ALLEGORIES FOR THE IDEAL CHRISTIAN RULER: EMBLEM I OF THE EDUCATION OF A PRINCE
ALLEGORIES FOR THE IDEAL CHRISTIAN RULER
OF THE EDUCATION OF A PRINCE
Valour is born, not acquired: 'tis an intrinsic Quality of the Soul which is infused with it, and immediately exerts itself: The very Mother's Womb was a Field of Battle to the Two Brothers, Jacob and Esau (1). Of Thamar's Twins, one by Nature more daring, when he could not be Born before his Brother, broke however the Ligature, and thrust out his Hand, as if he would snatch the Eldership from him (2). A great Soul exerts it self in the Cradle: Hercules Crowned by the Conquest of Two Serpents, from that day exposing himself to Envy, and making Fortune truckle to his Virtue. A generous Spirit is conspicuous in the very first Actions of Nature. The Infant of Spain, your Highness his Uncle of Blessed Memory, saw the Battle of Norlinguen almost even before he knew what War was, and even then knew how to Command with Prudence and Act. with Vigour.
(1) And the Children struggled together within her, Gen.25.22.
(2) And it came to pass when she travailed, that the one put out his hand first Gen.38. 28.
Cyrus, a very Boy when Elected King by those of his own Age, did in that Childish Government such Heroic Actions, as sufficiently manifested his secret Greatness of mind and Royal Genius, Nature's most excellent Productions are themselves their own Discoverers. Amidst the rude and unrefined mass of Ore the Diamond sparkles, and Gold glitters. The Young Lion as soon as whelp'd, views his Paws, and with a haughty Mein, shakes his curled Main scarce yet dry, as preparing to Fight. Childish Games, to which Princes are carried by a natural Impulse, are Signs and prognostics of maturer Actions. Nature is never so much as a Moment idle, but from the very Birch of its Offspring is industrious in a regular Formation of its Mind as well as Body; for this Reason, she has stamp such an extraordinary Affection upon Parents to excite their Diligence in well Educating their Children; and least they should (which is no unusual thing) with a strange Nurses Milk, imbibe also her Vicious Practices, the same Nature, provident in her Distributions, has dispensed as it were a double Fountain of purer Blood, to supply them with Nourishment for their Young Ones: But either Idleness, or fear of losing their Beauty, is frequently the occasion why Mothers (not without considerable Detriment to the Commonwealth) neglect their Duty, and give the suckling of their Children to others; which Abuse, since it cannot so easily be remedied, at least great care should be taken in the Choice of them. Let them be Healthy, of a good Family and well bred for as from the Conception to the Birth the Child is nourished in the Body of its Mother, so is it from its Birth till 'tis weaned, by the Nurse's Breast, and this last Interval being longer than the other, the Child must of Necessity imbibe more of the Nature of its Nurse than its Mother, Says the Wise King Alfonso, who prescribed Laws to Heaven and Earth.
The Second Obligation Parents lie under, is the Education of their Children (3): there's scarce any Animal will forsake its Young Ones without Direction given how to provide for themselves. Nor are the Advantages of Education less considerable than those of Nature, and Children are more ready to embrace their Parents instructions and bear their Reproofs, than those of others (4): Those particularly who are nobly born disdain to be govern'd by their Inferiors. In a Child's first Procreation, it Received nothing from the Father but a Body, for God alone is the Author of the Soul, which except the Father afterwards Cultivates and improves by Education (5), he will scarce deserve the name of a true and absolute Father. Nor is it new in holy Scripture for a Master to be called Father. For Example, Jubal the first Teacher of Music (6). And who, I pray, is fitter to Teach his Son how to appear with Majesty, how to keep a Decorum in all things, Maintain his Authority, and govern his Subjects, than the Prince himself (7)? He only has the full practical Knowledge of Government, which others know only in part and by Speculation: Nor without reason did Solomon boast that he Received great Improvement from his Father's Instructions (8); however since Fathers sometimes have not themselves the Qualifications requisite for a good Education of their Children, or at least have not leisure to take that Trouble upon them, Masters must be looked for of an unblamable Life and Conversation, eminent withall for Learning and Experience (9) such as King Alphonso in his Laws describes in these Words. So that for all these reasons, Kings ought to take great care of their Children, and to choose them Tutors of a good family and good Livers, found both in Mind and Body, and above all faithful and just, firm to the Interest of their King and Country, To which I add, that they ought to be Men of Valour and a great Spirit, well Experienced in Affairs, as well of Peace as War, such was Seneca, whom therefore Agrippina made Choice of for Nero's Master (10). 'Tis impossible, without doubt, for a Man of an abject and mean Spirit to imprint on a Prince thoughts more sublime than his own. Were an Owl to instruct an Eagle, she would not teach her to look on the Sun, or soar above lofty Cedars, her School would be kept altogether in the dark, amidst the lower Branches, The Master's Image appears in the Scholar, and in him, he in a manner Represents himself. For no other reason did Pharaoh make Joseph Lord of his house,and Ruler of all his substance, but to teach his Princes to be like himself (11). Those who have the tuition and government of Princes Sons, ought to be as careful of their tender years, as Gardiners are of their most delicate Plants,which even before they appear above ground; they secure with Fences to prevent their being injured, by treading on, or handling. On the first stroke depends the Perfection of a Picture, so does a good Education on what the first years have imbibed, before the passions get strength and refuse to submit to reason (12). From a very minute Seed a vast Tree proceeds, which however small a twig at first, and easily flexible every way, when 'tis invested with Bark, and has diffused it self into Branches, stands immoveable. The affections in youth are not much unlike poison, which having once made its passage into the Heart, leaves the paleness consequent to it incurable. Virtues that improve and increase with our Age have not only the precedency of others, but excel even themselves (13) Of the four Winged Animals in Ezekiel Vision, the Eagle, one of that very number, was carried higher than all those four (14), for because she as soon as hatcht began to have Wings, the others not till long after, she not only appeared above them, but herself too. For want of a suitable consideration of this, I Imagine it is that many persons usually commit the Care, of their Sons as soon as they come into the World, to Women who with the idle fear of shadows, agreeable to the genius of their Sex, enfeeble their minds, and stamp other Effeminate passions on them, which with time take deep root (15). To avoid this inconvenience, the Persian Kings Committed theirs to the care of persons of worth and prudence (16). But above all, Children's natures are to be taken particular notice of, it being impossible without it to draw a true Scheme of Education.
(3) Hast thou Children, instruct them. Eccles.7. 23.
(4) Educati siquidem recté a parentibus, per sanctois & jttjhs mores bon't wm eva- dent. Antht. Oecon. lib.i.
(5) Wisdom exalteth her Children. Ecclef.4, J2
(6) He was the Father of all such as handle the hárp and Organ, Gen. 4. 21.
(7) My Son, give me thine heart; and let thine Eyes observe my ways: Prov. 23. 26.
(8) For I was my Father's Son, render and only belov'd of my Mother* he taught me alio, and (aid, Let thine heart retan my words. Frov. 4. 3.
(9) Qn&rendi funt iiberit Magjftrit quorum incubara fit v\ta(f nwes. Hut. de Educ.
(10) Vtq\Donúút juerrtit tali Magijlio adttefieret; confdiis ejttfdem ad fpem dominatimii wterttur. Tac. 12. Ann.
(11) And he made him Lord of his house, and ruler of his substance: To bind his Princes at his pleasure; and teach his Senators wisdom, Psal.105.21, 22,
(12) Bow down his neck while he is young, and beat him on the sides while he is a Child, least he wax stubborn, and be disobedient to thee, and so bring sorrow to thine heart. Eccles. 30, 12.
(13) It is good for a Man that he bear the Yoke in his Youth, he sitteth alone, and keeperh silence, because he hath born it upon him, Lam. 3. 27, 28.
(14) They four had also the face of an Eagle. Ezek. 1. 10.
(15) Train up thy child in the way he should go: and when he is o!d he will not depart from it. Prov. 22. 6.
(16) Nunitur puer non a Ma Here nutnee par urn hsnvifica, ver urn ah Eunuchis, qui reliquorum cv>cu Rc- m optimi Midcantur^ Plu:. primo A'cib.
Now no Age is more proper for it than their infancy, when nature as yet free from envy and dissimulation (17) sincerely discloses it self; when in their Forehead, Eyes, Hands, their Smiles and other motions of their Body, their passions and inclinations appear without disguise. The Ambassadors of Beam having power given them by the illustrious William of Moncada to Choose which of his Sons for their Prince they thought fit; upon observation, that Ones hand was Clinched, the others open, Chose this latter, interpreting it to be a sign of Munificence and Liberality, as it afterwards prov'd. If an Infant be of a generous and great Mind, at hearing his own commendations he smooths his Brows, looks pleasantly and smiles; on the contrary, when discommended, he is concerned, blushes and casts his Eyes on the ground; if of an undaunted Spirit, he looks stern, is not terrified with shadows or threats; if Liberal, he despises toys and presents, or readily parts with them again to others; if revengeful, he continues Angry, is all in Tears till he have satisfaction; if he be Choleric, the least trifle puts him in a heat, he lets fall his Brows, looks dogged, and threatens with his fist; if Affable, with a sweet Smile and alluring Eye, he wins favour and acceptance; if Melancholy, he avoids Company, delights in solitude, is often complaining, seldom Laughs, and generally looks sullen; if he be Airy, he unfolds the Wrinkles of his Forehead, and now gratefully fixing his Eyes seems to dart a pleasing light, by and by with a kind of Complacency withdrawing them, and agreeably pleating his brows, betrays the Cheerfulness of his Mind. Thus does the heart represent the other Virtues also, and vices in the face and exterior motions of the Body, till more cautious Age has taught it to Conceal them.
(17) Juvenet non funt mal'tgni maris, fed faciits morís, froftcrea quod nondum vidernnt neqttitias. Aiiit
In the very Cradle and Nurse's Arms, the whole Court admired in your Highness, a certain natural pleasantness and grateful Majesty, and indeed that grave carriage and presence of Mind which appeared in your Highness, when the Two Kingdoms of Castile and Leon took an Oath of Allegiance to you, exceeded the ordinary capacity of your years.
I would not have however, these reflections of mine upon infancy be looked upon as infallible and without exception, for nature sometimes deviates from her Common Road, and deceives the too curious Enquirer, there are some, who tho' vicious in their infancy, when at years of discretion take up and Reform, Which happens perhaps, because one of a great and haughty Spirit despises Education, and consequently is subdued by his natural passions, while right reason is too weak to resist them, till that getting strength He acknowledges its errours and corrects them effectually: 'twas a cruel and barbarous Custom therefore of the Brachmans, who either killed or exposed their Children after they were Two Months Old in the Woods, if there appeared in them any tokens of an ill nature. As inhumane were the Lacedaemonians who threw theirs into the River Taygetes. Both seemed to make no account of Education, of right reason and free will which usually correct and regulate natural affections. This also seems unaccountable, when nature joins some eminent Virtues with the most enormous Vices in the same person as too different slips are often grafted upon two branches, which growing out of the same Root produce different, nay contrary Fruits, bitter and sweet.
This was Visible in Alcibiades of whom 'twas a question whether he was more eminent for his Virtues or Vices. And thus Nature works "ere she has begun to know herself, but reason afterwards and industry correct and polish her operations.
Lastly since I proposed to myself by these Emblems to give an exact Model of a Prince from the Cradle to the Tomb, It won't be amiss to accommodate my rudiments and style to each particular Age, as Plato and Aristotle have done. At present, I Advise that special Care be taken to render his Arms and Legs active by Exercise. If by chance any of his Limbs should be crooked they may be straightened by artificial Instruments (18). Let frightful spectacles which may injure the imaginative faculty be kept from him: Let him not be suffered to look asquint at any thing: Use him gradually to the sharpness of the Air, nor should Music be Wanting to quicken his Spirits now and then: for whatever new thing Children meet with, that 'tis they admire, that makes the deepest Impression on their Imagination.
(18) C&terumne propter teneritatem membra torqueantur, n at mes qui» ¿ufdam artifichfit infirumentis utebanw. Arift, lib. 7. Pol. cap. 17.
Empresas Políticas. Idea de un príncipe político cristiano ("Political Maxims. Idea of a Christian Political Prince")