« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
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 during the life of Lord Bacon by a great admirer of his works.
The editions of this work with which I am acquainted
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 Sir Nicholas was styled by Camden sacris conciliis alterum columen; he was the author of some unpublished discourses on law and politics, and of a commentary on the minor prophets.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. 66 Madam," answered the Lord Keeper, "my house is well, but it is you that have made me too great for my house." This anecdote has been preserved by his son, who, hadi
1 Bacon's Apophthegms.
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.1 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, inherited the classical learning and taste of both his parents.
He was born at York House, in the Strand, London, on the twenty-second of January, 1560-1. 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,
1 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.