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The text of the Essays is taken of course from the edition of 1625; a correct representation of which is nearly all that a modern reader requires. The only points in which the audience to which they now address themselves stands in a different position towards them from that to which they were originally addressed, appear to be,-first, knowledge of Latin, which is probably a less general accomplishment among the readers of books now than it was then; and secondly, familiarity with the ordinary language of that day, in which some expressions have worn out of use with time, and some have acquired new meanings. To meet these changes, I have in the first place translated the Latin quotations, in the same manner and upon the same principle which I have explained at length in my preface to the Advancement of Learning (Vol. III. p. 258); and in the second place, I have added an explanatory note wherever I have observed any expression which a modern reader is likely to misunderstand or not to understand. But I have not attempted to develop allusions, or to canvass historical statements, or to point out inaccuracies of quotation, where the difference does not affect the argument,―still less to entertain the reader with discourses of my own; conceiving that the worth of writings of this kind depends in great part upon the rejection of superfluities, and that an annotator who is too diligent in producing all that he can find to say about his text runs a great risk of merely encumbering the reader with the very matter from which it was the author's labour to disembarrass him. I have even had my doubts whether in writings which remain as fresh as these, the very insertion of references to passages quoted be not an unwelcome interruption and an unwarrantable liberty. When a modern writer introduces, for ornament or illustration or impression, a line from Virgil or Milton, he never thinks of adding a reference to the book and verse; and I suppose that Mr. Singer would not look upon an asterisk and a foot-note, with Hor. Carm. I. 12. 45., as any improvement to the elegant motto which occupies the blank page fronting the title of his very elegant edition of these Essays. Bacon's philosophical works stand in many respects in a different position. Their value is in great part historical and antiquarian. They no longer speak to us as to contemporaries. To understand their just import, we must be carried back to the time, and it is of importance to know what books were then

in estimation and what authors were familiarly appealed to, and carried weight as vouchers. The Essays, on the contrary, have for us precisely the same sort of interest which they had for the generation to which they were immediately addressed; they "come home to men's business and bosoms" just in the same way; they appeal to the same kind of experience; the allusions and citations are still familiar, and produce the same kind of impression on the imagination. So that I do not see why the reason which induced Bacon to cite an ancient saying, a tradition of the poets, an observation of one of the fathers, or a sentence from some classical writer, without specifying the volume and page where he found it, should not still be held a reason for leaving them to produce the effect which he intended, unincumbered with a piece of information which I suppose he thought superf.uous or inconvenient.

The Latin translation of the Essays, published by Dr. Rawley in 1638 among the Opera Moralia et Civilia, under the weightier title of Sermones Fideles sive Interiora Rerum, has (as I said) an original and independent value. Whether Whether any of them were actually translated by Bacon himself, or how far he superintended the work, it seems impossible to know. Mr. Singer indeed represents them, on the authority of the title2, as having been put into Latin by Bacon himself " præterquam in paucis:" but the words which he quotes occur in the title not of the Sermones Fideles, but of the whole volume, which contains four other works; the Sermones Fideles forming less than a fourth of the whole: so that for any thing these words imply they may themselves have been among the things excepted. As it is certain however that Bacon himself regarded the Latin version as that in which they were to live, we may be sure that he took care to have it properly done: only as it was not pub

Deinde sequetur libellus ille quem vestra lingua Saggi Morali appellastis. Verum illi libro nomen gravius impono: scilicet ut inscribatur Sermones Fideles, sive Interiora Rerum.- Bacon's Letter to Fulgentio.

"In the year 1638, Dr. Rawley, who had been Bacon's chaplain. published a folio volume, containing, amongst other works in Latin, a translation of the Essays, under the title of Sermones Fideles, ab ipso Honoratissimo Auctore, præterquam in paucis, Latinitate donati.”—Pref. p. xvi.

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Ab ipso Honoratissimo Auctore, præterquam in paucis, Latinitate donatus.

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lished till twelve years after his death, we cannot be sure that it was all finished before he died. Several hands are said to have been employed in the work, and in the absence of all specific information, it is not improbable that there are parts of it which he did not live to see completed. Taken with this caution however, the Latin translation must be accepted as a work of authority, and in one respect of superior authority to the original, because of later date. I have therefore treated it in the same way as the translation of the history of Henry the Seventh; see above, p. 7.

I am not aware that any such value belongs to any of the translations into modern languages. An Italian translation of the Essays and the De Sapientia Veterum published in London in 1618, with a dedicatory letter from Tobie Matthew to Cosmo de' Medici, may be presumed to have been made with Bacon's sanction; both because Matthew was so intimate a friend, and because it includes one essay which had not then been published', as well as a large extract from the letter to Prince Henry which Bacon had intended to prefix to the edition of 1612, but was prevented by his death. But there is no reason to suppose that Bacon had anything more to do with it. It is true that Andrea Cioli, who by Cosmo's direction brought out a new and revised edition of this volume at Florence in 1619, seems at first sight to speak of the translation as if it were Bacon's own composition-(ma non hò già voluto alterare alcuna di quelle parole, che forse nella lingua nostra non appariscono interamente proprie del senso, à che sono state in detta Opera destinate, per non torre all' Autore la gloria, che merita di havere cosi ben saputo esprimere i suoi Concetti in Idioma altretanto diverso dal suo, quanto è lontana da questa nostra la sua Regione ;)-but the supposition is hardly reconcilable with the words of Matthew's dedicatory letter (non può mancar la scusa à chi s' è ingegnato tradur li concetti di questo Autore, &c.); and in the absence of all other evidence is too improbable to be believed. Nor do Cioli's words necessarily imply more than that the translator was an Englishman. That the translation was not the work of an Italian,-and therefore not (according to Mr. Singer's conjecture) by Father Fulgentio, -they afford evidence which may be considered conclusive.

1 Mr. Singer says two: but one of those he quotes, the Essay "Of Honour and Reputation," will be found in the edition of 1597.








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