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TO HIS

NURSING-MOTHER

THE FAMOUS UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE.

Since without philosophy I care not to live, I must needs hold you in great honour, from whom these defences and solaces of life have come to me. To you on this account I profess to owe both myself and all that is mine; and therefore it is the less strange, if I requite you with what is your own; that with a natural motion it may return to the place whence it came. And, yet I know not how it is, but there are few footprints pointing back towards you, among the infinite number that have gone forth from you. Nor shall I take too much to myself (I think), if by reason of that little acquaintance with affairs which my kind and plan of life has necessarily carried with it, I indulge a hope that the inventions of the learned may receive some accession by these labours of mine. Certainly I am of opinion that speculative studies when transplanted into active life acquire some new grace and vigour, and having more matter to feed them, strike their rogts perhaps deeper, or at least grow taller and fuller leaved. Nor do you yourselves (as I think) know how widely your own studies extend, and how many things they concern. Yet it is fit that all should be attributed to you and be counted to your honour, since all increase is due in great part to the beginning. You will not however expect from a man of business anything exquisite; any miracles or prerogatives of leisure; but you will attribute to my great love for you and yours even this, — that among the thorns of business these things have not quite perished, but there is preserved for you so much of your own.

Your most loving pupil,

Fba. Bacon.

INDEX OF THE FABLES OF ANCIENT WISDOM

CONTAINED IN THIS BOOK.

1. Cassandra, or Plainness

of Speech.

2. Typhon, or the Rebel.

3. The Cyclopes, or Minis-

ters of Terror.

4. Narcissus, or Self-love.

5. Styx, or Treaties.

6. Pan, or Nature.

7. Perseus, or War.

8. Endymion, or the Favour-

ite.

9. The Sister Of The Gi-

Ants, or Fame.

10. Action And Pentheus,

or Curiosity.

11. Orpheus, or Philosophy.

12. Cozlum, or the Origin of

Things.

13. Proteus, or Matter.

14. Memnon, or the Early-ripe.

15. Tithonus, or Satiety.

16. Juno's Suitor, or Dishon-

our.

17. Cupid, or the Atom.

18. Diomedes, or Zeal.

19. D.4EDALUS,or the Mechanic.

20. Ericthonius, or Impos-

ture.

21. Deucalion, or Restora-

tion.

22. Nemesis, or the Vicissitude

of Things.

23. Achelous, or the Battle.

24. Dionysus, or Desire.

25. Atalanta, or Profit .

26. Prometheus, or the State

of Man.

27. The Flight Of Icarus,

also SCYLLA AND Cha-

Rybdis, or the Middle
Way.

28. Sphinx, or Science.

29. Proserpina, or Spirit.

30. Metis, or Counsel.

31. The Sirens, or Pleas-

ure.

PREFACE.

The most ancient times (except what is preserved of them in the scriptures) are buried in oblivion and silence: to that silence succeeded the fables of the poets: to those fables the written records which have come down to us. Thus between the hidden depths of antiquity and the days of tradition and evidence that followed there is drawn a veil, as it were, of fables, winch come in and occupy the middle region that separates what has perished from what survives.

Now I suppose most people will think I am but entertaining myself with a toy, and using much the same kind of licence in expounding the poets' fables which the poets themselves did in inventing them; and it is true that if I had a mind to vary and relieve my severer studies with some such exercise of pleasure for my own or my reader's recreation, I might very fairly indulge in it. But that is not my meaning. Not but that I know very well what pliant stuff fable is made of, how freely it will follow any way you please to draw it, and how easily with a little dexterity and discourse of wit meanings which it was never meant to bear may be plausibly put upon it. Neither have I forgotten that there has been old abuse of the thing in practice; that manv, wishing onlv to gain the sanction and rev

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