Page images
PDF
EPUB

notions and blind experiments; and what the posterity and issue of so honourable a match may be, it is not hard to consider.

Printing, a gross' invention; artillery, a thing that lay not tar out of the way; the needle, a thing partly known before: what a change have these three made in the world in these times; the one in state of learning, the other in state of the war, the third in the state of treasure, commodities, and navi. gation! And those, I say, were but stumbled upon and lighted upon by chance. Therefore, no doubt, the sovereignty of Man lieth hid in knowledge; wherein many things are reserved, whichi kings with their treasure cannot buy, nor with their force command; their spials and intelligencers can give no news of them, their seamen and discoverers cannot sail where they grow; now we govern nature in opinions, but we are thrall' unto her in necessity; but if we would be led by her in invention, we should command her in action.

ANTITIETA.
Pro.

CONTRA,
' Ea demum voluptas est secundum 'Contemplatio, speciosa inertia.
naturam, cujus non est satietas.

Contemplation is a specious indo The only pleasure which can be con- lence.' formable to nature is that which knows no satiety.'

“Bene cogitare, non multo melius est, quam bene somniare.

* Thinking well is not very different. "Omnes affectus pravi, falsa estima- from dreaming well.' tiones sunt; atque eadem sunt bonitas et veritas,

Bad tendencies are, in fact, false judgments of things; for truth and goodness are the same.'

Gross. Probably palpably obvious ; which it was (as has been above remarked) as soon as a cheap paper was invented. 2 Spials. Scouts.

*For he by faithful spials was assured

That Egypt's king was forward on his way.'— Fairfax. * Thrall. Slave.

*No thralls like them that inward bondage have.'

ANNOTATION.

No better annotation can be given than in Bacon's own words,—The mistaking or misplacing of the last or farthest end of knowledge, is the greatest error of all the rest : For, men have entered into a desire of learning and knowledge, sometimes upon a natural curiosity, and inquisitive appetite; sometimes to entertain their minds with variety and delight; sometimes for ornament and reputation; and sometimes to enable them to victory of wit and contradiction; and most times for lucre and profession ;—but seldom sincerely to give a true account of their gift of reason, to the benefit and use of men: As if there were sought in knowledge, a couch whereupon to rest a searching and restless spirit; or a terras for a wandering and variable mind to walk

up

and down with a fair prospect; or a tower of state for a proud mind to raise itself upon; or a fort or commanding ground for strife and contention; or a shop for profit or sale ;—and not a rich store-house for the glory of the Creator, and the relief of man's estate."

1 Advancement of Learning.

NOTES.

The references in the following pages are to the London edition of Bacon's Works, edited by Ellis, Spedding, and Heath.

In the quotations I have adopted the modern usage with regard to the letters u and v, and i and j.

Essay I. p. 2, 1. 14. “the inquiry of truth,” etc. Compare the following noble

passage from the Preface to “ The Great Instauration:”.

For my own part at least, in obedience to the everlasting love of truth, I have committed myself to the uncertainties and difficulties and solitudes of the ways, and relying on the divine assistance have upheld my mind both against the shocks and embattled ranks of opinion, and against my own private and inward hesitations and scruples, and against the fogs and clouds of nature, and the phantoms flitting about on every side; in the hope of providing at last for the present and future generations guidance more faithful and

secure. — Works, IV. 18. p. 2, 1. 24. — Lucretius, II. 1-10; quoted again in “The Adv. of Learning," I. 8, $ 5:Suave,

mari

magno turbantibus æquora ventis,
E terra magnum alterius spectare laborem;
Suave etiam belli certamina magna tueri
Per campos instructa tua sine parte pericli.
Sed nil dulcius est, bene quam munita tenere
Edita doctrina sapientum templa serena,
Despicere unde queas alios passimque videre
Errare atque viam palantis quærere vitæ.

[579]

Munro, in his excellent edition of Lucretius (vol. I. p. 51, Cambridge, 1864), translates the entire passage as follows:

It is sweet, when on the great sea the winds trouble its waters, to behold from land another's deep distress; not that it is a pleasure and delight that any should be afflicted, but because it is sweet to see from what evils you are yourself exempt. It is sweet also to look upon the mighty struggles of war arrayed along the plains, without sharing yourself in the danger. But nothing is more welcome than to hold the lofty and serene positions well fortified by the learning of the wise, from which you may look down upon others and see them wandering all abroad and going astray in their search for the path of life, see the contest among them of intellect, the rivalry of birth, the striving night and day with surpassing effort to struggle up to the summit of power and be masters of the world.

p. 3, 1. 16. - Essais II. 18. Montaigne in this passage is supposed to

allude to Lysander's saying recorded by Plutarch :

“For he said, that children should be deceived with the play of kayles, and men with oathes of men ;” on which Plutarch remarks: “ For he that deceiveth his enemie, and breaketh his oath to him: sheweth plainely that he fearetli him, but that he careth not for God.” – North. Plutarch's Lives, p. 450, ed. 1631.

Essay II.

With the subject of this Essay, compare the splendid conclusion of Sir Thomas Browne's “ Urn Burial:”

To live indeed, is to be again ourselves, which being not only an hope, but an evidence in noble believers, 't is all one to lie in St. Innocent's churchyard, as in the sands of Egypt. Ready to be any thing, in the ecstasy of being ever, and as content with six foot as the moles of Adrianus. --Works, vol. III. p. 496, ed. Pickering.

p. 14, 1. 3, et seq.

To smell to a turf of fresh earth is wholesome for the body; no less are thoughts of mortality cordial to the soul. — FULLEN. The Holy State, IV. 13, § 13.

p. 14, 1. 17. “ blacks and obsequies.” “ Blacks,” in the sense of mourning, occurs in “ The Winter's Tale,” I. 2:

But were they false
As o'er-dy'd blacks, as winds, as waters.

p. 15, 1. 18. — Juv. Sat. X. 357. The true quotation is, –

Qui spatium vitæ extremum inter munera ponat

Natura :
It occurs again in a parallel passage in the “ Adv. of Learning,”
II. 21, $ 5:-

And it seemeth to me, that most of the doctrines of the philosophers are more fearful and cautionary than the nature of things requireth. So have they increased the fear of death in offering to cure it. For when they would have a man's whole life to be but a discipline or preparation to die, they must needs make men think that it is a terrible enemy against whom there is no end of preparing. Better saith the poet, etc.

Essay III. p. 21, 1. 10. — The reader will find accounts of the Morris Dance in

Douce's - Illustrations of Shakespeare," p. 576, ed. 1839, and in Brand's - Popular Autiquities," I. 247, ed. Bohn. In “ Plaine Percevall, the Peace Maker of England” (p. 16 of the reprint), mention is made of a

Stranger, which seeing a Quintessence (beside the foole and the Maid Marian) of all the picked yoouth, straind out of an whole Endslip, footing the Morris about a May pole. And he, not hearing the crie of the hounds, for the barking of dogs, (that is to say) the minstrilsie for the fidling, the tune for the sound, nor the pipe for the noise of the tabor, bluntly demaunded, if they were not all beside

them selves, that they so lipd and skipd whithout an occasion. p. 22, 1. 17. “Men ought to take heed of rending God's church by

controversies.” In his tract entitled “ An Advertisement Touch-
ing the Controversies of the Church of England,” Bacon ob-
series of controversial writers upon subjects connected with the
church:-

To search and rip up wounds with a laughing countenance, is a
thing far from the devout reverence of a Christian.
There is a curious coincidence of thought between Dryden and
Bacon. Dryden says of a satirist,

Ile makes his desperate passes with a smile. p. 24, 1. 9. “epicure.” “ Now applied,” says Trench (Glossary),

only to those who devote themselves, yet with a certain elegance and refinement, to the pleasures of the table.

We may

« PreviousContinue »