Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

basilisks. We represent also ordnance and in- | about how to draw out of them things of use and struments of war, and engines of all kinds : and practice for man's life and knowledge, as well for likewise new mixtures and compositions of gun- works as for plain demonstration of causes, means, powder, wildfires burning in water, and unquench- natural divinations, and the easy and clear discoable. Also fireworks of all variety both for plea- very of the virtues and parts of bodies. These sure and use. We imitate also flight of birds; we call dowry-men or benefactors. we have some degrees of flying in the air ; “ Then after divers meetings and consults of our we have ships and boats for going under water, whole number, to consider of the former labours and brooking of seas; also swimming-girdles and and collections, we have three that take care, out supporters. We have divers curious clocks, and of them, to direct new experiments, of a higher other like motions of return, and some perpetual light, more penetrating into nature than the formotions. We imitate also motions of living crea- mer. These we call lamps. tures by images of men, beasts, birds, fishes, and 6. We have three others that do execute the exserpents; we have also a great number of other periments so directed, and report them. These various motions, strange for equality, fineness, we call inoculators. and subtilty.

“ Lastly, we have three that raise the former “We have also a mathematical house, where discoveries by experiments into greater observaare represented all instruments, as well of geome- tions, axioms, and aphorisms. These we call try as astronomy, exquisitely made.

interpreters of nature. 66 We have also houses of deceits of the senses; “We have also, as you must think, novices and where we represent all manner of feats of jug- apprentices, that the succession of the former emgling, false apparitions, impostures, and illusions; ployed men do not fail: besides a great number of and their fallacies. And surely you will easily servants, and attendants, men and women. And believe that we that have so many things truly this we do also: we have consultation, which of natural, which induce admiration, could in a the inventions and experiences which we have disworld of particulars deceive the senses if we covered shall be published, and which not: and would disguise those things, and labour to make take all an oath of secrecy, for the concealing of them seem more miraculous. But we do hate those which we think fit to keep a secret: though all impostures and lies: insomuch as we have some of those we do reveal sometimes to the state, severally forbidden it to all our fellows, under and some not. pain of ignominy and fines, that they do not show any natural work or thing, adorned or 6. For our ordinances and rites : we have two swelling; but only pure as it is, and without very long and fair galleries: in one of these we all affectation of strangeness.

place patterns and samples of all manner of the “These are, my son, the riches of Solomon's more rare and excellent inventions: in the other House.

we place the statues of all principal inventors.

There we have the statue of your Columbus, that “For the several employments and offices of discovered the West Indies : also the inventor our fellows; we have twelve that sail into fo- of ships: your monk that was the inventor of reign countries, under the names of other na- ordnance, and of gunpowder : the inventor of tions, for our own we conceal, who bring us the music: the inventor of letters: the inventor of books, and obstructs, and patterns of experi-printing: the inventor of observations of astronoments of all other parts. These we call mer- my: the inventor of works in metal: the inchants of light.

ventor of glass: the inventor of silk of the worm: “We have three that collect the experiments the inventor of wine: the inventor of corn and which are in all books. These we call depre- bread: the inventor of sugars : and all these by dators.

more certain tradition than you have. Then have “We have three that collect the experiments of we divers inventors of our own excellent works; all mechanical arts; and also of liberal sciences; which since you have not seen, it were too long to and also of practices which are not brought into make descriptions of them; and besides, in the arts. These we call mystery-men.

right understanding of these descriptions you “We have three that try new experiments, might easily err. For upon every invention of such as themselves think good. These we call value, we erect a statue to the inventor, and give pioneers or miners.

him a liberal and honourable reward. These * We have three that draw the experiments of statues are some of brass; some of marble and the former four into titles, and tablets, to give touch-stone; some of cedar, and other special the better light for the drawing of observations woods gilt and adorned : some of iron; some of and axioms out of them. These we call com- silver; some of gold. pilers.

“ We have certain hymns and services, which “We have three that bend themselves, looking we say daily, of laud and thanks to God for his into the experiments of their fellows, and cast I marvellous works: and forms of prayers, implor

66

ing his aid and blessing for the illumination of our which I have made. I give thee leave to publish labours; and the turning of them into good and it for the good of other nations; for we here are holy uses.

in God's bosom a land unknown.” And so he left “ Lastly, we have circuits or visits of divers me; having assigned a value of about two thouprincipal cities of the kingdom; where as it sand ducats, for a bounty to me and my fellows. cometh to pass, we do publish new profitable in- For they give great largesses where they come ventions as we think good. And we do also de- upon all occasions. clare natural divinations of diseases, plagues,

(THE REST WAS NOT PERFECTED.) swarms of hurtful creatures, scarcity, tempests, earthquakes, great inundations, comets, temperature of the year, and divers other things; and we give counsel thereupon what the people shall do

Referring to

There have been various editions of the New Atlantis. for the prevention and remedy of them.”

In 1631, it was translated into French, of which there is a And when he had said this he stood up; and I, copy in the British Museum ; where there is also the New as I had been taught, kneeled down; and he laid Atlantis continued A. D. 1660, by R. H. Esq. wherein is set his right hand upon my head, and said; “God forth a platform of monarchical government: and also in

French, A. D. 1702, avec des reflexions sur l'institution et les bless thee, my son, and God bless this relation occupations des academies, &c. par M. R.

NOTE.
page

255

EDITOR'S PREFACE

TO

I. THE WISDOM OF THE ANCIENTS.
II. Civil HISTORY.

III. BIOGRAPHY.
1. History of Henry VII.

1. Queen Elizabeth. 2. History of Henry VIII.

2. Julius Cæsar. 3. History of Great Britain.

3. Augustus Cæsar. 4. The State of Europe.

4. Henry, Prince of Wales.

1.

THE WISDOM OF THE ANCIENTS.
The first edition of this work was published in Latin in the year 1609. It is entitled-

FRANCISCI

BACONI
EQVITIS AVRATI,

PROCVRATORIS SE-
CVNDI, Jacobi Regis
MAGNÆ BRITANNIE
DE SAPIENTIA

VETERVM LIBER,
AD INCLYTAM ACADEMIAM

CANTABRIGIENSEM.

LONDINI

ExcudebAT ROBERTUS BAR-
KERUS SERENISSIMÆ REGIÆ
MAIESTATIS TYPOGRAPHUS

ANNO 1609. In February 27, 1610, Lord Bacon wrote “ To MR. MATTHEW, upon sending his book · De Sapientia Veterum.'

« Mr. Matthew, “I do very heartily thank you for yourletter 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 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 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.” “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.”

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 parabolical, 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 mysteries of religion, policy, or philosophy, are involved in fables or parables. Of this in divine

a

:

a

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, irå irritata deorum,
Extremam, ut perbibent, Cæo 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 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 are so 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 creJites and recepted before) seem to be, like a thin rarified air, which from the traditions of more ancient nations, fell into the flutes of the Grecians.”

This tract seems in former times, to have been much valued, for the same reason, perhaps, which Bacon assigns for the currency of the Essays; " because they are like the late new halfpence, which, though the silver is good, yet the pieces are small.” Of this-tract, Archbishop Tenison, in his Bacon. iana, 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 Georges: 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 in 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

* In the year 1617, in Latin. It was published in Italian in 1618-in French in 1619.

66

6

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 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 Georges. Prefixed to the work are two letters; the one to the Earl of Salisbury, the other to the University of Cambridge, which Georges 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. As this translation was published during the life of Lord Bacon, by a great admirer of his works, and as it is noticed by Archbishop Tenison, I have inserted it in this volume. I am not certain that I have done right, as it is my intention, with the translation of all the works, to publish a new translation of these fables; for which I am indebted to a member of the University of Oxford, who has lately so eminently distinguished himself for his classical attainments, and who will I trust forgive this expression of my affectionate respect for his virtuous exertions. It would be grateful to me to say more.

a

§ 2.

W

CIVIL HISTORY. At an early period of his life, Bacon was impressed with the importance of a History of England from the union of the Roses to the union of the Kingdoms. In the Advancement of Learning, published in 1605, he says, “ But for modern histories, whereof there are some few very worthy, but the greatest part beneath mediocrity, leaving the care of foreign stories to foreign states, because I will not be curiosus in aliena republica,' I cannot fail to represent to your majesty, the unworthiness of the history of England in the main continuance thereof, and the partiality and obliquity of that of Scotland, in the latest and largest author that I have seen; supposing that it would be honour for your majesty, and a work very memorable, if this island of Great Brittany, as it is now joined in monarchy for the ages to come: so were joined in one history for the times passed, after the manner of the sacred history, which draweth down the story of the ten tribes, and of the two tribes, as twins together. And if it shall seem that the greatness of this work may make it less exactly performed, there is an excellent period of much smaller compass of time, as to the story of England, that is to say, from the uniting of the roses, to the uniting of the kingdoms; a portion of time wherein, to my understanding, there hath been the rarest varieties that in like number of successions of any hereditary monarchy hath been known: for it beginneth with the mixed adoption of a crown by arms and title; an entry by battle, an establishment by marriage: and therefore times answerable, like waters after a tempest, full of working and swelling, though without extremity of storm: but well passed through by the wisdom of the pilot, being one of the most sufficient kings of all the number. Then followeth the reign of a king, whose actions, howsoever conducted, had much intermixture with the affairs of Europe, balancing and inclining them variably; in whose time also began that great alteration in the state ecelesiastical, an action which seldom cometh upon the stage. Then the reign of a minor: then an offer of an usurpation, though it was but as • febris ephemera :' then the reign of a queen matched with a foreigner : then of a queen that lived solitary and unmarried, and yet her go vernment so masculine that it had greater impression and operation upon the states abroad than it any ways received from thence. And now last, this most happy and glorious event that this island of Britain, divided from all the world, should be thus united in itself: and that oracle of rest, given to Æneas. • Antiquam exquirite matrem,' should now be performed and fulfilled upon the nations of England and Scotland, being now reunited in the ancient mother name of Britain, as a full period

VOL. I.--35

6

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »