Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

rently having been issued without the author's super. vision or sanction. But in 1618 an Italian translation of the second edition was published by John Beale, which was made with Bacon's knowledge, if not at his request. The author of the translation is not known. Mr Singer conjectured that it was Father Fulgentio, but Mr Spedding shews clearly, by an extract from the preface of Andrea Cioli, who brought out a revised reprint at Florence in 1619, that the translation was not the work of an Italian, but of some foreigner, in all probability of an Englishman. The volume in which it is contained is a small 8vo, entitled, Saggi Morali del Signore Francesco Bacono, Cavagliero In. glese, Gran Cancelliero d'Inghilterra. Con vn'altro suo Trattato della Sapienza degli Antichi. Tradotti in Italiano. In Londra. Appresso di Giovanni Billio. 1618." The Saggi Morali occupy so2 pages, and are thirty-eight in number; the two Essays Of Religion' and Of Superstition' being omitted, and their place supplied by those Of Honour and Reputation,' and

Of Seditions and Troubles,' the latter of which had not as yet appeared in English. The dedication to Cosmo, Grand Duke of Tuscany, was written by Mr Tobie Matthew, Bacon's intimate friend, but throws no light upon the authorship of the translation. He merely says that he found the two works in the posses. sion of Sir William Cavendish, who presented them to him with the Author's permission. That the transla. tion was published with Bacon's sanction is evident from the fact that the Essay Of Seditions and Trou. bles,which then existed only in MS., was included in the volume, and that a portion of the dedicatory letter to

cach. In t the last of 126 pages the change some in th Ancients ; is also rer

The

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

Prince Henry was incorporated in Matthew's preface. The passage To write iust Treatises... fansies" is translated nearly word for word, the change of person being of course observed. Of this Italian translation, ac. cording to Mr Singer, there were two editions bearing the same date, but differing in the titles of some of the Essays. As I have seen but one, I subjoin his descrip. tion. He says, In one of the copies now before me the Essays contain 102 pages, the Wisdom of the An. cients 150 pages, and a list of Errata is appended to each. In the other copy the Essays comprise 112 pages, the last of which is blank; the Wisdom of the Ancients 126 pages only, and there is no list of Errata. Beside the changes in the titles of the Essays, there are also some in the titles of the chapters in the Wisdom of the Ancients; and it is probable that the text of the version is also revised, but I have not collated it.

The French translation published in 1619 was by Sir Arthur Gorges.

But the only translation to which any importance can be attached, as having in a great measure ire impress of Bacon's authority, is the Latin. From the dedication of the third edition it is evident that, at the time it was written, Bacon had in course of preparation a Latin translation of the Essays, which it appears to have been his intention to have published immediately, probably as part of the volume of which we find the entry in the books of Stationers' Hall, on the 4th of April, 1625, but which he did not live to bring out. The entry is as follows: Mrs Griffin. 70. Havilond. Entred for their coppie under the hands of Doct" Wilson and Mathewes Lownes warden A booke called

and are

ligion'

place ?,' and Ich had ation to

by Mr throws

[ocr errors]

- posses.

them to transla s evident and Trou. Ecluded in my letter to

Operum Francisci Baronis Verulami Vice Comitis Sancti Albani by S" Fran; Bacon." This was proba. bly intended to be the second volume of his works, the De Augmentis being the first, and to have contained what were afterward's published by his chaplain, Dr Rawley, in 1638, under the title Operum Moralium et Civilium Tomus. Among these were the Essays in their Latin dress: "Sermones fideles, sive interiora rerum. Per Franciscum Baconum Baronem de Verrilamio, Vice-Comitem Sancti Albani.The question then arises, by whom was the translation made ? In. ternal evidence is sufficient to shew that it was the work of several hands, but it is impossible from this alone to assign to each his work. Archbishop Tenison, in his Baconiana (pp. 60, 61, ed. 1679) says of the Essays: The Latine Translation of them was a Work per. formed by divers Hands; by those of Doctor Hacket (late Bishop of Lichfield) Mr. Benjamin Johnson (the learned and judicious Poet) and some others, whose Names I once heard from Dr. Rawley; but I cannot 110w recal then. To this Latine Edition, he gave the Title of Sermones Fideles, after the manner of the Jews, who calld the words Adagies, or Observations of the Wise, Faithful Sayings; that is, credible Propositions worthy of firm Assent, and ready Acceptance. And (as I think) he alluded more particularly, in this Title, to a passage in Ecclesiastes 3, where the Preacher saith that he sought to find out Verba Delectabilia, (as Tremellius rendreth the Hebrew) pleasant Words, (that is, perhaps, his Book of Canticles); and Verba

3 Eccles. xii. 10, 11.

Fidelia (as the same Tremellius) Faithful Sayings; meaning, it may be, his Collection of Proverbs. In the next Verse, he calls them Words of the Wise, and so many Goads and Nails given Ab eodem Pastore, from the same Shepherd (of the Flock of Israel].The next direct testimony is that of Aubrey. Speaking of Hobbes of Malmesbury, and his intimacy with Bacon, he says; Mr. Tho. Hobbes (Malmesburiensis) was beloved by his Lop, who was wont to have him walke with him in his delicate groves, when he did meditate : and when a notion darted into his mind, Mr. Hobbes was presently to write it downe, and his Loo. was wont to say that he did it better than any one els about him; for that many times, when he read their notes he scarce understood what they writt, because they understood it not clearly themselves" (Letters, II. 222, 3). Again; He assisted his Lordship in translating severall of his essayes into Latin, one I well remember is that, Of the Greatness of Cities; the rest I have forgott(11. p. 602). In another passage Aubrey is still more precise: He told me that he was employed in translating part of the Essayes, viz. three of them, one whereof was that of the Greatnesse of Cities, the other two I have now forgott(II. p. 234). The Essay here called Of the Greatnesse of Citiesis no doubt that which stands as Essay XXIX. Of the true Greatnesse of Kingdomes and Estates,and which first appeared in Latin in the De Augmentis. It is certainly one of the best translated of all, and arguing from internal evidence, based on a comparison of it with the rest, I should be inclined to set down as the other two, which Hobbes translated but which Aubrey had forgotten, the Essays Of Simula.

« PreviousContinue »