William Shakespeare & Henry IV I 2012 TV - Charles I - Francis Bacon - Niccolo Machiavelli - Napoleon Bonaparte - Ben Jonson - Jonathan Swift - Exodus 2:14 - Psalms 146:3 - Joseph de Maistre - Richard Dawkins - Thomas More - Nancy Mitford - Marcel Proust - Arthur Miller - Tennessee Williams - Dispatches: The Prince & the Paedophile TV - Beatrice & Eugenie: Pampered Princesses? TV - The Diana Interview: Revenge of a Princess TV - Panorama TV -
When beggars die, there are no comets seen;
The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes. William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar II ii 30
Good night, sweet prince;
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest! William Shakespeare, Hamlet, V ii 341-342
O, how wretched
Is that poor man that hangs on princes’ favours!
There is, betwixt that smile we would aspire to,
That sweet aspect of princes, and their ruin,
More pangs and fears that wars and women have;
And when he falls, he falls like Lucifer,
Never to hope again. William Shakespeare, Henry VIII III ii 366
The lion will not touch the true prince. Henry IV I 2012 starring Roger Allam & Oliver Cotton & Jamie Parker & Joseph Timms & Sam Crane & Jason Baughan & Patrick Brennan & William Gaunt & Christopher Godwin & Daon Broni et al, director Dominic Dromgoole, Globe Theatre Sky Arts, Falstaff
Princes are not bound to give account of their actions but to God alone. Charles I
Princes are like to heavenly bodies, which cause good or evil times; and which have much veneration, but no rest. Francis Bacon, Essay
Princes and governments are far more dangerous than other elements within society. Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince
However strong your armies may be, you will always need the favour of the inhabitants to the possession of a province. ibid. chIII
The main foundations of every state, new states as well as ancient or composite ones, are good laws and good arms – you cannot have good laws without good arms, and where there are good arms, good laws inevitably follow. ibid.
Above all else, be armed. ibid.
For among other evils caused by being disarmed, it renders you contemptible; which is one of those disgraceful things which a prince must guard against. ibid.
And here we must observe that men must either be flattered or crushed; for they will revenge themselves for slight wrongs, whilst for grave ones they cannot. The injury therefore that you do to a man should be such that you need not fear his revenge. ibid.
And so it is with State affairs. For the distempers of a State being discovered while yet inchoate, which can only be done by a sagacious ruler, may easily be dealt with; but when, from not being observed, they are suffered to grow until they are obvious to everyone, there is no longer any remedy. ibid.
All courses of action are risky, so prudence is not in avoiding danger (it’s impossible), but calculating risk and acting decisively. Make mistakes of ambition and not mistakes of sloth. Develop the strength to do bold things, not the strength to suffer. ibid.
A prudent man should always follow in the path trodden by great men and imitate those who are most excellent. ibid. chVI
For, besides what has been said, it should be borne in mind that the temper of the multitude is fickle, and that while it is easy to persuade them of a thing, it is hard to fix them in that persuasion. Wherefore, matters should be so ordered that when men no longer believe of their own accord, they may be compelled to believe by force. ibid.
And let it be noted that there is no more delicate matter to take in hand, nor more dangerous to conduct, nor more doubtful in its success, than to set up as a leader in the introduction of changes. For he who innovates will have for his enemies all those who are well off under the existing order of things, and only lukewarm supporters in those who might be better off under the new. This lukewarm temper arises partly from the fear of adversaries who have the laws on their side, and partly from the incredulity of mankind, who will never admit the merit of anything new, until they have seen it proved by the event. ibid.
Those cruelties we may say are well employed, if it be permitted to speak well of things evil, which are done once for all under the necessity of self-preservation, and are not afterwards persisted in, but so far as possible modified to the advantage of the governed. Ill-employed cruelties, on the other hand, are those which from small beginnings increase rather than diminish with time. They who follow the first of these methods, may, by the grace of God and man, find, as did Agathocles, that their condition is not desperate; but by no possibility can the others maintain themselves. ibid.
It is essential therefore for a prince to have learnt how to be other than good and to use, or not to use, his goodness as necessity requires. ibid. chXV
A controversy has arisen about this: whether it is better to be loved than feared, or vice versa. My view is that it is desirable to be both loved and feared; but it is difficult to achieve both and, if one of them has to be lacking, it is much safer to be feared than loved. ibid. XVI
A Prince, therefore, if he is enabled thereby to forbear from plundering his subjects, to defend himself, to escape poverty and contempt, and the necessity of becoming rapacious, ought to care little though he incur the reproach of miserliness, for this is one of those vices which enable him to reign. ibid. XVII
And when he is obliged to take the life of any one, to do so when there is a proper justification and manifest reason for it; but above all he must abstain from taking the property of others, for men forget more easily the death of their father than the loss of their patrimony. ibid.
For of men it may generally be affirmed, that they are thankless, fickle, false studious to avoid danger, greedy of gain, devoted to you while you are able to confer benefits upon them, and ready, as I said before, while danger is distant, to shed their blood, and sacrifice their property, their lives, and their children for you; but in the hour of need they turn against you. ibid.
Be it known, then, that there are two ways of contending, one in accordance with the laws, the other by force; the first of which is proper to men, the second to beasts. But since the first method is often ineffectual, it becomes necessary to resort to the second. ibid. chXVII
And here it is to be noted that hatred is incurred as well on account of good actions as of bad; or which reason, as I have already said, a Prince who would maintain his authority is often compelled to be other than good. For when the class, be it the people, the soldiers, or the nobles, on whom you judge it necessary to rely for your support, is corrupt, you must needs adapt yourself to its humours, and satisfy these, in which case virtuous conduct will only prejudice you. ibid. XIX
For a Prince is exposed to two dangers, from within in respect of his subjects, from without in respect of foreign powers. Against the latter he will defend himself with good arms and good allies, and if he have good arms he will always have good allies. ibid.
A prince who gets a reputation for good nature in the first years of his reign, is laughed at in the second. Napoleon Bonaparte, letter 1807
Princes that would their people should do well
Must at themselves begin, as at the head;
For men, by their example, pattern out
Their imitations, and regard of laws:
A virtuous court a world to virtue draws. Ben Jonson, Cynthia's Revels V iii
A Prince without letters is a pilot without eyes. All his government is groping. Ben Jonson, Discoveries, Illiteratus, Princeps
They say Princes learn no art truly, but the art of horsemanship. The reason is, the brave beast is no flatterer. He will throw a Prince as soon as his groom. ibid.
A prince, the moment he is crown’d,
Inherits every virtue sound,
As emblems of the sovereign power,
Like other baubles in the Tower:
Is generous, valiant, just, and wise,
And so continues till he dies. Jonathan Swift
Who hath made thee a prince and a judge over us? Exodus 2:14
Put not your trust in princes. Psalms 146:3
Man is insatiable for power; he is infantile in his desires and, always discontented with what he has, loves only what he has not. People complain of the despotism of princes; they ought to complain of the despotism of man. Joseph de Maistre
I think looking back to my own childhood, the fact that so many of the stories I read allowed the possibility of frogs turning into princes, whether that has a sort of insidious effect on rationality, I’m not sure. Perhaps it’s something for research. Richard Dawkins