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sciences unknown, having respect to those that saith, “Nihil aliud quam bene ausus vana conare known, with this difference, that the ancient temnere:” in which sort of things it is the manregions of knowledge will seem as barbarous, ner of men first to wonder that any such thing compared with the new; as the new regions of should be possible, and after it is found out, to people seem barbarous, compared to many of the wonder again how the world should miss it so old.
long. Of this nature I take to be the invention The dignity of this end, of endowment of man's and discovery of knowledge, &c. life with new commodities, appeareth by the estimation that antiquity made of such as guided The impediments which have been in the times, and thereunto; for whereas founders of states, law
in diversion of wits. givers, extirpers of tyrants, fathers of the people, Being the Vth chapter, a small fragment in the were honoured but with the titles of worthies
beginning of that chapter. or demigods, inventors were ever consecrated amongst the gods themselves. And if the ordi- The encounters of the times have been nothing nary ambitions of men lead them to seek the favourable and prosperous for the invention of amplification of their own power in their coun- knowledge, so as it is not only the daintiness of tries, and a better ambition than that hath moved the seed to take, and the ill mixture and unliking men to seek the amplification of the power of of the ground to nourish or raise this plant, but their own countries amongst other nations : better the ill season also of the weather, by which it again and more worthy must that aspiring be, hath been checked and blasted. Especially in which seeketh the amplification of the power and that the seasons have been proper to bring up and kingdom of mankind over the world: the rather, set forward other more hasty and indifferent plants, because the other two prosecutions are ever cul- whereby this of knowledge hath been starved and pable of much perturbation and injustice; but this overgrown; for in the descent of times always is a work truly divine, which cometh “in aura there hath been somewhat else in reign and repuleni," without noise or observation.
tation, which hath generally aliened and diverted The access also to this work hath been by that wits and labours from that employment. port or passage, which the Divine Majesty, who For as for the uttermost antiquity, which is like is unchangeable in his ways, doth infallibly con- fame that mufiles her head, and tells tales, I cantinue and observe; that is, the felicity wherewith not presume much of it; for I would not willingly he hath blessed an humility of mind, such as imitate the manner of those that describe maps, rather laboureth to spell, and so by degrees to which when they come to some far countries, read in the volumes of his creatures, than to solicit whereof they have no knowledge, set down how and urge, and as it were to invocate a man's own there be great wastes and deserts there: so I am spirit to divine, and give oracles unto him. For not apt to aflirm that they knew little, because as in the inquiry of divine truth, the pride of man what they knew is little known to us. But if you hath ever inclined to leave the oracles of God's will judge of them by the last traces that remain word, and to vanish in the mixture of their own to us, you will conclude, though not so scornfully inventions; so in the selfsame manner, in inqui- as Aristotle doth, that saith our ancestors were sition of nature, they have ever left the oracles of extreme gross, as those that came newly from God's works, and adored the deceiving and de- being moulded out of the clay, or some earthly formed imagery, which the unequal mirrors of substance; yet reasonably and probably thus, their own minds have represented unto them. that it was with them in matter of knowledge, Nay, it is a point fit and necessary in the front, but as the dawning or break of day. For at that and beginning of this work, without hesitation or time the world was altogether heme-bred, every reservation to be professed, that it is no less true nation looked little beyond their own confines or in this human kingdom of knowledge, than in territories, and the world had no thorough lights God's kingdom of heaven, that no man shall enter then, as it hath had since by commerce and naviinto it, “except he become first as a little child." gation, whereby there could neither be that con
tribution of wits one to help another, nor that Of the impediments of knowledge. variety of particulars for the correcting the custoBeing the IV th chapter, the preface only of it.
And as there could be no great collection of wits In some things it is more hard to attempt than of several parts or nations, so neither could there to achieve; which falleth out, when the difficulty be any succession of wits of several times, whereis not so much in the matter or subject, as it is in by one might refine the other, in regard they had the crossness and indisposition of the mind of not history to any purpose. And the manner of man to think of any such thing, to will or to re- their traditions was utterly unfit and unproper for solve it; and therefore Titus Livius in his decla- amplification of knowledge. And again, the stuinatory digression, wherein he doth depress and dies of those times, you shall find, besides wars, extenuate the honour of Alexander's conquests incursions, and rapines, which were "hen almos.
everywhere betwixt states adjoining, the use of man's life, and then vain was the complaint, that leagues and confederacies being not then known, “ life is short, and art is long :" or else, that the were to populate by multitude of wives and gene- knowledge that now is, is but a shrub; and not ration, a thing at this day in the waster part of the that' tree which is never dangerous, but where it West Indies principally effected; and to build, is to the purpose of knowing good and evil; which sometimes for habitation, towns and cities; some desire ever riseth upon an appetite to elect, and times for fame and memory, monuments, pyramids, not to obey, and so containeth in it a manifest colosses, and the like. And if there happened to defection. rise up any more civil wits; then would he found and erect some new laws, customs, and usages, That the pretended succession of wits hath been such as now of late years, when the world was evil placed, for as much as after variety of sects revolute almost to the like rudeness and obscurity, and opinions, the most popular and not the truest we see both in our own nation and abroad many prevaileth and weareth out the rest. examples of, as well in a number of tenures reserved upon men's lands, as in divers customs of
Being the VIIth chapter, a fragment. towns and manors, being the devises that such It is sensible to think, that when men enter first wits wrought upon in such times of deep igno- into search and inquiry, according to the several rance, &e,
frames and compositions of their understanding,
they light upon differing conceits, and so all opiThe impediments of knowledge for want of a true nions and doubts are beaten over; and then men
succession of wils, and that hitherto the length of having made a taste of all, wax weary of variety, one man's life hath been the greatest measure of and so reject the worst, and hold themselves to knowledge.
the best, either some one, if it be eminent: or Being the VIth chapter, the whole chapter.
some two or three, if they be in some equality;
which afterwards are received and carried on, and In arts mechanical the first devise cometh short-the rest extinct. est, and time addeth and perfecteth. But in But truth is contrary; and that time is like a sciences of conceit, the first author goeth furthest, river which carrieth down things which are light and time leeseth and corrupteth. Painting, artil- and blown up, and sinketh and drowneth that lery, sailing, and the like, grossly managed at which is sad and weighty. For howsoever first, by time accommodate and refined. The governments have several forms, sometimes one philosophies and sciences of Aristotle, Plato, governing, sometimes few, sometimes the multiDemocritus, Hippocrates, of most vigour at first, tude; yet the state of knowledge is ever a demoby time degenerated and imbased. In the former, cracy, and that prevaileth which is most agreeable many wits and industries contributed in one. In to the senses and conceits of people. As for exthe latter many men's wits spent to deprave the ample, there is no great doubt, but he that did put wit of one.
the beginnings of things to be solid, void, and The error is both in the deliverer and in the motion to the centre, was in better earnest than receiver. He that deliv reth knowledge, desireth he that put matter, form, and shift; or he that put to deliver it in such form as may be soonest be the mind, motion, and matter. For no man shall lieved, and not as may easiliest be examined. He enter into inquisition of nature, but shall pass by that receiveth knowledge desireth rather present that opinion of Democritus; whereas he shall satisfaction than expectant search, and so rather never come near the other two opinions, but leave not to doubt than not to err. Glory maketh the them aloof, for the schools and table-talk. Yet author not lay open his weakness; and sloth those of Aristotle and Plato, because they be both maketh the disciple not to know his strength. agreeable to popular sense, and the one was uttered
Then begin men to aspire to the second prizes, with subtilty and the spirit of contradiction, and to be a profound interpreter and commenter, to be the other with a style of ornament and majesty, a sharp champion and defender, to be a methodical did hold out, and the other gave place, &c. compounder and abridger. And this is the unfortunate succession of wits which the world hath of the impediments of knowledge, in handling it yet had, whereby the patrimony of all knowledge by parts, and in slipping of particular sciences goeth not on husbanded or improved, but wasted from the root and stock of universal knowledge. and decayed. For knowledge is like a water, that will never arise again higher than the level from
Being the VIIIth chapter, the whole chapter. which it fell. And therefore to go beyond Aris- Cicero, the orat,,, willing to magnify his own totle by the light of Aristotle, is to think that a profession, and thereupon spending many words borrowed light can increase the original light from to maintain that eloquence was not a shop of good whom it is taken. So then, no true succession words and elegancies, but a treasury and receipt of wits having been in the world; either we must of all knowledges, so far forth as may appertain ronclude, that knowledge is but a task for one to the handling and moving of the minds and
affections of men by speech, maketh great com- | affecting preservation, and the other multiplicaplaint of the school of Socrates; that whereas tion; which appetites are most evidently seen in before his time the same professors of wisdom in living creatures, in the pleasure of nourishment Greece did pretend to teach an universal sapience and generation; and in man do make the aptest and knowledge both of matter and words, Socra- and most natural division of all his desires, being tes divorced them, and withdrew philosophy, and either of sense of pleasure, or sense of power; left rhetoric to itself, which by that destitution and in the universal frame of the world are figured, became but a barren and unnoble science. And the one in the beams of heaven which issue forth, in particular sciences we see, that if men fall to and the other in the lap of the earth which takes subdivide their labours, as to be an oculist in in: and again, if they had observed the motion of physic, or to be perfect in some one title of the congruity, or situation of the parts in respect of law or the like, they may prove ready and subtile, the whole, evident in so many particulars: and but not deep or sufficient, no, not in that subject lastly, if they had considered the motion, familiar which they do particularly attend, because of that in attraction of things, to approach to that which consent which it hath with the rest. And it is a is higher in the same kind: when by these obsermatter of common discourse of the chain of sci- vations, so easy and concurring in natural philoences, how they are linked together, insomuch as sophy, they should have found out this quaternion the Grecians, who had terms at will, have fitted of good, in enjoying or fruition, effecting or operait of a name of Circle-Learning. Nevertheless 1 tion, consenting or proportion, and approach or that hold it for a great impediment towards the assumption; they would have saved and abridged advancement and further invention of knowledge, much of their long and wandering discourses of that particular arts and sciences have been disin- pleasure, virtue, duty, and religion. So likewise corporated from general knowledge, do not under in this same logic and rhetoric, or acts of argustand one and the same thing, which Cicero's ment and grace of speech, if the great masters of discourse and the note and conceit of the Gre- them would but have gone a form lower, and cians in their word Circle-Learning do intend. looked but into the observations of grammar conFor I mean not that use which one science hath cerning the kinds of words, their derivations, deof another for ornament or help in practice, as the flexions, and syntax, specially enriching the same, orator hath of knowledge of affections for moving, with the helps of several languages, with their or as military science may have use of geometry differing properties of words, phrases, and tropes; for fortifications; but I mean it directly of that they might have found out more and better footuse by way of supply of light and information, steps of common reason, help of disputation, and which the particulars and instances of one science advantages of cavillation, than many of these do yield and present for the framing or correcting which they have propounded. So again, a man of the axioms of another science in their very should be thought to dally, if he did note how the truth and notion. And therefore that example of figures of rhetoric and music are many of them oculist and title lawyers doth come nearer my the same. The repetitions and traductions in conceit than the other two; for sciences distin- speech, and the reports and hauntings of sounds guished have a dependence upon universal know- in music, are the very same things. Plutarch ledge to be augmented and rectified by the supe-hath almost made a book of the Lacedæmonian rior light thereof; as well as the parts and mem- kind of jesting, which joined every pleasure with bers of a science have upon the maxims of the distaste. “Sir," said a man of art to Philip king same science, and the mutual light and consent of Macedon, when he controlled him in his faculty, which one part receiveth of another. And there-- God forbid your fortune should be such as to fore the opinion of Copernicus in astronomy, know these things better than 1.” In taxing his which astronomy itself cannot correct, because it ignorance in his art, he represented to him the is not repugnant to any of the appearances, yet perpetual greatness of his fortune, leaving him no natural philosophy doth correct. On the other vacant time for so mean a skill. Now in music side, if some of the ancient philosophers had been it is one of the ordinariest flowers to fall from a perfect in the observations of astronomy, and had discord, or hard tune, upon a sweet accord. The called them to counsel, when they made their figure that Cicero and the rest commend, as one principles and first axioms, they would never have of the best points of elegancy, which is the fine divided their philosophy, as the cosmographers do checking of expectation, is no less well known to their descriptions by globes, making one philo- the musicians, when they have a special grace in sophy for heaven, and another for under heaven, flying the close or cadence. And these are no as in effect they do.
allusions but direct communities, the same deSo if the moral philosophers, that have spent lights of the mind being to be found not only in such an infinite quantity of debate touching good music, rhetoric, but in moral philosophy, policy. and the highest good, had cast their eye abroad and other knowledges, and that obscure in the upon nature, and beheld the appetite that is in all one, which is more apparent in the other; yea, things to receive and to give; the one motion and that discovered in the one, which is not found at all in the other; and so one science greatly inclination of their nature, or from common exaiding to the invention and augmentation of an- ample and opinion, never questioning or examinother. And therefore, without this intercourse, ing them, nor reducing them to any clear certainty; the axioms of sciences will fall out to be neither and use only to call themselves to account and full nor true; but will be such opinions, as Aris- deliberation touching the means and second ends, totle in some places doth wisely censure, when and thereby set themselves in the right way to he saith, “ These are the opinions of persons that the wrong place. So likewise upon the natural have respect but to a few things.” So then we curiosity and desire to know, they have put themsee, that this note leadeth us to an administration selves in way without foresight or consideration of knowledge in some such order and policy, as of their journey's end. the King of Spain, in regard of his great domi- For I find that even those that have sought nions, useth in state : who, though he hath parti- knowledge for itself, and not for benefit, or ostencular councils for several countries and affairs, tation, or any practicable enablement in the course yet had one council of state, or last resort, that of their life, have nevertheless propounded to receiveth the advertisements and certifieates from themselves a wrong mark, namely, satisfaction, all the rest. Hitherto of the diversion, succession. which men call truth, and not operation. For as and conference of wits.
in the courts and services of princes and states,
it is a much easier matter to give satisfaction than That the end and scope of knowledge hath been to do the business; so in the inquiring of causes
generally mistaken, and that men were never well and reasons it is much easier to find out such advised what it was they sought.
causes as will satisfy the mind of man and quiet obBeing the IXth chapter, immediately preceding give him light to new experiences and inventions.
jections, than such causes as will direct him and the Inventory, and inducing the same.
And this did Celsus note wisely and truly, how that Ir appeareth then how rarely the wits and la- the causes which are in use, and whereof the knowbours of men have been converted to the severe ledges now received do consist, were in time miand original inquisition of knowledge; and in nors and subsequents to the knowledge of the parthose who have pretended, what hurt hath been ticulars, out of which they were induced and coldone by the affectation of professors, and the lected; and that it was not the light of those causes distraction of such as were no professors; and which discovered particulars, but only the parhow there was never in effect any conjunction or ticulars being first found, men did fall on glossing combination of wits in the first and inducing and discoursing of the causes; which is the reasearch, but that every man wrought apart, and son, why the learning that now is hath the curse would either have his own way, or else would go of barrenness, and is courtesan-like, for pleasure no further than his guide, having in the one case and not för fruit. Nay, to compare it rightly, the the honour of a first, and in the other the ease of strange fiction of the poets of the transformation a second; and lastly, how in the descent and of Scylla, seemeth to be a lively emblem of this continuance of wits and labours, the succession philosophy and knowledge: a fair woman uphath been in the most popular and weak opinions, ward in the parts of show, but when you come to like unto the weakest natures, which many times the parts of use and generation, barking monsters: have most children; and in them also the condi- for no better are the endless distorted questions, tion of succession hath been rather to defend and which ever have been, and of necessity must be, to adorn, than to add; and if to add, yet that ad- the end and womb of such knowledge. ... dition to be rather a refining of a part, than an But yet nevertheless, here I may be mistaken, increase of the whole. But the impediments of by reason of some which have much in their pen time and accidents, though they have wrought a the referring sciences to action and the use of general indisposition, yet are they not so peremp- man, which mean quite another matter than I do. tory and binding, as the internal impediments and For they mean a contriving of directions, and clouds in the mind and spirit of man, whereof it precepts for readiness of practice, which I discomnow followeth to speak.
mend not, so it be not occasion that some quantity The Scripture, speaking of the worst sort of of the science be lost; for else it will be such a error, saith, “ Errare fecit eos in invio et non in piece of husbandry, as to put away a manor lying via.” For a man may wander in the way, by somewhat scattered, to buy in a close that lieth rounding up and down; but if men have failed handsomely about a dwelling. But my intenin their very direction and address, that error will tion contrariwise is to increase and multiply the never by good fortune correct itself. Now it revenues and possessions of man, and not to trim hath fared with men in their contemplations, as up only, or order with conveniency the grounds Seneca saith it fareth with them in their actions, whereof he is already stated. Wherefore the “ De partibus vitæ quisque deliberat, de summa better to make myself understood, that I mean nemo." A course very ordinary with men who nothing less than words, and directly to demonreceive for the most part their final ends from the strate the point which we are now upon, that is, what is the true end, scope, or office of knowledge, nevertheless on the other side again, it will be as which I have set down to consist not in any fit to check and control the vain and void assignaplausible, delectable, reverend, or admired dis- tions, and gifts, whereby certain ignorant, extra-course, or any satisfactory arguments, but in vagant, and abusing wits have pretended to indue effecting and working, and in discovery of par- the state of man with wonders, differing as much ticulars not revealed before, for the better en- from truth in nature, as Cæsar's Commentaries dowment and help of man's life; I have thought differeth from the acts of King Arthur, or Huon of good to make, as it were, a kalendar or inventory Bourdeaux in story. For it is true that Cæsar did of the wealth, furniture, or means of man, accord- greater things than those idle wits had the audaing to his present estate, as far as it is known; city to feign their supposed worthies to have done; which I do not to show any universality of sense but he did them not in that monstrous and fabulous or knowledge, and much less to make a satire of manner. reprehension in respect of wants and errors, but partly because cogitations new had need of some The chapter immediately following the Inventory. grossness and inculcation to make them per
Being the XIth in order, a part thereof. ceived, and chiefly to the end, that for the time to come, upon the account and state now made It appeareth then, what is now in proposition, and cast up, it may appear what increase this not by general circumlocution, but by particular new manner of use and administration of the note, no former philosophy varied in terms or me. stock, if it be once planted, shall bring with it thod; no new placet or speculation upon particulars hereafter ; and for the time present, in case I already known; no referring to action by any mashould be prevented by death to propound and nual of practice, but the revealing and discovering reveal this new light as I purpose, yet I may at of new inventions and operations. This to be done
Ι the least give some awaking note, both of the without the errors and conjectures of art, or the wants in man's present condition, and the nature length or difficulties of experience; the nature and of the supplies to be wished; though for mine kinds of which inventions have been described as own part neither do I much build upon my pre- they could be discovered; for your eye cannot pass sent anticipations, neither do I think ourselves one kenning without further sailing : only we have yet learned or wise enough to wish reasonably: stood upon the best advantages of the notions refor as it asks some knowledge to demand a ques-ceived, as upon a mount, to show the knowledges tion not impertinent; so it asketh some sense to adjacent and confining. If therefore the true end make a wish not absurd.
of knowledge not propounded, hath bred large error,
the best and perfectest condition of the same The Inventory, or an enumeration and view of in- end, not perceived, will cause some declination.
ventions already discovered in use, together with For when the butt is set up, men need not rove, but
a note of the wants, and the nature of the supplies. except the white be placed, men cannot level. This Being the Xth chapter; and this a small frag- but in the nature of the direction; for our purpose
perfection we mean, not in the worth of the effects, ment thereof, being the preface to the In- is not to stir up men's hopes, but to guide their ventory.
travels. The fulness of direction to work, and proThe plainest method, and most directly perti- duce any effect, consisteth in two conditions, cernent to this intention, will be to make distribution tainty and liberty. Certainty is, when the direction of sciences, arts, inventions, works, and their is not only true for the most part, but infallible. portions, according to the use and tribute which Liberty is, when the direction is not restrained to they yield and render to the conditions of man's some definite means, but comprehendeth all the life, and under those several uses, being as seve- means and ways possible: for the poet saith well, ral offices of provisions, to charge and tax what" Sapientibus undique latæ sunt viæ;" and where may be reasonably exacted or demanded, not there is the greatest plurality of change, there is the guiding ourselves neither by the poverty of expe- greatest singularity of choice. Besides, as a conriences and probations, nor according to the vanityjectural direction maketh a casual effect, so a partiof credulous imaginations; and then upon those cular and restrained direction is no less casual than charges and taxations to distinguish and present, uncertain. For those particular means whereunto as it were, in several columns, what is extant and it is tied may be out of your power, or may be acalready found, and what is defective and further companied with an overvalue of prejudice; and so to be provided. Of which provisions, because in if for want of certainty in direction you are frusmany of them, after the manner of slothful and trated in success, for want of variety in direction fanlty officers and accomptants, it will be returned, you are stopped in the attempt. If therefore your by way of excuse, that no such are to be had, it direction be certain, it must refer you, and point will he fit to give some light of the nature of the you to somewhat, which, if it be present, the effect supplies, whereby it will evidently appear, that you seek will of necessity follow, else may yon they are to be compassed and procured. And yet perform and not obtain. If it be free, then must