What Land is This? (Nov. 27)

What Land is This?
In wondrous Utopia pearls and precious stones were used as
playthings for little children. Gold rings and bracelets were only
worn by outcasts, while great golden chains shackled criminals
and felons. When ambassadors from foreign lands came in fine
raiment, the Utopians treated the plainest dressed as the greatest;
the others seemed to them like children.
Read from Sir Thomas More’s UTOPIA Vol. 36, pp. 191-204

UTOPIA 191
For it must needs be, that how far a thing is dissonant and disagreeing
from the guise and trade of the hearers, so far shall it be
out of their belief. Howbeit, a wise and indifferent esteemer of
things will not greatly marvel perchance, seeing all their other laws
and customs do so much differ from ours, if the use also of gold and
silver among them be applied, rather to their own fashions than to
ours. I mean in that they occupy not money themselves, but keep it
for that chance, which as it may happen, so it may be that it shall
never come to pass. In the meantime gold and silver, whereof money
is made, they do so use, as none of them doth more esteem it, than
the very nature of the thing deserveth. And then who doth not
plainly see how far it is under iron: as without the which men can
no better live than without fire and water. Whereas to gold and
silver nature hath given no use, that we may not well lack: if that
the folly of men had not set it in higher estimation for the rareness
sake. But of the contrary part, nature as a most tender and loving
mother, hath placed the best and most necessary things open abroad:
as the air, the water and the earth itself. And hath removed and hid
farthest from us vain and unprofitable things. Therefore if these
metals among them should be fast locked up in some tower, it might
be suspected, that the prince and the council (as the people is ever
foolishly imagining) intended by some subtilty to deceive the commons,
and to take same profit of it to themselves. Furthermore if
they should make thereof plate and such other finely and cunningly
wrought stuff: if at any time they should have occasion to break it,
and melt it again, and therewith to pay their soldiers’ wages, they
see and perceive very well, that men would be loath to part from
those things, that they once began to have pleasure and delight in.
To remedy all this they have found out a means, which, as it is
agreeable to all their other laws and customs, so it is from ours, where
gold is so much set by and so diligently kept, very far discrepant and
repugnant: and therefore incredible, but only to them that be wise.
For whereas they eat and drink in earthen and glass vessels, which
indeed be curiously and properly made, and yet be of very small
value: of gold and silver they make commonly chamber pots, and
other like vessels, that serve for most vile uses, not only in their
common halls, but in every man’s private house. Furthermore of the

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same metals they make great chains, with fetters, and gyves wherein
they tie their bondmen. Finally whosoever for any offence be infamed,
by their ears hang rings of gold, upon their fingers they wear
rings of gold, and about their necks chains of gold, and in conclusion
their heads be tied about with gold. Thus by all means that
may be they procure to have gold and silver among them in reproach
and infamy. And therefore these metals, which other nations
do as grievously and sorrowfully forgo, as in a manner from their
own lives: if they should altogether at once be taken from the Utopians,
no man there would think that he had lost the worth of one
farthing. They gather also pearls by the sea-side, and diamonds and
carbuncles upon certain rocks, and yet they seek not for them: but by
chance finding them, they cut and polish them. And therewith they
deck their young infants. Which like as in the first years of their
childhood, they make much and be fond and proud of such ornaments,
so when they be a little more grown in years and discretion,
perceiving that none but children do wear such toys and trifles:
they lay them away even of their own shamefacedness, without any
bidding of their parents: even as our children, when they wax big,
do cast away nuts, brooches, and puppets. Therefore these laws and
customs, which be so far different from all other nations, how divers
fantasies also and minds they do cause, did I never so plainly perceive,
as in the ambassadors of the Anemolians.
These ambassadors came to Amaurote whilest I was there. And
because they came to entreat of great and weighty matters, those
three citizens apiece out of every city were come thither before
them. But all the ambassadors of the next countries, which had been
there before, and knew the fashions and manners of the Utopians,
among whom they perceived no honour given to sumptuous and
costly apparel, silks to be contemned, gold also to be infamed and
reproachful, were wont to come thither in very homely and simple
apparel. But the Anemolians, because they dwell far thence and had
very little acquaintance with them, hearing that they were all
apparelled alike, and that very rudely and homely: thinking them
not to have the things which they did not wear: being therefore
more proud, than wise: determined in the gorgeousness of their
apparel to represent very gods, and with the bright shining and

UTOPIA 193
glistering of their gay clothing to dazzle the eyes of the silly poor
Utopians. So there came in three ambassadors with one hundred
servants all apparelled in changeable colours: the most of them in
silks: the ambassadors themselves (for at home in their own country
they were noblemen) in cloth of gold, with great chains of gold,
with gold hanging at their ears, with gold rings upon their fingers,
with brooches and aglets of gold upon their caps, which glistered full
of pearls and precious stones: to be short, trimmed and adorned
with all those things, which among the Utopians were either the
punishment of bondmen, or the reproach of infamed persons, or else
trifles for young children to play withal. Therefore it would have
done a man good at his heart to have seen how proudly they displayed
their peacock’s feathers, how much they made of their
painted sheaths, and how loftily they set forth and advanced themselves,
when they compared their gallant apparel with the poor raiment
of the Utopians. For all the people were swarmed forth into
the streets. And on the other side it was no less pleasure to consider
how much they were deceived, and how far they missed of their
purpose, being contrariwise taken than they thought they should
have been. For to the eyes of all the Utopians, .except very few,
which had been in other countries for some reasonable cause, all
that gorgeousness of apparel seemed shameful and reproachful. Insomuch
that they most reverently saluted the vilest and most abject of
them for lords: passing over the ambassadors themselves without
any honour: judging them by their wearing of golden chains to be
bondmen. Yea you should have seen children also, that had cast
away their pearls and precious stones, when they saw the like sticking
upon the ambassadors’ caps, dig and push their mothers under
the sides, saying thus to them. Look, mother, how great a lubber
doth yet wear pearls and precious stones, as though he were a little
child still. But the mother, yea, and that also in good earnest: peace,
son, saith she: I think he be some of the ambassadors’ fools. Some
found fault at their golden chains, as to no use nor purpose, being
so small and weak, that a bondman might easily break them, and
again so wide and large, that when it pleased him, he might cast
them off, and run away at liberty whither he would. But when the
ambassadors had been there a day or two and saw so great abun-

 

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dance of gold so lightly esteemed, yea in no less reproach, than it
was with them in honour: and besides that more gold in the chains
and gyves of one fugitive bondman, than all the costly ornaments
of them three was worth: they began to abate their courage, and for
very shame laid away all that gorgeous array, whereof they were so
proud. And specially when they had talked familiarly with the
Utopians, and had learned all their fashions and opinions.
For they marvel that any men be so foolish, as to have delight
and pleasure in the glistering of a little trifling stone, which may
behold any of the stars, or else the sun itself. Or that any man is so
mad, as to count himself the nobler for the smaller or finer thread
of wool, which selfsame wool (be it now in never so fine a spun
thread) did once a sheep wear: and yet was she all that time no
other thing than a sheep. They marvel also that gold, which of the
own nature is a thing so unprofitable, is now among all people in
so high estimation, that man himself, by whom, yea and for the
use of whom it is so much set by, is in much less estimation than
the gold itself. Insomuch that a lumpish blockheaded churl, and
which hath no more wit than an ass, yea and as full of worthlessness
and foolishness, shall have nevertheless many wise and good
men in subjection and bondage, only for this, because he hath a
great heap of gold. Which if it should be taken from him by any
fortune, or by some subtle wile of the law (which no less than
fortune doth raise up the low and pluck down the high), and be
given to the most vile slave and abject drudge of all his household,
then shortly after he shall go into the service of his servant, as an
augmentation or an overplus beside his money. But they much
more marvel at and detest the madness of them which to those rich
men, in whose debt and danger they be not, do give almost divine
honours, for none other consideration, but because they be rich:
and yet knowing them to be such niggardly penny-fathers, that they
be sure as long as they live, not the worth of one farthing of that
heap of gold shall come to them.
These and such like opinions have they conceived, partly by education,
being brought up in that commonwealth, whose laws and customs
be far different from these kinds of folly, and partly by good
literature and learning. For though there be not many in every city,

UTOPIA 195
which be exempt and discharged of all other labours, and appointed
only to learning; that is to say, such in whom even from their very
childhood they have perceived a singular towardness, a fine wit, and
a mind apt to good learning: yet all in their childhood be instruct
in learning. And the better part of the people, both men and women
throughout all their whole life do bestow in learning those spare
hours, which we said they have vacant from bodily labours. They
be taught learning in their own native tongue. For it is both copious
in words, and also pleasant to the ear, and for the utterance of a
man’s mind very perfect and sure. The most part of all that side
of the world useth the same language, saving that among the
Utopians it is finest and purest, and according to the diversity of the
countries it is diversely altered. Of all these philosophers, whose
names be here famous in this part of the world to us known, before
our coming thither not as much as the fame of any of them was
come among them. And yet in music, logic, arithmetic, and geometry
they have found out in a manner all that our ancient philosophers
have taught. But as they in all things be almost equal to our
old ancient clerks, so our new logicians in subtle inventions have far
passed and gone beyond them. For they have not devised one of
all those rules of restrictions, amplifications and suppositions, very
wittily invented in the small logicals, which here our children in
every place do learn. Furthermore, they were never yet able to find
out the second intentions: insomuch that none of them all could
ever see man himself in common, as they call him, though he be (as
you know) bigger than ever was any giant, yea and pointed to of us
even with our finger. But they be in the course of the stars, and the
movings of the heavenly spheres very expert and cunning. They
have also wittily excogitated and devised instruments of divers
fashions: wherein is exactly comprehended and contained the movings
and situations of the sun, the moon, and of all the other stars,
which appear in their horizon. But as for the amides and dissensions
of the planets, and all that deceitful divination by the stars, they
never as much as dreamed thereof. Rains, winds, and other courses
of tempests they know before by certain tokens, which they have
learned by long use and observation. But of the causes of all these
things and of the ebbing, flowing and saltness of the sea, and finally

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of the original beginning and nature of heaven and of the world,
they hold partly the same opinions that our old philosophers hold,
and partly, as our philosophers vary among themselves, so they also,
whiles they bring new reasons of things, do disagree from all them,
and yet among themselves in all points they do not accord. In that
part of philosophy, which treateth of manners and virtue, their reasons
and opinions agree with ours. They dispute of the good qualities
of the soul, of the body and of fortune. And whether the name
of goodness may be applied to all these, or only to the endowments
and gifts of the soul.
They reason of virtue and pleasure. But the chief and principal
question is in what thing, be it one or more, the felicity of man
consisteth. But in this point they seem almost too much given and
inclined to the opinion of them which defend pleasure, wherein they
determine either all or the chiefest part of man’s felicity to rest. And
(which is more to be marvelled at) the defence of this so dainty and
delicate an opinion they fetch even from their grave, sharp, bitter,
and rigorous religion. For they never dispute of felicity or blessedness,
but they join to the reasons of philosophy certain principles
taken out of religion: without the which to the investigation of true
felicity they think reason of itself weak and imperfect. Those principles
be these and such like: That the soul is immortal, and by the
bountiful goodness of God ordained to felicity. That to our virtues
and good deeds rewards be appointed after this life, and to our evil
deeds, punishments. Though these be pertaining to religion, yet
they think it meet that they should be believed and granted by proofs
of reason. But if these principles were condemned and disannulled,
then without any delay they pronounce no man to be so foolish,
which would not do all his diligence and endeavour to obtain pleasure
by right or wrong, only avoiding this inconvenience, that the less
pleasure should not be a let or hindrance to the bigger: or that he
laboured not for that pleasure, which would bring after it displeasure,
grief, and sorrow. For they judge it extreme madness to follow
sharp and painful virtue, and not only to banish the pleasure of life,
but also willingly to suffer grief without any hope of profit thereof.
For what profit can there be, if a man, when he hath passed over
all his life unpleasantly, that is to say, wretchedly, shall have no

UTOPIA 197
reward after his death ? But now, sir, they think not felicity to rest
in all pleasure, but only in that pleasure that is good and honest,
and that hereto, as to perfect blessedness our nature is allured and
drawn even of virtue, whereto only they that be of the contrary
opinion do attribute felicity. For they define virtue to be a life
ordered according to nature, and that we be hereunto ordained of
God. And that he doth follow the course of nature, which in desiring
and refusing things is ruled by reason. Furthermore, that reason
doth chiefly and principally kindle in men the love and veneration
of the divine majesty. Of whose goodness it is that we be, and
that we be in possibility to attain felicity. And that secondly, it
moveth and provoketh us to lead our life out of care in joy and
mirth, and to help all other in respect of the society of nature to
obtain the same. For there was never man so earnest and painful a
follower of virtue and hater of pleasure, that would so enjoin you
labours, watchings and fastings, but he would also exhort you to
ease and lighten, to your power, the lack and misery of others, praising
the same as a deed of humanity and pity. Then if it be a point
of humanity for man to bring health and comfort to man, and specially
(which is a virtue most peculiarly belonging to man) to
mitigate and assuage the grief of others, and by taking from them
the sorrow and heaviness of life, to restore them to joy, that is to say,
to pleasure: why may it not then be said, that nature doth provoke
every man to do the same to himself? For a joyful life, that is
to say, a pleasant life, is either evil, and if it be so, then thou
shouldest not only help no man thereto, but rather, as much as in
thee lieth, help all men from it, as noisome and hurtful, or else if
thou not only mayst, but also of duty art bound to procure it to
others, why not chiefly to thyself, to whom thou art bound to show
as much favour as to other? For when nature biddeth thee to be
good and gentle to other she commandeth thee not to be cruel and
ungentle to thyself. Therefore even very nature (say they) prescribed
to us a joyful life, that is to say, pleasure as the end of all
our operations. And they define virtue to be life ordered according
to the prescript of nature. But in that, that nature doth allure and
provoke men one to help another to live merrily (which surely she
doth not without a good cause, for no man is so far above the lot

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of man’s state or condition, that nature doth cark and care for him
only, which equally favoureth all that be comprehended under the
communion of one shape, form and fashion) verily she commandeth
thee to use diligent circumspection, that thou do not so seek for thine
own commodities, that thou procure others incommodities. Wherefore
their opinion is, that not only covenants and bargains made
among private men ought to be well and faithfully fulfilled, observed,
and kept, but also common laws, which either a good prince hath
justly published, or else the people neither oppressed with tyranny,
neither deceived by fraud and guile, hath by their common consent
constituted and ratified, concerning the partition of the commodities
of life, that is to say, the matter of pleasure. These laws not offended,
it is wisdom, that thou look to thine own wealth. And to do the
same for the commonwealth is no less than thy duty, if thou bearest
any reverent love or any natural zeal and affection to thy native
country. But to go about to let another man of his pleasure, whilst
thou procurest thine own, that is open wrong. Contrariwise to
withdraw something from thyself to give to other, that is a point of
humanity and gentleness; which never taketh away so much commodity,
as it bringeth again. For it is recompensed with the return
of benefits; and the conscience of the good deed, with the remembrance
of the thankful love and benevolence of them to whom thou
hast done it, doth bring more pleasure to thy mind, than that which
thou hast withholden from thyself could have brought to thy body.
Finally (which to a godly disposed and a religious mind is easy to
be persuaded) God recompenseth the gift of a short and small pleasure
with great and everlasting joy. Therefore the matter diligently
weighed and considered, thus they think, that all our actions, and
in them the virtues themselves, be referred at the last to pleasure,
as their end and felicity. Pleasure they call every motion and state
of the body or mind wherein man hath naturally delectation. Appetite
they join to nature, and that not without a good cause. For like
as, not only the senses, but also right reason coveteth whatsoever is
naturally pleasant, so that it may be gotten without wrong or injury,
not letting or debarring a greater pleasure, nor causing painful
labour, even so those things that men by vain imagination do feign
against nature to be pleasant (as though it lay in their power to

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change the things, as they do the names o£ things) all such pleasures
they believe to be of so small help and furtherance to felicity, that
they count them great let and hindrance. Because that in whom
they have once taken place, all his mind they possess with a false
opinion of pleasure. So that there is no place left for true and natural
delectations. For there be many things, which of their own nature
contain no pleasantness: yea the most part of them much grief and
sorrow. And yet through the perverse and malicious flickering enticements
of lewd and unhonest desires, be taken not only for special
and sovereign pleasures, but also be counted among the chief causes
of life. In this counterfeit kind of pleasure they put them that I
spake of before; which the better gown they have on, the better men
they think themselves. In the which thing they do twice err. For
they be no less deceived in that they think their gown the better,
than they be, in that they think themselves the better. For if you
consider the profitable use of the garment, why should wool of a
finer spun thread be thought better, than the wool of a coarse spun
thread? Yet they, as though the one did pass the other by nature,
and not by their mistaking, advance themselves, and think the price
of their own persons thereby greatly increased. And therefore the
honour, which in a coarse gown they durst not have looked for, they
require, as it were of duty, for their finer gown’s sake. And if they
be passed by without reverence, they take it angrily and disdainfully.
And again is it not a like madness to take a pride in vain and unprofitable
honours? For what natural or true pleasure dost thou
take of another man’s bare head, or bowed knees ? Will this ease the
pain of thy knees, or remedy the frenzy of thy head ? In this image
of counterfeit pleasure, they be of a marvellous madness, which for
the opinion of nobility, rejoice much in their own conceit. Because
it was their fortune to come of such ancestors, whose stock of long
time hath been counted rich (for now nobility is nothing else) specially
rich in lands. And though their ancestors left them not one
foot of land, yet they think themselves not the less noble therefore
of one hair. In this number also they count them that take pleasure
and delight (as I said) in gems and precious stones, and think themselves
almost gods, if they chance to get an excellent one, specially
of that kind, which in that time of their own countrymen is had in

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highest estimation. For one kind of stone keepeth not his price still
in all countries and at all times. Nor they buy them not, but taken
out of the gold and bare: no, nor so neither, before they have made
the seller to swear, that he will warrant and assure it to be a true
stone, and no counterfeit gem. Such care they take lest a counterfeit
stone should deceive their eyes instead of a right stone. But why
shouldst thou not take even as much pleasure in beholding a counterfeit
stone, which thine eye cannot discern from a right stone ? They
should both be of like value to thee, even as to a blind man. What
shall I say of them, that keep superfluous riches, to take delectation
only in the beholding, and not in the use or occupying thereof ? Do
they take true pleasure, or else be they deceived with false pleasure ?
Or of them that be in a contrary vice, hiding the gold which they
shall never occupy, nor peradventure never see more; ard whiles
they take care lest they shall lose it, do lose it indeed ? For what is
it else, when they hide it in the ground, taking it both from their
own use, and perchance from all other men’s also? And yet thou,
when thou hast hid thy treasure, as one out of all care, hoppest for
joy. The which treasure, if it should chance to be stolen, and thou
ignorant of the theft shouldst die ten years after: all that ten years’
space that thou livedst after thy money was stolen, what matter was
it to thee, whether it had been taken away or else safe as thou leftest
it? Truly both ways like profit came to thee. To these so foolish
pleasures they join dicers, whose madness they know by hearsay and
not by use. Hunters also, and hawkers, For what pleasure is there
(say they) in casting the dice upon a table; which thou hast done
so often, that if there were any pleasure in it, yet the oft use might
make thee weary thereof? Or what delight can there be, and not
rather displeasure in hearing the barking and howling of dogs ? Or
what greater pleasure is there to be felt when a dog followeth an
hare, than when a dog followeth a dog ? for one thing is done in both,
that is to say, running, if thou hast pleasure therein. But if the hope
of slaughter and the expectation of tearing in pieces the beast doth
please thee: thou shouldest rather be moved with pity to see a silly
innocent hare murdered of a dog, the weak of the stronger, the fearful
of the fierce, the innocent of the cruel and unmerciful. Therefore
all this exercise of hunting, as a thing unworthy to be used of

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free men, the Utopians have rejected to their butchers, to the which
craft (as we said before) they appoint their bondmen. For they
count hunting the lowest, the vilest, and most abject part of butchery,
and the other parts of it more profitable and more honest, as which
do bring much more commodity, and do kill beasts only for necessity.
Whereas the hunter seeketh nothing but pleasure of the silly
and woful beasts’ slaughter and murder. The which pleasure, in
beholding death, they think doth rise in the very beasts, either of a
cruel affection of mind, or else to be changed in continuance of time
into cruelty, by long use of so cruel a pleasure. These therefore and
all such like, which be innumerable, though the common sort of
people doth take them for pleasures, yet they, seeing there is no
natural pleasantness in them, do plainly determine them to have no
affinity with true and right pleasure. For as touching that they do
commonly move the sense with delectation (which seemeth to be a
work of pleasure) this doth nothing diminish their opinion. For not
the nature of the thing, but their perverse and lewd custom is the
cause hereof, which causeth them to accept bitter or sour things for
sweet things. Even as women with child in. their viciated and corrupt
taste, think pitch and tallow sweeter than any honey. Howbeit
no man’s judgment depraved and corrupt, either by sickness, or by
custom, can change the nature of pleasure, more than it can do the
nature of other things.
They make divers kinds of true pleasures. For some they attribute
to the soul, and some to the body. To the soul they give intelligence
and that delectation that cometh of the contemplation of truth.
Hereunto is joined the pleasant remembrance of the good life past.
The pleasure of the body they divide into two parts. The first is
when delectation is sensibly felt and perceived. The second part of
bodily pleasure, they say, is that which consisteth and resteth in the
quiet and upright state of the body. And that truly is every man’s
own proper health, intermingled and disturbed with no grief. For
this, if it be not let nor assaulted with no grief, is delectable of itself,
though it be moved with no external or outward pleasure. For
though it be not so plain and manifest to the sense, as the greedy lust
of eating and drinking, yet nevertheless many take it for the chiefest
pleasure. All the Utopians grant it to be a right great pleasure, and

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as you would say, the foundation and ground of all pleasures, as
which even alone is able to make the state and condition of life
delectable and pleasant. And it being once taken away, there is no
place left for any pleasure. For to be without grief not having health,
that they call insensibility, and not pleasure. The Utopians have
long ago rejected and condemned the opinion of them which said
that steadfast and quiet health (for this question also hath been
diligently debated among them) ought not therefore to be counted
a pleasure, because they say it cannot be presently and sensibly perceived
and felt by some outward motion. But of the contrary part
now they agree almost all in this, that health is a most sovereign
pleasure. For seeing that in sickness (say they) is grief, which is a
mortal enemy to pleasure, even as sickness is to health, why should
not then pleasure be in the quietness of health? For they say it
maketh nothing to this matter, whether you say that sickness is a
grief, or that in sickness is grief, for all cometh to one purpose. For
whether health be a pleasure itself, or a necessary cause of pleasure,
as fire is of heat, truly both ways it followeth that they cannot be
without pleasure that be in perfect health. Furthermore whilest we
eat (say they) then health, which began to be impaired, fighteth by
the help of food against hunger. In the which fight, whilest health
by little and little getteth the upper hand, that same proceeding, and
(as ye would say) that onwardness to the wonted strength, ministreth
that pleasure, whereby we be so refreshed. Health therefore,
which in the conflict is joyful, shall it not be merry, when it hath
gotten the victory? But as soon as it hath recovered the pristinate
strength, which thing only in all the fight it coveted, shall it incontinent
be astonished? Nor shall it not know nor embrace the own
wealth and goodness ? For that it is said, health cannot be felt: this,
they think, is nothing true. For what man waking, say they, feeleth
not himself in health, but he that is not? Is there any man so possessed
with stonish insensibility, or with the sleeping sickness, that
he will not grant health to be acceptable to him, and delectable? But
what other thing is delectation, than that which by another name is
called pleasure? They embrace chiefly the pleasures of the mind.
For them they count the chiefest and most principal of all. The
chief part of them they think doth come of the exercise of virtue,

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and conscience of good life. Of these pleasures that the body ministreth,
they give the pre-eminence to health. For the delight of eating
and drinking, and whatsoever hath any like pleasantness, they determine
to be pleasures much to be desired, but no other ways than for
health’s sake. For such things of their own proper nature be not
pleasant, but in that they resist sickness privily stealing on. Therefore
like as it is a wise man’s part, rather to avoid sickness, than to
wish for medicines, and rather to drive away and put to flight careful
griefs, than to call for comfort: so it is much better not to need
this kind of pleasure, than in curing the contrary grief to be eased of
the same. The which kind of pleasure, if any man take for his
felicity, that man must needs grant, that then he shall be in most
felicity, if he live that life, which is led in continual hunger, thirst,
itching, eating, drinking, scratching and rubbing. The which life
how not only foul it is, but also miserable and wretched who perceiveth
not ? These doubtless be the basest pleasures of all, as impure
and imperfect. For they never come, but accompanied with their
contrary griefs. As with the pleasure of eating is joined hunger, and
that after no very equal sort. For of these two the grief is both the
more vehement, and also of longer continuance. For it riseth before
the pleasure, and endeth not until the pleasure die with it. Wherefore
such pleasures they think not greatly to be set by, but in that
they be necessary. Howbeit they have delight also in these, and
thankfully acknowledge the tender love of mother nature, which
with most pleasant delectation allureth her children to that, which
of necessity they be driven often to use. For how wretched and
miserable should our life be, if these daily griefs of hunger and
thirst could not be driven away, but with bitter potions and sour
medicines, as the other diseases be, wherewith we be seldomer
troubled? But beauty, strength, nimbleness, these as peculiar and
pleasant gifts of nature they make much of. But those pleasures
which be received by the ears, the eyes and the nose, which nature
willeth to be proper and peculiar to man (for no other kind of living
beasts doth behold the fairness and the beauty of the world, or is
moved with any respect of savours, but only for the diversity of
meats, neither perceiveth the concordant and discordant distances
of sounds and tunes) these pleasures, I say, they accept and allow

204 SIR THOMAS MORE
as certain pleasant rejoicings of life. But in all things this precaution
they use, that a less pleasure hinder not a bigger, and that the pleasure
be no cause of displeasure, which they think to follow of necessity,
if the pleasure be unhonest. But yet to despise the comeliness
of beauty, to waste the bodily strength, to turn nimbleness into sluggishness,
to consume and make feeble the body with fasting, to do
injury to health, and to reject the other pleasant motions of nature
unless a man neglect these his commodities, whilest he doth with a
fervent zeal procure the wealth of others, or the common profit,
for the which pleasure forborn, he is in hope of a greater pleasure
at God’s hand; else for a vain shadow of virtue, for the wealth and
profit of no man, to punish himself, or to the intent he may be able
courageously to suffer adversities, which perchance shall never come
to him; this to do they think it a point of extreme madness, and a
token of a man cruelly minded towards himself, and unkind toward
nature, as one so disdaining to be in her danger, that he renounceth
and refuseth all her benefits.

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