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Title: The Advancement of Learning
Author: Bacon, Francis
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Transcribed from the 1893 Cassell & Company edition by David Price, email

                       CASSELL’S NATIONAL LIBRARY.

                                * * * * *


                              FRANCIS BACON.

                      [Picture: Decorative graphic]

                       CASSELL & COMPANY, Limited:
                      _LONDON_, _PARIS & MELBOURNE_.


“THE TVVOO Bookes of Francis Bacon.  Of the proficience and aduancement
of Learning, divine and humane.  To the King.  At London.  Printed for
Henrie Tomes, and are to be sould at his shop at Graies Inne Gate in
Holborne. 1605.”   That was the original title-page of the book now in
the reader’s hand—a living book that led the way to a new world of
thought.  It was the book in which Bacon, early in the reign of James the
First, prepared the way for a full setting forth of his New Organon, or
instrument of knowledge.

The Organon of Aristotle was a set of treatises in which Aristotle had
written the doctrine of propositions.  Study of these treatises was a
chief occupation of young men when they passed from school to college,
and proceeded from Grammar to Logic, the second of the Seven Sciences.
Francis Bacon as a youth of sixteen, at Trinity College, Cambridge, felt
the unfruitfulness of this method of search after truth.  He was the son
of Sir Nicholas Bacon, Queen Elizabeth’s Lord Keeper, and was born at
York House, in the Strand, on the 22nd of January, 1561.  His mother was
the Lord Keeper’s second wife, one of two sisters, of whom the other
married Sir William Cecil, afterwards Lord Burleigh.  Sir Nicholas Bacon
had six children by his former marriage, and by his second wife two sons,
Antony and Francis, of whom Antony was about two years the elder.  The
family home was at York Place, and at Gorhambury, near St. Albans, from
which town, in its ancient and its modern style, Bacon afterwards took
his titles of Verulam and St. Albans.

Antony and Francis Bacon went together to Trinity College, Cambridge,
when Antony was fourteen years old and Francis twelve.  Francis remained
at Cambridge only until his sixteenth year; and Dr. Rawley, his chaplain
in after-years, reports of him that “whilst he was commorant in the
University, about sixteen years of age (as his lordship hath been pleased
to impart unto myself), he first fell into dislike of the philosophy of
Aristotle; not for the worthlessness of the author, to whom he would
ascribe all high attributes, but for the unfruitfulness of the way, being
a philosophy (as his lordship used to say) only strong for disputatious
and contentions, but barren of the production of works for the benefit of
the life of man; in which mind he continued to his dying day.”  Bacon was
sent as a youth of sixteen to Paris with the ambassador Sir Amyas Paulet,
to begin his training for the public service; but his father’s death, in
February, 1579, before he had completed the provision he was making for
his youngest children, obliged him to return to London, and, at the age
of eighteen, to settle down at Gray’s Inn to the study of law as a
profession.  He was admitted to the outer bar in June, 1582, and about
that time, at the age of twenty-one, wrote a sketch of his conception of
a New Organon that should lead man to more fruitful knowledge, in a
little Latin tract, which he called “Temporis Partus Maximus” (“The
Greatest Birth of Time”).

In November, 1584, Bacon took his seat in the House of Commons as member
for Melcombe Regis, in Dorsetshire.  In October, 1586, he sat for
Taunton.  He was member afterwards for Liverpool; and he was one of those
who petitioned for the speedy execution of Mary Queen of Scots.  In
October, 1589, he obtained the reversion of the office of Clerk of the
Council in the Star Chamber, which was worth £1,600 or £2,000 a year; but
for the succession to this office he had to wait until 1608.  It had not
yet fallen to him when he wrote his “Two Books of the Advancement of
Learning.”  In the Parliament that met in February, 1593, Bacon sat as
member for Middlesex.  He raised difficulties of procedure in the way of
the grant of a treble subsidy, by just objection to the joining of the
Lords with the Commons in a money grant, and a desire to extend the time
allowed for payment from three years to six; it was, in fact, extended to
four years.  The Queen was offended.  Francis Bacon and his brother
Antony had attached themselves to the young Earl of Essex, who was their
friend and patron.  The office of Attorney-General became vacant.  Essex
asked the Queen to appoint Francis Bacon.  The Queen gave the office to
Sir Edward Coke, who was already Solicitor-General, and by nine years
Bacon’s senior.  The office of Solicitor-General thus became vacant, and
that was sought for Francis Bacon.  The Queen, after delay and
hesitation, gave it, in November, 1595, to Serjeant Fleming.  The Earl of
Essex consoled his friend by giving him “a piece of land”—Twickenham
Park—which Bacon afterwards sold for £1,800—equal, say, to £12,000 in
present buying power.  In 1597 Bacon was returned to Parliament as member
for Ipswich, and in that year he was hoping to marry the rich widow of
Sir William Hatton, Essex helping; but the lady married, in the next
year, Sir Edward Coke.  It was in 1597 that Bacon published the First
Edition of his Essays.  That was a little book containing only ten essays
in English, with twelve “Meditationes Sacræ,” which were essays in Latin
on religious subjects.  From 1597 onward to the end of his life, Bacon’s
Essays were subject to continuous addition and revision.  The author’s
Second Edition, in which the number of the Essays was increased from ten
to thirty-eight, did not appear until November or December, 1612, seven
years later than these two books on the “Advancement of Learning;” and
the final edition of the Essays, in which their number was increased from
thirty-eight to fifty-eight, appeared only in 1625; and Bacon died on the
9th of April, 1626.  The edition of the Essays published in 1597, under
Elizabeth, marked only the beginning of a course of thought that
afterwards flowed in one stream with his teachings in philosophy.

In February, 1601, there was the rebellion of Essex.  Francis Bacon had
separated himself from his patron after giving him advice that was
disregarded.  Bacon, now Queen’s Counsel, not only appeared against his
old friend, but with excess of zeal, by which, perhaps, he hoped to win
back the Queen’s favour, he twice obtruded violent attacks upon Essex
when he was not called upon to speak.  On the 25th of February, 1601,
Essex was beheaded.  The genius of Bacon was next employed to justify
that act by “A Declaration of the Practices and Treasons attempted and
committed by Robert late Earle of Essex and his Complices.”  But James of
Scotland, on whose behalf Essex had intervened, came to the throne by the
death of Elizabeth on the 24th of March, 1603.  Bacon was among the crowd
of men who were made knights by James I., and he had to justify himself
under the new order of things by writing “Sir Francis Bacon his Apologie
in certain Imputations concerning the late Earle of Essex.”  He was
returned to the first Parliament of James I. by Ipswich and St. Albans,
and he was confirmed in his office of King’s Counsel in August, 1604; but
he was not appointed to the office of Solicitor-General when it became
vacant in that year.

That was the position of Francis Bacon in 1605, when he published this
work, where in his First Book he pointed out the discredits of learning
from human defects of the learned, and emptiness of many of the studies
chosen, or the way of dealing with them.  This came, he said, especially
by the mistaking or misplacing of the last or furthest end of knowledge,
as if there were sought in it “a couch whereupon to rest a searching and
restless spirit; or a terrace for a wandering and variable mind to walk
up and down with a fair prospect; or a tower of state for a proud mind to
raise itself upon; or a fort or commanding ground for strife and
contention; or a shop for profit or sale; and not a rich storehouse for
the glory of the Creator and the relief of man’s estate.”  The rest of
the First Book was given to an argument upon the Dignity of Learning; and
the Second Book, on the Advancement of Learning, is, as Bacon himself
described it, “a general and faithful perambulation of learning, with an
inquiry what parts thereof lie fresh and waste, and not improved and
converted by the industry of man; to the end that such a plot made and
recorded to memory may both minister light to any public designation and
also serve to excite voluntary endeavours.”  Bacon makes, by a sort of
exhaustive analysis, a ground-plan of all subjects of study, as an
intellectual map, helping the right inquirer in his search for the right
path.  The right path is that by which he has the best chance of adding
to the stock of knowledge in the world something worth labouring for; and
the true worth is in labour for “the glory of the Creator and the relief
of man’s estate.”

                                                                     H. M.


                              _To the King_.

THERE were under the law, excellent King, both daily sacrifices and
freewill offerings; the one proceeding upon ordinary observance, the
other upon a devout cheerfulness: in like manner there belongeth to kings
from their servants both tribute of duty and presents of affection.  In
the former of these I hope I shall not live to be wanting, according to
my most humble duty and the good pleasure of your Majesty’s employments:
for the latter, I thought it more respective to make choice of some
oblation which might rather refer to the propriety and excellency of your
individual person, than to the business of your crown and state.

Wherefore, representing your Majesty many times unto my mind, and
beholding you not with the inquisitive eye of presumption, to discover
that which the Scripture telleth me is inscrutable, but with the
observant eye of duty and admiration, leaving aside the other parts of
your virtue and fortune, I have been touched—yea, and possessed—with an
extreme wonder at those your virtues and faculties, which the
philosophers call intellectual; the largeness of your capacity, the
faithfulness of your memory, the swiftness of your apprehension, the
penetration of your judgment, and the facility and order of your
elocution: and I have often thought that of all the persons living that I
have known, your Majesty were the best instance to make a man of Plato’s
opinion, that all knowledge is but remembrance, and that the mind of man
by Nature knoweth all things, and hath but her own native and original
notions (which by the strangeness and darkness of this tabernacle of the
body are sequestered) again revived and restored: such a light of Nature
I have observed in your Majesty, and such a readiness to take flame and
blaze from the least occasion presented, or the least spark of another’s
knowledge delivered.  And as the Scripture saith of the wisest king,
“That his heart was as the sands of the sea;” which, though it be one of
the largest bodies, yet it consisteth of the smallest and finest
portions; so hath God given your Majesty a composition of understanding
admirable, being able to compass and comprehend the greatest matters, and
nevertheless to touch and apprehend the least; whereas it should seem an
impossibility in Nature for the same instrument to make itself fit for
great and small works.  And for your gift of speech, I call to mind what
Cornelius Tacitus saith of Augustus Cæsar: _Augusto profluens_, _et quæ
principem deceret_, _eloquentia fuit_.  For if we note it well, speech
that is uttered with labour and difficulty, or speech that savoureth of
the affectation of art and precepts, or speech that is framed after the
imitation of some pattern of eloquence, though never so excellent; all
this hath somewhat servile, and holding of the subject.  But your
Majesty’s manner of speech is, indeed, prince-like, flowing as from a
fountain, and yet streaming and branching itself into Nature’s order,
full of facility and felicity, imitating none, and inimitable by any.
And as in your civil estate there appeareth to be an emulation and
contention of your Majesty’s virtue with your fortune; a virtuous
disposition with a fortunate regiment; a virtuous expectation (when time
was) of your greater fortune, with a prosperous possession thereof in the
due time; a virtuous observation of the laws of marriage, with most
blessed and happy fruit of marriage; a virtuous and most Christian desire
of peace, with a fortunate inclination in your neighbour princes
thereunto: so likewise in these intellectual matters there seemeth to be
no less contention between the excellency of your Majesty’s gifts of
Nature and the universality and perfection of your learning.  For I am
well assured that this which I shall say is no amplification at all, but
a positive and measured truth; which is, that there hath not been since
Christ’s time any king or temporal monarch which hath been so learned in
all literature and erudition, divine and human.  For let a man seriously
and diligently revolve and peruse the succession of the Emperors of Rome,
of which Cæsar the Dictator (who lived some years before Christ) and
Marcus Antoninus were the best learned, and so descend to the Emperors of
Græcia, or of the West, and then to the lines of France, Spain, England,
Scotland, and the rest, and he shall find this judgment is truly made.
For it seemeth much in a king if, by the compendious extractions of other
men’s wits and labours, he can take hold of any superficial ornaments and
shows of learning, or if he countenance and prefer learning and learned
men; but to drink, indeed, of the true fountains of learning—nay, to have
such a fountain of learning in himself, in a king, and in a king born—is
almost a miracle.  And the more, because there is met in your Majesty a
rare conjunction, as well of divine and sacred literature as of profane
and human; so as your Majesty standeth invested of that triplicity, which
in great veneration was ascribed to the ancient Hermes: the power and
fortune of a king, the knowledge and illumination of a priest, and the
learning and universality of a philosopher.  This propriety inherent and
individual attribute in your Majesty deserveth to be expressed not only
in the fame and admiration of the present time, nor in the history or
tradition of the ages succeeding, but also in some solid work, fixed
memorial, and immortal monument, bearing a character or signature both of
the power of a king and the difference and perfection of such a king.

Therefore I did conclude with myself that I could not make unto your
Majesty a better oblation than of some treatise tending to that end,
whereof the sum will consist of these two parts: the former concerning
the excellency of learning and knowledge, and the excellency of the merit
and true glory in the augmentation and propagation thereof; the latter,
what the particular acts and works are which have been embraced and
undertaken for the advancement of learning; and again, what defects and
undervalues I find in such particular acts: to the end that though I
cannot positively or affirmatively advise your Majesty, or propound unto
you framed particulars, yet I may excite your princely cogitations to
visit the excellent treasure of your own mind, and thence to extract
particulars for this purpose agreeable to your magnanimity and wisdom.

I. (1) In the entrance to the former of these—to clear the way and, as it
were, to make silence, to have the true testimonies concerning the
dignity of learning to be better heard, without the interruption of tacit
objections—I think good to deliver it from the discredits and disgraces
which it hath received, all from ignorance, but ignorance severally
disguised; appearing sometimes in the zeal and jealousy of divines,
sometimes in the severity and arrogancy of politics, and sometimes in the
errors and imperfections of learned men themselves.

(2) I hear the former sort say that knowledge is of those things which
are to be accepted of with great limitation and caution; that the
aspiring to overmuch knowledge was the original temptation and sin
whereupon ensued the fall of man; that knowledge hath in it somewhat of
the serpent, and, therefore, where it entereth into a man it makes him
swell; _Scientia inflat_; that Solomon gives a censure, “That there is no
end of making books, and that much reading is weariness of the flesh;”
and again in another place, “That in spacious knowledge there is much
contristation, and that he that increaseth knowledge increaseth anxiety;”
that Saint Paul gives a caveat, “That we be not spoiled through vain
philosophy;” that experience demonstrates how learned men have been
arch-heretics, how learned times have been inclined to atheism, and how
the contemplation of second causes doth derogate from our dependence upon
God, who is the first cause.

(3) To discover, then, the ignorance and error of this opinion, and the
misunderstanding in the grounds thereof, it may well appear these men do
not observe or consider that it was not the pure knowledge of Nature and
universality, a knowledge by the light whereof man did give names unto
other creatures in Paradise as they were brought before him according
unto their proprieties, which gave the occasion to the fall; but it was
the proud knowledge of good and evil, with an intent in man to give law
unto himself, and to depend no more upon God’s commandments, which was
the form of the temptation.  Neither is it any quantity of knowledge, how
great soever, that can make the mind of man to swell; for nothing can
fill, much less extend the soul of man, but God and the contemplation of
God; and, therefore, Solomon, speaking of the two principal senses of
inquisition, the eye and the ear, affirmeth that the eye is never
satisfied with seeing, nor the ear with hearing; and if there be no
fulness, then is the continent greater than the content: so of knowledge
itself and the mind of man, whereto the senses are but reporters, he
defineth likewise in these words, placed after that calendar or
ephemerides which he maketh of the diversities of times and seasons for
all actions and purposes, and concludeth thus: “God hath made all things
beautiful, or decent, in the true return of their seasons.  Also He hath
placed the world in man’s heart, yet cannot man find out the work which
God worketh from the beginning to the end”—declaring not obscurely that
God hath framed the mind of man as a mirror or glass, capable of the
image of the universal world, and joyful to receive the impression
thereof, as the eye joyeth to receive light; and not only delighted in
beholding the variety of things and vicissitude of times, but raised also
to find out and discern the ordinances and decrees which throughout all
those changes are infallibly observed.  And although he doth insinuate
that the supreme or summary law of Nature (which he calleth “the work
which God worketh from the beginning to the end”) is not possible to be
found out by man, yet that doth not derogate from the capacity of the
mind; but may be referred to the impediments, as of shortness of life,
ill conjunction of labours, ill tradition of knowledge over from hand to
hand, and many other inconveniences, whereunto the condition of man is
subject.  For that nothing parcel of the world is denied to man’s inquiry
and invention, he doth in another place rule over, when he saith, “The
spirit of man is as the lamp of God, wherewith He searcheth the
inwardness of all secrets.”  If, then, such be the capacity and receipt
of the mind of man, it is manifest that there is no danger at all in the
proportion or quantity of knowledge, how large soever, lest it should
make it swell or out-compass itself; no, but it is merely the quality of
knowledge, which, be it in quantity more or less, if it be taken without
the true corrective thereof, hath in it some nature of venom or
malignity, and some effects of that venom, which is ventosity or
swelling.  This corrective spice, the mixture whereof maketh knowledge so
sovereign, is charity, which the Apostle immediately addeth to the former
clause; for so he saith, “Knowledge bloweth up, but charity buildeth up;”
not unlike unto that which he deilvereth in another place: “If I spake,”
saith he, “with the tongues of men and angels, and had not charity, it
were but as a tinkling cymbal.”  Not but that it is an excellent thing to
speak with the tongues of men and angels, but because, if it be severed
from charity, and not referred to the good of men and mankind, it hath
rather a sounding and unworthy glory than a meriting and substantial
virtue.  And as for that censure of Solomon concerning the excess of
writing and reading books, and the anxiety of spirit which redoundeth
from knowledge, and that admonition of St. Paul, “That we be not seduced
by vain philosophy,” let those places be rightly understood; and they do,
indeed, excellently set forth the true bounds and limitations whereby
human knowledge is confined and circumscribed, and yet without any such
contracting or coarctation, but that it may comprehend all the universal
nature of things; for these limitations are three: the first, “That we do
not so place our felicity in knowledge, as we forget our mortality;” the
second, “That we make application of our knowledge, to give ourselves
repose and contentment, and not distaste or repining;” the third, “That
we do not presume by the contemplation of Nature to attain to the
mysteries of God.”  For as touching the first of these, Solomon doth
excellently expound himself in another place of the same book, where he
saith: “I saw well that knowledge recedeth as far from ignorance as light
doth from darkness; and that the wise man’s eyes keep watch in his head,
whereas this fool roundeth about in darkness: but withal I learned that
the same mortality involveth them both.”  And for the second, certain it
is there is no vexation or anxiety of mind which resulteth from knowledge
otherwise than merely by accident; for all knowledge and wonder (which is
the seed of knowledge) is an impression of pleasure in itself; but when
men fall to framing conclusions out of their knowledge, applying it to
their particular, and ministering to themselves thereby weak fears or
vast desires, there groweth that carefulness and trouble of mind which is
spoken of; for then knowledge is no more _Lumen siccum_, whereof
Heraclitus the profound said, _Lumen siccum optima anima_; but it
becometh _Lumen madidum_, or _maceratum_, being steeped and infused in
the humours of the affections.  And as for the third point, it deserveth
to be a little stood upon, and not to be lightly passed over; for if any
man shall think by view and inquiry into these sensible and material
things to attain that light, whereby he may reveal unto himself the
nature or will of God, then, indeed, is he spoiled by vain philosophy;
for the contemplation of God’s creatures and works produceth (having
regard to the works and creatures themselves) knowledge, but having
regard to God no perfect knowledge, but wonder, which is broken
knowledge.  And, therefore, it was most aptly said by one of Plato’s
school, “That the sense of man carrieth a resemblance with the sun, which
(as we see) openeth and revealeth all the terrestrial globe; but then,
again, it obscureth and concealeth the stars and celestial globe: so doth
the sense discover natural things, but it darkeneth and shutteth up
divine.”  And hence it is true that it hath proceeded, that divers great
learned men have been heretical, whilst they have sought to fly up to the
secrets of the Deity by this waxen wings of the senses.  And as for the
conceit that too much knowledge should incline a man to atheism, and that
the ignorance of second causes should make a more devout dependence upon
God, which is the first cause; first, it is good to ask the question
which Job asked of his friends: “Will you lie for God, as one man will
lie for another, to gratify him?”  For certain it is that God worketh
nothing in Nature but by second causes; and if they would have it
otherwise believed, it is mere imposture, as it were in favour towards
God, and nothing else but to offer to the Author of truth the unclean
sacrifice of a lie.  But further, it is an assured truth, and a
conclusion of experience, that a little or superficial knowledge of
philosophy may incline the mind of men to atheism, but a further
proceeding therein doth bring the mind back again to religion.  For in
the entrance of philosophy, when the second causes, which are next unto
the senses, do offer themselves to the mind of man, if it dwell and stay
there it may induce some oblivion of the highest cause; but when a man
passeth on further and seeth the dependence of causes and the works of
Providence; then, according to the allegory of the poets, he will easily
believe that the highest link of Nature’s chain must needs he tied to the
foot of Jupiter’s chair.  To conclude, therefore, let no man upon a weak
conceit of sobriety or an ill-applied moderation think or maintain that a
man can search too far, or be too well studied in the book of God’s word,
or in the book of God’s works, divinity or philosophy; but rather let men
endeavour an endless progress or proficience in both; only let men beware
that they apply both to charity, and not to swelling; to use, and not to
ostentation; and again, that they do not unwisely mingle or confound
these learnings together.

II. (1) And as for the disgraces which learning receiveth from politics,
they be of this nature: that learning doth soften men’s minds, and makes
them more unapt for the honour and exercise of arms; that it doth mar and
pervert men’s dispositions for matter of government and policy, in making
them too curious and irresolute by variety of reading, or too peremptory
or positive by strictness of rules and axioms, or too immoderate and
overweening by reason of the greatness of examples, or too incompatible
and differing from the times by reason of the dissimilitude of examples;
or at least, that it doth divert men’s travails from action and business,
and bringeth them to a love of leisure and privateness; and that it doth
bring into states a relaxation of discipline, whilst every man is more
ready to argue than to obey and execute.  Out of this conceit Cato,
surnamed the Censor, one of the wisest men indeed that ever lived, when
Carneades the philosopher came in embassage to Rome, and that the young
men of Rome began to flock about him, being allured with the sweetness
and majesty of his eloquence and learning, gave counsel in open senate
that they should give him his despatch with all speed, lest he should
infect and enchant the minds and affections of the youth, and at unawares
bring in an alteration of the manners and customs of the state.  Out of
the same conceit or humour did Virgil, turning his pen to the advantage
of his country and the disadvantage of his own profession, make a kind of
separation between policy and government, and between arts and sciences,
in the verses so much renowned, attributing and challenging the one to
the Romans, and leaving and yielding the other to the Grecians: _Tu
regere imperio popules_, _Romane_, _memento_, _Hæ tibi erunt artes_, &c.
So likewise we see that Anytus, the accuser of Socrates, laid it as an
article of charge and accusation against him, that he did, with the
variety and power of his discourses and disputatious, withdraw young men
from due reverence to the laws and customs of their country, and that he
did profess a dangerous and pernicious science, which was to make the
worse matter seem the better, and to suppress truth by force of eloquence
and speech.

(2) But these and the like imputations have rather a countenance of
gravity than any ground of justice: for experience doth warrant that,
both in persons and in times, there hath been a meeting and concurrence
in learning and arms, flourishing and excelling in the same men and the
same ages.  For as ‘for men, there cannot be a better nor the hike
instance as of that pair, Alexander the Great and Julius Cæsar, the
Dictator; whereof the one was Aristotle’s scholar in philosophy, and the
other was Cicero’s rival in eloquence; or if any man had rather call for
scholars that were great generals, than generals that were great
scholars, let him take Epaminondas the Theban, or Xenophon the Athenian;
whereof the one was the first that abated the power of Sparta, and the
other was the first that made way to the overthrow of the monarchy of
Persia.  And this concurrence is yet more visible in times than in
persons, by how much an age is greater object than a man.  For both in
Egypt, Assyria, Persia, Græcia, and Rome, the same times that are most
renowned for arms are, likewise, most admired for learning, so that the
greatest authors and philosophers, and the greatest captains and
governors, have lived in the same ages.  Neither can it otherwise he: for
as in man the ripeness of strength of the body and mind cometh much about
an age, save that the strength of the body cometh somewhat the more
early, so in states, arms and learning, whereof the one correspondeth to
the body, the other to the soul of man, have a concurrence or near
sequence in times.

(3) And for matter of policy and government, that learning, should rather
hurt, than enable thereunto, is a thing very improbable; we see it is
accounted an error to commit a natural body to empiric physicians, which
commonly have a few pleasing receipts whereupon they are confident and
adventurous, but know neither the causes of diseases, nor the complexions
of patients, nor peril of accidents, nor the true method of cures; we see
it is a like error to rely upon advocates or lawyers which are only men
of practice, and not grounded in their books, who are many times easily
surprised when matter falleth out besides their experience, to the
prejudice of the causes they handle: so by like reason it cannot be but a
matter of doubtful consequence if states be managed by empiric statesmen,
not well mingled with men grounded in learning.  But contrariwise, it is
almost without instance contradictory that ever any government was
disastrous that was in the hands of learned governors.  For howsoever it
hath been ordinary with politic men to extenuate and disable learned men
by the names of _pedantes_; yet in the records of time it appeareth in
many particulars that the governments of princes in minority
(notwithstanding the infinite disadvantage of that kind of state)—have
nevertheless excelled the government of princes of mature age, even for
that reason which they seek to traduce, which is that by that occasion
the state hath been in the hands of _pedantes_: for so was the state of
Rome for the first five years, which are so much magnified, during the
minority of Nero, in the hands of Seneca, a _pedenti_; so it was again,
for ten years’ space or more, during the minority of Gordianus the
younger, with great applause and contentation in the hands of Misitheus,
a _pedanti_: so was it before that, in the minority of Alexander Severus,
in like happiness, in hands not much unlike, by reason of the rule of the
women, who were aided by the teachers and preceptors.  Nay, let a man
look into the government of the Bishops of Rome, as by name, into the
government of Pius Quintus and Sextus Quintus in our times, who were both
at their entrance esteemed but as pedantical friars, and he shall find
that such Popes do greater things, and proceed upon truer principles of
state, than those which have ascended to the papacy from an education and
breeding in affairs of state and courts of princes; for although men bred
in learning are perhaps to seek in points of convenience and
accommodating for the present, which the Italians call _ragioni di
stato_, whereof the same Pius Quintus could not hear spoken with
patience, terming them inventions against religion and the moral virtues;
yet on the other side, to recompense that, they are perfect in those same
plain grounds of religion, justice, honour, and moral virtue, which if
they be well and watchfully pursued, there will be seldom use of those
other, no more than of physic in a sound or well-dieted body.  Neither
can the experience of one man’s life furnish examples and precedents for
the event of one man’s life.  For as it happeneth sometimes that the
grandchild, or other descendant, resembleth the ancestor more than the
son; so many times occurrences of present times may sort better with
ancient examples than with those of the later or immediate times; and
lastly, the wit of one man can no more countervail learning than one
man’s means can hold way with a common purse.

(4) And as for those particular seducements or indispositions of the mind
for policy and government, which learning is pretended to insinuate; if
it be granted that any such thing be, it must be remembered withal that
learning ministereth in every of them greater strength of medicine or
remedy than it offereth cause of indisposition or infirmity.  For if by a
secret operation it make men perplexed and irresolute, on the other side
by plain precept it teacheth them when and upon what ground to resolve;
yea, and how to carry things in suspense, without prejudice, till they
resolve.  If it make men positive and regular, it teacheth them what
things are in their nature demonstrative, and what are conjectural, and
as well the use of distinctions and exceptions, as the latitude of
principles and rules.  If it mislead by disproportion or dissimilitude of
examples, it teacheth men the force of circumstances, the errors of
comparisons, and all the cautions of application; so that in all these it
doth rectify more effectually than it can pervert.  And these medicines
it conveyeth into men’s minds much more forcibly by the quickness and
penetration of examples.  For let a man look into the errors of Clement
VII., so lively described by Guicciardini, who served under him, or into
the errors of Cicero, painted out by his own pencil in his Epistles to
Atticus, and he will fly apace from being irresolute.  Let him look into
the errors of Phocion, and he will beware how he be obstinate or
inflexible.  Let him but read the fable of Ixion, and it will hold him
from being vaporous or imaginative.  Let him look into the errors of Cato
II., and he will never be one of the Antipodes, to tread opposite to the
present world.

(5) And for the conceit that learning should dispose men to leisure and
privateness, and make men slothful: it were a strange thing if that which
accustometh the mind to a perpetual motion and agitation should induce
slothfulness, whereas, contrariwise, it may be truly affirmed that no
kind of men love business for itself but those that are learned; for
other persons love it for profit, as a hireling that loves the work for
the wages; or for honour, as because it beareth them up in the eyes of
men, and refresheth their reputation, which otherwise would wear; or
because it putteth them in mind of their fortune, and giveth them
occasion to pleasure and displeasure; or because it exerciseth some
faculty wherein they take pride, and so entertaineth them in good-humour
and pleasing conceits towards themselves; or because it advanceth any
other their ends.  So that as it is said of untrue valours, that some
men’s valours are in the eyes of them that look on, so such men’s
industries are in the eyes of others, or, at least, in regard of their
own designments; only learned men love business as an action according to
nature, as agreeable to health of mind as exercise is to health of body,
taking pleasure in the action itself, and not in the purchase, so that of
all men they are the most indefatigable, if it be towards any business
which can hold or detain their mind.

(6) And if any man be laborious in reading and study, and yet idle in
business and action, it groweth from some weakness of body or softness of
spirit, such as Seneca speaketh of: _Quidam tam sunt umbratiles_, _ut
putent in turbido esse quicquid in luce est_; and not of learning: well
may it be that such a point of a man’s nature may make him give himself
to learning, but it is not learning that breedeth any such point in his

(7) And that learning should take up too much time or leisure: I answer,
the most active or busy man that hath been or can be, hath (no question)
many vacant times of leisure while he expecteth the tides and returns of
business (except he be either tedious and of no despatch, or lightly and
unworthily ambitious to meddle in things that may be better done by
others), and then the question is but how those spaces and times of
leisure shall be filled and spent; whether in pleasure or in studies; as
was well answered by Demosthenes to his adversary Æschines, that was a
man given to pleasure, and told him “That his orations did smell of the
lamp.”  “Indeed,” said Demosthenes, “there is a great difference between
the things that you and I do by lamp-light.”  So as no man need doubt
that learning will expel business, but rather it will keep and defend the
possession of the mind against idleness and pleasure, which otherwise at
unawares may enter to the prejudice of both.

(8) Again, for that other conceit that learning should undermine the
reverence of laws and government, it is assuredly a mere depravation and
calumny, without all shadow of truth.  For to say that a blind custom of
obedience should be a surer obligation than duty taught and understood,
it is to affirm that a blind man may tread surer by a guide than a seeing
man can by a light.  And it is without all controversy that learning doth
make the minds of men gentle, generous, manageable, and pliant to
government; whereas ignorance makes them churlish, thwart, and mutinous:
and the evidence of time doth clear this assertion, considering that the
most barbarous, rude, and unlearned times have been most subject to
tumults, seditious, and changes.

(9) And as to the judgment of Cato the Censor, he was well punished for
his blasphemy against learning, in the same kind wherein he offended; for
when he was past threescore years old, he was taken with an extreme
desire to go to school again, and to learn the Greek tongue, to the end
to peruse the Greek authors; which doth well demonstrate that his former
censure of the Grecian learning was rather an affected gravity, than
according to the inward sense of his own opinion.  And as for Virgil’s
verses, though it pleased him to brave the world in taking to the Romans
the art of empire, and leaving to others the arts of subjects, yet so
much is manifest—that the Romans never ascended to that height of empire
till the time they had ascended to the height of other arts.  For in the
time of the two first Cæsars, which had the art of government in greatest
perfection, there lived the best poet, Virgilius Maro; the best
historiographer, Titus Livius; the best antiquary, Marcus Varro; and the
best or second orator, Marcus Cicero, that to the memory of man are
known.  As for the accusation of Socrates, the time must be remembered
when it was prosecuted; which was under the Thirty Tyrants, the most
base, bloody, and envious persons that have governed; which revolution of
state was no sooner over but Socrates, whom they had made a person
criminal, was made a person heroical, and his memory accumulate with
honours divine and human; and those discourses of his which were then
termed corrupting of manners, were after acknowledged for sovereign
medicines of the mind and manners, and so have been received ever since
till this day.  Let this, therefore, serve for answer to politiques,
which in their humorous severity, or in their feigned gravity, have
presumed to throw imputations upon learning; which redargution
nevertheless (save that we know not whether our labours may extend to
other ages) were not needful for the present, in regard of the love and
reverence towards learning which the example and countenance of two so
learned princes, Queen Elizabeth and your Majesty, being as Castor and
Pollux, _lucida sidera_, stars of excellent light and most benign
influence, hath wrought in all men of place and authority in our nation.

III. (1) Now therefore we come to that third sort of discredit or
diminution of credit that groweth unto learning from learned men
themselves, which commonly cleaveth fastest: it is either from their
fortune, or from their manners, or from the nature of their studies.  For
the first, it is not in their power; and the second is accidental; the
third only is proper to be handled: but because we are not in hand with
true measure, but with popular estimation and conceit, it is not amiss to
speak somewhat of the two former.  The derogations therefore which grow
to learning from the fortune or condition of learned men, are either in
respect of scarcity of means, or in respect of privateness of life and
meanness of employments.

(2) Concerning want, and that it is the case of learned men usually to
begin with little, and not to grow rich so fast as other men, by reason
they convert not their labours chiefly to lucre and increase, it were
good to leave the commonplace in commendation of povery to some friar to
handle, to whom much was attributed by Machiavel in this point when he
said, “That the kingdom of the clergy had been long before at an end, if
the reputation and reverence towards the poverty of friars had not borne
out the scandal of the superfluities and excesses of bishops and
prelates.”  So a man might say that the felicity and delicacy of princes
and great persons had long since turned to rudeness and barbarism, if the
poverty of learning had not kept up civility and honour of life; but
without any such advantages, it is worthy the observation what a reverent
and honoured thing poverty of fortune was for some ages in the Roman
state, which nevertheless was a state without paradoxes.  For we see what
Titus Livius saith in his introduction: _Cæterum aut me amor negotii
suscepti fallit aut nulla unquam respublica nec major_, _nec sanctior_,
_nec bonis exemplis ditior fuit_; _nec in quam tam sero avaritia
luxuriaque immigraverint_; _nec ubi tantus ac tam diu paupertati ac
parsimoniæ honos fuerit_.  We see likewise, after that the state of Rome
was not itself, but did degenerate, how that person that took upon him to
be counsellor to Julius Cæsar after his victory where to begin his
restoration of the state, maketh it of all points the most summary to
take away the estimation of wealth: _Verum hæc et omnia mala pariter cum
honore pecuniæ desinent_; _si neque magistratus_, _neque alia vulgo
cupienda_, _venalia erunt_.  To conclude this point: as it was truly said
that _Paupertas est virtutis fortuna_, though sometimes it come from
vice, so it may be fitly said that, though some times it may proceed from
misgovernment and accident.  Surely Solomon hath pronounced it both in
censure, _Qui festinat ad divitias non erit insons_; and in precept, “Buy
the truth, and sell it not; and so of wisdom and knowledge;” judging that
means were to be spent upon learning, and not learning to be applied to
means.  And as for the privateness or obscureness (as it may be in vulgar
estimation accounted) of life of contemplative men, it is a theme so
common to extol a private life, not taxed with sensuality and sloth, in
comparison and to the disadvantage of a civil life, for safety, liberty,
pleasure, and dignity, or at least freedom from indignity, as no man
handleth it but handleth it well; such a consonancy it hath to men’s
conceits in the expressing, and to men’s consents in the allowing.  This
only I will add, that learned men forgotten in states and not living in
the eyes of men, are like the images of Cassius and Brutus in the funeral
of Junia, of which, not being represented as many others were, Tacitus
saith, _Eo ipso præfulgebant quod non visebantur_.

(3) And for meanness of employment, that which is most traduced to
contempt is that the government of youth is commonly allotted to them;
which age, because it is the age of least authority, it is transferred to
the disesteeming of those employments wherein youth is conversant, and
which are conversant about youth.  But how unjust this traducement is (if
you will reduce things from popularity of opinion to measure of reason)
may appear in that we see men are more curious what they put into a new
vessel than into a vessel seasoned; and what mould they lay about a young
plant than about a plant corroborate; so as this weakest terms and times
of all things use to have the best applications and helps.  And will you
hearken to the Hebrew rabbins?  “Your young men shall see visions, and
your old men shall dream dreams:” say they, youth is the worthier age,
for that visions are nearer apparitions of God than dreams?  And let it
be noted that howsoever the condition of life of _pedantes_ hath been
scorned upon theatres, as the ape of tyranny; and that the modern
looseness or negligence hath taken no due regard to the choice of
schoolmasters and tutors; yet the ancient wisdom of the best times did
always make a just complaint, that states were too busy with their laws
and too negligent in point of education: which excellent part of ancient
discipline hath been in some sort revived of late times by the colleges
of the Jesuits; of whom, although in regard of their superstition I may
say, _Quo meliores_, _eo deteriores_; yet in regard of this, and some
other points concerning human learning and moral matters, I may say, as
Agesilaus said to his enemy Pharnabazus, _Talis quum sis_, _utunam noster
esses_.  And that much touching the discredits drawn from the fortunes of
learned men.

(4) As touching the manners of learned men, it is a thing personal and
individual: and no doubt there be amongst them, as in other professions,
of all temperatures: but yet so as it is not without truth which is said,
that _Abeunt studua in mores_, studies have an influence and operation
upon the manners of those that are conversant in them.

(5) But upon an attentive and indifferent review, I for my part cannot
find any disgrace to learning can proceed from the manners of learned
men; not inherent to them as they are learned; except it be a fault
(which was the supposed fault of Demosthenes, Cicero, Cato II., Seneca,
and many more) that because the times they read of are commonly better
than the times they live in, and the duties taught better than the duties
practised, they contend sometimes too far to bring things to perfection,
and to reduce the corruption of manners to honesty of precepts or
examples of too great height.  And yet hereof they have caveats enough in
their own walks.  For Solon, when he was asked whether he had given his
citizens the best laws, answered wisely, “Yea, of such as they would
receive:” and Plato, finding that his own heart could not agree with the
corrupt manners of his country, refused to bear place or office, saying,
“That a man’s country was to be used as his parents were, that is, with
humble persuasions, and not with contestations.”  And Cæsar’s counsellor
put in the same caveat, _Non ad vetera instituta revocans quæ jampridem
corruptis moribus ludibrio sunt_; and Cicero noteth this error directly
in Cato II. when he writes to his friend Atticus, _Cato optime sentit_,
_sed nocet interdum reipublicæ_; _loquitur enim tanquam in republicâ
Platonis_, _non tanquam in fæce Romuli_.  And the same Cicero doth excuse
and expound the philosophers for going too far and being too exact in
their prescripts when he saith, _Isti ipse præceptores virtutis et
magistri videntur fines officiorum paulo longius quam natura vellet
protulisse_, _ut cum ad ultimum animo contendissemus_, _ibi tamen_, _ubi
oportet_, _consisteremus_: and yet himself might have said, _Monitis sum
minor ipse meis_; for it was his own fault, though not in so extreme a

(6) Another fault likewise much of this kind hath been incident to
learned men, which is, that they have esteemed the preservation, good,
and honour of their countries or masters before their own fortunes or
safeties.  For so saith Demosthenes unto the Athenians: “If it please you
to note it, my counsels unto you are not such whereby I should grow great
amongst you, and you become little amongst the Grecians; but they be of
that nature as they are sometimes not good for me to give, but are always
good for you to follow.”  And so Seneca, after he had consecrated that
_Quinquennium Neronis_ to the eternal glory of learned governors, held on
his honest and loyal course of good and free counsel after his master
grew extremely corrupt in his government.  Neither can this point
otherwise be, for learning endueth men’s minds with a true sense of the
frailty of their persons, the casualty of their fortunes, and the dignity
of their soul and vocation, so that it is impossible for them to esteem
that any greatness of their own fortune can be a true or worthy end of
their being and ordainment, and therefore are desirous to give their
account to God, and so likewise to their masters under God (as kings and
the states that they serve) in those words, _Ecce tibi lucrefeci_, and
not _Ecce mihi lucrefeci_; whereas the corrupter sort of mere politiques,
that have not their thoughts established by learning in the love and
apprehension of duty, nor never look abroad into universality, do refer
all things to themselves, and thrust themselves into the centre of the
world, as if all lines should meet in them and their fortunes, never
caring in all tempests what becomes of the ship of state, so they may
save themselves in the cockboat of their own fortune; whereas men that
feel the weight of duty and know the limits of self-love use to make good
their places and duties, though with peril; and if they stand in
seditious and violent alterations, it is rather the reverence which many
times both adverse parts do give to honesty, than any versatile advantage
of their own carriage.  But for this point of tender sense and fast
obligation of duty which learning doth endue the mind withal, howsoever
fortune may tax it, and many in the depth of their corrupt principles may
despise it, yet it will receive an open allowance, and therefore needs
the less disproof or excuse.

(7) Another fault incident commonly to learned men, which may be more
properly defended than truly denied, is that they fail sometimes in
applying themselves to particular persons, which want of exact
application ariseth from two causes—the one, because the largeness of
their mind can hardly confine itself to dwell in the exquisite
observation or examination of the nature and customs of one person, for
it is a speech for a lover, and not for a wise man, _Satis magnum alter
alteri theatrum sumus_.  Nevertheless I shall yield that he that cannot
contract the sight of his mind as well as disperse and dilate it, wanteth
a great faculty.  But there is a second cause, which is no inability, but
a rejection upon choice and judgment.  For the honest and just bounds of
observation by one person upon another extend no further but to
understand him sufficiently, whereby not to give him offence, or whereby
to be able to give him faithful counsel, or whereby to stand upon
reasonable guard and caution in respect of a man’s self.  But to be
speculative into another man to the end to know how to work him, or wind
him, or govern him, proceedeth from a heart that is double and cloven,
and not entire and ingenuous; which as in friendship it is want of
integrity, so towards princes or superiors is want of duty.  For the
custom of the Levant, which is that subjects do forbear to gaze or fix
their eyes upon princes, is in the outward ceremony barbarous, but the
moral is good; for men ought not, by cunning and bent observations, to
pierce and penetrate into the hearts of kings, which the Scripture hath
declared to be inscrutable.

(8) There is yet another fault (with which I will conclude this part)
which is often noted in learned men, that they do many times fail to
observe decency and discretion in their behaviour and carriage, and
commit errors in small and ordinary points of action, so as the vulgar
sort of capacities do make a judgment of them in greater matters by that
which they find wanting in them in smaller.  But this consequence doth
oft deceive men, for which I do refer them over to that which was said by
Themistocles, arrogantly and uncivilly being applied to himself out of
his own mouth, but, being applied to the general state of this question,
pertinently and justly, when, being invited to touch a lute, he said, “He
could not fiddle, but he could make a small town a great state.”  So no
doubt many may be well seen in the passages of government and policy
which are to seek in little and punctual occasions.  I refer them also to
that which Plato said of his master Socrates, whom he compared to the
gallipots of apothecaries, which on the outside had apes and owls and
antiques, but contained within sovereign and precious liquors and
confections; acknowledging that, to an external report, he was not
without superficial levities and deformities, but was inwardly
replenished with excellent virtues and powers.  And so much touching the
point of manners of learned men.

(9) But in the meantime I have no purpose to give allowance to some
conditions and courses base and unworthy, wherein divers professors of
learning have wronged themselves and gone too far; such as were those
trencher philosophers which in the later age of the Roman state were
usually in the houses of great persons, being little better than solemn
parasites, of which kind, Lucian maketh a merry description of the
philosopher that the great lady took to ride with her in her coach, and
would needs have him carry her little dog, which he doing officiously and
yet uncomely, the page scoffed and said, “That he doubted the philosopher
of a Stoic would turn to be a Cynic.”  But, above all the rest, this
gross and palpable flattery whereunto many not unlearned have abased and
abused their wits and pens, turning (as Du Bartas saith) Hecuba into
Helena, and Faustina into Lucretia, hath most diminished the price and
estimation of learning.  Neither is the modern dedication of books and
writings, as to patrons, to be commended, for that books (such as are
worthy the name of books) ought to have no patrons but truth and reason.
And the ancient custom was to dedicate them only to private and equal
friends, or to entitle the books with their names; or if to kings and
great persons, it was to some such as the argument of the book was fit
and proper for; but these and the like courses may deserve rather
reprehension than defence.

(10) Not that I can tax or condemn the morigeration or application of
learned men to men in fortune.  For the answer was good that Diogenes
made to one that asked him in mockery, “How it came to pass that
philosophers were the followers of rich men, and not rich men of
philosophers?”  He answered soberly, and yet sharply, “Because the one
sort knew what they had need of, and the other did not.”  And of the like
nature was the answer which Aristippus made, when having a petition to
Dionysius, and no ear given to him, he fell down at his feet, whereupon
Dionysius stayed and gave him the hearing, and granted it; and afterwards
some person, tender on the behalf of philosophy, reproved Aristippus that
he would offer the profession of philosophy such an indignity as for a
private suit to fall at a tyrant’s feet; but he answered, “It was not his
fault, but it was the fault of Dionysius, that had his ears in his feet.”
Neither was it accounted weakness, but discretion, in him that would not
dispute his best with Adrianus Cæsar, excusing himself, “That it was
reason to yield to him that commanded thirty legions.”  These and the
like, applications, and stooping to points of necessity and convenience,
cannot be disallowed; for though they may have some outward baseness, yet
in a judgment truly made they are to be accounted submissions to the
occasion and not to the person.

IV. (1) Now I proceed to those errors and vanities which have intervened
amongst the studies themselves of the learned, which is that which is
principal and proper to the present argument; wherein my purpose is not
to make a justification of the errors, but by a censure and separation of
the errors to make a justification of that which is good and sound, and
to deliver that from the aspersion of the other.  For we see that it is
the manner of men to scandalise and deprave that which retaineth the
state and virtue, by taking advantage upon that which is corrupt and
degenerate, as the heathens in the primitive Church used to blemish and
taint the Christians with the faults and corruptions of heretics.  But
nevertheless I have no meaning at this time to make any exact
animadversion of the errors and impediments in matters of learning, which
are more secret and remote from vulgar opinion, but only to speak unto
such as do fall under or near unto a popular observation.

(2) There be therefore chiefly three vanities in studies, whereby
learning hath been most traduced.  For those things we do esteem vain
which are either false or frivolous, those which either have no truth or
no use; and those persons we esteem vain which are either credulous or
curious; and curiosity is either in matter or words: so that in reason as
well as in experience there fall out to be these three distempers (as I
may term them) of learning—the first, fantastical learning; the second,
contentious learning; and the last, delicate learning; vain imaginations,
vain altercations, and vain affectations; and with the last I will begin.
Martin Luther, conducted, no doubt, by a higher Providence, but in
discourse of reason, finding what a province he had undertaken against
the Bishop of Rome and the degenerate traditions of the Church, and
finding his own solitude, being in nowise aided by the opinions of his
own time, was enforced to awake all antiquity, and to call former times
to his succours to make a party against the present time.  So that the
ancient authors, both in divinity and in humanity, which had long time
slept in libraries, began generally to be read and revolved.  This, by
consequence, did draw on a necessity of a more exquisite travail in the
languages original, wherein those authors did write, for the better
understanding of those authors, and the better advantage of pressing and
applying their words.  And thereof grew, again, a delight in their manner
of style and phrase, and an admiration of that kind of writing, which was
much furthered and precipitated by the enmity and opposition that the
propounders of those primitive but seeming new opinions had against the
schoolmen, who were generally of the contrary part, and whose writings
were altogether in a differing style and form; taking liberty to coin and
frame new terms of art to express their own sense, and to avoid circuit
of speech, without regard to the pureness, pleasantness, and (as I may
call it) lawfulness of the phrase or word.  And again, because the great
labour then was with the people (of whom the Pharisees were wont to say,
_Execrabilis ista turba_, _quæ non novit legem_), for the winning and
persuading of them, there grew of necessity in chief price and request
eloquence and variety of discourse, as the fittest and forciblest access
into the capacity of the vulgar sort; so that these four causes
concurring—the admiration of ancient authors, the hate of the schoolmen,
the exact study of languages, and the efficacy of preaching—did bring in
an affectionate study of eloquence and copy of speech, which then began
to flourish.  This grew speedily to an excess; for men began to hunt more
after words than matter—more after the choiceness of the phrase, and the
round and clean composition of the sentence, and the sweet falling of the
clauses, and the varying and illustration of their works with tropes and
figures, than after the weight of matter, worth of subject, soundness of
argument, life of invention, or depth of judgment.  Then grew the flowing
and watery vein of Osorius, the Portugal bishop, to be in price.  Then
did Sturmius spend such infinite and curious pains upon Cicero the Orator
and Hermogenes the Rhetorician, besides his own books of Periods and
Imitation, and the like.  Then did Car of Cambridge and Ascham with their
lectures and writings almost deify Cicero and Demosthenes, and allure all
young men that were studious unto that delicate and polished kind of
learning.  Then did Erasmus take occasion to make the scoffing echo,
_Decem annos consuumpsi in legendo Cicerone_; and the echo answered in
Greek, _One_, _Asine_.  Then grew the learning of the schoolmen to be
utterly despised as barbarous.  In sum, the whole inclination and bent of
those times was rather towards copy than weight.

(3) Here therefore [is] the first distemper of learning, when men study
words and not matter; whereof, though I have represented an example of
late times, yet it hath been and will be _secundum majus et minus_ in all
time.  And how is it possible but this should have an operation to
discredit learning, even with vulgar capacities, when they see learned
men’s works like the first letter of a patent or limited book, which
though it hath large flourishes, yet it is but a letter?  It seems to me
that Pygmalion’s frenzy is a good emblem or portraiture of this vanity;
for words are but the images of matter, and except they have life of
reason and invention, to fall in love with them is all one as to fall in
love with a picture.

(4) But yet notwithstanding it is a thing not hastily to be condemned, to
clothe and adorn the obscurity even of philosophy itself with sensible
and plausible elocution.  For hereof we have great examples in Xenophon,
Cicero, Seneca, Plutarch, and of Plato also in some degree; and hereof
likewise there is great use, for surely, to the severe inquisition of
truth and the deep progress into philosophy, it is some hindrance because
it is too early satisfactory to the mind of man, and quencheth the desire
of further search before we come to a just period.  But then if a man be
to have any use of such knowledge in civil occasions, of conference,
counsel, persuasion, discourse, or the like, then shall he find it
prepared to his hands in those authors which write in that manner.  But
the excess of this is so justly contemptible, that as Hercules, when he
saw the image of Adonis, Venus’ minion, in a temple, said in disdain,
_Nil sacri es_; so there is none of Hercules’ followers in learning—that
is, the more severe and laborious sort of inquirers into truth—but will
despise those delicacies and affectations, as indeed capable of no
divineness.  And thus much of the first disease or distemper of learning.

(5) The second which followeth is in nature worse than the former: for as
substance of matter is better than beauty of words, so contrariwise vain
matter is worse than vain words: wherein it seemeth the reprehension of
St. Paul was not only proper for those times, but prophetical for the
times following; and not only respective to divinity, but extensive to
all knowledge: _Devita profanas vocum novitates_, _et oppositiones falsi
nominis scientiæ_.  For he assigneth two marks and badges of suspected
and falsified science: the one, the novelty and strangeness of terms; the
other, the strictness of positions, which of necessity doth induce
oppositions, and so questions and altercations.  Surely, like as many
substances in nature which are solid do putrefy and corrupt into
worms;—so it is the property of good and sound knowledge to putrefy and
dissolve into a number of subtle, idle, unwholesome, and (as I may term
them) vermiculate questions, which have indeed a kind of quickness and
life of spirit, but no soundness of matter or goodness of quality.  This
kind of degenerate learning did chiefly reign amongst the schoolmen, who
having sharp and strong wits, and abundance of leisure, and small variety
of reading, but their wits being shut up in the cells of a few authors
(chiefly Aristotle their dictator) as their persons were shut up in the
cells of monasteries and colleges, and knowing little history, either of
nature or time, did out of no great quantity of matter and infinite
agitation of wit spin out unto us those laborious webs of learning which
are extant in their books.  For the wit and mind of man, if it work upon
matter, which is the contemplation of the creatures of God, worketh
according to the stuff and is limited thereby; but if it work upon
itself, as the spider worketh his web, then it is endless, and brings
forth indeed cobwebs of learning, admirable for the fineness of thread
and work, but of no substance or profit.

(6) This same unprofitable subtility or curiosity is of two sorts: either
in the subject itself that they handle, when it is a fruitless
speculation or controversy (whereof there are no small number both in
divinity and philosophy), or in the manner or method of handling of a
knowledge, which amongst them was this—upon every particular position or
assertion to frame objections, and to those objections, solutions; which
solutions were for the most part not confutations, but distinctions:
whereas indeed the strength of all sciences is, as the strength of the
old man’s faggot, in the bond.  For the harmony of a science, supporting
each part the other, is and ought to be the true and brief confutation
and suppression of all the smaller sort of objections.  But, on the other
side, if you take out every axiom, as the sticks of the faggot, one by
one, you may quarrel with them and bend them and break them at your
pleasure: so that, as was said of Seneca, _Verborum minutiis rerum
frangit pondera_, so a man may truly say of the schoolmen, _Quæstionum
minutiis scientiarum frangunt soliditatem_.  For were it not better for a
man in fair room to set up one great light, or branching candlestick of
lights, than to go about with a small watch-candle into every corner?
And such is their method, that rests not so much upon evidence of truth
proved by arguments, authorities, similitudes, examples, as upon
particular confutations and solutions of every scruple, cavillation, and
objection; breeding for the most part one question as fast as it solveth
another; even as in the former resemblance, when you carry the light into
one corner, you darken the rest; so that the fable and fiction of Scylla
seemeth to be a lively image of this kind of philosophy or knowledge;
which was transformed into a comely virgin for the upper parts; but then
_Candida succinctam latrantibus inguina monstris_: so the generalities of
the schoolmen are for a while good and proportionable; but then when you
descend into their distinctions and decisions, instead of a fruitful womb
for the use and benefit of man’s life, they end in monstrous altercations
and barking questions.  So as it is not possible but this quality of
knowledge must fall under popular contempt, the people being apt to
contemn truths upon occasion of controversies and altercations, and to
think they are all out of their way which never meet; and when they see
such digladiation about subtleties, and matters of no use or moment, they
easily fall upon that judgment of Dionysius of Syracusa, _Verba ista sunt
senum otiosorum_.

(7) Notwithstanding, certain it is that if those schoolmen to their great
thirst of truth and unwearied travail of wit had joined variety and
universality of reading and contemplation, they had proved excellent
lights, to the great advancement of all learning and knowledge; but as
they are, they are great undertakers indeed, and fierce with dark
keeping.  But as in the inquiry of the divine truth, their pride inclined
to leave the oracle of God’s word, and to vanish in the mixture of their
own inventions; so in the inquisition of nature, they ever left the
oracle of God’s works, and adored the deceiving and deformed images which
the unequal mirror of their own minds, or a few received authors or
principles, did represent unto them.  And thus much for the second
disease of learning.

(8) For the third vice or disease of learning, which concerneth deceit or
untruth, it is of all the rest the foulest; as that which doth destroy
the essential form of knowledge, which is nothing but a representation of
truth: for the truth of being and the truth of knowing are one, differing
no more than the direct beam and the beam reflected.  This vice therefore
brancheth itself into two sorts; delight in deceiving and aptness to be
deceived; imposture and credulity; which, although they appear to be of a
diverse nature, the one seeming to proceed of cunning and the other of
simplicity, yet certainly they do for the most part concur: for, as the
verse noteth—

    “Percontatorem fugito, nam garrulus idem est,”

an inquisitive man is a prattler; so upon the like reason a credulous man
is a deceiver: as we see it in fame, that he that will easily believe
rumours will as easily augment rumours and add somewhat to them of his
own; which Tacitus wisely noteth, when he saith, _Fingunt simul
creduntque_: so great an affinity hath fiction and belief.

(9) This facility of credit and accepting or admitting things weakly
authorised or warranted is of two kinds according to the subject: for it
is either a belief of history, or, as the lawyers speak, matter of fact;
or else of matter of art and opinion.  As to the former, we see the
experience and inconvenience of this error in ecclesiastical history;
which hath too easily received and registered reports and narrations of
miracles wrought by martyrs, hermits, or monks of the desert, and other
holy men, and their relics, shrines, chapels and images: which though
they had a passage for a time by the ignorance of the people, the
superstitious simplicity of some and the politic toleration of others
holding them but as divine poesies, yet after a period of time, when the
mist began to clear up, they grew to be esteemed but as old wives’
fables, impostures of the clergy, illusions of spirits, and badges of
Antichrist, to the great scandal and detriment of religion.

(10) So in natural history, we see there hath not been that choice and
judgment used as ought to have been; as may appear in the writings of
Plinius, Cardanus, Albertus, and divers of the Arabians, being fraught
with much fabulous matter, a great part not only untried, but notoriously
untrue, to the great derogation of the credit of natural philosophy with
the grave and sober kind of wits: wherein the wisdom and integrity of
Aristotle is worthy to be observed, that, having made so diligent and
exquisite a history of living creatures, hath mingled it sparingly with
any vain or feigned matter; and yet on the other side hath cast all
prodigious narrations, which he thought worthy the recording, into one
book, excellently discerning that matter of manifest truth, such
whereupon observation and rule was to be built, was not to be mingled or
weakened with matter of doubtful credit; and yet again, that rarities and
reports that seem uncredible are not to be suppressed or denied to the
memory of men.

(11) And as for the facility of credit which is yielded to arts and
opinions, it is likewise of two kinds; either when too much belief is
attributed to the arts themselves, or to certain authors in any art.  The
sciences themselves, which have had better intelligence and confederacy
with the imagination of man than with his reason, are three in number:
astrology, natural magic, and alchemy; of which sciences, nevertheless,
the ends or pretences are noble.  For astrology pretendeth to discover
that correspondence or concatenation which is between the superior globe
and the inferior; natural magic pretendeth to call and reduce natural
philosophy from variety of speculations to the magnitude of works; and
alchemy pretendeth to make separation of all the unlike parts of bodies
which in mixtures of natures are incorporate.  But the derivations and
prosecutions to these ends, both in the theories and in the practices,
are full of error and vanity; which the great professors themselves have
sought to veil over and conceal by enigmatical writings, and referring
themselves to auricular traditions and such other devices, to save the
credit of impostures.  And yet surely to alchemy this right is due, that
it may be compared to the husbandman whereof Æsop makes the fable; that,
when he died, told his sons that he had left unto them gold buried
underground in his vineyard; and they digged over all the ground, and
gold they found none; but by reason of their stirring and digging the
mould about the roots of their vines, they had a great vintage the year
following: so assuredly the search and stir to make gold hath brought to
light a great number of good and fruitful inventions and experiments, as
well for the disclosing of nature as for the use of man’s life.

(12) And as for the overmuch credit that hath been given unto authors in
sciences, in making them dictators, that their words should stand, and
not consuls, to give advice; the damage is infinite that sciences have
received thereby, as the principal cause that hath kept them low at a
stay without growth or advancement.  For hence it hath come, that in arts
mechanical the first deviser comes shortest, and time addeth and
perfecteth; but in sciences the first author goeth furthest, and time
leeseth and corrupteth.  So we see artillery, sailing, printing, and the
like, were grossly managed at the first, and by time accommodated and
refined; but contrariwise, the philosophies and sciences of Aristotle,
Plato, Democritus, Hippocrates, Euclides, Archimedes, of most vigour at
the first, and by time degenerate and imbased: whereof the reason is no
other, but that in the former many wits and industries have contributed
in one; and in the latter many wits and industries have been spent about
the wit of some one, whom many times they have rather depraved than
illustrated; for, as water will not ascend higher than the level of the
first spring-head from whence it descendeth, so knowledge derived from
Aristotle, and exempted from liberty of examination, will not rise again
higher than the knowledge of Aristotle.  And, therefore, although the
position be good, _Oportet discentem credere_, yet it must be coupled
with this, _Oportet edoctum judicare_; for disciples do owe unto masters
only a temporary belief and a suspension of their own judgment till they
be fully instructed, and not an absolute resignation or perpetual
captivity; and therefore, to conclude this point, I will say no more, but
so let great authors have their due, as time, which is the author of
authors, be not deprived of his due—which is, further and further to
discover truth.  Thus have I gone over these three diseases of learning;
besides the which there are some other rather peccant humours than formed
diseases, which, nevertheless, are not so secret and intrinsic, but that
they fall under a popular observation and traducement, and, therefore,
are not to be passed over.

V. (1) The first of these is the extreme affecting of two extremities:
the one antiquity, the other novelty; wherein it seemeth the children of
time do take after the nature and malice of the father.  For as he
devoureth his children, so one of them seeketh to devour and suppress the
other; while antiquity envieth there should be new additions, and novelty
cannot be content to add but it must deface; surely the advice of the
prophet is the true direction in this matter, _State super vias
antiquas_, _et videte quænam sit via recta et bona et ambulate in ea_.
Antiquity deserveth that reverence, that men should make a stand
thereupon and discover what is the best way; but when the discovery is
well taken, then to make progression.  And to speak truly, _Antiquitas
sæculi juventus mundi_.  These times are the ancient times, when the
world is ancient, and not those which we account ancient _ordine
retrogrado_, by a computation backward from ourselves.

(2) Another error induced by the former is a distrust that anything
should be now to be found out, which the world should have missed and
passed over so long time: as if the same objection were to be made to
time that Lucian maketh to Jupiter and other the heathen gods; of which
he wondereth that they begot so many children in old time, and begot none
in his time; and asketh whether they were become septuagenary, or whether
the law _Papia_, made against old men’s marriages, had restrained them.
So it seemeth men doubt lest time is become past children and generation;
wherein contrariwise we see commonly the levity and unconstancy of men’s
judgments, which, till a matter be done, wonder that it can be done; and
as soon as it is done, wonder again that it was no sooner done: as we see
in the expedition of Alexander into Asia, which at first was prejudged as
a vast and impossible enterprise; and yet afterwards it pleaseth Livy to
make no more of it than this, _Nil aliud quàm bene ausus vana
contemnere_.  And the same happened to Columbus in the western
navigation.  But in intellectual matters it is much more common, as may
be seen in most of the propositions of Euclid; which till they be
demonstrate, they seem strange to our assent; but being demonstrate, our
mind accepteth of them by a kind of relation (as the lawyers speak), as
if we had known them before.

(3) Another error, that hath also some affinity with the former, is a
conceit that of former opinions or sects after variety and examination
the best hath still prevailed and suppressed the rest; so as if a man
should begin the labour of a new search, he were but like to light upon
somewhat formerly rejected, and by rejection brought into oblivion; as if
the multitude, or the wisest for the multitude’s sake, were not ready to
give passage rather to that which is popular and superficial than to that
which is substantial and profound for the truth is, that time seemeth to
be of the nature of a river or stream, which carrieth down to us that
which is light and blown up, and sinketh and drowneth that which is
weighty and solid.

(4) Another error, of a diverse nature from all the former, is the
over-early and peremptory reduction of knowledge into arts and methods;
from which time commonly sciences receive small or no augmentation.  But
as young men, when they knit and shape perfectly, do seldom grow to a
further stature, so knowledge, while it is in aphorisms and observations,
it is in growth; but when it once is comprehended in exact methods, it
may, perchance, be further polished, and illustrate and accommodated for
use and practice, but it increaseth no more in bulk and substance.

(5) Another error which doth succeed that which we last mentioned is,
that after the distribution of particular arts and sciences, men have
abandoned universality, or _philosophia prima_, which cannot but cease
and stop all progression.  For no perfect discovery can be made upon a
flat or a level; neither is it possible to discover the more remote and
deeper parts of any science if you stand but upon the level of the same
science, and ascend not to a higher science.

(6) Another error hath proceeded from too great a reverence, and a kind
of adoration of the mind and understanding of man; by means whereof, men
have withdrawn themselves too much from the contemplation of nature, and
the observations of experience, and have tumbled up and down in their own
reason and conceits.  Upon these intellectualists, which are
notwithstanding commonly taken for the most sublime and divine
philosophers, Heraclitus gave a just censure, saying:—“Men sought truth
in their own little worlds, and not in the great and common world;” for
they disdain to spell, and so by degrees to read in the volume of God’s
works; and contrariwise by continual meditation and agitation of wit do
urge and, as it were, invocate their own spirits to divine and give
oracles unto them, whereby they are deservedly deluded.

(7) Another error that hath some connection with this latter is, that men
have used to infect their meditations, opinions, and doctrines with some
conceits which they have most admired, or some sciences which they have
most applied, and given all things else a tincture according to them,
utterly untrue and improper.  So hath Plato intermingled his philosophy
with theology, and Aristotle with logic; and the second school of Plato,
Proclus and the rest, with the mathematics; for these were the arts which
had a kind of primogeniture with them severally.  So have the alchemists
made a philosophy out of a few experiments of the furnace; and Gilbertus
our countryman hath made a philosophy out of the observations of a
loadstone.  So Cicero, when reciting the several opinions of the nature
of the soul, he found a musician that held the soul was but a harmony,
saith pleasantly, _Hic ab arte sua non recessit_, _&c._  But of these
conceits Aristotle speaketh seriously and wisely when he saith, _Qui
respiciunt ad pauca de facili pronunciant_.

(8) Another error is an impatience of doubt, and haste to assertion
without due and mature suspension of judgment.  For the two ways of
contemplation are not unlike the two ways of action commonly spoken of by
the ancients: the one plain and smooth in the beginning, and in the end
impassable; the other rough and troublesome in the entrance, but after a
while fair and even.  So it is in contemplation: if a man will begin with
certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin
with doubts, he shall end in certainties.

(9) Another error is in the manner of the tradition and delivery of
knowledge, which is for the most part magistral and peremptory, and not
ingenuous and faithful; in a sort as may be soonest believed, and not
easiest examined.  It is true, that in compendious treatises for practice
that form is not to be disallowed; but in the true handling of knowledge
men ought not to fall either on the one side into the vein of Velleius
the Epicurean, _Nil tam metuens quam ne dubitare aliqua de revideretur_:
nor, on the other side, into Socrates, his ironical doubting of all
things; but to propound things sincerely with more or less asseveration,
as they stand in a man’s own judgment proved more or less.

(10) Other errors there are in the scope that men propound to themselves,
whereunto they bend their endeavours; for, whereas the more constant and
devote kind of professors of any science ought to propound to themselves
to make some additions to their science, they convert their labours to
aspire to certain second prizes: as to be a profound interpreter or
commentor, to be a sharp champion or defender, to be a methodical
compounder or abridger, and so the patrimony of knowledge cometh to be
sometimes improved, but seldom augmented.

(11) But the greatest error of all the rest is the mistaking or
misplacing of the last or furthest end of knowledge.  For men have
entered into a desire of learning and knowledge, sometimes upon a natural
curiosity and inquisitive appetite; sometimes to entertain their minds
with variety and delight; sometimes for ornament and reputation; and
sometimes to enable them to victory of wit and contradiction; and most
times for lucre and profession; and seldom sincerely to give a true
account of their gift of reason to the benefit and use of men: as if
there were sought in knowledge a couch whereupon to rest a searching and
restless spirit; or a terrace for a wandering and variable mind to walk
up and down with a fair prospect; or a tower of state, for a proud mind
to raise itself upon; or a fort or commanding ground, for strife and
contention; or a shop, for profit or sale; and not a rich storehouse for
the glory of the Creator and the relief of man’s estate.  But this is
that which will indeed dignify and exalt knowledge, if contemplation and
action may be more nearly and straitly conjoined and united together than
they have been: a conjunction like unto that of the two highest planets,
Saturn, the planet of rest and contemplation; and Jupiter, the planet of
civil society and action, howbeit, I do not mean, when I speak of use and
action, that end before-mentioned of the applying of knowledge to lucre
and profession; for I am not ignorant how much that diverteth and
interrupteth the prosecution and advancement of knowledge, like unto the
golden ball thrown before Atalanta, which, while she goeth aside and
stoopeth to take up, the race is hindered,

    “Declinat cursus, aurumque volubile tollit.” {39}

Neither is my meaning, as was spoken of Socrates, to call philosophy down
from heaven to converse upon the earth—that is, to leave natural
philosophy aside, and to apply knowledge only to manners and policy.  But
as both heaven and earth do conspire and contribute to the use and
benefit of man, so the end ought to be, from both philosophies to
separate and reject vain speculations, and whatsoever is empty and void,
and to preserve and augment whatsoever is solid and fruitful; that
knowledge may not be as a courtesan, for pleasure and vanity only, or as
a bond-woman, to acquire and gain to her master’s use; but as a spouse,
for generation, fruit, and comfort.

(12) Thus have I described and opened, as by a kind of dissection, those
peccant humours (the principal of them) which have not only given
impediment to the proficience of learning, but have given also occasion
to the traducement thereof: wherein, if I have been too plain, it must be
remembered, _fidelia vulnera amantis_, _sed dolosa oscula malignantis_.
This I think I have gained, that I ought to be the better believed in
that which I shall say pertaining to commendation; because I have
proceeded so freely in that which concerneth censure.  And yet I have no
purpose to enter into a laudative of learning, or to make a hymn to the
Muses (though I am of opinion that it is long since their rites were duly
celebrated), but my intent is, without varnish or amplification justly to
weigh the dignity of knowledge in the balance with other things, and to
take the true value thereof by testimonies and arguments, divine and

VI. (1) First, therefore, let us seek the dignity of knowledge in the
archetype or first platform, which is in the attributes and acts of God,
as far as they are revealed to man and may be observed with sobriety;
wherein we may not seek it by the name of learning, for all learning is
knowledge acquired, and all knowledge in God is original, and therefore
we must look for it by another name, that of wisdom or sapience, as the
Scriptures call it.

(2) It is so, then, that in the work of the creation we see a double
emanation of virtue from God; the one referring more properly to power,
the other to wisdom; the one expressed in making the subsistence of the
matter, and the other in disposing the beauty of the form.  This being
supposed, it is to be observed that for anything which appeareth in the
history of the creation, the confused mass and matter of heaven and earth
was made in a moment, and the order and disposition of that chaos or mass
was the work of six days; such a note of difference it pleased God to put
upon the works of power, and the works of wisdom; wherewith concurreth,
that in the former it is not set down that God said, “Let there be heaven
and earth,” as it is set down of the works following; but actually, that
God made heaven and earth: the one carrying the style of a manufacture,
and the other of a law, decree, or counsel.

(3) To proceed, to that which is next in order from God, to spirits: we
find, as far as credit is to be given to the celestial hierarchy of that
supposed Dionysius, the senator of Athens, the first place or degree is
given to the angels of love, which are termed seraphim; the second to the
angels of light, which are termed cherubim; and the third, and so
following places, to thrones, principalities, and the rest, which are all
angels of power and ministry; so as this angels of knowledge and
illumination are placed before the angels of office and domination.

(4) To descend from spirits and intellectual forms to sensible and
material forms, we read the first form that was created was light, which
hath a relation and correspondence in nature and corporal things to
knowledge in spirits and incorporal things.

(5) So in the distribution of days we see the day wherein God did rest
and contemplate His own works was blessed above all the days wherein He
did effect and accomplish them.

(6) After the creation was finished, it is set down unto us that man was
placed in the garden to work therein; which work, so appointed to him,
could be no other than work of contemplation; that is, when the end of
work is but for exercise and experiment, not for necessity; for there
being then no reluctation of the creature, nor sweat of the brow, man’s
employment must of consequence have been matter of delight in the
experiment, and not matter of labour for the use.  Again, the first acts
which man performed in Paradise consisted of the two summary parts of
knowledge; the view of creatures, and the imposition of names.  As for
the knowledge which induced the fall, it was, as was touched before, not
the natural knowledge of creatures, but the moral knowledge of good and
evil; wherein the supposition was, that God’s commandments or
prohibitions were not the originals of good and evil, but that they had
other beginnings, which man aspired to know, to the end to make a total
defection from God and to depend wholly upon himself.

(7) To pass on: in the first event or occurrence after the fall of man,
we see (as the Scriptures have infinite mysteries, not violating at all
the truth of this story or letter) an image of the two estates, the
contemplative state and the active state, figured in the two persons of
Abel and Cain, and in the two simplest and most primitive trades of life;
that of the shepherd (who, by reason of his leisure, rest in a place, and
lying in view of heaven, is a lively image of a contemplative life), and
that of the husbandman, where we see again the favour and election of God
went to the shepherd, and not to the tiller of the ground.

(8) So in the age before the flood, the holy records within those few
memorials which are there entered and registered have vouchsafed to
mention and honour the name of the inventors and authors of music and
works in metal.  In the age after the flood, the first great judgment of
God upon the ambition of man was the confusion of tongues; whereby the
open trade and intercourse of learning and knowledge was chiefly

(9) To descend to Moses the lawgiver, and God’s first pen: he is adorned
by the Scriptures with this addition and commendation, “That he was seen
in all the learning of the Egyptians,” which nation we know was one of
the most ancient schools of the world: for so Plato brings in the
Egyptian priest saying unto Solon, “You Grecians are ever children; you
have no knowledge of antiquity, nor antiquity of knowledge.”  Take a view
of the ceremonial law of Moses; you shall find, besides the prefiguration
of Christ, the badge or difference of the people of God, the exercise and
impression of obedience, and other divine uses and fruits thereof, that
some of the most learned Rabbins have travailed profitably and profoundly
to observe, some of them a natural, some of them a moral sense, or
reduction of many of the ceremonies and ordinances.  As in the law of the
leprosy, where it is said, “If the whiteness have overspread the flesh,
the patient may pass abroad for clean; but if there be any whole flesh
remaining, he is to be shut up for unclean;” one of them noteth a
principle of nature, that putrefaction is more contagious before maturity
than after; and another noteth a position of moral philosophy, that men
abandoned to vice do not so much corrupt manners, as those that are half
good and half evil.  So in this and very many other places in that law,
there is to be found, besides the theological sense, much aspersion of

(10)  So likewise in that excellent hook of Job, if it be revolved with
diligence, it will be found pregnant and swelling with natural
philosophy; as for example, cosmography, and the roundness of the world,
_Qui extendit aquilonem super vacuum_, _et appendit terram super
nihilum_; wherein the pensileness of the earth, the pole of the north,
and the finiteness or convexity of heaven are manifestly touched.  So
again, matter of astronomy: _Spiritus ejus ornavit cælos_, _et
obstetricante manu ejus eductus est Coluber tortuoses_.  And in another
place, _Nunquid conjungere valebis micantes stellas Pleiadas_, _aut gyrum
Arcturi poteris dissipare_?  Where the fixing of the stars, ever standing
at equal distance, is with great elegancy noted.  And in another place,
_Qui facit Arcturum_, _et Oriona_, _et Hyadas_, _et interiora Austri_;
where again he takes knowledge of the depression of the southern pole,
calling it the secrets of the south, because the southern stars were in
that climate unseen.  Matter of generation: _Annon sicut lac mulsisti
me_, _et sicut caseum coagulasti me_? &c.  Matter of minerals: _Habet
argentum venarum suarum principia_; _et auro locus est in quo conflatur_,
_ferrum de terra tollitur_, _et lapis solutus calore in æs vertitur_; and
so forwards in that chapter.

(11) So likewise in the person of Solomon the king, we see the gift or
endowment of wisdom and learning, both in Solomon’s petition and in God’s
assent thereunto, preferred before all other terrene and temporal
felicity.  By virtue of which grant or donative of God Solomon became
enabled not only to write those excellent parables or aphorisms
concerning divine and moral philosophy, but also to compile a natural
history of all verdure, from the cedar upon the mountain to the moss upon
the wall (which is but a rudiment between putrefaction and an herb), and
also of all things that breathe or move.  Nay, the same Solomon the king,
although he excelled in the glory of treasure and magnificent buildings,
of shipping and navigation, of service and attendance, of fame and
renown, and the like, yet he maketh no claim to any of those glories, but
only to the glory of inquisition of truth; for so he saith expressly,
“The glory of God is to conceal a thing, but the glory of the king is to
find it out;” as if, according to the innocent play of children, the
Divine Majesty took delight to hide His works, to the end to have them
found out; and as if kings could not obtain a greater honour than to be
God’s playfellows in that game; considering the great commandment of wits
and means, whereby nothing needeth to be hidden from them.

(12) Neither did the dispensation of God vary in the times after our
Saviour came into the world; for our Saviour himself did first show His
power to subdue ignorance, by His conference with the priests and doctors
of the law, before He showed His power to subdue nature by His miracles.
And the coming of this Holy Spirit was chiefly figured and expressed in
the similitude and gift of tongues, which are but _vehicula scientiæ_.

(13) So in the election of those instruments, which it pleased God to use
for the plantation of the faith, notwithstanding that at the first He did
employ persons altogether unlearned, otherwise than by inspiration, more
evidently to declare His immediate working, and to abase all human wisdom
or knowledge; yet nevertheless that counsel of His was no sooner
performed, but in the next vicissitude and succession He did send His
divine truth into the world, waited on with other learnings, as with
servants or handmaids: for so we see St. Paul, who was only learned
amongst the Apostles, had his pen most used in the Scriptures of the New

(14) So again we find that many of the ancient bishops and fathers of the
Church were excellently read and studied in all the learning of this
heathen; insomuch that the edict of the Emperor Julianus (whereby it was
interdicted unto Christians to be admitted into schools, lectures, or
exercises of learning) was esteemed and accounted a more pernicious
engine and machination against the Christian Faith than were all the
sanguinary prosecutions of his predecessors; neither could the emulation
and jealousy of Gregory, the first of that name, Bishop of Rome, ever
obtain the opinion of piety or devotion; but contrariwise received the
censure of humour, malignity, and pusillanimity, even amongst holy men;
in that he designed to obliterate and extinguish the memory of heathen
antiquity and authors.  But contrariwise it was the Christian Church,
which, amidst the inundations of the Scythians on the one side from the
north-west, and the Saracens from the east, did preserve in the sacred
lap and bosom thereof the precious relics even of heathen learning, which
otherwise had been extinguished, as if no such thing had ever been.

(15) And we see before our eyes, that in the age of ourselves and our
fathers, when it pleased God to call the Church of Rome to account for
their degenerate manners and ceremonies, and sundry doctrines obnoxious
and framed to uphold the same abuses; at one and the same time it was
ordained by the Divine Providence that there should attend withal a
renovation and new spring of all other knowledges.  And on the other side
we see the Jesuits, who partly in themselves, and partly by the emulation
and provocation of their example, have much quickened and strengthened
the state of learning; we see (I say) what notable service and reparation
they have done to the Roman see.

(16) Wherefore, to conclude this part, let it be observed, that there be
two principal duties and services, besides ornament and illustration,
which philosophy and human learning do perform to faith and religion.
The one, because they are an effectual inducement to the exaltation of
the glory of God.  For as the Psalms and other Scriptures do often invite
us to consider and magnify the great and wonderful works of God, so if we
should rest only in the contemplation of the exterior of them as they
first offer themselves to our senses, we should do a like injury unto the
majesty of God, as if we should judge or construe of the store of some
excellent jeweller by that only which is set out toward the street in his
shop.  The other, because they minister a singular help and preservative
against unbelief and error.  For our Saviour saith, “You err, not knowing
the Scriptures, nor the power of God;” laying before us two books or
volumes to study, if we will be secured from error: first the Scriptures,
revealing the will of God, and then the creatures expressing His power;
whereof the latter is a key unto the former: not only opening our
understanding to conceive the true sense of the Scriptures by the general
notions of reason and rules of speech, but chiefly opening our belief, in
drawing us into a due meditation of the omnipotency of God, which is
chiefly signed and engraven upon His works.  Thus much therefore for
divine testimony and evidence concerning the true dignity and value of

VII. (1) As for human proofs, it is so large a field, as in a discourse
of this nature and brevity it is fit rather to use choice of those things
which we shall produce, than to embrace the variety of them.  First,
therefore, in the degrees of human honour amongst the heathen, it was the
highest to obtain to a veneration and adoration as a God.  This unto the
Christians is as the forbidden fruit.  But we speak now separately of
human testimony, according to which—that which the Grecians call
_apotheosis_, and the Latins _relatio inter divos_—was the supreme honour
which man could attribute unto man, specially when it was given, not by a
formal decree or act of state (as it was used among the Roman Emperors),
but by an inward assent and belief.  Which honour, being so high, had
also a degree or middle term; for there were reckoned above human
honours, honours heroical and divine: in the attribution and distribution
of which honours we see antiquity made this difference; that whereas
founders and uniters of states and cities, lawgivers, extirpers of
tyrants, fathers of the people, and other eminent persons in civil merit,
were honoured but with the titles of worthies or demigods, such as were
Hercules, Theseus, Minus, Romulus, and the like; on the other side, such
as were inventors and authors of new arts, endowments, and commodities
towards man’s life, were ever consecrated amongst the gods themselves, as
was Ceres, Bacchus, Mercurius, Apollo, and others.  And justly; for the
merit of the former is confined within the circle of an age or a nation,
and is like fruitful showers, which though they be profitable and good,
yet serve but for that season, and for a latitude of ground where they
fall; but the other is, indeed, like the benefits of heaven, which are
permanent and universal.  The former again is mixed with strife and
perturbation, but the latter hath the true character of Divine Presence,
coming in _aura leni_, without noise or agitation.

(2) Neither is certainly that other merit of learning, in repressing the
inconveniences which grow from man to man, much inferior to the former,
of relieving the necessities which arise from nature, which merit was
lively set forth by the ancients in that feigned relation of Orpheus’
theatre, where all beasts and birds assembled, and, forgetting their
several appetites—some of prey, some of game, some of quarrel—stood all
sociably together listening unto the airs and accords of the harp, the
sound whereof no sooner ceased, or was drowned by some louder noise, but
every beast returned to his own nature; wherein is aptly described the
nature and condition of men, who are full of savage and unreclaimed
desires, of profit, of lust, of revenge; which as long as they give ear
to precepts, to laws, to religion, sweetly touched with eloquence and
persuasion of books, of sermons, of harangues, so long is society and
peace maintained; but if these instruments be silent, or that sedition
and tumult make them not audible, all things dissolve into anarchy and

(3) But this appeareth more manifestly when kings themselves, or persons
of authority under them, or other governors in commonwealths and popular
estates, are endued with learning.  For although he might be thought
partial to his own profession that said “Then should people and estates
be happy when either kings were philosophers, or philosophers kings;” yet
so much is verified by experience, that under learned princes and
governors there have been ever the best times: for howsoever kings may
have their imperfections in their passions and customs, yet, if they be
illuminate by learning, they have those notions of religion, policy, and
morality, which do preserve them and refrain them from all ruinous and
peremptory errors and excesses, whispering evermore in their ears, when
counsellors and servants stand mute and silent.  And senators or
counsellors, likewise, which be learned, to proceed upon more safe and
substantial principles, than counsellors which are only men of
experience; the one sort keeping dangers afar off, whereas the other
discover them not till they come near hand, and then trust to the agility
of their wit to ward or avoid them.

(4) Which felicity of times under learned princes (to keep still the law
of brevity, by using the most eminent and selected examples) doth best
appear in the age which passed from the death of Domitianus the emperor
until the reign of Commodus; comprehending a succession of six princes,
all learned, or singular favourers and advancers of learning, which age
for temporal respects was the most happy and flourishing that ever the
Roman Empire (which then was a model of the world) enjoyed—a matter
revealed and prefigured unto Domitian in a dream the night before he was
slain: for he thought there was grown behind upon his shoulders a neck
and a head of gold, which came accordingly to pass in those golden times
which succeeded; of which princes we will make some commemoration;
wherein, although the matter will be vulgar, and may be thought fitter
for a declamation than agreeable to a treatise infolded as this is, yet,
because it is pertinent to the point in hand—_Neque semper arcum tendit
Apollo_—and to name them only were too naked and cursory, I will not omit
it altogether.  The first was Nerva, the excellent temper of whose
government is by a glance in Cornelius Tacitus touched to the life:
_Postquam divus Nerva res oluim insociabiles miscuisset_, _imperium et
libertatem_.  And in token of his learning, the last act of his short
reign left to memory was a missive to his adopted son, Trajan, proceeding
upon some inward discontent at the ingratitude of the times, comprehended
in a verse of Homer’s—

    “Telis, Phœbe, tuis, lacrymas ulciscere nostras.”

(5) Trajan, who succeeded, was for his person not learned; but if we will
hearken to the speech of our Saviour, that saith, “He that receiveth a
prophet in the name of a prophet shall have a prophet’s reward,” he
deserveth to be placed amongst the most learned princes; for there was
not a greater admirer of learning or benefactor of learning, a founder of
famous libraries, a perpetual advancer of learned men to office, and
familiar converser with learned professors and preceptors who were noted
to have then most credit in court.  On the other side how much Trajan’s
virtue and government was admired and renowned, surely no testimony of
grave and faithful history doth more lively set forth than that legend
tale of Gregorius Magnum, Bishop of Rome, who was noted for the extreme
envy he bare towards all heathen excellency; and yet he is reported, out
of the love and estimation of Trajan’s moral virtues, to have made unto
God passionate and fervent prayers for the delivery of his soul out of
hell, and to have obtained it, with a caveat that he should make no more
such petitions.  In this prince’s time also the persecutions against the
Christians received intermission upon the certificate of Plinius
Secundus, a man of excellent learning and by Trajan advanced.

(6) Adrian, his successor, was the most curious man that lived, and the
most universal inquirer: insomuch as it was noted for an error in his
mind that he desired to comprehend all things, and not to reserve himself
for the worthiest things, falling into the like humour that was long
before noted in Philip of Macedon, who, when he would needs overrule and
put down an excellent musician in an argument touching music, was well
answered by him again—“God forbid, sir,” saith he, “that your fortune
should be so bad as to know these things better than I.”  It pleased God
likewise to use the curiosity of this emperor as an inducement to the
peace of His Church in those days; for having Christ in veneration, not
as a God or Saviour, but as a wonder or novelty, and having his picture
in his gallery matched with Apollonius (with whom in his vain imagination
he thought its had some conformity), yet it served the turn to allay the
bitter hatred of those times against the Christian name, so as the Church
had peace during his time.  And for his government civil, although he did
not attain to that of Trajan’s in glory of arms or perfection of justice,
yet in deserving of the weal of the subject he did exceed him.  For
Trajan erected many famous monuments and buildings, insomuch as
Constantine the Great in emulation was wont to call him _Parietaria_,
“wall-flower,” because his name was upon so many walls; but his buildings
and works were more of glory and triumph than use and necessity.  But
Adrian spent his whole reign, which was peaceable, in a perambulation or
survey of the Roman Empire, giving order and making assignation where he
went for re-edifying of cities, towns, and forts decayed, and for cutting
of rivers and streams, and for making bridges and passages, and for
policing of cities and commonalties with new ordinances and
constitutions, and granting new franchises and incorporations; so that
his whole time was a very restoration of all the lapses and decays of
former times.

(7) Antoninus Pius, who succeeded him, was a prince excellently learned,
and had the patient and subtle wit of a schoolman, insomuch as in common
speech (which leaves no virtue untaxed) he was called _Cymini Sector_, a
carver or a divider of cummin seed, which is one of the least seeds.
Such a patience he had and settled spirit to enter into the least and
most exact differences of causes, a fruit no doubt of the exceeding
tranquillity and serenity of his mind, which being no ways charged or
encumbered, either with fears, remorses, or scruples, but having been
noted for a man of the purest goodness, without all fiction or
affectation, that hath reigned or lived, made his mind continually
present and entire.  He likewise approached a degree nearer unto
Christianity, and became, as Agrippa said unto St. Paul, “half a
Christian,” holding their religion and law in good opinion, and not only
ceasing persecution, but giving way to the advancement of Christians.

(5) There succeeded him the first _Divi fratres_, the two adoptive
brethren—Lucius Commodus Verus, son to Ælius Verus, who delighted much in
the softer kind of learning, and was wont to call the poet Martial his
Virgil; and Marcus Aurelius Antoninus: whereof the latter, who obscured
his colleague and survived him long, was named the “Philosopher,” who, as
he excelled all the rest in learning, so he excelled them likewise in
perfection of all royal virtues; insomuch as Julianus the emperor, in his
book entitled _Cærsares_, being as a pasquil or satire to deride all his
predecessors, feigned that they were all invited to a banquet of the
gods, and Silenus the jester sat at the nether end of the table and
bestowed a scoff on everyone as they came in; but when Marcus Philosophus
came in, Silenus was gravelled and out of countenance, not knowing where
to carp at him, save at the last he gave a glance at his patience towards
his wife.  And the virtue of this prince, continued with that of his
predecessor, made the name of Antoninus so sacred in the world, that
though it were extremely dishonoured in Commodus, Caracalla, and
Heliogabalus, who all bare the name, yet, when Alexander Severus refused
the name because he was a stranger to the family, the Senate with one
acclamation said, _Quomodo Augustus_, _sic et Antoninus_.  In such renown
and veneration was the name of these two princes in those days, that they
would have had it as a perpetual addition in all the emperors’ style.  In
this emperor’s time also the Church for the most part was in peace; so as
in this sequence of six princes we do see the blessed effects of learning
in sovereignty, painted forth in the greatest table of the world.

(9) But for a tablet or picture of smaller volume (not presuming to speak
of your Majesty that liveth), in my judgment the most excellent is that
of Queen Elizabeth, your immediate predecessor in this part of Britain; a
prince that, if Plutarch were now alive to write lives by parallels,
would trouble him, I think, to find for her a parallel amongst women.
This lady was endued with learning in her sex singular, and rare even
amongst masculine princes—whether we speak of learning, of language, or
of science, modern or ancient, divinity or humanity—and unto the very
last year of her life she accustomed to appoint set hours for reading,
scarcely any young student in a university more daily or more duly.  As
for her government, I assure myself (I shall not exceed if I do affirm)
that this part of the island never had forty-five years of better tines,
and yet not through the calmness of the season, but through the wisdom of
her regiment.  For if there be considered, of the one side, the truth of
religion established, the constant peace and security, the good
administration of justice, the temperate use of the prerogative, not
slackened, nor much strained; the flourishing state of learning, sortable
to so excellent a patroness; the convenient estate of wealth and means,
both of crown and subject; the habit of obedience, and the moderation of
discontents; and there be considered, on the other side, the differences
of religion, the troubles of neighbour countries, the ambition of Spain,
and opposition of Rome, and then that she was solitary and of herself;
these things, I say, considered, as I could not have chosen an instance
so recent and so proper, so I suppose I could not have chosen one more
remarkable or eminent to the purpose now in hand, which is concerning the
conjunction of learning in the prince with felicity in the people.

(10) Neither hath learning an influence and operation only upon civil
merit and moral virtue, and the arts or temperature of peace and
peaceable government; but likewise it hath no less power and efficacy in
enablement towards martial and military virtue and prowess, as may be
notably represented in the examples of Alexander the Great and Cæsar the
Dictator (mentioned before, but now in fit place to be resumed), of whose
virtues and acts in war there needs no note or recital, having been the
wonders of time in that kind; but of their affections towards learning
and perfections in learning it is pertinent to say somewhat.

(11) Alexander was bred and taught under Aristotle, the great
philosopher, who dedicated divers of his books of philosophy unto him; he
was attended with Callisthenes and divers other learned persons, that
followed him in camp, throughout his journeys and conquests.  What price
and estimation he had learning in doth notably appear in these three
particulars: first, in the envy he used to express that he bare towards
Achilles, in this, that he had so good a trumpet of his praises as
Homer’s verses; secondly, in the judgment or solution he gave touching
that precious cabinet of Darius, which was found among his jewels
(whereof question was made what thing was worthy to be put into it, and
he gave his opinion for Homer’s works); thirdly, in his letter to
Aristotle, after he had set forth his books of nature, wherein he
expostulateth with him for publishing the secrets or mysteries of
philosophy; and gave him to understand that himself esteemed it more to
excel other men in learning and knowledge than in power and empire.  And
what use he had of learning doth appear, or rather shine, in all his
speeches and answers, being full of science and use of science, and that
in all variety.

(12) And herein again it may seem a thing scholastical, and somewhat idle
to recite things that every man knoweth; but yet, since the argument I
handle leadeth me thereunto, I am glad that men shall perceive I am as
willing to flatter (if they will so call it) an Alexander, or a Cæsar, or
an Antoninus, that are dead many hundred years since, as any that now
liveth; for it is the displaying of the glory of learning in sovereignty
that I propound to myself, and not a humour of declaiming in any man’s
praises.  Observe, then, the speech he used of Diogenes, and see if it
tend not to the true state of one of the greatest questions of moral
philosophy: whether the enjoying of outward things, or the contemning of
them, be the greatest happiness; for when he saw Diogenes so perfectly
contented with so little, he said to those that mocked at his condition,
“were I not Alexander, I would wish to be Diogenes.”  But Seneca
inverteth it, and saith, “_Plus erat_, _quod hic nollet accipere_, _quàm
quod ille posset dare_.”  There were more things which Diogenes would
have refused than those were which Alexander could have given or enjoyed.

(13) Observe, again, that speech which was usual with him,—“That he felt
his mortality chiefly in two things, sleep and lust;” and see if it were
not a speech extracted out of the depth of natural philosophy, and liker
to have come out of the mouth of Aristotle or Democritus than from

(14) See, again, that speech of humanity and poesy, when, upon the
bleeding of his wounds, he called unto him one of his flatterers, that
was wont to ascribe to him divine honour, and said, “Look, this is very
blood; this is not such a liquor as Homer speaketh of, which ran from
Venus’ hand when it was pierced by Diomedes.”

(15) See likewise his readiness in reprehension of logic in the speech he
used to Cassander, upon a complaint that was made against his father
Antipater; for when Alexander happened to say, “Do you think these men
would have come from so far to complain except they had just cause of
grief?” and Cassander answered, “Yea, that was the matter, because they
thought they should not be disproved;” said Alexander, laughing, “See the
subtleties of Aristotle, to take a matter both ways, _pro et contra_,

(16) But note, again, how well he could use the same art which he
reprehended to serve his own humour: when bearing a secret grudge to
Callisthenes, because he was against the new ceremony of his adoration,
feasting one night where the same Callisthenes was at the table, it was
moved by some after supper, for entertainment sake, that Callisthenes,
who was an eloquent man, might speak of some theme or purpose at his own
choice; which Callisthenes did, choosing the praise of the Macedonian
nation for his discourse, and performing the same with so good manner as
the hearers were much ravished; whereupon Alexander, nothing pleased,
said, “It was easy to be eloquent upon so good a subject; but,” saith he,
“turn your style, and let us hear what you can say against us;” which
Callisthenes presently undertook, and did with that sting and life that
Alexander interrupted him, and said, “The goodness of the cause made him
eloquent before, and despite made him eloquent then again.”

(17) Consider further, for tropes of rhetoric, that excellent use of a
metaphor or translation, wherewith he taxeth Antipater, who was an
imperious and tyrannous governor; for when one of Antipater’s friends
commended him to Alexander for his moderation, that he did not degenerate
as his other lieutenants did into the Persian pride, in uses of purple,
but kept the ancient habit of Macedon, of black.  “True,” saith
Alexander; “but Antipater is all purple within.”  Or that other, when
Parmenio came to him in the plain of Arbela and showed him the
innumerable multitude of his enemies, specially as they appeared by the
infinite number of lights as it had been a new firmament of stars, and
thereupon advised him to assail them by night; whereupon he answered,
“That he would not steal the victory.”

(18) For matter of policy, weigh that significant distinction, so much in
all ages embraced, that he made between his two friends Hephæstion and
Craterus, when he said, “That the one loved Alexander, and the other
loved the king:” describing the principal difference of princes’ best
servants, that some in affection love their person, and other in duty
love their crown.

(19) Weigh also that excellent taxation of an error, ordinary with
counsellors of princes, that they counsel their masters according to the
model of their own mind and fortune, and not of their masters.  When upon
Darius’ great offers Parmenio had said, “Surely I would accept these
offers were I as Alexander;” saith Alexander, “So would I were I as

(20) Lastly, weigh that quick and acute reply which he made when he gave
so large gifts to his friends and servants, and was asked what he did
reserve for himself, and he answered, “Hope.”  Weigh, I say, whether he
had not cast up his account aright, because _hope_ must be the portion of
all that resolve upon great enterprises; for this was Cæsar’s portion
when he went first into Gaul, his estate being then utterly overthrown
with largesses.  And this was likewise the portion of that noble prince,
howsoever transported with ambition, Henry Duke of Guise, of whom it was
usually said that he was the greatest usurer in France, because he had
turned all his estate into obligations.

(21) To conclude, therefore, as certain critics are used to say
hyperbolically, “That if all sciences were lost they might be found in
Virgil,” so certainly this may be said truly, there are the prints and
footsteps of learning in those few speeches which are reported of this
prince, the admiration of whom, when I consider him not as Alexander the
Great, but as Aristotle’s scholar, hath carried me too far.

(22) As for Julius Cæsar, the excellency of his learning needeth not to
be argued from his education, or his company, or his speeches; but in a
further degree doth declare itself in his writings and works: whereof
some are extant and permanent, and some unfortunately perished.  For
first, we see there is left unto us that excellent history of his own
wars, which he entitled only a Commentary, wherein all succeeding times
have admired the solid weight of matter, and the real passages and lively
images of actions and persons, expressed in the greatest propriety of
words and perspicuity of narration that ever was; which that it was not
the effect of a natural gift, but of learning and precept, is well
witnessed by that work of his entitled _De Analogia_, being a grammatical
philosophy, wherein he did labour to make this same _Vox ad placitum_ to
become _Vox ad licitum_, and to reduce custom of speech to congruity of
speech; and took as it were the pictures of words from the life of

(23) So we receive from him, as a monument both of his power and
learning, the then reformed computation of the year; well expressing that
he took it to be as great a glory to himself to observe and know the law
of the heavens, as to give law to men upon the earth.

(24) So likewise in that book of his, _Anti-Cato_, it may easily appear
that he did aspire as well to victory of wit as victory of war:
undertaking therein a conflict against the greatest champion with the pen
that then lived, Cicero the orator.

(25) So, again, in his book of Apophthegms, which he collected, we see
that he esteemed it more honour to make himself but a pair of tables, to
take the wise and pithy words of others, than to have every word of his
own to be made an apophthegm or an oracle, as vain princes, by custom of
flattery, pretend to do.  And yet if I should enumerate divers of his
speeches, as I did those of Alexander, they are truly such as Solomon
noteth, when he saith, _Verba sapientum tanquam aculei_, _et tanquam
clavi in altum defixi_: whereof I will only recite three, not so
delectable for elegancy, but admirable for vigour and efficacy.

(26) As first, it is reason he be thought a master of words, that could
with one word appease a mutiny in his army, which was thus: The Romans,
when their generals did speak to their army, did use the word _Milites_,
but when the magistrates spake to the people they did use the word
_Quirites_.  The soldiers were in tumult, and seditiously prayed to be
cashiered; not that they so meant, but by expostulation thereof to draw
Cæsar to other conditions; wherein he being resolute not to give way,
after some silence, he began his speech, _Ego Quirites_, which did admit
them already cashiered—wherewith they were so surprised, crossed, and
confused, as they would not suffer him to go on in his speech, but
relinquished their demands, and made it their suit to be again called by
the name of _Milites_.

(27) The second speech was thus: Cæsar did extremely affect the name of
king; and some were set on as he passed by in popular acclamation to
salute him king.  Whereupon, finding the cry weak and poor, he put it off
thus, in a kind of jest, as if they had mistaken his surname: _Non Rex
sum_, _sed Cæsar_; a speech that, if it be searched, the life and fulness
of it can scarce be expressed.  For, first, it was a refusal of the name,
but yet not serious; again, it did signify an infinite confidence and
magnanimity, as if he presumed Cæsar was the greater title, as by his
worthiness it is come to pass till this day.  But chiefly it was a speech
of great allurement toward his own purpose, as if the state did strive
with him but for a name, whereof mean families were vested; for _Rex_ was
a surname with the Romans, as well as _King_ is with us.

(28) The last speech which I will mention was used to Metellus, when
Cæsar, after war declared, did possess himself of this city of Rome; at
which time, entering into the inner treasury to take the money there
accumulate, Metellus, being tribune, forbade him.  Whereto Cæsar said,
“That if he did not desist, he would lay him dead in the place.”  And
presently taking himself up, he added, “Young man, it is harder for me to
speak it than to do it—_Adolescens_, _durius est mihi hoc dicere quàm
facere_.”  A speech compounded of the greatest terror and greatest
clemency that could proceed out of the mouth of man.

(29) But to return and conclude with him, it is evident himself knew well
his own perfection in learning, and took it upon him, as appeared when
upon occasion that some spake what a strange resolution it was in Lucius
Sylla to resign his dictators, he, scoffing at him to his own advantage,
answered, “That Sylla could not skill of letters, and therefore knew not
how to dictate.”

(30) And here it were fit to leave this point, touching the concurrence
of military virtue and learning (for what example should come with any
grace after those two of Alexander and Cæsar?), were it not in regard of
the rareness of circumstance, that I find in one other particular, as
that which did so suddenly pass from extreme scorn to extreme wonder: and
it is of Xenophon the philosopher, who went from Socrates’ school into
Asia in the expedition of Cyrus the younger against King Artaxerxes.
This Xenophon at that time was very young, and never had seen the wars
before, neither had any command in the army, but only followed the war as
a voluntary, for the love and conversation of Proxenus, his friend.  He
was present when Falinus came in message from the great king to the
Grecians, after that Cyrus was slain in the field, and they, a handful of
men, left to themselves in the midst of the king’s territories, cut off
from their country by many navigable rivers and many hundred miles.  The
message imported that they should deliver up their arms and submit
themselves to the king’s mercy.  To which message, before answer was
made, divers of the army conferred familiarly with Falinus; and amongst
the rest Xenophon happened to say, “Why, Falinus, we have now but these
two things left, our arms and our virtue; and if we yield up our arms,
how shall we make use of our virtue?”  Whereto Falinus, smiling on him,
said, “If I be not deceived, young gentleman, you are an Athenian, and I
believe you study philosophy, and it is pretty that you say; but you are
much abused if you think your virtue can withstand the king’s power.”
Here was the scorn; the wonder followed: which was that this young
scholar or philosopher, after all the captains were murdered in parley by
treason, conducted those ten thousand foot, through the heart of all the
king’s high countries, from Babylon to Græcia in safety, in despite of
all the king’s forces, to the astonishment of the world, and the
encouragement of the Grecians in times succeeding to make invasion upon
the kings of Persia, as was after purposed by Jason the Thessalian,
attempted by Agesilaus the Spartan, and achieved by Alexander the
Macedonian, all upon the ground of the act of that young scholar.

VIII. (1) To proceed now from imperial and military virtue to moral and
private virtue; first, it is an assured truth, which is contained in the

    “Scilicet ingenuas didicisse fideliter artes
    Emollit mores nec sinit esse feros.”

It taketh away the wildness and barbarism and fierceness of men’s minds;
but indeed the accent had need be upon _fideliter_; for a little
superficial learning doth rather work a contrary effect.  It taketh away
all levity, temerity, and insolency, by copious suggestion of all doubts
and difficulties, and acquainting the mind to balance reasons on both
sides, and to turn back the first offers and conceits of the mind, and to
accept of nothing but examined and tried.  It taketh away vain admiration
of anything, which is the root of all weakness.  For all things are
admired, either because they are new, or because they are great.  For
novelty, no man that wadeth in learning or contemplation thoroughly but
will find that printed in his heart, _Nil novi super terram_.  Neither
can any man marvel at the play of puppets, that goeth behind the curtain,
and adviseth well of the motion.  And for magnitude, as Alexander the
Great, after that he was used to great armies, and the great conquests of
the spacious provinces in Asia, when he received letters out of Greece,
of some fights and services there, which were commonly for a passage or a
fort, or some walled town at the most, he said:—“It seemed to him that he
was advertised of the battles of the frogs and the mice, that the old
tales went of.”  So certainly, if a man meditate much upon the universal
frame of nature, the earth with men upon it (the divineness of souls
except) will not seem much other than an ant-hill, whereas some ants
carry corn, and some carry their young, and some go empty, and all to and
fro a little heap of dust.  It taketh away or mitigateth fear of death or
adverse fortune, which is one of the greatest impediments of virtue and
imperfections of manners.  For if a man’s mind be deeply seasoned with
the consideration of the mortality and corruptible nature of things, he
will easily concur with Epictetus, who went forth one day and saw a woman
weeping for her pitcher of earth that was broken, and went forth the next
day and saw a woman weeping for her son that was dead, and thereupon
said, “_Heri vidi fragilem frangi_, _hodie vidi mortalem mori_.”  And,
therefore, Virgil did excellently and profoundly couple the knowledge of
causes and the conquest of all fears together, as _concomitantia_.

    “Felix, qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas,
    Quique metus omnes, et inexorabile fatum
    Subjecit pedibus, strepitumque Acherontis avari.”

(2) It were too long to go over the particular remedies which learning
doth minister to all the diseases of the mind: sometimes purging the ill
humours, sometimes opening the obstructions, sometimes helping digestion,
sometimes increasing appetite, sometimes healing the wounds and
exulcerations thereof, and the like; and, therefore, I will conclude with
that which hath _rationem totius_—which is, that it disposeth the
constitution of the mind not to be fixed or settled in the defects
thereof, but still to be capable and susceptible of growth and
reformation.  For the unlearned man knows not what it is to descend into
himself, or to call himself to account, nor the pleasure of that
_suavissima vita_, _indies sentire se fieri meliorem_.  The good parts he
hath he will learn to show to the full, and use them dexterously, but not
much to increase them.  The faults he hath he will learn how to hide and
colour them, but not much to amend them; like an ill mower, that mows on
still, and never whets his scythe.  Whereas with the learned man it fares
otherwise, that he doth ever intermix the correction and amendment of his
mind with the use and employment thereof.  Nay, further, in general and
in sum, certain it is that _Veritas_ and _Bonitas_ differ but as the seal
and the print; for truth prints goodness, and they be the clouds of error
which descend in the storms of passions and perturbations.

(3) From moral virtue let us pass on to matter of power and commandment,
and consider whether in right reason there be any comparable with that
wherewith knowledge investeth and crowneth man’s nature.  We see the
dignity of the commandment is according to the dignity of the commanded;
to have commandment over beasts as herdmen have, is a thing contemptible;
to have commandment over children as schoolmasters have, is a matter of
small honour; to have commandment over galley-slaves is a disparagement
rather than an honour.  Neither is the commandment of tyrants much
better, over people which have put off the generosity of their minds;
and, therefore, it was ever holden that honours in free monarchies and
commonwealths had a sweetness more than in tyrannies, because the
commandment extendeth more over the wills of men, and not only over their
deeds and services.  And therefore, when Virgil putteth himself forth to
attribute to Augustus Cæsar the best of human honours, he doth it in
these words:—

          “Victorque volentes
    Per populos dat jura, viamque affectat Olympo.”

But yet the commandment of knowledge is yet higher than the commandment
over the will; for it is a commandment over the reason, belief, and
understanding of man, which is the highest part of the mind, and giveth
law to the will itself.  For there is no power on earth which setteth up
a throne or chair of estate in the spirits and souls of men, and in their
cogitations, imaginations, opinions, and beliefs, but knowledge and
learning.  And therefore we see the detestable and extreme pleasure that
arch-heretics, and false prophets, and impostors are transported with,
when they once find in themselves that they have a superiority in the
faith and conscience of men; so great as if they have once tasted of it,
it is seldom seen that any torture or persecution can make them
relinquish or abandon it.  But as this is that which the author of the
Revelation calleth the depth or profoundness of Satan, so by argument of
contraries, the just and lawful sovereignty over men’s understanding, by
force of truth rightly interpreted, is that which approacheth nearest to
the similitude of the divine rule.

(4) As for fortune and advancement, the beneficence of learning is not so
confined to give fortune only to states and commonwealths, as it doth not
likewise give fortune to particular persons.  For it was well noted long
ago, that Homer hath given more men their livings, than either Sylla, or
Cæsar, or Augustus ever did, notwithstanding their great largesses and
donatives, and distributions of lands to so many legions.  And no doubt
it is hard to say whether arms or learning have advanced greater numbers.
And in case of sovereignty we see, that if arms or descent have carried
away the kingdom, yet learning hath carried the priesthood, which ever
hath been in some competition with empire.

(5) Again, for the pleasure and delight of knowledge and learning, it far
surpasseth all other in nature.  For, shall the pleasures of the
affections so exceed the pleasure of the sense, as much as the obtaining
of desire or victory exceedeth a song or a dinner? and must not of
consequence the pleasures of the intellect or understanding exceed the
pleasures of the affections?  We see in all other pleasures there is
satiety, and after they be used, their verdure departeth, which showeth
well they be but deceits of pleasure, and not pleasures; and that it was
the novelty which pleased, and not the quality.  And, therefore, we see
that voluptuous men turn friars, and ambitions princes turn melancholy.
But of knowledge there is no satiety, but satisfaction and appetite are
perpetually interchangeable; and, therefore, appeareth to be good in
itself simply, without fallacy or accident.  Neither is that pleasure of
small efficacy and contentment to the mind of man, which the poet
Lucretius describeth elegantly:—

    “Suave mari magno, turbantibus æquora ventis, &c.”

“It is a view of delight,” saith he, “to stand or walk upon the shore
side, and to see a ship tossed with tempest upon the sea; or to be in a
fortified tower, and to see two battles join upon a plain.  But it is a
pleasure incomparable, for the mind of man to be settled, landed, and
fortified in the certainty of truth; and from thence to descry and behold
the errors, perturbations, labours, and wanderings up and down of other

(6) Lastly, leaving the vulgar arguments, that by learning man excelleth
man in that wherein man excelleth beasts; that by learning man ascendeth
to the heavens and their motions, where in body he cannot come; and the
like: let us conclude with the dignity and excellency of knowledge and
learning in that whereunto man’s nature doth most aspire, which is
immortality, or continuance; for to this tendeth generation, and raising
of houses and families; to this tend buildings, foundations, and
monuments; to this tendeth the desire of memory, fame, and celebration;
and in effect the strength of all other human desires.  We see then how
far the monuments of wit and learning are more durable than the monuments
of power or of the hands.  For have not the verses of Homer continued
twenty-five hundred years, or more, without the loss of a syllable or
letter; during which the infinite palaces, temples, castles, cities, have
been decayed and demolished?  It is not possible to have the true
pictures or statues of Cyrus, Alexander, Cæsar, no nor of the kings or
great personages of much later years; for the originals cannot last, and
the copies cannot but leese of the life and truth.  But the images of
men’s wits and knowledges remain in books, exempted from the wrong of
time and capable of perpetual renovation.  Neither are they fitly to be
called images, because they generate still, and cast their seeds in the
minds of others, provoking and causing infinite actions and opinions in
succeeding ages.  So that if the invention of the ship was thought so
noble, which carrieth riches and commodities from place to place, and
consociateth the most remote regions in participation of their fruits,
how much more are letters to be magnified, which as ships pass through
the vast seas of time, and make ages so distant to participate of the
wisdom, illuminations, and inventions, the one of the other?  Nay,
further, we see some of the philosophers which were least divine, and
most immersed in the senses, and denied generally the immortality of the
soul, yet came to this point, that whatsoever motions the spirit of man
could act and perform without the organs of the body, they thought might
remain after death, which were only those of the understanding and not of
the affection; so immortal and incorruptible a thing did knowledge seem
unto them to be.  But we, that know by divine revelation that not only
the understanding but the affections purified, not only the spirit but
the body changed, shall be advanced to immortality, do disclaim in these
rudiments of the senses.  But it must be remembered, both in this last
point, and so it may likewise be needful in other places, that in
probation of the dignity of knowledge or learning, I did in the beginning
separate divine testimony from human, which method I have pursued, and so
handled them both apart.

(7) Nevertheless I do not pretend, and I know it will be impossible for
me, by any pleading of mine, to reverse the judgment, either of Æsop’s
cock, that preferred the barleycorn before the gem; or of Midas, that
being chosen judge between Apollo, president of the Muses, and Pan, god
of the flocks, judged for plenty; or of Paris, that judged for beauty and
love against wisdom and power; or of Agrippina, _occidat matrem_, _modo
imperet_, that preferred empire with any condition never so detestable;
or of Ulysses, _qui vetulam prætulit immortalitati_, being a figure of
those which prefer custom and habit before all excellency, or of a number
of the like popular judgments.  For these things must continue as they
have been; but so will that also continue whereupon learning hath ever
relied, and which faileth not: _Justificata est sapientia a filiis suis_.


                              _To the King_.

1.  IT might seem to have more convenience, though it come often
otherwise to pass (excellent King), that those which are fruitful in
their generations, and have in themselves the foresight of immortality in
their descendants, should likewise be more careful of the good estate of
future times, unto which they know they must transmit and commend over
their dearest pledges.  Queen Elizabeth was a sojourner in the world in
respect of her unmarried life, and was a blessing to her own times; and
yet so as the impression of her good government, besides her happy
memory, is not without some effect which doth survive her.  But to your
Majesty, whom God hath already blessed with so much royal issue, worthy
to continue and represent you for ever, and whose youthful and fruitful
bed doth yet promise many the like renovations, it is proper and
agreeable to be conversant not only in the transitory parts of good
government, but in those acts also which are in their nature permanent
and perpetual.  Amongst the which (if affection do not transport me)
there is not any more worthy than the further endowment of the world with
sound and fruitful knowledge.  For why should a few received authors
stand up like Hercules’ columns, beyond which there should be no sailing
or discovering, since we have so bright and benign a star as your Majesty
to conduct and prosper us?  To return therefore where we left, it
remaineth to consider of what kind those acts are which have been
undertaken and performed by kings and others for the increase and
advancement of learning, wherein I purpose to speak actively, without
digressing or dilating.

2.  Let this ground therefore be laid, that all works are over common by
amplitude of reward, by soundness of direction, and by the conjunction of
labours.  The first multiplieth endeavour, the second preventeth error,
and the third supplieth the frailty of man.  But the principal of these
is direction, for _claudus in via antevertit cursorem extra viam_; and
Solomon excellently setteth it down, “If the iron be not sharp, it
requireth more strength, but wisdom is that which prevaileth,” signifying
that the invention or election of the mean is more effectual than any
enforcement or accumulation of endeavours.  This I am induced to speak,
for that (not derogating from the noble intention of any that have been
deservers towards the state of learning), I do observe nevertheless that
their works and acts are rather matters of magnificence and memory than
of progression and proficience, and tend rather to augment the mass of
learning in the multitude of learned men than to rectify or raise the
sciences themselves.

3.  The works or acts of merit towards learning are conversant about
three objects—the places of learning, the books of learning, and the
persons of the learned.  For as water, whether it be the dew of heaven or
the springs of the earth, doth scatter and leese itself in the ground,
except it be collected into some receptacle where it may by union comfort
and sustain itself; and for that cause the industry of man hath made and
framed springheads, conduits, cisterns, and pools, which men have
accustomed likewise to beautify and adorn with accomplishments of
magnificence and state, as well as of use and necessity; so this
excellent liquor of knowledge, whether it descend from divine
inspiration, or spring from human sense, would soon perish and vanish to
oblivion, if it were not preserved in books, traditions, conferences, and
places appointed, as universities, colleges, and schools, for the receipt
and comforting of the same.

4.  The works which concern the seats and places of learning are
four—foundations and buildings, endowments with revenues, endowments with
franchises and privileges, institutions and ordinances for government—all
tending to quietness and privateness of life, and discharge of cares and
troubles; much like the stations which Virgil prescribeth for the hiving
of bees:

    “Principio sedes apibus statioque petenda,
    Quo neque sit ventis aditus, &c.”

5.  The works touching books are two—first, libraries, which are as the
shrines where all the relics of the ancient saints, full of true virtue,
and that without delusion or imposture, are preserved and reposed;
secondly, new editions of authors, with more correct impressions, more
faithful translations, more profitable glosses, more diligent
annotations, and the like.

6.  The works pertaining to the persons of learned men (besides the
advancement and countenancing of them in general) are two—the reward and
designation of readers in sciences already extant and invented; and the
reward and designation of writers and inquirers concerning any parts of
learning not sufficiently laboured and prosecuted.

7.  These are summarily the works and acts wherein the merits of many
excellent princes and other worthy personages, have been conversant.  As
for any particular commemorations, I call to mind what Cicero said when
he gave general thanks, _Difficile non aliquem_, _ingratum quenquam
præterire_.  Let us rather, according to the Scriptures, look unto that
part of the race which is before us, than look back to that which is
already attained.

8.  First, therefore, amongst so many great foundations of colleges in
Europe, I find strange that they are all dedicated to professions, and
none left free to arts and sciences at large.  For if men judge that
learning should be referred to action, they judge well; but in this they
fall into the error described in the ancient fable, in which the other
parts of the body did suppose the stomach had been idle, because it
neither performed the office of motion, as the limbs do, nor of sense, as
the head doth; but yet notwithstanding it is the stomach that digesteth
and distributeth to all the rest.  So if any man think philosophy and
universality to be idle studies, he doth not consider that all
professions are from thence served and supplied.  And this I take to be a
great cause that hath hindered the progression of learning, because these
fundamental knowledges have been studied but in passage.  For if you will
have a tree bear more fruit than it hath used to do, it is not anything
you can do to the boughs, but it is the stirring of the earth and putting
new mould about thee roots that must work it.  Neither is it to be
forgotten, that this dedicating of foundations and dotations to
professory learning hath not only had a malign aspect and influence upon
the growth of sciences, but hath also been prejudicial to states, and
governments.  For hence it proceedeth that princes find a solitude in
regard of able men to serve them in causes of estate, because there is no
education collegiate which is free, where such as were so disposed might
give themselves in histories, modern languages, books of policy and civil
discourse, and other the like enablements unto service of estate.

9.  And because founders of colleges do plant, and founders of lectures
do water, it followeth well in order to speak of the defect which is in
public lectures; namely, in the smallness, and meanness of the salary or
reward which in most places is assigned unto them, whether they be
lectures of arts, or of professions.  For it is necessary to the
progression of sciences that readers be of the most able and sufficient
men; as those which are ordained for generating and propagating of
sciences, and not for transitory use.  This cannot be, except their
condition and endowment be such as may content the ablest man to
appropriate his whole labour and continue his whole age in that function
and attendance; and therefore must have a proportion answerable to that
mediocrity or competency of advancement, which may be expected from a
profession or the practice of a profession.  So as, if you will have
sciences flourish, you must observe David’s military law, which was,
“That those which stayed with the carriage should have equal part with
those which were in the action;” else will the carriages be ill attended.
So readers in sciences are indeed the guardians of the stores and
provisions of sciences, whence men in active courses are furnished, and
therefore ought to have equal entertainment with them; otherwise if the
fathers in sciences be of the weakest sort or be ill maintained,

    “Et patrum invalidi referent jejunia nati.”

10.  Another defect I note, wherein I shall need some alchemist to help
me, who call upon men to sell their books, and to build furnaces;
quitting and forsaking Minerva and the Muses as barren virgins, and
relying upon Vulcan.  But certain it is, that unto the deep, fruitful,
and operative study of many sciences, specialty natural philosophy and
physic, books be not only the instrumentals; wherein also the beneficence
of men hath not been altogether wanting.  For we see spheres, globes,
astrolabes, maps, and the like, have been provided as appurtenances to
astronomy and cosmography, as well as books.  We see likewise that some
places instituted for physic have annexed the commodity of gardens for
simples of all sorts, and do likewise command the use of dead bodies for
anatomies.  But these do respect but a few things.  In general, there
will hardly be any main proficience in the disclosing of nature, except
there be some allowance for expenses about experiments; whether they be
experiments appertaining to Vulcanus or Dædalus, furnace or engine, or
any other kind.  And therefore as secretaries and spials of princes and
states bring in bills for intelligence, so you must allow the spials and
intelligencers of nature to bring in their bills; or else you shall be
ill advertised.

11.  And if Alexander made such a liberal assignation to Aristotle of
treasure for the allowance of hunters, fowlers, fishers, and the like,
that he might compile a history of nature, much better do they deserve it
that travail in arts of nature.

12.  Another defect which I note is an intermission or neglect in those
which are governors in universities, of consultation, and in princes or
superior persons, of visitation: to enter into account and consideration,
whether the readings, exercises, and other customs appertaining unto
learning, anciently begun and since continued, be well instituted or no;
and thereupon to ground an amendment or reformation in that which shall
be found inconvenient.  For it is one of your Majesty’s own most wise and
princely maxims, “That in all usages and precedents, the times be
considered wherein they first began; which if they were weak or ignorant,
it derogateth from the authority of the usage, and leaveth it for
suspect.”  And therefore inasmuch as most of the usages and orders of the
universities were derived from more obscure times, it is the more
requisite they be re-examined.  In this kind I will give an instance or
two, for example sake, of things that are the most obvious and familiar.
The one is a matter, which though it be ancient and general, yet I hold
to be an error; which is, that scholars in universities come too soon and
too unripe to logic and rhetoric, arts fitter for graduates than children
and novices.  For these two, rightly taken, are the gravest of sciences,
being the arts of arts; the one for judgment, the other for ornament.
And they be the rules and directions how to set forth and dispose matter:
and therefore for minds empty and unfraught with matter, and which have
not gathered that which Cicero calleth _sylva_ and _supellex_, stuff and
variety, to begin with those arts (as if one should learn to weigh, or to
measure, or to paint the wind) doth work but this effect, that the wisdom
of those arts, which is great and universal, is almost made contemptible,
and is degenerate into childish sophistry and ridiculous affectation.
And further, the untimely learning of them hath drawn on by consequence
the superficial and unprofitable teaching and writing of them, as fitteth
indeed to the capacity of children.  Another is a lack I find in the
exercises used in the universities, which do snake too great a divorce
between invention and memory.  For their speeches are either premeditate,
in _verbis conceptis_, where nothing is left to invention, or merely
extemporal, where little is left to memory.  Whereas in life and action
there is least use of either of these, but rather of intermixtures of
premeditation and invention, notes and memory.  So as the exercise
fitteth not the practice, nor the image the life; and it is ever a true
rule in exercises, that they be framed as near as may be to the life of
practice; for otherwise they do pervert the motions and faculties of the
mind, and not prepare them.  The truth whereof is not obscure, when
scholars come to the practices of professions, or other actions of civil
life; which when they set into, this want is soon found by themselves,
and sooner by others.  But this part, touching the amendment of the
institutions and orders of universities, I will conclude with the clause
of Cæsar’s letter to Oppius and Balbes, _Hoc quemadmodum fieri possit_,
_nonnulla mihi in mentem veniunt_, _et multa reperiri possunt_: _de iis
rebus rgo vos ut cogitationem suscipiatis_.

13.  Another defect which I note ascendeth a little higher than the
precedent.  For as the proficience of learning consisteth much in the
orders and institutions of universities in the same states and kingdoms,
so it would be yet more advanced, if there were more intelligence mutual
between the universities of Europe than now there is.  We see there be
many orders and foundations, which though they be divided under several
sovereignties and territories, yet they take themselves to have a kind of
contract, fraternity, and correspondence one with the other, insomuch as
they have provincials and generals.  And surely as nature createth
brotherhood in families, and arts mechanical contract brotherhoods in
communalties, and the anointment of God superinduceth a brotherhood in
kings and bishops, so in like manner there cannot but be a fraternity in
learning and illumination, relating to that paternity which is attributed
to God, who is called the Father of illuminations or lights.

14.  The last defect which I will note is, that there hath not been, or
very rarely been, any public designation of writers or inquirers
concerning such parts of knowledge as may appear not to have been already
sufficiently laboured or undertaken; unto which point it is an inducement
to enter into a view and examination what parts of learning have been
prosecuted, and what omitted.  For the opinion of plenty is amongst the
causes of want, and the great quantity of books maketh a show rather of
superfluity than lack; which surcharge nevertheless is not to be remedied
by making no more books, but by making more good books, which, as the
serpent of Moses, might devour the serpents of the enchanters.

15.  The removing of all the defects formerly enumerate, except the last,
and of the active part also of the last (which is the designation of
writers), are _opera basilica_; towards which the endeavours of a private
man may be but as an image in a crossway, that may point at the way, but
cannot go it.  But the inducing part of the latter (which is the survey
of learning) may be set forward by private travail.  Wherefore I will now
attempt to make a general and faithful perambulation of learning, with an
inquiry what parts thereof lie fresh and waste, and not improved and
converted by the industry of man, to the end that such a plot made and
recorded to memory may both minister light to any public designation,
and, also serve to excite voluntary endeavours.  Wherein, nevertheless,
my purpose is at this time to note only omissions and deficiences, and
not to make any redargution of errors or incomplete prosecutions.  For it
is one thing to set forth what ground lieth unmanured, and another thing
to correct ill husbandry in that which is manured.

In the handling and undertaking of which work I am not ignorant what it
is that I do now move and attempt, nor insensible of mine own weakness to
sustain my purpose.  But my hope is, that if my extreme love to learning
carry me too far, I may obtain the excuse of affection; for that “It is
not granted to man to love and to be wise.”  But I know well I can use no
other liberty of judgment than I must leave to others; and I for my part
shall be indifferently glad either to perform myself, or accept from
another, that duty of humanity—_Nam qui erranti comiter monstrat viam_,
&c.  I do foresee likewise that of those things which I shall enter and
register as deficiences and omissions, many will conceive and censure
that some of them are already done and extant; others to be but
curiosities, and things of no great use; and others to be of too great
difficulty, and almost impossibility to be compassed and effected.  But
for the two first, I refer myself to the particulars.  For the last,
touching impossibility, I take it those things are to be held possible
which may be done by some person, though not by every one; and which may
be done by many, though not by any one; and which may be done in the
succession of ages, though not within the hourglass of one man’s life;
and which may be done by public designation, though not by private
endeavour.  But, notwithstanding, if any man will take to himself rather
that of Solomon, “_Dicit piger_, _Leo est in via_,” than that of Virgil,
“_Possunt quia posse videntur_,” I shall be content that my labours be
esteemed but as the better sort of wishes; for as it asketh some
knowledge to demand a question not impertinent, so it requireth some
sense to make a wish not absurd.

I. (1) The parts of human learning have reference to the three parts of
man’s understanding, which is the seat of learning: history to his
memory, poesy to his imagination, and philosophy to his reason.  Divine
learning receiveth the same distribution; for, the spirit of man is the
same, though the revelation of oracle and sense be diverse.  So as
theology consisteth also of history of the Church; of parables, which is
divine poesy; and of holy doctrine or precept.  For as for that part
which seemeth supernumerary, which is prophecy, it is but divine history,
which hath that prerogative over human, as the narration may be before
the fact as well as after.

(2) History is natural, civil, ecclesiastical, and literary; whereof the
first three I allow as extant, the fourth I note as deficient.  For no
man hath propounded to himself the general state of learning to be
described and represented from age to age, as many have done the works of
Nature, and the state, civil and ecclesiastical; without which the
history of the world seemeth to me to be as the statue of Polyphemus with
his eye out, that part being wanting which doth most show the spirit and
life of the person.  And yet I am not ignorant that in divers particular
sciences, as of the jurisconsults, the mathematicians, the rhetoricians,
the philosophers, there are set down some small memorials of the schools,
authors, and books; and so likewise some barren relations touching the
invention of arts or usages.  But a just story of learning, containing
the antiquities and originals of knowledges and their sects, their
inventions, their traditions, their diverse administrations and
managings, their flourishings, their oppositions, decays, depressions,
oblivions, removes, with the causes and occasions of them, and all other
events concerning learning, throughout the ages of the world, I may truly
affirm to be wanting; the use and end of which work I do not so much
design for curiosity or satisfaction of those that are the lovers of
learning, but chiefly for a more serious and grave purpose, which is this
in few words, that it will make learned men wise in the use and
administration of learning.  For it is not Saint Augustine’s nor Saint
Ambrose’s works that will make so wise a divine as ecclesiastical history
thoroughly read and observed, and the same reason is of learning.

(3) History of Nature is of three sorts; of Nature in course, of Nature
erring or varying, and of Nature altered or wrought; that is, history of
creatures, history of marvels, and history of arts.  The first of these
no doubt is extant, and that in good perfection; the two latter are
bandied so weakly and unprofitably as I am moved to note them as
deficient.  For I find no sufficient or competent collection of the works
of Nature which have a digression and deflexion from the ordinary course
of generations, productions, and motions; whether they be singularities
of place and region, or the strange events of time and chance, or the
effects of yet unknown properties, or the instances of exception to
general kinds.  It is true I find a number of books of fabulous
experiments and secrets, and frivolous impostures for pleasure and
strangeness; but a substantial and severe collection of the heteroclites
or irregulars of Nature, well examined and described, I find not,
specially not with due rejection of fables and popular errors.  For as
things now are, if an untruth in Nature be once on foot, what by reason
of the neglect of examination, and countenance of antiquity, and what by
reason of the use of the opinion in similitudes and ornaments of speech,
it is never called down.

(4) The use of this work, honoured with a precedent in Aristotle, is
nothing less than to give contentment to the appetite of curious and vain
wits, as the manner of Mirabilaries is to do; but for two reasons, both
of great weight: the one to correct the partiality of axioms and
opinions, which are commonly framed only upon common and familiar
examples; the other because from the wonders of Nature is the nearest
intelligence and passage towards the wonders of art, for it is no more
but by following and, as it were, hounding Nature in her wanderings, to
be able to lead her afterwards to the same place again.  Neither am I of
opinion, in this history of marvels, that superstitious narrations of
sorceries, witchcrafts, dreams, divinations, and the like, where there is
an assurance and clear evidence of the fact, be altogether excluded.  For
it is not yet known in what cases and how far effects attributed to
superstition do participate of natural causes; and, therefore, howsoever
the practice of such things is to be condemned, yet from the speculation
and consideration of them light may be taken, not only for the discerning
of the offences, but for the further disclosing of Nature.  Neither ought
a man to make scruple of entering into these things for inquisition of
truth, as your Majesty hath showed in your own example, who, with the two
clear eyes of religion and natural philosophy, have looked deeply and
wisely into these shadows, and yet proved yourself to be of the nature of
the sun, which passeth through pollutions and itself remains as pure as
before.  But this I hold fit, that these narrations, which have mixture
with superstition, be sorted by themselves, and not to be mingled with
the narrations which are merely and sincerely natural.  But as for the
narrations touching the prodigies and miracles of religions, they are
either not true or not natural; and, therefore, impertinent for the story
of Nature.

(5) For history of Nature, wrought or mechanical, I find some collections
made of agriculture, and likewise of manual arts; but commonly with a
rejection of experiments familiar and vulgar; for it is esteemed a kind
of dishonour unto learning to descend to inquiry or meditation upon
matters mechanical, except they be such as may be thought secrets,
rarities, and special subtleties; which humour of vain and supercilious
arrogancy is justly derided in Plato, where he brings in Hippias, a
vaunting sophist, disputing with Socrates, a true and unfeigned
inquisitor of truth; where, the subject being touching beauty, Socrates,
after his wandering manner of inductions, put first an example of a fair
virgin, and then of a fair horse, and then of a fair pot well glazed,
whereat Hippias was offended, and said, “More than for courtesy’s sake,
he did think much to dispute with any that did allege such base and
sordid instances.”  Whereunto Socrates answereth, “You have reason, and
it becomes you well, being a man so trim in your vestments,” &c., and so
goeth on in an irony.  But the truth is, they be not the highest
instances that give the securest information, as may be well expressed in
the tale so common of the philosopher that, while he gazed upwards to the
stars, fell into the water; for if he had looked down he might have seen
the stars in the water, but looking aloft he could not see the water in
the stars.  So it cometh often to pass that mean and small things
discover great, better than great can discover the small; and therefore
Aristotle noteth well, “That the nature of everything is best seen in his
smallest portions.”  And for that cause he inquireth the nature of a
commonwealth, first in a family, and the simple conjugations of man and
wife, parent and child, master and servant, which are in every cottage.
Even so likewise the nature of this great city of the world, and the
policy thereof, must be first sought in mean concordances and small
portions.  So we see how that secret of Nature, of the turning of iron
touched with the loadstone towards the north, was found out in needles of
iron, not in bars of iron.

(6) But if my judgment be of any weight, the use of history mechanical is
of all others the most radical and fundamental towards natural
philosophy; such natural philosophy as shall not vanish in the fume of
subtle, sublime, or delectable speculation, but such as shall be
operative to the endowment and benefit of man’s life.  For it will not
only minister and suggest for the present many ingenious practices in all
trades, by a connection and transferring of the observations of one art
to the use of another, when the experiences of several mysteries shall
fall under the consideration of one man’s mind; but further, it will give
a more true and real illumination concerning causes and axioms than is
hitherto attained.  For like as a man’s disposition is never well known
till he be 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.

II. (1) For civil history, it is of three kinds; not unfitly to be
compared with the three kinds of pictures or images.  For of pictures or
images we see some are unfinished, some are perfect, and some are
defaced.  So of histories we may find three kinds: memorials, perfect
histories, and antiquities; for memorials are history unfinished, or the
first or rough drafts of history; and antiquities are history defaced, or
some remnants of history which have casually escaped the shipwreck of

(2) Memorials, or preparatory history, are of two sorts; whereof the one
may be termed commentaries, and the other registers.  Commentaries are
they which set down a continuance of the naked events and actions,
without the motives or designs, the counsels, the speeches, the pretexts,
the occasions, and other passages of action.  For this is the true nature
of a commentary (though Cæsar, in modesty mixed with greatness, did for
his pleasure apply the name of a commentary to the best history of the
world).  Registers are collections of public acts, as decrees of council,
judicial proceedings, declarations and letters of estate, orations, and
the like, without a perfect continuance or contexture of the thread of
the narration.

(3) Antiquities, or remnants of history, are, as was said, _tanquam
tabula naufragii_: when industrious persons, by an exact and scrupulous
diligence and observation, out of monuments, names, words, proverbs,
traditions, private records and evidences, fragments of stories, passages
of books that concern not story, and the like, do save and recover
somewhat from the deluge of time.

(4) In these kinds of unperfect histories I do assign no deficience, for
they are _tanquam imperfecte mista_; and therefore any deficience in them
is but their nature.  As for the corruptions and moths of history, which
are epitomes, the use of them deserveth to be banished, as all men of
sound judgment have confessed, as those that have fretted and corroded
the sound bodies of many excellent histories, and wrought them into base
and unprofitable dregs.

(5) History, which may be called just and perfect history, is of three
kinds, according to the object which it propoundeth, or pretendeth to
represent: for it either representeth a time, or a person, or an action.
The first we call chronicles, the second lives, and the third narrations
or relations.  Of these, although the first be the most complete and
absolute kind of history, and hath most estimation and glory, yet the
second excelleth it in profit and use, and the third in verity and
sincerity.  For history of times representeth the magnitude of actions,
and the public faces and deportments of persons, and passeth over in
silence the smaller passages and motions of men and matters.  But such
being the workmanship of God, as He doth hang the greatest weight upon
the smallest wires, _maxima è minimis_, _suspendens_, it comes therefore
to pass, that such histories do rather set forth the pomp of business
than the true and inward resorts thereof.  But lives, if they be well
written, propounding to themselves a person to represent, in whom
actions, both greater and smaller, public and private, have a commixture,
must of necessity contain a more true, native, and lively representation.
So again narrations and relations of actions, as the war of Peloponnesus,
the expedition of Cyrus Minor, the conspiracy of Catiline, cannot but be
more purely and exactly true than histories of times, because they may
choose an argument comprehensible within the notice and instructions of
the writer: whereas he that undertaketh the story of a time, specially of
any length, cannot but meet with many blanks and spaces, which he must be
forced to fill up out of his own wit and conjecture.

(6) For the history of times, I mean of civil history, the providence of
God hath made the distribution.  For it hath pleased God to ordain and
illustrate two exemplar states of the world for arms, learning, moral
virtue, policy, and laws; the state of Græcia and the state of Rome; the
histories whereof occupying the middle part of time, have more ancient to
them histories which may by one common name be termed the antiquities of
the world; and after them, histories which may be likewise called by the
name of modern history.

(7) Now to speak of the deficiences.  As to the heathen antiquities of
the world it is in vain to note them for deficient.  Deficient they are
no doubt, consisting most of fables and fragments; but the deficience
cannot be holpen; for antiquity is like fame, _caput inter nubila
condit_, her head is muffled from our sight.  For the history of the
exemplar states, it is extant in good perfection.  Not but I could wish
there were a perfect course of history for Græcia, from Theseus to
Philopœmen (what time the affairs of Græcia drowned and extinguished in
the affairs of Rome), and for Rome from Romulus to Justinianus, who may
be truly said to be _ultimus Romanorum_.  In which sequences of story the
text of Thucydides and Xenophon in the one, and the texts of Livius,
Polybius, Sallustius, Cæsar, Appianus, Tacitus, Herodianus in the other,
to be kept entire, without any diminution at all, and only to be supplied
and continued.  But this is a matter of magnificence, rather to be
commended than required; and we speak now of parts of learning
supplemental, and not of supererogation.

(8) But for modern histories, whereof there are some few very worthy, but
the greater part beneath mediocrity, leaving the care of foreign stories
to foreign states, because I will not be _curiosus in aliena republica_,
I cannot fail to represent to your Majesty the unworthiness of the
history of England in the main continuance thereof, and the partiality
and obliquity of that of Scotland in the latest and largest author that I
have seen: supposing that it would be honour for your Majesty, and a work
very memorable, if this island of Great Britain, as it is now joined in
monarchy for the ages to come, so were joined in one history for the
times passed, after the manner of the sacred history, which draweth down
the story of the ten tribes and of the two tribes as twins together.  And
if it shall seem that the greatness of this work may make it less exactly
performed, there is an excellent period of a much smaller compass of
time, as to the story of England; that is to say, from the uniting of the
Roses to the uniting of the kingdoms; a portion of time wherein, to my
understanding, there hath been the rarest varieties that in like number
of successions of any hereditary monarchy hath been known.  For it
beginneth with the mixed adoption of a crown by arms and title; an entry
by battle, an establishment by marriage; and therefore times answerable,
like waters after a tempest, full of working and swelling, though without
extremity of storm; but well passed through by the wisdom of the pilot,
being one of the most sufficient kings of all the number.  Then followeth
the reign of a king, whose actions, howsoever conducted, had much
intermixture with the affairs of Europe, balancing and inclining them
variably; in whose time also began that great alteration in the state
ecclesiastical, an action which seldom cometh upon the stage.  Then the
reign of a minor; then an offer of a usurpation (though it was but as
_febris ephemera_).  Then the reign of a queen matched with a foreigner;
then of a queen that lived solitary and unmarried, and yet her government
so masculine, as it had greater impression and operation upon the states
abroad than it any ways received from thence.  And now last, this most
happy and glorious event, that this island of Britain, divided from all
the world, should be united in itself, and that oracle of rest given to
ÆNeas, _antiquam exquirite matrem_, should now be performed and fulfilled
upon the nations of England and Scotland, being now reunited in the
ancient mother name of Britain, as a full period of all instability and
peregrinations.  So that as it cometh to pass in massive bodies, that
they have certain trepidations and waverings before they fix and settle,
so it seemeth that by the providence of God this monarchy, before it was
to settle in your majesty and your generations (in which I hope it is now
established for ever), it had these prelusive changes and varieties.

(9) For lives, I do find strange that these times have so little esteemed
the virtues of the times, as that the writings of lives should be no more
frequent.  For although there be not many sovereign princes or absolute
commanders, and that states are most collected into monarchies, yet are
there many worthy personages that deserve better than dispersed report or
barren eulogies.  For herein the invention of one of the late poets is
proper, and doth well enrich the ancient fiction.  For he feigneth 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 Lathe; 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
consecrate.  And although many men, more mortal in their affections than
in their bodies, do esteem desire of name and memory but as a vanity and

    “Animi nil magnæ laudis egentes;”

which opinion cometh from that root, _Non prius laudes contempsimus_,
_quam laudanda facere desivimus_: yet that will not alter Solomon’s
judgment, _Memoria justi cum laudibus_, _at impiorum nomen putrescet_:
the one flourisheth, the other either consumeth to present oblivion, or
turneth to an ill odour.  And therefore in that style or addition, which
is and hath been long well received and brought in use, _felicis
memoriæ_, _piæ memoriæ_, _bonæ memoriæ_, we do acknowledge that which
Cicero saith, borrowing it from Demosthenes, that _bona fama propria
possessio defunctorum_; which possession I cannot but note that in our
times it lieth much waste, and that therein there is a deficience.

(10) For narrations and relations of particular actions, there were also
to be wished a greater diligence therein; for there is no great action
but hath some good pen which attends it.  And because it is an ability
not common to write a good history, as may well appear by the small
number of them; yet if particularity of actions memorable were but
tolerably reported as they pass, the compiling of a complete history of
times might be the better expected, when a writer should arise that were
fit for it: for the collection of such relations might be as a nursery
garden, whereby to plant a fair and stately garden when time should

(11) There is yet another partition of history which Cornelius Tacitus
maketh, which is not to be forgotten, specially with that application
which he accoupleth it withal, annals and journals: appropriating to the
former matters of estate, and to the latter acts and accidents of a
meaner nature.  For giving but a touch of certain magnificent buildings,
he addeth, _Cum ex dignitate populi Romani repertum sit_, _res illustres
annalibus_, _talia diurnis urbis actis mandare_.  So as there is a kind
of contemplative heraldry, as well as civil.  And as nothing doth
derogate from the dignity of a state more than confusion of degrees, so
it doth not a little imbase the authority of a history to intermingle
matters of triumph, or matters of ceremony, or matters of novelty, with
matters of state.  But the use of a journal hath not only been in the
history of time, but likewise in the history of persons, and chiefly of
actions; for princes in ancient time had, upon point of honour and policy
both, journals kept, what passed day by day.  For we see the chronicle
which was read before Ahasuerus, when he could not take rest, contained
matter of affairs, indeed, but such as had passed in his own time and
very lately before.  But the journal of Alexander’s house expressed every
small particularity, even concerning his person and court; and it is yet
a use well received in enterprises memorable, as expeditions of war,
navigations, and the like, to keep diaries of that which passeth

(12) I cannot likewise be ignorant of a form of writing which some grave
and wise men have used, containing a scattered history of those actions
which they have thought worthy of memory, with politic discourse and
observation thereupon: not incorporate into the history, but separately,
and as the more principal in their intention; which kind of ruminated
history I think more fit to place amongst books of policy, whereof we
shall hereafter speak, than amongst books of history.  For it is the true
office of history to represent the events themselves together with the
counsels, and to leave the observations and conclusions thereupon to the
liberty and faculty of every man’s judgment.  But mixtures are things
irregular, whereof no man can define.

(13) So also is there another kind of history manifoldly mixed, and that
is history of cosmography: being compounded of natural history, in
respect of the regions themselves; of history civil, in respect of the
habitations, regiments, and manners of the people; and the mathematics,
in respect of the climates and configurations towards the heavens: which
part of learning of all others in this latter time hath obtained most
proficience.  For it may be truly affirmed to the honour of these times,
and in a virtuous emulation with antiquity, that this great building of
the world had never through-lights made in it, till the age of us and our
fathers.  For although they had knowledge of the antipodes,

    “Nosque ubi primus equis Oriens afflavit anhelis,
    Illic sera rubens accendit lumina Vesper,”

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 nor 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,” &c.

but likewise _imitabile cælum_; in respect of the many memorable voyages
after the manner of heaven about the globe of the earth.

(14) And this proficience in navigation and discoveries may plant also an
expectation of the further 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 through-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 later times not much
giving place to the former two periods or returns of learning, the one of
the Grecians, the other of the Romans.

III. (1) History ecclesiastical receiveth the same divisions with history
civil: but further 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 movable, 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 that 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.

(2) 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.

(3) 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 has
passed through the labour of many, and therefore I cannot present as

(4) 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, advises, 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
men’s 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 deficiences to
propound concerning them.

(5) 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.

IV. (1) 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
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_, &c.  It is taken in two senses in
respect of words or matter.  In the first sense, it is but a character of
style, 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 styled as well in prose as in verse.

(2) 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 shows 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.

(3) 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
subjects 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 subtle
than the vulgar in that manner) because men in those times wanted both
variety of examples and subtlety 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 rigour, because reason
cannot be so sensible nor examples so fit.

(4) 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 or 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 war against the gods,
the earth their mother in revenge thereof brought forth Fame:

    “Illam terra parens, ira irritat Deorum,
    Extremam, ut perhibent, Cœo Enceladoque soroem,

Expounded that when princes and monarchs have suppressed actual and open
rebels, then the malignity of people (which is the mother of rebellion)
doth bring forth libels and slanders, and taxations of the states, which
is of the same kind with rebellion but more feminine.  So in the fable
that the rest of the gods having conspired to bind Jupiter, Pallas called
Briareus with his hundred hands to his aid: expounded that monarchies
need not fear any curbing of their absoluteness by mighty subjects, as
long as by wisdom they keep the hearts of the people, who will be sure to
come in on their side.  So in the fable that Achilles was brought up
under Chiron, the centaur, who was part a man and part a beast, expounded
ingeniously but corruptly by Machiavel, that it belongeth to the
education and discipline of princes to know as well how to play the part
of a lion in violence, and the fox in guile, as of the man in virtue and
justice.  Nevertheless, in many the like encounters, I do rather think
that the fable was first, and the exposition devised, than that the moral
was first, and thereupon the fable framed; for I find it was an ancient
vanity in Chrysippus, that troubled himself with great contention to
fasten the assertions of the Stoics upon the fictions of the ancient
poets; but yet that all the fables and fictions of the poets were but
pleasure and not figure, I interpose no opinion.  Surely of these poets
which are now extant, even Homer himself (notwithstanding he was made a
kind of scripture by the later schools of the Grecians), yet I should
without any difficulty pronounce that his fables had no such inwardness
in his own meaning.  But what they might have upon a more original
tradition is not easy to affirm, for he was not the inventor of many of

(5) In this third part of learning, which is poesy, I can report no
deficience; 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 philosophers’ 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

V. (1) The knowledge of man is as the waters, some descending from above,
and some springing from beneath: the one informed by the light of nature,
the other inspired by divine revelation.  The light of nature consisteth
in the notions of the mind and the reports of the senses; for as for
knowledge which man receiveth by teaching, it is cumulative and not
original, as in a water that besides his own spring-head is fed with
other springs and streams.  So then, according to these two differing
illuminations or originals, knowledge is first of all divided into
divinity and philosophy.

(2) In philosophy the contemplations of man do either penetrate unto God,
or are circumferred to nature, or are reflected or reverted upon himself.
Out of which several inquiries there do arise three knowledges—divine
philosophy, natural philosophy, and human philosophy or humanity.  For
all things are marked and stamped with this triple character—the power of
God, the difference of nature and the use of man.  But 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 one universal science, by
the name of _philosophia prima_, primitive or summary philosophy, as the
main and common way, before we come where the ways part and divide
themselves; which science whether I should report as deficient or no, I
stand doubtful.  For I find a certain rhapsody of natural theology, and
of divers parts of logic; and of that part of natural philosophy which
concerneth the principles, and of that other part of natural philosophy
which concerneth the soul or spirit—all these strangely commixed and
confused; but being examined, it seemeth to me rather a depredation of
other sciences, advanced and exalted unto some height of terms, than
anything solid or substantive of itself.  Nevertheless I cannot be
ignorant of the distinction which is current, that the same things are
handled but in several respects.  As for example, that logic considereth
of many things as they are in notion, and this philosophy as they are in
nature—the one in appearance, the other in existence; but I find this
difference better made than pursued.  For if they had considered
quantity, similitude, diversity, and the rest of those extern characters
of things, as philosophers, and in nature, their inquiries must of force
have been of a far other kind than they are.  For doth any of them, in
handling quantity, speak of the force of union, how and how far it
multiplieth virtue?  Doth any give the reason why some things in nature
are so common, and in so great mass, and others so rare, and in so small
quantity?  Doth any, in handling similitude and diversity, assign the
cause why iron should not move to iron, which is more like, but move to
the loadstone, which is less like?  Why in all diversities of things
there should be certain participles in nature which are almost ambiguous
to which kind they should be referred?  But there is a mere and deep
silence touching the nature and operation of those common adjuncts of
things, as in nature; and only a resuming and repeating of the force and
use of them in speech or argument.  Therefore, because in a writing of
this nature I avoid all subtlety, my meaning touching this original or
universal philosophy is thus, in a plain and gross description by
negative: “That it be 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.”

(3) Now that there are many of that kind need not be doubted.  For
example: Is not the rule, _Si inœqualibus æqualia addas_, _omnia erunt
inæqualia_, an axiom as well of justice as of the mathematics? and is
there not a true coincidence between commutative and distributive
justice, and arithmetical and geometrical proportion?  Is not that other
rule, _Quæ in eodem tertio conveniunt_, _et inter se conveniunt_, a rule
taken from the mathematics, but so potent in logic as all syllogisms are
built upon it?  Is not the observation, _Omnia mutantur_, _nil interit_,
a contemplation in philosophy thus, that the _quantum_ of nature is
eternal? in natural theology thus, that it requireth the same omnipotency
to make somewhat nothing, which at the first made nothing somewhat?
according to the Scripture, _Didici quod omnia opera_, _quœ fecit Deus_,
_perseverent in perpetuum_; _non possumus eis quicquam addere nec
auferre_.  Is not the ground, which Machiavel wisely and largely
discourseth concerning governments, that the way to establish and
preserve them is to reduce them _ad principia_—a rule in religion and
nature, as well as in civil administration?  Was not the Persian magic a
reduction or correspondence of the principles and architectures of nature
to the rules and policy of governments?  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.”

Are not the organs of the senses of one kind with the organs of
reflection, the eye with a glass, the ear with a cave or strait,
determined and bounded?  Neither are these only similitudes, as men of
narrow observation may conceive them to be, but the same footsteps of
nature, treading or printing upon several subjects or matters.  This
science therefore (as I understand it) I may justly report as deficient;
for I see sometimes the profounder sort of wits, in handling some
particular argument, will now and then draw a bucket of water out of this
well for their present use; but the spring-head thereof seemeth to me not
to have been visited, being of so excellent use both for the disclosing
of nature and the abridgment of art.

VI. (1) This science being therefore first placed as a common parent like
unto Berecynthia, which had so much heavenly issue, _omnes cœlicolas_,
_omnes supera alta tenetes_; we may return to the former distribution of
the three philosophies—divine, natural, and human.  And as concerning
divine philosophy or natural theology, it is that knowledge or rudiment
of knowledge concerning God which may be obtained by the contemplation of
His creatures; which knowledge may be truly termed divine in respect of
the object, and natural in respect of the light.  The bounds of this
knowledge are, that it sufficeth to convince atheism, but not to inform
religion; and therefore there was never miracle wrought by God to convert
an atheist, because the light of nature might have led him to confess a
God; but miracles have been wrought to convert idolaters and the
superstitious, because no light of nature extendeth to declare the will
and true worship of God.  For as all works do show forth the power and
skill of the workman, and not his image, so it is of the works of God,
which do show the omnipotency and wisdom of the Maker, but not His image.
And therefore therein the heathen opinion differeth from the sacred
truth: for they supposed the world to be the image of God, and man to be
an extract or compendious image of the world; but the Scriptures never
vouchsafe to attribute to the world that honour, as to be the image of
God, but only _the work of His hands_; neither do they speak of any other
image of God but man.  Wherefore by the contemplation of nature to induce
and enforce the acknowledgment of God, and to demonstrate His power,
providence, and goodness, is an excellent argument, and hath been
excellently handled by divers, but on the other side, out of the
contemplation of nature, or ground of human knowledges, to induce any
verity or persuasion concerning the points of faith, is in my judgment
not safe; _Da fidei quæ fidei sunt_.  For the heathen themselves conclude
as much in that excellent and divine fable of the golden chain, “That men
and gods were not able to draw Jupiter down to the earth; but,
contrariwise, Jupiter was able to draw them up to heaven.”  So as we
ought not to attempt to draw down or submit the mysteries of God to our
reason, but contrariwise to raise and advance our reason to the divine
truth.  So as in this part of knowledge, touching divine philosophy, I am
so far from noting any deficience, as I rather note an excess; whereunto
I have digressed because of the extreme prejudice which both religion and
philosophy hath received and may receive by being commixed together; as
that which undoubtedly will make an heretical religion, and an imaginary
and fabulous philosophy.

(2) Otherwise it is of the nature of angels and spirits, which is an
appendix of theology, both divine and natural, and is neither inscrutable
nor interdicted.  For although the Scripture saith, “Let no man deceive
you in sublime discourse touching the worship of angels, pressing into
that he knoweth not,” &c., yet notwithstanding if you observe well that
precept, it may appear thereby that there be two things only
forbidden—adoration of them, and opinion fantastical of them, either to
extol them further than appertaineth to the degree of a creature, or to
extol a man’s knowledge of them further than he hath ground.  But the
sober and grounded inquiry, which may arise out of the passages of Holy
Scriptures, or out of the gradations of nature, is not restrained.  So of
degenerate and revolted spirits, the conversing with them or the
employment of them is prohibited, much more any veneration towards them;
but the contemplation or science of their nature, their power, their
illusions, either by Scripture or reason, is a part of spiritual wisdom.
For so the apostle saith, “We are not ignorant of his stratagems.”  And
it is no more unlawful to inquire the nature of evil spirits, than to
inquire the force of poisons in nature, or the nature of sin and vice in
morality.  But this part touching angels and spirits I cannot note as
deficient, for many have occupied themselves in it; I may rather
challenge it, in many of the writers thereof, as fabulous and

VII. (1) Leaving therefore divine philosophy or natural theology (not
divinity or inspired theology, which we reserve for the last of all as
the haven and sabbath of all man’s contemplations) we will now proceed to
natural philosophy.  If then it be true that Democritus said, “That the
truth of nature lieth hid in certain deep mines and caves;” and if it be
true likewise that the alchemists do so much inculcate, that Vulcan is a
second nature, and imitateth that dexterously and compendiously, which
nature worketh by ambages and length of time, it were good to divide
natural philosophy into the mine and the furnace, and to make two
professions or occupations of natural philosophers—some to be pioneers
and some smiths; some to dig, and some to refine and hammer.  And surely
I do best allow of a division of that kind, though in more familiar and
scholastical terms: namely, that these be the two parts of natural
philosophy—the inquisition of causes, and the production of effects;
speculative and operative; natural science, and natural prudence.  For as
in civil matters there is a wisdom of discourse, and a wisdom of
direction; so is it in natural.  And here I will make a request, that for
the latter (or at least for a part thereof) I may revive and reintegrate
the misapplied and abused name of natural magic, which in the true sense
is but natural wisdom, or natural prudence; taken according to the
ancient acception, purged from vanity and superstition.  Now although it
be true, and I know it well, that there is an intercourse between causes
and effects, so as both these knowledges, speculative and operative, have
a great connection between themselves; yet because all true and fruitful
natural philosophy hath a double scale or ladder, ascendent and
descendent, ascending from experiments to the invention of causes, and
descending from causes to the invention of new experiments; therefore I
judge it most requisite that these two parts be severally considered and

(2) Natural science or theory is divided into physic and metaphysic;
wherein I desire it may be conceived that I use the word metaphysic in a
differing sense from that that is received.  And in like manner, I doubt
not but it will easily appear to men of judgment, that in this and other
particulars, wheresoever my conception and notion may differ from the
ancient, yet I am studious to keep the ancient terms.  For hoping well to
deliver myself from mistaking, by the order and perspicuous expressing of
that I do propound, I am otherwise zealous and affectionate to recede as
little from antiquity, either in terms or opinions, as may stand with
truth and the proficience of knowledge.  And herein I cannot a little
marvel at the philosopher Aristotle, that did proceed in such a spirit of
difference and contradiction towards all antiquity; undertaking not only
to frame new words of science at pleasure, but to confound and extinguish
all ancient wisdom; insomuch as he never nameth or mentioneth an ancient
author or opinion, but to confute and reprove; wherein for glory, and
drawing followers and disciples, he took the right course.  For certainly
there cometh to pass, and hath place in human truth, that which was noted
and pronounced in the highest truth:—_Veni in nomine partis_, _nec
recipits me_; _si quis venerit in nomine suo eum recipietis_.  But in
this divine aphorism (considering to whom it was applied, namely, to
antichrist, the highest deceiver), we may discern well that the coming in
a man’s own name, without regard of antiquity or paternity, is no good
sign of truth, although it be joined with the fortune and success of an
_eum recipietis_.  But for this excellent person Aristotle, I will think
of him that he learned that humour of his scholar, with whom it seemeth
he did emulate; the one to conquer all opinions, as the other to conquer
all nations.  Wherein, nevertheless, it may be, he may at some men’s
hands, that are of a bitter disposition, get a like title as his scholar

    “Felix terrarum prædo, non utile mundo
    Editus exemplum, &c.”


    “Felix doctrinæ prædo.”

But to me, on the other side, that do desire as much as lieth in my pen
to ground a sociable intercourse between antiquity and proficience, it
seemeth best to keep way with antiquity _usque ad aras_; and, therefore,
to retain the ancient terms, though I sometimes alter the uses and
definitions, according to the moderate proceeding in civil government;
where, although there be some alteration, yet that holdeth which Tacitus
wisely noteth, _eadem magistratuum vocabula_.

(3) To return, therefore, to the use and acception of the term metaphysic
as I do now understand the word; it appeareth, by that which hath been
already said, that I intend _philosophia prima_, summary philosophy and
metaphysic, which heretofore have been confounded as one, to be two
distinct things.  For the one I have made as a parent or common ancestor
to all knowledge; and the other I have now brought in as a branch or
descendant of natural science.  It appeareth likewise that I have
assigned to summary philosophy the common principles and axioms which are
promiscuous and indifferent to several sciences; I have assigned unto it
likewise the inquiry touching the operation or the relative and adventive
characters of essences, as quantity, similitude, diversity, possibility,
and the rest, with this distinction and provision; that they be handled
as they have efficacy in nature, and not logically.  It appeareth
likewise that natural theology, which heretofore hath been handled
confusedly with metaphysic, I have enclosed and bounded by itself.  It is
therefore now a question what is left remaining for metaphysic; wherein I
may without prejudice preserve thus much of the conceit of antiquity,
that physic should contemplate that which is inherent in matter, and
therefore transitory; and metaphysic that which is abstracted and fixed.
And again, that physic should handle that which supposeth in nature only
a being and moving; and metaphysic should handle that which supposeth
further in nature a reason, understanding, and platform.  But the
difference, perspicuously expressed, is most familiar and sensible.  For
as we divided natural philosophy in general into the inquiry of causes
and productions of effects, so that part which concerneth the inquiry of
causes we do subdivide according to the received and sound division of
causes.  The one part, which is physic, inquireth and handleth the
material and efficient causes; and the other, which is metaphysic,
handleth the formal and final causes.

(4) Physic (taking it according to the derivation, and not according to
our idiom for medicine) is situate in a middle term or distance between
natural history and metaphysic.  For natural history describeth the
variety of things; physic the causes, but variable or respective causes;
and metaphysic the fixed and constant causes.

    “Limus ut hic durescit, et hæc ut cera liquescit,
    Uno eodemque igni.”

Fire is the cause of induration, but respective to clay; fire is the
cause of colliquation, but respective to wax.  But fire is no constant
cause either of induration or colliquation; so then the physical causes
are but the efficient and the matter.  Physic hath three parts, whereof
two respect nature united or collected, the third contemplateth nature
diffused or distributed.  Nature is collected either into one entire
total, or else into the same principles or seeds.  So as the first
doctrine is touching the contexture or configuration of things, as _de
mundo_, _de universitate rerum_.  The second is the doctrine concerning
the principles or originals of things.  The third is the doctrine
concerning all variety and particularity of things; whether it be of the
differing substances, or their differing qualities and natures; whereof
there needeth no enumeration, this part being but as a gloss or
paraphrase that attendeth upon the text of natural history.  Of these
three I cannot report any as deficient.  In what truth or perfection they
are handled, I make not now any judgment; but they are parts of knowledge
not deserted by the labour of man.

(5) For metaphysic, we have assigned unto it the inquiry of formal and
final causes; which assignation, as to the former of them, may seem to be
nugatory and void, because of the received and inveterate opinion, that
the inquisition of man is not competent to find out essential forms or
true differences; of which opinion we will take this hold, that the
invention of forms is of all other parts of knowledge the worthiest to be
sought, if it be possible to be found.  As for the possibility, they are
ill discoverers that think there is no land, when they can see nothing
but sea.  But it is manifest that Plato, in his opinion of ideas, as one
that had a wit of elevation situate as upon a cliff, did descry that
forms were the true object of knowledge; but lost the real fruit of his
opinion, by considering of forms as absolutely abstracted from matter,
and not confined and determined by matter; and so turning his opinion
upon theology, wherewith all his natural philosophy is infected.  But if
any man shall keep a continual watchful and severe eye upon action,
operation, and the use of knowledge, he may advise and take notice what
are the forms, the disclosures whereof are fruitful and important to the
state of man.  For as to the forms of substances (man only except, of
whom it is said, _Formavit hominem de limo terræ_, _et spiravit in faciem
ejus spiraculum vitæ_, and not as of all other creatures, _Producant
aquæ_, _producat terra_), the forms of substances I say (as they are now
by compounding and transplanting multiplied) are so perplexed, as they
are not to be inquired; no more than it were either possible or to
purpose to seek in gross the forms of those sounds which make words,
which by composition and transposition of letters are infinite.  But, on
the other side, to inquire the form of those sounds or voices which make
simple letters is easily comprehensible; and being known induceth and
manifesteth the forms of all words, which consist and are compounded of
them.  In the same manner to inquire the form of a lion, of an oak, of
gold; nay, of water, of air, is a vain pursuit; but to inquire the forms
of sense, of voluntary motion, of vegetation, of colours, of gravity and
levity, of density, of tenuity, of heat, of cold, and all other natures
and qualities, which, like an alphabet, are not many, and of which the
essences (upheld by matter) of all creatures do consist; to inquire, I
say, the true forms of these, is that part of metaphysic which we now
define of.  Not but that physic doth make inquiry and take consideration
of the same natures; but how?  Only as to the material and efficient
causes of them, and not as to the forms.  For example, if the cause of
whiteness in snow or froth be inquired, and it be rendered thus, that the
subtle intermixture of air and water is the cause, it is well rendered;
but, nevertheless, is this the form of whiteness?  No; but it is the
efficient, which is ever but _vehiculum formæ_.  This part of metaphysic
I do not find laboured and performed; whereat I marvel not; because I
hold it not possible to be invented by that course of invention which
hath been used; in regard that men (which is the root of all error) have
made too untimely a departure, and too remote a recess from particulars.

(6) But the use of this part of metaphysic, which I report as deficient,
is of the rest the most excellent in two respects: the one, because it is
the duty and virtue of all knowledge to abridge the infinity of
individual experience, as much as the conception of truth will permit,
and to remedy the complaint of _vita brevis_, _ars longa_; which is
performed by uniting the notions and conceptions of sciences.  For
knowledges are as pyramids, whereof history is the basis.  So of natural
philosophy, the basis is natural history; the stage next the basis is
physic; the stage next the vertical point is metaphysic.  As for the
vertical point, _opus quod operatur Deus à principio usque ad finem_, the
summary law of nature, we know not whether man’s inquiry can attain unto
it.  But these three be the true stages of knowledge, and are to them
that are depraved no better than the giants’ hills:—

    “Ter sunt conati imponere Pelio Ossam,
    Scilicet atque Ossæ frondsum involvere Olympum.”

But to those which refer all things to the glory of God, they are as the
three acclamations, _Sante_, _sancte_, _sancte_! holy in the description
or dilatation of His works; holy in the connection or concatenation of
them; and holy in the union of them in a perpetual and uniform law.  And,
therefore, the speculation was excellent in Parmenides and Plato,
although but a speculation in them, that all things by scale did ascend
to unity.  So then always that knowledge is worthiest which is charged
with least multiplicity, which appeareth to be metaphysic; as that which
considereth the simple forms or differences of things, which are few in
number, and the degrees and co-ordinations whereof make all this variety.
The second respect, which valueth and commendeth this part of metaphysic,
is that it doth enfranchise the power of man unto the greatest liberty
and possibility of works and effects.  For physic carrieth men in narrow
and restrained ways, subject to many accidents and impediments, imitating
the ordinary flexuous courses of nature.  But _latæ undique sunt
sapientibus viæ_; to sapience (which was anciently defined to be _rerum
divinarum et humanarum scientia_) there is ever a choice of means.  For
physical causes give light to new invention in _simili materia_.  But
whosoever knoweth any form, knoweth the utmost possibility of
superinducing that nature upon any variety of matter; and so is less
restrained in operation, either to the basis of the matter, or the
condition of the efficient; which kind of knowledge Solomon likewise,
though in a more divine sense, elegantly describeth: _non arctabuntur
gressus tui_, _et currens non habebis offendiculum_.  The ways of
sapience are not much liable either to particularity or chance.

(7) The second part of metaphysic is the inquiry of final causes, which I
am moved to report not as omitted, but as misplaced.  And yet if it were
but a fault in order, I would not speak of it; for order is matter of
illustration, but pertaineth not to the substance of sciences.  But this
misplacing hath caused a deficience, or at least a great improficience in
the sciences themselves.  For the handling of final causes, mixed with
the rest in physical inquiries, hath intercepted the severe and diligent
inquiry of all real and physical causes, and given men the occasion to
stay upon these satisfactory and specious causes, to the great arrest and
prejudice of further discovery.  For this I find done not only by Plato,
who ever anchoreth upon that shore, but by Aristotle, Galen, and others
which do usually likewise fall upon these flats of discoursing causes.
For to say that “the hairs of the eyelids are for a quickset and fence
about the sight;” or that “the firmness of the skins and hides of living
creatures is to defend them from the extremities of heat or cold;” or
that “the bones are for the columns or beams, whereupon the frames of the
bodies of living creatures are built;” or that “the leaves of trees are
for protecting of the fruit;” or that “the clouds are for watering of the
earth;” or that “the solidness of the earth is for the station and
mansion of living creatures;” and the like, is well inquired and
collected in metaphysic, but in physic they are impertinent.  Nay, they
are, indeed, but _remoras_ and hindrances to stay and slug the ship from
further sailing; and have brought this to pass, that the search of the
physical causes hath been neglected and passed in silence.  And,
therefore, the natural philosophy of Democritus and some others, who did
not suppose a mind or reason in the frame of things, but attributed the
form thereof able to maintain itself to infinite essays or proofs of
Nature, which they term fortune, seemeth to me (as far as I can judge by
the recital and fragments which remain unto us) in particularities of
physical causes more real and better inquired than that of Aristotle and
Plato; whereof both intermingled final causes, the one as a part of
theology, and the other as a part of logic, which were the favourite
studies respectively of both those persons; not because those final
causes are not true and worthy to be inquired, being kept within their
own province, but because their excursions into the limits of physical
causes hath bred a vastness and solitude in that tract.  For otherwise,
keeping their precincts and borders, men are extremely deceived if they
think there is an enmity or repugnancy at all between them.  For the
cause rendered, that “the hairs about the eyelids are for the safeguard
of the sight,” doth not impugn the cause rendered, that “pilosity is
incident to orifices of moisture—_muscosi fontes_, &c.”  Nor the cause
rendered, that “the firmness of hides is for the armour of the body
against extremities of heat or cold,” doth not impugn the cause rendered,
that “contraction of pores is incident to the outwardest parts, in regard
of their adjacence to foreign or unlike bodies;” and so of the rest, both
causes being true and compatible, the one declaring an intention, the
other a consequence only.  Neither doth this call in question or derogate
from Divine Providence, but highly confirm and exalt it.  For as in civil
actions he is the greater and deeper politique that can make other men
the instruments of his will and ends, and yet never acquaint them with
his purpose, so as they shall do it and yet not know what they do, than
he that imparteth his meaning to those he employeth; so is the wisdom of
God more admirable, when Nature intendeth one thing and Providence
draweth forth another, than if He had communicated to particular
creatures and motions the characters and impressions of His Providence.
And thus much for metaphysic; the latter part whereof I allow as extant,
but wish it confined to his proper place.

VIII. (1) Nevertheless, there remaineth yet another part of natural
philosophy, which is commonly made a principal part, and holdeth rank
with physic special and metaphysic, which is mathematic; but I think it
more agreeable to the nature of things, and to the light of order, to
place it as a branch of metaphysic.  For the subject of it being
quantity, not quantity indefinite, which is but a relative, and belongeth
to _philosophia prima_ (as hath been said), but quantity determined or
proportionable, it appeareth to be one of the essential forms of things,
as that that is causative in Nature of a number of effects; insomuch as
we see in the schools both of Democritus and of Pythagoras that the one
did ascribe figure to the first seeds of things, and the other did
suppose numbers to be the principles and originals of things.  And it is
true also that of all other forms (as we understand forms) it is the most
abstracted and separable from matter, and therefore most proper to
metaphysic; which hath likewise been the cause why it hath been better
laboured and inquired than any of the other forms, which are more
immersed in matter.  For it being the nature of the mind of man (to the
extreme prejudice of knowledge) to delight in the spacious liberty of
generalities, as in a champaign region, and not in the inclosures of
particularity, the mathematics of all other knowledge were the goodliest
fields to satisfy that appetite.  But for the placing of this science, it
is not much material: only we have endeavoured in these our partitions to
observe a kind of perspective, that one part may cast light upon another.

(2) The mathematics are either pure or mixed.  To the pure mathematics
are those sciences belonging which handle quantity determinate, merely
severed from any axioms of natural philosophy; and these are two,
geometry and arithmetic, the one handling quantity continued, and the
other dissevered.  Mixed hath for subject some axioms or parts of natural
philosophy, and considereth quantity determined, as it is auxiliary and
incident unto them.  For many parts of Nature can neither be invented
with sufficient subtlety, nor demonstrated with sufficient perspicuity,
nor accommodated unto use with sufficient dexterity, without the aid and
intervening of the mathematics, of which sort are perspective, music,
astronomy, cosmography, architecture, engineery, and divers others.  In
the mathematics I can report no deficience, except it be that men do not
sufficiently understand this excellent use of the pure mathematics, in
that they do remedy and cure many defects in the wit and faculties
intellectual.  For if the wit be too dull, they sharpen it; if too
wandering, they fix it; if too inherent in the sense, they abstract it.
So that as tennis is a game of no use in itself, but of great use in
respect it maketh a quick eye and a body ready to put itself into all
postures, so in the mathematics that use which is collateral and
intervenient is no less worthy than that which is principal and intended.
And as for the mixed mathematics, I may only make this prediction, that
there cannot fail to be more kinds of them as Nature grows further
disclosed.  Thus much of natural science, or the part of Nature

(3) For natural prudence, or the part operative of natural philosophy, we
will divide it into three parts—experimental, philosophical, and magical;
which three parts active have a correspondence and analogy with the three
parts speculative, natural history, physic, and metaphysic.  For many
operations have been invented, sometimes by a casual incidence and
occurrence, sometimes by a purposed experiment; and of those which have
been found by an intentional experiment, some have been found out by
varying or extending the same experiment, some by transferring and
compounding divers experiments the one into the other, which kind of
invention an empiric may manage.  Again, by the knowledge of physical
causes there cannot fail to follow many indications and designations of
new particulars, if men in their speculation will keep one eye upon use
and practice.  But these are but coastings along the shore, _premendo
littus iniquum_; for it seemeth to me there can hardly be discovered any
radical or fundamental alterations and innovations in Nature, either by
the fortune and essays of experiments, or by the light and direction of
physical causes.  If, therefore, we have reported metaphysic deficient,
it must follow that we do the like of natural magic, which hath relation
thereunto.  For as for the natural magic whereof now there is mention in
books, containing certain credulous and superstitious conceits and
observations of sympathies and antipathies, and hidden proprieties, and
some frivolous experiments, strange rather by disguisement than in
themselves, it is as far differing in truth of Nature from such a
knowledge as we require as the story of King Arthur of Britain, or Hugh
of Bourdeaux, differs from Cæsar’s Commentaries in truth of story; for it
is manifest that Cæsar did greater things _de vero_ than those imaginary
heroes were feigned to do.  But he did them not in that fabulous manner.
Of this kind of learning the fable of Ixion was a figure, who designed to
enjoy Juno, the goddess of power, and instead of her had copulation with
a cloud, of which mixture were begotten centaurs and chimeras.  So
whosoever shall entertain high and vaporous imaginations, instead of a
laborious and sober inquiry of truth, shall beget hopes and beliefs of
strange and impossible shapes.  And, therefore, we may note in these
sciences which hold so much of imagination and belief, as this degenerate
natural magic, alchemy, astrology, and the like, that in their
propositions the description of the means is ever more monstrous than the
pretence or end.  For it is a thing more probable that he that knoweth
well the natures of weight, of colour, of pliant and fragile in respect
of the hammer, of volatile and fixed in respect of the fire, and the
rest, may superinduce upon some metal the nature and form of gold by such
mechanic as longeth to the production of the natures afore rehearsed,
than that some grains of the medicine projected should in a few moments
of time turn a sea of quicksilver or other material into gold.  So it is
more probable that he that knoweth the nature of arefaction, the nature
of assimilation of nourishment to the thing nourished, the manner of
increase and clearing of spirits, the manner of the depredations which
spirits make upon the humours and solid parts, shall by ambages of diets,
bathings, anointings, medicines, motions, and the like, prolong life, or
restore some degree of youth or vivacity, than that it can be done with
the use of a few drops or scruples of a liquor or receipt.  To conclude,
therefore, the true natural magic, which is that great liberty and
latitude of operation which dependeth upon the knowledge of forms, I may
report deficient, as the relative thereof is.  To which part, if we be
serious and incline not to vanities and plausible discourse, besides the
deriving and deducing the operations themselves from metaphysic, there
are pertinent two points of much purpose, the one by way of preparation,
the other by way of caution.  The first is, that there be made a
calendar, resembling an inventory of the estate of man, containing all
the inventions (being the works or fruits of Nature or art) which are now
extant, and whereof man is already possessed; out of which doth naturally
result a note what things are yet held impossible, or not invented, which
calendar will be the more artificial and serviceable if to every reputed
impossibility you add what thing is extant which cometh the nearest in
degree to that impossibility; to the end that by these optatives and
potentials man’s inquiry may be the more awake in deducing direction of
works from the speculation of causes.  And secondly, that these
experiments be not only esteemed which have an immediate and present use,
but those principally which are of most universal consequence for
invention of other experiments, and those which give most light to the
invention of causes; for the invention of the mariner’s needle, which
giveth the direction, is of no less benefit for navigation than the
invention of the sails which give the motion.

(4) Thus have I passed through natural philosophy and the deficiences
thereof; wherein if I have differed from the ancient and received
doctrines, and thereby shall move contradiction, for my part, as I affect
not to dissent, so I purpose not to contend.  If it be truth,

    “Non canimus surdis, respondent omnia sylvæ,”

the voice of Nature will consent, whether the voice of man do or no.  And
as Alexander Borgia was wont to say of the expedition of the French for
Naples, that they came with chalk in their hands to mark up their
lodgings, and not with weapons to fight; so I like better that entry of
truth which cometh peaceably with chalk to mark up those minds which are
capable to lodge and harbour it, than that which cometh with pugnacity
and contention.

(5) But there remaineth a division of natural philosophy according to the
report of the inquiry, and nothing concerning the matter or subject: and
that is positive and considerative, when the inquiry reporteth either an
assertion or a doubt.  These doubts or _non liquets_ are of two sorts,
particular and total.  For the first, we see a good example thereof in
Aristotle’s Problems which deserved to have had a better continuance; but
so nevertheless as there is one point whereof warning is to be given and
taken.  The registering of doubts hath two excellent uses: the one, that
it saveth philosophy from errors and falsehoods; when that which is not
fully appearing is not collected into assertion, whereby error might draw
error, but reserved in doubt; the other, that the entry of doubts are as
so many suckers or sponges to draw use of knowledge; insomuch as that
which if doubts had not preceded, a man should never have advised, but
passed it over without note, by the suggestion and solicitation of doubts
is made to be attended and applied.  But both these commodities do
scarcely countervail and inconvenience, which will intrude itself if it
be not debarred; which is, that when a doubt is once received, men labour
rather how to keep it a doubt still, than how to solve it, and
accordingly bend their wits.  Of this we see the familiar example in
lawyers and scholars, both which, if they have once admitted a doubt, it
goeth ever after authorised for a doubt.  But that use of wit and
knowledge is to be allowed, which laboureth to make doubtful things
certain, and not those which labour to make certain things doubtful.
Therefore these calendars of doubts I commend as excellent things; so
that there he this caution used, that when they be thoroughly sifted and
brought to resolution, they be from thenceforth omitted, discarded, and
not continued to cherish and encourage men in doubting.  To which
calendar of doubts or problems I advise be annexed another calendar, as
much or more material which is a calendar of popular errors: I mean
chiefly in natural history, such as pass in speech and conceit, and are
nevertheless apparently detected and convicted of untruth, that man’s
knowledge be not weakened nor embased by such dross and vanity.  As for
the doubts or _non liquets_ general or in total, I understand those
differences of opinions touching the principles of nature, and the
fundamental points of the same, which have caused the diversity of sects,
schools, and philosophies, as that of Empedocles, Pythagoras, Democritus,
Parmenides, and the rest.  For although Aristotle, as though he had been
of the race of the Ottomans, thought he could not reign except the first
thing he did he killed all his brethren; yet to those that seek truth and
not magistrality, it cannot but seem a matter of great profit, to see
before them the several opinions touching the foundations of nature.  Not
for any exact truth that can be expected in those theories; for as the
same phenomena in astronomy are satisfied by this received astronomy of
the diurnal motion, and the proper motions of the planets, with their
eccentrics and epicycles, and likewise by the theory of Copernicus, who
supposed the earth to move, and the calculations are indifferently
agreeable to both, so the ordinary face and view of experience is many
times satisfied by several theories and philosophies; whereas to find the
real truth requireth another manner of severity and attention.  For as
Aristotle saith, that children at the first will call every woman mother,
but afterward they come to distinguish according to truth, so experience,
if it be in childhood, will call every philosophy mother, but when it
cometh to ripeness it will discern the true mother.  So as in the
meantime it is good to see the several glosses and opinions upon Nature,
whereof it may be everyone in some one point hath seen clearer than his
fellows, therefore I wish some collection to be made painfully and
understandingly _de antiquis philosophiis_, out of all the possible light
which remaineth to us of them: which kind of work I find deficient.  But
here I must give warning, that it be done distinctly and severedly; the
philosophies of everyone throughout by themselves, and not by titles
packed and faggoted up together, as hath been done by Plutarch.  For it
is the harmony of a philosophy in itself, which giveth it light and
credence; whereas if it be singled and broken, it will seem more foreign
and dissonant.  For as when I read in Tacitus the actions of Nero or
Claudius, with circumstances of times, inducements, and occasions, I find
them not so strange; but when I read them in Suetonius Tranquillus,
gathered into titles and bundles and not in order of time, they seem more
monstrous and incredible: so is it of any philosophy reported entire, and
dismembered by articles.  Neither do I exclude opinions of latter times
to be likewise represented in this calendar of sects of philosophy, as
that of Theophrastus Paracelsus, eloquently reduced into an harmony by
the pen of Severinus the Dane; and that of Tilesius, and his scholar
Donius, being as a pastoral philosophy, full of sense, but of no great
depth; and that of Fracastorius, who, though he pretended not to make any
new philosophy, yet did use the absoluteness of his own sense upon the
old; and that of Gilbertus our countryman, who revived, with some
alterations and demonstrations, the opinions of Xenophanes; and any other
worthy to be admitted.

(6) Thus have we now dealt with two of the three beams of man’s
knowledge; that is _radius directus_, which is referred to nature,
_radius refractus_, which is referred to God, and cannot report truly
because of the inequality of the medium.  There resteth _radius
reflexus_, whereby man beholdeth and contemplateth himself.

IX. (1) We come therefore now to that knowledge whereunto the ancient
oracle directeth us, which is the knowledge of ourselves; which deserveth
the more accurate handling, by how much it toucheth us more nearly.  This
knowledge, as it is the end and term of natural philosophy in the
intention of man, so notwithstanding it is but a portion of natural
philosophy in the continent of Nature.  And generally let this be a rule,
that all partitions of knowledges be accepted rather for lines and veins
than for sections and separations; and that the continuance and
entireness of knowledge be preserved.  For the contrary hereof hath made
particular sciences to become barren, shallow, and erroneous, while they
have not been nourished and maintained from the common fountain.  So we
see Cicero, the orator, complained of Socrates and his school, that he
was the first that separated philosophy and rhetoric; whereupon rhetoric
became an empty and verbal art.  So we may see that the opinion of
Copernicus, touching the rotation of the earth, which astronomy itself
cannot correct, because it is not repugnant to any of the _phenomena_,
yet natural philosophy may correct.  So we see also that the science of
medicine if it be destituted and forsaken by natural philosophy, it is
not much better than an empirical practice.  With this reservation,
therefore, we proceed to human philosophy or humanity, which hath two
parts: the one considereth man segregate or distributively, the other
congregate or in society; so as human philosophy is either simple and
particular, or conjugate and civil.  Humanity particular consisteth of
the same parts whereof man consisteth: that is, of knowledges which
respect the body, and of knowledges that respect the mind.  But before we
distribute so far, it is good to constitute.  For I do take the
consideration in general, and at large, of human nature to be fit to be
emancipate and made a knowledge by itself, not so much in regard of those
delightful and elegant discourses which have been made of the dignity of
man, of his miseries, of his state and life, and the like adjuncts of his
common and undivided nature; but chiefly in regard of the knowledge
concerning the sympathies and concordances between the mind and body,
which being mixed cannot be properly assigned to the sciences of either.

(2) This knowledge hath two branches: for as all leagues and amities
consist of mutual intelligence and mutual offices, so this league of mind
and body hath these two parts: how the one discloseth the other, and how
the one worketh upon the other; discovery and impression.  The former of
these hath begotten two arts, both of prediction or prenotion; whereof
the one is honoured with the inquiry of Aristotle, and the other of
Hippocrates.  And although they have of later time been used to be
coupled with superstitions and fantastical arts, yet being purged and
restored to their true state, they have both of them a solid ground in
Nature, and a profitable use in life.  The first is physiognomy, which
discovereth the disposition of the mind by the lineaments of the body.
The second is the exposition of natural dreams, which discovereth the
state of the body by the imaginations of the mind.  In the former of
these I note a deficience.  For Aristotle hath very ingeniously and
diligently handled the factures of the body, but not the gestures of the
body, which are no less comprehensible by art, and of greater use and
advantage.  For the lineaments of the body do disclose the disposition
and inclination of the mind in general; but the motions of the
countenance and parts do not only so, but do further disclose the present
humour and state of the mind and will.  For as your majesty saith most
aptly and elegantly, “As the tongue speaketh to the ear so the gesture
speaketh to the eye.”  And, therefore, a number of subtle persons, whose
eyes do dwell upon the faces and fashions of men, do well know the
advantage of this observation, as being most part of their ability;
neither can it be denied, but that it is a great discovery of
dissimulations, and a great direction in business.

(3) The latter branch, touching impression, hath not been collected into
art, but hath been handled dispersedly; and it hath the same relation or
_antistrophe_ that the former hath.  For the consideration is
double—either how and how far the humours and affects of the body do
alter or work upon the mind, or, again, how and how far the passions or
apprehensions of the mind do alter or work upon the body.  The former of
these hath been inquired and considered as a part and appendix of
medicine, but much more as a part of religion or superstition.  For the
physician prescribeth cures of the mind in frenzies and melancholy
passions, and pretendeth also to exhibit medicines to exhilarate the
mind, to control the courage, to clarify the wits, to corroborate the
memory, and the like; but the scruples and superstitions of diet and
other regiment of the body in the sect of the Pythagoreans, in the heresy
of the Manichees, and in the law of Mahomet, do exceed.  So likewise the
ordinances in the ceremonial law, interdicting the eating of the blood
and the fat, distinguishing between beasts clean and unclean for meat,
are many and strict; nay, the faith itself being clear and serene from
all clouds of ceremony, yet retaineth the use of fastlings, abstinences,
and other macerations and humiliations of the body, as things real, and
not figurative.  The root and life of all which prescripts is (besides
the ceremony) the consideration of that dependency which the affections
of the mind are submitted unto upon the state and disposition of the
body.  And if any man of weak judgment do conceive that this suffering of
the mind from the body doth either question the immortality, or derogate
from the sovereignty of the soul, he may be taught, in easy instances,
that the infant in the mother’s womb is compatible with the mother, and
yet separable; and the most absolute monarch is sometimes led by his
servants, and yet without subjection.  As for the reciprocal knowledge,
which is the operation of the conceits and passions of the mind upon the
body, we see all wise physicians, in the prescriptions of their regiments
to their patients, do ever consider _accidentia animi_, as of great force
to further or hinder remedies or recoveries: and more specially it is an
inquiry of great depth and worth concerning imagination, how and how far
it altereth the body proper of the imaginant; for although it hath a
manifest power to hurt, it followeth not it hath the same degree of power
to help.  No more than a man can conclude, that because there be
pestilent airs, able suddenly to kill a man in health, therefore there
should be sovereign airs, able suddenly to cure a man in sickness.  But
the inquisition of this part is of great use, though it needeth, as
Socrates said, “a Delian diver,” being difficult and profound.  But unto
all this knowledge _de communi vinculo_, of the concordances between the
mind and the body, that part of inquiry is most necessary which
considereth of the seats and domiciles which the several faculties of the
mind do take and occupate in the organs of the body; which knowledge hath
been attempted, and is controverted, and deserveth to be much better
inquired.  For the opinion of Plato, who placed the understanding in the
brain, animosity (which he did unfitly call anger, having a greater
mixture with pride) in the heart, and concupiscence or sensuality in the
liver, deserveth not to be despised, but much less to be allowed.  So,
then, we have constituted (as in our own wish and advice) the inquiry
touching human nature entire, as a just portion of knowledge to be
handled apart.

X. (1) The knowledge that concerneth man’s body is divided as the good of
man’s body is divided, unto which it referreth.  The good of man’s body
is of four kinds—health, beauty, strength, and pleasure: so the
knowledges are medicine, or art of cure; art of decoration, which is
called cosmetic; art of activity, which is called athletic; and art
voluptuary, which Tacitus truly calleth _eruditus luxus_.  This subject
of man’s body is, of all other things in nature, most susceptible of
remedy; but then that remedy is most susceptible of error; for the same
subtlety of the subject doth cause large possibility and easy failing,
and therefore the inquiry ought to be the more exact.

(2) To speak, therefore, of medicine, and to resume that we have said,
ascending a little higher: the ancient opinion that man was
_microcosmus_—an abstract or model of the world—hath been fantastically
strained by Paracelsus and the alchemists, as if there were to be found
in man’s body certain correspondences and parallels, which should have
respect to all varieties of things, as stars, planets, minerals, which
are extant in the great world.  But thus much is evidently true, that of
all substances which nature hath produced, man’s body is the most
extremely compounded.  For we see herbs and plants are nourished by earth
and water; beasts for the most part by herbs and fruits; man by the flesh
of beasts, birds, fishes, herbs, grains, fruits, water, and the manifold
alterations, dressings, and preparations of these several bodies before
they come to be his food and aliment.  Add hereunto that beasts have a
more simple order of life, and less change of affections to work upon
their bodies, whereas man in his mansion, sleep, exercise, passions, hath
infinite variations: and it cannot be denied but that the body of man of
all other things is of the most compounded mass.  The soul, on the other
side, is the simplest of substances, as is well expressed:

          “Purumque reliquit
    Æthereum sensum atque auraï simplicis ignem.”

So that it is no marvel though the soul so placed enjoy no rest, if that
principle be true, that _Motus rerum est rapidus extra locum_, _placidus
in loco_.  But to the purpose.  This variable composition of man’s body
hath made it as an instrument easy to distemper; and, therefore, the
poets did well to conjoin music and medicine in Apollo, because the
office of medicine is but to tune this curious harp of man’s body and to
reduce it to harmony.  So, then, the subject being so variable hath made
the art by consequent more conjectural; and the art being conjectural
hath made so much the more place to be left for imposture.  For almost
all other arts and sciences are judged by acts or masterpieces, as I may
term them, and not by the successes and events.  The lawyer is judged by
the virtue of his pleading, and not by the issue of the cause; this
master in this ship is judged by the directing his course aright, and not
by the fortune of the voyage; but the physician, and perhaps this
politique, hath no particular acts demonstrative of his ability, but is
judged most by the event, which is ever but as it is taken: for who can
tell, if a patient die or recover, or if a state be preserved or ruined,
whether it be art or accident?  And therefore many times the impostor is
prized, and the man of virtue taxed.  Nay, we see [the] weakness and
credulity of men is such, as they will often refer a mountebank or witch
before a learned physician.  And therefore the poets were clear-sighted
in discerning this extreme folly when they made Æsculapius and Circe,
brother and sister, both children of the sun, as in the verses—

    “Ipse repertorem medicinæ talis et artis
    Fulmine Phœbigenam Stygias detrusit ad undas.”

And again—

    “Dives inaccessos ubi Solis filia lucos,” &c.

For in all times, in the opinion of the multitude, witches and old women
and impostors, have had a competition with physicians.  And what
followeth?  Even this, that physicians say to themselves, as Solomon
expresseth it upon a higher occasion, “If it befall to me as befalleth to
the fools, why should I labour to be more wise?”  And therefore I cannot
much blame physicians that they use commonly to intend some other art or
practice, which they fancy more than their profession; for you shall have
of them antiquaries, poets, humanists, statesmen, merchants, divines, and
in every of these better seen than in their profession; and no doubt upon
this ground that they find that mediocrity and excellency in their art
maketh no difference in profit or reputation towards their fortune: for
the weakness of patients, and sweetness of life, and nature of hope,
maketh men depend upon physicians with all their defects.  But,
nevertheless, these things which we have spoken of are courses begotten
between a little occasion and a great deal of sloth and default; for if
we will excite and awake our observation, we shall see in familiar
instances what a predominant faculty the subtlety of spirit hath over the
variety of matter or form.  Nothing more variable than faces and
countenances, yet men can bear in memory the infinite distinctions of
them; nay, a painter, with a few shells of colours, and the benefit of
his eye, and habit of his imagination, can imitate them all that ever
have been, are, or may be, if they were brought before him.  Nothing more
variable than voices, yet men can likewise discern them personally: nay,
you shall have a _buffon_ or _pantomimus_ will express as many as he
pleaseth.  Nothing more variable than the differing sounds of words; yet
men have found the way to reduce them to a few simple letters.  So that
it is not the insufficiency or incapacity of man’s mind, but it is the
remote standing or placing thereof that breedeth these mazes and
incomprehensions; for as the sense afar off is full of mistaking, but is
exact at hand, so is it of the understanding, the remedy whereof is, not
to quicken or strengthen the organ, but to go nearer to the object; and
therefore there is no doubt but if the physicians will learn and use the
true approaches and avenues of nature, they may assume as much as the
poet saith:

    “Et quoniam variant morbi, variabimus artes;
    Mille mali species, mille salutis erunt.”

Which that they should do, the nobleness of their art doth deserve: well
shadowed by the poets, in that they made Æsculapius to be the son of
[the] sun, the one being the fountain of life, the other as the
second-stream; but infinitely more honoured by the example of our
Saviour, who made the body of man the object of His miracles, as the soul
was the object of His doctrine.  For we read not that ever He vouchsafed
to do any miracle about honour or money (except that one for giving
tribute to Cæsar), but only about the preserving, sustaining, and healing
the body of man.

(3) Medicine is a science which hath been (as we have said) more
professed than laboured, and yet more laboured than advanced; the labour
having been, in my judgment, rather in circle than in progression.  For I
find much iteration, but small addition.  It considereth causes of
diseases, with the occasions or impulsions; the diseases themselves, with
the accidents; and the cures, with the preservations.  The deficiences
which I think good to note, being a few of many, and those such as are of
a more open and manifest nature, I will enumerate and not place.

(4) The first is the discontinuance of the ancient and serious diligence
of Hippocrates, which used to set down a narrative of the special cases
of his patients, and how they proceeded, and how they were judged by
recovery or death.  Therefore having an example proper in the father of
the art, I shall not need to allege an example foreign, of the wisdom of
the lawyers, who are careful to report new cases and decisions, for the
direction of future judgments.  This continuance of medicinal history I
find deficient; which I understand neither to be so infinite as to extend
to every common case, nor so reserved as to admit none but wonders: for
many things are new in this manner, which are not new in the kind; and if
men will intend to observe, they shall find much worthy to observe.

(5) In the inquiry which is made by anatomy, I find much deficience: for
they inquire of the parts, and their substances, figures, and
collocations; but they inquire not of the diversities of the parts, the
secrecies of the passages, and the seats or nestling of the humours, nor
much of the footsteps and impressions of diseases.  The reason of which
omission I suppose to be, because the first inquiry may be satisfied in
the view of one or a few anatomies; but the latter, being comparative and
casual, must arise from the view of many.  And as to the diversity of
parts, there is no doubt but the facture or framing of the inward parts
is as full of difference as the outward, and in that is the cause
continent of many diseases; which not being observed, they quarrel many
times with the humours, which are not in fault; the fault being in the
very frame and mechanic of the part, which cannot be removed by medicine
alterative, but must be accommodated and palliated by diets and medicines
familiar.  And for the passages and pores, it is true which was anciently
noted, that the more subtle of them appear not in anatomies, because they
are shut and latent in dead bodies, though they be open and manifest in
life: which being supposed, though the inhumanity of _anatomia vivorum_
was by Celsus justly reproved; yet in regard of the great use of this
observation, the inquiry needed not by him so slightly to have been
relinquished altogether, or referred to the casual practices of surgery;
but might have been well diverted upon the dissection of beasts alive,
which notwithstanding the dissimilitude of their parts may sufficiently
satisfy this inquiry.  And for the humours, they are commonly passed over
in anatomies as purgaments; whereas it is most necessary to observe, what
cavities, nests, and receptacles the humours do find in the parts, with
the differing kind of the humour so lodged and received.  And as for the
footsteps of diseases, and their devastations of the inward parts,
impostumations, exulcerations, discontinuations, putrefactions,
consumptions, contractions, extensions, convulsions, dislocations,
obstructions, repletions, together with all preternatural substances, as
stones, carnosities, excrescences, worms, and the like; they ought to
have been exactly observed by multitude of anatomies, and the
contribution of men’s several experiences, and carefully set down both
historically according to the appearances, and artificially with a
reference to the diseases and symptoms which resulted from them, in case
where the anatomy is of a defunct patient; whereas now upon opening of
bodies they are passed over slightly and in silence.

(6) In the inquiry of diseases, they do abandon the cures of many, some
as in their nature incurable, and others as past the period of cure; so
that Sylla and the Triumvirs never proscribed so many men to die, as they
do by their ignorant edicts: whereof numbers do escape with less
difficulty than they did in the Roman prescriptions.  Therefore I will
not doubt to note as a deficience, that they inquire not the perfect
cures of many diseases, or extremities of diseases; but pronouncing them
incurable do enact a law of neglect, and exempt ignorance from discredit.

(7) Nay further, I esteem it the office of a physician not only to
restore health, but to mitigate pain and dolors; and not only when such
mitigation may conduce to recovery, but when it may serve to make a fair
and easy passage.  For it is no small felicity which Augustus Cæsar was
wont to wish to himself, that same _Euthanasia_; and which was specially
noted in the death of Antoninus Pius, whose death was after the fashion,
and semblance of a kindly and pleasant sheep.  So it is written of
Epicurus, that after his disease was judged desperate, he drowned his
stomach and senses with a large draught and ingurgitation of wine;
whereupon the epigram was made, _Hinc Stygias ebrius hausit aquas_; he
was not sober enough to taste any bitterness of the Stygian water.  But
the physicians contrariwise do make a kind of scruple and religion to
stay with the patient after the disease is deplored; whereas in my
judgment they ought both to inquire the skill, and to give the
attendances, for the facilitating and assuaging of the pains and agonies
of death.

(5) In the consideration of the cures of diseases, I find a deficience in
the receipts of propriety, respecting the particular cures of diseases:
for the physicians have frustrated the fruit of tradition and experience
by their magistralities, in adding and taking out and changing _quid pro
qua_ in their receipts, at their pleasures; commanding so over the
medicine, as the medicine cannot command over the disease.  For except it
be treacle and _mithridatum_, and of late _diascordium_, and a few more,
they tie themselves to no receipts severely and religiously.  For as to
the confections of sale which are in the shops, they are for readiness
and not for propriety.  For they are upon general intentions of purging,
opening, comforting, altering, and not much appropriate to particular
diseases.  And this is the cause why empirics and old women are more
happy many times in their cures than learned physicians, because they are
more religious in holding their medicines.  Therefore here is the
deficience which I find, that physicians have not, partly out of their
own practice, partly out of the constant probations reported in books,
and partly out of the traditions of empirics, set down and delivered over
certain experimental medicines for the cure of particular diseases,
besides their own conjectural and magistral descriptions.  For as they
were the men of the best composition in the state of Rome, which either
being consuls inclined to the people, or being tribunes inclined to the
senate; so in the matter we now handle, they be the best physicians,
which being learned incline to the traditions of experience, or being
empirics incline to the methods of learning.

(9) In preparation of medicines I do find strange, specially considering
how mineral medicines have been extolled, and that they are safer for the
outward than inward parts, that no man hath sought to make an imitation
by art of natural baths and medicinable fountains: which nevertheless are
confessed to receive their virtues from minerals; and not so only, but
discerned and distinguished from what particular mineral they receive
tincture, as sulphur, vitriol, steel, or the like; which nature, if it
may be reduced to compositions of art, both the variety of them will be
increased, and the temper of them will be more commanded.

(10) But lest I grow to be more particular than is agreeable either to my
intention or to proportion, I will conclude this part with the note of
one deficience more, which seemeth to me of greatest consequence: which
is, that the prescripts in use are too compendious to attain their end;
for, to my understanding, it is a vain and flattering opinion to think
any medicine can be so sovereign or so happy, as that the receipt or miss
of it can work any great effect upon the body of man.  It were a strange
speech which spoken, or spoken oft, should reclaim a man from a vice to
which he were by nature subject.  It is order, pursuit, sequence, and
interchange of application, which is mighty in nature; which although it
require more exact knowledge in prescribing, and more precise obedience
in observing, yet is recompensed with the magnitude of effects.  And
although a man would think, by the daily visitations of the physicians,
that there were a pursuance in the cure, yet let a man look into their
prescripts and ministrations, and he shall find them but inconstancies
and every day’s devices, without any settled providence or project.  Not
that every scrupulous or superstitious prescript is effectual, no more
than every straight way is the way to heaven; but the truth of the
direction must precede severity of observance.

(11) For cosmetic, it hath parts civil, and parts effeminate: for
cleanness of body was ever esteemed to proceed from a due reverence to
God, to society, and to ourselves.  As for artificial decoration, it is
well worthy of the deficiences which it hath; being neither fine enough
to deceive, nor handsome to use, nor wholesome to please.

(12) For athletic, I take the subject of it largely, that is to say, for
any point of ability whereunto the body of man may be brought, whether it
be of activity, or of patience; whereof activity hath two parts, strength
and swiftness; and patience likewise hath two parts, hardness against
wants and extremities, and endurance of pain or torment; whereof we see
the practices in tumblers, in savages, and in those that suffer
punishment.  Nay, if there be any other faculty which falls not within
any of the former divisions, as in those that dive, that obtain a strange
power of containing respiration, and the like, I refer it to this part.
Of these things the practices are known, but the philosophy that
concerneth them is not much inquired; the rather, I think, because they
are supposed to be obtained, either by an aptness of nature, which cannot
be taught, or only by continual custom, which is soon prescribed which
though it be not true, yet I forbear to note any deficiences; for the
Olympian games are down long since, and the mediocrity of these things is
for use; as for the excellency of them it serveth for the most part but
for mercenary ostentation.

(13) For arts of pleasure sensual, the chief deficience in them is of
laws to repress them.  For as it hath been well observed, that the arts
which flourish in times while virtue is in growth, are military; and
while virtue is in state, are liberal; and while virtue is in
declination, are voluptuary: so I doubt that this age of the world is
somewhat upon the descent of the wheel.  With arts voluptuary I couple
practices joculary; for the deceiving of the senses is one of the
pleasures of the senses.  As for games of recreation, I hold them to
belong to civil life and education.  And thus much of that particular
human philosophy which concerns the body, which is but the tabernacle of
the mind.

XI. (1) For human knowledge which concerns the mind, it hath two parts;
the one that inquireth of the substance or nature of the soul or mind,
the other that inquireth of the faculties or functions thereof.   Unto
the first of these, the considerations of the original of the soul,
whether it be native or adventive, and how far it is exempted from laws
of matter, and of the immortality thereof, and many other points, do
appertain: which have been not more laboriously inquired than variously
reported; so as the travail therein taken seemeth to have been rather in
a maze than in a way.  But although I am of opinion that this knowledge
may be more really and soundly inquired, even in nature, than it hath
been, yet I hold that in the end it must be hounded by religion, or else
it will be subject to deceit and delusion.  For as the substance of the
soul in the creation was not extracted out of the mass of heaven and
earth by the benediction of a _producat_, but was immediately inspired
from God, so it is not possible that it should be (otherwise than by
accident) subject to the laws of heaven and earth, which are the subject
of philosophy; and therefore the true knowledge of the nature and state
of the soul must come by the same inspiration that gave the substance.
Unto this part of knowledge touching the soul there be two appendices;
which, as they have been handled, have rather vapoured forth fables than
kindled truth: divination and fascination.

(2) Divination hath been anciently and fitly divided into artificial and
natural: whereof artificial is, when the mind maketh a prediction by
argument, concluding upon signs and tokens; natural is, when the mind
hath a presention by an internal power, without the inducement of a sign.
Artificial is of two sorts: either when the argument is coupled with a
derivation of causes, which is rational; or when it is only grounded upon
a coincidence of the effect, which is experimental: whereof the latter
for the most part is superstitious, such as were the heathen observations
upon the inspection of sacrifices, the flights of birds, the swarming of
bees; and such as was the Chaldean astrology, and the like.  For
artificial divination, the several kinds thereof are distributed amongst
particular knowledges.  The astronomer hath his predictions, as of
conjunctions, aspects, eclipses, and the like.  The physician hath his
predictions, of death, of recovery, of the accidents and issues of
diseases.  The politique hath his predictions; _O urbem venalem_, _et
cito perituram_, _si emptorem invenerit_! which stayed not long to be
performed, in Sylla first, and after in Cæsar: so as these predictions
are now impertinent, and to be referred over.  But the divination which
springeth from the internal nature of the soul is that which we now speak
of; which hath been made to be of two sorts, primitive and by influxion.
Primitive is grounded upon the supposition that the mind, when it is
withdrawn and collected into itself, and not diffused into the organs of
the body, hath some extent and latitude of prenotion; which therefore
appeareth most in sleep, in ecstasies, and near death, and more rarely in
waking apprehensions; and is induced and furthered by those abstinences
and observances which make the mind most to consist in itself.  By
influxion, is grounded upon the conceit that the mind, as a mirror or
glass, should take illumination from the foreknowledge of God and
spirits: unto which the same regiment doth likewise conduce.  For the
retiring of the mind within itself is the state which is most susceptible
of divine influxions; save that it is accompanied in this case with a
fervency and elevation (which the ancients noted by fury), and not with a
repose and quiet, as it is in the other.

(3) Fascination is the power and act of imagination intensive upon other
bodies than the body of the imaginant, for of that we spake in the proper
place.  Wherein the school of Paracelsus, and the disciples of pretended
natural magic, have been so intemperate, as they have exalted the power
of the imagination to be much one with the power of miracle-working
faith.  Others, that draw nearer to probability, calling to their view
the secret passages of things, and specially of the contagion that
passeth from body to body, do conceive it should likewise be agreeable to
nature that there should be some transmissions and operations from spirit
to spirit without the mediation of the senses; whence the conceits have
grown (now almost made civil) of the mastering spirit, and the force of
confidence, and the like.  Incident unto this is the inquiry how to raise
and fortify the imagination; for if the imagination fortified have power,
then it is material to know how to fortify and exalt it.  And herein
comes in crookedly and dangerously a palliation of a great part of
ceremonial magic.  For it may be pretended that ceremonies, characters,
and charms do work, not by any tacit or sacramental contract with evil
spirits, but serve only to strengthen the imagination of him that useth
it; as images are said by the Roman Church to fix the cogitations and
raise the devotions of them that pray before them.  But for mine own
judgment, if it be admitted that imagination hath power, and that
ceremonies fortify imagination, and that they be used sincerely and
intentionally for that purpose; yet I should hold them unlawful, as
opposing to that first edict which God gave unto man, _In sudore vultus
comedes panem tuum_.  For they propound those noble effects, which God
hath set forth unto man to be bought at the price of labour, to be
attained by a few easy and slothful observances.  Deficiences in these
knowledges I will report none, other than the general deficience, that it
is not known how much of them is verity, and how much vanity.

XII. (1) The knowledge which respecteth the faculties of the mind of man
is of two kinds—the one respecting his understanding and reason, and the
other his will, appetite, and affection; whereof the former produceth
position or decree, the latter action or execution.  It is true that the
imagination is an agent or _nuncius_ in both provinces, both the judicial
and the ministerial.  For sense sendeth over to imagination before reason
have judged, and reason sendeth over to imagination before the decree can
be acted.  For imagination ever precedeth voluntary motion.  Saving that
this Janus of imagination hath differing faces: for the face towards
reason hath the print of truth, but the face towards action hath the
print of good; which nevertheless are faces,

    “Quales decet esse sororum.”

Neither is the imagination simply and only a messenger; but is invested
with, or at least wise usurpeth no small authority in itself, besides the
duty of the message.  For it was well said by Aristotle, “That the mind
hath over the body that commandment, which the lord hath over a bondman;
but that reason hath over the imagination that commandment which a
magistrate hath over a free citizen,” who may come also to rule in his
turn.  For we see that, in matters of faith and religion, we raise our
imagination above our reason, which is the cause why religion sought ever
access to the mind by similitudes, types, parables, visions, dreams.  And
again, in all persuasions that are wrought by eloquence, and other
impressions of like nature, which do paint and disguise the true
appearance of things, the chief recommendation unto reason is from the
imagination.  Nevertheless, because I find not any science that doth
properly or fitly pertain to the imagination, I see no cause to alter the
former division.  For as for poesy, it is rather a pleasure or play of
imagination than a work or duty thereof.  And if it be a work, we speak
not now of such parts of learning as the imagination produceth, but of
such sciences as handle and consider of the imagination.  No more than we
shall speak now of such knowledges as reason produceth (for that
extendeth to all philosophy), but of such knowledges as do handle and
inquire of the faculty of reason: so as poesy had his true place.  As for
the power of the imagination in nature, and the manner of fortifying the
same, we have mentioned it in the doctrine _De Anima_, whereunto most
fitly it belongeth.  And lastly, for imaginative or insinuative reason,
which is the subject of rhetoric, we think it best to refer it to the
arts of reason.  So therefore we content ourselves with the former
division, that human philosophy, which respecteth the faculties of the
mind of man, hath two parts, rational and moral.

(2) The part of human philosophy which is rational is of all knowledges,
to the most wits, the least delightful, and seemeth but a net of subtlety
and spinosity.  For as it was truly said, that knowledge is _pabulum
animi_; so in the nature of men’s appetite to this food most men are of
the taste and stomach of the Israelites in the desert, that would fain
have returned _ad ollas carnium_, and were weary of manna; which, though
it were celestial, yet seemed less nutritive and comfortable.  So
generally men taste well knowledges that are drenched in flesh and blood,
civil history, morality, policy, about the which men’s affections,
praises, fortunes do turn and are conversant.  But this same _lumen
siccum_ doth parch and offend most men’s watery and soft natures.  But to
speak truly of things as they are in worth, rational knowledges are the
keys of all other arts, for as Aristotle saith aptly and elegantly, “That
the hand is the instrument of instruments, and the mind is the form of
forms;” so these be truly said to be the art of arts.  Neither do they
only direct, but likewise confirm and strengthen; even as the habit of
shooting doth not only enable to shoot a nearer shoot, but also to draw a
stronger bow.

(3) The arts intellectual are four in number, divided according to the
ends whereunto they are referred—for man’s labour is to invent that which
is sought or propounded; or to judge that which is invented; or to retain
that which is judged; or to deliver over that which is retained.  So as
the arts must be four—art of inquiry or invention; art of examination or
judgment; art of custody or memory; and art of elocution or tradition.

XIII. (1) Invention is of two kinds much differing—the one of arts and
sciences, and the other of speech and arguments.  The former of these I
do report deficient; which seemeth to me to be such a deficience as if,
in the making of an inventory touching the state of a defunct, it should
be set down that there is no ready money.  For as money will fetch all
other commodities, so this knowledge is that which should purchase all
the rest.  And like as the West Indies had never been discovered if the
use of the mariner’s needle had not been first discovered, though the one
be vast regions, and the other a small motion; so it cannot be found
strange if sciences be no further discovered, if the art itself of
invention and discovery hath been passed over.

(2) That this part of knowledge is wanting, to my judgment standeth
plainly confessed; for first, logic doth not pretend to invent sciences,
or the axioms of sciences, but passeth it over with a _cuique in sua arte
credendum_.  And Celsus acknowledgeth it gravely, speaking of the
empirical and dogmatical sects of physicians, “That medicines and cures
were first found out, and then after the reasons and causes were
discoursed; and not the causes first found out, and by light from them
the medicines and cures discovered.”  And Plato in his “Theætetus” noteth
well, “That particulars are infinite, and the higher generalities give no
sufficient direction; and that the pith of all sciences, which maketh the
artsman differ from the inexpert, is in the middle propositions, which in
every particular knowledge are taken from tradition and experience.”  And
therefore we see, that they which discourse of the inventions and
originals of things refer them rather to chance than to art, and rather
to beasts, birds, fishes, serpents, than to men.

    “Dictamnum genetrix Cretæa carpit ab Ida,
    Puberibus caulem foliis et flore camantem
    Purpureo; non illa feris incognita capris
    Gramina, cum tergo volucres hæsere sagittæ.”

So that it was no marvel (the manner of antiquity being to consecrate
inventors) that the Egyptians had so few human idols in their temples,
but almost all brute:

    “Omnigenumque Deum monstra, et latrator Anubis,
    Contra Neptunum, et Venerem, contraque Minervam, &c.”

And if you like better the tradition of the Grecians, and ascribe the
first inventions to men, yet you will rather believe that Prometheus
first stroke the flints, and marvelled at the spark, than that when he
first stroke the flints he expected the spark; and therefore we see the
West Indian Prometheus had no intelligence with the European, because of
the rareness with them of flint, that gave the first occasion.  So as it
should seem, that hitherto men are rather beholden to a wild goat for
surgery, or to a nightingale for music, or to the ibis for some part of
physic, or to the pot-lid that flew open for artillery, or generally to
chance or anything else than to logic for the invention of arts and
sciences.  Neither is the form of invention which Virgil describeth much

    “Ut varias usus meditande extunderet artes

For if you observe the words well, it is no other method than that which
brute beasts are capable of, and do put in ure; which is a perpetual
intending or practising some one thing, urged and imposed by an absolute
necessity of conservation of being.  For so Cicero saith very truly,
_Usus uni rei deditus et naturam et artem sæpe vincit_.  And therefore if
it be said of men,

          “Labor omnia vincit
    Improbus, et duris urgens in rebus egestas,”

it is likewise said of beasts, _Quis psittaco docuit suum χαιρε_?  Who
taught the raven in a drought to throw pebbles into a hollow tree, where
she spied water, that the water might rise so as she might come to it?
Who taught the bee to sail through such a vast sea or air, and to find
the way from a field in a flower a great way off to her hive?  Who taught
the ant to bite every grain of corn that she burieth in her hill, lest it
should take root and grow?  Add then the word _extundere_, which
importeth the extreme difficulty, and the word _paulatim_, which
importeth the extreme slowness, and we are where we were, even amongst
the Egyptians’ gods; there being little left to the faculty of reason,
and nothing to the duty or art, for matter of invention.

(3) Secondly, the induction which the logicians speak of, and which
seemeth familiar with Plato, whereby the principles of sciences may be
pretended to be invented, and so the middle propositions by derivation
from the principles; their form of induction, I say, is utterly vicious
and incompetent; wherein their error is the fouler, because it is the
duty of art to perfect and exalt nature; but they contrariwise have
wronged, abused, and traduced nature.  For he that shall attentively
observe how the mind doth gather this excellent dew of knowledge, like
unto that which the poet speaketh of, _Aërei mellis cælestia dona_,
distilling and contriving it out of particulars natural and artificial,
as the flowers of the field and garden, shall find that the mind of
herself by nature doth manage and act an induction much better than they
describe it.  For to conclude upon an enumeration of particulars, without
instance contradictory, is no conclusion, but a conjecture; for who can
assure (in many subjects) upon those particulars which appear of a side,
that there are not other on the contrary side which appear not?  As if
Samuel should have rested upon those sons of Jesse which were brought
before him, and failed of David which was in the field.  And this form
(to say truth), is so gross, as it had not been possible for wits so
subtle as have managed these things to have offered it to the world, but
that they hasted to their theories and dogmaticals, and were imperious
and scornful toward particulars; which their manner was to use but as
_lictores_ and _viatores_, for sergeants and whifflers, _ad summovendam
turbam_, to make way and make room for their opinions, rather than in
their true use and service.  Certainly it is a thing may touch a man with
a religious wonder, to see how the footsteps of seducement are the very
same in divine and human truth; for, as in divine truth man cannot endure
to become as a child, so in human, they reputed the attending the
inductions (whereof we speak), as if it were a second infancy or

(4) Thirdly, allow some principles or axioms were rightly induced, yet,
nevertheless, certain it is that middle propositions cannot be deduced
from them in subject of nature by syllogism—that is, by touch and
reduction of them to principles in a middle term.  It is true that in
sciences popular, as moralities, laws, and the like, yea, and divinity
(because it pleaseth God to apply Himself to the capacity of the
simplest), that form may have use; and in natural philosophy likewise, by
way of argument or satisfactory reason, _Quæ assensum parit operis effæta
est_; but the subtlety of nature and operations will not be enchained in
those bonds.  For arguments consist of propositions, and propositions of
words, and words are but the current tokens or marks of popular notions
of things; which notions, if they be grossly and variably collected out
of particulars, it is not the laborious examination either of
consequences of arguments, or of the truth of propositions, that can ever
correct that error, being (as the physicians speak) in the first
digestion.  And, therefore, it was not without cause, that so many
excellent philosophers became sceptics and academics, and denied any
certainty of knowledge or comprehension; and held opinion that the
knowledge of man extended only to appearances and probabilities.  It is
true that in Socrates it was supposed to be but a form of irony,
_Scientiam dissimulando simulavit_; for he used to disable his knowledge,
to the end to enhance his knowledge; like the humour of Tiberius in his
beginnings, that would reign, but would not acknowledge so much.  And in
the later academy, which Cicero embraced, this opinion also of
_acatalepsia_ (I doubt) was not held sincerely; for that all those which
excelled in copy of speech seem to have chosen that sect, as that which
was fittest to give glory to their eloquence and variable discourses;
being rather like progresses of pleasure than journeys to an end.  But
assuredly many scattered in both academies did hold it in subtlety and
integrity.  But here was their chief error: they charged the deceit upon
the senses; which in my judgment (notwithstanding all their cavillations)
are very sufficient to certify and report truth, though not always
immediately, yet by comparison, by help of instrument, and by producing
and urging such things as are too subtle for the sense to some effect
comprehensible by the sense, and other like assistance.  But they ought
to have charged the deceit upon the weakness of the intellectual powers,
and upon the manner of collecting and concluding upon the reports of the
senses.  This I speak, not to disable the mind of man, but to stir it up
to seek help; for no man, be he never so cunning or practised, can make a
straight line or perfect circle by steadiness of hand, which may be
easily done by help of a ruler or compass.

(5) This part of invention, concerning the invention of sciences, I
purpose (if God give me leave) hereafter to propound, having digested it
into two parts: whereof the one I term _experientia literata_, and the
other _interpretatio naturæ_; the former being but a degree and rudiment
of the latter.  But I will not dwell too long, nor speak too great upon a

(6) The invention of speech or argument is not properly an invention; for
to invent is to discover that we know not, and not to recover or resummon
that which we already know; and the use of this invention is no other
but, out of the knowledge whereof our mind is already possessed to draw
forth or call before us that which may be pertinent to the purpose which
we take into our consideration.  So as to speak truly, it is no
invention, but a remembrance or suggestion, with an application; which is
the cause why the schools do place it after judgment, as subsequent and
not precedent.  Nevertheless, because we do account it a chase as well of
deer in an enclosed park as in a forest at large, and that it hath
already obtained the name, let it be called invention; so as it be
perceived and discerned, that the scope and end of this invention is
readiness and present use of our knowledge, and not addition or
amplification thereof.

(7) To procure this ready use of knowledge there are two courses,
preparation and suggestion.  The former of these seemeth scarcely a part
of knowledge, consisting rather of diligence than of any artificial
erudition.  And herein Aristotle wittily, but hurtfully, doth deride the
sophists near his time, saying, “They did as if one that professed the
art of shoemaking should not teach how to make up a shoe, but only
exhibit in a readiness a number of shoes of all fashions and sizes.”  But
yet a man might reply, that if a shoemaker should have no shoes in his
shop, but only work as he is bespoken, he should be weakly customed.  But
our Saviour, speaking of divine knowledge, saith, “That the kingdom of
heaven is like a good householder, that bringeth forth both new and old
store;” and we see the ancient writers of rhetoric do give it in precept,
that pleaders should have the places, whereof they have most continual
use, ready handled in all the variety that may be; as that, to speak for
the literal interpretation of the law against equity, and contrary; and
to speak for presumptions and inferences against testimony, and contrary.
And Cicero himself, being broken unto it by great experience, delivereth
it plainly, that whatsoever a man shall have occasion to speak of (if he
will take the pains), he may have it in effect premeditate and handled
_in thesi_.  So that when he cometh to a particular he shall have nothing
to do, but to put to names, and times, and places, and such other
circumstances of individuals.  We see likewise the exact diligence of
Demosthenes; who, in regard of the great force that the entrance and
access into causes hath to make a good impression, had ready framed a
number of prefaces for orations and speeches.  All which authorities and
precedents may overweigh Aristotle’s opinion, that would have us change a
rich wardrobe for a pair of shears.

(8) But the nature of the collection of this provision or preparatory
store, though it be common both to logic and rhetoric, yet having made an
entry of it here, where it came first to be spoken of, I think fit to
refer over the further handling of it to rhetoric.

(9) The other part of invention, which I term suggestion, doth assign and
direct us to certain marks, or places, which may excite our mind to
return and produce such knowledge as it hath formerly collected, to the
end we may make use thereof.  Neither is this use (truly taken) only to
furnish argument to dispute, probably with others, but likewise to
minister unto our judgment to conclude aright within ourselves.  Neither
may these places serve only to apprompt our invention, but also to direct
our inquiry.  For a faculty of wise interrogating is half a knowledge.
For as Plato saith, “Whosoever seeketh, knoweth that which he seeketh for
in a general notion; else how shall he know it when he hath found it?”
And, therefore, the larger your anticipation is, the more direct and
compendious is your search.  But the same places which will help us what
to produce of that which we know already, will also help us, if a man of
experience were before us, what questions to ask; or, if we have books
and authors to instruct us, what points to search and revolve; so as I
cannot report that this part of invention, which is that which the
schools call topics, is deficient.

(10) Nevertheless, topics are of two sorts, general and special.  The
general we have spoken to; but the particular hath been touched by some,
but rejected generally as inartificial and variable.  But leaving the
humour which hath reigned too much in the schools (which is, to be vainly
subtle in a few things which are within their command, and to reject the
rest), I do receive particular topics; that is, places or directions of
invention and inquiry in every particular knowledge, as things of great
use, being mixtures of logic with the matter of sciences.  For in these
it holdeth _ars inveniendi adolescit cum inventis_; for as in going of a
way, we do not only gain that part of the way which is passed, but we
gain the better sight of that part of the way which remaineth, so every
degree of proceeding in a science giveth a light to that which followeth;
which light, if we strengthen by drawing it forth into questions or
places of inquiry, we do greatly advance our pursuit.

XIV. (1) Now we pass unto the arts of judgment, which handle the natures
of proofs and demonstrations, which as to induction hath a coincidence
with invention; for all inductions, whether in good or vicious form, the
same action of the mind which inventeth, judgeth—all one as in the sense.
But otherwise it is in proof by syllogism, for the proof being not
immediate, but by mean, the invention of the mean is one thing, and the
judgment of the consequence is another; the one exciting only, the other
examining.  Therefore, for the real and exact form of judgment, we refer
ourselves to that which we have spoken of interpretation of Nature.

(2) For the other judgment by syllogism, as it is a thing most agreeable
to the mind of man, so it hath been vehemently end excellently laboured.
For the nature of man doth extremely covet to have somewhat in his
understanding fixed and unmovable, and as a rest and support of the mind.
And, therefore, as Aristotle endeavoureth to prove, that in all motion
there is some point quiescent; and as he elegantly expoundeth the ancient
fable of Atlas (that stood fixed, and bare up the heaven from falling) to
be meant of the poles or axle-tree of heaven, whereupon the conversion is
accomplished, so assuredly men have a desire to have an Atlas or
axle-tree within to keep them from fluctuation, which is like to a
perpetual peril of falling.  Therefore men did hasten to set down some
principles about which the variety of their disputatious might turn.

(3) So, then, this art of judgment is but the reduction of propositions
to principles in a middle term.  The principles to be agreed by all and
exempted from argument; the middle term to be elected at the liberty of
every man’s invention; the reduction to be of two kinds, direct and
inverted: the one when the proposition is reduced to the principle, which
they term a probation ostensive; the other, when the contradictory of the
proposition is reduced to the contradictory of the principle, which is
that which they call _per incommodum_, or pressing an absurdity; the
number of middle terms to be as the proposition standeth degrees more or
less removed from the principle.

(4) But this art hath two several methods of doctrine, the one by way of
direction, the other by way of caution: the former frameth and setteth
down a true form of consequence, by the variations and deflections from
which errors and inconsequences may be exactly judged.  Toward the
composition and structure of which form it is incident to handle the
parts thereof, which are propositions, and the parts of propositions,
which are simple words.  And this is that part of logic which is
comprehended in the Analytics.

(5) The second method of doctrine was introduced for expedite use and
assurance sake, discovering the more subtle forms of sophisms and
illaqueations with their redargutions, which is that which is termed
_elenches_.  For although in the more gross sorts of fallacies it
happeneth (as Seneca maketh the comparison well) as in juggling feats,
which, though we know not how they are done, yet we know well it is not
as it seemeth to be; yet the more subtle sort of them doth not only put a
man besides his answer, but doth many times abuse his judgment.

(6) This part concerning _elenches_ is excellently handled by Aristotle
in precept, but more excellently by Plato in example; not only in the
persons of the sophists, but even in Socrates himself, who, professing to
affirm nothing, but to infirm that which was affirmed by another, hath
exactly expressed all the forms of objection, fallace, and redargution.
And although we have said that the use of this doctrine is for
redargution, yet it is manifest the degenerate and corrupt use is for
caption and contradiction, which passeth for a great faculty, and no
doubt is of very great advantage, though the difference be good which was
made between orators and sophisters, that the one is as the greyhound,
which hath his advantage in the race, and the other as the hare, which
hath her advantage in the turn, so as it is the advantage of the weaker

(7) But yet further, this doctrine of elenches hath a more ample latitude
and extent than is perceived; namely, unto divers parts of knowledge,
whereof some are laboured and other omitted.  For first, I conceive
(though it may seem at first somewhat strange) that that part which is
variably referred, sometimes to logic, sometimes to metaphysic, touching
the common adjuncts of essences, is but an _elenche_; for the great
sophism of all sophisms being equivocation or ambiguity of words and
phrase, specially of such words as are most general and intervene in
every inquiry, it seemeth to me that the true and fruitful use (leaving
vain subtleties and speculations) of the inquiry of majority, minority,
priority, posteriority, identity, diversity, possibility, act, totality,
parts, existence, privation, and the like, are but wise cautions against
ambiguities of speech.  So, again, the distribution of things into
certain tribes, which we call categories or predicaments, are but
cautions against the confusion of definitions and divisions.

(8) Secondly, there is a seducement that worketh by the strength of the
impression, and not by the subtlety of the illaqueation—not so much
perplexing the reason, as overruling it by power of the imagination.  But
this part I think more proper to handle when I shall speak of rhetoric.

(9) But lastly, there is yet a much more important and profound kind of
fallacies in the mind of man, which I find not observed or inquired at
all, and think good to place here, as that which of all others
appertaineth most to rectify judgment, the force whereof is such as it
doth not dazzle or snare the understanding in some particulars, but doth
more generally and inwardly infect and corrupt the state thereof.  For
the mind of man is far from the nature of a clear and equal glass,
wherein the beams of things should reflect according to their true
incidence; nay, it is rather like an enchanted glass, full of
superstition and imposture, if it be not delivered and reduced.  For this
purpose, let us consider the false appearances that are imposed upon us
by the general nature of the mind, beholding them in an example or two;
as first, in that instance which is the root of all superstition, namely,
that to the nature of the mind of all men it is consonant for the
affirmative or active to affect more than the negative or privative.  So
that a few times hitting or presence countervails ofttimes failing or
absence, as was well answered by Diagoras to him that showed him in
Neptune’s temple the great number of pictures of such as had escaped
shipwreck, and had paid their vows to Neptune, saying, “Advise now, you
that think it folly to invocate Neptune in tempest.”  “Yea, but,” saith
Diagoras, “where are they painted that are drowned?”  Let us behold it in
another instance, namely, that the spirit of man, being of an equal and
uniform substance, doth usually suppose and feign in nature a greater
equality and uniformity than is in truth.  Hence it cometh that the
mathematicians cannot satisfy themselves except they reduce the motions
of the celestial bodies to perfect circles, rejecting spiral lines, and
labouring to be discharged of eccentrics.  Hence it cometh that whereas
there are many things in Nature as it were _monodica_, _sui juris_, yet
the cogitations of man do feign unto them relatives, parallels, and
conjugates, whereas no such thing is; as they have feigned an element of
fire to keep square with earth, water, and air, and the like.  Nay, it is
not credible, till it be opened, what a number of fictions and fantasies
the similitude of human actions and arts, together with the making of man
_communis mensura_, have brought into natural philosophy; not much better
than the heresy of the Anthropomorphites, bred in the cells of gross and
solitary monks, and the opinion of Epicurus, answerable to the same in
heathenism, who supposed the gods to be of human shape.  And, therefore,
Velleius the Epicurean needed not to have asked why God should have
adorned the heavens with stars, as if He had been an _ædilis_, one that
should have set forth some magnificent shows or plays.  For if that great
Work-master had been of a human disposition, He would have cast the stars
into some pleasant and beautiful works and orders like the frets in the
roofs of houses; whereas one can scarce find a posture in square, or
triangle, or straight line, amongst such an infinite number, so differing
a harmony there is between the spirit of man and the spirit of Nature.

(10) Let us consider again the false appearances imposed upon us by every
man’s own individual nature and custom in that feigned supposition that
Plato maketh of the cave; for certainly if a child were continued in a
grot or cave under the earth until maturity of age, and came suddenly
abroad, he would have strange and absurd imaginations.  So, in like
manner, although our persons live in the view of heaven, yet our spirits
are included in the caves of our own complexions and customs, which
minister unto us infinite errors and vain opinions if they be not
recalled to examination.  But hereof we have given many examples in one
of the errors, or peccant humours, which we ran briefly over in our first

(11) And lastly, let us consider the false appearances that are imposed
upon us by words, which are framed and applied according to the conceit
and capacities of the vulgar sort; and although we think we govern our
words, and prescribe it well _loquendum ut vulgus sentiendum ut
sapientes_, yet certain it is that words, as a Tartar’s bow, do shoot
back upon the understanding of the wisest, and mightily entangle and
pervert the judgment.  So as it is almost necessary in all controversies
and disputations to imitate the wisdom of the mathematicians, in setting
down in the very beginning the definitions of our words and terms, that
others may know how we accept and understand them, and whether they
concur with us or no.  For it cometh to pass, for want of this, that we
are sure to end there where we ought to have begun, which is, in
questions and differences about words.  To conclude, therefore, it must
be confessed that it is not possible to divorce ourselves from these
fallacies and false appearances because they are inseparable from our
nature and condition of life; so yet, nevertheless, the caution of them
(for all elenches, as was said, are but cautions) doth extremely import
the true conduct of human judgment.  The particular elenches or cautions
against these three false appearances I find altogether deficient.

(12) There remaineth one part of judgment of great excellency which to
mine understanding is so slightly touched, as I may report that also
deficient; which is the application of the differing kinds of proofs to
the differing kinds of subjects.  For there being but four kinds of
demonstrations, that is, by the immediate consent of the mind or sense,
by induction, by syllogism, and by congruity, which is that which
Aristotle calleth demonstration in orb or circle, and not _a notioribus_,
every of these hath certain subjects in the matter of sciences, in which
respectively they have chiefest use; and certain others, from which
respectively they ought to be excluded; and the rigour and curiosity in
requiring the more severe proofs in some things, and chiefly the facility
in contenting ourselves with the more remiss proofs in others, hath been
amongst the greatest causes of detriment and hindrance to knowledge.  The
distributions and assignations of demonstrations according to the analogy
of sciences I note as deficient.

XV. (1) The custody or retaining of knowledge is either in writing or
memory; whereof writing hath two parts, the nature of the character and
the order of the entry.  For the art of characters, or other visible
notes of words or things, it hath nearest conjugation with grammar, and,
therefore, I refer it to the due place; for the disposition and
collocation of that knowledge which we preserve in writing, it consisteth
in a good digest of common-places, wherein I am not ignorant of the
prejudice imputed to the use of common-place books, as causing a
retardation of reading, and some sloth or relaxation of memory.  But
because it is but a counterfeit thing in knowledges to be forward and
pregnant, except a man be deep and full, I hold the entry of
common-places to be a matter of great use and essence in studying, as
that which assureth copy of invention, and contracteth judgment to a
strength.  But this is true, that of the methods of common-places that I
have seen, there is none of any sufficient worth, all of them carrying
merely the face of a school and not of a world; and referring to vulgar
matters and pedantical divisions, without all life or respect to action.

(2) For the other principal part of the custody of knowledge, which is
memory, I find that faculty in my judgment weakly inquired of.  An art
there is extant of it; but it seemeth to me that there are better
precepts than that art, and better practices of that art than those
received.  It is certain the art (as it is) may be raised to points of
ostentation prodigious; but in use (as is now managed) it is barren, not
burdensome, nor dangerous to natural memory, as is imagined, but barren,
that is, not dexterous to be applied to the serious use of business and
occasions.  And, therefore, I make no more estimation of repeating a
great number of names or words upon once hearing, or the pouring forth of
a number of verses or rhymes _extempore_, or the making of a satirical
simile of everything, or the turning of everything to a jest, or the
falsifying or contradicting of everything by cavil, or the like (whereof
in the faculties of the mind there is great copy, and such as by device
and practice may be exalted to an extreme degree of wonder), than I do of
the tricks of tumblers, funambuloes, baladines; the one being the same in
the mind that the other is in the body, matters of strangeness without

(3) This art of memory is but built upon two intentions; the one
prenotion, the other emblem.  Prenotion dischargeth the indefinite
seeking of that we would remember, and directeth us to seek in a narrow
compass, that is, somewhat that hath congruity with our place of memory.
Emblem reduceth conceits intellectual to images sensible, which strike
the memory more; out of which axioms may be drawn much better practice
than that in use; and besides which axioms, there are divers more
touching help of memory not inferior to them.  But I did in the beginning
distinguish, not to report those things deficient, which are but only ill

XVI. (1) There remaineth the fourth kind of rational knowledge, which is
transitive, concerning the expressing or transferring our knowledge to
others, which I will term by the general name of tradition or delivery.
Tradition hath three parts: the first concerning the organ of tradition;
the second concerning the method of tradition; and the third concerning
the illustration of tradition.

(2) For the organ of tradition, it is either speech or writing; for
Aristotle saith well, “Words are the images of cogitations, and letters
are the images of words.”  But yet it is not of necessity that
cogitations be expressed by the medium of words.  For whatsoever is
capable of sufficient differences, and those perceptible by the sense, is
in nature competent to express cogitations.  And, therefore, we see in
the commerce of barbarous people that understand not one another’s
language, and in the practice of divers that are dumb and deaf, that
men’s minds are expressed in gestures, though not exactly, yet to serve
the turn.  And we understand further, that it is the use of China and the
kingdoms of the High Levant to write in characters real, which express
neither letters nor words in gross, but things or notions; insomuch as
countries and provinces which understand not one another’s language can
nevertheless read one another’s writings, because the characters are
accepted more generally than the languages do extend; and, therefore,
they have a vast multitude of characters, as many, I suppose, as radical

(3) These notes of cogitations are of two sorts: the one when the note
hath some similitude or congruity with the notion; the other _ad
placitum_, having force only by contract or acceptation.  Of the former
sort are hieroglyphics and gestures.  For as to hieroglyphics (things of
ancient use and embraced chiefly by the Egyptians, one of the most
ancient nations), they are but as continued impresses and emblems.  And
as for gestures, they are as transitory hieroglyphics, and are to
hieroglyphics as words spoken are to words written, in that they abide
not; but they have evermore, as well as the other, an affinity with the
things signified.  As Periander, being consulted with how to preserve a
tyranny newly usurped, bid the messenger attend and report what he saw
him do; and went into his garden and topped all the highest flowers,
signifying that it consisted in the cutting off and keeping low of the
nobility and grandees.  _Ad placitum_, are the characters real before
mentioned, and words: although some have been willing by curious inquiry,
or rather by apt feigning, to have derived imposition of names from
reason and intendment; a speculation elegant, and, by reason it searcheth
into antiquity, reverent, but sparingly mixed with truth, and of small
fruit.  This portion of knowledge touching the notes of things and
cogitations in general, I find not inquired, but deficient.  And although
it may seem of no great use, considering that words and writings by
letters do far excel all the other ways; yet because this part
concerneth, as it were, the mint of knowledge (for words are the tokens
current and accepted for conceits, as moneys are for values, and that it
is fit men be not ignorant that moneys may be of another kind than gold
and silver), I thought good to propound it to better inquiry.

(4) Concerning speech and words, the consideration of them hath produced
the science of grammar.  For man still striveth to reintegrate himself in
those benedictions, from which by his fault he hath been deprived; and as
he hath striven against the first general curse by the invention of all
other arts, so hath he sought to come forth of the second general curse
(which was the confusion of tongues) by the art of grammar; whereof the
use in a mother tongue is small, in a foreign tongue more; but most in
such foreign tongues as have ceased to be vulgar tongues, and are turned
only to learned tongues.  The duty of it is of two natures: the one
popular, which is for the speedy and perfect attaining languages, as well
for intercourse of speech as for understanding of authors; the other
philosophical, examining the power and nature of words, as they are the
footsteps and prints of reason: which kind of analogy between words and
reason is handled _sparsim_, brokenly though not entirely; and,
therefore, I cannot report it deficient, though I think it very worthy to
be reduced into a science by itself.

(5) Unto grammar also belongeth, as an appendix, the consideration of the
accidents of words; which are measure, sound, and elevation or accent,
and the sweetness and harshness of them: whence hath issued some curious
observations in rhetoric, but chiefly poesy, as we consider it, in
respect of the verse and not of the argument.  Wherein though men in
learned tongues do tie themselves to the ancient measures, yet in modern
languages it seemeth to me as free to make new measures of verses as of
dances; for a dance is a measured pace, as a verse is a measured speech.
In these things this sense is better judge than the art:

       “Cœnæ fercula nostræ
    Mallem convivis quam placuisse cocis.”

And of the servile expressing antiquity in an unlike and an unfit
subject, it is well said, “_Quod tempore antiquum videtur_, _id
incongruitate est maxime novum_.”

(6) 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, wheel-ciphers, 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 quintuple 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
use.  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.

(7) 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.

XVII. (1) 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.

(2) 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.

(3) 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.

(4) 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 is less matter for the shaft or body
of the tree, so you look well to the taking 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 use nor put in
inquisition, and therefore note it for deficient.

(5) 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.

(6) 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.

(7) 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 connection and order is
cut off; descriptions of practice are cut off.  So there remaineth
nothing to fill the aphorisms but some good quantity of observation; 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 further; whereas methods, carrying the
show of a total, do secure men, as if they were at furthest.

(8) 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 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 disputatious and doubts.

(9) Another diversity of method 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 moved,
touching a 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 I do allow likewise of particular
methods of tradition.

(10) 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.

(11) 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

(12) But unto this part of knowledge, concerning method, doth further
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 propositions—Καθολον πρωτον, κυτα παντος &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.

(13) 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 Καθαυτο; 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 certainty 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 practice than an
Ortelius’ universal map is to direct the way between London and York.
The better sort of rules have been not unfitly compared 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.

(14) 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 everything, but nothing of

XVIII. (1) 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 rhetoric 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 deficiences 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.

(2)  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
by passions.  Neither is the nature of man so unfortunately built, as
that those powers and arts 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 oblique_, for

(3) And therefore it was great injustice in Plato, though springing out
of a just hatred to 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 subtlety 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.

(4) 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 seditious 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 affections themselves carry ever an appetite to good,
as reason doth.  The 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.

(5) 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 speech, they leese
the volubility of application; and therefore 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.

(6) Now therefore will I descend to the deficiences, which, as I said,
are but attendances; and first, I do not find the wisdom and diligence of
Aristotle well pursued, who began to make a collection of the popular
signs and colours of good and evil, both simple and comparative, which
are as the sophisms of rhetoric (as I touched before).  For example—


    Quod laudatur, bonum: quod vituperatur, malum.


    Laudat venales qui vult extrudere merces.”

_Malum est_, _malum est_ (_inquit emptor_): _sed cum recesserit_, _tum
gloriabitur_!  The defects in the labour of Aristotle are three—one, that
there be but a few of many; another, that there elenches 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”—

    “Hoc Ithacus velit, et magno mercentur Atridæ.”

than by hearing it said only, “This is evil for you.”

(7) 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_.

(8) _Antitheta_ are theses argued _pro et contra_, wherein men may be
more large and laborious; but (in such as are able to do it) to avoid
prolixity of entry, I wish the seeds of the several arguments to be cast
up into some brief and acute sentences, not to be cited, but to be as
skeins or bottoms of thread, to be unwinded at large when they come to be
used; supplying authorities and examples by reference.

       “_Pro verbis legis_.
    Non est interpretatio, sed divinatio, quæ recedit a litera:
    Cum receditur a litera, judex transit in legislatorem.

       _Pro sententia legis_.
    Ex omnibus verbis est eliciendus sensus qui interpretatur singula.”

(9) _Formulæ_ are but decent and apt passages or conveyances of speech,
which may serve indifferently for differing subjects; as of preface,
conclusion, digression, transition, excusation, &c.  For as in buildings
there is great pleasure and use in the well casting of the staircases,
entries, doors, windows, and the like; so in speech, the conveyances and
passages are of special ornament and effect.

    “_A conclusion in a deliberative_.
    So may we redeem the faults passed, and prevent the inconveniences

XIX. (1) 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

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

(2) For pedantical knowledge, it containeth that difference of tradition
which is proper for youth; whereunto appertain divers considerations of
great fruit.

As first, the timing and seasoning of knowledges; 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 apt and proper for what sciences.

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 as there is a great judgment to be had in
the continuance and intermission of exercises.  It were too long to
particularise 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 followed, so
the culture and manurance of minds in youth hath such a forcible (though
unseen) operation, as hardly any length of time or contention of labour
can countervail it afterwards.  And it is not amiss to observe also how
small and mean faculties gotten by education, yet when they fall into
great men or great matters, do work great and important effects: whereof
we see a notable example in Tacitus of two stage players, Percennius and
Vibulenus, who by their faculty of playing put the Pannonian armies into
an extreme tumult and combustion.  For there arising a mutiny amongst
them upon the death of Augustus Cæsar, Blæsus the lieutenant had
committed some of the mutineers, which were suddenly rescued; whereupon
Vibulenus got to be heard speak, which he did in this manner:—“These poor
innocent wretches appointed to cruel death, you have restored to behold
the light; but who shall restore my brother to me, or life unto my
brother, that was sent hither in message from the legions of Germany, to
treat of the common cause? and he hath murdered him this last night by
some of his fencers and ruffians, that he hath about him 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, command me to be slain
besides him; so that these my 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.

(3) 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 estate should sort his papers, it
is like in his study or general cabinet he would sort together things of
a nature, as treaties, 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 deficiences did by consequence alter the partitions of
the rest.  For let the knowledge extant (for demonstration sake) be
fifteen.  Let the knowledge with the deficiences 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.

XX. (1) We proceed now to that knowledge which considereth of the
appetite and will of man: whereof Solomon saith, _Ante omnia_, _fili_,
_custodi cor tuum_: _nam inde procedunt actiones vitæ_.  In the handling
of this science, those which have written seem to me to have done as if a
man, that professed to teach to write, did only exhibit fair copies of
alphabets and letters joined, without giving any precepts or directions
for the carriage of the hand and framing of the letters.  So have they
made good and fair exemplars and copies, carrying the draughts and
portraitures of good, virtue, duty, felicity; propounding them well
described as the true objects and scopes of man’s will and desires.  But
how to attain these excellent marks, and how to frame and subdue the will
of man to become true and conformable to these pursuits, they pass it
over altogether, or slightly and unprofitably.  For it is not the
disputing that moral virtues are in the mind of man by habit and not by
nature, or the distinguishing that generous spirits are won by doctrines
and persuasions, and the vulgar sort by reward and punishment, and the
like scattered glances and touches, that can excuse the absence of this

(2) The reason of this omission I suppose 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 and
common matters, the judicious direction whereof nevertheless is the
wisest doctrine (for life consisteth not in novelties nor subtleties),
but contrariwise they have compounded sciences chiefly of a certain
resplendent or lustrous mass of matter, chosen to give glory either to
the subtlety of disputatious, or to the eloquence of discourses.  But
Seneca giveth an excellent check to eloquence, _Nocet illis eloquentia_,
_quibus non rerum cupiditatem facit_, _sed sui_.  Doctrine should be such
as should make men in love with the lesson, and not with the teacher;
being directed to the auditor’s benefit, and not to the author’s
commendation.  And therefore those are of the right kind which may be
concluded as Demosthenes concludes his counsel, _Quæ si feceritis_, _non
oratorem dumtaxat in præsentia laudabitis_, _sed vosmetipsos etiam non
ita multo post statu rerum vestraram meliore_.

(3) Neither needed men of so excellent parts to have despaired of a
fortune, which the poet Virgil promised himself, and indeed obtained, who
got as much glory of eloquence, wit, and learning in the expressing of
the observations of husbandry, as of the heroical acts of Æneas:

    “Nec sum animi dubius, verbis ea vincere magnum
    Quam sit, et angustis his addere rebus honorem.”

And surely, if the purpose be in good earnest, not to write at leisure
that which men may read at leisure, but really to instruct and suborn
action and active life, these Georgics of the mind, concerning the
husbandry and tillage thereof, are no less worthy than the heroical
descriptions of virtue, duty, and felicity.  Wherefore the main and
primitive division of moral knowledge seemeth to be into the exemplar or
platform of good, and the regiment or culture of the mind: the one
describing the nature of good, the other prescribing rules how to subdue,
apply, and accommodate the will of man thereunto.

(4) The doctrine touching the platform or nature of good considereth it
either simple or compared; either the kinds of good, or the degrees of
good; in the latter whereof those infinite disputatious which were
touching the supreme degree thereof, which they term felicity, beatitude,
or the highest good, the doctrines concerning which were as the heathen
divinity, are by the Christian faith discharged.  And as Aristotle saith,
“That young men may be happy, but not otherwise but by hope;” so we must
all acknowledge our minority, and embrace the felicity which is by hope
of the future world.

(5) Freed therefore and delivered from this doctrine of the philosopher’s
heaven, whereby they feigned a higher elevation of man’s nature than was
(for we see in what height of style Seneca writeth, _Vere magnum_,
_habere fragilitatem hominis_, _securitatem Dei_), we may with more
sobriety and truth receive the rest of their inquiries and labours.
Wherein for the nature of good positive or simple, they have set it down
excellently in describing the forms of virtue and duty, with their
situations and postures; in distributing them into their kinds, parts,
provinces, actions, and administrations, and the like: nay further, they
have commended them to man’s nature and spirit with great quickness of
argument and beauty of persuasions; yea, and fortified and entrenched
them (as much as discourse can do) against corrupt and popular opinions.
Again, for the degrees and comparative nature of good, they have also
excellently handled it in their triplicity of good, in the comparisons
between a contemplative and an active life, in the distinction between
virtue with reluctation and virtue secured, in their encounters between
honesty and profit, in their balancing of virtue with virtue, and the
like; so as this part deserveth to be reported for excellently laboured.

(6) Notwithstanding, if before they had come to the popular and received
notions of virtue and vice, pleasure and pain, and the rest, they had
stayed a little longer upon the inquiry concerning the roots of good and
evil, and the strings of those roots, they had given, in my opinion, a
great light to that which followed; and specially if they had consulted
with nature, they had made their doctrines less prolix and more profound:
which being by them in part omitted and in part handled with much
confusion, we will endeavour to resume and open in a more clear manner.

(7) There is formed in everything a double nature of good—the one, as
everything is a total or substantive in itself; the other, as it is a
part or member of a greater body; whereof the latter is in degree the
greater and the worthier, because it tendeth to the conservation of a
more general form.  Therefore we see the iron in particular sympathy
moveth to the loadstone; but yet if it exceed a certain quantity, it
forsaketh the affection to the loadstone, and like a good patriot moveth
to the earth, which is the region and country of massy bodies; so may we
go forward, and see that water and massy bodies move to the centre of the
earth; but rather than to suffer a divulsion in the continuance of
nature, they will move upwards from the centre of the earth, forsaking
their duty to the earth in regard of their duty to the world.  This
double nature of good, and the comparative thereof, is much more engraven
upon man, if he degenerate not, unto whom the conservation of duty to the
public ought to be much more precious than the conservation of life and
being; according to that memorable speech of Pompeius Magnus, when being
in commission of purveyance for a famine at Rome, and being dissuaded
with great vehemency and instance by his friends about him, that he
should not hazard himself to sea in an extremity of weather, he said only
to them, _Necesse est ut eam_, _non ut vivam_.  But it may be truly
affirmed that there was never any philosophy, religion, or other
discipline, which did so plainly and highly exalt the good which is
communicative, and depress the good which is private and particular, as
the Holy Faith; well declaring that it was the same God that gave the
Christian law to men, who gave those laws of nature to inanimate
creatures that we spake of before; for we read that the elected saints of
God have wished themselves anathematised and razed out of the book of
life, in an ecstasy of charity and infinite feeling of communion.

(8) This being set down and strongly planted, doth judge and determine
most of the controversies wherein moral philosophy is conversant.  For
first, it decideth the question touching the preferment of the
contemplative or active life, and decideth it against Aristotle.  For all
the reasons which he bringeth for the contemplative are private, and
respecting the pleasure and dignity of a man’s self (in which respects no
question the contemplative life hath the pre-eminence), not much unlike
to that comparison which Pythagoras made for the gracing and magnifying
of philosophy and contemplation, who being asked what he was, answered,
“That if Hiero were ever at the Olympian games, he knew the manner, that
some came to try their fortune for the prizes, and some came as merchants
to utter their commodities, and some came to make good cheer and meet
their friends, and some came to look on; and that he was one of them that
came to look on.”  But men must know, that in this theatre of man’s life
it is reserved only for God and angels to be lookers on.  Neither could
the like question ever have been received in the Church, notwithstanding
their _Pretiosa in oculis Domini mors sanctorum ejus_, by which place
they would exalt their civil death and regular professions, but upon this
defence, that the monastical life is not simple contemplative, but
performeth the duty either of incessant prayers and supplications, which
hath been truly esteemed as an office in the Church, or else of writing
or taking instructions for writing concerning the law of God, as Moses
did when he abode so long in the mount.  And so we see Enoch, the seventh
from Adam, who was the first contemplative and walked with God, yet did
also endow the Church with prophecy, which Saint Jude citeth.  But for
contemplation which should be finished in itself, without casting beams
upon society, assuredly divinity knoweth it not.

(9) It decideth also the controversies between Zeno and Socrates, and
their schools and successions, on the one side, who placed felicity in
virtue simply or attended, the actions and exercises whereof do chiefly
embrace and concern society; and on the other side, the Cyrenaics and
Epicureans, who placed it in pleasure, and made virtue (as it is used in
some comedies of errors, wherein the mistress and the maid change habits)
to be but as a servant, without which pleasure cannot be served and
attended; and the reformed school of the Epicureans, which placed it in
serenity of mind and freedom from perturbation; as if they would have
deposed Jupiter again, and restored Saturn and the first age, when there
was no summer nor winter, spring nor autumn, but all after one air and
season; and Herillus, which placed felicity in extinguishment of the
disputes of the mind, making no fixed nature of good and evil, esteeming
things according to the clearness of the desires, or the reluctation;
which opinion was revived in the heresy of the Anabaptists, measuring
things according to the motions of the spirit, and the constancy or
wavering of belief; all which are manifest to tend to private repose and
contentment, and not to point of society.

(10) It censureth also the philosophy of Epictetus, which presupposeth
that felicity must be placed in those things which are in our power, lest
we be liable to fortune and disturbance; as if it were not a thing much
more happy to fail in good and virtuous ends for the public, than to
obtain all that we can wish to ourselves in our proper fortune: as
Consalvo said to his soldiers, showing them Naples, and protesting he had
rather die one foot forwards, than to have his life secured for long by
one foot of retreat.  Whereunto the wisdom of that heavenly leader hath
signed, who hath affirmed that “a good conscience is a continual feast;”
showing plainly that the conscience of good intentions, howsoever
succeeding, is a more continual joy to nature than all the provision
which can be made for security and repose.

(11) It censureth likewise that abuse of philosophy which grew general
about the time of Epictetus, in converting it into an occupation or
profession; as if the purpose had been, not to resist and extinguish
perturbations, but to fly and avoid the causes of them, and to shape a
particular kind and course of life to that end; introducing such a health
of mind, as was that health of body of which Aristotle speaketh of
Herodicus, who did nothing all his life long but intend his health;
whereas if men refer themselves to duties of society, as that health of
body is best which is ablest to endure all alterations and extremities,
so likewise that health of mind is most proper which can go through the
greatest temptations and perturbations.  So as Diogenes’ opinion is to be
accepted, who commended not them which abstained, but them which
sustained, and could refrain their mind _in præcipitio_, and could give
unto the mind (as is used in horsemanship) the shortest stop or turn.

(12) Lastly, it censureth the tenderness and want of application in some
of the most ancient and reverend philosophers and philosophical men, that
did retire too easily from civil business, for avoiding of indignities
and perturbations; whereas the resolution of men truly moral ought to be
such as the same Consalvo said the honour of a soldier should be, _e telâ
crassiore_, and not so fine as that everything should catch in it and
endanger it.

XXI. (1) To resume private or particular good, it falleth into the
division of good active and passive; for this difference of good (not
unlike to that which amongst the Romans was expressed in the familiar or
household terms of _promus_ and _condus_) is formed also in all things,
and is best disclosed in the two several appetites in creatures; the one
to preserve or continue themselves, and the other to dilate or multiply
themselves, whereof the latter seemeth to be the worthier; for in nature
the heavens, which are the more worthy, are the agent, and the earth,
which is the less worthy, is the patient.  In the pleasures of living
creatures, that of generation is greater than that of food.  In divine
doctrine, _beatius est dare quam accipere_.  And in life, there is no
man’s spirit so soft, but esteemeth the effecting of somewhat that he
hath fixed in his desire, more than sensuality, which priority of the
active good is much upheld by the consideration of our estate to be
mortal and exposed to fortune.  For if we might have a perpetuity and
certainty in our pleasures, the state of them would advance their price.
But when we see it is but _magni æstimamus mori tardius_, and _ne
glorieris de crastino_, _nescis partum diei_, it maketh us to desire to
have somewhat secured and exempted from time, which are only our deeds
and works; as it is said, _Opera eorum sequuntur eos_.  The pre-eminence
likewise of this active good is upheld by the affection which is natural
in man towards variety and proceeding, which in the pleasures of the
sense, which is the principal part of passive good, can have no great
latitude.  _Cogita quamdiu eadem feceris_; _cibus_, _somnus_, _ludus per
hunc circulum curritur_; _mori velle non tantum fortis_, _aut miser_,
_aut prudens_, _sed etiam fastidiosus potest_.  But in enterprises,
pursuits, and purposes of life, there is much variety; whereof men are
sensible with pleasure in their inceptions, progressions, recoils,
reintegrations, approaches and attainings to their ends.  So as it was
well said, _Vita sine proposito languida et vaga est_.  Neither hath this
active good an identity with the good of society, though in some cases it
hath an incidence into it.  For although it do many times bring forth
acts of beneficence, yet it is with a respect private to a man’s own
power, glory, amplification, continuance; as appeareth plainly, when it
findeth a contrary subject.  For that gigantine state of mind which
possesseth the troublers of the world, such as was Lucius Sylla and
infinite other in smaller model, who would have all men happy or unhappy
as they were their friends or enemies, and would give form to the world,
according to their own humours (which is the true theomachy), pretendeth
and aspireth to active good, though it recedeth furthest from good of
society, which we have determined to be the greater.

(2) To resume passive good, it receiveth a subdivision of conservative
and effective.  For let us take a brief review of that which we have
said: we have spoken first of the good of society, the intention whereof
embraceth the form of human nature, whereof we are members and portions,
and not our own proper and individual form; we have spoken of active
good, and supposed it as a part of private and particular good.  And
rightly, for there is impressed upon all things a triple desire or
appetite proceeding from love to themselves: one of preserving and
continuing their form; another of advancing and perfecting their form;
and a third of multiplying and extending their form upon other things:
whereof the multiplying, or signature of it upon other things, is that
which we handled by the name of active good.  So as there remaineth the
conserving of it, and perfecting or raising of it, which latter is the
highest degree of passive good.  For to preserve in state is the less, to
preserve with advancement is the greater.  So in man,

    “Igneus est ollis vigor, et cælestis origo.”

His approach or assumption to divine or angelical nature is the
perfection of his form; the error or false imitation of which good is
that which is the tempest of human life; while man, upon the instinct of
an advancement, formal and essential, is carried to seek an advancement
local.  For as those which are sick, and find no remedy, do tumble up and
down and change place, as if by a remove local they could obtain a remove
internal, so is it with men in ambition, when failing of the mean to
exalt their nature, they are in a perpetual estuation to exalt their
place.  So then passive good is, as was said, either conservative or

(3) To resume the good of conservation or comfort, which consisteth in
the fruition of that which is agreeable to our natures; it seemeth to be
most pure and natural of pleasures, but yet the softest and lowest.  And
this also receiveth a difference, which hath neither been well judged of,
nor well inquired; for the good of fruition or contentment is placed
either in the sincereness of the fruition, or in the quickness and vigour
of it; the one superinduced by equality, the other by vicissitude; the
one having less mixture of evil, the other more impression of good.
Whether of these is the greater good is a question controverted; but
whether man’s nature may not be capable of both is a question not

(4) The former question being debated between Socrates and a sophist,
Socrates placing felicity in an equal and constant peace of mind, and the
sophist in much desiring and much enjoying, they fell from argument to
ill words: the sophist saying that Socrates’ felicity was the felicity of
a block or stone; and Socrates saying that the sophist’s felicity was the
felicity of one that had the itch, who did nothing but itch and scratch.
And both these opinions do not want their supports.  For the opinion of
Socrates is much upheld by the general consent even of the epicures
themselves, that virtue beareth a great part in felicity; and if so,
certain it is, that virtue hath more use in clearing perturbations then
in compassing desires.  The sophist’s opinion is much favoured by the
assertion we last spake of, that good of advancement is greater than good
of simple preservation; because every obtaining a desire hath a show of
advancement, as motion though in a circle hath a show of progression.

(5) But the second question, decided the true way, maketh the former
superfluous.  For can it be doubted, but that there are some who take
more pleasure in enjoying pleasures than some other, and yet,
nevertheless, are less troubled with the loss or leaving of them?  So as
this same, _Non uti ut non appetas_, _non appetere ut non metuas_, _sunt
animi pusilli et diffidentis_.  And it seemeth to me that most of the
doctrines of the philosophers are more fearful and cautious than the
nature of things requireth.  So have they increased the fear of death in
offering to cure it.  For when they would have a man’s whole life to be
but a discipline or preparation to die, they must needs make men think
that it is a terrible enemy, against whom there is no end of preparing.
Better saith the poet:—

    “Qui finem vitæ extremum inter munera ponat

So have they sought to make men’s minds too uniform and harmonical, by
not breaking them sufficiently to contrary motions; the reasons whereof I
suppose to be, because they themselves were men dedicated to a private,
free, and unapplied course of life.  For as we see, upon the lute or like
instrument, a ground, though it be sweet and have show of many changes,
yet breaketh not the hand to such strange and hard stops and passages, as
a set song or voluntary; much after the same manner was the diversity
between a philosophical and civil life.  And, therefore, men are to
imitate the wisdom of jewellers: who, if there be a grain, or a cloud, or
an ice which may be ground forth without taking too much of the stone,
they help it; but if it should lessen and abate the stone too much, they
will not meddle with it: so ought men so to procure serenity as they
destroy not magnanimity.

(6) Having therefore deduced the good of man which is private and
particular, as far as seemeth fit, we will now return to that good of man
which respecteth and beholdeth society, which we may term duty; because
the term of duty is more proper to a mind well framed and disposed
towards others, as the term of virtue is applied to a mind well formed
and composed in itself; though neither can a man understand virtue
without some relation to society, nor duty without an inward disposition.
This part may seem at first to pertain to science civil and politic; but
not if it be well observed.  For it concerneth the regiment and
government of every man over himself, and not over others.  And as in
architecture the direction of framing the posts, beams, and other parts
of building, is not the same with the manner of joining them and erecting
the building; and in mechanicals, the direction how to frame an
instrument or engine is not the same with the manner of setting it on
work and employing it; and yet, nevertheless, in expressing of the one
you incidently express the aptness towards the other; so the doctrine of
conjugation of men in society differeth from that of their conformity

(7) This part of duty is subdivided into two parts: the common duty of
every man, as a man or member of a state; the other, the respective or
special duty of every man in his profession, vocation, and place.  The
first of these is extant and well laboured, as hath been said.  The
second likewise I may report rather dispersed than deficient; which
manner of dispersed writing in this kind of argument I acknowledge to be
best.  For who can take upon him to write of the proper duty, virtue,
challenge, and right of every several vocation, profession, and place?
For although sometimes a looker on may see more than a gamester, and
there be a proverb more arrogant than sound, “That the vale best
discovereth the hill;” yet there is small doubt but that men can write
best and most really and materially in their own professions; and that
the writing of speculative men of active matter for the most part doth
seem to men of experience, as Phormio’s argument of the wars seemed to
Hannibal, to be but dreams and dotage.  Only there is one vice which
accompanieth them that write in their own professions, that they magnify
them in excess.  But generally it were to be wished (as that which would
make learning indeed solid and fruitful) that active men would or could
become writers.

(8) In which kind I cannot but mention, _honoris causa_, your Majesty’s
excellent book touching the duty of a king; a work richly compounded of
divinity, morality, and policy, with great aspersion of all other arts;
and being in some opinion one of the most sound and healthful writings
that I have read: not distempered in the heat of invention, nor in the
coldness of negligence; not sick of dizziness, as those are who leese
themselves in their order, nor of convulsions, as those which cramp in
matters impertinent; not savouring of perfumes and paintings, as those do
who seek to please the reader more than nature beareth; and chiefly well
disposed in the spirits thereof, being agreeable to truth and apt for
action; and far removed from that natural infirmity, whereunto I noted
those that write in their own professions to be subject—which is, that
they exalt it above measure.  For your Majesty hath truly described, not
a king of Assyria or Persia in their extern glory, but a Moses or a
David, pastors of their people.  Neither can I ever leese out of my
remembrance what I heard your Majesty in the same sacred spirit of
government deliver in a great cause of judicature, which was, “That kings
ruled by their laws, as God did by the laws of nature; and ought as
rarely to put in use their supreme prerogative as God doth His power of
working miracles.”  And yet notwithstanding in your book of a free
monarchy, you do well give men to understand, that you know the plenitude
of the power and right of a king, as well as the circle of his office and
duty.  Thus have I presumed to allege this excellent writing of your
Majesty, as a prime or eminent example of tractates concerning special
and respective duties; wherein I should have said as much, if it had been
written a thousand years since.  Neither am I moved with certain courtly
decencies, which esteem it flattery to praise in presence.  No, it is
flattery to praise in absence—that is, when either the virtue is absent,
or the occasion is absent; and so the praise is not natural, but forced,
either in truth or in time.  But let Cicero be read in his oration _pro
Marcello_, which is nothing but an excellent table of Cæsar’s virtue, and
made to his face; besides the example of many other excellent persons,
wiser a great deal than such observers; and we will never doubt, upon a
full occasion, to give just praises to present or absent.

(9) But to return; there belongeth further to the handling of this part,
touching the duties of professions and vocations, a relative or opposite,
touching the frauds, cautels, impostures, and vices of every profession,
which hath been likewise handled; but how? rather in a satire and
cynically, than seriously and wisely; for men have rather sought by wit
to deride and traduce much of that which is good in professions, than
with judgment to discover and sever that which is corrupt.  For, as
Solomon saith, he that cometh to seek after knowledge with a mind to
scorn and censure shall be sure to find matter for his humour, but no
matter for his instruction: _Quærenti derisori scientiam ipsa se
abscondit_; _sed studioso fit obviam_.  But the managing of this argument
with integrity and truth, which I note as deficient, seemeth to me to be
one of the best fortifications for honesty and virtue that can be
planted.  For, as the fable goeth of the basilisk—that if he see you
first, you die for it; but if you see him first, he dieth—so is it with
deceits and evil arts, which, if they be first espied they leese their
life; but if they prevent, they endanger.  So that we are much beholden
to Machiavel and others, that write what men do, and not what they ought
to do.  For it is not possible to join serpentine wisdom with the
columbine innocency, except men know exactly all the conditions of the
serpent; his baseness and going upon his belly, his volubility and
lubricity, his envy and sting, and the rest—that is, all forms and
natures of evil.  For without this, virtue lieth open and unfenced.  Nay,
an honest man can do no good upon those that are wicked, to reclaim them,
without the help of the knowledge of evil.  For men of corrupted minds
presuppose that honesty groweth out of simplicity of manners, and
believing of preachers, schoolmasters, and men’s exterior language.  So
as, except you can make them perceive that you know the utmost reaches of
their own corrupt opinions, they despise all morality.  _Non recipit
stultus verba prudentiæ_, _nisi ea dixeris quæ_, _versantur in corde

(10) Unto this part, touching respective duty, doth also appertain the
duties between husband and wife, parent and child, master and servant.
So likewise the laws of friendship and gratitude, the civil bond of
companies, colleges, and politic bodies, of neighbourhood, and all other
proportionate duties; not as they are parts of government and society,
but as to the framing of the mind of particular persons.

(11) The knowledge concerning good respecting society doth handle it
also, not simply alone, but comparatively; whereunto belongeth the
weighing of duties between person and person, case and case, particular
and public.  As we see in the proceeding of Lucius Brutus against his own
sons, which was so much extolled, yet what was said?

    “Infelix, utcunque ferent ea fata minores.”

So the case was doubtful, and had opinion on both sides.  Again, we see
when M. Brutus and Cassius invited to a supper certain whose opinions
they meant to feel, whether they were fit to be made their associates,
and cast forth the question touching the killing of a tyrant being a
usurper, they were divided in opinion; some holding that servitude was
the extreme of evils, and others that tyranny was better than a civil
war: and a number of the like cases there are of comparative duty.
Amongst which that of all others is the most frequent, where the question
is of a great deal of good to ensue of a small injustice.  Which Jason of
Thessalia determined against the truth: _Aliqua sunt injuste facienda_,
_ut multa juste fieri possint_.  But the reply is good: _Auctorem
præsentis justitiæ habes_, _sponsorem futuræ non habes_.  Men must pursue
things which are just in present, and leave the future to the Divine
Providence.  So then we pass on from this general part touching the
exemplar and description of good.

XXII. (1) Now, therefore, that we have spoken of this fruit of life, it
remaineth to speak of the husbandry that belongeth thereunto, without
which part the former seemeth to be no better than a fair image or
statue, which is beautiful to contemplate, but is without life and
motion; whereunto Aristotle himself subscribeth in these words: _Necesse
est scilicet de virtute dicere_, _et quid sit_, _et ex quibus gignatur_.
_Inutile enum fere fuerit virtutem quidem nosse_, _acquirendæ autem ejus
modos et vias ignorare_.  _Non enum de virtute tantum_, _qua specie sit_,
_quærendum est_, _sed et quomodo sui copiam faciat_: _utrumque enum
volumeus_, _et rem ipsam nosse_, _et ejus compotes fieri_: _hoc autem ex
voto non succedet_, _nisi sciamus et ex quibus et quomodo_.  In such full
words and with such iteration doth he inculcate this part.  So saith
Cicero in great commendation of Cato the second, that he had applied
himself to philosophy, _Non ita disputandi causa_, _sed ita vivendi_.
And although the neglect of our times, wherein few men do hold any
consultations touching the reformation of their life (as Seneca
excellently saith, _De partibus vitæ quisque deliberat_, _de summa
nemo_), may make this part seem superfluous; yet I must conclude with
that aphorism of Hippocrates, _Qui gravi morbo correpti dolores non
sentiunt_, _iis mens ægrotat_.  They need medicine, not only to assuage
the disease, but to awake the sense.  And if it be said that the cure of
men’s minds belongeth to sacred divinity, it is most true; but yet moral
philosophy may be preferred unto her as a wise servant and humble
handmaid.  For as the Psalm saith, “That the eyes of the handmaid look
perpetually towards the mistress,” and yet no doubt many things are left
to the discretion of the handmaid to discern of the mistress’ will; so
ought moral philosophy to give a constant attention to the doctrines of
divinity, and yet so as it may yield of herself (within due limits) many
sound and profitable directions.

(2) This part, therefore, because of the excellency thereof, I cannot but
find exceeding strange that it is not reduced to written inquiry; the
rather, because it consisteth of much matter, wherein both speech and
action is often conversant; and such wherein the common talk of men
(which is rare, but yet cometh sometimes to pass) is wiser than their
books.  It is reasonable, therefore, that we propound it in the more
particularity, both for the worthiness, and because we may acquit
ourselves for reporting it deficient, which seemeth almost incredible,
and is otherwise conceived and presupposed by those themselves that have
written.  We will, therefore, enumerate some heads or points thereof,
that it may appear the better what it is, and whether it be extant.

(3) First, therefore, in this, as in all things which are practical we
ought to cast up our account, what is in our power, and what not; for the
one may be dealt with by way of alteration, but the other by way of
application only.  The husbandman cannot command neither the nature of
the earth nor the seasons of the weather; no more can the physician the
constitution of the patient nor the variety of accidents.  So in the
culture and cure of the mind of man, two things are without our command:
points of Nature, and points of fortune.  For to the basis of the one,
and the conditions of the other, our work is limited and tied.  In these
things, therefore, it is left unto us to proceed by application:—

    “Vincenda est omnis fertuna ferendo:”

and so likewise,

    “Vincenda est omnis Natura ferendo.”

But when that we speak of suffering, we do not speak of a dull and
neglected suffering, but of a wise and industrious suffering, which
draweth and contriveth use and advantage out of that which seemeth
adverse and contrary; which is that properly which we call accommodating
or applying.  Now the wisdom of application resteth principally in the
exact and distinct knowledge of the precedent state or disposition, unto
which we do apply; for we cannot fit a garment except we first take
measure of the body.

(4) So, then, the first article of this knowledge is to set down sound
and true distributions and descriptions of the several characters and
tempers of men’s natures and dispositions, specially having regard to
those differences which are most radical in being the fountains and
causes of the rest, or most frequent in concurrence or commixture;
wherein it is not the handling of a few of them in passage, the better to
describe the mediocrities of virtues, that can satisfy this intention.
For if it deserve to be considered, that there are minds which are
proportioned to great matters, and others to small (which Aristotle
handleth, or ought to have bandied, by the name of magnanimity), doth it
not deserve as well to be considered that there are minds proportioned to
intend many matters, and others to few?  So that some can divide
themselves: others can perchance do exactly well, but it must be but in
few things at once; and so there cometh to be a narrowness of mind, as
well as a pusillanimity.  And again, that some minds are proportioned to
that which may be dispatched at once, or within a short return of time;
others to that which begins afar off, and is to be won with length of

    “Jam tum tenditqus fovetque.”

So that there may be fitly said to be a longanimity, which is commonly
also ascribed to God as a magnanimity.  So further deserved it to be
considered by Aristotle, “That there is a disposition in conversation
(supposing it in things which do in no sort touch or concern a man’s
self) to soothe and please, and a disposition contrary to contradict and
cross;” and deserveth it not much better to be considered.  “That there
is a disposition, not in conversation or talk, but in matter of more
serious nature (and supposing it still in things merely indifferent), to
take pleasure in the good of another; and a disposition contrariwise, to
take distaste at the good of another?” which is that properly which we
call good nature or ill nature, benignity or malignity; and, therefore, I
cannot sufficiently marvel that this part of knowledge, touching the
several characters of natures and dispositions, should be omitted both in
morality and policy, considering it is of so great ministry and
suppeditation to them both.  A man shall find in the traditions of
astrology some pretty and apt divisions of men’s natures, according to
the predominances of the planets: lovers of quiet, lovers of action,
lovers of victory, lovers of honour, lovers of pleasure, lovers of arts,
lovers of change, and so forth.  A man shall find in the wisest sort of
these relations which the Italians make touching conclaves, the natures
of the several cardinals handsomely and lively painted forth.  A man
shall meet with in every day’s conference the denominations of sensitive,
dry, formal, real, humorous, certain, _huomo di prima impressione_,
_huomo di ultima impressione_, and the like; and yet, nevertheless, this
kind of observations wandereth in words, but is not fixed in inquiry.
For the distinctions are found (many of them), but we conclude no
precepts upon them: wherein our fault is the greater, because both
history, poesy, and daily experience are as goodly fields where these
observations grow; whereof we make a few posies to hold in our hands, but
no man bringeth them to the confectionary that receipts might be made of
them for use of life.

(5) Of much like kind are those impressions of Nature, which are imposed
upon the mind by the sex, by the age, by the region, by health and
sickness, by beauty and deformity, and the like, which are inherent and
not extern; and again, those which are caused by extern fortune, as
sovereignty, nobility, obscure birth, riches, want, magistracy,
privateness, prosperity, adversity, constant fortune, variable fortune,
rising _per saltum_, _per gradus_, and the like.  And, therefore, we see
that Plautus maketh it a wonder to see an old man beneficent, _benignitas
hujis ut adolescentuli est_.  Saint Paul concludeth that severity of
discipline was to be used to the Cretans, _increpa eos dure_, upon the
disposition of their country, _Cretensus semper mendaces_, _malæ bestiæ_,
_ventres_.  Sallust noteth that it is usual with kings to desire
contradictories: _Sed plerumque regiæ voluntates_, _ut vehementes sunt_,
_sic mobiles_, _sæpeque ipsæ sibi advers_.  Tacitus observeth how rarely
raising of the fortune mendeth the disposition: _solus Vespasianus
mutatus in melius_.  Pindarus maketh an observation, that great and
sudden fortune for the most part defeateth men _qui magnam felicitatem
concoquere non possunt_.  So the Psalm showeth it is more easy to keep a
measure in the enjoying of fortune, than in the increase of fortune;
_Divitiæ si affluant_, _nolite cor apponere_.  These observations and the
like I deny not but are touched a little by Aristotle as in passage in
his Rhetorics, and are handled in some scattered discourses; but they
were never incorporate into moral philosophy, to which they do
essentially appertain; as the knowledge of this diversity of grounds and
moulds doth to agriculture, and the knowledge of the diversity of
complexions and constitutions doth to the physician, except we mean to
follow the indiscretion of empirics, which minister the same medicines to
all patients.

(6) Another article of this knowledge is the inquiry touching the
affections; for as in medicining of the body, it is in order first to
know the divers complexions and constitutions; secondly, the diseases;
and lastly, the cures: so in medicining of the mind, after knowledge of
the divers characters of men’s natures, it followeth in order to know the
diseases and infirmities of the mind, which are no other than the
perturbations and distempars of the affections.  For as the ancient
politiques in popular estates were wont to compare the people to the sea,
and the orators to the winds; because as the sea would of itself be calm
and quiet, if the winds did not move and trouble it; so the people would
be peaceable and tractable if the seditious orators did not set them in
working and agitation: so it may be fitly said, that the mind in the
nature thereof would be temperate and stayed, if the affections, as
winds, did not put it into tumult and perturbation.  And here again I
find strange, as before, that Aristotle should have written divers
volumes of Ethics, and never handled the affections which is the
principal subject thereof; and yet in his Rhetorics, where they are
considered but collaterally and in a second degree (as they may be moved
by speech), he findeth place for them, and handleth them well for the
quantity; but where their true place is he pretermitteth them.  For it is
not his disputations about pleasure and pain that can satisfy this
inquiry, no more than he that should generally handle the nature of light
can be said to handle the nature of colours; for pleasure and pain are to
the particular affections as light is to particular colours.  Better
travails, I suppose, had the Stoics taken in this argument, as far as I
can gather by that which we have at second hand.  But yet it is like it
was after their manner, rather in subtlety of definitions (which in a
subject of this nature are but curiosities), than in active and ample
descriptions and observations.  So likewise I find some particular
writings of an elegant nature, touching some of the affections: as of
anger, of comfort upon adverse accidents, of tenderness of countenance,
and other.  But the poets and writers of histories are the best doctors
of this knowledge; where we may find painted forth, with great life, how
affections are kindled and incited; and how pacified and refrained; and
how again contained from act and further degree; how they disclose
themselves; how they work; how they vary; how they gather and fortify:
how they are enwrapped one within another; and how they do fight and
encounter one with another; and other the like particularities.  Amongst
the which this last is of special use in moral and civil matters; how, I
say, to set affection against affection, and to master one by another;
even as we used to hunt beast with beast, and fly bird with bird, which
otherwise percase we could not so easily recover: upon which foundation
is erected that excellent use of _præmium_ and _pæna_, whereby civil
states consist: employing the predominant affections of fear and hope,
for the suppressing and bridling the rest.  For as in the government of
states it is sometimes necessary to bridle one faction with another, so
it is in the government within.

(7) Now come we to those points which are within our own command, and
have force and operation upon the mind, to affect the will and appetite,
and to alter manners: wherein they ought to have handled custom,
exercise, habit, education, example, imitation, emulation, company,
friends, praise, reproof, exhortation, fame, laws, books, studies: these
as they have determinate use in moralities, from these the mind
suffereth, and of these are such receipts and regiments compounded and
described, as may serve to recover or preserve the health and good estate
of the mind, as far as pertaineth to human medicine: of which number we
will insist upon some one or two, as an example of the rest, because it
were too long to prosecute all; and therefore we do resume custom and
habit to speak of.

(8) The opinion of Aristotle seemeth to me a negligent opinion, that of
those things which consist by Nature, nothing can be changed by custom;
using for example, that if a stone be thrown ten thousand times up it
will not learn to ascend; and that by often seeing or hearing we do not
learn to see or hear the better.  For though this principle be true in
things wherein Nature is peremptory (the reason whereof we cannot now
stand to discuss), yet it is otherwise in things wherein Nature admitteth
a latitude.  For he might see that a strait glove will come more easily
on with use; and that a wand will by use bend otherwise than it grew; and
that by use of the voice we speak louder and stronger; and that by use of
enduring heat or cold we endure it the better, and the like: which latter
sort have a nearer resemblance unto that subject of manners he handleth,
than those instances which he allegeth.  But allowing his conclusion,
that virtues and vices consist in habit, he ought so much the more to
have taught the manner of superinducing that habit: for there be many
precepts of the wise ordering the exercises of the mind, as there is of
ordering the exercises of the body, whereof we will recite a few.

(9) The first shall be, that we beware we take not at the first either
too high a strain or too weak: for if too high, in a diffident nature you
discourage, in a confident nature you breed an opinion of facility, and
so a sloth; and in all natures you breed a further expectation than can
hold out, and so an insatisfaction in the end: if too weak, of the other
side, you may not look to perform and overcome any great task.

(10) Another precept is to practise all things chiefly at two several
times, the one when the mind is best disposed, the other when it is worst
disposed; that by the one you may gain a great step, by the other you may
work out the knots and stonds of the mind, and make the middle times the
more easy and pleasant.

(11) Another precept is that which Aristotle mentioneth by the way, which
is to bear ever towards the contrary extreme of that whereunto we are by
nature inclined; like unto the rowing against the stream, or making a
wand straight by bending him contrary to his natural crookedness.

(12) Another precept is that the mind is brought to anything better, and
with more sweetness and happiness, if that whereunto you pretend be not
first in the intention, but _tanquam aliud agendo_, because of the
natural hatred of the mind against necessity and constraint.  Many other
axioms there are touching the managing of exercise and custom, which
being so conducted doth prove indeed another nature; but, being governed
by chance, doth commonly prove but an ape of Nature, and bringeth forth
that which is lame and counterfeit.

(13) So if we should handle books and studies, and what influence and
operation they have upon manners, are there not divers precepts of great
caution and direction appertaining thereunto?  Did not one of the fathers
in great indignation call poesy _vinum dæmonum_, because it increaseth
temptations, perturbations, and vain opinions?  Is not the opinion of
Aristotle worthy to be regarded, wherein he saith, “That young men are no
fit auditors of moral philosophy, because they are not settled from the
boiling heat of their affections, nor attempered with time and
experience”?  And doth it not hereof come, that those excellent books and
discourses of the ancient writers (whereby they have persuaded unto
virtue most effectually, by representing her in state and majesty, and
popular opinions against virtue in their parasites’ coats fit to be
scorned and derided), are of so little effect towards honesty of life,
because they are not read and revolved by men in their mature and settled
years, but confined almost to boys and beginners?  But is it not true
also, that much less young men are fit auditors of matters of policy,
till they have been thoroughly seasoned in religion and morality; lest
their judgments be corrupted, and made apt to think that there are no
true differences of things, but according to utility and fortune, as the
verse describes it, _Prosperum et felix scelus virtus vocatur_; and
again, _Ille crucem pretium sceleris tulit_, _hic diadema_: which the
poets do speak satirically and in indignation on virtue’s behalf; but
books of policy do speak it seriously and positively; for so it pleaseth
Machiavel to say, “That if Cæsar had been overthrown, he would have been
more odious than ever was Catiline;” as if there had been no difference,
but in fortune, between a very fury of lust and blood, and the most
excellent spirit (his ambition reserved) of the world?  Again, is there
not a caution likewise to be given of the doctrines of moralities
themselves (some kinds of them), lest they make men too precise,
arrogant, incompatible; as Cicero saith of Cato, _In Marco Catone hæc
bona quæ videmus divina et egregia_, _ipsius scitote esse propria_; _quæ
nonunquam requirimus ea sunt omnia non a natura_, _sed a magistro_?  Many
other axioms and advices there are touching those proprieties and
effects, which studies do infuse and instil into manners.  And so,
likewise, is there touching the use of all those other points, of
company, fame, laws, and the rest, which we recited in the beginning in
the doctrine of morality.

(14) But there is a kind of culture of the mind that seemeth yet more
accurate and elaborate than the rest, and is built upon this ground; that
the minds of all men are at some times in a state more perfect, and at
other times in a state more depraved.  The purpose, therefore, of this
practice is to fix and cherish the good hours of the mind, and to
obliterate and take forth the evil.  The fixing of the good hath been
practised by two means, vows or constant resolutions, and observances or
exercises; which are not to be regarded so much in themselves, as because
they keep the mind in continual obedience.  The obliteration of the evil
hath been practised by two means, some kind of redemption or expiation of
that which is past, and an inception or account _de novo_ for the time to
come.  But this part seemeth sacred and religious, and justly; for all
good moral philosophy (as was said) is but a handmaid to religion.

(15) Wherefore we will conclude with that last point, which is of all
other means the most compendious and summary, and again, the most noble
and effectual to the reducing of the mind unto virtue and good estate;
which is, the electing and propounding unto a man’s self good and
virtuous ends of his life, such as may be in a reasonable sort within his
compass to attain.  For if these two things be supposed, that a man set
before him honest and good ends, and again, that he be resolute,
constant, and true unto them; it will follow that he shall mould himself
into all virtue at once.  And this indeed is like the work of nature;
whereas the other course is like the work of the hand.  For as when a
carver makes an image, he shapes only that part whereupon he worketh; as
if he be upon the face, that part which shall be the body is but a rude
stone still, till such times as he comes to it.  But contrariwise when
nature makes a flower or living creature, she formeth rudiments of all
the parts at one time.  So in obtaining virtue by habit, while a man
practiseth temperance, he doth not profit much to fortitude, nor the like
but when he dedicateth and applieth himself to good ends, look, what
virtue soever the pursuit and passage towards those ends doth commend
unto him, he is invested of a precedent disposition to conform himself
thereunto.  Which state of mind Aristotle doth excellently express
himself, that it ought not to be called virtuous, but divine.  His words
are these: _Immanitati autem consentaneum est opponere eam_, _quæ supra
humanitatem est_, _heroicam sive divinam virtutem_; and a little after,
_Nam ut feræ neque vitium neque virtus est_, _swic neque Dei_: _sed hic
quidem status altius quiddam virtute est_, _ille aluid quiddam a vitio_.
And therefore we may see what celsitude of honour Plinius Secundus
attributeth to Trajan in his funeral oration, where he said, “That men
needed to make no other prayers to the gods, but that they would continue
as good lords to them as Trajan had been;” as if he had not been only an
imitation of divine nature, but a pattern of it.  But these be heathen
and profane passages, having but a shadow of that divine state of mind,
which religion and the holy faith doth conduct men unto, by imprinting
upon their souls charity, which is excellently called the bond of
perfection, because it comprehendeth and fasteneth all virtues together.
And as it is elegantly said by Menander of vain love, which is but a
false imitation of divine love, _Amor melior Sophista lœvo ad humanam
vitam_—that love teacheth a man to carry himself better than the sophist
or preceptor; which he calleth left-handed, because, with all his rules
and preceptions, he cannot form a man so dexterously, nor with that
facility to prize himself and govern himself, as love can do: so
certainly, if a man’s mind be truly inflamed with charity, it doth work
him suddenly into greater perfection than all the doctrine of morality
can do, which is but a sophist in comparison of the other.  Nay, further,
as Xenophon observed truly, that all other affections, though they raise
the mind, yet they do it by distorting and uncomeliness of ecstasies or
excesses; but only love doth exalt the mind, and nevertheless at the same
instant doth settle and compose it: so in all other excellences, though
they advance nature, yet they are subject to excess.  Only charity
admitteth no excess.  For so we see, aspiring to be like God in power,
the angels transgressed and fell; _Ascendam_, _et ero similis altissimo_:
by aspiring to be like God in knowledge, man transgressed and fell;
_Eritis sicut Dii_, _scientes bonum et malum_: but by aspiring to a
similitude of God in goodness or love, neither man nor angel ever
transgressed, or shall transgress.  For unto that imitation we are
called: _Diligite inimicos vestros_, _benefacite eis qui oderunt vos_,
_et orate pro persequentibus et calumniantibus vos_, _ut sitis filii
Patris vestri qui in cœlis est_, _qui solem suum oriri facit super bonos
et malos_, _et pluit super justos et injustos_.  So in the first platform
of the divine nature itself, the heathen religion speaketh thus, _Optimus
Maximus_: and the sacred Scriptures thus, _Miscericordia ejus super omnia
opera ejus_.

(16) Wherefore I do conclude this part of moral knowledge, concerning the
culture and regiment of the mind; wherein if any man, considering the
arts thereof which I have enumerated, do judge that my labour is but to
collect into an art or science that which hath been pretermitted by
others, as matter of common sense and experience, he judgeth well.  But
as Philocrates sported with Demosthenes, “You may not marvel (Athenians)
that Demosthenes and I do differ; for he drinketh water, and I drink
wine;” and like as we read of an ancient parable of the two gates of

    “Sunt geminæ somni portæ: quarum altera fertur
    Cornea, qua veris facilis datur exitus umbris:
    Altera candenti perfecta nitens elephanto,
    Sed falsa ad cœlum mittunt insomnia manes:”

so if we put on sobriety and attention, we shall find it a sure maxim in
knowledge, that the more pleasant liquor (“of wine”) is the more
vaporous, and the braver gate (“of ivory”) sendeth forth the falser

(17) But we have now concluded that general part of human philosophy,
which contemplateth man segregate, and as he consisteth of body and
spirit.  Wherein we may further note, that there seemeth to be a relation
or conformity between the good of the mind and the good of the body.  For
as we divided the good of the body into health, beauty, strength, and
pleasure, so the good of the mind, inquired in rational and moral
knowledges, tendeth to this, to make the mind sound, and without
perturbation; beautiful, and graced with decency; and strong and agile
for all duties of life.  These three, as in the body, so in the mind,
seldom meet, and commonly sever.  For it is easy to observe, that many
have strength of wit and courage, but have neither health from
perturbations, nor any beauty or decency in their doings; some again have
an elegancy and fineness of carriage which have neither soundness of
honesty nor substance of sufficiency; and some again have honest and
reformed minds, that can neither become themselves nor manage business;
and sometimes two of them meet, and rarely all three.  As for pleasure,
we have likewise determined that the mind ought not to be reduced to
stupid, but to retain pleasure; confined rather in the subject of it,
than in the strength and vigour of it.

XXIII. (1) Civil knowledge is conversant about a subject which of all
others is most immersed in matter, and hardliest reduced to axiom.
Nevertheless, as Cato the Censor said, “That the Romans were like sheep,
for that a man were better drive a flock of them, than one of them; for
in a flock, if you could get but some few go right, the rest would
follow:” so in that respect moral philosophy is more difficile than
policy.  Again, moral philosophy propoundeth to itself the framing of
internal goodness; but civil knowledge requireth only an external
goodness; for that as to society sufficeth.  And therefore it cometh oft
to pass that there be evil times in good governments: for so we find in
the Holy story, when the kings were good, yet it is added, _Sed adhuc
poulus non direxerat cor suum ad Dominum Deum patrum suorum_.  Again,
states, as great engines, move slowly, and are not so soon put out of
frame: for as in Egypt the seven good years sustained the seven bad, so
governments for a time well grounded do bear out errors following; but
the resolution of particular persons is more suddenly subverted.  These
respects do somewhat qualify the extreme difficulty of civil knowledge.

(2) This knowledge hath three parts, according to the three summary
actions of society; which are conversation, negotiation, and government.
For man seeketh in society comfort, use, and protection; and they be
three wisdoms of divers natures which do often sever—wisdom of the
behaviour, wisdom of business, and wisdom of state.

(3) The wisdom of conversation ought not to be over much affected, but
much less despised; for it hath not only an honour in itself, but an
influence also into business and government.  The poet saith, _Nec vultu
destrue verba tuo_: a man may destroy the force of his words with his
countenance; so may he of his deeds, saith Cicero, recommending to his
brother affability and easy access; _Nil interest habere ostium apertum_,
_vultum clausum_: it is nothing won to admit men with an open door, and
to receive them with a shut and reserved countenance.  So we see Atticus,
before the first interview between Cæsar and Cicero, the war depending,
did seriously advise Cicero touching the composing and ordering of his
countenance and gesture.  And if the government of the countenance be of
such effect, much more is that of the speech, and other carriage
appertaining to conversation; the true model whereof seemeth to me well
expressed by Livy, though not meant for this purpose: _Ne aut arrogans
videar_, _aut obnoxius_; _quorum alterum est àlienæ libertatis obliti_,
_alterum suæ_: the sum of behaviour is to retain a man’s own dignity,
without intruding upon the liberty of others.  On the other side, if
behaviour and outward carriage be intended too much, first it may pass
into affectation, and then _Quid deformius quam scenam in vitam
transferre_—to act a man’s life?  But although it proceed not to that
extreme, yet it consumeth time, and employeth the mind too much.  And
therefore as we use to advise young students from company keeping, by
saying, _Amici fures temporis_: so certainly the intending of the
discretion of behaviour is a great thief of meditation.  Again, such as
are accomplished in that form of urbanity please themselves in it, and
seldom aspire to higher virtue; whereas those that have defect in it do
seek comeliness by reputation; for where reputation is, almost everything
becometh; but where that is not, it must be supplied by _puntos_ and
compliments.  Again, there is no greater impediment of action than an
over-curious observance of decency, and the guide of decency, which is
time and season.  For as Solomon saith, _Qui respicit ad ventos_, _non
seminat_; _et qui respicit ad nubes_, _non metet_: a man must make his
opportunity, as oft as find it.  To conclude, behaviour seemeth to me as
a garment of the mind, and to have the conditions of a garment.  For it
ought to be made in fashion; it ought not to be too curious; it ought to
be shaped so as to set forth any good making of the mind and hide any
deformity; and above all, it ought not to be too strait or restrained for
exercise or motion.  But this part of civil knowledge hath been elegantly
handled, and therefore I cannot report it for deficient.

(4) The wisdom touching negotiation or business hath not been hitherto
collected into writing, to the great derogation of learning and the
professors of learning.  For from this root springeth chiefly that note
or opinion, which by us is expressed in adage to this effect, that there
is no great concurrence between learning and wisdom.  For of the three
wisdoms which we have set down to pertain to civil life, for wisdom of
behaviour, it is by learned men for the most part despised, as an
inferior to virtue and an enemy to meditation; for wisdom of government,
they acquit themselves well when they are called to it, but that
happeneth to few; but for the wisdom of business, wherein man’s life is
most conversant, there be no books of it, except some few scattered
advertisements, that have no proportion to the magnitude of this subject.
For if books were written of this as the other, I doubt not but learned
men with mean experience would far excel men of long experience without
learning, and outshoot them in their own bow.

(5) Neither needeth it at all to be doubted, that this knowledge should
be so variable as it falleth not under precept; for it is much less
infinite than science of government, which we see is laboured and in some
part reduced.  Of this wisdom it seemeth some of the ancient Romans in
the saddest and wisest times were professors; for Cicero reporteth, that
it was then in use for senators that had name and opinion for general
wise men, as Coruncanius, Curius, Lælius, and many others, to walk at
certain hours in the Place, and to give audience to those that would use
their advice; and that the particular citizens would resort unto them,
and consult with them of the marriage of a daughter, or of the employing
of a son, or of a purchase or bargain, or of an accusation, and every
other occasion incident to man’s life.  So as there is a wisdom of
counsel and advice even in private causes, arising out of a universal
insight into the affairs of the world; which is used indeed upon
particular causes propounded, but is gathered by general observation of
causes of like nature.  For so we see in the book which Q. Cicero writeth
to his brother, _De petitione consulatus_ (being the only book of
business that I know written by the ancients), although it concerned a
particular action then on foot, yet the substance thereof consisteth of
many wise and politic axioms, which contain not a temporary, but a
perpetual direction in the case of popular elections.  But chiefly we may
see in those aphorisms which have place amongst divine writings, composed
by Solomon the king, of whom the Scriptures testify that his heart was as
the sands of the sea, encompassing the world and all worldly matters, we
see, I say, not a few profound and excellent cautions, precepts,
positions, extending to much variety of occasions; whereupon we will stay
a while, offering to consideration some number of examples.

(6) _Sed et cunctis sermonibus qui dicuntur ne accommodes aurem tuam_,
_ne forte audias servum tuum maledicentem tibi_.  Here is commended the
provident stay of inquiry of that which we would be loth to find: as it
was judged great wisdom in Pompeius Magnus that he burned Sertorius’
papers unperused.

_Vir sapiens_, _si cum stulto contenderit_, _sive irascatur_, _sive
rideat_, _non inveniet requiem_.  Here is described the great
disadvantage which a wise man hath in undertaking a lighter person than
himself; which is such an engagement as, whether a man turn the matter to
jest, or turn it to heat, or howsoever he change copy, he can no ways
quit himself well of it.

_Qui delicate a pueritia nutrit servum suum_, _postea sentiet eum
contumacem_.  Here is signified, that if a man begin too high a pitch in
his favours, it doth commonly end in unkindness and unthankfulness.

_Vidisti virum velocem in opere suo_? _coram regibus stabit_, _nec erit
inter ignobiles_.  Here is observed, that of all virtues for rising to
honour, quickness of despatch is the best; for superiors many times love
not to have those they employ too deep or too sufficient, but ready and

_Vidi cunctos viventes qui ambulant sub sole_, _cum adolescente secundo
qui consurgit pro eo_.  Here is expressed that which was noted by Sylla
first, and after him by Tiberius.  _Plures adorant solem orientem quam
occidentem vel meridianum_.

_Si spiritus potestatem habentis ascenderit super te_, _locum tuum ne
demiseris_; _quia curatio faciet cessare peccata maxima_.  Here caution
is given, that upon displeasure, retiring is of all courses the
unfittest; for a man leaveth things at worst, and depriveth himself of
means to make them better.

_Erat civitas parva_, _et pauci in ea viri_: _venit contra eam rex
magnus_, _et vallavit eam_, _instruxitque munitones per gyrum_, _et
perfecta est obsidio_; _inventusque est in ea vir pauper et sapiens_, _et
liberavit eam per sapientiam suam_; _et nullus deinceps recordatus est
huminis illius pauperis_.  Here the corruption of states is set forth,
that esteem not virtue or merit longer than they have use of it.

_Millis responsio frangit iram_.  Here is noted that silence or rough
answer exasperateth; but an answer present and temperate pacifieth.

_Iter pigrorum quasi sepes spinarum_.  Here is lively represented how
laborious sloth proveth in the end; for when things are deferred till the
last instant, and nothing prepared beforehand, every step findeth a briar
or impediment, which catcheth or stoppeth.

_Melior est finis orationis quam principium_.  Here is taxed the vanity
of formal speakers, that study more about prefaces and inducements, than
upon the conclusions and issues of speech.

_Qui cognoscit in judicio faciem_, _non bene facit_; _iste et pro
buccella panis deseret veritatem_.  Here is noted, that a judge were
better be a briber than a respecter of persons; for a corrupt judge
offendeth not so lightly as a facile.

_Vir pauper calumnians pauperes simils est imbri vehementi_, _in quo
paratur fames_.  Here is expressed the extremity of necessitous
extortions, figured in the ancient fable of the full and the hungry

_Fons turbatus pede_, _et vena corrupta_, _est justus cadens coram
impio_.  Here is noted, that one judicial and exemplar iniquity in the
face of the world doth trouble the fountains of justice more than many
particular injuries passed over by connivance.

_Qui subtrahit aliquid a patre et a matre_, _et dicit hoc non esse
peccatum_, _particeps est homicidii_.  Here is noted that, whereas men in
wronging their best friends use to extenuate their fault, as if they
might presume or be bold upon them, it doth contrariwise indeed aggravate
their fault, and turneth it from injury to impiety.

_Noli esse amicus homini iracundo_, _nec ambulato cum homine furioso_.
Here caution is given, that in the election of our friends we do
principally avoid those which are impatient, as those that will espouse
us to many factions and quarrels.

_Qui conturbat domum suam_, _possidebit ventum_.  Here is noted, that in
domestical separations and breaches men do promise to themselves quieting
of their mind and contentment; but still they are deceived of their
expectation, and it turneth to wind.

_Filius sapiens lætificat patrem_: _filius vero stultus mæstitia est
matri suæ_.  Here is distinguished, that fathers have most comfort of the
good proof of their sons; but mothers have most discomfort of their ill
proof, because women have little discerning of virtue, but of fortune.

_Qui celat delictum_, _quærit amicitiam_; _sed qui altero sermone
repetit_, _separat fæderatos_.  Here caution is given, that reconcilement
is better managed by an amnesty, and passing over that which is past,
than by apologies and excuses.

_In omni opere bono erit abundantia_; _ubi autem verba sunt plurima_,
_ibi frequenter egestas_.  Here is noted, that words and discourse
aboundeth most where there is idleness and want.

_Primus in sua causa justus_: _sed venit altera pars_, _et inquiret in
eum_.  Here is observed, that in all causes the first tale possesseth
much; in sort, that the prejudice thereby wrought will be hardly removed,
except some abuse or falsity in the information be detected.

_Verba bilinguis quasi simplicia_, _et ipsa perveniunt ad interiora
ventris_.  Here is distinguished, that flattery and insinuation, which
seemeth set and artificial, sinketh not far; but that entereth deep which
hath show of nature, liberty, and simplicity.

_Qui erudit derisorem_, _ipse sibi injuriam facit_; _et qui arguit
impium_, _sibi maculam generat_.  Here caution is given how we tender
reprehension to arrogant and scornful natures, whose manner is to esteem
it for contumely, and accordingly to return it.

_Da sapienti occasionem_, _et addetur ei sapientia_.  Here is
distinguished the wisdom brought into habit, and that which is but verbal
and swimming only in conceit; for the one upon the occasion presented is
quickened and redoubled, the other is amazed and confused.

_Quomodo in aquis resplendent vultus prospicientium_, _sic corda hominum
manifesta sunt prudentibus_.  Here the mind of a wise man is compared to
a glass, wherein the images of all diversity of natures and customs are
represented; from which representation proceedeth that application,

    “Qui sapit, innumeris moribus aptus erit.”

(7) Thus have I stayed somewhat longer upon these sentences politic of
Solomon than is agreeable to the proportion of an example; led with a
desire to give authority to this part of knowledge, which I noted as
deficient, by so excellent a precedent; and have also attended them with
brief observations, such as to my understanding offer no violence to the
sense, though I know they may be applied to a more divine use: but it is
allowed, even in divinity, that some interpretations, yea, and some
writings, have more of the eagle than others; but taking them as
instructions for life, they might have received large discourse, if I
would have broken them and illustrated them by deducements and examples.

(8) Neither was this in use only with the Hebrews, but it is generally to
be found in the wisdom of the more ancient times; that as men found out
any observation that they thought was good for life, they would gather it
and express it in parable or aphorism or fable.  But for fables, they
were vicegerents and supplies where examples failed: now that the times
abound with history, the aim is better when the mark is alive.  And
therefore the form of writing which of all others is fittest for this
variable argument of negotiation and occasions is that which Machiavel
chose wisely and aptly for government; namely, discourse upon histories
or examples.  For knowledge drawn freshly and in our view out of
particulars, knoweth the way best to particulars again.  And it hath much
greater life for practice when the discourse attendeth upon the example,
than when the example attendeth upon the discourse.  For this is no point
of order, as it seemeth at first, but of substance.  For when the example
is the ground, being set down in a history at large, it is set down with
all circumstances, which may sometimes control the discourse thereupon
made, and sometimes supply it, as a very pattern for action; whereas the
examples alleged for the discourse’s sake are cited succinctly, and
without particularity, and carry a servile aspect towards the discourse
which they are brought in to make good.

(9) But this difference is not amiss to be remembered, that as history of
times is the best ground for discourse of government, such as Machiavel
handleth, so histories of lives is the most popular for discourse of
business, because it is more conversant in private actions.  Nay, there
is a ground of discourse for this purpose fitter than them both, which is
discourse upon letters, such as are wise and weighty, as many are of
Cicero _ad Atticum_, and others.  For letters have a great and more
particular representation of business than either chronicles or lives.
Thus have we spoken both of the matter and form of this part of civil
knowledge, touching negotiation, which we note to be deficient.

(10) But yet there is another part of this part, which differeth as much
from that whereof we have spoken as _sapere_ and _sibi sapere_, the one
moving as it were to the circumference, the other to the centre.  For
there is a wisdom of counsel, and again there is a wisdom of pressing a
man’s own fortune; and they do sometimes meet, and often sever.  For many
are wise in their own ways that are weak for government or counsel; like
ants, which is a wise creature for itself, but very hurtful for the
garden.  This wisdom the Romans did take much knowledge of: _Nam pol
sapiens_ (saith the comical poet) _fingit fortunam sibi_; and it grew to
an adage, _Faber quisque fortunæ propriæ_; and Livy attributed it to Cato
the first, _In hoc viro tanta vis animi et ingenii inerat_, _ut quocunque
loco natus esset sibi ipse fortunam facturus videretur_.

(11) This conceit or position, if it be too much declared and professed,
hath been thought a thing impolitic and unlucky, as was observed in
Timotheus the Athenian, who, having done many great services to the state
in his government, and giving an account thereof to the people as the
manner was, did conclude every particular with this clause, “And in this
fortune had no part.”  And it came so to pass, that he never prospered in
anything he took in hand afterwards.  For this is too high and too
arrogant, savouring of that which Ezekiel saith of Pharaoh, _Dicis_,
_Fluvius est neus et ego feci memet ipsum_; or of that which another
prophet speaketh, that men offer sacrifices to their nets and snares; and
that which the poet expresseth,

    “Dextra mihi Deus, et telum quod missile libro,
    Nunc adsint!”

For these confidences were ever unhallowed, and unblessed; and,
therefore, those that were great politiques indeed ever ascribed their
successes to their felicity and not to their skill or virtue.  For so
Sylla surnamed himself Felix, not Magnus.  So Cæsar said to the master of
the ship, _Cæsarem portas et fortunam ejus_.

(12) But yet, nevertheless, these positions, _Faber quisque fortunæ suæ_:
_Sapiens dominabitur astris_: _Invia virtuti null est via_, and the like,
being taken and used as spurs to industry, and not as stirrups to
insolency, rather for resolution than for the presumption or outward
declaration, have been ever thought sound and good; and are no question
imprinted in the greatest minds, who are so sensible of this opinion as
they can scarce contain it within.  As we see in Augustus Cæsar (who was
rather diverse from his uncle than inferior in virtue), how when he died
he desired his friends about him to give him a _plaudite_, as if he were
conscious to himself that he had played his part well upon the stage.
This part of knowledge we do report also as deficient; not but that it is
practised too much, but it hath not been reduced to writing.  And,
therefore, lest it should seem to any that it is not comprehensible by
axiom, it is requisite, as we did in the former, that we set down some
heads or passages of it.

(13) Wherein it may appear at the first a new and unwonted argument to
teach men how to raise and make their fortune; a doctrine wherein every
man perchance will be ready to yield himself a disciple, till he see the
difficulty: for fortune layeth as heavy impositions as virtue; and it is
as hard and severe a thing to be a true politique, as to be truly moral.
But the handling hereof concerneth learning greatly, both in honour and
in substance.  In honour, because pragmatical men may not go away with an
opinion that learning is like a lark, that can mount and sing, and please
herself, and nothing else; but may know that she holdeth as well of the
hawk, that can soar aloft, and can also descend and strike upon the prey.
In substance, because it is the perfect law of inquiry of truth, that
nothing be in the globe of matter, which should not be likewise in the
globe of crystal or form; that is, that there be not anything in being
and action which should not be drawn and collected into contemplation and
doctrine.  Neither doth learning admire or esteem of this architecture of
fortune otherwise than as of an inferior work, for no man’s fortune can
be an end worthy of his being, and many times the worthiest men do
abandon their fortune willingly for better respects: but nevertheless
fortune as an organ of virtue and merit deserveth the consideration.

(14) First, therefore, the precept which I conceive to be most summary
towards the prevailing in fortune, is to obtain that window which Momus
did require; who seeing in the frame of man’s heart such angles and
recesses, found fault there was not a window to look into them; that is,
to procure good informations of particulars touching persons, their
natures, their desires and ends, their customs and fashions, their helps
and advantages, and whereby they chiefly stand, so again their weaknesses
and disadvantages, and where they lie most open and obnoxious, their
friends, factions, dependences; and again their opposites, enviers,
competitors, their moods and times, _Sola viri molles aditus et tempora
noras_; their principles, rules, and observations, and the like: and this
not only of persons but of actions; what are on foot from time to time,
and how they are conducted, favoured, opposed, and how they import, and
the like.  For the knowledge of present actions is not only material in
itself, but without it also the knowledge of persons is very erroneous:
for men change with the actions; and whilst they are in pursuit they are
one, and when they return to their nature they are another.  These
informations of particulars, touching persons and actions, are as the
minor propositions in every active syllogism; for no excellency of
observations (which are as the major propositions) can suffice to ground
a conclusion, if there be error and mistaking in the minors.

(15) That this knowledge is possible, Solomon is our surety, who saith,
_Consilium in corde viri tanquam aqua profunda_; _sed vir prudens
exhauriet illud_.  And although the knowledge itself falleth not under
precept because it is of individuals, yet the instructions for the
obtaining of it may.

(16) We will begin, therefore, with this precept, according to the
ancient opinion, that the sinews of wisdom are slowness of belief and
distrust; that more trust be given to countenances and deeds than to
words; and in words rather to sudden passages and surprised words than to
set and purposed words.  Neither let that be feared which is said,
_Fronti nulla fides_, which is meant of a general outward behaviour, and
not of the private and subtle motions and labours of the countenance and
gesture; which, as Q. Cicero elegantly saith, is _Animi janua_, “the gate
of the mind.”  None more close than Tiberius, and yet Tacitus saith of
Gallus, _Etenim vultu offensionem conjectaverat_.  So again, noting the
differing character and manner of his commending Germanicus and Drusus in
the Senate, he saith, touching his fashion wherein he carried his speech
of Germanicus, thus: _Magis in speciem adornatis verbis_, _quam ut
penitus sentire crederetur_; but of Drusus thus: _Paucioribus sed
intentior_, _et fida oratione_; and in another place, speaking of his
character of speech when he did anything that was gracious and popular,
he saith, “That in other things he was _velut eluctantium verborum_;” but
then again, _solutius loquebatur quando subveniret_.  So that there is no
such artificer of dissimulation, nor no such commanded countenance
(_vultus jussus_), that can sever from a feigned tale some of these
fashions, either a more slight and careless fashion, or more set and
formal, or more tedious and wandering, or coming from a man more drily
and hardly.

(17) Neither are deeds such assured pledges as that they may be trusted
without a judicious consideration of their magnitude and nature: _Fraus
sibi in parvis fidem præstruit ut majore emolumento fallat_; and the
Italian thinketh himself upon the point to be bought and sold, when he is
better used than he was wont to be without manifest cause.  For small
favours, they do but lull men to sleep, both as to caution and as to
industry; and are, as Demosthenes calleth them, _Alimenta socordiæ_.  So
again we see how false the nature of some deeds are, in that particular
which Mutianus practised upon Antonius Primus, upon that hollow and
unfaithful reconcilement which was made between them; whereupon Mutianus
advanced many of the friends of Antonius, _Simul amicis ejus præfecturas
et tribunatus largitur_: wherein, under pretence to strengthen him, he
did desolate him, and won from him his dependents.

(18) As for words, though they be like waters to physicians, full of
flattery and uncertainty, yet they are not to be despised specially with
the advantage of passion and affection.  For so we see Tiberius, upon a
stinging and incensing speech of Agrippina, came a step forth of his
dissimulation when he said, “You are hurt because you do not reign;” of
which Tacitus saith, _Audita hæc raram occulti pectoris vocem elicuere_:
_correptamque Græco versu admonuit_, _ideo lædi quia non regnaret_.  And,
therefore, the poet doth elegantly call passions tortures that urge men
to confess their secrets:—

    “Vino torus et ira.”

And experience showeth there are few men so true to themselves and so
settled but that, sometimes upon heat, sometimes upon bravery, sometimes
upon kindness, sometimes upon trouble of mind and weakness, they open
themselves; specially if they be put to it with a counter-dissimulation,
according to the proverb of Spain, _Di mentira_, _y sacar as verdad_:
“Tell a lie and find a truth.”

(19) As for the knowing of men which is at second hand from reports:
men’s weaknesses and faults are best known from their enemies, their
virtues and abilities from their friends, their customs and times from
their servants, their conceits and opinions from their familiar friends,
with whom they discourse most.  General fame is light, and the opinions
conceived by superiors or equals are deceitful; for to such men are more
masked: _Verior fama e domesticis emanat_.

(20) But the soundest disclosing and expounding of men is by their
natures and ends, wherein the weakest sort of men are best interpreted by
their natures, and the wisest by their ends.  For it was both pleasantly
and wisely said (though I think very untruly) by a nuncio of the Pope,
returning from a certain nation where he served as lidger; whose opinion
being asked touching the appointment of one to go in his place, he wished
that in any case they did not send one that was too wise; because no very
wise man would ever imagine what they in that country were like to do.
And certainly it is an error frequent for men to shoot over, and to
suppose deeper ends and more compass reaches than are: the Italian
proverb being elegant, and for the most part true:—

    “Di danari, di senno, e di fede,
    C’è ne manco che non credi.”

“There is commonly less money, less wisdom, and less good faith than men
do account upon.”

(21) But princes, upon a far other reason, are best interpreted by their
natures, and private persons by their ends.  For princes being at the top
of human desires, they have for the most part no particular ends whereto
they aspire, by distance from which a man might take measure and scale of
the rest of their actions and desires; which is one of the causes that
maketh their hearts more inscrutable.  Neither is it sufficient to inform
ourselves in men’s ends and natures of the variety of them only, but also
of the predominancy, what humour reigneth most, and what end is
principally sought.  For so we see, when Tigellinus saw himself
outstripped by Petronius Turpilianus in Nero’s humours of pleasures,
_metus ejus rimatur_, he wrought upon Nero’s fears, whereby he broke the
other’s neck.

(22) But to all this part of inquiry the most compendious way resteth in
three things; the first, to have general acquaintance and inwardness with
those which have general acquaintance and look most into the world; and
specially according to the diversity of business, and the diversity of
persons, to have privacy and conversation with some one friend at least
which is perfect and well-intelligenced in every several kind.  The
second is to keep a good mediocrity in liberty of speech and secrecy; in
most things liberty; secrecy where it importeth; for liberty of speech
inviteth and provoketh liberty to be used again, and so bringeth much to
a man’s knowledge; and secrecy on the other side induceth trust and
inwardness.  The last is the reducing of a man’s self to this watchful
and serene habit, as to make account and purpose, in every conference and
action, as well to observe as to act.  For as Epictetus would have a
philosopher in every particular action to say to himself, _Et hoc volo_,
_et etiam institutum servare_; so a politic man in everything should say
to himself, _Et hoc volo_, _ac etiam aliquid addiscere_.  I have stayed
the longer upon this precept of obtaining good information because it is
a main part by itself, which answereth to all the rest.  But, above all
things, caution must be taken that men have a good stay and hold of
themselves, and that this much knowing do not draw on much meddling; for
nothing is more unfortunate than light and rash intermeddling in many
matters.  So that this variety of knowledge tendeth in conclusion but
only to this, to make a better and freer choice of those actions which
may concern us, and to conduct them with the less error and the more

(23) The second precept concerning this knowledge is, for men to take
good information touching their own person, and well to understand
themselves; knowing that, as St. James saith, though men look oft in a
glass, yet they do suddenly forget themselves; wherein as the divine
glass is the Word of God, so the politic glass is the state of the world,
or times wherein we live, in the which we are to behold ourselves.

(24) For men ought to take an impartial view of their own abilities and
virtues; and again of their wants and impediments; accounting these with
the most, and those other with the least; and from this view and
examination to frame the considerations following.

(25) First, to consider how the constitution of their nature sorteth with
the general state of the times; which if they find agreeable and fit,
then in all things to give themselves more scope and liberty; but if
differing and dissonant, then in the whole course of their life to be
more close retired, and reserved; as we see in Tiberius, who was never
seen at a play, and came not into the senate in twelve of his last years;
whereas Augustus Cæsar lived ever in men’s eyes, which Tacitus observeth,
_alia Tiberio morum via_.

(26) Secondly, to consider how their nature sorteth with professions and
courses of life, and accordingly to make election, if they be free; and,
if engaged, to make the departure at the first opportunity; as we see was
done by Duke Valentine, that was designed by his father to a sacerdotal
profession, but quitted it soon after in regard of his parts and
inclination; being such, nevertheless, as a man cannot tell well whether
they were worse for a prince or for a priest.

(27) Thirdly, to consider how they sort with those whom they are like to
have competitors and concurrents; and to take that course wherein there
is most solitude, and themselves like to be most eminent; as Cæsar Julius
did, who at first was an orator or pleader; but when he saw the
excellency of Cicero, Hortensius, Catulus, and others for eloquence, and
saw there was no man of reputation for the wars but Pompeius, upon whom
the state was forced to rely, he forsook his course begun towards a civil
and popular greatness, and transferred his designs to a martial

(28) Fourthly, in the choice of their friends and dependents, to proceed
according to the composition of their own nature; as we may see in Cæsar,
all whose friends and followers were men active and effectual, but not
solemn, or of reputation.

(29) Fifthly, to take special heed how they guide themselves by examples,
in thinking they can do as they see others do; whereas perhaps their
natures and carriages are far differing.  In which error it seemeth
Pompey was, of whom Cicero saith that he was wont often to say, _Sylla
potuit_, _ego non potero_?  Wherein he was much abused, the natures and
proceedings of himself and his example being the unlikest in the world;
the one being fierce, violent, and pressing the fact; the other solemn,
and full of majesty and circumstance, and therefore the less effectual.

But this precept touching the politic knowledge of ourselves hath many
other branches, whereupon we cannot insist.

(30) Next to the well understanding and discerning of a man’s self, there
followeth the well opening and revealing a man’s self; wherein we see
nothing more usual than for the more able man to make the less show.  For
there is a great advantage in the well setting forth of a man’s virtues,
fortunes, merits; and again, in the artificial covering of a man’s
weaknesses, defects, disgraces; staying upon the one, sliding from the
other; cherishing the one by circumstances, gracing the other by
exposition, and the like.  Wherein we see what Tacitus saith of Mutianus,
who was the greatest politique of his time, _Omnium quæ dixerat
feceratque arte quadam ostentator_, which requireth indeed some art, lest
it turn tedious and arrogant; but yet so, as ostentation (though it be to
the first degree of vanity) seemeth to me rather a vice in manners than
in policy; for as it is said, _Audacter calumniare_, _semper aliquid
hæret_; so, except it be in a ridiculous degree of deformity, _Audacter
te vendita_, _semper aluquid hæret_.  For it will stick with the more
ignorant and inferior sort of men, though men of wisdom and rank do smile
at it and despise it; and yet the authority won with many doth
countervail the disdain of a few.  But if it be carried with decency and
government, as with a natural, pleasant, and ingenious fashion; or at
times when it is mixed with some peril and unsafety (as in military
persons); or at times when others are most envied; or with easy and
careless passage to it and from it, without dwelling too long, or being
too serious; or with an equal freedom of taxing a man’s self, as well as
gracing himself; or by occasion of repelling or putting down others’
injury or insolency; it doth greatly add to reputation: and surely not a
few solid natures, that want this ventosity and cannot sail in the height
of the winds, are not without some prejudice and disadvantage by their

(31) But for these flourishes and enhancements of virtue, as they are not
perchance unnecessary, so it is at least necessary that virtue be not
disvalued and embased under the just price, which is done in three
manners—by offering and obtruding a man’s self, wherein men think he is
rewarded when he is accepted; by doing too much, which will not give that
which is well done leave to settle, and in the end induceth satiety; and
by finding too soon the fruit of a man’s virtue, in commendation,
applause, honour, favour; wherein if a man be pleased with a little, let
him hear what is truly said: _Cave ne insuetus rebus majoribus videaris_,
_si hæc te res parva sicuti magna delectat_.

(32) But the covering of defects is of no less importance than the
valuing of good parts; which may be done likewise in three manners—by
caution, by colour, and by confidence.  Caution is when men do
ingeniously and discreetly avoid to be put into those things for which
they are not proper; whereas contrariwise bold and unquiet spirits will
thrust themselves into matters without difference, and so publish and
proclaim all their wants.  Colour is when men make a way for themselves
to have a construction made of their faults or wants, as proceeding from
a better cause or intended for some other purpose.  For of the one it is
well said,

    “Sæpe latet vitium proximitate boni,”

and therefore whatsoever want a man hath, he must see that he pretend the
virtue that shadoweth it; as if he be dull, he must affect gravity; if a
coward, mildness; and so the rest.  For the second, a man must frame some
probable cause why he should not do his best, and why he should dissemble
his abilities; and for that purpose must use to dissemble those abilities
which are notorious in him, to give colour that his true wants are but
industries and dissimulations.  For confidence, it is the last but the
surest remedy—namely, to depress and seem to despise whatsoever a man
cannot attain; observing the good principle of the merchants, who
endeavour to raise the price of their own commodities, and to beat down
the price of others.  But there is a confidence that passeth this other,
which is to face out a man’s own defects, in seeming to conceive that he
is best in those things wherein he is failing; and, to help that again,
to seem on the other side that he hath least opinion of himself in those
things wherein he is best: like as we shall see it commonly in poets,
that if they show their verses, and you except to any, they will say,
“That that line cost them more labour than any of the rest;” and
presently will seem to disable and suspect rather some other line, which
they know well enough to be the best in the number.  But above all, in
this righting and helping of a man’s self in his own carriage, he must
take heed he show not himself dismantled and exposed to scorn and injury,
by too much dulceness, goodness, and facility of nature; but show some
sparkles of liberty, spirit, and edge.  Which kind of fortified carriage,
with a ready rescussing of a man’s self from scorns, is sometimes of
necessity imposed upon men by somewhat in their person or fortune; but it
ever succeedeth with good felicity.

(33) Another precept of this knowledge is by all possible endeavour to
frame the mind to be pliant and obedient to occasion; for nothing
hindereth men’s fortunes so much as this: _Idem manebat_, _neque idem
decebat_—men are where they were, when occasions turn: and therefore to
Cato, whom Livy maketh such an architect of fortune, he addeth that he
had _versatile ingenium_.  And thereof it cometh that these grave solemn
wits, which must be like themselves and cannot make departures, have more
dignity than felicity.  But in some it is nature to be somewhat vicious
and enwrapped, and not easy to turn.  In some it is a conceit that is
almost a nature, which is, that men can hardly make themselves believe
that they ought to change their course, when they have found good by it
in former experience.  For Machiavel noted wisely how Fabius Maximus
would have been temporising still, according to his old bias, when the
nature of the war was altered and required hot pursuit.  In some other it
is want of point and penetration in their judgment, that they do not
discern when things have a period, but come in too late after the
occasion; as Demosthenes compareth the people of Athens to country
fellows, when they play in a fence school, that if they have a blow, then
they remove their weapon to that ward, and not before.  In some other it
is a lothness to lose labours passed, and a conceit that they can bring
about occasions to their ply; and yet in the end, when they see no other
remedy, then they come to it with disadvantage; as Tarquinius, that gave
for the third part of Sibylla’s books the treble price, when he might at
first have had all three for the simple.  But from whatsoever root or
cause this restiveness of mind proceedeth, it is a thing most
prejudicial; and nothing is more politic than to make the wheels of our
mind concentric and voluble with the wheels of fortune.

(34) Another precept of this knowledge, which hath some affinity with
that we last spoke of, but with difference, is that which is well
expressed, _Fatis accede deisque_, that men do not only turn with the
occasions, but also run with the occasions, and not strain their credit
or strength to over-hard or extreme points; but choose in their actions
that which is most passable: for this will preserve men from foil, not
occupy them too much about one matter, win opinion of moderation, please
the most, and make a show of a perpetual felicity in all they undertake:
which cannot but mightily increase reputation.

(35) Another part of this knowledge seemeth to have some repugnancy with
the former two, but not as I understand it; and it is that which
Demosthenes uttereth in high terms: _Et quemadmodum receptum est_, _ut
exercitum ducat imperator_, _sic et a cordatis viris res ipsæ ducendæ_;
_ut quæipsis videntur_, _ea gerantur_, _et non ipsi eventus persequi
cogantur_.  For if we observe we shall find two differing kinds of
sufficiency in managing of business: some can make use of occasions aptly
and dexterously, but plot little; some can urge and pursue their own
plots well, but cannot accommodate nor take in; either of which is very
imperfect without the other.

(36) Another part of this knowledge is the observing a good mediocrity in
the declaring or not declaring a man’s self: for although depth of
secrecy, and making way (_qualis est via navis in mari_, which the French
calleth _sourdes menées_, when men set things in work without opening
themselves at all), be sometimes both prosperous and admirable; yet many
times _dissimulatio errores parit_, _qui dissimulatorem ipsum
illaqueant_.  And therefore we see the greatest politiques have in a
natural and free manner professed their desires, rather than been
reserved and disguised in them.  For so we see that Lucius Sylla made a
kind of profession, “that he wished all men happy or unhappy, as they
stood his friends or enemies.”  So Cæsar, when he went first into Gaul,
made no scruple to profess “that he had rather be first in a village than
second at Rome.”  So again, as soon as he had begun the war, we see what
Cicero saith of him, _Alter_ (meaning of Cæsar) _non recusat_, _sed
quodammodo postulat_, _ut_ (_ut est_) _sic appelletur tyrannus_.  So we
may see in a letter of Cicero to Atticus, that Augustus Cæsar, in his
very entrance into affairs, when he was a darling of the senate, yet in
his harangues to the people would swear, _Ita parentis honores consequi
liceat_ (which was no less than the tyranny), save that, to help it, he
would stretch forth his hand towards a statue of Cæsar’s that was erected
in the place: and men laughed and wondered, and said, “Is it possible?”
or, “Did you ever hear the like?” and yet thought he meant no hurt; he
did it so handsomely and ingenuously.  And all these were prosperous:
whereas Pompey, who tended to the same ends, but in a more dark and
dissembling manner as Tacitus saith of him, _Occultior non melior_,
wherein Sallust concurreth, _Ore probo_, _animo inverecundo_, made it his
design, by infinite secret engines, to cast the state into an absolute
anarchy and confusion, that the state might cast itself into his arms for
necessity and protection, and so the sovereign power be put upon him, and
he never seen in it: and when he had brought it (as he thought) to that
point when he was chosen consul alone, as never any was, yet he could
make no great matter of it, because men understood him not; but was fain
in the end to go the beaten track of getting arms into his hands, by
colour of the doubt of Cæsar’s designs: so tedious, casual, and
unfortunate are these deep dissimulations: whereof it seemeth Tacitus
made this judgment, that they were a cunning of an inferior form in
regard of true policy; attributing the one to Augustus, the other to
Tiberius; where, speaking of Livia, he saith, _Et cum artibus mariti
simulatione filii bene compostia_: for surely the continual habit of
dissimulation is but a weak and sluggish cunning, and not greatly

(37) Another precept of this architecture of fortune is to accustom our
minds to judge of the proportion or value of things, as they conduce and
are material to our particular ends; and that to do substantially and not
superficially.  For we shall find the logical part (as I may term it) of
some men’s minds good, but the mathematical part erroneous; that is, they
can well judge of consequences, but not of proportions and comparison,
preferring things of show and sense before things of substance and
effect.  So some fall in love with access to princes, others with popular
fame and applause, supposing they are things of great purchase, when in
many cases they are but matters of envy, peril, and impediment.  So some
measure things according to the labour and difficulty or assiduity which
are spent about them; and think, if they be ever moving, that they must
needs advance and proceed; as Cæsar saith in a despising manner of Cato
the second, when he describeth how laborious and indefatigable he was to
no great purpose, _Hæc omnia magno studio agebat_.  So in most things men
are ready to abuse themselves in thinking the greatest means to be best,
when it should be the fittest.

(38) As for the true marshalling of men’s pursuits towards their fortune,
as they are more or less material, I hold them to stand thus.  First the
amendment of their own minds.  For the removal of the impediments of the
mind will sooner clear the passages of fortune than the obtaining fortune
will remove the impediments of the mind.  In the second place I set down
wealth and means; which I know most men would have placed first, because
of the general use which it beareth towards all variety of occasions.
But that opinion I may condemn with like reason as Machiavel doth that
other, that moneys were the sinews of the wars; whereas (saith he) the
true sinews of the wars are the sinews of men’s arms, that is, a valiant,
populous, and military nation: and he voucheth aptly the authority of
Solon, who, when Crœsus showed him his treasury of gold, said to him,
that if another came that had better iron, he would be master of his
gold.  In like manner it may be truly affirmed that it is not moneys that
are the sinews of fortune, but it is the sinews and steel of men’s minds,
wit, courage, audacity, resolution, temper, industry, and the like.  In
the third place I set down reputation, because of the peremptory tides
and currents it hath; which, if they be not taken in their due time, are
seldom recovered, it being extreme hard to play an after-game of
reputation.  And lastly I place honour, which is more easily won by any
of the other three, much more by all, than any of them can be purchased
by honour.  To conclude this precept, as there is order and priority in
matter, so is there in time, the preposterous placing whereof is one of
the commonest errors: while men fly to their ends when they should intend
their beginnings, and do not take things in order of time as they come
on, but marshal them according to greatness and not according to
instance; not observing the good precept, _Quod nunc instat agamus_.

(39) Another precept of this knowledge is not to embrace any matters
which do occupy too great a quantity of time, but to have that sounding
in a man’s ears, _Sed fugit interea fugit irreparabile tempus_: and that
is the cause why those which take their course of rising by professions
of burden, as lawyers, orators, painful divines, and the like, are not
commonly so politic for their own fortune, otherwise than in their
ordinary way, because they want time to learn particulars, to wait
occasions, and to devise plots.

(40) Another precept of this knowledge is to imitate nature, which doth
nothing in vain; which surely a man may do if he do well interlace his
business, and bend not his mind too much upon that which he principally
intendeth.  For a man ought in every particular action so to carry the
motions of his mind, and so to have one thing under another, as if he
cannot have that he seeketh in the best degree, yet to have it in a
second, or so in a third; and if he can have no part of that which he
purposed, yet to turn the use of it to somewhat else; and if he cannot
make anything of it for the present, yet to make it as a seed of somewhat
in time to come; and if he can contrive no effect or substance from it,
yet to win some good opinion by it, or the like.  So that he should exact
an account of himself of every action, to reap somewhat, and not to stand
amazed and confused if he fail of that he chiefly meant: for nothing is
more impolitic than to mind actions wholly one by one.  For he that doth
so loseth infinite occasions which intervene, and are many times more
proper and propitious for somewhat that he shall need afterwards, than
for that which he urgeth for the present; and therefore men must be
perfect in that rule, _Hæc oportet facere_, _et illa non imittere_.

(41) Another precept of this knowledge is, not to engage a man’s self
peremptorily in anything, though it seem not liable to accident; but ever
to have a window to fly out at, or a way to retire: following the wisdom
in the ancient fable of the two frogs, which consulted when their plash
was dry whither they should go; and the one moved to go down into a pit,
because it was not likely the water would dry there; but the other
answered, “True, but if it do, how shall we get out again?”

(42) Another precept of this knowledge is that ancient precept of Bias,
construed not to any point of perfidiousness, but to caution and
moderation, _Et ama tanquam inimicus futurus et odi tanquam amaturus_.
For it utterly betrayeth all utility for men to embark themselves too far
into unfortunate friendships, troublesome spleens, and childish and
humorous envies or emulations.

(43) But I continue this beyond the measure of an example; led, because I
would not have such knowledges, which I note as deficient, to be thought
things imaginative or in the air, or an observation or two much made of,
but things of bulk and mass, whereof an end is more hardly made than a
beginning.  It must be likewise conceived, that in these points which I
mention and set down, they are far from complete tractates of them, but
only as small pieces for patterns.  And lastly, no man I suppose will
think that I mean fortunes are not obtained without all this ado; for I
know they come tumbling into some men’s laps; and a number obtain good
fortunes by diligence in a plain way, little intermeddling, and keeping
themselves from gross errors.

(44) But as Cicero, when he setteth down an idea of a perfect orator,
doth not mean that every pleader should be such; and so likewise, when a
prince or a courtier hath been described by such as have handled those
subjects, the mould hath used to be made according to the perfection of
the art, and not according to common practice: so I understand it, that
it ought to be done in the description of a politic man, I mean politic
for his own fortune.

(45) But it must be remembered all this while, that the precepts which we
have set down are of that kind which may be counted and called _Bonæ
Artes_.  As for evil arts, if a man would set down for himself that
principle of Machiavel, “That a man seek not to attain virtue itself, but
the appearance only thereof; because the credit of virtue is a help, but
the use of it is cumber:” or that other of his principles, “That he
presuppose that men are not fitly to be wrought otherwise but by fear;
and therefore that he seek to have every man obnoxious, low, and in
straits,” which the Italians call _seminar spine_, to sow thorns: or that
other principle, contained in the verse which Cicero citeth, _Cadant
amici_, _dummodo inimici intercidant_, as the triumvirs, which sold every
one to other the lives of their friends for the deaths of their enemies:
or that other protestation of L. Catilina, to set on fire and trouble
states, to the end to fish in droumy waters, and to unwrap their
fortunes, _Ego si quid in fortunis meis excitatum sit incendium_, _id non
aqua sed ruina restinguam_: or that other principle of Lysander, “That
children are to be deceived with comfits, and men with oaths:” and the
like evil and corrupt positions, whereof (as in all things) there are
more in number than of the good: certainly with these dispensations from
the laws of charity and integrity, the pressing of a man’s fortune may be
more hasty and compendious.  But it is in life as it is in ways, the
shortest way is commonly the foulest, and surely the fairer way is not
much about.

(46) But men, if they be in their own power, and do bear and sustain
themselves, and be not carried away with a whirlwind or tempest of
ambition, ought in the pursuit of their own fortune to set before their
eyes not only that general map of the world, “That all things are vanity
and vexation of spirit,” but many other more particular cards and
directions: chiefly that, that being without well-being is a curse, and
the greater being the greater curse; and that all virtue is most rewarded
and all wickedness most punished in itself: according as the poet saith

    “Quæ vobis, quæ digna, viri pro laudibus istis
    Præmia posse rear solvi? pulcherrima primum
    Dii _moresque_ dabunt vestri.”

And so of the contrary.  And secondly they ought to look up to the
Eternal Providence and Divine Judgment, which often subverteth the wisdom
of evil plots and imaginations, according to that scripture, “He hath
conceived mischief, and shall bring forth a vain thing.”  And although
men should refrain themselves from injury and evil arts, yet this
incessant and Sabbathless pursuit of a man’s fortune leaveth not tribute
which we owe to God of our time; who (we see) demandeth a tenth of our
substance, and a seventh, which is more strict, of our time: and it is to
small purpose to have an erected face towards heaven, and a perpetual
grovelling spirit upon earth, eating dust as doth the serpent, _Atque
affigit humo divinæ particulam auræ_.  And if any man flatter himself
that he will employ his fortune well, though he should obtain it ill, as
was said concerning Augustus Cæsar, and after of Septimius Severus, “That
either they should never have been born, or else they should never have
died,” they did so much mischief in the pursuit and ascent of their
greatness, and so much good when they were established; yet these
compensations and satisfactions are good to be used, but never good to be
purposed.  And lastly, it is not amiss for men, in their race towards
their fortune, to cool themselves a little with that conceit which is
elegantly expressed by the Emperor Charles V., in his instructions to the
king his son, “That fortune hath somewhat of the nature of a woman, that
if she he too much wooed she is the farther off.”  But this last is but a
remedy for those whose tastes are corrupted: let men rather build upon
that foundation which is as a corner-stone of divinity and philosophy,
wherein they join close, namely that same _Primum quærite_.  For divinity
saith, _Primum quærite regnum Dei_, _et ista omnia adjicientur vobis_:
and philosophy saith, _Primum quærite bona animi_; _cætera aut aderunt_,
_aut non oberunt_.  And although the human foundation hath somewhat of
the sands, as we see in M. Brutus, when he broke forth into that speech,

    “Te colui (Virtus) ut rem; ast tu nomen inane es;”

yet the divine foundation is upon the rock.  But this may serve for a
taste of that knowledge which I noted as deficient.

(47) Concerning government, it is a part of knowledge secret and retired
in both these respects in which things are deemed secret; for some things
are secret because they are hard to know, and some because they are not
fit to utter.  We see all governments are obscure and invisible:

       “Totamque infusa per artus
    Mens agitat molem, et magno se corpore miscet.”

Such is the description of governments.  We see the government of God
over the world is hidden, insomuch as it seemeth to participate of much
irregularity and confusion.  The government of the soul in moving the
body is inward and profound, and the passages thereof hardly to be
reduced to demonstration.  Again, the wisdom of antiquity (the shadows
whereof are in the poets) in the description of torments and pains, next
unto the crime of rebellion, which was the giants’ offence, doth detest
the offence of futility, as in Sisyphus and Tantalus.  But this was meant
of particulars: nevertheless even unto the general rules and discourses
of policy and government there is due a reverent and reserved handling.

(48) But contrariwise in the governors towards the governed, all things
ought as far as the frailty of man permitteth to be manifest and
revealed.  For so it is expressed in the Scriptures touching the
government of God, that this globe, which seemeth to us a dark and shady
body, is in the view of God as crystal: _Et in conspectu sedis tanquam
mare vitreum simile crystallo_.  So unto princes and states, and
specially towards wise senates and councils, the natures and dispositions
of the people, their conditions and necessities, their factions and
combinations, their animosities and discontents, ought to be, in regard
of the variety of their intelligences, the wisdom of their observations,
and the height of their station where they keep sentinel, in great part
clear and transparent.  Wherefore, considering that I write to a king
that is a master of this science, and is so well assisted, I think it
decent to pass over this part in silence, as willing to obtain the
certificate which one of the ancient philosophers aspired unto; who being
silent, when others contended to make demonstration of their abilities by
speech, desired it might be certified for his part, “That there was one
that knew how to hold his peace.”

(49) Notwithstanding, for the more public part of government, which is
laws, I think good to note only one deficiency; which is, that all those
which have written of laws have written either as philosophers or as
lawyers, and none as statesmen.  As for the philosophers, they make
imaginary laws for imaginary commonwealths, and their discourses are as
the stars, which give little light because they are so high.  For the
lawyers, they write according to the states where they live what is
received law, and not what ought to be law; for the wisdom of a law-maker
is one, and of a lawyer is another.  For there are in nature certain
fountains of justice whence all civil laws are derived but as streams;
and like as waters do take tinctures and tastes from the soils through
which they run, so do civil laws vary according to the regions and
governments where they are planted, though they proceed from the same
fountains.  Again, the wisdom of a law-maker consisteth not only in a
platform of justice, but in the application thereof; taking into
consideration by what means laws may be made certain, and what are the
causes and remedies of the doubtfulness and uncertainty of law; by what
means laws may be made apt and easy to be executed, and what are the
impediments and remedies in the execution of laws; what influence laws
touching private right of _meum_ and _tuum_ have into the public state,
and how they may be made apt and agreeable; how laws are to be penned and
delivered, whether in texts or in Acts, brief or large, with preambles or
without; how they are to be pruned and reformed from time to time, and
what is the best means to keep them from being too vast in volume, or too
full of multiplicity and crossness; how they are to be expounded, when
upon causes emergent and judicially discussed, and when upon responses
and conferences touching general points or questions; how they are to be
pressed, rigorously or tenderly; how they are to be mitigated by equity
and good conscience, and whether discretion and strict law are to be
mingled in the same courts, or kept apart in several courts; again, how
the practice, profession, and erudition of law is to be censured and
governed; and many other points touching the administration and (as I may
term it) animation of laws.  Upon which I insist the less, because I
purpose (if God give me leave), having begun a work of this nature in
aphorisms, to propound it hereafter, noting it in the meantime for

(50) And for your Majesty’s laws of England, I could say much of their
dignity, and somewhat of their defect; but they cannot but excel the
civil laws in fitness for the government, for the civil law was _nonhos
quæsitum munus in usus_; it was not made for the countries which it
governeth.  Hereof I cease to speak because I will not intermingle matter
of action with matter of general learning.

XXIV.  Thus have I concluded this portion of learning touching civil
knowledge; and with civil knowledge have concluded human philosophy; and
with human philosophy, philosophy in general.  And being now at some
pause, looking back into that I have passed through, this writing seemeth
to me (_si nunquam fallit imago_), as far as a man can judge of his own
work, not much better than that noise or sound which musicians make while
they are in tuning their instruments, which is nothing pleasant to hear,
but yet is a cause why the music is sweeter afterwards.  So have I been
content to tune the instruments of the Muses, that they may play that
have better hands.  And surely, when I set before me the condition of
these times, in which learning hath made her third visitation or circuit
in all the qualities thereof; as the excellency and vivacity of the wits
of this age; the noble helps and lights which we have by the travails of
ancient writers; the art of printing, which communicateth books to men of
all fortunes; the openness of the world by navigation, which hath
disclosed multitudes of experiments, and a mass of natural history; the
leisure wherewith these times abound, not employing men so generally in
civil business, as the states of Græcia did, in respect of their
popularity, and the state of Rome, in respect of the greatness of their
monarchy; the present disposition of these times at this instant to
peace; the consumption of all that ever can be said in controversies of
religion, which have so much diverted men from other sciences; the
perfection of your Majesty’s learning, which as a phœnix may call whole
volleys of wits to follow you; and the inseparable propriety of time,
which is ever more and more to disclose truth; I cannot but be raised to
this persuasion, that this third period of time will far surpass that of
the Grecian and Roman learning; only if men will know their own strength
and their own weakness both; and take, one from the other, light of
invention, and not fire of contradiction; and esteem of the inquisition
of truth as of an enterprise, and not as of a quality or ornament; and
employ wit and magnificence to things of worth and excellency, and not to
things vulgar and of popular estimation.  As for my labours, if any man
shall please himself or others in the reprehension of them, they shall
make that ancient and patient request, _Verbera_, _sed audi_: let men
reprehend them, so they observe and weigh them.  For the appeal is lawful
(though it may be it shall not be needful) from the first cogitations of
men to their second, and from the nearer times to the times further off.
Now let us come to that learning, which both the former times were not so
blessed as to know, sacred and inspired divinity, the Sabbath and port of
all men’s labours and peregrinations.

XXV. (1) The prerogative of God extendeth as well to the reason as to the
will of man: so that as we are to obey His law, though we find a
reluctation in our will, so we are to believe His word, though we find a
reluctation in our reason.  For if we believe only that which is
agreeable to our sense we give consent to the matter, and not to the
author; which is no more than we would do towards a suspected and
discredited witness; but that faith which was accounted to Abraham for
righteousness was of such a point as whereat Sarah laughed, who therein
was an image of natural reason.

(2) Howbeit (if we will truly consider of it) more worthy it is to
believe than to know as we now know.  For in knowledge man’s mind
suffereth from sense: but in belief it suffereth from spirit, such one as
it holdeth for more authorised than itself and so suffereth from the
worthier agent.  Otherwise it is of the state of man glorified; for then
faith shall cease, and we shall know as we are known.

(3) Wherefore we conclude that sacred theology (which in our idiom we
call divinity) is grounded only upon the word and oracle of God, and not
upon the light of nature: for it is written, _Cæli enarrant gloriam Dei_;
but it is not written, _Cæli enarrant voluntatem Dei_: but of that it is
said, _Ad legem et testimonium_: _si non fecerint secundum verbum istud_,
&c.  This holdeth not only in those points of faith which concern the
great mysteries of the Deity, of the creation, of the redemption, but
likewise those which concern the law moral, truly interpreted: “Love your
enemies: do good to them that hate you; be like to your heavenly Father,
that suffereth His rain to fall upon the just and unjust.”  To this it
ought to be applauded, _Nec vox hominem sonat_: it is a voice beyond the
light of nature.  So we see the heathen poets, when they fall upon a
libertine passion, do still expostulate with laws and moralities, as if
they were opposite and malignant to nature: _Et quod natura remittit_,
_invida jura negant_.  So said Dendamis the Indian unto Alexander’s
messengers, that he had heard somewhat of Pythagoras, and some other of
the wise men of Græcia, and that he held them for excellent men: but that
they had a fault, which was that they had in too great reverence and
veneration a thing they called law and manners.  So it must be confessed
that a great part of the law moral is of that perfection whereunto the
light of nature cannot aspire: how then is it that man is said to have,
by the light and law of nature, some notions and conceits of virtue and
vice, justice and wrong, good and evil?  Thus, because the light of
nature is used in two several senses: the one, that which springeth from
reason, sense, induction, argument, according to the laws of heaven and
earth; the other, that which is imprinted upon the spirit of man by an
inward instinct, according to the law of conscience, which is a sparkle
of the purity of his first estate: in which latter sense only he is
participant of some light and discerning touching the perfection of the
moral law; but how? sufficient to check the vice but not to inform the
duty.  So then the doctrine of religion, as well moral as mystical, is
not to be attained but by inspiration and revelation from God.

(4) The use notwithstanding of reason in spiritual things, and the
latitude thereof, is very great and general: for it is not for nothing
that the apostle calleth religion “our reasonable service of God;”
insomuch as the very ceremonies and figures of the old law were full of
reason and signification, much more than the ceremonies of idolatry and
magic, that are full of non-significants and surd characters.  But most
specially the Christian faith, as in all things so in this, deserveth to
be highly magnified; holding and preserving the golden mediocrity in this
point between the law of the heathen and the law of Mahomet, which have
embraced the two extremes.  For the religion of the heathen had no
constant belief or confession, but left all to the liberty of agent; and
the religion of Mahomet on the other side interdicteth argument
altogether: the one having the very face of error, and the other of
imposture; whereas the Faith doth both admit and reject disputation with

(5) The use of human reason in religion is of two sorts: the former, in
the conception and apprehension of the mysteries of God to us revealed;
the other, in the inferring and deriving of doctrine and direction
thereupon.  The former extendeth to the mysteries themselves; but how? by
way of illustration, and not by way of argument.  The latter consisteth
indeed of probation and argument.  In the former we see God vouchsafeth
to descend to our capacity, in the expressing of His mysteries in sort as
may be sensible unto us; and doth graft His revelations and holy doctrine
upon the notions of our reason, and applieth His inspirations to open our
understanding, as the form of the key to the ward of the lock.  For the
latter there is allowed us a use of reason and argument, secondary and
respective, although not original and absolute.  For after the articles
and principles of religion are placed and exempted from examination of
reason, it is then permitted unto us to make derivations and inferences
from and according to the analogy of them, for our better direction.  In
nature this holdeth not; for both the principles are examinable by
induction, though not by a medium or syllogism; and besides, those
principles or first positions have no discordance with that reason which
draweth down and deduceth the inferior positions.  But yet it holdeth not
in religion alone, but in many knowledges, both of greater and smaller
nature, namely, wherein there are not only _posita_ but _placita_; for in
such there can be no use of absolute reason.  We see it familiarly in
games of wit, as chess, or the like.  The draughts and first laws of the
game are positive, but how? merely _ad placitum_, and not examinable by
reason; but then how to direct our play thereupon with best advantage to
win the game is artificial and rational.  So in human laws there be many
grounds and maxims which are _placita juris_, positive upon authority,
and not upon reason, and therefore not to be disputed: but what is most
just, not absolutely but relatively, and according to those maxims, that
affordeth a long field of disputation.  Such therefore is that secondary
reason, which hath place in divinity, which is grounded upon the
_placets_ of God.

(6) Here therefore I note this deficiency, that there hath not been, to
my understanding, sufficiently inquired and handled the true limits and
use of reason in spiritual things, as a kind of divine dialectic: which
for that it is not done, it seemeth to me a thing usual, by pretext of
true conceiving that which is revealed, to search and mine into that
which is not revealed; and by pretext of enucleating inferences and
contradictories, to examine that which is positive.  The one sort falling
into the error of Nicodemus, demanding to have things made more sensible
than it pleaseth God to reveal them, _Quomodo possit homo nasci cum sit
senex_?  The other sort into the error of the disciples, which were
scandalised at a show of contradiction, _Quid est hoc quod dicit nobis_?
_Modicum et non videbitis me_; _et iterum_, _modicum_, _et videbitis me_,

(7) Upon this I have insisted the more, in regard of the great and
blessed use thereof; for this point well laboured and defined of would in
my judgment be an opiate to stay and bridle not only the vanity of
curious speculations, wherewith the schools labour, but the fury of
controversies, wherewith the Church laboureth.  For it cannot but open
men’s eyes to see that many controversies do merely pertain to that which
is either not revealed or positive; and that many others do grow upon
weak and obscure inferences or derivations: which latter sort, if men
would revive the blessed style of that great doctor of the Gentiles,
would be carried thus, _ego_, _non dominus_; and again, _secundum
consilium meum_, in opinions and counsels, and not in positions and
oppositions.  But men are now over-ready to usurp the style, _non ego_,
_sed dominus_; and not so only, but to bind it with the thunder and
denunciation of curses and anathemas, to the terror of those which have
not sufficiently learned out of Solomon that “The causeless curse shall
not come.”

(8) Divinity hath two principal parts: the matter informed or revealed,
and the nature of the information or revelation; and with the latter we
will begin, because it hath most coherence with that which we have now
last handled.  The nature of the information consisteth of three
branches: the limits of the information, the sufficiency of the
information, and the acquiring or obtaining the information.  Unto the
limits of the information belong these considerations: how far forth
particular persons continue to be inspired; how far forth the Church is
inspired; and how far forth reason may be used; the last point whereof I
have noted as deficient.  Unto the sufficiency of the information belong
two considerations: what points of religion are fundamental, and what
perfective, being matter of further building and perfection upon one and
the same foundation; and again, how the gradations of light according to
the dispensation of times are material to the sufficiency of belief.

(9) Here again I may rather give it in advice than note it as deficient,
that the points fundamental, and the points of further perfection only,
ought to be with piety and wisdom distinguished; a subject tending to
much like end as that I noted before; for as that other were likely to
abate the number of controversies, so this is likely to abate the heat of
many of them.  We see Moses when he saw the Israelite and the Egyptian
fight, he did not say, “Why strive you?” but drew his sword and slew the
Egyptian; but when he saw the two Israelites fight, he said, “You are
brethren, why strive you?”  If the point of doctrine be an Egyptian, it
must be slain by the sword of the Spirit, and not reconciled; but if it
be an Israelite, though in the wrong, then, “Why strive you?”  We see of
the fundamental points, our Saviour penneth the league thus, “He that is
not with us is against us;” but of points not fundamental, thus, “He that
is not against us is with us.”  So we see the coat of our Saviour was
entire without seam, and so is the doctrine of the Scriptures in itself;
but the garment of the Church was of divers colours and yet not divided.
We see the chaff may and ought to be severed from the corn in the ear,
but the tares may not be pulled up from the corn in the field.  So as it
is a thing of great use well to define what, and of what latitude, those
points are which do make men mere aliens and disincorporate from the
Church of God.

(10) For the obtaining of the information, it resteth upon the true and
sound interpretation of the Scriptures, which are the fountains of the
water of life.  The interpretations of the Scriptures are of two sorts:
methodical, and solute or at large.  For this divine water, which
excelleth so much that of Jacob’s well, is drawn forth much in the same
kind as natural water useth to be out of wells and fountains; either it
is first forced up into a cistern, and from thence fetched and derived
for use; or else it is drawn and received in buckets and vessels
immediately where it springeth.  The former sort whereof, though it seem
to be the more ready, yet in my judgment is more subject to corrupt.
This is that method which hath exhibited unto us the scholastical
divinity; whereby divinity hath been reduced into an art, as into a
cistern, and the streams of doctrine or positions fetched and derived
from thence.

(11) In this men have sought three things, a summary brevity, a compacted
strength, and a complete perfection; whereof the two first they fail to
find, and the last they ought not to seek.  For as to brevity, we see in
all summary methods, while men purpose to abridge, they give cause to
dilate.  For the sum or abridgment by contraction becometh obscure; the
obscurity requireth exposition, and the exposition is deduced into large
commentaries, or into commonplaces and titles, which grow to be more vast
than the original writings, whence the sum was at first extracted.  So we
see the volumes of the schoolmen are greater much than the first writings
of the fathers, whence the master of the sentences made his sum or
collection.  So in like manner the volumes of the modern doctors of the
civil law exceed those of the ancient jurisconsults, of which Tribonian
compiled the digest.  So as this course of sums and commentaries is that
which doth infallibly make the body of sciences more immense in quantity,
and more base in substance.

(12) And for strength, it is true that knowledges reduced into exact
methods have a show of strength, in that each part seemeth to support and
sustain the other; but this is more satisfactory than substantial, like
unto buildings which stand by architecture and compaction, which are more
subject to ruin than those that are built more strong in their several
parts, though less compacted.  But it is plain that the more you recede
from your grounds, the weaker do you conclude; and as in nature, the more
you remove yourself from particulars, the greater peril of error you do
incur; so much more in divinity, the more you recede from the Scriptures
by inferences and consequences, the more weak and dilute are your

(13) And as for perfection or completeness in divinity, it is not to be
sought, which makes this course of artificial divinity the more suspect.
For he that will reduce a knowledge into an art will make it round and
uniform; but in divinity many things must be left abrupt, and concluded
with this: _O altitudo sapientiæ et scientiæ Dei_! _quam
incomprehensibilia sunt juducua ejus_, _et non investigabiles viæ ejus_.
So again the apostle saith, _Ex parte scimus_: and to have the form of a
total, where there is but matter for a part, cannot be without supplies
by supposition and presumption.  And therefore I conclude that the true
use of these sums and methods hath place in institutions or introductions
preparatory unto knowledge; but in them, or by deducement from them, to
handle the main body and substance of a knowledge is in all sciences
prejudicial, and in divinity dangerous.

(14) As to the interpretation of the Scriptures solute and at large,
there have been divers kinds introduced and devised; some of them rather
curious and unsafe than sober and warranted.  Notwithstanding, thus much
must be confessed, that the Scriptures, being given by inspiration and
not by human reason, do differ from all other books in the Author, which
by consequence doth draw on some difference to be used by the expositor.
For the Inditer of them did know four things which no man attains to
know; which are—the mysteries of the kingdom of glory, the perfection of
the laws of nature, the secrets of the heart of man, and the future
succession of all ages.  For as to the first it is said, “He that
presseth into the light shall be oppressed of the glory.”  And again, “No
man shall see My face and live.”  To the second, “When He prepared the
heavens I was present, when by law and compass He enclosed the deep.”  To
the third, “Neither was it needful that any should bear witness to Him of
man, for He knew well what was in man.”  And to the last, “From the
beginning are known to the Lord all His works.”

(15) From the former two of these have been drawn certain senses and
expositions of Scriptures, which had need be contained within the bounds
of sobriety—the one anagogical, and the other philosophical.  But as to
the former, man is not to prevent his time: _Videmus nunc per speculum in
ænigmate_, _tunc autem facie ad faciem_; wherein nevertheless there
seemeth to be a liberty granted, as far forth as the polishing of this
glass, or some moderate explication of this enigma.  But to press too far
into it cannot but cause a dissolution and overthrow of the spirit of
man.  For in the body there are three degrees of that we receive into
it—aliment, medicine, and poison; whereof aliment is that which the
nature of man can perfectly alter and overcome; medicine is that which is
partly converted by nature, and partly converteth nature; and poison is
that which worketh wholly upon nature, without that nature can in any
part work upon it.  So in the mind, whatsoever knowledge reason cannot at
all work upon and convert is a mere intoxication, and endangereth a
dissolution of the mind and understanding.

(16) But for the latter, it hath been extremely set on foot of late time
by the school of Paracelsus, and some others, that have pretended to find
the truth of all natural philosophy in the Scriptures; scandalising and
traducing all other philosophy as heathenish and profane.  But there is
no such enmity between God’s Word and His works; neither do they give
honour to the Scriptures, as they suppose, but much embase them.  For to
seek heaven and earth in the Word of God, whereof it is said, “Heaven and
earth shall pass, but My word shall not pass,” is to seek temporary
things amongst eternal: and as to seek divinity in philosophy is to seek
the living amongst the dead, so to seek philosophy in divinity is to seek
the dead amongst the living: neither are the pots or lavers, whose place
was in the outward part of the temple, to be sought in the holiest place
of all where the ark of the testimony was seated.  And again, the scope
or purpose of the Spirit of God is not to express matters of nature in
the Scriptures, otherwise than in passage, and for application to man’s
capacity and to matters moral or divine.  And it is a true rule,
_Auctoris aliud agentis parva auctoritas_.  For it were a strange
conclusion, if a man should use a similitude for ornament or illustration
sake, borrowed from nature or history according to vulgar conceit, as of
a basilisk, a unicorn, a centaur, a Briareus, a hydra, or the like, that
therefore he must needs be thought to affirm the matter thereof
positively to be true.  To conclude therefore these two interpretations,
the one by reduction or enigmatical, the other philosophical or physical,
which have been received and pursued in imitation of the rabbins and
cabalists, are to be confined with a _a noli akryn sapere_, _sed time_.

(17) But the two latter points, known to God and unknown to man, touching
the secrets of the heart and the successions of time, doth make a just
and sound difference between the manner of the exposition of the
Scriptures and all other books.  For it is an excellent observation which
hath been made upon the answers of our Saviour Christ to many of the
questions which were propounded to Him, how that they are impertinent to
the state of the question demanded: the reason whereof is, because not
being like man, which knows man’s thoughts by his words, but knowing
man’s thoughts immediately, He never answered their words, but their
thoughts.  Much in the like manner it is with the Scriptures, which being
written to the thoughts of men, and to the succession of all ages, with a
foresight of all heresies, contradictions, differing estates of the
Church, yea, and particularly of the elect, are not to be interpreted
only according to the latitude of the proper sense of the place, and
respectively towards that present occasion whereupon the words were
uttered, or in precise congruity or contexture with the words before or
after, or in contemplation of the principal scope of the place; but have
in themselves, not only totally or collectively, but distributively in
clauses and words, infinite springs and streams of doctrine to water the
Church in every part.  And therefore as the literal sense is, as it were,
the main stream or river, so the moral sense chiefly, and sometimes the
allegorical or typical, are they whereof the Church hath most use; not
that I wish men to be bold in allegories, or indulgent or light in
allusions: but that I do much condemn that interpretation of the
Scripture which is only after the manner as men use to interpret a
profane book.

(18) In this part touching the exposition of the Scriptures, I can report
no deficiency; but by way of remembrance this I will add.  In perusing
books of divinity I find many books of controversies, and many of
commonplaces and treatises, a mass of positive divinity, as it is made an
art: a number of sermons and lectures, and many prolix commentaries upon
the Scriptures, with harmonies and concordances.  But that form of
writing in divinity which in my judgment is of all others most rich and
precious is positive divinity, collected upon particular texts of
Scriptures in brief observations; not dilated into commonplaces, not
chasing after controversies, not reduced into method of art; a thing
abounding in sermons, which will vanish, but defective in books which
will remain, and a thing wherein this age excelleth.  For I am persuaded,
and I may speak it with an _absit invidia verbo_, and nowise in
derogation of antiquity, but as in a good emulation between the vine and
the olive, that if the choice and best of those observations upon texts
of Scriptures which have been made dispersedly in sermons within this
your Majesty’s Island of Brittany by the space of these forty years and
more (leaving out the largeness of exhortations and applications
thereupon) had been set down in a continuance, it had been the best work
in divinity which had been written since the Apostles’ times.

(19) The matter informed by divinity is of two kinds: matter of belief
and truth of opinion, and matter of service and adoration; which is also
judged and directed by the former—the one being as the internal soul of
religion, and the other as the external body thereof.  And, therefore,
the heathen religion was not only a worship of idols, but the whole
religion was an idol in itself; for it had no soul; that is, no certainty
of belief or confession: as a man may well think, considering the chief
doctors of their church were the poets; and the reason was because the
heathen gods were no jealous gods, but were glad to be admitted into
part, as they had reason.  Neither did they respect the pureness of
heart, so they might have external honour and rites.

(20) But out of these two do result and issue four main branches of
divinity: faith, manners, liturgy, and government.  Faith containeth the
doctrine of the nature of God, of the attributes of God, and of the works
of God.  The nature of God consisteth of three persons in unity of
Godhead.  The attributes of God are either common to the Deity, or
respective to the persons.  The works of God summary are two, that of the
creation and that of the redemption; and both these works, as in total
they appertain to the unity of the Godhead, so in their parts they refer
to the three persons: that of the creation, in the mass of the matter, to
the Father; in the disposition of the form, to the Son; and in the
continuance and conservation of the being, to the Holy Spirit.  So that
of the redemption, in the election and counsel, to the Father; in the
whole act and consummation, to the Son; and in the application, to the
Holy Spirit; for by the Holy Ghost was Christ conceived in flesh, and by
the Holy Ghost are the elect regenerate in spirit.  This work likewise we
consider either effectually, in the elect; or privately, in the
reprobate; or according to appearance, in the visible Church.

(21) For manners, the doctrine thereof is contained in the law, which
discloseth sin.  The law itself is divided, according to the edition
thereof, into the law of nature, the law moral, and the law positive; and
according to the style, into negative and affirmative, prohibitions and
commandments.  Sin, in the matter and subject thereof, is divided
according to the commandments; in the form thereof it referreth to the
three persons in Deity: sins of infirmity against the Father, whose more
special attribute is power; sins of ignorance against the Son, whose
attribute is wisdom; and sins of malice against the Holy Ghost, whose
attribute is grace or love.  In the motions of it, it either moveth to
the right hand or to the left; either to blind devotion or to profane and
libertine transgression; either in imposing restraint where God granteth
liberty, or in taking liberty where God imposeth restraint.  In the
degrees and progress of it, it divideth itself into thought, word, or
act.  And in this part I commend much the deducing of the law of God to
cases of conscience; for that I take indeed to be a breaking, and not
exhibiting whole of the bread of life.  But that which quickeneth both
these doctrines of faith and manners is the elevation and consent of the
heart; whereunto appertain books of exhortation, holy meditation,
Christian resolution, and the like.

(22) For the liturgy or service, it consisteth of the reciprocal acts
between God and man; which, on the part of God, are the preaching of the
word, and the sacraments, which are seals to the covenant, or as the
visible word; and on the part of man, invocation of the name of God; and
under the law, sacrifices; which were as visible prayers or confessions:
but now the adoration being _in spiritu et veritate_, there remaineth
only _vituli labiorum_; although the use of holy vows of thankfulness and
retribution may be accounted also as sealed petitions.

(23) And for the government of the Church, it consisteth of the patrimony
of the Church, the franchises of the Church, and the offices and
jurisdictions of the Church, and the laws of the Church directing the
whole; all which have two considerations, the one in themselves, the
other how they stand compatible and agreeable to the civil estate.

(24) This matter of divinity is handled either in form of instruction of
truth, or in form of confutation of falsehood.  The declinations from
religion, besides the privative, which is atheism and the branches
thereof, are three—heresies, idolatry, and witchcraft: heresies, when we
serve the true God with a false worship; idolatry, when we worship false
gods, supposing them to be true; and witchcraft, when we adore false
gods, knowing them to be wicked and false.  For so your Majesty doth
excellently well observe, that witchcraft is the height of idolatry.  And
yet we see though these be true degrees, Samuel teacheth us that they are
all of a nature, when there is once a receding from the Word of God; for
so he saith, _Quasi peccatum ariolandi est repugnare_, _et quasi scelus
idololatriæ nolle acquiescere_.

(25) These things I have passed over so briefly because I can report no
deficiency concerning them: for I can find no space or ground that lieth
vacant and unsown in the matter of divinity, so diligent have men been
either in sowing of good seed, or in sowing of tares.

                                * * * * *

Thus have I made as it were a small globe of the intellectual world, as
truly and faithfully as I could discover; with a note and description of
those parts which seem to me not constantly occupate, or not well
converted by the labour of man.  In which, if I have in any point receded
from that which is commonly received, it hath been with a purpose of
proceeding in _melius_, and not _in aliud_; a mind of amendment and
proficiency, and not of change and difference.  For I could not be true
and constant to the argument I handle if I were not willing to go beyond
others; but yet not more willing than to have others go beyond me again:
which may the better appear by this, that I have propounded my opinions
naked and unarmed, not seeking to preoccupate the liberty of men’s
judgments by confutations.  For in anything which is well set down, I am
in good hope that if the first reading move an objection, the second
reading will make an answer.  And in those things wherein I have erred, I
am sure I have not prejudiced the right by litigious arguments; which
certainly have this contrary effect and operation, that they add
authority to error, and destroy the authority of that which is well
invented.  For question is an honour and preferment to falsehood, as on
the other side it is a repulse to truth.  But the errors I claim and
challenge to myself as mine own.  The good, it any be, is due _tanquam
adeps sacrificii_, to be incensed to the honour, first of the Divine
Majesty, and next of your Majesty, to whom on earth I am most bounden.


{39}  Stoops in the rice and takes the speeding gold.  Ovid. Metam, x.

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