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Virtue is like a rich stone,—best plain set. Options
Daemon
Posted: Monday, September 19, 2011 12:00:00 AM
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Virtue is like a rich stone,—best plain set.

Francis Bacon (1561-1626)
MTC
Posted: Monday, September 19, 2011 12:58:50 AM
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Essay, "Of Beauty:" (Printed in full)


VIRTUE is like a rich stone, best plain set; and surely virtue is best, in a body that is comely, though not of delicate features; and that hath rather dignity of presence, than beauty of aspect. Neither is it almost seen, that very beautiful persons are otherwise of great virtue; as if nature were rather busy, not to err, than in labor to produce excellency. And therefore they prove accomplished, but not of great spirit; and study rather behavior, than virtue. But this holds not always: for Augustus Caesar, Titus Vespasianus, Philip le Belle of France, Edward the Fourth of England, Alcibiades of Athens, Ismael the Sophy of Persia, were all high and great spirits; and yet the most beautiful men of their times. In beauty, that of favor, is more than that of color; and that of decent and gracious motion, more than that of favor. That is the best part of beauty, which a picture cannot express; no, nor the first sight of the life. There is no excellent beauty, that hath not some strangeness in the proportion. A man cannot tell whether Apelles, or Albert Durer, were the more trifler; whereof the one, would make a personage by geometrical proportions; the other, by taking the best parts out of divers faces, to make one excellent. Such personages, I think, would please nobody, but the painter that made them. Not but I think a painter may make a better face than ever was; but he must do it by a kind of felicity (as a musician that maketh an excellent air in music), and not by rule. A man shall see faces, that if you examine them part by part, you shall find never a good; and yet altogether do well. If it be true that the principal part of beauty is in decent motion, certainly it is no marvel, though persons in years seem many times more amiable; pulchrorum autumnus pulcher; for no youth can be comely but by pardon, and considering the youth, as to make up the comeliness. Beauty is as summer fruits,) which are easy to corrupt, and cannot last; and for the most part it makes a dissolute youth, and an age a little out of countenance; but yet certainly again, if it light well, it maketh virtue shine, and vices blush.

jcbarros
Posted: Monday, September 19, 2011 8:43:03 AM

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So is language.
sacsayhuaman
Posted: Monday, September 19, 2011 3:22:45 PM
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Joined: 9/2/2009
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Location: Ireland
Beauty is a summer fruit for myopic; for a virtue an through it beauty might have seen till the loss of eyesight
RubyMoon
Posted: Monday, September 19, 2011 4:02:22 PM
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sacsayhuaman wrote:
Beauty is a summer fruit for myopic; for a virtue an through it beauty might have seen till the loss of eyesight



sacsayhuaman-- I'm not quite sure what your statement means, but it evokes a lovely, bittersweet image for me.

Thank you.

leonAzul
Posted: Friday, September 23, 2011 11:16:01 PM

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Daemon wrote:
Virtue is like a rich stone,—best plain set.

Francis Bacon (1561-1626)


The simile refers to the jeweler's art of creating an appropriate setting for a stone.

A plain stone often benefits from an elaborate setting to make it seem more attractive. Yet an overly elaborate setting only competes with and dilutes the inherent beauty of a rich stone.

By analogy, common persons make themselves look good with fancy clothes and speech. Yet virtuous persons require no such elaborate presentation to demonstrate their worth.
RubyMoon
Posted: Friday, September 23, 2011 11:21:35 PM
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To leonAzul: I love the poetic simplicity of your post, and its truth.
leonAzul
Posted: Friday, September 23, 2011 11:24:08 PM

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RubyMoon wrote:
To leonAzul: I love the poetic simplicity of your post, and its truth.


Don't thank me, thank Francis Bacon! :)
RubyMoon
Posted: Friday, September 23, 2011 11:26:39 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/30/2009
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Location: United States
Ahhh...as you wish-- thank you, Francis Bacon.
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