It hath been also esteemed an act flowing from the habit of the four cardinal virtues. Of prudence in borrowing money beforehand; for none knows what may fall out. Who is able to tell if the world shall last yet three years? But although it should continue longer, is there any man so foolish as to have the confidence to promise himself three years?
What fool so confident to say,
That he shall live one other day?
Of commutative justice, in buying dear, I say, upon trust, and selling goods cheap, that is, for ready money. What says Cato in his Book of Husbandry to this purpose? The father of a family, says he, must be a perpetual seller; by which means it is impossible but that at last he shall become rich, if he have of vendible ware enough still ready for sale.
Of distributive justice it doth partake, in giving entertainment to good —remark, good—and gentle fellows, whom fortune had shipwrecked, like Ulysses, upon the rock of a hungry stomach without provision of sustenance; and likewise to the good—remark, the good—and young wenches. For, according to the sentence of Hippocrates, Youth is impatient of hunger, chiefly if it be vigorous, lively, frolic, brisk, stirring, and bouncing. Which wanton lasses willingly and heartily devote themselves to the pleasure of honest men; and are in so far both Platonic and Ciceronian, that they do acknowledge their being born into this world not to be for themselves alone, but that in their proper persons their acquaintance may claim one share, and their friends another.
The virtue of fortitude appears therein by the cutting down and overthrowing of the great trees, like a second Milo making havoc of the dark forest, which did serve only to furnish dens, caves, and shelter to wolves, wild boars, and foxes, and afford receptacles, withdrawing corners, and refuges to robbers, thieves, and murderers, lurking holes and skulking places for cutthroat assassinators, secret obscure shops for coiners of false money, and safe retreats for heretics, laying them even and level with the plain champaign fields and pleasant heathy ground, at the sound of the hautboys and bagpipes playing reeks with the high and stately timber, and preparing seats and benches for the eve of the dreadful day of judgment.
I gave thereby proof of my temperance in eating my corn whilst it was but grass, like a hermit feeding upon salads and roots, that, so affranchising myself from the yoke of sensual appetites to the utter disclaiming of their sovereignty, I might the better reserve somewhat in store for the relief of the lame, blind, crippled, maimed, needy, poor, and wanting wretches.