How the Distempers of These Times Should Affect Wise Men
The distempers of these times would make a wise man both merry and mad.
Merry, to see how vice flourishes but for a while, and, being at last frustrated of all her fair hopes, dies in a dejected scorn.
... To see how the world is mistaken in its opinion, to suppose those best that are wealthiest.
... To see how men buy offices at high rates, which, when they have, prove gins to catch their souls in, and snare their estates and reputations.
... To see how foolishly men cozen themselves of their souls, while they think gain, by their cunning defrauding of another.
... To see what idle compliments are current among some that affect the fantastic garb: as if friendship were nothing but an apish salute
Mad, on the other side, to see how vice goes trapped with rich furniture.
... To see Machiavel's tenets held as oracles; honesty reputed shallowness; justice bought and sold.
... To see how flattery creeps into favor with greatness, while plain dealing is thought the enemy of the state and honour.
... To see how well-meaning simplicity is footballed
... To see how religion is made a politician's visor; which, having helped him to his purpose, he casts by, like Sunday apparel.
And, which would mad a man more than all, to know all this, yet not to know how to help it.

- Published 1620
Link: Owen Feltham
ROUS  Annette Collins, Monday, 3-31-08 6:55 PM
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