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containing, amongst other works, Sermones Fideles, ab ipso Honoratissimo Auctore, præterquam in paucis, Latinitate donati. In his address to the reader, he says: Accedunt, quas priùs Delibationes Civiles et Morales inscripserat ; Quas etiam in Linguas plurimas Modernas translatas esse novit ; sed eas posted, et Numero, et Pondere, auxit ; In tantum, ut veluti Opus Novum videri possint; Quas mutato Titulo, Sermones Fideles, sive Interiora Rerum, inscribi placuit. The title-page and dedication are annexed : Serinones Fideles sive Interiora Rerum. Per Franciscum Baconum Baronem de Vervlamio, Vice-Comitem Sancti Albani. Londini Excusum typis Edwardi Griffin. Prostant ad Insignia Regia in Cæmeterio D. Pauli, apud Richardum Whitakerum, 1638.
Illustri et Excellenti Domino Georgio Duci Bucking
hamiæ, Summo Angliæ Adinirallio.
Honoratissime Domine, Salomon inquit, Nomen bonum est instar Vnguenti fragrantis et pretiosi; Neque dubito, quin tale futurum sit Nomen tuum apud Posteros. Etenim et Fortuna, et Merita tua, præcelluerunt. Et videris ea plantasse, quæ sint duratura. In lucem jam edere mihi visum est Delibationes meas, quæ ex omnibus meis Operibus fuerunt acceptissimæ : Quia forsitan videntur, præ cæteris, Hominum Negotia stringere, et in sinus fluere. Eas autem auxi, et Numero, et Pondere; In tantum, ut planè Opus Novum sint. Consentaneum igitur duxi, Affectui, et Obligationi meæ, erga Illustrissimam Dominationem tuam, ut Nomen tuum illis præfigam, tam in Editione Anglicâ, quam Latinâ. Etenim, in bonâ spe sum, Volumen earum in Latinam, (Linguam scilicet universalem,) versum, posse durare, quamdiù Libri et Literæ durent. Instaurationem meam Regi dicavi : Historiam Regni Henrici Septimi, (quam etiam in Latinum verti et Portiones meas Nituralis Historice, Principi : Has autem Delibationes Illustrissimæ Dominationi tuæ dico; Cùm sint, ex Fructibus optimis, quos Gratia divinâ Calami mei laboribus indulgente, exhibere potui. Deus Illustrissimam Dominationem tuam manu ducat. Illustrissimo Dominationis tuæ Servus Devinctissimus et Fidelis.
Fr. S. ALBAN.
In the year 1618, the Essays, together with the Wisdom of the Ancients, was translated into Italian, and dedicated to Cosmo de Medici, by Tobie Mathew; and in the following year the Essays were translated into French by Sir Arthur Gorges, and printed in London.
Wisdom of the Ancients. In the year 1609, as a relaxation from abstruse speculations, he published in Latin his interesting little work, De Sapientia Veterum.
This tract seems, in former times, to have been much valued. The fables, abounding with a union of deep thought and poetic beauty, are thirty-one in number, of which a part of The Sirens, or Pleasures, may be selected as a specimen.
In this fable, he explains the common but erroneous supposition that knowledge and the conformity of the will, knowing and acting, are convertible terms. Of this error, he, in his essay of Custom and Education, admonishes his readers, by saying: “Men's thoughts are much according to their inclination ; their discourse and speeches according to their learning and infused opinions, but their deeds are after as they have been accustomed; Æsop's Damsel, transformed from a cat to a woman, sat very demurely at the board-end till a mouse ran before her.” In the fable of the Sirens, he exhibits the same truth, saying : “ The habitation of the Sirens was in certain pleasant islands, from whence, as soon as out of their watchtower they discovered any ships approaching, with their sweet tunes they would first entice and stay them, and, having them in their power, would destroy them; and, so great were the mischiefs they did, that these isles of the Sirens, even as far off as man can ken them, appeared all over white with the bones of unburied carcasses; by which it is signified that albeit the examples of afflictions be manifest and eminent, yet they
do not sufficiently deter us from the wicked enticements of pleasure.”
The following is the account of the different editions of this work: The first was published in 1609. In February 27, 1610, Lord Bacon wrote to Mr. Mathew, upon sending his book De Sapientia Veterum :
" Mr. Mathew: I do very heartily thank you for your letter of the 24th of August, from Salamanca; and and in recompense therefore 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 even 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.”
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 poesy we see the use is authorized. In heathen poesy we see the exposition of fables doth fall out some
times 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:
Nlam Terra parens, irâ irritata Deorum,
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 so are 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 credited and recepted before) seem to be, like a thin rarefied air, which, froin the traditions of more ancient nations, fell into the flutes of the Grecians.”
Of this tract, Archbishop Tenison, in his Baconiana, 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 Gorges; a book in which the sages of former times are rendered more wise than it may be they were, by so dextrous 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