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TO

THE HONOURABLE AND MY MUCH WORTHY, HONOURED, TRULY LEARNED, AND

JUDICIOUS KNIGHT,

SIR FRANCIS BACON,

HIS MAJESTY'S ATTORNEY-GENERAL,

INCREASE OF HONOUR, HEALTH, AND ETERNAL HAPPINESS.

ORTHY Knight, I have read of many Essays, and a kind of Charactering of them, by such, as when I looked into the form or nature of their

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writing, I have been of the conceit, that they

were but imitators of your breaking the ice to their inventions; which, how short they fall of your worth, I had rather think than speak, though Truth need not blush at her blame. Now, for myself, unworthy to touch near the rock of those diamonds, or to speak in their praise, who so far exceed the

power of my capacity, vouchsafe me leave yet, I beseech you, among those apes

that would counterfeit the actions of men, to play the like part with learning; and as a monkey, that would make a face like a man, and cannot, so to write like a scholar, and am not: and thus not daring to adventure the print under your patronage, without your favourable allowance, in the devoted service of my bounden duty, I leave these poor travels of my spirit to the perusing of your pleasing leisure, with the further fruits of my humble affection, to the happy employment of

employment of your honourable pleasure.

At your service,

In all humbleness,

NICH. BRETON.

TO THE READER.

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EAD what you list, and understand what you can : Characters are not every man's construction, though they be writ in our mother tongue; and what I have written being of no other nature, if they fit

not your humour, they may please a better. I make no comparison, because I know you not; but if you will vouchsafe to look into them, it may be you may find something in them: their natures are diverse, as you may see, if your eyes be open; and if you can make use of them to good purpose, your wits may prove

the better. In brief, fearing the fool will be put upon me, for being too busy with matters too far above my understanding, I will leave my imperfection to pardon, or correction, and my labour to their liking, that will not think ill of a well meaning, and so rest,

Your well-willing friend,

N. B

COMMENDATORY POEMS.

Who reads this book with a judicious eye,
Will in true judgment true discretion try;
Where words and matter, close and sweetly couch’d,
Do shew how truth, wit, art, and nature touch'd.
What need more words these Characters to praise ?
They are the true charactering of Essays.

I. R.

In words of worth to speak of these Essays,
Let this suffice, the work itself will praise.

C. N.

Some have an humour, that to discommend
They know themselves, they know not how to mend :
Other correct what they do think amiss,
While in their own conceit the error is.
But true judicious wits, and honest minds,
Will give their censure in some better kinds :
And say but truth, that cannot be mistook,
Wit hath well labour'd learning in this book.

R. B. Ad Authorem.

He that shall read thy characters, Nic. Breton,
And weigh them well, must say they are well written.
They taste the lamp: much reading, observation,
Art, matter, wit, all worthy commendation.
Some weave their lines of such a slender thread,
They will not last so long as to be read;
Thou hast so spun, so weav'd thy words, thy lines,
They please us most, being viewed a hundred times.

W. D.

In laudem operis.

Words are the pencils, whereby drawn we find
The picture of the inward man, the mind :
Such thoughts, such words; such words, such is the man.
Say, is this spirit a Plebeian,
That, like the singing lark, doth mount so high,
We cannot reach them with an earthly eye?

W. P.

While I essay to character this book,
And these charactered Essays o'erlook,
I herein find few words great worth involve,
A Lipsian style, terse phrase ; and so resolve,

That as a stone's best valued, and best prized,
When best 'tis known, so this, when best revised.

I. B.

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