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IX

ANTHONY: Let us now consider good name, honest estimation, and honourable fame. For these three things are of their own nature one, and take their differences in effect only of the manner of the common speech in diversity of degree. For a good name may a man have, be he never so poor. Honest estimation, in the common understanding of the people, belongeth not unto any man but him that is taken for one of some countenance and possessions, and among his neighbours had in some reputation. In the word of "honourable fame," folk conceive the renown of great estates, much and far spoken of, by reason of their laudable acts.

Now, all this gear, used as a thing pleasant and commodious for this present life, may seem pleasant to him who fasteneth his fancy thereon. But of the nature of the thing itself I perceive no great commodity that it hath—I say of the nature of the thing itself, because it may by chance be some occasion of some commodity. For it may hap that for the good name the poor man hath, or for the honest estimation that a man of some possessions and substance standeth in among his neighbours, or for the honourable fame with which a great estate is renowned—it may hap, I say, that some man, bearing them the better, will therefore do them some good. And yet, as for that, like as it may sometimes so hap (and sometimes doth so hap indeed), so may it hap sometimes on the other hand (and on the other hand so it sometimes happeth indeed) that such folk are envied and hated by others, and as readily take harm by them who envy and hate them as they take good by them that love them.

But now, to speak of the thing itself in its own proper nature, what is it but a blast of another man's mouth, as soon past as spoken? He who setteth his delight on it, feedeth himself but with wind; be he never so full, he hath little substance therein. And many times shall he much deceive himself. For he shall think that many praise him who never speak word of him. And they that do, say yet much less than he thinketh and far more seldom too. For they spend not all the day, he may be sure, in talking of him alone. And those who so commend him the most will yet, I daresay, in every four-and-twenty hours, shut their eyes and forget him once! Besides this, while one speaketh well of him in one place, another sitteth and saith as ill of him in another. And finally, some who most praise him in his presence, behind his back mock him as fast and loud laugh him to scorn, and sometimes slily to his own face, too. And yet are there some fools so fed with this foolish fancy of fame that they rejoice and glory to think how they are continually praised all about, as though all the world did nothing else, day nor night, but ever sit and sing "Sanctus sanctus, sanctus" upon them!

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