Page images

crossed, nor Proteus ever changed shapes till he was straitened and held fast; so the passages and variations of nature cannot appear so fully in the liberty of nature, as in the trials and vexations of art.




1. Memorials.

2. Perfect Histories.

3. Antiquities.

Of pictures or images, we see, some are unfinished, some are perfect, and some are defuced.


1. Memorials are preparations for history. 2. Different sorts; commentaries, registers. 3. They are naturally imperfect.


1. They are the remnant of history.

They are as planks saved from the deluge of time.

2. Epitomes should be abolished.

They are as the moths af history that have fretted and corroded the sound bodies of many exellent histories.

[blocks in formation]

1. It is the most useful of all history.

2. It is to be lamented that biography is not more frequent 112

One of the poets feigned that at the end of the thread or web of every man's life there was a little medal containing the person's name, and that Time waited upon the shears; and as soon as the thread was cut, caught the medals, and

carried them to the river of Lethe; and about the bank there were many birds flying up and down, that would get the medals and carry them in their beak a little while, and then let them fall into the river; only there were a few swans, which if they got a name, would carry it to a temple where it was consecrated,

3. Impropriety of disregarding posthumous fame

[ocr errors]


[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

3. Bacon recommends a history of England from the union of the roses to the union of the kingdoms 130


1. They excel in verity and sincerity

[ocr errors]

2. It is to be lamented that there is not more diligence in relations

[ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


The collection of such relations might be as a nursery garden, whereby to plant a fair and stately garden, when time should serve.

[blocks in formation]

1. It has a common division analogous to the division of common

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

History of the Church.

1. It describes the state of the church in persecution, in remove,

and in peace.

The ark in the deluge: the urk in the wilderness: and

the ark in the temple.

2. It is more wanting in sincerity than in quantity.

History of Prophecy.

1. It is the history of the prophecy and of the accomplishment. 2. Every prophecy should be sorted with the event.

3. It is deficient.

History of Providence.

1. It is the history of the correspondence between God's revealed will and his secret will.

2. It is not deficient.

Appendices to History.

1. Different sorts.

1. Orations.

2. Epistles.

3. Apothegms.

2. Relative advantages of orations, epistles, and apothegms. 3. They are not deficient.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

2. Poetry as it refers to words is but a character of style, and

is not pertinent to this place.

3. Poetry as it refers to the matter.

1. It is fiction, and relates to the imagination.

2. It is in words restrained: in matter unlicensed.

The imagination not being tied to the laws of matter, 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 poetis,

Quidlibet audendi, semper fuit æqua potestas.

4. Its use is to satisfy the mind in these points where nature does

not satisfy it.

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 into the nature of things.*

Poesy joined with music hath had access and estimation in rude times and barbarous regions, where other learning stood excluded.

5. Division of poesy.

1. Common-the same as in history.

2. Proper division.

1. Narrative or heroical.

2. Representative or dramatical.
3. Allusive or parabolical.

Narrative Poesy.

Parabolical Poesy.

1. It was never common in ancient times.

2. Its uses.

1. To elucidate truths.

2. To concert truths.+

3. Of the interpretation of mysteries, parabolical poesy.

In poesy there is no difference for being as a plant that cometh of the lust of the earth, without a formal seed, it hath sprung up and spread abroad more than any other kind: but to ascribe unto it that which is due, for the expressing of affections, passions, corruptions, and customs, we are beholding to poets more than to the philosopher's

* Sir Philip Sidney says, poesy, the sweet food of sweetly uttered knowledge, lifts the mind from the dungeon of the body to the enjoying its own divine essence. ·

+ This is much expanded in the treatise De Augmentis.

works; and for wit and eloquence, not much less than to orators' harangues. But it is not good to stay too long in the theatre. Let us now pass on to the judicial place or palace of the mind, which we are to approach and view with more reverence and attention.

1. Division.


1. From the light of nature.

1. Divine, or natural religion.

2. Natural, the knowledge of nature.

3. Human, the knowledge of man.

2. From divine inspiration or revealed religion.



It is a receptacle for all such profitable observations and axioms as fall not within the compass of any of the special parts of philosophy or sciences, but are more common and of a higher stage.

Is not the precept of a musician, to fall from a discord or harsh accord upon a concord, or sweet accord alike true in affection? Is not the trope of music, to avoid or slide from the close or cadence, common with the trope of rhetoric of deceiving expectation? Is not the delight of the quavering upon a stop in music the same with the playing of light upon the water?

"Splendet tremulo sub lumine pontus.”

Because the distributions and partitions of knowledge are not like several lines that meet in one angle, and so touch but in a point; but are like branches of a tree, that meet in a stem, which hath a dimension and quantity of entireness and continuance, before it come to discontinue and break itself into arms and boughs; therefore it is good, before we enter into the former distribution, to erect and constitute oue universal science, by the name of "Philosophia Prima,"


« PreviousContinue »