The Complete Gentleman: The Truth of Our Times, and the Art of Living in London

By Henry Peacham; Virgil B. Heltzel | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XVII
Of Reputation and Carriage in General

THERE is no one thing that setteth a fairer stamp upon nobility than evenness of carriage and care of our reputation, without which our most graceful gifts are dead and dull, as the diamond without his foil. For hereupon as on the frontispiece of a magnificent palace are fixed the eyes of all passengers and hereby the height of our judgments (even ourselves) is taken. According to that of the wise man, "by gait, laughter, and apparel, a man is known what he is."1 Wherefore I call it the crown of good parts and loadstone of regard. The principal means to preserve it is temperance and that moderation of the mind wherewith as a bridle we curb and break our rank and unruly passions, keeping, as the Caspian Sea, ourselves ever at one height without ebb or reflux. And albeit true it is that Galen saith, we are commonly beholden for the disposition of our minds to the temperature of our bodies, yet much lieth in our power to keep that fount from empoisoning by taking heed to ourselves, and, as good Cardinal Pole once said, to correct the malignity of our stars with a second birth. For certainly under grace it is the root of our reputation and honest fame, without the which, as one saith, "We are dead long before we are buried."

For moderation of the mind and affections, which is the ground of all honesty, I must give you that prime receipt the kingly prophet doth to a young man, teaching him wherewith to cleanse his way; that is, "by keeping," saith he,2 "O Lord, thy

____________________
1
☼Ecclesiastic. [Cf. below, p. 198.]
2
☼ Psal. 119:9.

-144-

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