"Revenge is a kind of wild justice; which the more man's
nature runs to,
Sir Francis Bacon
the more ought law to weed it out."
by Sir Francis Bacon
Pres. Richard Nixon leaves the presidency in disgrace in 1974 after illegally
on his political rivals and then lying about it to the American people.
"...vindictive persons live the life of witches;
who, as they are mischievous, so end they infortunate."
Revenge is a kind of wild justice; which the more man's nature
runs to, the more ought law to weed it out. For as for the first
wrong, it doth but offend the law; but the revenge of that wrong,
putteth the law out of office. Certainly, in taking revenge, a
man is but even with his enemy; but in passing it over, he is superior;
for it is a prince's part to pardon. And Solomon, I am sure, saith, It
is the glory of a man, to pass by an offence. That which is
past is gone, and irrevocable; and wise men have enough to do,
with things present and to come; therefore they do but trifle with
themselves, that labor in past matters. There is no man doth a
wrong, for the wrong's sake; but thereby to purchase himself profit,
or pleasure, or honor, or the like. Therefore why should I be angry
with a man, for loving himself better than me? And if any man should
do wrong, merely out of ill-nature, why, yet it is but like the
thorn or briar, which prick and scratch, because they can do no
other. The most tolerable sort of revenge, is for those wrongs
which there is no law to remedy; but then let a man take heed,
the revenge be such as there is no law to punish; else a man's
enemy is still before hand, and it is two for one. Some, when they
take revenge, are desirous, the party should know, whence it cometh.
This is the more generous. For the delight seemeth to be, not so
much in doing the hurt, as in making the party repent. But base
and crafty cowards, are like the arrow that flieth in the dark.
Cosmus, duke of Florence, had a desperate saying against perfidious
or neglecting friends, as if those wrongs were unpardonable; You
shall read (saith he) that we are commanded to forgive our
enemies; but you never read, that we are commanded to forgive our
friends. But yet the spirit of Job was in a better tune: Shall
we (saith he) take good at God's hands, and not be content
to take evil also? And so of friends in a proportion. This
is certain, that a man that studieth revenge, keeps his own wounds
green, which otherwise would heal, and do well. Public revenges
are for the most part fortunate; as that for the death of Caesar;
for the death of Pertinax; for the death of Henry the Third of
France; and many more. But in private revenges, it is not so. Nay
rather, vindictive persons live the life of witches; who, as they
are mischievous, so end they infortunate.