Of Nobility in General: that It Is a Plant
from Heaven; the Root, Branches, Fruit
IF WE consider arightly the frame of the whole universe and method of the all-excellent Wisdom in her work, as creating the forms of things infinitely diverse, so according to dignity of essence or virtue in effect we must acknowledge the same to hold a sovereignty and transcendent predominance, as well of rule as place, each over either. Among the heavenly bodies we see the nobler orbs, and of greatest influence, to be raised aloft, the less effectual, depressed; of elements the fire, the most pure and operative, to hold the highest place. In compounded bodies of things, as well sensible as insensible, there runneth a vein of excellence proceeding from the form, ennobling, in the same kind, some other above the rest.
The lion, we say, is king of beasts; the eagle, chief of birds; the whale and whirlpool1 among fishes; Jupiter's oak, the forest's king.2 Among flowers we most admire and esteem the rose; among fruit, the pomeroy and queen-apple. Among stones we value above all the diamond; metals, gold and silver. And since we knew these to transfer their inward excellence and virtues to their species successively, shall we not acknowledge____________________