Studies serve for delight, for ornament, and for ability. Their chief use for delight, is in privatenessand retiring; for ornament, is in discourse; and for ability, is in the judgment and disposition of business.
For expert and execute, and perhaps judge of particulars, one by one; but the general counsels,and the plots and marshalling of affairs, come best form those that are learned.
To spend too much time in studies is sloth; to use them too much for ornament, is affectation; tomake judgement wholly by their rules, is the humour of a scholar.
They perfect nature, and are perfected by experience: for natural abilities are like natural plants,that need proyning (pruning) by study; and studies themselves do give forth directions too muchat large, except they be bounded in/ by experience.
Crafty men contemn studies, simple men admire them, and wise men use them; for they teachnot their own use; but that is a wisdom without them, and above them, won by observation.
Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk anddiscourse; but to weigh and consider.
Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested;that is, some books are to be read only in parts; others to be read, but not curiously; and somefew to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.
Some books also may be read by deputy, and extracts made of them by others; but that wouldbe only in the less important arguments, and the meaner sort of books; else distilled books are, likecommon distilled waters, flashy things.
Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man. And therefore, if aman write little, he had need have a great memory; if he confer little, he had need have a presentwit; and if he read little, he had need have much cunning, to seem to know that he doth not.
Histories make men wise; poets witty; the mathematics subtile; natural philosophy deep; moralgrave; logic and rhetoric able to contend. Abeunt studia in morse. (Studeis go to make up a man’scharacter.)
Nay there is no stand or impediment in the wit, but may be wrought out by fit studies: like asdiseases of the body may have appropriate exercises. Bowling is good for the stone and reins;shooting for the lungs and breast; gentle walking for the stomach ; riding for the head; and thelike.
So if a man's wit be wandering, let him study the mathematics; for in demonstrations, if his wit becalled away never so little, he must begin again. If his wit be not apt to distinguish or finddifferences, let him study the schoolmen; for they are cymini sectores. (Hair-splitters sim-mini sek-torr-es) If he be not apt to beat over matters, and to call up one thing to prove and illustrateanother, let him study the lawyers' cases. So every defect of the mind may have a special receipt.