Page images

And of the servile expressing antiquity in an unlike and unfit subject, it is well said, "Quod tempore antiquum videtur, id incongruitate est maxime novum." For ciphers, they are commonly in letters or alphabets, but may be in words. The kinds of ciphers, besides the simple ciphers, with changes, and intermixtures of nulls and non-significants, are many, according to the nature or rule of the infolding: wheelciphers, key-ciphers, doubles, &c. But the virtues of them, whereby they are to be preferred, are three; that they be not laborious to write and read; that they be impossible to decipher; and in some cases, that they be without suspicion. The highest degree whereof is to write omnia per omnia; which is undoubtedly possible with a proportion quincuple at most, of the writing infolding to the writing infolded, and no other restraint whatsoever. This art of ciphering hath for relative an art of deciphering, by supposition unprofitable, but, as things are, of great


For suppose that ciphers were well managed, there be multitudes of them which exclude the decipherer. But in regard of the rawness and unskilfulness of the hands through which they pass, the greatest matters are many times carried in the weakest ciphers.

In the enumeration of these private and retired arts, it may be thought I seek to make a great muster-roll of sciences, naming them for show and ostentation, and to little other purpose. But let those which are skilful in them judge, whether I bring them in only for appearance, or whether in that which I speak of them, though in few words, there be not some seed of proficience. And this must be remembered, that as there be many of great account in their countries and provinces, which when they come up to the seat of the estate, are but of mean rank, and scarcely regarded; so these arts being here placed with the principal and supreme sciences, seem petty things; yet to such as have chosen them to spend their labours and studies in them, they seem great matters.

For the method of tradition, I see it hath moved a controversy in our time. But as in civil business, if there be a meeting, and men fall at words, there is commonly an end of the matter for that time, and no proceeding at all; so in learning, where there is much controversy, there is many times little inquiry. For this part of knowledge of method seemeth to me so weakly inquired, as I shall report it deficient.

Method hath been placed, and that not amiss, in logic, as a part of judgment: for as the doctrine of syllogisms comprehendeth the rules of judgment upon that which is invented, so the doctrine of method containeth the rules of judgment upon that which is to be delivered; for judgment precedeth delivery, as it followeth invention. Neither is the method or the nature of the tradition material only to the use of knowledge, but likewise to the progression of knowledge: for since the labour and life of one man cannot attain to perfection of knowledge, the wisdom of the tradition is that which inspireth the felicity of continuance and proceeding. And therefore the most real diversity of method, is

of method referred to use, and method referred to progression, whereof the one may be termed magistral, and the other of probation.

The latter whereof seemeth to be via deserta et interclusa. For as knowledges are now delivered, there is a kind of contract of error, between the deliverer and the receiver; for he that delivereth knowledge, desireth to deliver it in such form as may be best believed, and not as may be best examined: and he that receiveth knowledge, desireth rather present satisfaction, than expectant inquiry : and so rather not to doubt, than not to err; glory making the author not to lay open his weakness, and sloth making the disciple not to know his strength.

But knowledge, that is delivered as a thread to be spun on, ought to be delivered and intimated, if it were possible, in the same method wherein it was invented, and so is it possible of knowledge induced. But in this same anticipated and prevented knowledge, no man knoweth how he came to the knowledge which he hath obtained. But yet nevertheless, secundum majus et minus, a man may revisit and descend unto the foundations of his knowledge and consent; and so transplant it into another, as it grew in his own mind. For it is in knowledges, as

it is in plants, if you mean to use the plant, it is no matter for the roots; but if you mean to remove it to grow, then it is more assured to rest upon roots than slips: so the delivery of knowledges, as it is now used, is as of fair bodies of trees without the roots; good for the carpenter, but not for the planter. But if you will have sciences grow, it De methodo is less matter for the shaft or body of sincera, sive the tree, so you look well to the taking tiarum. up of the roots of which kind of delivery the method of the mathematics, in that subject, hath some shadow; but generally I see it neither put in ure nor put in inquisition, and therefore note it for deficient.

ad filios scien

Another diversity of method there is, which hath some affinity with the former, used in some cases by the discretion of the ancients, but disgraced since by the impostures of many vain persons, who have made it as a false light for their counterfeit merchandises; and that is, enigmatical and disclosed. The pretence whereof is to remove the vulgar capacities from being admitted to the secrets of knowledges, and to reserve them to selected auditors, or wits of such sharpness as can pierce the veil.

Another diversity of method, whereof the consequence is great, is the delivery of knowledge in aphorisms, or in methods; wherein we may observe, that it hath been too much taken into custom, out of a few axioms or observations upon any subject to make a solemn and formal art, filling it with some discourses, and illustrating it with examples, and digesting it into a sensible method; but the writing in aphorisms hath many excellent virtues, whereto the writing in method doth not approach.

For first it trieth the writer, whether he be superficial or solid: for aphorisms, except they should be ridiculous, cannot be made but of the pith and heart of sciences; for discourse of illustration is cut

off; recitals of examples are cut off; discourse of connexion and order is cut off; descriptions of practice are cut off; so there remaineth nothing to fill the aphorisms, but some good quantity of observa- | tion and therefore no man can suffice, nor in reason will attempt to write aphorisms, but he that is sound and grounded. But in methods,

"Tantum series juncturaque pollet, Tantum de medio sumptis accedit honoris ;"

as a man shall make a great show of an art, which if it were disjointed, would come to little. Secondly, methods are more fit to win consent or belief, but less fit to point to action; for they carry a kind of demonstration in orb or circle, one part illuminating another, and therefore satisfy. But particulars being dispersed, do best agree with dispersed directions. And lastly, aphorisms, representing a knowledge broken, do invite men to inquire farther; whereas methods carrying the show of a total, do secure men as if they were at farthest.

Another diversity of method, which is likewise of great weight, is, the handling of knowledge by assertions, and their proofs; or by questions, and their determinations; the latter kind whereof, if it be immoderately followed, is as prejudicial to the proceeding of learning, as it is to the proceeding of an army to go about to besiege every little fort or hold. For if the field be kept, and the sum of the enterprise | pursued, those smaller things will come in of themselves; indeed a man would not leave some important piece with an enemy at his back. In like manner, the use of confutation in the delivery of sciences ought to be very sparing; and to serve to remove strong preoccupations and prejudgments, and not to minister and excite disputations and doubts.

Another diversity of methods is according to the subject or matter which is handled; for there is a great difference in delivery of the mathematics, which are the most abstracted of knowledges, and policy, which is the most immersed; and howsoever contention hath been removed, touching the uniformity of method in multiformity of matter; yet we see how that opinion, besides the weakness of it, hath been of ill desert towards learning, as that which taketh the way to reduce learning to certain empty and barren generalities; being but the very husks and shells of sciences, all the kernel being forced out and expulsed with the torture and press of the method: and therefore as I did allow well of particular topics for invention, so do I allow likewise of particular methods of tradition.

Another diversity of judgment in the delivery and teaching of knowledge, is according unto the light and presuppositions of that which is delivered; for that knowledge which is new and foreign from opinions received, is to be delivered in another form than that that is agreeable and familiar; and therefore Aristotle, when he thinks to tax Democritus, doth in truth commend him, where he saith, "If we shall indeed dispute, and not follow after similitudes," &c. For those, whose conceits are seated in popular opinions, need only but to prove or dispute; but those whose conceits are beyond popular

opinions, have a double labour; the one to make themselves conceived, and the other to prove and demonstrate: so that it is of necessity with them to have recourse to similitudes and translations to express themselves. And therefore in the infancy of learning, and in rude times, when those conceits which are now trivial were then new, the world was full of parables and similitudes; for else would men either have passed over without mark, or else rejected for paradoxes, that which was offered, before they had understood or judged. So in divine learning, we see how frequent parables and tropes are: for it is a rule, "That whatsoever science is not consonant to presuppositions, must pray in aid of similitudes."

There be also other diversities of methods vulgar and received: as that of resolution or analysis, of constitution or systasis, of concealment or cryptic, &c. which I do allow well of, though I have stood upon those which are least handled and observed. All which I have remembered to this purpose, because I would erect and constitute one general inquiry, which seems to me deficient, touching the wisdom of tradition.

De prudentia traditionis.

But unto this part of knowledge concerning method, doth farther belong, not only the architecture of the whole frame of a work, but also the several beams and columns thereof, not as to their stuff, but as to their quantity and figure: and therefore method considereth not only the disposition of the argument or subject, but likewise the propositions; not as to their truth or matter, but as to their limitation and manner. For herein Ramus merited better a great deal in reviving the good rules of proposition, Καθόλε πρῶτον κατὰ παντὸς, &c. than he did in introducing the canker of epitomes; and yet, as it is the condition of human things, that, according to the ancient fables, "The most precious things have the most pernicious keepers;" it was so, that the attempt of the one made him fall upon the other. For he had need be well conducted, that should design to make axioms convertible; if he make them not withal circular, and non promovent, or incurring into themselves: but yet the intention was excellent.

The other considerations of method concerning propositions, are chiefly touching the utmost propositions, which limit the dimensions of sciences; for every knowledge may be fitly said, besides the profundity, which is the truth and substance of it that makes it solid, to have a longitude and a latitude, accounting the latitude towards other sciences, and the longitude towards action; that is, from the greatest generality, to the most particular precept: the one giveth rule how far one knowledge ought to intermeddle within the province of another, which is the rule they call kabavrò: the other giveth rule, unto what degree of particularity a knowledge should descend: which latter I find passed over in silence, being in my judgment the more material: for certainly there must be somewhat left to practice; but how much is worthy the inquiry. We see remote and superficial generalities do but offer knowledge

to scorn of practical men, and are no more aiding to | by passions. Neither is the nature of man so unpractice, than an Ortelius's universal map is to direct fortunately built, as that those powers and arts the way between London and York. The better


sort of rules have been not unfitly comDe productione pared to glasses of steel unpolished; where you may see the images of things, but first they must be filed: so the rules will help, if they be laboured and polished by practice. But how crystalline they may be made at the first, and how far forth they may be polished aforehand, is the question; the inquiry whereof seemeth to me deficient.

There hath been also laboured, and put in practice, a method, which is not a lawful method, but a method of imposture, which is, to deliver knowledges in such manner as men may speedily come to make a show of learning, who have it not; such was the travail of Raymundus Lullius in making that art, which bears his name, not unlike to some books of typocosmy, which have been made since; being nothing but a mass of words of all arts, to give men countenance, that those which use the terms might be thought to understand the art; which collections are much like a fripper's or broker's shop, that hath ends of every thing, but nothing of worth.

Now we descend to that part which concerneth the illustration of tradition, comprehended in that science which we call Rhetoric, or art of eloquence; a science excellent, and excellently well laboured. For although in true value it is inferior to wisdom, as it is said by God to Moses, when he disabled himself for want of this faculty, "Aaron shall be thy speaker, and thou shalt be to him as God:" yet with people it is the more mighty for so Solomon saith, " Sapiens corde appellabitur prudens, sed dulcis eloquio majora reperiet;" signifying, that profoundness of wisdom will help a man to a name or admiration, but that it is eloquence that prevaileth in an active life; and as to the labouring of it, the emulation of Aristotle with the rhetoricians of his time, and the experience of Cicero, hath made them in their works of rhetorics exceed themselves. Again, the excellency of examples of eloquence in the orations of Demosthenes and Cicero, added to the perfection of the precepts of eloquence, hath doubled the progression in this art: and therefore the deficiencies which I shall note, will rather be in some collections, which may as handmaids attend the art, than in the rules or use of the art itself.


Notwithstanding, to stir the earth a little about the roots of this science, as we have done of the rest; the duty and office of rhetoric is to apply reason to imagination for the better moving of the will for we see reason is disturbed in the administration thereof by three means; by illaqueation or sophism, which pertains to logic; by imagination or impression, which pertains to rhetoric; and by passion or affection, which pertains to morality. And as in negotiation with others, men are wrought by cunning, by importunity, and by vehemency; so in this negotiation within ourselves men are undermined by inconsequences, solicited and importuned by impressions or observations, and transported

[ocr errors]

should have force to disturb reason and not to establish and advance it; for the end of logic is to teach a form of argument to secure reason, and not to entrap it. The end of morality, is to procure the affections to obey reason, and not to invade it. The end of rhetoric, is to fill the imagination to second reason, and not to oppress it for these abuses of arts come in but ex obliquo for caution.

And therefore it was great injustice in Plato, though springing out of a just hatred of the rhetoricians of his time, to esteem of rhetoric but as a voluptuary art, resembling it to cookery, that did mar wholesome meats, and help unwholesome by variety of sauces, to the pleasure of the taste. For we see that speech is much more conversant in adorning that which is good, than in colouring that which is evil; for there is no man but speaketh more honestly than he can do or think; and it was excellently noted by Thucydides in Cleon, that because he used to hold on the bad side in causes of estate, therefore he was ever inveighing against eloquence and good speech, knowing that no man can speak fair of courses sordid and base. And therefore as Plato said elegantly, "That Virtue, if she could be seen, would move great love and affection;" so seeing that she cannot be showed to the sense by corporal shape, the next degree is, to show her to the imagination in lively representation; for to show her to reason only in subtilty of argument, was a thing ever derided in Chrysippus, and many of the Stoics, who thought to thrust virtue upon men by sharp disputations and conclusions, which have no sympathy with the will of man.

Again, if the affections in themselves were pliant and obedient to reason, it were true, there should be no great use of persuasions and insinuations to the will, more than of naked proposition and proofs : but in regard of the continual mutinies and seditions of the affections,

"Video meliora, proboque; Deteriora sequor;"


Reason would become captive and servile, if eloquence of persuasions did not practise and win the imagination from the affections part, and contract a confederacy between the reason and imagination against the affections; for the actions themselves carry ever an appetite to good as reason doth. difference is, that the affection beholdeth merely the present, reason beholdeth the future and sum of time. And therefore the present filling the imagination more, reason is commonly vanquished; but after that force of eloquence and persuasion hath made things future and remote appear as present, then upon the revolt of the imagination reason prevaileth.

We conclude therefore, that rhetoric can be no more charged with the colouring of the worst part, than logic with sophistry, or morality with vice. For we know the doctrines of contraries are the same, though the use be opposite. It appeareth also, that logic differeth from rhetoric, not only as the

fist from the palm, the one close, the other at large; but much more in this, that logic handleth reason exact, and in truth; and rhetoric handleth it as it is planted in popular opinions and manners. And therefore Aristotle doth wisely place rhetoric as between logic on the one side, and moral or civil knowledge on the other, as participating of both for the proofs and demonstrations of logic are toward all men indifferent and the same: but the proofs and persuasions of rhetoric ought to differ according to the auditors :

"Orpheus in sylvis, inter delphinas Arion."

Which application, in perfection of idea, ought to extend so far, that if a man should speak of the same thing to several persons, he should speak to them all respectively, and several ways; though this politic part of eloquence in private speech, it is easy for the greatest orators to want; whilst by the observing their well graced forms of De prudentia sermonis speech, they lose the volubility of apprivati. plication and thereof it shall not be amiss to recommend this to better inquiry, not being curious, whether we place it here, or in that part which concerneth policy.

[blocks in formation]


The defects in the labour of Aristotle are three; one, that there be but a few of many; another, that their elenchus's are not annexed; and the third, that he conceived but a part of the use of them for their use is not only in probation, but much more in impression. For many forms are equal in signification, which are differing in impression; as the difference is great in the piercing of that which is sharp, and that which is flat, though the strength of the percussion be the same: for there is no man but will be a little more raised by hearing it said; Your enemies will be glad of this;"

[ocr errors]

"Hoc Ithacus velit, et magno mercentur Atridæ ; " than by hearing it said only; "This is evil for you." Secondly, I do resume also that which I mentioned before, touching provision or preparatory store, for the furniture of speech and readiness of invention, which appeareth to be of two sorts; the one in resemblance to a shop of pieces unmade up, the other to a shop of things ready made up, both to be applied to that which is frequent and most in request: the former of these I will call antitheta, and the latter formulæ.

[blocks in formation]


"So may we redeem the faults passed, and prevent the inconveniences future."

There remain two appendices touching the tradition of knowledge, the one critical, the other pedantical; for all knowledge is either delivered by teachers, or attained by men's proper endeavours: and therefore as the principal part of tradition of knowledge concerneth chiefly writing of books; so the relative part thereof concerneth reading of books; whereunto appertain incidently these considerations. The first is concerning the true correction and edition of authors, wherein nevertheless rash diligence hath done great prejudice. For these critics have often presumed that that which they understand not, is false set down. As the priest, that where he found it written of St. Paul, "Demissus est per sportam," mended his book, and made it "Demissus est per portam," because sporta was a hard word, and out of his reading; and surely their errors, though they be not so palpable and ridiculous, yet are of the same kind. And therefore as it hath been wisely noted, the most corrected copies are commonly the least correct.

The second is concerning the exposition and explication of authors, which resteth in annotations and commentaries, wherein it is over usual to blanch the obscure places, and discourse upon the plain.

The third is concerning the times, which in many cases give great light to true interpretations.

The fourth is concerning some brief censure and judgment of the authors, that men thereby may make some election unto themselves what books to read.

And the fifth is concerning the syntax and disposition of studies, that men may know in what order or pursuit to read.

For pedantical knowledge, it containeth that dif ference of tradition which is proper for youth, whereunto appertain divers considerations of great fruit.

As first, the timing and seasoning of knowledges; | mand me to be slain beside him, so that these my as with what to initiate them, and from what, for a time, to refrain them.

Secondly, the consideration where to begin with the easiest, and so proceed to the more difficult, and in what courses to press the more difficult, and then to turn them to the more easy; for it is one method to practise swimming with bladders, and another to practise dancing with heavy shoes.

A third is the application of learning according unto the propriety of the wits; for there is no defect in the faculties intellectual but seemeth to have a proper cure contained in some studies: as for example, if a child be bird-witted, that is, hath not the faculty of attention, the mathematics giveth a remedy thereunto, for in them, if the wit be caught away but a moment, one is new to begin: and as sciences have a propriety towards faculties for cure and help, so faculties or powers have a sympathy towards sciences for excellency or speedy profiting; and therefore it is an inquiry of great wisdom what kinds of wits and natures are most proper for what sciences.


[ocr errors]

fellows, for our good meaning, and our true hearts to the legions, may have leave to bury us." With which speech he put the army into an infinite fury and uproar; whereas truth was he had no brother, neither was there any such matter, but he played it merely as if he had been upon the stage.

But to return, we are now come to a period of rational knowledges, wherein if I have made the divisions other than those that are received, yet would I not be thought to disallow all those divisions which I do not use; for there is a double necessity imposed upon me of altering the divisions. The one, because it differeth in end and purpose, to sort together those things which are next in nature, and those things which are next in use; for if a secretary of state should sort his papers, it is like, in his study, or general cabinet, he would sort together things of nature, as treatise, instructions, &c.; but in his boxes, or particular cabinet, he would sort together those that he were like to use together, though of several natures; so in this general cabinet of knowledge it was necessary for me to follow the divisions of the nature of things; whereas if myself had been to handle any particular knowledge, I would have respected the divisions fittest for use. The other, because the bringing in of the deficiencies did by consequence alter the partitions of the rest: for let the knowledge extant, for demonstration sake, be fifteen, let the knowledge with the deficiencies be twenty, the parts of fifteen are not the parts of twenty, for the parts of fifteen are three and five, the parts of twenty are two, four, five, and ten; so as these things are without contradiction, and could not otherwise be.

Fourthly, the ordering of exercises is matter of great consequence to hurt or help: for, as is well observed by Cicero, men in exercising their faculties, if they be not well advised, do exercise their faults, and get ill habits as well as good; so there is a great judgment to be had in the continuance and | intermission of exercises. It were too long to particularize a number of other considerations of this nature; things but of mean appearance, but of singular efficacy for as the wronging or cherishing of seeds or young plants, is that that is most important to their thriving; and as it was noted, that the first six kings, being in truth as tutors of the state of Rome in the infancy thereof, was the principal cause of the immense greatness of that state which fol- WE proceed now to that knowledge which conlowed; so the culture and manurance of minds in sidereth of the Appetite and Will of Man, whereof youth hath such a forcible, though unseen, opera- Solomon saith, "Ante omnia, fili, custodi cor tuum, tion, as hardly any length of time or contention of nam inde procedunt actiones vitæ." In the handlabour can countervail it afterwards. And it is not ling of this science, those which have written, seem amiss to observe also, how small and mean faculties to me to have done as if a man that professed to gotten by education, yet when they fall into great teach to write, did only exhibit fair copies of alphamen or great matters, do work great and important bets, and letters joined, without giving any precepts effects; whereof we see a notable example in or directions for the carriage of the hand and framTacitus, of two stage players, Percennius and Vibu- ing of the letters: so have they made good and fair lenus, who by their faculty of playing, put the Pan- | exemplars and copies, carrying the draughts and nonian armies into an extreme tumult and combus-portraitures of good, virtue, duty, felicity; propoundtion; for there arising a mutiny amongst them, ing them well described as the true objects and upon the death of Augustus Cæsar, Blæsus the scopes of man's will and desires; but how to attain lieutenant had committed some of the mutineers, these excellent marks, and how to frame and subdue which were suddenly rescued; whereupon Vibulenus the will of man to become true and conformable got to be heard speak, which he did in this manner: to these pursuits, they pass it over altogether, or "These poor innocent wretches appointed to cruel slightly and unprofitably; for it is not the disputing death, you have restored to behold the light: but that moral virtues are in the mind of man by habit who shall restore my brother to me, or life unto my and not by nature, or the distinguishing that generous brother, that was sent hither in message from the spirits are won by doctrines and persuasions, and legions of Germany, to treat of the common cause? the vulgar sort by reward and punishment, and the And he hath murdered him this last night by some like scattered glances and touches, that can excuse of his fencers and ruffians, that he hath about him the absence of this part. for his executioners upon soldiers. Answer, Blæsus, what is done with his body? The mortalest enemies do not deny burial. When I have performed my last duties to the corpse with kisses, with tears, com

The reason of this omission I suppose it to be that hidden rock whereupon both this and many other barks of knowledge have been cast away; which is, that men have despised to be conversant in ordinary

« PreviousContinue »