Advice to a Son

Advice to a Son is in Books.

Advice to a Son. In 1656 Francis Osborne Author -1659 wrote and published Advice to a Son.

Advice to a Daughter. To the Excellently accomplished Gentleman, Mr. CHARLES BRVTON, Cittizen, and Marchant Adventurer of London, &c.

Much Honoured SIR.

I Here trouble you with a short discourse; It is no Laboured peece, and indeed no fit Present; But I beg your acceptance. The first time I ever saw the Advice to a Son, was the last day of Hillary Term; I read it, and found it full of bitterness against Women; And indeed they were shamefully Wronged and Abused. I shuff'd up this Answer in sixteen dayes, for your spare hours; in which you may ma•• your self Merry• fur it was born this last V•cation, when I did not so much Labour, as Play. I found him a Nameless over-worn Wittal, that five times before I espied him, had adulterated the Press, and abused Ladies and Gentlewomen; And no Man durst answer him: for so he reported. I will see what, and who, this diseased Maccabee is; This (as yet) unconquered enemy of Women; and defie him: and prove his discourse, and hard censure of Ladies and Gentlewomen like the blasts of Rams horns before the walls of Jericho; that throwes down the Reputation of Ladies at one utterance.

I know you are Great; but yet there is a better title, you are Good. I might have fixed this peece to a Pinacle, made the Dedication High; But to what purpose? Greatness is a thing I cannot admire in others; because I desire it not in my self: It is a proud folly, a Ceremonious Fancy: There is nothing necessary in it: for most men live without it: And I may not apply to that which my Reason declines, aswell as my Fortune. The truth is, I know no use of Hooghen Mooghens, and Tituladoes: if they are in a humour to give, I am no Begger to receive: I look not for any thing, Sir, but what the Learned are inriched withall, Judgement and Candor: you are a true friend to both, and to my third self. And for my present boldness, you may thank your self; you taught me this familiarity, and you may see what unprofitable affections you have purchased. I propose nothing for your instruction; Nature hath done her part; and I would make you my Judge, not my Pupill: if therefore amongst your serious and more dear Retirements, you can allow this trifle but some few minutes, and think them not lost; you will perfect my ambition, you will place me (Sir) at my full height; and though it were like that of Statius amongst Gods and Stars; I shall quickly find the Earth again, and with the least opportunity present my self,


Your most humble Servant. Eugenius Theodidactus:

March 26. 1658.

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Advice to a Daughter. To his Daughter.


I Have forborn to set your name on the fore head of these Aphorisms; not that I am ashamed either of them, or you: but because your Enemy and his Son, have done so before me. And such old men as these I accept against, as a generation of decrepit and withered understandings: People whose Minds, could they be looked into, would prove infinitely more monstrous then their Bodies; and such as like Monkies, having either gnawed away or lost their tayles, read Lectures and Advices to young ones to cut theirs too.

First, we give to all the Vertues the habits and visages of Women: and of all the Vertues Truth is the best; (for Truth is the mother of Justice, and Justice (they say) comprehends them all: Yet she is naked, though she love the publike, and hate Corners: And is it not very fit that all the Sex should imitate such an excellent Pattern and Mistress? In this light humour I am in, I think we can do no greater right to Women, then to bring them to be Judged by one rule. And since every Woman Judges her self the fairest; shee that would be backward to this Arbitriment, would be diffident of her self; and consequently a Rennegade from her Sex.

Next, take care of the subtle devices of Men: and consider their designes, which may be more Loving to your Portion, then your Person: All people having not the same Conceptions of beauty; which is as hatefull to an Ethiopian, as Black is to us: not considering that Women uncloathed are all alike; and the Conceptions about the harmony and measures of her Body differ not.

Yet I advise you not to follow the example of a Princess appearing in a Lawn smock, to be veiwed by Embassadours, as towards a Marriage• said, she would put off that too, if there were any necessity. But custome hath made Cloaths decent. The deeds of our Ancestors, are not to be slighted; for they left them for our example; and used in their days abundance of cheaper Artificiall Ornaments, from Shels, Feathers, and Stones. Behold the Sun and Moon, and all the Glorious Batalia of Heaven; and they appear as the Great God and Nature made them; to which God and Nature, I am Servant and Secretary.

This will not produce such infinite provocations and incitements to lust as the Advice to a Son fondly conceives. But I say not. For I dare say, that what by Painting, what by the Looseness and Change of Garments, what by these gaudy inventions of dressings, that flexure and fracture of gate, the deformity is hidden: unless to a very nice eye, there is much more fuell added, then if all went with no more Mantles, Scarfes, Gowns, and Hoods, then Nature thrust them into the World with, viz. Hair hanging loosely down, or else carelesly gathered up in a Fillet; and perhaps some little kind of Cover, that might restrain, the Virginall flower, from being too much gazed at, and blown upon. Follow not (Daughter) their fashion that uncover the parts of their chiefest Beauty, as their Face, Neck, Breasts and Hand, as the Index to the more secret object; which without a signe may be by the guide of humane Nature sound out: So that Women do endeavour in part to break that restraint which bides the rest of their Glory, and to set forth their delicate Dresses, plaited and weaved with such variety, their Ivory Necks, their Harmonious Faces, their Milkie Spherical Breasts, and their Melting Hands: my advice is to shew All, or Nothing. Daughter though some Crazy ignorant old welch Owens, with powder dried bones, fit to be burnt, with diseases, hath endeavoured to deceive you from the same Species, with Men; and one madder then they, denie you Souls; and so have many others: yet when we shall oppose Holy Scripture, which makes Man the Consummation of the Creation; and you the Consummation of Man: if I should but instance those particular indulgencies of Nature which John Heydon reckons unto you, and those peculiar advantages of composition and understanding he ascribes to you; or if I should mention that of Eugenius Theodidactus, that friend to the Fraternity of the Rosie Cross, and beleeved to be inspired, and so thought a Rosie Crusian; he (I say) calls you Fountains and perfections of Goodness: Whom (Daughter) can we imagine to be so insensible as not to be presently touched with the delicate Composure and Symmetry of Womens Bodies? The sweetness and killing Languors of their eyes? The mestange and harmony of their Colours? The happiness and spirituallity of their Countenance? The Charms and allurements of their mind? The Air and Command of their smiles? Men are meerly rough cast, bristly, and made up of tough Materials: and if they approach any thing near Beauty, do so much degenerate from what they are.

How generall is the affection of old Men to Women? some I have known of three score to Marry Girles of sixteen. Soloman was no fool; and it is well known, how your sex tempted him; that his power Commanded you to fulfill his desires. And I only advise you to Wisdome and Vertue. And if any Clumsy old doting Wittall, blinded with Ignorance, and by his own Wofull Experience shall protest against the Sufficiency of these, or any thing else I have written, or shall write for your better instructions, that may perhaps hereafter be made publike; He wilfully goes about to Councel his Master; and adventures to make the Sun stand still; and to run another race. For your sake I set Pen to Paper, to teach you how to live; that to Die you need not fear.

The World is full of deceit: trust not therefore the hot love of a Stranger: for if you will expose your self to all, you are Slighted: and a Common Wife is hated.

Beauty affords Contentment; Riches are meanes to cure a weak Estate: Honour illustrates all comes nigh it. If you Marry thus, you are happy; And then to find Worth, Carriage Gesture and Grace, in your choyce, it perfects felicity.

These things in this Book are written for your instruction; hopeing you will excuse my faults; which through hast and other infirmity are Committed. A more Leasure time may perfect what is here Charactered in Water Colours: And you may easily perceive, that I consulted not at all with advantaging my Name, or wooing publike esteem by what I now write. I know there was much of Naked Truth in it; And is a Caution given to you, from

Your Loving Father. &c. in non-Latin alphabet 〉

March 26 1658.

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Advice to a Daughter. But now I think upon it, I will allow thee time to breath, after thy late Bawling those fragments of a Prophane Atheistical old Pamphlet, intituled Thy Advice to a Son, and speak a few words to my Reader.

Advice to a Daughter. Reader, I have met with a Thing; it is not named, It speaks like a Man, and yet abuses Women: It is the first Tincture and Rudiments of a VVriter, dipped as yet in the preparative Blew, like an Almanack well-wilier.

To call him an Historian, is to Knight a Mandrake; to say he is a Politician, is view him throw a Perspective, and by that gross Hyperbole to give the reputation of an Engineer to a maker of Mouse-traps. He is such an one as Queen Mabbs Register: One, who by the same figure that a North Country Pedlar is a Marchant man, you may stile an Author: There goes his Affection, which is the Heliotrope to the Sun of Honour; and hath long since abjured his God, Religion, Conscience, and all that shall interpose and skreen him from those Beams that may ripen his wishes and aims into injoyments.

And now have at his Advice to a Son. Come thou Relique of a Politician, that five times at least (by I know not what Ignis fatuus hast adulterated the Presse: And have you so much Policy in your Advice to your Son that the Readers mistake your Name, and beleeve you to be the Tripple-headed Turn-key of Heaven?

Behold his Directions. For your better Conduct through the various and most important Encounters of this Life: under the five general Heads (I will cut off) and you will think him the Triple-headed Porter of Hell. Ladies, Fear him not, I am your Champion; Little David will fight Goliah.

I scorne to kill him, I'le only box him, kick and cudgel him for his boldness: and let him know, He is the better man who hath besiedged and taken a Town, not plotted to rob an Orchard, and for all his subtleties was VVhipt.

But I must read first, and write afterwards. Here comes the Pedee of a Romancer, with his Advice to a Son; 'Tis the Indorsement to the Packet, like a fine knot to a fine bundle: Come, Let's open in the name of good sence: Oh! How it smells like a diseased peece of an Apocripha taken out of Guzman's rags, or burnt bones.

VVhat saies this Father to his Son?

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Diary of Samuel Pepys 27 January 1664. 27 Jan 1664. Up and to the office, and at noon to the Coffeehouse, where I sat with Sir G. Ascue (48)1 and Sir William Petty (40), who in discourse is, methinks, one of the most rational men that ever I heard speak with a tongue, having all his notions the most distinct and clear, and, among other things (saying, that in all his life these three books were the most esteemed and generally cried up for wit in the world "Religio Medici", "Osborne's Advice to a Son2", and "Hudibras"), did say that in these—in the two first principally—the wit lies, and confirming some pretty sayings, which are generally like paradoxes, by some argument smartly and pleasantly urged, which takes with people who do not trouble themselves to examine the force of an argument, which pleases them in the delivery, upon a subject which they like; whereas, as by many particular instances of mine, and others, out of Osborne, he did really find fault and weaken the strength of many of Osborne's arguments, so as that in downright disputation they would not bear weight; at least, so far, but that they might be weakened, and better found in their rooms to confirm what is there said. He shewed finely whence it happens that good writers are not admired by the present age; because there are but few in any age that do mind anything that is abstruse and curious; and so longer before any body do put the true praise, and set it on foot in the world, the generality of mankind pleasing themselves in the easy delights of the world, as eating, drinking, dancing, hunting, fencing, which we see the meanest men do the best, those that profess it. A gentleman never dances so well as the dancing master, and an ordinary fiddler makes better musique for a shilling than a gentleman will do after spending forty, and so in all the delights of the world almost.

Thence to the 'Change, and after doing much business, home, taking Commissioner Pett (53) with me, and all alone dined together. He told me many stories of the yard, but I do know him so well, and had his character given me this morning by Hempson, as well as my own too of him before, that I shall know how to value any thing he says either of friendship or other business. He was mighty serious with me in discourse about the consequence of Sir W. Petty's (40) boat, as the most dangerous thing in the world, if it should be practised by endangering our losse of the command of the seas and our trade, while the Turkes and others shall get the use of them, which, without doubt, by bearing more sayle will go faster than any other ships, and, not being of burden, our merchants cannot have the use of them and so will be at the mercy of their enemies. So that I perceive he is afeard that the honour of his trade will down, though (which is a truth) he pretends this consideration to hinder the growth of this invention.

He being gone my wife and I took coach and to Covent Garden, to buy a maske at the French House, Madame Charett's, for my wife; in the way observing the streete full of coaches at the new play, "The Indian Queene" which for show, they say, exceeds "Henry the Eighth".

Thence back to Mrs. Turner's (41) and sat a while with them talking of plays and I know not what, and so called to see Tom, but not at home, though they say he is in a deep consumption, and Mrs. Turner (41) and Dike and they say he will not live two months to an end.

So home and to the office, and then to supper and to bed.

1. Sir George Ayscue or Askew (48). After his return from his imprisonment he declined to go to sea again, although he was twice afterwards formally appointed. He sat on the court-martial on the loss of the "Defiance" in 1668.

2. Francis Osborne, an English writer of considerable abilities and popularity, was the author of "Advice to a Son", in two parts, Oxford, 1656-8, 8vo. He died in 1659. He is the same person mentioned as "My Father Osborne", October 19th, 1661. B.

Around 1665 Peter Lely Painter 1618-1680. Portrait of Admiral George Ayscue 1616-1672. One of the Flagmen of Lowestoft.

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