For look into the world, and you shall see men most part esteemed according to their means, and happy as they are rich: Ubique tanti quisque quantum habuit fuit. If he be likely to thrive, and in the way of preferment, who but he? In the vulgar opinion, if a man be wealthy, no matter how he gets it, of what parentage, how qualified, how virtuously endowed, or villainously inclined; let him be a bawd, a gripe, an usurer, a villain, a pagan, a barbarian, a wretch, Lucian’s tyrant, “on whom you may look with less security than on the sun;” so that he be rich (and liberal withal) he shall be honoured, admired, adored, reverenced, and highly magnified.

“The rich is had in reputation because of his goods,” Eccl. x. 31. He shall be befriended: “for riches gather many friends,” Prov. xix. 4,–multos numerabit amicos, all happiness ebbs and flows with his money. He shall be accounted a gracious lord, a Mecaenas, a benefactor, a wise, discreet, a proper, a valiant, a fortunate man, of a generous spirit, Pullus Jovis, et gallinae, filius albae: a hopeful, a good man, a virtuous, honest man. Quando ego ie Junonium puerum, et matris partum vere aureum, as Tully said of Octavianus, while he was adopted Caesar, and an heir apparent of so great a monarchy, he was a golden child. All honour, offices, applause, grand titles, and turgent epithets are put upon him, omnes omnia bona dicere; all men’s eyes are upon him, God bless his good worship, his honour; every man speaks well of him, every man presents him, seeks and sues to him for his love, favour, and protection, to serve him, belong unto him, every man riseth to him, as to Themistocles in the Olympics, if he speak, as of Herod, Vox Dei, non hominis, the voice of God, not of man. All the graces, Veneres, pleasures, elegances attend him, golden fortune accompanies and lodgeth with him; and as to those Roman emperors, is placed in his chamber.
——“Secura naviget aura,
Fortunamque suo temperet arbitrio:”

he may sail as he will himself, and temper his estate at his pleasure, jovial days, splendour and magnificence, sweet music, dainty fare, the good things, and fat of the land, fine clothes, rich attires, soft beds, down pillows are at his command, all the world labours for him, thousands of artificers are his slaves to drudge for him, run, ride, and post for him: Divines (for Pythia Philippisat) lawyers, physicians, philosophers, scholars are his, wholly devote to his service. Every man seeks his acquaintance, his kindred, to match with him, though he be an oaf, a ninny, a monster, a goose-cap, uxorem ducat Danaen, when, and whom he will, hunc optant generum Rex et Regina–he is an excellent match for my son, my daughter, my niece, &c. Quicquid calcaverit hic, Rosa fiet, let him go whither he will, trumpets sound, bells ring, &c., all happiness attends him, every man is willing to entertain him, he sups in Apollo wheresoever he comes; what preparation is made for his entertainment? fish and fowl, spices and perfumes, all that sea and land affords. What cookery, masking, mirth to exhilarate his person?

Their blindness is all out as great, as manifest as their weakness and dotage, or rather an inseparable companion, an ordinary sign of it, love is blind, as the saying is, Cupid’s blind, and so are all his followers. Quisquis amat ranam, ranam putat esse Dianam. Every lover admires his mistress, though she be very deformed of herself, ill-favoured, wrinkled, pimpled, pale, red, yellow, tanned, tallow-faced, have a swollen juggler’s platter face, or a thin, lean, chitty face, have clouds in her face, be crooked, dry, bald, goggle-eyed, blear-eyed, or with staring eyes, she looks like a squissed cat, hold her head still awry, heavy, dull, hollow-eyed, black or yellow about the eyes, or squint-eyed, sparrow-mouthed, Persian hook-nosed, have a sharp fox nose, a red nose, China flat, great nose, nare simo patuloque, a nose like a promontory, gubber-tushed, rotten teeth, black, uneven, brown teeth, beetle browed, a witch’s beard, her breath stink all over the room, her nose drop winter and summer, with a Bavarian poke under her chin, a sharp chin, lave eared, with a long crane’s neck, which stands awry too, pendulis mammis, “her dugs like two double jugs,” or else no dugs, in that other extreme, bloody fallen fingers, she have filthy, long unpared nails, scabbed hands or wrists, a tanned skin, a rotten carcass, crooked back, she stoops, is lame, splay-footed, “as slender in the middle as a cow in the waist,” gouty legs, her ankles hang over her shoes, her feet stink, she breed lice, a mere changeling, a very monster, an oaf imperfect, her whole complexion savours, a harsh voice, incondite gesture, vile gait, a vast virago, or an ugly tit, a slug, a fat fustilugs, a truss, a long lean rawbone, a skeleton, a sneaker (si qua latent meliora puta), and to thy judgment looks like a merd in a lantern, whom thou couldst not fancy for a world, but hatest, loathest, and wouldst have spit in her face, or blow thy nose in her bosom, remedium amoris to another man, a dowdy, a slut, a scold, a nasty, rank, rammy, filthy, beastly quean, dishonest peradventure, obscene, base, beggarly, rude, foolish, untaught, peevish, Irus’ daughter, Thersites’ sister, Grobians’ scholar, if he love her once, he admires her for all this, he takes no notice of any such errors, or imperfections of body or mind, Ipsa haec–delectant, veluti Balbinum Polypus Agnae; he had rather have her than any woman in the world. If he were a king, she alone should be his queen, his empress. O that he had but the wealth and treasure of both the Indies to endow her with, a carrack of diamonds, a chain of pearl, a cascanet of jewels, (a pair of calfskin gloves of four-pence a pair were fitter), or some such toy, to send her for a token, she should have it with all his heart; he would spend myriads of crowns for her sake. Venus herself, Panthea, Cleopatra, Tarquin’s Tanaquil, Herod’s Mariamne, or Mary of Burgundy, if she were alive, would not match her.

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Whereon the princess marvelled and bade ask, What did the elder with his riches there? Who, questioned, mumbled in his bushy beard, “To buy a wife withal”; whereat they laughed As oafs when wisdom stumbles. Quoth a maid, With orient midnight in her starry eyes, And tropic music on her languid tongue, “And what if I should wed with thee, O beard Grayer than my great-grandfather’s, what then?” “One kiss, no more, and, child, thou wert divorced,” He; and the humor took them till the birds, That listened in the spice-tree and the plane, Sang gayly of the gray-beard and his kiss.

Author and Text