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HOUSES are built to live in, and not to look on; therefore let use be preferred2 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,3 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 of ground, 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,

1 By the death of his brother, Anthony, in 1601, Bacon inherited his father's manor of Gorhambury, near St. Albans, Herts. There, after his marriage, in 1606, he built a new country residence of great dimensions, Verulam House, spending on the mansion and gardens vastly more money than he could afford. In this and the following essay, Of Gardens, Bacon therefore writes from an actual experience of building a country house.

2 Preferred before. The verb prefer is now followed by the preposition to.

3 Seat. Site.

4 Knap.

A small hill, hillock, or knoll.

"Now, where 's the inn?' said Mountclere, yawning.

'Just on the knap,' Sol answered."

Thomas Hardy. The Hand of Ethelberta. Chapter XLIV.

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ill markets: and, if you will consult with Momus,1 ill neighbours. I speak not of many more; want of water; want of wood, shade, and shelter; want of fruitfulness, and mixture2 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,3 or the discommodity of their overflowing; too far off from great cities, which may hinder business, or too near them, which lurcheth1 all provisions, and maketh every thing dear; where a man hath a great living laid together, and where he is scanted: 5 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

1 Momus, in Greek mythology, is a god personifying censure and mockery. According to Hesiod, he is the son of Night, the sleepy god. Bacon has in mind the fable of Aesop (Aesopi fabulae Graecolatinae, 193), which relates that Zeus made a bull, Prometheus, a man, and Athena, a house. Momus was called upon to decide which was the best creation, and objected to all three. The bull, he said, should have its horns below its eyes in order to see where to strike; man should have a window in his breast so that his thoughts could be seen; and a house should be built on wheels, so as to be easily and quickly rolled away from uncomfortable neighbors. Bacon explains Momus's window of the heart in the Advancement of Learning, II. xxiii. 14.

2 Bacon means 'want of mixture,' the construction of 'want' going on to the semicolon.


3 So in the original, and also in Ed. 1639. had dropped out; or as if the should be no. commoditas nulla fluviorum navigabilium. 4 Lurch. To absorb; to monopolize. To limit; to stint.


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It seems as if not The translation has

"Nurse, will you go with me into my closet,
To help me sort such needful ornaments
As you think fit to furnish me to-morrow?"

Shakspere. Romeo and Juliet. iv. 2.

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 for summer, but how do you in winter? Lucullus answered, Why, do you not think me as wise as some foul are, that ever change their abode towards the winter ?1

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 Vatican2 and Escurial3 and some others be, and yet scarce a very fair4 room in them.

First therefore, I say you cannot have a perfect

1 "He had also fine seats in Tusculum, belvideres, and large open balconies for men's apartments, and porticos to walk in, where Pompey coming to see him, blamed him for making a house which would be pleasant in summer, but uninhabitable in winter; whom he answered with a smile: 'You think me, then, less provident than cranes and storks, not to change my home with the seasons.' Plutarch. Life of Lucullus. Plutarch's Lives of Illustrious Men. Translated from the Greek by John Dryden and Others.

2 The Vatican, on the Vatican hill, in Rome, is a vast palace which has been the chief residence of the Pope, since the popes returned from Avignon, in 1377. Besides the papal apartments and offices, it contains the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican library and art galleries.

3 The Escurial is a celebrated building situated twenty-seven miles northwest of Madrid, and containing a library, a monastery, a palace, a church, and a mausoleum for the Kings of Spain. It was built by Philip II., in 1563-1584.

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"If thou wouldst view fair Melrose aright,

Go visit it by the pale moonlight."

Scott. The Lay of the Last Minstrel. Canto II. 1.


palace, except you have two several1 sides; a side for the banquet,2 as is spoken of in the book of Hester, 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,4 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 banquet, in front, one only goodly room above stairs, of some forty foot5 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 parlour, 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 a piece, above the two

1 Several. Separate; individual; not common to two or more. "And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass." Revelation xxi. 21.

2 Banquet. Banquet or dining hall.

3 Esther i, the feast of King Ahasuerus in Shushan the palace. 4 Return. In architecture, the continuation of a molding, projection, etc., in an opposite or different direction; also, a side or part that falls away from the front of any straight work. feature of a molding, it is usual at the termination of the dripstone or hood of a window or door.

As a

5 Forty foot high. Foot as a term of measure is often in the singular when preceded by numerals.

wings; and a goodly leads1 upon the top, railed with statua's 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 newel2 and finely railed in with images of wood, cast into a brass colour; and a very fair landing-place at the top. But this to be, if you do not point3 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. 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 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 1 Leads. The sheets or strips of lead used to cover a roof. "If Fairford's journey had been hitherto in a stifled and subterranean atmosphere, it was now open, lofty, and airy enough; for he had to follow his guide over leads and slates, which the old smuggler traversed with the dexterity of a cat." gauntlet. XIII.


Scott. Red

2 Newel. The newel of a winding stair is the upright pillar round which the steps turn, and by which they are supported from the bottom to the top. An 'open,' or hollow, 'newel' is the central or open space or well in a winding stair.

3 Point.

To appoint.

"The souldier may not move from watchful sted,

Nor leave his stand, untill his captaine bed.

Who life doth limit by almightie doome

(Quoth he) knowes best the termes established;

And he, that points the centonell his roome,

Doth license him depart at sound of morning droome."
Spenser. The Faery Queene. Book I. Canto ix. Stanza 41.

In his edition of the Essays, Mr. S. H. Reynolds suggests that the "fair court" Bacon describes may be the Great Court of Trinity College, Cambridge. The plan of the Great Court, "with a cross" and four grass plots, was the work of Thomas Nevile, Master of Trinity College from 1593 to 1615. Bacon took his M.A. degree at Cambridge July 27, 1594, and represented the University in Parliament in 1614.

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