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 II
Of the Dignity and Necessity of
Learning in Princes and Nobility

SINCE learning, then, is an essential part of nobility, as unto which we are beholden for whatsoever dependeth on the culture of the mind, it followeth that who is nobly born and a scholar withal deserveth double honor, being both εὐ; γενῄς and πολυμαθῄς.1 For hereby as an engine of the fairest colors he is afar off discerned and winneth to himself both love and admiration, heighthing with his skill his image to life, making it precious and lasting to posterity.

It was the reply of that learned King of Aragon to a courtier of his, who affirmed that learning was not requisite in princes and nobility, Questa è voce d'un bue, non d'un huomo.2 For if a prince be the image of God, governing and adorning all things, and the end of all government the observation of laws, that thereby might appear the goodness of God in protecting the good and punishing the bad, that the people might be fashioned in their lives and manners and come near in the light of knowledge unto him who must protect and defend them by establishing religion, ordaining laws; by so much, as the sun from his orb of empire, ought he to outrun the rest in a virtuous race and outshine them in knowledge by how much he is mounted

____________________
1
"Wellborn and learned." Si ad naturam eximiam eruditio accesserit tum demum singulare quoddam existere solet.--Cic[erol pro Archia Poeta. ["When erudition is joined to exceptional natural endowments, something quite extraordinary results."]
2
"This is the voice of an ox, not of a man."

-28-

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