Machiavelli, Volume I eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 456 pages of information about Machiavelli, Volume I.
body, nor never did any thing after his own way:  which was because he took a contrary course to what we have now said:  for the Emperor is a close man, who communicates his secrets to none, nor takes counsel of any one; but as they come to be put in practise, they begin to be discovered and known, and so contradicted by those that are near about him; and he as being an easy man, is quickly wrought from them.  Whence it comes that what he does to day, he undoes on the morrow; and that he never understands himself what he would, nor what he purposes, and that there is no grounding upon any of his resolutions.  A Prince therefore ought alwayes to take counsell, but at his owne pleasure, and not at other mens; or rather should take away any mans courage to advise him of any thing, but what he askes:  but he ought well to aske at large, and then touching the things inquird of, be a patient hearer of the truth; and perceiving that for some respect the truth were conceald from him, be displeased thereat.  And because some men have thought that a Prince that gaines the opinion to bee wise, may bee held so, not by his owne naturall indowments, but by the good counsells he hath about him; without question they are deceivd; for this is a generall rule and never failes, that a Prince who of himselfe is not wise, can never be well advised, unlesse he should light upon one alone, wholly to direct and govern him, who himself were a very wise man.  In this case it is possible he may be well governd:  but this would last but little:  for that governor in a short time would deprive him of his State; but a Prince not having any parts of nature, being advised of more then one, shall never be able to unite these counsels:  of himself shall he never know how to unite them; and each one of the Counsellers, probably will follow that which is most properly his owne; and he shall never find the meanes to amend or discerne these things; nor can they fall out otherwise, because men alwayes prove mischievous, unlesse upon some necessity they be forc’d to become good:  we conclude therefore, that counsells from whencesoever they proceed, must needs take their beginning from the Princes wisdome, and not the wisdome of the Prince from good counsells.

In this Chapter our Authour prescribes some rules how to avoyd flattery, and not to fall into contempt.  The extent of these two extreames is so large on both sides, that there is left but a very narrow path for the right temper to walke between them both:  and happy were that Prince, who could light on so good a Pilote as to bring him to Port between those rocks and those quicksands.  Where Majesty becomes familiar, unlesse endued with a super-eminent vertue, it loses all awfull regards:  as the light of the Sunne, because so ordinary, because so common, we should little value, were it not that all Creatures feele themselves quickned by the rayes thereof.  On the other side, Omnis insipiens arrogantia et plausibus capitur, Every
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Machiavelli, Volume I from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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