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ignorance, most pernicious moth of letters, who twists and presses things with the chains of his method and compendium, till the things, indeed, if any there be, escape altogether and leap out; but he himself grasps the arid and most deserted trifles. And Aquinas, indeed, with Scotus and his fellows, contrived a variety of things, even when their subjects were nonentities; but this man hath, even on subjects having real existence, produced the vacuity of nonentity. And although he is such a man, yet doth he impudently talk of uses to mankind, so that even when compared with the sophists he seems to prevaricate. But let us dismiss these. And now let Plato be summoned, that polite caviller, tumid poet, insane theologian. And, surely, when thou wast filing and putting together I know not what philosophic rumours, and simulating knowledge by dissembling it, and tempting and loosening men's minds with vague inductions, thou mightest either have ministered discourses to the feasts of literate and polite men, or also grace and love to ordinary discourses. But, when thou didst counterfeit truth, which is as it were the indigenous inhabitant of the human mind, migrating from nowhere else, and didst turn aside our minds, which are never sufficiently applied and brought back to history and to things themselves, and teach them to enter into themselves, and under the name of contemplation to wallow amid their blind and most confused idols, thou didst then commit a capital offence. And afterwards, with scarcely less naughtiness, didst thou introduce an apotheosis of folly, and dare to defend with religion thy meanest cogitations. For it is a slighter evil that thou hast been the parent of philologers, and that under thy guidance, and the auspices of thy manifold genius, ensnared and satisfied with fame and the popular and smooth jucundity of the knowledge of things, they did corrupt the severer investigation of truth. Among these were Marcus Cicero, and Annæus Seneca, and Plutarch of Chaeronea, and many others nowise equal to these. Let us now proceed to physicians. I see Galen, a man of the narrowest mind, a forsaker of experience, and a most vain pretender. Art not thou he, Galen, who took away even the infamy of ignorance and indolence in physicians, and put them in safety, the most sluggish definer of their art and duty? who, by declaring so many disorders to be incurable, proscribest so many of the sick, cutting off their hope and the industry of physicians. O, dogstar! O, pestilence! Eagerly seizing and displaying thy fiction of mixture, the prerogative of nature, and thy sedition between the heat of stars and of fire, deceitfully reducest human power to order, and seekest to defend for ever thy ignorance by despair. Thou art unworthy to be longer detained. Thou mayest also take away with thee thy fellows and confederates, the Arabians, the framers of dispensa

tories, who, in theories as madly as the rest, did, more copiously indeed, from the supinest conjectures, compound the promises rather than the aids of vulgar medicines. Take also thy companions the careless crowd of moderns. Ho! Nomenclator, call them. But he replies, they are unworthy of having their names preserved by him. As, however, I recognise certain grades among triflers of this kind, the worst and most absurd sort are those who in method and accurate discussion comprehend universal art, and are usually applauded for their elocution and arrangement; such is Fernelius. Those do less harm, who display a greater variety and propriety of observations, though deluded with and immersed in the most foolish pretences; as Arnoldus de Villa Nova, and others the like sort. I perceive, on the other side, the cohort of chymists, among whom Paracelsus boasts himself above the rest; who by his audacity merits separate correction. What oracles of Bacchus dost thou pour out in thy new meteorics, thou rival of Epicurus? Yet he, as if asleep, or doing something else, did in this matter as it were commit his opinions to fate. Thou, more foolish than any fate, art ready to swear to the words of the absurdest falsehood. But let us see thy other works. What mutual imitations of the fruits of thy elements? what correspondencies; what parallels dreamest thou, O fanatical joiner of idols! for thou hast made man indeed a pantomime. Yet, how notable are those interpunctions, thy species namely, by which thou hast broken the unity of nature. Wherefore I can better endure Galen weighing his elements, than thee adorning thy dreams. For the occult properties of things excite him, but thee the common and promiscuous qualities. Meanwhile, unhappy we, that dwell amid such odious impertinences! But how eagerly this most skilful impostor inculcates the triad of principles, a fiction not altogether useless, and somewhat allied to things! Hear still graver charges! By mingling things divine with things natural, profane and sacred, heresies with fables, thou hast polluted (O, sacrilegious impostor!) truth, both human and religious. The light of nature (whose most sacred name thou so often usurpest with impure mouth) thou hast not hid, like the sophists, but extinguished. They were the deserters of experience, thou the betrayer. Subjecting by rule the crude and masked evidence of things to contemplation, and seeking the Proteuses of substances according to the computations of motions, thou hast endeavoured to corrupt the fountains of knowledge, and to strip the human mind; and thou hast increased with new and adscititious windings and tediousness of experiments, those to which the sophists were averse, and the empirics unequal; so far art thou from having followed or known the representation of experience. And also the boastings of the Magi

thou hast everywhere done thy utmost to amplify, | fast looking, yet with eyes not moving and inforcing the most importunate cogitations by hope, quiring, but stupid and enfeebled. Afterwards, and hope by promises, at once the contriver and his sight recovering somewhat from the stupor, the work of imposture. Among thy followers, he receives certain idols, not indeed those huge Paracelsus, I envy thee none but Petrus Severinus, idols of theories, but the more elegant which ena man not deserving to spend his life amid such compass the superficies of history; on swallowimpertinences. Surely thou art much indebted ing which swelling, and half a sophist, and (after to him, Paracelsus, because he rendered the things the manner of his age) sheltered by brevity, he at which thou (O, adopted of asses) used to bray, length (as these two think) sets forth his oracles, harmonious and pleasant, by a certain melody and of which they seek to be esteemed the interpremodulation, and most agreeable diversity of words, ters; while in reality he does nothing but either converting the odiousness of falsehoods into the deliver certain sophistications in sentences abrupt delights of fable. Yet I pardon thee, Severinus, and suspended, thus withdrawing them from if, weary of the learning of sophists, which is not confutation; or invest with stateliness the obonly fruitless, but professedly courteth despair, servations of rustics. And nearest (as is comthou soughtest other supports for our decaying monly believed) to his precepts, which are not affairs. And when those pretensions of Paracelsus so unsound as useless, approaches Cornelius presented themselves, commended by the procla- Celsus, but a more intense sophist, and more mations of ostentation, and the subterfuges of ob- bound to history modified, sprinkling the same scurity, and the affinities of religion, and other moral moderation upon the progress of knowledge, adornments, thou didst surrender thyself with a and amputating the extremes of error, not rooting certain impulse of indignation to these, not foun- out the principles. And, regarding these, what tains of things, but openings of hope. Thou we have said is most true. But I now hear thee, wouldst have acted rightly and in order, if from my son, inquiring whether, perhaps, as is done, the maxims of ingenuity thou hadst turned to the they have not sought after the worst parts, espedecrees of nature, which would have held out to cially as the state of knowledge is always almost thee not only art short, but also life long. And democratic? Hath not time, like a river, brought now, having passed sentence against Paracelsus, down to us the light and inflated, and sunk the I perceive the rest of the chymists fixed in asto- solid and weighty? What of those ancient innishment. They immediately acknowledged his quirers after truth, Heraclitus, Democritus, Pydecrees, which he himself promulgated rather than thagoras, Anaxagoras, Empedocles, and others, established, and fortified by arrogance, (plainly known by the writings of others, not by their not after the ancient discipline,) instead of cau- own? Lastly, what deem you of the silence and tion; when, indeed, these men, reconciled to each the secrets of antiquity? My son, (that I may by much reciprocation of lying, everywhere hold answer these inquiries, as is usual with me, for forth abundant hope, and, wandering through the thy benefit,) I recognise a few fragments of antiby-ways indeed of experience, do at times, by quity, (of books found I speak not,) yet these as chance, not conduct, hit upon some things useful. specimens rather of the diligence and ingenuity, Yet in their theories they (as disciples of the fur- than the knowledge of their authors. But, if I nace) have not withdrawn from their art. But, hint that those searchings of conjectures respectas that wanton youth, when he discovered a boat ing things, which, with their footsteps, have fled upon the shore, sought to build a ship; so these away, are laborious; and that, for me, studying coalmen, from a few experiments of distillations, the utility of mankind for time coming, it were have attempted to erect a philosophy, which is unfitting to turn back to the philology of antiquity. everywhere obnoxious to those most absurd idols I know sufficiently that in thy modesty thou of separations and liberations. Yet I count them wouldst acquiesce. Nevertheless, that thou not all alike; forasmuch as there is a useful sort mayest perceive what two-faced prophets things of them, who, not very solicitous about theories, present are, and how they bring before us things do by a kind of mechanic subtlety lay hold of the both past and future, I have resolved to gratify extensions of things; such is Bacon. There is a thee with tables of both times, (which may combase and detestable sort, who everywhere seek prise not only the courses and flowings of applause for their theories, by religion, hope, im- knowledge, but also other provisions of things.) posture, wooing, and supplicating for it; such is And do not augur what this may be, before seeing Isaac Hollandis, and by far the greater part of the it, for the true anticipation of this matter falls not rabble of chymists. And now let us summon to thee, and if it come not from thy hand, seek it Hippocrates, the creature of antiquity and the not. For, in this matter, my son, I shall gratify seller of years, to whose authority, when both some of you, and conciliate the minds of the Galen and Paracelsus with much zeal strive to more delicate. Knowledge, indeed, is to be sought betake themselves, as to the shadow of the ass, from the light of nature, not recovered from the who bursts not into laughter? And truly this man obscurity of antiquity. Nor is it of importance seems to cling to experience with perpetual stead- what may have been done; we have only to see


words, and with keenest glance directed and brandished against the very ulcers themselves of offence. And, when they might have been much mingled and entangled together in their crimes and guilt, I have, by their most peculiar marks, but those capital, condemned them singly. For, the human mind, my son, puffed up with the incursions and observations of things, contrives and educes very various species of error. Aristotle is as a taller plant of one species, so also Plato, and others besides. Yet thou requirest particular confutations. Verily, it were a great sin against the golden fortune of mankind, the pledge of empire, for me to turn aside to the pursuit of most fleeting shadows. One bright and radiant light of truth, my son, must be placed in the midst, which may illuminate the whole, and in a moment dispel all errors. Certain feeble and pale lamps are not to be carried round to the several corners and holes of errors and falsehoods. Wherefore, my son, detest what you were seek

what can be done. If a kingdon, subdued by arms and victorious war, were delivered to thee, wouldst thou frame questions whether or not thy ancestors had possessed it, and solicit the rumours of genealogies? So much for the recesses of antiquity. But, concerning those leaders of sects, whom thou hast named, and many more of like sort, it is easy to decide. Variety is proper to error, unity to truth. And, unless the politics and provisions of the times had been adverse to the peregrinations of such minds, many other regions of error would have been wandered over. For, an immense ocean encompasses the island of truth, and men have still to endure new damages and scatterings from the winds of idols. Nay, even two or three days ago, Bernardinus Telesius mounted the stage, and enacted a new play, neither frequent in applause nor elegant in argument. Dost thou not observe, my son, that the contrivers, both of eccentrics and of epicycles, and the charioteers of the earth, delight in the impartial and ambiguous advocation of pheno-ing; for it is very profane. But now I hear thee mena? It is exactly so in universal theories. asking, is all that the whole of these have asserted For, as if any one, knowing only the use of his altogether false and vain? Truly, my son, this vernacular tongue, (attend, my son, for this is is unhappiness and that prodigious, not ignorance. very similar.) undertake to write an unknown | For, no man does not, at times, hit upon something speech, in which, observing some few words ap- true. When Heraclitus remarked, that knowledge proaching in sound and letters to those of his own is to be sought by men in private worlds, not in language, he immediately and confidently assumes the common world, I perceive that he sacrificed them to be of the same signification, (though well at the entrance of philosophy. Democritus, more frequently far removed from it;) then, by I think, did not unhappily philosophize, when, collating these together, with much labour of attributing immense variety and infinite succesingenuity, but also much liberty, he divines the sion to nature, he set himself against almost all remaining sense of the oration; altogether, such other philosophers, the slaves of custom, and also are those interpreters of nature found to be. given over to secularities, and by this opposition For, each bringing his idols, (I speak not now bringing both errors into collision, destroyed both, of those of the stage, but especially of the mar- and opened some way for truth between the exket and of the den,) like diverse vernacular tremes. The numbers of Pythagoras I set down tongues, to history, immediately seizes the things as also of good omen. Dindamus, the Indian, I which sound somewhat alike; from the symmetry commend, for having called custom antiphysis. of these the rest are interpreted. And now it is And, to Epicurus disputing against the explication time, my son, for us to recover and purge our of causes, (as they speak,) by intentions and selves, seeing we have been handling (though with ends, though childishly and philologically, I purpose of importing) things so profane and pol- nevertheless not unwillingly listen. Pyrrho, also, luted. But, against all these I have said less than and the vacillating academics, talking from the their guilt deserved. Yet, perhaps, thou compre- skiff, and conducting themselves against idols, hendest not this censure. For, be assured, my like certain morose lovers, (who are always reson, the judgment I have pronounced against proaching their loves, but never desert them,) I them is nothing less than contumely. For, I have use for the sake of the mind and of hilarity. not conducted myself like Velleius with Cicero, Nor without cause: for idols drive others straight a declaimer and philologist cursorily touching forwards, but these in a circle, which is pleasanter. opinions, and rather casting them away than de- Lastly, I should wish to have Paracelsus and Sevestroying them, or, like Agrippa the modern, in rinus for criers, when, with such clamours, they speech of that kind not to be named indeed, but a convoke men to the suggestions of experience. trivial buffoon, distorting every thing and holding What then? are they possessed of truth? Nothing it out to ridicule; (unhappy me, who, in defect less. And, my son, some proverbs of rustics are of men, am forced to compare myself with apposite to truth. If the sow with her snout should brutes!) But, on looking back afterwards, happen to imprint the letter A upon the ground; thou wilt discern, under the veil of reproach, wouldst thou, therefore, imagine that she could wondrous airs of accusations, with singular write out a whole tragedy as one letter? Of a art contracted and reduced almost to single far different sort is the truth revealed from the

analogy of knowledge, and the truth from the section of an idol. The former is constant and indefinitely germinous, the latter discordant and solitary. Which happens also in works. Gunpowder, if it had been invented by conduct, not chance (as they speak) and accident, would not have come forth solitary, but with great frequence of noble inventions, (which fall under the same meridian.) So also the rest, both works and principles. Wherefore I admonish thee, if perhaps any idol of any of these hath in any point determined my truth, that is, the truth of things, not to think more highly of them, or less of me, since it is sufficiently apparent from their ignorance of the rest, that those things themselves they have not said from the analogy of knowledge. But thou still urgest, my son: would you, therefore, order all their writings to be converted into wrappings for incense and perfumes? That I should not have said. For there remains yet a short while some use of them, slight and narrow, and far different from that which they were destined for, and now usurp, but still some. Add to this that there are many other writings obscurer in fame, but more excellent in use. The morals of Aristotle and of Plato many admire; yet Tacitus breathes more living observations of manners. But at length in the proper place I shall say, what utility can be derived from writings, and which are superior in utility to the rest, and which smallest part of them are gifts of those things which contribute to the interpretation of nature. Lastly, my son, I hear thee inquiring: dost thou suffice thyself in place of all these? I shall reply, and that not dissemblingly, but from my inmost sense. I, dearest son, will confirm to thee a sacred, chaste, and legitimate marriage with things themselves. From which intercourse (above all wishes of marriage songs) thou shalt beget a most blessed progeny of heroes, who shall subdue the infinite necessities of man, more fatal than all giants, and monsters, and tyrants; and for your affairs procure a placid and festal security and plenteousness. But were I, my son, to commit thee to the giddy intricacies of experience with a mind unpurged of idols, verily thou wouldst soon desire a leader. Yet by my simple precepts, without the knowledge of things, thou canst not, however much thou mayest wish it, divest thyself of idols. In tables, unless you erase what has before been written, you can write nothing else. But in the mind, on the contrary, unless you inscribe something else, you cannot erase what has before been written. And although this may be done, although thou mayest put off the idols of friendship, yet indeed, being uninitiated, there is danger that thou mayest be overwhelmed by the idols of the way. Thou hast too much accustomed thyself to a leader. At Rome, tyranny being once established, the oath in the name of the Roman senate and people was ever afterwards vain.

Confide and give thyself to me, my son, that I may restore thee to thyself.

OF THE INTERPRETATION OF NATURE. ACCOUNTING myself born for the use of mankind, and judging the case of the commonweal to be one of those things which are of public right, and like water or air lie open to all; I sought what might be of most advantage to men, and deliberated what I was most fitted for by nature. I discovered that nothing is of such estimation towards the human race, as the invention and earnest of new things and arts, by which man's life is adorned. For I perceive that, even in old times among rude men, the inventors and teachers of things rude were consecrated and chosen into the number of the gods; and I noted that the deeds of heroes who built cities, or were legislators, or exercised just authority, or subdued unjust dominations, were circumscribed by the narrowness of places and times. But the invention of things, though it be a matter of less pomp, I esteemed more adapted for universality and eternity. Yet above all, if any bring forth no particular invention, though of much utility, but kindleth a light in nature, which from the very beginning illuminates the regions of things, which lie contiguous to things already invented, afterwards being elevated lays open and brings to view all the abstrusest things; he seems to me a propagator of the empire of man over the universe, a defender of liberty, a conqueror of necessities. But I found myself constructed more for the contemplations of truth than for aught else, as having a mind sufficiently mobile for recognising (what is most of all) the similitude of things, and sufficiently fixed and intent for observing the subtleties of differences, and possessing love of investigation, patience in doubting, pleasure in meditating, delay in asserting, facility in returning to wisdom, and neither affecting novelty, nor admiring antiquity, and hating all imposture. Wherefore I judged my nature to have a kind of familiarity and relationship with truth. Yet seeing by rank and education I was trained to civil affairs, and, like a youth, sometimes staggered in my opinions, and conceived I owed my country something peculiar, and not equally pertaining to all other parts, and hoped, if I obtained any honourable degree in the commonwealth to perform with greater help of ingenuity and industry what I had intended; I both learned civil arts, and with all ingenuousness and due modesty, commended myself to my friends who had some power. And in addition to this, because those things of whatev ever kind penetrate not beyond the condition and culture of this life, the hope occurred that I, born in no very prosperous state of religion, might, if called to civil offices, contribute somewhat to the safety of souls. But when my zeal was imputed

to ambition, and my age was matured, and my disordered health also admonished me of my unhappy slowness, and I next considered that I nowise fulfilled my duty, while I was neglecting that by which I could through myself benefit men, and applying myself to the things which depended upon the will of another, I altogether weaned myself from those thoughts, and wholly betook myself to this work, according to my former principle. Nor is my resolution diminished, by foreseeing in the state of these times, a sort of declination and ruin of the learning which is now in use; for although I dread not the incursions of barbarians, (unless, perhaps, the empire of Spain should strengthen itself, and oppress and debilitate others by arms, itself by the burden,) yet from civil wars (which, on account of certain manners not long ago introduced, seem to me about to visit many countries) and the malignity of sects, and from those compendiary artifices and cautions which have crept into the place of learning, no less a tempest seems to impend over letters and science. Nor can the shop of the typographer suffice for those evils. And that unwarlike learning, which is nourished by ease, and flourishes by praise and reward, which sustains not the vehemency of opinion, and is the sport of artifices and impostures, is overcome by the impediments which I have mentioned. Far different is the nature of the knowledge whose dignity is fortified by utility and operation. And from the injuries of time I am almost secure; but for the injuries of men I am not concerned. For should any say that I savour things too high, I reply simply, in civil affairs there is place for modesty, in contemplations for truth. But if any one require works immediately, I say, without any imposture, that I, a man not old, frail in health, involved in civil studies, coming to the obscurest of all subjects without guide or light, have done enough, if I have constructed the machine itself and the fabric, though I may not have employed or moved it. And with the same candour, I profess that the legitimate interpretation

of nature, in the first ascent before arriving at a certain degree of generals, should be kept pure and separate from all application to works. Moreover, I know that all those who have in some measure committed themselves to the waters of experience, seeing they were infirm of purpose, or desirous of ostentation, have at the entrance unreasonably sought pledges of works, and have thence been confounded and shipwrecked. But if any requires at least particular promises, let him know that by that knowledge, which is now in use, men are not skilled enough even for wishing. But, what is of less moment, should any of the politicians, whose custom it is from personal calculations to estimate every thing, or from examples of like endeavours to form conjecture, presume to interpose his judgment in a matter of this sort, I would have told that ancient saying, "claudus in via, cursorem extra viam antevertit," and not to think about examples, since the matter is without example. But the method of publishing these things is, to have such of them as tend to seize the correspondences of dispositions, and purge the areas of minds, given out to the vulgar and talked of; to have the rest handed down with selection and judgment. Nor am I ignorant that it is a common and trite artifice of impostors to keep apart from the vulgar certain things which are nothing better than the impertinences they set forth to the vulgar. But without any imposture, from sound providence, I foresee that this formula of interpretation, and the inventions made by it, will be more vigorous and secure when contained within legitimate and chosen devices. Yet I undertake these things at the risk of others. For none of those things which depend upon externals concerns me: nor do I hunt after fame, or, like the heretics, take delight in establishing a sect; and to receive any private emolument from so great an undertaking, I hold to be both ridiculous and base. Sufficient for me is the consciousness of desert, and the very accomplishment itself of things, which even fortune cannot withstand.

J. A. C.

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