Want to create or adapt books like this? Learn more about how Pressbooks supports open publishing practices.

51 Francis Bacon: Essays

Introduction.

by Mary Larivee and Rithvik Saravanan

Francis Bacon (1561-1626), the English philosopher, was instrumental in the development of the Scientific Revolution in the late 18th century even though he had passed away centuries before.  The “Scientific Revolution” was an important movement that emphasized Europe’s shift toward modernized science in fields such as mathematics, physics, astronomy, biology, and chemistry (Grant). It was an extension of the Renaissance period, which then led to the Enlightenment which brought advances across all areas of human endeavor. Francis Bacon, in particular, is remembered today primarily for the “scientific method” as a way of establishing what is true from what is false perception (a method that still lies at the heart of modern science). Bacon’s primary focus in his writings revolved around the practice of inductive reasoning, which he believed to be a complement to practical observation (Grant). Most people before this period followed the Aristotelian methodology for scientific arguments. This idea maintained that “if sufficiently clever men discussed a subject long enough, the truth would eventually be discovered” (“History – Francis Bacon.”). However irrational this sounds, the Scientific Revolution helped replace this outdated system of thinking with Bacon’s scientific method. Bacon argued that any proper argument required “evidence from the real world” (“History – Francis Bacon.”). His revolutionary ideas about empirical information helped propel him toward political and societal importance and fame.

Literary Context

Francis Bacon had a passion for metaphors, analogies, and vivid imagery. He was a rhetorical writer and his essays highlight his wisdom and incisive mind. His first book was released in 1597 followed by later editions with added essays that were released in 1612 and 1625. Each essay that Bacon wrote reveals his knowledge of Latin and draws on ancient Roman wisdom through axioms and proverbs. Additionally, Bacon uses wit as a way of getting his point across to his audience and this indeed causes the reader to reflect on his or her own beliefs and values. A key aspect of Bacon’s literature is its “terseness and epigrammatic force” (De). By managing to pack all of his thoughts and ideas into quick, brief statements, Bacon deepens the reach and impact of his work. His writing deviated from the typical Ciceronian style of the time, which was characterized by “melodious language, clarity, and forcefulness of presentation” (“Ciceronian.”). His statements are meaningful particularly because they are straight and to the point. The brevity of his ideas also facilitates the communication of his arguments, which is significant because, at the time, a solid, meaningful education was hard to come by. As such, Bacon’s work helped spread the notions that would eventually bear fruit with the discoveries of the Scientific Revolution.

Historical Context

Francis Bacon’s Essays cover a wide variety of topics and styles, ranging from individual to societal issues and from commonplace to existential. Another important aspect of the appeal of Bacon’s essays are that they weigh the argument at hand with multiple points of view. Bacon’s essays were received at the time with great praise, adoration, and reverence (Potter). He was noted for borrowing ideas from the works of historical writers such as Aristotle (Harmon), and, as such, he represents a continuation of this philosophical school of thought. Another important impact of the Scientific Revolution and Bacon’s literature is that it allowed common people of the era to question old, traditional beliefs. They began to consider everything with reason, which led to a greater sense of self as well as moral and ethical standards. By having the opportunity to judge for themselves, the people were able to advance society a step closer to a form of democracy.

Francis Bacon Essays is a collection of eight of the famous philosopher’s many essays. Each dissertation contains words of wisdom that have proven to be enlightening for many generations that followed. From “Truth” to “Of Superstition” and “Marriage and Single Life”, Bacon covers a wide range of intriguing topics in order to challenge the human mind to think deeply; as he himself writes: “Read not to contradict and confute, nor to believe and take for granted, nor to find talk and discourse, but to weigh and consider” (Bacon). The philosopher not only provides a framework for the genre of the modern essay but also provides his readers a code to live by.

Works Cited

“Ciceronian.” Dictionary.com , n.d., www.dictionary.com/browse/ciceronian. 23 Oct. 2020.

De, Ardhendu. “Rhetorical Devices as Used by Francis Bacon in His Essays.” A.D.’s English Literature: Notes and Guide , 07 Apr. 2011, ardhendude.blogspot.com/2011/04/rhetorical-devices-used-by-francis.html. Accessed 23 Oct. 2020.

Grant, Edward. The Foundations of Modern Science in the Middle Ages: Their Religious, Institutional, and Intellectual Contexts . Cambridge University Press, 1996.

Harmon, William. The Oxford Book of American Light Verse. Oxford University Press, 1979.

“History – Francis Bacon.” History , British Broadcasting Corporation, 2014, www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/bacon_francis.shtml. Accessed 24 Oct. 2020.

Potter, Vincent G. Readings in Epistemology: from Aquinas, Bacon, Galileo, Descartes, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Kant. Fordham University Press, 1993.

Discussion Questions

  • Why do you think Francis Bacon chose to enlighten and inspire his readers as opposed to other writers of his time who focused more on classic folklore tales?
  • Why do you think Francis Bacon choose the topics that he did? Who or what do you think had a major influence on his writings?
  • What are the goals and intentions behind Bacon’s use of rhetorical questioning?
  • What are some common themes and ideas from Francis Bacon’s Essays that can be applied to general situations and contemporary society?
  • From the ideas presented in this reading, how do you think Francis Bacon’s work affected government policies throughout history, including modern day governmental standards?

Further Resources

  • Detailed biography of Franics Bacon’s life
  • Analytical article of Francis Bacon’s impact on the Scientific Revolution
  • List of Francis Bacon’s most significant accomplishments
  • Compilation of Francis Bacon’s literature
  • Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on Francis Bacon
  • Discussion video of Francis Bacon’s “Of Studies”

Reading: From Essayes

I. of truth..

What is truth? said jesting Pilate; and would not stay for an answer. Certainly there be that delight in giddiness; and count it a bondage to fix a belief; affecting free-will in thinking, as well as in acting. And though the sects of philosophers of that kind be gone, yet there remain certain discoursive wits, which are of the same veins, though there be not so much blood in them as was in those of the ancients. But it is not only the difficulty and labour which men take in finding out of truth, nor again, that when it is found, it imposeth upon men’s thoughts, that doth bring lies in favour, but a natural though corrupt love of the lie itself. One of the later schools of the Grecians examineth the matter, and is at a stand to think what should be in it, that men should love lies; where neither they make for pleasure, as with poet; nor for advantage, as with the mer chant, but for the lie’s sake. But I cannot tell: this same truth is a naked and open daylight, that doth not show the masks, and mummeries, and triumphs of the world, half so stately and daintily as candlelights. Truth may perhaps come to the price of a pearl, that showeth best by day, but it will not rise to the price of a diamond or carbuncle, that showeth best in varied lights. A mixture of a lie doth ever add pleasure. Doth any man doubt, that if there were taken out of men’s minds, vain opinions, flattering hopes, false valuations, imaginations as one would, and the like, but it would leave the minds of a number of men, poor shrunken things, full of melancholy and indisposition, and unpleasing to themselves? One of the fathers, in great severity, called poesy “vinum dæmonum,”; because it filleth the imagination, and yet it is but with the shadow of a lie. But it is not the lie that passeth through the mind, but the lie that sinketh in, and settleth in it, that doth the hurt, such as we spake of before. But howsoever these things are thus in men’s depraved judgments and affections, yet truth, which only doth judge itself, teacheth, that the inquiry of truth, which is the love-making, or wooing of it, the knowledge of truth, which is the presence of it, and the belief of truth, which is the enjoying of it, is the sovereign good of human nature. The first creature of God, in the works of the days, was the light of the sense: the last was the light of reason; and his Sabbath work ever since, is the illumination of his Spirit. First, he breathed light upon the face of the matter, or chaos; then he breathed light into the face of man; and still he breatheth and inspireth light into the face of his chosen. The poet that beautified the sect, that was otherwise inferior to the rest, saith yet excellently well: “It is a pleasure to stand upon the shore, and to see ships tossed upon the sea: a pleasure to stand in the window of a castle, and to see a battle, and the adventures thereof below: but no pleasure is comparable to the standing upon the vantage ground of truth, (a hill not to be commanded, and where the air is always clear and serene,) and to see the errors, and wanderings, and mists, and tempests in the vale below:” so always that this prospect be with pity, and not with swelling or pride. Certainly, it is heaven upon earth, to have a man’s mind move in charity, rest in providence, and turn upon the poles of truth.

To pass from theological and philosophical truth, to the truth of civil business; it will be acknowledged even by those that practise it not, that clean and round dealing is the honour of man’s nature, and that mixture of falsehood is like alloy in coin of gold and silver, which may make the metal work the better, but it embaseth it. For these winding and crooked courses are the goings of the serpent; which goeth basely upon the belly, and not upon the feet. There is no vice that doth so cover a man with shame as to be found false and perfidious; and therefore Montaigne saith prettily, when he inquired the reason, why the word of the lie should be such a disgrace, and such an odious charge, saith he, “If it be well weighed, to say that a man lieth, is as much as to say, that he is brave towards God, and a coward towards men. For a lie faces God, and shrinks from man.” Surely the wickedness of falsehood and breach of faith cannot possibly be so highly expressed, as in that it shall be the last peal to call the judgments of God upon the generations of men: it being foretold, that when “Christ cometh,” he shall not “find faith upon the earth.”

VIII. OF MARRIAGE AND SINGLE LIFE.

He that hath wife and children hath given hostages to fortune; for they are impediments to great enterprises, either of virtue or mischief. Certainly the best works, and of greatest merit for the public, have proceeded from the unmarried or childless men; which, both in affection and means, have married and endowed the public. Yet it were great reason that those that have children should have greatest care of future times, unto which they know they must transmit their dearest pledges. Some there are, who, though they lead a single life, yet their thoughts do end with themselves, and account future times impertinences; nay, there are some other that account wife and children but as bills of charges; nay more, there are some foolish rich covetous men, that take a pride in having no children, because they may be thought so much the richer; for, perhaps, they have heard some talk, “Such an one’s a great rich man” and another except to it. “Yea, but he hath a great charge of children;” as if it were an abatement to his riches: but the most ordinary cause of a single life is liberty, especially in certain self-pleasing and humorous minds, which are so sensible of every restraint, as they will go near to think heir girdles and garters to be bonds and shackles. Unmarried men are best friends, best masters, best servants; but not always best subjects; for they are light to run away; and almost all fugitives are of that condition. A single life doth well with churchmen, for charity will hardly water the ground where it must first fill a pool. It is indifferent for judges and magistrates; for if they be facile and corrupt, you shall have a servant five times worse than a wife. For soldiers, I find the generals commonly, in their hortatives, put men in mind of their wives and children; and I think the despising of marriage among the Turks maketh the vulgar soldier more base. Certainly wife and children are a kind of discipline of humanity; and single men, though they may be many times more charitable, because their means are less exhaust, yet, on the other side, they are more cruel and hardhearted, (good to make severe inquisitors,) because their tenderness is not so oft called upon. Grave natures, led by custom, and therefore constant, are commonly loving husbands, as was said of Ulysses, “vetulam suam prætulit immortalitati.” Chaste women are often proud and froward, as presuming upon the merit of their chastity. It is one of the best bonds, both of chastity and obedience, in the wife, if she think her husband wise; which she will never do if she find him jealous. Wives are young men’s mistresses, companions for middle age, and old men’s nurses; so as a man may have a quarrel to marry when he will: but yet he was reputed one of the wise men, that made answer to the question when a man should marry:—”A young man not yet, an elder man not at all.” It is often seen, that bad husbands have very good wives; whether it be that it raiseth the price of their husband’s kindness when it comes, or that the wives take a pride in their patience; but this never fails, if the bad husbands were of their own choosing, against their friends consent, for then they will be sure to make good their own folly.

XI. OF GREAT PLACE.

Men in great place are thrice servants; servants of the sovereign or state, servants of fame, and servants of business; so as they have no freedom, neither in their persons, nor in their actions, nor in their times. It is a strange desire to seek power and to lose liberty; or to seek power over others, and to lose power over a man’s self. The rising unto place is laborious, and by pains men come to greater pains; and it is sometimes base, and by indignities men come to dignities. The standing is slippery, and the regress is either a downfall, or at least an eclipse, which is a melancholy thing: “Cum non sis qui fueris, non esse cur velis vivere.” Nay, retire men cannot when they would, neither will they when it were reason; but are impatient of privateness even in age and sickness, which require the shadow: like old townsmen, that will be still sitting at their street door, though thereby they offer age to scorn. Certainly great persons had need to borrow other men’s opinions to think themselves happy; for if they judge by their own feeling, they cannot find it: but if they think with themselves what other men think of them, and that other men would fain be as they are, then they are happy as it were by report, when, perhaps, they find the contrary within; for they are the first that find their own griefs, though they be the last that find their own faults. Certainly men in great fortunes are strangers to themselves, and while they are in the puzzle of business they have no time to tend their health either of body or mind: “Illi mors gravis incubat, qui notus nimis omnibus, ignotus moritur sibi.” In place there is license to do good and evil; whereof the latter is a curse: for in evil the best condition is not to will; the second not to can. But power to do good is the true and lawful end of aspiring; for good thoughts (though God accept them,) yet towards men are little better than good dreams, except they be put in act; and that cannot be without power and place, as the vantage and commanding ground. Merit and good works is the end of man’s motion; and conscience of the same is the accomplishment of man’s rest; for if a man can be partaker of God’s theatre, he shall likewise be partaker of God’s rest: “Et conversus Deus, ut aspiceret opera, quaæ fecerunt manus suæ, vidit quod omnia essent bona nimis;” and then the sabbath. In the discharge of the place set before thee the best examples; for imitation is a globe of precepts; and after a time set before thine own example; and examine thyself strictly whether thou didst not best at first. Neglect not also the examples of those that have carried themselves ill in the same place; not to set off thyself by taxing their memory, but to direct thyself what to avoid. Reform, therefore, without bravery or scandal of former times and persons; but yet set it down to thyself, as well to create good precedents as to follow them. Reduce things to the first institution, and observe wherein and how they have degenerated; but yet ask counsel of both times; of the ancienter time what is best; and of the latter time what is fittest. Seek to make thy course regular, that men may know be forehand what they may expect; but be not too positive and peremptory; and express thyself well when thou digressest from thy lure. Preserve the right of thy place, but stir not questions of jurisdiction; and rather assume thy right in silence, and “de facto,” than voice it with claims and challenges. Preserve likewise the rights of inferior places; and think it more honour to direct in chief than to be busy in all. Embrace and invite helps and advices touching the execution of thy place; and do not drive away such as bring thee information as meddlers, but accept of them in good part. The vices of authority are chiefly four; delays, corruption, roughness, and facility. For delays give easy access: keep times appointed; go through with that which is in hand, and interlace not business but of necessity. For corruption, do not only bind thine own hands or thy servant’s hands from taking, but bind the hands of suitors also from offering; for integrity used doth the one; but integrity professed, and with a manifest detestation of bribery, doth the other; and avoid not only the fault, but the suspicion. Whosoever is found variable, and changeth manifestly without manifest cause, giveth suspicion of corruption; therefore, always when thou changest thine opinion or course, profess it plainly, and declare it, together with the reasons that move thee to change, and do not think to steal it. A servant or a favourite, if he be inward, and no other apparent cause of esteem, is commonly thought but a by-way to close corruption. For roughness, it is a needless cause of discontent; severity breedeth fear, but roughness breedeth hate. Even reproofs from authority ought to be grave, and not taunting. As for facility, it is worse than bribery; for bribes come but now and then; but if importunity or idle respects lead a man, he shall never be without; as Solomon saith, “To respect persons is not good, for such a man will transgress for a piece of bread.” It is most true that was anciently spoken, “A place showeth the man; and it showeth some to the better and some to the worse;” “omnium consensu capax imperii, nisi imperasset,” saith Tacitus of Galba; but of Vespasian he saith, “solus imperantium, Vespasianus mutatus in melius;” though the one was meant of sufficiency, the other of manners and affection. It is an assured sign of a worthy and generous spirit, whom honour amends; for honour is, or should be, the place of virtue; and as in nature things move violently to their place and calmly in their place, so virtue in ambition is violent, in authority settled and calm. All rising to great place is by a winding stair; and if there be factions, it is good to side a man’s self whilst he is in the rising, and to balance himself when he is placed. Use the memory of thy predecessor fairly and tenderly; for if thou dost not, it is a debt will sure be paid when thou art gone. If thou have colleagues, respect them; and rather call them when they looked not for it, than exclude them when they have reason to look to be called. Be not too sensible or too remembering of thy place in conversation and private answers to suitors; but let it rather be said, “When he sits in place he is another man.”

XVII. OF SUPERSTITION.

It were better to have no opinion of God at all than such an opinion as is unworthy of him; for the one is unbelief, the other is contumely; and certainly superstition is the reproach of the Deity. Plutarch saith well to that purpose: “Surely,” saith he, “I had rather a great deal men should say there was no such man at all as Plutarch, than that they should say that there was one Plutarch, that would eat his children as soon as they were born:” as the poets speak of Saturn: and, as the contumely is greater towards God, so the danger is greater towards men. Atheism leaves a man to sense, to philosophy, to natural piety, to laws, to reputation: all which may be guides to an outward moral virtue, though religion were not; but superstition dismounts all these, and erecteth an absolute monarchy in the minds of men: therefore atheism did never perturb states; for it makes men wary of themselves, as looking no further, and we see the times inclined to atheism (as the time of Augustus Cæsar) were civil times: but superstition hath been the confusion of many states, and bringeth in a new “primum mobile,” that ravisheth all the spheres of government. The master of superstition is the people, and in all superstition wise men follow fools; and arguments are fitted to practice, in a reversed order. It was gravely said, by some of the prelates in the council of Trent, where the doctrine of the schoolmen bare great sway, that the schoolmen were like astronomers, which did feign eccentrics and epicycles, and such engines of orbs to save phenomena, though they knew there were no such things; and, in like manner, that the schoolmen had framed a number of subtle and intricate axioms and theorems, to save the practice of the church. The causes of superstition are, pleasing and sensual rites and ceremonies; excess of outward and pharisaical holiness; over great reverence of traditions, which cannot but load the church; the stratagems of prelates for their own ambition and lucre; the favouring too much of good intentions, which openeth the gate to conceits and novelties; the taking an aim at divine matters by human, which cannot but breed mixture of imaginations; and, lastly, barbarous times, especially joined with calamities and disasters. Superstition, without a veil, is a deformed thing: for as it addeth deformity to an ape to be so like a man, so the similitude of superstition to religion makes it the more deformed: and, as wholesome meat corrupteth to little worms, so good forms and  orders corrupt into a number of petty observances. There is a superstition in avoiding superstition, when men think to do best if they go furthest from the superstition formerly received; therefore care would be had that (as it fareth in ill purgings) the good be not taken away with the bad, which commonly is done when the people is the reformer.

XXXIII. OF PLANTATIONS.

Plantations are amongst ancient, primitive, and heroical works. When the world was young, it begat more children; but now it is old, it begets fewer; for I may justly account new plantations to be the children of former kingdoms. I like a plantation in a pure soil; that is, where people are not displanted to the end to plant in others; for else it is rather an extirpation than a plantation. Planting of countries is like planting of woods; for you must make account to lose almost twenty years profit, and expect your recompense in the end: for the principal thing that hath been the destruction of most plantations, hath been the base and hasty drawing of profit in the first years. It is true, speedy profit is not to be neglected, as far as may stand with the good of the plantation, but no further. It is a shameful and unblessed thing to take the scum of people and wicked condemned men, to be the people with whom you plant; and not only so, but it spoileth the plantation; for they will ever live like rogues, and not fall to work, but be lazy, and do mischief, and spend victuals, and be quickly weary, and then certify over to their country to the discredit of the plantation. The people wherewith you plant ought to be gardeners, ploughmen, labourers, smiths, carpenters, joiners, fishermen, fowlers, with some few apothecaries, surgeons, cooks, and bakers. In a country of plantation, first look about what kind of victual the country yields of itself to hand; as chestnuts, walnuts, pineapples, olives, dates, plums, cherries, wild honey, and the like, and make use of them. Then consider what victual, or esculent things there are which grow speedily and within the year: as parsnips, carrots, turnips, onions, radish, artichokes of Jerusalem, maize, and the like: for wheat, barley, and oats, they ask too much labour; but with pease and beans you may begin, both because they ask less labour, and because they serve for meat as well as for bread; and of rice likewise cometh a great increase, and it is a kind of meat. Above all, there ought to be brought store biscuit, oatmeal, flour, meal, and the like, in the beginning, till bread may be had. For beasts, or birds, take chiefly such as are least subject to diseases, and multiply fastest; as swine, goats, cocks, hens, turkeys, geese, house-doves, and the like. The victual in plantations ought to be expended almost as in a besieged town; that is, with certain allowance: and let the main part of the ground employed to gardens or corn, be to a common stock; and to be laid in, and stored up, and then delivered out in proportion; besides some spots of ground that any particular person will manure for his own private use. Consider, likewise, what commodities the soil where the plantation is doth naturally yield, that they may some way help to defray the charge of the plantation; so it be not, as was said, to the untimely prejudice of the main business, as it hath fared with tobacco in Virginia. Wood commonly aboundeth but too much: and therefore timber is fit to be one. If there be iron ore, and streams whereupon to set the mills, iron is a brave commodity where wood aboundeth. Making of bay-salt, if the climate be proper for it, would be put in experience: growing silk likewise, if any be, is a likely commodity: pitch and tar, where store of firs and pines are, will not fail; so drugs and sweet woods, where they are, cannot but yield great profit; soap-ashes likewise, and other things that may be thought of; but moil not too much under ground, for the hope of mines is very uncertain and useth to make the planters lazy in other things. For government, let it be in the hands of one, assisted with some counsel; and let them have commission to exercise martial laws, with some limitation; and, above all, let men make that profit of being in the wilderness, as they have God always, and his service before their eyes; let not the government of the plantation depend upon too many counsellors and undertakers in the country that planteth, but upon a temperate number; and let those be rather noblemen and gentle men, than merchants; for they look ever to the present gain: let there be freedoms from custom, till the plantation be of strength; and not only freedom from custom, but freedom to carry their commodities where they may make their best of them, except there be some special cause of caution. Cram not in people, by sending too fast, company after company; but rather hearken how they waste, and send supplies proportionably; but so as the number may live well in the plantation, and not by surcharge be in penury. It hath been a great endangering to the health of some plantations, that they have built along the sea and rivers in marish and unwholesome grounds: therefore, though you begin there, to avoid carriage and other like discommodities, yet build still rather upwards from the stream, than along. It concerneth likewise the health of the plantation that they have good store of salt with them, that they may use it in their victuals when it shall be necessary. If you plant where savages are, do not only entertain them with trifles and gingles, but use them justly and graciously, with sufficient guard nevertheless; and do not win their favour by helping them to invade their enemies, but for their defence it is not amiss: and send oft of them over to the country that plants, that they may see a better condition than their own, and commend it when they return. When the plantation grows to strength, then  it is time to plant with women as well as with men; that the plantation may spread into generations, and not be ever pieced from without. It is the sinfullest thing in the world to forsake or destitute a plantation once in forwardness; for, besides the dishonour, it is the guiltiness of blood of many commiserable persons.

XLVII. OF NEGOTIATING.

It is generally better to deal by speech than by letter; and by the mediation of a third than by a man’s self. Letters are good when a man would draw an answer by letter back again; or when it may serve for a man’s justification afterwards to produce his own letter; or where it may be danger to be interrupted, or heard by pieces. To deal in person is good, when a man’s face breedeth regard, as commonly with inferiors; or in tender cases, where a man’s eye upon the countenance of him with whom he speaketh, may give him a direction how far to go; and generally, where a man will reserve to himself liberty either to disavow or to expound. In choice of instruments, it is better to choose men of a plainer sort, that are like to do that that is committed to them, and to report back again faithfully the success, than those that are cunning to contrive out of ether men’s business somewhat to grace themselves, and will help the matter in report, for satisfaction sake. Use also such persons as affect the business wherein they are employed, for that quickeneth much; and such as are fit for the matter, as bold men for expostulation, fair-spoken men for persuasion, crafty men for inquiry and observation, froward and absurd men for business that doth not well bear out itself. Use also such as have been lucky and prevailed before in things wherein you have employed them; for that breeds confidence, and they will strive to maintain their prescription. It is better to sound a person with whom one deals afar off, than to fall upon the point at first; except you mean to surprise him by some short question. It is better dealing with men in appetite, than with those that are where they would be. If a man deal with another upon conditions, the start of first performance is all; which a man can reasonably demand, except either the nature of the thing be such, which must go before: or else a man can persuade the other party, that he shall still need him in some other thing; or else that he be counted the honester man. All practice is to discover, or to work. Men discover themselves in trust, in passion, at unawares; and of necessity, when they would have somewhat done, and cannot find an apt pretext, if you would work any man, you must either know his nature and fashions, and so lead him; or his ends, and so persuade him; or his weakness and disadvantages, and so awe him; or these that have interest in him, and so govern him. In dealing with cunning persons, we must ever consider their ends, to interpret their speeches; and it is good to say little to them, and that which they least look for. In all negotiations of difficulty, a man may not look to sow and reap at once; but must prepare business, and so ripen it by degrees.

XXXVII. OF MASQUES AND TRIUMPHS.

These things are but toys to come amongst such serious observations; but yet, since princes will have such things, it is better they should be graced with elegancy, than daubed with cost. Dancing to song, is a thing of great state and pleasure. I understand it that the song be inquire, placed aloft, and accompanied by some broken music; and the ditty fitted to the device. Acting in song, especially in dialogues, hath an extreme good grace; I say acting, not dancing, (for that is a mean and vulgar thing;) and the voices of the dialogue would be strong and manly, (a base and a tenor, no treble,) and the ditty high and tragical, not nice or dainty. Several quires placed one over against another, and taking the voice by catches anthem-wise, give great pleasure. Turning dances into figure is a childish curiosity; and generally let it be noted, that those things which  I here set down are such as do naturally take the sense, and not respect petty wonderments. It is true, the alterations of scenes, so it be quietly and without noise, are things of great beauty and pleasure; for they feed and relieve the eye before it be full of the same object. Let the scenes abound with light, especially coloured and varied; and let the masquers, or any other that are to come down from the scene, have some motions upon the scene it self before their coining down; for it draws the eye strangely, and makes it with great pleasure to desire to see that it cannot perfectly discern. Let the songs be loud and cheerful, and not chirpings or pulings: let the music likewise be sharp and loud, and well placed. The colours that show best by candle-light, are white, carnation, and a kind of sea-water green and ouches, or spangs, as they are of no great cost, so they are of most glory. As for rich embroidery, it is lost and not discerned. Let the suits of the masquers be graceful, and such as become the person when the vizards are off; not after examples of known attires; Turks, soldiers, mariners, and the like. Let anti-masques not be long; they have been commonly of fools, satyrs, baboons, wild men antics, beasts, spirits, witches, Ethiopes, pigmies turquets, nymphs, rustics, Cupids, statues moving and the like. As for angels, it is not comical enough to put them in anti-masques; and any thing that is hideous, as devils, giants, is, on the other side as unfit; but chiefly, let the music of them be recreative, and with some strange changes. Some sweet odours suddenly coming forth, without any drops falling, are, in such a company as there is steam and heat, things of great pleasure and refreshment. Double masques, one of men another of ladies, addeth state and variety; but all is nothing except the room be kept clean and neat.

For jousts, and tourneys, and barriers, the glories of them are chiefly in the chariots, wherein the challengers make their entry; especially if they be drawn with strange beasts; as lions, bears camels, and the like; or in the devices of their entrance, or in bravery of their liveries, or in the goodly furniture of their horses and armour. But enough of these toys.

L. OF STUDIES.

Studies serve for delight, for ornament and for ability. Their chief use for delight, is in privateness and retiring; for ornament, is in discourse; and for ability, is in the judgment and disposition of business; for expert men can execute, and perhaps judge of particulars, one by one: but the general counsels, and the plots and marshalling of affairs come best from those that are learned. To spend too much time in studies, is sloth; to use them too much for ornament, is affectation; to make judgment wholly by their rules, is the humour of a scholar: they perfect nature, and are perfected by experience: for natural abilities are like natural plants, that need pruning by study; and studies themselves do give forth directions too much at large, except they be bounded in by experience. Crafty men contemn studies, simple men admire them, and wise men use them; for they teach not their own use; but that is a wisdom without them, and above them, won by observation. Read not to contradict and confute, nor to believe and take for granted, nor to find talk and discourse, but to weigh and consider. Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested; that is, some books are to be read only in parts; others to be read, but not curiously; and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention. Some books also may be read by deputy, and extracts made of them by others; but that would be only in the less important arguments, and the meaner sort of books; else distilled books are, like common distilled waters, flashy things. Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man; and, therefore, if a man write little, he had need have a great memory; if he confer little, he had need have a present wit: and if he read little, he had need have much cunning, to seem to know that he doth not. Histories make men wise; poets witty; the mathematics subtile; natural philosophy deep; moral, grave; logic and rhetoric, able to contend “Abeunt studia in mores;” nay, there is no stond or impediment in the wit, but may be wrought out by fit studies: like as diseases of the body may have appropriate exercises; bowling is good for the stone and reins, shooting for the lungs and breast, gentle walking for the stomach, riding for the head, and the like; so, if a man’s wit be wandering, let him study the mathematics; for in demonstrations, if his wit be called away never so little, he must begin again; if his wit be no apt to distinguish or find differences, let him study the schoolmen, for they are “Cymini sectores;” if he be not apt to beat over matters, and to call upon one thing to prove and illustrate another, let him study the lawyer’s cases: so every defect of the mind may have a special receipt.

Source Text:

Bacon, Francis. Bacon’s Essays and Wisdom of the Ancients . Little, Brown, and Company, 1884, is licensed under no known copyright.

PDM

An Open Companion to Early British Literature Copyright © 2019 by Allegra Villarreal is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book

SEP home page

  • Table of Contents
  • Random Entry
  • Chronological
  • Editorial Information
  • About the SEP
  • Editorial Board
  • How to Cite the SEP
  • Special Characters
  • Advanced Tools
  • Support the SEP
  • PDFs for SEP Friends
  • Make a Donation
  • SEPIA for Libraries
  • Entry Contents

Bibliography

Academic tools.

  • Friends PDF Preview
  • Author and Citation Info
  • Back to Top

Francis Bacon

Francis Bacon (1561–1626) was one of the leading figures in natural philosophy and in the field of scientific methodology in the period of transition from the Renaissance to the early modern era. As a lawyer, member of Parliament, and Queen's Counsel, Bacon wrote on questions of law, state and religion, as well as on contemporary politics; but he also published texts in which he speculated on possible conceptions of society, and he pondered questions of ethics ( Essays ) even in his works on natural philosophy ( The Advancement of Learning ).

After his studies at Trinity College, Cambridge and Gray's Inn, London, Bacon did not take up a post at a university, but instead tried to start a political career. Although his efforts were not crowned with success during the era of Queen Elizabeth, under James I he rose to the highest political office, Lord Chancellor. Bacon's international fame and influence spread during his last years, when he was able to focus his energies exclusively on his philosophical work, and even more so after his death, when English scientists of the Boyle circle ( Invisible College ) took up his idea of a cooperative research institution in their plans and preparations for establishing the Royal Society.

To the present day Bacon is well known for his treatises on empiricist natural philosophy ( The Advancement of Learning , Novum Organum Scientiarum ) and for his doctrine of the idols, which he put forward in his early writings, as well as for the idea of a modern research institute, which he described in Nova Atlantis .

1. Biography

2. natural philosophy: struggle with tradition, 3.1 the idols, 3.2 system of sciences, 3.3 matter theory and cosmology, 4. scientific method: the project of the instauratio magna, 5. scientific method: novum organum and the theory of induction, 6. science and social philosophy, 7. the ethical dimension in bacon's thought, major philosophical works by bacon, selected works on bacon, other secondary literature, other internet resources, related entries.

Francis Bacon was born January, 22, 1561, the second child of Sir Nicholas Bacon (Lord Keeper of the Seal) and his second wife Lady Anne Cooke Bacon, daughter of Sir Anthony Cooke, tutor to Edward VI and one of the leading humanists of the age. Lady Anne was highly erudite: she not only had a perfect command of Greek and Latin, but was also competent in Italian and French. Together with his older brother Anthony, Francis grew up in a context determined by political power, humanist learning, and Calvinist zeal. His father had built a new house in Gorhambury in the 1560s, and Bacon was educated there for some seven years; later, along with Anthony, he went to Trinity College, Cambridge (1573–5), where he sharply criticized the scholastic methods of academic training. Their tutor was John Whitgift, in later life Archbishop of Canterbury. Whitgift provided the brothers with classical texts for their studies: Cicero, Demosthenes, Hermogenes, Livy, Sallust, and Xenophon (Peltonen 2007). Bacon began his studies at Gray's Inn in London in 1576; but from 1577 to 1578 he accompanied Sir Amias Paulet, the English ambassador, on his mission in Paris. According to Peltonen (2007):

During his stay in France, perhaps in autumn 1577, Bacon once visited England as the bearer of diplomatic post, delivering letters to Walsingham, Burghley, Leicester, and to the Queen herself.

When his father died in 1579, he returned to England. Bacon's small inheritance brought him into financial difficulties and since his maternal uncle, Lord Burghley, did not help him to get a lucrative post as a government official, he embarked on a political career in the House of Commons, after resuming his studies in Gray's Inn. In 1581 he entered the Commons as a member for Cornwall, and he remained a Member of Parliament for thirty-seven years. He was admitted to the bar in 1582 and in 1587 was elected as a reader at Gray's Inn. His involvement in high politics started in 1584, when he wrote his first political memorandum, A Letter of Advice to Queen Elizabeth . Right from the beginning of his adult life, Bacon aimed at a revision of natural philosophy and—following his father's example—also tried to secure high political office. Very early on he tried to formulate outlines for a new system of the sciences, emphasizing empirical methods and laying the foundation for an applied science ( scientia operativa ). This twofold task, however, proved to be too ambitious to be realized in practice. Bacon's ideas concerning a reform of the sciences did not meet with much sympathy from Queen Elizabeth or from Lord Burghley. Small expectations on this front led him to become a successful lawyer and Parliamentarian. From 1584 to 1617 (the year he entered the House of Lords) he was an active member in the Commons. Supported by Walsingham's patronage, Bacon played a role in the investigation of English Catholics and argued for stern action against Mary Queen of Scots. He served on many committees, including one in 1588 which examined recusants; later he was a member of a committee to revise the laws of England. He was involved in the political aspects of religious questions, especially concerning the conflict between the Church of England and nonconformists. In a tract of 1591, he tried to steer a middle course in religious politics; but one year later he was commissioned to write against the Jesuit Robert Parson (Jardine and Stewart 1999, p. 125), who had attacked English sovereignty.

From the late 1580s onwards, Bacon turned to the Earl of Essex as his patron. During this phase of his life, he particularly devoted himself to natural philosophy. He clearly expressed his position in a famous letter of 1592 to his uncle, Lord Burghley:

I confess that I have as vast contemplative ends, as I have moderate civil ends: for I have taken all knowledge to be my province; and if I could purge it of two sorts of rovers, whereof the one with frivolous disputations, confutations, and verbosities, the other with blind experiments and auricular traditions and impostures, hath committed so many spoils, I hope I should bring in industrious observations, grounded conclusions, and profitable inventions and discoveries; the best state of that province. This, whether it be curiosity, or vain glory, or nature, or (if one take it favourably) philanthropia, is so fixed in my mind as it cannot be removed. And I do easily see, that place of any reasonable countenance doth bring commandment of more wits than of a man's own; which is the thing I greatly affect. (Bacon 1857–74, VIII, 109)

In 1593 Bacon fell out favor with the queen on account of his refusal to comply with her request for funds from Parliament. Although he did not vote against granting three subsidies to the government, he demanded that these should be paid over a period six, rather than three, years. This led Sir Robert Cecil and Sir Walter Raleigh to argue against him in Parliament. Bacon's patron, the Earl of Essex, for whom he had already served as a close political advisor and informer, was not able to mollify the queen's anger over the subsidies; and all Essex's attempts to secure a high post for Bacon (attorney-general or solicitor-general) came to nothing. Nevertheless, the queen valued Bacon's competence as a man of law. He was involved in the treason trial of Roderigo Lopez and later on in the proceedings against the Earl of Essex. In his contribution to the Gesta Grayorum (the traditional Christmas revels held in Gray's Inn) of 1594–5, Bacon had emphasized the necessity of scientific improvement and progress. Since he failed to secure for himself a position in the government, he considered the possibility of giving up politics and concentrating on natural philosophy. It is no wonder, then, that Bacon engaged in many scholarly and literary pursuits in the 1590s. His letters of advice to the Earl of Rutland and to the Earl of Essex should be mentioned in this context. The advice given to Essex is of particular importance because Bacon recommended that he should behave in a careful and intelligent manner in public, above all abstaining from aspiring to military commands. Bacon also worked in this phase of his career for the reform of English law. In 1597 his first book was published, the seminal version of his Essays , which contained only ten pieces (Klein 2004b). His financial situation was still insecure; but his plan to marry the rich widow Lady Hatton failed because she was successfully courted by Sir Edward Coke. In 1598 Bacon was unable to sell his reversion of the Star Chamber clerkship, so that he was imprisoned for a short time on account of his debts. His parliamentary activities in 1597–98, mainly involving committee work, were impressive; but when the Earl of Essex in 1599 took command of the attempt to pacify the Irish rebels, Bacon's hopes sank. Essex did not solve the Irish question, returned to court and fell from grace, as Bacon had anticipated he would. He therefore lost a valuable patron and spokesman for his projects. Bacon tried to reconcile the queen and Essex; but when the earl rebelled against the crown in 1601, he could do nothing to help him. The queen ordered Bacon to participate in the treason trial against Essex. In 1601 Bacon sat in Elizabeth's last parliament, playing an extremely active role.

Bacon looked forward to the next reign and tried to get in contact with James VI of Scotland, Elizabeth's successor. During James' reign Bacon rose to power. He was knighted in 1603 and was created a learned counsel a year later. He took up the political issues of the union of England and Scotland, and he worked on a conception of religious toleration, endorsing a middle course in dealing with Catholics and nonconformists. Bacon married Alice Barnhem, the young daughter of a rich London alderman in 1606. One year later he was appointed Solicitor General. He was also dealing with theories of the state and developed the idea, in accordance with Machiavelli, of a politically active and armed citizenry. In 1608 Bacon became clerk of the Star Chamber; and at this time, he made a review of his life, jotting down his achievements and failures. Though he still was not free from money problems, his career progressed step by step. In the period from 1603 to 1613 Bacon was not only busy within English politics. He also created the foundations of his philosophical work by writing seminal treatises which prepared the path for the Novum Organum and for the Instauratio Magna . In 1613 he became Attorney General and began the rise to the peak of his political career: he became a member of the Privy Council in 1616, was appointed Lord Keeper of the Great Seal the following year—thus achieving the same position as his father—and was granted the title of Lord Chancellor and created Baron of Verulam in 1618. In 1621, however, Bacon, after being created Viscount of St Alban, was impeached by Parliament for corruption. He fell victim to an intrigue in Parliament because he had argued against the abuse of monopolies, indirectly attacking his friend, the Duke of Buckingham, who was the king's favorite. In order to protect Buckingham, the king sacrificed Bacon, whose enemies had accused him of taking bribes in connection with his position as a judge. Bacon saw no way out for himself and declared himself guilty. His fall was contrived by his adversaries in Parliament and by the court faction, for which he was a scapegoat to save the Duke of Buckingham not only from public anger but also from open aggression (Mathews 1996). He lost all his offices and his seat in Parliament, but retained his titles and his personal property. Bacon devoted the last five years of his life—the famous quinquennium—entirely to his philosophical work. He tried to go ahead with his huge project, the Instauratio Magna Scientiarum ; but the task was too big for him to accomplish in only a few years. Though he was able to finish important parts of the Instauratio , the proverb, often quoted in his works, proved true for himself: Vita brevis, ars longa . He died in April 1626 of pneumonia after experiments with ice.

Bacon's struggle to overcome intellectual blockades and the dogmatic slumber of his age and of earlier periods had to be fought on many fronts. Very early on he criticized not only Plato, Aristotle and the Aristotelians, but also humanists and Renaissance scholars such as Paracelsus and Bernardino Telesio.

Although Aristotle provided specific axioms for every scientific discipline, what Bacon found lacking in the Greek philosopher's work was a master principle or general theory of science, which could be applied to all branches of natural history and philosophy (Klein 2003a). For Bacon, Aristotle's cosmology, as well as his theory of science, had become obsolete and consequently so too had many of the medieval thinkers who followed his lead. He does not repudiate Aristotle completely, but he opposes the humanistic interpretation of him, with its emphasis on syllogism and dialectics ( scientia operativa versus textual hermeneutics) and the metaphysical treatment of natural philosophy in favor of natural forms (or nature's effects as structured modes of action, not artifacts), the stages of which correspond—in the shape of a pyramid of knowledge—to the structural order of nature itself.

If any ‘modern’ Aristotelians came near to Bacon, it was the Venetian or Paduan branch, represented by Jacopo Zabarella. On the other hand, Bacon criticized Telesio, who—in his view—had only halfway succeeded in overcoming Aristotle's deficiencies. Although we find the debate with Telesio in an unpublished text of his middle period ( De Principiis atque Originibus, secundum fabulas Cupidinis et Coelum or On Principles and Origins According to the Fables of Cupid and Coelum , written in 1612; Bacon V [1889], 461–500), Bacon began to struggle with tradition as early as 1603. In Valerius Terminus (1603?) he already repudiates any mixture of natural philosophy and divinity; he provides an outline of his new method and determines that the end of knowledge was “a discovery of all operations and possibilities of operations from immortality (if it were possible) to the meanest mechanical practice” (Bacon III [1887], 222). He opposes Aristotelian anticipatio naturae , which favored the inquiry of causes to satisfy the mind instead of those “as will direct him and give him light to new experiences and inventions” (Bacon III [1887], 232).

When Bacon introduces his new systematic structure of the disciplines in The Advancement of Learning (1605), he continues his struggle with tradition, primarily with classical antiquity, rejecting the book learning of the humanists, on the grounds that they “hunt more after words than matter” (Bacon III [1887], 283). Accordingly, he criticizes the Cambridge University curriculum for placing too much emphasis on dialectical and sophistical training asked of “minds empty and unfraught with matter” (Bacon III [1887], 326). He reformulates and functionally transforms Aristotle's conception of science as knowledge of necessary causes. He rejects Aristotle's logic, which is based on his metaphysical theory, whereby the false doctrine is implied that the experience which comes to us by means of our senses (things as they appear ) automatically presents to our understanding things as they are . Simultaneously Aristotle favors the application of general and abstract conceptual distinctions, which do not conform to things as they exist. Bacon, however, introduces his new conception of philosophia prima as a meta-level for all scientific disciplines.

From 1606 to 1612 Bacon pursued his work on natural philosophy, still under the auspices of a struggle with tradition. This tendency is exemplified in the unpublished tracts Temporis partus masculus , 1603/1608 (Bacon III [1887], 521–31), Cogitata et Visa , 1607 (Bacon III, 591–620), Redargutio Philosophiarum , 1608 (III, 557–85), and De Principiis atque Originibus …, 1612 (Bacon V [1889], 461–500). Bacon rediscovers the Pre-Socratic philosophers for himself, especially the atomists and among them Democritus as the leading figure. He gives preference to Democritus' natural philosophy in contrast to the scholastic—and thus Aristotelian—focus on deductive logic and belief in authorities. Bacon does not expect any approach based on tradition to start with a direct investigation of nature and then to ascend to empirical and general knowledge. This criticism is extended to Renaissance alchemy, magic, and astrology ( Temporis partus masculus ), because the ‘methods’ of these ‘disciplines’ are based on occasional insights, but do not command strategies to reproduce the natural effects under investigation. His criticism also concerns contemporary technical literature, in so far as it lacks a new view of nature and an innovative methodological program. Bacon takes to task the ancients, the scholastics and also the moderns. He not only criticizes Plato, Aristotle, and Galen for these failings, but also Jean Fernel, Paracelsus, and Telesio, while praising the Greek atomists and Roger Bacon.

Bacon's manuscripts already mention the doctrine of the idols as a necessary condition for constituting scientia operativa . In Cogitata et Visa he compares deductive logic as used by the scholastics to a spider's web, which is drawn out of its own entrails, whereas the bee is introduced as an image of scientia operativa . Like a bee, the empiricist, by means of his inductive method, collects the natural matter or products and then works them up into knowledge in order to produce honey, which is useful for healthy nutrition.

In Bacon's follow-up paper, Redargutio Philosophiarum , he carries on his empiricist project by referring to the doctrine of twofold truth, while in De Principiis atque Originibus he rejects alchemical theories concerning the transformation of substances in favor of Greek atomism. But in the same text he sharply criticizes his contemporary Telesio for propagating a non-experimental halfway house empiricism. Though Telesio proves to be a moderate ‘modern’, he clings to the Aristotelian framework by continuing to believe in the quinta essentia and in the doctrine of the two worlds, which presupposes two modes of natural law (one mode for the sublunary and another for the superlunary sphere).

3. Natural Philosophy: Theory of the Idols and the System of Sciences

Bacon's doctrine of the idols not only represents a stage in the history of theories of error (Brandt 1979) but also functions as an important theoretical element within the rise of modern empiricism. According to Bacon, the human mind is not a tabula rasa . Instead of an ideal plane for receiving an image of the world in toto, it is a crooked mirror, on account of implicit distortions (Bacon IV [1901], 428–34). He does not sketch a basic epistemology but underlines that the images in our mind right from the beginning do not render an objective picture of the true objects. Consequently, we have to improve our mind, i.e., free it from the idols, before we start any knowledge acquisition.

As early as Temporis partus masculus , Bacon warns the student of empirical science not to tackle the complexities of his subject without purging the mind of its idols:

On waxen tablets you cannot write anything new until you rub out the old. With the mind it is not so; there you cannot rub out the old till you have written in the new. (Farrington 1964, 72)

In Redargutio Philosophiarum Bacon reflects on his method, but he also criticizes prejudices and false opinions, especially the system of speculation established by theologians, as an obstacle to the progress of science (Farrington 1964, 107), together with any authoritarian stance in scholarly matters.

Bacon deals with the idols in the Second Book of The Advancement of Learning , where he discusses Arts intellectual (Invention, Judgment, Memory, Tradition). In his paragraph on judgment he refers to proofs and demonstrations, especially to induction and invention. When he comes to Aristotle's treatment of the syllogism, he reflects on the relation between sophistical fallacies (Aristotle, De Sophisticis Elenchis ) and the idols (Bacon III [1887], 392–6). Whereas induction, invention, and judgment presuppose “the same action of the mind”, this is not true for proof in the syllogism. Bacon, therefore, prefers his own interpretatio naturae , repudiating elenches as modes of sophistical ‘juggling’ in order to persuade others in redargutions (“degenerate and corrupt use … for caption and contradiction”). There is no finding without proof and no proof without finding. But this is not true for the syllogism, in which proof (syllogism: judgment of the consequent) and invention (of the ‘mean’ or middle term) are distinct. The caution he suggests in relation to the ambiguities in elenches is also recommended in face of the idols :

there is yet a much more important and profound kind of fallacies in the mind of man, which I find not observed or enquired at all, and think good to place here, as that which of all others appertaineth most to rectify judgment: the force whereof is such, as it doth not dazzle or snare the understanding in some particulars, but doth more generally and inwardly infect and corrupt the state thereof. For the mind of man is far from the nature of a clear and equal glass, wherein the beams of things should reflect according to their true incidence, nay, it is rather like an enchanted glass, full of superstition and imposture, if it be not delivered and reduced. For this purpose, let us consider the false appearances that are imposed upon us by the general nature of the mind …. (Bacon III [1887], 394–5)

Bacon still presents a similar line of argument to his reader in 1623, namely in De Augmentis (Book V, Chap. 4; see Bacon IV [1901], 428–34). Judgment by syllogism presupposes—in a mode agreeable to the human mind—mediated proof, which, unlike in induction, does not start from sense in primary objects. In order to control the workings of the mind, syllogistic judgment refers to a fixed frame of reference or principle of knowledge as the basis for “all the variety of disputations” (Bacon IV [1901], 491). The reduction of propositions to principles leads to the middle term. Bacon deals here with the art of judgment in order to assign a systematic position to the idols. Within this art he distinguishes the ‘Analytic’ from the detection of fallacies (sophistical syllogisms). Analytic works with “true forms of consequences in argument” (Bacon IV [1901], 429), which become faulty by variation and deflection. The complete doctrine of detection of fallacies, according to Bacon, contains three segments:

  • Sophistical fallacies,
  • Fallacies of interpretation, and
  • False appearances or Idols.

Concerning (1) Bacon praises Aristotle for his excellent handling of the matter, but he also mentions Plato honorably. Fallacies of interpretation (2) refer to “Adventitious Conditions or Adjuncts of Essences”, similar to the predicaments, open to physical or logical inquiry. He focuses his attention on the logical handling when he relates the detection of fallacies of interpretation to the wrong use of common and general notions, which leads to sophisms. In the last section (3) Bacon finds a place for his idols, when he refers to the detection of false appearances as

the deepest fallacies of the human mind: For they do not deceive in particulars, as the others do, by clouding and snaring the judgment; but by a corrupt and ill-ordered predisposition of mind, which as it were perverts and infects all the anticipations of the intellect. (IV, 431)

Idols are productions of the human imagination (caused by the crooked mirror of the human mind) and thus are nothing more than “untested generalities” (Malherbe 1996, 80).

In his Preface to the Novum Organum Bacon promises the introduction of a new method, which will restore the senses to their former rank (Bacon IV [1901], 17f.), begin the whole labor of the mind again, and open two sources and two distributions of learning, consisting of a method of cultivating the sciences and another of discovering them. This new beginning presupposes the discovery of the natural obstacles to efficient scientific analysis, namely seeing through the idols, so that the mind's function as the subject of knowledge acquisition comes into focus (Brandt 1979, 19).

According to Aphorism XXIII of the First Book, Bacon makes a distinction between the Idols of the human mind and the Ideas of the divine mind: whereas the former are for him nothing more than “certain empty dogmas”, the latter show “the true signatures and marks set upon the works of creation as they are found in nature” (Bacon IV [1901], 51).

3.1.1 Idols of the Tribe

The Idols of the Tribe have their origin in the production of false concepts due to human nature, because the structure of human understanding is like a crooked mirror, which causes distorted reflections (of things in the external world).

3.1.2 Idols of the Cave

The Idols of the Cave consist of conceptions or doctrines which are dear to the individual who cherishes them, without possessing any evidence of their truth. These idols are due to the preconditioned system of every individual, comprising education, custom, or accidental or contingent experiences.

3.1.3 Idols of the Market Place

These idols are based on false conceptions which are derived from public human communication. They enter our minds quietly by a combination of words and names, so that it comes to pass that not only does reason govern words, but words react on our understanding.

3.1.4 Idols of the Theatre

According to the insight that the world is a stage, the Idols of the Theatre are prejudices stemming from received or traditional philosophical systems. These systems resemble plays in so far as they render fictional worlds, which were never exposed to an experimental check or to a test by experience. The idols of the theatre thus have their origin in dogmatic philosophy or in wrong laws of demonstration.

Bacon ends his presentation of the idols in Novum Organum , Book I, Aphorism LXVIII, with the remark that men should abjure and renounce the qualities of idols, “and the understanding [must be] thoroughly freed and cleansed” (Bacon IV [1901], 69). He discusses the idols together with the problem of information gained through the senses, which must be corrected by the use of experiments (Bacon IV [1901], 27).

Within the history of occidental philosophy and science, Bacon identifies only three revolutions or periods of learning: the heyday of the Greeks and that of the Romans and Western Europe in his own time (Bacon IV [1901], 70ff.). This meager result stimulated his ambition to establish a new system of the sciences. This tendency can already be seen in his early manuscripts, but is also apparent in his first major book, The Advancement of Learning . In this work Bacon presents a systematic survey of the extant realms of knowledge, combined with meticulous descriptions of deficiencies, leading to his new classification of knowledge. In The Advancement (Bacon III [1887], 282f.) a new function is given to philosophia prima , the necessity of which he had indicated in the Novum Organum , I, Aphorisms LXXIX–LXXX (Bacon IV [1901], 78–9). In both texts this function is attributed to philosophia naturalis , the basis for his concept of the unity of the sciences and thus of materialism.

Natural science is divided by Bacon into physics and metaphysics. The former investigates variable and particular causes, the latter reflects on general and constant ones, for which the term form is used. Forms are more general than the four Aristotelian causes and that is why Bacon's discussion of the forms of substances as the most general properties of matter is the last step for the human mind when investigating nature. Metaphysics is distinct from philosophia prima . The latter marks the position in the system where general categories of a general theory of science are treated as (1) universal categories of thought, (2) relevant for all disciplines. Final causes are discredited, since they lead to difficulties in science and tempt us to amalgamate theological and teleological points of doctrine. At the summit of Bacon's pyramid of knowledge are the laws of nature (the most general principles). At its base the pyramid starts with observations, moves on to invariant relations and then to more inclusive correlations until it reaches the stage of forms. The process of generalization ascends from natural history via physics towards metaphysics, whereas accidental correlations and relations are eliminated by the method of exclusion. It must be emphasized that metaphysics has a special meaning for Bacon. This concept (1) excludes the infinity of individual experience by generalization with a teleological focus and (2) opens our mind to generate more possibilities for the efficient application of general laws.

According to Bacon, man would be able to explain all the processes in nature if he could acquire full insight into the hidden structure and the secret workings of matter (Pérez-Ramos 1988, 101). Bacon's conception of structures in nature, functioning according to its own working method, concentrates on the question of how natural order is produced, namely by the interplay of matter and motion. In De Principiis atque Originibus , his materialistic stance with regard to his conception of natural law becomes evident. The Summary Law of Nature is a virtus (matter-cum-motion) or power in accordance with matter theory, or

the force implanted by God in these first particles, form the multiplication thereof of all the variety of things proceeds and is made up. (Bacon V [1889], 463)

Similarly, in De Sapientia Veterum he attributes to this force an

appetite or instinct of primal matter; or to speak more plainly, the natural motion of the atom; which is indeed the original and unique force that constitutes and fashions all things out of matter. (Bacon VI [1890], 729)

Suffice it to say here that Bacon, who did not reject mathematics in science, was influenced by the early mathematical version of chemistry developed in the 16 th century, so that the term ‘instinct’ must be seen as a keyword for his theory of nature. The natural philosopher is urged to inquire into the

appetites and inclination of things by which all that variety of effects and changes which we see in the works of nature and art is brought about. (Bacon III [1887], 17–22; V [1889], 422–6 and 510ff.: Descriptio Globi Intellectualis ; cf. IV [1901], 349)

Bacon's theory of active or even vivid force in matter accounts for what he calls Cupid in De Principiis atque Originibus (Bacon V [1889], 463–5). Since his theory of matter aims at an explanation of the reality which is the substratum of appearances, he digs deeper than did the mechanistic physics of the 17 th century (Gaukroger 2001, 132–7). Bacon's ideas concerning the quid facti of reality presuppose the distinction

between understanding how things are made up and of what they consist, … and by what force and in what manner they come together, and how they are transformed. (Gaukroger 2001, 137)

This is the point in his work where it becomes obvious that he tries to develop an explanatory pattern in which his theory of matter, and thus his atomism, are related to his cosmology, magic, and alchemy.

In De Augmentis , Bacon not only refers to Pan and his nymphs in order to illustrate the permanent atomic movement in matter but in addition revives the idea of magic in a ‘honourable meaning’ as

the knowledge of the universal consents of things …. I … understand [magic] as the science which applies the knowledge of hidden forms to the production of wonderful operations; and by uniting (as they say) actives with passives, displays the wonderful works of nature. (Bacon IV [1901], 366–7: De Augmentis III.5)

Bacon's notion of form is made possible by integration into his matter theory, which (ideally) reduces the world of appearances to some minimal parts accessible and open to manipulation by the knower/maker. In contrast to Aristotle, Bacon's knowing-why type of definition points towards the formulation of an efficient knowing-how type (Pérez-Ramos 1988, 119). In this sense a convergence between the scope of definition and that of causation takes place according to a ‘constructivist epistemology’. The fundamental research of Graham Rees has shown that Bacon's special mode of cosmology is deeply influenced by magic and semi-Paracelsian doctrine. For Bacon, matter theory is the basic doctrine, not classical mechanics as it is with Galileo. Consequently, Bacon's purified and modified versions of chemistry, alchemy, and physiology remain primary disciplines for his explanation of the world.

According to Rees, the Instauratio Magna comprises two branches: (1) Bacon's famous scientific method, and (2) his semi-Paracelsian world system as “a vast, comprehensive system of speculative physics” (Rees 1986, 418). For (2) Bacon conjoins his specific version of Paracelsian cosmic chemistry to Islamic celestial kinematics (especially in Alpetragius [al-Bitruji]; see Zinner 1988, 71). The chemical world system is used to support Bacon's explanation of celestial motion in the face of contemporary astronomical problems (Rees 1975b, 161f.). There are thus two sections in Bacon's Instauratio , which imply the modes of their own explanation.

Bacon's speculative cosmology and matter theory had been planned to constitute Part 5 of Instauratio Magna . The theory put forward refers in an eclectic vein to atomism, criticizes Aristotelians and Copernicans, but also touches on Galileo, Paracelsus, William Gilbert, Telesio, and Arabic astronomy.

For Bacon, ‘magic’ is classified as applied science, while he generally subsumes under ‘science’ pure science and technology. It is never identified with black magic, since it represents the “ultimate legitimate power over nature” (Rees 2000, 66). Whereas magia was connected to crafts in the 16 th and 17 th centuries, Bacon's science remains the knowledge of forms in order to transform them into operations. Knowledge in this context, however, is no longer exclusively based on formal proof.

Bacon's cosmological system—a result of thought experiments and speculation, but not proven in accordance with the inductive method—presupposes a finite universe, a geocentric plenum, which means that the earth is passive and consists of tangible matter. The remaining universe is composed of active or pneumatic matter. Whereas the interior and tangible matter of the earth is covered by a crust which separates it from the pneumatic heaven, the zone between earth and the “middle region of the air” allows a mixture of pneumatic and tangible matter, which is the origin of organic and non-organic phenomena. Bacon speaks here of “attached spirit” (Rees 1986, 418–20), while otherwise he assumes four kinds of free spirit: air and terrestrial fire, which refer to the sublunary realm; ether and sidereal fire, which are relevant to the celestial realm. Ether is explained as the medium in which planets move around the central earth. Air and ether, as well as watery non-inflammable bodies, belong to Bacon's first group of substances or to the Mercury Quaternion .

Terrestrial fire is presented as the weak variant of sidereal fire; it joins with oily substances and sulphur, for all of which Bacon introduces the Sulphur Quaternion. These quaternions comprise antithetical qualities: air and ether versus fire and sidereal fire. The struggle between these qualities is determined by the distance from the earth as the absolute center of the world system. Air and ether become progressively weaker as the terrestrial and sidereal fire grow stronger. The quaternion theory functions in Bacon's thought as a constructive element for constituting his own theory of planetary movement and a general theory of physics. This theory differs from all other contemporary approaches, even though Bacon states that “many theories of the heavens may be supposed which agree well enough with the phenomena and yet differ with each other” (Bacon IV [1901], 104). The diurnal motion of the world system (9 th sphere) is driven by sympathy; it carries the heavens westward around the earth. The sidereal fire is powerful and, accordingly, sidereal motion is swift (the stars complete their revolution in 24 hours). Since the sidereal fire becomes weaker if it burns nearer to the earth, the lower planets move more slowly and unevenly than the higher ones (in this way Bacon, like Alpetragius, accounts for irregular planetary movement without reference to Ptolemy's epicycle theory). He applies his theory of consensual motion to physics generally (e.g., wind and tides) and thus comes into conflict with Gilbert's doctrine of the interstellar vacuum and Galileo's theory of the tides (for Bacon, the cycle of tides depends on the diurnal motion of the heavens but, for Galileo, on the earth's motion).

With quaternion theory we see that, in the final analysis, Bacon was not a mechanist philosopher. His theory of matter underwent an important transformation, moving in the direction of ‘forms’, which we would nowadays subsume under biology or the life sciences rather than under physics. Bacon distinguishes between non-spiritual matter and spiritual matter. The latter, also called ‘subtle matter’ or ‘spirit’, is more reminiscent of Leibniz' ‘monads’ than of mechanically defined and materially, as well as spatially, determined atoms. The spirits are seen as active agents of phenomena; they are endowed with ‘appetition’ and ‘perception’ (Bacon I [1889], 320–21: Historia Vitae et Mortis ; see also V, 63: Sylva Sylvarum , Century IX: “It is certain that all bodies whatsoever, though they have no sense, yet they have perception: for when one body is applied to another, there is a kind of election to embrace that which is agreeable, and to exclude or expel that which is ingrate”).

These spirits are never at rest. In the Novum Organum , then, Bacon rejected the “existence of eternal and immutable atoms and the reality of the void” (Kargon 1966, 47). His new conception of matter was therefore “close to that of the chemists” in the sense of Bacon's semi-Paracelsian cosmology (Rees 2000, 65–69). The careful natural philosopher tries to disclose the secrets of nature step by step; and therefore he says of his method: “I propose to establish progressive stages of certainty” (Bacon IV [1901], 40: Novum Organum , Preface). This points towards his inductive procedure and his method of tables, which is a complicated mode of induction by exclusion. It is necessary because nature hides her secrets. In Aphorism XIX of Book I in his Novum Organum Bacon writes:

There are and can be only two ways of searching into and discovering truth. The one flies from the senses and particulars to the most general axioms, and from these principles, the truth of which it takes for settled and immoveable, proceeds to judgment and to the discovery of middle axioms. And this way is now in fashion. The other derives axioms from the senses and particulars, rising by gradual and unbroken ascent, so that it arrives at the most general axioms last of all. This is the true way, but as yet untried. (Bacon IV [1901], 50)

The laws of nature, which Bacon intended to discover by means of his new method, were expressed in the ‘forms’, in which the ‘unbroken ascent’ culminates. Through these forms the natural philosopher understands the general causes of phenomena (Kargon 1966, 48). In his endeavor to learn more about the secret workings of nature, Bacon came to the conclusion that the atomist theory could not provide sufficient explanations for the “real particles, such as really exist” (Bacon IV [1901], 126: Novum Organum , II.viii), because he thought that the immutability of matter and the void (both necessary assumptions for atomism) were untenable. His language turned from that of Greek physics to the usage of contemporary chemists. This is due to his insight that “subtlety of investigation” is needed, since our senses are too gross for the complexity and fineness of nature, so that method has to compensate for the shortcomings of our direct comprehension. Only method leads to the knowledge of nature: in Sylva Sylvarum , Century I.98 Bacon deals explicitly with the question of the asymmetrical relationship between man's natural instrument (i.e., the senses) and the intricacy of nature's structures and workings.

Bacon distinguishes ‘animate’ or vital spirits, which are continuous and composed of a substance similar to fire, from lifeless or inanimate spirits, which are cut off and resemble air: the spirits interact with gross matter through chemical processes (Bacon IV, 195–6 ( Novum Organum , II.xl)). These spirits have two different desires: self-multiplication and attraction of like spirits. According to Kargon (1966, 51):

Bacon's later theory of matter is one of the interaction of gross, visible parts of matter and invisible material spirits, both of which are physically mixed.

Spirits interact with matter by means of concoction, colliquation and other non-mechanical chemical processes, so that Bacon's scientific paradigm differs from Descartes' mechanist theory of matter in his Principia Philosophiae (1644), which presupposes res extensa moving in space. Bacon's theory of matter is thus closely related to his speculative philosophy:

The distinction between tangible and pneumatic matter is the hinge on which the entire speculative system turns. (Rees 1996, 125; Paracelsus had already stated that knowledge inheres in the object: see Shell 2004, 32)

Bacon's theory of matter in its final version was more corpuscular than atomist (Clericuzio 2000, 78). Bacon's particles are semina rerum : they are endowed with powers, which make a variety of motions possible and allow the production of all possible forms. These spirits are constitutive for Bacon's theory of matter. As material, fine substances, composed of particles, combined from air and fire, they can, as we have seen, be either inanimate or animate. Bacon thus suggests a corpuscular and chemical chain of being:

Small wonder, then, that Bacon's spirits are indispensable for his conception of physiology:

the vital spirits regulate all vegetative functions of plants and animals. Organs responsible for these functions, for digestion, assimilation, etc., seem to act by perception, mere reaction to local stimuli, but these reactions are coordinated by the vital spirit. These functions flow from the spirit's airy-flamy constitution. The spirit has the softness of air to receive impressions and the vigour of fire to propagate its actions. (Rees in OFB VI, 202–3)

This physiological stratum of Bacon's natural philosophy was influenced by his semi-Paracelsian cosmology (on Paracelsus see Müller-Jahncke 1985, 67–88), which Graham Rees (Rees and Upton 1984, 20–1) has reconstructed from the extant parts of the Instauratio Magna . Detailed consideration therefore has to be given to Bacon's theory of the ‘quaternions’.

Bacon's speculative system is a hybrid based on different sources which provided him with seminal ideas: e.g., atomism, Aristotelianism, Arabic astronomy, Copernican theory, Galileo's discoveries, the works of Paracelsus, and Gilbert. In his theory he combines astronomy, referring to Alpetragius (see Dijksterhuis 1956, 237–43; Rees and Upton 1984, 26; Gaukroger, 2001, 172–5; and see Grant 1994, 533–66, for discussion of the cosmology of Alpetragius), and chemistry (Rees 1975a, 84–5):

[i]t was partly designed to fit a kinematic skeleton and explain, in general terms, the irregularities of planetary motion as consequences of the chemical constitution of the universe. (Rees 1975b, 94)

Bacon had no explanation for the planetary retrogressions and saw the universe as a finite and geocentric plenum, in which the earth consists of the two forms of matter (tangible and pneumatic). The earth has a tangible inside and is in touch with the surrounding universe, but through an intermediate zone. This zone exists between the earth's crust and the pure pneumatic heavens; it reaches some miles into the crust and some miles into air. In this zone, pneumatic matter mixes with tangible matter, thus producing ‘attached spirits’, which must be distinguished from ‘free spirits’ outside tangible bodies. Bacon's four kinds of free spirits are relevant for his ‘quaternion theory’:

The planets move around the earth in the ether (a tenuous kind of air), which belongs to the ‘mercury quaternion’: it includes watery bodies and mercury. Terrestrial fire is a weakened form of sidereal fire. It is related to oily substances and sulphur, and constitutes the ‘sulphur quaternion’. The two quaternions oppose each other: air/ether vs. fire/sidereal fire. Air and ether loose power when terrestrial and sidereal fires grow more energetic—Bacon's sulphur and mercury are not principles in the sense of Paracelsus, but simply natural substances. The Paracelsian principle of salt is excluded by Bacon and the substance, which plays a role only in the sublunary realm, is for him a compound of natural sulphur and mercury (Rees and Upton 1984, 25).

Bacon used his quaternion theory for his cosmology, which differs greatly from other contemporary systems (Rees 2000, 68):

  • the diurnal motion turns the heavens about the earth towards the west;
  • under powerful sidereal fire (i.e., principle of celestial motion) the motion is swift: the revolution of the stars takes place in twenty-four hours;
  • under weaker sidereal fire—nearer to the earth—planets move more slowly and more erratic.

Bacon, who tried to conceive of a unified physics, rejected different modes of motion in the superlunary and in the sublunary world (Bacon I [1889], 329). He did not believe in the existence of the (crystalline) spheres nor in the macrocosm-microcosm analogy. He revised Paracelsian ideas thoroughly. He rejected the grounding of his theories in Scripture and paid no attention at all to Cabbalistic and Hermetic tendencies (Rees 1975b, 90–1). But he extended the explanatory powers of the quaternions to earthly phenomena such as wind and tides.

Bacon's two systems were closely connected:

System 2 depends on System 1, since explanations for terrestrial things were subordinated to explanations of the cosmological level. The table of System 2 shows Bacon's matter theory. His quaternion theory is relevant for System 1. System 2 is explained in terms of ‘intermediates’, which combine the qualities of the items in one quaternion with their opposites in the other.

Bacon's system is built in a clear symmetrical way: each quaternion has four segments, together eight and there are four types of intermediates. Thus, the system distinguishes twelve segments in all. He wanted to explain all natural phenomena by means of this apparatus:

There are two principal intermediates:

Bacon's bi-quaternion theory necessarily refers to the sublunary as well as to the superlunary world. Although the quaternion theory is first mentioned in Thema Coeli (1612; see Bacon V [1889], 547–59), he provides a summary in his Novum Organum (Bacon II [1887], 50):

it has not been ill observed by the chemists in their triad of first principles, that sulphur and mercury run through the whole universe … in these two one of the most general consents in nature does seem to be observable. For there is consent between sulphur, oil and greasy exhalation, flame, and perhaps the body of a star. So is there between mercury, water and watery vapors, air, and perhaps the pure and intersiderial ether. Yet these two quaternions or great tribes of things (each within its own limits) differ immensely in quantity of matter and density, but agree very well in configuration. (Bacon IV [1901], 242–3; see also V [1889], 205–6; for tables of the two quaternions and Bacon's theory of matter see Rees 1996, 126, 137; Rees 2000, 68–9)

Bacon regarded his cosmological worldview as a system of anticipations, which was open to revision in light of further scientific results based on the inductive method (Rees 1975b, 171). It was primarily a qualitative system, standing aside from both mathematical astronomers and Paracelsian chemists. It thus emphasized the priority which he gave to physics over mathematics in his general system of the sciences.

Bacon's two quaternions and his matter theory provide a speculative framework for his thought, which was open to the future acquisition of knowledge and its technical application. His Nova Atlantis can be understood as a text which occupies an intermediate position between his theory of induction and his speculative philosophy (Klein 2003c; Price 2002).

It is important to bear in mind that Bacon's speculative system was his way out of a dilemma which had made it impossible for him to finish his Instauratio Magna . His turn towards speculation can only be interpreted as an intellectual anticipation during an intermediate phase of the history of science, when a gigantic amount of research work was still to be accomplished, so that empirical theories could neither be established nor sufficiently guaranteed. Speculation in Bacon's sense can therefore be seen as a preliminary means of explaining the secrets of nature until methodical research has caught up with our speculations. The speculative stance remains a relative and intermediate procedure for the ‘man of science’.

The Great Instauration , Bacon's main work, was published in 1620 under the title: Franciscus de Verulamio Summi Angliae Cancellaris Instauratio magna . This great work remained a fragment, since Bacon was only able to finish parts of the planned outline. The volume was introduced by a Prooemium , which gives a general statement of the purpose, followed by a Dedication to the King (James I) and a Preface , which is a summary of all “directions, motifs, and significance of his life-work” (Sessions 1996, 71). After that, Bacon printed the plan of the Instauratio , before he turned to the strategy of his research program, which is known as Novum Organum Scientiarum . Altogether the 1620 book constitutes the second part of Part II of the Instauratio , the first part of which is represented by De Augmentis and Book I of The Advancement of Learning . When Bacon organized his Instauratio , he divided it into six parts, which reminded contemporary readers of God's work of the six days (the creation), already used by writers like Guillaume Du Bartas ( La Sepmaine, ou Création du Monde , 1579, transl. by Joshua Sylvester, Bartas His Devine Weekes & Workes , 1605) and Giovanni Pico della Mirandola ( Heptaplus , 1489).

Bacon sees nature as a labyrinth, whose workings cannot be exclusively explained by reference to “excellence of wit” and “repetition of chance experiments”:

Our steps must be guided by a clue, and see what way from the first perception of the sense must be laid out upon a sure plan. (Bacon IV [1901], 18)

Bacon's Plan of the Work runs as follows (Bacon IV [1901], 22):

  • The Divisions of the Sciences.
  • The New Organon; or Directions concerning the Interpretation of Nature.
  • The Phenomena of the Universe; or a Natural and Experimental History for the foundation of Philosophy.
  • The Ladder of Intellect.
  • The Forerunners; or Anticipations of the New Philosophy.
  • The New Philosophy; or Active Science .

Part 1 contains the general description of the sciences including their divisions as they presented themselves in Bacon's time. Here he aimed at a distinction between what was already invented and known in contrast to “things omitted which ought be there” (Bacon IV [1901], 23). This part could be taken from The Advancement of Learning (1605) and from the revised and enlarged version De Dignitate et Augmentis Scientiarum (1623).

Part 2 develops Bacon's new method for scientific investigation, the Novum Organum , equipping the intellect to pass beyond ancient arts and thus producing a radical revision of the methods of knowledge; but it also introduces a new epistemology and a new ontology. Bacon calls his new art Interpretatio Naturae , which is a logic of research going beyond ordinary logic, since his science aims at three inventions: of arts (not arguments), of principles (not of things in accordance to principles), and of designations and directions for works (not of probable reasons). The effect Bacon looks for is to command nature in action, not to overcome an opponent in argument. The Novum Organum is the only part of the Instauratio Magna which was brought near to completion.

Part 3 was going to contain natural and experimental history or the record of the phenomena of the universe. According to De Augmentis Scientarum (Bacon IV [1901], 275), natural history is split up into narrative and inductive, the latter of which is supposed “to minister and be in order to the building up of Philosophy ”. These functional histories support human memory and provide the material for research , or the factual knowledge of nature, which must be certain and reliable. Natural history starts from and emphasizes the subtlety of nature or her structural intricacy, but not the complexity of philosophical systems, since they have been produced by the human mind. Bacon sees this part of Instauratio Magna as a foundation for the reconstruction of the sciences in order to produce physical and metaphysical knowledge. Nature in this context is studied under experimental conditions, not only in the sense of the history of bodies, but also as a history of virtues or original passions, which refer to the desires of matter (Rees 1975a). This knowledge was regarded by Bacon as a preparation for Part 6, the Second Philosophy or Active Science , for which he gave only the one example of Historia Ventorum (1622); but—following his plan to compose six prototypical natural histories—he also wrote Historia vitae et mortis (1623) and the Historia densi , which was left in manuscript. The text, which develops the idea of Part 3, is called Parasceve ad Historiam Naturalem et Experimentalem.

Part 4, which Bacon called The Ladder of Intellect or Scala Intellectus , was intended to function as a link between the method of natural history and that of Second Philosophy/Active Science. It consists not only of the fragment Filum labyrinthi (Bacon III [1887], 493–504), but also includes the Abecedarium nouum naturae (OFB XIII, xxi), which was planned as a preface to all of section 4 “[to] demonstrate the whole process of the mind” (OFB XIII, xxii). Filum labyrinthi is similar to, but not identical with, Cogitata et Visa . Speaking of himself in an authorial voice, Bacon reflects on the state of science and derives his construction of a research program from the gaps and deficiencies within the system of disciplines: sciences of the future should be examined and further ones should be discovered. Emphasis must be laid on new matter (not on controversies). It is necessary to repudiate superstition, zealous religion, and false authorities. Just as the Fall was not caused by knowledge of nature, but rather by moral knowledge of good and evil, so knowledge of natural philosophy is for Bacon a contribution to the magnifying of God's glory, and, in this way, his plea for the growth of scientific knowledge becomes evident.

Part 5 deals with the forerunners or anticipations of the new philosophy, and Bacon emphasizes that the ‘big machinery’ of the Instauratio Magna needs a good deal of time to be completed. Anticipations are ways to come to scientific inferences without recourse to the method presented in the Novum Organum . Meanwhile, he has worked on his speculative system, so that portions of his Second Philosophy are treated and finished: De Fluxu et Refluxu Maris and Thema Coeli . For this part of the Great Instauration , texts are planned that draw philosophical conclusions from collections of facts which are not yet sufficient for the use or application of Bacon's inductive method.

Part 6 was scheduled to contain Bacon's description of the new philosophy, as the last part of his Great Instauration ; but nothing came of this plan, so that there is no extant text at all from this part of the project.

Already in his early text Cogitata et Visa (1607) Bacon dealt with his scientific method, which became famous under the name of induction . He repudiates the syllogistic method and defines his alternative procedure as one “which by slow and faithful toil gathers information from things and brings it into understanding” (Farrington 1964, 89). When later on he developed his method in detail, namely in his Novum Organum (1620), he still noted that

[of] induction the logicians seem hardly to have taken any serious thought, but they pass it by with a slight notice, and hasten to the formulae of disputation. I on the contrary reject demonstration by syllogism …. (Bacon IV [1901], 24)

Bacon's method appears as his conceptual plot,

applied to all stages of knowledge, and at every phase the whole process has to be kept in mind. (Malherbe 1996, 76)

Induction implies ascending to axioms, as well as a descending to works, so that from axioms new particulars are gained and from these new axioms. The inductive method starts from sensible experience and moves via natural history (providing sense-data as guarantees) to lower axioms or propositions, which are derived from the tables of presentation or from the abstraction of notions. Bacon does not identify experience with everyday experience, but presupposes that method corrects and extends sense-data into facts, which go together with his setting up of tables (tables of presence and of absence and tables of comparison or of degrees, i.e., degrees of absence or presence). “Bacon's antipathy to simple enumeration as the universal method of science derived, first of all, from his preference for theories that deal with interior physical causes, which are not immediately observable” (Urbach 1987, 30; see: sect. 2). The last type can be supplemented by tables of counter-instances, which may suggest experiments:

To move from the sensible to the real requires the correction of the senses, the tables of natural history, the abstraction of propositions and the induction of notions. In other words, the full carrying out of the inductive method is needed. (Malherbe 1996, 85)

The sequence of methodical steps does not, however, end here, because Bacon assumes that from lower axioms more general ones can be derived (by induction). The complete process must be understood as the joining of the parts into a systematic chain. From the more general axioms Bacon strives to reach more fundamental laws of nature (knowledge of forms), which lead to practical deductions as new experiments or works (IV, 24–5). The decisive instruments in this process are the middle or ‘living axioms,’ which mediate between particulars and general axioms. For Bacon, induction can only be efficient if it is eliminative by exclusion, which goes beyond the remit of induction by simple enumeration. The inductive method helps the human mind to find a way to ascertain truthful knowledge.

Novum Organum , I, Aphorism CXV (Bacon IV [1901], 103) ends the “pulling down” of “the signs and causes of the errors” within the sciences, achieved by means of three refutations, which constituted the condition for a rational introduction of method: refutation of ‘natural human reason’ (idols); refutation of ‘demonstrations’ (syllogisms) and refutation of ‘theories’ (traditional philosophical systems).

The Second Part of the Novum Organum deals with Bacon's rule for interpreting nature, even if he provides no complete or universal theory. He contributes to the new philosophy by introducing his tables of discovery ( Inst. Magna , IV), by presenting an example of particulars ( Inst. Magna , II), and by observations on history ( Inst. Magna , III). It is well known that he worked hard in the last five years of his life to make progress on his natural history, knowing that he could not always come up to the standards of legitimate interpretation.

Bacon's method presupposes a double starting-point: empirical and rational. True knowledge is acquired if we want to proceed from a lower certainty to a higher liberty and from a lower liberty to a higher certainty. The rule of certainty and liberty in Bacon converges with his repudiation of the old logic of Aristotle, which determined true propositions by the criteria of generality, essentiality, and universality. Bacon rejects anticipatio naturae (“anticipation of nature”) in favor of interpretatio naturae (“interpretation of nature”), which starts with the collecting of facts and their methodical (inductive) investigation, shunning entanglement in pure taxonomy (as in Ramism), which establishes the order of things (Urbach 1987, 26; see also Foucault 1966 [1970]), but does not produce knowledge. For Bacon, making is knowing and knowing is making (Bacon IV [1901], 109–10). In accordance with the maxim “command nature … by obeying her” (Sessions 1996, 136; Gaukroger 2001, 139ff.), the exclusion of superstition, imposture, error, and confusion are obligatory. Bacon introduces variations into “the maker's knowledge tradition” as the discovery of the forms of a given nature lead him to develop his method for acquiring factual and proven knowledge.

Bacon argues against “anticipation of nature”, which he regards as a conservative method, leading to theories that recapitulate the data without producing new ones conducive to the growth of knowledge. Moreover, such theories are considered to be final, so that they are never replaced.

“Anticipation of nature” resembles “conventionalism” (Urbach 1987, 30–41), according to which theories refer to unobservable entities (e.g., atoms, epicycles). The theories are “computation rules” or “inference licences” within this given framework, which give explanations and predictions of particular kinds of observable events. The conventionalist acceptance of making predictions concerning future events cannot be separated from the question of probability. Bacon's procedure of knowledge acquisition goes against “conventionalism”, because “anticipation of nature” does not reject authoritative and final speculations concerning “unobservables” and because it permits “ad hoc adjustments”. Nowadays, however,

philosophers would not accept the idea that just because we can't observe something directly … it follows that there is no such thing. (Huggett 2010, 82. See also Von Weizsäcker and Juilfs 1958, pp.67–70; Rae 1986 [2000], 1–27 and passim)

Conventionalist deep-level theories of the world are chosen from among alternative ways of observing phenomena. Although theories revealing the world structure are not directly provable or disprovable by means of observation or experiment, conventionalists might maintain their chosen theory even in the face of counter-evidence. They therefore avoid changes of theory. Any move to a new theory is not taken on the basis of new evidence, but because a new theory seems to be simpler, more applicable or more beautiful. Laws of nature are generally understood as being unrevisable (O'Hear 1995, 165). The famous debate, sparked by Thomas Kuhn, on paradigmatic and non-paradigmatic science and theory is relevant here. Bacon's position—open to scientific progress—is nearer to Kuhn than to Duhem or Poincaré. For Bacon, “anticipation of nature” (as a mode of “conventionalism”) produces obstacles to the progress of knowledge. Traditional methods shun speculation concerning things which are not immediately visible; Bacon's speculation, however, is an element of “interpretation of nature”. He presupposes hypothetical theories, but these do not go beyond the collected data. His acceptance of hypotheses is connected with his rejection of “ anticipation of nature”. Thus, hypotheses are related to the axioms of “interpretation of nature”, which go beyond the original data. The amount of established facts is not identical with that of possible data (Gillies 1998, 307). Anticipation is rejected, only if it “flies from the senses and particulars to the most general axioms” (OFB XI, xxv). Because of the dangers of premature generalization, Bacon is careful about speculations and rigorously rejects any dogmatic defense of them and the tendency to declare them infallible.

…the philosophy that we now possess clutches to its breast certain tenets with which (if we look into it carefully) they want wholly to conceive men that nothing difficult, nothing with real power and influence over nature, should be expected from art or human effort; […] These things, if we examine them minutely, tend wholly towards a wicked circumscription of human power and an intentional and unnatural despair which not only confounds the presages of hope but breaks every nerve and spur of industry, and throws away the chances afforded by experience itself—while all they care about is that their art be considered perfect, expending their effort to achieve the most foolish and bankrupt glory of having it believed that whatever has not been found out or understood so far cannot be found out or understood in the future. (OFB XI, 141)

Bacon sees nature as an extremely subtle complexity, which affords all the energy of the natural philosopher to disclose her secrets.

For him, new axioms must be larger and wider than the material from which they are taken. At the same time, “interpretation of nature” must not leap to remote axioms. In terms of his method, he rejects general ideas as simple abstractions from very few sense perceptions. Such abstract words may function as conventions for organizing “new observations”, but only in the sense of means for taxonomical order. Such a sterile procedure is irrelevant for “interpretation of nature”, which is not final or infallible and is based on the insight that confirming hypotheses do not provide strict proofs. Bacon's method is therefore characterized by openness:

Nevertheless, I do not affirm that nothing can be added to what I prescribe; on the contrary, as one who observes the mind not only in its innate capacity but also insofar as it gets to grips with things, it is my conviction that the art of discovering will grow as the number of things discovered will grow. (OFB, XI, 197)

Peter Urbach's commentary exactly underlines Bacon's openness:

He believed that theories should be advanced to explain whatever data were available in a particular domain. These theories should preferably concern the underlying physical, causal mechanisms and ought, in any case, to go beyond the data which generated them. They are then tested by drawing out new predictions, which, if verified in experience, may confirm the theory and may eventually render it certain, at least in the sense that it becomes very difficult to deny. (Urbach 1987, 49)

Bacon was no seventeenth-century Popperian. Rather, on account of his theory of induction, he was:

the first great theorist of experimentalism”: “the function of experiment was both to test theories and to establish facts” (Rees, in OFB XI, xli). Encyclopaedic repetition with an Aristotelian slant is being displaced by original compilation in which deference to authority plays no part whatever. Individual erudition is being dumped in favour of collective research. Conservation of traditional knowledge is being discarded in the interest of a new, functional realization of natural history, which demands that legenda —things worth reading—be supplanted by materials which will form the basis of a thoroughgoing attempt to improve the material conditions of the human race. (Rees, in OFB XI, xlii)

Form is for Bacon a structural constituent of a natural entity or a key to its truth and operation, so that it comes near to natural law, without being reducible to causality. This appears all the more important, since Bacon—who seeks out exclusively causes which are necessary and sufficient for their effects—rejects Aristotle's four causes (his four types of explanation for a complete understanding of a phenomenon) on the grounds that the distribution into material, formal, efficient, and final causes does not work well and that they fail to advance the sciences (especially the final, efficient, and material causes). Consider again the passage quoted in Section 3.3:

There are and can be only two ways of searching into and discovering truth. The one flies from the senses and particulars to the most general axioms, and from these principles, the truth of which it takes for settled and immovable, proceeds to judgment and to the discovery of middle axioms. And this way is now in fashion. The other derives axioms from the senses and particulars, rising by a gradual and unbroken ascent, so that it arrives at the most general axioms at last. This is the true way, but as yet untried. (Bacon IV [1901], 50: Novum Organum , I, Aphorism XIX).

Since for Bacon the formal necessity of the syllogism does not suffice to set up first principles, his method comprises two basic tasks: (1) the discovery of forms, and (2) the transformation of concrete bodies. The discovery from every case of generation and motion refers to a latent process according to which efficient and material causes lead to forms; but there is also the discovery of latent configurations of bodies at rest and not in motion (Bacon IV [1901], 119–20).

Bacon's new mode of using human understanding implies a parallelism between striving towards human power and constituting human knowledge. Technical know-how leads to successful operations, which converge with the discovery of forms (Pérez-Ramos 1988, 108; Bacon IV [1901], 121). To understand the workings of nature presupposes an arrangement of facts which makes the investigative analysis of cause and effect possible, especially by means of new experiments. At this point the idea of scientia operativa comes in again, since the direction for a true and perfect rule of operation is parallel to the discovery of a true form. Bacon's specific non-Aristotelian Aristotelianism (Pérez-Ramos 1988, 113, 115) is one of the main features of his theory. Other indispensable influences on Bacon, apart from a modified version of Aristotle, are critically assessed Hermeticism, rhetoric (Vickers) and alchemy (Rees).

Two kinds of axioms correspond to the following division of philosophy and the sciences: the investigation of forms or metaphysics ; and the investigation of efficient cause and matter, which leads to the latent process and configuration in physics . Physics itself is split up by Bacon into Mechanics , i.e., the practical, and Magic , i.e., the metaphysical.

Nowadays the view that Bacon “made little first-hand contribution to science” (Hesse 1964, 152) no longer coincides with the opinion that we have to assume an underestimation of the “place of hypothesis and mathematics” in his work (Urban 1987; Sessions 1999, 139; Rees 1986). But there were few doubts in the past that Bacon “encouraged detailed and methodical experimentation” (Hesse 1964, 152); and he did this on account of his new inductive method, which implied the need for negative instances and refuting experiments. Bacon saw that confirming instances could not suffice to analyze the structure of scientific laws, since this task presupposed a hypothetical-deductive system, which, according to Lisa Jardine, is closely connected to “the logical and linguistic backgrounds from which Bacon's New Logic proceeds …” (Sessions 1999, 140; Jardine 1974, 69ff.).

Bacon's interpretation of nature uses “Tables and Arrangements of Instances” concerning the natural phenomena under investigation, which function as a necessary condition for cracking the code of efficient causation. His prerogative instances are not examples or phenomena simply taken from nature but rather imply information with inductive potential which show priority conducive to knowledge or to methodological relevance when inserted into tables. The instances do not represent the order of sensible things, but instead express the order of qualities (natures). These qualities provide the working basis for the order of abstract natures. Bacon's tables have a double function: they are important for natural history , collecting the data on bodies and virtues in nature; and they are also indispensable for induction , which makes use of these data.

Already in Temporis Partus Masculus (1603) Bacon had displayed a “facility of shrewd observation” (Sessions 1999, 60) concerning his ideas on induction. In his Novum Organum the nature of all human science and knowledge was seen by him as proceeding most safely by negation and exclusion, as opposed to affirmation and inclusion. Even in his early tracts it was clear to Bacon that he had to seek a method of discovering the right forms, the most well known of which was heat ( Novum Organum II, Aph. XI–XII) or “the famous trial investigation of the form of heat” (Rees 2000, 66; see Bacon IV [1901], 154–5).

In his “[m]ethod of analysis by exclusion” (Sessions 1999, 141), negation proved to be “one of Bacon's strongest contributions to modern scientific method” (Wright 1951, 152). Most important were his tables of degrees and of exclusion. They were needed for the discovery of causes, especially for supreme causes, which were called forms. The method of induction works in two stages:

  • Learned experience from the known to the unknown has to be acquired, and the tables (of presence, absence, degrees) have to be set up before their interpretation can take place according to the principle of exclusion. After the three tables of the first presentation have been judged and analyzed, Bacon declares the First Vintage or the first version of the interpretation of nature to be concluded.
  • The second phase of the method concentrates on the process of exclusion. The aim of this procedure is the reduction of the empirical character of experience, so that the analysis converges with an anatomy of things. Here, too, tables of presence and of absence are set up. The research work proper consists of finding the relationship of the two natures of qualities. Here exclusion functions as the process of determination. Bacon's method starts from material determination in order to establish the formal determination of real causes, but does not stop there, because it aims at the progressive generalization of causes. Here, again, the central element of the inductive method is the procedure of exclusion.

Forms, as the final result of the methodical procedure, are:

nothing more than those laws and determinations of absolute actuality which govern and constitute any simple nature, as heat, light, weight, in every kind of matter and subject that is susceptible of them (Bacon IV [1901], 145–6);

They are not identical with natural law, but with definitions of simple natures (elements) or ultimate ingredients of things from which the basic material structure has been built (Gaukroger 2001, 140). Forms are the structures constituted by the elements in nature (microphysics). This evokes a cross-reference to Bacon's atomism, which has been called the “constructivist component” (Pérez-Ramos 1988, 116) of his system, including an alchemical theory about basic kinds of matter. He aims at “understanding the basic structures of things … as a means to transforming nature for human purposes” (Gaukroger 2001, 140; Clericuzio 2000, 78ff.); and thus he “ends” the unfinished Novum Organum with a list of things which still have to be achieved or with a catalogue of phenomena which are important and indispensable for a future natural history.

Historians of science, with their predilection for mathematical physics, used to criticize Bacon's approach, stating that “the Baconian concept of science, as an inductive science, has nothing to do with and even contradicts today's form of science” (Malherbe 1996, 75). In reaching this verdict, however, they overlooked the fact that a natural philosophy based on a theory of matter cannot be assessed on the grounds of a natural philosophy or science based on mechanics as the fundamental discipline. One can account for this chronic mode of misunderstanding as a specimen of the paradigmatic fallacy (Gaukroger 2001, 134ff.; see Rees 1986).

Bacon came to the fundamental insight that facts cannot be collected from nature, but must be constituted by methodical procedures, which have to be put into practice by scientists in order to ascertain the empirical basis for inductive generalizations. His induction, founded on collection, comparison, and exclusion of factual qualities in things and their interior structure, proved to be a revolutionary achievement within natural philosophy, for which no example in classical antiquity existed. His scala intellectus has two contrary movements “upwards and downwards: from axiomata to experimenta and opera and back again” (Pérez-Ramos 1988, 236). Bacon's induction was construed and conceived as an instrument or method of discovery. Above all, his emphasis on negative instances for the procedure of induction itself can claim a high importance with regard to knowledge acquisition and has been acclaimed as an innovation by scholars of our time. Some have detected in Bacon a forerunner of Karl Popper in respect of the method of falsification. Finally, it cannot be denied that Bacon's methodological program of induction includes aspects of deduction and abstraction on the basis of negation and exclusion. Contemporary scholars have praised his inauguration of the theory of induction. This theory has been held in higher esteem since the 1970s than it was for a long period before (see the work of Rees, Gaukroger and Pérez-Ramos 1988, 201–85). Nevertheless, it is doubtful that Bacon's critics, who were associated with the traditions of positivism and analytical philosophy, acquired sufficient knowledge of his writings to produce solid warrants for their criticisms (Cohen 1970, 124–34; Cohen 1985, 58ff.; on the general problem of induction see, e.g., Hempel 1966; Swinburne (ed.) 1974; Lambert and Brittan 1979 [1987]). In comparison to the neglect of Bacon in the twentieth century, a more recent and deeper assessment of his work has arisen in connection with the “Oxford Francis Bacon” project, which was launched in the late 1990s by Graham Rees, who directed it until his death in 2009; it is now under the general editorship of Brian Vickers.

In Bacon's thought we encounter a relation between science and social philosophy, since his ideas concerning a utopian transformation of society presuppose an integration into the social framework of his program concerning natural philosophy and technology as the two forms of the maker's knowledge. From his point of view, which was influenced by Puritan conceptions, early modern society has to make sure that losses caused by the Fall are compensated for, primarily by man's enlargement of knowledge, providing the preconditions for a new form of society which combines scientia nova and the millennium, according to the prophecy of Daniel 12:4 (Hill 1971, 85–130). Science as a social endeavor is seen as a collective project for the improvement of social structures. On the other hand, a strong collective spirit in society may function as a conditio sine qua non for reforming natural philosophy. Bacon's famous argument that it is wise not to confound the Book of Nature with the Book of God comes into focus, since the latter deals with God's will (inscrutable for man) and the former with God's work, the scientific explanation or appreciation of which is a form of Christian divine service. Successful operations in natural philosophy and technology help to improve the human lot in a way which makes the hardships of life after the Fall obsolete. It is important to note that Bacon's idea of a—to a certain extent—Christian society by no means conveys Christian pessimism in the vein of patristic thinkers but rather displays a clear optimism as the result of compounding the problem of truth with the scope of human freedom and sovereignty (Brandt 1979, 21).

With regard to Bacon's Two Books—the Book of God and the Book of Nature—one has to keep in mind that man, when given free access to the Book of Nature, should not content himself with merely reading it. He also has to find out the names by which things are called. If man does so, not only will he be restored to his status a noble and powerful being, but the Book of God will also lose importance, from a traditional point of view, in comparison to the Book of Nature. This is what Blumenberg referred to as the “asymmetry of readability” (Blumenberg 1981, 86–107). But the process of reading is an open-ended activity, so that new knowledge and the expansion of the system of disciplines can no longer be restricted by concepts such as the completeness and eternity of knowledge (Klein 2004a, 73).

According to Bacon, the Book of God refers to his will, the Book of Nature to his works. He never gives a hint in his works that he has concealed any message of unbelief for the sophisticated reader; but he emphasized: (1) that religion and science should be kept separate and, (2) that they were nevertheless complementary to each other. For Bacon, the attack of theologians on human curiosity cannot be founded on a rational basis. His statement that “all knowledge is to be limited by religion, and to be referred to use and action” (Bacon III [1887], 218) does not express a general verdict on theoretical curiosity, but instead provides a normative framework for the tasks of science in a universal sense. Already in the dedicatory letter to James I in his Advancement of Learning , Bacon attacks “the zeal and jealousy of divines” (Bacon III, 264) and in his manuscript Filum Labyrinthi of 1607, he “thought … how great opposition and prejudice natural philosophy had received by superstition, and the immoderate and blind zeal of religion” (Bacon VI [1863], 421). As Calvin had done long before him in the Institutes , Bacon stated that since God created the physical world, it was a legitimate object of man's knowledge, a conviction which he illustrated with the famous example of King Solomon in The Advancement of Learning (Zagorin 1999, 49–50; see also Kocher 1953, 27–8). Bacon praises Solomon's wisdom, which seems to be more like a game than an example of man's God-given thirst for knowledge:

The glory of God is to conceal a thing, but the glory of the king is to find it out; as if, according to the innocent play of children, the Divine Majesty took delight to hide his works, to the end to have them found out; and as if kings could not obtain a greater honour than to be God's playfellows in that game, considering the great commandment of wits and means, whereby nothing needeth to be hidden from them. (Bacon III [1887], 299; Blumenberg, 1973, 196–200)

From this perspective, the punishment of mankind on account of the very first disobedience by Adam and Eve can be seen in a different light from that of theological interpretations. In Bacon's view, this disobedience and its consequences can be remedied in two ways: (1) by religion and moral imperatives, and (2) by advancement in the arts and sciences: “the purpose in advancing arts and sciences is the glory of God and the relief of man's estate” (Wormald 1993, 82).

The two remedies, which are interconnected with the moral dimension, refer to the advancement of learning and religion. All three together (the advancement of learning, religion, and morality) are combined in such a way that they promote each other mutually; consequently, limited outlooks on coping with life and knowledge are ruled out completely in these three fields.

The ethical dimension of Bacon's thought has been underrated by generations of scholars. Time and again a crude utilitarianism has been derived from Book I, Aphorism 1 of the Novum Organum ; this cannot, however, withstand a closer analysis of his thought. Since Bacon's philosophy of science tries to answer the question of how man can overcome the deficiencies of earthly life resulting from the Fall, he enters the realm of ethical reflection. The improvement of mankind's lot by means of philosophy and science does not start from a narrow utilitarian point of view, involving sheer striving for profit and supporting the power or influence of select groups of men, but instead emphasizes the construction of a better world for mankind, which might come into existence through the ascertaining of truths about nature's workings (Bacon III [1887], 242). Thus, the perspective of the universal in Bacon's ethical thought is given predominance. The range of science and technology in their ethical meaning transcends the realm of the application of tools and/or instruments, in so far as the aim is the transformation of whole systems. Since causality and finality can interact on the basis of human will and knowledge, a plurality of worlds becomes feasible (Bacon V [1889], 506–7). Moral philosophy is closely connected to ethical reflections on the relationship between the nature of virtues—habitual or innate?—and their use in life, privately and collectively. Any application of the principles of virtue presupposes for Bacon the education of the mind, so that we learn what is good and what should be attained (Gaukroger 2006, 204–5 and passim):

The main and primitive division of moral knowledge seemeth to be into the Exemplar or Platform of Good, and the Regimen of Culture of the Mind; the one describing the nature of good, the other prescribing rules how to subdue, apply, and accommodate the will of man thereunto (Bacon III [1887], 419).

So, already in his Advancement of Learning Bacon studied the nature of good and distinguished various kinds of good. He insisted on the individual's duty to the public. Private moral self-control and the concomitant obligations are relevant for behavior and action in society. One's ethical persona is connected to morality by reference to acceptable behaviour. Though what we can do may be limited, we have to muster our psychological powers and control our passions when dealing with ourselves and with others. We need to apply self-discipline and rational assessment, as well as restraining our passions, in order to lead an active moral life in society.

Thus, for Bacon, the acquisition of knowledge does not simply coincide with the possibility of exerting power. Scientific knowledge is a condition for the expansion and development of civilization. Therefore, knowledge and charity cannot be kept separate:

I humbly pray … that knowledge being now discharged of that venom which the serpent infused into it, and which makes the mind of man to swell, we may not be wise above measure and sobriety, but cultivate truth in charity…. Lastly, I would address one general admonition to all; that they consider what are the true ends of knowledge, and that they seek it not either for pleasure of the mind, or for contention, or for superiority to others, or for profit, or fame, or power, or any of these inferior things; but for the benefit and use of life; and that they perfect and govern it in charity. For it was from the lust of power that the angels fell, from lust of knowledge that man fell; but of charity there can be no excess, neither did angel or man ever come in danger by it (Bacon IV [1901], 20f.: Instauratio Magna , Preface).

Finally, the view that Bacon's Nova Atlantis “concerns a utopian society that is carefully organized for the purposes of scientific research and virtuous living” (Urbach 1988, 10) holds true for his entire life's work. In Nova Atlantis, social, political, and scholarly life are all organized according to the maxim of efficiency; but the House of Solomon is a separate and highly esteemed institution for research, which nevertheless is closely connected to the overall system of Bensalem. In his utopian state, Bacon presents a thoroughgoing collective life in society and science, both of which are based on revealed religion. Religion—Christian in essence—is not dogmatic, but it instills into the people of Bensalem veneration for the wise and morally exemplary members of society, and—which is of the utmost importance—the strictest sense of discipline (Gaukroger 2001, 128–30). Discipline is indispensable for those involved in the religious life as well as for the researchers, since both must proceed methodically. The isomorphic structures of nature and science, on the one hand, society and religion, on the other, prescribe patterns of political procedure, social processes, and religious attitudes, which overcome any craving for individuality. If religion and scientific research are both shown as truthful in Bensalem, then, according to Bacon, the imagination functions as a means of illustrating scientific revelation: “Bacon's purpose is … to show that scientific research properly pursued is not inconsonant with religious propriety and social stability…” (Bierman 1963, 497). The scientists in Bensalem are sacred searchers for truth: ethics, religion, and science merge. Bacon's parabolic strategy, which we should not separate from the power of the idols, enables him to make much of his trick of introducing new ideas like a smuggler: his colored wares are smuggled into the minds of his readers by being visualized in terms of sacred and highly symbolic rituals (Peltonen 1996, 175). Science and religion are separated in Nova Atlantis, but they are also interrelated through the offices of the society of Bensalem. What Bacon obviously wants to make clear to his readers is that the example of Bensalem should free them from any fear that scientific progress will lead to chaos and upheaval. This crucial point has made by Jürgen Mittelstrass, who understands Bacon's Nova Atlantis as a utopia and regards utopias as

blueprints of practical reason, not of theoretical, that is: they set in exactly there, where the early modern idea of progress appears meagre with regards to the contents: within ethics and political theory. (Mittelstrass 1960, 369)
  • 1857–74, The Works , edited by J. Spedding, R. L. Ellis, and D. D. Heath, 14 vols. London.
  • 1861, The Works , edited by J. Spedding, R. L. Ellis, and D. D. Heath, 15 vols. Boston: Taggard and Thompson.
  • 1861–74, The Letters and the Life of Francis Bacon , edited by J. Spedding, 7 vols. London: Longman, Green, Longman, and Roberts.
  • 1889–1901, The Works , edited by J. Spedding, R. L. Ellis, and D. D. Heath. Volumes I (1889), II (1887), III (1887), IV (1901), V (1889), VI (1890), VII (1892).
  • 1898, Novum Organum or True Suggestions for the Interpretation of Nature , London and New York.
  • 1958, Essays , intr. by O. Smeaton. London and New York.
  • 1962, The Advancement of Learning , edited by G. W. Kitchin, London and New York: Dent.
  • 1982, Neu Atlantis , transl. by G. Bugge, edited by Jürgen Klein, Stuttgart.
  • 1996–, The Oxford Francis Bacon [OFB], General Editors: Graham Rees and Lisa Jardine; Brian Vickers; Oxford University Press. In order of publication: Volume VI (1996), Philosophical Studies c. 1611–c. 1619 , edited by G. Rees; Volume IV (2000), The Advancement of Learning , edited by M. Kiernan; Volume XIII (2000), The Instauratio Magna: Last Writings , edited by G. Rees; Volume XV (2000), The Essayes or Counsels, Civill and Morall edited by M. Kiernan; Volume XI (2004), The Instauratio Magna: Part II. Novum Organum , edited by G. Rees and M. Wakely; Volume XII (2007), The Instauratio Magna. Part 3, Historia naturalis et experimentalis, Historia ventorum and Historia vitæ & mortis , edited by G. Rees and M. Wakely; Volume VIII (2011), The Historie of the Raigne of King Henry the Seuenth and Other Works of the 1620s , edited by M. Kiernan.
  • 2000, A Critical Edition of the Major Works , edited by Brian Vickers. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Anderson, F. H., 1948, The Philosophy of Francis Bacon , Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Bierman, J., 1963, “Science and Society in the New Atlantis and other Renaissance Utopias”, PMLA , 78(5): 492–500.
  • Blumenberg, H., 1973, Der Prozess der theoretischen Neugierde , Frankfurt am Main.
  • Bowen, C. D., 1963 [1993], Francis Bacon. The Temper of a Man , New York: Fordham University Press. First edition 1963, Boston: Little, Brown.
  • Brandt, R., 1979, “Francis Bacon, Die Idolenlehre”, in Grundprobleme der großen Philosophen. Philosophie der Neuzeit I , edited by Josef Speck. Göttingen, pp. 9–34.
  • Burtt, E. A., 1924 [1932], The Metaphysical Foundations of Modern Physical Science , London. First Edition, April 1924; Second Edition (revised) January 1932; reprinted 1972.
  • Cassirer, E., 1922 [reprint 1994], Das Erkenntnisproblem in der Philosophie und Wissenschaft der Neueren Zeit , Darmstadt.
  • Clericuzio, A., 2000, Elements, Principles, and Corpuscles , Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.
  • Dampier, W. C., 1929 [1948], A History of Science and its relations with Philosophy and Religion , Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Fourth edition, 1948; reprinted with postscript by I. Bernard Cohen 1966.
  • Dijksterhuis, E. J., 1969, The Mechanization of the World Picture , Oxford.
  • Farrington, B., 1964, The Philosophy of Francis Bacon , Liverpool: Liverpool University Press.
  • Fischer, K., 1923, Francis Bacon und seine Schule , Entwicklungsgeschichte der Erfahrungsphilosophie , Heidelberg.
  • Gaukroger, S., 2001, Francis Bacon and the Transformation of Early-Modern Philosophy , Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • –––, 2006, The Emergence of a Scientific Culture. Science and the Shaping of Modernity 1210–1685 , Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  • Giglioni, G., 2011, Francesco Bacone , Rome.
  • Henry, J., 2002, Knowledge is Power. Francis Bacon and the Method of Science , Cambridge: Icon Books.
  • Hesse, M. B., 1964, “Francis Bacon's Philosophy of Science”, in A Critical History of Western Philosophy , edited by D. J. O'Connor, New York: Free Press, pp. 141–52.
  • Hill, C., 1965, Intellectual Origins of the English Revolution , Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  • Jardine, L., 1974, Francis Bacon. Discovery and the Art of Discourse , Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Jardine, L. and A. Stewart, 1999, Hostage to Fortune. The Troubled Life of Francis Bacon 1561–1626 , London: Victor Gollancz.
  • Kargon, R. H., 1966, Atomism in England , Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Klein, J., 1984, Radikales Denken in England: Neuzeit , Frankfurt, Berne and New York.
  • –––, 1987, Francis Bacon oder die Modernisierung Englands , Hildesheim, Zurich and New York.
  • –––, 2003a “Bacon's Quarrel with the Aristotelians”, Zeitsprünge , 7: 19–31.
  • –––, 2003b, “Francis Bacon (1561–1626)”, in Metzler Philosophen Lexikon , B. Lutz (ed.), Stuttgart.
  • –––, 2003c, “Nachwort”, in Francis Bacon, Neu-Atlantis , Stuttgart, 64–9.
  • –––, 2004a, “Francis Bacon's The Advancement of Learning . An Early Modern Programme for the Revision of the Systems of Disciplines”, in Scholarly Environments. Centres of Learning and Institutional Contexts 1560–1960 , edited by Alasdair A. MacDonald and Arend H. Huusen. Leuven, Paris, and Dudley, MA, pp. 65–73.
  • –––, 2004b, “Francis Bacons Essays von 1597: Der politische Subtext”, in Against the Grain/Gegenden Strich gelesen. Studies in English and American Literature and Literary Theory. Festschrift für Wolfgang Wicht , Peter Drexler and Rainer Schnoor (eds.), Berlin, pp.201–223.
  • –––, 2008, “Francis Bacon's Scientia Operativa , The Tradition of the Workshops, and the Secrets of Nature”, in Philosophies of Technology. Francis Bacon and His Contemporaries , Claus Zittel, Gisela Engel, Romano Nanni, and Nicole C. Karafyllis (eds.), Leiden and Boston, pp.21–49.
  • –––, 2010, Elisabeth I und ihre Zeit , 2nd ed., Munich.
  • Krohn, W., 1987, Francis Bacon , Munich.
  • Lange, F. A., 1898, Geschichte des Materialismus , Bd 1. Leipzig.
  • Losee, J., 1972, A Historical Introduction to the Philosophy of Science , Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Malherbe, M., 1996, “Bacon's Method of Science”, in Peltonen (ed.) 1996, pp. 75–98.
  • Martin, J., 1992, Francis Bacon, the State, and the Reform of Natural Philosophy , Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Mathews, N., 1996, Francis Bacon. The History of a Character Assassination , New Haven and London: Yale University Press.
  • Matthews, S., 2008, Theology and Science in the Thought of Francis Bacon , Aldershot: Ashgate.
  • Mittelstrass, J., 1960, Neuzeit und Aufklärung. Studien zur Entstehung der neuzeitlichen Wissenschaft und Philosophie , Berlin and New York.
  • Peltonen, M. (ed.), 1996, The Cambridge Companion to Bacon , Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Peltonen, M., 2007, “Bacon; Francis, Viscount St Alban (1561–1626)”, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography , Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.
  • Pérez-Ramos, A., 1988, Francis Bacon's Idea of Science and the Maker's Knowledge Tradition , Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  • Price, B. (ed.), 2002, Francis Bacon's New Atlantis. New Interdisciplinary Essays , Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press.
  • Quinton, A., 1980, Francis Bacon , Oxford, Toronto, and Melbourne: Hill and Wang.
  • Rees, G., 1975a,b, “Francis Bacon's Semi-Paracelsian Cosmology”, Ambix , XXII: 82–101; 165–73.
  • –––, 1977, “Matter Theory: A Unifying factor in Bacon's Natural Philosophy?”, Ambix , XXIV: 110–25.
  • –––, 1980, “Atomism and ‘Subtlety’ in Francis Bacon's Philosophy”, Annals of Science , XXXVII: 549–71.
  • –––, 1985, “Quantitative Reasoning in Francis Bacon's Natural Philosophy”, Nouvelle de la republique des lettres : 27–48.
  • –––, 1986, “Mathematics in Francis Bacon's Natural Philosophy”, Revue internationale de philosophie , 159(4): 399–426.
  • –––, 1996, “Bacon's Speculative Philosophy”, in Peltonen (ed.) 1996, pp.121–45.
  • –––, 2000, “Francis Bacon (1561–1626)”, in W. Applebaum (ed.), Encyclopedia of the Scientific Revolution From Copernicus to Newton , New York and London, pp. 65– 69.
  • –––, 2004, “On Francis Bacon's Originality”, ISIH: Intellectual News , 14: 69–73.
  • Rees, G. and C. Upton, 1984, Francis Bacon's Natural Philosophy: A New Source. A transcription of manuscript Hardwick 72A with Translation and Commentary (The British Society for the History of Science Monographs, 5), Chalfont St Giles.
  • Rossi, P., 1968, Francis Bacon: From Magic to Science , translated by S. Rabinovitch, London: University of Chicago Press.
  • Schäfer, L., 1993, Das Bacon-Programm . Von der Erkenntnis , Nutzung und Schonung der Natur , Frankfurt am Main.
  • Schmidt-Biggemann, W., 1983, Topica Universalis. Eine Modellgeschichte humanistischer und barocker Wissenschaft , Hamburg.
  • Sessions, W. A. (ed.), 1990, Francis Bacon's Legacy of Texts , New York: AMS Press.
  • –––, 1996, Francis Bacon Revisited , New York and London: Twayne Publishers.
  • Urbach, P., 1987, Francis Bacon's Philosophy of Science: An Account and a Reappraisal , La Salle, IL: Open Court.
  • Vickers, B., 1968a, Francis Bacon and Renaissance Prose , Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • ––– (ed.), 1968b, Essential Articles for the Study of Francis Bacon , Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books.
  • –––, 1978, Francis Bacon , Harlow: Longman Group.
  • Webster, C., 1975, The Great Instauration. Science, Medicine, and Reform 1626–1660 , London: Duckworth.
  • Zaller, R., 1971, The Parliament of 1621: A Study in Constitutional Conflict , Berkeley CA: University of California Press.
  • Zagorin, P., 1999, Francis Bacon , Princeton: Princeton University Press.
  • Ayer, A. J., 1973, The Central Questions of Philosophy , London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson.
  • Blumenberg, H., 1981, Die Lesbarkeit der Welt , Frankfurt am Main.
  • Carnap, R. and W. Stegmüller, 1959, Induktive Logik und Wahrscheinlichkeit , Vienna.
  • Cohen, I. B., 1985, Revolution in Science , Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press.
  • Cohen, J. L., 1970, The Implications of Induction , London: Methuen.
  • Curd, M. and J. A. Cover (eds.), 1998, Philosophy of Science. The Central Issues , London and New York: W.W. Norton.
  • Dijksterhuis, E. J., 1956, Die Mechanisierung des Weltbildes , Berlin etc.
  • Duhem, P., 1904–5, The Aims and Structure of Physical Theory , English translation by Philip P. Wiener, New York, 1954.
  • –––, 1998, Ziel und Struktur der physikalischen Theorien , übersetzt von Friedrich Adler, mit einem Vorwort von Ernst Mach, herausgegeben mit einer Einleitung von Lothar Schäfer, Hamburg.
  • Foucault, M., 1966 [1970], The Order of Things: The Archaeology of the Human Sciences , London: Tavistock; English translation 1970.
  • Gillies, D., 1998, “The Duhem Thesis and the Quine Thesis”, in Curd and Cover 1998, pp. 302–319.
  • Godfrey-Smith, P., 2003, Theory and Reality. An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science , Chicago/London: University of Chicago Press.
  • Grant, E., 1994, Planets, Stars, & Orbs. The Medieval Cosmos 1200–1687 , Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Haack, S., 1993, Evidence and Inquiry. Towards Reconstruction in Epistemology , Oxford, UK: Blackwell.
  • Hacking, I. (ed.), 1981, Scientific Revolutions , Oxford: Oxford Univerity Press.
  • Hempel, C. G., 1966, Philosophy of Natural Science , Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall.
  • Huggett, N., 2010, Everywhere and Everywhen. Adventures in Physics and Philosophy , Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Hylton, P., 2010, “Willard Van Orman Quine”, in: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2010 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = < https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2010/entries/quine/ >.
  • Kocher, P. H., 1953, Science and Religion in Elizabethan England , San Marino, CA: Huntington Library.
  • Kuhn, Th. S., 1962, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions , Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Lakatos, I., 1970, “Falsificationism and the Methodology of Scientific Research Programmes”, in Criticism and the Growth of Knowledge , edited by I. Lakatos and A. Musgrave. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 91–196.
  • –––, 1981, “History of Science and Its Rational reconstructions”, in Hacking (ed.) 1981, pp. 107–27.
  • Lambert, K. and G. C. Brittan, 1979 [1987], An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science , Atascadero, CA: Ridgeview. Third edition 1987.
  • Müller-Jahncke, W. D., 1985, Astrologisch-Magische Theorie in der Heilkunde der Frühen Neuzeit , Stuttgart.
  • O'Hear, A., 1995, “Conventionalism”, in Oxford Companion to Philosophy , T. Honderich (ed.), Oxford: Oxford University Press, p. 165.
  • Poincaré, H., 1905 [reprint 1952], Science and Hypothesis , translated by W. J. Greenstreet, New York: Dover Publications.
  • Popper, K. R., 1969, Logik der Forschung , Tübingen, 3 rd edition.
  • Quine, W. V. Q., 1951, “Two Dogmas of Empiricism”, The Philosophical Review 60: 20–43. Reprinted in Quine, 1963, From a Logical Point of View , New York: Harper Torchbook, pp. 20–46.
  • Rae, A. I. M., 1986 [2000], Quantum physics: Illusion or Reality? Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Fourth Canto edition, 2000.
  • Russell, B., 1948, Human Knowledge. Its Scope and its Limits , London: Allen & Unwin.
  • Schäfer, L., 1998, “Duhems Bedeutung für die Entwicklung der Wissenschaftstheorie”, in: Duhem (1998), pp. X–XXXIII.
  • Shell, H. R., 2004, “Casting Life, Recasting Experience: Bernard Palissy's Occupation between Maker and Nature”, Configurations , 12(1): 1–40.
  • Stegmüller, W., 1973, Probleme und Resultate der Wissenschaftstheorie und Analytischen Philosophie, Band II: Theorie und Erfahrung. Zweiter Halbband. Theorienstruktur und Theoriendynamik , Berlin, Heidelberg, New York.
  • Swinburne, R. (ed.), 1974, The Justification of Induction , Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Von Weizsäcker, C. F. and J. Juilfs, 1958, Physik der Gegenwart , Göttingen.
  • Wright, G. H. von, 1951, A Treatise of Induction and Probability , London: Routledge and K. Pau.
  • Zinner, E., 1988, Entstehung und Ausbreitung der copernicanischen Lehre , Munich.
How to cite this entry . Preview the PDF version of this entry at the Friends of the SEP Society . Look up topics and thinkers related to this entry at the Internet Philosophy Ontology Project (InPhO). Enhanced bibliography for this entry at PhilPapers , with links to its database.
  • Francis Bacon , entry by David Simpson in the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy .

[Please contact the author with other suggestions.]

Aristotelianism: in the Renaissance | Boyle, Robert | induction: problem of | Whewell, William

Acknowledgments

Some of the passages in this entry are borrowed from Klein 2008.

Copyright © 2012 by Jürgen Klein

  • Accessibility

Support SEP

Mirror sites.

View this site from another server:

  • Info about mirror sites

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy is copyright © 2023 by The Metaphysics Research Lab , Department of Philosophy, Stanford University

Library of Congress Catalog Data: ISSN 1095-5054

The Marginalian

Francis Bacon on Friendship

By maria popova.

bacon piece essay

A principal fruit of friendship, is the ease and discharge of the fulness and swellings of the heart, which passions of all kinds do cause and induce. We know diseases of stoppings, and suffocations, are the most dangerous in the body; and it is not much otherwise in the mind; you may take sarza to open the liver, steel to open the spleen, flowers of sulphur for the lungs, castoreum for the brain; but no receipt openeth the heart, but a true friend; to whom you may impart griefs, joys, fears, hopes, suspicions, counsels, and whatsoever lieth upon the heart to oppress it, in a kind of civil shrift or confession.

bacon piece essay

He then explores the second fruit of friendship:

The second fruit of friendship, is healthful and sovereign for the understanding, as the first is for the affections. For friendship maketh indeed a fair day in the affections, from storm and tempests; but it maketh daylight in the understanding, out of darkness, and confusion of thoughts. Neither is this to be understood only of faithful counsel, which a man receiveth from his friend; but before you come to that, certain it is, that whosoever hath his mind fraught with many thoughts, his wits and understanding do clarify and break up, in the communicating and discoursing with another; he tosseth his thoughts more easily; he marshalleth them more orderly, he seeth how they look when they are turned into words: finally, he waxeth wiser than himself; and that more by an hour’s discourse, than by a day’s meditation.

To this he adds a chief benefit of a friend — the capacity to neutralize our astounding gift for rationalization through wise counsel:

Add now, to make this second fruit of friendship complete, that other point, which lieth more open, and falleth within vulgar observation; which is faithful counsel from a friend. Heraclitus saith well in one of his enigmas, Dry light is ever the best. And certain it is, that the light that a man receiveth by counsel from another, is drier and purer, than that which cometh from his own understanding and judgment; which is ever infused, and drenched, in his affections and customs. So as there is as much difference between the counsel, that a friend giveth, and that a man giveth himself, as there is between the counsel of a friend, and of a flatterer. For there is no such flatterer as is a man’s self; and there is no such remedy against flattery of a man’s self, as the liberty of a friend. Counsel is of two sorts: the one concerning manners, the other concerning business. For the first, the best preservative to keep the mind in health, is the faithful admonition of a friend. The calling of a man’s self to a strict account, is a medicine, sometime too piercing and corrosive. Reading good books of morality, is a little flat and dead. Observing our faults in others, is sometimes improper for our case. But the best receipt (best, I say, to work, and best to take) is the admonition of a friend. It is a strange thing to behold, what gross errors and extreme absurdities many (especially of the greater sort) do commit, for want of a friend to tell them of them; to the great damage both of their fame and fortune: for, as St. James saith, they are as men that look sometimes into a glass, and presently forget their own shape and favor. As for business, a man may think, if he win, that two eyes see no more than one; or that a gamester seeth always more than a looker-on; or that a man in anger, is as wise as he that hath said over the four and twenty letters; or that a musket may be shot off as well upon the arm, as upon a rest; and such other fond and high imaginations, to think himself all in all. But when all is done, the help of good counsel, is that which setteth business straight. And if any man think that he will take counsel, but it shall be by pieces; asking counsel in one business, of one man, and in another business, of another man; it is well (that is to say, better, perhaps, than if he asked none at all); but he runneth two dangers: one, that he shall not be faithfully counselled; for it is a rare thing, except it be from a perfect and entire friend, to have counsel given, but such as shall be bowed and crooked to some ends, which he hath, that giveth it. The other, that he shall have counsel given, hurtful and unsafe (though with good meaning), and mixed partly of mischief and partly of remedy; even as if you would call a physician, that is thought good for the cure of the disease you complain of, but is unacquainted with your body; and therefore may put you in way for a present cure, but overthroweth your health in some other kind; and so cure the disease, and kill the patient. But a friend that is wholly acquainted with a man’s estate, will beware, by furthering any present business, how he dasheth upon other inconvenience. And therefore rest not upon scattered counsels; they will rather distract and mislead, than settle and direct.

Complete Essays is a timeless treasure in its entirety, covering such human essentials as love, anger, justice, revenge, ambition, and more.

Complement with C.S. Lewis on true friendship , Emerson on its two essential criteria , and Aristotle on the art of human bonds .

— Published January 15, 2013 — https://www.themarginalian.org/2013/01/15/francis-bacon-on-friendship/ —

BP

www.themarginalian.org

BP

PRINT ARTICLE

Email article, filed under, books culture francis bacon philosophy psychology, view full site.

The Marginalian participates in the Bookshop.org and Amazon.com affiliate programs, designed to provide a means for sites to earn commissions by linking to books. In more human terms, this means that whenever you buy a book from a link here, I receive a small percentage of its price, which goes straight back into my own colossal biblioexpenses. Privacy policy . (TLDR: You're safe — there are no nefarious "third parties" lurking on my watch or shedding crumbs of the "cookies" the rest of the internet uses.)

ASK LITERATURE

THROWING LIGHT ON LITERATURE

Of Studies by Sir Francis Bacon | Complete Summary and Analysis

Of Studies by Sir Francis Bacon - Complete Summary and Analysis

“Of Studies” is one of the most quoted essays of Sir Francis Bacon. He has analyzed the importance of studies; therefore, in this essay, he convinces his readers to know its vitality. He does not only talk about bookish knowledge but also demonstrates the importance of experience; without experience, the studies cannot help a person, means Sir Francis Bacon. Moreover, in his eyes, studies and education are two separate things. However, he agrees that education is the name of studying books and experiences of life. He answers some common questions that arise in every common mind. For instance, he answers why we should read books; what are the impacts of studies in one’s life; why study without experience is useless; and many other such like questions.

He elaborates each assertion through either reference or example. Style of the author is simple but his arguments are much effective. Further, he uses concise sentences, similes , and Latin phrases to strengthen his stance.

Three Types of studies in the Eyes of Sir Francis Bacon:

From the very beginning of the essay, Sir Francis Bacon divides studies into three categories; in fact, these three types are benefits of studies. Studies serve three purposes, says Sir Francis Bacon, “delight”, “ornament” and “ability”. In Bacon’s times, the drama was banned; drama may have a moral purpose but it is certainly a source of entertainment. It was forbidden in that era; therefore, people had no other option except to rely upon books; thus, books replaced stage. From that point of view, if we think, then books are the source of entertainment. It may be the reason that Bacon has used the word “delight”. From modern views, there are still people in the world, who find delight in books instead of movies and plays.

However, in next lines, he has explained the word “delight” while saying, “their chief use for delight, is in privateness and retiring”. Hence, only words are different but the purpose is same i.e. entertainment.

The second purpose that studies serve is “ornaments”. A person, after learning from books, can present himself in a good manner. Studies also help a person learn etiquettes. His societal impression is improved and he becomes wise in the eyes of people. However, Bacon has used only one word to explain, “ornament” i.e. “discourse”. Thereby, studies increase the speaking power of a person but the word “discourse” also needs explanation. It has many meanings; discourse has different types; romantic, professional, religious, motivational, debate etc. Nevertheless, considering in view the worldly approach of the author, he may have used it as a professional speaking power or perhaps, he is talking about impressive discourse in every field of life whether it is profession, religion or romance.

Elaboration of the third purpose of studies, according to Sir Francis Bacon is “judgment and disposition of business”. It is somewhat professional. Studies can help a person in dealing with business matters. Thereby, studies support a person in professional life. Sir Francis Bacon has also used the word “judgment” to infer that studies enhance mental eyesight of a person. His vision becomes strong and he takes quick as well as accurate decisions in business matters.

Experience is the Key Factor:

All three purposes are useless without experience, says Bacon. Too much study for “delight” makes a person lazy; ornamentation makes him showcase; similarly, cramming bundle of rules from books does not increase his ability nor does it help him enhancing his thinking capacity. Everyone has natural abilities and studies make them perfect but along with studies, the experience is also required to gain perfection. It actually improves the mentality of a person. In order to elaborate it further, Bacon uses similes , which are worth mentioning:-

“the natural abilities are like natural plants, that need proyning by study; and studies themselves do give forth directions too much at large, except they be bounded in by experience.” Sir Francis Bacon

Hence, studies show a person thousands of paths to walk but experience helps choosing the right one. Additionally, different types of men see studies differently; some people do not give studies any value; some appreciate them; but wise are those, who perfectly use them.

Why and What Kind of Books should We Study?

After describing the importance of study, Francis Bacon gives his own opinions, “read….to weigh and consider”. A person should not read books to win over a debate or to oppose arguments of others; nor should he read to believe on each and everything written in the book; rather he should study books to know the difference between right and wrong. Moreover, not every book is worth reading. He divides books, too, into three categories; “tasted”, “swallowed”, and “chewed and digested”. “Tasted” books are those, which require no special attention. A reader just needs to go through them; books that come in the category of “swallowed” need a little attention. Category, “Chewed and digested” is self-explanatory. These kinds of books need the full concentration of the readers. Each word and every line should be chewed completely and then digested.

Some Subjects and Their Purposes:

If a person has a habit of reading books then Bacon guarantees improvement in his temperament. If he is used to exchanging dialogues then his wit is going to be enhanced. Above all, if he reads books and then writes down every important suggestion or advice then this method will definitely increase his intellectuality. Francis Bacon, at the end of the essay, creates a list of different subjects and sorts them by their benefits. Here is the list of books and their benefits:-

  • History increases wisdom.
  • Poetry enhances imagination.
  • Mathematics makes a person subtle.
  • Philosophy deepens thinking.
  • Logic and rhetoric help to contend.

Thus, a person needs to study the relevant subject as per his choice or requirement. If he wants wisdom, history can help him. If he wants imaginative powers, his concern should be poetry. Similarly, mathematics, philosophy, and logic serve their specific purposes. In Bacon’s eyes, a person can improve himself as much as he can; he just needs to focus. He actually wants to say that, “reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body”. With body, the mind also needs exercise; therefore, every person needs to do an exercise of the mind; he can do it by studying books.

Conclusion of “Of Studies” by Sir Francis Bacon: 

The whole essay proves the intellectuality of Sir Francis Bacon. It is full of wisdom. Every line, written by the author, is philosophically rich. His philosophy is definitely praiseworthy. Moreover, he is called the father of English prose not only because of his deep philosophy but also because of his writing style. He uses exact words to summarize his viewpoint. He tries to demonstrate his thinking in concise words. This essay is well knitted. There is no denying the fact that “Of Studies” is the pure creation of Sir Francis Bacon . In short, this essay is enough to regard him as the father of English prose.

Watch youtube video

Related Post

Culture and imperialism | how does edward said relate the two, of parents and children by sir francis bacon | summary and analysis, of nobility by sir francis bacon | complete summary and analysis, william blake as a mystic poet: a journey into mystic poetry, william blake as a romantic poet: unveiling the romantic spirit, virginia woolf as a modern novelist: echoes of modernity, virginia woolf as a novelist: her impact and legacy in literature.

The Essays of Francis Bacon/Introduction II

The Elizabethan age is the most creative period in English literature. The foreign wars in which the young Chaucer bore a part had ended in the abandonment of the English claim to the French crown. The civil Wars of the Roses had brought forward the Tudor family, who in Henry VII, Henry VIII, and Elizabeth, gave to the English nation three of the ablest rulers it has ever produced. By the marriage of one of the Tudors the Scottish king who had become heir to the English throne was to carry peace with him into England after three centuries of warfare on the northern border. For the first time Englishmen had leisure to devote their energies to other interests than war upon their neighbors. Fortunately, just at this time, the great wave of the Renaissance, the new birth of letters, having spent itself in Italy and crossed France and Spain, reached the shores of England. There it was eagerly welcomed by men, who, if they had not the poise and mental reach of the Italians of the Renaissance, or the gayety and sense of form of their French contemporaries, had yet more daring and more intellectual curiosity. The same spirit of adventure that carried Sir Francis Drake around the globe induced the Elizabethans to try all sorts of new forms in literature. Shakspere would not be "our myriad-minded ​ Shakspere," as Coleridge called him, if he had not best expressed the thought of a myriad-minded age. Most of the new literary forms were first made known to the Elizabethans by translations from the Italian and French. Sir Thomas Wyatt translated Italian songs and sonnets and presages a burst of lyric music from that "nest of singing-birds," the poets and dramatists of Elizabeth's time. William Painter translated novels from Boccaccio and Queen Marguerite, and Robert Greene composed original tales after their manner. Translations of Machiavelli and Comines taught men how to write history, and Sir Walter Ralegh, ending his days in imprisonment, wrote the History of the World in the Tower. Richard Hakluyt's Principall Navigations , "the great Elizabethan bible of adventure," largely translated from the journals of Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese navigators, is the beginning of that splendid series of stories of voyage and discovery and peaceable conquest by Englishmen which is unsurpassed in the literature of any nation. Sir Philip Sidney, an Italianated Englishman of the noblest type, inaugurates English criticism in The Defence of Poesie . With Francis Bacon begins philosophical reflection upon life, in the style of Plutarch's Morals and the Essais of Montaigne. Bacon's mind was catholic in its range like Plutarch's, but the subjects of moral thought that interest him are comparatively few, because generalized. His treatment of a moral subject is more scientific also than that of the classical writer, more scientific than ​ himself even when writing on a strictly scientific theme. In the Sylva Sylvarum: or A Natural History , for example, Bacon brings together a great many facts about nature, which he calls "experiments," some of them observations of real value, while others must have been trivial even to himself. In the Essayes or Counsels, Civill and Morall the method is ever to reduce reflection to its lowest terms, to try to discover the fundamental principles of conduct that influence the actions of men. Again, Bacon has nothing of the attractive personality of Montaigne, a man of the world who made a point of finding out what the world was like from all sorts and conditions of men, from the king on his throne to the groom of his riding-horse. Montaigne writes on and on about a subject in breezy discursiveness, like a man on horseback traversing an interesting country. Bacon's Essays reflect his experience of life, but they tell us little or nothing of his personal likes and dislikes. They are austere, brief to the point of crudeness, they smell of the lamp.

Bacon's own judgment of his Essays , as we know from the dedicatory epistle prefixed to the third edition, was that they might last as long as books last. In the essay, Of Innovations , he says, "Time is the greatest innovator." The most obvious division of the Essays is that which time has made. Certain essays do "come home to men's business and bosoms" in a universal way. They appeal to all men at all times. They discourse of great subjects in the grand manner. The essays, Of Truth, Of ​ Death , Of Great Place , might have been written by Aristotle, and what is said in these and other essays of like character is as true to-day as when Bacon lived. Another type of essay is distinctly limited, partly by Bacon's own character and partly by the social characteristics of his time. The essay Of Friendship grew out of Bacon's longest and most disinterested friendship, but no man can write an adequate essay on this noble theme, and yet say, as Bacon did in Of Followers and Friends , "There is little friendship in the world, and least of all between equals, which was wont to be magnified. That that is, is between superior and inferior, whose fortunes may comprehend the one the other." A thought like that puts friendship on the low plane of a paying basis. That Bacon could utter it has tarnished his fame with the charge of treachery towards Essex. The essays, Of Love , and Of Marriage and Single Life , were the product of a social condition in which passion did not necessarily enter into the marriage relation, and marriage itself was an affair to be arranged between parties suitably situated. It was a man's world, and it is impossible to judge it fairly now, because in the modern world the advancement of woman has revolutionized the older ideas of domestic relations. Essayists of Bacon's mental characteristics will still write on love and marriage, but their treatment of these themes must inevitably be broader and deeper, because it has been spiritualized. It is juster, because it recognizes the mutual obligations of men and women. ​ When Emerson talks about Friendship and Love we are in another world than Bacon's. Emerson opens his essay on Domestic Life with impassioned tenderness for the child in the house. There are no children in Bacon's world and the few children in Shakspere's plays are all sharp of wit, precocious beyond their years. They are the children of his brain, not little people he had lived with. Some eight or ten of Bacon's essays have become obsolete in thought. They are those which grew out of his experience of life at the Courts of Elizabeth and James I, of the petty rivalries and intrigues which led him to believe and to say, "All rising to great place is by a winding stair." Bacon's "winding stair" to the Lord Chancellorship runs through the essays, Of Simulation and Dissimulation , Of Delays , Of Cunning , Of Wisdom for a Man's Self , Of Dispatch , Of Suspicion , Of Negociating , and Of Followers and Friends . Fancy Emerson writing an essay on cunning! It is not that dissimulation and cunning no longer exist in the world, but that the intellectual appeal of such subjects is now restricted to their kind. Like drunkenness, dissimulation has descended in the social scale.

When we recall that the composition of his Essays occupied Bacon's thought for the space of more than thirty years, it is curious that he nowhere alludes to any English contemporary by name, except Queen Elizabeth, and that after her death. But between the lines Bacon has left on record the characters of three men who crossed his path. ​ From the singularly intimate private diary which he called Commentarius Solutus , we know that the essay Of Seeming Wise is a portrait of Sir Henry Hobart, who by securing the appointment of Attorney-General, in 1606, effectually barred Bacon's way to that position for seven years. Bacon bitterly resented being passed over, and jotted now in his notes a series of epigrams on "Hubbard's disadvantages" which seem to have developed into this essay, in which Attorney-General Hobart represents as type the weak man who is made to believe himself wondrous wise. The essay Of Deformity , at the time of its publication, was said to be a portrait to the life of Bacon's cousin, Robert Cecil, Earl of Salisbury, who may be also in mind in the essays Of Envy and Of Cunning . Cecil's stature of scarce five feet was produced by curvature of the spine. He was so small that Elizabeth called him "little man" or "little elf." James I addressed him as "pygmy" or even "little beagle." The fine essay Of Judicature is the substance of a charge to Sir Richard Button, on his being raised to the bench of the Court of Common Pleas, 3d May, 1617. Bacon as Lord Chancellor on delivering him his patent complimented him on possessing the virtues of a judge, essentially those set forth in the essay.

Three of the essays tell us what recreations appealed to Bacon in the intervals of his busy life of statecraft and authorship. The essay Of Masques and Triumphs grew out of a long experience of writing in lighter vein. Between 1588 and 1614 ​ Bacon was the author or "chief contriver " or "chief encourager" of no less than six masques. After his marriage, in 1606, he found his father's house at Gorhambury too small, and built there a large and stately mansion, Verulam House, an experience which enabled him to speak with authority Of Building . In the following essay, Of Gardens , he writes,—"I, for my part, do not like images cut out in juniper or other garden stuffs; they be for children." That is a criticism of Sir Nicholas Bacon's garden at Gorhambury, which gave place to the "princely garden" of not less than "thirty acres" surrounding Verulam House, and which is described with such minuteness of detail that the plan of it may be easily reconstructed. Bacon's fondness for gardens is his most engaging trait. A garden, he says, is "the purest of human pleasures," "the greatest refreshment to the spirits of man." John Aubrey's gossip brings him before us enjoying his own garden. "Every meale, according to the season of the yeare, he had his table strewed with sweet herbes and flowers, which he sayd did refresh his spirits and memorie." And again,—"His Lordship was a very contemplative person, and was wont to contemplate in his delicious walks at Gorhambury, and dictate to Mr. Bushell, or some of his gentlemen, that attended him with ink and paper ready to set downe presently his thoughts." But the favorite companion in the meditative walks through the covert alleys of Gorhambury was Thomas Hobbes, author of The Leviathan . "Mr. ​ Tho. Hobbes (Malmesburiensis) was beloved by his Lop. [Lordship], who was wont to have him walke in his delicate groves, when he did meditate: and when a notion darted into his mind, Mr. Hobbes was presently to write it downe, and his Lop. was wont to say that he did it better than any one els about him; for that many times, when he read their notes he scarce understood what they writt, because they understood it not clearly themselves. In short, all that were great and good loved and honoured him."

Of Regiment of Health narrates how Bacon managed to preserve almost to the Psalmist's three score years and ten a body naturally frail, and to get out of it a vast amount of hard work. It was accomplished through a thorough knowledge of his own constitution, and by the constant observance of a few simple principles of hygiene, temperance always, and a just mean between work and recreation.

With the essay Of Plantations should be read the early history of the colony of Virginia. The first attempt to colonize Virginia was in 1585, when Sir Richard Grenville carried out a band of colonists under rules of government drawn up by Grenville's cousin, Sir Walter Ralegh. This colony failed a year later while Bacon was serving his second term in the House of Commons as member for Taunton. Ralegh as member for Devon was at the time his colleague, and the failure undoubtedly left an impression in Bacon's mind, as all matters of public policy did. In the second year of his ​ Solicitor-Generalship, when King James was proposing the Protestant plantation of Ulster, Bacon wrote his first article on colonization, Discourse of the Plantation in Ireland , about January, 1608-1609. His point of view was essentially that put forth in Certain Articles or Considerations touching the Union of the Kingdoms of England and Scotland (1604). The Solicitor-General believed in the aggrandizement of the United Kingdom, peaceably by preference, but by force if necessary. At the very time that Bacon was engaged in writing this paper on the Irish plantation, a fresh attempt to colonize Virginia was maturing at Court, for on May 23, 1609, "The Treasurer of the Company of Adventurers and Planters of the City of London for the First Colony in Virginia" was chartered by King James, primarily to go to the relief of Captain John Smith. Among the six hundred and fifty-nine "adventurers" were Sir Francis Bacon, his cousin, Robert Cecil, now Earl of Salisbury, Shakspere's friend, the Earl of Southampton, and Sir Oliver Cromwell, uncle to the Protector. The essay Of Plantations , first published in the third edition of the Essays (1625), was written from a personal knowledge of the London or South Virginia Company. Bacon mentions the over-cultivation of the new plant, tobacco, in Virginia, "to the untimely prejudice of the main business." The very streets of Jamestown were planted with tobacco by the first settlers, who then secured for themselves from King James a monopoly of the home market for their commodity, in spite of the royal objection to ​ the "vile custome of Tobacco taking." The advice to colonists not to let their government depend upon too many counsellors at home, "but upon a temperate number only," doubtless reflects Bacon's own experience of the unwieldy committee of noblemen and gentlemen who tried to govern the planters of Virginia from the safe and uninformed distance of London.

"Travel," says Bacon, "in the younger sort, is a part of education; in the elder, a part of experience." His own travels, as we know, were "a part of education," and they extended no farther than France, nor beyond his eighteenth year. After that he was too busy and for many years too poor to travel. But the essay Of Travel shows that he had profited by the travels of others, and especially by those of his brother, Anthony, who wandered about the continent, chiefly in France, for the eleven or twelve years between 1579 and 1592. By the middle of Elizabeth's reign, it had become the fashion for noblemen's sons and young men of family to travel to complete their education. It was expensive education, for the conditions of travel were such that the young man had to be accompanied by a tutor and by servants. The only means of transportation were horses for land travel and boats where waterways were available. Young men, and older men who could stand it, rode horseback day after day. The letters of the poet, Francis Davison, to his father, Secretary Davison, make known what difficulties the sons of gentlemen met with when ​ travelling like noblemen. Anthony Bacon's long travels so seriously embarrassed his estate that he never afterwards was out of debt. During these travels he found himself, in 1582, in Bordeaux, and there he formed a friendship with the Sieur de Montaigne. At that time about a year had passed since Montaigne's return from a seventeen months' tour through France, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy. The young traveller and the older one must have exchanged many pleasant memories of places, persons, and things. Montaigne, keeping a diary, and less interested in sights than in the ways of life of foreign folk, their social and political institutions, was such a traveller as Bacon would have been, if it had been his fortune to travel in mature years. Of Englishmen, the late Elizabethan, John Evelyn, cultivated, observant, tolerant, is also of the sort. But no Elizabethan traveller is merely chatty. Fynes Moryson's Itinerary and Coryats Crudities , in spite of its quips and cranks, are valuable records of travel under Elizabeth and James.

In the essay Of Studies a lifelong student describes his craft. "He was no plodder upon books," writes his chaplain, Dr. Rawley, "though he read much, and that with great judgment, and rejection of impertinences incident to many authors; for he would ever interlace a moderate relaxation of his mind with his studies, as walking, or taking the air abroad in his coach, or some other befitting recreation [in the Latin version Rawley adds 'gentle exercise on horseback and playing ​ at bowls'] and yet he would lose no time, inasmuch as upon his first and immediate return he would fall to reading again, and so suffer no moment of time to slip from him without some present improvement. It may well be that the subject Of Studies was the one that revolved longest in Bacon 's mind, for it is the first essay of the edition of 1597, where it consists of eleven sentences only arranged in seven paragraphs, each formally isolated from the rest by the paragraph sign ¶. In the edition of 1625, Of Studies is number fifty. This original construction of detached sentences on a single theme accords with the first meaning of the word 'essay,' which Bacon in his 1597 title seems to have introduced into English, from Montaigne, though it was quite in character for him to cite a favorite Latin classic to support his use of the term. In the draft of the dedication of the second edition of the Essays , 1607—1612, to Prince Henry, not used on account of the death of the prince and never printed by Bacon, he says he had chosen "to write certaine breif notes, sett downe rather significantlye, then curiously, which I have called Essaies; The word is late, but the thing is auncient. For Senecaes Epistles to Lucilius; yf one marke them well, are but Essaies,—That is dispersed Meditacions." Dr. Johnson's definition of 'essay,' in 1755, is "an irregular undigested piece."

It is extremely interesting to observe the growth of the original ten essays through the second edition to the third. It will be seen that as Bacon's ​ literary style developed the thought of the earliest essays does not materially change in the second edition, but that it is here and there expanded by a qualifying idea or by an apt illustration. For example, the apothegms of the last paragraph of Studies , of 1597, "Histories make men wise, Poets wittie," etc., is enlarged in 1612 by the simile comparing the effect of study upon the mind to that of exercise upon the body. The edition of 1625 sent forth the ten early essays expanded to nearly double their original size, while some of the essays of 1612 were entirely rewritten, notably the essay Of Friendship .

When Bacon expanded a subject the method that came most natural to him was that of the scientist, by analysis and contrast. Friendship resolves itself for him into three principal "fruits," "peace in the affections," "support of the judgment," and "aid and comfort in action." The puzzling degrees of dissimulation he describes, Of Simulation and Dissimulation , remind one of the excellent fooling of Touchstone on how to "quarrel in print, by the book," or the seven degrees of lies. The essay Of Adversity is merely a series of antitheses, an oracular list of pros and cons. It might have been composed by drawing up on opposite pages a debit and credit account of life. Again, Bacon's choice of abstract subjects to write upon is in keeping with the analytic character of his mind. To choose a general theme, like "Truth" or "Death" or "Praise," and to say something upon it which is at once worth while and new can be ​ done by a great writer only. To express a new and valuable thought in language that combines at once the qualities of simplicity, precision, dignity, and universality can be done by a very great writer only. That feat Bacon accomplished, best of Englishmen.

When one examines Bacon's literary style as the outcome of his reading and study, it presents the same anomaly as his moral character. He was a diligent reader of Cicero, and he had so little faith in the English language that he had his Essays translated into Latin, to preserve them in what he called "the universal language." But the Essays "come home to men's business and bosoms" precisely because in forming his English style Bacon is not Ciceronian and rhetorical. He quotes a pun of Caesar's and one of his apothegms, but nothing more; he does not mention Catullus; and yet in English, Bacon displays the same quality of style that distinguishes the Commentaries of Caesar and the lyric poetry of Catullus. It is the Attic style, which aims at idiomatic purity, not only in choice of words, but also in a simple and even severe correctness of construction, urbanitas , as the Latin says. Dr. Rawley tells us that Bacon was always seeking the "clear" word and could not but be "polite," that is, urbane. In hitting upon just the right word, Bacon exhibits everywhere a mastery of his art that is as subtle as it is inimitable. Notice the emotional tone of the word 'reverend' in "it is a reverend thing to see an ancient castle or building not in decay;" so 'strangely' in "it ​ draws the eye strangely " is fairly hypnotic in suggestion. Of beautiful and striking antitheses Bacon is full, like "for if a man can be partaker of God's theatre, he shall likewise be partaker of God 's rest." It adds much to the pleasure of reading Bacon's Essays to be sensitive to the fulness and nicety of meaning of the well chosen words used. "Discretion of speech," says Bacon in Of Discourse , "is more than eloquence; and to speak agreeably to him with whom we deal, is more than to speak in good words, or in good order." This principle, in the stylistic code of the Atticists, is the conversational tone, the loqui of Caesar, not the dicere of Cicero. It is vastly more difficult to put elegance and dignity and weight into conversational language, than to write with rhetorical flourishes, to express the thought in fine language merely. It can be accomplished, as Bacon accomplished it, by taking pains always. Dr. Rawley goes on,—"Neither was he given to any light conceits, or descanting upon words, but did ever purposely and industriously avoid them; for he held such things to be but digressions or diversions from the scope intended, and to derogate from the weight and dignity of the style."

The Attic style is particularly hard to write in English, because English is naturally a discursive language. Bacon caught it in the first place from the happy accident of being an Elizabethan. Again, Bacon's mind was a thoroughly logical one. Every new acquisition of its full content fell into its proper place with great distinctness. Lastly, ​ Bacon was a Latinist, and Latin is the one language, ancient or modern, that can say the most in the fewest words.

The Roman Atticist who most affected Bacon's style is his favorite philosophical historian, Tacitus. As stylists the likenesses and differences between Tacitus and Bacon are of interest. Both writers were keen observers of men and things, the minds of both were naturally analytic, both possessed the faculty of crystallizing psychological or ethical or general truths in pointed epigrams or well-balanced antitheses. Bacon is fond of quoting from Tacitus the brief and telling sentences in which he summed up the character of a man, or the tone of an era. On the other hand, Bacon carefully avoided the rhetorical faults which lay Tacitus's style open to the charge of occasional obscurity. Bacon did not coin words, neither did he put new meaning into old words, nor use rare and uncommon expressions. He has no tricks of singularity. His is an art so bare and open that it even suggests no art, stylelessness. Instead of the labored obscurity here and there in Tacitus, Bacon's style is illuminated by the play of a great imagination, which suggested to him now a picturesque word, and now a striking comparison. Finally, Tacitus lived in the decline of an era, and his prevailing tone is gray and pessimistic. Over Bacon's style there rests the serenity of philosophic calm. The English Tacitus was born in a great age, and he was a lover of his fellow-men.

As to specific points of style, the most casual ​ reader cannot but notice Bacon's manner of introduction. It is that of a practised debater. Bacon is a good opener. Many of the opening sentences arrest attention at once, as it was undoubtedly intended they should. Sometimes the thought is expressed in an aphoristic figure, as, "Revenge is a kind of wild justice," Of Revenge . Sometimes it is an apt quotation, like "What is truth? said jesting Pilate," Of Truth . Sometimes it is a great thought inimitably set in speech. "God Almighty first planted a garden," is the jewel-like sentence that opens the essay Of Gardens . When the weary wayfarer sees that legend shining resplendent over the gate of an old-time garden, he must needs enter in to refresh his spirit.

As has been said, Bacon's model for brief and pointed expression is Tacitus, whom he had read "wholly, and with diligence and attention." Tacitus more than any other author contributed to the swiftness and philosophic range of Bacon's thought, and the other classical writers who helped to make him "a full man," stand, after Tacitus, probably in this order, Cicero, Seneca, Plutarch, Livy, Vergil, Ovid, the two Plinies, Suetonius, Lucretius, Lucian, Caesar, Lucan, Plautus, Terence, Horace, Martial, Plato, Homer, Herodotus and Aristotle. The Greeks make way for the Romans in this list, both in number and in frequency of quotation. Plutarch was a favorite Greek author with Bacon, as he was with Shakspere and the other Elizabethans. There are two reasons for the ​ popularity of Plutarch at that time. The active and inquiring minds of the Elizabethans enjoyed Plutarch as an all-round man. He satisfied their intellectual curiosity on many points. Besides, Plutarch was the most fortunate of the Greeks in contemporary translation. Thomas North's translation of Plutarch, from the French of Jacques Amyot, was called The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans , and came out in 1579, with a dedication to Queen Elizabeth. It was written in simple, idiomatic, picturesque prose, the best English prose that had been written up to that time. As is well known, North's Plutarch was Shakspere's storehouse of classical learning. Page after page of the 'lives' of Caesar, Brutus, Antony, and Coriolanus in Shakspere is simply the noble English of North's narrative animated with the life and play of dialogue. North's masterly manner in prose was to develop into Bacon himself and into the translators of the Authorized Version of the Bible. Bacon read Greek and may have quoted the Plutarch's Lives from that reading, but it is more than likely that he used one of the four editions of North's translations that appeared during his lifetime. He was certainly familiar with The Philosophie, commonly called the Morals, written by the learned philosopher Plutarch , and translated from the Greek, in 1603, by Philemon Holland, with a dedication to James I.

In general reading, Bacon quotes of the Fathers, St. Augustine, Of Truth , and St. Bernard, Of Unity in Religion and Of Atheism . Of ​ Frenchmen, he alludes to Rabelais as "a master of scoffing" in Of Unity in Religion . The story of Charles the Bold in Of Friendship Bacon took from Thomas Danett's admirable English translation, The Historie of Philip de Commines, Knight, Lord of Argenton , which was published in 1601, but is dedicated to his uncle, Lord Burghley, under date "1 Nov. 1596." Elsewhere in the Essays , Bacon shows acquaintance with Comines's 'History of Louis XI,' a serene, dispassionate, philosophical account of that Machiavellian prince. Comines, who has been described as "as humane as the ancients and almost as wise as Tacitus himself," was a historian after Bacon's own heart. Besides the 'pretty' saying about truth and his title, Bacon adopted from Montaigne the idea of popularizing moral philosophy. Montaigne had discoursed delightfully of the philosophy of common things for Frenchmen. He would do the same for Englishmen, and he did it, but the French and English manner differ as the poles. Montaigne's reflections on life centre in his own individuality. Fortunately, it was a great and original individuality, disciplined by the conduct of affairs, and cultivated by books and society and travel. With that equipment, Montaigne tells us from his tower what he thought of life. He is garrulous, he is personal, painfully personal at times, he is familiar, "the intimate friend of us all," as Sainte-Beuve said. Bacon's philosophy of life is nearly as impersonal as Shakspere's; it is brief, almost blunt; it has a remote air, as if Seneca had indeed inspired it. ​ The love of classical learning, breadth of view, benevolence, and wit are qualities which distinguish alike the essays of Michel de Montaigne and Francis Bacon.

Montaigne observes of the moral insensibility of Francesco Guicciardini, his cold, passionless manner of depicting a great national tragedy, the decline and fall of his own country after the French invasion of 1494, "among the many motives and counsels on which he adjudicates, he never attributes any one of them to virtue, religion, or conscience, as if all these were quite extinct in the world." Bacon had doubtless read Montaigne's opinion of Guicciardini, in the second book of his Essais . He had undoubtedly read Guicciardini's L'historia d'italia , either in the original, or what is more likely, in the translation of Geoffrey Fenton, The Historie of Guicciardin (1579). Fenton's Guicciardini was dedicated to Queen Elizabeth, and was a popular translation from the Italian, running to three editions during her reign and one in King James's time. There is a certain likeness between Guicciardini and Bacon in both career and character. Benedetto Yarchi, his contemporary and fellow-historian, writes of Guicciardini, "Messer Francesco, besides his noble birth, his riches and his academical degree, and besides having been Governor and Viceroy of the Pope, was highly esteemed and enjoyed a great reputation; not only for his knowledge, but for his great practical acquaintance with the affairs of the world and the actions of men. Of such he would ​ discourse admirably, and his judgment was sound. But his conduct did not tally with his speech; being by nature proud and curt, he was swayed sometimes by ambition, but oftener by avarice, in a manner unbecoming to a well-bred and modest man." Bacon was proud, but not curt, nor was he avaricious, though the love of what money can buy was strong in him. Otherwise, Varchi's character of Guicciardini might do for Bacon set down in Italy. Like Bacon, Guicciardini was keenly observant, he had the habit of recording his impressions of men and things, and it was his mental turn to record them in the form of aphorisms. But Guicciardini's view was narrow, as Montaigne says, and he had not the ability to relate and combine facts on broad general principles; his history is therefore rather the memoranda and maxims of a statesman, scientifically arranged, than a philosophical summing up of human affairs. Nor had Guicciardini a literary style. He is more of a thinker than an author.

In the essay Of Superstition Bacon quotes from the Historia del Concilio Tridentino , by the Venetian, Fra Paolo Sarpi, probably from the contemporary translation of Sir Nathaniel Brent, but the Italian whom Bacon knew best was Machiavelli. Though the great Florentine is quoted but four times, three times only by name, yet many of the Essays should be read in connection with Machiavelli's Discorsi sopra La Prima Deca di T. Livio . The last essay, Of Vicissitude of Things , was clearly suggested by Book II, Chapter 5, ​ of Machiavelli's work, which is on the subject "That Deluges, Pestilences, the change of Religion and Languages, and other accidents, in a manner extinguish the memory of many things." Machiavelli's Discourses on Livy was facile princeps the history that made Bacon wise. From abstract principles in the sphere of government, Machiavelli appealed to experience; for authority as the test of truth, he substituted scientific facts. This practical method of writing history Bacon approved of highly. "We are much beholden," he says, "to Machiavel and others that wrote what men do, and not what they ought to do." The principle thus clearly stated explains such essays as, Of Cunning, Of Wisdom for a Man's Self , and the like.

What is called Bacon's Machiavellism has been the subject of much controversy and much misunderstanding. It seems to make it well-nigh impossible for historians of letters to write of him without taking sides. Pope's epigram, "the wisest, brightest, meanest of mankind," is said to have been the inspiration of Macaulay's well-known essay, Lord Bacon . R. W. Church, in English Men of Letters , and E. A. Abbott, one of the best of recent editors of the Essays , are both severe critics of Bacon. James Spedding devoted his life to the defence and succeeded in clarifying many of the points at issue. The subject can scarcely be presented better to the student, at first hand, and in brief compass, than by suggesting the reading of the essay Of Cunning in immediate connection with that Of Fortune . Bacon believed, as he says, that ​ every man is the architect of his own fortune. That is a truism. The experience of men in every land and at all times confirms it. The older democracy of the French Revolution and of the Signers cherished the idea as almost inspired doctrine. The difficulty is that moral ideas develop and change. Bacon, though a religious man, was essentially not a moralist. Like Machiavelli, but with the sea change from Italy to England, he accepted the moral and religious ideas of his time. His religious writings show that by preference he always took the middle course. In morals, Bacon's ideas combine curiously the enlightened thought of pagan Greece and Rome with the Christian ethics of the Bible. But this is theory with him; in practice he did not rise above the political morality of his time. He fell below it at the last. In that morality the distinction between right and wrong in conduct was neither so sharply nor so widely drawn as now. The development of moral ideas and the ethical point of view should be factors in any judgment of the actions of men and women of former times. The same justice which underlies James Spedding's eminently sane judgment of Bacon, John Morley extended to Machiavelli in his brilliant Romanes Lecture of 1897.

When we consider the great drama of the Elizabethan age, the bulk of it running to some fifteen hundred plays, its popularity, its reflection of contemporary life at all angles, its excellence and the high average of ability of the writers who were producing it, and Shakspere one of them, it is little ​ short of astounding that nowhere throughout the fifty-eight essays does Bacon either quote a thought from the drama or mention a single dramatist. His silence is all the more extraordinary from the fact that he was himself concerned in the representation of six masques, the first as a Gray's Inn man of twenty-five and the last so late in life as his Attorney-Generalship, when he was fifty-two years old. Various explanations may be offered. Bacon was born in Court circles and was a lifelong courtier. Players were held in such contempt as to be classed legally with vagabonds. We know that Shakspere was sensitive to the degradation of his calling in public opinion,

"My nature is subdued To what it works in, like the dyer's hand."

Francis Beaumont was born a gentleman, and his name does not appear on the title-page of any play of his published during his lifetime. Further, Bacon was a busy man, probably occupied all day and every day with law and politics, and by night with his studies and authorship. He worked too hard to be much of a play-goer, even if he had been inclined to spend his afternoons at the theatres. Curious as the phenomenon is, nothing conceivable can better express the vitality and power of English literature than that it added to the thought of the world two such productions as the Essays of Bacon and the plays of Shakspere, the work of two men who walked the streets of London together for the span of some thirty years, so far as we know, each ​ unknown personally to the other. One person made a link between them, the Earl of Southampton, to whom Shakspere dedicated Venus and Adonis , in 1593, 'the first heir of his invention.' Five years later Southampton lost the Queen's favor by marrying without her consent, Elizabeth Vernon, the Earl of Essex's cousin. He was obliged to absent himself from Court, and we hear of him in 1599 as "passing his time in London merely in going to plays every day." Bacon knew Southampton as a friend to the Earl of Essex, and acted as Queen 's counsel in prosecuting him for his complicity in Essex's treasonable practices. Later in James the First's reign, Bacon was associated with the Earl of Southampton on the board of governors of the South Virginia Company. But Southampton would seem not to have forgotten Bacon's share in Essex's death and his own imprisonment, for when Lord Chancellor Bacon was charged with corruption before the House of Lords, it was the Earl of Southampton who drove the charges home by insisting on a particular confession. The patron of Shakspere in youth did not befriend Bacon in age.

Doubtless a sufficient explanation of Bacon's unconsciousness of the local drama that was being written and acted all about him is that as a reader he preferred the classics. Nor, indeed, was he an omnivorous reader, though he had read much. He was a man who read the best books and read them thoroughly. Moreover, as a man of affairs rather than a mere bookish person, he thought about what ​ he read and meditated upon it. But the books that he read most and knew best were the works of Latin authors; he wrote Latin fluently, he thought in Latin, as his writings in both Latin and English abundantly show. The Latin of Bacon is partly his individual bent and partly the tenor of his age. Latin has come into English mainly in two great streams, through the French of the Norman conquest and directly from the revival of learning, and just as one must read Chaucer to understand the French influence, so Bacon best represents the learned borrowing of Latin of the Renaissance. Bacon was the most learned man of Elizabethan times, and the Elizabethan time was learned. To learn to read then was to learn to read Latin. Boys in school learned their grammar from Latin grammars, as Shakspere shows that he did in the King's New School of Stratford-upon-Avon, and a very good way to learn grammar it is. By the time the boy had completed his university course, if he had made good use of his time, Latin had become to him a second vernacular. If the young man was the son of a landed proprietor and stayed at home, his household accounts were kept in Latin. If he entered one of the learned professions, the law, or the church, or medicine, he had to draw up legal documents in Latin, or to read theology in Latin, or to study medical science written in Latin. If he was ambitious to become an author, he thought he must write his books in Latin. Roger Ascham, dedicating his Toxophilus to Henry VIII, in 1545, remarked that it would have been easier, ​ and more suitable to his scholar's profession, to have written the book in Latin or Greek. A young man destined for the service of the state, as Bacon was, found Latin the language of diplomacy and official business. With a Latin training like this, possessed of an unusually bright mind, and a scholar by instinct, Bacon remained throughout his life singularly in touch with the great Roman writers.

It is a matter of common observation that the English language from century to century swings like a great pendulum to and fro between its two elements, Teutonic and Romance. In Elizabeth's time the two forces were probably nearer equilibrium than they have ever been, before or since. This is why the Authorized Version of the Bible, and Shakspere's plays, and Bacon's Essays are the great conservators of the English speech. The bones of English are in them, and in good style, as in good portraiture or good sculpture, the bones underneath must show. Of the three, Bacon is consciously the most Latinised. For this reason, if one wishes to learn something of the Latin in English, either its prevalence or its stylistic effect, Bacon is the best English classic to study. Apart from the general question of style already discussed, Bacon's Latinity shows itself in the Essays mainly in his Latin paraphrases, in the use of English words in their Latin senses (thinking in Latin), in the frequent quotation of Latin proverbs, and even of a Latin pun. Any one of Bacon's Latin paraphrases will illustrate what a hold on ​ the English language it is to have Latin for a second vernacular. One of the most remarkable examples is the summing up of Livy's comment on Scipio Africanus Major at the end of the essay Of Youth and Age ,—"Livy saith, in effect, Ultima primis cedebant ," 'the last fell short of the first.' Bacon's three Latin words, recollected from Ovid, condense fourteen of Livy's and Livy furnished not one of the three. An interesting variation between Bacon's Latin and that of his original occurs at the close of the essay Of Cunning . Quoting Proverbs xiv. 8,—"The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way: but the folly of fools is deceit," from his recollection of the Vulgate , he writes, "Salomon saith, Prudens advertit ad gressus suos: stultus divertit ad dolos." The Vulgate reads, Sapientia callidi est intelligere viam suam: et imprudentia stultorum errans . Here Bacon says in nine Latin words what the Vulgate says in ten, and all of his words are different but one, and that one appears in a different form. It is illuminating to observe the master of a great language wielding another great language and so moulding it to his will as to compel it to assume new and strange forms.

There is no surer test of command over a foreign language than appreciation of its wit. "Caesar did himself infinite hurt in that speech— 'Sylla nescivit literas, non potuit dictare,'" says Bacon, writing on so serious a subject as Of Seditions and Troubles . The pun here is of that subtle sort that cuts both ways when the edges meet, like the blades ​ of a pair of sharp scissors. If Caesar did not utter this one, it is worthy of him. Bacon thought so, too, and recorded Caesar's witticism among his Apophthegmes New and Old , with the regret expressed in the preface,—"It is a pitie his Booke is lost: for I imagine they were collected, with Judgement and Choice."

All his life Bacon was a collector of pointed sayings, not only apothegms but proverbs. In part this was a personal inclination towards the simplest and clearest expression of thought, in part it was the Elizabethans cultivating brevity as the soul of wit. Numerous books of "prittie conceites" and many strings of proverbs attest their fondness for short, pithy sayings, grave and gay. "I hold the entry of commonplaces to be a matter of great use and essence in studying," says Bacon. The habit of jotting down ideas on all sorts of subjects, and in the fewest possible words, explains in some measure how Bacon came by that characteristic of his style which makes so many of his sentences represent the compressed essence of things. Sometimes the thought is so packed that the language may fairly be said to give way, the sentence, like an ill-constructed building, being unable to bear the pressure put upon it; for example, "but if the force of custom, simple and separate, be great, the force of custom, copulate and conjoined and collegiate, is far greater," Of Custom and Education . A similar expression, packed to the point of clumsiness, is "but no receipt openeth the heart but a true friend, to whom you may impart griefs, ​ joys, fears, hopes, suspicions, counsels, and whatever lieth upon the heart to oppress it," Of Friendship . The whole essay Of Studies illustrates this manner of composition. The aphoristic sentences are simply packed closely one upon another, like gold sovereigns in a bag. The separate pieces of money have the continuity of being coin of the realm, but by the theory of chances they might be packed in an infinite variety of ways. In form, the essay is crude, styleless; in effect, it is direct, keen as a rapier's thrust.

Besides translated proverbs, Bacon quotes proverbs in Latin, French, Italian, and Spanish. And always, as he puts it, the proverb "pierces the knot in the business." Compare Cor ne edito , 'eat not the heart' Of Friendship ; In nocte, consilium , 'the night brings counsel,' as we say colloquially, sleep over it, Of Counsel ; Beaucoup de bruit, pen de fruit , 'much bruit, little fruit,' Of Vain- Glory ; Mi venga la muerte de Spagna , "'let my death come from Spain' for then it will be sure to be long in coming," Of Dispatch . This same essay contains the well-known English proverb, 'the more haste, the less speed' in the form of Bacon's apothegm about his diplomatic chief, Sir Amias Paulet, who was wont to say, "Stay a little, that we may make an end the sooner." But the bulk of proverbs in English throughout the Essays are quoted from the wisdom of the Bible, both the old Testament and New.

The Bible is directly quoted in thirty-four of the fifty-eight essays, and if to these thirty-four essays ​ there is added those in which Bacon's language echoes Biblical thought, the number would be considerably greater. Bacon's familiarity with the Bible was great and at the same time catholic in its range. The only parts of it that did not occur to him for apt quotation were the books dealing with Jewish ceremonial law, the minor prophets, and the general epistles. The reading is more inclusive, but it is not unlike the list of books Ruskin gives in Praeterita as those his mother required him largely to commit to memory, while he read the Bible through every year from Genesis to the Apocalypse. "Once knowing," says Ruskin, "the 32d of Deuteronomy, the 119th Psalm, the 15th of 1st Corinthians, the Sermon on the Mount, and most of the Apocalypse, every syllable by heart, and having a way of thinking with myself what words meant, it was not possible for me, even in the foolishest times of youth, to write entirely superficial or formal English." It cannot be said that Bacon's literary style owes as much to the Bible as that of Ruskin, a conscious stylist, but in the Bible he undoubtedly found that union of naturalness and dignity which is so inimitably his own. It has been suggested as one explanation of the noble English of the Bible that the translators of the Authorized Version had been brought up in the old religion, and that in consequence their English unconsciously caught and retained something of the music of the Latin service, as they had often heard it reverberating from hymn and chant through the lofty arches and down the long aisles ​ of the cathedrals of England. Bacon's frequent quotations from the Vulgate show that he read the Bible in Latin habitually. Not seldom he quotes the Vulgate from memory, varying considerably from the original, just as he cites the sense of passages from Cicero and Livy. Even when he cites the Bible in English, it would seem that he had oftener in mind the Vulgate , rather than the Authorized Version of his later years. Ecclesiastes v. ii, "Where much is, there are many to consume it; and what hath the owner but the sight of it with his eyes?" is briefer and more picturesque in the essay Of Riches than in the Authorized Version . On the other hand, Bacon's "Salomon saith, Riches are as a strong hold in the imagination of the rich man" has become a proverb in the English of the translators, "The rich man's wealth is his strong city." ( Proverbs x. 15.)

One reason why Bacon's Essays , one of the most learned works in English, is so easy to read and to understand, is that the language used is that of the Bible both in vocabulary and construction. The words 'marvel' meaning 'to wonder,' 'wax,' 'to grow,' 'profit,' 'to improve,' need no explanation to the reader of the Authorized Version . So, 'withe,' 'a willow twig,' Of Custom and Education , is familiar from the story of Samson. These and many others are Bible words in Bible meaning, and their construction is in simplest terms. The object of the translators was to put the Bible into the hands of the plain man, so that he could read it and understand it for himself. They ​ therefore purposely used the plain man's language, refining it only as language is naturally refined by education and good breeding.

The only conscious principle of style that Bacon followed is the same. "In the composing of his books," says Dr. Rawley, "he did rather drive at a masculine and clear expression than at any fineness or affectation of phrases, and would often ask if the meaning were expressed plainly enough, as being one that accounted words to be but subservient or ministerial to matter, and not the principal."

As in the Bible, English folk-lore is embedded in Bacon's style. Twice, in Of Friendship and Of Nature in Men , he illustrates a point by means of the rustic's advice to his fellow in anger, to "say over the four and twenty letters." The use of the curious old expression "to turn the cat in the pan," Of Cunning , (that is, to reverse the order of things dexterously, to change sides,) by Sir Walter Scott, in Old Mortality (XXXV), suggests the point that various words and expressions that have gone out of English since Bacon's time still survive in the picturesque Scottish vernacular. In this same essay on Cunning , Bacon speaks of the "falls of business," meaning its 'chances.' That is what Burns means when in the Address to the Deil , he cries out, "Black be your fa'!"

Simplicity, or homeliness, in its fine old sense, is a marked characteristic of Bacon's imagery. Notice the homely words, that is to say, the words of home, in the well-known figure,—"Some books are ​ to be tasted , others to be swallowed , and some few to be chewed and digested ," Of Studies . So he writes, "Suspicions amongst thoughts are like bats amongst birds, they ever fly by twilight," Of Suspicion . Another figure brings into mind the recollection of some low-studded Elizabethan room, wainscoted and ceiled with quartered oak. The picture is all the more vivid, because it is so unexpected, as if a curtain suddenly drawn aside should give a glimpse through a window where no window was known to be. Speaking of the secure fame of Cicero, Of Vain-Glory , he says almost casually that vanity contributed to it, "like unto varnish, that maketh ceilings not only shine, but last." Bacon was fond of such sharp breaks in thought. They arrested attention. The stuff, however, of this image was a part of his daily life. "He seated himself, for the commodity of his studies and practice, amongst the Honourable Society of Gray's-Inn; of which House he was a member: where he erected that elegant pile or structure, commonly known by the name of The Lord Bacon's Lodgings , which he inhabited, by turns, the most part of his life (some few years only excepted) unto his dying day." (Dr. Rawley.) Picture to yourself Bacon, the lifelong student, in his chambers. The harassing business of the day in the House of Commons or in attendance at Court is done, and he has retired to his writing-room to converse with the men of old he loved so well. He reads the vain Cicero or the sententious Tacitus, he sets down in his common-place book what he has learned from ​ their discourse. Perhaps of a summer evening a wandering bat darts in at the open window to disturb the vigil. Late, too late for sound health, he lies down on his couch, and when he wakes in the broad light of full day, his eyes open on the varnished wooden ceiling of a large, low bedroom. Bacon was no poet. His imagery is not that of a transcendent imagination playing over a subject and illuminating it here and there with brilliant flashes of light. But Bacon's mind was poetic, and he had the gift, which while it is not so rare as the transcendent imagination, is yet very rare, the gift of seeing analogies in common things. His similes and metaphors are the hardy flowers that grow by the wayside for any one to pluck. A whole body of them come from contemporary sports, cards, bowls, horsemanship. A cunning man may be able to "pack the cards" and yet not play well; so cunning men who understand persons rather than matters "are good but in their own alley," Of Cunning . Of a delicate constitution, he dabbled perforce in medicine, and another set of tropes reveal the curious materia medica of Tudor times, "You may take sarza to open the liver, steel to open the spleen, flower of sulphur for the lungs, castoreum for the brain; but no receipt openeth the heart but a true friend," Of Friendship . Finally, the freshness of much of Bacon's imagery is delightful, like "Charity will hardly water the ground where it must first fill a pool," Of Marriage and Single Life . Men who hold on to business with failing powers are "like old ​ townsmen, that will be still sitting at their street door, though thereby they offer age to scorn," Of Great Place . In manufactures and commerce he thought the Low Countries had "the best mines above ground in the world," Of Seditions and Troubles . And what a splendid metaphor that is in Of Vicissitude of Things ,—"The great winding-sheets that bury all things in oblivion are two; deluges and earthquakes." The image here transcends the thought and as artistry produces upon the mind the same effect in kind as the cataclysm itself. The force of language can no farther go.

The combination of wisdom in thought and brevity and picturesqueness in form, what Lady Anne Bacon called her son's "enigmatic gilded writing," makes Bacon's Essays the most quotable prose in English. Sharing the world-wide fame of Shakspere in this respect, many of Bacon's words and phrases of singular beauty and power are now fast woven into the web of English speech. No other prose work is so often quoted or has furnished so many quotations, even for those persons who have never read the essays in whole or in part. Not infrequently Bacon is cited for the Bible, but more often he is confounded by the unwary with Shakspere. Every essay is quotable,—

"The virtue of prosperity is temperance, the virtue of adversity is fortitude," Of Adversity .

"It is a poor centre of a man's actions, himself," Of Wisdom for a Man's Self .

"It hath been an opinion, that the French are ​ wiser than they seem, and the Spaniards seem wiser than they are," Of Seeming Wise .

"In sickness, respect health principally; and in health, action," Of Regiment of Health .

"For a crowd is not company, and faces are but a gallery of pictures, and talk but a tinkling cymbal, where there is no love," Of Friendship.

To vary Bacon, I have given the rule, if a man cannot find a bit of wisdom for himself, he may close the book.

What kind of man was the writer of these Essays ? Politically, as was natural in a man of family born and bred under the Tudor government, Bacon was an imperialist. His ideal was a strong, centralized government. He believed in rank and dignities, and thought ruling a natural function of the nobility. Though a contemporary of the young Oliver Cromwell, he was no democrat. Neither was Shakspere, born a man of the people. But Bacon would hardly have pushed the doctrine of royal divine right to the breaking point. He would have made concessions to the rising commonalty. Tolerance is a peculiarly attractive virtue and Bacon possessed it in a high degree. His wise prince is a sort of benevolent despot, a classical despot humanized by the ideas of the Renaissance. As to the conduct of life, there is much worldly wisdom inculcated in Bacon's maxims, some of which are frankly Machiavellian. Human nature is complex, and the bigger the man, the greater the complexity. The Essays are as surely the expression of a genuinely religious spirit, as ​ of a worldly-wise one. Indeed, in spite of Bacon's errors of conduct, and however repellent Bacon's political trimming is to the straightforward man, his Essays bear the strongest possible testimony to the essential soundness of Bacon's moral character. A good man only could have written them. Hear the witness of Ben Jonson, as honest a man as ever lived,—"My conceit of his Person was never increased towards him, by his place, or honours. But I have, and doe reverence him for the greatnesse, that was only proper to himselfe, in that hee seem'd to mee ever, by his worke one of the greatest men, and most worthy of admiration, that had beene in many Ages. In his adversity I ever prayed, that God would give him strength: for Greatnesse hee could not want. Neither could I condole in a word, or syllable for him; as knowing no Accident could doe harme to vertue, but rather helpe to make it manifest." ( Timber, or Discoveries. De augmentis scientiarum. )

bacon piece essay

  • Headers applying DefaultSort key

Navigation menu

  • Plan of the Edition
  • Editorial & Advisory Board
  • OFB I: Early Writings 1584-1596
  • OFB IV: Advancement of Learning
  • OFB VI: Philosophical Studies
  • OFB VIII: Historie of King Henry VII
  • OFB XI: Novum organum
  • OFB XII: Historia naturalis
  • OFB XIII: Instauratio: Last Writings

OFB XV: Essayes and Counsels (1625)

  • OFB II: Late Elizabethan Writings
  • OFB III: Earlier Jacobean Writings
  • OFB V: Early Philosophical Writings
  • OFB VII: Political and Legal Writings
  • OFB IX & X: De augmentis
  • OFB XIV: Sylva and New Atlantis
  • OFB XVI: Index
  • Short Titles
  • Submission Form
  • Early Editions

Oxford Francis Bacon XV: The Essayes or Counsels, Civill and Morall

Ed. by Michael Kiernan

Bacon’s essays reflect the experience and wide reading of a Renaissance man – philosopher, historian, judge, politician, adviser to the Prince – above all, astute observer of human nature. With uncompromising candour, he exposes man as he is, not as he ought to be, examining such givens of Renaissance power as negotiating for position, expediting a personal suit, speaking effectively, and the role of dissimulation in social and political situations. He scrutinizes judicial prerogatives and probes the causes and dangers of atheism and superstition. Even such topics as boldness or love or deformity have a practical bent. In Bacon’s own phrase, these essays ‘come home to Mens Businesse and Bosomes.’ It is especially through their matchless style that they come home–with imaginative vigour, concrete language, and the colloquial force of individual sentences. An introduction places the essays in their original context, examines their evolution over Bacon’s lifetime, and elucidates their form and prose style; a commentary examines his sources and relates essays to his other writings; a glossary and index are also included.

For further details, please see  Oxford University Press .

The Oxford Francis Bacon XV: The Essayes or Counsels, Civill and Morall , ed. by Michael Kiernan (Oxford University Press, 2000 [1985]), pp. 258. ISBN: 978-0-19-818673-1.

Recently Published

OFB I: Early Writings 1584-1596 , ed. by Alan Stewart with Harriet Knight

“It was during these years of frustrated ambition and conflicting objectives that Bacon composed the works contained in the collection edited by Alan Stewart with Harriet Knight. The Oxford Francis Bacon is a major scholarly project conceived by the late Graham Rees and administered nowadays by an editorial advisory board of 16 experts under the direction of Brian Vickers, the leading Baconian scholar. Early Writings 1584-96 is the seventh volume to be published and there will be 15 altogether.

… scholars will be grateful for the vast amount of labour it embodies. It fully justifies Graham Rees’s belief that a fresh edition of Bacon’s work was needed. New writings by him have been discovered since Spedding’s day, and better versions of the old ones. Spedding’s preference for modernised spelling has been abandoned. So has his artificial division of Bacon’s oeuvre into three distinct categories: ‘Philosophical Works’, ‘Literary and Professional Works’ and ‘Occasional Works’. Instead, Bacon’s writings are now arranged chronologically. This makes it easier to follow the development of his thought; and, by its juxtaposition of compositions on a wide range of subjects, it reminds the reader of the multifarious nature of his preoccupations.”

– Keith Thomas, London Review of Books 35 (2013)

“One of the most fundamental and obvious reminders offered by Alan Stewart’s edition of Bacon’s early writings is that his work took the form of writing. It can prove dangerous to describe this writing with reference to such anachronistic terms as ‘objectivity’, but the  Oxford Francis Bacon I  reminds us that Bacon’s significance for the history of science may lie as much in the way in which he wrote as in what he wrote.

… Stewart’s edition allows an examination of the kind of writing that Bacon developed in his early pieces, which played a role in shaping his natural philosophical work.”

– James Everest,  Intellectual History Review  24 (2014)

BACON’S  ESSAYS AND WISDOM  OF  THE ANCIENTS

WITH A BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICE BY A. SPIERS PREFACE BY B. MONTAGU, AND NOTES BY DIFFERENT WRITERS

Bacon

BOSTON LITTLE, BROWN, AND COMPANY

Copyright, 1884 , By Little, Brown, and Company . The University Press, Cambridge, Mass., U. S. A.

ADVERTISEMENT.

In preparing the present volume for the press, use has been freely made of several publications which have recently appeared in England. The Biographical Notice of the author is taken from an edition of the Essays, by A. Spiers, Ph. D. To this has been added the Preface to Pickering’s edition of the Essays and Wisdom of the Ancients, by Basil Montagu, Esq. Parker’s edition, by Thomas Markby, M. A., has furnished the arrangement of the Table prefixed to the Essays, and also “the references to the most important quotations.” The Notes, including the translations of the Latin, are chiefly copied from Bohn’s edition, prepared by Joseph Devey, M. A. We have given the modern translation of the Wisdom of the Ancients contained in Bohn’s edition, in preference to that “done by Sir Arthur Gorges,” although the last mentioned has a claim upon regard, as having been made by a contemporary of Lord Bacon, and published in his lifetime. Its language is in the style of English current in the author’s age, and for this reason may resemble more nearly what the philosopher himself would have used, had he composed the work in his own tongue instead of Latin.

APPENDIX TO ESSAYS.

The wisdom of the ancients; a series of mythological fables..

In the early part of the year 1597, Lord Bacon’s first publication appeared. It is a small 12mo. volume, entitled “Essayes, Religious Meditations, Places of Perswasion and Disswasion.” It is dedicated

“ To M. Anthony Bacon, his deare Brother . “Louing and beloued Brother, I doe nowe like some that have an Orcharde ill Neighbored, that gather their Fruit before it is ripe, to preuent stealing. These Fragments of my Conceites were going to print, To labour the staie of them had bin troublesome, and subiect to interpretation; to let them passe had beene to aduenture the wrong they mought receiue by vntrue Coppies, or by some Garnishment, which it mought please any that should set them forth to bestow vpon them. Therefore I helde it best as they passed long agoe from my Pen, without any further disgrace, then the weaknesse of the Author. And as I did euer hold, there mought be as great a vanitie in retiring and withdrawing mens conceites (except they bee of some nature) from the World, as in obtruding them: So in these particulars I haue played myself the Inquisitor, and find nothing to my vnderstanding in them contrarie or infectious to the state of Religion, or Manners, but rather (as I suppose) medecinable. Only I disliked now to put them out, because they will be like the late new Halfepence, xii which, though the Siluer were good, yet the Peeces were small. But since they would not stay with their Master, but would needes trauaile abroade, I haue preferred them to you that are next my selfe, Dedicating them, such as they are, to our Loue, in the depth whereof (I assure you) I sometimes wish your Infirmities translated vppon my selfe, that her Maiestie mought haue the Seruice of so actiue and able a Mind, and I mought be with excuse confined to these Contemplations and Studies for which I am fittest, so commend I you to the Preseruation of the Diuine Maiestie: From my Chamber at Graies Inne, this 30 of Januarie, 1597. Your entire Louing Brother, Fran. Bacon .”

The Essays, which are ten in number, abound with condensed thought and practical wisdom, neatly, pressly, and weightily stated, and, like all his early works, are simple, without imagery. They are written in his favorite style of aphorisms, although each essay is apparently a continued work, and without that love of antithesis and false glitter to which truth and justness of thought are frequently sacrificed by the writers of maxims.

A second edition, with a translation of the Meditationes Sacræ , was published in the next year; and another edition enlarged in 1612, when he was solicitor-general, containing thirty-eight essays; and one still more enlarged in 1625, containing fifty-eight essays, the year before his death.

The Essays in the subsequent editions are much augmented, according to his own words: “I always alter when I add, so that nothing is finished till all is finished,” and they are adorned by happy and familiar illustration, as in the essay of Wisdom for a Man’s Self, which concludes, in the edition of 1625, with the xiii following extract, not to be found in the previous edition: “Wisdom for a man’s self is, in many branches thereof, a depraved thing. It is the wisdom of rats, that will be sure to leave a house somewhat before it fall. It is the wisdom of the fox, that thrusts out the badger, who digged and made room for him. It is the wisdom of crocodiles, that shed tears when they would devour. But that which is specially to be noted is, that those which (as Cicero says of Pompey) are Sui Amantes sine Rivali are many times unfortunate. And whereas they have all their time sacrificed to themselves, they become in the end themselves sacrifices to the inconstancy of Fortune, whose wings they thought, by their self wisdom, to have pinioned.”

So in the essay upon Adversity, on which he had deeply reflected before the edition of 1625, when it first appeared, he says: “The virtue of prosperity is temperance; the virtue of adversity is fortitude; which in morals is the more heroical virtue. Prosperity is the blessing of the Old Testament; adversity is the blessing of the New, which carrieth the great benediction, and the clearer revelation of God’s favor. Yet, even in the Old Testament, if you listen to David’s harp, you shall hear as many hearse-like airs as carols; and the pencil of the Holy Ghost hath labored more in describing the afflictions of Job than the felicities of Solomon. Prosperity is not without many fears and distastes, and adversity is not without comforts and hopes. We see in needle-works and embroideries, it is more pleasing to have a lively work upon a sad and solemn ground than to have a dark and melancholy work upon a lightsome ground; judge, therefore, of the xiv pleasure of the heart by the pleasure of the eye. Certainly, virtue is like precious odors, most fragrant when they are incensed, or crushed; for prosperity doth best discover vice, but adversity doth best discover virtue.”

The Essays were immediately translated into French and Italian, and into Latin, by some of his friends, amongst whom were Hacket, Bishop of Lichfield, and his constant, affectionate friend, Ben Jonson.

His own estimate of the value of this work is thus stated in his letter to the Bishop of Winchester: “As for my Essays, and some other particulars of that nature, I count them but as the recreations of my other studies, and in that manner purpose to continue them; though I am not ignorant that these kind of writings would, with less pains and assiduity, perhaps yield more lustre and reputation to my name than the others I have in hand.”

Although it was not likely that such lustre and reputation would dazzle him, the admirer of Phocion, who, when applauded, turned to one of his friends, and asked, “What have I said amiss?” although popular judgment was not likely to mislead him who concludes his observations upon the objections to learning and the advantages of knowledge by saying: “Nevertheless, I do not pretend, and I know it will be impossible for me, by any pleading of mine, to reverse the judgment either of Æsop’s cock, that preferred the barleycorn before the gem; or of Midas, that being chosen judge between Apollo, president of the Muses, and Pan, god of the flocks, judged for plenty; or of Paris, that judged for beauty and love against wisdom and power. For these things continue as they have been; but so will that also xv continue whereupon learning hath ever relied and which faileth not, Justificata est sapientia a filiis suis :” yet he seems to have undervalued this little work, which for two centuries has been favorably received by every lover of knowledge and of beauty, and is now so well appreciated that a celebrated professor of our own times truly says: “The small volume to which he has given the title of ‘Essays,’ the best known and the most popular of all his works, is one of those where the superiority of his genius appears to the greatest advantage, the novelty and depth of his reflections often receiving a strong relief from the triteness of the subject. It may be read from beginning to end in a few hours; and yet after the twentieth perusal one seldom fails to remark in it something overlooked before. This, indeed, is a characteristic of all Bacon’s writings, and is only to be accounted for by the inexhaustible aliment they furnish to our own thoughts and the sympathetic activity they impart to our torpid faculties.”

During his life six or more editions, which seem to have been pirated, were published; and after his death, two spurious essays, “Of Death,” and “Of a King,” the only authentic posthumous essay being the Fragment of an Essay on Fame, which was published by his friend and chaplain, Dr. Rawley.

This edition is a transcript of the edition of 1625, with the posthumous essays. In the life of Bacon 1 there is a minute account of the different editions of the Essays and of their contents.

They may shortly be stated as follows:—

First edition, 1597, genuine.

There are two copies of this edition in the university library at Cambridge; and there is Archbishop Sancroft’s copy in Emanuel Library; there is a copy in the Bodleian, and I have a copy.

Second edition, 1598, genuine.

Third edition, 1606, pirated.

Fourth edition, entitled “The Essaies of Sir Francis Bacon, Knight, the Kings Solliciter Generall. Imprinted at London by Iohn Beale, 1612,” genuine. It was the intention of Sir Francis to have dedicated this edition to Henry, Prince of Wales; but he was prevented by the death of the prince on the 6th of November in that year. This appears by the following letter:—

To the Most High and Excellent Prince, Henry, Prince of Wales, Duke of Cornwall, and Earl of Chester. It may please your Highness: Having divided my life into the contemplative and active part, I am desirous to give his Majesty and your Highness of the fruits of both, simple though they be. To write just treatises, requireth leisure in the writer and leisure in the reader, and therefore are not so fit, neither in regard of your Highness’s princely affairs nor in regard of my continual service; which is the cause that hath made me choose to write certain brief notes, set down rather significantly than curiously, which I have called Essays. The word is late, but the thing is ancient; for Seneca’s Epistles to Lucilius, if you mark them well, are but Essays; that is, dispersed meditations though conveyed in the form of epistles. These labors of mine, I know, cannot be worthy of your Highness, for what can be worthy of you? But my hope is, they may be as grains of salt, that will rather give you an appetite than offend you with satiety. And although they handle those things wherein xvii both men’s lives and their persons are most conversant; yet what I have attained I know not; but I have endeavored to make them not vulgar, but of a nature whereof a man shall find much in experience and little in books; so as they are neither repetitions nor fancies. But, however, I shall most humbly desire your Highness to accept them in gracious part, and to conceive, that if I cannot rest but must show my dutiful and devoted affection to your Highness in these things which proceed from myself, I shall be much more ready to do it in performance of any of your princely commandments. And so wishing your Highness all princely felicity, I rest your Highness’s most humble servant, 1612. Fr. Bacon .

It was dedicated as follows:—

To my loving Brother, Sir John Constable, Knt. My last Essaies I dedicated to my deare brother Master Anthony Bacon, who is with God. Looking amongst my Papers this vacation, I found others of the same nature: which, if I myselfe shall not suffer to be lost, it seemeth the World will not; by the often printing of the former. Missing my Brother, I found you next; in respect of bond both of neare Alliance, and of straight Friendship and Societie, and particularly of communication in Studies. Wherein I must acknowledge my selfe beholding to you. For as my Businesse found rest in my Contemplations, so my Contemplations ever found rest in your loving Conference and Judgment. So wishing you all good, I remaine your louing Brother and Friend, Fra. Bacon .

Fifth edition, 1612, pirated. Sixth edition, 1613, pirated. Seventh edition, 1624, pirated. Eighth edition, 1624, pirated. Ninth edition, entitled, “The Essayes or Covnsels, Civill and Morall, of Francis Lo. Vervlam, xviii Viscovnt St. Alban. Newly enlarged. London, Printed by Iohn Haviland for Hanna Barret and Richard Whitaker, and are to be sold at the Signe of the King’s Head in Paul’s Churchyard.” 1625, genuine.

This edition is a small quarto of 340 pages; it clearly was published by Lord Bacon; and in the next year, 1626, Lord Bacon died. The Dedication is as follows, to the Duke of Buckingham:—

To the Right Honorable my very good Lo. the Duke of Buckingham his Grace, Lo. High Admirall of England. Excellent Lo. :—Salomon saies, A good Name is as a precious Oyntment; and I assure myselfe, such wil your Grace’s Name bee, with Posteritie. For your Fortune and Merit both, haue beene eminent. And you haue planted things that are like to last. I doe now publish my Essayes; which, of all my other Workes, have beene most currant: for that, as it seemes, they come home to Mens Businesse and Bosomes. I haue enlarged them both in number and weight, so that they are indeed a new Work. I thought it therefore agreeable to my Affection, and Obligation to your Grace, to prefix your Name before them, both in English and in Latine. For I doe conceiue, that the Latine Volume of them (being in the vniuersal language) may last as long as Bookes last. My Instauration I dedicated to the King: my Historie of Henry the Seventh (which I haue now also translated into Latine), and my Portions of Naturall History, to the Prince: and these I dedicate to your Grace: being of the best Fruits, that by the good encrease which God gives to my pen and labours, I could yeeld. God leade your Grace by the Hand. Your Graces most obliged and faithfull Seruant. Fr. St. Alban.

Of this edition, Lord Bacon sent a copy to the Marquis Fiat, with the following letter: 2 —

“ Monsieur l’Ambassadeur mon Filz : Voyant que vostre Excellence faict et traite Mariages, non seulement entre les Princes d’Angleterre et de France, mais aussi entre les langues (puis que faictes traduire mon Liure de l’Advancement des Sciences en Francois) i’ai bien voulu vous envoyer mon Liure dernierement imprimé que i’avois pourveu pour vous, mais i’estois en doubte, de le vous envoyer, pour ce qu’il estoit escrit en Anglois. Mais a’ cest’heure pour la raison susdicte ie le vous envoye. C’est un Recompilement de mes Essays Morales et Civiles; mais tellement enlargiés et enrichiés, tant de nombre que de poix, que c’est de fait un ouvre nouveau. Ie vous baise les mains, et reste vostre tres affectionée Ami, et tres humble Serviteur. THE SAME IN ENGLISH. My Lord Ambassador, my Son : Seeing that your Excellency makes and treats of Marriages, not only betwixt the Princes of France and England, but also betwixt their languages (for you have caused my book of the Advancement of Learning to be translated into French), I was much inclined to make you a present of the last book which I published, and which I had in readiness for you. I was sometimes in doubt whether I ought to have sent it to you, because it was written in the English tongue. But now, for that very reason, I send it to you. It is a recompilement of my Essays Moral and Civil; but in such manner enlarged and enriched both in number and weight, that it is in effect a new work. I kiss your hands, and remain your most affectionate friend and most humble servant, &c.

Of the translation of the Essays into Latin, Bacon speaks in the following letter:—

“ To Mr. Tobie Mathew : It is true my labors are now most set to have those works which I had formerly published, as that of Advancement of Learning, that of Henry VII., that of the Essays, being retractate and made more perfect, well translated into Latin by the help of some good pens which forsake me not. For these modern languages will, at one time or other, play the bankrupt with books; and since I have lost much time with this age, I would be glad, as God shall give me leave, to recover it with posterity. For the Essay of Friendship, while I took your speech of it for a cursory request, I took my promise for a compliment. But since you call for it, I shall perform it.”

In his letter to Father Fulgentio, giving some account of his writings, he says:—

“The Novum Organum should immediately follow; but my moral and political writings step in between as being more finished. These are, the History of King Henry VII., and the small book, which, in your language, you have called Saggi Morali , but I give it a graver title, that of Sermones Fideles , or Interiora Rerum , and these Essays will not only be enlarged in number, but still more in substance.”

The nature of the Latin edition, and of the Essays in general, is thus stated by Archbishop Tenison:—

“The Essays, or Counsels Civil and Moral, though a by-work also, do yet make up a book of greater weight by far than the Apothegms; and coming home to men’s business and bosoms, his lordship entertained this persuasion concerning them, that the Latin volume might last as long as books should last. His lordship wrote them in the English tongue, and enlarged them as occasion served, and at last added to them the Colors of Good and Evil, which are likewise found in his book De Augmentis . The Latin translation of them was xxi a work performed by divers hands: by those of Dr. Hacket (late Bishop of Lichfield), Mr. Benjamin Jonson (the learned and judicious poet,) and some others, whose names I once heard from Dr. Rawley, but I cannot now recall them. To this Latin edition he gave the title of Sermones Fideles , after the manner of the Jews, who called the words Adagies, or Observations of the Wise, Faithful Sayings; that is, credible propositions worthy of firm assent and ready acceptance. And (as I think), he alluded more particularly, in this title, to a passage in Ecclesiastes , where the preacher saith, that he sought to find out Verba Delectabilia (as Tremellius rendereth the Hebrew), pleasant words; (that is, perhaps, his Book of Canticles;) and Verba Fidelia (as the same Tremellius), Faithful Sayings; meaning, it may be, his collection of Proverbs. In the next verse, he calls them Words of the Wise, and so many goads and nails given ab eodem pastore , from the same shepherd [of the flock of Israel”].

In the year 1638, Rawley published, in folio, a volume containing, amongst other works, Sermones Fideles, ab ipso Honoratissimo Auctore, præterquam in paucis, Latinitate donati . In his address to the reader, he says:—

Accedunt, quas priùs Delibationes Civiles et Morales inscripserat; Quas etiam in Linguas plurimas Modernas translatas esse novit; sed eas posteà, et Numero, et Pondere, auxit; In tantum, ut veluti Opus Novum videri possint; Quas mutato Titulo , Sermones Fideles, sive Interiora Rerum, inscribi placuit . The title-page and dedication are annexed: Sermones Fideles sive Interiora Rerum. Per Franciscum Baconum Baronem de Vervlamio, Vice-Comitem Sancti Albani. Londini Excusum typis Edwardi Griffin. Prostant ad Insignia Regia in Cœmeterio D. Pauli, apud Richardum Whitakerum , 1638. xxii Illustri et Excellenti Domino Georgio Duci Buckinghamiæ , Summo Angliæ Admirallio. Honoratissime Domine , Salomon inquit, Nomen bonum est instar Vnguenti fragrantis et pretiosi ; Neque dubito, quin tale futurum sit Nomen tuum apud Posteros. Etenim et Fortuna, et Merita tua, præcelluerunt. Et videris ea plantasse, quæ sint duratura. In lucem jam edere mihi visum est Delibationes meas , quæ ex omnibus meis Operibus fuerunt acceptissimæ: Quia forsitan videntur, præ cæteris, Hominum Negotia stringere, et in sinus fluere. Eas autem auxi, et Numero, et Pondere; In tantum, ut planè Opus Novum sint. Consentaneum igitur duxi, Affectui, et Obligationi meæ, erga Illustrissimam Dominationem tuam, ut Nomen tuum illis præfigam, tam in Editione Anglicâ , quam Latinâ . Etenim, in bonâ spe sum, Volumen earum in Latinam ( Linguam scilicet universalem), versum, posse durare, quamdiù Libri et Literæ durent. Instaurationem meam Regi dicavi: Historiam Regni Henrici Septimi (quam etiam in Latinum verti et Portiones meas Naturalis Historiæ , Principi ): Has autem Delibationes Illustrissimæ Dominationi tuæ dico, Cùm sint, ex Fructibus optimis, quos Gratia divinâ Calami mei laboribus indulgente, exhibere potui. Deus illustrissimam Dominationem tuam manu ducat. Illustrissimæ Dominationis tuæ Servus Devinctissimus et Fidelis. Fr. S. Alban.

In the year 1618, the Essays, together with the Wisdom of the Ancients, was translated into Italian, and dedicated to Cosmo de Medici , by Tobie Mathew; and in the following year the Essays were translated into French by Sir Arthur Gorges, and printed in London.

WISDOM OF THE ANCIENTS.

In the year 1609, as a relaxation from abstruse speculations, he published in Latin his interesting little work, De Sapientia Veterum .

This tract seems, in former times, to have been much valued. The fables, abounding with a union of deep thought and poetic beauty, are thirty-one in number, of which a part of The Sirens, or Pleasures, may be selected as a specimen.

In this fable he explains the common but erroneous supposition that knowledge and the conformity of the will, knowing and acting, are convertible terms. Of this error, he, in his essay of Custom and Education, admonishes his readers, by saying: “Men’s thoughts are much according to their inclination; their discourse and speeches according to their learning and infused opinions, but their deeds are after as they have been accustomed; Æsop’s Damsel, transformed from a cat to a woman, sat very demurely at the board-end till a mouse ran before her.” In the fable of the Sirens he exhibits the same truth, saying: “The habitation of the Sirens was in certain pleasant islands, from whence, as soon as out of their watchtower they discovered any ships approaching, with their sweet tunes they would first entice and stay them, and, having them in their power, would destroy them; and, so great were the mischiefs they did, that these isles of the Sirens, even as far off as man can ken them, appeared all over white with the bones of unburied carcasses; by which it is signified that albeit the examples of afflictions be mani xxiv fest and eminent, yet they do not sufficiently deter us from the wicked enticements of pleasure.”

The following is the account of the different editions of this work: The first was published in 1609. In February 27, 1610, Lord Bacon wrote to Mr. Mathew, upon sending his book De Sapientia Veterum :—

“ Mr. Mathew : I do very heartily thank you for your letter of the 24th of August, from Salamanca; and in recompense therefore I send you a little work of mine that hath begun to pass the world. They tell me my Latin is turned into silver, and become current: had you been here, you should have been my inquisitor before it came forth; but, I think, the greatest inquisitor in Spain will allow it. But one thing you must pardon me if I make no haste to believe, that the world should be grown to such an ecstasy as to reject truth in philosophy, because the author dissenteth in religion; no more than they do by Aristotle or Averroes. My great work goeth forward; and after my manner, I alter even when I add; so that nothing is finished till all be finished. This I have written in the midst of a term and parliament; thinking no time so possessed, but that I should talk of these matters with so good and dear a friend. And so with my wonted wishes I leave you to God’s goodness. “From Gray’s Inn, Feb. 27, 1610.”

And in his letter to Father Fulgentio, giving some account of his writings, he says: “My Essays will not only be enlarged in number, but still more in substance. Along with them goes the little piece De Sapientia Veterum .”

In the Advancement of Learning he says:—

“There remaineth yet another use of poesy parabolical, opposite to that which we last mentioned; for that tendeth xxv to demonstrate and illustrate that which is taught or delivered, and this other to retire and obscure it; that is, when the secrets and mysteries of religion, policy, or philosophy are involved in fables or parables. Of this in divine poesy we see the use is authorized. In heathen poesy we see the exposition of fables doth fall out sometimes with great felicity; as in the fable that the giants being overthrown in their war against the gods, the earth, their mother, in revenge thereof brought forth Fame,— Illam Terra parens, irâ irritata Deorum, Extremam, ut perhibent, Cœo Enceladoque sororem Progenuit, expounded, that when princes and monarchs have suppressed actual and open rebels, then the malignity of the people, which is the mother of rebellion, doth bring forth libels and slanders, and taxations of the State, which is of the same kind with rebellion, but more feminine. So in the fable, that the rest of the gods having conspired to bind Jupiter, Pallas called Briareus, with his hundred hands, to his aid; expounded, that monarchies need not fear any curbing of their absoluteness by mighty subjects, as long as by wisdom they keep the hearts of the people, who will be sure to come in on their side. So in the fable, that Achilles was brought up under Chiron, the centaur, who was part a man and part a beast, expounded ingeniously, but corruptly by Machiavel, that it belongeth to the education and discipline of princes to know as well how to play the part of the lion in violence, and the fox in guile, as of the man in virtue and justice. Nevertheless, in many the like encounters, I do rather think that the fable was first, and the exposition then devised, than that the moral was first, and thereupon the fable framed. For I find it was an ancient vanity in Chrysippus, that troubled himself with great contention to fasten the assertions of the stoics upon the fictions of the ancient poets; but yet that all the fables and fictions of the poets were but pleasure, and not figure, I xxvi interpose no opinion. Surely, of those poets which are now extant, even Homer himself (notwithstanding he was made a kind of Scripture by the latter schools of the Grecians), yet I should without any difficulty pronounce that his fables had no such inwardness in his own meaning; but what they might have upon a more original tradition, is not easy to affirm; for he was not the inventor of many of them.”

In the treatise De Augmentis the same sentiments will be found, with a slight alteration in the expressions. He says:—

“There is another use of parabolical poesy opposite to the former, which tendeth to the folding up of those things, the dignity whereof deserves to be retired and distinguished, as with a drawn curtain; that is, when the secrets and mysteries of religion, policy, and philosophy are veiled and invested with fables and parables. But whether there be any mystical sense couched under the ancient fables of the poets, may admit some doubt; and, indeed, for our part, we incline to this opinion, as to think that there was an infused mystery in many of the ancient fables of the poets. Neither doth it move us that these matters are left commonly to school-boys and grammarians, and so are embased, that we should therefore make a slight judgment upon them, but contrariwise, because it is clear that the writings which recite those fables, of all the writings of men, next to sacred writ, are the most ancient; and that the fables themselves are far more ancient than they (being they are alleged by those writers, not as excogitated by them, but as credited and recepted before) seem to be, like a thin rarefied air, which, from the traditions of more ancient nations, fell into the flutes of the Grecians.”

Of this tract, Archbishop Tenison, in his Baconiana , says:—

“In the seventh place, I may reckon his book De Sapientia Veterum , written by him in Latin, and set forth a second time with enlargement; and translated into English by Sir Arthur Gorges; a book in which the sages of former times are rendered more wise than it may be they were, by so dexterous an interpreter of their fables. It is this book which Mr. Sandys means, in those words which he hath put before his notes on the Metamorphosis of Ovid. ‘Of modern writers, I have received the greatest light from Geraldus, Pontanus, Ficinus, Vives, Comes, Scaliger, Sabinus, Pierius, and the crown of the latter, the Viscount of St. Albans.’ “It is true, the design of this book was instruction in natural and civil matters, either couched by the ancients under those fictions, or rather made to seem to be so by his lordship’s wit, in the opening and applying of them. But because the first ground of it is poetical story, therefore, let it have this place till a fitter be found for it.”

The author of Bacon’s Life, in the Biographia Britannica , says:—

“That he might relieve himself a little from the severity of these studies, and, as it were, amuse himself with erecting a magnificent pavilion, while his great palace of philosophy was building, he composed and sent abroad, in 1610, his celebrated treatise of the Wisdom of the Ancients, in which he showed that none had studied them more closely, was better acquainted with their beauties, or had pierced deeper into their meaning. There have been very few books published, either in this or any other nation, which either deserved or met with more general applause than this, and scarce any that are like to retain it longer, for in this performance Sir Francis Bacon gave a singular proof of his capacity to please all parties in literature, as in his political conduct he stood fair with all the parties in the nation. The admirers of antiquity were charmed with this discourse, which seems expressly calculated to justify their xxviii admiration; and, on the other hand, their opposites were no less pleased with a piece from which they thought they could demonstrate that the sagacity of a modern genius had found out much better meanings for the ancients than ever were meant by them.”

And Mallet, in his Life of Bacon, says:—

“In 1610 he published another treatise, entitled, Of the Wisdom of the Ancients. This work bears the same stamp of an original and inventive genius with his other performances. Resolving not to tread in the steps of those who had gone before him, men, according to his own expression, not learned beyond certain commonplaces, he strikes out a new tract for himself, and enters into the most secret recesses of this wild and shadowy region, so as to appear new on a known and beaten subject. Upon the whole, if we cannot bring ourselves readily to believe that there is all the physical, moral, and political meaning veiled under those fables of antiquity, which he has discovered in them, we must own that it required no common penetration to be mistaken with so great an appearance of probability on his side. Though it still remains doubtful whether the ancients were so knowing as he attempts to show they were, the variety and depth of his own knowledge are, in that very attempt, unquestionable.”

In the year 1619 this tract was translated by Sir Arthur Gorges. Prefixed to the work are two letters; the one to the Earl of Salisbury, the other to the University of Cambridge, which Gorges omits, and dedicates his translation to the high and illustrious princess the Lady Elizabeth of Great Britain, Duchess of Baviare, Countess Palatine of Rheine, and chief electress of the empire.

This translation, it should be noted, was published xxix during the life of Lord Bacon by a great admirer of his works.

The editions of this work with which I am acquainted are:—

NOTICE OF FRANCIS BACON.

Francis Bacon , the subject of the following memoir, was the youngest son of highly remarkable parents. His father, Sir Nicholas Bacon, was an eminent lawyer, and for twenty years Keeper of the Seals and Privy Counsellor to Queen Elizabeth. Sir Nicholas was styled by Camden sacris conciliis alterum columen ; he was the author of some unpublished discourses on law and politics, and of a commentary on the minor prophets. He discharged the duties of his high office with exemplary propriety and wisdom; he preserved through life the integrity of a good man, and the moderation and simplicity of a great one. He had inscribed over the entrance of his hall, at Gorhambury, the motto, mediocria firma ; and when the Queen, in a progress, paid him a visit there, she remarked to him that his house was too small for him. “Madam,” answered the Lord Keeper, “my house is well, but it is you 2 that have made me too great for my house.” This anecdote has been preserved by his son, 3 who, had he as carefully retained the lesson of practical wisdom it contained, might have avoided the misfortunes and sorrows of his checkered life.

Bacon’s mother, Anne Cooke, was the daughter of Sir Anthony Cooke, tutor to King Edward the Sixth; like the young ladies of her time, like Lady Jane Grey, like Queen Elizabeth, she received an excellent classical education; her sister, Lady Burleigh, was pronounced by Roger Ascham, Queen Elizabeth’s preceptor, to be, with the exception of Lady Jane Grey, the best Greek scholar among the young women of England. 4 Anne Cooke, the future Lady Bacon, corresponded in Greek with Bishop Jewel, and translated from the Latin this divine’s Apologia ; a task which she performed so well that it is said the good prelate could not discover an inaccuracy or suggest an alteration. She also translated from the Italian a volume of sermons on fate and freewill, written by Bernardo Ochino, an Italian reformer. Francis Bacon, the youngest of five sons, 3 inherited the classical learning and taste of both his parents.

He was born at York House, in the Strand, London, on the 22d of January, 1560-61. His health, when he was a boy, was delicate; a circumstance which may perhaps account for his early love of sedentary pursuits, and probably the early gravity of his demeanor. Queen Elizabeth, he tells us, took particular delight in “trying him with questions,” when he was quite a child, and was so much pleased with the sense and manliness of his answers that she used jocularly to call him “her young Lord Keeper of the Seals.” Bacon himself relates that while he was a boy, the Queen once asked him his age; the precocious courtier readily replied that he “was just two years younger than her happy reign.” He is said, also, when very young, to have stolen away from his playfellows in order to investigate the cause of a singular echo in St. James’s Fields, which attracted his attention.

Until the age of thirteen he remained under the tuition of his accomplished mother, aided by a private tutor only; under their care he attained the elements of the classics, that education preliminary to the studies of the University. At thirteen he was sent to Trinity College, Cambridge, where his father had been educated. Here he studied diligently the great models of antiquity, mathematics, and philosophy, worshipped, however, but indevoutly at the shrine of Aristotle, whom, according to Raw 4 ley, his chaplain and biographer, he already derided “for the unfruitfulness of the way,—being only strong for disputation, but barren of the production of works for the life of man.” He remained three years at this seat of learning, without, however, taking a degree at his departure.

When he was but sixteen years old he began his travels, the indispensable end of every finished education in England. He repaired to Paris, where he resided some time under the care of Sir Amyas Paulet, the English minister at the court of France.

Here he invented an ingenious method of writing in cipher; an art which he probably cultivated with a view to a diplomatic career.

He visited several of the provinces of France and of the towns of Italy. Italy was then the country in which human knowledge in all its branches was most successfully cultivated. It is related by Signor Cancellieri that Bacon, when at Rome, presented himself as a candidate to the Academy of the Lincei , and was not admitted. 5 He remained on the continent for three years, until his father’s death, in 1580. The melancholy event, which bereft him of his parent, at the age of nineteen, was fatal to his prospects. His father had intended to purchase an estate for his youngest son, as he had done for his other sons; but he dying before this intention was 5 realized, the money was equally divided between all the children; so that Francis inherited but one fifth of that fortune intended for him alone. He was the only one of the sons that was left unprovided for. He had now “to study to live,” instead of “living to study.” He wished, to use his own language, “to become a true pioneer in that mine of truth which lies so deep.” He applied to the government for a provision which his father’s interest would easily have secured him, and by which he might dispense with a profession. The Queen must have looked with favor upon the son of a minister, who had served her faithfully for twenty long years, and upon a young man whom, when he was a child, she had caressed, she had distinguished by the appellation of her “young Lord Keeper.” But Francis Bacon was abandoned, and perhaps opposed by the colleague and nearest friend of his father, the brother-in-law of his mother, his maternal uncle, Lord Burleigh, then Prime Minister, who feared for his son the rivalry of his all-talented nephew. It is a trick common to envy and detraction, to convert a man’s very qualities into their concomitant defects; and because Bacon was a great thinker, he was represented as unfit for the active duties of business, as “a man rather of show than of depth,” as “a speculative man, indulging himself in philosophical reveries, and calculated more to perplex than to promote public business.” 6 Thus was the future ornament 6 of his country and of mankind sacrificed to Robert, afterwards Sir Robert Cecil, Earl of Salisbury, of whose history fame has learned but little, save the execution of Essex and Mary Queen of Scots, the name, and this petty act of mean jealousy of his father! In the disposal of patronage and place, acts and even motives of this species are not so unfrequent as the world would appear to imagine. In all ages, it is to be feared, many and great, as in Shakspeare’s time, are,

It is, however, but justice to the morals of Lord Burleigh, to add that he was insensible to literary merit; he thought a hundred pounds too great a reward to be given to Spenser for what he termed “an old song,” for so he denominated the Faery Queen .

Bacon then selected the law as his profession; and in 1580 he was entered of Gray’s Inn; 7 he resisted the temptations of his companions and friends, (for his company was much courted), and diligently pursued the study he had chosen; but he did not at this time entirely lose sight of his philosophical speculations, for he then published his Temporis partus maximus , or The Greatest Birth of Time . This work, notwithstanding its pompous title, was unnoticed or rather fell stillborn from the press; the 7 sole trace of it is found in one of his letters to Father Fulgentio.

In 1586, he was called to the bar; his practice there appears to have been limited, although not without success; for the Queen and the Court are said to have gone to hear him when he was engaged in any celebrated cause. He was, at this period of his life, frequently admitted to the Queen’s presence and conversation. He was appointed her Majesty’s Counsel Extraordinary, 8 but he had no salary and small fees.

In 1592, his uncle, the Lord Treasurer, procured for him the reversion of the registrarship of the Star Chamber, worth sixteen hundred pounds (forty thousand francs) a year; but the office did not become vacant till twenty years after, so that, as Bacon justly observes, “it might mend his prospects, but did not fill his barns.”

A parliament was summoned in 1593, and Bacon was returned to the House of Commons, for the County of Middlesex; he distinguished himself here as a speaker. “The fear of every man who heard him,” says his contemporary, Ben Jonson, “was lest he should make an end.” He made, however, on one occasion a speech which much displeased the Queen and Court. Elizabeth directed the Lord 8 Keeper to intimate to him that he must expect neither favor nor promotion; the repentant courtier replied in writing, that “her Majesty’s favor was dearer to him than his life.” 9

In the following year the situation of Solicitor-General 10 became vacant. Bacon ardently aspired to it. He applied successively to Lord Burleigh, his uncle, to Lord Puckering, his father’s successor, to the Earl of Essex, their rival, and finally to the Queen herself, accompanying his letters, as was the custom of the times, with a present, a jewel. 11 But once more he saw mediocrity preferred, and himself rejected. A Serjeant Fleming was appointed her Majesty’s Solicitor-General. Bacon, overwhelmed by this disappointment, wished to retire from public life, and to reside abroad. “I hoped,” said he in a letter to Sir Robert Cecil, “her Majesty would not be offended that, not able to endure the sun, I fled into the shade.”

The Earl of Essex, whose mind, says Mr. Macaulay, “naturally disposed to admiration of all that 9 is great and beautiful, was fascinated by the genius and the accomplishments of Bacon,” 12 had exerted every effort in Bacon’s behalf; to use his own language, he “spent all his power, might, authority, and amity;” he now sought to indemnify him, and, with royal munificence, presented him with an estate of the value of nearly two thousand pounds, a sum worth perhaps four or five times the amount in the money of our days. If anything could enhance the benefaction, it was the delicacy with which it was conferred, or, as Bacon himself expresses it, “with so kind and noble circumstances as the manner was worth more than the matter.”

Bacon published his Essays in 1597; he considered them but as the “recreations of his other studies.” The idea of them was probably first suggested by Montaigne’s Essais , but there is little resemblance between the two works beyond the titles. The first edition contained but ten Essays, which were shorter than they now are. The work was reprinted in 1598, with little or no variation; again in 1606; and in 1612 there was a fourth edition, etc. However, he afterwards, he says, “enlarged it both in number and weight;” but it did not assume its present form until the ninth edition, in 1625, that is, twenty-eight years after its first publication, and one year before the death of the author. It appeared under the new title of The Essaies or Covnsels Civill and Morall, of Francis Lo. Vervlam, 10 Viscovnt St. Alban. Newly enlarged. This is not followed by the Religious Meditations, Places of Perswasion and Disswasion, seene and allowed . The Essays were soon translated into Italian with the title of Saggi Morali del Signore Francesco Bacono, Cavagliero Inglese, Gran Cancelliero d’ Inghilterra . This translation was dedicated to Cosmo de Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany; and was reprinted in London in 1618. Of the three Essays added after Bacon’s decease, two of them, Of a King and Of Death , are not genuine; the Fragment of an Essay on Fame alone is Bacon’s.

In this same year (1597) he again took his seat in Parliament. He soon made ample amends for his opposition speech in the previous session; but this time he gained the favor of the Court without forfeiting his popularity in the House of Commons.

He now thought of strengthening his interest, or increasing his fortune, by a matrimonial connection; and he sought the hand of a rich widow, Lady Hatton, his second cousin; but here he was again doomed to disappointment; a preference was given to his old rival, the Attorney-General, Sir Edward Coke, notwithstanding the “seven objections to him—his six children and himself.” But although Bacon was perhaps unaware of it, the rejection of his suit was one of the happiest events of his life; for the eccentric manners and violent temper of the lady rendered her a torment to all around her, and 11 probably most of all to her husband. In reality, as has been wittily observed, the lady was doubly kind to him; “she rejected him, and she accepted his enemy.”

Another mortification awaited him at this period. A relentless creditor, a usurer, had him arrested for a debt of three hundred pounds, and he was conveyed to a spunging-house, where he was confined for a few days, until arrangements could be made to satisfy the claim or the claimant.

We now arrive at a painfully sad point in the life of Bacon; a dark foul spot, which should be hidden forever, did not history, like the magistrate of Egypt that interrogated the dead, demand that the truth, the whole truth, should be told.

We have seen that between Bacon and the Earl of Essex, all was disinterested affection on the part of the latter; the Earl employed his good offices for him, exerted heart and soul to insure his success as Solicitor-General, and, on Bacon’s failure, conferred on him a princely favor, a gift of no ordinary value.

When Essex’s fortunes declined, and the Earl fell into disgrace, Bacon endeavored to mediate between the Queen and her favorite. The case became hopeless. Essex left his command in Ireland without leave, was ordered in confinement, and after a long imprisonment and trial before the Privy Council, he was liberated. Irritated by the refusal of a favor he solicited, he was betrayed into reflections on the 12 Queen’s age and person, which were never to be forgiven, and he engaged in a conspiracy to seize on the Queen, and to settle a new plan of government. On the failure of this attempt, he was arrested, committed to the Tower, and brought to trial for high treason before the House of Peers. During his long captivity, who does not expect to see Bacon, his friend, a frequent visitor in his cell? Before the two tribunals, can we fail to meet Bacon, his counsel, at his side? We trace Bacon at Court, where, he assures us, after Elizabeth’s death, that he endeavored to appease and reconcile the Queen; but the place was too distant from the prison: for he never visited there his fallen friend.

At the first trial, Bacon did indeed make his appearance, but as “her Majesty’s Counsel extraordinary,” not for the defence, but for the prosecution of the prisoner. But he may be expected at least to have treated him leniently? He admits he did not, on account, as he tells us, of the “superior duty he owed to the Queen’s fame and honor in a public proceeding.” But hitherto, the Earl’s liberty alone had been endangered; now, his life is at stake. Do not the manifold favors, the munificent benefactions all arise in the generous mind of Bacon? Does he not waive all thought of interest and promotion and worldly honor to devote himself wholly to the sacred task of saving his patron, benefactor, and friend? Her Majesty’s Counsel extraordinary appeared in the place of the Solicitor-General, to reply 13 to Essex’s defence; he compared the accused first to Cain, then to Pisistratus. The Earl made a pathetic appeal to his judges; Bacon showed he had not answered his objections, and compared him to the Duke of Guise, the most odious comparison he could have instituted. Essex was condemned; the Queen wavered in her resolution to execute him; his friend’s intercession might perhaps have been able to save Essex from an ignominious death. Did Bacon, in his turn, “spend all his power, might, and amity?” The Queen’s Counsel extraordinary might have offended his sovereign by his importunity, and have been forgotten in the impending vacancy of the office of Solicitor-General! Essex died on the scaffold. But the execution rendered the Queen unpopular, and she was received with mournful silence when she appeared in public. She ordered a pamphlet to be written to justify the execution; she made choice of Bacon as the writer; the courtier did not decline the task, but published A Declaration of the Practices and Treasons attempted and committed by Robert, late Earle of Essex and his Complices, against her Maiestie and her Kingdoms . This faithless friend, to use the language of Macaulay, “exerted his professional talents to shed the Earl’s blood, and his literary talents to blacken the Earl’s memory.”

The memory of Essex suffered but little from the attack of the pamphlet; the base pamphleteer’s memory is blackened forever, and to his fair name of “the 14 wisest, brightest,” has been appended the “meanest of mankind.” But let us cast a pall over this act, this moral murder, perpetrated by the now degraded orator, degraded philosopher, the now most degraded of men.

Elizabeth died in 1601; and before the arrival of James, in England, Bacon wrote him a pedantic letter, probably to gratify the taste of the pedant king; but he did not forget in it, “his late dear sovereign Mistress—a princess happy in all things, but most happy—in such a successor.”

Bacon solicited the honor of knighthood, a distinction much lavished at this period. At the King’s coronation, he knelt down in company with above three hundred gentlemen; but “he rose Sir Francis.” He sought the hand of a rich alderman’s daughter, Miss Barnham, who consented to become Lady Bacon.

The Earl of Southampton, Shakspeare’s generous patron and friend, who had been convicted of high treason in the late reign, now received the King’s pardon. This called to all men’s minds the fate of the unhappy Earl of Essex, and of his odiously ungrateful accuser; the latter unadvisedly published the Sir Francis Bacon, his Apologie in certaine imputations concerning the late Earle of Essex ; a defence which, in the estimation of one of his biographers, Lord Campbell, has injured him more with posterity than all the attacks of his enemies.

In the new Parliament, he represented the borough 15 of Ipswich; he spoke frequently, and obtained the good graces of the King by the support he gave to James’s favorite plan of a union of England and Scotland; a measure by no means palatable to the King’s new subjects.

The object of all his hopes, the price, perhaps, of his conduct to Essex, seemed in 1606 to be within his reach; but he was once more to be disappointed. His old enemy, Sir Edward Coke, prevented the vacancy. The following year, however, after long and humiliating solicitation, he attained the office to which he had so long aspired, and was appointed Solicitor-General to the Crown.

Official advancement was now the object nearest his heart, and he longed to be Attorney-General. 13

In 1613, by a master stroke of policy, he created a vacancy for himself as Attorney-General, and managed at the same time to disserve his old enemy, Coke, by getting him preferred in rank, but at the expense of considerable pecuniary loss.

After his new appointment, he was reëlected to his seat in the House of Commons; he had gained 16 so much popularity there, that the House admitted him, although it resolved to exclude future Attorneys-General; a resolution rescinded by later Parliaments.

The Attorney-General, as may be supposed, did not lack zeal in his master’s service and for his master’s prerogative. One case, in particular, was atrocious. An aged clergyman, named Peacham, was prosecuted for high treason for a sermon which he had neither preached nor published; the unfortunate old man was apprehended, put to the torture in presence of the Attorney-General, and as the latter himself tells us, was examined “before torture, between torture, and after torture,” although Bacon must have been fully aware that the laws of England did not sanction torture to extort confession. Bacon tampered with the judges, and obtained a conviction; but the government durst not carry the sentence into execution. Peacham languished in prison till the ensuing year, when Providence rescued him from the hands of human justice.

In 1616, Bacon was offered the formal promise of the Chancellorship, or an actual appointment as Privy Councillor; he was too prudent not to prefer an appointment to a promise, and he was accordingly nominated to the functions of member of the Privy Council. His present leisure enabled him to prosecute vigorously his Novum Organum , but he turned aside to occupy himself with a proposition for the amendment of the laws of England, on which 17 Lord Campbell, assuredly the most competent of judges, passes a high encomium.

At length, in 1617, Sir Francis Bacon attained the end of the ambition of his life, he became Lord Keeper of the Seals, with the functions, though not the title, of Lord High Chancellor of England. His promotion to this dignity gave general satisfaction; his own university, Cambridge, congratulated him; Oxford imitated the example; the world expected a perfect judge, formed from his own model in his Essay of Judicature. He took his seat in the Court of Chancery with the utmost pomp and parade.

The Lord Keeper now endeavored to “feed fat the ancient grudge” he bore Coke. He deprived him of the office of Chief Justice, and erased his name from the list of privy councillors. Coke imagined a plan of raising his falling fortunes; he projected a marriage between his daughter by his second wife, a very rich heiress, and Sir John Villiers, the brother of Buckingham, the King’s favorite. Bacon was alarmed, wrote to the King, and used expressions of disparagement towards the favorite, his new patron, to whom he was indebted for the Seals he held. The King and his minion were equally indignant; and they did not conceal from him their resentment. On the return of the court, Bacon hastened to the residence of Buckingham; being denied admittance, he waited two whole days in the ante-chamber with the Great Seal of England in his hand. When at length he obtained access, 18 the Lord Keeper threw himself and the Great Seal on the ground, kissed the favorite’s feet, and vowed never to rise till he was forgiven! It must after this have been difficult indeed for him to rise again in the world’s esteem or his own.

Bacon was made to purchase at a dear price his reinstatement in the good graces of Buckingham. The favorite constantly wrote to the judge in behalf of one of the parties, and in the end, says Lord Campbell, intimated that he was to dictate the decree. Nor did Bacon once remonstrate against this unwarrantable interference on the part of the man to whom he had himself recommended “by no means to interpose himself, either by word or letter in any cause depending on any court of justice.” The Lord Keeper received soon after, in 1618, the reward of his “many faithful services” by the higher title of Lord High Chancellor of England, and by the peerage with the name of Baron of Verulam.

The new Minister of Justice lent himself with his wonted complaisance to a most outrageous act of injustice, which Macaulay stigmatizes as a “dastardly murder,” that of the execution of Sir Walter Raleigh, under a sentence pronounced sixteen years before; Sir Walter having been in the interval invested with the high command of Admiral of the fleet. Such an act it was the imperative duty of the first magistrate of the realm not to promote, but to resist to the full extent of his power; and the Chancellor alone could issue the warrant for the execution!

In 1620, he published what is usually considered his greatest work, his Novum Organum (New Instrument or Method), which forms the second part of the Instauratio Magna (Great Restoration of the Sciences). This work had occupied Bacon’s leisure for nearly thirty years. Such was the care he bestowed on it, that Rawley, his chaplain and biographer, states that he had seen about twelve autograph copies of it, corrected and improved until it assumed the shape in which it appeared. Previous to the publication of the Novum Organum , says the illustrious Sir John Herschel, “natural philosophy, in any legitimate and extensive sense of the word, could hardly be said to exist.” 14

It cannot be expected that a work destined completely to change the state of science, we had almost said of nature, should not be assailed by that prejudice which is ever ready to raise its loud but unmeaning voice against whatever is new, how great or good soever it may be. Bacon’s doctrine was accused of being calculated to produce “dangerous revolutions,” to “subvert governments and the authority of religion.” Some called on the present age and posterity to rise high in their resentment against “the Bacon-faced generation,” for so were the experimentalists termed. The old cry of irreligion, nay, even of atheism, was raised against the man who had said: “I would rather believe all the fables in the Legend, and the Talmud, and the Alcoran, than that 20 this universal frame is without a mind.” 15 But Bacon had to encounter the prejudices even of the learned. Cuffe, the Earl of Essex’s secretary, a man celebrated for his attainments, said of the Instauratio Magna , “a fool could not have written such a book, and a wise man would not.” King James said, it was “like the peace of God, that surpasseth all understanding.” And even Harvey, the discoverer of the circulation of the blood, said to Aubrey: “Bacon is no great philosopher; he writes philosophy like a Lord Chancellor.” Rawley, his secretary and his biographer, laments, some years after his friend’s death, that “his fame is greater and sounds louder in foreign parts abroad than at home in his own nation; thereby verifying that divine sentence: A prophet is not without honor, save in his own country and in his own house.” Bacon was for some time without honor “in his own country and in his own house.” But truth on this, as on all other occasions, triumphs in the end. Bacon’s assailants are forgotten; Bacon will be remembered with gratitude and veneration forever.

He was again, in 1621, promoted in the peerage to be Viscount Saint-Albans; his patent particularly celebrating his “integrity in the administration of justice.”

In this same year the Parliament assembled. The House of Commons first voted the subsidies demanded by the Crown, and next proceeded, as was 21 usual in those times, to the redress of grievances. A committee of the House was appointed to inquire into “the abuses of Courts of Justice.” A report of this committee charged the Lord Chancellor with corruption, and specified two cases; in the first of which Aubrey, a suitor in his court, stated that he had presented the Lord Chancellor with a hundred pounds; and Egerton, another suitor in his court, with four hundred pounds in addition to a former piece of plate of the value of fifty pounds; in both cases decisions had been given against the parties whose presents had been received. (Lord Campbell asserts that in the case of Egerton both parties had made the Chancellor presents.) 16 His enemies, it is said, estimated his illicit gains at a hundred thousand pounds; a statement which, it is more than probable, is greatly exaggerated. 17 “I never had,” said Bacon in his defence, “bribe or reward in my eye or thought when I pronounced sentence or order.” This is an acknowledgment of the fact, and perhaps an aggravation of the offence. He 22 then addressed “an humble submission” to the House, a kind of general admission, in which he invoked as a plea of excuse vitia temporis .

How widely different from this is his own language! It is fair justice to appeal from the judge to the tribunal of the philosopher and moralist; it is appealing from Philip drunk to Philip sober; unhappily it is likewise

He says, in his Essay of Great Place: “For corruption: do not only bind thine own hands, or thy servant’s hands from taking, but bind the hands of suitors from offering. For integrity used doth the one; but integrity professed, and with a manifest detestation of bribery, doth the other; and avoid not only the fault, but the suspicion.” 18 He says again, in the same Essay: “Set it down to thyself, as well to create good precedents as to follow them.”

But the allegation that it was a custom of the times requires examination. It was a custom of the times in reality to make presents to superiors. Queen Elizabeth received them as New Year’s gifts from functionaries of all ranks, from her prime minister down to Charles Smith, the dust-man (see note 1, page 7), and this custom probably continued under her successor, and may have been applied to other high functionaries, but it does not appear to have 23 been in legitimate use in the courts of judicature. Coke, himself Chief Justice, was Bacon’s principal accuser; and, although an enemy, he has been said to have conducted himself with moderation and propriety on this occasion only. Lord Campbell, Chief Justice of the Court of Queen’s Bench, and author of the Lives of the Chancellors and Chief Justices of England , repels the plea, as inadmissible. It cannot be denied that if Bacon extended the practice to the courts of justice, he has heaped coals of fire on his head; for applied to his own case personally it would be sufficiently odious; but what odium would not that man deserve who should systematize, nay, legitimize a practice that must inevitably poison the stream of justice at its fountain-head! What execration could be too great, if that man were the most intelligent, the wisest of his century, one of the most dignified in rank in the land, clad in spotless ermine, the emblem of purity, in short, the Minister of Justice!

The Lords resolved that Bacon should be called upon to put in a particular answer to each of the special charges preferred against him. The formal articles with proofs in support were communicated to him. The House received the “confession and humble submission of me, the Lord Chancellor.” In this document, Bacon acknowledges himself to be guilty of corruption; and in reply to each special charge admits in every instance the receipt of money or valuable things from the suitors in his court; but alleging in some cases that it was after judgment, 24 or as New Year’s gifts, a custom of the times, or for prior services. A committee of nine temporal and three spiritual lords was appointed to ascertain whether it was he who had subscribed this document. The committee repaired to his residence, were received in the hall where he had been accustomed to sit as judge, and merely asked him if the signature affixed to the paper they exhibited to him was his. He passionately exclaimed: “My lords, it is my act, my hand, my heart. I beseech your lordships to be merciful to a broken reed.” The committee withdrew, overwhelmed with grief at the sight of such greatness so fallen.

Four commissioners dispatched by the King demanded the Great Seal of the Chancellor, confined to his bed by sickness and sorrow and want of sustenance; for he refused to take any food. He hid his face in his hand, and delivered up that Great Seal for the attainment of which he “had sullied his integrity, had resigned his independence, had violated the most sacred obligations of friendship and gratitude, had flattered the worthless, had persecuted the innocent, had tampered with judges, had tortured prisoners, had plundered suitors, had wasted on paltry intrigues all the powers of the most exquisitely constructed intellect that has ever been bestowed on any of the children of men.” 19

All this he did to be Lord High Chancellor of England; and, had he not been the unworthy min 25 ister of James, he might have been, to use the beautiful language of Hallam, “the high-priest of nature.”

On the 3d of May, he was unanimously declared to be guilty, and he was sentenced to a fine of forty thousand pounds, to be imprisoned in the Tower during the King’s pleasure, to be incapable of holding any public office, and of sitting in Parliament or of coming within the verge of the court. 20 Such was the sentence pronounced on the man whom three months before the King delighted to honor for “his integrity in the administration of justice.”

The fatal verdict affected his health so materially that the judgment could not receive immediate execution; he could not be conveyed to the Tower until the 31st of May; the following day he was liberated. He repaired to the house of Sir John Vaughan, who held a situation in the prince’s household. 21 He wished to retire to his own residence at York House; but this was refused. He was ordered to proceed to his seat at Gorhambury, whence he was not to remove, and where he remained, though very reluctantly, till the ensuing spring.

The heavy fine was remitted. But as he had 26 lived in great pomp, he had economized naught from his legitimate or ill-gotten gains. As he was now insolvent, a pension of twelve hundred pounds a year was bestowed on him; from his estate and other revenues he derived thirteen hundred pounds per annum more. On the 17th of October, his remaining penalties were remitted. It cannot but strike the reader as a most remarkable circumstance that, within eighteen months of the condemnation, all the penalties were successively remitted. Would this induce the belief that he was but the scape-goat of the court, that the condemnation was purely political? It is, we believe, to be explained ostensibly by the advanced age of Bacon, but really by the circumstance that the King’s favorite, Buckingham, was an accomplice.

Bacon discovered, alas! when it was too late, that the talent God had given him he had “misspent in things for which he was least fit;” or as Thomson has beautifully expressed it: 22 —

It is gratifying to turn from the melancholy scenes exhibited by the political life of Bacon, to behold him 27 in his study in the deep search of truth; no contrast is more striking than that between the chancellor and the philosopher, or, as Macaulay has well termed it, “Bacon seeking for truth, and Bacon seeking for the Seals—Bacon in speculation, and Bacon in action.” From amidst clouds and darkness we emerge into the full blaze and splendor of midday light.

We now find Bacon wholly devoting himself to the pursuits for which nature adapted him, and from which no extent of occupation could entirely detach him. The author redeemed the man; in the philosopher and the poet there was no weakness, no corruption.

Here the writer yielded not to vitia temporis ; but combated them with might and main, with heart and soul.

In 1623, he published the Life of Henry VII. In a letter addressed to the Queen of Bohemia with a copy, he says pathetically: “’Time was I had honor without leisure, and now I have leisure without honor.” But his honor without leisure had precipitated him into “bottomless perdition;” his leisure without honor retrieved his name, and raised him again to an unattainable height.

In the following year, he printed his Latin translation of the Advancement of Learning , under the title of De Dignitate et Augmentis Scientiarum .

This was not, however, a mere translation; for he made in it omissions and alterations; and appears to have added about one third new matter; in short, he remodelled it. His work, replete with poetry and beautiful imagery, was received with applause throughout Europe. It was reprinted in France in 1624, one year after its appearance in England. It was immediately translated into French and Italian, and was published in Holland, the great book-mart of that time, in 1645, 1650, and 1662.

In 1624, he solicited of the King a remission of the sentence, to the end, says he, “that blot of ignominy may be removed from me and from my memory with posterity.” The King granted him a full pardon. But he never more took his seat in the House of Lords. When the new Parliament met, after the accession of Charles the First, age, infirmity, and tardy wisdom had extinguished the ambition of Baron Verulam, Viscount St. Albans. When the writ of summons to the Parliament reached him, he exclaimed: “I have done with such vanities!”

But the philosopher pursued his labor of love. He published new editions of his writings, and translated them into Latin, from the mistaken notion that in that language alone could they be rescued from oblivion. His crabbed latinity is now read but by few, or even may be said to be nearly forgotten; while his noble, majestic English is read over the 29 whole British empire, on which the sun never sets, is studied and admired throughout the old world and the new, and it will be so by generations still unborn; it will descend to posterity in company with his contemporary, Shakspeare (whose name he never mentions), and will endure as long as the great and glorious language itself; indeed, as he foretold of his Essays, it “will live as long as books last.”

In the translation of his works into Latin, he was assisted by Rawley, his future biographer, and his two friends, Ben Jonson, the poet, and Hobbes, the philosopher.

He wrote for his “own recreation,” amongst very serious studies, a Collection of Apophthegms, New and Old , said to have been dictated in one rainy day, but probably the result of several “rainy days.” This contains many excellent jocular anecdotes, and has been, perhaps, with too much indulgence, pronounced by Macaulay to be the best jest-book in the world.

He commenced a Digest of the Laws of England , but he soon discontinued it, because it was “a work of assistance, and that which he could not master by his own forces and pen.” James the First had not sufficient elevation of mind to afford him the means of securing the assistance he required.

He wrote his will with his own hand on the 19th of December, 1625. He directs that he shall be interred in St. Michael’s Church, near St. Albans: “There was my mother buried, and it is the parish 30 church of my mansion-house at Gorhambury.... For my name and memory, I leave it to men’s charitable speeches, and to foreign nations, and the next ages.” This supreme act of filial piety towards his gifted mother is affecting. Let no “uncharitable” word be uttered over his last solemn behest; foreign nations and all ages will not refuse a tribute of homage to his genius! Gassendi presents an analysis of his labors, and pays a tribute of admiration to their author; Descartes has mentioned him with encomium; Malebranche quotes him as an authority; Puffendorff expressed admiration of him; the University of Oxford presented to him, after his fall, an address, in which he is termed “a mighty Hercules, who had by his own hand greatly advanced those pillars in the learned world which by the rest of the world were supposed immovable.” Leibnitz ascribed to him the revival of true philosophy; Newton had studied him so closely that he adopted even his phraseology; Voltaire and D’Alembert have rendered him popular in France. The modern philosophers of all Europe regard him reverentially as the father of experimental philosophy.

He attempted at this late period of his life a metrical translation into English of the Psalms of David; although his prose is full of poetry, his verse has but little of the divine art.

He again declined to take his seat as a peer in Charles’s second Parliament; but the last stage of his life displayed more dignity and real greatness 31 than the “pride, pomp, and circumstance” of his high offices and honors. The public of England and of “foreign nations” forgot the necessity of “charitable speeches” and anticipated “the next ages.” The most distinguished foreigners repaired to Gray’s Inn to pay their respects to him. The Marquis d’Effiat, who brought over to England the Princess Henrietta Maria, the wife of Charles the First, went to see him. Bacon, confined to his bed, but unwilling to decline the visit, received him with the curtains drawn. “You resemble the angels,” said the French minister to him, “we hear those beings continually talked of; we believe them superior to mankind; and we never have the consolation to see them.”

But in ill health and infirmity he continued his studies and experiments; as it occurred to him that snow might preserve animal substances from putrefaction as well as salt, he tried the experiment, and stuffed a fowl with snow with his own hands. “The great apostle of experimental philosophy was destined to become its martyr;” he took cold. From his bed he dictated a letter to the Earl of Arundel, to whose house he had been conveyed. “I was likely to have had the fortune of Caïus Plinius the Elder, who lost his life by trying an experiment about the burning of the Mount Vesuvius. For I was also desirous to try an experiment or two touching the conservation and induration of bodies. As for the experiment itself, it succeeded excellently 32 well.” He had, indeed, the fortune of Pliny the Elder; for he never recovered from the effects of his cold, which brought on fever and a complaint of the chest; and he expired on the 9th of April, 1626, in the sixty-sixth year of his age. Thus died, a victim to his devotion to science, Francis Bacon, whose noble death is an expiation of the errors of his life, and who was, as has been justly observed, notwithstanding all his faults, one of the greatest ornaments and benefactors of the human race.

No account has been preserved of his funeral; but probably it was private. Sir Thomas Meautys, his faithful secretary, erected at his own expense a monument to Bacon’s memory. Bacon is represented sitting, reclining on his hand, and absorbed in meditation. The effigy bears the inscription: sic sedebat .

The singular fact ought not to be omitted, that notwithstanding the immense sums that had been received by him, legitimately or otherwise, he died insolvent. The fault of his life had been that he never adapted his expenses to his income; perhaps even he never calculated them. To what irretrievable ruin did not this lead him? To disgrace and dishonor, in the midst of his career; to insolvency at its end. His love of worldly grandeur was uncontrollable, or at least uncontrolled. “The virtue of prosperity is temperance,” says he himself; but this virtue he did not possess. His stately bark rode proudly over the waves, unmindful of the rocks; on one of these, alas! it split and foundered.

Bacon was very prepossessing in his person; he was in stature above the middle size; his forehead was broad and high, of an intellectual appearance; his eye was lively and expressive; and his countenance bore early the marks of deep thought.

It might be mentioned here with instruction to the reader, that few men were more impressed than Bacon with the value of time, the most precious element of life. He assiduously employed the smallest portions of it; considering justly that the days, the hours, nay minutes of existence require the greatest care at our hands; the weeks, months, and years have been wisely said to take care of themselves. His chaplain, Rawley, remarks: “ Nullum momentum aut temporis segmentum perire et intercidere passus est ,” he suffered no moment nor fragment of time to pass away unprofitably. It is this circumstance that explains to us the great things he accomplished even in the most busy part of his life.

The whole of Bacon’s biography has been admirably recapitulated by Lord Campbell 23 in the following paragraph:—

“We have seen him taught his alphabet by his mother; patted on the head by Queen Elizabeth; mocking the worshippers of Aristotle at Cambridge; catching the first glimpses of his great discoveries, and yet uncertain whether the light was from heaven; associating with the learned and the gay at the court of France; devoting himself to Bracton 24 and 34 the Year Books in Gray’s Inn; throwing aside the musty folios of the law to write a moral Essay, to make an experiment in natural philosophy, or to detect the fallacies which had hitherto obstructed the progress of useful truth; contented for a time with taking “all knowledge for his province;” roused from these speculations by the stings of vulgar ambition; plying all the arts of flattery to gain official advancement by royal and courtly favor; entering the House of Commons, and displaying powers of oratory of which he had been unconscious; being seduced by the love of popular applause, for a brief space becoming a patriot; making amends, by defending all the worst excesses of prerogative; publishing to the world lucubrations on morals, which show the nicest perception of what is honorable and beautiful as well as prudent, in the conduct of life; yet the son of a Lord Keeper, the nephew of the prime minister, a Queen’s counsel, with the first practice at the bar, arrested for debt, and languishing in a spunging-house; tired with vain solicitations to his own kindred for promotion, joining the party of their opponent, and after experiencing the most generous kindness from the young and chivalrous head of it, assisting to bring him to the scaffold, and to blacken his memory; seeking, by a mercenary marriage to repair his broken fortunes; on the accession of a new sovereign offering up the most servile adulation to a pedant whom he utterly despised; infinitely gratified by being permitted to kneel down, with three hundred others, to receive the honor of knighthood; truckling to a worthless favorite with the most slavish subserviency that he might be appointed a law-officer of the Crown; then giving the most admirable advice for the compilation and emendation of the laws of England, and helping to inflict torture on a poor parson whom he wished to hang as a traitor for writing an unpublished and 35 unpreached sermon; attracting the notice of all Europe by his philosophical works, which established a new era in the mode of investigating the phenomena both of matter and mind; basely intriguing in the meanwhile for further promotion, and writing secret letters to his sovereign to disparage his rivals; riding proudly between the Lord High Treasurer and Lord Privy Seal, preceded by his mace-bearer and purse-bearer, and followed by a long line of nobles and judges, to be installed in the office of Lord High Chancellor; by and by, settling with his servants the account of the bribes they had received for him; a little embarrassed by being obliged, out of decency, the case being so clear, to decide against the party whose money he had pocketed, but stifling the misgivings of conscience by the splendor and flattery which he now commanded; struck to the earth by the discovery of his corruption; taking to his bed, and refusing sustenance; confessing the truth of the charges brought against him, and abjectly imploring mercy; nobly rallying from his disgrace, and engaging in new literary undertakings, which have added to the splendor of his name; still exhibiting a touch of his ancient vanity, and, in the midst of pecuniary embarrassment, refusing to ‘be stripped of his feathers;’ 25 inspired, nevertheless, with all his youthful zeal for science, in conducting his last experiment of ‘stuffing a fowl with snow to preserve it,’ which succeeded ‘excellently well,’ but brought him to his grave; and, as the closing act of a life so checkered, making his will, whereby, conscious of the shame he had incurred among his contemporaries, but impressed with a swelling conviction of what he had achieved for mankind, he bequeathed his ‘name and memory to men’s charitable speeches, to foreign nations, and the next ages.’”

After this brilliant recapitulation of the principal facts of Bacon’s eventful life, there remains the 36 difficult task of examining his character as a writer and philosopher; and then of presenting some observations on his principal works. As these subjects have occupied the attention of the master minds and most elegant writers of England, we shall unhesitatingly present the reader with the opinions of these, the most competent judges in each special department.

But first, let the philosopher speak for himself.

The end and aim of the writings of Bacon are best described by himself, as these descriptions may be gleaned from his various works. He taught, to use his own language, the means, not of the “amplification of the power of one man over his country, nor of the amplification of the power of that country over other nations; but the amplification of the power and kingdom of mankind over the world.” 26 “A restitution of man to the sovereignty of nature.” 27 “The enlarging the bounds of human empire to the effecting of all things possible.” 28 From the enlargement of reason, he did not separate the growth of virtue; for he thought that “truth and goodness were one, differing but as the seal and the print, for truth prints goodness.” 29

The art which Bacon taught, has been well said to be “the art of inventing arts.”

The great qualities of his mind, as they are exhibited in his works, have been well portrayed by the 37 pen of Sir James Mackintosh. We subjoin the opinion of this elegant writer in his own words:

“It is easy to describe his transcendent merit in general terms of commendation: for some of his great qualities lie on the surface of his writings. But that in which he most excelled all other men, was in the range and compass of his intellectual view—the power of contemplating many and distant objects together, without indistinctness or confusion—which he himself has called the discursive or comprehensive understanding. This wide-ranging intellect was illuminated by the brightest Fancy that ever contented itself with the office of only ministering to Reason: and from this singular relation of the two grand faculties of man, it has resulted, that his philosophy, though illustrated still more than adorned by the utmost splendor of imagery, continues still subject to the undivided supremacy of intellect. In the midst of all the prodigality of an imagination which, had it been independent, would have been poetical, his opinions remained severely rational. “It is not so easy to conceive, or at least to describe, other equally essential elements of his greatness, and conditions of his success. He is probably a single instance of a mind which, in philosophizing, always reaches the point of elevation whence the whole prospect is commanded, without ever rising to such a distance as to lose a distinct perception of every part of it.” 30

Mr. Macaulay speaks of the following peculiarity of Bacon’s understanding: 31 —

“With great minuteness of observation he had an amplitude of comprehension such as has never yet been vouchsafed to any other human being. The small fine mind of La Bruyère had not a more delicate tact than the large intel 38 lect of Bacon. The “Essays” contain abundant proofs that no nice feature of character, no peculiarity in the ordering of a house, a garden, or a court-masque, could escape the notice of one whose mind was capable of taking in the whole world of knowledge. His understanding resembled the tent which the fairy Paribanou gave to prince Ahmed. Fold it, and it seemed a toy for the hand of the lady. Spread it, and the armies of powerful sultans might repose beneath its shade. “In keenness of observation he has been equalled, though, perhaps, never surpassed. But the largeness of his mind was all his own. The glance with which he surveyed the intellectual universe, resembled that which the archangel, from the golden threshold of heaven, darted down into the new creation.

Bacon’s philosophy is, to use an expression of his own, “the servant and interpreter of nature;” he cultivated it in the leisure left him by the assiduous study and practice of the law and by the willing duties of a courtier; it was rather the recreation than the business of his life; “my business,” said he, “found rest in my contemplations;” but his very recreations rendered him, according to Leibnitz, the father of experimental philosophy, and, according to all, the originator of all its results, of all later discoveries in chemistry and the arts, in short, of all modern science and its applications.

Mr. Macaulay is of opinion that the two leading principles of his philosophy are utility and progress ; that the ethics of his inductive method are to do good, to do more and more good, to mankind.

Lord Campbell believes that a most perfect body of ethics might be made out from the writings of Bacon.

The origin of his philosophy was the conviction with which he was impressed of the insufficiency of that of the ancients, or rather of that of Aristotle, which reigned with almost undisputed sway throughout Europe. He reverenced antiquity for its great works, its great men; but not because of its ancientness; he deemed its decrees worthy of reverential consideration, but did not think they admitted of no appeal; he was not a bigot to antiquity or a contemner of modern times. He happily combated that undue and blind submission to the authority of ancient times for the mere reason that they are older than our own, alleging truly that “ ANTIQUITAS SECULI JUVENTUS MUNDI , that our times are the ancient times, when the world is ancient, and not those which we account ancient, ordine retrogrado , by a computation backward from ourselves.” 32

Throwing off, then, all allegiance to antiquity, he appealed directly from Aristotle to nature, from reasoning to experiment.

But let us invoke the testimony of an eminent philosopher, Sir John Herschel:—

“By the discoveries of Copernicus, Kepler, and Galileo, the errors of the Aristotelian philosophy were effectually overturned on a plain appeal to the facts of nature; but it remained to show, on broad and general principles, how and why Aristotle was in the wrong; to set in evidence the peculiar weakness of his method of philosophizing, and to substitute in its place a stronger and better. This important task was executed by Francis Bacon, Lord Verulam, who will therefore justly be looked upon in all future ages as the great reformer of philosophy, though his own actual contributions to the stock of physical truths were small, and his ideas of particular points strongly tinctured with mistakes and errors, which were the fault rather of the general want of physical information of the age than of any narrowness of view on his own part; of this he was fully aware. It has been attempted by some to lessen the merit of this great achievement, by showing that the inductive method had been practised in many instances, both ancient and modern, by the mere instinct of mankind; but it is not the introduction of inductive reasoning, as a new and hitherto untried process, which characterizes the Baconian philosophy, but his keen perception, and his broad and spirit-stirring, almost enthusiastic, announcement of its paramount importance, as the alpha and omega of science, as the grand and only chain for the linking together of physical truths, and the eventual key to every discovery and every application. Those who would deny him his just glory on such grounds would refuse to Jenner or to Howard their civic crowns, because a few farmers in a remote province had, time out of mind, been acquainted with vaccination, or philanthropists, in all ages, had occasionally visited the prisoner in his dungeon.” “It is to our immortal countryman Bacon,” says he, again, “that we owe the broad announcement of this grand and fertile principle; and the development of the idea, that the whole of natural philosophy consists entirely of a series of 41 inductive generalizations, commencing with the most circumstantially stated particulars, and carried up to universal laws, or axioms, which comprehend in their statements every subordinate degree of generality and of a corresponding series of inverted reasoning from generals to particulars, by which these axioms are traced back into their remotest consequences, and all particular propositions deduced from them, as well those by whose immediate consideration we rose to their discovery, as those of which we had no previous knowledge.... “It would seem that a union of two qualities almost opposite to each other—a going forth of the thoughts in two directions, and a sudden transfer of ideas from a remote station in one to an equally distant one in the other—is required to start the first idea of applying science . Among the Greeks, this point was attained by Archimedes, but attained too late, on the eve of that great eclipse of science which was destined to continue for nearly eighteen centuries, till Galileo in Italy, and Bacon in England, at once dispelled the darkness; the one, by his inventions and discoveries; the other, by the irresistible force of his arguments and eloquence.” 33

His style is copious, comprehensive, and smooth; it does not flow with the softness of the purling rill, but rather with the strength, fulness, and swelling of a majestic river, and the rude harmony of the mountain stream. His images are replete with poetry and thought; they always illustrate his subject. Hallam is of opinion that the modern writer that comes nearest to him is Burke. “He had,” said Addison, “the sound, distinct, comprehensive knowledge of Aristotle, with all the beautiful lights, graces, and 42 embellishments of Cicero. One does not know which to admire most in his writings, the strength of reason, force of style, or brightness of imagination.” 34

Bacon improved so much the melody, elegance, and force of English prose, that we may apply to him what was said of Augustus with regard to Rome: lateritiam invenit, marmoream reliquit ; he found it brick, and he left it marble. Mr. Hallam’s opinion differs somewhat from this; it is as follows:—

“The style of Bacon has an idiosyncrasy which we might expect from his genius. It can rarely indeed happen, and only in men of secondary talents, that the language they use is not, by its very choice and collocation, as well as its meaning, the representative of an individuality that distinguishes their turn of thought. Bacon is elaborate, sententious, often witty, often metaphorical; nothing could be spared; his analogies are generally striking and novel; his style is clear, precise, forcible; yet there is some degree of stiffness about it, and in mere language he is inferior to Raleigh.” 35

It is a most remarkable characteristic of Bacon, and one in which Burke resembled him, that his imagination grew stronger with his increasing years, and his style richer and softer. “The fruit came first,” says Mr. Macaulay, “and remained till the last; the blossoms did not appear till late. In eloquence, in sweetness and variety of expression, and in richness of illustration, his later writings are far 43 superior to those of his youth.” His earliest Essays have as much truth and cogent reasoning as his latest; but these are far superior in grace and beauty. A most striking illustration of this is afforded by one of the last Essays, added a year before Bacon’s death, that of Adversity (Essay V.), than which naught can be more graceful and beautiful.

The account of Bacon’s works will necessarily be very succinct, and, we fear, imperfect. We shall, however, for each of them, call in the aid of the most competent judges, whose award public opinion will not reverse.

Bacon published his Essays in 1597. They were, in the estimation of Mr. Hallam, the first in time and in excellence of English writings on moral prudence. Of the fifty-eight Essays, of which the work is now composed, ten only appeared in the first edition. But to these were added Religious Meditations, Places of Perswasion and Disswasion, Seene and allowed ; many of which were afterwards embodied in the Essays. These Essays were: 1. Of Studie; 2. Of Discourse; 3. Of Ceremonies and Respects; 4. Of Followers and Friends; 5. Of Sutors; 6. Of Expence; 7. Of Regiment of Health; 8. Of Honor and Reputation; 9. Of Faction; 10. Of Negociating. In the edition of 1612, “The Essaies of S r Francis Bacon Knight, the King’s Atturny Generall,” were increased to forty-one.

The new Essays added are: 1. Of Religion; 2. Of Death; 3. Of Goodnesse, and Goodnesse of Nature; 4. Of Cunning; 5. Of Marriage and Single Life; 6. Of Parents and Children; 7. Of Nobility; 8. Of Great Place; 9. Of Empire; 10. Of Counsell; 11. Of Dispatch; 12. Of Love; 13. Of Friendship; 14. Of Atheism; 15. Of Superstition; 16. Of Wisedome for a Man’s selfe; 20. Of seeming wise; 21. Of Riches; 22. Of Ambition; 23. Of Young Men and Age; 24. Of Beauty; 25. Of Deformity; 26. Of Nature in Men; 27. Of Custom and Education; 28. Of Fortune; 35. Of Praise; 36. Of Judicature; 37. of Vaine-Glory; 38. Of Greatnesse of Kingdomes; 39. Of the Publique; 40. Of Warre and Peace.

These forty-one Essays were afterwards again augmented to fifty-eight, with the new title of The Essaies or Covnsels, Civill and Morall ; they were likewise improved by corrections, additions, and illustrations. By the peculiarity of Bacon, already noticed, the later Essays rise in beauty and interest.

Bacon considered his Essays but as “the recreations of his other studies.” He has entitled them, in the Latin translation, Sermones fideles, sive Interiora rerum . The idea of them, as has been already mentioned, was suggested by those of Montaigne; but there is but little resemblance between the two productions. Montaigne is natural, ingenuous, sportive. Bacon’s “ Essays or Counsels, civil and moral ,” “the fragments of his conceits,” as he styles them, are all study, art, and gravity; but the reflections in them 45 are true and profound. Montaigne confessedly painted himself, declared that he was the matter of his own book, 36 while with Bacon the man was merged in the author and the philosopher, who propounded like Seneca, and somewhat in Seneca’s style, the maxims of practical wisdom, that, to use Bacon’s own language, “come home to men’s business and bosoms,” and clothed them in a garb, new, elegant, and rich, hitherto unknown in England. But our author, if we may judge by the matter and even manner of his Essays, may have had in view, not so much Montaigne’s Essais as Seneca’s Letters to Lucilius . The Essay of Death is obviously founded on Seneca’s Epistles on this subject. That he was well acquainted with Seneca’s Letters , is incontrovertible. He alludes to them thus in the dedication to Prince Henry, in 1612: “The word (Essays),” says he, “is late, but the thing is ancient; for Seneca’s Epistles to Lucilius, if you mark them well, are but Essays, that is, dispersed meditations, though conveyed in the form of epistles.” Bacon justly foretold of his Essays that they “would live as long as books last.”

The following is the opinion of Dugald Stewart, himself an eminent philosopher and elegant writer:

“His Essays are the best known and most popular of all his works. It is also one of those where the superiority of his genius appears to the greatest advantage; the novelty and depth of his reflections often receiving a strong relief from triteness of the subject. It may be read from beginning to end in a few hours; and yet, after the twentieth perusal, one seldom fails to remark in it something unobserved before. This, indeed, is a characteristic of all Bacon’s writings, and only to be accounted for by the inexhaustible aliment they furnish to our own thoughts, and the sympathetic activity they impart to our torpid faculties.” 37

The reader will, perhaps, be rather gratified than wearied with another appreciation of this valuable production of our young moralist of twenty-six. It is of no incompetent judge,—Mr. Hallam.

“The transcendent strength of Bacon’s mind is visible in the whole tenor of these Essays, unequal as they must be from the very nature of such compositions. They are deeper and more discriminating than any earlier, or almost any later work in the English language, full of recondite observation, long matured and carefully sifted. It is true that we might wish for more vivacity and ease; Bacon, who had much wit, had little gayety; his Essays are consequently stiff and grave where the subject might have been touched with a lively hand; thus it is in those on Gardens and on Building. The sentences have sometimes too apophthegmatic a form and want coherence; the historical instances, though far less frequent than with Montaigne, have a little the look of pedantry to our eyes. But it is from this condensation, from this 47 gravity, that the work derives its peculiar impressiveness. Few books are more quoted, and what is not always the case with such books, we may add that few are more generally read. In this respect they lead the van of our prose literature; for no gentleman is ashamed of owning that he has not read the Elizabethan writers; but it would be somewhat derogatory to a man of the slightest claim to polite letters, were he unacquainted with the Essays of Bacon. It is, indeed, little worth while to read this or any other book for reputation sake; but very few in our language so well repay the pains, or afford more nourishment to the thoughts. They might be judiciously introduced, with a small number more, into a sound method of education, one that should make wisdom, rather than mere knowledge, its object, and might become a text-book of examination in our schools.” 38

ADVANCEMENT OF LEARNING.

The Advancement of Learning was published in 1605. It has usually been considered that the whole of Bacon’s philosophy is contained in this work, excepting, however, the second book of the Novum Organum . Of the Advancement of Learning he made a Latin translation, under the title of De Dignitate et Augmentis Scientiarum , which, however, contains about one third of new matter and some slight interpolations; a few omissions have been remarked in it.

The Advancement of Learning is, as it were, to use his own language, “a small globe of the 48 intellectual world, as truly and faithfully as I could discover with a note and description of those facts which seem to me not constantly occupate or not well converted by the labor of man. In which, if I have in any point receded from that which is commonly received, it hath been with a purpose of proceeding in melius and not in aliud , a mind of amendment and proficience, and not of change and difference. For I could not be true and constant to the argument I handle, if I were not willing to go beyond others, but yet not more willing than to have others go beyond me.”

The Advancement of Learning is divided into two parts; the former of which is intended to remove prejudices against the search after truth, by pointing out the causes which obstruct it; in the second, learning is divided into history, poetry, and philosophy, according to the faculties of the mind from which they emanate—memory, imagination, and reason. Our author states the deficiencies he observes in each.

All the peculiar qualities of his style are fully developed in this noble monument of genius, one of the finest in English, or perhaps any other language; it is full of deep thought, keen observation, rich imagery, Attic wit, and apt illustration. Dugald Stewart and Hallam have both expressed their just admiration of the short paragraph on poesy; but, with all due deference, we must consider that the beautiful passage on the dignity and excellency of 49 knowledge is surpassed by none. Can aught excel the noble comparison of the ship? The reader shall judge for himself.

“If the invention of the ship was thought so noble, which carrieth riches and commodities from place to place, and consociateth the most remote regions in participation of their fruits; how much more are letters to be magnified, which, as ships, pass through the vast seas of time, and make ages so distant to participate of the wisdom, illuminations, and inventions, the one of the other?”

DE SAPIENTIA VETERUM.

The Wisdom of the Ancients , or rather, De sapientia veterum (for it was written in Latin), is a short treatise on the mythology of the ancients, by which Bacon endeavors to discover and to show the physical, moral, and political meanings it concealed. If the reader is not convinced that the ancients understood by these fables all that Bacon discovers in them, he must at least admit the probability of it, and be impressed with the penetration of the author and the variety and depth of his knowledge.

INSTAURATIO MAGNA.

The Instauratio Magna was published in 1620, while Bacon was still chancellor.

In his dedication of it to James the First, in 1620, in which he says he has been engaged in it nearly thirty years, he pathetically remarks: “The reason 50 why I have published it now, specially being imperfect, is, to speak plainly, because I number my days, and would have it saved.” His country and the world participate in the opinion of the philosopher, and would have deemed its loss one of the greatest to mankind.

Such was the care with which it was composed, that Bacon transcribed it twelve times with his own hand.

It is divided into six parts. The first entitled Partitiones Scientiarum , or the divisions of knowledge possessed by mankind, in which the author has noted the deficiencies and imperfections of each. This he had already accomplished by his Advancement of Learning .

Part 2 is the Novum Organum Scientiarum , or new method of studying the sciences, a name probably suggested by Aristotle’s Organon (treatises on Logic). He intended it to be “the science of a better and more perfect use of reason in the investigation of things and of the true end of understanding.” This has been generally denominated the inductive method , i. e. the experimental method, from the principle of induction , or bringing together facts and drawing from them general principles or truths, by which the author proposes the advancement of all kinds of knowledge. In this consists preëminently the philosophy of Bacon. Not reasoning upon conjecture on the laws and properties of nature, but, as Bacon quaintly terms it, “asking 51 questions of nature,” that is, making experiments, laboriously collecting facts first, and, after a sufficient number has been brought together, then forming systems or theories founded on them.

But this work is rather the summary of a more extensive one he designed, the aphorisms of it being rather, according to Hallam, “the heads or theses of chapters.” But some of these principles are of paramount importance. An instance may be afforded of this, extracted from the “Interpretation of Nature, and Man’s dominion over it.” It is the very first sentence in the Novum Organum . “Man, the servant and interpreter of nature, can only understand and act in proportion as he observes and contemplates the order of nature; more, he can neither know nor do.” This, as has justly been observed, is undoubtedly the foundation of all our real knowledge.

The Novum Organum is so important, that we deem it desirable to present some more detailed accounts of it.

The body of the work is divided into two parts; the former of which is intended to serve as an introduction to the other, a preparation of the mind for receiving the doctrine.

Bacon begins by endeavoring to remove the prejudices and to obtain fair attention to his doctrine. He compares philosophy to “a vast pyramid, which ought to have the history of nature for its basis;” he likens those who strive to erect by the force of abstract speculation to the giants of old, who, 52 according to the poets, endeavored to throw Mount Ossa upon Pelion, and Olympus upon Ossa. The method of “anticipating nature,” he denounces “as rash, hasty, and unphilosophical;” whereas, “interpretations of nature, or real truths arrived at by deduction, cannot so suddenly arrest the mind; and when the conclusion actually arrives, it may so oppose prejudice, and appear so paradoxical as to be in danger of not being received, notwithstanding the evidence that supports it, like mysteries of faith.”

Bacon first attacks the “Idols of the Mind,” i. e. the great sources of prejudice, then the different false philosophical theories; he afterwards proceeds to show what are the characteristics of false systems, the causes of error in philosophy, and lastly the grounds of hope regarding the advancement of science.

He now aspires, to use his own language, “only to sow the seeds of pure truth for posterity, and not to be wanting in his assistance to the first beginning of great undertakings.” “Let the human race,” says he further, “regain their dominion over nature, which belongs to them by the bounty of their Maker, and right reason and sound religion will direct the use.”

The second part of the Novum Organum may be divided into three sections. The first is on the discovery of forms, i. e. causes in nature. The second section is composed of tables illustrative of the inductive method, and the third and last is 53 styled the doctrine of instances , i. e. facts regarding the discovery of causes.

Part the third of the Instauratio Magna was to be a Natural History, as he termed it, or rather a history of natural substances, in which the art of man had been employed, which would have been a history of universal nature.

Part 4, to be called Scala intellectus , or Intellectual Ladder , was intended to be, to use his own words, “types and models which place before our eyes the entire process of the mind in the discovery of truth, selecting various and remarkable instances.”

He had designed in the fifth part to give specimens of the new philosophy; a few fragments only of this have been published. It was to be “the fragment of interest till the principal could be raised.”

The sixth and last part was “to display a perfect system of philosophy deduced and confirmed by a legitimate, sober, and exact inquiry according to the method he had laid down and invented.” “To perfect this last part,” says Bacon, “is above our powers and beyond our hopes.”

Let us return, however, for a moment to the commencement, to remark that he concludes the introduction by an eloquent prayer that his exertions may be rendered effectual to the attainment of truth and happiness. But he feels his own inability, for “his days are numbered,” to conduct mankind to the hoped for goal. It was given to him to point out the road to the promised land; but, 54 like Moses, after having descried it from afar, it was denied him to enter the land to which he had led the way.

LIFE OF HENRY VII.

The Life of Henry VII. , published in 1622, is, in the opinion of Hallam, “the first instance in our language of the application of philosophy to reasoning on public events in the manner of the ancients and the Italians. Praise upon Henry is too largely bestowed; but it was in the nature of Bacon to admire too much a crafty and selfish policy; and he thought also, no doubt, that so near an ancestor of his own sovereign should not be treated with severe impartiality.” 39

His Letters published in his works are numerous; they are written in a stiff, ungraceful, formal style; but still, they frequently bear the impress of the writer’s greatness and genius. Fragments of them have been frequently quoted in the course of this notice; they have, perhaps, best served to exhibit more fully the man in all the relations of his public and private life.

MISCELLANEOUS PAPERS.

Amongst his miscellaneous papers there was found after his death a remarkable prayer, which Addison 55 deemed sufficiently beautiful to be published in the Tatler 40 for Christmas, 1710. We extract a passage or two, that may serve to illustrate Bacon’s position or his character.

“I have, though in a despised weed, procured the good of all men. If any have been my enemies, I thought not of them, neither hath the sun almost set upon my displeasure; but I have been as a dove, free from superfluity of maliciousness.” “Just are thy judgments upon me for my sins, which are more in number than the sands of the sea, but have no proportion to thy mercies; for what are the sands of the sea? Earth, heaven, and all these are nothing to thy mercies.”

Addison observes of this prayer, that for elevation of thought and greatness of expression, “it seems—rather the devotion of an angel than a man.”

In taking leave of the life and the works of the greatest of philosophers, and alas! the least of men, we have endeavored to present a succinct but faithful narrative—“his glory not extenuated wherein he was worthy, nor his offences enforced, for which he suffered” merited obloquy with his own contemporaries and all posterity. Our endeavor has been

But his failings, great as they were, are forgotten through his transcendent merit; his faults injured but few, and in his own time alone; his genius has benefited all mankind. The new direction he gave to philosophy was the indirect cause of all the modern 56 conquests of science over matter, or, as it were, over nature. What it has already accomplished, and may yet effect for the whole human race, is incalculable. Macaulay, the historian of England, has been likewise the eloquent narrator of the progress, that owes its origin to the genius of Francis Bacon.

“Ask a follower of Bacon,” says Macaulay, “what the new philosophy, as it was called in the time of Charles the Second, has effected for mankind, and his answer is ready: ‘It hath lengthened life; it has mitigated pain; it has extinguished diseases; it has increased the fertility of the soil; it has given new securities to the mariner; it has furnished new arms to the warrior; it has spanned great rivers and estuaries with bridges of form unknown to our fathers; it has guided the thunderbolt innocuously from heaven to earth; it has lighted up the night with the splendor of the day; it has extended the range of the human vision; it has multiplied the power of the human muscle; it has accelerated motion; it has annihilated distance; it has facilitated intercourse, correspondence, all friendly offices, all dispatch of business; it has enabled man to descend to the depths of the sea, to soar into the air, to penetrate securely into the noxious recesses of the earth, to traverse the land on cars which whirl along without horses, and the ocean in ships which sail against the wind. These are but a part of its fruits, and of its first-fruits. For it is a philosophy which never rests, which has never attained, which is never perfect. Its law is progress. A point which yesterday was invisible is its goal to-day, and will be its starting-post to-morrow.’” 41

I.—OF TRUTH.

What is truth? said jesting Pilate; 42 and would not stay for an answer. Certainly, there be that delight in giddiness; and count it a bondage to fix a belief; affecting freewill in thinking as well as in acting. And though the sects of philosophers of that kind be gone, yet there remain certain discoursing wits which are of the same veins, though there be not so much blood in them as was in those of the ancients. But it is not only the difficulty and labor which men take in finding out of truth: nor again, that, when it is found, it imposeth upon men’s thoughts, that doth bring lies in favor; but a natural though corrupt love of the lie itself. One of the later schools 43 of the Grecians examineth 58 the matter, and is at a stand to think what should be in it that men should love lies; where neither they make for pleasure, as with poets; nor for advantage, as with the merchant, but for the lie’s sake. But I cannot tell; this same truth is a naked and open daylight, that doth not show the masks, and mummeries, and triumphs of the world, half so stately and daintily as candle-lights. Truth may perhaps come to the price of a pearl, that showeth best by day, but it will not rise to the price of a diamond or carbuncle, that showeth best in varied lights. A mixture of a lie doth ever add pleasure. Doth any man doubt, that if there were taken out of men’s minds vain opinions, flattering hopes, false valuations, imaginations as one would, and the like, but it would leave the minds of a number of men poor shrunken things, full of melancholy and indisposition, and unpleasing to themselves? One of the fathers, 44 in great severity, called poesy “vinum dæmonum,” 45 because it filleth the imagination, and yet it is but with the shadow of a lie. But it is not the lie that passeth through the mind, but the lie that sinketh in, and settleth in it, that doth the hurt, such as we spake of before. But howsoever these things are thus in men’s depraved judgments and affections, yet truth, which only doth judge itself, teacheth that the inquiry of truth, 59 which is the love-making, or wooing of it, the knowledge of truth, which is the presence of it, and the belief of truth, which is the enjoying of it, is the sovereign good of human nature. The first creature of God, in the works of the days, was the light of the sense; 46 the last was the light of reason; 47 and his sabbath work, ever since, is the illumination of his Spirit. First, he breathed light upon the face of the matter, or chaos; then he breathed light into the face of man; and still he breatheth and inspireth light into the face of his chosen. The poet 48 that beautified the sect, 49 that was otherwise inferior to the rest, saith yet excellently well: “It is a 60 pleasure to stand upon the shore, and to see ships tossed upon the sea; a pleasure to stand in the window of a castle, and to see a battle, and the adventures thereof below; but no pleasure is comparable to the standing upon the vantage-ground of truth” (a hill not to be commanded, and where the air is always clear and serene), “and to see the errors, and wanderings, and mists, and tempests, in the vale below;” 50 so always that this prospect be with pity, and not with swelling or pride. Certainly it is heaven upon earth, to have a man’s mind move in charity, rest in providence, and turn upon the poles of truth.

To pass from theological and philosophical truth to the truth of civil business; it will be acknowledged, even by those that practise it not, that clear and round dealing is the honor of man’s nature, and that mixture of falsehood is like alloy in coin 61 of gold and silver, which may make the metal work the better, but it embaseth it. For these winding and crooked courses are the goings of the serpent; which goeth basely upon the belly, and not upon the feet. There is no vice that doth so cover a man with shame, as to be found false and perfidious; and therefore Montaigne 51 saith prettily, when he inquired the reason why the word of the lie should be such a disgrace, and such an odious charge: saith he, “If it be well weighed, to say that a man lieth, is as much as to say that he is brave towards God and a coward towards men. For a lie faces God, and shrinks from man;” surely, the wickedness of falsehood and breach of faith cannot possibly be so highly expressed, as in that it shall be the last peal to call the judgments of God upon the generations of men: it being foretold, that, when “Christ cometh,” he shall not “find faith upon the earth.” 52

II.—OF DEATH. 53

Men fear death as children fear to go in the dark; and as that natural fear in children is increased with tales, so is the other. Certainly, the contemplation of death, as the wages of sin, and passage to another world, is holy and religious; but the fear of it, as a tribute due unto nature, is weak. Yet in religious meditations there is sometimes mixture of vanity and of superstition. You shall read in some of the friars’ books of mortification, that a man should think with himself, what the pain is, if he have but his finger’s end pressed or tortured; and thereby imagine what the pains of death are, when the whole body is corrupted and dissolved; when many times death passeth with less pain than the torture of a limb, for the most vital parts are not the quickest of sense. And by him that spake only as a philosopher and natural man, it was well said, “Pompa mortis magis terret, quam mors ipsa.” 54 Groans and convulsions, and a discolored face, and friends weeping, and blacks 55 and obsequies, and the like, show death terrible. It is worthy the observing, that there is no passion 63 in the mind of man so weak, but it mates and masters the fear of death; and therefore death is no such terrible enemy when a man hath so many attendants about him that can win the combat of him. Revenge triumphs over death; love slights it; honor aspireth to it; grief flieth to it; fear preoccupateth it; nay, we read, after Otho the emperor had slain himself, pity (which is the tenderest of affections) provoked many to die out of mere compassion to their sovereign, and as the truest sort of followers. 56 Nay, Seneca 57 adds niceness and satiety: “Cogita quamdiu eadem feceris; mori velle, non tantum fortis, aut miser, sed etiam fastidiosus potest.” 58 A man would die, though he were neither valiant nor miserable, only upon a weariness to do the same thing so oft over and over. It is no less worthy to observe, how little alteration in good spirits the approaches of death make: for they appear to be the same men till the last instant. Augustus Cæsar died in a compliment: “Livia, conjugii nostri memor, vive et vale.” 59 Tiberius in dissimulation, as Tacitus saith of him, “Jam Tiberium vires et corpus, non dissimulatio, deserebant:” 60 Vespasian in a jest, sitting 64 upon the stool, 61 “Ut puto Deus fio;” 62 Galba with a sentence, “Feri, si ex re sit populi Romani,” 63 holding forth his neck; Septimus Severus in dispatch, “Adeste, si quid mihi restat agendum,” 64 and the like. Certainly, the Stoics 65 bestowed too much cost upon death, and by their great preparations made it appear more fearful. Better, saith he, “qui finem vitæ extremum inter munera ponit naturæ.” 66 It is as natural to die as to be born; and to a little infant, perhaps, the one is as painful as the other. He that dies in an earnest pursuit, is like one that 65 is wounded in hot blood, who, for the time, scarce feels the hurt; and therefore a mind fixed and bent upon somewhat that is good, doth avert the dolors of death; but, above all, believe it, the sweetest canticle is “Nunc dimittis,” 67 when a man hath obtained worthy ends and expectations. Death hath this also, that it openeth the gate to good fame, and extinguisheth envy: “Extinctus amabitur idem.” 68

III.—OF UNITY IN RELIGION.

Religion being the chief band of human society, it is a happy thing when itself is well contained within the true band of unity. The quarrels and divisions about religion were evils unknown to the heathen. The reason was, because the religion of the heathen consisted rather in rites and ceremonies, than in any constant belief; for you may imagine what kind of faith theirs was, when the chief doctors and fathers of their church were the poets. 66 But the true God hath this attribute, that he is a jealous God; and therefore his worship and religion will endure no mixture nor partner. We shall therefore speak a few words concerning the unity of the church; what are the fruits thereof; what the bounds; and what the means.

The fruits of unity (next unto the well-pleasing of God, which is all in all), are two; the one towards those that are without the church, the other towards those that are within. For the former, it is certain that heresies and schisms are, of all others, the greatest scandals, yea, more than corruption of manners; for as in the natural body a wound or solution of continuity is worse than a corrupt humor, so in the spiritual; so that nothing doth so much keep men out of the church, and drive men out of the church, as breach of unity; and therefore, whensoever it cometh to that pass that one saith, “Ecce in Deserto,” 69 another saith, “Ecce in penetralibus;” 70 that is, when some men seek Christ in the conventicles of heretics, and others in an outward face of a church, that voice had need continually to sound in men’s ears, “nolite exire,” “go not out.” The doctor of the Gentiles (the propriety of whose vocation drew him to have a special care of those without) saith: “If a heathen 71 come 67 in, and hear you speak with several tongues, will he not say that you are mad?” and, certainly, it is little better: when atheists and profane persons do hear of so many discordant and contrary opinions in religion, it doth avert them from the church, and maketh them “to sit down in the chair of the scorners.” 72 It is but a light thing to be vouched in so serious a matter, but yet it expresseth well the deformity. There is a master of scoffing, that, in his catalogue of books of a feigned library, sets down this title of a book, “The Morris-Dance 73 of Heretics;” for, indeed, every sect of them hath a diverse posture, or cringe, by themselves, which cannot but move derision in worldlings and depraved politicians, who are apt to contemn holy things.

As for the fruit towards those that are within, it is peace, which containeth infinite blessings; it establisheth faith; it kindleth charity; the outward 68 peace of the church distilleth into peace of conscience, and it turneth the labors of writing and reading of controversies into treatises of mortification and devotion.

Concerning the bounds of unity, the true placing of them importeth exceedingly. There appear to be two extremes; for to certain zealots all speech of pacification is odious. “Is it peace, Jehu?”—“What hast thou to do with peace? turn thee behind me.” 74 Peace is not the matter, but following, and party. Contrariwise, certain Laodiceans 75 and lukewarm persons think they may accommodate points of religion by middle ways, and taking part of both, and witty reconcilements, as if they would make an arbitrament between God and man. Both these extremes are to be avoided; which will be done if the league of Christians, penned by our Saviour himself, were in the two cross clauses thereof soundly and plainly expounded: “He that is not with us is against us;” 76 and again, “He that is not against us, is with us;” that is, if the points fundamental, and of substance in religion, 69 were truly discerned and distinguished from points not merely of faith, but of opinion, order, or good intention. This is a thing may seem to many a matter trivial, and done already; but if it were done less partially, it would be embraced more generally.

Of this I may give only this advice, according to my small model. Men ought to take heed of rending God’s church by two kinds of controversies; the one is, when the matter of the point controverted is too small and light, not worth the heat and strife about it, kindled only by contradiction; for, as it is noted by one of the fathers, “Christ’s coat indeed had no seam, but the church’s vesture was of divers colors;” whereupon he saith, “In veste varietas sit, scissura non sit,” 77 they be two things, unity and uniformity; the other is, when the matter of the point controverted is great, but it is driven to an over-great subtilty and obscurity, so that it becometh a thing rather ingenious than substantial. A man that is of judgment and understanding shall sometimes hear ignorant men differ, and know well within himself, that those which so differ mean one thing, and yet they themselves would never agree; and if it come so to pass in that distance of judgment, which is between man and man, shall we not think that God above, that knows the heart, doth not discern that frail men, in some of their contradictions, 70 intend the same thing, and accepteth of both? The nature of such controversies is excellently expressed by St. Paul, in the warning and precept that he giveth concerning the same: “Devita profanas vocum novitates, et oppositiones falsi nominis scientiæ.” 78 Men create oppositions which are not, and put them into new terms, so fixed as, whereas the meaning ought to govern the term, the term in effect governeth the meaning. There be also two false peaces, or unities; the one, when the peace is grounded but upon an implicit ignorance; for all colors will agree in the dark; the other, when it is pieced up upon a direct admission of contraries in fundamental points; for truth and falsehood, in such things, are like the iron and clay in the toes of Nebuchadnezzar’s image; 79 they may cleave, but they will not incorporate.

Concerning the means of procuring unity, men must beware that, in the procuring or muniting of religious unity, they do not dissolve and deface the laws of charity and of human society. There be two swords amongst Christians, the spiritual and temporal, and both have their due office and place in the maintenance of religion; but we may not take up the third sword, which is Mahomet’s sword, 80 71 or like unto it; that is, to propagate religion by wars, or, by sanguinary persecutions, to force consciences; except it be in cases of overt scandal, blasphemy, or intermixture of practice against the state; much less to nourish seditions, to authorize conspiracies and rebellions, to put the sword into the people’s hands, and the like, tending to the subversion of all government, which is the ordinance of God; for this is but to dash the first table against the second, and so to consider men as Christians, as we forget that they are men. Lucretius the poet, when he beheld the act of Agamemnon, that could endure the sacrificing of his own daughter, exclaimed;—

What would he have said, if he had known of the massacre in France, 82 or the powder treason of England? 83 He would have been seven times more epicure and atheist than he was; for as the temporal 72 sword is to be drawn with great circumspection in cases of religion, so it is a thing monstrous to put it into the hands of the common people; let that be left unto the Anabaptists, and other furies. It was great blasphemy when the devil said, “I will ascend and be like the Highest;” 84 but it is greater blasphemy to personate God, and bring him in saying, “I will descend, and be like the prince of darkness;” and what is it better, to make the cause of religion to descend to the cruel and execrable actions of murdering princes, butchery of people, and subversion of states and governments? Surely, this is to bring down the Holy Ghost, instead of the likeness of a dove, in the shape of a vulture or raven; and to set out of the bark of a Christian church a flag of a bark of pirates and assassins; therefore, it is most necessary that the church by doctrine and decree, princes by their sword, and all learnings, both Christian and moral, as by their Mercury rod, 85 do damn and send to hell forever those facts and opinions tending to the support of the same, as hath been already in good part done. Surely, in counsels concerning religion, that counsel of the apostle would be prefixed: “Ira hominis non implet justitiam Dei;” 86 and it was 73 a notable observation of a wise father, and no less ingenuously confessed, that those which held and persuaded pressure of consciences, were commonly interested therein themselves for their own ends.

IV.—OF REVENGE.

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 74 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 beforehand, 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, 87 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?” 88 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 89 are for the most part fortunate; as that for the death of Cæsar; 90 75 for the death of Pertinax; for the death of Henry the Third of France; 91 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 unfortunate.

V.—OF ADVERSITY.

It was a high speech of Seneca (after the manner of the Stoics), that “the good things which belong to prosperity are to be wished, but the good things that belong to adversity are to be admired.” (“Bona rerum secundarum optabilia, adversarum mirabilia.”) 92 Certainly, if miracles be the command over nature, they appear most in adversity. It is yet a higher speech of his than the other (much too high for a heathen), “It is true greatness to have in one the frailty of a man, and the security of a God.” (“Vere magnum habere fragilitatem hominis securitatem Dei.”) 93 This would have done 76 better in poesy, where transcendencies are more allowed, and the poets, indeed, have been busy with it; for it is, in effect, the thing which is figured in that strange fiction of the ancient poets, 94 which seemeth not to be without mystery; nay, and to have some approach to the state of a Christian, “that Hercules, when he went to unbind Prometheus (by whom human nature is represented), sailed the length of the great ocean in an earthen pot or pitcher,” lively describing Christian resolution, that saileth in the frail bark of the flesh through the waves of the world. But to speak in a mean, the virtue of prosperity is temperance, the virtue of adversity is fortitude, which in morals is the more heroical virtue. Prosperity is the blessing of the Old Testament, adversity is the blessing of the New, which carrieth the greater benediction, and the clearer revelation of God’s favor. Yet even in the Old Testament, if you listen to David’s harp, you shall hear as many hearse-like airs 95 as carols; and the pencil of the 77 Holy Ghost hath labored more in describing the afflictions of Job than the felicities of Solomon. Prosperity is not without many fears and distastes; and adversity is not without comforts and hopes. We see, in needleworks and embroideries, it is more pleasing to have a lively work upon a sad and solemn ground, than to have a dark and melancholy work upon a lightsome ground: judge, therefore, of the pleasure of the heart by the pleasure of the eye. Certainly, virtue is like precious odors, most fragrant when they are incensed, or crushed; for prosperity doth best discover vice, but adversity doth best discover virtue. 96

VI.—OF SIMULATION AND DISSIMULATION.

Dissimulation is but a faint kind of policy, or wisdom; for it asketh a strong wit and a strong heart to know when to tell truth, and to do it; therefore it is the weaker sort of politicians that are the great dissemblers.

Tacitus saith, “Livia sorted well with the arts of her husband, and dissimulation of her son; 97 attributing arts or policy to Augustus, and dissimulation to Tiberius:” and again, when Mucianus encourageth Vespasian to take arms against Vitellius, he saith, “We rise not against the piercing judgment of Augustus, nor the extreme caution or closeness of Tiberius.” 98 These properties of arts or policy, and dissimulation or closeness, are indeed habits and faculties several, and to be distinguished; for if a man have that penetration of judgment as he can discern what things are to be laid open, and what to be secreted, and what to be showed at half-lights, and to whom and when (which indeed are arts of state, and arts of life, as Tacitus well calleth them), to him a habit of dissimulation is a hinderance and a poorness. But if a man cannot obtain to that judgment, then it is left to him generally to be close, and a dissembler; for where a man cannot choose or vary in particulars, there it is good to take the safest and wariest way in general, like the going softly by one 79 that cannot well see. Certainly, the ablest men that ever were, have had all an openness and frankness of dealing, and a name of certainty and veracity: but then they were like horses well managed, for they could tell passing well when to stop or turn; and at such times, when they thought the case indeed required dissimulation, if then they used it, it came to pass that the former opinion spread abroad, of their good faith and clearness of dealing, made them almost invisible.

There be three degrees of this hiding and veiling of a man’s self: the first, closeness, reservation, and secrecy; when a man leaveth himself without observation, or without hold to be taken, what he is: the second, dissimulation in the negative; when a man lets fall signs and arguments, that he is not that he is: and the third, simulation in the affirmative; when a man industriously and expressly feigns and pretends to be that he is not.

For the first of these, secrecy, it is indeed the virtue of a confessor; and assuredly the secret man heareth many confessions; for who will open himself to a blab or a babbler? But if a man be thought secret, it inviteth discovery, as the more close air sucketh in the more open; and, as in confession, the revealing is not for worldly use, but for the ease of a man’s heart, so secret men come to the knowledge of many things in that kind; while men rather discharge their minds than impart their minds. In few words, mysteries are due to secrecy. Besides 80 (to say truth), nakedness is uncomely, as well in mind as body; and it addeth no small reverence to men’s manners and actions, if they be not altogether open. As for talkers and futile persons, they are commonly vain and credulous withal; for he that talketh what he knoweth, will also talk what he knoweth not; therefore set it down, that a habit of secrecy is both politic and moral: and in this part it is good that a man’s face give his tongue leave to speak; for the discovery of a man’s self by the tracts 99 of his countenance, is a great weakness and betraying, by how much it is many times more marked and believed than a man’s words.

For the second, which is dissimulation, it followeth many times upon secrecy by a necessity; so that he that will be secret must be a dissembler in some degree; for men are too cunning to suffer a man to keep an indifferent carriage between both, and to be secret, without swaying the balance on either side. They will so beset a man with questions, and draw him on, and pick it out of him, that without an absurd silence, he must show an inclination one way; or if he do not, they will gather as much by his silence as by his speech. As for equivocations, or oraculous speeches, they cannot hold out long: so that no man can be secret, except he give himself a little scope of dissimulation, which is, as it were, but the skirts or train of secrecy.

But for the third degree, which is simulation and 81 false profession, that I hold more culpable, and less politic, except it be in great and rare matters; and, therefore, a general custom of simulation (which is this last degree) is a vice rising either of a natural falseness, or fearfulness, or of a mind that hath some main faults; which because a man must needs disguise, it maketh him practise simulation in other things, lest his hand should be out of use.

The advantages of simulation and dissimulation are three: first, to lay asleep opposition, and to surprise; for, where a man’s intentions are published, it is an alarum to call up all that are against them: the second is, to reserve to a man’s self a fair retreat; for if a man engage himself by a manifest declaration, he must go through or take a fall: the third is, the better to discover the mind of another; for to him that opens himself men will hardly show themselves adverse; but will (fair) let him go on, and turn their freedom of speech to freedom of thought; and therefore it is a good shrewd proverb of the Spaniard, “Tell a lie, and find a troth;” 100 as if there were no way of discovery but by simulation. There be also three disadvantages to set it even; the first, that simulation and dissimulation commonly carry with them a show of fearfulness, which, in any business, doth spoil the feathers of round flying up to the mark; the second, that it puzzleth and perplexeth the conceits of many, that, perhaps, would otherwise coöperate with him, and 82 makes a man walk almost alone to his own ends: the third, and greatest, is, that it depriveth a man of one of the most principal instruments for action, which is trust and belief. The best composition and temperature is, to have openness in fame and opinion, secrecy in habit, dissimulation in seasonable use, and a power to feign if there be no remedy.

VII.—OF PARENTS AND CHILDREN.

The joys of parents are secret, and so are their griefs and fears; they cannot utter the one, nor they will not utter the other. Children sweeten labors, but they make misfortunes more bitter; they increase the cares of life, but they mitigate the remembrance of death. The perpetuity by generation is common to beasts; but memory, merit, and noble works, are proper to men: and surely a man shall see the noblest works and foundations have proceeded from childless men, which have sought to express the images of their minds where those of their bodies have failed; so the care of posterity is most in them that have no posterity. They that are the first raisers of their houses are most indulgent towards their children, beholding them as the continuance, not only of their kind, but of their work; and so both children and creatures.

The difference in affection of parents towards their several children is many times unequal, and some 83 times unworthy, especially in the mother; as Solomon saith, “A wise son rejoiceth the father, but an ungracious son shames the mother.” 101 A man shall see, where there is a house full of children, one or two of the eldest respected, and the youngest made wantons; 102 but in the midst some that are, as it were, forgotten, who many times, nevertheless, prove the best. The illiberality of parents, in allowance towards their children, is a harmful error, makes them base, acquaints them with shifts, makes them sort with mean company, and makes them surfeit more when they come to plenty; and, therefore, the proof 103 is best when men keep their authority towards their children, but not their purse. Men have a foolish manner (both parents, and schoolmasters, and servants), in creating and breeding an emulation between brothers during childhood, which many times sorteth 104 to discord when they are men, and disturbeth families. 105 The Italians 84 make little difference between children and nephews, or near kinsfolk; but so they be of the lump, they care not, though they pass not through their own body; and, to say truth, in nature it is much a like matter; insomuch that we see a nephew sometimes resembleth an uncle or a kinsman more than his own parent, as the blood happens. Let parents choose betimes the vocations and courses they mean their children should take, for then they are most flexible; and let them not too much apply themselves to the disposition of their children, as thinking they will take best to that which they have most mind to. It is true, that if the affection or aptness of the children be extraordinary, then it is good not to cross it; but generally the precept is good, “Optimum elige, suave et facile illud faciet consuetudo.” 106 —Younger brothers are commonly fortunate, but seldom or never where the elder are disinherited.

VIII.—OF MARRIAGE AND SINGLE LIFE.

He that hath wife and children hath given hostages to fortune; for they are impediments to great enterprises, either of virtue or mischief. Certainly the best works, and of greatest merit for the public, have proceeded from the unmarried or childless men, 85 which, both in affection and means, have married and endowed the public. Yet it were great reason that those that have children should have greatest care of future times, unto which they know they must transmit their dearest pledges. Some there are who, though they lead a single life, yet their thoughts do end with themselves, and account future times impertinences; nay, there are some other that account wife and children but as bills of charges; nay more, there are some foolish, rich, covetous men, that take a pride in having no children, because they may be thought so much the richer; for, perhaps they have heard some talk, “Such an one is a great rich man,” and another except to it, “Yea, but he hath a great charge of children;” as if it were an abatement to his riches. But the most ordinary cause of a single life is liberty, especially in certain self-pleasing and humorous minds, which are so sensible of every restraint, as they will go near to think their girdles and garters to be bonds and shackles. Unmarried men are best friends, best masters, best servants; but not always best subjects, for they are light to run away, and almost all fugitives are of that condition. A single life doth well with churchmen, for charity will hardly water the ground where it must first fill a pool. 107 It is indifferent for judges and magistrates; for if they be facile 86 and corrupt, you shall have a servant five times worse than a wife. For soldiers, I find the generals commonly, in their hortatives, put men in mind of their wives and children; and I think the despising of marriage amongst the Turks maketh the vulgar soldier more base. Certainly, wife and children are a kind of discipline of humanity; and single men, though they be many times more charitable, because their means are less exhaust, yet, on the other side, they are more cruel and hard-hearted (good to make severe inquisitors), because their tenderness is not so oft called upon. Grave natures, led by custom, and therefore constant, are commonly loving husbands, as was said of Ulysses, “Vetulam suam praetulit immortalitati.” 108 Chaste women are often proud and froward, as presuming upon the merit of their chastity. It is one of the best bonds, both of chastity and obedience, in the wife, if she think her husband wise, which she will never do if she find him jealous. Wives are young men’s mistresses, companions for middle age, and old men’s nurses, so as a man may have a quarrel 109 to marry when he will; but yet he was reputed one of the wise men that made answer to the question when a man should marry, “A young man not yet, an elder 87 man not at all.” 110 It is often seen that bad husbands have very good wives; whether it be that it raiseth the price of their husbands’ kindness when it comes, or that the wives take a pride in their patience; but this never fails, if the bad husbands were of their own choosing, against their friends’ consent, for then they will be sure to make good their own folly.

IX.—OF ENVY.

There be none of the affections which have been noted to fascinate or bewitch, but love and envy. They both have vehement wishes; they frame themselves readily into imaginations and suggestions, and they come easily into the eye, especially upon the presence of the objects which are the points that conduce to fascination, if any such thing there be. We see, likewise, the Scripture calleth envy an evil eye; 111 and the astrologers call the evil influences of 88 the stars evil aspects; so that still there seemeth to be acknowledged, in the act of envy, an ejaculation, or irradiation of the eye; nay, some have been so curious as to note that the times, when the stroke or percussion of an envious eye doth most hurt, are, when the party envied is beheld in glory or triumph, for that sets an edge upon envy; and besides, at such times, the spirits of the person envied do come forth most into the outward parts, and so meet the blow.

But, leaving these curiosities (though not unworthy to be thought on in fit place), we will handle what persons are apt to envy others; what persons are most subject to be envied themselves; and what is the difference between public and private envy.

A man that hath no virtue in himself, ever envieth virtue in others; for men’s minds will either feed upon their own good, or upon others’ evil; and who wanteth the one will prey upon the other; and whoso is out of hope to attain to another’s virtue, will seek to come at even hand 112 by depressing another’s fortune.

A man that is busy and inquisitive, is commonly envious; for to know much of other men’s matters cannot be, because all that ado may concern his own estate; therefore, it must needs be that he taketh a kind of play-pleasure in looking upon the fortunes of others; neither can he that mindeth but his own business find much matter for envy; for 89 envy is a gadding passion, and walketh the streets, and doth not keep home: “Non est curiosus, quin idem sit malevolus.” 113

Men of noble birth are noted to be envious towards new men when they rise, for the distance is altered; and it is like a deceit of the eye, that when others come on they think themselves go back.

Deformed persons and eunuchs, and old men and bastards, are envious; for he that cannot possibly mend his own case, will do what he can to impair another’s; except these defects light upon a very brave and heroical nature, which thinketh to make his natural wants part of his honor; in that it should be said, “That a eunuch, or a lame man, did such great matters,” affecting the honor of a miracle; as it was in Narses 114 the eunuch, and Agesilaus and Tamerlane, 115 that were lame men.

The same is the case of men that rise after calamities and misfortunes; for they are as men fallen out with the times, and think other men’s harms a redemption of their own sufferings.

They that desire to excel in too many matters, out of levity and vainglory, are ever envious, for they cannot want work; it being impossible but many, in some one of those things, should surpass them; which was the character of Adrian the emperor, that mortally envied poets and painters, and artificers in works, wherein he had a vein to excel. 116

Lastly, near kinsfolk and fellows in office, and those that have been bred together, are more apt to envy their equals when they are raised; for it doth upbraid unto them their own fortunes, and pointeth at them, and cometh oftener into their remembrance, and incurreth likewise more into the note 117 of others; and envy ever redoubleth from speech and fame. Cain’s envy was the more vile and malignant towards his brother Abel, because when his sacrifice was better accepted, there was nobody to look on. Thus much for those that are apt to envy.

Concerning those that are more or less subject to envy: First, persons of eminent virtue, when they are advanced, are less envied, for their fortune seemeth but due unto them; and no man envieth 91 the payment of a debt, but rewards and liberality rather. Again, envy is ever joined with the comparing of a man’s self; and where there is no comparison, no envy; and therefore kings are not envied but by kings. Nevertheless, it is to be noted, that unworthy persons are most envied at their first coming in, and afterwards overcome it better; whereas, contrariwise, persons of worth and merit are most envied when their fortune continueth long; for by that time, though their virtue be the same, yet it hath not the same lustre; for fresh men grow up that darken it.

Persons of noble blood are less envied in their rising; for it seemeth but right done to their birth: besides, there seemeth not so much added to their fortune; and envy is as the sunbeams, that beat hotter upon a bank or steep rising ground, than upon a flat; and, for the same reason, those that are advanced by degrees are less envied than those that are advanced suddenly, and per saltum . 118

Those that have joined with their honor great travels, cares, or perils, are less subject to envy; for men think that they earn their honors hardly, and pity them sometimes, and pity ever healeth envy. Wherefore you shall observe, that the more deep and sober sort of politic persons, in their greatness, are ever bemoaning themselves what a life they lead, chanting a quanta patimur ; 119 not that they feel 92 it so, but only to abate the edge of envy; but this is to be understood of business that is laid upon men, and not such as they call unto themselves; for nothing increaseth envy more than an unnecessary and ambitious engrossing of business; and nothing doth extinguish envy more than for a great person to preserve all other inferior officers in their full rights and preëminences of their places; for, by that means, there be so many screens between him and envy.

Above all, those are most subject to envy, which carry the greatness of their fortunes in an insolent and proud manner; being never well but while they are showing how great they are, either by outward pomp, or by triumphing over all opposition or competition. Whereas wise men will rather do sacrifice to envy, in suffering themselves, sometimes of purpose, to be crossed and overborne in things that do not much concern them. Notwithstanding, so much is true, that the carriage of greatness in a plain and open manner (so it be without arrogancy and vainglory), doth draw less envy than if it be in a more crafty and cunning fashion; for in that course a man doth but disavow fortune, and seemeth to be conscious of his own want in worth, and doth but teach others to envy him.

Lastly, to conclude this part, as we said in the beginning that the act of envy had somewhat in it of witchcraft, so there is no other cure of envy but the cure of witchcraft; and that is, to remove 93 the lot (as they call it), and to lay it upon another; for which purpose, the wiser sort of great persons bring in ever upon the stage somebody upon whom to derive the envy that would come upon themselves; sometimes upon ministers and servants, sometimes upon colleagues and associates, and the like; and, for that turn, there are never wanting some persons of violent and undertaking natures, who, so they may have power and business, will take it at any cost.

Now, to speak of public envy: there is yet some good in public envy, whereas in private there is none; for public envy is as an ostracism, 120 that eclipseth men when they grow too great; and therefore it is a bridle also to great ones, to keep them within bounds.

This envy, being in the Latin word invidia , 121 goeth in the modern languages by the name of discontentment, of which we shall speak in handling sedition. It is a disease in a state like to infection; for as infection spreadeth upon that which is sound, and tainteth it, so, when envy is gotten once into a state, it traduceth even the best actions thereof, and turneth them into an ill odor; and therefore there is little won by intermingling of plausible actions; for that doth argue but a weakness and fear of envy, 94 which hurteth so much the more, as it is likewise usual in infections, which, if you fear them, you call them upon you.

This public envy seemeth to beat chiefly upon principal officers or ministers, rather than upon kings and estates themselves. But this is a sure rule, that if the envy upon the minister be great, when the cause of it in him is small; or if the envy be general in a manner upon all the ministers of an estate, then the envy (though hidden) is truly upon the state itself. And so much of public envy or discontentment, and the difference thereof from private envy, which was handled in the first place.

We will add this in general, touching the affection of envy, that, of all other affections, it is the most importune and continual; for of other affections there is occasion given but now and then; and therefore it was well said, “Invidia festos dies non agit:” 122 for it is ever working upon some or other. And it is also noted, that love and envy do make a man pine, which other affections do not, because they are not so continual. It is also the vilest affection, and the most depraved; for which cause it is the proper attribute of the devil, who is called “The envious man, that soweth tares amongst the wheat by night;” 123 as it always cometh to pass that envy worketh subtilely, and in the dark, and to the prejudice of good things, such as is the wheat.

X.—OF LOVE.

The stage is more beholding 124 to love than the life of man; for as to the stage, love is ever matter of comedies, and now and then of tragedies; but in life it doth much mischief, sometimes like a Siren, sometimes like a Fury. You may observe, that, amongst all the great and worthy persons (whereof the memory remaineth, either ancient or recent), there is not one that hath been transported to the mad degree of love, which shows that great spirits and great business do keep out this weak passion. You must except, nevertheless, Marcus Antonius, the half partner of the empire of Rome, and Appius Claudius, 125 the decemvir and lawgiver; whereof the former was indeed a voluptuous man, and inordinate, but the latter was an austere and wise man; and therefore it seems (though rarely) that love can find entrance, not only into an open heart, but also into a heart well fortified, if watch be not well kept. It is a poor saying of Epicurus, “Satis magnum alter alteri theatrum sumus;” 126 as if man, 96 made for the contemplation of heaven and all noble objects, should do nothing but kneel before a little idol, and make himself subject, though not of the mouth (as beasts are) yet of the eye, which was given him for higher purposes. It is a strange thing to note the excess of this passion, and how it braves the nature and value of things, by this, that the speaking in a perpetual hyperbole is comely in nothing but in love, neither is it merely in the phrase; for whereas it hath been well said, “That the arch flatterer, with whom all the petty flatterers have intelligence, is a man’s self;” certainly, the lover is more; for there was never proud man thought so absurdly well of himself as the lover doth of the person loved; and therefore it was well said, “That it is impossible to love and to be wise.” 127 Neither doth this weakness appear to others only, and not to the party loved, but to the loved most of all, except the love be reciprocal; for it is a true rule, that love is ever rewarded, either with the 97 reciprocal, or with an inward and secret contempt; by how much the more men ought to beware of this passion, which loseth not only other things, but itself. As for the other losses, the poet’s relation 128 doth well figure them: “That he that preferred Helena, quitted the gifts of Juno and Pallas;” for whosoever esteemeth too much of amorous affection, quitteth both riches and wisdom. This passion hath his floods in the very times of weakness, which are, great prosperity and great adversity, though this latter hath been less observed; both which times kindle love, and make it more fervent, and therefore show it to be the child of folly. They do best who, if they cannot but admit love, yet make it keep quarter, and sever it wholly from their serious affairs and actions of life; for if it check once with business, it troubleth men’s fortunes, and maketh men that they can nowise be true to their own ends. I know not how, but martial men are given to love; I think it is, but as they are given to wine, for perils commonly ask to be paid in pleasures. There is in man’s nature a secret inclination and motion towards love of others, which, if it be not spent upon some one or a few, doth naturally spread itself towards many, and maketh men become humane and charitable, as it is seen sometimes in friars. Nuptial love maketh mankind, friendly love perfecteth it, but wanton love corrupted and embaseth it.

XI.—OF GREAT PLACE. 129

Men in great place are thrice servants—servants of the sovereign or state, servants of fame, and servants of business; so as they have no freedom, neither in their persons, nor in their actions, nor in their times. It is a strange desire to seek power and to lose liberty; or to seek power over others, and to lose power over a man’s self. The rising unto place is laborious, and by pains men come to greater pains; and it is sometimes base, and by indignities men come to dignities. The standing is slippery, and the regress is either a downfall, or at least an eclipse, which is a melancholy thing: “Cum non sis qui fueris, non esse cur velis vivere.” 130 Nay, retire men cannot when they would, neither will they when it were reason; but are impatient of privateness even in age and sickness, which require the shadow; like old townsmen, that will be still sitting at their street door, though thereby they offer age to scorn. Certainly, great persons had need to borrow other men’s opinions to think themselves happy; for if they judge by their own feeling, they cannot find it; but if they think with themselves what other men think of them, and that other men would fain be as they are, then they are 99 happy as it were by report, when, perhaps, they find the contrary within; for they are the first that find their own griefs, though they be the last that find their own faults. Certainly, men in great fortunes are strangers to themselves, and while they are in the puzzle of business, they have no time to tend their health either of body or mind.

In place, there is license to do good and evil, whereof the latter is a curse; for in evil, the best condition is not to will, the second not to can. But power to do good is the true and lawful end of aspiring; for good thoughts, though God accept them, yet towards men are little better than good dreams, except they be put in act; and that cannot be without power and place, as the vantage and commanding ground. Merit and good works are the end of man’s motion, and conscience of the same is the accomplishment of man’s rest; for if a man can be partaker of God’s theatre, he shall likewise be partaker of God’s rest. “Et conversus Deus, ut aspiceret opera, quæ fecerunt manus suæ, vidit quod omnia essent bona nimis;” 132 and then the Sabbath.

In the discharge of thy place, set before thee the best examples; for imitation is a globe of precepts, and after a time set before thee thine own example; and examine thyself strictly whether thou didst not best at first. Neglect not also the examples of those that have carried themselves ill in the same place; not to set off thyself by taxing their memory, but to direct thyself what to avoid. Reform, therefore, without bravery or scandal of former times and persons; but yet set it down to thyself, as well to create good precedents as to follow them. Reduce things to the first institution, and observe wherein and how they have degenerated; but yet ask counsel of both times—of the ancient time what is best, and of the latter time what is fittest. Seek to make thy course regular, that men may know beforehand what they may expect; but be not too positive and peremptory, and express thyself well when thou digressest from thy rule. Preserve the right of thy place, but stir not questions of jurisdiction; and rather assume thy right in silence, and de facto , 133 than voice it with claims and challenges. Preserve likewise the rights of inferior places; and think it more honor to direct in chief than to be busy in all. Embrace and invite helps and advices touching the execution of thy place; and do not drive away such as bring thee information, as meddlers, but accept of them in good part. The vices of authority are chiefly four: delays, corruption, roughness, and facility. For delays, 101 give easy access, keep times appointed, go through with that which is in hand, and interlace not business but of necessity. For corruption, do not only bind thine own hands or thy servant’s hands from taking, but bind the hands of suitors also from offering; for integrity used doth the one, but integrity professed, and with a manifest detestation of bribery, doth the other; and avoid not only the fault, but the suspicion. Whosoever is found variable, and changeth manifestly without manifest cause, giveth suspicion of corruption; therefore, always when thou changest thine opinion or course, profess it plainly, and declare it, together with the reasons that move thee to change, and do not think to steal it. A servant or a favorite, if he be inward, and no other apparent cause of esteem, is commonly thought but a by-way to close corruption. For roughness, it is a needless cause of discontent: severity breedeth fear, but roughness breedeth hate. Even reproofs from authority ought to be grave, and not taunting. As for facility, 134 it is worse than bribery, for bribes come but now and then; but if importunity or idle respects 135 lead a man, he shall never be without; as Solomon saith, “To respect persons is not good; for such a man will transgress for a piece of bread.” 136

It is most true that was anciently spoken: “A place showeth the man; and it showeth some to the better, and some to the worse:” “Omnium consensu capax imperii, nisi imperasset,” 137 saith Tacitus of Galba; but of Vespasian he saith, “Solus imperantium, Vespasianus mutatus in melius;” 138 though the one was meant of sufficiency, the other of manners and affection. It is an assured sign of a worthy and generous spirit, whom honor amends; for honor is, or should be, the place of virtue; and as in nature things move violently to their place, and calmly in their place, so virtue in ambition is violent, in authority settled and calm. All rising to great place is by a winding stair; and if there be factions, it is good to side a man’s self whilst he is in the rising, and to balance himself when he is placed. Use the memory of thy predecessor fairly and tenderly; for if thou dost not, it is a debt will sure be paid when thou art gone. If thou have colleagues, respect them; and rather call them when they look not for it, than exclude them when they have reason to look to be called. Be not too sensible or too remembering of thy place in conversation and private answers to suitors; but let it rather be said, “When he sits in place, he is another man.”

XII.—OF BOLDNESS.

It is a trivial grammar-school text, but yet worthy a wise man’s consideration. Question was asked of Demosthenes, what was the chief part of an orator? He answered, Action. What next?—Action. What next again?—Action. 139 He said it that knew it best, and had, by nature, himself no advantage in that he commended. A strange thing, that that part of an orator which is but superficial, and rather the virtue of a player, should be placed so high above those other noble parts of invention, elocution, and the rest; nay, almost alone, as if it were all in all. But the reason is plain. There is in human nature generally more of the fool than of the wise; and therefore, those faculties by which the foolish part of men’s minds is taken are most potent. Wonderful like is the case of boldness in civil business. What first?—Boldness: what second and third?—Boldness. And yet boldness is a child of ignorance and baseness, far inferior to other parts; but, nevertheless, it doth fascinate, and bind hand and foot those that are either shallow in judgment or weak in courage, which are the greatest part, yea, and prevaileth with wise man at weak times; therefore, we see it hath done wonders in popular states, but with senates and princes less, and more, ever upon the first entrance of bold persons into action than 104 soon after; for boldness is an ill keeper of promise. Surely, as there are mountebanks for the natural body, so are there mountebanks for the politic body; men that undertake great cures, and perhaps have been lucky in two or three experiments, but want the grounds of science, and therefore cannot hold out; nay, you shall see a bold fellow many times do Mahomet’s miracle. Mahomet made the people believe that he would call a hill to him, and from the top of it offer up his prayers for the observers of his law. The people assembled; Mahomet called the hill to come to him again and again; and when the hill stood still, he was never a whit abashed, but said, “If the hill will not come to Mahomet, Mahomet will go to the hill.” So these men, when they have promised great matters and failed most shamefully, yet, if they have the perfection of boldness, they will but slight it over, and make a turn, and no more ado. Certainly, to men of great judgment, bold persons are a sport to behold; nay, and to the vulgar also boldness hath somewhat of the ridiculous; for if absurdity be the subject of laughter, doubt you not but great boldness is seldom without some absurdity; especially it is a sport to see when a bold fellow is out of countenance, for that puts his face into a most shrunken and wooden posture, as needs it must; for in bashfulness the spirits do a little go and come, but with bold men, upon like occasion, they stand at a stay; like a stale at chess, where it is no mate, but yet the game cannot stir; but this 105 last were fitter for a satire than for a serious observation. This is well to be weighed, that boldness is ever blind, for it seeth not dangers and inconveniences; therefore, it is ill in counsel, good in execution; so that the right use of bold persons is, that they never command in chief, but be seconds and under the direction of others; for in counsel it is good to see dangers; and in execution not to see them except they be very great.

XIII.—OF GOODNESS, AND GOODNESS OF NATURE.

I take goodness in this sense, the affecting of the weal of men, which is that the Grecians call philanthropia ; and the word humanity, as it is used, is a little too light to express it. Goodness I call the habit, and goodness of nature the inclination. This, of all virtues and dignities of the mind, is the greatest, being the character of the Deity; and without it man is a busy, mischievous, wretched thing, no better than a kind of vermin. Goodness answers to the theological virtue charity, and admits no excess but error. The desire of power in excess caused the angels to fall; 140 the desire of knowledge 106 in excess caused man to fall; but in charity there is no excess, neither can angel or man come in danger by it. The inclination to goodness is imprinted deeply in the nature of man, insomuch that if it issue not towards men, it will take unto other living creatures; as it is seen in the Turks, a cruel people, who nevertheless are kind to beasts, and give alms to dogs and birds; insomuch, as Busbechius 141 reporteth, a Christian boy in Constantinople had like to have been stoned for gagging in a waggishness a long-billed fowl. 142 Errors, indeed, in this 107 virtue, of goodness or charity, may be committed. The Italians have an ungracious proverb: “Tanto buon che val niente;” “So good, that he is good for nothing;” and one of the doctors of Italy, Nicholas Machiavel, 143 had the confidence to put in writing, almost in plain terms, “That the Christian faith had given up good men in prey to those that are tyrannical and unjust;” 144 which he spake, because, indeed, there was never law, or sect, or opinion did so much magnify goodness as the Christian religion doth; therefore, to avoid the scandal and the danger both, it is good to take knowledge of the errors of a habit so excellent. Seek the good of other men, but be not in bondage to their faces or fancies; for that is but facility or softness, which taketh an honest mind 108 prisoner. Neither give thou Æsop’s cock a gem, who would be better pleased and happier if he had had a barley-corn. The example of God teacheth the lesson truly: “He sendeth his rain, and maketh his sun to shine upon the just and the unjust;” 145 but he doth not rain wealth, nor shine honor and virtues upon men equally; common benefits are to be communicate with all, but peculiar benefits with choice. And beware how, in making the portraiture, thou breakest the pattern; for divinity maketh the love of ourselves the pattern, the love of our neighbors but the portraiture: “Sell all thou hast, and give it to the poor, and follow me;” 146 but sell not all thou hast, except thou come and follow me; that is, except thou have a vocation wherein thou mayest do as much good with little means as with great; for otherwise, in feeding the streams thou driest the fountain. Neither is there only a habit of goodness directed by right reason, but there is in some men, even in nature, a disposition towards it; as, on the other side, there is a natural malignity, for there be that in their nature do not affect the good of 109 others. The lighter sort of malignity turneth but to a crossness, or frowardness, or aptness to oppose, or difficileness, or the like; but the deeper sort to envy, and mere mischief. Such men in other men’s calamities are, as it were, in season, and are ever on the loading part; not so good as the dogs that licked Lazarus’s sores, 147 but like flies that are still buzzing upon any thing that is raw; misanthropi, that make it their practice to bring men to the bough, and yet have never a tree for the purpose in their gardens, as Timon 148 had. Such dispositions are the very errors of human nature, and yet they are the fittest timber to make great politics of; like to knee timber, 149 that is good for ships that are ordained to be tossed, but not for building houses that shall stand firm. The parts and signs of goodness are many. If a man be gracious and courteous to strangers, it shows he is a citizen of the world, 110 and that his heart is no island cut off from other lands, but a continent that joins to them; if he be compassionate towards the afflictions of others, it shows that his heart is like the noble tree that is wounded itself when it gives the balm; 150 if he easily pardons and remits offences, it shows that his mind is planted above injuries, so that he cannot be shot; if he be thankful for small benefits, it shows that he weighs men’s minds, and not their trash; but, above all, if he have St. Paul’s perfection, that he would wish to be an anathema 151 from Christ for the salvation of his brethren, it shows much of a divine nature, and a kind of conformity with Christ himself.

XIV.—OF NOBILITY.

We will speak of nobility, first, as a portion of an estate, then as a condition of particular persons. A monarchy, where there is no nobility at all, is ever a pure and absolute tyranny as that of the Turks; for nobility attempers sovereignty, and draws the 111 eyes of the people somewhat aside from the line royal: but for democracies they need it not; and they are commonly more quiet and less subject to sedition than where there are stirps of nobles; for men’s eyes are upon the business, and not upon the persons; or if upon the persons, it is for the business sake, as fittest, and not for flags and pedigree. We see the Switzers last well, notwithstanding their diversity of religion and of cantons; for utility is their bond, and not respects. 152 The United Provinces of the Low Countries 153 in their government excel; for where there is an equality the consultations are more indifferent, and the payments and tributes more cheerful. A great and potent nobility addeth majesty to a monarch, but diminisheth power, and putteth life and spirit into the people, but presseth their fortune. It is well when nobles are not too great for sovereignty nor for justice; and yet maintained in that height, as the insolency of inferiors may be broken upon them, before it come on too fast upon the majesty of kings. A numerous nobility causeth poverty and inconvenience in a state, for it is a surcharge of expense; and besides, it being of necessity that many of the nobility fall in time to be weak in fortune, it maketh a kind of disproportion between honor and means.

As for nobility in particular persons, it is a reverend thing to see an ancient castle or building not in decay, or to see a fair timber-tree sound and perfect; how much more to behold an ancient noble family, which hath stood against the waves and weathers of time! For new nobility is but the act of power, but ancient nobility is the act of time. Those that are first raised to nobility are commonly more virtuous, 154 but less innocent than their descendants; for there is rarely any rising but by a commixture of good and evil arts; but it is reason the memory of their virtues remain to their posterity, and their faults die with themselves. Nobility of birth commonly abateth industry, and he that is not industrious, envieth him that is; besides, noble persons cannot go much higher; and he that standeth at a stay when others rise, can hardly avoid motions of envy. 155 On the other side, nobility extinguisheth the passive envy from others towards them, because they are in possession of honor. Certainly, kings that have able men of their nobility shall find ease in employing them, and a better slide into their business; for people naturally bend to them, as born in some sort to command.

XV.—OF SEDITIONS AND TROUBLES.

Shepherds of people had need know the calendars of tempests in state, which are commonly greatest when things grow to equality; as natural tempests are greatest about the equinoctia, 156 and as there are certain hollow blasts of wind and secret swellings of seas before a tempest, so are there in states:—

Libels and licentious discourses against the state, when they are frequent and open; and in like sort false news, often running up and down, to the disadvantage of the state, and hastily embraced, are amongst the signs of troubles. Virgil, giving the pedigree of Fame, saith she was sister to the giants:—

As if fames were the relics of seditions past; but they are no less indeed the preludes of seditions to come. Howsoever, he noteth it right, that 114 seditious tumults and seditious fames differ no more but as brother and sister, masculine and feminine; especially if it come to that, that the best actions of a state, and the most plausible, and which ought to give greatest contentment, are taken in ill sense, and traduced; for that shows the envy great, as Tacitus saith, “Conflatâ magnâ, invidiâ, seu bene, seu male, gesta premunt.” 159 Neither doth it follow, that because these fames are a sign of troubles, that the suppressing of them with too much severity should be a remedy of troubles; for the despising of them many times checks them best, and the going about to stop them doth but make a wonder long-lived. Also that kind of obedience, which Tacitus speaketh of, is to be held suspected: “Erant in officio, sed tamen qui mallent imperantium mandata interpretari, quam exsequi;” 160 disputing, excusing, cavilling upon mandates and directions, is a kind of shaking off the yoke, and assay of disobedience; especially if, in those disputings, they which are for the direction speak fearfully and tenderly, and those that are against it audaciously.

Also, as Machiavel noteth well, when princes, that ought to be common parents, make themselves as a party, and lean to a side; it is as a boat that is overthrown by uneven weight on the one side, as was well seen in the time of Henry the Third of France; for first himself entered league 161 for the extirpation of the Protestants, and presently after the same league was turned upon himself; for when the authority of princes is made but an accessary to a cause, and that there be other bands that tie faster than the band of sovereignty, kings begin to be put almost out of possession.

Also, when discords, and quarrels, and factions are carried openly and audaciously, it is a sign the reverence of government is lost; for the motions of the greatest persons in a government ought to be as the motions of the planets under “primum mobile,” 162 according to the old opinion, which is, that every of them is carried swiftly by the highest motion, and softly in their own motion; and therefore, when great ones in their own particular motion move violently, and as Tacitus expresseth it well, “liberius 116 quam ut imperantium meminissent,” 163 it is a sign the orbs are out of frame; for reverence is that wherewith princes are girt from God, who threateneth the dissolving thereof: “Solvam cingula regum.” 164

So when any of the four pillars of government are mainly shaken or weakened (which are religion, justice, counsel, and treasure), men had need to pray for fair weather. But let us pass from this part of predictions (concerning which, nevertheless, more light may be taken from that which followeth), and let us speak first of the materials of seditions; then of the motives of them; and thirdly of the remedies.

Concerning the materials of seditions, it is a thing well to be considered, for the surest way to prevent seditions (if the times do bear it), is to take away the matter of them; for if there be fuel prepared, it is hard to tell whence the spark shall come that shall set it on fire. The matter of seditions is of two kinds, much poverty and much discontentment. It is certain, so many overthrown estates, so many votes for troubles. Lucan noteth well the state of Rome before the civil war:—

This same “multis utile bellum,” 166 is an assured and infallible sign of a state disposed to seditions and troubles; and if this poverty and broken estate in the better sort be joined with a want and necessity in the mean people, the danger is imminent and great; for the rebellions of the belly are the worst. As for discontentments, they are in the politic body like to humors in the natural, which are apt to gather a preternatural heat and to inflame; and let no prince measure the danger of them by this, whether they be just or unjust; for that were to imagine people to be too reasonable, who do often spurn at their own good; nor yet by this, whether the griefs whereupon they rise be in fact great or small; for they are the most dangerous discontentments where the fear is greater than the feeling: “Dolendi modus, timendi non item.” 167 Besides, in great oppressions, the same things that provoke the patience, do withal mate 168 the courage; but in fears it is not so; neither let any prince or state be secure concerning discontentments, because they have been often or have been long, and yet no peril hath ensued; for as it is true that every vapor or fume doth not turn into a storm, so it is nevertheless true that storms, though they blow 118 over divers times, yet may fall at last; and, as the Spanish proverb noteth well, “The cord breaketh at the last by the weakest pull.” 169

The causes and motives of seditions are, innovation in religion, taxes, alteration of laws and customs, breaking of privileges, general oppression, advancement of unworthy persons, strangers, dearths, disbanded soldiers, factions grown desperate, and whatsoever in offending people joineth and knitteth them in a common cause.

For the remedies, there may be some general preservatives, whereof we will speak; as for the just cure, it must answer to the particular disease, and so be left to counsel rather than rule.

The first remedy, or prevention, is to remove, by all means possible, that material cause of sedition whereof we spake, which is, want and poverty in the estate; 170 to which purpose serveth the opening and well-balancing of trade; the cherishing of manufactures; the banishing of idleness; the repressing of waste and excess by sumptuary laws; 171 the improvement and husbanding of the soil; the regulating of prices of things vendible; the moderating of taxes and tributes, and the like. Generally, it is 119 to be foreseen that the population of a kingdom (especially if it be not mown down by wars) do not exceed the stock of the kingdom which should maintain them; neither is the population to be reckoned only by number; for a smaller number, that spend more and earn less, do wear out an estate sooner than a greater number that live lower and gather more. Therefore the multiplying of nobility and other degrees of quality, in an over-proportion to the common people, doth speedily bring a state to necessity; and so doth likewise an overgrown clergy, for they bring nothing to the stock; 172 and in like manner, when more are bred scholars than preferments can take off.

It is likewise to be remembered, that, forasmuch as the increase of any estate must be upon the foreigner 173 (for whatsoever is somewhere gotten is somewhere lost), there be but three things which one nation selleth unto another; the commodity, as nature yieldeth it; the manufacture; and the vecture, or carriage; so that, if these three wheels go, wealth will flow as in a spring tide. And it cometh many times to pass, that, “materiam superabit 120 opus,” 174 that the work and carriage is more worth than the material, and enricheth a state more; as is notably seen in the Low Countrymen, who have the best mines 175 above ground in the world.

Above all things, good policy is to be used, that the treasure and moneys in a state be not gathered into few hands; for, otherwise, a state may have a great stock, and yet starve. And money is like muck, 176 not good except it be spread. This is done chiefly by suppressing, or, at the least, keeping a strait hand upon the devouring trades of usury, engrossing 177 great pasturages, and the like.

For removing discontentments, or, at least, the danger of them, there is in every state (as we know) two portions of subjects, the nobles and the commonalty. When one of these is discontent, the danger is not great; for common people are of slow motion, if they be not excited by the greater sort; and the greater sort are of small strength, except the multitude be apt and ready to move of themselves; then is the danger, when the greater sort 121 do but wait for the troubling of the waters amongst the meaner, that then they may declare themselves. The poets feign that the rest of the gods would have bound Jupiter, which he hearing of, by the counsel of Pallas, sent for Briareus, with his hundred hands, to come in to his aid; an emblem, no doubt, to show how safe it is for monarchs to make sure of the good-will of common people.

To give moderate liberty for griefs and discontentments to evaporate (so it be without too great insolency or bravery), is a safe way; for he that turneth the humors back, and maketh the wound bleed inwards, endangereth malign ulcers and pernicious imposthumations.

The part of Epimetheus 178 might well become Prometheus, in the case of discontentments, for there is not a better provision against them. Epimetheus, when griefs and evils flew abroad, at last shut the lid, and kept Hope in the bottom of the vessel. Certainly, the politic and artificial nourish 122 ing and entertaining of hopes, and carrying men from hopes to hopes, is one of the best antidotes against the poison of discontentments; and it is a certain sign of a wise government and proceeding, when it can hold men’s hearts by hopes, when it cannot by satisfaction; and when it can handle things in such manner as no evil shall appear so peremptory, but that it hath some outlet of hope; which is the less hard to do, because both particular persons and factions are apt enough to flatter themselves, or at least to brave that which they believe not.

Also the foresight and prevention, that there be no likely or fit head whereunto discontented persons may resort, and under whom they may join, is a known but an excellent point of caution. I understand a fit head to be one that hath greatness and reputation, that hath confidence with the discontented party, and upon whom they turn their eyes, and that is thought discontented in his own particular: which kind of persons are either to be won and reconciled to the state, and that in a fast and true manner; or to be fronted with some other of the same party that may oppose them, and so divide the reputation. Generally, the dividing and breaking of all factions and combinations that are adverse to the state, and setting them at distance, or, at least, distrust amongst themselves, is not one of the worst remedies; for it is a desperate case, if those that hold with the proceeding of the state be full of discord and faction, and those that are against it be entire and united.

I have noted, that some witty and sharp speeches, which have fallen from princes, have given fire to seditions. Cæsar did himself infinite hurt in that speech—“Sylla nescivit literas, non potuit dictare,” 179 for it did utterly cut off that hope which men had entertained, that he would, at one time or other, give over his dictatorship. Galba undid himself by that speech, “Legi a se militem, non emi;” 180 for it put the soldiers out of hope of the donative. Probus, likewise, by that speech, “Si vixero, non opus erit amplius Romano imperio militibus;” 181 a speech of great despair for the soldiers, and many the like. Surely princes had need, in tender matters and ticklish times, to beware what they say, especially in these short speeches, which fly abroad like darts, and are thought to be shot out of their secret intentions; for as for large discourses, they are flat things, and not so much noted.

Lastly, let princes, against all events, not be without some great person, one or rather more, of military valor, near unto them, for the repressing of seditions in their beginnings; for without that, there useth to be more trepidation in court upon the first breaking out of troubles than were fit, and the state runneth the danger of that which Tacitus saith: “Atque is habitus animorum fuit, ut pessimum facinus auderent pauci, plures vellent, omnes paterentur:” 182 but let such military persons be assured, and well reputed of, rather than factious and popular; holding also good correspondence with the other great men in the state, or else the remedy is worse than the disease.

XVI.—OF ATHEISM.

I had rather believe all the fables in the legends, 183 and the Talmud, 184 and the Alcoran, than that this universal frame is without a mind; and, therefore, God never wrought miracle to convince atheism, 125 because his ordinary works convince it. It is true, that a little philosophy 185 inclineth man’s mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth men’s minds about to religion; for while the mind of man looketh upon second causes scattered, it may sometimes rest in them, and go no further; but when it beholdeth the chain of them confederate, and linked together, it must needs fly to Providence and Deity. Nay, even that school which is most accused of atheism, doth most demonstrate religion: that is, the school of Leucippus, 186 and Democritus, 187 and Epicurus; for it is a thousand times more credible that four mutable elements, and one immutable fifth essence, 188 duly and eternally placed, need no God, than that an army of infinite small portions, or seeds unplaced, should have produced this order and beauty without a divine marshal. The Scripture saith, “The fool hath said in his heart, there is no 126 God;” 189 it is not said, “The fool hath thought in his heart;” so as he rather saith it by rote to himself, as that he would have, than that he can thoroughly believe it, or be persuaded of it; for none deny there is a God, but those for whom it maketh 190 that there were no God. It appeareth in nothing more, that atheism is rather in the lip than in the heart of man, than by this, that atheists will ever be talking of that their opinion, as if they fainted in it within themselves, and would be glad to be strengthened by the consent of others; nay more, you shall have atheists strive to get disciples, as it fareth with other sects; and, which is most of all, you shall have of them that will suffer for atheism, and not recant; whereas, if they did truly think that there were no such thing as God, why should they trouble themselves? Epicurus is charged, that he did but dissemble for his credit’s sake, when he affirmed there were blessed natures, but such as enjoyed themselves without having respect to the government of the world. Wherein they say he did temporize, though in secret he thought there was no God; but certainly he is traduced, for his words are noble and divine: “Non Deos vulgi negare profanum; sed vulgi opiniones Diis applicare profanum.” 191 Plato could have said 127 no more; and, although he had the confidence to deny the administration, he had not the power to deny the nature. The Indians 192 of the west have names for their particular gods, though they have no name for God; as if the heathens should have had the names Jupiter, Apollo, Mars, &c., but not the word Deus, which shows that even those barbarous people have the notion, though they have not the latitude and extent of it; so that against atheists the very savages take part with the very subtlest philosophers. The contemplative atheist is rare; a Diagoras, 193 a Bion, 194 a Lucian, 195 perhaps, and some others, and yet they seem to be more than they are; for that all that impugn a received religion, or superstition, are, by the adverse part, branded with the name of atheists. But the great atheists indeed are hypocrites, which are ever handling holy things, but without feeling, so as they must needs be 128 cauterized in the end. The causes of atheism are: divisions in religion, if they be many; for any one main division addeth zeal to both sides, but many divisions introduce atheism. Another is, scandal of priests, when it is come to that which St. Bernard saith: “Non est jam dicere, ut populus, sic sacerdos; quia nec sic populus, ut sacerdos.” 196 A third is, custom of profane scoffing in holy matters, which doth by little and little deface the reverence of religion: and lastly, learned times, specially with peace and prosperity; for troubles and adversities do more bow men’s minds to religion. They that deny a God destroy a man’s nobility, for certainly man is of kin to the beasts by his body; and if he be not of kin to God by his spirit, he is a base and ignoble creature. It destroys likewise magnanimity, and the raising of human nature; for, take an example of a dog, and mark what a generosity and courage he will put on when he finds himself maintained by a man, who, to him, is instead of a God, or “melior natura;” 197 which courage is manifestly such as that creature, without that confidence of a better nature than his own, could never attain. So 129 man, when he resteth and assureth himself upon divine protection and favor, gathereth a force and faith, which human nature in itself could not obtain; therefore, as atheism is in all respects hateful, so in this, that it depriveth human nature of the means to exalt itself above human frailty. As it is in particular persons, so it is in nations: never was there such a state for magnanimity as Rome. Of this state hear what Cicero saith: “Quam volumus, licet, Patres conscripti, nos amemus, tamen nec numero Hispanos, nec robore Gallos, nec calliditate Pœnos, nec artibus Græcos, nec denique hoc ipso hujus gentis et terræ domestico nativoque sensu Italos ipsos et Latinos; sed pietate, ac religione, atque hâc unâ sapientiâ, quod Deorum immortalium numine omnia regi, gubernarique perspeximus, omnes gentes, nationesque superavimus.” 198

XVII.—OF SUPERSTITION.

It were better to have no opinion of God at all, than such an opinion as is unworthy of him; for the one is unbelief, the other is contumely, 199 and certainly superstition is the reproach of the Deity. Plutarch saith well to that purpose: “Surely,” saith he, “I had rather a great deal men should say there was no such man at all as Plutarch, than that they should say that there was one Plutarch that would eat his children 200 as soon as they were born,” as the poets speak of Saturn; and, as the contumely is greater towards God, so the danger is greater towards men. Atheism leaves a man to sense, to philosophy, to natural piety, to laws, to reputation, all which may be guides to an outward moral virtue, though religion were not; but superstition dismounts all these, and erecteth an absolute monarchy in the minds of men. Therefore atheism did never perturb states; for it makes men wary of themselves, as looking no further, and we see the times inclined to atheism (as the time of Augustus Cæsar) were civil times; but superstition hath been the confusion 131 of many states, and bringeth in a new primum mobile , 201 that ravisheth all the spheres of government. The master of superstition is the people, and in all superstition wise men follow fools; and arguments are fitted to practice in a reversed order. It was gravely said by some of the prelates in the Council of Trent, 202 where the doctrine of the schoolmen bare great sway, that the schoolmen were like astronomers, which did feign eccentrics 203 and epicycles, 204 and such engines of orbs to save 205 the phenomena, though they knew there were no such things; and, in like manner, that the schoolmen had framed a number of subtle and intricate axioms and theorems, to save the practice of the Church. The causes of superstition are, pleasing and sensual rites and ceremonies; excess of outward and pharisaical holiness; over-great reverence of traditions, which cannot but load the Church; the stratagems of prelates for their own ambition and lucre; the favoring too much of good intentions, which openeth the gate to conceits and novelties; the taking an aim at divine matters by human, which cannot but breed mixture 132 of imaginations; and, lastly, barbarous times, especially joined with calamities and disasters. Superstition, without a veil, is a deformed thing; for, as it addeth deformity to an ape to be so like a man, so the similitude of superstition to religion makes it the more deformed; and as wholesome meat corrupteth to little worms, so good forms and orders corrupt into a number of petty observances. There is a superstition in avoiding superstition, when men think to do best if they go furthest from the superstition formerly received; therefore care would be had that (as it fareth in ill purgings) the good be not taken away with the bad, which commonly is done when the people is the reformer.

XVIII.—OF TRAVEL.

Travel , in the younger sort, is a part of education; in the elder, a part of experience. He that travelleth into a country before he hath some entrance into the language, goeth to school, and not to travel. That young men travel under some tutor or grave servant, I allow well, so that he be such a one that hath the language, and hath been in the country before; whereby he may be able to tell them what things are worthy to be seen in the country where they go, what acquaintances they are to seek, what exercises or discipline the place 133 yieldeth; for else young men shall go hooded, and look abroad little. It is a strange thing that, in sea voyages, where there is nothing to be seen but sky and sea, men should make diaries; but in land travel, wherein so much is to be observed, for the most part they omit it, as if chance were fitter to be registered than observation. Let diaries, therefore, be brought in use. The things to be seen and observed are, the courts of princes, especially when they give audience to ambassadors; the courts of justice, while they sit and hear causes; and so of consistories 206 ecclesiastic; the churches and monasteries, with the monuments which are therein extant; the walls and fortifications of cities and towns; and so the havens and harbors, antiquities and ruins, libraries, colleges, disputations, and lectures, where any are; shipping and navies; houses and gardens of state and pleasure, near great cities; armories, arsenals, magazines, exchanges, burses, warehouses, exercises of horsemanship, fencing, training of soldiers, and the like; comedies, such whereunto the better sort of persons do resort; treasuries of jewels and robes; cabinets and rarities; and, to conclude, whatsoever is memorable in the places where they go, after all which the tutors or servants ought to make diligent inquiry. As for triumphs, masks, feasts, weddings, funerals, capital executions, and such shows, men need not to be put in mind of them; yet they are not to be neglected. If you 134 will have a young man to put his travel into a little room, and in short time to gather much, this you must do: first, as was said, he must have some entrance into the language before he goeth; then he must have such a servant, or tutor, as knoweth the country, as was likewise said; let him carry with him also some card or book, describing the country where he travelleth, which will be a good key to his inquiry; let him keep also a diary; let him not stay long in one city or town, more or less, as the place deserveth, but not long; nay, when he stayeth in one city or town, let him change his lodging from one end and part of the town to another, which is a great adamant of acquaintance; let him sequester himself from the company of his countrymen, and diet in such places where there is good company of the nation where he travelleth; let him, upon his removes from one place to another, procure recommendation to some person of quality residing in the place whither he removeth, that he may use his favor in those things he desireth to see or know: thus he may abridge his travel with much profit. As for the acquaintance which is to be sought in travel, that which is most of all profitable, is acquaintance with the secretaries and employed men 207 of ambassadors, for so in travelling in one country he shall suck the experience of many; let him also see and visit eminent persons in all kinds which are of great name abroad, that he may be 135 able to tell how the life agreeth with the fame. For quarrels, they are with care and discretion to be avoided; they are commonly for mistresses, healths, 208 place, and words; and let a man beware how he keepeth company with choleric and quarrelsome persons, for they will engage him into their own quarrels. When a traveller returneth home, let him not leave the countries where he hath travelled altogether behind him, but maintain a correspondence by letters with those of his acquaintance which are of most worth; and let his travel appear rather in his discourse than in his apparel or gesture, and in his discourse let him be rather advised in his answers, than forward to tell stories; and let it appear that he doth not change his country manners for those of foreign parts, but only prick in some flowers of that he hath learned abroad into the customs of his own country.

XIX.—OF EMPIRE.

It is a miserable state of mind to have few things to desire, and many things to fear; and yet that commonly is the case of kings, who, being, at the highest, want matter of desire, 209 which makes their 136 minds more languishing; and have many representations of perils and shadows, which makes their minds the less clear; and this is one reason, also, of that effect which the Scripture speaketh of, “that the king’s heart is inscrutable;” 210 for multitude of jealousies, and lack of some predominant desire, that should marshal and put in order all the rest, maketh any man’s heart hard to find or sound. Hence it comes, likewise, that princes many times make themselves desires, and set their hearts upon toys: sometimes upon a building; sometimes upon erecting of an order; sometimes upon the advancing of a person; sometimes upon obtaining excellency in some art or feat of the hand,—as Nero for playing on the harp; Domitian for certainty of the hand with the arrow; Commodus for playing at fence; 211 Caracalla for driving chariots, and the like. This seemeth incredible unto those that know not the principle, that the mind of man is more cheered and refreshed by profiting in small things than by standing at a stay 212 in great. We see, also, that kings that have been fortunate conquerors in their first years, it being not possible for them to go forward infinitely, but that they must have some check or arrest in their fortunes, turn in their latter years to be superstitious and melancholy; as did 137 Alexander the Great, Diocletian, 213 and, in our memory, Charles the Fifth, 214 and others; for he that is used to go forward, and findeth a stop, falleth out of his own favor, and is not the thing he was.

To speak now of the true temper of empire, it is a thing rare and hard to keep, for both temper and distemper consist of contraries; but it is one thing to mingle contraries, another to interchange them. The answer of Apollonius to Vespasian is full of excellent instruction. Vespasian asked him, “What was Nero’s overthrow?” He answered, “Nero could touch and tune the harp well; but in government sometimes he used to wind the pins too high, sometimes to let them down too low.” 215 And certain it is, that nothing destroyeth authority so much as the unequal and untimely interchange of power pressed too far, and relaxed too much.

This is true, that the wisdom of all these latter times in princes’ affairs is rather fine deliveries, and shiftings of dangers and mischiefs, when they are near, than solid and grounded courses to keep them aloof; but this is but to try masteries with fortune, and let men beware how they neglect and suffer matter of trouble to be prepared. For no man can forbid the spark, nor tell whence it may come. 138 The difficulties in princes’ business are many and great; but the greatest difficulty is often in their own mind. For it is common with princes (saith Tacitus) to will contradictories: “Sunt plerumque regum voluntates vehementes, et inter se contrariæ;” 216 for it is the solecism of power to think to command the end, and yet not to endure the mean.

Kings have to deal with their neighbors, their wives, their children, their prelates or clergy, their nobles, their second nobles or gentlemen, their merchants, their commons, and their men of war; and from all these arise dangers, if care and circumspection be not used.

First, for their neighbors, there can no general rule be given (the occasions are so variable), save one which ever holdeth; which is, that princes do keep due sentinel, that none of their neighbors do overgrow so (by increase of territory, by embracing of trade, by approaches, or the like), as they become more able to annoy them than they were; and this is generally the work of standing counsels to foresee and to hinder it. During that triumvirate of kings, King Henry the Eighth of England, Francis the First, King of France, 217 and Charles the Fifth, Emperor, there was such a watch kept that 139 none of the three could win a palm of ground, but the other two would straightways balance it, either by confederation, or, if need were, by a war; and would not, in any wise, take up peace at interest; and the like was done by that league (which Guicciardini 218 saith was the security of Italy) made between Ferdinando, King of Naples, Lorenzius Medicis, and Ludovicus Sforza, potentates, the one of Florence, the other of Milan. Neither is the opinion of some of the schoolmen to be received, that a war cannot justly be made, but upon a precedent injury or provocation; for there is no question, but a just fear of an imminent danger, though there be no blow given, is a lawful cause of a war.

For their wives, there are cruel examples of them. Livia is infamed 219 for the poisoning of her husband; Roxolana, Solyman’s wife, 220 was the destruction of 140 that renowned prince, Sultan Mustapha, and otherwise troubled his house and succession; Edward the Second of England’s Queen 221 had the principal hand in the deposing and murder of her husband.

This kind of danger is then to be feared chiefly when the wives have plots for the raising of their own children, or else that they be advoutresses. 222

For their children, the tragedies likewise of dangers from them have been many; and generally the entering of fathers into suspicion of their children hath been ever unfortunate. The destruction of Mustapha (that we named before) was so fatal to Solyman’s line, as the succession of the Turks from Solyman until this day is suspected to be untrue, and of strange blood; for that Selymus the Second was thought to be supposititious. 223 The destruction of Crispus, a young prince of rare towardness, by Constantinus the Great, his father, was in like manner fatal to his house; for both Constantinus and Constance, his sons, died violent deaths; and Constantius, his other son, did little better, who died indeed of sickness, but after that Julianus had taken arms against him. The destruction of Demetrius, 224 son to Philip the Second of Macedon, turned upon 141 the father, who died of repentance. And many like examples there are; but few or none where the fathers had good by such distrust, except it were where the sons were up in open arms against them; as was Selymus the First against Bajazet, and the three sons of Henry the Second, King of England.

For their prelates, when they are proud and great, there is also danger from them; as it was in the times of Anselmus 225 and Thomas Becket, Archbishops of Canterbury, who, with their crosiers, did almost try it with the king’s sword; and yet they had to deal with stout and haughty kings; William Rufus, Henry the First, and Henry the Second. The danger is not from that state, but where it hath a dependence of foreign authority; or where the churchmen come in and are elected, not by the collation of the King, or particular patrons, but by the people.

For their nobles, to keep them at a distance it is not amiss; but to depress them may make a king more absolute, but less safe, and less able to perform anything that he desires. I have noted it in my History of King Henry the Seventh of England, who depressed his nobility, whereupon it came to pass that his times were full of difficulties and 142 troubles; for the nobility, though they continued loyal unto him, yet did they not coöperate with him in his business; so that, in effect, he was fain to do all things himself.

For their second nobles, there is not much danger from them, being a body dispersed. They may sometimes discourse high, but that doth little hurt; besides, they are a counterpoise to the higher nobility, that they grow not too potent; and, lastly, being the most immediate in authority with the common people, they do best temper popular commotions.

For their merchants, they are “vena porta:” 226 and if they flourish not, a kingdom may have good limbs, but will have empty veins, and nourish little. Taxes and imposts upon them do seldom good to the king’s revenue, for that which he wins 227 in the hundred 228 he loseth in the shire; the particular rates being increased, but the total bulk of trading rather decreased.

For their commons, there is little danger from them, except it be where they have great and potent heads; or where you meddle with the point of religion, or their customs, or means of life.

For their men of war, it is a dangerous state 143 where they live and remain in a body, and are used to donatives; whereof we see examples in the Janizaries 229 and Prætorian bands of Rome; but trainings of men, and arming them in several places, and under several commanders, and without donatives, are things of defence and no danger.

Princes are like to heavenly bodies, which cause good or evil times; and which have much veneration, but no rest. All precepts concerning kings are in effect comprehended in those two remembrances, “Memento quod es homo;” 230 and “Memento quod es Deus,” 231 or “vice Dei;” 232 the one bridleth their power and the other their will.

XX.—OF COUNSEL.

The greatest trust between man and man is the trust of giving counsel; for in other confidences men commit the parts of life, their lands, their goods, their children, their credit, some particular affair; but to such as they make their counsellors they commit the whole; by how much the more they 144 are obliged to all faith and integrity. The wisest princes need not think it any diminution to their greatness, or derogation to their sufficiency to rely upon counsel. God himself is not without, but hath made it one of the great names of his blessed Son, “The Counsellor.” 233 Solomon hath pronounced that, “in counsel is stability.” 234 Things will have their first or second agitation: if they be not tossed upon the arguments of counsel, they will be tossed upon the waves of fortune, and be full of inconstancy, doing and undoing, like the reeling of a drunken man. Solomon’s son 235 found the force of counsel, as his father saw the necessity of it; for the beloved kingdom of God was first rent and broken by ill counsel; upon which counsel there are set for our instruction the two marks whereby bad counsel is forever best discerned, that it was young counsel for the persons, and violent counsel for the matter.

The ancient times do set forth in figure both the incorporation and inseparable conjunction of counsel with kings, and the wise and politic use of counsel by kings; the one, in that they say Jupiter did marry Metis, which signifieth counsel; whereby they intend that sovereignty is married to counsel; the 145 other in that which followeth, which was thus: they say, after Jupiter was married to Metis, she conceived by him and was with child; but Jupiter suffered her not to stay till she brought forth, but eat her up; whereby he became himself with child, and was delivered of Pallas armed, out of his head. 236 Which monstrous fable containeth a secret of empire, how kings are to make use of their council of state; that first, they ought to refer matters unto them, which is the first begetting or impregnation; but when they are elaborate, moulded, and shaped in the womb of their counsel, and grow ripe and ready to be brought forth, that then they suffer not their council to go through with the resolution and direction, as if it depended on them; but take the matter back into their own hands, and make it appear to the world, that the decrees and final directions (which, because they come forth with prudence and power, are resembled to Pallas armed), proceeded from themselves; and not only from their authority, but (the more to add reputation to themselves) from their head and device.

Let us now speak of the inconveniences of counsel, and of the remedies. The inconveniences that have been noted in calling and using counsel are three: first, the revealing of affairs, whereby they become less secret; secondly, the weakening of the authority of princes, as if they were less of themselves; thirdly, the danger of being unfaithfully 146 counselled, and more for the good of them that counsel than of him that is counselled; for which inconveniences, the doctrine of Italy, and practice of France, in some kings’ times, hath introduced cabinet councils; a remedy worse than the disease. 237

As to secrecy, princes are not bound to communicate all matters with all counsellors, but may extract and select; neither is it necessary that he that consulteth what he should do, should declare what he will do; but let princes beware that the unsecreting of their affairs comes not from themselves; and, as for cabinet councils, it may be their motto, “Plenus rimarum sum:” 238 one futile person, that maketh it his glory to tell, will do more hurt than many that know it their duty to conceal. It is true, there be some affairs which require extreme secrecy, which will hardly go beyond one or two persons besides the king. Neither are those counsels unprosperous; for, besides the secrecy, they commonly go on constantly in one spirit of direction without distraction; but then it must be a prudent king, such as is able to grind with a hand-mill; 239 and those inward counsellors had need also to be wise men, and especially true and trusty to the king’s ends; as it was with King Henry the 147 Seventh of England, who, in his greatest business, imparted himself to none, except it were to Morton 240 and Fox. 241

For weakening of authority, the fable 242 showeth the remedy; nay, the majesty of kings is rather exalted than diminished when they are in the chair of council; neither was there ever prince bereaved of his dependencies by his council, except where there hath been either an over-greatness in one counsellor, or an over-strict combination in divers, which are things soon found and holpen. 243

For the last inconvenience, that men will counsel with an eye to themselves; certainly, “non inveniet fidem super terram,” 244 is meant of the nature of times, 245 and not of all particular persons. There be 148 that are in nature faithful and sincere, and plain and direct, not crafty and involved: let princes, above all, draw to themselves such natures. Besides, counsellors are not commonly so united, but that one counsellor keepeth sentinel over another; so that if any do counsel out of faction or private ends, it commonly comes to the king’s ear; but the best remedy is, if princes know their counsellors, as well as their counsellors know them:—

And on the other side, counsellors should not be too speculative into their sovereign’s person. The true composition of a counsellor is, rather to be skilful in their master’s business than in his nature; 247 for then he is like to advise him, and not to feed his humor. It is of singular use to princes, if they take the opinions of their council both separately and together; for private opinion is more free, but opinion before others is more reverend. In private, men are more bold in their own humors; and in consort, men are more obnoxious 248 to others’ humors; therefore it is good to take both; and of the inferior sort rather in private, to preserve freedom; of the greater, rather in consort, to preserve respect. It is in vain for princes to take counsel 149 concerning matters, if they take no counsel likewise concerning persons; for all matters are as dead images; and the life of the execution of affairs resteth in the good choice of persons. Neither is it enough to consult concerning persons, “secundum genera,” 249 as in an idea or mathematical description, what the kind and character of the person should be; for the greatest errors are committed, and the most judgment is shown, in the choice of individuals. It was truly said, “Optimi consiliarii mortui:” 250 “books will speak plain when counsellors blanch;” 251 therefore it is good to be conversant in them, specially the books of such as themselves have been actors upon the stage.

The councils at this day in most places are but familiar meetings, where matters are rather talked on than debated; and they run too swift to the order or act of council. It were better that in causes of weight, the matter were propounded one day and not spoken to till the next day; “In nocte consilium;” 252 so was it done in the commission of 150 union 253 between England and Scotland, which was a grave and orderly assembly. I commend set days for petitions; for both it gives the suitors more certainty for their attendance, and it frees the meetings for matters of estate, that they may “hoc agere.” 254 In choice of committees for ripening business for the council, it is better to choose indifferent persons, than to make an indifferency by putting in those that are strong on both sides. I commend, also, standing commissions; as for trade, for treasure, for war, for suits, for some provinces; for where there be divers particular councils, and but one council of estate (as it is in Spain), they are in effect no more than standing commissions, save that they have greater authority. Let such as are to inform councils out of their particular professions (as lawyers, seamen, mintmen, and the like) be first heard before committees; and then, as occasion serves, before the council; and let them not come in multitudes, or in a tribunitious 255 manner; for that is to clamor councils, not to inform them. A long table and a square table, or seats about the walls, seem things of form, but are things of substance; for at a long table a few at the upper end, in effect, sway all the business; but in the 151 other form there is more use of the counsellors’ opinions that sit lower. A king, when he presides in council, let him beware how he opens his own inclination too much in that which he propoundeth; for else counsellors will but take the wind of him, and, instead of giving free counsel, will sing him a song of “placebo.” 256

XXI.—OF DELAYS.

Fortune is like the market, where, many times, if you can stay a little, the price will fall; and again, it is sometimes like Sibylla’s offer, 257 which at first 152 offereth the commodity at full, then consumeth part and part, and still holdeth up the price; for occasion (as it is in the common verse) “turneth a bald noddle, 258 after she hath presented her locks in front, and no hold taken;” or, at least, turneth the handle of the bottle first to be received, and after the belly, which is hard to clasp. 259 There is surely no greater wisdom than well to time the beginnings and onsets of things. Dangers are no more light, if they once seem light; and more dangers have deceived men than forced them; nay, it were better to meet some dangers half-way, though they come nothing near, than to keep too long a watch upon their approaches; for if a man watch too long, it is odds he will fall asleep. On the other side, to be deceived with too long shadows (as some have been when the moon was low, and shone on their enemies’ back), and so to shoot off before the time; or to teach dangers to come on by over early buckling towards them, is another extreme. The ripeness or unripeness of the occasion (as we said) must ever be well weighed; and generally it is good to commit the beginnings of all great actions to Argus with his hundred eyes, and the ends to Briareus with his hundred hands, first to watch and then to speed; for the helmet of Pluto, 260 which maketh the politic man go invisible, is secrecy in the council, and celerity in 153 the execution; for when things are once come to the execution, there is no secrecy comparable to celerity; like the motion of a bullet in the air, which flieth so swift as it outruns the eye.

XXII.—OF CUNNING.

We take cunning for a sinister, or crooked wisdom; and, certainly, there is great difference between a cunning man and a wise man, not only in point of honesty, but in point of ability. There be that can pack the cards, 261 and yet cannot play well; so there are some that are good in canvasses and factions, that are otherwise weak men. Again, it is one thing to understand persons, and another thing to understand matters; for many are perfect in men’s humors that are not greatly capable of the real part of business, which is the constitution of one that hath studied men more than books. Such men are fitter for practice than for counsel, and they are good but in their own alley. Turn them to new men, and they have lost their aim; so as the old rule, to know a fool from a wise man, “Mitte ambos nudos ad ignotos, et videbis,” 262 doth scarce hold 154 for them; and, because these cunning men are like haberdashers 263 of small wares, it is not amiss to set forth their shop.

It is a point of cunning to wait upon 264 him with whom you speak with your eye, as the Jesuits give it in precept; for there be many wise men that have secret hearts and transparent countenances; yet this would be done with a demure abasing of your eye sometimes, as the Jesuits also do use.

Another is, that when you have any thing to obtain of present dispatch, you entertain and amuse the party with whom you deal with some other discourse, that he be not too much awake to make objections. I knew a counsellor and secretary that never came to Queen Elizabeth of England, with bills to sign, but he would always first put her into some discourse of estate, 265 that she might the less mind the bills.

The like surprise may be made by moving things 266 when the party is in haste, and cannot stay to consider advisedly of that is moved.

If a man would cross a business that he doubts some other would handsomely and effectually move, let him pretend to wish it well, and move it himself, in such sort as may foil it.

The breaking off in the midst of that one was about to say, as if he took himself up, breeds a greater appetite in him with whom you confer to know more.

And because it works better when any thing seemeth to be gotten from you by question than if you offer it of yourself, you may lay a bait for a question, by showing another visage and countenance than you are wont; to the end, to give occasion for the party to ask what the matter is of the change, as Nehemiah 267 did: “And I had not, before that time, been sad before the king.”

In things that are tender and unpleasing, it is good to break the ice by some whose words are of less weight, and to reserve the more weighty voice to come in as by chance, so that he may be asked the question upon the other’s speech; as Narcissus did, in relating to Claudius the marriage 268 of Messalina and Silius.

In things that a man would not be seen in himself, it is a point of cunning to borrow the name of the 156 world; as to say, “The world says,” or “There is a speech abroad.”

I knew one, that when he wrote a letter, he would put that which was most material in a postscript, as if it had been a by-matter.

I knew another, that when he came to have speech, 269 he would pass over that that he intended most; and go forth and come back again, and speak of it as a thing that he had almost forgot.

Some procure themselves to be surprised at such times as it is like the party that they work upon will suddenly come upon them, and to be found with a letter in their hand, or doing somewhat which they are not accustomed, to the end they may be apposed of 270 those things which of themselves they are desirous to utter.

It is a point of cunning to let fall those words in a man’s own name, which he would have another man learn and use, and thereupon take advantage. I knew two that were competitors for the secretary’s place in Queen Elizabeth’s time, and yet kept good quarter 271 between themselves, and would confer one with another upon the business; and the one of them said, that to be a secretary in the declination of a monarchy was a ticklish thing, and that he did not affect it; 272 the other straight caught up those words, and discoursed with divers of his friends, that he had no reason to desire to be secretary in the 157 declination of a monarchy. The first man took hold of it, and found means it was told the queen, who, hearing of a declination of a monarchy, took it so ill, as she would never after hear of the other’s suit.

There is a cunning, which we in England call “the turning of the cat in the pan;” which is, when that which a man says to another, he lays it as if another had said it to him; and, to say truth, it is not easy, when such a matter passed between two, to make it appear from which of them it first moved and began.

It is a way that some men have, to glance and dart at others by justifying themselves by negatives; as to say, “This I do not;” as Tigellinus did towards Burrhus: “Se non diversas spes, sed incolumitatem imperatoris simpliciter spectare.” 273

Some have in readiness so many tales and stories, as there is nothing they would insinuate, but they can wrap it into a tale; 274 which serveth both to keep themselves more in guard, and to make others carry it with more pleasure.

It is a good point of cunning for a man to shape the answer he would have in his own words and propositions; for it makes the other party stick the less.

It is strange how long some men will lie in wait to speak somewhat they desire to say; and how far about they will fetch, 275 and how many other matters they will beat over to come near it. It is a thing of great patience, but yet of much use.

A sudden, bold, and unexpected question doth many times surprise a man, and lay him open. Like to him, that, having changed his name, and walking in Paul’s, 276 another suddenly came behind him and called him by his true name, whereat straightways he looked back.

But these small wares and petty points of cunning are infinite, and it were a good deed to make a list of them; for that nothing doth more hurt in a state than that cunning men pass for wise.

But certainly, some there are that know the resorts 277 and falls 278 of business that cannot sink into the main of it; 279 like a house that hath convenient stairs and entries, but never a fair room. Therefore you shall see them find out pretty looses 280 in the conclusion, but are noways able to examine or debate matters; and yet commonly they take advantage of their inability, and would be thought wits of direction. Some build rather upon the 159 abusing of others, and (as we now say) putting tricks upon them, than upon soundness of their own proceedings; but Solomon saith: “Prudens advertit ad gressus suos; stultus divertit ad dolos.” 281

XXIII.—OF WISDOM FOR A MAN’S SELF.

An ant is a wise creature for itself, but it is a shrewd 282 thing in an orchard or garden; and certainly, men that are great lovers of themselves waste the public. Divide with reason between self-love and society; and be so true to thyself as thou be not false to others, specially to thy king and country. It is a poor centre of a man’s actions, himself. It is right earth; for that only stands fast upon his own centre; 283 whereas all things that have affinity with the heavens, move upon the centre of another, which they benefit. The referring of all to a man’s self is more tolerable in a sovereign prince, because themselves are not only themselves, but their good and evil is at the peril of the public fortune; but it is a desperate evil in a servant to a prince, or 160 a citizen in a republic; for whatsoever affairs pass such a man’s hands, he crooketh them to his own ends, which must needs be often eccentric to the ends of his master or state. Therefore, let princes or states choose such servants as have not this mark; except they mean their service should be made but the accessary. That which maketh the effect more pernicious is, that all proportion is lost. It were disproportion enough for the servant’s good to be preferred before the master’s; but yet it is a greater extreme, when a little good of the servant shall carry things against a great good of the master. And yet that is the case of bad officers, treasurers, ambassadors, generals, and other false and corrupt servants; which set a bias upon their bowl, of their own petty ends and envies, to the overthrow of their master’s great and important affairs; and, for the most part, the good such servants receive is after the model of their own fortune; but the hurt they sell for that good is after the model of their master’s fortune. And certainly, it is the nature of extreme self-lovers, as they will set a house on fire, an it were but to roast their eggs; and yet these men many times hold credit with their masters, because their study is but to please them, and profit themselves; and for either respect they will abandon the good of their affairs.

Wisdom for a man’s self is, in many branches thereof, a depraved thing. It is the wisdom of rats, that will be sure to leave a house somewhat before 161 it fall; it is the wisdom of the fox, that thrusts out the badger who digged and made room for him; it is the wisdom of crocodiles, that shed tears when they would devour. But that which is specially to be noted is, that those which (as Cicero says of Pompey) are “sui amantes, sine rivali,” 284 are many times unfortunate; and whereas they have all their times sacrificed to themselves, they become in the end themselves sacrifices to the inconstancy of fortune, whose wings they thought by their self-wisdom to have pinioned.

XXIV.—OF INNOVATIONS.

As the births of living creatures at first are ill-shapen, so are all innovations, which are the births of time; yet, notwithstanding, as those that first bring honor into their family are commonly more worthy than most that succeed, so the first precedent (if it be good) is seldom attained by imitation; for ill to man’s nature as it stands perverted, hath a natural motion strongest in continuance, but good, as a forced motion, strongest at first. Surely, every medicine 285 is an innovation, and he that will not apply new remedies must expect new evils, for time is the greatest innovator; and if time, of course, 162 alter things to the worse, and wisdom and counsel shall not alter them to the better, what shall be the end? It is true, that what is settled by custom, though it be not good, yet, at least, it is fit; and those things which have long gone together, are, as it were, confederate within themselves; 286 whereas new things piece not so well; but, though they help by their utility, yet they trouble by their inconformity; besides, they are like strangers, more admired and less favored. All this is true, if time stood still, which, contrariwise, moveth so round, that a froward retention of custom is as turbulent a thing as an innovation; and they that reverence too much old times are but a scorn to the new. It were good, therefore, that men in their innovations would follow the example of time itself, which indeed innovateth greatly, but quietly, and by degrees scarce to be perceived; for, otherwise, whatsoever is new is unlooked for, and ever it mends some and pairs 287 other; and he that is holpen, takes it for a fortune, and thanks the time; and he that is hurt, for a wrong, and imputeth it to the author. It is good, also, not to try experiments in states, except the necessity be urgent, or the utility evident; and well to beware that it be the reformation that draweth on the change, and not the desire of change that pretendeth the reformation; and lastly, that the novelty, though it be not rejected, yet be held for a suspect, 288 and, as 163 the Scripture saith, “That we make a stand upon the ancient way, and then look about us, and discover what is the straight and right way, and so to walk in it.” 289

XXV.—OF DISPATCH.

Affected dispatch is one of the most dangerous things to business that can be; it is like that which the physicians call predigestion, or hasty digestion, which is sure to fill the body full of crudities, and secret seeds of diseases. Therefore, measure not dispatch by the times of sitting, but by the advancement of the business; and as in races, it is not the large stride, or high lift, that makes the speed, so in business, the keeping close to the matter, and not taking of it too much at once, procureth dispatch. It is the care of some, only to come off speedily for the time, or to contrive some false periods of business, because they may seem men of dispatch; but it is one thing to abbreviate by contracting, 290 another by cutting off; and business so handled at several sittings, or meetings, goeth commonly backward and forward in an unsteady manner. I knew a wise 164 man 291 that had it for a byword, when he saw men hasten to a conclusion, “Stay a little, that we may make an end the sooner.”

On the other side, true dispatch is a rich thing; for time is the measure of business, as money is of wares; and business is bought at a dear hand where there is small dispatch. The Spartans and Spaniards have been noted to be of small dispatch: “Mi venga la muerte de Spagna;” “Let my death come from Spain;” for then it will be sure to be long in coming.

Give good hearing to those that give the first information in business, and rather direct them in the beginning, than interrupt them in the continuance of their speeches; for he that is put out of his own order will go forward and backward, and be more tedious while he waits upon his memory, than he could have been if he had gone on in his own course; but sometimes it is seen that the moderator is more troublesome than the actor.

Iterations are commonly loss of time; but there is no such gain of time as to iterate often the state of the question; for it chaseth away many a frivolous speech as it is coming forth. Long and curious speeches are as fit for dispatch as a robe, or mantle, with a long train, is for a race. Prefaces, and passages, 292 and excusations, 293 and other speeches 165 of reference to the person, are great wastes of time; and though they seem to proceed of modesty, they are bravery. 294 Yet beware of being too material when there is any impediment, or obstruction in men’s wills; for preoccupation of mind 295 ever requireth preface of speech, like a fomentation to make the unguent enter.

Above all things, order and distribution, and singling out of parts, is the life of dispatch, so as the distribution be not too subtile; for he that doth not divide will never enter well into business; and he that divideth too much will never come out of it clearly. To choose time is to save time; and an unseasonable motion is but beating the air. There be three parts of business,—the preparation; the debate, or examination; and the perfection. Whereof, if you look for dispatch, let the middle only be the work of many, and the first and last the work of few. The proceeding, upon somewhat conceived in writing, doth for the most part facilitate dispatch; for though it should be wholly rejected, yet that negative is more pregnant of direction than an indefinite, as ashes are more generative than dust.

XXVI.—OF SEEMING WISE.

It hath been an opinion, that the French are wiser than they seem, and the Spaniards seem wiser than they are; but howsoever it be between nations, certainly it is so between man and man; for, as the apostle saith of godliness, “Having a show of godliness, but denying the power thereof,” 296 so certainly there are, in points of wisdom and sufficiency, that do nothing, or little very solemnly,—“magno conatu nugas.” 297 It is a ridiculous thing, and fit for a satire to persons of judgment, to see what shifts these formalists have, and what prospectives to make superficies to seem body, that hath depth and bulk. Some are so close and reserved, as they will not show their wares but by a dark light, and seem always to keep back somewhat; and when they know within themselves they speak of that they do not well know, would nevertheless seem to others to know of that which they may not well speak. Some help themselves with countenance and gesture, and are wise by signs; as Cicero saith of Piso, that when he answered him, he fetched one of his brows up to his forehead, and bent the other down to his chin: “Respondes, altero ad frontem sublato, altero ad mentum depresso 167 supercilio; crudelitatem tibi non placere.” 298 Some think to bear it by speaking a great word, and being peremptory; and go on, and take by admittance that which they cannot make good. Some, whatsoever is beyond their reach, will seem to despise or make light of it as impertinent or curious, and so would have their ignorance seem judgment. Some are never without a difference, and commonly by amusing men with a subtilty, blanch the matter; of whom A. Gellius saith, “Hominem delirum, qui verborum minutiis rerum frangit pondera.” 299 Of which kind also Plato, in his Protagoras, bringeth in Prodicus in scorn, and maketh him make a speech that consisteth of distinctions from the beginning to the end. 300 Generally such men, in all deliberations, find ease to be 301 of the negative side, and affect a credit to object and foretell difficulties; for when propositions are denied, there is an end of them, but if they be allowed, it requireth a new work; which false point of wisdom is the bane of business. To conclude, there is no decaying merchant, or inward beggar, 302 168 hath so many tricks to uphold the credit of their wealth, as these empty persons have to maintain the credit of their sufficiency. Seeming wise men may make shift to get opinion, but let no man choose them for employment; for certainly, you were better take for business a man somewhat absurd than over-formal.

XXVII.—OF FRIENDSHIP.

It had been hard for him that spake it, to have put more truth and untruth together in few words than in that speech: “Whosoever is delighted in solitude, is either a wild beast or a god:” 303 for it is most true, that a natural and secret hatred and aversion towards society in any man hath somewhat of the savage beast; but it is most untrue, that it should have any character at all of the divine nature, except it proceed, not out of a pleasure in solitude, but out of a love and desire to sequester a man’s self for a higher conversation; such as is found to have been falsely and feignedly in some of the heathen; as Epimenides, 304 the Candian; Numa, the Roman; 169 Empedocles, the Sicilian; and Apollonius, of Tyana; and truly and really in divers of the ancient hermits and holy fathers of the church. But little do men perceive what solitude is, and how far it extendeth; for a crowd is not company, and faces are but a gallery of pictures, and talk but a tinkling cymbal, where there is no love. The Latin adage meeteth with it a little: “Magna civitas, magna solitudo:” 305 because in a great town friends are scattered, so that there is not that fellowship, for the most part, which is in less neighborhoods: but we may go further, and affirm most truly, that it is a mere and miserable solitude to want true friends, without which the world is but a wilderness; and even in this sense also of solitude, whosoever in the frame of his nature and affections is unfit for friendship, he taketh it of the beasts, and not from humanity.

A principal fruit of friendship is the ease and discharge of the fulness and swellings of the heart, 170 which passions of all kinds do cause and induce. We know diseases of stoppings and suffocations are the most dangerous in the body, and it is not much otherwise in the mind. You may take sarza 306 to open the liver, steel to open the spleen, flower of sulphur for the lungs, castoreum 307 for the brain, but no receipt openeth the heart but a true friend, to whom you may impart griefs, joys, fears, hopes, suspicions, counsels, and whatsoever lieth upon the heart to oppress it, in a kind of civil shrift or confession.

It is a strange thing to observe how high a rate great kings and monarchs do set upon this fruit of friendship whereof we speak; so great, as they purchase it many times at the hazard of their own safety and greatness; for princes, in regard of the distance of their fortune from that of their subjects and servants, cannot gather this fruit, except (to make themselves capable thereof) they raise some persons to be as it were companions, and almost equals to themselves, which many times sorteth to inconvenience. The modern languages give unto such persons the name of favorites, or privadoes, as if it were matter of grace or conversation; but the Roman name attaineth the true use and cause thereof, naming them “participes curarum;” 308 for it is that which tieth the knot. And we see plainly that this hath been 171 done, not by weak and passionate princes only, but by the wisest and most politic that ever reigned, who have oftentimes joined to themselves some of their servants, whom both themselves have called friends, and allowed others likewise to call them in the same manner, using the word which is received between private men.

L. Sylla, when he commanded Rome, raised Pompey (after surnamed the Great) to that height, that Pompey vaunted himself for Sylla’s overmatch; for when he had carried the consulship for a friend of his, against the pursuit of Sylla, and that Sylla did a little resent thereat, and began to speak great, Pompey turned upon him again, and, in effect, bade him be quiet; for that more men adored the sun rising than the sun setting. 309 With Julius Cæsar, Decimus Brutus had obtained that interest, as he set him down in his testament for heir in remainder after his nephew; and this was the man that had power with him to draw him forth to his death; for when Cæsar would have discharged the senate, in regard of some ill presages, and specially a dream of Calphurnia, this man lifted him gently by the arm out of his chair, telling him he hoped he would not dismiss the senate till his wife had dreamt a better dream; 310 and it seemeth his favor was so great, as Antonius, in a letter which is recited verbatim in one of Cicero’s 172 Philippics, calleth him venefica , “witch,” as if he had enchanted Cæsar. 311 Augustus raised Agrippa (though of mean birth) to that height, as, when he consulted with Mæcenas about the marriage of his daughter Julia, Mæcenas took the liberty to tell him, that he must either marry his daughter to Agrippa, or take away his life; there was no third way, he had made him so great. With Tiberius Cæsar, Sejanus had ascended to that height, as they two were termed and reckoned as a pair of friends. Tiberius, in a letter to him, saith, “Hæc pro amicitiâ nostrâ non occultavi;” 312 and the whole senate dedicated an altar to Friendship, as to a goddess, in respect of the great dearness of friendship between them two. The like, or more, was between Septimius Severus and Plautianus; for he forced his eldest son to marry the daughter of Plautianus, and would often maintain Plautianus in doing affronts to his son; and did write, also, in a letter to the senate, by these words: “I love the man so well, as I wish he may over-live me.” 313 Now, if these princes had been as a Trajan, or a Marcus Aurelius, a man might have thought that this had proceeded of an abundant goodness of nature; but being men so wise, 314 of such strength and severity of mind, and so extreme lovers 173 of themselves, as all these were, it proveth most plainly that they found their own felicity (though as great as ever happened to mortal men) but as an half-piece, except they might have a friend to make it entire; and yet, which is more, they were princes that had wives, sons, nephews; and yet all these could not supply the comfort of friendship.

It is not to be forgotten what Comineus 315 observeth of his first master, Duke Charles the Hardy, 316 namely, that he would communicate his secrets with none, and, least of all, those secrets which troubled him most. Whereupon he goeth on, and saith, that towards his latter time, that closeness did impair and a little perish his understanding. Surely, Comineus might have made the same judgment, also, if it had pleased him, of his second master, Louis the Eleventh, whose closeness was indeed his tormentor. The parable of Pythagoras is dark, but true: “Cor ne edito,” “eat not the heart.” 317 Certainly, if a 174 man would give it a hard phrase, those that want friends to open themselves unto are cannibals of their own hearts; but one thing is most admirable (wherewith I will conclude this first fruit of friendship), which is, that this communicating of a man’s self to his friend works two contrary effects, for it redoubleth joys, and cutteth griefs in halves; for there is no man that imparteth his joys to his friend, but he joyeth the more; and no man that imparteth his griefs to his friend, but he grieveth the less. So that it is, in truth, of operation upon a man’s mind of like virtue as the alchemists used to attribute to their stone for man’s body, that it worketh all contrary effects, but still to the good and benefit of nature. But yet, without praying in aid of alchemists, there is a manifest image of this in the ordinary course of nature; for, in bodies, union strengtheneth and cherisheth any natural action; and, on the other side, weakeneth and dulleth any violent impression; and even so it is of minds.

The second fruit of friendship is healthful and sovereign for the understanding, as the first is for the affections; for friendship maketh indeed a fair day in the affections from storm and tempests, but it maketh daylight in the understanding, out of darkness and confusion of thoughts. Neither is this to be understood only of faithful counsel, which a man receiveth from his friend; but before you come to that, certain it is, that whosoever hath his mind fraught with many thoughts, his wits and 175 understanding do clarify and break up in the communicating and discoursing with another; he tosseth his thoughts more easily; he marshalleth them more orderly; he seeth how they look when they are turned into words; finally, he waxeth wiser than himself; and that more by an hour’s discourse than by a day’s meditation. It was well said by Themistocles to the king of Persia: “That speech was like cloth of Arras, 318 opened and put abroad, whereby the imagery doth appear in figure; whereas in thoughts they lie but as in packs.” 319 Neither is this second fruit of friendship, in opening the understanding, restrained only to such friends as are able to give a man counsel (they indeed are best), but even without that a man learneth of himself, and bringeth his own thoughts to light, and whetteth his wits as against a stone, which itself cuts not. In a word, a man were better relate himself to a statue or picture, than to suffer his thoughts to pass in smother.

Add now, to make this second fruit of friendship complete, that other point which lieth more open, and falleth within vulgar observation; which is faithful counsel from a friend. Heraclitus saith well, in one of his enigmas, “Dry light is ever the best;” 320 and certain it is, that the light that a man 176 receiveth by counsel from another, is drier and purer than that which cometh from his own understanding and judgment, which is ever infused and drenched in his affections and customs. So, as there is as much difference between the counsel that a friend giveth, and that a man giveth himself, as there is between the counsel of a friend and of a flatterer; for there is no such flatterer as is a man’s self, and there is no such remedy against flattery of a man’s self, as the liberty of a friend. Counsel is of two sorts,—the one concerning manners, the other concerning business; for the first, the best preservative to keep the mind in health, is the faithful admonition of a friend. The calling of a man’s self to a strict account is a medicine sometimes too piercing and corrosive; reading good books of morality is a little flat and dead; observing our faults in others is sometimes improper for our case; but the best receipt (best, I say, to work, and best to take), is the admonition of a friend. It is a strange thing to behold what gross errors and extreme absurdities many (especially of the greater sort) do commit for want of a friend to tell them of them, to the great damage both of their fame and fortune; for, as St. James saith, they are as men “that look sometimes into a glass, and presently forget their own shape and favor.” 321 As for business, a man may think, if he will, that two eyes see no more than one; or, that a gamester seeth always more 177 than a looker-on; or, that a man in anger is as wise as he that has said over the four and twenty letters; 322 or, that a musket may be shot off as well upon the arm as upon a rest; 323 and such other fond and high imaginations, to think himself all in all; but when all is done, the help of good counsel is that which setteth business straight. And if any man think that he will take counsel, but it shall be by pieces, asking counsel in one business of one man, and in another business of another man; it is well (that is to say, better, perhaps, than if he asked none at all); but he runneth two dangers,—one, that he shall not be faithfully counselled; for it is a rare thing, except it be from a perfect and entire friend, to have counsel given, but such as shall be bowed and crooked to some ends which he hath that giveth it; the other, that he shall have counsel given, hurtful and unsafe (though with good meaning), and mixed partly of mischief, and partly of remedy; even as if you would call a physician, that is thought good for the cure of the disease you complain of, but is unacquainted with your body; and, therefore, may put you in a way for a present cure, but overthroweth your health in some other kind, and so cure the disease and kill the patient. 178 But a friend, that is wholly acquainted with a man’s estate, will beware, by furthering any present business, how he dasheth upon other inconvenience; and, therefore, rest not upon scattered counsels; they will rather distract and mislead, than settle and direct.

After these two noble fruits of friendship (peace in the affections, and support of the judgment), followeth the last fruit, which is like the pomegranate, full of many kernels; I mean aid, and bearing a part in all actions and occasions. Here the best way to represent to life the manifold use of friendship, is to cast and see how many things there are which a man cannot do himself; and then it will appear that it was a sparing speech of the ancients to say, “that a friend is another himself,” for that a friend is far more than himself. Men have their time, and die many times in desire of some things which they principally take to heart; the bestowing of a child, the finishing of a work, or the like. If a man have a true friend, he may rest almost secure that the care of those things will continue after him; so that a man hath, as it were, two lives in his desires. A man hath a body, and that body is confined to a place; but where friendship is, all offices of life are, as it were, granted to him and his deputy, for he may exercise them by his friend. How many things are there, which a man cannot, with any face or comeliness, say or do himself? A man can scarce allege his own merits with modesty, 179 much less extol them; a man cannot sometimes brook to supplicate, or beg, and a number of the like; but all these things are graceful in a friend’s mouth, which are blushing in a man’s own. So, again, a man’s person hath many proper relations which he cannot put off. A man cannot speak to his son but as a father; to his wife but as a husband; to his enemy but upon terms; whereas, a friend may speak as the case requires, and not as it sorteth with the person. But to enumerate these things were endless; I have given the rule, where a man cannot fitly play his own part. If he have not a friend, he may quit the stage.

XXVIII.—OF EXPENSE.

Riches are for spending, and spending for honor and good actions; therefore, extraordinary expense must be limited by the worth of the occasion; for voluntary undoing may be as well for a man’s country as for the kingdom of heaven; but ordinary expense ought to be limited by a man’s estate, and governed with such regard, as it be within his compass, and not subject to deceit and abuse of servants, and ordered to the best show, that the bills may be less than the estimation abroad. Certainly, if a man will keep but of even hand, his ordinary 180 expenses ought to be but to the half of his receipts; and, if he think to wax rich, but to the third part. It is no baseness for the greatest to descend and look into their own estate. Some forbear it, not upon negligence alone, but doubting to bring themselves into melancholy, in respect they shall find it broken; but wounds cannot be cured without searching. He that cannot look into his own estate at all, had need both choose well those whom he employeth, and change them often; for new are more timorous, and less subtle. He that can look into his estate but seldom, it behooveth him to turn all to certainties. A man had need, if he be plentiful in some kind of expense, to be as saving again in some other: as, if he be plentiful in diet, to be saving in apparel; if he be plentiful in the hall, to be saving in the stable; and the like. For he that is plentiful in expenses of all kinds, will hardly be preserved from decay. In clearing 324 of a man’s estate, he may as well hurt himself in being too sudden, as in letting it run on too long; for hasty selling is commonly as disadvantageable as interest. Besides, he that clears at once will relapse; for, finding himself out of straits, he will revert to his customs; but he that cleareth by degrees induceth a habit of frugality, and gaineth as well upon his mind as upon his estate. Certainly, who hath a state to repair, may not despise small things; and, commonly, it is less dishonorable to abridge petty 181 charges, than to stoop to petty gettings. A man ought warily to begin charges, which once begun will continue; but in matters that return not, he may be more magnificent.

XXIX.—OF THE TRUE GREATNESS OF KINGDOMS AND ESTATES.

The speech of Themistocles, the Athenian, which was haughty and arrogant, in taking so much to himself, had been a grave and wise observation and censure, applied at large to others. Desired at a feast to touch a lute, he said, “He could not fiddle, but yet he could make a small town a great city.” 325 These words (holpen a little with a metaphor) may express two different abilities in those that deal in business of estate; for if a true survey be taken of counsellors and statesmen, there may be found (though rarely) those which can make a small state great, and yet cannot fiddle: as, on the other side there will be found a great many that can fiddle very cunningly, but yet are so far from being able to make a small state great, as their gift lieth the other way,—to bring a great and flourishing estate to ruin and decay. And certainly, those degenerate arts and shifts, whereby many counsellors and governors gain both favor with their masters and 182 estimation with the vulgar, deserve no better name than fiddling; being things rather pleasing for the time, and graceful to themselves only, than tending to the weal and advancement of the state which they serve. There are also (no doubt) counsellors and governors which may be held sufficient, “negotiis pares,” 326 able to manage affairs, and to keep them from precipices and manifest inconveniences; which, nevertheless, are far from the ability to raise and amplify an estate in power, means, and fortune. But be the workmen what they may be, let us speak of the work; that is, the true greatness of kingdoms and estates, and the means thereof. An argument fit for great and mighty princes to have in their hand; to the end, that neither by overmeasuring their forces, they lose themselves in vain enterprises: nor, on the other side, by undervaluing them, they descend to fearful and pusillanimous counsels.

The greatness of an estate, in bulk and territory, doth fall under measure; and the greatness of finances and revenue doth fall under computation. The population may appear by musters, and the number and greatness of cities and towns by cards and maps; but yet there is not anything amongst civil affairs more subject to error than the right valuation and true judgment concerning the power and forces of an estate. The kingdom of heaven is compared, not to any great kernel, or nut, but to 183 a grain of mustard-seed; 327 which is one of the least grains, but hath in it a property and spirit hastily to get up and spread. So are there states great in territory, and yet not apt to enlarge or command; and some that have but a small dimension of stem, and yet apt to be the foundations of great monarchies.

Walled towns, stored arsenals and armories, goodly races of horse, chariots of war, elephants, ordnance, artillery, and the like; all this is but a sheep in a lion’s skin, except the breed and disposition of the people be stout and warlike. Nay, number itself in armies importeth not much, where the people is of weak courage; for, as Virgil saith, “It never troubles a wolf how many the sheep be.” 328 The army of the Persians in the plains of Arbela was such a vast sea of people, as it did somewhat astonish the commanders in Alexander’s army, who came to him, therefore, and wished him to set upon them by night; but he answered, “He would not pilfer the victory;” and the defeat was easy. 329 —When Tigranes, 330 the Armenian, being encamped 184 upon a hill with four hundred thousand men, discovered the army of the Romans, being not above fourteen thousand, marching towards him, he made himself merry with it, and said, “Yonder men are too many for an ambassage, and too few for a fight;” but before the sun set, he found them enow to give him the chase with infinite slaughter. Many are the examples of the great odds between number and courage; so that a man may truly make a judgment, that the principal point of greatness in any state is to have a race of military men. Neither is money the sinews of war (as it is trivially said), where the sinews of men’s arms, in base and effeminate people, are failing: for Solon said well to Crœsus (when in ostentation he showed him his gold), “Sir, if any other come that hath better iron than you, he will be master of all this gold.” Therefore, let any prince or state, think soberly of his forces, except his militia of natives be of good and valiant soldiers; and let princes, on the other side, that have subjects of martial disposition, know their own strength, unless they be otherwise wanting unto themselves. As for mercenary forces (which is the help in this case), all examples show that, whatsoever estate or prince doth rest upon them, he may spread his feathers for a time, but he will mew them soon after.

The blessing of Judah and Issachar 331 will never 185 meet; that the same people, or nation, should be both the lion’s whelp and the ass between burdens; neither will it be, that a people overlaid with taxes should ever become valiant and martial. It is true that taxes, levied by consent of the estate, do abate men’s courage less; as it hath been seen notably in the excises of the Low Countries, and, in some degree, in the subsidies 332 of England; for, you must note, that we speak now of the heart, and not of the purse; so that, although the same tribute and tax, laid by consent or by imposing, be all one to the purse, yet it works diversely upon the courage. So that you may conclude, that no people overcharged with tribute is fit for empire.

Let states that aim at greatness take heed how their nobility and gentlemen do multiply too fast; for that maketh the common subject grow to be a peasant and base swain, driven out of heart, and, in effect, but the gentleman’s laborer. Even as you may see in coppice woods; if you leave your staddles 333 too thick, you shall never have clean underwood, but shrubs and bushes. So in countries, if the gentlemen be too many, the commons will be base; and you will bring it to that, that not the 186 hundred poll will be fit for a helmet, especially as to the infantry, which is the nerve of an army; and so there will be great population and little strength. This which I speak of, hath been nowhere better seen than by comparing of England and France; whereof England, though far less in territory and population, hath been, nevertheless, an overmatch; in regard, the middle people of England make good soldiers, which the peasants of France do not. And herein the device of King Henry the Seventh (whereof I have spoken largely in the history of his life) was profound and admirable; in making farms and houses of husbandry of a standard, that is, maintained with such a proportion of land unto them as may breed a subject to live in convenient plenty, and no servile condition, and to keep the plough in the hands of the owners, and not mere hirelings; and thus, indeed, you shall attain to Virgil’s character, which he gives to ancient Italy:—

Neither is that state (which, for anything I know, is almost peculiar to England, and hardly to be found anywhere else, except it be, perhaps, in Poland), to be passed over; I mean the state of free servants and attendants upon noblemen and gentlemen, which are noways inferior unto the yeomanry 187 for arms; and, therefore, out of all question, the splendor and magnificence, and great retinues, and hospitality of noblemen and gentlemen received into custom, do much conduce unto martial greatness; whereas, contrariwise, the close and reserved living of noblemen and gentlemen causeth a penury of military forces.

By all means, it is to be procured that the trunk of Nebuchadnezzar’s tree of monarchy 335 be great enough to bear the branches and the boughs; that is, that the natural subjects of the crown, or state, bear a sufficient proportion to the stranger subjects that they govern. Therefore, all states that are liberal of naturalization towards strangers are fit for empire; for to think that a handful of people can, with the greatest courage and policy in the world, embrace too large extent of dominion, it may hold for a time, but it will fail suddenly. The Spartans were a nice people in point of naturalization; whereby, while they kept their compass, they stood firm; but when they did spread, and their boughs were becoming too great for their stem, they became a windfall upon the sudden. Never any state was, 188 in this point, so open to receive strangers into their body as were the Romans; therefore, it sorted with them accordingly, for they grew to the greatest monarchy. Their manner was to grant naturalization (which they called “jus civitatis”), 336 and to grant it in the highest degree, that is, not only “jus commercii,” 337 “jus connubii,” 338 “jus hæreditatis;” 339 but, also, “jus suffragii,” 340 and “jus honorum;” 341 and this not to singular persons alone, but likewise to whole families; yea, to cities and sometimes to nations. Add to this their custom of plantation of colonies, whereby the Roman plant was removed into the soil of other nations, and, putting both constitutions together, you will say, that it was not the Romans that spread upon the world, but it was the world that spread upon the Romans; and that was the sure way of greatness. I have marvelled sometimes at Spain, how they clasp and contain so large dominions with so few natural Spaniards; 342 but sure the whole compass of Spain is a very great body of a tree, far above Rome and Sparta at the first; and, besides, though they have not had that usage to naturalize liberally, yet they have that which is next to it; that is, to employ, almost 189 indifferently, all nations in their militia of ordinary soldiers; yea, and sometimes in their highest commands; nay, it seemeth at this instant they are sensible of this want of natives, as by the pragmatical sanction, 343 now published, appeareth.

It is certain that sedentary and within-door arts, and delicate manufactures (that require rather the finger than the arm), have in their nature a contrariety to a military disposition; and, generally, all warlike people are a little idle, and love danger better than travail; neither must they be too much broken of it, if they shall be preserved in vigor. Therefore, it was great advantage in the ancient states of Sparta, Athens, Rome, and others, that they had the use of slaves, which commonly did rid those manufactures; but that is abolished, in greatest part, by the Christian law. That which cometh nearest to it is, to leave those arts chiefly to strangers (which, for that purpose, are the more easily to be received), and to contain the principal bulk of the vulgar natives within those three kinds, tillers of the ground, free servants, and handicraftsmen of strong and manly arts; as smiths, masons, carpenters, &c., not reckoning professed soldiers.

But, above all, for empire and greatness, it importeth most, that a nation do profess arms as their principal honor, study, and occupation; for the 190 things which we formerly have spoken of are but habilitations 344 towards arms; and what is habilitation without intention and act? Romulus, after his death (as they report or feign), sent a present to the Romans, that, above all, they should intend 345 arms, and then they should prove the greatest empire of the world. The fabric of the state of Sparta was wholly (though not wisely) framed and composed to that scope and end; the Persians and Macedonians had it for a flash; 346 the Gauls, Germans, Goths, Saxons, Normans, and others, had it for a time; the Turks have it at this day, though in great declination. Of Christian Europe, they that have it are in effect only the Spaniards; but it is so plain, that every man profiteth in that he most intendeth, that it needeth not to be stood upon. It is enough to point at it, that no nation which doth not directly profess arms, may look to have greatness fall into their mouths; and, on the other side, it is a most certain oracle of time, that those states that continue long in that profession (as the Romans and Turks principally have done), do wonders; and those that have professed arms but for an age have, notwithstanding, commonly attained that greatness in that age which maintained them long after, when their profession and exercise of arms had grown to decay.

Incident to this point is, for a state to have those 191 laws or customs which may reach forth unto them just occasions (as may be pretended) of war; for there is that justice imprinted in the nature of men, that they enter not upon wars (whereof so many calamities do ensue), but upon some, at the least specious grounds and quarrels. The Turk hath at hand, for cause of war, the propagation of his law or sect, a quarrel that he may always command. The Romans, though they esteemed the extending the limits of their empire to be great honor to their generals when it was done, yet they never rested upon that alone to begin a war. First, therefore, let nations that pretend to greatness have this, that they be sensible of wrongs, either upon borderers, merchants, or politic ministers; and that they sit not too long upon a provocation: secondly, let them be pressed, 347 and ready to give aids and succors to their confederates, as it ever was with the Romans; insomuch, as if the confederate had leagues defensive with divers other states, and, upon invasion offered, did implore their aids severally, yet the Romans would ever be the foremost, and leave it to none other to have the honor. As for the wars, which were anciently made on the behalf of a kind of party, or tacit conformity of estate, I do not see how they may be well justified: as when the Romans made a war for the liberty of Græcia; or, when the Lacedæmonians and Athenians made wars to set up or pull down democracies and oligar 192 chies; or when wars were made by foreigners, under the pretence of justice or protection, to deliver the subjects of others from tyranny and oppression, and the like. Let it suffice, that no estate expect to be great, that is not awake upon any just occasion of arming.

Nobody can be healthful without exercise, neither natural body nor politic; and, certainly, to a kingdom, or estate, a just and honorable war is the true exercise. A civil war, indeed, is like the heat of a fever; but a foreign war is like the heat of exercise, and serveth to keep the body in health; for, in a slothful peace, both courages will effeminate and manners corrupt. But, howsoever it be for happiness, without all question for greatness, it maketh to be still, for the most part, in arms; and the strength of a veteran army (though it be a chargeable business) always on foot, is that which commonly giveth the law, or, at least, the reputation amongst all neighbor states, as may well be seen in Spain, 348 which hath had, in one part or other, a veteran army, almost continually, now by the space of sixscore years.

To be master of the sea is an abridgment of a monarchy. Cicero, writing to Atticus, of Pompey’s preparation against Cæsar, saith, “Consilium Pompeii plane Themistocleum est; putat enim, qui mari 193 potitur, eum rerum potiri; 349 and, without doubt, Pompey had tired out Cæsar, if upon vain confidence he had not left that way. We see the great effects of battles by sea. The battle of Actium decided the empire of the world: the battle of Lepanto arrested the greatness of the Turk. There be many examples where sea-fights have been final to the war; but this is when princes, or states, have set up their rest upon the battles. But thus much is certain, that he that commands the sea is at great liberty, and may take as much and as little of the war as he will; whereas, those that be strongest by land are many times, nevertheless, in great straits. Surely, at this day, with us of Europe, the vantage of strength at sea (which is one of the principal dowries of this kingdom of Great Britain) is great; both because most of the kingdoms of Europe are not merely inland, but girt with the sea most part of their compass; and because the wealth of both Indies seems, in great part, but an accessary to the command of the seas.

The wars of latter ages seem to be made in the dark, in respect of the glory and honor which reflected upon men from the wars in ancient time. There be now, for martial encouragement, some degrees and orders of chivalry, which, nevertheless, are conferred promiscuously upon soldiers and no 194 soldiers; and some remembrance, perhaps, upon the escutcheon, and some hospitals for maimed soldiers, and such like things; but in ancient times, the trophies erected upon the place of the victory; the funeral laudatives, 350 and monuments for those that died in the wars; the crowns and garlands personal; the style of emperor which the great kings of the world after borrowed; the triumphs of the generals upon their return; the great donatives and largesses upon the disbanding of the armies; were things able to inflame all men’s courages. But, above all, that of the triumph amongst the Romans was not pageants or gaudery, but one of the wisest and noblest institutions that ever was; for it contained three things: honor to the general, riches to the treasury out of the spoils, and donatives to the army. But that honor, perhaps, were not fit for monarchies, except it be in the person of the monarch himself, or his sons; as it came to pass in the times of the Roman emperors, who did impropriate the actual triumphs to themselves and their sons, for such wars as they did achieve in person, and left only for wars achieved by subjects, some triumphal garments and ensigns to the general.

To conclude. No man can by care-taking (as the Scripture saith) “add a cubit to his stature,” 351 in this little model of a man’s body; but in the great frame of kingdoms and commonwealths, it is 195 in the power of princes, or estates, to add amplitude and greatness to their kingdom; for, by introducing such ordinances, constitutions, and customs, as we have now touched, they may sow greatness to their posterity and succession: but these things are commonly not observed, but left to take their chance.

XXX.—OF REGIMEN OF HEALTH.

There is a wisdom in this beyond the rules of physic. A man’s own observation, what he finds good of, and what he finds hurt of, is the best physic to preserve health; but it is a safer conclusion to say, “This agreeth not well with me, therefore I will not continue it;” than this, “I find no offence of this, therefore I may use it;” for strength of nature in youth passeth over many excesses which are owing 352 a man till his age. Discern of the coming on of years, and think not to do the same things still; for age will not be defied. Beware of sudden change in any great point of diet, and, if necessity enforce it, fit the rest to it; for it is a secret both in nature and state, that it is safer to change many things than one. Examine thy customs of diet, sleep, exercise, apparel, and the like; and try, in any thing thou shalt judge hurtful, to discontinue it by little and little; but so, as if thou dost find any 196 inconvenience by the change, thou come back to it again; for it is hard to distinguish that which is generally held good and wholesome, from that which is good particularly, 353 and fit for thine own body. To be free-minded and cheerfully disposed at hours of meat, and of sleep, and of exercise, is one of the best precepts of long lasting. As for the passions and studies of the mind, avoid envy, anxious fears, anger fretting inwards, subtle and knotty inquisitions, joys, and exhilarations in excess, sadness not communicated. Entertain hopes, mirth rather than joy, variety of delights, rather than surfeit of them; wonder and admiration, and therefore novelties; studies that fill the mind with splendid and illustrious objects, as histories, fables, and contemplations of nature. If you fly physic in health altogether, it will be too strange for your body when you shall need it; if you make it too familiar, it will work no extraordinary effect when sickness cometh. I commend rather some diet, for certain seasons, than frequent use of physic, except it be grown into a custom; for those diets alter the body more, and trouble it less. Despise no new accident 354 in your body, but ask opinion 355 of it. In sickness, respect health principally; and in health, action; for those that put their bodies to endure in health, may, in most sicknesses which are not very sharp, be cured 197 only with diet and tendering. Celsus could never have spoken it as a physician, had he not been a wise man withal, when he giveth it for one of the great precepts of health and lasting, that a man do vary and interchange contraries, but with an inclination to the more benign extreme. Use fasting and full eating, but rather full eating; 356 watching and sleep, but rather sleep; sitting and exercise, but rather exercise, and the like; so shall nature be cherished, and yet taught masteries. 357 Physicians are some of them so pleasing and conformable to the humor of the patient, as they press not the true cure of the disease; and some other are so regular in proceeding according to art for the disease, as they respect not sufficiently the condition of the patient. Take one of a middle temper; or, if it may not be found in one man, combine two of either sort; and forget not to call as well the best acquainted with your body, as the best reputed of for his faculty.

XXXI.—OF SUSPICION.

Suspicions amongst thoughts are like bats amongst birds, they ever fly by twilight. Certainly they are to be repressed, or at the least well guarded; for they cloud the mind, they lose friends, and they 198 check with business, whereby business cannot go on currently and constantly. They dispose kings to tyranny, husbands to jealousy, wise men to irresolution and melancholy. They are defects, not in the heart but in the brain; for they take place in the stoutest natures, as in the example of Henry the Seventh of England. There was not a more suspicious man, nor a more stout, and in such a composition they do small hurt; for commonly they are not admitted, but with examination, whether they be likely or no; but in fearful natures they gain ground too fast. There is nothing makes a man suspect much, more than to know little; and, therefore, men should remedy suspicion by procuring to know more, and not to keep their suspicions in smother. What would men have? Do they think those they employ and deal with are saints? Do they not think they will have their own ends, and be truer to themselves than to them? Therefore, there is no better way to moderate suspicions, than to account upon such suspicions as true, and yet to bridle them as false: 358 for so far a man ought to make use of suspicions as to provide, as if that should be true that he suspects, yet it may do him no hurt. Suspicions that the mind of itself gathers are but buzzes; but suspicions that are artificially nourished, and put into men’s heads by the tales and whisperings of others, have stings. Certainly, the best mean, to clear the way in this same wood of suspicions, is frankly to communicate 199 them with the party that he suspects: for thereby he shall be sure to know more of the truth of them than he did before; and, withal, shall make that party more circumspect, not to give further cause of suspicion. But this would not be done to men of base natures; for they, if they find themselves once suspected, will never be true. The Italian says, “Sospetto licentia fede;” 359 as if suspicion did give a passport to faith; but it ought rather to kindle it to discharge itself.

XXXII.—OF DISCOURSE.

Some in their discourse desire rather commendation of wit, in being able to hold all arguments, 360 than of judgment, in discerning what is true; as if it were a praise to know what might be said and not what should be thought. Some have certain commonplaces and themes, wherein they are good, and want variety; which kind of poverty is for the most part tedious, and, when it is once perceived, ridiculous. The honorablest part of talk is to give the occasion, 361 and again to moderate and pass to somewhat else; for then a man leads the dance. It is good in discourse, and speech of conversation, to vary and 200 intermingle speech of the present occasion with arguments, tales with reasons, asking of questions with telling of opinions, and jest with earnest; for it is a dull thing to tire, and, as we say now, to jade any thing too far. As for jest, there be certain things which ought to be privileged from it; namely, religion, matters of state, great persons, any man’s present business of importance, and any case that deserveth pity; yet there be some that think their wits have been asleep, except they dart out somewhat that is piquant, and to the quick; that is a vein which would be bridled: 362 —

And, generally, men ought to find the difference between saltness and bitterness. Certainly, he that hath a satirical vein, as he maketh others afraid of his wit, so he had need be afraid of others’ memory. He that questioneth much, shall learn much, and content much, but especially if he apply his questions to the skill of the persons whom he asketh: for he shall give them occasion to please themselves in speaking, and himself shall continually gather knowledge; but let his questions not be troublesome, for that is fit for a poser. 364 And let him be sure to leave other men their turns to speak; nay, if there be any that would reign and take up all the time, 201 let him find means to take them off, and to bring others on, as musicians used to do with those that dance too long galliards. 365 If you dissemble sometimes your knowledge of that you are thought to know, you shall be thought, another time, to know that you know not. Speech of a man’s self ought to be seldom, and well chosen. I knew one was wont to say in scorn, “He must needs be a wise man, he speaks so much of himself;” and there is but one case wherein a man may commend himself with good grace, and that is in commending virtue in another, especially if it be such a virtue whereunto himself pretendeth. Speech of touch 366 towards others should be sparingly used; for discourse ought to be as a field, without coming home to any man. I knew two noblemen, of the west part of England, whereof the one was given to scoff, but kept ever royal cheer in his house; the other would ask of those that had been at the other’s table, “Tell truly, was there never a flout 367 or dry blow 368 given?” To which the guest would answer, “Such and such a thing passed.” The lord would say, “I thought he would mar a good dinner.” Discretion of speech is more than eloquence; and to speak agreeably to him with whom we deal, is more than to speak in 202 good words, or in good order. A good continued speech, without a good speech of interlocution, shows slowness; and a good reply, or second speech, without a good settled speech, showeth shallowness and weakness. As we see in beasts, that those that are weakest in the course, are yet nimblest in the turn; as it is betwixt the greyhound and the hare. To use too many circumstances, ere one come to the matter, is wearisome; to use none at all, is blunt.

XXXIII.—OF PLANTATIONS. 369

Plantations are amongst ancient, primitive, and heroical works. When the world was young, it begat more children; but now it is old, it begets fewer; for I may justly account new plantations to be the children of former kingdoms. I like a plantation in a pure soil; that is, where people are not displanted, 370 to the end to plant in others; for else it is rather an extirpation than a plantation. Planting of countries is like planting of woods; for you must make account to lose almost twenty years’ profit, and expect your recompense in the end; for the principal thing that hath been the destruction 203 of most plantations, hath been the base and hasty drawing of profit in the first years. It is true, speedy profit is not to be neglected, as far as may stand with the good of the plantation, but no further. It is a shameful and unblessed thing 371 to take the scum of people and wicked condemned men, to be the people with whom you plant; and not only so, but it spoileth the plantation; for they will ever live like rogues, and not fall to work; but be lazy, and do mischief, and spend victuals, and be quickly weary, and then certify over to their country to the discredit of the plantation. The people wherewith you plant ought to be gardeners, ploughmen, laborers, smiths, carpenters, joiners, fishermen, fowlers, with some few apothecaries, surgeons, cooks, and bakers. In a country of plantations, first look about what kind of victual the country yields of itself to hand; as chestnuts, walnuts, pine-apples, olives, dates, plums, cherries, wild honey, and the like, and make use of them. Then consider what victual, or esculent things there are, which grow speedily, and within the year; as parsnips, carrots, turnips, onions, radish, artichokes of Jerusalem, maize, and the like. For wheat, barley, and oats, they ask too much labor; but with pease and beans you may begin, both because they ask less labor, and because they serve for meat as well as for bread; and of 204 rice, likewise, cometh a great increase, and it is a kind of meat. Above all, there ought to be brought store of biscuit, oatmeal, flour, meal, and the like, in the beginning, till bread may be had. For beasts, or birds, take chiefly such as are least subject to diseases, and multiply fastest; as swine, goats, cocks, hens, turkeys, geese, house-doves, and the like. The victual in plantations ought to be expended almost as in a besieged town, that is, with certain allowance; and let the main part of the ground employed to gardens or corn, be to a common stock; and to be laid in, and stored up, and then delivered out in proportion; besides some spots of ground that any particular person will manure for his own private use. Consider, likewise, what commodities the soil where the plantation is doth naturally yield, that they may some way help to defray the charge of the plantation; so it be not, as was said, to the untimely prejudice of the main business, as it hath fared with tobacco in Virginia. 372 Wood commonly aboundeth but too much; and therefore timber is fit to be one. If there be iron ore, and streams whereupon to set the mills, iron is a brave commodity where wood aboundeth. Making of bay-salt, if the climate be proper for it, would be put in experience; growing silk, likewise, if any be, is a likely commodity; pitch and tar, where store of firs and pines are, will 205 not fail; so drugs and sweet woods, where they are, cannot but yield great profit; soap-ashes, likewise, and other things that may be thought of; but moil 373 not too much under ground, for the hope of mines is very uncertain, and useth to make the planters lazy in other things. For government, let it be in the hands of one, assisted with some counsel; and let them have commission to exercise martial laws, with some limitation; and, above all, let men make that profit of being in the wilderness, as they have God always, and his service, before their eyes. Let not the government of the plantation depend upon too many counsellors and undertakers in the country that planteth, but upon a temperate number; and let those be rather noblemen and gentlemen, than merchants, for they look ever to the present gain. Let there be freedoms from custom, till the plantation be of strength; and not only freedom from custom, but freedom to carry their commodities where they may make their best of them, except there be some special cause of caution. Cram not in people, by sending too fast company after company; but rather hearken how they waste, and send supplies proportionably; but so as the number may live well in the plantation, and not by surcharge be in penury. It hath been a great endangering to the health of some plantations, that they have built along the sea and rivers, in marish 374 206 and unwholesome grounds; therefore, though you begin there, to avoid carriage and other like discommodities, yet build still rather upwards from the streams than along. It concerneth, likewise, the health of the plantation, that they have good store of salt with them, that they may use it in their victuals when it shall be necessary. If you plant where savages are, do not only entertain them with trifles and gingles, 375 but use them justly and graciously, with sufficient guard, nevertheless; and do not win their favor by helping them to invade their enemies, but for their defence it is not amiss; and send oft of them over to the country that plants, that they may see a better condition than their own, and commend it when they return. When the plantation grows to strength, then it is time to plant with women as well as with men; that the plantation may spread into generations, and not be ever pieced from without. It is the sinfullest thing in the world, to forsake or destitute a plantation once in forwardness; for, besides the dishonor, it is the guiltiness of blood of many commiserable persons.

XXXIV.—OF RICHES.

I cannot call riches better than the baggage of virtue; the Roman word is better, “impedimenta;” for as the baggage is to an army, so is riches to virtue; it cannot be spared nor left behind, but it hindereth the march; yea, and the care of it sometimes loseth or disturbeth the victory. Of great riches there is no real use, except it be in the distribution; the rest is but conceit. So saith Solomon: “Where much is, there are many to consume it; and what hath the owner, but the sight of it with his eyes?” 376 The personal fruition in any man cannot reach to feel great riches: there is a custody of them, or a power of dole and donative of them, or a fame of them, but no solid use to the owner. Do you not see what feigned prices are set upon little stones and rarities? and what works of ostentation are undertaken, because there might seem to be some use of great riches? But then you will say, they may be of use to buy men out of dangers or troubles; as Solomon saith: “Riches are as a strong-hold in the imagination of the rich man;” 377 but this is excellently ex 208 pressed, that it is in imagination, and not always in fact; for, certainly, great riches have sold more men than they have bought out. Seek not proud riches, but such as thou mayest get justly, use soberly, distribute cheerfully, and leave contentedly; yet have no abstract nor friarly contempt of them, but distinguish, as Cicero saith well of Rabirius Posthumus: “In studio rei amplificandæ apparebat, non avaritiæ prædam, sed instrumentum bonitati quæri.” 378 Hearken also to Solomon, and beware of hasty gathering of riches: “Qui festinat ad divitias, non erit insons.” 379 The poets feign, that when Plutus (which is riches) is sent from Jupiter, he limps, and goes slowly; but when he is sent from Pluto, he runs, and is swift of foot; meaning, that riches gotten by good means and just labor pace slowly; but when they come by the death of others 380 (as by the course of inheritance, testaments, and the like), they come tumbling upon a man. But it might be applied likewise to Pluto, taking him for the devil; for when riches come from the devil (as by fraud and oppression, and unjust means), they come upon speed. The ways to enrich are many, and most of 209 them foul: parsimony is one of the best, and yet is not innocent; for it withholdeth men from works of liberality and charity. The improvement of the ground is the most natural obtaining of riches; for it is our great mother’s blessing, the earth’s, but it is slow; and yet, where men of great wealth do stoop to husbandry, it multiplieth riches exceedingly. I knew a nobleman, in England, that had the greatest audits 381 of any man in my time, a great grazier, a great sheep-master, a great timber-man, a great collier, a great corn-master, a great lead-man, and so of iron, and a number of the like points of husbandry; so as the earth seemed a sea to him in respect of the perpetual importation. It was truly observed by one, “That himself came very hardly to a little riches, and very easily to great riches;” for when a man’s stock is come to that, that he can expect the prime of markets, 382 and overcome those bargains, which for their greatness are few men’s money, and be partner in the industries of younger men, he cannot but increase mainly. The gains of ordinary trades and vocations are honest, and furthered by two things, chiefly: by diligence, and by a good name for good and fair dealing; but the gains of bargains are of a more doubtful nature, when men shall wait upon others’ necessity: broke by servants and instruments to draw them on; put off others cunningly that would 210 be better chapmen; and the like practices, which are crafty and naught. As for the chopping of bargains, when a man buys not to hold, but to sell over again, that commonly grindeth double, both upon the seller and upon the buyer. Sharings do greatly enrich, if the hands be well chosen that are trusted. Usury is the certainest means of gain, though one of the worst; as that whereby a man doth eat his bread, “in sudore vultûs alieni;” 383 and, besides, doth plough upon Sundays; but yet certain though it be, it hath flaws, for that the scriveners and brokers do value unsound men to serve their own turn. The fortune, in being the first in an invention, or in a privilege, doth cause sometimes a wonderful overgrowth in riches, as it was with the first sugar-man 384 in the Canaries; therefore, if a man can play the true logician, to have as well judgment as invention, he may do great matters, especially if the times be fit. He that resteth upon gains certain, shall hardly grow to great riches; and he that puts all upon adventures, doth oftentimes break and come to poverty; it is good, therefore, to guard adventures with certainties that may uphold losses. Monopolies, and coemption of wares for resale, where they are not restrained, are great means to enrich; especially if the party have intelligence what things are like to come into request, 211 and so store himself beforehand. Riches gotten by service, though it be of the best rise, yet when they are gotten by flattery, feeding humors, and other servile conditions, they may be placed amongst the worst. As for fishing for testaments and executorships (as Tacitus saith of Seneca, “Testamenta et orbos tanquam indagine capi”), 385 it is yet worse, by how much men submit themselves to meaner persons than in service. Believe not much them that seem to despise riches, for they despise them that despair of them; and none worse when they come to them. Be not penny-wise; riches have wings, and sometimes they fly away of themselves, sometimes they must be set flying to bring in more. Men leave their riches either to their kindred, or to the public; and moderate portions prosper best in both. A great state left to an heir, is as a lure to all the birds of prey round about to seize on him, if he be not the better stablished in years and judgment; likewise, glorious gifts and foundations are like sacrifices without salt, and but the painted sepulchres of alms, which soon will putrefy and corrupt inwardly. Therefore, measure not thine advancements by quantity, but frame them by measure, and defer not charities till death; for, certainly, if a man weigh it rightly, he that doth so is rather liberal of another man’s than of his own.

XXXV.—OF PROPHECIES.

I mean not to speak of divine prophecies, nor of heathen oracles, nor of natural predictions; but only of prophecies that have been of certain memory, and from hidden causes. Saith the Pythonissa 386 to Saul, “To-morrow thou and thy sons shall be with me.” Virgil hath these verses from Homer:—

A prophecy, as it seems, of the Roman empire. Seneca the tragedian hath these verses:—

A prophecy of the discovery of America. The 213 daughter of Polycrates 389 dreamed that Jupiter bathed her father, and Apollo anointed him; and it came to pass that he was crucified in an open place, where the sun made his body run with sweat, and the rain washed it. Philip of Macedon dreamed he sealed up his wife’s belly, whereby he did expound it, that his wife should be barren; but Aristander the soothsayer told him his wife was with child, because men do not use to seal vessels that are empty. 390 A phantasm that appeared to M. Brutus in his tent, said to him, “Philippis iterum me videbis.” 391 Tiberius said to Galba, “Tu quoque, Galba, degustabis imperium.” 392 In Vespasian’s time, there went a prophecy in the East, that those that should come forth of Judea, should reign over the world; which, though it may be was meant of our Saviour, yet Tacitus expounds it of Vespasian. 393 Domitian dreamed, the night before he was slain, that a golden head was growing out of the nape of his neck; 394 and, indeed, the succession that followed him, for many years, made golden times. Henry the Sixth of Eng 214 land said of Henry the Seventh, when he was a lad, and gave him water, “This is the lad that shall enjoy the crown for which we strive.” When I was in France, I heard from one Dr. Pena, that the queen mother, 395 who was given to curious arts, caused the king her husband’s nativity to be calculated under a false name; and the astrologer gave a judgment, that he should be killed in a duel; at which the queen laughed, thinking her husband to be above challenges and duels; but he was slain upon a course at tilt, the splinters of the staff of Montgomery going in at his beaver. The trivial prophecy which I heard when I was a child, and Queen Elizabeth was in the flower of her years, was,

whereby it was generally conceived, that after the princes had reigned which had the principal letters of that word hempe (which were Henry, Edward, Mary, Philip, and Elizabeth), England should come to utter confusion; which, thanks be to God, is verified only in the change of the name; for that the king’s style is now no more of England, but of Britain. 396 There was also another prophecy before the year of eighty-eight, which I do not well understand.

It was generally conceived to be meant of the Spanish fleet that came in eighty-eight; for that the king of Spain’s surname, as they say, is Norway. The prediction of Regiomontanus,

was thought likewise accomplished in the sending of that great fleet, being the greatest in strength, though not in number, of all that ever swam upon the sea. As for Cleon’s dream, 398 I think it was a jest; it was, that he was devoured of a long dragon; and it was expounded of a maker of sausages, that troubled him exceedingly. There are numbers of 216 the like kind, especially if you include dreams, and predictions of astrology; but I have set down these few only of certain credit, for example. My judgment is, that they ought all to be despised, and ought to serve but for winter talk by the fireside; though, when I say despised, I mean it as for belief; for otherwise, the spreading or publishing of them is in no sort to be despised, for they have done much mischief; and I see many severe laws made to suppress them. That that hath given them grace, and some credit, consisteth in three things. First, that men mark when they hit, and never mark when they miss; 399 as they do, generally, also of dreams. The second is, that probable conjectures, or obscure traditions, many times turn themselves into prophecies; while the nature of man, which coveteth divination, thinks it no peril to foretell that which indeed they do but collect, as that of Seneca’s verse; for so much was then subject to demonstration, that the globe of the earth had great parts beyond the Atlantic, which might be probably conceived not to be all sea; and adding thereto the tradition in Plato’s Timæus, and his Atlanticus, 400 it 217 might encourage one to turn it to a prediction. The third and last (which is the great one), is, that almost all of them, being infinite in number, have been impostures, and, by idle and crafty brains, merely contrived and feigned, after the event past.

XXXVI.—OF AMBITION.

Ambition is like choler, which is a humor that maketh men active, earnest, full of alacrity, and stirring, if it be not stopped; but if it be stopped, and cannot have its way, it becometh adust, 401 and thereby malign and venomous. So ambitious men, if they find the way open for their rising, and still get forward, they are rather busy than dangerous; but if they be checked in their desires, they become secretly discontent, and look upon men and matters with an evil eye, and are best pleased when things go backward; which is the worst property in a servant of a prince or state. Therefore, it is good for princes, if they use ambitious men, to handle it so, as they be still progressive, and not retrograde; which, because it cannot be without inconvenience, it is good not to use such natures 218 at all; for if they rise not with their service, they will take order to make their service fall with them. But since we have said, it were good not to use men of ambitious natures, except it be upon necessity, it is fit we speak in what cases they are of necessity. Good commanders in the wars must be taken, be they never so ambitious; for the use of their service dispenseth with the rest; and to take a soldier without ambition, is to pull off his spurs. There is also great use of ambitious men in being screens to princes in matters of danger and envy; for no man will take that part, except he be like a seeled 402 dove, that mounts and mounts, because he cannot see about him. There is use, also, of ambitious men, in pulling down the greatness of any subject that overtops; as Tiberius used Macro 403 in the pulling down of Sejanus. Since, therefore, they must be used in such cases, there resteth to speak how they are to be bridled, that they may be less dangerous. There is less danger of them if they be of mean birth, than if they be noble; and if they be rather harsh of nature, than gracious and popular; and if they be rather new raised, than grown cunning and fortified in their greatness. It is counted by some a weakness in princes to have favorites; but it is, of all others, the best remedy 219 against ambitious great ones; for when the way of pleasuring and displeasuring lieth by the favorite, it is impossible any other should be over-great. Another means to curb them, is, to balance them by others as proud as they; but then there must be some middle counsellors, to keep things steady, for without that ballast, the ship will roll too much. At the least, a prince may animate and inure some meaner persons to be, as it were, scourges to ambitious men. As for the having of them obnoxious to 404 ruin, if they be of fearful natures, it may do well; but if they be stout and daring, it may precipitate their designs, and prove dangerous. As for the pulling of them down, if the affairs require it, and that it may not be done with safety suddenly, the only way is, the interchange continually of favors and disgraces, whereby they may not know what to expect, and be, as it were, in a wood. Of ambitions, it is less harmful the ambition to prevail in great things, than that other to appear in every thing; for that breeds confusion, and mars business; but yet, it is less danger to have an ambitious man stirring in business, than great in dependencies. He that seeketh to be eminent amongst able men, hath a great task, but that is ever good for the public; but he that plots to be the only figure amongst ciphers, is the decay of a whole age. Honor hath three things in it: the vantage-ground to do good; the approach to kings and principal 220 persons; and the raising of a man’s own fortunes. He that hath the best of these intentions, when he aspireth, is an honest man; and that prince that can discern of these intentions in another that aspireth, is a wise prince. Generally, let princes and states choose such ministers as are more sensible of duty than of rising, and such as love business rather upon conscience than upon bravery; and let them discern a busy nature from a willing mind.

XXXVII.—OF MASQUES AND TRIUMPHS.

These things are but toys to come amongst such serious observations; but yet, since princes will have such things, it is better they should be graced with elegancy, than daubed with cost. Dancing to song is a thing of great state and pleasure. I understand it that the song be in choir, placed aloft, and accompanied with some broken music, and the ditty fitted to the device. Acting in song, especially in dialogues, hath an extreme good grace; I say acting, not dancing (for that is a mean and vulgar thing); and the voices of the dialogue would be strong and manly (a base and a tenor, no treble), and the ditty high and tragical, not nice or dainty. Several choirs, placed one over against another, and taking the voices by catches anthem-wise, give great pleasure. Turning dances into figure is a childish 221 curiosity; and, generally, let it be noted, that those things which I here set down are such as do naturally take the sense, and not respect petty wonderments. It is true, the alterations of scenes, so it be quietly and without noise, are things of great beauty and pleasure: for they feed and relieve the eye before it be full of the same object. Let the scenes abound with light, specially colored and varied; and let the masquers, or any other that are to come down from the scene, have some motions upon the scene itself before their coming down; for it draws the eye strangely, and makes it with great pleasure to desire to see that it cannot perfectly discern. Let the songs be loud and cheerful, and not chirpings or pulings; 405 let the music, likewise, be sharp and loud, and well placed. The colors that show best by candlelight, are white, carnation, and a kind of sea-water green; and ouches, 406 or spangs, 407 as they are of no great cost, so they are of most glory. As for rich embroidery, it is lost and not discerned. Let the suits of the masquers be graceful, and such as become the person when the vizors are off; not after examples of known attires, Turks, soldiers, mariners, and the like. Let anti-masques 408 not be 222 long; they have been commonly of fools, satyrs, baboons, wild men, antics, beasts, sprites, witches, Ethiopes, pigmies, turquets, 409 nymphs, rustics, Cupids, statues moving, and the like. As for angels, it is not comical enough to put them in anti-masques; and any thing that is hideous, as devils, giants, is, on the other side, as unfit; but, chiefly, let the music of them be recreative, and with some strange changes. Some sweet odors suddenly coming forth, without any drops falling, are, in such a company as there is steam and heat, things of great pleasure and refreshment. Double masques, one of men, another of ladies, addeth state and variety; but all is nothing, except the room be kept clear and neat.

For justs, and tourneys, and barriers, the glories of them are chiefly in the chariots, wherein the challengers make their entry; especially if they be drawn with strange beasts, as lions, bears, camels, and the like; or in the devices of their entrance, or in the bravery of their liveries, or in the goodly furniture of their horses and armor. But enough of these toys.

XXXVIII.—OF NATURE IN MEN.

Nature is often hidden, sometimes overcome, seldom extinguished. Force maketh nature more violent in the return; doctrine and discourse maketh nature less importune, but custom only doth alter and subdue nature. He that seeketh victory over his nature, let him not set himself too great nor too small tasks; for the first will make him dejected by often failings, and the second will make him a small proceeder, though by often prevailings. And at the first, let him practise with helps, as swimmers do with bladders, or rushes; but, after a time, let him practise with disadvantages, as dancers do with thick shoes; for it breeds great perfection, if the practice be harder than the use. Where nature is mighty, and therefore the victory hard, the degrees had need be, first, to stay and arrest nature in time; like to him that would say over the four and twenty letters when he was angry; then to go less in quantity: as if one should, in forbearing wine, come from drinking healths to a draught at a meal; and, lastly, to discontinue altogether; but if a man have the fortitude and resolution to enfranchise himself at once, that is the best:—

Neither is the ancient rule amiss, to bend nature as a wand to a contrary extreme, whereby to set it right; understanding it where the contrary extreme is no vice. Let not a man force a habit upon himself with a perpetual continuance, but with some intermission, for both the pause reinforceth the new onset; and if a man that is not perfect be ever in practice, he shall as well practise his errors as his abilities, and induce one habit of both; and there is no means to help this but by seasonable intermissions. But let not a man trust his victory over his nature too far; for nature will lie buried a great time, and yet revive upon the occasion or temptation; like as it was with Æsop’s damsel, turned from a cat to a woman, who sat very demurely at the board’s end till a mouse ran before her. Therefore, let a man either avoid the occasion altogether, or put himself often to it, that he may be little moved with it. A man’s nature is best perceived in privateness, for there is no affectation; in passion, for that putteth a man out of his precepts; and in a new case or experiment, for there custom leaveth him. They are happy men whose natures sort with their vocations; otherwise they may say, “Multum incola fuit anima mea,” 411 when they converse in those things they do not affect. In studies, whatsoever a man commandeth upon himself, let him set hours for it: but whatsoever is agreeable to his nature, let him take no care for any set times; for his thoughts will 225 fly to it of themselves, so as the spaces of other business or studies will suffice. A man’s nature runs either to herbs or weeds; therefore, let him seasonably water the one, and destroy the other.

XXXIX.—OF CUSTOM AND EDUCATION.

Men’s thoughts are much according to their inclination; 412 their discourse and speeches according to their learning and infused opinions; but their deeds are, after, as they have been accustomed; and, therefore, as Machiavel well noteth (though in an evil-favored instance), there is no trusting to the force of nature, nor to the bravery of words, except it be corroborate by custom. 413 His instance is, that, for the achieving of a desperate conspiracy, a man should not rest upon the fierceness of any man’s nature, or his resolute undertakings, but take such a one as hath had his hands formerly in blood; but Machiavel knew not of a Friar Clement, 414 nor a Ravaillac, 415 nor a 226 Jaureguy, 416 nor a Baltazar Gerard; 417 yet his rule holdeth still, that nature, nor the engagement of words, are not so forcible as custom. Only superstition is now so well advanced, that men of the first blood are as firm as butchers by occupation; and votary 418 resolution is made equipollent to custom, even in matter of blood. In other things, the predominancy of custom is everywhere visible, insomuch as a man would wonder to hear men profess, protest, engage, give great words, and then do just as they have done before, as if they were dead images and engines, moved only by the wheels of custom. We see, also, the reign or tyranny of custom, what it is.

The Indians 419 (I mean the sect of their wise men) lay themselves quietly upon a stack of wood, and so sacrifice themselves by fire; nay, the wives strive to be burned with the corpses of their husbands. The lads of Sparta, of ancient time, were wont to be scourged upon the altar of Diana, without so much as quecking. 420 I remember, in the beginning of Queen Elizabeth’s time of England, an Irish rebel condemned, put up a petition to the deputy that he 227 might be hanged in a withe, and not in a halter, because it had been so used with former rebels. There be monks in Russia for penance, that will sit a whole night in a vessel of water, till they be engaged with hard ice. Many examples may be put of the force of custom, both upon mind and body; therefore, since custom is the principal magistrate of man’s life, let men, by all means, endeavor to obtain good customs. Certainly, custom is most perfect when it beginneth in young years: this we call education, which is, in effect, but an early custom. So we see, in languages, the tongue is more pliant to all expressions and sounds, the joints are more supple to all feats of activity and motions in youth, than afterwards; for it is true, that late learners cannot so well take the ply, except it be in some minds that have not suffered themselves to fix, but have kept themselves open and prepared to receive continual amendment, which is exceeding rare. But if the force of custom, simple and separate, be great, the force of custom, copulate and conjoined and collegiate, is far greater; for there example teacheth, company comforteth, emulation quickeneth, glory raiseth; so as in such places the force of custom is in his exaltation. Certainly, the great multiplication of virtues upon human nature resteth upon societies well ordained and disciplined; for commonwealths and good governments do nourish virtue grown, but do not much mend the seeds; but the misery is, that the most effectual means are now applied to the ends least to be desired.

XL.—OF FORTUNE.

It cannot be denied, but outward accidents conduce much to fortune; favor, opportunity, death of others, occasion fitting virtue; but, chiefly, the mould of a man’s fortune is in his own hands: “Faber quisque fortunæ suæ,” 421 saith the poet; and the most frequent of external causes, is that the folly of one man is the fortune of another; for no man prospers so suddenly as by others’ errors. “Serpens nisi serpentem comederit non fit draco.” 422 Overt and apparent virtues bring forth praise: but there be secret and hidden virtues that bring forth fortune; certain deliveries of a man’s self, which have no name. The Spanish name, “disemboltura,” 423 partly expresseth them, when there be not stonds 424 nor restiveness in a man’s nature, but that the wheels 229 of his mind keep way with the wheels of his fortune; for so Livy (after he had described Cato Major in these words, “In illo viro, tantum robur corporis et animi fuit, ut quocunque loco natus esset, fortunam sibi facturus videretur,”) 425 falleth upon that, that he had “versatile ingenium:” 426 therefore, if a man look sharply and attentively, he shall see Fortune; for though she be blind, yet she is not invisible. The way of Fortune is like the milky way in the sky; which is a meeting, or knot, of a number of small stars, not seen asunder, but giving light together; so are there a number of little and scarce discerned virtues, or rather faculties and customs, that make men fortunate. The Italians note some of them, such as a man would little think. When they speak of one that cannot do amiss, they will throw in into his other conditions, that he hath “Poco di matto;” 427 and, certainly, there be not two more fortunate properties, than to have a little of the fool, and not too much of the honest; therefore, extreme lovers of their country, or masters, were never fortunate; neither can they be, for when a man placeth his thoughts without himself, he goeth not his own way. A hasty fortune maketh an enterpriser and remover (the French hath it better, “entreprenant,” or “remuant”); but the exercised 230 fortune maketh the able man. Fortune is to be honored and respected, and it be but for her daughters, Confidence and Reputation; for those two Felicity breedeth; the first within a man’s self, the latter in others towards him. All wise men, to decline the envy of their own virtues, use to ascribe them to Providence and Fortune; for so they may the better assume them; and, besides, it is greatness in a man to be the care of the higher powers. So Cæsar said to the pilot in the tempest, “Cæsarem portas, et fortunam ejus.” 428 So Sylla chose the name of “Felix,” 429 and not of “Magnus;” 430 and it hath been noted, that those who ascribe openly too much to their own wisdom and policy, end unfortunate. It is written, that Timotheus 431 the Athenian, after he had, in the account he gave to the state of his government, often interlaced his speech, “and in this Fortune had no part,” never prospered in any thing he undertook afterwards. Certainly there be, whose fortunes are like Homer’s verses, that have a slide 432 and easiness more than the verses of other poets; as Plutarch saith of Timoleon’s fortune in respect of that of Agesilaus or Epaminondas; and that this should be, no doubt it is much in a man’s self.

XLI.—OF USURY. 433

Many have made witty invectives against usury. They say that it is pity the devil should have God’s part, which is the tithe; that the usurer is the greatest Sabbath-breaker, because his plough goeth every Sunday; that the usurer is the drone that Virgil speaketh of:—

that the usurer breaketh the first law that was made for mankind after the fall, which was, “in sudore vultûs tui comedes panem tuum;” 435 not, “in sudore vultûs alieni;” 436 that usurers should have orange-tawny 437 bonnets, because they do Judaize; that it is against nature for money to beget money, and the like. I say this only, that usury is a “concessum propter duritiem cordis;” 438 for, since there must be borrowing and lending, and men are so hard of heart as they will not lend freely, usury must be 232 permitted. Some others have made suspicious and cunning propositions of banks, discovery of men’s estates, and other inventions; but few have spoken of usury usefully. It is good to set before us the incommodities and commodities of usury, that the good may be either weighed out, or culled out; and warily to provide, that, while we make forth to that which is better, we meet not with that which is worse.

The discommodities of usury are, first, that it makes fewer merchants; for were it not for this lazy trade of usury, money would not lie still, but would, in great part, be employed upon merchandising, which is the “vena porta” 439 of wealth in a state. The second, that it makes poor merchants; for as a farmer cannot husband his ground so well if he sit at a great rent, so the merchant cannot drive his trade so well if he sit 440 at great usury. The third is incident to the other two; and that is, the decay of customs of kings, or states, which ebb or flow with merchandising. The fourth, that it bringeth the treasure of a realm or state into a few hands; for the usurer being at certainties, and others at uncertainties, at the end of the game most of the money will be in the box; and ever a state flourisheth when wealth is more equally spread. The fifth, that it beats down the price of land; for the employment of money is chiefly either merchandising or purchasing, and usury waylays both. The sixth, 233 that it doth dull and damp all industries, improvements, and new inventions, wherein money would be stirring, if it were not for this slug. The last, that it is the canker and ruin of many men’s estates, which, in process of time, breeds a public poverty.

On the other side, the commodities of usury are, first, that, howsoever usury in some respect hindereth merchandising, yet in some other it advanceth it; for it is certain that the greatest part of trade is driven by young merchants upon borrowing at interest; so as if the usurer either call in, or keep back his money, there will ensue presently a great stand of trade. The second is, that, were it not for this easy borrowing upon interest, men’s necessities would draw upon them a most sudden undoing, in that they would be forced to sell their means (be it lands or goods), far under foot; and so, whereas usury doth but gnaw upon them, bad markets would swallow them quite up. As for mortgaging or pawning, it will little mend the matter; for either men will not take pawns without use, or, if they do, they will look precisely for the forfeiture. I remember a cruel moneyed man in the country, that would say, “The devil take this usury, it keeps us from forfeitures of mortgages and bonds.” The third and last is, that it is a vanity to conceive that there would be ordinary borrowing without profit; and it is impossible to conceive the number of inconveniences that will ensue, if borrowing be cramped. Therefore, to speak of the abolishing of 234 usury is idle; all states have ever had it in one kind or rate, or other; so as that opinion must be sent to Utopia. 441

To speak now of the reformation and reglement 442 of usury, how the discommodities of it may be best avoided, and the commodities retained. It appears, by the balance of commodities and discommodities of usury, two things are to be reconciled; the one, that the tooth of usury be grinded, that it bite not too much; the other, that there be left open a means to invite moneyed men to lend to the merchants, for the continuing and quickening of trade. This cannot be done, except you introduce two several sorts of usury, a less and a greater; for if you reduce usury to one low rate, it will ease the common borrower, but the merchant will be to seek for money; and it is to be noted that the trade of merchandise being the most lucrative, may bear usury at a good rate; other contracts not so.

To serve both intentions, the way would be briefly thus: that there be two rates of usury; the one free and general for all; the other under license only to certain persons, and in certain places of merchandising. First, therefore, let usury in general be reduced to five in the hundred, and let that rate be proclaimed to be free and current; and let the state shut itself out to take any penalty for the 235 same. This will preserve borrowing from any general stop or dryness; this will ease infinite borrowers in the country; this will, in good part, raise the price of land, because land purchased at sixteen years’ purchase will yield six in the hundred, and somewhat more, whereas this rate of interest yields but five. This, by like reason, will encourage and edge industrious and profitable improvements, because many will rather venture in that kind, than take five in the hundred, especially having been used to greater profit. Secondly, let there be certain persons licensed to lend to known merchants upon usury, at a higher rate, and let it be with the cautions following: Let the rate be, even with the merchant himself, somewhat more easy than that he used formerly to pay; for, by that means, all borrowers shall have some ease by this reformation, be he merchant, or whosoever; let it be no bank or common stock, but every man be master of his own money; not that I altogether mislike banks, but they will hardly be brooked, in regard of certain suspicions. Let the state be answered 443 some small matter for the license, and the rest left to the lender; for if the abatement be but small, it will no whit discourage the lender; for he, for example, that took before ten or nine in the hundred, will sooner descend to eight in the hundred, than give over his trade of usury, and go from certain gains to gains of hazard. Let these licensed lenders be in number indefinite, 236 but restrained to certain principal cities and towns of merchandising; for then they will be hardly able to color other men’s moneys in the country, so as the license of nine will not suck away the current rate of five; for no man will send his moneys far off, nor put them into unknown hands.

If it be objected, that this doth in a sort authorize usury, which before was in some places but permissive; the answer is, that it is better to mitigate usury by declaration, than to suffer it to rage by connivance. 444

XLII.—OF YOUTH AND AGE.

A man that is young in years may be old in hours, if he have lost no time; but that happeneth rarely. Generally, youth is like the first cogitations, not so wise as the second; for there is a youth in thoughts as well as in ages; and yet the invention of young men is more lively than that of old, and imaginations stream into their minds better, and, as it were, more divinely. Natures that have much heat, and great and violent desires and perturbations, are not ripe for action till they have passed the meridian of their years: as it was with Julius Cæsar and Septimius Severus; of the latter of whom it is said, “Juventutem egit erroribus, imo furoribus plenam;” 445 and yet he was the ablest emperor, almost, of all the list; but reposed natures may do well in youth, as it is seen in Augustus Cæsar, Cosmus Duke of Florence, Gaston de Foix, 446 and others. On the other side, heat and vivacity in age is an excellent composition for business. Young men are fitter to invent than to judge, fitter for execution than for counsel, and fitter for new pro 238 jects than for settled business; for the experience of age, in things that fall within the compass of it, directeth them; but in new things abuseth them. The errors of young men are the ruin of business; but the errors of aged men amount but to this, that more might have been done, or sooner.

Young men, in the conduct and manage of actions, embrace more than they can hold, stir more than they can quiet; fly to the end, without consideration of the means and degrees; pursue some few principles which they have chanced upon absurdly; care not to innovate, which draws unknown inconveniences; use extreme remedies at first; and that, which doubleth all errors, will not acknowledge or retract them, like an unready horse, that will neither stop nor turn. Men of age object too much, consult too long, adventure too little, repent too soon, and seldom drive business home to the full period, but content themselves with a mediocrity of success. Certainly, it is good to compound employments of both; for that will be good for the present, because the virtues of either age may correct the defects of both; and good for succession, that young men may be learners, while men in age are actors; and, lastly, good for externe accidents, because authority followeth old men, and favor and popularity youth; but, for the moral part, perhaps, youth will have the preëminence, as age hath for the politic. A certain rabbin, upon the text, “Your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall 239 dream dreams,” 447 inferreth that young men are admitted nearer to God than old, because vision is a clearer revelation than a dream; and, certainly, the more a man drinketh of the world, the more it intoxicateth; and age doth profit rather in the powers of understanding, than in the virtues of the will and affections. There be some have an over-early ripeness in their years, which fadeth betimes; these are, first, such as have brittle wits, the edge whereof is soon turned; such as was Hermogenes 448 the rhetorician, whose books are exceedingly subtle; who afterwards waxed stupid. A second sort is of those that have some natural dispositions, which have better grace in youth than in age; such as is a fluent and luxuriant speech, which becomes youth well, but not age; so Tully saith of Hortensius: “Idem manebat, neque idem decebat.” 449 The third is of such as take too high a strain at the first, and are magnanimous more than tract of years can uphold; as was Scipio Africanus, of whom Livy saith, in effect, “Ultima primis cedebant.” 450

XLIII.—OF BEAUTY.

Virtue is like a rich stone, best plain set; and surely virtue is best in a body that is comely, though not of delicate features, and that hath rather dignity of presence than beauty of aspect; neither is it always most seen, that very beautiful persons are otherwise of great virtue; as if nature were rather busy not to err, than in labor to produce excellency; and therefore they prove accomplished, but not of great spirit, and study rather behavior than virtue. But this holds not always; for Augustus Cæsar, Titus Vespasianus, Philip le Bel of France, Edward the Fourth of England, 451 Alcibiades of Athens, Ismael the Sophy of Persia, were all high and great spirits, and yet the most beautiful men of their times. In beauty, that of favor is more than that of color; and that of decent and gracious motion, more than that of favor. 452 That is the best part of beauty, which a picture cannot express; no, nor the first sight of the life. There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion. A man cannot tell whether Apelles, or Albert Durer, were the more trifler; whereof the one would make a personage by 241 geometrical proportions; the other, by taking the best parts out of divers faces to make one excellent. Such personages, I think, would please nobody but the painter that made them: not but I think a painter may make a better face than ever was; but he must do it by a kind of felicity (as a musician that maketh an excellent air in music), and not by rule. A man shall see faces, that, if you examine them part by part, you shall find never a good, and yet altogether do well. If it be true that the principal part of beauty is in decent motion, certainly it is no marvel, though persons in years seem many times more amiable; “Pulchrorum autumnus pulcher;” 453 for no youth can be comely but by pardon, 454 and considering the youth as to make up the comeliness. Beauty is as summer fruits, which are easy to corrupt, and cannot last; and, for the most part, it makes a dissolute youth, and an age a little out of countenance; but yet certainly again, if it light well, it maketh virtues shine, and vices blush.

XLIV.—OF DEFORMITY.

Deformed persons are commonly even with nature; for, as nature hath done ill by them, so do they by nature, being for the most part (as the Scripture 242 saith) “void of natural affection;” 455 and so they have their revenge of nature. Certainly, there is a consent between the body and the mind, and where nature erreth in the one, she ventureth in the other: “Ubi peccat in uno, periclitatur in altero.” 456 But because there is in man an election, touching the frame of his mind, and a necessity in the frame of his body, the stars of natural inclination are sometimes obscured by the sun of discipline and virtue; therefore, it is good to consider of deformity, not as a sign which is more deceivable, but as a cause which seldom faileth of the effect. Whosoever hath any thing fixed in his person that doth induce contempt, hath also a perpetual spur in himself to rescue and deliver himself from scorn; therefore, all deformed persons are extreme bold; first, as in their own defence, as being exposed to scorn, but, in process of time, by a general habit. Also, it stirreth in them industry, and especially of this kind, to watch and observe the weakness of others, that they may have somewhat to repay. Again, in their superiors, it quencheth jealousy towards them, as persons that they think they may at pleasure despise; and it layeth their competitors and emulators asleep, as never believing they should be in possibility of advancement till they see them in possession; so that upon the matter, in a great wit, deformity is an advantage to rising. Kings in ancient times (and at this present in some coun 243 tries) were wont to put great trust in eunuchs, because they that are envious towards all are more obnoxious and officious towards one; but yet their trust towards them hath rather been as to good spials, 457 and good whisperers, than good magistrates and officers; and much like is the reason of deformed persons. Still the ground is, they will, if they be of spirit, seek to free themselves from scorn, which must be either by virtue or malice; and, therefore, let it not be marvelled, if sometimes they prove excellent persons; as was Agesilaüs, Zanger, the son of Solyman, 458 Æsop, Gasca president of Peru; and Socrates may go likewise amongst them, with others.

XLV.—OF BUILDING.

Houses are built to live in, and not to look on, therefore, let use be preferred before uniformity, except where both may be had. Leave the goodly fabrics of houses, for beauty only, to the enchanted palaces of the poets, who build them with small cost. He that builds a fair house upon an ill seat, 459 committeth himself to prison; neither do I reckon it an ill seat only where the air is unwholesome, but likewise where the air is unequal. As you shall see many fine seats set upon a knap 460 of ground 244 environed with higher hills round about it, whereby the heat of the sun is pent in, and the wind gathereth as in troughs; so as you shall have, and that suddenly, as great diversity of heat and cold as if you dwelt in several places. Neither is it ill air only that maketh an ill seat; but ill ways, ill markets, and, if you will consult with Momus, 461 ill neighbors. I speak not of many more: want of water, want of wood, shade, and shelter, want of fruitfulness, and mixture of grounds of several natures; want of prospect, want of level grounds, want of places at some near distance for sports of hunting, hawking, and races; too near the sea, too remote; having the commodity of navigable rivers, or the discommodity of their overflowing; too far off from great cities, which may hinder business; or too near them, which lurcheth 462 all provisions, and maketh every thing dear; where a man hath a great living laid together, and where he is scanted; all which, as it is impossible perhaps to find together, so it is good to know them, and think of them, that a man may take as many as he can; and if he have several dwellings, that he sort them so, that what he wanteth in the one he may find in the other. Lucullus answered Pompey well, who, when he saw his stately galleries and rooms so large and lightsome, in one of his houses, said, “Surely, an excellent place 245 for summer, but how do you do in winter?” Lucullus answered, “Why, do you not think me as wise as some fowls are, that ever change their abode towards the winter?” 463

To pass from the seat to the house itself, we will do as Cicero doth in the orator’s art, who writes books De Oratore, and a book he entitles Orator; whereof the former delivers the precepts of the art, and the latter the perfection. We will therefore describe a princely palace, making a brief model thereof; for it is strange to see, now in Europe, such huge buildings as the Vatican and Escurial, 464 and some others be, and yet scarce a very fair room in them.

First, therefore, I say, you cannot have a perfect palace, except you have two several sides; a side for the banquet, as is spoken of in the book of Esther, 465 and a side for the household; the one for feasts and triumphs, and the other for dwelling. I understand both these sides to be not only returns, but parts of the front, and to be uniform without, though severally partitioned within; and to be on both sides of a great and stately tower in the midst of the front, that, as it were, joineth them together on either hand. I would have, on the side of the 246 banquet in front, one only goodly room above stairs, of some forty foot high; and under it a room for a dressing or preparing place, at times of triumphs. On the other side, which is the household side, I wish it divided at the first into a hall and a chapel, (with a partition between), both of good state and bigness; and those not to go all the length, but to have at the further end a winter and a summer parlor, both fair; and under these rooms a fair and large cellar sunk under ground; and likewise some privy kitchens, with butteries, and pantries, and the like. As for the tower, I would have it two stories, of eighteen foot high apiece above the two wings; and a goodly leads upon the top, railed, with statues interposed; and the same tower to be divided into rooms, as shall be thought fit. The stairs likewise to the upper rooms, let them be upon a fair open newel, 466 and finely railed in with images of wood cast into a brass color, and a very fair landing-place at the top. But this to be, if you do not point any of the lower rooms for a dining-place of servants; for, otherwise, you shall have the servants’ dinner after your own; for the steam of it will come up as in a tunnel. 467 And so much for the front; only I understand the height of the first stairs to be sixteen foot, which is the height of the lower room.

Beyond this front is there to be a fair court, but 247 three sides of it of a far lower building than the front; and in all the four corners of that court fair staircases, cast into turrets on the outside, and not within the row of buildings themselves; but those towers are not to be of the height of the front, but rather proportionable to the lower building. Let the court not be paved, for that striketh up a great heat in summer, and much cold in winter; but only some side alleys with a cross, and the quarters to graze, being kept shorn, but not too near shorn. The row of return on the banquet side, let it be all stately galleries; in which galleries let there be three or five fine cupolas in the length of it, placed at equal distance, and fine colored windows of several works; on the household side, chambers of presence and ordinary entertainments, with some bedchambers; and let all three sides be a double house, without thorough lights on the sides, that you may have rooms from the sun, both for forenoon and afternoon. Cast it, also, that you may have rooms both for summer and winter; shady for summer, and warm for winter. You shall have sometimes fair houses so full of glass, that one cannot tell where to become 468 to be out of the sun or cold. For imbowed 469 windows, I hold them of good use; (in cities, indeed, upright 470 do better, in respect of the uniformity towards the street;) for they be pretty retiring places for conference; and, 248 besides, they keep both the wind and sun off; for that which would strike almost through the room doth scarce pass the window: but let them be but few, four in the court, on the sides only.

Beyond this court, let there be an inward court, of the same square and height, which is to be environed with the garden on all sides; and in the inside, cloistered on all sides upon decent and beautiful arches, as high as the first story; on the under story towards the garden, let it be turned to grotto, or place of shade, or estivation; and only have opening and windows towards the garden, and be level upon the floor, no whit sunk under ground to avoid all dampishness; and let there be a fountain, or some fair work of statues in the midst of this court, and to be paved as the other court was. These buildings to be for privy lodgings on both sides, and the end for privy galleries; whereof you must foresee that one of them be for an infirmary, if the prince or any special person should be sick, with chambers, bedchamber, “anticamera,” 471 and “recamera,” 472 joining to it; this upon the second story. Upon the ground story, a fair gallery, open, upon pillars; and upon the third story, likewise, an open gallery upon pillars, to take the prospect and freshness of the garden. At both corners of the further side, by way of return, let there be two delicate or rich cabinets, daintily paved, richly hanged, glazed with crystalline glass, and a rich 249 cupola in the midst, and all other elegancy that can be thought upon. In the upper gallery, too, I wish that there may be, if the place will yield it, some fountains running in divers places from the wall, with some fine avoidances. 473 And thus much for the model of the palace, save that you must have, before you come to the front, three courts: a green court plain, with a wall about it; a second court of the same, but more garnished with little turrets, or rather embellishments, upon the wall; and a third court, to make a square with the front, but not to be built, nor yet inclosed with a naked wall, but inclosed with terraces leaded aloft, and fairly garnished on the three sides, and cloistered on the inside with pillars, and not with arches below. As for offices, let them stand at distance, with some low galleries to pass from them to the palace itself.

XLVI.—OF GARDENS.

God Almighty first planted a garden; and, indeed, it is the purest of human pleasures; it is the greatest refreshment to the spirits of man; without which buildings and palaces are but gross handyworks; and a man shall ever see, that, when ages grow to civility and elegancy, men come to build stately, sooner than to garden finely; as if garden 250 ing were the greater perfection. I do hold it, in the royal ordering of gardens, there ought to be gardens for all the months in the year, in which, severally, things of beauty may be then in season. For December, and January, and the latter part of November, you must take such things as are green all winter: holly, ivy, bays, juniper, cypress-trees, yew, pineapple-trees; 474 fir-trees, rosemary, lavender; periwinkle, the white, the purple, and the blue; germander, flags, orange-trees, lemon-trees, and myrtles, if they be stoved; 475 and sweet marjoram, warm set. There followeth, for the latter part of January and February, the mezereon-tree, which then blossoms; crocus vernus, both the yellow and the gray; primroses, anemones, the early tulip, the hyacinthus orientalis, chamaïris fritellaria. For March, there come violets, especially the single blue, which are the earliest; the yellow daffodil, the daisy, the almond-tree in blossom, the peach-tree in blossom, the cornelian-tree in blossom, sweet-brier. In April, follow the double white violet, the wall-flower, the stock-gillyflower, the cowslip, flower-de-luces, and lilies of all natures; rosemary flowers, the tulip, the double peony, the pale daffodil, the French honeysuckle, the cherry-tree in blossom, the damascene 476 and plum-trees in blossom, the white thorn in leaf, the lilac-tree. In May and June come pinks of all sorts, especially the blush-pink; roses of all 251 kinds, except the musk, which comes later; honeysuckles, strawberries, bugloss, columbine, the French marigold, flos Africanus, cherry-tree in fruit, ribes, 477 figs in fruit, rasps, vine-flowers, lavender in flowers, the sweet satyrian, with the white flower; herba muscaria, lilium convallium, the apple-tree in blossom. In July come gillyflowers of all varieties, musk-roses, the lime-tree in blossom, early pears, and plums in fruit, genitings, 478 codlins. In August come plums of all sorts in fruit, pears, apricots, barberries, filberts, musk-melons, monks-hoods, of all colors. In September come grapes, apples, poppies of all colors, peaches, melocotones, 479 nectarines, cornelians, 480 wardens, 481 quinces. In October, and the beginning of November, come services, medlars, bullaces, roses cut or removed to come late, hollyoaks, and such like. These particulars are for the climate of London; but my meaning is perceived, that you may have “ver perpetuum,” 482 as the place affords.

And because the breath of flowers is far sweeter in the air (where it comes and goes, like the warbling of music), than in the hand, therefore nothing is more fit for that delight, than to know what be 252 the flowers and plants that do best perfume the air. Roses, damask and red, are fast flowers 483 of their smell, so that you may walk by a whole row of them, and find nothing of their sweetness; yea, though it be in a morning’s dew. Bays, likewise, yield no smell as they grow, rosemary little, nor sweet marjoram; that which, above all others, yields the sweetest smell in the air, is the violet, especially the white double violet, which comes twice a year, about the middle of April, and about Bartholomew-tide. Next to that is the musk-rose; then the strawberry leaves dying, with a most excellent cordial smell; then the flower of the vines, it is a little dust like the dust of a bent, 484 which grows upon the cluster in the first coming forth; then sweet-brier, then wall-flowers, which are very delightful to be set under a parlor or lower chamber window; then pinks and gillyflowers, specially the matted pink and clove gillyflower; then the flowers of the lime-tree; then the honeysuckles, so they be somewhat afar off. Of bean-flowers 485 I speak not, because they are field-flowers; but those which perfume the air most delightfully, not passed by as the rest, but being trodden upon and crushed, are three; that is, burnet, wild thyme, and water-mints; therefore you are to set whole alleys of them, to have the pleasure when you walk or tread.

For gardens (speaking of those which are indeed prince-like, as we have done of buildings), the contents ought not well to be under thirty acres of ground, and to be divided into three parts; a green in the entrance, a heath, or desert, in the going forth, and the main garden in the midst, besides alleys on both sides; and I like well that four acres of ground be assigned to the green, six to the heath, four and four to either side, and twelve to the main garden. The green hath two pleasures: the one, because nothing is more pleasant to the eye than green grass kept finely shorn; the other, because it will give you a fair alley in the midst, by which you may go in front upon a stately hedge, which is to inclose the garden. But because the alley will be long, and in great heat of the year, or day, you ought not to buy the shade in the garden by going in the sun through the green; therefore you are, of either side the green, to plant a covert alley, upon carpenter’s work, about twelve foot in height, by which you may go in shade into the garden. As for the making of knots or figures, with divers colored earths, that they may lie under the windows of the house on that side which the garden stands, they be but toys; you may see as good sights many times in tarts. The garden is best to be square, encompassed on all the four sides with a stately arched hedge: the arches to be upon pillars of carpenter’s work, of some ten foot high, and six foot broad, and the spaces between of the same dimen 254 sion with the breadth of the arch. Over the arches let there be an entire hedge of some four foot high, framed also upon carpenter’s work; and upon the upper hedge, over every arch a little turret, with a belly enough to receive a cage of birds; and over every space between the arches some other little figure, with broad plates of round colored glass gilt, for the sun to play upon; but this hedge I intend to be raised upon a bank, not steep, but gently slope, of some six foot, set all with flowers. Also, I understand that this square of the garden should not be the whole breadth of the ground, but to leave on either side ground enough for diversity of side alleys, unto which the two covert alleys of the green may deliver you; 486 but there must be no alleys with hedges at either end of this great inclosure; not at the hither end, for letting 487 your prospect upon this fair hedge from the green; nor at the further end for letting your prospect from the hedge through the arches upon the heath.

For the ordering of the ground within the great hedge, I leave it to variety of device; advising, nevertheless, that whatsoever form you cast it into first, it be not too bushy, or full of work; wherein I, for my part, do not like images cut out in juniper or other garden stuff; they be for children. Little low hedges, round like welts, with some pretty pyramids, I like well; and in some places fair columns, upon frames of carpenter’s work. I 255 would also have the alleys spacious and fair. You may have closer alleys upon the side grounds, but none in the main garden. I wish, also, in the very middle, a fair mount, with three ascents and alleys, enough for four to walk abreast; which I would have to be perfect circles, without any bulwarks or embossments; and the whole mount to be thirty foot high, and some fine banqueting-house, with some chimneys neatly cast, and without too much glass.

For fountains, they are a great beauty and refreshment; but pools mar all, and make the garden unwholesome, and full of flies and frogs. Fountains I intend to be of two natures; the one that sprinkleth or spouteth water; the other, a fair receipt of water, of some thirty or forty foot square, but without fish, or slime, or mud. For the first, the ornaments of images, gilt or of marble, which are in use, do well; but the main matter is so to convey the water, as it never stay, either in the bowls or in the cistern; that the water be never by rest discolored, green, or red, or the like, or gather any mossiness or putrefaction; besides that, it is to be cleansed every day by the hand; also, some steps up to it, and some fine pavement about it, doth well. As for the other kind of fountain, which we may call a bathing-pool, it may admit much curiosity and beauty, wherewith we will not trouble ourselves: as, that the bottom be finely paved, and with images; the sides likewise; and, withal, embellished with colored glass, and such things of 256 lustre; encompassed, also, with fine rails of low statues. But the main point is the same that we mentioned in the former kind of fountain; which is, that the water be in perpetual motion, fed by a water higher than the pool, and delivered into it by fair spouts, and then discharged away under ground, by some equality of bores, that it stay little; and for fine devices, of arching water 488 without spilling, and making it rise in several forms (of feathers, drinking-glasses, canopies, and the like), they be pretty things to look on, but nothing to health and sweetness.

For the heath, which was the third part of our plot, I wish it to be framed as much as may be to a natural wildness. Trees I would have none in it, but some thickets made only of sweet-brier and honeysuckle, and some wild vine amongst; and the ground set with violets, strawberries, and primroses; for these are sweet, and prosper in the shade, and these to be in the heath here and there, not in any order. I like also little heaps, in the nature of molehills (such as are in wild heaths), to be set, some with wild thyme, some with pinks, some with germander, that gives a good flower to the eye; some with periwinkle, some with violets, some with strawberries, some with cowslips, some with daisies, some with red roses, some with lilium convallium, 489 257 some with sweet-williams red, some with bear’s-foot, and the like low flowers, being withal sweet and sightly; part of which heaps to be with standards of little bushes pricked upon their top, and part without; the standards to be roses, juniper, holly, barberries (but here and there, because of the smell of their blossom), red currants, gooseberries, rosemary, bays, sweetbrier, and such like; but these standards to be kept with cutting, that they grow not out of course.

For the side grounds, you are to fill them with variety of alleys, private, to give a full shade; some of them wheresoever the sun be. You are to frame some of them likewise for shelter, that when the wind blows sharp, you may walk as in a gallery: and those alleys must be likewise hedged at both ends, to keep out the wind; and these closer alleys must be ever finely gravelled, and no grass, because of going wet. In many of these alleys, likewise, you are to set fruit-trees of all sorts, as well upon the walls as in ranges; 490 and this should be generally observed, that the borders wherein you plant your fruit-trees be fair, and large, and low, and not steep; and set with fine flowers, but thin and sparingly, lest they deceive 491 the trees. At the end of both the side grounds I would have a mount of some pretty height, leaving the wall of the inclosure breast high, to look abroad into the fields.

For the main garden, I do not deny but there 258 should be some fair alleys ranged on both sides with fruit-trees, and some pretty tufts of fruit-trees and arbors with seats, set in some decent order; but these to be by no means set too thick, but to leave the main garden so as it be not close, but the air open and free. For as for shade, I would have you rest upon the alleys of the side grounds, there to walk, if you be disposed, in the heat of the year or day; but to make account 492 that the main garden is for the more temperate parts of the year, and in the heat of summer for the morning and the evening or overcast days.

For aviaries, I like them not, except they be of that largeness as they may be turfed, and have living plants and bushes set in them; that the birds may have more scope and natural nestling, and that no foulness appear in the floor of the aviary. So I have made a platform of a princely garden, partly by precept, partly by drawing; not a model, but some general lines of it; and in this I have spared for no cost. But it is nothing for great princes, that, for the most part, taking advice with workmen, with no less cost set their things together, and sometimes add statues and such things for state and magnificence, but nothing to the true pleasure of a garden.

XLVII.—OF NEGOTIATING.

It is generally better to deal by speech than by letter; and by the mediation of a third, than by a man’s self. Letters are good, when a man would draw an answer by letter back again; or when it may serve for a man’s justification afterwards to produce his own letter, or where it may be danger to be interrupted or heard by pieces. To deal in person is good, when a man’s face breedeth regard, as commonly with inferiors; or in tender cases, where a man’s eye upon the countenance of him with whom he speaketh, may give him a direction how far to go; and, generally, where a man will reserve to himself liberty, either to disavow or to expound. In choice of instruments, it is better to choose men of a plainer sort, that are like to do that that is committed to them, and to report back again faithfully the success, than those that are cunning to contrive out of other men’s business somewhat to grace themselves, and will help the matter in report, for satisfaction sake. Use also such persons as affect 493 the business wherein they are employed, for that quickeneth much; and such as are fit for the matter, as bold men for expostulation, fairspoken men for persuasion, crafty men for inquiry and observation, froward and absurd men for business that doth not 260 well bear out itself. Use also such as have been lucky and prevailed before in things wherein you have employed them; for that breeds confidence, and they will strive to maintain their prescription. It is better to sound a person with whom one deals afar off, than to fall upon the point at first, except you mean to surprise him by some short question. It is better dealing with men in appetite, 494 than with those that are where they would be. If a man deal with another upon conditions, the start of first performance is all; which a man cannot reasonably demand, except either the nature of the thing be such, which must go before; or else a man can persuade the other party, that he shall still need him in some other thing; or else that he be counted the honester man. All practice is to discover, or to work. Men discover themselves in trust, in passion, at unawares; and, of necessity, when they would have somewhat done, and cannot find an apt pretext. If you would work any man, you must either know his nature and fashions, and so lead him; or his ends, and so persuade him; or his weakness and disadvantages, and so awe him; or those that have interest in him, and so govern him. In dealing with cunning persons, we must ever consider their ends, to interpret their speeches; and it is good to say little to them, and that which they least look for. 261 In all negotiations of difficulty, a man may not look to sow and reap at once; but must prepare business, and so ripen it by degrees.

XLVIII.—OF FOLLOWERS AND FRIENDS.

Costly followers are not to be liked, lest, while a man maketh his train longer, he make his wings shorter. I reckon to be costly, not them alone which charge the purse, but which are wearisome and importune in suits. Ordinary followers ought to challenge no higher conditions than countenance, recommendation, and protection from wrongs. Factious followers are worse to be liked, which follow not upon affection to him with whom they range themselves, but upon discontentment conceived against some other; whereupon commonly ensueth that ill intelligence, that we many times see between great personages. Likewise glorious 495 followers, who make themselves as trumpets of the commendations of those they follow, are full of inconvenience, for they taint business through want of secrecy; and they export honor from a man, and make him a return in envy. There is a kind of followers, likewise, which are dangerous, being indeed espials; which inquire the secrets of the house, and 262 bear tales of them to others; yet such men, many times, are in great favor, for they are officious, and commonly exchange tales. The following, by certain estates 496 of men, answerable to that which a great person himself professeth (as of soldiers to him that hath been employed in the wars, and the like), hath ever been a thing civil and well taken even in monarchies, so it be without too much pomp or popularity. But the most honorable kind of following, is to be followed as one that apprehendeth to advance virtue and desert in all sorts of persons; and yet, where there is no eminent odds in sufficiency, it is better to take with the more passable, than with the more able; and, besides, to speak truth in base times, active men are of more use than virtuous. It is true, that, in government, it is good to use men of one rank equally; for to countenance some extraordinarily, is to make them insolent, and the rest discontent, because they may claim a due: but, contrariwise, in favor, to use men with much difference and election is good: for it maketh the persons preferred more thankful, and the rest more officious, because all is of favor. It is good discretion not to make too much of any man at the first, because one cannot hold out that proportion. To be governed, as we call it, by one, is not safe, for it shows softness, 497 and gives a freedom to scandal and disreputation; for those that would not censure, or 263 speak ill of a man immediately, will talk more boldly of those that are so great with them, and thereby wound their honor; yet to be distracted with many is worse, for it makes men to be of the last impression, and full of change. To take advice of some few friends is ever honorable; for lookers-on many times see more than gamesters, and the vale best discovereth the hill. There is little friendship in the world, and least of all between equals, which was wont 498 to be magnified. That that is, is between superior and inferior, 499 whose fortunes may comprehend the one the other.

XLIX.—OF SUITORS.

Many ill matters and projects are undertaken; and private suits do putrefy the public good. Many good matters are undertaken with bad minds; I mean not only corrupt minds, but crafty minds, that intend not performance. Some embrace suits, which never mean to deal effectually in them; but if they see there may be life in the matter, by some other mean they will be content to win a thank, or take a second reward, or, at least, to make use, in the mean time, of the suitor’s hopes. Some take hold of suits only for an occasion to cross some other, or to make an information, whereof they could not otherwise have apt pretext, without care what become of the suit when that turn is served; or, generally, to make other men’s business a kind of entertainment to bring in their own: nay, some undertake suits with a full purpose to let them fall, to the end to gratify the adverse party, or competitor. Surely, there is in some sort a right in every suit; either a right of equity, if it be a suit of controversy, or a right of desert, if it be a suit of petition. If affection lead a man to favor the wrong side in justice, let him rather use his countenance to compound the matter than to carry it. If affection lead a man to favor the less worthy in desert, let him do it without depraving 500 or disabling 265 the better deserver. In suits which a man doth not well understand, it is good to refer them to some friend of trust and judgment, that may report whether he may deal in them with honor; but let him choose well his referendaries, 501 for else he may be led by the nose. Suitors are so distasted 502 with delays and abuses, that plain dealing in denying to deal in suits at first, and reporting the success barely, 503 and in challenging no more thanks than one hath deserved, is grown not only honorable, but also gracious. In suits of favor, the first coming ought to take little place; 504 so far forth 505 consideration may be had of his trust, that if intelligence of the matter could not otherwise have been had but by him, advantage be not taken of the note, 506 but the party left to his other means, and in some sort recompensed for his discovery. To be ignorant of the value of a suit is simplicity; as well as to be ignorant of the right thereof, is want of conscience. Secrecy in suits is a great mean of obtaining; for voicing them to be in forwardness may discourage some kind of suitors, but doth quicken and awake others. But timing of the suit is the principal; timing, I say, not only in respect of the person that should grant it, but in respect of those which are like to cross it. Let a man, in the 266 choice of his mean, rather choose the fittest mean, than the greatest mean; and rather them that deal in certain things, than those that are general. The reparation of a denial is sometimes equal to the first grant, if a man show himself neither dejected nor discontented. “Iniquum petas, ut æquum feras,” 507 is a good rule, where a man hath strength of favor; but otherwise a man were better rise in his suit; for he that would have ventured at first to have lost the suitor, will not, in the conclusion, lose both the suitor and his own former favor. Nothing is thought so easy a request to a great person as his letter: and yet if it be not in a good cause, it is so much out of his reputation. There are no worse instruments than these general contrivers of suits; for they are but a kind of poison and infection to public proceedings.

L.—OF STUDIES. 508

Studies serve for delight, for ornament, and for ability. Their chief use for delight, is in privateness and retiring; for ornament, is in discourse; and for ability, is in the judgment and disposition of business; for expert men can execute, and per 267 haps judge of particulars one by one; but the general counsels, and the plots and marshalling of affairs, come best from those that are learned. To spend too much time in studies, is sloth; to use them too much for ornament, is affectation; to make judgment wholly by their rules, is the humor of a scholar. They perfect nature, and are perfected by experience; for natural abilities are like natural plants, that need pruning by study; and studies themselves do give forth directions too much at large, except they be bounded in by experience. Crafty men contemn studies, simple men admire them, and wise men use them; for they teach not their own use; but that is a wisdom without them and above them, won by observation. Read not to contradict and confute, nor to believe and take for granted, nor to find talk and discourse, but to weigh and consider. Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested; that is, some books are to be read only in parts; others to be read, but not curiously; 509 and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention. Some books also may be read by deputy, and extracts made of them by others; but that would be only in the less important arguments and the meaner sort of books; else distilled books are, like common distilled waters, flashy 510 things. Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man; and, therefore, if 268 a man write little, he had need have a great memory; if he confer little, he had need have a present wit; and if he read little, he had need have much cunning, to seem to know that he doth not. Histories make men wise; poets, witty; the mathematics, subtile; natural philosophy, deep; moral, grave; logic and rhetoric, able to contend: “Abeunt studia in mores;” 511 nay, there is no stand or impediment in the wit, but may be wrought out by fit studies. Like as diseases of the body may have appropriate exercises, bowling is good for the stone and reins, shooting for the lungs and breast, gentle walking for the stomach, riding for the head and the like; so, if a man’s wit be wandering, let him study the mathematics; for in demonstrations, if his wit be called away never so little, he must begin again; if his wit be not apt to distinguish or find difference, let him study the schoolmen, for they are “Cymini sectores.” 512 If he be not apt to beat over matters, and to call up one thing to prove and illustrate another, let him study the lawyers’ cases; so every defect of the mind may have a special receipt.

LI.—OF FACTION.

Many have an opinion not wise, that for a prince to govern his estate, or for a great person to govern his proceedings, according to the respect of factions, is a principal part of policy; whereas, contrariwise, the chiefest wisdom is, either in ordering those things which are general, and wherein men of several factions do nevertheless agree, or in dealing with correspondence to particular persons, one by one; but I say not, that the consideration of factions is to be neglected. Mean men in their rising must adhere; but great men, that have strength in themselves, were better to maintain themselves indifferent and neutral; yet, even in beginners, to adhere so moderately, as he be a man of the one faction, which is most passable with the other, commonly giveth best way. The lower and weaker faction is the firmer in conjunction; and it is often seen, that a few that are stiff, do tire out a great number that are more moderate. When one of the factions is extinguished, the remaining subdivideth; as the faction between Lucullus and the rest of the nobles of the senate (which they called “optimates”), held out a while against the faction of Pompey and Cæsar; but when the senate’s authority was pulled down, Cæsar and Pompey soon after brake. The faction or party of Antonius and 270 Octavianus Cæsar, against Brutus and Cassius, held out likewise for a time; but when Brutus and Cassius were overthrown, then soon after Antonius and Octavianus brake and subdivided. These examples are of wars, but the same holdeth in private factions; and, therefore, those that are seconds in factions do many times, when the faction subdivideth, prove principals; but many times also they prove ciphers, and cashiered, for many a man’s strength is in opposition; and when that faileth, he groweth out of use. It is commonly seen, that men once placed, take in with the contrary faction to that by which they enter; thinking, belike, that they have the first sure, and now are ready for a new purchase. The traitor in faction lightly goeth away with it; for when matters have stuck long in balancing, the winning of some one man casteth them, 513 and he getteth all the thanks. The even carriage between two factions proceedeth not always of moderation, but of a trueness to a man’s self, with end to make use of both. Certainly, in Italy, they hold it a little suspect in popes, when they have often in their mouth, “Padre commune;” 514 and take it to be a sign of one that meaneth to refer all to the greatness of his own house. Kings had need beware how they side themselves, and make themselves as of a faction or party; for leagues within the state are ever pernicious to monarchies; for they raise an obligation paramount to obligation of sovereignty, 271 and make the king “tanquam unus ex nobis,” 515 as was to be seen in the League of France. When factions are carried too high and too violently, it is a sign of weakness in princes, and much to the prejudice both of their authority and business. The motions of factions under kings, ought to be like the motions (as the astronomers speak) of the inferior orbs, which may have their proper motions, but yet still are quietly carried by the higher motion of “primum mobile.” 516

LII.—OF CEREMONIES AND RESPECTS.

He that is only real, had need have exceeding great parts of virtue; as the stone had need to be rich that is set without foil; but if a man mark it well, it is in praise and commendation of men, as it is in gettings and gains; for the proverb is true, that “Light gains make heavy purses;” for light gains come thick, whereas great come but now and then. So it is true, that small matters win great commendation, because they are continually in use and in note; whereas the occasion of any great virtue cometh but on festivals; therefore it doth 272 much add to a man’s reputation, and is (as Queen Isabella 517 said) like perpetual letters commendatory, to have good forms. To attain them, it almost sufficeth not to despise them; for so shall a man observe them in others; and let him trust himself with the rest; for if he labor too much to express them, he shall lose their grace, which is to be natural and unaffected. Some men’s behavior is like a verse, wherein every syllable is measured; how can a man comprehend great matters, that breaketh his mind too much to small observations? Not to use ceremonies at all, is to teach others not to use them again, and so diminisheth respect to himself; especially they be not to be omitted to strangers and formal natures; but the dwelling upon them, and exalting them above the moon, is not only tedious, but doth diminish the faith and credit of him that speaks; and, certainly, there is a kind of conveying of effectual and imprinting passages amongst compliments, which is of singular use, if a man can hit upon it. Amongst a man’s peers, a man shall be sure of familiarity, and, therefore, it is good a little to keep state; amongst a man’s inferiors, one shall be sure of reverence, and therefore it is good a little to be familiar. He that is too much in any thing, so that he giveth another occasion of satiety, maketh himself cheap. To apply one’s self to others, is good, so it be with demonstration that a man doth 273 it upon regard, and not upon facility. It is a good precept, generally in seconding another, yet to add somewhat of one’s own; as, if you will grant his opinion, let it be with some distinction; if you will follow his motion, let it be with condition; if you allow his counsel, let it be with alleging further reason. Men had need beware how they be too perfect in compliments; for be they never so sufficient otherwise, their enviers will be sure to give them that attribute to the disadvantage of their greater virtues. It is loss, also, in business, to be too full of respects, or to be too curious in observing times and opportunities. Solomon saith, “He that considereth the wind shall not sow, and he that looketh to the clouds shall not reap.” 518 A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds. Men’s behavior should be like their apparel, not too strait or point device, 519 but free for exercise or motion.

LIII.—OF PRAISE.

Praise is the reflection of virtue; but it is glass, or body, which giveth the reflection. If it be from the common people, it is commonly false and naught, 274 and rather followeth vain persons than virtuous; for the common people understand not many excellent virtues. The lowest virtues draw praise from them, the middle virtues work in them astonishment or admiration, but of the highest virtues they have no sense or perceiving at all; but shows and “species virtutibus similes,” 520 serve best with them. Certainly, fame is like a river, that beareth up things light and swollen, and drowns things weighty and solid; but if persons of quality and judgment concur, then it is (as the Scripture saith), “Nomen bonum instar unguenti fragrantis:” 521 it filleth all round about, and will not easily away; for the odors of ointments are more durable than those of flowers. There be so many false points of praise, that a man may justly hold it a suspect. Some praises proceed merely of flattery; and if he be an ordinary flatterer, he will have certain common attributes, which may serve every man; if he be a cunning flatterer, he will follow the arch-flatterer, which is a man’s self, and wherein a man thinketh best of himself, therein the flatterer will uphold him most. But if he be an impudent flatterer, look wherein a man is conscious to himself that he is most defective, and is most out of countenance in himself, that will the flatterer entitle him to, perforce, “spretâ conscientiâ.” 522 Some praises 275 come of good wishes and respects, which is a form due in civility to kings and great persons, “laudando præcipere;” 523 when, by telling men what they are, they represent to them what they should be; some men are praised maliciously to their hurt, thereby to stir envy and jealousy towards them: “Pessimum genus inimicorum laudantium;” 524 insomuch as it was a proverb amongst the Grecians, that “he that was praised to his hurt, should have a push 525 rise upon his nose;” as we say that a blister will rise upon one’s tongue that tells a lie; certainly, moderate praise, used with opportunity, and not vulgar, is that which doth the good. Solomon saith: “He that praiseth his friend aloud, rising early, it shall be to him no better than a curse.” 526 Too much magnifying of man or matter doth irritate contradiction, and procure envy and scorn. To praise a man’s self cannot be decent, except it be in rare cases; but to praise a man’s office 527 or profession, he may do it with good grace, and with a kind of magnanimity. The cardinals of Rome, which are theologues, 528 and friars, and schoolmen, 276 have a phrase of notable contempt and scorn towards civil business; for they call all temporal business of wars, embassages, judicature, and other employments, sbirrerie, which is under-sheriffries, as if they were but matters for under-sheriffs and catchpoles; though many times those under-sheriffries do more good than their high speculations. St. Paul, when he boasts of himself, he doth oft interlace, “I speak like a fool:” 529 but speaking of his calling, he saith, “Magnificabo apostolatum meum.” 530

LIV.—OF VAINGLORY.

It was prettily devised of Æsop, the fly sat upon the axle-tree of the chariot-wheel, and said, “What a dust do I raise!” So are there some vain persons, that, whatsoever goeth alone, or moveth upon greater means, if they have never so little hand in it, they think it is they that carry it. They that are glorious, must needs be factious; for all bravery 531 stands upon comparisons. They must needs be violent, to make good their own vaunts; neither can they be secret, and therefore not effectual; but, according to the 277 French proverb, “Beaucoup de bruit, peu de fruit;”—“much bruit, 532 little fruit.” Yet, certainly, there is use of this quality in civil affairs: where there is an opinion 533 and fame to be created, either of virtue or greatness, these men are good trumpeters. Again, as Titus Livius noteth, in the case of Antiochus and the Ætolians, 534 there are sometimes great effects of cross lies; as if a man that negotiates between two princes, to draw them to join in a war against the third, doth extol the forces of either of them above measure, the one to the other; and sometimes he that deals between man and man, raiseth his own credit with both, by pretending greater interest than he hath in either; and in these, and the like kinds, it often falls out, that somewhat is produced of nothing; for lies are sufficient to breed opinion, and opinion brings on substance. In military commanders and soldiers, vainglory is an essential point; for as iron sharpens iron, so by glory one courage sharpeneth another. In cases of great enterprise upon charge 535 and adventure, a composition of glorious natures doth put life into business; and those that are of solid and sober natures, have more of the ballast than of the sail. In fame of learning, the flight will be slow without some feathers of ostentation: “Qui de contemnendâ gloriâ libros scribunt, 278 nomen suum inscribunt.” 536 Socrates, Aristotle, Galen, were men full of ostentation: certainly, vainglory helpeth to perpetuate a man’s memory; and virtue was never so beholden to human nature, as it received its due at the second hand. Neither had the fame of Cicero, Seneca, Plinius Secundus, 537 borne her age so well if it had not been joined with some vanity in themselves; like unto varnish, that makes ceilings not only shine, but last. But all this while, when I speak of vainglory, I mean not of that property that Tacitus doth attribute to Mucianus, “Omnium, quæ dixerat feceratque, arte quâdam ostentator;” 538 for that 539 proceeds not of vanity, but of natural magnanimity and discretion; and, in some persons, is not only comely, but gracious; for excusations, 540 cessions, 541 modesty itself, well governed, are but arts of ostentation; and amongst those arts there is none better than that which Plinius Secundus speaketh 279 of, which is to be liberal of praise and commendation to others, in that wherein a man’s self hath any perfection. For, saith Pliny, very wittily, “In commending another, you do yourself right; 542 for he that you commend is either superior to you in that you commend, or inferior: if he be inferior, if he be to be commended, you much more; if he be superior, if he be not to be commended, you much less.” Glorious 543 men are the scorn of wise men, the admiration of fools, the idols of parasites, and the slaves of their own vaunts.

LV.—OF HONOR AND REPUTATION.

The winning of honor is but the revealing of a man’s virtue and worth without disadvantage; for some in their actions do woo and affect honor and reputation; which sort of men are commonly much talked of, but inwardly little admired; and some, contrariwise, darken their virtue in the show of it, so as they be undervalued in opinion. If a man perform that which hath not been attempted before, or attempted and given over, or hath been achieved, but not with so good circumstance, he shall purchase more honor than by affecting a matter of greater difficulty or virtue, wherein he is but a follower. If a man so temper his actions, as in some one of 280 them he doth content every faction or combination of people, the music will be the fuller. A man is an ill husband of his honor that entereth into any action, the failing wherein may disgrace him more than the carrying of it through can honor him. Honor that is gained and broken upon another hath the quickest reflection, like diamonds cut with facets; and therefore let a man contend to excel any competitors of his in honor, in outshooting them, if he can, in their own bow. Discreet followers and servants help much to reputation: “Omnis fama a domesticis emanat.” 544 Envy, which is the canker of honor, is best extinguished by declaring a man’s self in his ends, rather to seek merit than fame; and by attributing a man’s successes rather to Divine providence and felicity, than to his own virtue or policy. The true marshalling of the degrees of sovereign honor are these. In the first place are “conditores imperiorum,” 545 founders of states and commonwealths; such as were Romulus, Cyrus, Cæsar, Ottoman, 546 Ismael: in the second place are “legislatores,” lawgivers, which are also called second founders, or “perpetui principes,” 547 because they govern by their 281 ordinances after they are gone; such were Lycurgus, Solon, Justinian, Edgar, 548 Alphonsus of Castile, the Wise, that made the “Siete Partidas:” 549 in the third place are “liberatores,” or “salvatores,” 550 such as compound the long miseries of civil wars, or deliver their countries from servitude of strangers or tyrants, as Augustus Cæsar, Vespasianus, Aurelianus, Theodoricus, King Henry the Seventh of England, King Henry the Fourth of France: in the fourth place are “propagatores,” or “propugnatores imperii,” 551 such as in honorable wars enlarge their territories, or make noble defence against invaders: and, in the last place are “patres patriæ,” 552 which reign justly, and make the times good wherein they live; both which last kinds need no examples, they are in such number. Degrees of honor in subjects are, first, “participes curarum,” 553 those upon whom 282 princes do discharge the greatest weight of their affairs, their right hands, as we call them; the next are “duces belli,” 554 great leaders, such as are princes’ lieutenants, and do them notable services in the wars; the third are “gratiosi,” favorites, such as exceed not this scantling, 555 to be solace to the sovereign, and harmless to the people; and the fourth, “negotiis pares,” 556 such as have great places under princes, and execute their places with sufficiency. There is an honor, likewise, which may be ranked amongst the greatest, which happeneth rarely; that is, of such as sacrifice themselves to death or danger for the good of their country; as was M. Regulus, and the two Decii.

LVI.—OF JUDICATURE.

Judges ought to remember that their office is “jus dicere,” 557 and not “jus dare;” 558 to interpret law, and not to make law, or give law; else will it be like the authority claimed by the Church of Rome, which, under pretext of exposition of Scripture, doth not stick to add and alter, and to pronounce that which they do not find, and, by show of antiquity, to introduce novelty. Judges ought to 283 be more learned than witty, more reverend than plausible, and more advised than confident. Above all things, integrity is their portion and proper virtue. “Cursed (saith the law) 559 is he that removeth the landmark.” The mislayer of a mere stone is to blame; but it is the unjust judge that is the capital remover of landmarks, when he defineth amiss of lands and property. One foul sentence doth more hurt than many foul examples; for these do but corrupt the stream, the other corrupteth the fountain: so saith Solomon, “Fons turbatus et vena corrupta est justus cadens in causâ suâ coram adversario.” 560 The office of judges may have reference unto the parties that sue, unto the advocates that plead, unto the clerks and ministers of justice underneath them, and to the sovereign or state above them.

First, for the causes or parties that sue. “There be (saith the Scripture) that turn judgment into wormwood;” 561 and surely there be, also, that turn it into vinegar; for injustice maketh it bitter, and delays make it sour. The principal duty of a judge is to suppress force and fraud; whereof force is the more pernicious when it is open, and fraud when it 284 is close and disguised. Add thereto contentious suits, which ought to be spewed out, as the surfeit of courts. A judge ought to prepare his way to a just sentence, as God useth to prepare his way, by raising valleys and taking down hills; so when there appeareth on either side a high hand, violent prosecution, cunning advantages taken, combination, power, great counsel, then is the virtue of a judge seen to make inequality equal, that he may plant his judgment as upon an even ground. “Qui fortiter emungit, elicit sanguinem;” 562 and where the wine-press is hard wrought, it yields a harsh wine, that tastes of the grape-stone. Judges must beware of hard constructions and strained inferences; for there is no worse torture than the torture of laws. Especially in case of laws penal, they ought to have care that that which was meant for terror be not turned into rigor; and that they bring not upon the people that shower whereof the Scripture speaketh, “Pluet super eos laqueos;” 563 for penal laws pressed, 564 are a shower of snares upon the people. Therefore let penal laws, if they have been sleepers of long, or if they be grown unfit for the present time, be by 285 wise judges confined in the execution: “Judicis officium est, ut res, ita tempora rerum,” &c. 565 In causes of life and death, judges ought (as far as the law permitteth) in justice to remember mercy, and to cast a severe eye upon the example, but a merciful eye upon the person.

Secondly, for the advocates and counsel that plead. Patience 566 and gravity of hearing is an essential part of justice, and an overspeaking judge is no well-tuned cymbal. It is no grace to a judge first to find that which he might have heard in due time from the bar; or to show quickness of conceit in cutting off evidence or counsel too short, or to prevent information by questions, though pertinent. The parts of a judge in hearing are four: to direct the evidence; to moderate length, repetition, of impertinency of speech; to recapitulate, select, and collate the material points of that which hath been said; and to give the rule or sentence. Whatsoever is above these is too much, and proceedeth either of glory, and willingness to speak, or of impatience to hear, or of shortness of memory, or of want of a staid and equal attention. It is a strange thing to see that the boldness of advocates should prevail with judges; whereas, they should imitate God in whose seat they sit, who represseth the presump 286 tuous, and giveth grace to the modest; but it is more strange, that judges should have noted favorites, which cannot but cause multiplication of fees, and suspicion of by-ways. There is due from the judge to the advocate some commendation and gracing, where causes are well handled and fair pleaded, especially towards the side which obtaineth not; 567 for that upholds in the client the reputation of his counsel, and beats down in him the conceit 568 of his cause. There is likewise due to the public a civil reprehension of advocates, where there appeareth cunning counsel, gross neglect, slight information, indiscreet pressing, or an over-bold defence; and let not the counsel at the bar chop 569 with the judge, nor wind himself into the handling of the cause anew after the judge hath declared his sentence; but, on the other side, let not the judge meet the cause half-way, nor give occasion to the party to say, his counsel or proofs were not heard.

Thirdly, for that that concerns clerks and ministers. The place of justice is a hallowed place; and, therefore, not only the bench, but the foot-pace and precincts, and purprise thereof, ought to be preserved without scandal and corruption; for, certainly, “Grapes (as the Scripture saith) will not be gathered of thorns or thistles;” 570 neither can justice 287 yield her fruit with sweetness amongst the briers and brambles of catching and polling 571 clerks and ministers. The attendance of courts is subject to four bad instruments: first, certain persons that are sowers of suits, which make the court swell, and the country pine: the second sort is of those that engage courts in quarrels of jurisdiction, and are not truly “amici curiæ,” 572 but “parasiti curiæ,” 573 in puffing a court up beyond her bounds for their own scraps and advantage: the third sort is of those that may be accounted the left hands of courts; persons that are full of nimble and sinister tricks and shifts, whereby they pervert the plain and direct courses of courts, and bring justice into oblique lines and labyrinths: and the fourth is the poller and exacter of fees; which justifies the common resemblance of the courts of justice to the bush, whereunto while the sheep flies for defence in weather, he is sure to lose part of his fleece. On the other side, an ancient clerk, skilful in precedents, wary in proceeding, and understanding in the business of the court, is an excellent finger of a court, and doth many times point the way to the judge himself.

Fourthly, for that which may concern the sovereign and estate. Judges ought, above all, to remember the conclusion of the Roman Twelve Tables, 574 “Salus populi suprema lex;” 575 and to know 288 that laws, except they be in order to that end, are but things captious, and oracles not well inspired; therefore it is a happy thing in a state, when kings and states do often consult with judges; and again, when judges do often consult with the king and state: the one, when there is matter of law intervenient in business of state; the other, when there is some consideration of state intervenient in matter of law; for many times the things deduced to judgment may be “meum” 576 and “tuum,” 577 when the reason and consequence thereof may trench to point of estate. I call matter of estate, not only the parts of sovereignty, but whatsoever introduceth any great alteration, or dangerous precedent, or concerneth manifestly any great portion of people; and let no man weakly conceive, that just laws and true policy have any antipathy, for they are like the spirits and sinews, that one moves with the other. Let judges also remember, that Solomon’s throne was supported by lions 578 on both sides; let them be lions, but yet lions under the throne, being circumspect that they do not check or oppose any points of sovereignty. Let not judges also be so ignorant of their own right, as to think there is not left to them, as a principal 289 part of their office, a wise use and application of laws; for they may remember what the apostle saith of a greater law than theirs: “Nos scimus quia lex bona est, modo quis eâ utatur legitime.” 579

LVII.—OF ANGER.

To seek to extinguish anger utterly is but a bravery 580 of the Stoics. We have better oracles: “Be angry, but sin not; let not the sun go down upon your anger.” 581 Anger must be limited and confined, both in race and in time. We will first speak how the natural inclination and habit, “to be angry,” may be attempered and calmed; secondly, how the particular motions of anger may be repressed, or, at least, refrained from doing mischief; thirdly, how to raise anger, or appease anger in another.

For the first, there is no other way but to meditate and ruminate well upon the effects of anger, how it troubles man’s life; and the best time to do this is, to look back upon anger when the fit is thoroughly over. Seneca saith well, “that anger is like ruin, which breaks itself upon that it falls.” 582 290 The Scripture exhorteth us “to possess our souls in patience;” 583 whosoever is out of patience, is out of possession of his soul. Men must not turn bees:—

Anger is certainly a kind of baseness; as it appears well in the weakness of those subjects in whom it reigns, children, women, old folks, sick folks. Only men must beware that they carry their anger rather with scorn than with fear; so that they may seem rather to be above the injury than below it; which is a thing easily done, if a man will give law to himself in it.

For the second point, the causes and motives of anger are chiefly three. First, to be too sensible of hurt, for no man is angry that feels not himself hurt; and therefore tender and delicate persons must needs be oft angry, they have so many things to trouble them, which more robust natures have little sense of: the next is, the apprehension and construction of the injury offered, to be, in the circumstances thereof, full of contempt; for contempt is that which putteth an edge upon anger, as much, or more, than the hurt itself; and therefore, when men are ingenious in picking out circumstances of contempt, they do kindle their anger much: lastly, opinion of the touch 585 of a man’s reputation doth multiply and 291 sharpen anger; wherein the remedy is, that a man should have, as Gonsalvo was wont to say, “Telam honoris crassiorem.” 586 But in all refrainings of anger, it is the best remedy to win time, and to make a man’s self believe that the opportunity of his revenge is not yet come; but that he foresees a time for it, and so to still himself in the mean time, and reserve it.

To contain anger from mischief, though it take hold of a man, there be two things whereof you must have special caution: the one, of extreme bitterness of words, especially if they be aculeate and proper, 587 for “communia maledicta” 588 are nothing so much; and, again, that in anger a man reveal no secrets, for that makes him not fit for society: the other, that you do not peremptorily break off in any business in a fit of anger; but, howsoever you show bitterness, do not act any thing that is not revocable.

For raising and appeasing anger in another, it is done chiefly by choosing of times when men are frowardest and worst disposed to incense them; again, by gathering (as was touched before) all that you can find out to aggravate the contempt: and the two remedies are by the contraries; the former to take good times, when first to relate to a man an angry business, for the first impression is much; 292 and the other is, to sever, as much as may be, the construction of the injury from the point of contempt; imputing it to misunderstanding, fear, passion, or what you will.

LVIII.—OF VICISSITUDE OF THINGS.

Solomon saith, “There is no new thing upon the earth;” 589 so that as Plato 590 had an imagination that all knowledge was but remembrance, so Solomon giveth his sentence, “That all novelty is but oblivion;” 591 whereby you may see, that the river of Lethe runneth as well above ground as below. There is an abstruse astrologer that saith, if it were not for two things that are constant (the one is, that the fixed stars ever stand at like distance one from another, and never come nearer together, nor go further asunder; the other, that the diurnal motion perpetually keepeth time), no individual would last one moment; certain it is, that the matter is in a perpetual flux, and never at a stay. The 293 great winding-sheets that bury all things in oblivion, are two,—deluges and earthquakes. As for conflagrations and great droughts, they do not merely dispeople, but destroy. Phaeton’s car went but a day; and the three years’ drought in the time of Elias, 592 was but particular, 593 and left people alive. As for the great burnings by lightnings, which are often in the West Indies, 594 they are but narrow; 595 but in the other two destructions, by deluge and earthquake, it is further to be noted, that the remnant of people which happen to be reserved, are commonly ignorant and mountainous people, that can give no account of the time past; so that the oblivion is all one, as if none had been left. If you consider well of the people of the West Indies, it is very probable that they are a newer, or a younger people than the people of the old world; and it is much more likely that the destruction that hath heretofore been there, was not by earthquakes, (as the Egyptian priest told Solon, concerning the 294 Island of Atlantis, 596 that it was swallowed by an earthquake), but rather that it was desolated by a particular deluge, for earthquakes are seldom in those parts; but, on the other side, they have such pouring rivers, as the rivers of Asia, and Africa, and Europe, are but brooks to them. Their Andes, likewise, or mountains, are far higher than those with us; whereby it seems, that the remnants of generations of men were in such a particular deluge saved. As for the observation that Machiavel hath, that the jealousy of sects doth much extinguish the memory of things, 597 traducing Gregory the Great, that he did what in him lay to extinguish all heathen antiquities, I do not find that those zeals do any great effects, nor last long; as it appeared in the succession of Sabinian, 598 who did revive the former antiquities.

The vicissitude, or mutations, in the superior globe, are no fit matter for this present argument. It may be, Plato’s great year, 599 if the world should last so long, would have some effect, not in renew 295 ing the state of like individuals (for that is the fume 600 of those that conceive the celestial bodies have more accurate influences upon these things below, than indeed they have), but in gross. Comets, out of question, have likewise power and effect over the gross and mass of things; but they are rather gazed, and waited upon 601 in their journey, than wisely observed in their effects, especially in their respective effects; that is, what kind of comet for magnitude, color, version of the beams, placing in the region of heaven, or lasting, produceth what kind of effects.

There is a toy, 602 which I have heard, and I would not have it given over, but waited upon a little. They say it is observed in the Low Countries (I know not in what part), that every five and thirty years the same kind and suit of years and weather comes about again; as great frosts, great wet, great droughts, warm winters, summers with little heat, and the like; and they call it the prime. It is a thing I do the rather mention, because, computing backwards, I have found some concurrence.

But to leave these points of nature, and to come to men. The greatest vicissitude of things amongst men, is the vicissitude of sects and religions; for those orbs rule in men’s minds most. The true religion is built upon the rock; the rest are tossed upon the waves of time. To speak, therefore, of 296 the causes of new sects, and to give some counsel concerning them, as far as the weakness of human judgment can give stay to so great revolutions.

When the religion formerly received is rent by discords, and when the holiness of the professors of religion is decayed and full of scandal, and, withal, the times be stupid, ignorant, and barbarous, you may doubt the springing up of a new sect; if then, also, there should arise any extravagant and strange spirit to make himself author thereof; all which points held when Mahomet published his law. If a new sect have not two properties, fear it not, for it will not spread. The one is the supplanting or the opposing of authority established, for nothing is more popular than that; the other is, the giving license to pleasures and a voluptuous life; for as for speculative heresies (such as were in ancient times the Arians, and now the Arminians), 603 though they work mightily upon men’s wits, yet they do not produce any great alterations in states, except it be by the help of civil occasions. There be three manner of plantations of new sects: by the power of signs and miracles; by the eloquence and wisdom of speech and persuasion; and by the sword. For martyrdoms, I reckon them amongst miracles, because they seem to exceed the strength of human 297 nature; and I may do the like of superlative and admirable holiness of life. Surely, there is no better way to stop the rising of new sects and schisms, than to reform abuses; to compound the smaller differences; to proceed mildly, and not with sanguinary persecutions; and rather to take off the principal authors, by winning and advancing them, than to enrage them by violence and bitterness.

The changes and vicissitude in wars are many, but chiefly in three things: in the seats or stages of the war, in the weapons, and in the manner of the conduct. Wars, in ancient time, seemed more to move from east to west; for the Persians, Assyrians, Arabians, Tartars (which were the invaders), were all eastern people. It is true the Gauls were western; but we read but of two incursions of theirs, the one to Gallo-Græcia, the other to Rome: but east and west have no certain points of heaven; and no more have the wars, either from the east or west, any certainty of observation; but north and south are fixed; and it hath seldom or never been seen that the far southern people have invaded the northern, but contrariwise: whereby it is manifest that the northern tract of the world is in nature the more martial region, be it in respect of the stars of that hemisphere, 604 or of the great continents that are upon the north; whereas, the south part, for aught that is known, is almost all sea; or (which 298 is most apparent) of the cold of the northern parts, which is that which, without aid of discipline, doth make the bodies hardest, and the courage warmest.

Upon the breaking and shivering of a great state and empire, you may be sure to have wars; for great empires, while they stand, do enervate and destroy the forces of the natives which they have subdued, resting upon their own protecting forces; and then, when they fail also, all goes to ruin, and they become a prey. So was it in the decay of the Roman empire, and likewise in the empire of Almaigne, 605 after Charles the Great, 606 every bird taking a feather, and were not unlike to befall to Spain, if it should break. The great accessions and unions of kingdoms do likewise stir up wars; for when a state grows to an over-power, it is like a great flood, that will be sure to overflow, as it hath been seen in the states of Rome, Turkey, Spain, and others. Look when the world hath fewest barbarous people, but such as commonly will not marry or generate, except they know means to live (as it is almost everywhere at this day, except Tartary), there is no danger of inundations of people; but when there be great shoals of people, which go on to populate, without foreseeing means of life and sustenation, it is of necessity that once in an age or two they discharge a portion of their people upon other nations, which the ancient northern people were wont to do by lot; casting lots what part should stay at 299 home, and what should seek their fortunes. When a warlike state grows soft and effeminate, they may be sure of a war, for commonly such states are grown rich in the time of their degenerating; and so the prey inviteth, and their decay in valor encourageth a war.

As for the weapons, it hardly falleth under rule and observation, yet we see even they have returns and vicissitudes; for certain it is that ordnance was known in the city of the Oxidraces, in India, and was that which the Macedonians 607 called thunder and lightning, and magic; and it is well known that the use of ordnance hath been in China above two thousand years. The conditions of weapons, and their improvements are, first, the fetching 608 afar off, for that outruns the danger, as it is seen in ordnance and muskets; secondly, the strength of the percussion, wherein, likewise, ordnance do exceed all arietations, 609 and ancient inventions; the third is, the commodious use of them, as that they may serve in all weathers, that the carriage may be light and manageable, and the like.

For the conduct of the war: at the first, men rested extremely upon number; they did put the wars likewise upon main force and valor, pointing days for pitched fields, and so trying it out upon an even match; and they were more ignorant in 300 ranging and arraying their battles. After they grew to rest upon number, rather competent than vast, they grew to advantages of place, cunning diversions, and the like, and they grew more skilful in the ordering of their battles.

In the youth of a state, arms do flourish; in the middle age of a state, learning; and then both of them together for a time; in the declining age of a state, mechanical arts and merchandise. Learning hath its infancy when it is but beginning, and almost childish; then its youth, when it is luxuriant and juvenile; then its strength of years, when it is solid and reduced; and, lastly, its old age, when it waxeth dry and exhaust. But it is not good to look too long upon these turning wheels of vicissitude, lest we become giddy; as for the philology of them, that is but a circle of tales, and therefore not fit for this writing.

I.—A FRAGMENT OF AN ESSAY OF FAME. 610

The poets make fame a monster; they describe her in part finely and elegantly, and in part gravely and sententiously; they say, Look, how many feathers she hath, so many eyes she hath underneath, so many tongues, so many voices, she pricks up so many ears!

This is a flourish: there follow excellent parables; as that she gathereth strength in going; that she goeth upon the ground, and yet hideth her head in the clouds; that in the daytime she sitteth in a watch-tower, and flieth most by night; that she mingleth things done with things not done; and that she is a terror to great cities; but that which passeth all the rest is, they do recount that the Earth, mother of the giants that made war against Jupiter, and were by him destroyed, thereupon in anger brought forth Fame; for certain it is, that rebels, figured by the giants, and seditious fames and libels, 302 are but brothers and sisters, masculine and feminine. But now, if a man can tame this monster, and bring her to feed at the hand and govern her, and with her fly other ravening fowl, and kill them, it is somewhat worth; but we are infected with the style of the poets. To speak now in a sad and serious manner, there is not in all the politics a place less handled, and more worthy to be handled, than this of fame. We will, therefore, speak of these points. What are false fames, and what are true fames, and how they may be best discerned; how fames may be sown and raised; how they may be spread and multiplied; and how they may be checked and lay dead; and other things concerning the nature of fame. Fame is of that force, as there is scarcely any great action wherein it hath not a great part, especially in the war. Mucianus undid Vitellius by a fame that he scattered, that Vitellius had in purpose to remove the legions of Syria into Germany, and the legions of Germany into Syria; whereupon the legions of Syria were infinitely inflamed. 611 Julius Cæsar took Pompey unprovided, and laid asleep his industry and preparations by a fame that he cunningly gave out, how Cæsar’s own soldiers loved him not; and being wearied with the wars, and laden with the spoils of Gaul, would forsake him as soon as he came into Italy. 612 Livia settled all things for the succession of her son Tiberius, by continually giving out that her husband Augustus was upon 303 recovery and amendment; 613 and it is a usual thing with the bashaws to conceal the death of the Grand Turk from the janizaries and men of war, to save the sacking of Constantinople, and other towns, as their manner is. Themistocles made Xerxes, king of Persia, post apace out of Græcia, by giving out that the Grecians had a purpose to break his bridge of ships which he had made athwart Hellespont. 614 There be a thousand such like examples, and the more they are, the less they need to be repeated, because a man meeteth with them everywhere; therefore, let all wise governors have as great a watch and care over fames, as they have of the actions and designs themselves.

II.—OF A KING.

1. A king is a mortal God on earth, unto whom the living God hath lent his own name as a great honor; but withal told him, he should die like a man, lest he should be proud and flatter himself, that God hath, with his name, imparted unto him his nature also.

2. Of all kind of men, God is the least beholden unto them; for he doth most for them, and they do, ordinarily, least for him.

3. A king that would not feel his crown too heavy for him, must wear it every day; but if he think it too light, he knoweth not of what metal it is made.

4. He must make religion the rule of government, and not to balance the scale; for he that casteth in religion only to make the scales even, his own weight is contained in those characters: “Mene, mene, tekel, upharsin: He is found too light, his kingdom shall be taken from him.”

5. And that king that holds not religion the best reason of state, is void of all piety and justice, the supporters of a king.

6. He must be able to give counsel himself, but not rely thereupon; for though happy events justify their counsels, yet it is better that the evil event of good advice be rather imputed to a subject than a sovereign.

7. He is a fountain of honor, which should not run with a waste-pipe, lest the courtiers sell the water, and then, as Papists say of their holy wells, it loses the virtue.

8. He is the life of the law, not only as he is Lex loquens himself, but because he animateth the dead letter, making it active towards all his subjects præmio et pœna .

9. A wise king must do less in altering his laws than he may; for new government is ever dangerous. It being true in the body politic, as in the corporal, that omnis subita immutatio est periculosa ; and though it be for the better, yet it is not without 305 a fearful apprehension; for he that changeth the fundamental laws of a kingdom, thinketh there is no good title to a crown, but by conquest.

10. A king that setteth to sale seats of justice, oppresseth the people; for he teacheth his judges to sell justice; and pretio parata pretio venditur justitia .

11. Bounty and magnificence are virtues very regal, but a prodigal king is nearer a tyrant than a parsimonious; for store at home draweth not his contemplations abroad, but want supplieth itself of what is next, and many times the next way. A king therein must be wise, and know what he may justly do.

12. That king which is not feared, is not loved; and he that is well seen in his craft, must as well study to be feared as loved; yet not loved for fear, but feared for love.

13. Therefore, as he must always resemble Him whose great name he beareth, and that as in manifesting the sweet influence of his mercy on the severe stroke of his justice sometimes, so in this not to suffer a man of death to live; for, besides that the land doth mourn, the restraint of justice towards sin doth more retard the affection of love, than the extent of mercy doth inflame it; and sure, where love is [ill] bestowed, fear is quite lost.

14. His greatest enemies are his flatterers; for though they ever speak on his side, yet their words still make against him.

15. The love which a king oweth to a weal public should not be overstrained to any one particular; yet that his more especial favor do reflect upon some worthy ones, is somewhat necessary, because there are few of that capacity.

16. He must have a special care of five things, if he would not have his crown to be but to him infelix felicitas .

First, that simulata sanctitas be not in the church; for that is duplex iniquitas .

Secondly, that inutilis æquitas sit not in the chancery; for that is inepta misericordia .

Thirdly, that utilis iniquitas keep not the exchequer; for that is crudele latrocinium .

Fourthly, that fidelis temeritas be not his general; for that will bring but seram pœnitentiam .

Fifthly, that infidelis prudentia be not his secretary; for that is anguis sub viridi herbâ .

To conclude: as he is of the greatest power, so he is subject to the greatest cares, made the servant of his people, or else he were without a calling at all.

He, then, that honoreth him not is next an atheist, wanting the fear of God in his heart.

III.—ON DEATH.

1. I have often thought upon death, and I find it the least of all evils. All that which is past is as a dream; and he that hopes or depends upon time coming, dreams waking. So much of our life as we have discovered is already dead; and all those hours which we share, even from the breasts of our mothers, until we return to our grandmother the earth, are part of our dying days, whereof even this is one, and those that succeed are of the same nature, for we die daily; and, as others have given place to us, so we must, in the end, give way to others.

2. Physicians, in the name of death, include all sorrow, anguish, disease, calamity, or whatsoever can fall in the life of man, either grievous or unwelcome. But these things are familiar unto us, and we suffer them every hour; therefore we die daily, and I am older since I affirmed it.

3. I know many wise men that fear to die, for the change is bitter, and flesh would refuse to prove it; besides, the expectation brings terror, and that exceeds the evil. But I do not believe that any man fears to be dead, but only the stroke of death; and such are my hopes, that if Heaven be pleased, and nature renew but my lease for twenty-one years more without asking longer days, I shall be strong 308 enough to acknowledge without mourning, that I was begotten mortal. Virtue walks not in the highway, though she go per alta ; this is strength and the blood to virtue, to contemn things that be desired, and to neglect that which is feared.

4. Why should man be in love with his fetters, though of gold? Art thou drowned in security? Then I say thou art perfectly dead. For though thou movest, yet thy soul is buried within thee, and thy good angel either forsakes his guard, or sleeps. There is nothing under heaven, saving a true friend (who cannot be counted within the number of movables), unto which my heart doth lean. And this dear freedom hath begotten me this peace, that I mourn not for that end which must be, nor spend one wish to have one minute added, to the uncertain date of my years. It was no mean apprehension of Lucian, who says of Menippus, that in his travels through hell, he knew not the kings of the earth from other men but only by their louder cryings and tears, which were fostered in them through the remorseful memory of the good days they had seen, and the fruitful havings which they so unwillingly left behind them. He that was well seated, looked back at his portion, and was loath to forsake his farm; and others, either minding marriages, pleasures, profit, or preferment, desired to be excused from death’s banquet. They had made an appointment with earth, looking at the blessings, not the hand that enlarged them, forgetting how unclothedly they 309 came hither, or with what naked ornaments they were arrayed.

5. But were we servants of the precept given, and observers of the heathens’ rule, Memento mori , and not become benighted with this seeming felicity, we should enjoy it as men prepared to lose, and not wind up our thoughts upon so perishing a fortune. He that is not slackly strong (as the servants of pleasure), how can he be found unready to quit the vail and false visage of his perfection? The soul having shaken off her flesh, doth then set up for herself, and contemning things that are under, shows what finger hath enforced her; for the souls of idiots are of the same piece with those of statesmen, but now and then nature is at a fault, and this good guest of ours takes soil in an imperfect body, and so is slackened from showing her wonders, like an excellent musician, which cannot utter himself upon a defective instrument.

6. But see how I am swerved, and lose my course, touching at the soul that doth least hold action with death, who hath the surest property in this frail act; his style is the end of all flesh, and the beginning of incorruption.

This ruler of monuments leads men, for the most part, out of this world with their heels forward, in token that he is contrary to life, which being obtained, sends men headlong into this wretched theatre, where, being arrived, their first language is that of mourning. Nor, in my own thoughts, can I com 310 pare men more fitly to any thing than to the Indian fig-tree, which, being ripened to his full height, is said to decline his branches down to the earth, whereof she conceives again, and they become roots in their own stock.

So man, having derived his being from the earth, first lives the life of a tree, drawing his nourishment as a plant, and made ripe for death, he tends downwards, and is sown again in his mother the earth, where he perisheth not, but expects a quickening.

7. So we see death exempts not a man from being, but only presents an alteration; yet there are some men (I think) that stand otherwise persuaded. Death finds not a worse friend than an alderman, to whose door I never knew him welcome; but he is an importunate guest, and will not be said nay.

And though they themselves shall affirm that they are not within, yet the answer will not be taken; and that which heightens their fear is, that they know they are in danger to forfeit their flesh, but are not wise of the payment-day, which sickly uncertainty is the occasion that (for the most part) they step out of this world unfurnished for their general account, and, being all unprovided, desire yet to hold their gravity, preparing their souls to answer in scarlet.

Thus I gather, that death is unagreeable to most citizens, because they commonly die intestate; this being a rule, that when their will is made, they 311 think themselves nearer a grave than before. Now they, out of the wisdom of thousands, think to scare destiny, from which there is no appeal, by not making a will, or to live longer by protestation of their unwillingness to die. They are, for the most part, well made in this world (accounting their treasure by legions, as men do devils). Their fortune looks towards them, and they are willing to anchor at it, and desire (if it be possible) to put the evil day far off from them, and to adjourn their ungrateful and killing period.

No, these are not the men which have bespoken death, or whose looks are assured to entertain a thought of him.

8. Death arrives gracious only to such as sit in darkness, or lie heavy burdened with grief and irons; to the poor Christian, that sits bound in the galley; to despairful widows, pensive prisoners, and deposed kings; to them whose fortune runs back, and whose spirits mutiny: unto such, death is a redeemer, and the grave a place for retiredness and rest.

These wait upon the shore of death, and waft unto him to draw near, wishing above all others to see his star, that they might be led to his place; wooing the remorseless sisters to wind down the watch of their life, and to break them off before the hour.

9. But death is a doleful messenger to a usurer, and fate untimely cuts their thread; for it is never mentioned by him, but when rumors of war and civil tumults put him in mind thereof.

And when many hands are armed, and the peace of a city in disorder, and the foot of the common soldiers sounds an alarm on his stairs, then perhaps such a one (broken in thoughts of his moneys abroad, and cursing the monuments of coin which are in his house) can be content to think of death, and (being hasty of perdition) will perhaps hang himself, lest his throat should be cut; provided that he may do it in his study, surrounded with wealth, to which his eye sends a faint and languishing salute, even upon the turning off; remembering always, that he have time and liberty, by writing, to depute himself as his own heir.

For that is a great peace to his end, and reconciles him wonderfully upon the point.

10. Herein we all dally with ourselves, and are without proof of necessity. I am not of those, that dare promise to pine away myself in vainglory, and I hold such to be but feat boldness, and them that dare commit it, to be vain. Yet, for my part, I think nature should do me great wrong, if I should be so long in dying, as I was in being born.

To speak truth, no man knows the lists of his own patience, nor can divine how able he shall be in his sufferings, till the storm come (the perfectest virtue being tried in action); but I would (out of a care to do the best business well) ever keep a guard, and stand upon keeping faith and a good conscience.

11. And if wishes might find place, I would die together, and not my mind often, and my body once; 313 that is, I would prepare for the messengers of death, sickness, and affliction, and not wait long, or be attempted by the violence of pain.

Herein I do not profess myself a Stoic, to hold grief no evil, but opinion, and a thing indifferent.

But I consent with Cæsar, that the suddenest passage is easiest, and there is nothing more awakens our resolve and readiness to die than the quieted conscience, strengthened with opinion that we shall be well spoken of upon earth by those that are just, and of the family of virtue; the opposite whereof is a fury to man, and makes even life unsweet.

Therefore, what is more heavy than evil fame deserved? Or, likewise, who can see worse days, than he that, yet living, doth follow at the funerals of his own reputation?

I have laid up many hopes, that I am privileged from that kind of mourning, and could wish the like peace to all those with whom I wage love.

12. I might say much of the commodities that death can sell a man; but, briefly, death is a friend of ours, and he that is not ready to entertain him, is not at home. Whilst I am, my ambition is not to foreflow the tide; I have but so to make my interest of it as I may account for it; I would wish nothing but what might better my days, nor desire any greater place than the front of good opinion. I make not love to the continuance of days, but to the goodness of them; nor wish to die, but refer 314 myself to my hour, which the great Dispenser of all things hath appointed me; yet, as I am frail, and suffered for the first fault, were it given me to choose, I should not be earnest to see the evening of my age; that extremity, of itself, being a disease, and a mere return into infancy; so that, if perpetuity of life might be given me, I should think what the Greek poet said; “Such an age is a mortal evil.” And since I must needs be dead, I require it may not be done before mine enemies, that I be not stript before I be cold; but before my friends. The night is even now: but that name is lost; it is not now late, but early. Mine eyes begin to discharge their watch, and compound with this fleshly weakness for a time of perpetual rest; and I shall presently be as happy for a few hours, as I had died the first hour I was born.

THE WISDOM OF THE ANCIENTS.

The earliest antiquity lies buried in silence and oblivion, excepting the remains we have of it in sacred writ. This silence was succeeded by poetical fables, and these, at length, by the writings we now enjoy; so that the concealed and secret learning of the ancients seems separated from the history and knowledge of the following ages by a veil, or partition-wall of fables, interposing between the things that are lost and those that remain. 615

Many may imagine that I am here entering upon a work of fancy, or amusement, and design to use a poetical liberty, in explaining poetical fables. It is true, fables, in general, are composed of ductile matter, that may be drawn into great variety by a witty talent or an inventive genius, and be delivered of plausible meanings 318 which they never contained. But this procedure has already been carried to excess; and great numbers, to procure the sanction of antiquity to their own notions and inventions, have miserably wrested and abused the fables of the ancients.

Nor is this only a late or unfrequent practice, but of ancient date and common even to this day. Thus Chrysippus, like an interpreter of dreams, attributed the opinions of the Stoics to the poets of old; and the chemists, at present, more childishly apply the poetical transformations to their experiments of the furnace. And though I have well weighed and considered all this, and thoroughly seen into the levity which the mind indulges for allegories and allusions, yet I cannot but retain a high value for the ancient mythology. And, certainly, it were very injudicious to suffer the fondness and licentiousness of a few to detract from the honor of all ego and parable in general. This would be rash, and almost profane; for, since religion delights in such shadows and disguises, to abolish them were, in a manner, to prohibit all intercourse betwixt things divine and human.

Upon deliberate consideration, my judgment is, that a concealed instruction and allegory was originally intended in many of the ancient fables. This opinion may, in some respect, be owing to the veneration I have for antiquity, but more to observing that some fables discover a great and evident similitude, relation, and connection with the thing they signify, as well in the structure of the fable as in the propriety of the names whereby the persons or actors are characterized; insomuch, that no one could positively deny a sense 319 and meaning to be from the first intended, and purposely shadowed out in them. For who can hear that Fame, after the giants were destroyed, sprung up as their posthumous sister, and not apply it to the clamor of parties and the seditious rumors which commonly fly about for a time upon the quelling of insurrections? Or who can read how the giant Typhon cut out and carried away Jupiter’s sinews—which Mercury afterwards stole, and again restored to Jupiter—and not presently observe that this allegory denotes strong and powerful rebellions, which cut away from kings their sinews, both of money and authority; and that the way to have them restored is by lenity, affability, and prudent edicts, which soon reconcile, and, as it were, steal upon the affections of the subject? Or who, upon hearing that memorable expedition of the gods against the giants, when the braying of Silenus’s ass greatly contributed in putting the giants to flight, does not clearly conceive that this directly points at the monstrous enterprises of rebellious subjects, which are frequently frustrated and disappointed by vain fears and empty rumors?

Again, the conformity and purport of the names is frequently manifest and self-evident. Thus Metis, the wife of Jupiter, plainly signifies counsel; Typhon, swelling; Pan, universality; Nemesis, revenge, &c. Nor is it a wonder, if sometimes a piece of history or other things are introduced, by way of ornament; or, if the times of the action are confounded; or, if part of one fable be tacked to another; or, if the allegory be new turned; for all this must necessarily happen, as the fables were the inventions of men who lived in different 320 ages, and had different views; some of them being ancient, others more modern; some having an eye to natural philosophy, and others to morality or civil policy.

It may pass for a further indication of a concealed and secret meaning, that some of these fables are so absurd and idle in their narration, as to show and proclaim an allegory, even afar off. A fable that carries probability with it may be supposed invented for pleasure, or in imitation of history; but those that could never be conceived or related in this way must surely have a different use. For example, what a monstrous fiction is this, that Jupiter should take Metis to wife, and as soon as he found her pregnant eat her up, whereby he also conceived, and out of his head brought forth Pallas armed. Certainly no mortal could, but for the sake of the moral it couches, invent such an absurd dream as this, so much out of the road of thought!

But the argument of most weight with me is this, that many of these fables by no means appear to have been invented by the persons who relate and divulge them, whether Homer, Hesiod, or others; for if I were assured they first flowed from those later times and authors that transmit them to us, I should never expect any thing singularly great or noble from such an origin. But whoever attentively considers the thing, will find that these fables are delivered down and related by those writers, not as matters then first invented and proposed, but as things received and embraced in earlier ages. Besides, as they are differently related by writers nearly of the same ages, it is easily 321 perceived that the relators drew from the common stock of ancient tradition, and varied but in point of embellishment, which is their own. And this principally raises my esteem of these fables, which I receive, not as the product of the age, or invention of the poets, but as sacred relics, gentle whispers, and the breath of better times, that from the traditions of more ancient nations came, at length, into the flutes and trumpets of the Greeks. But if any one shall, notwithstanding this, contend that allegories are always adventitious, or imposed upon the ancient fables, and no way native or genuinely contained in them, we might here leave him undisturbed in that gravity of judgment he affects (though we cannot help accounting it somewhat dull and phlegmatic), and, if it were worth the trouble, proceed to another kind of argument.

Men have proposed to answer two different and contrary ends by the use of parable; for parables serve as well to instruct or illustrate as to wrap up and envelop; so that though, for the present, we drop the concealed use, and suppose the ancient fables to be vague, undeterminate things, formed for amusement, still, the other use must remain, and can never be given up. And every man, of any learning, must readily allow that this method of instructing is grave, sober, or exceedingly useful, and sometimes necessary in the sciences, as it opens an easy and familiar passage to the human understanding, in all new discoveries that are abstruse and out of the road of vulgar opinions. Hence, in the first ages, when such inventions and conclusions of the human reason as are now trite and common were new and little known, all things abounded with fables, para 322 bles, similes, comparisons, and allusions, which were not intended to conceal, but to inform and teach, whilst the minds of men continued rude and unpractised in matters of subtilty and speculation, or even impatient, and in a manner incapable of receiving such things as did not fall directly under and strike the senses. For as hieroglyphics were in use before writing, so were parables in use before arguments. And even to this day, if any man would let new light in upon the human understanding, and conquer prejudice, without raising contests, animosities, opposition, or disturbance, he must still go in the same path, and have recourse to the like method of allegory, metaphor, and allusion.

To conclude, the knowledge of the early ages was either great or happy; great, if they by design made this use of trope and figure; happy, if, whilst they had other views, they afforded matter and occasion to such noble contemplations. Let either be the case, our pains, perhaps, will not be misemployed, whether we illustrate antiquity or things themselves.

The like, indeed, has been attempted by others; but, to speak ingenuously, their great and voluminous labors have almost destroyed the energy, the efficacy, and grace of the thing; whilst, being unskilled in nature, and their learning no more than that of commonplace, they have applied the sense of the parables to certain general and vulgar matters, without reaching to their real purport, genuine interpretation, and full depth. For myself, therefore, I expect to appear new in these common things, because, leaving untouched such as are sufficiently plain and open, I shall drive only at those that are either deep or rich.

THE WISDOM OF THE ANCIENTS. A SERIES OF MYTHOLOGICAL FABLES. 616

I.—cassandra, or divination..

EXPLAINED OF TOO FREE AND UNSEASONABLE ADVICE.

The poets relate, that Apollo, falling in love with Cassandra, was still deluded and put off by her, yet fed with hopes, till she had got from him the gift of prophesy; and, having now obtained her end, she flatly rejected his suit. Apollo, unable to recall his rash gift, yet enraged to be outwitted by a girl, annexed this penalty to it, that though she should always prophesy true, she should never be believed; whence her divinations were always slighted, even when she again and again predicted the ruin of her country.

Explanation. —This fable seems invented to express the insignificance of unseasonable advice. For they who are conceited, stubborn, or intractable, and listen not to the instructions of Apollo, the god of harmony, so as to learn and observe the 324 modulations and measures of affairs, the sharps and flats of discourse, the difference between judicious and vulgar ears, and the proper times of speech and silence, let them be ever so intelligent, and ever so frank of their advice, or their counsels ever so good and just, yet all their endeavors, either of persuasion or force, are of little significance, and rather hasten the ruin of those they advise. But, at last, when the calamitous event has made the sufferers feel the effect of their neglect, they too late reverence their advisers, as deep, foreseeing, and faithful prophets.

Of this, we have a remarkable instance in Cato of Utica, who discovered afar off, and long foretold, the approaching ruin of his country, both in the first conspiracy, and as it was prosecuted in the civil war between Cæsar and Pompey, yet did no good the while, but rather hurt the commonwealth, and hurried on its destruction, which Cicero wisely observed in these words: “Cato, indeed, judges excellently, but prejudices the state; for he speaks as in the commonwealth of Plato, and not as in the dregs of Romulus.”

II.—TYPHON, OR A REBEL. EXPLAINED OF REBELLION.

The fable runs, that Juno, enraged at Jupiter’s bringing forth Pallas without her assistance, incessantly solicited all the gods and goddesses, that she 325 might produce without Jupiter; and having by violence and importunity obtained the grant, she struck the earth, and thence immediately sprung up Typhon, a huge and dreadful monster, whom she committed to the nursing of a serpent. As soon as he was grown up, this monster waged war on Jupiter, and taking him prisoner in the battle, carried him away on his shoulders, into a remote and obscure quarter; and there, cutting out the sinews of his hands and feet, he bore them off, leaving Jupiter behind miserably maimed and mangled.

But Mercury afterwards stole these sinews from Typhon, and restored them to Jupiter. Hence, recovering his strength, Jupiter again pursues the monster; first wounds him with a stroke of his thunder, when serpents arose from the blood of the wound; and now the monster being dismayed, and taking to flight, Jupiter next darted Mount Ætna upon him, and crushed him with the weight.

Explanation. —This fable seems designed to express the various fates of kings, and the turns that rebellions sometimes take, in kingdoms. For princes may be justly esteemed married to their states, as Jupiter to Juno; but it sometimes happens, that, being depraved by long wielding of the sceptre, and growing tyrannical, they would engross all to themselves, and, slighting the counsel of their senators and nobles, conceive by themselves; that is, govern according to their own arbitrary will and 326 pleasure. This inflames the people, and makes them endeavor to create and set up some head of their own. Such designs are generally set on foot by the secret motion and instigation of the peers and nobles, under whose connivance the common sort are prepared for rising; whence proceeds a swell in the state, which is appositely denoted by the nursing of Typhon. This growing posture of affairs is fed by the natural depravity and malignant dispositions of the vulgar, which to kings is an envenomed serpent. And now the disaffected, uniting their force, at length break out into open rebellion, which, producing infinite mischiefs, both to prince and people, is represented by the horrid and multiplied deformity of Typhon, with his hundred heads, denoting the divided powers; his flaming mouths, denoting fire and devastation; his girdles of snakes, denoting sieges and destruction; his iron hands, slaughter and cruelty; his eagle’s talons, rapine and plunder; his plumed body, perpetual rumors, contradictory accounts, &c. And sometimes these rebellions grow so high, that kings are obliged, as if carried on the backs of the rebels, to quit the throne, and retire to some remote and obscure part of their dominions, with the loss of their sinews, both of money and majesty.

But if now they prudently bear this reverse of fortune, they may, in a short time, by the assistance of Mercury, recover their sinews again; that is, by becoming moderate and affable; reconciling the 327 minds and affections of the people to them, by gracious speeches and prudent proclamations, which will win over the subject cheerfully to afford new aids and supplies, and add fresh vigor to authority. But prudent and wary princes here seldom incline to try fortune by a war, yet do their utmost, by some grand exploit, to crush the reputation of the rebels; and if the attempt succeeds, the rebels, conscious of the wound received, and distrustful of their cause, first betake themselves to broken and empty threats, like the hissings of serpents; and next, when matters are grown desperate, to flight. And now, when they thus begin to shrink, it is safe and seasonable for kings to pursue them with their forces, and the whole strength of the kingdom; thus effectually quashing and suppressing them, as it were by the weight of a mountain.

III.—THE CYCLOPS, OR THE MINISTERS OF TERROR. EXPLAINED OF BASE COURT OFFICERS.

It is related that the Cyclops, for their savageness and cruelty, were by Jupiter first thrown into Tartarus, and there condemned to perpetual imprisonment; but that afterwards Tellus persuaded Jupiter it would be for his service to release them, and employ them in forging thunderbolts. This 328 he accordingly did; and they, with unwearied pains and diligence, hammered out his bolts, and other instruments of terror, with a frightful and continual din of the anvil.

It happened, long after, that Jupiter was displeased with Æsculapius, the son of Apollo, for having, by the art of medicine, restored a dead man to life; but concealing his indignation, because the action in itself was pious and illustrious, he secretly incensed the Cyclops against him, who, without remorse, presently slew him with their thunderbolts: in revenge whereof, Apollo, with Jupiter’s connivance, shot them all dead with his arrows.

Explanation. —This fable seems to point at the behavior of princes, who, having cruel, bloody, and oppressive ministers, first punish and displace them; but afterwards, by the advice of Tellus, that is, some earthly-minded and ignoble person, employ them again, to serve a turn, when there is occasion for cruelty in execution, or severity in exaction; but these ministers being base in their nature, whet by their former disgrace, and well aware of what is expected from them, use double diligence in their office; till, proceeding unwarily, and over-eager to gain favor, they sometimes, from the private nods, and ambiguous orders of their prince, perform some odious or execrable action: when princes, to decline the envy themselves, and knowing they shall never want such tools at their back, drop them, and give 329 them up to the friends and followers of the injured person; thus exposing them, as sacrifices to revenge and popular odium: whence, with great applause, acclamations, and good wishes to the prince, these miscreants at last meet with their desert.

IV.—NARCISSUS, OR SELF-LOVE.

Narcissus is said to have been extremely beautiful and comely, but intolerably proud and disdainful; so that, pleased with himself, and scorning the world, he led a solitary life in the woods; hunting only with a few followers, who were his professed admirers, amongst whom the nymph Echo was his constant attendant. In this method of life, it was once his fate to approach a clear fountain, where he laid himself down to rest, in the noonday heat; when, beholding his image in the water, he fell into such a rapture and admiration of himself, that he could by no means be got away, but remained continually fixed and gazing, till at length he was turned into a flower, of his own name, which appears early in the spring, and is consecrated to the infernal deities, Pluto, Proserpine, and the Furies.

Explanation. —This fable seems to paint the behavior and fortune of those, who, for their beauty, or other endowments, wherewith nature (without any 330 industry of their own) has graced and adorned them, are extravagantly fond of themselves: for men of such a disposition generally affect retirement, and absence from public affairs; as a life of business must necessarily subject them to many neglects and contempts, which might disturb and ruffle their minds: whence such persons commonly lead a solitary, private, and shadowy life: see little company, and those only such as highly admire and reverence them; or, like an echo, assent to all they say.

And they who are depraved, and rendered still fonder of themselves by this custom, grow strangely indolent, inactive, and perfectly stupid. The Narcissus, a spring flower, is an elegant emblem of this temper, which at first flourishes, and is talked of, but, when ripe, frustrates the expectation conceived of it.

And that this flower should be sacred to the infernal powers, carries out the allusion still further; because men of this humor are perfectly useless in all respects: for whatever yields no fruit, but passes, and is no more, like the way of a ship in the sea, was by the ancients consecrated to the infernal shades and powers.

V.—THE RIVER STYX, OR LEAGUES. EXPLAINED OF NECESSITY, IN THE OATHS OR SOLEMN LEAGUES OF PRINCES.

The only solemn oath, by which the gods irrevocably obliged themselves, is a well known thing, and makes a part of many ancient fables. To this oath they did not invoke any celestial divinity, or divine attribute, but only called to witness the River Styx, which, with many meanders, surrounds the infernal court of Dis. For this form alone, and none but this, was held inviolable and obligatory; and the punishment of falsifying it, was that dreaded one of being excluded, for a certain number of years, the table of the gods.

Explanation. —This fable seems invented to show the nature of the compacts and confederacies of princes; which, though ever so solemnly and religiously sworn to, prove but little the more binding for it: so that oaths, in this case, seem used rather for decorum, reputation, and ceremony, than for fidelity, security, and effectuating. And though these oaths were strengthened with the bonds of affinity, which are the links and ties of nature, and again, by mutual services and good offices, yet we see all this will generally give way to ambition, convenience, and the thirst of power: the rather, because it is easy for princes, under various specious pretences, to defend, 332 disguise, and conceal their ambitious desires and insincerity, having no judge to call them to account. There is, however, one true and proper confirmation of their faith, though no celestial divinity, but that great divinity of princes, Necessity; or, the danger of the state; and the securing of advantage.

This necessity is elegantly represented by Styx, the fatal river that can never be crossed back. And this deity it was, which Iphicrates the Athenian invoked in making a league; and because he roundly and openly avows what most others studiously conceal, it may be proper to give his own words. Observing that the Lacedæmonians were inventing and proposing a variety of securities, sanctions, and bonds of alliance, he interrupted them thus: “There may, indeed, my friends, be one bond and means of security between us; and that is, for you to demonstrate you have delivered into our hands, such things as that, if you had the greatest desire to hurt us, you could not be able.” Therefore, if the power of offending be taken away, or if, by a breach of compact, there be danger of destruction or diminution to the state or tribute, then it is that covenants will be ratified, and confirmed, as it were by the Stygian oath, whilst there remains an impending danger of being prohibited and excluded the banquet of the gods; by which expression the ancients denoted the rights and prerogatives, the affluence and the felicities, of empire and dominion.

VI.—PAN, OR NATURE. 617 EXPLAINED OF NATURAL PHILOSOPHY.

The ancients have, with great exactness, delineated universal nature under the person of Pan. They leave his origin doubtful; some asserting him the son of Mercury, and others the common offspring of all Penelope’s suitors. The latter supposition doubtless occasioned some later rivals to entitle this ancient fable Penelope; a thing frequently practised when the earlier relations are applied to more modern characters and persons, though sometimes with great absurdity and ignorance, as in the present case; for Pan was one of the ancientest gods, and long before the time of Ulysses; besides, Penelope was venerated by antiquity for her matronal chastity. A third sort will have him the issue of Jupiter and Hybris, that is, Reproach. But whatever his origin was, the Destinies are allowed his sisters.

He is described by antiquity, with pyramidal horns reaching up to heaven, a rough and shaggy body, a very long beard, of a biform figure, human above, half brute below, ending in goat’s feet. His arms, or ensigns of power, are, a pipe in his left hand, composed of seven reeds; in his right a crook; and he wore for his mantle a leopard’s skin.

His attributes and titles were the god of hunters, 334 shepherds, and all the rural inhabitants; president of the mountains; and, after Mercury, the next messenger of the gods. He was also held the leader and ruler of the Nymphs, who continually danced and frisked about him, attended with the Satyrs and their elders, the Sileni. He had also the power of striking terrors, especially such as were vain and superstitious; whence they came to be called panic terrors. 618

Few actions are recorded of him; only a principal one is, that he challenged Cupid at wrestling, and was worsted. He also catched the giant Typhon in a net, and held him fast. They relate further of him, that when Ceres, growing disconsolate for the rape of Proserpine, hid herself, and all the gods took the utmost pains to find her, by going out different ways for that purpose, Pan only had the good fortune to meet her, as he was hunting, and discovered her to the rest. He likewise had the assurance to rival Apollo in music, and in the judgment of Midas was preferred; but the judge had, though with great privacy and secrecy, a pair of ass’s ears fastened on him for his sentence. 619

There is very little said of his amours; which may seem strange among such a multitude of gods, so profusely amorous. He is only reported to have been very fond of Echo, who was also esteemed his wife; and one nymph more, called Syrinx, with the love of whom Cupid inflamed him for his insolent challenge; so he is reported once to have 335 solicited the moon to accompany him apart into the deep woods.

Lastly, Pan had no descendant, which also is a wonder, when the male gods were so extremely prolific; only he was the reputed father of a servant-girl called Iambe, who used to divert strangers with her ridiculous prattling stories.

This fable is perhaps the noblest of all antiquity, and pregnant with the mysteries and secrets of nature. Pan, as the name imports, represents the universe, about whose origin there are two opinions, viz: that it either sprung from Mercury, that is, the divine word, according to the Scriptures and philosophical divines, or from the confused seeds of things. For they who allow only one beginning of all things, either ascribe it to God, or, if they suppose a material beginning, acknowledge it to be various in its powers; so that the whole dispute comes to these points, viz: either that nature proceeds from Mercury, or from Penelope and all her suitors. 620

The third origin of Pan seems borrowed by the Greeks from the Hebrew mysteries, either by means of the Egyptians, or otherwise; for it relates to the 336 state of the world, not in its first creation, but as made subject to death and corruption after the fall; and in this state it was and remains, the offspring of God and Sin, or Jupiter and Reproach. And therefore these three several accounts of Pan’s birth may seem true, if duly distinguished in respect of things and times. For this Pan, or the universal nature of things, which we view and contemplate, had its origin from the divine word and confused matter, first created by God himself, with the subsequent introduction of sin, and, consequently, corruption.

The Destinies, or the natures and fates of things, are justly made Pan’s sisters, as the chain of natural causes links together the rise, duration, and corruption; the exaltation, degeneration, and workings; the processes, the effects, and changes, of all that can any way happen to things.

Horns are given him, broad at the roots, but narrow and sharp at the top, because the nature of all things seems pyramidal; for individuals are infinite, but being collected into a variety of species, they rise up into kinds, and these again ascend, and are contracted into generals, till at length nature may seem collected to a point. And no wonder if Pan’s horns reach to the heavens, since the sublimities of nature, or abstract ideas, reach in a manner to things divine; for there is a short and ready passage from metaphysics to natural theology.

Pan’s body, or the body of nature, is, with great 337 propriety and elegance, painted shaggy and hairy, as representing the rays of things; for rays are as the hair or fleece of nature, and more or less worn by all bodies. This evidently appears in vision, and in all effects and operations at a distance; for whatever operates thus, may be properly said to emit rays. 621 But particularly the beard of Pan is exceeding long, because the rays of the celestial bodies penetrate, and act to a prodigious distance, and have descended into the interior of the earth, so far as to change its surface; and the sun himself, when clouded on its upper part, appears to the eye bearded.

Again, the body of nature is justly described biform, because of the difference between its superior and inferior parts, as the former, for their beauty, regularity of motion, and influence over the earth, may be properly represented by the human figure, and the latter, because of their disorder, irregularity, and subjection to the celestial bodies, are by the brutal. This biform figure also represents the participation of one species with another; for there appear to be no simple natures, but all participate or consist of two: thus, man has somewhat of the brute, the brute somewhat of the plant, the plant somewhat of the mineral; so that all natural bodies 338 have really two faces, or consist of a superior and an inferior species.

There lies a curious allegory in the making of Pan goat-footed, on account of the motion of ascent which the terrestrial bodies have towards the air and heavens; for the goat is a clambering creature, that delights in climbing up rocks and precipices; and in the same manner the matters destined to this lower globe strongly affect to rise upwards, as appears from the clouds and meteors.

Pan’s arms, or the ensigns he bears in his hands, are of two kinds—the one an emblem of harmony, the other of empire. His pipe, composed of seven reeds, plainly denotes the consent and harmony, or the concords and discords of things, produced by the motion of the seven planets. His crook, also, contains a fine representation of the ways of nature, which are partly straight and partly crooked; thus the staff, having an extraordinary bend towards the top, denotes that the works of Divine Providence are generally brought about by remote means, or in a circuit, as if somewhat else were intended rather than the effect produced, as in the sending of Joseph into Egypt, &c. So likewise in human government, they who sit at the helm, manage and wind the people more successfully by pretext and oblique courses, than they could by such as are direct and straight; so that, in effect, all sceptres are crooked at the top.

Pan’s mantle, or clothing, is with great ingenuity 339 made of a leopard’s skin, because of the spots it has; for in like manner the heavens are sprinkled with stars, the sea with islands, the earth with flowers, and almost each particular thing is variegated, or wears a mottled coat.

The office of Pan could not be more livelily expressed than by making him the god of hunters; for every natural action, every motion and process, is no other than a chase. Thus arts and sciences hunt out their works, and human schemes and counsels their several ends; and all living creatures either hunt out their aliment, pursue their prey, or seek their pleasures, and this in a skilful and sagacious manner. 622 He is also styled the god of the rural inhabitants, because men in this situation live more according to nature than they do in cities and courts, where nature is so corrupted with effeminate arts, that the saying of the poet may be verified:—

He is likewise particularly styled President of the Mountains, because in mountains and lofty places the nature of things lies more open and exposed to the eye and the understanding.

In his being called the messenger of the gods, next after Mercury, lies a divine allegory, as next after the Word of God, the image of the world is the herald of 340 the Divine power and wisdom, according to the expression of the Psalmist: “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth his handiwork.” 624

Pan is delighted with the company of the Nymphs, that is, the souls of all living creatures are the delight of the world; and he is properly called their governor, because each of them follows its own nature, as a leader, and all dance about their own respective rings, with infinite variety and never-ceasing motion. And with these continually join the Satyrs and Sileni, that is, youth and age; for all things have a kind of young, cheerful, and dancing time; and again their time of slowness, tottering, and creeping. And whoever, in a true light, considers the motions and endeavors of both these ages, like another Democritus, will perhaps find them as odd and strange as the gesticulations and antic motions of the Satyrs and Sileni.

The power he had of striking terrors contains a very sensible doctrine; for nature has implanted fear in all living creatures, as well to keep them from risking their lives, as to guard against injuries and violence; and yet this nature or passion keeps not its bounds, but with just and profitable fears always mixes such as are vain and senseless; so that all things, if we could see their insides, would appear full of panic terrors. Thus mankind, particularly the vulgar, labor under a high degree of superstition, 341 which is nothing more than a panic-dread, that principally reigns in unsettled and troublesome times.

The presumption of Pan in challenging Cupid to the conflict denotes that matter has an appetite and tendency to a dissolution of the world, and falling back to its first chaos again, unless this depravity and inclination were restrained and subdued by a more powerful concord and agreement of things, properly expressed by Love, or Cupid: it is therefore well for mankind, and the state of all things, that Pan was thrown and conquered in the struggle.

His catching and detaining Typhon in the net receives a similar explanation; for whatever vast and unusual swells, which the word typhon signifies, may sometimes be raised in nature, as in the sea, the clouds, the earth, or the like, yet nature catches, entangles, and holds all such outrages and insurrections in her inextricable net, wove, as it were, of adamant.

That part of the fable which attributes the discovery of lost Ceres to Pan whilst he was hunting—a happiness denied the other gods, though they diligently and expressly sought her—contains an exceeding just and prudent admonition; viz: that we are not to expect the discovery of things useful in common life, as that of corn, denoted by Ceres, from abstract philosophies, as if these were the gods of the first order,—no, not though we used our utmost endeavors this way,—but only from Pan; that is, a sagacious experience and general knowledge of nature, which is often found, even by accident, to stumble upon such 342 discoveries whilst the pursuit was directed another way.

The event of his contending with Apollo in music affords us a useful instruction, that may help to humble the human reason and judgment, which is too apt to boast and glory in itself. There seem to be two kinds of harmony,—the one of Divine providence, the other of human reason; but the government of the world, the administration of its affairs, and the more secret Divine judgments, sound harsh and dissonant to human ears or human judgment; and though this ignorance be justly rewarded with asses’ ears, yet they are put on and worn, not openly, but with great secrecy; nor is the deformity of the thing seen or observed by the vulgar.

We must not find it strange if no amours are related of Pan besides his marriage with Echo; for nature enjoys itself, and in itself all other things. He that loves, desires enjoyment, but in profusion there is no room for desire; and therefore Pan, remaining content with himself, has no passion unless it be for discourse, which is well shadowed out by Echo, or talk, or, when it is more accurate, by Syrinx, or writing. 625 But Echo makes a most excellent wife for Pan, as being no other than genuine philosophy, which faithfully repeats his words, or only transcribes exactly as nature dictates; thus representing the true image and reflection of the world without adding a tittle.

It tends, also, to the support and perfection of Pan, or nature, to be without offspring; for the world generates in its parts, and not in the way of a whole, as wanting a body external to itself wherewith to generate.

Lastly, for the supposed or spurious prattling daughter of Pan, it is an excellent addition to the fable, and aptly represents the talkative philosophies that have at all times been stirring, and filled the world with idle tales; being ever barren, empty, and servile, though sometimes indeed diverting and entertaining, and sometimes again troublesome and importunate.

VII.—PERSEUS, 626 OR WAR. EXPLAINED OF THE PREPARATION AND CONDUCT NECESSARY TO WAR.

“ The fable relates, that Perseus was dispatched from the east, by Pallas, to cut off Medusa’s head, who had committed great ravage upon the people of the west; for this Medusa was so dire a monster, as to turn into stone all those who but looked upon her. She was a Gorgon, and the only mortal one of the three, the other two being invulnerable. Perseus, therefore, preparing himself for this grand enterprise, had presents made him from three of the 344 gods: Mercury gave him wings for his heels; Pluto, a helmet; and Pallas, a shield and a mirror. But, though he was now so well equipped, he posted not directly to Medusa, but first turned aside to the Greæ, who were half-sisters to the Gorgons. These Greæ were grayheaded, and like old women, from their birth, having among them all three but one eye, and one tooth, which, as they had occasion to go out, they each wore by turns, and laid them down again upon coming back. This eye and this tooth they lent to Perseus, who now judging himself sufficiently furnished, he, without further stop, flies swiftly away to Medusa, and finds her asleep. But not venturing his eyes, for fear she should wake, he turned his head aside, and viewed her in Pallas’s mirror, and thus directing his stroke, cut off her head; when immediately, from the gushing blood, there darted Pegasus winged. Perseus now inserted Medusa’s head into Pallas’s shield, which thence retained the faculty of astonishing and benumbing all who looked on it.”

This fable seems invented to show the prudent method of choosing, undertaking, and conducting a war; and, accordingly, lays down three useful precepts about it, as if they were the precepts of Pallas.

The first is, that no prince should be over-solicitous to subdue a neighboring nation; for the method of enlarging an empire is very different from that of increasing an estate. Regard is justly had to contiguity, or adjacency, in private lands and pos 345 sessions; but in the extending of empire, the occasion, the facility, and advantage of a war, are to be regarded instead of vicinity. It is certain that the Romans, at the time they stretched but little beyond Liguria to the west, had by their arms subdued the provinces as far as Mount Taurus to the east. And thus Perseus readily undertook a very long expedition, even from the east to the extremities of the west.

The second precept is, that the cause of the war be just and honorable; for this adds alacrity both to the soldiers, and the people who find the supplies; procures aids, alliances, and numerous other conveniences. Now there is no cause of war more just and laudable than the suppressing of tyranny; by which a people are dispirited, benumbed, or left without life and vigor, as at the sight of Medusa.

Lastly, it is prudently added, that, as there were three of the Gorgons, who represent war, Perseus singled her out for this expedition that was mortal; which affords this precept, that such kind of wars should be chose as may be brought to a conclusion without pursuing vast and infinite hopes.

Again, Perseus’s setting-out is extremely well adapted to his undertaking, and in a manner commands success; he received dispatch from Mercury, secrecy from Pluto, and foresight from Pallas. It also contains an excellent allegory, that the wings given him by Mercury were for his heels, not for his shoulders; because expedition is not so much 346 required in the first preparations for war, as in the subsequent matters, that administer to the first; for there is no error more frequent in war, than, after brisk preparations, to halt for subsidiary forces and effective supplies.

The allegory of Pluto’s helmet, rendering men invisible and secret, is sufficiently evident of itself; but the mystery of the shield and the mirror lies deeper; and denotes, that not only a prudent caution must be had to defend, like the shield, but also such an address and penetration as may discover the strength, the motions, the counsels, and designs of the enemy; like the mirror of Pallas.

But though Perseus may now seem extremely well prepared, there still remains the most important thing of all; before he enters upon the war, he must of necessity consult the Greæ. These Greæ are treasons; half, but degenerate sisters of the Gorgons; who are representatives of wars; for wars are generous and noble; but treasons base and vile. The Greæ are elegantly described as hoary-headed, and like old women from their birth; on account of the perpetual cares, fears, and trepidations attending traitors. Their force, also, before it breaks out into open revolt, consists either in an eye or a tooth; for all faction, alienated from a state, is both watchful and biting; and this eye and tooth are, as it were, common to all the disaffected; because whatever they learn and know is transmitted from one to another, as by the hands of faction. And for 347 the tooth, they all bite with the same: and clamor with one throat; so that each of them singly expresses the multitude.

These Greæ, therefore, must be prevailed upon by Perseus to lend him their eye and their tooth; the eye to give him indications, and make discoveries; the tooth for sowing rumors, raising envy, and stirring up the minds of the people. And when all these things are thus disposed and prepared, then follows the action of the war.

He finds Medusa asleep; for whoever undertakes a war with prudence, generally falls upon the enemy unprepared, and nearly in a state of security; and here is the occasion for Pallas’s mirror: for it is common enough, before the danger presents itself, to see exactly into the state and posture of the enemy; but the principal use of the glass is, in the very instant of danger, to discover the manner thereof, and prevent consternation; which is the thing intended by Perseus’s turning his head aside, and viewing the enemy in the glass. 627

Two effects here follow the conquest: 1. The darting forth of Pegasus; which evidently denotes fame, that flies abroad, proclaiming the victory far and near. 2. The bearing of Medusa’s head in the shield, which is the greatest possible defence and 348 safeguard; for one grand and memorable enterprise, happily accomplished, bridles all the motions and attempts of the enemy, stupefies disaffection, and quells commotions.

VIII.—ENDYMION, OR A FAVORITE. EXPLAINED OF COURT FAVORITES.

The goddess Luna is said to have fallen in love with the shepherd Endymion, and to have carried on her amours with him in a new and singular manner; it being her custom, whilst he lay reposing in his native cave, under Mount Latmus, to descend frequently from her sphere, enjoy his company whilst he slept, and then go up to heaven again. And all this while, Endymion’s fortune was no way prejudiced by his unactive and sleepy life, the goddess causing his flocks to thrive, and grow so exceeding numerous, that none of the other shepherds could compare with him.

Explanation. —This fable seems to describe the tempers and dispositions of princes, who, being thoughtful and suspicious, do not easily admit to their privacies such men as are prying, curious, and vigilant, or, as it were, sleepless; but rather such as are of an easy, obliging nature, and indulge them in their pleasures, without seeking anything further; 349 but seeming ignorant, insensible, or, as it were, lulled asleep before them. 628 Princes usually treat such persons familiarly; and quitting their throne, like Luna, think they may, with safety, unbosom to them. This temper was very remarkable in Tiberius, a prince exceedingly difficult to please, and who had no favorites but those that perfectly understood his way, and, at the same time, obstinately dissembled their knowledge, almost to a degree of stupidity.

The cave is not improperly mentioned in the fable; it being a common thing for the favorites of a prince to have their pleasant retreats, whither to invite him, by way of relaxation, though without prejudice to their own fortunes; these favorites usually making a good provision for themselves.

For though their prince should not, perhaps, promote them to dignities, yet, out of real affection, and not only for convenience, they generally feel the enriching influence of his bounty.

IX.—THE SISTER OF THE GIANTS, OR FAME. EXPLAINED OF PUBLIC DETRACTION.

The poets relate, that the giants, produced from the earth, made war upon Jupiter, and the other gods, but were repulsed and conquered by thunder; whereat the earth, provoked, brought forth Fame, the youngest sister of the giants, in revenge for the death of her sons.

Explanation. —The meaning of the fable seems to be this: the earth denotes the nature of the vulgar, who are always swelling, and rising against their rulers, and endeavoring at changes. This disposition, getting a fit opportunity, breeds rebels and traitors, who, with impetuous rage, threaten and contrive the overthrow and destruction of princes.

And when brought under and subdued, the same vile and restless nature of the people, impatient of peace, produces rumors, detractions, slanders, libels, &c., to blacken those in authority; so that rebellious actions and seditious rumors, differ not in origin and stock, but only, as it were, in sex; treasons and rebellions being the brothers, and scandal or detraction the sister.

X.—ACTEON AND PENTHEUS, OR A CURIOUS MAN. EXPLAINED OF CURIOSITY, OR PRYING INTO THE SECRETS OF PRINCES AND DIVINE MYSTERIES.

The ancients afford us two examples for suppressing the impertinent curiosity of mankind, in diving into secrets, and imprudently longing and endeavoring to discover them. The one of these is in the person of Acteon, and the other in that of Pentheus. Acteon, undesignedly chancing to see Diana naked, was turned into a stag, and torn to pieces by his own hounds. And Pentheus, desiring to pry into the hidden mysteries of Bacchus’s sacrifice, and climbing a tree for that purpose, was struck with a frenzy. This frenzy of Pentheus caused him to see things double, particularly the sun, and his own city, Thebes, so that running homewards, and immediately espying another Thebes, he runs towards that; and thus continues incessantly, tending first to the one, and then to the other, without coming at either.

Explanation. —The first of these fables may relate to the secrets of princes, and the second to divine mysteries. For they who are not intimate with a prince, yet, against his will, have a knowledge of his secrets, inevitably incur his displeasure; and therefore, being aware that they are singled out, and all opportunities watched against them, they lead the life of a 352 stag, full of fears and suspicions. It likewise frequently happens that their servants and domestics accuse them, and plot their overthrow, in order to procure favor with the prince; for whenever the king manifests his displeasure, the person it falls upon must expect his servants to betray him, and worry him down, as Acteon was worried by his own dogs.

The punishment of Pentheus is of another kind; for they who, unmindful of their mortal state, rashly aspire to divine mysteries, by climbing the heights of nature and philosophy, here represented by climbing a tree,—their fate is perpetual inconstancy, perplexity, and instability of judgment. For as there is one light of nature, and another light that is divine, they see, as it were, two suns. And as the actions of life, and the determinations of the will, depend upon the understanding, they are distracted as much in opinion as in will; and therefore judge very inconsistently, or contradictorily; and see, as it were, Thebes double; for Thebes being the refuge and habitation of Pentheus, here denotes the ends of actions; whence they know not what course to take, but remaining undetermined and unresolved in their views and designs, they are merely driven about by every sudden gust and impulse of the mind.

XI.—ORPHEUS, OR PHILOSOPHY. EXPLAINED OF NATURAL AND MORAL PHILOSOPHY.

Introduction. —The fable of Orpheus, though trite and common, has never been well interpreted, and seems to hold out a picture of universal philosophy; for to this sense may be easily transferred what is said of his being a wonderful and perfectly divine person, skilled in all kinds of harmony, subduing and drawing all things after him by sweet and gentle methods and modulations. For the labors of Orpheus exceed the labors of Hercules, both in power and dignity, as the works of knowledge exceed the works of strength.

Fable. —Orpheus having his beloved wife snatched from him by sudden death, resolved upon descending to the infernal regions, to try if, by the power of his harp, he could reobtain her. And, in effect, he so appeased and soothed the infernal powers by the melody and sweetness of his harp and voice, that they indulged him the liberty of taking her back, on condition that she should follow him behind, and he not turn to look upon her till they came into open day; but he, through the impatience of his care and affection, and thinking himself almost past danger, at length looked behind him, whereby the condition was violated, and she again precipitated to Pluto’s 354 regions. From this time Orpheus grew pensive and sad, a hater of the sex, and went into solitude, where, by the same sweetness of his harp and voice, he first drew the wild beasts of all sorts about him; so that, forgetting their natures, they were neither actuated by revenge, cruelty, lust, hunger, or the desire of prey, but stood gazing about him, in a tame and gentle manner, listening attentively to his music. Nay, so great was the power and efficacy of his harmony, that it even caused the trees and stones to remove, and place themselves in a regular manner about him. When he had for a time, and with great admiration, continued to do this, at length the Thracian women, raised by the instigation of Bacchus, first blew a deep and hoarse-sounding horn, in such an outrageous manner, that it quite drowned the music of Orpheus. And thus the power which, as the link of their society, held all things in order, being dissolved, disturbance reigned anew; each creature returned to its own nature, and pursued and preyed upon its fellow, as before. The rocks and woods also started back to their former places; and even Orpheus himself was at last torn to pieces by these female furies, and his limbs scattered all over the desert. But, in sorrow and revenge for his death, the River Helicon, sacred to the Muses, hid its waters under ground, and rose again in other places.

Explanation. —The fable receives this explanation. The music of Orpheus is of two kinds; one 355 that appeases the infernal powers, and the other that draws together the wild beasts and trees. The former properly relates to natural, and the latter to moral philosophy, or civil society. The reinstatement and restoration of corruptible things is the noblest work of natural philosophy; and, in a less degree, the preservation of bodies in their own state, or a prevention of their dissolution and corruption. And if this be possible, it can certainly be effected no other way than by proper and exquisite attemperations of nature; as it were by the harmony and fine touching of the harp. But as this is a thing of exceeding great difficulty, the end is seldom obtained; and that, probably, for no reason more than a curious and unseasonable impatience and solicitude.

And, therefore, philosophy, being almost unequal to the task, has cause to grow sad, and hence betakes itself to human affairs, insinuating into men’s minds the love of virtue, equity, and peace, by means of eloquence and persuasion; thus forming men into societies; bringing them under laws and regulations; and making them forget their unbridled passions and affections, so long as they hearken to precepts and submit to discipline. And thus they soon after build themselves habitations, form cities, cultivate lands, plant orchards, gardens, &c. So that they may not improperly be said to remove and call the trees and stones together.

And this regard to civil affairs is justly and regularly placed after diligent trial made for restoring 356 the mortal body; the attempt being frustrated in the end—because the unavoidable necessity of death, thus evidently laid before mankind, animates them to seek a kind of eternity by works of perpetuity, character, and fame.

It is also prudently added, that Orpheus was afterwards averse to women and wedlock, because the indulgence of the married state, and the natural affections which men have for their children, often prevent them from entering upon any grand, noble, or meritorious enterprise for the public good; as thinking it sufficient to obtain immortality by their descendants, without endeavoring at great actions.

And even the works of knowledge, though the most excellent among human things, have their periods; for after kingdoms and commonwealths have flourished for a time, disturbances, seditions, and wars, often arise, in the din whereof, first the laws are silent, and not heard; and then men return to their own depraved natures—whence cultivated lands and cities soon become desolate and waste. And if this disorder continues, learning and philosophy is infallibly torn to pieces; so that only some scattered fragments thereof can afterwards be found up and down, in a few places, like planks after a shipwreck. And barbarous times succeeding, the River Helicon dips under-ground; that is, letters are buried, till things having undergone their due 357 course of changes, learning rises again, and shows its head, though seldom in the same place, but in some other nation. 629

XII.—CŒLUM, OR BEGINNINGS. EXPLAINED OF THE CREATION, OR ORIGIN OF ALL THINGS.

The poets relate, that Cœlum was the most ancient of all the gods; that his parts of generation were cut off by his son Saturn; that Saturn had a numerous offspring, but devoured all his sons, as soon as they were born; that Jupiter at length escaped the common fate; and when grown up, drove his father Saturn into Tartarus; usurped the kingdom; cut off his father’s genitals, with the same knife wherewith Saturn had dismembered Cœlum, and throwing them into the sea, thence sprung Venus.

Before Jupiter was well established in his empire, two memorable wars were made upon him; the first by the Titans, in subduing of whom, Sol, the only one of the Titans who favored Jupiter, performed him singular service; the second by the 358 giants, who being destroyed and subdued by the thunder and arms of Jupiter, he now reigned secure.

Explanation. —This fable appears to be an enigmatical account of the origin of all things, not greatly differing from the philosophy afterwards embraced by Democritus, who expressly asserts the eternity of matter, but denies the eternity of the world; thereby approaching to the truth of sacred writ, which makes chaos, or uninformed matter, to exist before the six days’ works.

The meaning of the fable seems to be this: Cœlum denotes the concave space, or vaulted roof that incloses all matter, and Saturn the matter itself, which cuts off all power of generation from his father; as one and the same quantity of matter remains invariable in nature, without addition or diminution. But the agitations and struggling motions of matter, first produced certain imperfect and ill-joined compositions of things, as it were so many first rudiments, or essays of worlds; till, in process of time, there arose a fabric capable of preserving its form and structure. Whence the first age was shadowed out by the reign of Saturn; who, on account of the frequent dissolutions, and short durations of things, was said to devour his children. And the second age was denoted by the reign of Jupiter; who thrust, or drove those frequent and transitory changes into Tartarus—a place expressive of disorder. This place seems to be the middle 359 space, between the lower heavens and the internal parts of the earth, wherein disorder, imperfection, mutation, mortality, destruction, and corruption, are principally found.

Venus was not born during the former generation of things, under the reign of Saturn; for whilst discord and jar had the upper hand of concord and uniformity in the matter of the universe, a change of the entire structure was necessary. And in this manner things were generated and destroyed, before Saturn was dismembered. But when this manner of generation ceased, there immediately followed another, brought about by Venus, or a perfect and established harmony of things; whereby changes were wrought in the parts, whilst the universal fabric remained entire and undisturbed. Saturn, however, is said to be thrust out and dethroned, not killed, and become extinct; because, agreeably to the opinion of Democritus, the world might relapse into its old confusion and disorder, which Lucretius hoped would not happen in his time. 630

But now, when the world was compact, and held together by its own bulk and energy, yet there was no rest from the beginning; for first, there followed considerable motions and disturbances in the celestial regions, though so regulated and moderated by the power of the Sun, prevailing over the heavenly bodies, as to continue the world in its state. After 360 wards there followed the like in the lower parts, by inundations, storms, winds, general earthquakes, &c., which, however, being subdued and kept under, there ensued a more peaceable and lasting harmony, and consent of things.

It may be said of this fable, that it includes philosophy; and again, that philosophy includes the fable; for we know, by faith, that all these things are but the oracle of sense, long since ceased and decayed; but the matter and fabric of the world being justly attributed to a creator.

XIII.—PROTEUS, OR MATTER. EXPLAINED OF MATTER AND ITS CHANGES.

Proteus , according to the poets, was Neptune’s herdsman; an old man, and a most extraordinary prophet, who understood things past and present, as well as future; so that besides the business of divination, he was the revealer and interpreter of all antiquity, and secrets of every kind. He lived in a vast cave, where his custom was to tell over his herd of sea-calves at noon, and then to sleep. Whoever consulted him, had no other way of obtaining an answer, but by binding him with manacles and fetters; when he, endeavoring to free himself, would change into all kinds of shapes and miraculous forms; as of fire, water, wild beasts, &c.; till at length he resumed his own shape again.

Explanation. —This fable seems to point at the secrets of nature, and the states of matter. For the person of Proteus denotes matter, the oldest of all things, after God himself; 631 that resides, as in a cave, under the vast concavity of the heavens. He is represented as the servant of Neptune, because the various operations and modifications of matter are principally wrought in a fluid state. The herd, or flock of Proteus, seems to be no other than the several kinds of animals, plants, and minerals, in which matter appears to diffuse and spend itself; so that after having formed these several species, and as it were finished its task, it seems to sleep and repose, without otherwise attempting to produce any new ones. And this is the moral of Proteus’s counting his herd, then going to sleep.

This is said to be done at noon, not in the morning or evening; by which is meant the time best fitted and disposed for the production of species, from a matter duly prepared, and made ready beforehand, and now lying in a middle state, between its first rudiments and decline; which, we learn from sacred history, was the case at the time of the creation; when, by the efficacy of the divine command, matter directly came together, without any transformation or intermediate changes, which it affects; instantly obeyed the order, and appeared in the form of creatures.

And thus far the fable reaches of Proteus, and 362 his flock, at liberty and unrestrained. For the universe, with the common structures, and fabrics of the creatures, is the face of matter, not under constraint, or as the flock wrought upon and tortured by human means. But if any skilful minister of nature shall apply force to matter, and by design torture and vex it, in order to its annihilation, it, on the contrary, being brought under this necessity, changes and transforms itself into a strange variety of shapes and appearances; for nothing but the power of the Creator can annihilate, or truly destroy it; so that at length, running through the whole circle of transformations, and completing its period, it in some degree restores itself, if the force be continued. And that method of binding, torturing, or detaining, will prove the most effectual and expeditious, which makes use of manacles and fetters; that is, lays hold and works upon matter in the extremest degrees.

The addition in the fable that makes Proteus a prophet, who had the knowledge of things past, present, and future, excellently agrees with the nature of matter; as he who knows the properties, the changes, and the processes of matter, must, of necessity, understand the effects and sum of what it does, has done, or can do, though his knowledge extends not to all the parts and particulars thereof.

XIV.—MEMNON, OR A YOUTH TOO FORWARD. EXPLAINED OF THE FATAL PRECIPITANCY OF YOUTH.

The poets made Memnon the son of Aurora, and bring him to the Trojan war in beautiful armor, and flushed with popular praise; where, thirsting after further glory, and rashly hurrying on to the greatest enterprises, he engages the bravest warrior of all the Greeks, Achilles, and falls by his hand in single combat. Jupiter, in commiseration of his death, sent birds to grace his funeral, that perpetually chanted certain mournful and bewailing dirges. It is also reported, that the rays of the rising sun, striking his statue, used to give a lamenting sound.

Explanation. —This fable regards the unfortunate end of those promising youths, who, like sons of the morning, elate with empty hopes and glittering outsides, attempt things beyond their strength; challenge the bravest heroes; provoke them to the combat; and, proving unequal, die in their high attempts.

The death of such youths seldom fails to meet with infinite pity; as no mortal calamity is more moving and afflicting, than to see the flower of virtue cropped before its time. Nay, the prime of life enjoyed to the full, or even to a degree of envy, does not assuage or moderate the grief occasioned by the untimely death 364 of such hopeful youths; but lamentations and bewailings fly, like mournful birds, about their tombs, for a long while after; especially upon all fresh occasions, new commotions, and the beginning of great actions, the passionate desire of them is renewed, as by the sun’s morning rays.

XV.—TYTHONUS, OR SATIETY. EXPLAINED OF PREDOMINANT PASSIONS.

It is elegantly fabled by Tythonus, that being exceedingly beloved by Aurora, she petitioned Jupiter that he might prove immortal, thereby to secure herself the everlasting enjoyment of his company; but through female inadvertence she forgot to add, that he might never grow old; so that, though he proved immortal, he became miserably worn and consumed with age, insomuch that Jupiter, out of pity, at length transformed him to a grasshopper.

Explanation. —This fable seems to contain an ingenious description of pleasure; which at first, as it were in the morning of the day, is so welcome, that men pray to have it everlasting, but forget that satiety and weariness of it will, like old age, overtake them, though they think not of it; so that at length, when their appetite for pleasurable actions is gone, their desires and affections often continue; whence 365 we commonly find that aged persons delight themselves with the discourse and remembrance of the things agreeable to them in their better days. This is very remarkable in men of a loose, and men of a military life; the former whereof are always talking over their amours, and the latter the exploits of their youth; like grasshoppers, that show their vigor only by their chirping.

XVI.—JUNO’S SUITOR, OR BASENESS. EXPLAINED OF SUBMISSION AND ABJECTION.

The poets tell us, that Jupiter, to carry on his love-intrigues, assumed many different shapes; as of a bull, an eagle, a swan, a golden shower, &c.; but when he attempted Juno, he turned himself into the most ignoble and ridiculous creature,—even that of a wretched, wet, weather-beaten, affrighted, trembling and half-starved cuckoo.

Explanation. —This is a wise fable, and drawn from the very entrails of morality. The moral is, that men should not be conceited of themselves, and imagine that a discovery of their excellences will always render them acceptable; for this can only succeed according to the nature and manners of the person they court, or solicit; who, if he be a man not of the same gifts and endowments, but altogether of 366 a haughty and contemptuous behavior, here represented by the person of Juno, they must entirely drop the character that carries the least show of worth or gracefulness; if they proceed upon any other footing, it is downright folly; nor is it sufficient to act the deformity of obsequiousness, unless they really change themselves, and become abject and contemptible in their persons.

XVII.—CUPID, OR AN ATOM. EXPLAINED OF THE CORPUSCULAR PHILOSOPHY.

The particulars related by the poets of Cupid, or Love, do not properly agree to the same person, yet they differ only so far, that if the confusion of persons be rejected, the correspondence may hold. They say, that Love was the most ancient of all the gods, and existed before every thing else, except Chaos, which is held coeval therewith. But for Chaos, the ancients never paid divine honors, nor gave the title of a god thereto. Love is represented absolutely without progenitor, excepting only that he is said to have proceeded from the egg of Nox; but that himself begot the gods, and all things else, on Chaos. His attributes are four; viz: 1, perpetual infancy; 2, blindness; 3, nakedness; and 4, archery.

There was also another Cupid, or Love, the youngest son of the gods, born of Venus; and upon 367 him the attributes of the elder are transferred, with some degree of correspondence.

Explanation. —This fable points at, and enters, the cradle of nature. Love seems to be the appetite, or incentive, of the primitive matter; or, to speak more distinctly, the natural motion, or moving principle, of the original corpuscles, or atoms; this being the most ancient and only power that made and wrought all things out of matter. It is absolutely without parent, that is, without cause; for causes are as parents to effects; but this power or efficacy could have no natural cause; for, excepting God, nothing was before it; and therefore it could have no efficient in nature. And as nothing is more inward with nature, it can neither be a genus nor a form; and therefore, whatever it is, it must be somewhat positive, though inexpressible. And if it were possible to conceive its modus and process, yet it could not be known from its cause, as being, next to God, the cause of causes, and itself without a cause. And, perhaps, we are not to hope that the modus of it should fall, or be comprehended, under human inquiry. Whence it is properly feigned to be the egg of Nox, or laid in the dark.

The divine philosopher declares, that “God has made every thing beautiful in its season; and has given over the world to our disputes and inquiries; but that man cannot find out the work which God has wrought, from its beginning up to its end. 368 ” Thus the summary or collective law of nature, or the principle of love, impressed by God upon the original particles of all things, so as to make them attack each other and come together, by the repetition and multiplication whereof all the variety in the universe is produced, can scarce possibly find full admittance into the thoughts of men, though some faint notion may be had thereof. The Greek philosophy is subtile, and busied in discovering the material principles of things, but negligent and languid in discovering the principles of motion, in which the energy and efficacy of every operation consists. And here the Greek philosophers seem perfectly blind and childish; for the opinion of the Peripatetics, as to the stimulus of matter, by privation, is little more than words, or rather sound than signification. And they who refer it to God, though they do well therein, yet they do it by a start, and not by proper degrees of assent; for doubtless there is one summary, or capital law, in which nature meets, subordinate to God, viz: the law mentioned in the passage above quoted from Solomon; or the work which God has wrought from its beginning to its end.

Democritus, who further considered this subject, having first supposed an atom, or corpuscle, of some dimension or figure, attributed thereto an appetite, desire, or first motion simply, and another comparatively, imagining that all things properly tended to the centre of the world; those containing more matter falling faster to the centre, and thereby remov 369 ing, and in the shock driving away, such as held less. But this is a slender conceit, and regards too few particulars; for neither the revolutions of the celestial bodies, nor the contractions and expansions of things, can be reduced to this principle. And for the opinion of Epicurus, as to the declination and fortuitous agitation of atoms, this only brings the matter back again to a trifle, and wraps it up in ignorance and night.

Cupid is elegantly drawn a perpetual child; for compounds are larger things, and have their periods of age; but the first seeds or atoms of bodies are small, and remain in a perpetual infant state.

He is again justly represented naked; as all compounds may properly be said to be dressed and clothed, or to assume a personage; whence nothing remains truly naked, but the original particles of things.

The blindness of Cupid contains a deep allegory; for this same Cupid, Love, or appetite of the world, seems to have very little foresight, but directs his steps and motions conformably to what he finds next him, as blind men do when they feel out their way; which renders the divine and overruling Providence and foresight the more surprising; as by a certain steady law, it brings such a beautiful order and regularity of things out of what seems extremely casual, void of design, and, as it were, really blind.

The last attribute of Cupid is archery, viz: a virtue or power operating at a distance; for every 370 thing that operates at a distance may seem, as it were, to dart, or shoot with arrows. And whoever allows of atoms and vacuity, necessarily supposes that the virtue of atoms operates at a distance; for without this operation, no motion could be excited, on account of the vacuum interposing, but all things would remain sluggish and unmoved.

As to the other Cupid, he is properly said to be the youngest son of the gods, as his power could not take place before the formation of species, or particular bodies. The description given us of him transfers the allegory to morality, though he still retains some resemblance with the ancient Cupid; for as Venus universally excites the affection of association, and the desire of procreation, her son Cupid applies the affection to individuals; so that the general disposition proceeds from Venus, but the more close sympathy from Cupid. The former depends upon a near approximation of causes, but the latter upon deeper, more necessitating and uncontrollable principles, as if they proceeded from the ancient Cupid, on whom all exquisite sympathies depend.

XVIII.—DIOMED, OR ZEAL. EXPLAINED OF PERSECUTION, OR ZEAL FOR RELIGION.

Diomed acquired great glory and honor at the Trojan war, and was highly favored by Pallas, who encouraged and excited him by no means to spare Venus, if he should casually meet her in fight. He followed the advice with too much eagerness and intrepidity, and accordingly wounded that goddess in her hand. This presumptuous action remained unpunished for a time, and when the war was ended he returned with great glory and renown to his own country, where, finding himself embroiled with domestic affairs, he retired into Italy. Here also at first he was well received and nobly entertained by King Daunus, who, besides other gifts and honors, erected statues for him over all his dominions. But upon the first calamity that afflicted the people after the stranger’s arrival, Daunus immediately reflected that he entertained a devoted person in his palace, an enemy to the gods, and one who had sacrilegiously wounded a goddess with his sword, whom it was impious but to touch. To expiate, therefore, his country’s guilt, he, without regard to the laws of hospitality, which were less regarded by him than the laws of religion, directly slew his guest, and commanded his statues and all his honors to be razed and abolished. Nor was it safe for others to 372 commiserate or bewail so cruel a destiny; but even his companions in arms, whilst they lamented the death of their leader, and filled all places with their complaints, were turned into a kind of swans, which are said, at the approach of their own death, to chant sweet melancholy dirges.

Explanation. —This fable intimates an extraordinary and almost singular thing, for no hero besides Diomed is recorded to have wounded any of the gods. Doubtless we have here described the nature and fate of a man who professedly makes any divine worship or sect of religion, though, in itself vain and light, the only scope of his actions, and resolves to propagate it by fire and sword. For although the bloody dissensions and differences about religion were unknown to the ancients, yet so copious and diffusive was their knowledge, that what they knew not by experience they comprehended in thought and representation. Those, therefore, who endeavor to reform or establish any sect of religion, though vain, corrupt, and infamous (which is here denoted under the person of Venus), not by the force of reason, learning, sanctity of manners, the weight of arguments, and examples, but would spread or extirpate it by persecution, pains, penalties, tortures, fire, and sword, may, perhaps, be instigated hereto by Pallas, that is, by a certain rigid, prudential consideration, and a severity of judgment, by the vigor and efficacy whereof they see thoroughly into 373 the fallacies and fictions of the delusions of this kind; and through aversion to depravity and a well-meant zeal, these men usually for a time acquire great fame and glory, and are by the vulgar, to whom no moderate measures can be acceptable, extolled and almost adored, as the only patrons and protectors of truth and religion, men of any other disposition seeming, in comparison with these, to be lukewarm, mean-spirited, and cowardly. This fame and felicity, however, seldom endures to the end; but all violence, unless it escapes the reverses and changes of things by untimely death, is commonly unprosperous in the issue; and if a change of affairs happens, and that sect of religion which was persecuted and oppressed gains strength and rises again, then the zeal and warm endeavors of this sort of men are condemned, their very name becomes odious, and all their honors terminate in disgrace.

As to the point that Diomed should be slain by his hospitable entertainer, this denotes that religious dissensions may cause treachery, bloody animosities, and deceit, even between the nearest friends.

That complaining or bewailing should not, in so enormous a case, be permitted to friends affected by the catastrophe without punishment, includes this prudent admonition, that almost in all kinds of wickedness and depravity men have still room left for commiseration, so that they who hate the crime may yet pity the person and bewail his calamity, from a principle of humanity and good-nature; and 374 to forbid the overflowings and intercourses of pity upon such occasions were the extremest of evils; yet in the cause of religion and impiety the very commiserations of men are noted and suspected. On the other hand, the lamentations and complainings of the followers and attendants of Diomed, that is, of men of the same sect or persuasion, are usually very sweet, agreeable, and moving, like the dying notes of swans, or the birds of Diomed. This also is a noble and remarkable part of the allegory, denoting that the last words of those who suffer for the sake of religion strongly affect and sway men’s minds, and leave a lasting impression upon the sense and memory.

XIX.—DÆDALUS, OR MECHANICAL SKILL. EXPLAINED OF ARTS AND ARTISTS IN KINGDOMS AND STATES.

The ancients have left us a description of mechanical skill, industry, and curious arts converted to ill uses, in the person of Dædalus, a most ingenious but execrable artist. This Dædalus was banished for the murder of his brother artist and rival, yet found a kind reception in his banishment from the kings and states where he came. He raised many incomparable edifices to the honor of the gods, and invented many new contrivances for the beautifying 375 and ennobling of cities and public places, but still he was most famous for wicked inventions. Among the rest, by his abominable industry and destructive genius, he assisted in the fatal and infamous production of the monster Minotaur, that devourer of promising youths. And then, to cover one mischief with another, and provide for the security of this monster, he invented and built a labyrinth; a work infamous for its end and design, but admirable and prodigious for art and workmanship. After this, that he might not only be celebrated for wicked inventions, but be sought after, as well for prevention, as for instruments of mischief, he formed that ingenious device of his clue, which led directly through all the windings of the labyrinth. This Dædalus was persecuted by Minos with the utmost severity, diligence, and inquiry; but he always found refuge and means of escaping. Lastly, endeavoring to teach his son Icarus the art of flying, the novice, trusting too much to his wings, fell from his towering flight, and was drowned in the sea.

Explanation. —The sense of the fable runs thus. It first denotes envy, which is continually upon the watch, and strangely prevails among excellent artificers; for no kind of people are observed to be more implacably and destructively envious to one another than these.

In the next place, it observes an impolitic and improvident kind of punishment inflicted upon 376 Dædalus—that of banishment; for good workmen are gladly received everywhere, so that banishment to an excellent artificer is scarce any punishment at all; whereas other conditions of life cannot easily flourish from home. For the admiration of artists is propagated and increased among foreigners and strangers; it being a principle in the minds of men to slight and despise the mechanical operators of their own nation.

The succeeding part of the fable is plain, concerning the use of mechanic arts, whereto human life stands greatly indebted, as receiving from this treasury numerous particulars for the service of religion, the ornament of civil society, and the whole provision and apparatus of life; but then the same magazine supplies instruments of lust, cruelty, and death. For, not to mention the arts of luxury and debauchery, we plainly see how far the business of exquisite poisons, guns, engines of war, and such kind of destructive inventions, exceeds the cruelty and barbarity of the Minotaur himself.

The addition of the labyrinth contains a beautiful allegory, representing the nature of mechanic arts in general; for all ingenious and accurate mechanical inventions may be conceived as a labyrinth, which, by reason of their subtilty, intricacy, crossing, and interfering with one another, and the apparent resemblances they have among themselves, scarce any power of the judgment can unravel and distinguish; so that they are only to be understood and traced by the clue of experience.

It is no less prudently added, that he who invented the windings of the labyrinth, should also show the use and management of the clue; for mechanical arts have an ambiguous or double use, and serve as well to produce as to prevent mischief and destruction; so that their virtue almost destroys or unwinds itself.

Unlawful arts and indeed frequently arts themselves, are persecuted by Minos, that is, by laws, which prohibit and forbid their use among the people; but notwithstanding this, they are hid, concealed, retained, and everywhere find reception and skulking-places; a thing well observed by Tacitus of the astrologers and fortune-tellers of his time. “These,” says he, “are a kind of men that will always be prohibited, and yet will always be retained in our city.”

But lastly, all unlawful and vain arts, of what kind soever, lose their reputation in tract of time; grow contemptible and perish, through their overconfidence, like Icarus; being commonly unable to perform what they boasted. And to say the truth, such arts are better suppressed by their own vain pretensions, than checked or restrained by the bridle of laws. 632

XX.—ERICTHONIUS, OR IMPOSTURE. EXPLAINED OF THE IMPROPER USE OF FORCE IN NATURAL PHILOSOPHY.

The poets feign that Vulcan attempted the chastity of Minerva, and impatient of refusal, had recourse to force; the consequence of which was the birth of Ericthonius, whose body from the middle upwards was comely and well-proportioned, but his thighs and legs small, shrunk, and deformed, like an eel. Conscious of this defect, he became the inventor of chariots, so as to show the graceful, but conceal the deformed part of his body.

Explanation. —This strange fable seems to carry this meaning. Art is here represented under the person of Vulcan, by reason of the various uses it makes of fire; and nature, under the person of Minerva, by reason of the industry employed in her works. Art, therefore, whenever it offers violence to nature, in order to conquer, subdue, and bend her to its purpose, by tortures and force of all kinds, seldom obtains the end proposed; yet upon great struggle and application, there proceed certain imperfect births, or lame abortive works, specious in appearance, but weak and unstable in use; which are, nevertheless, with great pomp and deceitful appearances, triumphantly carried about, and shown by impostors. A procedure very familiar, and re 379 markable in chemical productions, and new mechanical inventions; especially when the inventors rather hug their errors than improve upon them, and go on struggling with nature, not courting her.

XXI.—DEUCALION, OR RESTITUTION. EXPLAINED OF A USEFUL HINT IN NATURAL PHILOSOPHY.

The poets tell us, that the inhabitants of the old world being totally destroyed by the universal deluge, excepting Deucalion and Pyrrha, these two, desiring with zealous and fervent devotion to restore mankind, received this oracle for answer, that “they should succeed by throwing their mother’s bones behind them.” This at first cast them into great sorrow and despair, because, as all things were levelled by the deluge, it was in vain to seek their mother’s tomb; but at length they understood the expression of the oracle to signify the stones of the earth, which is esteemed the mother of all things.

Explanation. —This fable seems to reveal a secret of nature, and correct an error familiar to the mind; for men’s ignorance leads them to expect the renovation or restoration of things from their corruption and remains, as the phœnix is said to be restored out of its ashes; which is a very improper procedure, because such kind of materials have 380 finished their course, and are become absolutely unfit to supply the first rudiments of the same things again; whence, in cases of renovation, recourse should be had to more common principles.

XXII.—NEMESIS, OR THE VICISSITUDE OF THINGS. EXPLAINED OF THE REVERSES OF FORTUNE.

N emesis is represented as a goddess venerated by all, but feared by the powerful and the fortunate. She is said to be the daughter of Nox and Oceanus.

She is drawn with wings, and a crown; a javelin of ash in her right hand; a glass containing Ethiopians in her left; and riding upon a stag.

Explanation. —The fable receives this explanation. The word Nemesis manifestly signifies revenge, or retribution; for the office of this goddess consisted in interposing, like the Roman tribunes, with an “I forbid it,” in all courses of constant and perpetual felicity, so as not only to chastise haughtiness, but also to repay even innocent and moderate happiness with adversity; as if it were decreed, that none of human race should be admitted to the banquet of the gods, but for sport. And, indeed, to read over that chapter of Pliny wherein he has collected the miseries and misfortunes of Augustus Cæsar, whom, of all mankind, one would judge most fortunate,—as 381 he had a certain art of using and enjoying prosperity, with a mind no way tumid, light, effeminate, confused, or melancholic,—one cannot but think this a very great and powerful goddess, who could bring such a victim to her altar. 633

The parents of this goddess were Oceanus and Nox; that is, the fluctuating change of things, and the obscure and secret divine decrees. The changes of things are aptly represented by the Ocean, on account of its perpetual ebbing and flowing; and secret providence is justly expressed by Night. Even the heathens have observed this secret Nemesis of the night, or the difference betwixt divine and human judgment. 634

Wings are given to Nemesis, because of the sudden and unforeseen changes of things; for, from the earliest account of time, it has been common for great and prudent men to fall by the dangers they most despised. Thus Cicero, when admonished by Brutus of the infidelity and rancor of Octavius, coolly wrote back: “I cannot, however, but be obliged to you, Brutus, as I ought, for informing me, though of such a trifle.” 635

Nemesis also has her crown, by reason of the invidious and malignant nature of the vulgar, who 382 generally rejoice, triumph, and crown her, at the fall of the fortunate and the powerful. And for the javelin in her right hand, it has regard to those whom she has actually struck and transfixed. But whoever escapes her stroke, or feels not actual calamity or misfortune, she affrights with a black and dismal sight in her left hand; for doubtless, mortals on the highest pinnacle of felicity have a prospect of death, diseases, calamities, perfidious friends, undermining enemies, reverses of fortune, &c., represented by the Ethiopians in her glass. Thus Virgil, with great elegance, describing the battle of Actium, says of Cleopatra, that “she did not yet perceive the two asps behind her;” 636 but soon after, which way soever she turned, she saw whole troops of Ethiopians still before her.

Lastly, it is significantly added, that Nemesis rides upon a stag, which is a very long-lived creature; for though perhaps some, by an untimely death in youth, may prevent or escape this goddess, yet they who enjoy a long flow of happiness and power, doubtless become subject to her at length, and are brought to yield.

XXIII.—ACHELOUS, OR BATTLE. EXPLAINED OF WAR BY INVASION.

The ancients relate, that Hercules and Achelous being rivals in the courtship of Deianira, the matter was contested by single combat; when Achelous having transformed himself, as he had power to do, into various shapes, by way of trial; at length, in the form of a fierce wild bull, prepares himself for the fight; but Hercules still retains his human shape, engages sharply with him, and in the issue broke off one of the bull’s horns; and now Achelous, in great pain and fright, to redeem his horn, presents Hercules with the cornucopia.

Explanation. —This fable relates to military expeditions and preparations; for the preparation of war on the defensive side, here denoted by Achelous, appears in various shapes, whilst the invading side has but one simple form, consisting either in an army, or perhaps a fleet. But the country that expects the invasion is employed infinite ways, in fortifying towns, blockading passes, rivers, and ports, raising soldiers, disposing garrisons, building and breaking down bridges, procuring aids, securing provisions, arms, ammunition, &c. So that there appears a new face of things every day; and at length, when the country is sufficiently fortified and prepared, it represents to the life the form and threats of a fierce fighting bull.

On the other side, the invader presses on to the fight, fearing to be distressed in an enemy’s country. And if after the battle he remains master of the field, and has now broke, as it were, the horn of his enemy, the besieged, of course, retire inglorious, affrighted, and dismayed, to their stronghold, there endeavoring to secure themselves, and repair their strength; leaving, at the same time, their country a prey to the conqueror, which is well expressed by the Amalthean horn, or cornucopia.

XXIV.—DIONYSUS, OR BACCHUS. 637 EXPLAINED OF THE PASSIONS.

The fable runs, that Semele, Jupiter’s mistress, having bound him by an inviolable oath to grant her an unknown request, desired he would embrace her in the same form and manner he used to embrace Juno; and the promise being irrevocable, she was burnt to death with lightning in the performance. The embryo, however, was sewed up, and carried in Jupiter’s thigh till the complete time of its birth; but the burden thus rendering the father lame, and causing him pain, the child was thence called Dionysus. When born, he was committed, for some years, to be nursed by Proserpina; and when grown up, appeared with so effeminate a face, that his sex 385 seemed somewhat doubtful. He also died, and was buried for a time, but afterwards revived. When a youth, he first introduced the cultivation and dressing of vines, the method of preparing wine, and taught the use thereof; whence becoming famous, he subdued the world, even to the utmost bounds of the Indies. He rode in a chariot drawn by tigers. There danced about him certain deformed demons called Cobali, &c. The Muses also joined in his train. He married Ariadne, who was deserted by Theseus. The ivy was sacred to him. He was also held the inventor and institutor of religious rites and ceremonies, but such as were wild, frantic, and full of corruption and cruelty. He had also the power of striking men with frenzies. Pentheus and Orpheus were torn to pieces by the frantic women at his orgies; the first for climbing a tree to behold their outrageous ceremonies, and the other for the music of his harp. But the acts of this god are much entangled and confounded with those of Jupiter.

Explanation. —This fable seems to contain a little system of morality, so that there is scarce any better invention in all ethics. Under the history of Bacchus, is drawn the nature of unlawful desire or affection, and disorder; for the appetite and thirst of apparent good is the mother of all unlawful desire, though ever so destructive, and all unlawful desires are conceived in unlawful wishes or requests, rashly indulged or granted before they are well understood 386 or considered, and when the affection begins to grow warm, the mother of it (the nature of good) is destroyed and burnt up by the heat. And whilst an unlawful desire lies in the embryo, or unripened in the mind, which is its father, and here represented by Jupiter, it is cherished and concealed, especially in the inferior part of the mind, corresponding to the thigh of the body, where pain twitches and depresses the mind so far as to render its resolutions and actions imperfect and lame. And even after this child of the mind is confirmed, and gains strength by consent and habit, and comes forth into action, it must still be nursed by Proserpina for a time; that is, it skulks and hides its head in a clandestine manner, as it were under ground, till at length, when the checks of shame and fear are removed, and the requisite boldness acquired, it either assumes the pretext of some virtue, or openly despises infamy. And it is justly observed, that every vehement passion appears of a doubtful sex, as having the strength of a man at first, but at last the impotence of a woman. It is also excellently added, that Bacchus died and rose again; for the affections sometimes seem to die and be no more; but there is no trusting them, even though they were buried, being always apt and ready to rise again whenever the occasion or object offers.

That Bacchus should be the inventor of wine, carries a fine allegory with it; for every affection is cunning and subtle in discovering a proper matter to nourish and feed it; and of all things known to 387 mortals, wine is the most powerful and effectual for exciting and inflaming passions of all kinds, being, indeed, like a common fuel to all.

It is again, with great elegance, observed of Bacchus, that he subdued provinces, and undertook endless expeditions, for the affections never rest satisfied with what they enjoy, but with an endless and insatiable appetite thirst after something further. And tigers are prettily feigned to draw the chariot; for as soon as any affection shall, from going on foot, be advanced to ride, it triumphs over reason, and exerts its cruelty, fierceness, and strength against all that oppose it.

It is also humorously imagined, that ridiculous demons dance and frisk about this chariot; for every passion produces indecent, disorderly, interchangeable and deformed motions in the eyes, countenance, and gesture, so that the person under the impulse, whether of anger, insult, love, &c., though to himself he may seem grand, lofty, or obliging, yet in the eyes of others appears mean, contemptible, or ridiculous.

The Muses also are found in the train of Bacchus, for there is scarce any passion without its art, science, or doctrine to court and flatter it; but in this respect the indulgence of men of genius has greatly detracted from the majesty of the Muses, who ought to be the leaders and conductors of human life, and not the handmaids of the passions.

The allegory of Bacchus falling in love with a cast mistress, is extremely noble; for it is certain 388 that the affections always court and covet what has been rejected upon experience. And all those who by serving and indulging their passions immensely raise the value of enjoyment, should know, that whatever they covet and pursue, whether riches, pleasure, glory, learning, or anything else, they only pursue those things that have been forsaken and cast off with contempt by great numbers in all ages, after possession and experience.

Nor is it without a mystery that the ivy was sacred to Bacchus, and this for two reasons: first, because ivy is an evergreen, or flourishes in the winter; and secondly, because it winds and creeps about so many things, as trees, walls, and buildings, and raises itself above them. As to the first, every passion grows fresh, strong, and vigorous by opposition and prohibition, as it were by a kind of contrast or antiperistasis, like the ivy in the winter. And for the second, the predominant passion of the mind throws itself, like the ivy, round all human actions, entwines all our resolutions, and perpetually adheres to, and mixes itself among, or even overtops them.

And no wonder that superstitious rites and ceremonies are attributed to Bacchus, when almost every ungovernable passion grows wanton and luxuriant in corrupt religions; nor again, that fury and frenzy should be sent and dealt out by him, because every passion is a short frenzy, and if it be vehement, lasting, and take deep root, it terminates in mad 389 ness. And hence the allegory of Pentheus and Orpheus being torn to pieces is evident; for every headstrong passion is extremely bitter, severe, inveterate, and revengeful upon all curious inquiry, wholesome admonition, free counsel, and persuasion.

Lastly; the confusion between the persons of Jupiter and Bacchus will justly admit of an allegory, because noble and meritorious actions may sometimes proceed from virtue, sound reason, and magnanimity, and sometimes again from a concealed passion and secret desire of ill, however they may be extolled and praised, insomuch that it is not easy to distinguish betwixt the acts of Bacchus and the acts of Jupiter.

XXV.—ATALANTA AND HIPPOMENES, OR GAIN. EXPLAINED OF THE CONTEST BETWIXT ART AND NATURE.

Atalanta , who was exceedingly fleet, contended with Hippomenes in the course, on condition that, if Hippomenes won, he should espouse her, or forfeit his life if he lost. The match was very unequal, for Atalanta had conquered numbers, to their destruction. Hippomenes, therefore, had recourse to stratagem. He procured three golden apples, and purposely carried them with him; they started; Atalanta outstripped him soon; then Hippomenes bowled one of his apples before her, across the 390 course, in order not only to make her stoop, but to draw her out of the path. She, prompted by female curiosity, and the beauty of the golden fruit, starts from the course to take up the apple. Hippomenes, in the mean time, holds on his way, and steps before her; but she, by her natural swiftness, soon fetches up her lost ground, and leaves him again behind. Hippomenes, however, by rightly timing his second and third throw, at length won the race, not by his swiftness, but his cunning.

Explanation. —This fable seems to contain a noble allegory of the contest betwixt art and nature. For art, here denoted by Atalanta, is much swifter, or more expeditious in its operations than nature, when all obstacles and impediments are removed, and sooner arrives at its end. This appears almost in every instance. Thus, fruit comes slowly from the kernel, but soon by inoculation or incision; clay, left to itself, is a long time in acquiring a stony hardness, but is presently burnt by fire into brick. So again, in human life, nature is a long while in alleviating and abolishing the remembrance of pain, and assuaging the troubles of the mind; but moral philosophy, which is the art of living, performs it presently. Yet this prerogative and singular efficacy of art is stopped and retarded to the infinite detriment of human life, by certain golden apples; for there is no one science or art that constantly holds on its true and proper course to the end, but 391 they are all continually stopping short, forsaking the track, and turning aside to profit and convenience, exactly like Atalanta. 638 Whence it is no wonder that art gets not the victory over nature, nor, according to the condition of the contest, brings her under subjection; but, on the contrary, remains subject to her, as a wife to a husband. 639

XXVI.—PROMETHEUS, OR THE STATE OF MAN. EXPLAINED OF AN OVERRULING PROVIDENCE, AND OF HUMAN NATURE.

The ancients relate that man was the work of Prometheus, and formed of clay; only the artificer mixed in with the mass, particles taken from different animals. And being desirous to improve his workmanship, and endow, as well as create, the human race, he stole up to heaven with a bundle of birch-rods, and kindling them at the chariot of 392 the Sun, thence brought down fire to the earth for the service of men.

They add that, for this meritorious act, Prometheus was repayed with ingratitude by mankind, so that, forming a conspiracy, they arraigned both him and his invention before Jupiter. But the matter was otherwise received than they imagined; for the accusation proved extremely grateful to Jupiter and the gods, insomuch that, delighted with the action, they not only indulged mankind the use of fire, but moreover conferred upon them a most acceptable and desirable present, viz: perpetual youth.

But men, foolishly overjoyed hereat, laid this present of the gods upon an ass, who, in returning back with it, being extremely thirsty, strayed to a fountain. The serpent, who was guardian thereof, would not suffer him to drink, but upon condition of receiving the burden he carried, whatever it should be. The silly ass complied, and thus the perpetual renewal of youth was, for a drop of water, transferred from men to the race of serpents.

Prometheus, not desisting from his unwarrantable practices, though now reconciled to mankind, after they were thus tricked of their present, but still continuing inveterate against Jupiter, had the boldness to attempt deceit, even in a sacrifice, and is said to have once offered up two bulls to Jupiter, but so as in the hide of one of them to wrap all the flesh and fat of both, and stuffing out the other hide 393 only with the bones; then, in a religious and devout manner, gave Jupiter his choice of the two. Jupiter, detesting this sly fraud and hypocrisy, but having thus an opportunity of punishing the offender, purposely chose the mock bull.

And now giving way to revenge, but finding he could not chastise the insolence of Prometheus without afflicting the human race (in the production whereof Prometheus had strangely and insufferably prided himself), he commanded Vulcan to form a beautiful and graceful woman, to whom every god presented a certain gift, whence she was called Pandora. 640 They put into her hands an elegant box, containing all sorts of miseries and misfortunes; but Hope was placed at the bottom of it. With this box she first goes to Prometheus, to try if she could prevail upon him to receive and open it; but he being upon his guard, warily refused the offer. Upon this refusal, she comes to his brother Epimetheus, a man of a very different temper, who rashly and inconsiderately opens the box. When finding all kinds of miseries and misfortunes issued out of it, he grew wise too late, and with great hurry and struggle endeavored to clap the cover on again; but with all his endeavor could scarce keep in Hope, which lay at the bottom.

Lastly, Jupiter arraigned Prometheus of many heinous crimes; as that he formerly stole fire from heaven; that he contemptuously and deceitfully 394 mocked him by a sacrifice of bones; that he despised his present, 641 adding withal a new crime, that he attempted to ravish Pallas; for all which, he was sentenced to be bound in chains, and doomed to perpetual torments. Accordingly, by Jupiter’s command, he was brought to Mount Caucasus, and there fastened to a pillar, so firmly that he could no way stir. A vulture or eagle stood by him, which in the daytime gnawed and consumed his liver; but in the night the wasted parts were supplied again; whence matter for his pain was never wanting.

They relate, however, that his punishment had an end; for Hercules sailing the ocean, in a cup, or pitcher, presented him by the Sun, came at length to Caucasus, shot the eagle with his arrows, and set Prometheus free. In certain nations, also, there were instituted particular games of the torch, to the honor of Prometheus, in which they who ran for the prize carried lighted torches; and as any one of these torches happened to go out, the bearer withdrew himself, and gave way to the next; and that person was allowed to win the prize, who first brought in his lighted torch to the goal.

Explanation. —This fable contains and enforces many just and serious considerations; some whereof have been long since well observed, but some again remain perfectly untouched. Prometheus clearly and expressly signifies Providence; for of all the things 395 in nature, the formation and endowment of man was singled out by the ancients, and esteemed the peculiar work of Providence. The reason hereof seems, 1. That the nature of man includes a mind and understanding, which is the seat of Providence. 2. That it is harsh and incredible to suppose reason and mind should be raised, and drawn out of senseless and irrational principles; whence it becomes almost inevitable, that providence is implanted in the human mind in conformity with, and by the direction and the design of the greater overruling Providence. But, 3. The principal cause is this: that man seems to be the thing in which the whole world centres, with respect to final causes; so that if he were away, all other things would stray and fluctuate, without end or intention, or become perfectly disjointed, and out of frame; for all things are made subservient to man, and he receives use and benefit from them all. Thus the revolutions, places, and periods, of the celestial bodies, serve him for distinguishing times and seasons, and for dividing the world into different regions; the meteors afford him prognostications of the weather; the winds sail our ships, drive our mills, and move our machines; and the vegetables and animals of all kinds either afford us matter for houses and habitations, clothing, food, physic; or tend to ease, or delight, to support, or refresh us so that everything in nature seems not made for itself, but for man.

And it is not without reason added, that the mass of matter whereof man was formed, should be mixed up with particles taken from different animals, and wrought in with the clay, because it is certain, that of all things in the universe, man is the most compounded and recompounded body; so that the ancients, not improperly, styled him a Microcosm, or little world within himself. For although the chemists have absurdly, and too literally, wrested and perverted the elegance of the term microcosm, whilst they pretend to find all kind of mineral and vegetable matters, or something corresponding to them, in man, yet it remains firm and unshaken, that the human body is, of all substances, the most mixed and organical; whence it has surprising powers and faculties; for the powers of simple bodies are but few, though certain and quick; as being little broken, or weakened, and not counterbalanced by mixture; but excellence and quantity of energy reside in mixture and composition.

Man, however, in his first origin, seems to be a defenceless, naked creature, slow in assisting himself, and standing in need of numerous things. Prometheus, therefore, hastened to the invention of fire, which supplies and administers to nearly all human uses and necessities, insomuch that, if the soul may be called the form of forms, if the hand may be called the instrument of instruments, fire may, as properly, be called the assistant of assistants, or the helper of helps; for hence proceed numberless opera 397 tions, hence all the mechanic arts, and hence infinite assistances are afforded to the sciences themselves.

The manner wherein Prometheus stole this fire is properly described from the nature of the thing; he being said to have done it by applying a rod of birch to the chariot of the Sun; for birch is used in striking and beating, which clearly denotes the generation of fire to be from the violent percussions and collisions of bodies; whereby the matters struck are subtilized, rarefied, put into motion, and so prepared to receive the heat of the celestial bodies; whence they, in a clandestine and secret manner, collect and snatch fire, as it were by stealth, from the chariot of the Sun.

The next is a remarkable part of the fable, which represents that men, instead of gratitude and thanks, fell into indignation and expostulation, accusing both Prometheus and his fire to Jupiter,—and yet the accusation proved highly pleasing to Jupiter; so that he, for this reason, crowned these benefits of mankind with a new bounty. Here it may seem strange that the sin of ingratitude to a creator and benefactor, a sin so heinous as to include almost all others, should meet with approbation and reward. But the allegory has another view, and denotes, that the accusation and arraignment, both of human nature and human art among mankind, proceeds from a most noble and laudable temper of the mind, and tends to a very good purpose; whereas the contrary temper is odious to the gods, and unbeneficial in itself. For they who 398 break into extravagant praises of human nature, and the arts in vogue, and who lay themselves out in admiring the things they already possess, and will needs have the sciences cultivated among them, to be thought absolutely perfect and complete, in the first place, show little regard to the divine nature, whilst they extol their own inventions almost as high as his perfection. In the next place, men of this temper are unserviceable and prejudicial in life, whilst they imagine themselves already got to the top of things, and there rest, without further inquiry. On the contrary, they who arraign and accuse both nature and art, and are always full of complaints against them, not only preserve a more just and modest sense of mind, but are also perpetually stirred up to fresh industry and new discoveries. Is not, then, the ignorance and fatality of mankind to be extremely pitied, whilst they remain slaves to the arrogance of a few of their own fellows, and are dotingly fond of that scrap of Grecian knowledge, the Peripatetic philosophy; and this to such a degree, as not only to think all accusation or arraignment thereof useless, but even hold it suspect and dangerous? Certainly the procedure of Empedocles, though furious—but especially that of Democritus (who with great modesty complained that all things were abstruse; that we know nothing; that truth lies hid in deep pits; that falsehood is strangely joined and twisted along with truth, &c.)—is to be preferred before the confident, assuming, and dogmatical school of Aristotle. Man 399 kind are, therefore, to be admonished, that the arraignment of nature and of art is pleasing to the gods; and that a sharp and vehement accusation of Prometheus, though a creator, a founder, and a master, obtained new blessings and presents from the divine bounty, and proved more sound and serviceable than a diffusive harangue of praise and gratulation. And let men be assured that the fond opinion that they have already acquired enough, is a principal reason why they have acquired so little.

That the perpetual flower of youth should be the present which mankind received as a reward for their accusation, carries this moral; that the ancients seem not to have despaired of discovering methods, and remedies, for retarding old age, and prolonging the period of human life; but rather reckoned it among those things which, through sloth and want of diligent inquiry, perish and come to nothing, after having been once undertaken, than among such as are absolutely impossible, or placed beyond the reach of the human power. For they signify and intimate from the true use of fire, and the just and strenuous accusation and conviction of the errors of art, that the divine bounty is not wanting to men in such kind of presents, but that men indeed are wanting to themselves, and lay such an inestimable gift upon the back of a slow-paced ass; that is, upon the back of the heavy, dull, lingering thing, experience; from whose sluggish and tortoise-pace proceeds that ancient complaint of the shortness of life, and the slow 400 advancement of arts. And certainly it may well seem, that the two faculties of reasoning and experience are not hitherto properly joined and coupled together, but to be still new gifts of the gods, separately laid, the one upon the back of a light bird, or abstract philosophy, and the other upon an ass, or slow-paced practice and trial. And yet good hopes might be conceived of this ass, if it were not for his thirst and the accidents of the way. For we judge, that if any one would constantly proceed, by a certain law and method, in the road of experience, and not by the way thirst after such experiments as make for profit or ostentation, nor exchange his burden, or quit the original design for the sake of these, he might be an useful bearer of a new and accumulated divine bounty to mankind.

That this gift of perpetual youth should pass from men to serpents, seems added by way of ornament, and illustration to the fable; perhaps intimating, at the same time, the shame it is for men, that they, with their fire, and numerous arts, cannot procure to themselves those things which nature has bestowed upon many other creatures.

The sudden reconciliation of Prometheus to mankind, after being disappointed of their hopes, contains a prudent and useful admonition. It points out the levity and temerity of men in new experiments, when, not presently succeeding, or answering to expectation, they precipitantly quit their new undertakings, hurry back to their old ones, and grow reconciled thereto.

After the fable has described the state of man, with regard to arts and intellectual matters, it passes on to religion; for after the inventing and settling of arts, follows the establishment of divine worship, which hypocrisy presently enters into and corrupts. So that by the two sacrifices we have elegantly painted the person of a man truly religious, and of an hypocrite. One of these sacrifices contained the fat, or the portion of God, used for burning and incensing; thereby denoting affection and zeal, offered up to his glory. It likewise contained the bowels, which are expressive of charity, along with the good and useful flesh. But the other contained nothing more than dry bones, which nevertheless stuffed out the hide, so as to make it resemble a fair, beautiful, and magnificent sacrifice; hereby finely denoting the external and empty rites and barren ceremonies, wherewith men burden and stuff out the divine worship,—things rather intended for show and ostentation than conducing to piety. Nor are mankind simply content with this mock-worship of God, but also impose and further it upon him, as if he had chosen and ordained it. Certainly the prophet, in the person of God, has a fine expostulation, as to this matter of choice: “Is this the fasting which I have chosen, that a man should afflict his soul for a day, and bow down his head like a bulrush?”

After thus touching the state of religion, the fable next turns to manners, and the conditions of human life. And though it be a very common, yet is it a 402 just interpretation, that Pandora denotes the pleasures and licentiousness which the cultivation and luxury of the arts of civil life introduce, as it were, by the instrumental efficacy of fire; whence the works of the voluptuary arts are properly attributed to Vulcan, the God of Fire. And hence infinite miseries and calamities have proceeded to the minds, the bodies, and the fortunes of men, together with a late repentance; and this not in each man’s particular, but also in kingdoms and states; for wars, and tumults, and tyrannies, have all arisen from this same fountain, or box of Pandora.

It is worth observing, how beautifully and elegantly the fable has drawn two reigning characters in human life, and given two examples, or tablatures of them, under the persons of Prometheus and Epimetheus. The followers of Epimetheus are improvident, see not far before them, and prefer such things as are agreeable for the present; whence they are oppressed with numerous straits, difficulties, and calamities, with which they almost continually struggle; but in the mean time gratify their own temper, and, for want of a better knowledge of things, feed their minds with many vain hopes; and as with so many pleasing dreams, delight themselves, and sweeten the miseries of life.

But the followers of Prometheus are the prudent, wary men, that look into futurity, and cautiously guard against, prevent, and undermine many calamities and misfortunes. But this watchful, provident 403 temper, is attended with a deprivation of numerous pleasures, and the loss of various delights, whilst such men debar themselves the use even of innocent things, and what is still worse, rack and torture themselves with cares, fears, and disquiets; being bound fast to the pillar of necessity, and tormented with numberless thoughts (which for their swiftness are well compared to an eagle), that continually wound, tear, and gnaw their liver or mind, unless, perhaps, they find some small remission by intervals, or as it were at nights; but then new anxieties, dreads, and fears, soon return again, as it were in the morning. And, therefore, very few men, of either temper, have secured to themselves the advantages of providence, and kept clear of disquiets, troubles, and misfortunes.

Nor indeed can any man obtain this end without the assistance of Hercules; that is, of such fortitude and constancy of mind as stands prepared against every event, and remains indifferent to every change; looking forward without being daunted, enjoying the good without disdain, and enduring the bad without impatience. And it must be observed, that even Prometheus had not the power to free himself, but owed his deliverance to another; for no natural inbred force and fortitude could prove equal to such a task. The power of releasing him came from the utmost confines of the ocean, and from the sun; that is, from Apollo, or knowledge; and again, from a due consideration of the uncertainty, instability, 404 and fluctuating state of human life, which is aptly represented by sailing the ocean. Accordingly, Virgil has prudently joined these two together, accounting him happy who knows the causes of things, and has conquered all his fears, apprehensions, and superstitions. 642

It is added, with great elegance, for supporting and confirming the human mind, that the great hero who thus delivered him sailed the ocean in a cup, or pitcher, to prevent fear, or complaint; as if, through the narrowness of our nature, or a too great fragility thereof, we were absolutely incapable of that fortitude and constancy to which Seneca finely alludes, when he says: “It is a noble thing, at once to participate in the frailty of man and the security of a god.”

We have hitherto, that we might not break the connection of things, designedly omitted the last crime of Prometheus—that of attempting the chastity of Minerva—which heinous offence it doubtless was, that caused the punishment of having his liver gnawed by the vulture. The meaning seems to be this,—that when men are puffed up with arts and knowledge, they often try to subdue even the divine wisdom and bring it under the dominion of sense and reason, whence inevitably follows a per 405 petual and restless rending and tearing of the mind. A sober and humble distinction must, therefore, be made betwixt divine and human things, and betwixt the oracles of sense and faith, unless mankind had rather choose an heretical religion, and a fictitious and romantic philosophy. 643

The last particular in the fable is the Games of the Torch, instituted to Prometheus, which again relates to arts and sciences, as well as the invention of fire, for the commemoration and celebration whereof these games were held. And here we have an extremely prudent admonition, directing us to expect the perfection of the sciences from succession, and not from the swiftness and abilities of any single person; for he who is fleetest and strongest in the course may perhaps be less fit to keep his torch alight, since there is danger of its going out from too rapid as well as from too slow a motion. 644 But this kind of contest, with the torch, seems to have been long dropped and neglected; the sciences appearing to have flourished principally in their first authors, as Aristotle, Galen, Euclid, Ptolemy, &c.; whilst 406 their successors have done very little, or scarce made any attempts. But it were highly to be wished that these games might be renewed, to the honor of Prometheus, or human nature, and that they might excite contest, emulation, and laudable endeavors, and the design meet with such success as not to hang tottering, tremulous, and hazarded, upon the torch of any single person. Mankind, therefore, should be admonished to rouse themselves, and try and exert their own strength and chance, and not place all their dependence upon a few men, whose abilities and capacities, perhaps, are not greater than their own.

These are the particulars which appear to us shadowed out by this trite and vulgar fable, though without denying that there may be contained in it several intimations that have a surprising correspondence with the Christian mysteries. In particular, the voyage of Hercules, made in a pitcher, to release Prometheus, bears an allusion to the word of God, coming in the frail vessel of the flesh to redeem mankind. But we indulge ourselves no such liberties as these, for fear of using strange fire at the altar of the Lord.

XXVII.—ICARUS AND SCYLLA AND CHARYBDIS, OR THE MIDDLE WAY. EXPLAINED OF MEDIOCRITY IN NATURAL AND MORAL PHILOSOPHY.

Mediocrity , or the holding a middle course, has been highly extolled in morality, but little in matters of science, though no less useful and proper here; whilst in politics it is held suspected, and ought to be employed with judgment. The ancients described mediocrity in manners by the course prescribed to Icarus; and in matters of the understanding by the steering betwixt Scylla and Charybdis, on account of the great difficulty and danger in passing those straits.

Icarus, being to fly across the sea, was ordered by his father neither to soar too high nor fly too low, for, as his wings were fastened together with wax, there was danger of its melting by the sun’s heat in too high a flight, and of its becoming less tenacious by the moisture if he kept too near the vapor of the sea. But he, with a juvenile confidence, soared aloft, and fell down headlong.

Explanation. —The fable is vulgar, and easily interpreted; for the path of virtue lies straight between excess on the one side, and defect on the other. And no wonder that excess should prove 408 the bane of Icarus, exulting in juvenile strength and vigor; for excess is the natural vice of youth, as defect is that of old age; and if a man must perish by either, Icarus chose the better of the two; for all defects are justly esteemed more depraved than excesses. There is some magnanimity in excess, that, like a bird, claims kindred with the heavens; but defect is a reptile, that basely crawls upon the earth. It was excellently said by Heraclitus: “A dry light makes the best soul;” for if the soul contracts moisture from the earth, it perfectly degenerates and sinks. On the other hand, moderation must be observed, to prevent this fine light from burning, by its too great subtility and dryness. But these observations are common.

In matters of the understanding, it requires great skill and a particular felicity to steer clear of Scylla and Charybdis. If the ship strikes upon Scylla, it is dashed in pieces against the rocks; if upon Charybdis, it is swallowed outright. This allegory is pregnant with matter; but we shall only observe the force of it lies here, that a mean be observed in every doctrine and science, and in the rules and axioms thereof, between the rocks of distinctions and the whirlpools of universalities: for these two are the bane and shipwreck of fine geniuses and arts.

XXVIII.—SPHINX, OR SCIENCE. EXPLAINED OF THE SCIENCES.

They relate that Sphinx was a monster, variously formed, having the face and voice of a virgin, the wings of a bird, and the talons of a griffin. She resided on the top of a mountain, near the city Thebes, and also beset the highways. Her manner was to lie in ambush and seize the travellers, and having them in her power, to propose to them certain dark and perplexed riddles, which it was thought she received from the Muses, and if her wretched captives could not solve and interpret these riddles, she, with great cruelty, fell upon them, in their hesitation and confusion, and tore them to pieces. This plague having reigned a long time, the Thebans at length offered their kingdom to the man who could interpret her riddles, there being no other way to subdue her. Œdipus, a penetrating and prudent man, though lame in his feet, excited by so great a reward, accepted the condition, and with a good assurance of mind, cheerfully presented himself before the monster, who directly asked him: “What creature that was, which, being born four-footed, afterwards became two-footed, then three-footed, and lastly four-footed again?” Œdipus, with presence of mind, replied it was man, who, upon his first birth and infant state, crawled upon all fours in endeavoring to 410 walk; but not long after went upright upon his two natural feet; again, in old age walked three-footed, with a stick; and at last, growing decrepit, lay four-footed confined to his bed; and having by this exact solution obtained the victory, he slew the monster, and, laying the carcass upon an ass, led her away in triumph; and upon this he was, according to the agreement, made king of Thebes.

Explanation. —This is an elegant, instructive fable, and seems invented to represent science, especially as joined with practice. For science may, without absurdity, be called a monster, being strangely gazed at and admired by the ignorant and unskilful. Her figure and form is various, by reason of the vast variety of subjects that science considers; her voice and countenance are represented female, by reason of her gay appearance and volubility of speech; wings are added, because the sciences and their inventions run and fly about in a moment, for knowledge like light communicated from one torch to another, is presently caught and copiously diffused; sharp and hooked talons are elegantly attributed to her, because the axioms and arguments of science enter the mind, lay hold of it, fix it down, and keep it from moving or slipping away. This the sacred philosopher observed, when he said: “The words of the wise are like goads or nails driven far in.” 645 Again, all science seems placed on high, as it were on the tops of mountains that are hard to 411 climb; for science is justly imagined a sublime and lofty thing, looking down upon ignorance from an eminence, and at the same time taking an extensive view on all sides, as is usual on the tops of mountains. Science is said to beset the highways, because through all the journey and peregrination of human life there is matter and occasion offered of contemplation.

Sphinx is said to propose various difficult questions and riddles to men, which she received from the Muses; and these questions, so long as they remain with the Muses, may very well be unaccompanied with severity, for while there is no other end of contemplation and inquiry but that of knowledge alone, the understanding is not oppressed, or driven to straits and difficulties, but expatiates and ranges at large, and even receives a degree of pleasure from doubt and variety; but after the Muses have given over their riddles to Sphinx, that is, to practice, which urges and impels to action, choice, and determination, then it is that they become torturing, severe, and trying, and, unless solved and interpreted, strangely perplex and harass the human mind, rend it every way, and perfectly tear it to pieces. All the riddles of Sphinx, therefore, have two conditions annexed, viz: dilaceration to those who do not solve them, and empire to those that do. For he who understands the thing proposed, obtains his end, and every artificer rules over his work. 646

Sphinx has no more than two kinds of riddles, one relating to the nature of things, the other to the nature of man; and correspondent to these, the prizes of the solution are two kinds of empire,—the empire over nature, and the empire over man. For the true and ultimate end of natural philosophy is dominion over natural things, natural bodies, remedies, machines, and numberless other particulars, though the schools, contented with what spontaneously offers, and swollen with their own discourses, neglect, and in a manner despise, both things and works.

But the riddle proposed to Œdipus, the solution whereof acquired him the Theban kingdom, regarded the nature of man; for he who has thoroughly looked into and examined human nature, may in a manner command his own fortune, and seems born to acquire dominion and rule. Accordingly, Virgil properly makes the arts of government to be the arts of the Romans. 647 It was, therefore, extremely apposite in Augustus Cæsar to use the image of Sphinx in his signet, whether this happened by accident or by design; for he of all men was deeply versed in politics, and through the course of his life very happily solved abundance of new riddles with regard to the nature of man; and unless he had done this with great dexterity and ready address, he would frequently 413 have been involved in imminent danger, if not destruction.

It is with the utmost elegance added in the fable, that when Sphinx was conquered, her carcass was laid upon an ass; for there is nothing so subtile and abstruse, but after being once made plain, intelligible, and common, it may be received by the slowest capacity.

We must not omit that Sphinx was conquered by a lame man, and impotent in his feet; for men usually make too much haste to the solution of Sphinx’s riddles; whence it happens, that she prevailing, their minds are rather racked and torn by disputes, than invested with command by works and effects.

XXIX.—PROSERPINE, OR SPIRIT. EXPLAINED OF THE SPIRIT INCLUDED IN NATURAL BODIES.

They tell us, Pluto having, upon that memorable division of empire among the gods, received the infernal regions for his share, despaired of winning any one of the goddesses in marriage by an obsequious courtship, and therefore through necessity resolved upon a rape. Having watched his opportunity, he suddenly seized upon Proserpine, a most beautiful virgin, the daughter of Ceres, as she was gathering narcissus flowers in the meads of Sicily, and hurrying 414 her to his chariot, carried her with him to the subterraneal regions, where she was treated with the highest reverence, and styled the Lady of Dis. But Ceres, missing her only daughter, whom she extremely loved, grew pensive and anxious beyond measure, and taking a lighted torch in her hand, wandered the world over in quest of her daughter,—but all to no purpose, till, suspecting she might be carried to the infernal regions, she, with great lamentation and abundance of tears, importuned Jupiter to restore her; and with much ado prevailed so far as to recover and bring her away, if she had tasted nothing there. This proved a hard condition upon the mother, for Proserpine was found to have eaten three kernels of a pomegranate. Ceres, however, desisted not, but fell to her entreaties and lamentations afresh, insomuch that at last it was indulged her that Proserpine should divide the year betwixt her husband and her mother, and live six months with the one and as many with the other. After this, Theseus and Perithous, with uncommon audacity, attempted to force Proserpine away from Pluto’s bed, but happening to grow tired in their journey, and resting themselves upon a stone in the realms below, they could never rise from it again, but remain sitting there forever. Proserpine, therefore, still continued queen of the lower regions, in honor of whom there was also added this grand privilege, that though it had never been permitted any one to return after having once descended thither, a particular exception was made, that he who brought a 415 golden bough as a present to Proserpine, might on that condition descend and return. This was an only bough that grew in a large dark grove, not from a tree of its own, but like the mistletoe from another, and when plucked away a fresh one always shot out in its stead.

Explanation. —This fable seems to regard natural philosophy, and searches deep into that rich and fruitful virtue and supply in subterraneous bodies, from whence all the things upon the earth’s surface spring, and into which they again relapse and return. By Proserpine, the ancients denoted that ethereal spirit shut up and detained within the earth, here represented by Pluto,—the spirit being separated from the superior globe, according to the expression of the poet. 648 This spirit is conceived as ravished, or snatched up by the earth, because it can in no way be detained, when it has time and opportunity to fly off, but is only wrought together and fixed by sudden intermixture and comminution, in the same manner as if one should endeavor to mix air with water, which cannot otherwise be done than by a quick and rapid agitation, that joins them together in froth whilst the air is thus caught up by the water. And it is elegantly added, that Proserpine was ravished whilst she gathered narcissus flowers, which have their name from numbedness or stupefaction; for the spirit we 416 speak of is in the fittest disposition to be embraced by terrestrial matter when it begins to coagulate, or grow torpid as it were.

It is an honor justly attributed to Proserpine, and not to any other wife of the gods, that of being the lady or mistress of her husband, because this spirit performs all its operations in the subterraneal regions, whilst Pluto, or the earth, remains stupid, or as it were ignorant of them.

The ether, or the efficacy of the heavenly bodies, denoted by Ceres, endeavors with infinite diligence to force out this spirit, and restore it to its pristine state. And by the torch in the hand of Ceres, or the ether, is doubtless meant the sun, which disperses light over the whole globe of the earth, and if the thing were possible, must have the greatest share in recovering Proserpine, or reinstating the subterraneal spirit. Yet Proserpine still continues and dwells below, after the manner excellently described in the condition betwixt Jupiter and Ceres. For first, it is certain that there are two ways of detaining the spirit, in solid and terrestrial matter,—the one by condensation or obstruction, which is mere violence and imprisonment; the other by administering a proper aliment, which is spontaneous and free. For after the included spirit begins to feed and nourish itself, it is not in a hurry to fly off, but remains as it were fixed in its own earth. And this is the moral of Proserpine’s tasting the pomegranate; and were it not for this, she must long ago have been carried up by Ceres, who with 417 her torch wandered the world over, and so the earth have been left without its spirit. For though the spirit in metals and minerals may perhaps be, after a particular manner, wrought in by the solidity of the mass, yet the spirit of vegetables and animals has open passages to escape at, unless it be willingly detained, in the way of sipping and tasting them.

The second article of agreement, that of Proserpine’s remaining six months with her mother and six with her husband, is an elegant description of the division of the year; for the spirit diffused through the earth lives above-ground in the vegetable world during the summer months, but in the winter returns under ground again.

The attempt of Theseus and Perithous to bring Proserpine away, denotes that the more subtile spirits, which descend in many bodies to the earth, may frequently be unable to drink in, unite with themselves, and carry off the subterraneous spirit, but on the contrary be coagulated by it, and rise no more, so as to increase the inhabitants and add to the dominion of Proserpine. 649

The alchemists will be apt to fall in with our interpretation of the golden bough, whether we will or no, because they promise golden mountains, and 418 the restoration of natural bodies from their stone, as from the gates of Pluto; but we are well assured that their theory had no just foundation, and suspect they have no very encouraging or practical proofs of its soundness. Leaving, therefore, their conceits to themselves, we shall freely declare our own sentiments upon this last part of the fable. We are certain, from numerous figures and expressions of the ancients, that they judged the conservation, and in some degree the renovation, of natural bodies to be no desperate or impossible thing, but rather abstruse and out of the common road than wholly impracticable. And this seems to be their opinion in the present case, as they have placed this bough among an infinite number of shrubs, in a spacious and thick wood. They supposed it of gold, because gold is the emblem of duration. They feigned it adventitious, not native, because such an effect is to be expected from art, and not from any medicine or any simple or mere natural way of working.

XXX.—METIS, OR COUNSEL. EXPLAINED OF PRINCES AND THEIR COUNCIL.

The ancient poets relate that Jupiter took Metis to wife, whose name plainly denotes counsel, and that he, perceiving she was pregnant by him, would by no means wait the time of her delivery, but directly devoured her; whence himself also became pregnant, and was delivered in a wonderful manner; for he from his head or brain brought forth Pallas armed.

Explanation. —This fable, which in its literal sense appears monstrously absurd, seems to contain a state secret, and shows with what art kings usually carry themselves towards their council, in order to preserve their own authority and majesty not only inviolate, but so as to have it magnified and heightened among the people. For kings commonly link themselves, as it were, in a nuptial bond to their council, and deliberate and communicate with them after a prudent and laudable custom upon matters of the greatest importance, at the same time justly conceiving this no diminution of their majesty; but when the matter once ripens to a decree or order, which is a kind of birth, the king then suffers the council to go on no further, 420 lest the act should seem to depend upon their pleasure. Now, therefore, the king usually assumes to himself whatever was wrought, elaborated, or formed, as it were, in the womb of the council (unless it be a matter of an invidious nature, which he is sure to put from him), so that the decree and the execution shall seem to flow from himself. 650 And as this decree or execution proceeds with prudence and power, so as to imply necessity, it is elegantly wrapped up under the figure of Pallas armed.

Nor are kings content to have this seem the effect of their own authority, free will, and uncontrollable choice, unless they also take the whole honor to themselves, and make the people imagine that all good and wholesome decrees proceed entirely from their own head, that is, their own sole prudence and judgment.

XXXI.—THE SIRENS, OR PLEASURES. EXPLAINED OF MEN’S PASSION FOR PLEASURES.

Introduction. —The fable of the Sirens is, in a vulgar sense, justly enough explained of the pernicious incentives to pleasure; but the ancient 421 mythology seems to us like a vintage ill-pressed and trod; for though something has been drawn from it, yet all the more excellent parts remain behind in the grapes that are untouched.

Fable. —The Sirens are said to be the daughters of Achelous and Terpsichore, one of the Muses. In their early days they had wings, but lost them upon being conquered by the Muses, with whom they rashly contended; and with the feathers of these wings the Muses made themselves crowns, so that from this time the Muses wore wings on their heads, except only the mother to the Sirens.

These Sirens resided in certain pleasant islands, and when, from their watch-tower, they saw any ship approaching, they first detained the sailors by their music, then, enticing them to shore, destroyed them.

Their singing was not of one and the same kind, but they adapted their tunes exactly to the nature of each person, in order to captivate and secure him. And so destructive had they been, that these islands of the Sirens appeared, to a very great distance, white with the bones of their unburied captives.

Two different remedies were invented to protect persons against them, the one by Ulysses, the other by Orpheus. Ulysses commanded his associates to stop their ears close with wax; and he, determining to make the trial, and yet avoid the danger, ordered himself to be tied fast to a mast of the ship, giving 422 strict charge not to be unbound, even though himself should entreat it; but Orpheus, without any binding at all, escaped the danger, by loudly chanting to his harp the praises of the gods, whereby he drowned the voices of the Sirens.

Explanation. —This fable is of the moral kind, and appears no less elegant than easy to interpret. For pleasures proceed from plenty and affluence, attended with activity or exultation of the mind. 651 Anciently their first incentives were quick, and seized upon men as if they had been winged, but learning and philosophy afterwards prevailing, had at least the power to lay the mind under some restraint, and make it consider the issue of things, and thus deprived pleasures of their wings.

This conquest redounded greatly to the honor and ornament of the Muses; for after it appeared, by the example of a few, that philosophy could introduce a contempt of pleasures, it immediately seemed to be a sublime thing that could raise and elevate the soul, fixed in a manner down to the earth, and thus render men’s thoughts, which reside in the head, winged as it were, or sublime.

Only the mother of the Sirens was not thus plumed on the head, which doubtless denotes superficial learning, invented and used for delight and levity;

an eminent example whereof we have in Petronius, who, after receiving sentence of death, still continued his gay frothy humor, and as Tacitus observes, used his learning to solace or divert himself, and instead of such discourses as give firmness and constancy of mind, read nothing but loose poems and verses. 652 Such learning as this seems to pluck the crowns again from the Muses’ heads, and restore them to the Sirens.

The Sirens are said to inhabit certain islands, because pleasures generally seek retirement, and often shun society. And for their songs, with the manifold artifice and destructiveness thereof, this is too obvious and common to need explanation. But that particular of the bones stretching like white cliffs along the shores, and appearing afar off, contains a more subtile allegory, and denotes that the examples of others’ calamity and misfortunes, though ever so manifest and apparent, have yet but little force to deter the corrupt nature of man from pleasures.

The allegory of the remedies against the Sirens is not difficult, but very wise and noble; it proposes, 424 in effect, three remedies, as well against subtile as violent mischiefs, two drawn from philosophy and one from religion.

The first means of escaping is to resist the earliest temptation in the beginning, and diligently avoid and cut off all occasions that may solicit or sway the mind; and this is well represented by shutting up the ears, a kind of remedy to be necessarily used with mean and vulgar minds, such as the retinue of Ulysses.

But nobler spirits may converse, even in the midst of pleasures, if the mind be well guarded with constancy and resolution. And thus some delight to make a severe trial of their own virtue, and thoroughly acquaint themselves with the folly and madness of pleasures, without complying or being wholly given up to them; which is what Solomon professes of himself when he closes the account of all the numerous pleasures he gave a loose to, with this expression: “But wisdom still continued with me.” Such heroes in virtue may, therefore, remain unmoved by the greatest incentives to pleasure, and stop themselves on the very precipice of danger; if, according to the example of Ulysses, they turn a deaf ear to pernicious counsel, and the flatteries of their friends and companions, which have the greatest power to shake and unsettle the mind.

But the most excellent remedy, in every temptation, is that of Orpheus, who, by loudly chanting 425 and resounding the praises of the gods, confounded the voices, and kept himself from hearing the music of the Sirens; for divine contemplations exceed the pleasures of sense, not only in power but also in sweetness.

1 By B. Montagu. Appendix, note 3, 1.

2 Baconiana, 201.

3 Bacon’s Apophthegms.

4 It is not surprising that ladies then received an education rare in our own times. It should be remembered that in the sixteenth century Latin was the language of courts and schools, of diplomacy, politics, and theology; it was the universal language, and there was then no literature in the modern tongues, except the Italian; indeed all knowledge, ancient and modern, was conveyed to the world in the language of the ancients. The great productions of Athens and Rome were the intellectual all of our ancestors down to the middle of the sixteenth century.

5 Prospetto delle Memorie aneddote dei Lincei da F. Cancellieri. Roma, 1823. This fact is quoted by Monsieur Cousin, in a note to his Fragments de Philosophie Cartésienne .

6 Sir Robert Cecil.

7 Gray’s Inn is one of the four Inns or companies for the study of law.

8 King’s or Queen’s Counsel are barristers that plead for the government; they receive fees but no salary; the first were appointed in the reign of Charles II. Queen’s Counsel extraordinary was a title peculiar to Bacon, granted, as the patent specially states, honoris causa .

9 Letter to Lord Burleigh.

10 The Solicitor-General is a law-officer inferior in rank to the Attorney-General, with whom he is associated in the management of the law business of the crown. He pleads also for private individuals, but not against government. He has a small salary, but very considerable fees. The salary in Bacon’s time was but seventy pounds.

11 Bacon was, like other courtiers, in the habit of presenting the Queen with a New Year’s gift. On one occasion, it was a white satin petticoat embroidered with snakes and fruitage, as emblems of wisdom and beauty. The donors varied in rank from the Lord Keeper down to the dust-man.

13 The Attorney-General is the public prosecutor on behalf of the Crown, where the state is actually and not nominally the prosecutor. He pleads also as a barrister in private causes, provided they are not against the government. As he receives a fee for every case in which the government is concerned, his emoluments are considerable; but he has no salary. His official position secures to him the best practice at the bar. The salary was, in Bacon’s time, but 81 l. 6 s. 8 d. per annum; but the situation yielded him six thousand pounds yearly.

14 Preliminary Discourse on the Study of Natural Philosophy.

15 Essay xvi.

16 Decisions being given against the parties is no proof of uncorruptness; it is always the party who loses his suit that complains; the gainer receives the price of his bribe, and is silent.

17 The exactions of his servants appear to have been very great; their indulgence in every kind of extravagance, and the lavish profuseness of his own expenses, were the principal causes of his ruin. Mallet relates that one day, during the investigation into his conduct, the Chancellor passed through a room where several of his servants were sitting; as they arose from their seats to greet him, “Sit down, my masters,” exclaimed he, “your rise hath been my fall.”

18 Essay xi.

19 Macaulay’s Essays.

20 He was not, as has been erroneously supposed, stripped of his titles of nobility; this was proposed; but it was negatived by the majority formed by means of the bishops.

21 The Prince of Wales, afterwards Charles the First, was before he ascended the throne the patron of Bacon, who said of him in his will, “my most gracious sovereign, who ever when he was prince was my patron.”

22 The Seasons.

23 Lives of the Lord Chancellors and Keepers of the Great Seal of England.

24 Bracton is one of the earliest writers of English law. He flourished in the thirteenth century. The title of his work is De Legibus et Consuetudinibus Angliæ , first printed in 1569.

25 The woods on his estate of Gorhambury.

26 Of the Interpretation of Nature.

28 New Atlantis.

29 Advancement of Learning.

30 Edinburgh Review.

32 Advancement of Learning.

33 Preliminary Discourse on the Study of Natural Philosophy.

34 Tattler, No. 267.

35 Introduction to the Literature of Europe in the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries.

36 Montaigne says, in his author’s address to the reader:—

“ Ie veulx qu’on m’y veoye en ma façon simple, naturelle et ordinaire, sans estude et artifice; car c’est moi que je peinds. ” He says again elsewhere: “ Ie n’ay pas plus faict mon livre, que mon livre m’a faict; livre consubstantiel à son aucteur, d’une occupation propre, membre de ma vie, non d’une occupation et fin tierce et estrangiere, comme touts aultres livres .” (Livre ii. ch. xviii.)

37 Introduction to the Encyclopædia.

38 Introduction to the Literature of Europe in the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries.

39 Introduction to the Literature of Europe in the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries.

40 No. 267.

42 He refers to the following passage in the Gospel of St. John, xviii. 38: “Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all.”

43 He probably refers to the “New Academy,” a sect of Greek philosophers, one of whose moot questions was, “What is truth?” Upon which they came to the unsatisfactory conclusion, that mankind has no criterion by which to form a judgment.

44 Perhaps he was thinking of St. Augustine.—See Aug. Confess. i. 25, 26.

45 “The wine of evil spirits.”

46 Genesis i. 3: “And God said, Let there be light, and there was light.”

47 At the moment when “The Lord God formed man out of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”— Genesis ii. 7.

48 Lucretius, the Roman poet and Epicurean philosopher, is alluded to.— Lucret. ii. init. Comp. Adv. of Learning , i. 8, 5.

49 He refers to the sect which followed the doctrines of Epicurus. The life of Epicurus himself was pure and abstemious in the extreme. One of his leading tenets was, that the aim of all speculation should be to enable men to judge with certainty what course is to be chosen, in order to secure health of body and tranquillity of mind. The adoption, however, of the term “pleasure,” as denoting this object, has at all periods subjected the Epicurean system to great reproach; which, in fact, is due rather to the conduct of many who, for their own purposes, have taken shelter under the system in name only, than to the tenets themselves, which did not inculcate libertinism. Epicurus admitted the existence of the Gods, but he deprived them of the characteristics of Divinity, either as creators or preservers of the world.

50 Lord Bacon has either translated this passage of Lucretius from memory or has purposely paraphrased it. The following is the literal translation of the original: “’Tis a pleasant thing, from the shore, to behold the dangers of another upon the mighty ocean, when the winds are lashing the main; not because it is a grateful pleasure for any one to be in misery, but because it is a pleasant thing to see those misfortunes from which you yourself are free: ’tis also a pleasant thing to behold the mighty contests of warfare, arrayed upon the plains, without a share in the danger; but nothing is there more delightful than to occupy the elevated temples of the wise, well fortified by tranquil learning, whence you may be able to look down upon others, and see them straying in every direction, and wandering in search of the path of life.”

51 Michael de Montaigne, the celebrated French Essayist. His Essays embrace a variety of topics, which are treated in a sprightly and entertaining manner, and are replete with remarks indicative of strong native good sense. He died in 1592. The following quotation is from the second book of the Essays , c. 18: “Lying is a disgraceful vice, and one that Plutarch, an ancient writer, paints in most disgraceful colors, when he says that it is ‘affording testimony that one first despises God, and then fears men;’ it is not possible more happily to describe its horrible, disgusting, and abandoned nature; for, can we imagine anything more vile than to be cowards with regard to men, and brave with regard to God?”

52 St. Luke xviii. 8: “Nevertheless, when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith upon the earth?”

53 A portion of this Essay is borrowed from the writings of Seneca. See his Letters to Lucilius , B. iv. Ep. 24 and 82.

54 “The array of the death-bed has more terrors than death itself.” This quotation is from Seneca.

55 He probably alludes to the custom of hanging the room in black where the body of the deceased lay, a practice much more usual in Bacon’s time than at the present day.

56 Tacit. Hist. ii. 49.

57 Ad Lucil. 77.

58 “Reflect how often you do the same things; a man may wish to die, not only because either he is brave or wretched, but even because he is surfeited with life.”

59 “Livia, mindful of our union, live on, and fare thee well.”— Suet. Aug. Vit. c. 100.

60 “His bodily strength and vitality were now forsaking Tiberius, but not his duplicity.”— Ann. vi. 50.

61 This was said as a reproof to his flatterers, and in spirit is not unlike the rebuke administered by Canute to his retinue.— Suet. Vespas. Vit. c. 23.

62 “I am become a Divinity, I suppose.”

63 “If it be for the advantage of the Roman people, strike.”— Tac. Hist. i. 41.

64 “If aught remains to be done by me, dispatch.”— Dio Cass. 76, ad fin.

65 These were the followers of Zeno, a philosopher of Citium, in Cyprus, who founded the Stoic school, or “School of the Portico,” at Athens. The basis of his doctrines was the duty of making virtue the object of all our researches. According to him, the pleasures of the mind were preferable to those of the body, and his disciples were taught to view with indifference health or sickness, riches or poverty, pain or pleasure.

66 “Who reckons the close of his life among the boons of nature.” Lord Bacon here quotes from memory; the passage is in the tenth Satire of Juvenal, and runs thus:—

“Pray for strong resolve, void of the fear of death, that reckons the closing period of life among the boons of nature.”

67 He alludes to the song of Simeon, to whom the Holy Ghost had revealed, “that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.” When he beheld the infant Jesus in the temple, he took the child in his arms and burst forth into a song of thanksgiving, commencing, “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation.”— St. Luke ii. 29.

68 “When dead, the same person shall be beloved.”— Hor. Ep. ii. 1, 14.

69 “Behold, he is in the desert.”— St. Matthew xxiv. 26.

70 “Behold, he is in the secret chambers.”— Ib.

71 He alludes to 1 Corinthians xiv. 23: “If, therefore, the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?”

72 Psalm i. 1: “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.”

73 This dance, which was originally called the Morisco dance is supposed to have been derived from the Moors of Spain; the dancers in earlier times blackening their faces to resemble Moors. It was probably a corruption of the ancient Pyrrhic dance, which was performed by men in armor, and which is mentioned as still existing in Greece, in Byron’s “Song of the Greek Captive:”—

Attitude and gesture formed one of the characteristics of the dance. It is still practised in some parts of England.— Rabelais, Pantag. ii. 7.

74 2 Kings ix. 18.

75 He alludes to the words in Revelation, c. iii. v. 14, 15, 16: “And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot.—I will spue thee out of my mouth.” Laodicea was a city of Asia Minor. St. Paul established the church there which is here referred to.

76 St. Matthew xii. 30.

77 “In the garment there may be many colors, but let there be no rending of it.”

78 “Avoid profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science, falsely so called.”—1 Tim. vi. 20.

79 He alludes to the dream of Nebuchadnezzar, significant of the limited duration of his kingdom.—See Daniel ii. 33, 41.

80 Mahomet proselytized by giving to the nations which he conquered, the option of the Koran or the sword.

81 “To deeds so dreadful could religion prompt.” The poet refers to the sacrifice by Agamemnon, the Grecian leader, of his daughter Iphigenia, with the view of appeasing the wrath of Diana.— Lucret. i. 95.

82 He alludes to the massacre of the Huguenots, or Protestants, in France, which took place on St. Bartholomew’s day, August 24, 1572, by the order of Charles IX. and his mother, Catherine de Medici. On this occasion about 60,000 persons perished, including the Admiral De Coligny, one of the most virtuous men that France possessed, and the main stay of the Protestant cause.

83 More generally known as “The Gunpowder Plot.”

84 Isa. xiv. 14.

85 Allusion is made to the “caduceus,” with which Mercury, the messenger of the Gods, summoned the souls of the departed to the infernal regions.

86 “The wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.”— James i. 20.

87 He alludes to Cosmo de Medici, or Cosmo I., chief of the Republic of Florence, the encourager of literature and the fine arts.

88 Job ii. 10.—“Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?”

89 By “public revenges,” he means punishment awarded by the state with the sanction of the laws.

90 He alludes to the retribution dealt by Augustus and Anthony to the murderers of Julius Cæsar. It is related by ancient historians, as a singular fact, that not one of them died a natural death.

91 Henry III. of France was assassinated in 1599, by Jacques Clement, a Jacobin monk, in the frenzy of fanaticism. Although Clement justly suffered punishment, the end of this bloodthirsty and bigoted tyrant may be justly deemed a retribution dealt by the hand of an offended Providence; so truly does the Poet say:—

92 Sen. Ad Lucil. 66.

93 Ibid. 53.

94 Stesichorus, Apollodorus, and others. Lord Bacon makes a similar reference to this myth in his treatise “On the Wisdom of the Ancients.” “It is added with great elegance, to console and strengthen the minds of men, that this mighty hero (Hercules) sailed in a cup or ‘urceus,’ in order that they may not too much fear and allege the narrowness of their nature and its frailty; as if it were not capable of such fortitude and constancy; of which very thing Seneca argued well, when he said, ‘It is a great thing to have at the same time the frailty of a man, and the security of a God.’”

95 Funereal airs. It must be remembered that many of the Psalms of David were written by him when persecuted by Saul, as also in the tribulation caused by the wicked conduct of his son Absalom. Some of them, too, though called “The Psalms of David,” were really composed by the Jews in their captivity at Babylon; as, for instance, the 137th Psalm, which so beautifully commences, “By the waters of Babylon there we sat down.” One of them is supposed to be the composition of Moses.

96 This fine passage, beginning at “Prosperity is the blessing,” which was not published till 1625, twenty-eight years after the first Essays, has been quoted by Macaulay, with considerable justice, as a proof that the writer’s fancy did not decay with the advance of old age, and that his style in his later years became richer and softer. The learned critic contrasts this passage with the terse style of the Essay of Studies (Essay 50), which was published in 1597.

97 Tac. Ann. v. 1.

98 Tac. Hist. ii. 76.

99 A word now unused, signifying the “traits,” or “features.”

100 A truth.— A. L. II. xxiii. 14.

101 Proverbs x. 1: “A wise son maketh a glad father, but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.”

102 Petted—spoiled.

103 This word seems here to mean “a plan,” or “method,” as proved by its results.

104 Ends in.

105 There is considerable justice in this remark. Children should be taught to do what is right for its own sake, and because it is their duty to do so, and not that they may have the selfish gratification of obtaining the reward which their companions have failed to secure, and of being led to think themselves superior to their companions. When launched upon the world, emulation will be quite sufficiently forced upon them by stern necessity.

106 “Select that course of life which is the most advantageous; habit will soon render it pleasant and easily endured.”

107 His meaning is, that if clergymen have the expenses of a family to support, they will hardly find means for the exercise of benevolence toward their parishioners.

108 “He preferred his aged wife Penelope to immortality.” This was when Ulysses was entreated by the goddess Calypso to give up all thoughts of returning to Ithaca, and to remain with her in the enjoyment of immortality.— Plut. Gryll. 1.

109 “May have a pretext,” or “excuse.”

110 Thales, Vide Diog. Laert. i. 26.

111 So prevalent in ancient times was the notion of the injurious effects of the eye of envy, that, in common parlance, the Romans generally used the word “ præfiscini ,”—“without risk of enchantment,” or “fascination,” when they spoke in high terms of themselves. They supposed that they thereby averted the effects of enchantment produced by the evil eye of any envious person who might at that moment possibly be looking upon them. Lord Bacon probably here alludes to St. Mark vii. 21, 22: “Out of the heart of men proceedeth—deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye.” Solomon also speaks of the evil eye, Prov. xxiii. 6, and xxviii. 22.

112 To be even with him.

113 “There is no person a busybody, but what he is ill-natured too.” This passage is from the Stichus of Plautus.

114 Narses superseded Belisarius in the command of the armies of Italy, by the orders of the Emperor Justinian. He defeated Totila, the king of the Goths (who had taken Rome), in a decisive engagement, in which the latter was slain. He governed Italy with consummate ability for thirteen years, when he was ungratefully recalled by Justin the Second, the successor of Justinian.

115 Tamerlane, or Timour, was a native of Samarcand, of which territory he was elected emperor. He overran Persia, Georgia, Hindostan, and captured Bajazet, the valiant Sultan of the Turks, at the battle of Angora, 1402, whom he is said to have inclosed in a cage of iron. His conquests extended from the Irtish and Volga to the Persian Gulf, and from the Ganges to the Grecian Archipelago. While preparing for the invasion of China, he died, in the 70th year of his age, A. D. 1405. He was tall and corpulent in person, but was maimed in one hand, and lame on the right side.

116 Spartian Vit. Adrian, 15.

117 Comes under the observation.

118 “By a leap,” i. e. over the heads of others.

119 “How vast the evils we endure.”

120 He probably alludes to the custom of the Athenians, who frequently ostracized or banished by vote their public men, lest they should become too powerful.

121 From in and video ,—“to look upon;” with reference to the so-called “evil eye” of the envious.

122 “Envy keeps no holidays.”

123 See St. Matthew xiii. 25.

124 Beholden.

125 He iniquitously attempted to obtain possession of the person of Virginia, who was killed by her father Virginius, to prevent her from falling a victim to his lust. This circumstance caused the fall of the Decemviri at Rome, who had been employed in framing the code of laws afterwards known as “The Laws of the Twelve Tables.” They narrowly escaped being burned alive by the infuriated populace.

126 “We are a sufficient theme for contemplation, the one for the other.”— Sen. Epist. Mor. 1. 7. (A. L. l. iii. 6.) Pope seems, notwithstanding this censure of Bacon, to have been of the same opinion with Epicurus:—

Indeed, Lord Bacon seems to have misunderstood the saying of Epicurus, who did not mean to recommend man as the sole object of the bodily vision, but as the proper theme for mental contemplation.

127 Amare et sapere vix Deo conceditur.— Pub. Syr. Sent. 15. (A. L. ii. proœ. 10.)

128 He refers here to the judgment of Paris, mentioned by Ovid in his Epistles, of the Heroines.

129 Montaigne has treated this subject before Bacon, under the title of De l’incommodité de la Grandeur . (B. iii. ch. vii.)

130 “Since you are not what you were, there is no reason why you should wish to live.”

131 “Death presses heavily upon him, who, well known to all others, dies unknown to himself.”— Sen. Thyest. ii. 401.

132 “And God turned to behold the works which his hands had made, and he saw that everything was very good.”—See Gen. i. 31.

133 “As a matter of course.”

134 Too great easiness of access.

135 Predilections that are undeserved.

136 Proverbs xxviii. 21. The whole passage stands thus in our version: “He that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent. To have respect of persons is not good; for, for a piece of bread, that man will transgress.”

137 “By the consent of all he was fit to govern, if he had not governed.”

138 “Of the emperors, Vespasian alone changed for the better after his accession .”— Tac. Hist. i. 49, 50 (A. L. ii. xxii. 5).

139 Plut. vit. Demosth. 17, 18.

140 It is not improbable that this passage suggested Pope’s beautiful lines in the Essay on Man , Ep. i. 125-28.

141 Auger Gislen Busbec, or Busbequius, a learned traveller, born at Comines, in Flanders, in 1522. He was employed by the Emperor Ferdinand as ambassador to the Sultan Solyman II. He was afterwards ambassador to France, where he died, in 1592. His “Letters” relative to his travels in the East, which are written in Latin, contain much interesting information. They were the pocket companion of Gibbon, and are highly praised by him.

142 In this instance the stork or crane was probably protected, not on the abstract grounds mentioned in the text, but for reasons of state policy and gratitude combined. In Eastern climates the cranes and dogs are far more efficacious than human agency in removing filth and offal, and thereby diminishing the chances of pestilence. Superstition, also, may have formed another motive, as we learn from a letter written from Adrianople, by Lady Montagu, in 1718, that storks were “held there in a sort of religious reverence, because they are supposed to make every winter the pilgrimage to Mecca. To say truth, they are the happiest subjects under the Turkish government, and are so sensible of their privileges, that they walk the streets without fear, and generally build their nests in the lower parts of the houses. Happy are those whose houses are so distinguished, as the vulgar Turks are perfectly persuaded that they will not be that year attacked either by fire or pestilence.” Storks are still protected, by municipal law, in Holland, and roam unmolested about the market-places.

143 Nicolo Machiavelli, a Florentine statesman. He wrote “Discourses on the first Decade of Livy,” which were conspicuous for their liberality of sentiment, and just and profound reflections. This work was succeeded by his famous treatise, “Il Principe,” “The Prince;” his patron, Cæsar Borgia, being the model of the perfect prince there described by him. The whole scope of this work is directed to one object—the maintenance of power, however acquired. Though its precepts are no doubt based upon the actual practice of the Italian politicians of that day, it has been suggested by some writers that the work was a covert exposure of the deformity of the shocking maxims that it professes to inculcate. The question of his motives has been much discussed, and is still considered open. The word “Machiavellism” has, however, been adopted to denote all that is deformed, insincere, and perfidious in politics. He died in great poverty, in the year 1527.

144 Vide Disc. Sop. Liv. ii. 2.

145 St. Matthew v. 45. “For he maketh his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.”

146 This is a portion of our Saviour’s reply to the rich man who asked him what he should do to inherit eternal life: “Then Jesus beholding him, loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow me.”— St. Mark x. 21.

147 See St. Luke xvi. 21.

148 Timon of Athens, as he is generally called (being so styled by Shakspeare in the play which he has founded on his story), was surnamed the “Misanthrope,” from the hatred which he bore to his fellow-men. He was attached to Apemantus, another Athenian of similar character to himself, and he professed to esteem Alcibiades, because he foresaw that he would one day bring ruin on his country. Going to the public assembly on one occasion, he mounted the rostrum, and stated that he had a fig-tree, on which many worthy citizens had ended their days by the halter; that he was going to cut it down for the purpose of building on the spot, and therefore recommended all such as were inclined, to avail themselves of it before it was too late.

149 A piece of timber that has grown crooked, and has been so cut that the trunk and branch form an angle.

150 He probably here refers to the myrrh-tree. Incision is the method usually adopted for extracting the resinous juices of trees; as in the India-rubber and gutta-percha trees.

151 “A votive,” and, in the present instance, a “vicarious offering.” He alludes to the words of St. Paul in his Second Epistle to Timothy ii. 10: “Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sake, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”

152 Consideration of, or predilection for, particular persons.

153 The Low Countries had then recently emancipated themselves from the galling yoke of Spain. They were called the Seven United Provinces of the Netherlands.

154 This passage may at first sight appear somewhat contradictory; but he means to say, that those who are first ennobled will commonly be found more conspicuous for the prominence of their qualities, both good and bad.

155 Consistent with reason and justice.

156 The periods of the Equinoxes.

157 “He often warns, too, that secret revolt is impending, that treachery and open warfare are ready to burst forth.”— Virg. Georg. i. 465.

158 “Mother Earth, exasperated at the wrath of the Deities, produced her, as they tell, a last birth, a sister to the giants Cœus, and Enceladus.”— Virg. Æn. iv. 179.

159 “Great public odium once excited, his deeds, whether good or whether bad, cause his downfall.” Bacon has here quoted incorrectly, probably from memory. The words of Tacitus are ( Hist. B. i. C. 7): “Inviso semel principe, seu bene, seu male, facta premunt,”—“The ruler once detested, his actions, whether good or whether bad, cause his downfall.”

160 “They attended to their duties; but still, as preferring rather to discuss the commands of their rulers, than to obey them.”— Tac. Hist. ii. 39.

161 He alludes to the bad policy of Henry the Third of France, who espoused the part of “The League,” which was formed by the Duke of Guise and other Catholics for the extirpation of the Protestant faith. When too late he discovered his error, and finding his own authority entirely superseded, he caused the Duke of Guise and the Cardinal De Lorraine, his brother, to be assassinated.

162 “The primary motive power.” He alludes to an imaginary centre of gravitation, or central body, which was supposed to set all the other heavenly bodies in motion.

163 “Too freely to remember their own rulers.”

164 “I will unloose the girdles of kings.” He probably alludes here to the first verse of the 45th chapter of Isaiah: “Thus saith the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two-leaved gates.”

165 “Hence devouring usury, and interest accumulating in lapse of time; hence shaken credit, and warfare, profitable to the many.”— Lucan. Phars. i. 181.

166 “Warfare profitable to the many.”

167 “To grief there is a limit, not so to fear.”

168 “Check,” or “daunt.”

169 This is similar to the proverb now in common use: “’Tis the last feather that breaks the back of the camel.”

170 The state.

171 Though sumptuary laws are probably just in theory, they have been found impracticable in any other than infant states. Their principle, however, is certainly recognized in such countries as by statutory enactment discountenance gaming. Those who are opposed to such laws upon principle, would do well to look into Bernard Mandeville’s “Fable of the Bees,” or “Private Vices Public Benefits.” The Romans had numerous sumptuary laws, and in the Middle Ages there were many enactments in this country against excess of expenditure upon wearing apparel and the pleasures of the table.

172 He means that they do not add to the capital of the country.

173 At the expense of foreign countries.

174 “The workmanship will surpass the material.”— Ovid, Met. B. ii. l. 5.

175 He alludes to the manufactures of the Low Countries.

176 Like manure.

177 Sometimes printed engrossing, great pasturages . By engrossing , is meant the trade of engrossers —men who buy up all that can be got of a particular commodity, then raise the price. By great pasturages is meant turning corn land into pasture. Of this practice great complaints had been made for near a century before Bacon’s time, and a law passed to prevent it.—See Lord Herbert of Cherbury’s History of Henry VIII.

178 The myth of Pandora’s box, which is here referred to, is related in the Works and Days of Hesiod. Epimetheus was the personification of “Afterthought,” while his brother Prometheus represented “Forethought,” or prudence. It was not Epimetheus that opened the box, but Pandora—“All-gift,” whom, contrary to the advice of his brother, he had received at the hands of Mercury, and had made his wife. In their house stood a closed jar, which they were forbidden to open. Till her arrival, this had been kept untouched; but her curiosity prompting her to open the lid, all the evils hitherto unknown to man flew out and spread over the earth, and she only shut it down in time to prevent the escape of Hope.

179 “Sylla did not know his letters, and so he could not dictate.” This saying is attributed by Suetonius to Julius Cæsar. It is a play on the Latin verb dictare , which means either “to dictate,” or “to act the part of Dictator,” according to the context. As this saying was presumed to be a reflection on Sylla’s ignorance, and to imply that by reason thereof he was unable to maintain his power, it was concluded by the Roman people that Cæsar, who was an elegant scholar, feeling himself subject to no such inability, did not intend speedily to yield the reins of power.— Suet. Vit. C. Jul. Cæs. 77, i. and Cf. A. L. i. vii. 12.

180 “That soldiers were levied by him, not bought.”— Tac. Hist. i. 5.

181 “If I live, there shall no longer be need of soldiers in the Roman empire.”— Flav. Vop. Vit. Prob. 20.

182 “And such was the state of feeling, that a few dared to perpetrate the worst of crimes; more wished to do so; all submitted to it.”— Hist. i. 28.

183 He probably alludes to the legends or miraculous stories of the saints; such as walking with their heads off, preaching to the fishes, sailing over the sea on a cloak, &c. &c.

184 This is a book that contains the Jewish traditions, and the rabbinical explanations of the law. It is replete with wonderful narratives.

185 This passage not improbably contains the germ of Pope’s famous lines:—

186 A philosopher of Abdera; the first who taught the system of atoms, which was afterwards more fully developed by Democritus and Epicurus.

187 He was a disciple of the last-named philosopher, and held the same principles; he also denied the existence of the soul after death. He is considered to have been the parent of experimental philosophy, and was the first to teach, what is now confirmed by science, that the Milky Way is an accumulation of stars.

188 Spirit.

189 Psalm xiv. 1, and liii. 1.

190 To whose (seeming) advantage it is; the wish being father to the thought.

191 “It is not profane to deny the existence of the deities of the vulgar; but, to apply to the divinities the received notions of the vulgar, is profane.”— Diog. Laert. x. 123.

192 He alludes to the native tribes of the continent of America and the West Indies.

193 He was an Athenian philosopher, who, from the greatest superstition, became an avowed atheist. He was proscribed by the Areiopagus for speaking against the gods with ridicule and contempt, and is supposed to have died at Corinth.

194 A Greek philosopher, a disciple of Theodorus the atheist, to whose opinions he adhered. His life was said to have been profligate, and his death superstitious.

195 Lucian ridiculed the follies and pretensions of some of the ancient philosophers; but though the freedom of his style was such as to cause him to be censured for impiety, he hardly deserves the stigma of atheism here cast upon him by the learned author.

196 “It is not for us now to say, ‘Like priest like people,’ for the people are not even so bad as the priest.” St. Bernard, abbot of Clairvaux, preached the second Crusade against the Saracens, and was unsparing in his censures of the sins then prevalent among the Christian priesthood. His writings are voluminous, and by some he has been considered as the latest of the fathers of the Church.

197 “A superior nature.”

198 “We may admire ourselves, conscript fathers, as much as we please; still, neither by numbers did we vanquish the Spaniards, nor by bodily strength the Gauls, nor by cunning the Carthaginians, nor through the arts the Greeks, nor, in fine, by the inborn and native good sense of this our nation, and this our race and soil, the Italians and Latins themselves; but through our devotion and our religious feeling, and this, the sole true wisdom, the having perceived that all things are regulated and governed by the providence of the immortal Gods, have we subdued all races and nations.”— Cic. de. Harus. Respon. 9.

199 The justice of this position is, perhaps, somewhat doubtful. The superstitious man must have some scruples, while he who believes not in a God (if there is such a person), needs have none .

200 Time was personified in Saturn, and by this story was meant its tendency to destroy whatever it has brought into existence.— Plut. de Superstit. x.

201 The primary motive power.

202 This Council commenced in 1545, and lasted eighteen years. It was convened for the purpose of opposing the rising spirit of Protestantism, and of discussing and settling the disputed points of the Catholic faith.

203 Irregular or anomalous movements.

204 An epicycle is a smaller circle, whose centre is in the circumference of a greater one.

205 To account for.

206 Synods, or councils.

207 At the present day called attachés .

208 He probably means the refusing to join on the occasion of drinking healths when taking wine.

209 Something to create excitement.

210 “The heart of kings is unsearchable.”— Prov. v. 3.

211 Commodus fought naked in public as a gladiator, and prided himself on his skill as a swordsman.

212 Making a stop at, or dwelling too long upon.

213 After a prosperous reign of twenty-one years, Diocletian abdicated the throne, and retired to a private station.

214 After having reigned thirty-five years, he abdicated the thrones of Spain and Germany, and passed the last two years of his life in retirement at St. Just, a convent in Estremadura.

215 Philost. vit. Apoll. Tyan. v. 28.

216 “The desires of monarchs are generally impetuous and conflicting among themselves.”—Quoted rightly, A. L. ii. xxii. 5, from Sallust (B. J. 113).

217 He was especially the rival of the Emperor Charles the Fifth, and was one of the most distinguished sovereigns that ever ruled over France.

218 An eminent historian of Florence. His great work, which is here alluded to, is, “The History of Italy during his own Time,” which is considered one of the most valuable productions of that age.

219 Spoken badly of. Livia was said to have hastened the death of Augustus, to prepare the accession of her son Tiberius to the throne.

220 Solyman the Magnificent was one of the most celebrated of the Ottoman monarchs. He took the Isle of Rhodes from the Knights of St. John. He also subdued Moldavia, Wallachia, and the greatest part of Hungary, and took from the Persians Georgia and Bagdad. He died A. D. 1566. His wife Roxolana (who was originally a slave called Rosa or Hazathya), with the Pasha Rustan, conspired against the life of his son Mustapha, and by their instigation this distinguished prince was strangled in his father’s presence.

221 The infamous Isabella of Anjou.

222 Adulteresses.

223 He, however, distinguished himself by taking Cyprus from the Venetians in the year 1571.

224 He was falsely accused by his brother Perseus of attempting to dethrone his father, on which he was put to death by the order of Philip, B. C. 180.

225 Anselm was Archbishop of Canterbury in the time of William Rufus and Henry the First. Though his private life was pious and exemplary, through his rigid assertion of the rights of the clergy he was continually embroiled with his sovereign. Thomas à Becket pursued a similar course, but with still greater violence.

226 The great vessel that conveys the blood to the liver, after it has been enriched by the absorption of nutriment from the intestines.

227 This is an expression similar to our proverb, “Penny-wise and pound-foolish.”

228 A subdivision of the shire.

229 The Janizaries were the body-guards of the Turkish sultans, and enacted the same disgraceful part in making and unmaking monarchs, as the mercenary Prætorian guards of the Roman Empire.

230 “Remember that thou art a man.”

231 “Remember that thou art a God.”

232 “The representative of God.”

233 Isaiah ix. 6: “His name shall be called, Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”

234 Prov. xx. 18: “Every purpose is established by counsel: and with good advice make war.”

235 The wicked Rehoboam, from whom the ten tribes of Israel revolted, and elected Jeroboam their king.—See 1 Kings xii.

236 Hesiod, Theog. 886.

237 The political world has not been convinced of the truth of this doctrine of Lord Bacon; as cabinet councils are now held probably by every sovereign in Europe.

238 “I am full of outlets.”— Ter. Eun. I. ii. 25.

239 That is, without a complicated machinery of government.

240 Master of the Rolls and Privy Councillor under Henry VI., to whose cause he faithfully adhered. Edward IV. promoted him to the See of Ely, and made him Lord Chancellor. He was elevated to the See of Canterbury by Henry VII., and in 1493 received the Cardinal’s hat.

241 Privy Councillor and Keeper of the Privy Seal to Henry VII., and, after enjoying several bishoprics in succession, translated to the See of Winchester. He was an able statesman, and highly valued by Henry VII. On the accession of Henry VIII. his political influence was counteracted by Wolsey; on which he retired to his diocese, and devoted the rest of his life to acts of piety and munificence.

242 Before mentioned, relative to Jupiter and Metis.

243 Remedied.

244 “He shall not find faith upon the earth.” Lord Bacon probably alludes to the words of our Saviour, St. Luke xviii. 8: “When the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith upon the earth?”

245 He means to say, that this remark was only applicable to a particular time, namely, the coming of Christ. The period of the destruction of Jerusalem was probably referred to.

246 “’Tis the especial virtue of a prince to know his own men.”

247 In his disposition, or inclination.

248 Liable to opposition from.

249 “According to classes,” or, as we vulgarly say, “in the lump.” Lord Bacon means that princes are not, as a matter of course, to take counsellors merely on the presumption of talent, from their rank and station; but that, on the contrary, they are to select such as are tried men, and with regard to whom there can be no mistake.

250 “The best counsellors are the dead.”

251 “Are afraid” to open their mouths.

252 “Night-time for counsel.”—ἐν νυκτὶ βουλή. Gaisf. Par. Gr. B. 359.

253 On the accession of James the Sixth of Scotland to the throne of England in 1603.

254 A phrase much in use with the Romans, signifying, “to attend to the business in hand.”

255 A tribunitial or declamatory manner.

256 “I’ll follow the bent of your humor.”

257 The Sibyl alluded to here is the Cumæan, the most celebrated, who offered the Sibylline Books for sale to Tarquin the Proud.

“At this time, an unknown woman appeared at court, loaded with nine volumes, which she offered to sell, but at a very considerable price. Tarquin refusing to give it, she withdrew and burnt three of the nine. Some time after she returned to court, and demanded the same price for the remaining six. This made her looked upon as a mad woman, and she was driven away with scorn. Nevertheless, having burnt the half of what were left, she came a third time, and demanded for the remaining three the same price which she had asked for the whole nine. The novelty of such a proceeding, made Tarquin curious to have the books examined. They were put, therefore, into the hands of the augurs, who, finding them to be the oracles of the Sybil of Cumæ, declared them to be an invaluable treasure. Upon this the woman was paid the sum she demanded, and she soon after disappeared, having first exhorted the Romans to preserve her books with care.”— Hooke’s Roman History.

258 Bald head. He alludes to the common saying: “Take time by the forelock.”

259 Phæd. viii.

260 Hom. Il. v. 845.

261 Packing the cards is an admirable illustration of the author’s meaning. It is a cheating exploit, by which knaves, who, perhaps, are inferior players, insure to themselves the certainty of good hands.

262 “Send them both naked among strangers, and then you will see.”

263 This word is used here in its primitive sense of “retail dealers.” It is said to have been derived from a custom of the Flemings, who first settled in this country in the fourteenth century, stopping the passengers as they passed their shops, and saying to them, “Haber das, herr?”—“Will you take this, sir?” The word is now generally used as synonymous with linen-draper.

264 To watch.

266 Discussing matters.

267 He refers to the occasion when Nehemiah, on presenting the wine, as cup-bearer to King Artaxerxes, appeared sorrowful, and, on being asked the reason of it, entreated the king to allow Jerusalem to be rebuilt.— Nehemiah ii. 1.

268 This can hardly be called a marriage, as, at the time of the intrigue, Messalina was the wife of Claudius; but she forced Caius Silius, of whom she was deeply enamored, to divorce his own wife, that she herself might enjoy his society. The intrigue was disclosed to Claudius by Narcissus, who was his freedman, and the pander to his infamous vices; on which Silius was put to death. Vide Tac. Ann. xi. 29, seq.

269 To speak in his turn.

270 Be questioned upon.

271 Kept on good terms.

272 Desire it.

273 “That he did not have various hopes in view, but solely the safety of the emperor.” Tigellinus was the profligate minister of Nero, and Africanus Burrhus was the chief of the Prætorian Guards.— Tac. Ann. xiv. 57.

274 As Nathan did, when he reproved David for his criminality with Bathsheba.—2 Samuel xii.

275 Use indirect stratagems.

276 He alludes to the old Cathedral of St. Paul, in London, which, in the sixteenth century, was a common lounge for idlers.

277 Movements, or springs.

278 Chances, or vicissitudes.

279 Enter deeply into.

280 Faults, or weak points.

281 “The wise man gives heed to his own footsteps; the fool turneth aside to the snare.” No doubt he here alludes to Ecclesiastes xiv. 2, which passage is thus rendered in our version: “The wise man’s eyes are in his head; but the fool walketh in darkness.”

282 Mischievous.

283 It must be remembered that Bacon was not a favorer of the Copernican system.

284 “Lovers of themselves without a rival.”— Ad. Qu. Fr. iii. 8.

285 Remedy.

286 Adapted to each other.

287 Injures or impairs.

288 A thing suspected.

289 He probably alludes to Jeremiah vi. 16: “Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.”

290 That is, by means of good management.

291 It is supposed that he here alludes to Sir Amyas Paulet, a very able statesman, and the ambassador of Queen Elizabeth to the court of France.

292 Quotations.

293 Apologies.

294 Boasting.

295 Prejudice.

296 2 Tim. iii. 5.

297 “Trifles with great effort.”

298 “With one brow raised to your forehead, the other bent downward to your chin, you answer that cruelty delights you not.”— In Pis. 6.

299 “A foolish man, who fritters away the weight of matters by finespun trifling on words.”—Vide Quint. x. 1.

300 Plat. Protag. i. 337.

301 Find it easier to make difficulties and objections than to originate.

302 One really in insolvent circumstances, though to the world he does not appear so.

303 He here quotes from a passage in the Politica of Aristotle, book i. “He who is unable to mingle in society, or who requires nothing, by reason of sufficing for himself, is no part of the state, so that he is either a wild beast or a divinity.”

304 Epimenides, a poet of Crete (of which Candia is the modern name), is said by Pliny to have fallen into a sleep which lasted 57 years. He was also said to have lived 299 years. Numa pretended that he was instructed in the art of legislation by the divine nymph Egeria, who dwelt in the Arician grove. Empedocles, the Sicilian philosopher, declared himself to be immortal, and to be able to cure all evils. He is said by some to have retired from society that his death might not be known, and to have thrown himself into the crater of Mount Ætna. Apollonius of Tyana, the Pythagorean philosopher, pretended to miraculous powers, and after his death a temple was erected to him at that place. His life is recorded by Philostratus; and some persons, among whom are Hierocles, Dr. More, in his Mystery of Godliness, and recently Strauss, have not hesitated to compare his miracles with those of our Saviour.

305 “A great city, a great desert.”

306 Sarsaparilla.

307 A liquid matter of a pungent smell, extracted from a portion of the body of the beaver.

308 “Partakers of cares.”

309 Plutarch ( Vit. Pomp. 19) relates that Pompey said this upon Sylla’s refusal to give him a triumph.

310 Plut. Vit. J. Cæs. 64.

311 Cic. Philip. xiii. 11.

312 “These things, by reason of our friendship, I have not concealed from you .”—Vide Tac. Ann. iv. 40.

313 Dio Cass. lxxv.

314 Such infamous men as Tiberius and Sejanus hardly deserve this commendation.

315 Philip de Comines.

316 Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, the valiant antagonist of Louis XI. of France. De Comines spent his early years at his court, but afterwards passed into the service of Louis XI. This monarch was notorious for his cruelty, treachery, and dissimulation, and had all the bad qualities of his contemporary, Edward IV. of England, without any of his redeeming virtues.

317 Pythagoras went still further than this, as he forbade his disciples to eat flesh of any kind whatever. See the interesting speech which Ovid attributes to him in the fifteenth book of the Metamorphoses. Sir Thomas Browne, in his Pseudoxia ( Browne’s Works , Bohn’s Antiq. ed. vol. i. p. 27, et seq. ), gives some curious explanations of the doctrines of this philosopher.— Plut. de Educat. Puer. 17.

318 Tapestry. Speaking hypercritically, Lord Bacon commits an anachronism here, as Arras did not manufacture tapestry till the middle ages.

319 Plut. Vit. Themist. 28.

320 Ap. Stob. Serm. v. 120.

321 James i. 23.

322 He alludes to the recommendation which moralists have often given, that a person in anger should go through the alphabet to himself, before he allows himself to speak.

323 In his day, the musket was fixed upon a stand, called the “rest,” much as the gingals or matchlocks are used in the East at the present day.

324 From debts and incumbrances.

325 Plut. Vit. Themist. ad init.

326 “Equal to business.”

327 He alludes to the following passage, St. Matthew xiii. 31: “Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard-seed, which a man took and sowed in his field; which indeed is the least of all seeds; but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.”

328 Virg. Ecl. vii. 51.

329 Vide. A. L. i. vii. 11.

330 He was vanquished by Lucullus, and finally submitted to Pompey.— Plut. Vit. Lucull. 27.

331 He alludes to the prophetic words of Jacob on his death-bed, Gen. xlix. 9, 14, 15: “Judah is a lion’s whelp; ... he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion.... Issachar is a strong ass couching down between two burdens: And he saw that rest was good, and the land that it was pleasant; and bowed his shoulder to bear, and became a servant unto tribute.”

332 Sums of money voluntarily contributed by the people for the use of the sovereign.

333 Young trees.

334 “A land strong in arms and in the richness of the soil.”— Virg. Æn. i. 535.

335 He alludes to the dream of Nebuchadnezzar, which is mentioned Daniel iv. 10; “I saw, and behold a tree in the midst of the earth, and the height thereof was great. The tree grew, and was strong, and the height thereof reached unto heaven, and the sight thereof to the end of all the earth: the leaves thereof were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat for all; the beasts of the field had shadow under it, and the fowls of the heaven dwelt in the boughs thereof, and all flesh was fed of it.”

336 “Right of citizenship.”

337 “Right of trading.”

338 “Right of intermarriage.”

339 “Right of inheritance.”

340 “Right of suffrage.”

341 “Right of honors.”

342 Long since the time of Lord Bacon, as soon as these colonies had arrived at a certain state of maturity, they at different periods revolted from the mother country.

343 The laws and ordinances promulgated by the sovereigns of Spain were so called. The term was derived from the Byzantine empire.

344 Qualifications.

345 Attend to.

346 For a short or transitory period.

347 Be in a hurry.

348 It was its immense armaments that in a great measure consumed the vitals of Spain.

349 “Pompey’s plan is clearly that of Themistocles; for he believes that whoever is master of the sea will obtain the supreme power.”— Ad Att. x. 8.

350 Encomiums.

351 St. Matthew vi. 27; St. Luke xii. 25.

352 The effects of which must be felt in old age.

353 Of benefit in your individual case.

354 Any striking change in the constitution.

355 Take medical advice.

356 Incline rather to fully satisfying your hunger.

357 Celsus de Med. i. 1.

358 To hope the best, but be fully prepared for the worst.

359 “Suspicion is the passport to faith.”

360 A censure of this nature has been applied by some to Dr. Johnson, and possibly with some reason.

361 To start the subject.

362 Requires to be bridled.

363 He quotes here from Ovid: “Boy, spare the whip, and tightly grasp the reins.”— Met. ii. 127.

364 One who tests or examines.

365 The galliard was a light active dance, much in fashion in the time of Queen Elizabeth.

366 Hits at, or remarks intended to be applied to, particular individuals.

367 A slight or insult.

368 A sarcastic remark.

369 The old term for colonies.

370 He perhaps alludes covertly to the conduct of the Spaniards in extirpating the aboriginal inhabitants of the West India Islands, against which the venerable Las Casas so eloquently but vainly protested.

371 Of course, this censure would not apply to what is primarily and essentially a convict colony; the object of which is to drain the mother country of its impure superfluities.

372 Times have much changed since this was penned, tobacco is now the staple commodity, and the source of “the main business” of Virginia.

373 To labor hard.

374 Marshy; from the French marais , a marsh.

375 Gewgaws, or spangles.

376 He alludes to Ecclesiastes v. 11, the words of which are somewhat varied in our version: “When goods increase, they are increased that eat them; and what good is there to the owners thereof, saving the beholding of them with their eyes?”

377 “The rich man’s wealth is his strong city.”— Proverbs x. 15; xviii. 11.

378 “In his anxiety to increase his fortune, it was evident that not the gratification of avarice was sought, but the means of doing good.”

379 “He who hastens to riches will not be without guilt.” In our version the words are: “He that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent.”— Proverbs xxviii. 22.

380 Pluto being the king of the infernal regions, or place of departed spirits.

381 Rent-roll, or account taken of income.

382 Wait till prices have risen.

383 “In the sweat of another’s brow.” He alludes to the words of Genesis iii. 19: “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread.”

384 Planter of sugar-canes.

385 “Wills and childless persons were caught by him , as though with a hunting-net.”— Tacit. Ann. xiii. 42.

386 “Pythoness,” used in the sense of witch. He alludes to the witch of Endor, and the words in Samuel xxviii. 19. He is, however, mistaken in attributing these words to the witch: it was the spirit of Samuel that said, “To-morrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me.”

387 “But the house of Æneas shall reign over every shore, both his children’s children, and those who shall spring from them.”— Æn. iii. 97.

388 “After the lapse of years, ages will come in which Ocean shall relax his chains around the world, and a vast continent shall appear, and Tiphys shall explore new regions, and Thule shall be no longer the utmost verge of earth.”— Sen. Med. ii. 375.

389 He was king of Samos, and was treacherously put to death by Orœtes, the governor of Magnesia, in Asia Minor. His daughter, in consequence of her dream, attempted to dissuade him from visiting Orœtes, but in vain.— Herod. iii. 124.

390 Plut. Vit. Alex. 2.

391 “Thou shalt see me again at Philippi.”— Appian Bell. Civ. iv. 134.

392 “Thou, also, Galba, shalt taste of empire.”— Suet. Vit. Gall. 4.

393 Hist. v. 13.

394 Suet. vit. Domit. 23.

395 Catherine de Medicis, the wife of Henry II. of France, who died from a wound accidentally received in a tournament.

396 James I. being the first monarch of Great Britain.

397 “The eighty-eighth will be a wondrous year.”

398 “Aristophanes, in his Comedy of the Knights, satirizes Cleon, the Athenian demagogue. He introduces a declaration of the oracle, that the Eagle of hides (by whom Cleon was meant, his father having been a tanner), should be conquered by a serpent, which Demosthenes, one of the characters in the play, expounds as meaning a maker of sausages. How Lord Bacon could for a moment doubt that this was a mere jest, it is difficult to conjecture. The following is a literal translation of a portion of the passage from The Knights (l. 197): “But when a leather eagle with crooked talons shall have seized with its jaws a serpent, a stupid creature, a drinker of blood, then the tan-pickle of the Paphlagonians is destroyed; but upon the sellers of sausages the deity bestows great glory, unless they choose rather to sell sausages.”

399 This is a very just remark. So-called strange coincidences, and wonderful dreams that are verified, when the point is considered, are really not at all marvellous. We never hear of the 999 dreams that are not verified, but the thousandth that happens to precede its fulfilment is blazoned by unthinking people as a marvel. It would be a much more wonderful thing if dreams were not occasionally verified.

400 Under this name he alludes to the Critias of Plato, in which an imaginary “terra incognita” is discoursed of under the name of the “New Atlantis.” It has been conjectured from this by some, that Plato really did believe in the existence of a continent on the other side of the globe.

401 Hot and fiery.

402 With the eyes closed or blindfolded.

403 He was a favorite of Tiberius, to whose murder by Nero he was said to have been an accessary. He afterwards prostituted his own wife to Caligula, by whom he was eventually put to death.

404 Liable to.

405 Chirpings like the noise of young birds.

406 Jewels or necklaces.

407 Spangles, or O’s of gold or silver. Beckmann says that these were invented in the beginning of the seventeenth century. See Beckmann’s Hist. of Inventions (Bohn’s Stand. Lib.), vol. i. p. 424.

408 Or antic-masques. These were ridiculous interludes dividing the acts of the more serious masque. These were performed by hired actors, while the masque was played by ladies and gentlemen. The rule was, the characters were to be neither serious nor hideous. The “Comus” of Milton is an admirable specimen of a masque.

410 “He is the best asserter of the liberty of his mind, who bursts the chains that gall his breast, and at the same moment ceases to grieve.”—This quotation is from Ovid’s Remedy of Love , 293.

411 “My soul has long been a sojourner.”

412 “The wish is father to the thought,” is a proverbial saying of similar meaning.

413 Vide Disc. Sop. Liv. iii. 6.

414 Jacques Clement, a Dominican friar, who assassinated Henry III. of France, in 1589. The sombre fanatic was but twenty-five year of age; and he had announced the intention of killing with his own hands the great enemy of his faith. He was instigated by the Leaguers, and particularly by the Duchess of Montpensier, the sister of the Duke of Guise.

415 He murdered Henry IV. of France, in 1610.

416 Philip II. of Spain having, in 1582, set a price upon the head of William of Nassau, Prince of Orange, the leader of the Protestants, Jaureguy attempted to assassinate him, and severely wounded him.

417 He assassinated William of Nassau, in 1584. It is supposed that this fanatic meditated the crime for six years.

418 A resolution prompted by a vow of devotion to a particular principle or creed.

419 He alludes to the Hindoos, and the ceremony of Suttee, encouraged by the Brahmins.

420 Flinching.— Vide Cic. Tuscul. Disp. ii. 14.

421 “Every man is the architect of his own fortune.” Sallust, in his letters “De Republicâ Ordinandâ,” attributes these words to Appius Claudius Cæcus, a Roman poet whose works are now lost. Lord Bacon, in the Latin translation of his Essays, which was made under his supervision, rendered the word “poet” “comicus;” by whom he probably meant Plautus, who has this line in his “Trinummus” (Act ii, sc. 2): “Nam sapiens quidem pol ipsus fingit fortunam sibi,” which has the same meaning, though in somewhat different terms.

422 “A serpent, unless it has devoured a serpent, does not become a dragon.”

423 Or “desenvoltura,” implying readiness to adapt one’s self to circumstances.

424 Impediments, causes for hesitation.

425 “In that man there was such great strength of body and mind, that, in whatever station he had been born, he seemed as though he should make his fortune.”

426 “A versatile genius.”

427 “A little of the fool.”

428 “Thou carriest Cæsar and his fortunes.”— Plut. Vit. Cæls. 38.

429 “The Fortunate.” He attributed his success to the intervention of Hercules, to whom he paid especial veneration.

430 “The Great.”— Plut. Syll. 34.

431 A successful Athenian general, the son of Conon, and the friend of Plato.

432 Fluency, or smoothness.

433 Lord Bacon seems to use the word in the general sense of “lending money upon interest.”

434 “Drive from their hives the drones, a lazy race.”— Georgics , b. iv. 168.

435 “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat thy bread.”— Gen. iii. 19.

436 “In the sweat of the face of another.”

437 In the middle ages the Jews were compelled, by legal enactment, to wear peculiar dresses and colors; one of these was orange.

438 “A concession by reason of hardness of heart.” He alludes to the words in St. Matthew xix. 8.

439 See note to Essay xix.

441 The imaginary country described in Sir Thomas More’s political romance of that name.

442 Regulation.

443 Be paid.

444 Our author was one of the earliest writers who treated the question of the interest of money with the enlightened views of a statesman and an economist. The taking of interest was considered, in his time, immoral.

Laws on this matter are extremely ancient. Moses forbids the Jews to require interest of each other. “Thou shalt not lend upon usury to thy brother; usury of money, usury of victuals, usury of any thing that is lent upon usury:

“Unto a stranger thou mayest lend upon usury; but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon usury.”— Deut. xxiii. 19, 20.

Among the Greeks, the rate of interest was settled by agreement between the borrower and the lender, without any interference of the law. The customary rate varied from ten to thirty-three and one third per cent.

The Romans enacted laws against usurious interest; but their legal interest, admitted by the law of the Twelve Tables, was, according to some, twelve per cent., or, to others, one twelfth of the capital, i. e. eight and one third per cent. Justinian reduced it to six per cent.

In England, the legal rate of interest was, in Henry the Eighth’s reign, ten per cent. It was reduced, in 1624, to eight per cent. It was further diminished, in 1672, to six per cent. And definitively, in 1713, fixed at five per cent., the ordinary rate of interest throughout Europe. In France, the rates of interest have been nearly similar at the same periods.

445 “He passed his youth full of errors, of madness even.”— Spartian. Vit. Sev.

446 He was nephew of Louis the Twelfth of France, and commanded the French armies in Italy against the Spaniards. After a brilliant career, he was killed at the battle of Ravenna, in 1512.

447 Joel ii. 28, quoted Acts ii. 17.

448 He lived in the second century after Christ, and is said to have lost his memory at the age of twenty-five.

449 “He remained the same, but with the advance of years was not so becoming.”— Cic. Brut. 95.

450 “The close was unequal to the beginning.” This quotation is not correct; the words are: “Memorabilior prima pars vitæ quam postrema fuit,”—“The first part of his life was more distinguished than the latter.”— Livy xxxviii. ch. 53.

451 By the context, he would seem to consider “great spirit” and “virtue” as convertible terms. Edward IV., however, has no claim to be considered as a virtuous or magnanimous man, though he possessed great physical courage.

452 Features.

453 “The autumn of the beautiful is beautiful.”

454 By making allowances.

455 Rom. i. 31; 2 Tim. iii. 3.

456 “Where she errs in the one, she ventures in the other.”

458 Solyman the Magnificent, Sultan of the Turks.

461 Have a liking for cheerful society. Momus being the god of mirth.

462 Eats up.

463 Plut. Vit. Lucull. 39.

464 A vast edifice, about twenty miles from Madrid, founded by Philip II.

465 Esth. i. 5; “The King made a feast unto all the people that were present in Shushan the palace, both unto great and small, seven days, in the court of the garden of the king’s palace.”

466 The cylinder formed by the small end of the steps of winding stairs.

467 The funnel of a chimney.

468 Where to go.

469 Bow, or bay, windows.

470 Flush with the wall.

471 Antechamber.

472 Withdrawing-room.

473 Watercourses.

474 Pine trees.

475 Kept warm in a greenhouse.

476 The damson, or plum of Damascus.

477 Currants.

478 An apple that is gathered very early.

479 A kind of quince, so called from “cotoneum,” or “cydonium,” the Latin name of the quince.

480 The fruit of the cornel-tree.

481 The warden was a large pear, so called from its keeping well. Warden-pie was formerly much esteemed in this country.

482 Perpetual spring.

483 Flowers that do not send forth their smell at any distance.

484 A species of grass of the genus argostis.

485 The blossoms of the bean.

486 Bring or lead you.

487 Impeding.

488 Causing the water to fall in a perfect arch, without any spray escaping from the jet.

489 Lilies of the valley.

490 In rows.

491 Insidiously subtract nourishment from.

492 To consider or expect.

493 Love, are pleased with.

494 It is more advantageous to deal with men whose desires are not yet satisfied, than with those who have gained all they have wished for, and are likely to be proof against inducements.

495 In the sense of the Latin “gloriosus,” “boastful,” “bragging.”

496 Professions or classes.

497 Weakness, or indecision of character.

498 He probably alludes to the ancient stories of the friendship of Orestes and Pylades, Theseus and Pirithoüs, Damon and Pythias, and others, and the maxims of the ancient philosophers. Aristotle considers that equality in circumstances and station is one requisite of friendship. Seneca and Quintus Curtius express the same opinion. It seems hardly probable that Lord Bacon reflected deeply when he penned this passage, for between equals, jealousy, the most insidious of all the enemies of friendship, has the least chance of originating. Dr. Johnson says: “Friendship is seldom lasting but between equals, or where the superiority on one side is reduced by some equivalent advantage on the other. Benefits which cannot be repaid, and obligations which cannot be discharged, are not commonly found to increase affection; they excite gratitude indeed, and heighten veneration, but commonly take away that easy freedom and familiarity of intercourse, without which, though there may be fidelity, and zeal, and admiration, there cannot be friendship.”— The Rambler , No. 64.

499 In such a case, gratitude and admiration exist on the one hand, esteem and confidence on the other.

500 Lowering, or humiliating.

501 Referees.

502 Disgusted.

503 Giving no false color to the degree of success which has attended the prosecution of the suit.

504 To have little effect.

505 To this extent.

506 Of the information.

507 “Ask what is exorbitant, that you may obtain what is moderate.”

508 This formed the first essay in the earliest edition of the work.

509 Attentively.

510 Vapid: without taste or spirit.

511 “Studies become habits.”

512 “Splitters of cummin-seeds;” or, as we now say, “splitters of straws,” or “hairs.” Butler says of Hudibras:—

513 Causes one side to preponderate.

514 “The common father.”

515 “As one of us.” Henry the Third of France, favoring the league formed by the Duke of Guise and Cardinal De Lorraine against the Protestants, soon found that, through the adoption of that policy, he had forfeited the respect of his subjects.

516 See a note to Essay 15.

517 Of Castile. She was the wife of Ferdinand of Arragon, and was the patroness of Columbus.

518 The words in our version are: “He that observeth the wind shall not sow, and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap.— Ecclesiastes xi. 1.

519 Exact in the extreme. Point-de-vice was originally the name of a kind of lace of very fine pattern.

520 “Appearances resembling virtues.”

521 “A good name is like sweet-smelling ointment.” The words in our version are, “A good name is better than precious ointment.— Ecclesiastes vii. 1.

522 “Disregarding his own conscience.”

523 “To instruct under the form of praise.”

524 “The worst kind of enemies are those who flatter.”

525 A pimple filled with “pus,” or “purulent matter.” The word is still used in the east of England.

526 The words in our version are: “He that blesseth his friend with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, it shall be counted a curse to him.”— Proverbs xxvii. 14.

527 In other words, to show what we call an esprit de corps .

528 Theologians.

529 2 Cor. xi. 23.

530 “I will magnify my apostleship.” He alludes to the words in Romans xi. 13: “Inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office.”

531 Vaunting, or boasting.

532 Noise. We have a corresponding proverb: “Great cry and little wool.”

533 A high or good opinion.

534 Vide Liv. xxxvii. 48.

535 By express command.

536 “Those who write books on despising glory, set their names in the title-page.” He quotes from Cicero’s “Tusculanæ Disputationes,” b. i. c. 15, whose words are; “Quid nostri philosophi? Nonne in his libris ipsis, quos scribunt de contemnendâ gloriâ, sua nomina inscribunt.”—“What do our philosophers do? Do they not, in those very books which they write on despising glory, set their names in the title-page?”

537 Pliny the Younger, the nephew of the elder Pliny, the naturalist.

538 “One who set off every thing he said and did with a certain skill.” Mucianus was an intriguing general in the times of Otho and Vitellius.— Hist. xi. 80.

539 Namely, the property of which he was speaking, and not that mentioned by Tacitus.

540 Apologies.

541 Concessions.

542 Plin. Epist. vi. 17.

543 Boastful.

544 “All fame emanates from servants.”— Q. Cic. de Petit. Consul. v. 17.

545 “Founders of empires.”

546 He alludes to Ottoman, or Othman I., the founder of the dynasty now reigning at Constantinople. From him, the Turkish empire received the appellation of “Othoman,” or “Ottoman” Porte.

547 “Perpetual rulers.”

548 Surnamed the Peaceful, who ascended the throne of England A. D. 959. He was eminent as a legislator, and a rigid assertor of justice. Hume considers his reign “one of the most fortunate that we meet with in the ancient English history.”

549 These were a general collection of the Spanish laws, made by Alphonso X. of Castile, arranged under their proper titles. The work was commenced by Don Ferdinand his father, to put an end to the contradictory decisions in the Castilian courts of justice. It was divided into seven parts, whence its name “Siete Partidas.” It did not, however, become the law of Castile till nearly eighty years after.

550 “Deliverers,” or “preservers.”

551 “Extenders,” or “defenders of the empire.”

552 “Fathers of their country.”

553 “Participators in cares.”

554 “Leaders in war.”

555 Proportion, dimensions.

556 “Equal to their duties.”

557 “To expound the law.”

558 “To make the law.”

559 The Mosaic law. He alludes to Deuteronomy xxvii. 17. “Cursed be he that removeth his neighbor’s landmark.”

560 “A righteous man falling down before the wicked is as a troubled fountain and a corrupt spring.”— Proverbs xxv. 26.

561 “Ye who turn judgment to wormwood, and leave off righteousness in the earth.”— Amos v. 7.

562 “He who wrings the nose strongly brings blood.” Proverbs xxx. 33: “Surely, the churning of milk bringeth forth butter, and the wringing of the nose bringeth forth blood; so the forcing of wrath bringeth forth strife.”

563 “He will rain snares upon them.” Psalm xi. 6: “Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire, and brimstone, and an horrible tempest.”

564 Strained.

565 “It is the duty of a judge to consider not only the facts, but the circumstances of the case.”— Ovid. Trist. I. i. 37.

566 Pliny the Younger, Ep. B. 6, E. 2, has the observation: “Patientiam ... quæ pars magna justitiæ est;” “Patience, which is a great part of justice.”

567 Is not successful.

568 Makes him to feel less confident of the goodness of his cause.

569 Altercate, or bandy words with the judge.

570 “Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles!”— St. Matthew vii. 16.

571 Plundering.

572 “Friends of the court.”

573 “Parasites,” or “flatterers of the court.”

574 Which were compiled by the decemvirs.

575 “The safety of the people is the supreme law.”

576 “Mine.”

577 “Yours.”

578 He alludes to 1 Kings x. 19, 30: “The throne had six steps, and the top of the throne was round behind; and there were stays on either side on the place of the seat, and two lions stood beside the stays. And twelve lions stood there on the one side and on the other upon the six steps.” The same verses are repeated in 1 Chronicles ix. 18, 19.

579 “We know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully.”—1 Timothy i. 8.

580 A boast.

581 In our version it is thus rendered: “Be ye angry, and sin not; let not the sun go down upon your wrath.”— Ephesians iv. 26.

582 Sen. De Ira i. 1.

583 “In your patience possess ye your souls.”— Luke xvi. 19.

584 “And leave their lives in the wound.” The quotation is from Virgil’s Georgics, iv. 238.

585 Susceptibility upon.

586 “A thicker covering for his honor.”

587 Pointed and peculiarly appropriate to the party attacked.

588 “Ordinary abuse.”

589 “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done, is that which shall be done; and there is no new thing under the sun. Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? It hath been already of old time, which was before us.”— Ecclesiastes i. 9, 10.

590 In his Phædo.

591 “There is no remembrance of former things: neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come, with those that shall come hereafter.”— Ecclesiastes i. 11.

592 “And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the Lord God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.”—1 Kings xvii. 1. “And it came to pass after many days, that the word of the Lord came to Elijah in the third year, saying, Go, show thyself unto Ahab; and I will send rain upon the earth.”—1 Kings xviii. 1.

593 Confined to a limited space.

594 The whole of the continent of America then discovered is included under this name.

595 Limited.

596 Vide Plat. Tim. iii. 24, seq.

597 Mach. Disc. Sop. Liv. ii. 2.

598 Sabinianus of Volaterra was elected Bishop of Rome on the death of Gregory the Great, A. D. 604. He was of an avaricious disposition, and thereby incurred the popular hatred. He died in eighteen months after his election.

599 This Cicero speaks of as “the great year of the mathematicians.” “On the Nature of the Gods,” B. 4, ch. 20. By some it was supposed to occur after a period of 12,954 years, while, according to others, it was of 25,920 years’ duration.— Plat. Tim. iii. 38, seq.

600 Conceit.

601 Observed.

602 A curious fancy or odd conceit.

603 The followers of Arminius, or James Harmensen, a celebrated divine of the 16th and 17th centuries. Though called a heresy by Bacon, his opinions have been for two centuries, and still are, held by a large portion of the Church of England.

604 A belief in astrology, or at least the influence of the stars was almost universal in the time of Bacon.

605 Germany.

606 Charlemagne.

607 When led thither by Alexander the Great.

608 Striking.

609 Application of the “aries,” or battering-ram.

610 This fragment was found among Lord Bacon’s papers, and published by Dr. Rawley in his Resuscitatio.

611 Tac. Hist. ii. 80.

612 Cæs. de Bell. Civ. i. 6.

613 Tac. Ann. i. 5.

614 Vide Herod. viii. 108, 109.

615 Varro distributes the ages of the world into three periods; viz: the unknown, the fabulous, and the historical. Of the former, we have no accounts but in Scripture; for the second, we must consult the ancient poets, such as Hesiod, Homer, or those who wrote still earlier, and then again come back to Ovid, who, in his Metamorphoses, seems, in imitation perhaps of some ancient Greek poet, to have intended a complete collection, or a kind of continued and connected history of the fabulous age, especially with regard to changes, revolutions, or transformations.

616 Most of these fables are contained in Ovid’s Metamorphoses and Fasti, and are fully explained in Bohn’s Classical Library translation.

617 Homer’s Hymn to Pan.

618 Cicero, Epistle to Atticus, 5.

619 Ovid, Metamorphoses, b. ii.

620 This refers to the confused mixture of things, as sung by Virgil:—

621 This is always supposed to be the case in vision, the mathematical demonstrations in optics proceeding invariably upon the assumption of this phenomenon.

623 Ovid, Rem. Amoris, v. 343. Mart. Epist.

624 Psalm xix. 1.

625 Syrinx, signifying a reed, or the ancient pen.

626 Ovid, Metam. b. iv.

627 Thus it is the excellence of a general, early to discover what turn the battle is likely to take; and looking prudently behind, as well as before, to pursue a victory so as not to be unprovided for a retreat.

628 It may be remembered that the Athenian peasant voted for the banishment of Aristides, because he was called the Just. Shakspeare forcibly expresses the same thought:—

If Bacon had completed his intended work upon “Sympathy and Antipathy,” the constant hatred evinced by ignorance of intellectual superiority, originating sometimes in the painful feeling of inferiority, sometimes in the fear of worldly injury would not have escaped his notice.

629 Thus we see that Orpheus denotes learning; Eurydice, things, or the subject of learning; Bacchus, and the Thracian women, men’s ungoverned passions and appetites, &c. And in the same manner all the ancient fables might be familiarly illustrated, and brought down to the capacities of children.

631 Proteus properly signifies primary, oldest, or first.

632 Bacon nowhere speaks with such freedom and perspicuity as under the pretext of explaining these ancient fables; for which reason they deserve to be the more read by such as desire to understand the rest of his works.

633 As she also brought the author himself.

635 Te autem mi Brute sicut debeo, amo, quod istud quicquid est nugarum me scire voluisti.

637 Ovid’s Metamorphoses, b. iii., iv., and vi.; and Fasti, iii. 767.

638 “Declinat cursus, aurumque volubile tollit.”

639 The author, in all his physical works, proceeds upon this foundation, that it is possible, and practicable, for art to obtain the victory over nature; that is, for human industry and power to procure, by the means of proper knowledge, such things as are necessary to render life as happy and commodious as its mortal state will allow. For instance, that it is possible to lengthen the present period of human life; bring the winds under command: and every way extend and enlarge the dominion or empire of man over the works of nature.

640 “All-gift.”

641 Viz: that by Pandora.

643 De Augmentis Scientiarum , sec. xxviii. and supplem. xv.

644 An allusion which, in Plato’s writings, is applied to the rapid succession of generations, through which the continuity of human life is maintained from age to age; and which are perpetually transferring from hand to hand the concerns and duties of this fleeting scene. Γεννῶντες τε καὶ ἐκτρέφοντες παῖδας, κάθαπερ λαμπάδα τὸν βίον παραδιδόντες ἄλλοις ἐξ ἄλλων—Plato, Leg. b. vi. Lucretius also has the same metaphor:—

645 Eccles. xii. 11.

646 This is what the author so frequently inculcates in the Novum Organum , viz: that knowledge and power are reciprocal; so that to improve in knowledge is to improve in the power of commanding nature, by introducing new arts, and producing works and effects.

649 Many philosophers have certain speculations to this purpose. Sir Isaac Newton, in particular, suspects that the earth receives its vivifying spirit from the comets. And the philosophical chemists and astrologers have spun the thought into many fantastical distinctions and varieties.—See Newton, Princip. lib. iii. p. 473, &c.

650 This policy strikingly characterized the conduct of Louis XIV., who placed his generals under a particular injunction, to advertise him of the success of any siege likely to be crowned with an immediate triumph, that he might attend in person and appear to take the town by a coup de main .

651 The one denoted by the river Achelous, and the other by Terpsichore, the muse that invented the cithara and delighted in dancing.

(92) 336 3216666

[email protected]

Francis Bacon

A short biography of francis bacon.

Francis Bacon was born on 22 nd of January, 1561 in London. Bacon worked as attorney general and Lord Chancellor of England resigning after he was found guilty of bribery. This unfortunate twist in his life brought him together with his true passions i.e. Humanism and natural philosophy. Francis Bacon was an English man who was inclined towards the age of Renaissance and arts. He negated the old fashioned traditions of teachings and believed in the newness of the age. His inspirations revolved around the Aristotelian ideas of philosophical quest. Bacon negated the Aristotelianism and idealized the new teachings of renaissance humanism. He observed the world through the lens of empiricism.

He believed that one needs to experience the reality of existence in order to completely understand life. This is known to be Francis Bacon’s method of understanding science and humanity. Francis Bacon was given the title “Father of Scientific method” . In the literary world Bacon is remembered as an all-rounder.  He was a lawyer, statesman and a philosopher. Francis Bacon is remembered as a source of wisdom in the literary world.

Bacon teaches a certain principles of science in order to understand life and the world we live in we have to experience the life by living it. He stated this as the empirical scientific method. According to him this scientific method will shed light upon the important characteristics of the nature that would “eventually disclose and bring into sight all that is most hidden and secret in the universe.”

Francis Bacon’s Writing Style

Francis Bacon being an all-rounder wrote in a way that was suitable for every profession. He understood the multidimensional society very well.

Bacon often wrote for the court during his career as a statesman and counsel. In the ear 1584 Francis Bacon wrote his first political memorandum, a letter of advice to Queen Elizabeth. He even wrote a speech for entertainment purpose in the year 1592 to celebrate the anniversary of queen’s coronation. The year 1597 was the year when Bacon’s first publication, a collection of essays about politics came into the literary world. The collection was later extended and republished in 1612 and 1625.

He wrote in prose style that fitted every profession. Bacon’s take on different aspects of life such as Love, Truth and religion is evident in the literary world. The way Bacon adapted to the society around him is marvelous and a very evident feature of his writing style. Bacon stands out in the literary world due to his unique approach towards thinking.

In England three types of thought triumphed in the late 16th century: the Aristotelian teachings and Scholasticism, intellectual and aesthetic humanism, and occultism. Aristotle is considered as the epitome of knowledge and wisdom. He contributed his genius in different spheres of life and the world. In England Aristotle remained the master of philosophical teachings, despite the criticism of Aristotle’s theory of logics.

Bacon grew up studying Aristotle’s philosophical teachings. The desire of finding answers led him to understand life closely with a different prism. Opposing the Aristotelian teachings Bacon came up with his philosophical approach of trying to understand life closely by experiencing different situations. Bacon simplifies the philosophical approach for a man to understand properly. His writing is direct and to the point. His style of writing prose is easily understandable for example, in “Of Studies,” he writes “Crafty men condemn studies; simple men admire them; and wise men use them.” This phrase by Francis Bacon doesn’t require of any analysis in order to understand the meaning. His writings are self-explanatory and that proves his genius in the literary world. Bacon writes in a systematic way, without wasting his words on unnecessary information. His writings showcase how he moves logically from on subject to another.

He is considered as one of the most important Empiricists in the philosophical as well as literary world. He takes up his ideas after experiencing from life and observing it closely. For example in his essay “Of Love,” he showcases the reality of this emotion that is not just a fantasy but comprises of both good and bad attributes. He puts forth a clear vision regarding different subjects of life. Bacon’s take on life is unique and interesting as his essays are an amalgamation of both Greek and Latin phrases. A person who is decently educated would be able to understand his essays as well as the homey imagery took out from everyday life. He deliberately writes in this manner so that he reaches out to the masses equally. Be it highly educated or moderately educated. Bacon was attracted by the beauty of the nature. He merged the beauty and knowledge of nature in a manner which allows the reader to have a multidimensional vision of his teachings.

Another very important phenomenon of Bacon’s life was the teachings of occultism that is the quest of mystical parallels between man and the cosmos. It allows an individual to understand the magical elements possessed in the world by relating it to the reality. Bacon himself is known to be an occultist. His teachings revolve around the “natural magic” that the nature possesses. He provokes his readers to be vigilant on their surroundings and observe the nature closely. One should open the inner eye to feel the magical attributes of the world. Bacon believed that the human mind is fit enough to possess the worldly knowledge and must strive to decipher the knowledge by keeping an observing eye open. Even though Bacon’s literary works covered quite an extensive range of topics, all of his writings have one thing in common i.e. Bacon’s desire to make an impact through his teachings and research. He wanted to change the system of old fashion education. He believed that tradition can breathe in the air of modernity; a little acceptance is all that is required.

Bacon states “true directions concerning the interpretation of nature,” in other words he is trying to make his reader understand that the method of acquiring true knowledge is by observing and understanding the nature. Bacon researched and gathered knowledge keeping in mind the next generations. He modified the old fashion knowledge into an accessible mode of knowledge.

In the first book of Novum Organum Bacon debates the reasons of human flaw in the quest of knowledge. Earlier Aristotle discussed logical fallacies, usually found in human rationality, but Bacon was unique in observing the methods of reasoning. He invented the metaphor of “idol” to state such causes of human flaw.

Bacon played an important role as a linguist in the literary world. Language is the means of understanding the world around us. Language, like other human accomplishments, partakes of human limitations. This aspect of Bacon’s thought has been almost as persuasive as his account of natural knowledge, inspiring a long tradition of cynical rationalism, from the Enlightenment.

Bacon lived in a time when new worlds were being discovered on Earth. He negated the perception that everything is either revealed by religion or Aristotle. He challenged the grand narrative of religion and researched himself to find answers. Bacon protected the study of nature against those who measured it as either improper or perilous. He argued for a supportive and systematic method against individualism and instinct. Today Bacon is known among great philosophers as an emblem of the notion that is widely held to be misunderstood, that science is inductive.

Works Of Francis Bacon

  • Of Adversity
  • Of Ambition
  • Of Discourse
  • Of Followers and Friends
  • Of Friendship
  • Of Great Place
  • Of Marriage and Single Life
  • Of Nobility
  • Of Parents and Children
  • Of Simulation and Dissimulation
  • Of Superstition
  • Of Goodness and Goodness of Nature

A glacier calving makes a huge splash.

Atlantic Ocean is headed for a tipping point − once melting glaciers shut down the Gulf Stream, we would see extreme climate change within decades, study shows

bacon piece essay

Postdoctoral Researcher in Climate Physics, Utrecht University

bacon piece essay

Professor of Physics, Utrecht University

bacon piece essay

Climate Model Specialist, Utrecht University

Disclosure statement

René van Westen receives funding from the European Research Council (ERC-AdG project 101055096, TAOC).

Henk A. Dijkstra receives funding from the European Research Council (ERC-AdG project 101055096, TAOC, PI: Dijkstra).

Michael Kliphuis does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

View all partners

Superstorms, abrupt climate shifts and New York City frozen in ice. That’s how the blockbuster Hollywood movie “ The Day After Tomorrow ” depicted an abrupt shutdown of the Atlantic Ocean’s circulation and the catastrophic consequences.

While Hollywood’s vision was over the top, the 2004 movie raised a serious question: If global warming shuts down the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, which is crucial for carrying heat from the tropics to the northern latitudes, how abrupt and severe would the climate changes be?

Twenty years after the movie’s release, we know a lot more about the Atlantic Ocean’s circulation. Instruments deployed in the ocean starting in 2004 show that the Atlantic Ocean circulation has observably slowed over the past two decades, possibly to its weakest state in almost a millennium . Studies also suggest that the circulation has reached a dangerous tipping point in the past that sent it into a precipitous, unstoppable decline, and that it could hit that tipping point again as the planet warms and glaciers and ice sheets melt.

In a new study using the latest generation of Earth’s climate models, we simulated the flow of fresh water until the ocean circulation reached that tipping point.

The results showed that the circulation could fully shut down within a century of hitting the tipping point, and that it’s headed in that direction. If that happened, average temperatures would drop by several degrees in North America, parts of Asia and Europe, and people would see severe and cascading consequences around the world.

We also discovered a physics-based early warning signal that can alert the world when the Atlantic Ocean circulation is nearing its tipping point.

The ocean’s conveyor belt

Ocean currents are driven by winds, tides and water density differences .

In the Atlantic Ocean circulation, the relatively warm and salty surface water near the equator flows toward Greenland. During its journey it crosses the Caribbean Sea, loops up into the Gulf of Mexico, and then flows along the U.S. East Coast before crossing the Atlantic.

Two illustrations show how the AMOC looks today and its weaker state in the future

This current, also known as the Gulf Stream, brings heat to Europe. As it flows northward and cools, the water mass becomes heavier. By the time it reaches Greenland, it starts to sink and flow southward. The sinking of water near Greenland pulls water from elsewhere in the Atlantic Ocean and the cycle repeats, like a conveyor belt .

Too much fresh water from melting glaciers and the Greenland ice sheet can dilute the saltiness of the water, preventing it from sinking, and weaken this ocean conveyor belt . A weaker conveyor belt transports less heat northward and also enables less heavy water to reach Greenland, which further weakens the conveyor belt’s strength. Once it reaches the tipping point , it shuts down quickly.

What happens to the climate at the tipping point?

The existence of a tipping point was first noticed in an overly simplified model of the Atlantic Ocean circulation in the early 1960s . Today’s more detailed climate models indicate a continued slowing of the conveyor belt’s strength under climate change. However, an abrupt shutdown of the Atlantic Ocean circulation appeared to be absent in these climate models.

This is where our study comes in. We performed an experiment with a detailed climate model to find the tipping point for an abrupt shutdown by slowly increasing the input of fresh water.

We found that once it reaches the tipping point, the conveyor belt shuts down within 100 years. The heat transport toward the north is strongly reduced, leading to abrupt climate shifts.

The result: Dangerous cold in the North

Regions that are influenced by the Gulf Stream receive substantially less heat when the circulation stops. This cools the North American and European continents by a few degrees.

The European climate is much more influenced by the Gulf Stream than other regions. In our experiment, that meant parts of the continent changed at more than 5 degrees Fahrenheit (3 degrees Celsius) per decade – far faster than today’s global warming of about 0.36 F (0.2 C) per decade. We found that parts of Norway would experience temperature drops of more than 36 F (20 C). On the other hand, regions in the Southern Hemisphere would warm by a few degrees.

Two maps show US and Europe both cooling by several degrees if the AMOC stops.

These temperature changes develop over about 100 years. That might seem like a long time, but on typical climate time scales, it is abrupt.

The conveyor belt shutting down would also affect sea level and precipitation patterns, which can push other ecosystems closer to their tipping points . For example, the Amazon rainforest is vulnerable to declining precipitation . If its forest ecosystem turned to grassland, the transition would release carbon to the atmosphere and result in the loss of a valuable carbon sink, further accelerating climate change.

The Atlantic circulation has slowed significantly in the distant past . During glacial periods when ice sheets that covered large parts of the planet were melting, the influx of fresh water slowed the Atlantic circulation, triggering huge climate fluctuations.

So, when will we see this tipping point?

The big question – when will the Atlantic circulation reach a tipping point – remains unanswered. Observations don’t go back far enough to provide a clear result. While a recent study suggested that the conveyor belt is rapidly approaching its tipping point , possibly within a few years, these statistical analyses made several assumptions that give rise to uncertainty.

Instead, we were able to develop a physics-based and observable early warning signal involving the salinity transport at the southern boundary of the Atlantic Ocean. Once a threshold is reached, the tipping point is likely to follow in one to four decades.

A line chart of circulation strength shows a quick drop-off after the amount of freshwater in the ocean hits a tipping point.

The climate impacts from our study underline the severity of such an abrupt conveyor belt collapse. The temperature, sea level and precipitation changes will severely affect society, and the climate shifts are unstoppable on human time scales.

It might seem counterintuitive to worry about extreme cold as the planet warms, but if the main Atlantic Ocean circulation shuts down from too much meltwater pouring in, that’s the risk ahead.

This article was updated on Feb. 11, 2024, to fix a typo: The experiment found temperatures in parts of Europe changed by more than 5 F per decade.

  • Climate change
  • Global warming
  • Extreme weather
  • Atlantic Ocean
  • Climate models
  • Greenland ice sheet
  • Ocean circulation

bacon piece essay

Lecturer / Senior Lecturer - Business Law & Taxation

bacon piece essay

Newsletters and Social Media Manager

bacon piece essay

Research Fellow in Veterinary Herpesviruses

bacon piece essay

Industrial Officer (Senior)

bacon piece essay

Supply Chain Management – Open Rank (Tenure-Track)

Logo for Pressbooks @ Howard Community College

Want to create or adapt books like this? Learn more about how Pressbooks supports open publishing practices.

37 Francis Bacon: Essays

Introduction.

by Mary Larivee and Rithvik Saravanan

Francis Bacon (1561-1626), the English philosopher, was instrumental in the development of the Scientific Revolution in the late 18th century even though he had passed away centuries before.  The “Scientific Revolution” was an important movement that emphasized Europe’s shift toward modernized science in fields such as mathematics, physics, astronomy, biology, and chemistry (Grant). It was an extension of the Renaissance period, which then led to the Enlightenment which brought advances across all areas of human endeavor. Francis Bacon, in particular, is remembered today primarily for the “scientific method” as a way of establishing what is true from what is false perception (a method that still lies at the heart of modern science). Bacon’s primary focus in his writings revolved around the practice of inductive reasoning, which he believed to be a complement to practical observation (Grant). Most people before this period followed the Aristotelian methodology for scientific arguments. This idea maintained that “if sufficiently clever men discussed a subject long enough, the truth would eventually be discovered” (“History – Francis Bacon.”). However irrational this sounds, the Scientific Revolution helped replace this outdated system of thinking with Bacon’s scientific method. Bacon argued that any proper argument required “evidence from the real world” (“History – Francis Bacon.”). His revolutionary ideas about empirical information helped propel him toward political and societal importance and fame.

Literary Context

Francis Bacon had a passion for metaphors, analogies, and vivid imagery. He was a rhetorical writer and his essays highlight his wisdom and incisive mind. His first book was released in 1597 followed by later editions with added essays that were released in 1612 and 1625. Each essay that Bacon wrote reveals his knowledge of Latin and draws on ancient Roman wisdom through axioms and proverbs. Additionally, Bacon uses wit as a way of getting his point across to his audience and this indeed causes the reader to reflect on his or her own beliefs and values. A key aspect of Bacon’s literature is its “terseness and epigrammatic force” (De). By managing to pack all of his thoughts and ideas into quick, brief statements, Bacon deepens the reach and impact of his work. His writing deviated from the typical Ciceronian style of the time, which was characterized by “melodious language, clarity, and forcefulness of presentation” (“Ciceronian.”). His statements are meaningful particularly because they are straight and to the point. The brevity of his ideas also facilitates the communication of his arguments, which is significant because, at the time, a solid, meaningful education was hard to come by. As such, Bacon’s work helped spread the notions that would eventually bear fruit with the discoveries of the Scientific Revolution.

Historical Context

Francis Bacon’s Essays cover a wide variety of topics and styles, ranging from individual to societal issues and from commonplace to existential. Another important aspect of the appeal of Bacon’s essays are that they weigh the argument at hand with multiple points of view. Bacon’s essays were received at the time with great praise, adoration, and reverence (Potter). He was noted for borrowing ideas from the works of historical writers such as Aristotle (Harmon), and, as such, he represents a continuation of this philosophical school of thought. Another important impact of the Scientific Revolution and Bacon’s literature is that it allowed common people of the era to question old, traditional beliefs. They began to consider everything with reason, which led to a greater sense of self as well as moral and ethical standards. By having the opportunity to judge for themselves, the people were able to advance society a step closer to a form of democracy.

Francis Bacon Essays is a collection of eight of the famous philosopher’s many essays. Each dissertation contains words of wisdom that have proven to be enlightening for many generations that followed. From “Truth” to “Of Superstition” and “Marriage and Single Life”, Bacon covers a wide range of intriguing topics in order to challenge the human mind to think deeply; as he himself writes: “Read not to contradict and confute, nor to believe and take for granted, nor to find talk and discourse, but to weigh and consider” (Bacon). The philosopher not only provides a framework for the genre of the modern essay but also provides his readers a code to live by.

Works Cited

“Ciceronian.” Dictionary.com , n.d., www.dictionary.com/browse/ciceronian. 23 Oct. 2020.

De, Ardhendu. “Rhetorical Devices as Used by Francis Bacon in His Essays.” A.D.’s English Literature: Notes and Guide , 07 Apr. 2011, ardhendude.blogspot.com/2011/04/rhetorical-devices-used-by-francis.html. Accessed 23 Oct. 2020.

Grant, Edward. The Foundations of Modern Science in the Middle Ages: Their Religious, Institutional, and Intellectual Contexts . Cambridge University Press, 1996.

Harmon, William. The Oxford Book of American Light Verse. Oxford University Press, 1979.

“History – Francis Bacon.” History , British Broadcasting Corporation, 2014, www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/bacon_francis.shtml. Accessed 24 Oct. 2020.

Potter, Vincent G. Readings in Epistemology: from Aquinas, Bacon, Galileo, Descartes, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Kant. Fordham University Press, 1993.

Discussion Questions

  • Why do you think Francis Bacon chose to enlighten and inspire his readers as opposed to other writers of his time who focused more on classic folklore tales?
  • Why do you think Francis Bacon choose the topics that he did? Who or what do you think had a major influence on his writings?
  • What are the goals and intentions behind Bacon’s use of rhetorical questioning?
  • What are some common themes and ideas from Francis Bacon’s Essays that can be applied to general situations and contemporary society?
  • From the ideas presented in this reading, how do you think Francis Bacon’s work affected government policies throughout history, including modern day governmental standards?

Further Resources

  • Detailed biography of Franics Bacon’s life
  • Analytical article of Francis Bacon’s impact on the Scientific Revolution
  • List of Francis Bacon’s most significant accomplishments
  • Compilation of Francis Bacon’s literature
  • Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on Francis Bacon
  • Discussion video of Francis Bacon’s “Of Studies”

Reading: From Essayes

I. of truth..

What is truth? said jesting Pilate; and would not stay for an answer. Certainly there be that delight in giddiness; and count it a bondage to fix a belief; affecting free-will in thinking, as well as in acting. And though the sects of philosophers of that kind be gone, yet there remain certain discoursive wits, which are of the same veins, though there be not so much blood in them as was in those of the ancients. But it is not only the difficulty and labour which men take in finding out of truth, nor again, that when it is found, it imposeth upon men’s thoughts, that doth bring lies in favour, but a natural though corrupt love of the lie itself. One of the later schools of the Grecians examineth the matter, and is at a stand to think what should be in it, that men should love lies; where neither they make for pleasure, as with poet; nor for advantage, as with the mer chant, but for the lie’s sake. But I cannot tell: this same truth is a naked and open daylight, that doth not show the masks, and mummeries, and triumphs of the world, half so stately and daintily as candlelights. Truth may perhaps come to the price of a pearl, that showeth best by day, but it will not rise to the price of a diamond or carbuncle, that showeth best in varied lights. A mixture of a lie doth ever add pleasure. Doth any man doubt, that if there were taken out of men’s minds, vain opinions, flattering hopes, false valuations, imaginations as one would, and the like, but it would leave the minds of a number of men, poor shrunken things, full of melancholy and indisposition, and unpleasing to themselves? One of the fathers, in great severity, called poesy “vinum dæmonum,”; because it filleth the imagination, and yet it is but with the shadow of a lie. But it is not the lie that passeth through the mind, but the lie that sinketh in, and settleth in it, that doth the hurt, such as we spake of before. But howsoever these things are thus in men’s depraved judgments and affections, yet truth, which only doth judge itself, teacheth, that the inquiry of truth, which is the love-making, or wooing of it, the knowledge of truth, which is the presence of it, and the belief of truth, which is the enjoying of it, is the sovereign good of human nature. The first creature of God, in the works of the days, was the light of the sense: the last was the light of reason; and his Sabbath work ever since, is the illumination of his Spirit. First, he breathed light upon the face of the matter, or chaos; then he breathed light into the face of man; and still he breatheth and inspireth light into the face of his chosen. The poet that beautified the sect, that was otherwise inferior to the rest, saith yet excellently well: “It is a pleasure to stand upon the shore, and to see ships tossed upon the sea: a pleasure to stand in the window of a castle, and to see a battle, and the adventures thereof below: but no pleasure is comparable to the standing upon the vantage ground of truth, (a hill not to be commanded, and where the air is always clear and serene,) and to see the errors, and wanderings, and mists, and tempests in the vale below:” so always that this prospect be with pity, and not with swelling or pride. Certainly, it is heaven upon earth, to have a man’s mind move in charity, rest in providence, and turn upon the poles of truth.

To pass from theological and philosophical truth, to the truth of civil business; it will be acknowledged even by those that practise it not, that clean and round dealing is the honour of man’s nature, and that mixture of falsehood is like alloy in coin of gold and silver, which may make the metal work the better, but it embaseth it. For these winding and crooked courses are the goings of the serpent; which goeth basely upon the belly, and not upon the feet. There is no vice that doth so cover a man with shame as to be found false and perfidious; and therefore Montaigne saith prettily, when he inquired the reason, why the word of the lie should be such a disgrace, and such an odious charge, saith he, “If it be well weighed, to say that a man lieth, is as much as to say, that he is brave towards God, and a coward towards men. For a lie faces God, and shrinks from man.” Surely the wickedness of falsehood and breach of faith cannot possibly be so highly expressed, as in that it shall be the last peal to call the judgments of God upon the generations of men: it being foretold, that when “Christ cometh,” he shall not “find faith upon the earth.”

VIII. OF MARRIAGE AND SINGLE LIFE.

He that hath wife and children hath given hostages to fortune; for they are impediments to great enterprises, either of virtue or mischief. Certainly the best works, and of greatest merit for the public, have proceeded from the unmarried or childless men; which, both in affection and means, have married and endowed the public. Yet it were great reason that those that have children should have greatest care of future times, unto which they know they must transmit their dearest pledges. Some there are, who, though they lead a single life, yet their thoughts do end with themselves, and account future times impertinences; nay, there are some other that account wife and children but as bills of charges; nay more, there are some foolish rich covetous men, that take a pride in having no children, because they may be thought so much the richer; for, perhaps, they have heard some talk, “Such an one’s a great rich man” and another except to it. “Yea, but he hath a great charge of children;” as if it were an abatement to his riches: but the most ordinary cause of a single life is liberty, especially in certain self-pleasing and humorous minds, which are so sensible of every restraint, as they will go near to think heir girdles and garters to be bonds and shackles. Unmarried men are best friends, best masters, best servants; but not always best subjects; for they are light to run away; and almost all fugitives are of that condition. A single life doth well with churchmen, for charity will hardly water the ground where it must first fill a pool. It is indifferent for judges and magistrates; for if they be facile and corrupt, you shall have a servant five times worse than a wife. For soldiers, I find the generals commonly, in their hortatives, put men in mind of their wives and children; and I think the despising of marriage among the Turks maketh the vulgar soldier more base. Certainly wife and children are a kind of discipline of humanity; and single men, though they may be many times more charitable, because their means are less exhaust, yet, on the other side, they are more cruel and hardhearted, (good to make severe inquisitors,) because their tenderness is not so oft called upon. Grave natures, led by custom, and therefore constant, are commonly loving husbands, as was said of Ulysses, “vetulam suam prætulit immortalitati.” Chaste women are often proud and froward, as presuming upon the merit of their chastity. It is one of the best bonds, both of chastity and obedience, in the wife, if she think her husband wise; which she will never do if she find him jealous. Wives are young men’s mistresses, companions for middle age, and old men’s nurses; so as a man may have a quarrel to marry when he will: but yet he was reputed one of the wise men, that made answer to the question when a man should marry:—”A young man not yet, an elder man not at all.” It is often seen, that bad husbands have very good wives; whether it be that it raiseth the price of their husband’s kindness when it comes, or that the wives take a pride in their patience; but this never fails, if the bad husbands were of their own choosing, against their friends consent, for then they will be sure to make good their own folly.

XI. OF GREAT PLACE.

Men in great place are thrice servants; servants of the sovereign or state, servants of fame, and servants of business; so as they have no freedom, neither in their persons, nor in their actions, nor in their times. It is a strange desire to seek power and to lose liberty; or to seek power over others, and to lose power over a man’s self. The rising unto place is laborious, and by pains men come to greater pains; and it is sometimes base, and by indignities men come to dignities. The standing is slippery, and the regress is either a downfall, or at least an eclipse, which is a melancholy thing: “Cum non sis qui fueris, non esse cur velis vivere.” Nay, retire men cannot when they would, neither will they when it were reason; but are impatient of privateness even in age and sickness, which require the shadow: like old townsmen, that will be still sitting at their street door, though thereby they offer age to scorn. Certainly great persons had need to borrow other men’s opinions to think themselves happy; for if they judge by their own feeling, they cannot find it: but if they think with themselves what other men think of them, and that other men would fain be as they are, then they are happy as it were by report, when, perhaps, they find the contrary within; for they are the first that find their own griefs, though they be the last that find their own faults. Certainly men in great fortunes are strangers to themselves, and while they are in the puzzle of business they have no time to tend their health either of body or mind: “Illi mors gravis incubat, qui notus nimis omnibus, ignotus moritur sibi.” In place there is license to do good and evil; whereof the latter is a curse: for in evil the best condition is not to will; the second not to can. But power to do good is the true and lawful end of aspiring; for good thoughts (though God accept them,) yet towards men are little better than good dreams, except they be put in act; and that cannot be without power and place, as the vantage and commanding ground. Merit and good works is the end of man’s motion; and conscience of the same is the accomplishment of man’s rest; for if a man can be partaker of God’s theatre, he shall likewise be partaker of God’s rest: “Et conversus Deus, ut aspiceret opera, quaæ fecerunt manus suæ, vidit quod omnia essent bona nimis;” and then the sabbath. In the discharge of the place set before thee the best examples; for imitation is a globe of precepts; and after a time set before thine own example; and examine thyself strictly whether thou didst not best at first. Neglect not also the examples of those that have carried themselves ill in the same place; not to set off thyself by taxing their memory, but to direct thyself what to avoid. Reform, therefore, without bravery or scandal of former times and persons; but yet set it down to thyself, as well to create good precedents as to follow them. Reduce things to the first institution, and observe wherein and how they have degenerated; but yet ask counsel of both times; of the ancienter time what is best; and of the latter time what is fittest. Seek to make thy course regular, that men may know be forehand what they may expect; but be not too positive and peremptory; and express thyself well when thou digressest from thy lure. Preserve the right of thy place, but stir not questions of jurisdiction; and rather assume thy right in silence, and “de facto,” than voice it with claims and challenges. Preserve likewise the rights of inferior places; and think it more honour to direct in chief than to be busy in all. Embrace and invite helps and advices touching the execution of thy place; and do not drive away such as bring thee information as meddlers, but accept of them in good part. The vices of authority are chiefly four; delays, corruption, roughness, and facility. For delays give easy access: keep times appointed; go through with that which is in hand, and interlace not business but of necessity. For corruption, do not only bind thine own hands or thy servant’s hands from taking, but bind the hands of suitors also from offering; for integrity used doth the one; but integrity professed, and with a manifest detestation of bribery, doth the other; and avoid not only the fault, but the suspicion. Whosoever is found variable, and changeth manifestly without manifest cause, giveth suspicion of corruption; therefore, always when thou changest thine opinion or course, profess it plainly, and declare it, together with the reasons that move thee to change, and do not think to steal it. A servant or a favourite, if he be inward, and no other apparent cause of esteem, is commonly thought but a by-way to close corruption. For roughness, it is a needless cause of discontent; severity breedeth fear, but roughness breedeth hate. Even reproofs from authority ought to be grave, and not taunting. As for facility, it is worse than bribery; for bribes come but now and then; but if importunity or idle respects lead a man, he shall never be without; as Solomon saith, “To respect persons is not good, for such a man will transgress for a piece of bread.” It is most true that was anciently spoken, “A place showeth the man; and it showeth some to the better and some to the worse;” “omnium consensu capax imperii, nisi imperasset,” saith Tacitus of Galba; but of Vespasian he saith, “solus imperantium, Vespasianus mutatus in melius;” though the one was meant of sufficiency, the other of manners and affection. It is an assured sign of a worthy and generous spirit, whom honour amends; for honour is, or should be, the place of virtue; and as in nature things move violently to their place and calmly in their place, so virtue in ambition is violent, in authority settled and calm. All rising to great place is by a winding stair; and if there be factions, it is good to side a man’s self whilst he is in the rising, and to balance himself when he is placed. Use the memory of thy predecessor fairly and tenderly; for if thou dost not, it is a debt will sure be paid when thou art gone. If thou have colleagues, respect them; and rather call them when they looked not for it, than exclude them when they have reason to look to be called. Be not too sensible or too remembering of thy place in conversation and private answers to suitors; but let it rather be said, “When he sits in place he is another man.”

XVII. OF SUPERSTITION.

It were better to have no opinion of God at all than such an opinion as is unworthy of him; for the one is unbelief, the other is contumely; and certainly superstition is the reproach of the Deity. Plutarch saith well to that purpose: “Surely,” saith he, “I had rather a great deal men should say there was no such man at all as Plutarch, than that they should say that there was one Plutarch, that would eat his children as soon as they were born:” as the poets speak of Saturn: and, as the contumely is greater towards God, so the danger is greater towards men. Atheism leaves a man to sense, to philosophy, to natural piety, to laws, to reputation: all which may be guides to an outward moral virtue, though religion were not; but superstition dismounts all these, and erecteth an absolute monarchy in the minds of men: therefore atheism did never perturb states; for it makes men wary of themselves, as looking no further, and we see the times inclined to atheism (as the time of Augustus Cæsar) were civil times: but superstition hath been the confusion of many states, and bringeth in a new “primum mobile,” that ravisheth all the spheres of government. The master of superstition is the people, and in all superstition wise men follow fools; and arguments are fitted to practice, in a reversed order. It was gravely said, by some of the prelates in the council of Trent, where the doctrine of the schoolmen bare great sway, that the schoolmen were like astronomers, which did feign eccentrics and epicycles, and such engines of orbs to save phenomena, though they knew there were no such things; and, in like manner, that the schoolmen had framed a number of subtle and intricate axioms and theorems, to save the practice of the church. The causes of superstition are, pleasing and sensual rites and ceremonies; excess of outward and pharisaical holiness; over great reverence of traditions, which cannot but load the church; the stratagems of prelates for their own ambition and lucre; the favouring too much of good intentions, which openeth the gate to conceits and novelties; the taking an aim at divine matters by human, which cannot but breed mixture of imaginations; and, lastly, barbarous times, especially joined with calamities and disasters. Superstition, without a veil, is a deformed thing: for as it addeth deformity to an ape to be so like a man, so the similitude of superstition to religion makes it the more deformed: and, as wholesome meat corrupteth to little worms, so good forms and  orders corrupt into a number of petty observances. There is a superstition in avoiding superstition, when men think to do best if they go furthest from the superstition formerly received; therefore care would be had that (as it fareth in ill purgings) the good be not taken away with the bad, which commonly is done when the people is the reformer.

XXXIII. OF PLANTATIONS.

Plantations are amongst ancient, primitive, and heroical works. When the world was young, it begat more children; but now it is old, it begets fewer; for I may justly account new plantations to be the children of former kingdoms. I like a plantation in a pure soil; that is, where people are not displanted to the end to plant in others; for else it is rather an extirpation than a plantation. Planting of countries is like planting of woods; for you must make account to lose almost twenty years profit, and expect your recompense in the end: for the principal thing that hath been the destruction of most plantations, hath been the base and hasty drawing of profit in the first years. It is true, speedy profit is not to be neglected, as far as may stand with the good of the plantation, but no further. It is a shameful and unblessed thing to take the scum of people and wicked condemned men, to be the people with whom you plant; and not only so, but it spoileth the plantation; for they will ever live like rogues, and not fall to work, but be lazy, and do mischief, and spend victuals, and be quickly weary, and then certify over to their country to the discredit of the plantation. The people wherewith you plant ought to be gardeners, ploughmen, labourers, smiths, carpenters, joiners, fishermen, fowlers, with some few apothecaries, surgeons, cooks, and bakers. In a country of plantation, first look about what kind of victual the country yields of itself to hand; as chestnuts, walnuts, pineapples, olives, dates, plums, cherries, wild honey, and the like, and make use of them. Then consider what victual, or esculent things there are which grow speedily and within the year: as parsnips, carrots, turnips, onions, radish, artichokes of Jerusalem, maize, and the like: for wheat, barley, and oats, they ask too much labour; but with pease and beans you may begin, both because they ask less labour, and because they serve for meat as well as for bread; and of rice likewise cometh a great increase, and it is a kind of meat. Above all, there ought to be brought store biscuit, oatmeal, flour, meal, and the like, in the beginning, till bread may be had. For beasts, or birds, take chiefly such as are least subject to diseases, and multiply fastest; as swine, goats, cocks, hens, turkeys, geese, house-doves, and the like. The victual in plantations ought to be expended almost as in a besieged town; that is, with certain allowance: and let the main part of the ground employed to gardens or corn, be to a common stock; and to be laid in, and stored up, and then delivered out in proportion; besides some spots of ground that any particular person will manure for his own private use. Consider, likewise, what commodities the soil where the plantation is doth naturally yield, that they may some way help to defray the charge of the plantation; so it be not, as was said, to the untimely prejudice of the main business, as it hath fared with tobacco in Virginia. Wood commonly aboundeth but too much: and therefore timber is fit to be one. If there be iron ore, and streams whereupon to set the mills, iron is a brave commodity where wood aboundeth. Making of bay-salt, if the climate be proper for it, would be put in experience: growing silk likewise, if any be, is a likely commodity: pitch and tar, where store of firs and pines are, will not fail; so drugs and sweet woods, where they are, cannot but yield great profit; soap-ashes likewise, and other things that may be thought of; but moil not too much under ground, for the hope of mines is very uncertain and useth to make the planters lazy in other things. For government, let it be in the hands of one, assisted with some counsel; and let them have commission to exercise martial laws, with some limitation; and, above all, let men make that profit of being in the wilderness, as they have God always, and his service before their eyes; let not the government of the plantation depend upon too many counsellors and undertakers in the country that planteth, but upon a temperate number; and let those be rather noblemen and gentle men, than merchants; for they look ever to the present gain: let there be freedoms from custom, till the plantation be of strength; and not only freedom from custom, but freedom to carry their commodities where they may make their best of them, except there be some special cause of caution. Cram not in people, by sending too fast, company after company; but rather hearken how they waste, and send supplies proportionably; but so as the number may live well in the plantation, and not by surcharge be in penury. It hath been a great endangering to the health of some plantations, that they have built along the sea and rivers in marish and unwholesome grounds: therefore, though you begin there, to avoid carriage and other like discommodities, yet build still rather upwards from the stream, than along. It concerneth likewise the health of the plantation that they have good store of salt with them, that they may use it in their victuals when it shall be necessary. If you plant where savages are, do not only entertain them with trifles and gingles, but use them justly and graciously, with sufficient guard nevertheless; and do not win their favour by helping them to invade their enemies, but for their defence it is not amiss: and send oft of them over to the country that plants, that they may see a better condition than their own, and commend it when they return. When the plantation grows to strength, then  it is time to plant with women as well as with men; that the plantation may spread into generations, and not be ever pieced from without. It is the sinfullest thing in the world to forsake or destitute a plantation once in forwardness; for, besides the dishonour, it is the guiltiness of blood of many commiserable persons.

XLVII. OF NEGOTIATING.

It is generally better to deal by speech than by letter; and by the mediation of a third than by a man’s self. Letters are good when a man would draw an answer by letter back again; or when it may serve for a man’s justification afterwards to produce his own letter; or where it may be danger to be interrupted, or heard by pieces. To deal in person is good, when a man’s face breedeth regard, as commonly with inferiors; or in tender cases, where a man’s eye upon the countenance of him with whom he speaketh, may give him a direction how far to go; and generally, where a man will reserve to himself liberty either to disavow or to expound. In choice of instruments, it is better to choose men of a plainer sort, that are like to do that that is committed to them, and to report back again faithfully the success, than those that are cunning to contrive out of ether men’s business somewhat to grace themselves, and will help the matter in report, for satisfaction sake. Use also such persons as affect the business wherein they are employed, for that quickeneth much; and such as are fit for the matter, as bold men for expostulation, fair-spoken men for persuasion, crafty men for inquiry and observation, froward and absurd men for business that doth not well bear out itself. Use also such as have been lucky and prevailed before in things wherein you have employed them; for that breeds confidence, and they will strive to maintain their prescription. It is better to sound a person with whom one deals afar off, than to fall upon the point at first; except you mean to surprise him by some short question. It is better dealing with men in appetite, than with those that are where they would be. If a man deal with another upon conditions, the start of first performance is all; which a man can reasonably demand, except either the nature of the thing be such, which must go before: or else a man can persuade the other party, that he shall still need him in some other thing; or else that he be counted the honester man. All practice is to discover, or to work. Men discover themselves in trust, in passion, at unawares; and of necessity, when they would have somewhat done, and cannot find an apt pretext, if you would work any man, you must either know his nature and fashions, and so lead him; or his ends, and so persuade him; or his weakness and disadvantages, and so awe him; or these that have interest in him, and so govern him. In dealing with cunning persons, we must ever consider their ends, to interpret their speeches; and it is good to say little to them, and that which they least look for. In all negotiations of difficulty, a man may not look to sow and reap at once; but must prepare business, and so ripen it by degrees.

XXXVII. OF MASQUES AND TRIUMPHS.

These things are but toys to come amongst such serious observations; but yet, since princes will have such things, it is better they should be graced with elegancy, than daubed with cost. Dancing to song, is a thing of great state and pleasure. I understand it that the song be inquire, placed aloft, and accompanied by some broken music; and the ditty fitted to the device. Acting in song, especially in dialogues, hath an extreme good grace; I say acting, not dancing, (for that is a mean and vulgar thing;) and the voices of the dialogue would be strong and manly, (a base and a tenor, no treble,) and the ditty high and tragical, not nice or dainty. Several quires placed one over against another, and taking the voice by catches anthem-wise, give great pleasure. Turning dances into figure is a childish curiosity; and generally let it be noted, that those things which  I here set down are such as do naturally take the sense, and not respect petty wonderments. It is true, the alterations of scenes, so it be quietly and without noise, are things of great beauty and pleasure; for they feed and relieve the eye before it be full of the same object. Let the scenes abound with light, especially coloured and varied; and let the masquers, or any other that are to come down from the scene, have some motions upon the scene it self before their coining down; for it draws the eye strangely, and makes it with great pleasure to desire to see that it cannot perfectly discern. Let the songs be loud and cheerful, and not chirpings or pulings: let the music likewise be sharp and loud, and well placed. The colours that show best by candle-light, are white, carnation, and a kind of sea-water green and ouches, or spangs, as they are of no great cost, so they are of most glory. As for rich embroidery, it is lost and not discerned. Let the suits of the masquers be graceful, and such as become the person when the vizards are off; not after examples of known attires; Turks, soldiers, mariners, and the like. Let anti-masques not be long; they have been commonly of fools, satyrs, baboons, wild men antics, beasts, spirits, witches, Ethiopes, pigmies turquets, nymphs, rustics, Cupids, statues moving and the like. As for angels, it is not comical enough to put them in anti-masques; and any thing that is hideous, as devils, giants, is, on the other side as unfit; but chiefly, let the music of them be recreative, and with some strange changes. Some sweet odours suddenly coming forth, without any drops falling, are, in such a company as there is steam and heat, things of great pleasure and refreshment. Double masques, one of men another of ladies, addeth state and variety; but all is nothing except the room be kept clean and neat.

For jousts, and tourneys, and barriers, the glories of them are chiefly in the chariots, wherein the challengers make their entry; especially if they be drawn with strange beasts; as lions, bears camels, and the like; or in the devices of their entrance, or in bravery of their liveries, or in the goodly furniture of their horses and armour. But enough of these toys.

L. OF STUDIES.

Studies serve for delight, for ornament and for ability. Their chief use for delight, is in privateness and retiring; for ornament, is in discourse; and for ability, is in the judgment and disposition of business; for expert men can execute, and perhaps judge of particulars, one by one: but the general counsels, and the plots and marshalling of affairs come best from those that are learned. To spend too much time in studies, is sloth; to use them too much for ornament, is affectation; to make judgment wholly by their rules, is the humour of a scholar: they perfect nature, and are perfected by experience: for natural abilities are like natural plants, that need pruning by study; and studies themselves do give forth directions too much at large, except they be bounded in by experience. Crafty men contemn studies, simple men admire them, and wise men use them; for they teach not their own use; but that is a wisdom without them, and above them, won by observation. Read not to contradict and confute, nor to believe and take for granted, nor to find talk and discourse, but to weigh and consider. Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested; that is, some books are to be read only in parts; others to be read, but not curiously; and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention. Some books also may be read by deputy, and extracts made of them by others; but that would be only in the less important arguments, and the meaner sort of books; else distilled books are, like common distilled waters, flashy things. Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man; and, therefore, if a man write little, he had need have a great memory; if he confer little, he had need have a present wit: and if he read little, he had need have much cunning, to seem to know that he doth not. Histories make men wise; poets witty; the mathematics subtile; natural philosophy deep; moral, grave; logic and rhetoric, able to contend “Abeunt studia in mores;” nay, there is no stond or impediment in the wit, but may be wrought out by fit studies: like as diseases of the body may have appropriate exercises; bowling is good for the stone and reins, shooting for the lungs and breast, gentle walking for the stomach, riding for the head, and the like; so, if a man’s wit be wandering, let him study the mathematics; for in demonstrations, if his wit be called away never so little, he must begin again; if his wit be no apt to distinguish or find differences, let him study the schoolmen, for they are “Cymini sectores;” if he be not apt to beat over matters, and to call upon one thing to prove and illustrate another, let him study the lawyer’s cases: so every defect of the mind may have a special receipt.

Source Text:

Bacon, Francis. Bacon’s Essays and Wisdom of the Ancients . Little, Brown, and Company, 1884, is licensed under no known copyright.

PDM

Early English Literature Copyright © 2019 by Allegra Villarreal is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book

  • Newsletters
  • Account Activating this button will toggle the display of additional content Account Sign out

The Loss of Things I Took for Granted

Ten years into my college teaching career, students stopped being able to read effectively..

Recent years have seen successive waves of book bans in Republican-controlled states, aimed at pulling any text with “woke” themes from classrooms and library shelves. Though the results sometimes seem farcical, as with the banning of Art Spiegelman’s Maus due to its inclusion of “cuss words” and explicit rodent nudity, the book-banning agenda is no laughing matter. Motivated by bigotry, it has already done demonstrable harm and promises to do more. But at the same time, the appropriate response is, in principle, simple. Named individuals have advanced explicit policies with clear goals and outcomes, and we can replace those individuals with people who want to reverse those policies. That is already beginning to happen in many places, and I hope those successes will continue until every banned book is restored.

If and when that happens, however, we will not be able to declare victory quite yet. Defeating the open conspiracy to deprive students of physical access to books will do little to counteract the more diffuse confluence of forces that are depriving students of the skills needed to meaningfully engage with those books in the first place. As a college educator, I am confronted daily with the results of that conspiracy-without-conspirators. I have been teaching in small liberal arts colleges for over 15 years now, and in the past five years, it’s as though someone flipped a switch. For most of my career, I assigned around 30 pages of reading per class meeting as a baseline expectation—sometimes scaling up for purely expository readings or pulling back for more difficult texts. (No human being can read 30 pages of Hegel in one sitting, for example.) Now students are intimidated by anything over 10 pages and seem to walk away from readings of as little as 20 pages with no real understanding. Even smart and motivated students struggle to do more with written texts than extract decontextualized take-aways. Considerable class time is taken up simply establishing what happened in a story or the basic steps of an argument—skills I used to be able to take for granted.

Since this development very directly affects my ability to do my job as I understand it, I talk about it a lot. And when I talk about it with nonacademics, certain predictable responses inevitably arise, all questioning the reality of the trend I describe. Hasn’t every generation felt that the younger cohort is going to hell in a handbasket? Haven’t professors always complained that educators at earlier levels are not adequately equipping their students? And haven’t students from time immemorial skipped the readings?

The response of my fellow academics, however, reassures me that I’m not simply indulging in intergenerational grousing. Anecdotally, I have literally never met a professor who did not share my experience. Professors are also discussing the issue in academic trade publications , from a variety of perspectives. What we almost all seem to agree on is that we are facing new obstacles in structuring and delivering our courses, requiring us to ratchet down expectations in the face of a ratcheting down of preparation. Yes, there were always students who skipped the readings, but we are in new territory when even highly motivated honors students struggle to grasp the basic argument of a 20-page article. Yes, professors never feel satisfied that high school teachers have done enough, but not every generation of professors has had to deal with the fallout of No Child Left Behind and Common Core. Finally, yes, every generation thinks the younger generation is failing to make the grade— except for the current cohort of professors, who are by and large more invested in their students’ success and mental health and more responsive to student needs than any group of educators in human history. We are not complaining about our students. We are complaining about what has been taken from them.

If we ask what has caused this change, there are some obvious culprits. The first is the same thing that has taken away almost everyone’s ability to focus—the ubiquitous smartphone. Even as a career academic who studies the Quran in Arabic for fun, I have noticed my reading endurance flagging. I once found myself boasting at a faculty meeting that I had read through my entire hourlong train ride without looking at my phone. My colleagues agreed this was a major feat, one they had not achieved recently. Even if I rarely attain that high level of focus, though, I am able to “turn it on” when demanded, for instance to plow through a big novel during a holiday break. That’s because I was able to develop and practice those skills of extended concentration and attentive reading before the intervention of the smartphone. For children who were raised with smartphones, by contrast, that foundation is missing. It is probably no coincidence that the iPhone itself, originally released in 2007, is approaching college age, meaning that professors are increasingly dealing with students who would have become addicted to the dopamine hit of the omnipresent screen long before they were introduced to the more subtle pleasures of the page.

The second go-to explanation is the massive disruption of school closures during COVID-19. There is still some debate about the necessity of those measures, but what is not up for debate any longer is the very real learning loss that students suffered at every level. The impact will inevitably continue to be felt for the next decade or more, until the last cohort affected by the mass “pivot to online” finally graduates. I doubt that the pandemic closures were the decisive factor in themselves, however. Not only did the marked decline in reading resilience start before the pandemic, but the students I am seeing would have already been in high school during the school closures. Hence they would be better equipped to get something out of the online format and, more importantly, their basic reading competence would have already been established.

Less discussed than these broader cultural trends over which educators have little control are the major changes in reading pedagogy that have occurred in recent decades—some motivated by the ever-increasing demand to “teach to the test” and some by fads coming out of schools of education. In the latter category is the widely discussed decline in phonics education in favor of the “balanced literacy” approach advocated by education expert Lucy Calkins (who has more recently come to accept the need for more phonics instruction). I started to see the results of this ill-advised change several years ago, when students abruptly stopped attempting to sound out unfamiliar words and instead paused until they recognized the whole word as a unit. (In a recent class session, a smart, capable student was caught short by the word circumstances when reading a text out loud.) The result of this vibes-based literacy is that students never attain genuine fluency in reading. Even aside from the impact of smartphones, their experience of reading is constantly interrupted by their intentionally cultivated inability to process unfamiliar words.

For all the flaws of the balanced literacy method, it was presumably implemented by people who thought it would help. It is hard to see a similar motivation in the growing trend toward assigning students only the kind of short passages that can be included in a standardized test. Due in part to changes driven by the infamous Common Core standards , teachers now have to fight to assign their students longer readings, much less entire books, because those activities won’t feed directly into students getting higher test scores, which leads to schools getting more funding. The emphasis on standardized tests was always a distraction at best, but we have reached the point where it is actively cannibalizing students’ educational experience—an outcome no one intended or planned, and for which there is no possible justification.

We can’t go back in time and do the pandemic differently at this point, nor is there any realistic path to putting the smartphone genie back in the bottle. (Though I will note that we as a society do at least attempt to keep other addictive products out of the hands of children.) But I have to think that we can, at the very least, stop actively preventing young people from developing the ability to follow extended narratives and arguments in the classroom. Regardless of their profession or ultimate educational level, they will need those skills. The world is a complicated place. People—their histories and identities, their institutions and work processes, their fears and desires—are simply too complex to be captured in a worksheet with a paragraph and some reading comprehension questions. Large-scale prose writing is the best medium we have for capturing that complexity, and the education system should not be in the business of keeping students from learning how to engage effectively with it.

This is a matter not of snobbery, but of basic justice. I recognize that not everyone centers their lives on books as much as a humanities professor does. I think they’re missing out, but they’re adults and they can choose how to spend their time. What’s happening with the current generation is not that they are simply choosing TikTok over Jane Austen. They are being deprived of the ability to choose—for no real reason or benefit. We can and must stop perpetrating this crime on our young people.

comscore beacon

  • Share full article

Advertisement

Supported by

Guest Essay

How Trump Could Institute a Backdoor Federal Abortion Ban

A group of people stand facing the same direction, including a woman at the center of the photo who has her hands clasped.

By Mary Ziegler

Ms. Ziegler is a law professor and a 2023-24 Guggenheim fellow. She is the author of “Roe: The History of a National Obsession.”

For many Americans who support abortion rights, the election in November will most likely come down to a choice between voting for President Biden and staying home. They won’t vote for the man who ensured Roe v. Wade’s demise, but many of them are unenthusiastic about the prospect of Mr. Biden being the Democratic nominee.

So for the Democratic Party, motivating voters on this issue will be key. Mr. Biden’s advisers clearly know this and have sent him and Vice President Kamala Harris on something of a speaking tour this month to highlight their commitment to reproductive rights .

But it’s odd how the Biden-Harris campaign has chosen to speak about this issue, with a heavy focus on their plan to “codify Roe.” Bold congressional action on abortion is unlikely from either side: A federal abortion ban under a second Trump administration is implausible, but it is also unlikely that this Congress, or the next, passes legislation, like the Women’s Health Protection Act , to bring back the protections that were in Roe.

What is plausible is that, returned to the White House, Donald Trump would seek to use his executive power — power that his allies are aiming to increase on his behalf — to further curtail abortion access. He might seem uninterested in doing much of anything about abortion now, on the campaign trail, which is a shrewd political move, given how unpopular abortion bans have proved to be since Roe’s reversal. But that could well change when he is in office again. And Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris would be wise to make clear to voters the real risks of a second Trump presidency for abortion access.

This election is the most consequential for reproductive rights in half a century — a referendum on whether voters continue to be the ones to decide on this issue, or whether instead conservatives in the executive branch will decide for them.

The destruction of Roe in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization was never going to be the end of the battle over abortion rights in America. Since Dobbs, progressive as well as swing states have passed ballot initiatives protecting or enshrining reproductive rights. Polls demonstrate near record support for legal abortion.

Meanwhile, the anti-abortion movement is focused on fetal personhood — ensuring full constitutional rights for fetuses. This singular goal has drawn activists to the anti-abortion movement for decades. The contemporary movement argues that recognizing fetal personhood requires the full criminalization of abortion, including the punishment of doctors and those who “aid or abet” them. Abortion “ abolitionists ” even argue that personhood requires retribution against women who seek abortions. Anti-abortion groups believe they are advancing the human rights cause of our lifetime.

Fetal personhood may be the ultimate goal of the movement, but the agenda has not proved popular with voters. That’s why plans for a second Trump term’s abortion strategy will probably rely less on voters than on the idea of a muscular executive branch. A playbook for an incoming Republican president created by Project 2025, a well-coordinated effort supported by more than 90 conservative groups, includes attempting to strip access to mifepristone, a drug used in a majority of U.S. abortions .

The availability of abortion pills has made the enforcement of state abortion bans difficult, as Americans can order pills online or travel out of state to get them . That’s why abortion opponents have been gunning for mifepristone, one of two drugs typically used in a medication abortion, including in a 2022 lawsuit, Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. Food and Drug Administration. That case, which could severely curb access to the drug nationwide, has now made its way to the Supreme Court, with a decision expected in June .

A second Trump administration could still try to eliminate access to the drug nationwide even if the court sides against the anti-abortion plaintiffs in Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine. The road map created by Project 2025 calls on the F.D.A. to limit access to mifepristone and ultimately withdraw it from the market as a drug “proven to be dangerous to women and by definition fatally unsafe for unborn children.”

The scientists at the F.D.A. might not even need to be on board with this plan for it to work. The secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, a presidential appointee, can override the F.D.A.’s drug approval decisions — a fact that raised red flags at the height of the Covid pandemic. As the authors of Project 2025’s road map recognize, Republican control of Health and Human Services could mean the end of the most common abortion method in the United States in blue as well as red states.

Leading anti-abortion groups also have coalesced around plans to revive the 1873 Comstock Act ; what remains of the broad and archaic law could, anti-abortion groups claim, punish anyone receiving or mailing any “obscene, lewd, lascivious, indecent, filthy or vile article” with up to five years in prison for a first offense. Abortion opponents have reimagined Comstock for a Trump Department of Justice as a way to effectively ban most abortions everywhere, pointing to language in the statute that makes it a federal crime to mail or receive any item “designed, adapted or intended for producing abortion.”

The statute hasn’t been enforced much, if at all, in cases of abortion in about 100 years and has been construed as protecting the ordinary practice of medicine since the 1930s. But anti-abortion groups, which are cherry-picking words to turn the statute into a no-exceptions ban, hope that a second Trump administration would ignore federal precedent.

Project 2025’s road map argues that a Republican Justice Department should enforce Comstock “against providers and distributors” of abortion pills. A Trump administration could follow through on these plans by prosecuting doctors and drug companies anywhere in the country: The Comstock Act, as a federal law, could be read to override state protections for abortion rights.

Some key abortion opponents, like the former Texas solicitor general Jonathan Mitchell, argue that Comstock should be interpreted as an effective ban on all abortions because every procedure that takes place in the United States relies on some item placed in the mail, from a surgical glove to a curet. Mr. Mitchell and his allies read the law to exclude explicit exceptions for the life or health of the patient.

Understood in this way, the law could punish women who receive abortion-related items or information using the Postal Service or another carrier or even websites. If a Trump Justice Department began prosecuting doctors for prescribing or shipping pills in New York or California, that would certainly draw a court challenge, and the administration may not have the legal authority to follow through on the plans drawn up by anti-abortion strategists. But abortion opponents like their chances in the Supreme Court and have prepared arguments for Mr. Trump to use that are tailor-made for its conservative supermajority.

It is tempting to dismiss the possibility of such a backdoor federal abortion ban as far-fetched. Mr. Trump hardly sounds like a passionate supporter of fetal rights at the moment, and his embrace of the anti-abortion movement always seemed more a matter of political expedience than a sincere conversion.

But Mr. Trump will have different incentives once in office. Pleasing the social conservatives who donate to his political organizations — the sort of people who could be key to securing his post-presidential future — may strike him as more important than pleasing the majority of American voters. Anti-abortion groups expect Mr. Trump to deliver if he is re-elected and view his current reluctance to discuss abortion as a short-term political necessity .

The choice in this election is not simply between Joe Biden and Donald Trump. The choice is between the status quo — or a chance for more protection for reproductive rights — and the possibility of an effective abortion ban that would be all but impossible to achieve using democratic means.

A Supreme Court transformed by Mr. Trump promised that with the demise of Roe, it would be up to the voters of each state to decide on the future of reproductive rights. If plans for institutionalizing Trumpism come to fruition, the future of American reproductive rights may not be up to the voters of each state for much longer. It may be up to Donald Trump.

Mary Ziegler is a law professor at the University of California, Davis, and a 2023-24 Guggenheim fellow. She is the author of “Roe: The History of a National Obsession.”

The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips . And here’s our email: [email protected] .

Follow the New York Times Opinion section on Facebook , Instagram , TikTok , X and Threads .

I've worked at Aldi for 2 years. Here are 10 high-quality items I can't believe I got at the budget grocer.

  • As an Aldi employee , I regularly find high-quality, luxurious-feeling items at the budget grocer.
  • The Specially Selected bacon-wrapped sea scallops and lobster tails make for delicious family meals.
  • Finds like the SOHL Furniture office chair make my home look and feel more luxurious.

Insider Today

I'm someone who's worked at Aldi for two years, and the store is my go-to for home decor and groceries that feel high end.

Here are 10 luxurious-feeling items I've gotten at Aldi .

I'd happily eat a box of the Specially Selected bacon-wrapped sea scallops by myself.

bacon piece essay

The Specially Selected items at Aldi are must-tries, and the bacon-wrapped sea scallops are no exception.

They're the perfect appetizer for family dinners or parties. I just pop them in the air fryer for a delicious meal that's ready in 10 minutes.

No family breakfast would be complete without the Ambiano rotating Belgian-waffle maker.

bacon piece essay

Don't pass up the Aldi home section, especially if your location carries great products such as the Ambiano rotating Belgian-waffle maker.

I use this to cook breakfast for my family . The handy gadget has a nonstick cooking surface and is easy to clean.

The Specially Selected wild-caught cold-water lobster tails are delicious.

bacon piece essay

In my opinion, the Specially Selected wild-caught cold-water lobster tails taste super fresh — almost as if they didn't come from the frozen section.

The high-quality lobster tails are a favorite among seafood-loving customers. My family cooks them when we want to create a five-star at-home dining experience.

My kitchen wouldn't be complete without the Crofton 16-piece durable food-storage set.

bacon piece essay

Regardless of where you are in life, a storage set like the 16-piece option from Crofton is necessary.

This set comes with eight containers and lids, giving you a lot of bang for your buck. I've had my set for over two years, and the containers are durable and easy to clean.

They can store fruit, vegetables, soups, leftovers, and more.

Lunch looks stylish in the Crofton two-tiered bento box.

bacon piece essay

The Crofton two-tiered bento box has plenty of compartments, making packing lunches and snacks easy.

They also come in various colors, including black, green, and yellow.

When I'm craving something sweet, I reach for the Specially Selected butter cookies coated with chocolate.

bacon piece essay

Nothing is better than finding the perfect sweet snack, and the Specially Selected butter cookies coated with chocolate are my current go-to.

The butter cookies, which are imported from Germany, come with milk- or dark-chocolate coatings. I love to snack on either option for a quick chocolate fix.

I enjoy cold beverages served in the Crofton glass coffee mugs.

bacon piece essay

Whether you prefer a hot or cold beverage, the Crofton glass coffee mug will not disappoint. The beautiful glass mugs make my iced coffees seem more glamorous.

The ribbed design makes me feel like I'm sitting in a high-end coffee shop.

I love incorporating the Specially Selected raw honey in recipes and beverages.

bacon piece essay

I'll take any opportunity to rave about the Specially Selected raw honey. No matter what you use it for, a little sweet honey goes a long way.

It can be added to recipes, baked goods, and beverages. My favorite way to have it is with tea.

The Huntington Home wire organizers elevate my kitchen.

bacon piece essay

So many customers love the Huntington Home wire organizers to help tidy up their kitchens. They're great quality and look stylish.

As a mom, I have to be organized, and this contraption is perfect for managing bags and kitchen equipment. Since getting it, I've been told my home looks more put together.

The SOHL Furniture office chair is super comfortable.

bacon piece essay

Any chance I get, I'm in my SOHL Furniture office chair. It's so easy to assemble and extremely comfortable.

The shell-shaped design fully supports my back and makes the chair look expensive.

Click to keep reading Aldi diaries like this one .

bacon piece essay

  • Main content

IMAGES

  1. Bacon's Essays, Vol. 2 of 2: With Introduction, Notes, and Index

    bacon piece essay

  2. (DOC) Style of Bacon's Essay

    bacon piece essay

  3. Francis bacon essays of studies summary in 2021

    bacon piece essay

  4. Full description of Bacon's essay "Of Studies" with best examples in

    bacon piece essay

  5. Presentation Bacon essays of studies

    bacon piece essay

  6. Of Studies by Francis Bacon Free Essay Example

    bacon piece essay

VIDEO

  1. Of Friendship By Francis Bacon

  2. Bacon's Essay

  3. The Best Bacon You'll Ever Make (And Every Method to Avoid)

  4. Objective Essay || Bacon, the father of English Essay || Bacon's of Study || @FaizBrohi-np1jh

  5. Bacon's Prose Style

  6. Of Studies by Francis Bacon

COMMENTS

  1. Essays (Francis Bacon)

    Essays (Francis Bacon) 1696 title page Essayes: Religious Meditations. Places of Perswasion and Disswasion. Seene and Allowed (1597) was the first published book by the philosopher, statesman and jurist Francis Bacon. The Essays are written in a wide range of styles, from the plain and unadorned to the epigrammatic.

  2. bacon piece Crossword Clue

    The Crossword Solver found 30 answers to "bacon piece", 4 letters crossword clue. The Crossword Solver finds answers to classic crosswords and cryptic crossword puzzles. Enter the length or pattern for better results. Click the answer to find similar crossword clues . Enter a Crossword Clue Sort by Length # of Letters or Pattern Dictionary

  3. Of Love by Francis Bacon Summary and Analysis

    Bacon opens the essay by claiming that the love or romance shown on the stage, plays, and theatres is highly unrealistic, far from reality. On stage, love is portrayed as a noble trait leading to joy and excitement. It often brings tragedy and sorrow. However, in the real life, love does the real disasters by bringing dark and foreboding.

  4. Francis Bacon: Essays

    Literary Context Francis Bacon had a passion for metaphors, analogies, and vivid imagery. He was a rhetorical writer and his essays highlight his wisdom and incisive mind. His first book was released in 1597 followed by later editions with added essays that were released in 1612 and 1625.

  5. What is Bacon's prose style in his essays?

    Quick answer: The style of Bacon's prose in his essays is generally aphoristic, direct, and brief, all of which emphasize the practicality of his writing and encourage active reader...

  6. The Works of Francis Bacon/Volume 1/Essays/Of Great Place

    It is a strange desire to seek power and to lose liberty; or to seek power over others, and to lose power over a man's self. The rising unto place is laborious, and by pains men come to greater pains; and it is sometimes base, and by indignities men come to dignities. The standing is slippery, and the regress is either a downfall, or at least ...

  7. Francis Bacon

    Francis Bacon (born January 22, 1561, York House, London, England—died April 9, 1626, London) lord chancellor of England (1618-21). A lawyer, statesman, philosopher, and master of the English tongue, he is remembered in literary terms for the sharp worldly wisdom of a few dozen essays; by students of constitutional history for his power as a speaker in Parliament and in famous trials and ...

  8. Why I Voted Against the Alejandro Mayorkas Impeachment

    President Biden has created a disaster at our southern border. In his first 100 days in office, Mr. Biden halted border-wall construction, ended President Trump's successful Remain in Mexico ...

  9. Francis Bacon

    Francis Bacon (1561-1626) was one of the leading figures in natural philosophy and in the field of scientific methodology in the period of transition from the Renaissance to the early modern era. ... In 1597 his first book was published, the seminal version of his Essays, which contained only ten pieces (Klein 2004b). His financial situation ...

  10. Francis Bacon on Friendship

    In the essay "Of Friendship," found in his Complete Essays (public library; public domain) — the same tome that gave us his timeless insights on studies and beauty — philosopher and scientific method pioneer Francis Bacon considers one of the greatest gifts of human existence:. A principal fruit of friendship, is the ease and discharge of the fulness and swellings of the heart, which ...

  11. Essays Summary

    Sir Francis Bacon first published Essays in 1597. Bacon released a second expanded version of Essays in 1625, and it is this publication that most scholars read today. Consisting of...

  12. Bacon Piece

    We found 20 possible solutions for this clue. We think the likely answer to this clue is ESSAY. You can easily improve your search by specifying the number of letters in the answer. Best answers for Bacon Piece: ESSAY, STRIP, SLAB By CrosswordSolver IO. Refine the search results by specifying the number of letters.

  13. Essays (Francis Bacon)

    Essays in The Works of Francis Bacon, edited by Basil Montagu (R. Worthington, New York 1884) ( transcription project) Essays edited by Joseph Devey, M.A. Published by John B. Alden (New York 1883) ( external scan) Published by The Rogers Co. (Philadelphia cir. 1900) IA

  14. Of Studies by Sir Francis Bacon

    From the very beginning of the essay, Sir Francis Bacon divides studies into three categories; in fact, these three types are benefits of studies. Studies serve three purposes, says Sir Francis Bacon, "delight", "ornament" and "ability". In Bacon's times, the drama was banned; drama may have a moral purpose but it is certainly a ...

  15. Opinion

    Mr. Fontaine is an environmental lawyer who served as co-counsel for Dr. Mann in the defamation case detailed in this essay. The climate is warming. Polar ice is melting, glaciers are receding ...

  16. The Essays of Francis Bacon/Introduction II

    The Essays of Francis Bacon (1908) by Francis Bacon, edited by Mary Augusta Scott. Introduction: II. The Essays. Title-page of the Third Edition of the Essays. →. II. The Essays. The Elizabethan age is the most creative period in English literature. The foreign wars in which the young Chaucer bore a part had ended in the abandonment of the ...

  17. PDF The Spirit of Life in Sir Francis Bacon'S Essays

    The purpose of this piece of writing and research is to convey "The spirit of life in Bacon's essays." We are bound to regard his essays as the greatest of all time. We find everything in his works, specially the essay, which are the best tools for everyday life of a common people. Bacon's thoughts and practical thinking make him a universal ...

  18. OFB XV: Essayes and Counsels (1625)

    Bacon's essays reflect the experience and wide reading of a Renaissance man - philosopher, historian, judge, politician, adviser to the Prince - above all, astute observer of human nature. ... Stewart's edition allows an examination of the kind of writing that Bacon developed in his early pieces, which played a role in shaping his ...

  19. Of Studies by Francis Bacon Summary & Analysis

    Of Studies Here's a brief but on-point "Of Studies Summary and Analysis" for you from LitPriest. Of Studies by Francis Bacon Summary Contents "Studies serve for delight, ornament, and for ability". Francis Bacon gives account of three chief uses of studies. The first use is that they serve for delight.

  20. The Project Gutenberg eBook of Bacon's Essays, by Bacon

    Title: Bacon's Essays and Wisdom of the Ancients Author: Francis Bacon Contributor: A. Spiers B. Montagu Release Date: January 29, 2018 [EBook #56463] Language: English Character set encoding: UTF-8 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK BACON'S ESSAYS, WISDOM OF ANCIENTS *** Produced by Turgut Dincer and the Online Distributed Proofreading ...

  21. Francis Bacon's Writing Style and Short Biography

    A Short Biography of Francis Bacon. ... The year 1597 was the year when Bacon's first publication, a collection of essays about politics came into the literary world. The collection was later extended and republished in 1612 and 1625. He wrote in prose style that fitted every profession. Bacon's take on different aspects of life such as ...

  22. Opinion

    Couples shouldn't be cocooned but anchored in a circle of friends. But there's a way to fix this. Start by trying a simple drawing exercise: Get a piece of paper, write your name in the middle ...

  23. The Supreme Court Should Get Out of the Insurrection Business

    Mr. Amar, a law professor at Yale, wrote an amicus brief for the Supreme Court case Trump v. Anderson, concerning Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. The Supreme Court will hear arguments on Thursday ...

  24. Analysis of Francis Bacon's Prose Writing Style

    Francis Bacon's essays are different in conventional definiti o n of essay as a lite rary genre. T he great contribution of Fr ancis Bacon (1561-1626) to the developme nt of English prose can ...

  25. Atlantic Ocean is headed for a tipping point − once melting glaciers

    Atlantic Ocean is headed for a tipping point − once melting glaciers shut down the Gulf Stream, we would see extreme climate change within decades, study shows

  26. Francis Bacon: Essays

    Francis Bacon Essays is a collection of eight of the famous philosopher's many essays. Each dissertation contains words of wisdom that have proven to be enlightening for many generations that followed. ... or heard by pieces. To deal in person is good, when a man's face breedeth regard, as commonly with inferiors; or in tender cases, where ...

  27. Literacy crisis in college students: Essay from a professor on students

    School The Loss of Things I Took for Granted Ten years into my college teaching career, students stopped being able to read effectively.

  28. Opinion

    Guest Essay. How Trump Could Institute a Backdoor Federal Abortion Ban. Jan. 29, 2024. People wait for Vice President Kamala Harris to speak about reproductive rights on Jan. 22.

  29. High-End Things to Get at Aldi, According to an Employee

    The Specially Selected bacon-wrapped sea scallops and lobster tails make for delicious family meals. ... The Crofton 16-piece durable food-storage set keeps leftovers, fruit, and other items fresh