The distempers of these times (1620) are pretty bad, [but probably like all times.] They make a wise man both merry and mad. Beggary, baseness and contempt. People suppose that the wealthiest are the best. Buy offices. Tumbled up and down, like the spoke of a wheel “from beggary to worship, from worship to honor, from honor to baseness again. Glossed over with the varnish of a smooth tongue. Thunders in a tavern, appoints a duel, goes away and gives money to have the quarrel taken care of. Machiavel’s tenets are oracles. Justice bought and sold. Money stronger than truth. Flattery gains favor with greatness. Plain dealing is thought the enemy of state and honor. But worst of all is to know all this not know how to help it.
Comment: How’s that for a description of today’s (2010) world? RayS.
The Oxford Book of Essays. Ed. John Gross. Oxford and new York: Oxford University Press. 1991.