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yet that might be by demonstration, and not in fact; and if by travel, it requireth the voyage but of half the globe. But to circle the earth, as the heavenly bodies do, was not done or enterprised till these later times and therefore these times may justly bear in their word, not only plus ultra in precedence of the ancient non ultra, and imitabile fulmen, in precedence of the ancient non imitabile fulmen,
Demens qui nimbos et non imitabile fulmen, etc. but likewise imitabile cœlum: in respect of the many memorable voyages, after the manner of heaven, about the globe of the earth.
And this proficience in navigation and discoveries may plant also an expectation of the farther proficience and augmentation of all sciences; because, it may seem, they are ordained by God to be coevals, that is, to meet in one age. For so the prophet Daniel, speaking of the latter times, foretelleth; Plurimi pertransibunt, et multiplex erit scientia; as if the openness and thorough passage of the world, and the increase of knowledge, were appointed to be in the same ages, as we see it is already performed in great part; the learning of these latter times not much giving place to the former two periods or returns of learning, the one of the Grecians, the other of the Romans.
HISTORY ecclesiastical receiveth the same divisions with history civil; but farther, in the propriety thereof, may be divided into the history of the Church, by a general name; History of prophecy; and History of Providence.
The first describeth the times of the militant Church, whether it be fluctuant, as the ark of Noah; or moveable, as the ark in the wilderness; or at rest, as the ark in the temple; that is, the state of the Church in persecution, in remove, and in peace. This part I ought in no sort to note as deficient, only I would the virtue and sincerity of it were according to the mass and quantity. But I am not now in hand with censures, but with omissions.
The second, which is history of prophecy, consisteth of two relatives, the prophecy, and the accomplishment; and therefore the nature of such a work ought to be, that every prophecy of the Scripture be sorted with the event fulfilling the same, throughout the ages of the world; both for the better confirmation of faith, and for the better illumination of the Church touching those parts of prophecies which are yet unfulfilled: allowing nevertheless that latitude which is agreeable and familiar unto divine prophecies, being of the nature of their Author, with whom a thousand years are but as one day, and therefore are not fulfilled punctually at once, but have springing and germinant accomplishment throughout many ages; though the height or fulness of them may refer to some one age.
This is a work which I find deficient, but is to be done with wisdom, sobriety, and reverence, or not at all.
The third, which is history of providence, containeth that excellent correspondence which is between God's revealed will and his secret will: which though it be so obscure, as for the most part it is not legible to the natural man; no, nor many times to those that behold it from the tabernacle; yet at some times it pleaseth God, for our better establishment, and the confuting of those which are as without God in the world, to write it in such text and capital letters, that, as the prophet saith, he that runneth by may read it; that is, mere sensual persons, which hasten by God's judgments, and never bend or fix their cogitations upon them, are nevertheless in their passage and race urged to discern it. Such are the notable events and examples of God's judgments, chastisements, deliverances, and blessings: and this is a work which hath passed through the labours of many, and therefore I cannot present as omitted.
There are also other parts of learning which are Appendices to history for all the exterior proceedings of man consist of words and deeds; whereof history doth properly receive and retain in memory
the deeds; and if words, yet but as inducements and passages to deeds: so are there other books and writings, which are appropriate to the custody and receipt of words only, which likewise are of three sorts; Orations, Letters, and Brief Speeches or Sayings.
Orations are pleadings, speeches of counsel, laudatives, invectives, apologies, reprehensions; orations of formality or ceremony, and the like.
Letters are according to all the variety of occasions, advertisements, advices, directions, propositions, petitions, commendatory, expostulatory, satisfactory; of compliment, of pleasure, of discourse, and all other passages of action. And such as are written from wise men, are of all the words of man, in my judgment, the best; for they are more natural than orations and public speeches, and more advised than conferences or present speeches. So again letters of affairs from such as manage them, or are privy to them, are of all others the best instructions for history, and to a diligent reader the best histories in themselves.
For Apophthegms, it is a great loss of that book of Cæsar's; for as his history, and those few letters of his which we have, and those apophthegms which were of his own, excel all mens else, so I suppose would his collection of apophthegms have done; for as for those which are collected by others, either I have no taste in such matters, or else their choice hath not been happy. But upon these three kinds of writings I do not insist, because I have no deficiencies to propound concerning them.
Thus much therefore concerning History, which is that part of learning which answereth to one of the cells, domiciles, or offices of the mind of man, which is that of the Memory.
POESY is a part of learning in measure of words for the most part restrained, but in all other points extremely licensed, and doth truly refer to the imagination; which, being not tied to the laws of mat
ter, may at pleasure join that which nature hath severed, and sever that which nature hath joined, and so make unlawful matches and divorces of things; Pictoribus atque poëtis, etc. It is taken in two senses, in respect of words, or matter; in the first sense, it is but a character of stile, and belongeth to arts of speech, and is not pertinent for the present: in the latter, it is, as hath been said, one of the principal portions of learning, and is nothing else but feigned history, which may be stiled as well in prose as in verse.
The use of this feigned history hath been to give some shadow of satisfaction to the mind of man in those points wherein the nature of things doth deny it, the world being in proportion inferior to the soul; by reason whereof there is, agreeable to the spirit of man, a more ample greatness, a more exact goodness, and a more absolute variety, than can be found in the nature of things. Therefore, because the acts or events of true history have not that magnitude which satisfieth the mind of man, poesy feigneth acts and events greater and more heroical: because true history propoundeth the successes and issues of actions not so agreeable to the merits of virtue and vice, therefore poesy feigns them more just in retribution, and more according to revealed providence: because true history representeth actions and events more ordinary, and less interchanged; therefore poesy endueth them with more rareness, and more unexpected and alternative variations: so as it appeareth that poesy serveth and conferreth to magnanimity, morality, and to delectation. And therefore it was ever thought to have some participation of divineness, because it doth raise and erect the mind, by submitting the shews of things to the desires of the mind; whereas reason doth buckle and bow the mind unto the nature of things.
And we see, that by these insinuations and congruities with man's nature and pleasure, joined also with the agreement and consort it hath with music, it hath had access and estimation in rude times and
barbarous regions, where other learning stood excluded.
The division of poesy, which is aptest in the propriety thereof, besides those divisions which are common unto it with history; as feigned chronicles, feigned lives, and the appendices of history, as feigned epistles, feigned orations, and the rest, is into Poesy Narrative, Representative, and Allusive.
The Narrative is a mere imitation of history, with the excesses before remembered, choosing for subject commonly wars and love; rarely state, and sometimes pleasure or mirth.
Representative is as a visible history, and is an image of actions as if they were present, as history is of actions in nature as they are, that is past.
Allusive or parabolical, is a narration applied only to express some special purpose or conceit: which latter kind of parabolical wisdom was much more in use in the ancient times, as by the fables of Æsop, and the brief sentences of the Seven, and the use of hieroglyphics, may appear. And the cause was, for that it was then of necessity to express any point of reason, which was more sharp or subtile than the vulgar, in that manner, because men in those times wanted both variety of examples and subtilty of conceit and as hieroglyphics were before letters, so parables were before arguments. And nevertheless now, and at all times, they do retain much life and vigour, because reason cannot be so sensible, nor examples so fit.
But 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 and parables.
Of this in divine poesy, we see, the use is authorised. In heathen poesy, we see, the exposition of fables doth fall out sometimes with great felicity, as in the fable that the giants being overthrown in their