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gotten that they were composed under the accumulated pressure of poverty, disease, and a wounded spirit.
In the year 1625 the most disgraceful reign in the annals of England was terminated by the death of James I. He left behind him a licentious court, a corrupted clergy, an impoverished state, and an irritated because a dishonoured people. No wonder that such an inheritance proved fatal to his successor.
With James Bacon's last hope of the restoration of his affairs expired. To that monarch he looked even to the last for some compensation for the ostentatious ingratitude of Buckingham, who hated his victim as bitterly as he had injured him. The new monarch was even more devoted to Buckingham than his predecessor; and in respect to Bacon it might be said "Another king arose who knew not Joseph." Charles was neither qualified by nature or education to appreciate the merits of the philosopher; an application was made for relief, but it remained without an answer.
When a man of extraordinary talent has once played an active part on the stage of public life, he cannot bear to feel that his fame is beginning to fade from the recollection of his contemporaries, and that he is virtually buried before death. The virtue of resignation is vainly preached to the restlessness of genius.
The captive thrush may brook the cage,
Chagrin, the result of repeated disappointment, soon began to make fearful inroads on Bacon's health; but he did not abandon his scientific researches, and though sinking under calamity he pursued a course of researches into the best means of preserving bodies with an avidity and perseverance beyond his strength. A severe attack of fever compelled him to go for change of air to the house of his friend the Earl of Arundel at Highgate, and on the way his disease was aggravated by a violent cold. Such a defluxion of rheum ensued, that he soon became conscious of his approaching end, and he announced the melancholy intelligence in a letter to the Earl of Arundel, at whose house he was sojourning, with a tranquillity of soul and freedom of spirit rarely found under such circumstances. In this epistle he happily compares his fate to that of an illustrious philosopher of antiquity, the elder Pliny, who met his death on mount Vesuvius while he was too curiously investigating the nature of volcanoes.
Bacon died on the 9th of April, 1626, in the sixty-sixth year of his age. He was interred without pomp or ceremony in St. Michael's church, near St. Alban's, being the place directed for his burial by his last will. He selected it because his mother had been buried there, and because it was the only church remaining within the precincts of Old Verulam. A plain monument of white marble was erected over his remains by Sir Thomas Meantys his lordship's secretary, afterwards clerk of the king's privy-council. Howell quaintly remarks, "He died so poor that he scarce left money to bury him, which though he had a great wit, did argue no great wisdom, it being one of the essential properties of a wise man to provide for the main chance. I have read that it had been the fortunes of all poets commonly to die beggars; but for an orator, lawyer and philosopher, as he was, to die so is rare. . . The fairest diamond may have a flaw in it, but I
believe he died poor out of a contempt of the pelf of fortune, as also out of an excess of generosity."
When about forty years of age, Lord Bacon married a wealthy lady, the daughter of a London merchant. She died about twenty years before him, and left no children.
Bacon's personal appearance was very prepossessing: he was rather above the middle height; his forehead was large, his temples high and bare; he had a lively penetrating eye, and a countenance deeply marked or rather furrowed at an early age with the lines of thought. In conversation he particularly excelled from his singular power of illustrating every subject by fanciful yet appropriate allusions. His published speeches give but a faint idea of his powers as an orator; they want the silvery sweetness of voice, the grace and dignity of action which rendered Bacon the unquestioned master of the bar and senate. It is not necessary to dilate upon his merits as a philosopher, since all who have since extended the limits of human knowledge have unanimously recognised him as the founder and father of modern science.
The eulogies on Lord Bacon would fill a large volume. Cowley with justice compares him to Moses; he found mankind wandering in the barren deserts of scholasticism, he offered himself as their guide through the wilderness, led them to the very border of "the blest promised land, and from the mountain-top of his exalted wit" showed them the intellectual Canaan prepared as a precious inheritance for them and for their children.
Then be his failings cover'd by his tomb,
WHAT is truth? said jesting Pilate; and would not stay for an answer. Certainly there be that delight in giddiness; and count it a bondage to fix a belief; affecting freewill in thinking, as well as in acting. And though the sects of philosophers of that kind be gone, yet there remains certain discoursing wits, which are of the same veins, though there be not so much blood in them as was in those of the ancients. But it is not only the difficulty and labour which men take in finding out of truth; nor again, that when it is found, it imposeth upon men's thoughts, that doth bring lies in favour; but a natural though corrupt love of the lie itself. One of the later school of the Grecians examineth the matter, and is at a stand to think what should be in it, that men should love lies;
where neither they make for pleasure, as with poets; nor for advantage, as with the merchant, but for the lie's sake. But I cannot tell this same truth is a naked and open day-light, that doth not show the masks, and mummeries, and triumphs of the world, half so stately and daintily as candle-lights. Truth may perhaps come to the price of a pearl, that showeth best by day, but it will not rise to the price of a diamond or carbuncle, that showeth best in varied lights. A mixture of a lie doth ever add pleasure. Doth any man doubt, that if there were taken out of men's minds vain opinions, flattering hopes, false valuations, imaginations as one would, and the like, but it would leave the minds of a number of men, poor shrunken things, full of melancholy and indisposition,
and unpleasing to themselves? One of the fathers, in great severity, called poesy "vinum dæmonum," because it filleth the imagination, and yet it is but with the shadow of a lie. But it is not the lie that passeth through the mind, but the lie that sinketh in, and settleth in it, that doth the hurt, such as we spake of before. But howsoever these things are thus in men's depraved judgments and affections, yet truth, which only doth judge itself, teacheth, that the inquiry of truth, which is the love-making, or wooing of it, the knowledge of truth, which is the presence of it, and the belief of truth, which is the enjoying of it, is the sovereign good of human nature. The first creature of God, in the works of the days, was the light of the sense the last was the light of reason: and his sabbath work ever since, is the illumination of his Spirit. First, he breathed light upon the face of the matter, or chaos; then he breathed light into the face of man; and still he breatheth and inspireth light into the face of his chosen. The poet2 that beautified the sect, that was otherwise inferior to the rest, saith yet excellently well:-"It is a pleasure to stand upon the shore, and to see ships tossed upon the sea: a pleasure to stand in the window of a castle, and to see a battle, and the adventures thereof below: but no pleasure is comparable to the standing upon the vantage ground of truth (a hill not to be commanded, and where the air is always clear and serene), and to see the
errors, and wanderings, and mists, and tempests, in the vale below :" so always that this prospect be with pity, and not with swelling or pride. Certainly, it is heaven upon earth, to have a man's mind move in charity, rest in providence, and turn upon the poles of truth.
To pass from theological and philosophical truth to the truth of civil business; it will be acknowledged even by those that practise it not, that clear and round dealing is the honour of man's nature, and that mixture of falsehood is like alloy in coin of gold and silver, which may make the metal work the better, but it embaseth it. For these winding and crooked courses are the goings of the serpent; which goeth basely upon the belly, and not upon the feet. There is no vice that doth so cover a man with shame as to be found false and perfidious; and therefore Montaigne saith prettily, when he inquired the reason why the word of the lie should be such a disgrace, and such an odious charge, saith he, "If it be well weighed, to say that a man lieth, is as much as to say that he is brave towards God and a coward towards men. For a lie faces God, and shrinks from man;" Surely the wickedness of falsehood and breach of faith cannot possibly be so highly expressed, as in that it shall be the last peal to call the judgments of God upon the generations of men: it being foretold, that, when "Christ cometh," he shall not "find faith upon the earth."
shall read in some of the friars' books of mortification, that a man should think with bimself, what the pain is, if he have but his finger's end pressed or tortured; and thereby imagine what the pains of death are, when the whole body is corrupted and dissolved; when many times death passeth with less pain than the torture of a limb; for the most vital parts are not the quickest of sense. And by him that spake only as a philosopher, and natural man, it was well said, Pompa mortis magis terret, quam mors
Groans and convulsions, and a discoloured face, and friends weeping, and blacks and obsequies, and the like, show death terrible. It is worthy the observing, that there is no passion in the mind of man so weak, but it mates and masters the fear of death; and therefore death is no such terrible enemy when a man hath so many attendants about him that can win the combat of him. Revenge triumphs over death; love slights it; honour aspireth to it: grief flieth to it; fear pre-occupateth it; nay, we read, after Otho the emperor had slain himself, pity (which is the tenderest of affections) provoked many to die out of mere compassion to their sovereign, and as the truest sort of followers. Nay, Seneca adds, niceness and satiety: "Cogita quamdiu eadem feceris; mori velle, non tantum fortis, aut miser, sed etiam fastidiosus potest." 1:2 A man would die, though he were neither valiant nor miserable, only upon a weariness to do the same thing so oft over and over. It is no less worthy to observe, how little alteration in good spirits the approaches of death make : for they appear to be the same men till the last instant. Augustus Cæsar died in a compliment; "Livia, conjugii nostri memor,
vive et vale."3 Tiberius in dissimulation, as Tacitus saith of him, "Jam Tiberium vires et corpus, non dissimulatio, deserebant:"4 Vespasian in a jest, sitting upon the stool, "Ut puto Deus fio :"5 Galba with a sentence, "Feri, si ex re sit populi Romani,” holding forth his neck; Septimius Severus in despatch, "Adeste, si quid mihi restat agendum," and the like. Certainly the Stoics bestowed too much cost upon death, and by their great preparations made it appear more fearful. Better, saith he, "qui finem vitæ extremum inter munera ponat naturæ."8 It is as natural to die as to be born; and to a little infant, perhaps, the one is as painful as the other. He that dies in an earnest pursuit, is like one that is wounded in hot blood; who, for the time, scarce feels the hurt; and therefore a mind fixed and bent upon somewhat that is good, doth avert the dolours of death; but, above all, believe it, the sweetest canticle is, "Nunc dimittis"9 when a man hath obtained worthy ends and expectations. Death hath this also, that it openeth the gate to good fame, and extinguisheth envy : "Extinctus amabitur
III. OF UNITY IN RELIGION.
RELIGION being the chief band of human society, it is a happy thing when itself is well contained within the true band of unity. The quarrels and divisions about religion were evils unknown to the heathen. reason was, because the religion of the heathen consisted rather in rites and ceremonies, than in any constant belief: for you may imagine what kind of faith theirs was, when the chief doctors and fathers of their church were the poets. But the true God hath this attribute, that he is a jealous God; and therefore his worship and religion will endure no mixture nor partner. We shall therefore speak a few
The parade of death (usually made round the sick-bed) is more terrific than death itself.
2 Consider how often you repeat the same things (in life); the desire of death may arise not only from fortitude or misery but from satiety.
words concerning the unity of the church; what are the fruits thereof; what the bounds; and what the means.
The fruits of unity (next unto the wellpleasing of God, which is all in all) are two; the one towards those that are without the church, the other towards those that are within. For the former, it is certain, that heresies and schisms are of all others the greatest
3 Live mindful of our union, and farewell. 4 His powers and bodily strength abandoned Tiberius, but not his dissimulation.
5 I am becoming a deity, I suppose.
6 Strike, if it be for the advantage of the Roman people.
7 Be quick, if anything remains for me to do. 8 Who counts death amongst the boons of Nature. 9"Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace."
10 The same person (who was envied in life) shall be beloved after death.