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This Volume contains
I. The Wisdom of the Ancients.
II. Civil History
1. History of Henry VII.
1. Queen Elizabeth.
THE WISDOM OF THE ANCIENTS.
The first edition of this work was published in Latin in the year 1609. It is entitled —
EXCUDEBAT ROBERTUS BAR-
« Mr. Matthew, “ I do very heartily thank you for your letter of “ the 24th of August from Salamanca ; and in
recompence thereof 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 ecstacy 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
ever 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.
Prom 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.'”
Bacon's sentiments with respect to these fables may be found in the “ Advancement of Learning, and in the “ De Augmentis,” under the head of Poetry.
In the “ Advancement of Learning” he says, « There remaineth yet another use of poesy parabo“ lical, opposite to that which we last mentioned: ~ for that tendeth to demonstrate and illustrate that " which is taught or delivered, and this other to retire “ and obscure it: that is, when the secrets and mys“ teries of religion, policy, or philosophy, are in“ volved 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,
“ Progenuit.” expounded, that when princes and monarchs have “ suppressed actual and open rebels, then the malig
nity 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 rebel“ lion, 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 sub“jects, 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 encoun
ters, 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