us present the following small thread of Moral relation; and
therewith, the reader for himself weaving it in at the right place,
conclude our dim arras-picture of these University years.

Here also it was that I formed acquaintance with Herr Towgood, or, as it
is perhaps better written, Herr Toughgut; a young person of quality
(_von Adel_), from the interior parts of England. He stood connected, by
blood and hospitality, with the Counts von Zähdarm, in this quarter of
Germany; to which noble Family I likewise was, by

[Sidenote: A character sketch]

his means, with all friendliness, brought near. Towgood had a fair
talent, unspeakably ill-cultivated; with considerable humour of
character: and, bating his total ignorance, for he knew nothing except
Boxing and a little Grammar, showed less of that aristocratic
impassivity, and silent fury, than for most part belongs to Travellers
of his nation. To him I owe my first practical knowledge of the English
and their ways; perhaps also something of the partiality with which I
have ever since regarded that singular people. Towgood was not without
an eye, could he have come at any light. Invited doubtless by the
presence of the Zähdarm Family, he had travelled hither, in the almost
frantic hope of perfecting his studies; he, whose studies had as yet
been those of infancy,

[Sidenote: Great and small cost]

hither to a University where so much as the notion of perfection, not to
say the effort after it, no longer existed! Often we would condole over
the hard destiny of the Young in this era: how, after all our toil, we
were to be turned-out into the world, with beards on our chins indeed,
but with few other attributes of manhood; no existing thing that we were
trained to Act on, nothing that we could so much as Believe. ‘How has
our head on the outside a polished Hat,’ would Towgood exclaim, ‘and in
the inside Vacancy, or a froth of Vocables and Attorney-Logic! At a
small cost men are educated to make leather into shoes; but at a great
cost, what am I educated to make? By Heaven, Brother! what I have
already eaten and worn, as I came thus far, would endow a considerable

[Sidenote: Looking bravely on life]

Hospital of Incurables.’--‘Man, indeed,’ I would answer, ‘has a
Digestive Faculty, which must be kept working, were it even partly by
stealth. But as for our Miseducation, make not bad worse; waste not the
time yet ours, in trampling on thistles because they have yielded us no
figs. _Frisch zu, Bruder!_ Here are Books, and we have brains to read
them; here is a whole Earth and a whole Heaven, and we have eyes to look
on them: _Frisch zu!_’

Often also our talk was gay; not without brilliancy, and even fire. We
looked out on Life, with its strange scaffolding, where all at once
harlequins dance, and men are beheaded and quartered: motley, not
unterrific was the aspect; but we looked on it like brave youths. For
myself, these were perhaps my

[Sidenote: Spiritual union]

most genial hours. Towards this young warmhearted, strongheaded and
wrongheaded Herr Towgood I was even near experiencing the now obsolete
sentiment of Friendship. Yes, foolish Heathen that I was, I felt that,
under certain conditions, I could have loved this man, and taken him to
my bosom, and been his brother once and always. By degrees, however, I
understood the new time, and its wants. If man’s _Soul_ is indeed, as in
the Finnish Language, and Utilitarian Philosophy, a kind of _Stomach_,
what else is the true meaning of Spiritual Union but an Eating together?
Thus we, instead of Friends, are Dinner-guests; and here as elsewhere
have cast away chimeras.

       *       *       *       *       *

Hast thou a certain Faculty, a certain

[Sidenote: A fearful unbelief]

Worth, such even as the most have not; or art thou the completest
Dullard of these modern times? Alas! the fearful Unbelief is unbelief in
yourself; and how could I believe? Had not my first, last Faith in
myself, when even to me the Heavens seemed laid open, and I dared to
love, been all-too cruelly belied? The speculative Mystery of Life grew
ever more mysterious to me: neither in the practical Mystery had I made
the slightest progress, but been everywhere buffeted, foiled, and
contemptuously cast-out. A feeble unit in the middle of a threatening
Infinitude, I seemed to have nothing given me but eyes, whereby to
discern my own wretchedness. Invisible yet impenetrable walls, as of
Enchantment, divided me from all living: was there, in the wide world,
any true bosom I could press

[Sidenote: A man is sufficient for himself]

trustfully to mine? O Heaven, No, there was none! I kept a lock upon my
lips: why should I speak much with that shifting variety of so-called
Friends, in whose withered, vain and too-hungry souls Friendship was but
an incredible tradition? In such cases, your resource is to talk little,
and that little mostly from the Newspapers. Now when I look back, it was
a strange isolation I then lived in. The men and women around me, even
speaking with me, were but Figures; I had, practically, forgotten that
they were alive, that they were not merely automatic. In midst of their
crowded streets and assemblages, I walked solitary; and (except as it
was my own heart, not another’s, that I kept devouring) savage also, as
the tiger in his jungle.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: Two phantoms]

How were Friendship possible? ‘In mutual devotedness to the Good and
True: otherwise impossible; except as Armed Neutrality, or hollow
Commercial League. A man, be the Heavens ever praised, is sufficient for
himself; yet were ten men, united in Love, capable of being and of doing
what ten thousand singly would fail in. Infinite is the help man can
yield to man.’ And now in conjunction therewith consider this other: ‘It
is the Night of the World, and still long till it be Day: we wander amid
the glimmer of smoking ruins, and the Sun and the Stars of Heaven are as
if blotted out for a season; and two immeasurable Phantoms, HYPOCRISY
and ATHEISM, with the Ghoul, SENSUALITY, stalk abroad over the Earth,
and call it theirs: well at ease are the sleepers for whom Existence is
a shallow Dream.’



IV

ON THE ACQUISITION OF FRIENDS

HENRY MACKENZIE



ON THE ACQUISITION OF FRIENDS


[Sidenote: Ruined by friends]

The praises of friendship, and descriptions of the happiness arising
from it, I remember to have met with in almost every book and poem since
first I could read. I was never much addicted to reading: and, in this
instance, I think, I have little reason to put confidence in authors.
How it may be in their experience, I know not; but in mine, this same
virtue of friendship has tended very little to my happiness; on the
contrary, when I tell you my situation, you will find that I am almost
ruined by my friends.

From my earliest days I was reckoned one of the best-natured fellows in
the world; and at school, though I must

[Sidenote: Friends acquired at some expense]

confess I did not acquire so much learning as many of my companions,
yet, even there, I was remarkable for the acquisition of friends. Even
there, too, I acquired them at some expense; I was flogged, I dare say,
a hundred times for the faults of others, but was too generous ever to
_peach_; my companions were generous fellows too; but it always
happened, I don’t know how, that my generosity was on the losing side of
the adventure.

I had not been above three years at college, when the death of an uncle
put me in possession of a very considerable estate. As I was not
violently inclined towards literature, I soon took the opportunity,
which this presented me, of leaving the university and entering upon the
world. I put myself under the tuition

[Sidenote: London friends]

of one of my companions, who generally spent the vacations, and indeed
some of the terms too, in London; and took up my residence in that city.
There I needed not that propensity, which I have told you I always
possessed, to acquire a multitude of friends. I found myself surrounded
by them in every tavern and coffee-house about town. But I soon
experienced, that though the commodity was plenty, the price was high.
Besides a considerable mortgage on my estate, of which one of my best
friends contrived to possess himself, I was obliged to expose my life to
a couple of duels, and had very near lost it.

       *       *       *       *       *

From this sort of bondage I contrived to emancipate myself by matrimony.
I married the sister of one of my friends,

[Sidenote: The country life]

a girl good-natured and thoughtless like myself, with whom I soon
retired into the country, and set out upon what we thought a sober,
well-regulated plan. The situation was so distant as to be quite out of
reach of my former town-companions; provisions were cheap and servants
faithful; in short, everything so circumstanced that we made no doubt of
living considerably within our income. Our manner of life, however, was
to be happy and prudent. By the improvement of my estate, I was to be
equally amused and enriched; my skill in sportsmanship (for I had
acquired that science to great perfection at the university) was to
procure vigour to my constitution, and dainties to my table; and,
against the long nights of winter, we were provided with an excellent
_neighbourhood_.

[Sidenote: A talent for friend-making]

This last-mentioned article is the only one which we have found come up
entirely to our expectations. My talent for friend-making has indeed
extended the limits of _neighbourhood_ a good deal farther than the word
is commonly understood to reach. The parish, which is not a small
one--the county, which is proportionally extensive, comes within the
denomination of neighbourhood with us; and my neighbour Goostry, who
pays me an annual sporting visit of several weeks, lives at least fifty
miles off.

Some of these _neighbours_, who always become _friends_ at my house,
have endeavoured to pay me for their entertainment with their advice as
to the cultivation of my farm, or the management of my estate; but I
have generally found their counsel, like other friendly exertions, put

[Sidenote: Our friends’ attentions]

me out of pocket in the end. Their theories of agriculture failed in my
practice of them; and the ingenious men they recommended to me for
tenants, seldom paid their rent by their ingenuity.

The attentions of our friends are sometimes carried farther than mere
words or visits of compliment; yet, even then, unfortunately, their
favours are just so many taxes upon us. When I receive a present of a
delicate salmon, or a nice haunch of venison, it is but a signal for all
my good neighbours to come and eat at my expense; and some time ago,
when a nephew of my wife, settled abroad, sent me a hogshead of
excellent claret, it cost me, in entertainments for the honour of the
liquor, what might have purchased a tun from the wine-merchant.

After so many instances in which my

[Sidenote: Disappointed expectations]

friendships were hurtful to my fortune, I wished to hit on the way to
making some of them beneficial to it. For this purpose, my wife and I
have, for a good while past, been employed in looking out for some snug
office, or reversion, to which my interest with several powerful friends
might recommend me. But, somehow or other, our expectations have been
always disappointed; not from any want of inclination in our friends to
serve us, as we have been repeatedly assured, but from various
unforeseen accidents, to which expectations of that sort are
particularly liable. In the course of these solicitations I was lead to
engage in the political interests of a gentleman on whose influence I
built the strongest hopes of success in my own schemes; and I flattered
myself that, from the friendly footing

[Sidenote: A resolution]

on which I stood with my neighbours, I might be of considerable service
to him. This, indeed, he is extremely ready to acknowledge, though he
has yet found no opportunity of returning the favour; but, in the
meantime, it kept my table open to all his _friends_, as well as my own,
and cost me, besides, a headache twice a week during the whole period of
the canvass.

In short, I find I can afford to keep myself in friends no longer. I
mean to give them warning of this my resolution as speedily as
possible.... I have shut my gates, locked my cellar, turned off my cook,
disposed of my dogs, forgot my acquaintance, and am resolved
henceforward, let people say of me what they will, to be _no one’s
friend but my own_.



V

ON FRIENDSHIP

OLIVER GOLDSMITH



ON FRIENDSHIP


[Sidenote: The virtue of friendship]

There are few subjects which have been more written upon and less
understood than that of Friendship: to follow the dictates of some, this
virtue, instead of being the assuager of pain, becomes the source of
every inconvenience. Such speculatists, by expecting too much from
friendship, dissolve the connection, and by drawing the bonds too
closely, at length break them.

Almost all our romance and novel writers are of this kind: they persuade
us to friendships which we find it impossible to sustain to the last; so
that this sweetener of life, under proper regulations, is by their means
rendered inaccessible or uneasy. It is certain, the best method to
cultivate this virtue is by letting it in some measure make itself; a
similitude of minds or studies, and even sometimes a diversity of
pursuits, will produce all the pleasures that arise from it. The current
of tenderness widens as it proceeds; and two men imperceptibly find
their hearts warm with good-nature for each other when they were at
first in pursuit only of mirth or relaxation.

[Sidenote: Friendship a debt of honour]

Friendship is like a debt of honour; the moment it is talked of it loses
its real name, and assumes the more ungrateful form of obligation. From
hence we find, that those who regularly undertake to cultivate
friendship, find ingratitude generally repays their endeavours. That
circle of beings which dependence gathers round us, is almost ever
unfriendly; they secretly wish the term of their connection

[Sidenote: Bankrupt hearts]

more nearly equal; and when they even have the most virtue, are prepared
to reserve all their affections for their patron only in the hour of his
decline. Increasing the obligations which are laid upon such minds only
increases their burden; they feel themselves unable to repay the
immensity of their debt, and their bankrupt hearts are taught a latent
resentment at the hand that is stretched out with offers of service and
relief.

Plautinus was a man who thought that every good was to be bought by
riches; and as he was possessed of great wealth, and a mind naturally
formed for virtue, he resolved to gather a circle of the best men around
him. Among the number of his dependants was Musidorus, with a mind just
as fond of virtue, yet not less proud than his patron. His
circumstances,

[Sidenote: Plautinus and Musidorus]

however, were such as forced him to stoop to the good offices of his
superior, and he saw himself daily, among a number of others, loaded
with benefits and protestations of friendship. These, in the usual
course of the world, he thought it prudent to accept; but while he gave
his esteem, he could not give his heart. A want of affection breaks out
in the most trifling instances, and Plautinus had skill enough to
observe the minutest actions of the man he wished to make his friend. In
these he ever found his aim disappointed; for Musidorus claimed an
exchange of hearts, which Plautinus, solicited by a variety of claims,
would never think of bestowing.

It may easily be supposed, that the reserve of our poor proud man was
soon construed into ingratitude; and such, indeed,

[Sidenote: Fallen fortune]

in the common acceptation of the word, it was. Whenever Musidorus
appeared, he was remarked as the ungrateful man; he had accepted
favours, it was said, and still had the insolence to pretend to
independence. The event, however, justified his conduct. Plautinus, by
misguided liberality, at length became poor, and it was then that
Musidorus first thought of making a friend of him. He flew to the man of
fallen fortune with an offer of all he had; wrought under his direction
with assiduity; and by uniting their talents, both were at length placed
in that state of life from which one of them had formerly fallen.

To this story, taken from modern life, I shall add one more, taken from
a Greek writer of antiquity. ‘Two Jewish soldiers, in the time of
Vespasian, had made many

[Sidenote: A story from the antique]

campaigns together, and a participation of dangers at length bred an
union of hearts. They were marked throughout the whole army as the two
friendly brothers; they felt and fought for each other. Their friendship
might have continued without interruption till death, had not the good
fortune of the one alarmed the pride of the other, which was in his
promotion to be a centurion, under the famous John, who headed a
particular party of Jewish malcontents.

‘From this moment their former love was converted into the most
inveterate enmity. They attached themselves to opposite factions, and
sought each other’s lives in the conflict of adverse party. In this
manner they continued for more than two years, vowing mutual revenge and
animated with an unconquerable spirit

[Sidenote: Jews and Romans]

of aversion. At length, however, that party of the Jews to which the
mean soldier belonged, joining with the Romans, it became victorious,
and drove John with all his adherents into the Temple. History has given
us more than one picture of the dreadful conflagration of that superb
edifice. The Roman soldiers were gathered round it; the whole temple was
in flames, and thousands were seen amidst them within its sacred
circuit. It was in this situation of things that the now successful
soldier saw his former friend upon the battlements of the highest tower
looking round with horror, and just ready to be consumed with flames.
All his former tenderness now returned; he saw the man of his bosom just
going to perish; and unable to withstand the impulse, he ran, spreading
his arms and

[Sidenote: A dramatic episode]

crying out to his friend to leap down from the top and find safety with
him. The centurion from above heard and obeyed, and casting himself from
the top of the tower into his fellow-soldier’s arms, both fell a
sacrifice on the spot; one being crushed to death by the weight of his
companion, and the other dashed to pieces by the greatness of his fall.’

[Illustration]



VI

THE PLEASURES OF FRIENDSHIP

SAMUEL JOHNSON, LL.D.



THE PLEASURES OF FRIENDSHIP


[Sidenote: Life’s noblest pleasure]

Life has no pleasure higher or nobler than that of friendship. It is
painful to consider that this sublime enjoyment may be impaired or
destroyed by innumerable causes, and that there is no human possession
of which the duration is less certain.

Many have talked, in very exalted language, of the perpetuity of
friendship, of invincible constancy, and unalienable kindness; and some
examples have been seen of men who have continued faithful to their
earliest choice, and whose affection has predominated over changes of
fortune, and contrariety of opinion.

[Sidenote: Long absence destroys friendship]

But these instances are memorable, because they are rare. The friendship
which is practised or expected by common mortals must take its rise from
mutual pleasure, and must end when the power ceases of delighting each
other.

Many accidents therefore may happen by which the ardour of kindness will
be abated, without criminal baseness or contemptible inconstancy on
either part.

To give pleasure is not always in our power; and little does he know
himself, who believes that he can be always able to receive it.

Those who would gladly pass their days together may be separated by the
different course of their affairs; and friendship, like love, is
destroyed by long absence, though it may be increased by short
intermissions. What we have

[Sidenote: Necessity produces expedients]

missed long enough to want it, we value more when it is regained; but
that which has been lost till it is forgotten, will be found at last
with little gladness, and with still less, if a substitute has supplied
the place. A man deprived of the companion to whom he used to open his
bosom, and with whom he shared the hours of leisure and merriment, feels
the day at first hanging heavy upon him; his difficulties oppress, and
his doubts distract him; he sees time come and go without his wonted
gratification, and all is sadness within, and solitude about him. But
this uneasiness never lasts long; necessity produces expedients, new
amusements are discovered and new conversation is admitted.

No expectation is more frequently disappointed than that which
naturally

[Sidenote: Friendship after separation]

arises in the mind from the prospect of meeting an old friend after long
separation. We expect the attraction to be revived, and the coalition to
be renewed; no man considers how much alteration time has made in
himself, and very few inquire what effect it has had upon others. The
first hour convinces them that the pleasure which they had formerly
enjoyed, is for ever at an end; the opinions of both are changed; and
that similitude of manners and sentiment is lost which confirmed them
both in the approbation of themselves.

Friendship is often destroyed by opposition of interest, not only by the
ponderous and visible interest which the desire of wealth and greatness
forms and maintains, but by a thousand secret and slight competitions,
scarcely known

[Sidenote: Minute ambition]

to the mind upon which they operate. There is scarcely any man without
some favourite trifle which he values above greater attainments, some
desire of petty praise which he cannot patiently suffer to be
frustrated. This minute ambition is sometimes crossed before it is
known, and sometimes defeated by wanton petulance; but such attacks are
seldom made without the loss of friendship; for whoever has once found
the vulnerable part will be always feared, and the resentment will burn
on in secret, of which shame hinders the discovery.

This, however, is a slow malignity, which a wise man will obviate as
inconsistent with quiet, and a good man will repress as contrary to
virtue; but human happiness is sometimes violated by some more sudden
strokes.

[Sidenote: The enemies of friendship]

A dispute begun in jest upon a subject which a moment before was on both
parts regarded with careless indifference, is continued by the desire of
conquest, till vanity kindles into rage, and opposition rankles into
enmity. Against this hasty mischief, I know not what security can be
obtained; men will sometimes be surprised into quarrels; and though they
might both hasten to reconciliation, as soon as their tumult had
subsided, yet two minds will seldom be found together which can at once
subdue their discontent or immediately enjoy the sweets of peace without
remembering the wounds of the conflict. Friendship has other enemies.
Suspicion is always hardening the cautious, and disgust repelling the
delicate. Very slender differences will sometimes part those whom long
reciprocation of

[Sidenote: Friendship’s fatal disease]

civility or beneficence has united. Lonelove and Ranger retired into the
country to enjoy the company of each other, and returned in six weeks
cold and petulant; Ranger’s pleasure was to walk in the fields, and
Lonelove’s to sit in a bower; each had complied with the other in his
turn, and each was angry that compliance had been exacted.

The most fatal disease of friendship is gradual decay, or dislike hourly
increased by causes too slender for complaint and too numerous for
removal. Those who are angry may be reconciled; those who have been
injured may receive a recompence; but when the decay of pleasing and
willingness to be pleased is silently diminished, the renovation of
friendship is hopeless; as, when the vital powers sink into languor,
there is no longer any use of the physician.



VII

THE TRUE ART OF FRIENDSHIP

SAMUEL JOHNSON, LL.D.

    ‘_Idem velle, et idem nolle, ea demum firma amicitia est._’--SALLUST.

    To live in friendship is to have the same desires and the same aversions.



THE TRUE ART OF FRIENDSHIP


[Sidenote: Naturally enraged]

The fondest and firmest friendships are dissolved by such openness and
sincerity as interrupt our enjoyment of our own approbation, or recall
us to the remembrance of these failings which we are more willing to
indulge than correct.

It is by no means necessary to imagine that he who is offended at advice
was ignorant of the fault, and resents the admonition as a false charge;
for perhaps it is most natural to be enraged when there is the strongest
conviction of our own guilt. While we can easily defend our character,
we are no more disturbed at an accusation than we are alarmed by

[Sidenote: A friend’s reprehension]

an enemy whom we are sure to conquer; and whose attack, therefore, will
bring us honour without danger. But when a man feels the reprehension of
a friend seconded by his own heart, he is easily heated into resentment
and revenge, either because he hoped that the fault of which he was
conscious had escaped the notice of others; or that his friend had
looked upon it with tenderness and extenuation, and excused it for the
sake of his other virtues; or had considered him as too wise to need
advice, or, too delicate to be shocked with reproach: or, because we
cannot feel without pain those reflections round which we have been
endeavouring to lay asleep; and when pain has produced anger, who would
not willingly believe, that it ought to be discharged on others rather
than on himself?

[Sidenote: Virtue may be encouraged]

The resentment produced by sincerity, whatever be its immediate cause,
is so certain, and generally so keen, that very few have magnanimity
sufficient for the practice of a duty which, above most others, exposes
its votaries to hardships and persecutions; yet friendship without it is
of very little value, since the great use of so close an intimacy is,
that our virtues may be guarded and encouraged, and our vices repressed
in their first appearance by timely detection and salutary
remonstrances.

It is decreed by Providence, that nothing truly valuable shall be
obtained in our present state, but with difficulty and danger. He that
hopes for that advantage which is to be gained from unrestrained
communication must sometimes hazard, by unpleasing truths, that
friendship

[Sidenote: Our failings]

which he aspires to merit. The chief rule to be observed in the exercise
of this dangerous office, is to preserve it pure from all mixture of
interest or vanity; to forbear admonition or reproof, when our
consciences tell us that they are incited, not by the hopes of reforming
faults, but the desire of showing our discernment, or gratifying our own
pride by the mortification of another. It is not indeed certain, that
the most refined caution will find a proper time for bringing a man to
the knowledge of his own failings, or the most zealous benevolence
reconcile him to that judgment by which they are detected; but he who
endeavours only the happiness of him whom he reproves will always have
either the satisfaction of obtaining or deserving kindness; if he
succeeds, he benefits his friend; and if he

[Sidenote: Socrates’ opinion]

fails, he has at least the consciousness that he suffers for only doing
well.

       *       *       *       *       *

When Socrates was building himself a house at Athens, being asked by one
that observed the littleness of the design, why a man so eminent would
not have an abode more suitable to his dignity? he replied, that he
should think himself sufficiently accommodated, if he could see that
narrow habitation filled with real friends. Such was the opinion of this
great master of human life, concerning the infrequency of such a union
of minds as might deserve the name of friendship; that among the
multitudes whom vanity or curiosity, civility or veneration crowded
about him, he did not expect that very spacious apartments would be
necessary to contain all that should regard him

[Sidenote: Friendship requires many qualities]

with sincere kindness, or adhere to him with steady fidelity.

So many qualities are indeed requisite to the possibility of friendship,
and so many accidents must concur to its rise and its continuance, that
the greatest part of mankind content themselves without it, and supply
its place as they can, with interest and independence.

Multitudes are unqualified for a constant and warm reciprocation of
benevolence, as they are incapacitated for any other elevated
excellence, by perpetual attention to their interest, and unresisting
subjection to their passions. Long habits may superinduce inability to
deny any desire, or repress, by superior motives, the importunities of
any immediate gratification, and an inveterate selfishness will imagine
all advantages diminished

[Sidenote: Varieties of dispositions]

in proportion as they are communicated.

But not only this hateful and confirmed corruption, but many varieties
of disposition, not inconsistent with common degrees of virtue, may
exclude friendship from the heart. Some, ardent enough in their
benevolence, and defective neither in officiousness nor liberality, are
mutable and uncertain, soon attracted by new objects, disgusted without
offence, and alienated without enmity. Others are soft and flexible,
easily influenced by reports or whispers, ready to catch alarms from
every dubious circumstance, and to listen to every suspicion which envy
and flattery shall suggest, to follow the opinion of every confident
adviser, and move by the impulse of the last breath. Some are impatient

[Sidenote: Varieties of dispositions]

of contradiction, more willing to go wrong by their own judgment than
may be indebted for a better or a safer way to the sagacity of another,
inclined to consider counsel as insult, and inquiry as want of
confidence, and to confer their regard on no other terms than unreserved
submission and implicit compliance.--Some are dark and involved, equally
careful to conceal good and bad purposes; and pleased with producing
effects by invisible means, and showing their design only in its
execution. Others are universally communicative, alike open to every
eye, and equally profuse of their own secrets and those of others,
without the necessary vigilance of caution, or the honest arts of
prudent integrity, ready to accuse without malice, and to betray without
treachery. Any of these may be useful

[Sidenote: Varieties of dispositions]

to the community, and pass through the world with the reputation of good
purpose and uncorrupted morals, but they are unfit for close and tender
intimacies. He cannot properly be chosen for a friend, whose kindness is
exhaled by his own warmth, or frozen by the first blast of slander; he
cannot be a useful counsellor, who will hear no opinion but his own; he
will not much invite confidence whose principal maxim is to suspect; nor
can candour and frankness of that man be much esteemed, who spreads his
arms to humankind, and makes every man, without distinction, a denizen
of his bosom.

That friendship may be at once fond and lasting, there must not only be
equal virtue on each part, but virtue of the same kind; not only the
same end must be proposed, but the same means must be

[Sidenote: Candidates for friendship]

approved by both. We are often, by superficial accomplishments and
accidental endearments, induced to love those whom we cannot esteem; we
are sometimes, by great abilities, and incontestable evidences of
virtue, compelled to esteem those whom we cannot love. But friendship,
compounded of esteem and love, derives from one its tenderness, and its
permanence from the other; and therefore, requires not only that its
candidates should gain the judgment, but that they should attract the
affections; that they should not only be firm in the day of distress,
but gay in the hour of jollity; not only useful in exigencies, but
pleasing in familiar life; their presence should give cheerfulness as
well as courage, and dispel alike the gloom of fear and of melancholy.

[Sidenote: Mutual complacency]

To this mutual complacency is generally requisite a uniformity of
opinions, at least of those active and conspicuous principles which
discriminate parties in government and sects in religion, and which
every day operate more or less on the common business of life. For
though great tenderness has, perhaps, been sometimes known to continue
between men eminently in contrary factions; yet such friends are to be
shown rather as prodigies than examples; and it is no more proper to
regulate our conduct by such instances than to leap a precipice, because
some have fallen from it and escaped with life.

It cannot but be extremely difficult to preserve private kindness in the
midst of public opposition, in which will necessarily be involved a
thousand incidents, extending their influence to conversation

[Sidenote: Private kindness]

and privacy. Men engaged, by moral or religious motives, in contrary
parties will generally look with different eyes upon every man, and
decide almost every question upon different principles. When such
occasions of dispute happen, to comply is to betray our cause, and to
maintain friendship, by ceasing to deserve it; to be silent is to lose
the happiness and dignity of independence, to live in perpetual
constraint, and to desert if not to betray; and who shall determine
which of two friends shall yield, where neither believes himself
mistaken, and both confess the importance of the question? What then
remains but contradiction and debate? and from these what can be
expected but acrimony and vehemence, the insolence of triumph, the
vexation of defeat, and, in time, a weariness of contest,

[Sidenote: The pleasures and cares of friends]

and an extinction of benevolence? Exchange of endearments and
intercourse of civility may continue, indeed, as boughs may for a while
be verdant when the root is wounded; but the poison of discord is
infused, and though the countenance may preserve its smile, the heart is
hardening and contracting.

That man will not be long agreeable whom we see only in times of
seriousness and severity; and, therefore, to maintain the softness and
serenity of benevolence, it is necessary that friends partake each
other’s pleasures as well as cares, and be led to the same diversions by
similitude of taste. This is, however, not to be considered as equally
indispensable with conformity of principles, because any man may
honestly, according to Horace, resign the gratifications of taste to
the

[Sidenote: The flame of friendship]

humour of another, and friendship may well deserve the sacrifice of
pleasure, though not of conscience.

It was once confessed to me, by a painter, that no professor of his art
ever loved another. This declaration is so far justified by the
knowledge of life as to damp the hopes of warm and constant friendship
between men whom their studies have made competitors, and whom every
favourer and every censurer are hourly inciting against each other. The
utmost expectation that experience can warrant us, is, that they should
forbear open hostilities and secret machinations, and when the whole
fraternity is attacked, be able to unite against a common foe. Some,
however, though few, may perhaps be found in whom emulation has not been
able to overpower generosity,

[Sidenote: Imperfect earthly blessings]

who are distinguished from lower beings by nobler motives than the love
of fame, and can preserve the sacred flame of friendship from the gusts
of pride and the rubbish of interest.

Friendship is seldom lasting but between equals, or where the
superiority on one side is reduced by some equivalent advantage on the
other. Benefits which cannot be repaid, and obligations which cannot be
discharged, are not commonly found to increase affection; they excite
gratitude indeed, and heighten veneration, but commonly take away that
easy freedom and familiarity of intercourse, without which, though there
may be fidelity and zeal and admiration, there cannot be friendship.

Thus imperfect are all earthly blessings; the great effect of friendship
is

[Sidenote: Duty before convenience]

beneficence, yet by the first act of uncommon kindness it is endangered,
like plants that bear fruit and die. Yet this consideration ought not to
restrain bounty or repress compassion; for duty is to be preferred
before convenience, and he that loses part of the pleasures of
friendship by his generosity, gains in its place the gratulation of his
conscience.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]



VIII

THE VIRTUE OF FRIENDSHIP

GEORGE BERKELEY



THE VIRTUE OF FRIENDSHIP


[Sidenote: The universe]

If we consider the whole scope of the creation that lies within our
view, the moral and intellectual, as well as the natural and corporeal,
we shall perceive throughout, a certain correspondence of the parts, a
similitude of operation, and unity of design, which plainly demonstrate
the universe to be the work of one infinitely good and wise being; and
that the system of thinking beings is actuated by laws derived from the
same divine power which ordained those by which the corporeal system is
upheld.

From the contemplation of the order, motion, and cohesion of natural
bodies, philosophers are now agreed, that there is a mutual attraction
between the most

[Sidenote: Mutual attraction]

distant parts at least of this solar system. All those bodies that
revolve round the sun are drawn towards each other, and towards the sun,
by some secret, uniform, and never-ceasing principle. Hence it is that
the earth (as well as the other planets), without flying off in a
tangent line, constantly rolls about the sun, and the moon about the
earth, without deserting her companion in so many thousand years. And as
the larger systems of the universe are held together by this cause, so
likewise the particular globes derive their cohesion and consistence
from it.

Now if we carry our thoughts from the corporeal to the moral world, we
may observe in the spirits or minds of men, a like principle of
attraction, whereby they are drawn together in communities, clubs,
families, friendships, and all the

[Sidenote: Mutual attraction]

various species of society. As in bodies, where the quantity is the
same, the attraction is strongest between those which are placed nearest
to each other; so it is likewise in the minds of men, _cæteris paribus_,
between those which are most nearly related. Bodies that are placed at
the distance of many millions of miles, may nevertheless attract and
constantly operate on each other, although this action do not show
itself by a union or approach of those distant bodies so long as they
are withheld by the contrary forces of other bodies, which, at the same
time, attract them different ways; but would, on the supposed removal of
all other bodies, mutually approach and unite with each other. The like
holds with regard to the human soul, whose affection towards the
individuals of the same species,

[Sidenote: The soul’s affection]

who are distantly related to it, is rendered inconspicuous by its more
powerful attraction towards those who have a nearer relation to it. But
as those are removed, the tendency which before lay concealed, doth
gradually disclose itself.

A man who has no family is more strongly attracted towards his friends
and neighbours; and if absent from these, he naturally falls into an
acquaintance with those of his own city or country who chance to be in
the same place. Two Englishmen meeting at Rome or Constantinople, soon
run into familiarity. And in China or Japan, Europeans would think their
being so a good reason for their uniting in particular converse.
Farther, in case we suppose ourselves translated into Jupiter or Saturn,
and there to meet a Chinese or other more distant

[Sidenote: Natural reflections]

native of our own planet, we should look on him as a near relation, and
readily commence a friendship with him. These are natural reflections,
and such as may convince us that we are linked by an imperceptible chain
to every individual of the human race.

The several great bodies which compose the solar system are kept from
joining together at the common centre of gravity by the rectilinear
motions the author of nature has impressed on each of them; which,
concurring with the attractive principle, form their respective orbits
round the sun; upon the ceasing of which motions, the general law of
gravitation that is now thwarted, would show itself by drawing them all
into one mass. After the same manner, in the parallel case of society,
private passions

[Sidenote: Mutual gravitation]

and motions of the soul do often obstruct the operation of that
benevolent uniting instinct implanted in human nature; which,
notwithstanding, doth still exert, and will not fail to show itself when
those obstructions are taken away.

The mutual gravitation of bodies cannot be explained any other way than
by resolving it into the immediate operation of God, who never ceases to
dispose and actuate his creatures in a manner suitable to their
respective beings. So neither can that reciprocal attraction in the
minds of men be accounted for by any other cause. It is not the result
of education, law, or fashion; but is a principle originally ingrafted
in the very first formation of the soul by the author of our nature.

And as the attractive power in bodies

[Sidenote: Sympathy in our nature]

is the most universal principle which produceth innumerable effects, and
is a key to explain the various phenomena of nature; so the
corresponding social appetite in human souls is the great spring and
source of moral actions. This it is that inclines each individual to an
intercourse with his species, and models every one to that behaviour
which best suits with the common well-being. Hence that sympathy in our
nature, whereby we feel the pains and joys of our fellow creatures.
Hence that prevalent love in parents towards their children, which is
neither founded on the merit of the object, nor yet on self-interest. It
is this that makes us inquisitive concerning the affairs of distant
nations, which can have no influence on our own. It is this that extends
our care to future generations,

[Sidenote: The duty of mankind]

and excites us to acts of beneficence towards those who are not yet in
being, and consequently from whom we can expect no recompence. In a
word, hence arises that diffusive sense of humanity so unaccountable to
the selfish man who is untouched with it, and is indeed a sort of
monster, or anomalous production.

These thoughts do naturally suggest the following particulars. First,
that as social inclinations are absolutely necessary to the well-being
of the world, it is the duty and interest of each individual to cherish
and improve them to the benefit of mankind; the duty, because it is
agreeable to the intention of the author of our being, who aims at the
common good of his creatures, and as an indication of his will, hath
implanted the seeds of mutual benevolence in our souls; the

[Sidenote: The proof of religion]

interest, because the good of the whole is inseparable from that of the
parts; in promoting, therefore, the common good, every one doth at the
same time promote his own private interest. Another observation I shall
draw from the premises is, that it makes a signal proof of the divinity
of the Christian religion, that the main duty which it inculcates above
all others is charity. Different maxims and precepts have distinguished
the different sects of philosophy and religion; our Lord’s peculiar
precept is, ‘Love thy neighbour as thyself. By this shall all men know
that you are my disciples, if you love one another.’

I will not say, that what is a most shining proof of our religion, is
not often a reproach to its professors: but this I think very plain,
that whether we regard

[Sidenote: The nobility of religion]

the analogy of nature, as it appears in the mutual attraction or
gravitations of the mundane system, in the general frame and
constitution of the human soul; or lastly, in the ends and aptnesses
which are discoverable in all parts of the visible and intellectual
world; we shall not doubt but the precept, which is the characteristic
of our religion, came from the author of nature. Some of our modern
free-thinkers would indeed insinuate the Christian morals to be
defective, because, say they, there is no mention made in the gospel of
the virtue of friendship. These sagacious men (if I may be allowed the
use of that vulgar saying) ‘cannot see the wood for trees.’ That a
religion, whereof the main drift is to inspire its professors with the
most noble and disinterested spirit of love, charity, and

[Sidenote: Religion vindicated]

beneficence, to all mankind; or, in other words, with a friendship to
every individual man; should be taxed with the want of that very virtue
is surely a glaring evidence of the blindness and prejudice of its
adversaries.

[Illustration]



IX

ON THE CHOICE OF FRIENDS

SIR RICHARD STEELE



ON THE CHOICE OF FRIENDS


[Sidenote: Our reason and our temper]

When a man is in a serious mood, and ponders upon his own make, with a
retrospect to the actions of his life, and the many fatal miscarriages
in it, which he owes to ungoverned passions, he is then apt to say to
himself, that experience has guarded him against such errors for the
future: but nature often recurs in spite of his best resolutions; and it
is to the very end of our days a struggle between our reason and our
temper, which shall have the empire over us. However, this is very much
to be helped by circumspection, and a constant alarm against the first
onsets of passion. As this is, in general, a necesary

[Sidenote: Joys and griefs in proportion]

care to make a man’s life easy and agreeable to himself; so it is more
particularly the duty of such as are engaged in friendship, and nearer
commerce with others. Those who have their joys have also their griefs
in proportion; and none can extremely exalt or depress friends, but
friends. The harsh things which come from the rest of the world are
received and repulsed with that spirit, which every honest man bears for
his own vindication; but unkindness, in words or actions, among friends,
affects us at the first instant in the inmost recesses of our souls.
Indifferent people, if I may so say, can wound us only in heterogeneous
parts, maim us in our legs or arms; but the friend can make no _pass_
but at the heart itself. On the other side, the most impotent
assistance, the mere _well wishes_ of

[Sidenote: Friendship and marriage]

a friend, gives a man constancy and courage against the most prevailing
force of his enemies. It is here only a man enjoys and suffers to the
quick. For this reason the most gentle behaviour is absolutely necessary
to maintain friendship in any degree above the common level of
acquaintance. But there is a relation of life much more near than the
most strict and savoured friendship, that is to say, marriage. This
union is of too close and delicate a nature to be easily conceived by
those who do not know that condition by experience. Here a man should,
if possible, soften his passions; if not for his own ease, in compliance
to a creature formed with a mind of a quite different make from his own.
I am sure, I do not mean it an injury to women, when I say there is a
sort of sex in souls.

[Sidenote: Sex in souls]

I am tender of offending them, and know it is hard not to do it on this
subject; but I must go on to say, that the soul of a man, and that of a
woman, are made very unlike, according to the employments for which they
are designed. The ladies will please to observe, I say, our minds have
different, not superior qualities to theirs. The virtues have
respectively a masculine and a feminine cast. What we call in men
_wisdom_, is in women _prudence_. It is a partiality, to call one
greater than the other. A _prudent_ woman is in the same class of honour
as a _wise_ man, and the scandals in the way of both are equally
dangerous. But to make this state anything but a burden, and not hang a
weight upon our very beings, it is proper each of the couple should
frequently remember, that there are many things which grow

[Sidenote: Characteristics of men and women]

out of their very natures that are pardonable, nay, becoming, when
considered as such, but, without that reflection, must give the quickest
pain and vexation. To manage well a great family is as worthy an
instance of capacity as to execute a great employment: and for the
generality, as women perform the considerable part of their duties, as
well as men do theirs; so in their common behaviour, females of ordinary
genius are not more trivial than the common rate of men; and, in my
opinion, the playing of a fan is every whit as good an entertainment as
the beating of a snuff-box.

But, however, I have rambled in this libertine manner of writing by way
of _Essay_, I now sat down with an intention to represent to my readers
how pernicious, how sudden, and how fatal

[Sidenote: Passion’s terrible effects]

surprises of passion are to the mind of man; and that in the more
intimate commerces of life they are more liable to arise, even in our
most sedate and indolent hours. Occurrences of this kind have had very
terrible effects; and when one reflects upon them, we cannot but tremble
to consider what we are capable of being wrought up to, against all the
ties of nature, love, honour, reason, and religion, though the man who
breaks through them all, had, an hour before he did so, a lively and
virtuous sense of their dictates. When unhappy catastrophes make up part
of the history of princes and persons who act in high spheres, or are
represented in the moving language and well-wrought scenes of
tragedians, they do not fail of striking us with terror; but then they
affect us only in a transient manner, and

[Sidenote: Mistaking fortune for nature]

pass through our imaginations as incidents in which our fortunes are too
humble to be concerned, or which writers form for the ostentation of
their own force; or, at most, as things fit rather to exercise the
powers of our minds, than to create new habits in them. Instead of such
high passages, I was thinking it would be of great use, if anybody could
hit it, to lay before the world such adventures as befall persons not
exalted above the common level. This, methought, would better prevail
upon the ordinary race of men; who are so prepossessed with outward
appearances, that they mistake fortune for nature, and believe nothing
can relate to them, that does not happen to such as live and look like
themselves.



X

THE QUALIFICATIONS OF FRIENDSHIP

JOSEPH ADDISON



THE QUALIFICATIONS OF FRIENDSHIP

    ‘_Nos duo turba sumus._’--OVID.

       We two are a multitude.


[Sidenote: Of conversation]

One would think that the larger the company is in which we are engaged,
the greater variety of thoughts and subjects would be started in
discourse; but, instead of this, we find that conversation is never so
much straitened and confined as in numerous assemblies. When a multitude
meet together on any subject of discourse, their debates are taken up
chiefly with forms and general positions; nay, if we come into a more
contracted assembly of men and women, the talk generally runs upon the
weather, fashions, news, and the like public topics. In proportion as

[Sidenote: Discourse between intimate friends]

conversation gets into clubs and knots of friends, it descends into
particulars, and friends grows more free and communicative: but the most
open, instructive, and unreserved discourse, is that which passes
between two persons who are familiar and intimate friends. On these
occasions, a man gives a loose to every passion and every thought that
is uppermost, discovers his most retired opinions of persons and things,
tries the beauty and strength of his sentiments, and exposes his whole
soul to the examination of his friend.

Tully was the first who observed that friendship improves happiness and
abates misery, by the doubling of our joy and dividing of our grief; a
thought in which he hath been followed by all the essayers upon
friendship that have written since his time. Sir Francis Bacon has
finely described

[Sidenote: The art of making friends]

other advantages, or, as he calls them, fruits of friendship; and,
indeed, there is no subject of morality which has been better handled
and more exhausted than this. Among the several fine things which have
been spoken of it, I shall beg leave to quote some out of a very ancient
author,[1] whose book would be regarded by our modern wits as one of the
most shining tracts of morality that is extant, if it appeared under the
name of a Confucius, or of any celebrated Grecian philosopher: I mean
the little apocryphal treatise, entitled _The Wisdom of the Son of
Sirach_. How finely has he described the art of making friends by an
obliging and affable behaviour! And laid down that precept, which a late
excellent author has delivered as his own, that we should have many

[1: The quotations made are from Ecclesiasticus.--ED.]

[Sidenote: The choice of our friends]

well-wishers, but few friends. ‘Sweet language will multiply friends;
and a fair-speaking tongue will increase kind greetings. Be in peace
with many, nevertheless have but one councellor of a thousand.’ With
what prudence does he caution us in the choice of our friends! And with
what strokes of nature (I could almost say of humour) has he described
the behaviour of a treacherous and self-interested friend! ‘If thou
wouldest get a friend, prove him first, and be not hasty to credit him:
for some man is a friend for his own occasion, and will not abide in the
day of thy trouble. And there is a friend who being turned to enmity and
strife, will discover thy reproach.’ Again, ‘Some friend is a companion
at the table, and will not continue in the day of thy affliction; but,
in thy prosperity he will be as thyself,

[Sidenote: An eulogium of friendship]

and will be bold over thy servants. If thou be brought low he will be
against thee, and hide himself from thy face.’ What can be more strong
and pointed than the following verse? ‘Separate thyself from thine
enemies, and take heed of thy friends.’ In the next words he
particularises one of those fruits of friendship which is described at
length by the two famous authors above mentioned, and falls into a
general eulogium of friendship which is very just as well as very
sublime. ‘A faithful friend is a strong defence; and he that hath found
such a one hath found a treasure. Nothing doth countervail a faithful
friend, and his excellency is valuable. A faithful friend is the
medicine of life; and they that fear the Lord shall find him. Whoso
feareth the Lord shall direct his friendship

[Sidenote: Friends new and old]

aright; for as he is, so shall his neighbour (that is his friend) be
also.’

I do not remember to have met with any saying that has pleased me more
than that of a friend’s being the medicine of life, to express the
efficacy of friendship in healing the pains and anguish which naturally
cleave to our existence in this world; and am wonderfully pleased with
the turn in the last sentence, that a virtuous man shall as a blessing
meet with a friend who is as virtuous as himself. There is another
saying in the same author, which would have been very much admired in an
heathen writer: ‘Forsake not an old friend, for the new is not
comparable to him; a new friend is as new wine; when it is old thou
shalt drink it with pleasure.’ With what strength of allusion and force
of thought has he described the breaches and violations of
friendship?--‘Whoso casteth a stone

[Sidenote: Familiar sentences]

at the birds frayeth them away; and he that upbraideth his friend,
breaketh friendship. Though thou drawest a sword at a friend, yet
despair not, for there may be a returning to favour. If thou hast opened
thy mouth against thy friend, fear not, for there may be a
reconciliation; except for upbraiding, or pride, or disclosing of
secrets, or a treacherous wound; for, for these things every friend will
depart.’ We may observe in this and several other precepts in this
author, those little, familiar sentences and illustrations which are so
much admired in the moral writings of Horace and Epictetus. There are
very beautiful instances of this nature in the following passages, which
are likewise written upon the same subject. ‘Whoso discovereth secrets,
loseth his credit, and shall never find a friend to his mind. Love thy
friend, and be faithful unto him; but

[Sidenote: Qualifications of a good friend]

if thou bewrayeth his secret follow no more after him: for as a man hath
destroyed his enemy, so hast thou lost the love of thy friend; as one
that letteth a bird go out of his hand, so hast thou let thy friend go,
and shall not get him again; follow after him no more, for he is too far
off; he is as a roe escaped out of the snare. As for a wound it may be
bound up, and after reviling there may be a reconciliation: but he that
bewrayeth secrets is without hope.’

Among the several qualifications of a good friend, this wise man has
very justly singled out constancy and faithfulness as the principal: to
these, others have added virtue, knowledge, discretion, equality in age
and fortune, and Cicero calls it _Morum comitas_, ‘a pleasantness of
temper.’ If I were to give my opinion upon such an exhausted subject, I
should join to these

[Sidenote: Martial’s epigram]

other qualifications, a certain equability or evenness of behaviour. A
man often contracts a friendship with one whom perhaps he does not find
out till after a year’s conversation; when on a sudden some latent ill
humour breaks out upon him, which he never discovered or suspected at
his first entering into an intimacy with him. There are several who in
certain periods of their lives are inexpressibly agreeable, and in
others as odious and detestable. Martial has given us a very pretty
picture of one of this species, in the following epigram:

    ‘_Difficilis, facilis, jucundus, acerbus es idem,_
    _Nec tecum possum vivere, nec sine te._’

    In all thy humours, whether grave or mellow,
    Thou’rt such a touchy, testy, pleasant fellow;
    Hast so much wit, and mirth, and spleen about thee,
    There is no living with thee, nor without thee.

[Sidenote: Our greatest task]

It is very unlucky for a man to be entangled in a friendship with one,
who, by these changes and vicissitudes of humour, is sometimes amiable,
and sometimes odious: and as most men are at some time in admirable
frame and disposition of mind, it should be one of the greatest tasks of
wisdom to keep ourselves well when we are so, and never to go out of
that which is the agreeable part of our character.

[Illustration]



XI

OF FRIENDSHIP

FRANCIS BACON



OF FRIENDSHIP


[Sidenote: Solitude and friendship]

It had been hard for him that spake it, to have put more truth and
untruth together, in few words, than in that speech; ‘Whosoever is
delighted in solitude is either a wild beast, or a god.’ For it is most
true, that a natural and secret hatred, and aversation towards society,
in any man, hath somewhat of the savage beast; but it is most untrue,
that it should have any character, at all, of the divine nature; except
it proceed, not out of a pleasure in solitude, but out of a love and
desire to sequester a man’s self for a higher conversation: such as is
found to have been falsely and feignedly in some of the heathen; as
Epimenides the Candian, Numa the Roman,

[Sidenote: Friendship in cities]

Empedocles the Sicilian, and Apollonius of Tyana; and truly and really,
in divers of the ancient hermits, and holy fathers of the Church. But
little do men perceive what solitude is and how far it extendeth. For a
crowd is not company; and faces are but a gallery of pictures; and talk
but a tinkling cymbal, where there is no love. The Latin adage meeteth
with it a little; ‘_Magna civitas, magna solitudo_’; because in a great
town friends are scattered; so that there is not that fellowship, for
the most part, which is in less neighbourhoods. But we may go further,
and affirm most truly; that it is a mere, and miserable solitude, to
want true friends; without which the world is but a wilderness: and even
in this sense also of solitude, whosoever in the frame of his nature and
affections is

[Sidenote: The fruit of friendship]

unfit for friendship, he taketh it of the beast, and not from humanity.

A principal fruit of friendship is the ease and discharge of the fulness
and swellings of the heart, which passions of all kinds do cause and
induce. We know diseases of stoppings, and suffocations, are the most
dangerous in the body; and it is not much otherwise in the mind: you may
take sarza to open the liver; steel to open the spleen; flower of
sulphur for the lungs; castoreum for the brain; but no receipt openeth
the heart, but a true friend; to whom you may impart griefs, joys,
fears, hopes, suspicions, counsels, and whatsoever lieth upon the heart,
to oppress it, in a kind of civil shrift or confession.

It is a strange thing to observe, how high a rate great kings and
monarchs, do

[Sidenote: The friendship of princes]

set upon this fruit of friendship, whereof we speak: so great, as they
purchase it, many times, at the hazard of their own safety, and
greatness. For princes, in regard of the distance of their fortune, from
that of their subjects and servants, cannot gather this fruit; except
(to make themselves capable thereof) they raise some persons, to be as
it were companions, and almost equals to themselves, which many times
sorteth to inconvenience. The modern languages give unto such persons
the name of favourites, or privadoes; as if it were matter of grace, or
conversation. But the Roman name attaineth the true use, and cause
thereof; naming them _participes curarum_; for it is that which tieth
the knot. And we see plainly, that this hath been done, not by weak and
passionate princes only, but by

[Sidenote: Sylla and Pompey]

the wisest, and most politic that ever reigned; who have oftentimes
joined to themselves some of their servants; whom both themselves have
called friends; and allowed others likewise to call them in the same
manner; using the word which is received between private men.

L. Sylla, when he commanded Rome, raised Pompey (after surnamed the
Great) to that height, that Pompey vaunted himself for Sylla’s
overmatch. For when he had carried the consulship for a friend of his,
against the pursuit of Sylla, and that Sylla did a little resent
thereat, and began to speak great, Pompey turned upon him again, and in
effect bade him be quiet; ‘for that more men adored the sun rising, than
the sun setting.’ With Julius Cæsar, Decimus Brutus had obtained that
interest, as he set him down, in his testament,

[Sidenote: Mæcenas]

for heir in remainder, after his nephew. And this was the man that had
power with him to draw him forth to his death. For when Cæsar would have
discharged the senate, in regard of some ill presages, and specially a
dream of Calpurnia, this man lifted him gently by the arm, out of his
chair, telling him, he hoped he would not dismiss the senate, till his
wife had dreamed a better dream. And it seemeth, his favour was so
great, as Antonius in a letter, which is recited verbatim, in one of
Cicero’s Philippics, calleth him _venefica_, witch; as if he had
enchanted Cæsar. Augustus raised Agrippa (though of mean birth) to that
height, as when he consulted with Mæcenas, about the marriage of his
daughter Julia, Mæcenas took the liberty to tell him; ‘That he must
either marry his

[Sidenote: Friendship’s altar]

daughter to Agrippa, or take away his life, there was no third way, he
had made him so great.’ With Tiberius Cæsar, Sejanus had ascended to
that height, as they two were termed and reckoned as a pair of friends.
Tiberius in a letter to him saith; ‘_Hæc pro amicitiâ nostrâ non
occultavi_.’ And the whole senate dedicated an altar to friendship as to
a goddess, in respect of the great dearness of friendship between them
two. The like or more was between Septimius Severus, and Plautianus. For
he forced his eldest son to marry the daughter of Plautianus; and would
often maintain Plautianus, in doing affronts to his son; and did write
also in a letter to the senate, by these words; ‘I love the man so well,
as I wish he may overlive me.’ Now if these princes had been as a
Trajan, or a Marcus

[Sidenote: The comfort of friendship]

Aurelius, a man might have thought that this had proceeded of an
abundant goodness of nature; but being men so wise, of such strength and
severity of mind, and so extreme lovers of themselves, as all these
were; it proveth most plainly, that they found their own felicity
(though as great as ever happened to mortal men) but as a half-piece,
except they might have a friend to make it entire: and yet, which is
more, they were princes that had wives, sons, nephews; and yet all these
could not supply the comfort of friendship.

It is not to be forgotten, what Commineus observeth, of his first master
Duke Charles the Hardy; namely, that he would communicate his secrets
with none; and, least of all, those secrets which troubled him most.
Whereupon

[Sidenote: Of communicating one’s self]

he goeth on, and saith, that towards his latter time; ‘that closeness
did impair, and a little perish his understanding.’ Surely Commineus
might have made the same judgment also, if it had pleased him, of his
second master Lewis the Eleventh, whose closeness was indeed his
tormentor. The parable of Pythagoras is dark, but true; ‘_Cor ne edito_’
(eat not the heart). Certainly, if a man would give it a hard phrase,
those that want friends to open themselves unto are cannibals of their
own hearts. But one thing is most admirable (wherewith I will conclude
this first fruit of friendship), which is, that this communicating of a
man’s self to his friend, works two contrary effects; for it redoubleth
joys, and cutteth griefs in halves. For there is no man, that imparteth
his joys to his friend, but

[Sidenote: Friendship maketh a fair day]

he joyeth the more; and no man, that imparteth his griefs to his friend,
but he grieveth the less. So that it is, in truth of operation upon a
man’s mind, of like virtue as the alchemists use to attribute to their
stone for man’s body; that it worketh all contrary effects, but still to
the good, and benefit of nature. But yet, without praying in aid of
alchemists, there is a manifest image of this in the ordinary course of
nature. For in bodies union strengtheneth and cherisheth any natural
action; and, on the other side, weakeneth and dulleth any violent
impression: and even so is it of minds.

The second fruit of friendship is healthful and sovereign for the
understanding, as the first is for the affections. For friendship maketh
indeed a fair day in the affections, from storm and tempests: but

[Sidenote: Of discourse with a friend]

it maketh daylight in the understanding, out of darkness and confusion
of thoughts. Neither is this to be understood only of faithful counsel,
which a man receiveth from his friend; but before you come to that,
certain it is, that whosoever hath his mind fraught with many thoughts,
his wits and understanding do clarify and break up, in the communicating
and discoursing with another: he tosseth his thoughts more easily; he
marshalleth them more orderly; he seeth how they look when they are
turned into words; finally, he waxeth wiser than himself; and that more
by an hour’s discourse, than by a day’s meditation. It was well said by
Themistocles to the King of Persia; ‘That speech was like cloth of
Arras, opened, and put abroad; whereby the imagery doth

[Sidenote: Of friendly counsel]

appear in figure; whereas in thoughts, they lie but as in packs.’
Neither is this second fruit of friendship, in opening the
understanding, restrained only to such friends as are able to give a man
counsel: (they indeed are best) but even, without that, a man learneth
of himself, and bringeth his own thoughts to light, and whetteth his
wits as against a stone, which itself cuts not. In a word, a man were
better relate himself to a statue, or picture, than to suffer his
thoughts to pass in smother.

Add now, to make this second fruit of friendship complete, that other
point, which lieth more open, and falleth within vulgar observation;
which is faithful counsel from a friend. Heraclitus saith well, in one
of his enigmas; ‘Dry light is ever the best.’ And certain it is, that

[Sidenote: Of friendly counsel]

the light that a man receiveth by counsel from another, is drier, and
purer, than that which cometh from his own understanding, and judgment;
which is ever infused and drenched in his affections and customs. So as,
there is as much difference between the counsel that a friend giveth,
and that a man giveth himself, as there is between the counsel of a
friend, and of a flatterer. For there is no such flatterer as is a man’s
self; and there is no such remedy, against flattery of a man’s self, as
the liberty of a friend. Counsel is of two sorts; the one concerning
manners, the other concerning business. For the first; the best
preservative to keep the mind in health is the faithful admonition of a
friend. The calling of a man’s self to a strict account is a medicine
sometime too piercing and

[Sidenote: Of admonition]

corrosive. Reading good books of morality is a little flat, and dead.
Observing our faults in others is sometimes improper for our case. But
the best receipt (best (I say) to work, and best to take) is the
admonition of a friend. It is a strange thing to behold, what gross
errors, and extreme absurdities, many (especially of the greater sort)
do commit, for want of a friend, to tell them of them; to the great
damage, both of their fame and fortune. For, as St. James saith, they
are as men, ‘that look sometimes into a glass, and presently forget
their own shape, and favour.’ As for business, a man may think, if he
will, that two eyes see no more than one; or that a gamester seeth
always more than a looker-on; or that a man in anger is as wise as he
that hath said over the four-and-twenty letters; or that a

[Sidenote: The help of good counsel]

musket may be shot off as well upon the arm, as upon a rest; and such
other fond and high imaginations, to think himself all in all. But when
all is done, the help of good counsel is that which setteth business
straight. And if any man think that he will take counsel, but it shall
be by pieces; asking counsel in one business of one man, and in another
business of another man: it is well (that is to say, better perhaps than
if he asked none at all); but he runneth two dangers: one, that he shall
not be faithfully counselled; for it is a rare thing, except it be from
a perfect and entire friend, to have counsel given, but such as shall be
bowed and crooked to some ends, which he hath that giveth it. The other,
that he shall have counsel given, hurtful and unsafe (though with good
meaning), and mixed,

[Sidenote: Scattered counsels to be avoided]

partly of mischief, and partly of remedy: even as if you would call a
physician, that is thought good, for the cure of the disease you
complain of, but is unacquainted with your body; and therefore, may put
you in way for a present cure, but overthroweth your health in some
other kind; and so cure the disease, and kill the patient. But a friend,
that is wholly acquainted with a man’s estate, will beware by furthering
any present business how he dasheth upon other inconvenience. And
therefore, rest not upon scattered counsels; they will rather distract,
and mislead, than settle and direct.

After these two noble fruits of friendship (peace in the affections, and
support of the judgment) followeth the last fruit; which is like the
pomegranate, full of many kernels; I mean aid, and bearing

[Sidenote: Friendship’s uses]

a part, in all actions, and occasions. Here, the best way to represent
to life the manifold use of friendship is to cast and see how many
things there are which a man cannot do himself; and then it will appear,
that it was a sparing speech of the ancients to say, ‘That a friend is
another himself’: for that a friend is far more than himself. Men have
their time, and die many times in desire of some things which they
principally take to heart; the bestowing of a child, the finishing of a
work, or the like. If a man have a true friend, he may rest almost
secure that the care of those things will continue after him. So that a
man hath as it were two lives in his desires. A man hath a body, and
that body is confined to a place; but where friendship is, all offices
of life are as it were granted to him, and his deputy. For he may
exercise

[Sidenote: That friendship is valuable]

them by his friend. How many things are there which a man cannot, with
any face or comeliness, say or do himself? A man can scarce allege his
own merits with modesty, much less extol them: a man cannot sometimes
brook to supplicate or beg: and a number of the like. But all these
things are graceful in a friend’s mouth, which are blushing in a man’s
own. So again, a man’s person hath many proper relations, which he
cannot put off. A man cannot speak to his son, but as a father; to his
wife, but as a husband; to his enemy, but upon terms: whereas a friend
may speak, as the case requires, and not as it sorteth with the person.
But to enumerate these things were endless: I have given the rule, where
a man cannot fitly play his own part: if he have not a friend, he may
quit the stage.



XII

OF FRIENDSHIP

MICHAEL, LORD OF MONTAIGNE


       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: Society]

There is nothing to which Nature hath more addressed us than to society.
And _Aristotle_ saith, _that perfect Law-givers have had more regardful
care of friendship than of justice_. And the utmost drift of its
perfection is this. For generally, all those amities which are forged
and nourished by voluptuousness or profit, public or private need, are
thereby so much the less fair and generous, and so much the less true
amities, in that they intermeddle other causes, scope, and fruit with
friendship, than itself alone: Nor do those four ancient kinds of
friendships, _Natural_, _social_, _hospitable_, and _venerian_, either
particularly or conjointly

[Sidenote: The chief offices of friendship]

beseem the same. That from children to parents may rather be termed
respect: Friendship is nourished by communication, which by reason of
the over-great disparity cannot be found in them, and would happily
offend the duties of nature: for neither all the secret thoughts of
parents can be communicated unto children, lest it might engender an
unbeseeming familiarity between them, nor the admonitions and
corrections (which are the chiefest offices of friendship) could be
exercised from children to parents. There have nations been found,
where, by custom, children killed their parents, and others, where
parents slew their children, thereby to avoid the hindrance of
enter-bearing one another in aftertimes: for naturally one dependeth
from the ruin of another.... Verily the name of Brother is

[Sidenote: A glorious name]

a glorious name, and full of loving kindness, and therefore did he and I
term one another sworn brother: but this commixture, dividence, and
sharing of goods, this joining wealth to wealth, and that the riches of
one shall be the poverty of another, doth exceedingly distemper and
distract all brotherly alliance, and lovely conjunction: If brothers
should conduct the progress of their advancement and thrift in one same
path and course, they must necessarily oftentimes hinder and cross one
another. Moreover, the correspondency and relation that begetteth these
true and mutually perfect amities, why shall it be found in these? The
father and the son may very well be of a far differing complexion, and
so [may] brothers: He is my son, he is my kinsman; but he may be a fool,
a bad, or a

[Sidenote: Father and son]

peevish-minded man. And then according as they are friendships, which
the law and duty of nature doth command us, so much the less of our own
voluntary choice and liberty is there required unto it: And our genuine
liberty hath no production more properly her own, than that of affection
and amity. Sure I am, that concerning the same I have assayed all that
might be, having had the best and most indulgent father that ever was,
even to his extremest age, and who from father to son was descended of a
famous house, and touching this rare-seen virtue of brotherly concord
very exemplary:

            ‘--_et ipse_
    _Notus in fratres animi paterni_.’
              HOR. ii. _Od._ ii. 6.

    To his brothers known so kind,
    As to bear a father’s mind.

To compare the affection toward

[Sidenote: True friendship]

women unto it, although it proceed from our own free choice, a man
cannot, nor may it be placed in this rank: Her fire, I confess it

        ‘(--_neque enim est dea nescia nostri_
    _Quæ dulcem curis miscet amaritiem_.)’

    (Nor is that Goddess ignorant of me,
    Whose bitter-sweets with my cares mixed be.)

to be more active, more fervent, and more sharp. But it is a rash and
wavering fire, waving and divers: the fire of an ague subject to fits
and stints, and that hath but slender hold-fast of us. In true
friendship, it is a general and universal heat, and equally tempered, a
constant and settled heat, all pleasure and smoothness, that hath no
pricking or stinging in it, which the more it is in lustful love, the
more is it but a ranging and mad desire in following that which flies
us,

[Sidenote: The enjoyment of friendship]

    ‘_Come segue la lepre il cacciatore_
    _Al freddo, al caldo, alla montagna, al lito,_
    _Ne piu l’estima poi che presa vede,_
    _E sol dietro a chi fugge affretta il piede._’
              ARIOS., can. x. st. 7.

    Ev’n as the huntsman doth the hare pursue,
    In cold, in heat, on mountains, on the shore,
    But cares no more, when he her ta’en espies,
    Speeding his pace, only at that which flies.

As soon as it creepeth into the terms of friendship, that is to say, in
the agreement of wills, it languisheth and vanisheth away: enjoying doth
lose it, as having a corporal end, and subject to sacietie. On the other
side, friendship is enjoyed according as it is desired, it is neither
bred, nor nourished, nor increaseth but in jovissance, as being
spiritual, and the mind being refined by use and custom. Under this
chief amity, these fading affections have sometimes found place in me,
lest I should speak of him, who in his verses

[Sidenote: Marriage and friendship]

speaks but too much of it. So are these two passions entered into me in
knowledge one of another, but in comparison never: the first flying a
high, and keeping a proud pitch, disdainfully beholding the other to
pass her points far under it. Concerning marriage, besides that it is a
covenant which hath nothing free but the entrance, the continuance being
forced and constrained, depending elsewhere than from our will, and a
match ordinarily concluded to other ends: A thousand strange knots are
therein commonly to be unknit, able to break the web, and trouble the
whole course of a lively affection; whereas in friendship, there is no
commerce or business depending on the same, but itself. Seeing (to speak
truly) that the ordinary sufficiency of women, cannot answer this
conference

[Sidenote: Complete friendship]

and communication, the nurse of this sacred bond: nor seem their minds
strong enough to endure the pulling of a knot so hard, so fast, and
durable. And truly, if without that, such a genuine and voluntary
acquaintance might be contracted, where not only minds had this entire
jovissance, but also bodies, a share of the alliance, and where a man
might wholly be engaged: It is certain, that friendship would thereby be
more complete and full: But this sex could never yet by any example
attain unto it, and is by ancient schools rejected thence. And this
other Greek licence is justly abhorred by our customs, which
notwithstanding, because according to use it had so necessary a
disparity of ages, and difference of offices between lovers, did no more
sufficiently answer the perfect

[Sidenote: External beauty]

union and agreement, which here we require: ‘_Quis est enim iste amor
amicitiæ? cur neque deformem adolescentem quisquam amat, neque formosum
senem?_’ (CIC., _Tusc. Que._ iv.). _For, what love is this of
friendship? why doth no man love either a deformed young man, or a
beautiful old man?_ For even the picture the _Academie_ makes of it,
will not (as I suppose) disavow me, to say thus in her behalf: That the
first fury, inspired by the son of _Venus_ in the lover’s heart, upon
the object of tender youth’s-flower, to which they allow all insolent
and passionate violences, an immoderate heat may produce, was simply
grounded upon an external beauty; a false image of corporal generation:
for in the spirit it had no power, the sight whereof was yet concealed,
which was but in his

[Sidenote: The lover]

infancy, and before the age of budding. For, if this fury did seize upon
a base minded courage, the means of its pursuit, [were] riches, gifts,
favour to the advancement of dignities, and such like vile merchandice,
which they reprove. If it fell into a most generous mind, the
interpositions were likewise generous: Philosophical instructions,
documents to reverence religion, to obey the laws, to die for the good
of his country: examples of valour, wisdom and justice. The lover
endeavouring and studying to make himself acceptable by the good grace
and beauty of his mind (that of his body being long since decayed)
hoping by this mental society to establish a more firm and permanent
bargain. When this pursuit attained the effect in due season (for by not
requiring in a

[Sidenote: Spiritual beauty]

lover, he should bring leasure and discretion in his enterprise, they
require it exactly in the beloved; forasmuch as he was to judge of an
internal beauty, of a difficile knowledge, and abstruse discovery)
[then] by the interposition of a spiritual beauty was the desire of a
spiritual conception engendred in the beloved. The latter was here
chiefest; the corporal, accidental and second, altogether contrary to
the lover. And therefore do they prefer the beloved, and verify that the
gods likewise prefer the same: and greatly blame the Poet _Æschylus_,
who in the love between _Achilles_ and _Patroclus_ ascribeth the lover’s
part unto _Achilles_, who was in the first and beardless youth of his
adolescency, and the fairest of the Græcians. After this general
community, the mistress and

[Sidenote: A definition of love]

worthiest part of it, predominant and exercising her offices (they say
the most availful commodity did thereby redound both to the private and
public). That it was the force of countries received the use of it, and
the principal defence of equity and liberty: witness the comfortable
loves of _Hermodius_ and _Aristogiton_. Therefore name they it sacred
and divine, and it concerns not them whether the violence of tyrants, or
the demisness of the people be against them: To conclude, all can be
alleaged in favour of the Academy, is to say, that it was a love ending
in friendship, a thing which hath no bad reference unto the Stoical
definition of love: ‘_Amorem conatum esse amicitiæ faciendæ ex
pulchritudinis specie_’ (CIC., _ibid._). _That love is an endeavour of
making friendship, by the shew of beauty._

[Sidenote: How friendships are to be judged]

I return to my description in a more equitable and equal manner.
‘_Omnino amicitiæ corroboratis jam confirmatisque ingeniis et ætatibus
judicandæ sunt_’ (CIC., _Amic._). _Clearly friendships are to be judged
by wits, and ages already strengthened and confirmed._ As for the rest,
those we ordinarily call friends and amities, are but acquaintances and
familiarities, tied together by some occasion or commodities, by means
whereof our minds are entertained. In the amity I speak of, they
intermix and confound themselves one in the other, with so universal a
commixture, that they wear out, and can no more find the seam that hath
conjoined them together. If a man urge me to tell wherefore I loved him,
I feel it cannot be expressed, but by answering: Because it was he,
because it was myself.

[Sidenote: A preordained friendship]

There is beyond all my discourse, and besides what I can particularly
report of it, I know not what inexplicable and fatal power, a mean and
Mediatrix of this indissoluble union. We sought one another, before we
had seen one another, and by the reports we heard one of another; which
wrought a greater violence in us, than the reason of reports may well
bear: I think by some secret ordinance of the heavens, we embraced one
another by our names. And at our first meeting, which was by chance at a
great feast, and solemn meeting of a whole township, we found ourselves
so surprized, so known, so acquainted, and so combinedly bound together,
that from thence forward, nothing was so near unto us, as one unto
another. He writ an excellent Latin Satire; since published; by

[Sidenote: A first meeting]

which he excuseth and expoundeth the precipitation of our acquaintance,
so suddenly come to her perfection; Sithence it must continue so short a
time, and begun so late (for we were both grown men, and he some years
older than myself) there was no time to be lost. And it was not to be
modelled or directed by the pattern of regular and remiss friendship,
wherein so many precautions of a long and preallable conversation are
required. This hath no other _Idea_ than of itself, and can have no
reference but to itself. It is not one especial consideration, nor two,
nor three, nor four, nor a thousand: It is I wot not what kind of
quintessence, of all this commixture, which having seized all my will,
induced the same to plunge and lose itself in his, which likewise having
seized all his will, brought it to lose and

[Sidenote: Gracchus and Blosius]

plunge itself in mine, with a mutual greediness, and with a semblable
concurrence. I may truly say, lose, reserving nothing unto us, that
might properly be called our own, nor that was either his, or mine. When
_Lelius_ in the presence of the Roman Consuls, who after the
condemnation of _Tiberius Gracchus_, pursued all those that had been of
his acquaintance, came to enquire of _Caius Blosius_ (who was one of his
chiefest friends) what he would have done for him, and that he answered,
_All things. What? All things?_ replied he: _And what if he had willed
thee to burn our Temples?_ _Blosius_ answered, _He would never have
commanded such a thing. But what if he had done it?_ replied _Lelius_:
The other answered, _I would have obeyed him_: If he were so perfect a
friend to _Gracchus_, as Histories report, he needed

[Sidenote: Gracchus and Blosius]

not offend the Consuls with this last and bold confession, and should
not have departed from the assurance he had of _Gracchus_ his mind. But
yet those, who accuse this answer as seditious, understand not well this
mystery: and do not presuppose in what terms he stood, and that he held
_Gracchus_ his will in his sleeve, both by power and knowledge. They
were rather friends than Citizens, rather friends than enemies of their
country, or friends of ambition and trouble. Having absolutely committed
themselves one to another, they perfectly held the reins of one
another’s inclination: and let this yoke be guided by virtue and conduct
of reason (because without them it is altogether impossible to combine
and proportion the same). The answer of _Blosius_ was such as it should
be. If their affections

[Sidenote: A friend’s will]

miscarried, according to my meaning, they were neither friends one to
other, nor friends to themselves. As for the rest, this answer sounds no
more than mine would do, to him that would in such sort enquire of me;
if your will should command you to kill your daughter, would you do it?
and that I should consent unto it: for, that beareth no witness of
consent to do it: because I am not in doubt of my will, and as little of
such a friend’s will. It is not in the power of the world’s discourse to
remove me from the certainty I have of his intentions and judgements of
mine: no one of its actions might be presented unto me, under what shape
soever, but I would presently find the spring and motion of it. Our
minds have jumped so unitedly together, they have with so fervent an
affection considered

[Sidenote: Friends’ affection]

of each other, and with like affection so discovered and sounded, even
to the very bottom of each other’s heart and entrails, that I did not
only know his, as well as mine own, but I would (verily) rather have
trusted him concerning any matter of mine, than myself. Let no man
compare any of the other common friendships to this. I have as much
knowledge of them as another, yea of the perfectest of their kind: yet
will I not persuade any man to confound their rules, for so a man might
be deceived. In these other strict friendships a man must march with the
bridle of wisdom and precaution in his hand; the bond is not so strictly
tied, but a man may in some sort distrust the same. _Love him_ (said
_Chilon_) _as if you should one day hate him again. Hate him as if you
should love him again._ This precept, so

[Sidenote: Customary friendships]

abominable in this soveraign and mistress Amity, is necessary and
wholesome in the use of vulgar and customary friendships: toward which a
man must employ the saying _Aristotle_ was wont so often to repeat, _Oh
you my friends, there is no perfect friend_.

In this noble commerce, offices and benefits (nurses of other amities)
deserve not so much as to be accounted of: this confusion so full of our
wills is cause of it: for even as the friendship I bear unto myself,
admits no accrease, by any succour I give myself in any time of need,
whatsoever the Stoics alleage; and as I acknowledge no thanks unto
myself for any service I do unto myself, so the union of such friends,
being truly perfect, makes them lose the feeling of such duties, and
hate, and expel from one

[Sidenote: Mutual agreement]

another these words of division, and difference; benefit, good deed,
duty, obligation, acknowledgement, prayer, thanks, and such their like.
All things being by effect common between them; wills, thoughts,
judgements, goods, wives, children, honour, and life; and their mutual
agreement, being no other than one soul in two bodies, according to the
fit definition of _Aristotle_, they can neither lend or give ought to
each other. See here the reason why Lawmakers, to honour marriage with
some imaginary resemblance of this divine bond, inhibit donations
between husband and wife; meaning thereby to infer, that all things
should peculiarly be proper to each of them, and that they have nothing
to divide and share together. If in the friendship whereof I speak, one
might give unto

[Sidenote: The will of Eudamidas]

another, the receiver of the benefit should bind his fellow. For, each
seeking more than any other thing, to do each other good, he who yields
both matter and occasion, is the man sheweth himself liberal, giving his
friend that contentment, to effect towards him what he desireth most.
When the Philosopher _Diogenes_ wanted money, he was wont to say; _That
he re-demanded the same of his friends, and not that he demanded it_:
And to show how that is practised by effect, I will relate an ancient
singular example. _Eudamidas_ the Corinthian had two friends.
_Charixenus_ a Sycionian, and _Aretheus_ a Corinthian; being upon his
death-bed, and very poor, and his two friends very rich, thus made his
last will and testament. _To_ Aretheus, _I bequeath the keeping of my
mother, and to maintain_

[Illustration]

[Sidenote: Aretheus]

_her when she shall be old: To_ Charixenus _the marrying of my daughter,
and to give her as great a dowry as he may: and in case one of them
shall chance to die before, I appoint the surviver to substitute his
charge, and supply his place_. Those that first saw this testament,
laughed and mocked at the same; but his heirs being advertised thereof,
were very well pleased, and received it with singular contentment. And
_Charixenus_ one of them, dying five days after _Eudamidas_, the
substitution being declared in favour of _Aretheus_, he carefully, and
very kindly kept and maintained his mother, and of five talents that he
was worth, he gave two and a half in marriage to one only daughter he
had, and the other two and a half to the daughter of _Eudamidas_, whom
he married both in one day. This

[Sidenote: Divisions of common friendships]

example is very ample, if one thing were not, which is the multitude of
friends: For this perfect amity I speak of is indivisible; each man doth
so wholly give himself unto his friend, that he hath nothing left him to
divide elsewhere: moreover he is grieved that he is [not] double,
triple, or quadruple, and hath not many souls, or sundry wills, that he
might confer them all upon this subject. Common friendships may be
divided; a man may love beauty in one, facility of behaviour in another,
liberality in one, and wisdom in another, paternity in this, fraternity
in that man, and so forth: but this amity which possesseth the soul, and
sways it in all soveraignty, it is impossible it should be double. If
two at one instant should require help, to which would you run? Should
they crave contrary offices of you,

[Sidenote: A principal friendship]

what order would you follow? Should one commit a matter to your silence,
which if the other knew would greatly profit him, what course would you
take? Or how would you discharge yourself? A singular and principal
friendship dissolveth all other duties, and freeth all other
obligations. The secret I have sworn not to reveal to another, I may
without perjury impart it unto him, who is no other but myself. It is a
great and strange wonder for a man to double himself; and those that
talk of tripling, know not, nor cannot reach unto the height of it.
_Nothing is extreme, that hath his like._ And he who shall presuppose,
that of two I love the one as well as the other, and that they
inter-love one another, and love me as much as I love them: he
multiplieth in brotherhood,

[Sidenote: The force of friendship]

a thing most singular, and a lonely one, and than which one alone is
also the rarest to be found in the world. The remainder of this history
agreeth very well with what I said; for, _Eudamidas_ giveth as a grace
and favour to his friends to employ them in his need: he leaveth them as
his heirs of his liberality, which consisteth in putting the means into
their hands, to do him good. And doubtless, the force of friendship is
much more richly shown in his deed, than in _Aretheus_. To conclude,
they are [inimaginable] effects, to him that hath not tasted them; and
which makes me wonderfully to honour the answer of that young Soldier to
_Cyrus_, who enquiring of him, what he would take for a horse, with
which he had lately gained the prize of a race, and whether he would
change

[Sidenote: A superficial acquaintance]

him for a Kingdom? _No, surely, my Liege_ (said he), _yet would I
willingly forego him to gain a true friend, could I but find a man
worthy of so precious an alliance_. He said not ill, in saying, _could I
but find_. For, a man shall easily find men fit for a superficial
acquaintance; but in this, wherein men negotiate from the very centre of
their hearts, and make no spare of any thing, it is most requisite, all
the wards and springs be sincerely wrought, and perfectly true. In
confederacies, which hold but by one end, men have nothing to provide
for, but for the imperfections, which particularly do interest and
concern that end and respect. It is no great matter what religion my
Physician and Lawyer is of: this consideration hath nothing common with
the offices of that friendship they owe me.

[Sidenote: Concerning table-talk]

So do I in the familiar acquaintances, that those who serve me contract
with me. I am nothing inquisitive whether a Lackey be chaste or no, but
whether he be diligent: I fear not a gaming Muletier, so much as if he
be weak; nor a hot swearing Cooke, as one that is ignorant and
unskilful; I never meddle with saying what a man should do in the world;
there are over many others that do it; but what myself do in the world.

    ‘_Mihi sic usus est: Tibi, ut opus est facto, face._’
              TER., _Heau._ Act i. Scen. i. 28.

    So is it requisite for me;
    Do thou as needful is for thee.

Concerning familiar table-talk, I rather acquaint myself with, and
follow a merry conceited humour, than a wise man.... In society or
conversation of familiar discourse, I respect rather sufficiency,

[Sidenote: Friendship difficult to find]

though without _Preud’hommie_, and so of all things else. Even as he
that was found riding upon an hobby-horse, playing with his children,
besought him, who thus surprized him, not to speak of it, until he were
a father himself supposing the tender fondness, and fatherly passion,
which then would possess his mind, should make him an impartial judge of
such an action. So would I wish to speak to such as had tried what I
speak of: but knowing how far such an amity is from the common use, and
how seldom seen and rarely found, I look not to find a competent judge.
For, even the discourses, which stern antiquity hath left us concerning
this subject, seem to me but faint and forceless in respect of the
feeling I have of it: And in that point the effects exceed the very
precepts of Philosophy.

    ‘_Nil ego contulerim jucundo sanus amico._’
              HOR., i. _Sat._ v. 44.

    For me, be I well in my wit,
    Nought, as a merry friend, so fit.

[Sidenote: The shadow of a true friend]

Ancient _Menander_ accounted him happy, that had but met the shadow of a
true friend: verily he had reason to say so, especially if he had tasted
of any: for truly, if I compare all the rest of my forepassed life,
which although I have by the mere mercy of God, past at rest and ease,
and except the loss of so dear a friend, free from all grievous
affliction, with an ever-quietness of mind, as one that have taken my
natural and original commodities in good payment, without searching any
others: if, as I say, I compare it all unto the four years, I so happily
enjoyed the sweet company, and dear-dear society of that worthy man, it
is

[Sidenote: Montaigne’s friend]

nought but a vapour, nought but a dark and irkesome [night]. Since the
time I lost him,

              ‘_quem semper acerbum,_
    _Semper honoratum (sic Dii voluistis) habebo._’
              VIRG., _Aen._ v. 49.

    Which I shall ever hold a bitter day,
    Yet ever honor’d (so my God t’ obey).

I do but languish, I do but sorrow: and even those pleasures, all things
present me with, instead of yielding me comfort, do but redouble the
grief of his loss. We were co-partners in all things. All things were
with us at half: methinks I have stolen his part from him.

       ‘--_Nec fas esse ulla me voluptate hîc frui_
    _Decrevi, tantisper dum ille abest meus particeps._’
               TER., _Heau._ Act i. Scen. i. 97.

    I have set down, no joy enjoy I may,
    As long as he my partner is away.

I was so accustomed to be ever two,

[Sidenote: Montaigne’s friend]

and so enured to be never single, that methinks I am but half myself.

    ‘_Illam meæ si partem animæ tulit,_
    _Maturior vis, quid moror altera,_
    _Nec charus æque nec superstes,_
    _Integer? Ille dies utramque_
    _Duxit ruinam.’_--HOR., ii. _Od._ xvii. 5.

    Since that part of my soul riper fate reft me,
    Why stay I here the other part he left me?
    Nor so dear, nor entire, while here I rest:
    That day hath in one ruin both opprest.

There is no action can betide me, or imagination possess me, but I hear
him saying, as indeed he would have done to me: for even as he did excel
me by an infinite distance in all other sufficiencies and virtues, so
did he in all offices and duties of friendship.

    ‘_Quis desiderio sit pudor aut modus,_
    _Tam chari capitis?_’--i. _Od._ xxiv. 1.

    What modesty or measure may I bear,
    In want and wish of him that was so dear?

[Sidenote: In memoriam]

      ‘_O misero frater adempte mihi!_
    _Omnia tecum unà perierunt gaudia nostra,_
      _Quæ tuus in vita dulcis alebat amor._
    _Tu mea, tu moriens fregisti commoda frater,_
      _Tecum unà tota est nostra sepulta anima,_
    _Cujus ego interitu tota de mente fugavi_
      _Hæc studia, atque omnes delicias animi._
    _Alloquar? audiero nunquam tua verba loquentem?_
      _Nunquam ego te vita frater amabilior,_
    _Aspiciam posthac? at certè semper amabo._’
              CATUL., _Ele._ iv. 20, 92, 23,
                  95, 21, 94, 25; _El._ i. 9.

      O brother reft from miserable me,
      All our delight’s are perished with thee,
      Which thy sweet love did nourish in my breath.
      Thou all my good hast spoiled in thy death:
      With thee my soul is all and whole enshrined,
      At whose death I have cast out of mind
      All my mind’s sweet-meats, studies of this kind;
      Never shall I hear thee speak, speak with thee?
    Thee, brother, than life dearer, never see?
      Yet shalt thou ever be belov’d of me.

But let us a little hear this young man speak, being but sixteen years
of age.

[Sidenote: The author’s subject]

Because I have found this work to have since been published (and to an
ill end) by such as seek to trouble and subvert the state of our
common-wealth, nor caring whether they shall reform it or no; which they
have fondly inserted among other writings of their invention, I have
revoked my intent, which was to place it here. And lest the Author’s
memory should any way be interested with those that could not thoroughly
know his opinions and actions, they shall understand, that this subject
was by him treated of in his infancy, only by way of exercise, as a
subject, common, bare-worn, and wire-drawn in a thousand books. I will
never doubt but he believed what he writ, and writ as he thought: for he
was so conscientious, that no lie did ever pass his lips, yea, were it
but in matters

[Sidenote: A good citizen]

of sport or play: and I know, that had it been in his choice, he would
rather have been born at _Venice_ than at _Sarlac_; and good reason why:
But he had another maxim deeply imprinted in his mind, which was,
carefully to obey, and religiously to submit himself to the laws, under
which he was born. There was never a better Citizen, nor more affected
to the welfare and quietness of his country, nor a sharper enemy of the
changes, innovations, new-fangles, and hurly-burlies of his time: He
would more willingly have employed the utmost of his endeavours to
extinguish and suppress, than to favour or further them: His mind was
modelled to the pattern of other best ages.



XIII

IDEAL FRIENDSHIP

ANTHUSA TO ST. JOHN



IDEAL FRIENDSHIP


[Sidenote: Nothing comparable to a real friend]

A truly faithful friend is the medicine of life; a truly faithful
friend, a strong covering. For what would not a genuine friend do? what
pleasure would he not create for us? what profit? what safety? Though
thou wert to name a thousand treasures, there is nothing comparable to a
real friend. And first let us say how much pleasure friendship contains.
_The friend_ is bright with joy, and overflows when he sees his friend.
He is united to him according to an union having a certain ineffable
pleasure of the soul. But if he barely think of him, he rises and is
borne upwards in his mind. I speak of genuine friends, who are of one
accord, of those who would choose

[Sidenote: The grace imparted by friendship]

to die for their friends, of those who love warmly. Do not imagine, when
you think of those who love lightly, and are sharers of your tables, and
friends with whom you have a bowing acquaintance, that you can refute
this saying of mine. If any one have a friend such as I mention, he will
understand my words; and, though he should see his friend every day, he
is not filled _with seeing_ him. He makes the same prayers for him as
for himself. I know a certain man, who, when asking the holy man, on
behalf of his friend, asks him to pray first for the friend and then for
himself. A true friend is such that places and times are loved on his
account. For, as brilliant bodies shed a lustre upon the adjoining
places, even so friends impart their own grace to the places where they
may come. And oftentimes,

[Sidenote: The genuine friend]

when standing in those places without our friends, we have wept and
groaned, remembering the days when we were there along with them.

It is not possible to set forth in language the pleasure which the
presence of friends causes, but those only having experience know. One
can ask a favour, and receive a favour, from a friend without suspicion.
When they lay a command upon us, we are grateful to them; but when they
are slow to ask, then we are sad. We have nothing which is not theirs.
Often, though despising all things here, nevertheless, on their account,
we do not wish to depart from hence; and they are more desirable to us
than the light. And, truly, indeed, a friend is more desirable than the
light itself. I speak of the genuine friend: and

[Sidenote: Spiritual friends]

do not wonder; for it were better for us that the sun were extinguished,
than to be deprived of friends. It were better to live in darkness, than
to be without friends. And how do I say this? Because many seeing the
sun are in darkness. But those who are rich in friends, could never be
in tribulation. I speak of the spiritual friends who set nothing above
friendship. Such was Paul, who would willingly have given his own soul,
without having been asked, and would have willingly fallen into Hell.
With so burning an affection is it proper to love. I wish to give you an
example of friendship. Friends surpass fathers and sons, that is,
friends according to Christ.

Friendship is a great thing, and how great, no one could learn, nor
could any word explain, but only the experience of

[Sidenote: Friendship a great thing]

itself. For this (the absence of love) has brought heresies, this causes
the heathens to be heathens. He who loves does not wish to command nor
to rule, but he feels more grateful, being subject, and being commanded;
he wishes to confer favours rather than to receive them, for he loves,
and feels as if he had not gratified his desire. He is not so much
delighted at experiencing kindness as at doing kindness. For he prefers
to hold his friend bound to him, rather than he should be indebted to
his friend: or, rather, he wishes to be indebted to him, and also to
have him as a debtor. He wishes to confer favours upon, and not to seem
to confer favours, but to be his debtor.

When friendship does not exist, we upbraid _with_ our services those
whom we serve, and we exaggerate small things.

[Sidenote: Where friendship exists]

But where friendship does exist, we both conceal the services, and we
wish to show great things as small, in order that we may not seem to
have our friend a debtor, but that we ourselves may appear to be debtors
to him while we actually have him our debtor. I know that many do not
understand what is said, but the reason is, that I discourse of a thing
which now inhabits Heaven. As if, therefore, I spoke of some plant
growing in India, of which no one had experience, language could not
represent it, although I were to say ten thousand things; even so, now,
whatever I may say, I shall speak in vain, for no one will be able to
represent it. This plant has been planted in Heaven, having its branches
loaded, not with pearls, but with excelling life, which is much more
pleasing than those. But what kind of

[Sidenote: The true friend]

pleasure dost thou wish to speak of? Is it of disgraceful pleasure? Or
of virtuous pleasure? Now the pleasure of friendship exceeds all other
pleasures, even though thou shouldst say that of honey. For this latter
becomes mawkish, but a friend never, so long as he is a friend; but his
desire is rather increased, and this pleasure never admits of satiety. A
friend is sweeter than the present life. Therefore, many have not wished
to live any longer after the death of their friends. With a friend any
one could willingly endure banishment; but without a friend no one would
choose to inhabit even his own country. With a friend even poverty is
bearable, but without him health and wealth are unbearable. Such an one
has another self.

Nothing is the equal of concord, nor

[Sidenote: Nothing is the equal of concord]

of harmony. For one is thus equivalent to many. For, if two, or ten, be
unanimous, any one of them is no longer one, but each one of them
becomes of the value of ten; and you will find the one in the ten, and
the ten in the one. And if they have an enemy, attacking not one, but
ten, he is thus taken. For he is struck, not by one, but by ten mouths.
Has the one fallen into want? Still he is not in desolation; for he
abounds in his greater part; that is to say in the nine, and the needy
part is protected; _that is_, the smaller part by that which abounds.
Each one of them has twenty hands, and twenty eyes, and as many feet.
For he sees not with his own eyes alone, but with those of others; he
walks not with his own feet, but with those of others; he works not with
his own hands, but with

[Sidenote: Charity a wonderful thing]

those of others. He has ten souls, for he alone is not concerned about
himself, but those _other nine souls_ are concerned about him. But if
they be a hundred, the same thing will take place again, the _elements_
of power will be increased. Hast thou seen the excellence of charity?
How it causes one individual to be unconquerable and equal to many. How
the one person can be in different places. How the same person _may thus
be_ in Persia and in Rome, and how what nature cannot do, that, charity
can do. For one part of the man will be there, and one part here; or
rather, he will be altogether there and altogether here. Or if he have a
thousand friends, or two thousand, think to what a pitch his power will
advance. Dost thou see how productive _a thing_ is charity? For this is
a wonderful thing:

[Sidenote: An argument of joy]

to make the individual a thousand-fold. For what reason, therefore, do
we not take possession of this strength, and place ourselves in safety?
This is better than all power and virtue. This is more than health, more
than the light of _day_ itself. This is an argument of joy. How long
shall we confine our love to one or two? Learn the thing from its
opposite.

Let there be any one, who has no friend--a thing which is of the utmost
folly. For the fool will say, I have no friend. What manner of life does
such an one live? For even if he be ten thousand times rich; even if he
be in abundance and luxury, and possessing ten thousand good things, he
is absolutely deserted and naked. But in the case of friends this is not
so; but even though they be poor, they are better provided

[Sidenote: A friend the cause of all pleasure and enjoyment]

than the rich; and what a man will not venture to say for himself, those
things a friend will say for him. And the things which he is unable to
grant to himself, those he can grant through another, and many more
things than those, and thus he will be to us a cause of all pleasure and
enjoyment. For it is impossible that he should suffer hurt, being
protected by so many bodyguards, for neither are the bodyguards of the
Emperor as careful as those; for the former perform their guard through
necessity, but the latter through kindness and love. But those things
are much more commanding than fear. And he indeed (_the prince_) fears
his guards, but the friend trusts to them more than to himself, and,
through their means, fears none of those who plot against him. Let us,
therefore, procure

[Sidenote: Solitude to be avoided]

for ourselves this commodity--the poor man, that he may have a
consolation of his poverty; the rich man, in order that he may possess
his riches in safety; the ruler that he may rule with safety; the
subject, that he may have well-disposed rulers. This is an occasion of
benevolence; this is a cause of clemency. Since even amongst beasts,
those are the most savage and intractable which do not herd together;
for this reason we inhabit cities, and we hold markets, that we may have
intercourse with each other. This also Paul commanded, saying, ‘Not
forsaking our assembly.’ For there is nothing so bad as solitude, and
the absence of society and of access.

What, therefore, _are_ the monks, _some one_ says, and those who have
taken as _their residence_ the tops of the mountains? Neither

[Sidenote: It is not the place that makes the friend]

are they without friends; but they have fled from the tumult of the
market-place, and have many of one accord with them, and strictly bound
to each other. And it was in order that they might accomplish this that
they withdrew. For, inasmuch as the zeal of business begets many
disputes, for this reason, having left the world, they cultivate charity
with much strictness. What, therefore, he says, if a man be alone, may
he also have innumerable friends? I, indeed, would wish if it were
possible that we were all able to live together; but, in the meantime,
let friendship remain unmoved. For it is not the place that makes the
friend. They, therefore, have many who admire them; but those would not
admire unless they loved. And they again (the monks) pray for the entire
world,

[Sidenote: The greatest evidence of friendship]

which is the greatest evidence of friendship. For this reason also in
the _sacred_ mysteries, we embrace each other, in order that being many,
we may become one. And we make common prayer for the uninitiated,
imploring for the sick and for the fruits of the world, and for the
land, and for the sea. Dost thou see all the strength of charity, in the
prayers, in the _holy_ mysteries, in the admonitions? This is the cause
of all good things. If we apply, with due care, to those admonitions,
which shall both administer present things well, and shall obtain the
kingdom.



XIV

THE BLESSINGS OF FRIENDSHIP

ARISTOTLE



THE BLESSINGS OF FRIENDSHIP


[Sidenote: Friendship a virtue]

Friendship, in the first place, is either itself a virtue, or connected
with virtue; and next, it is a thing most necessary for life, since no
one would choose to live without friends, though he should have all the
other good things in the world: and, in fact, men who are rich or
possessed of authority and influence, are thought to have special need
of friends. For where is the use of such prosperity, if there be taken
away the doing of kindnesses, of which friends are the most usual and
most commendable objects? Or how can it be kept or preserved without
friends, because the greater it is, so much the more insecure and
hazardous: in poverty, moreover,

[Sidenote: The bond of social communities]

and all other adversities, men think friends to be their only refuge.

Furthermore, friendship helps the young to keep from error; the old, in
respect of attention and such deficiencies in action as their weakness
makes them liable to; and those who are in their prime, in respect of
noble deeds; ‘they _two_ together going,’ Homer says, because they are
thus more able to devise plans, and carry them out.

Friendship seems to be the bond of social communities, and legislators
seem to be more anxious to secure it than justice even. I mean,
unanimity is somewhat like to friendship, and this they certainly aim
at, and specially drive out faction as being inimical.

When people are in friendship, justice is not required; but, on the
other

[Sidenote: The object of friendship]

hand, though they are just, they need friendship in addition, and that
principle which is most truly just is thought to partake of the nature
of friendship. Not only is it a thing necessary, but honourable
likewise, since we praise those who are fond of friends, and the having
numerous friends is thought a matter of credit to a man; some even go so
far as to hold that a ‘good man’ and ‘friend’ are terms synonymous.

Each individual feels friendship, not for what it _is_, but for that
which _conveys to his mind the impression of being_ good to himself. But
this will make no real difference, because that which is truly the
object of friendship, will also convey this impression to his mind.

There are three causes from which men feel friendship; but the term is
not

[Sidenote: Friendship: its several motives]

applied to the case of fondness for things inanimate, because there is
no requital of the affection, nor desire for the good of these objects.
As the motives to friendship differ in kind, so do the respective
feelings and friendships. Now they who have friendship for one another
desire one another’s good, according to the motive of their friendship;
accordingly, they whose motive is utility have no real friendship for
one another, but only in so far as some good arises to them from one
another. They whose motive is pleasure are in like case: I mean, they
have friendship for men of easy pleasantry, not because they are of a
given character, but because they are pleasant to themselves. So they
whose motive to friendship is utility, love their friends for what is
good to themselves; they whose motive is

[Sidenote: Friendship among the old]

pleasure, do so for what is pleasurable to themselves; that is to say,
not in so far as the friend beloved _is_, but in so far as he is useful
or pleasurable. These friendships then are a matter of result, since the
object is not beloved in that he _is_, but in that he furnishes
advantage or pleasure, as the case may be. Such friendships are very
liable to dissolution if the parties do not continue alike; when they
are no longer pleasurable or useful. It is the nature of utility not to
be permanent, but constantly varying; thus when the motive which made
them friends is vanished, the friendship likewise dissolves, since it
existed only relatively to those circumstances.

Friendship of this kind is thought to exist principally among the old,
because men at that time of life pursue, not what

[Sidenote: The friendship of the young]

is pleasurable, but what is profitable. They that are such have no
intimate intercourse, for sometimes they are not even pleasurable to one
another. With these friendships is commonly ranked that of hospitality.

But the friendship of the young is thought to be based on the motive of
pleasure, because they live at the beck and call of passion, and
generally pursue what is pleasurable to themselves, and the object of
the present moment. Their age changes, so likewise their pleasures. This
the reason why they form and dissolve friendships rapidly, since the
friendship changes with the pleasurable object, and such pleasure
changes quickly.

Perfect friendship subsists between those who are good, and whose
similarity consists in their goodness; for these

[Sidenote: Perfect friendship]

men wish one another’s good in similar ways, in so far as they are good.
And those are specially friends who wish good to their friends for their
sakes, because they feel thus towards them on their own account, and not
as a mere matter of result. So the friendship between these men
continues to subsist so long as they are good, and goodness we know has
in it a principle of permanence. Each party is good abstractedly, and
also relatively to his friend, for all good men are not only
abstractedly good, but also useful to one another. Such friends are also
mutually pleasurable, because all good men are so abstractedly, and also
relatively to one another, inasmuch as to each individual these actions
are pleasurable which correspond to his nature, and all such as are like
them.

[Sidenote: Friendship is based upon good or pleasure]

Friendship under these circumstances is permanent, since it combines in
itself all the requisite qualifications of friends. Friendship, of
whatever kind, is based upon good or pleasure (either abstractedly or
relatively to the person entertaining the sentiment of friendship), and
results from a similarity of some sort; and to this kind belong all the
aforementioned requisites in the friends themselves, because in this
they are similar. In it there is abstractedly good, and the abstractedly
pleasant, and as these are specially the object-matter of friendship, so
the feeling and state of friendship is found most intense and excellent
in men thus qualified.

Rare it is probable friendships will be, because men of this kind are
rare. Besides, all requisite qualifications being

[Sidenote: The desire for friendship]

presupposed, there is farther required time and intimacy. They cannot
admit one another to intimacy, much less be friends, till each has
appeared to the other and been proved to be a fit object of friendship.
They who speedily commence an interchange of friendly actions, may be
said to wish to be friends, but they are not so, unless they are also
proper objects of friendship and mutually known to be such. A desire for
friendship may arise quickly, but not friendship itself.

This friendship is perfect both in respect of the time and in all other
points; and exactly the same and similar results accrue to each party
from the other, which ought to be the case between friends.

The friendship based upon the pleasurable is, so to say, a copy of this,
since the

[Sidenote: The most permanent friendships]

good are sources of pleasure to one another; that based on utility
likewise, the good being also useful to one another. Between men thus
connected, friendships are most permanent when the same result accrues
to both from one another, pleasure for instance. And not merely so, but
from the same source, as in the case of two men of easy pleasantry; and
not as it is in that of a lover and the object of his affection, these
not deriving their pleasure from the same causes, but the former from
seeing the latter, and the latter from receiving the attentions of the
former. When the bloom of youth fades the friendship sometimes ceases
also, because the lover derives no pleasure from seeing, and the object
of his affection ceases to receive the attentions which were paid
before. In many cases people

[Sidenote: The good alone can be friends]

so connected continue friends, if being of similar tempers they have
come from custom to like one another’s dispositions.

The good alone can be friends. The friendship of the good is alone
superior to calumny; it not being easy for men to believe a third person
respecting one whom they have long tried and proved. There is between
good men mutual confidence, and the feeling that one’s friend would
never have done one wrong, and all other such things as are expected in
friendship really worthy the name; but in the other kinds there is
nothing to prevent all such suspicions.

Distance has in itself no direct effect upon friendship, but only
prevents the acting it out. If the absence be protracted, it is thought
to cause a forgetfulness even of the friendship; and hence

[Sidenote: Mutual pleasures of friends]

it has been said, ‘Many and many a friendship hath want of intercourse
destroyed.’

Neither the old nor the morose appear to be calculated for friendship,
because the pleasurableness in them is small, and no one can spend his
days in company with that which is positively painful or even not
pleasurable, since to avoid the painful and aim at the pleasurable is
one of the most obvious tendencies of human nature.

Those who get on with one another very fairly, but are not in habits of
intimacy, are rather like people having kindly feelings towards one
another, than friends. People cannot spend their time together unless
they are mutually pleasurable and take pleasure in the same objects, a
quality which is thought to appertain to the true friendship of
companionship.

[Sidenote: The greatest of external goods]

A question is raised whether the happy man needs friends. It is said
that they who are blessed and independent have no need of friends, for
they already have all that is good, and so, being independent, want
nothing further. The notion of a friend’s office is to be as it were a
second self and procure for a man what he cannot get by himself, hence
the saying: ‘When Fortune gives us good, what need we friends.’ On the
other hand it looks absurd, while we are assigning to the happy man all
other good things, not to give him friends, which after all are thought
to be the greatest of external goods. It is nonsense to make our happy
man a solitary, because no man would choose the possession of all goods
in the world on the condition of solitariness, man being a social animal
and formed by

[Sidenote: The happy man needs friends]

nature for living with others. The happy man has this qualification,
since he has all those things which are good by nature, and it is
obvious that the society of friends and good men must be preferable to
that of strangers and ordinary people, therefore the happy man does need
friends.

Are we to make our friends as numerous as possible? In respect of
acquaintance, it is thought to have been well said, ‘Have thou not many
acquaintances, yet be not without.’ In respect of friendship, may we not
adopt the precept, and say, that a man should not be without friends,
nor, again, have exceeding many friends? If they are more numerous than
what will suffice for one’s life they become officious, and are
hindrances in respect of living well.--We do not require them. Of those
who are to be for pleasure, a few are sufficient.

[Sidenote: Famous friendships are between _two_ persons]

Perhaps it is well not to endeavour to have very many friends, but so
many as are enough for intimacy. It would seem not to be possible to be
very much a friend to many at the same time, and for the same reason not
to be in love with many objects at the same time. Love is a kind of
excessive friendship, which implies but one object, and all strong
emotions must be limited in number towards whom they are felt. Not many
at a time become friends in the way of companionship; all the famous
friendships of the kind are between _two_ persons. They who have many
friends, and meet everybody on footing of intimacy, seem to be friends
really to no one except in the way of general society.

Are friends most needed in prosperity or in adversity? They are
required, we know, in both states, because the unfortunate

[Sidenote: The presence of friends]

need help, and the prosperous desire friends around them and to do
kindnesses to.

To have friends is more necessary in adversity, and therefore in this
case useful ones are needed. To have them in prosperity is more
honourable, and this is why the prosperous want good men for friends.
The presence of friends is pleasant even in adversity, since men when
grieved are comforted by their sympathy.

                   *       *       *       *       *

                           THE FOULIS BOOKS

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I. A BOOK OF GARDENS.

Being a collection of the favourite gardens of
well-known authors, compiled from their
works by A. H. HYATT. Illustrated by
MARGARET H. WATERFIELD, Illustrator of
_Garden Colour_, etc.                        150 pages


II. RUBÁIYÁT OF OMAR KHAYYÁM.

Translated by EDWARD FITZGERALD, with
Eight Illustrations in colour by FRANK
BRANGWYN, R.A.                                80 pages


III. THE GIFT OF FRIENDSHIP.

A collection of essays by famous authors from
Cicero to Emerson, comprising the noblest
specimens of literature, having the subject of
friendship for their text. Selected by A. H.
HYATT. With Illustrations in colour by
H. C. PRESTON MACGOUN, R.S.W.                272 pages


IV. THE DREAM OF GERONTIUS.

By CARDINAL NEWMAN. With Eight Illustrations
in colour by R. T. ROSE.                      84 pages


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                             T. N. FOULIS

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