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1. OF STUDIES.
STUDIES serve for delight? ( pastime), for ornament, and for ability* (mastery over business). Their chief use for delight, is in privateness (privacy, one's own retirement) and retiring; for ornament, is in discourse (conversation with others); and for ability, is in the judgment and disposition of business. For expert men (merely clever men) can execute, and perhaps judge of particulars one by one; but the general counsels, and the plots (arrangements) and the marshalling of affairs, come best from those that are learned. To spend too much time in studies, is sloth; to use them too much for ornament, is affectation (pedantry); to make judgment (give decisions) wholly by their rules, is the humour of a scholar. They perfect (mature) nature, and are perfected by experience; for natural abilities are like natural plants, that need“ proyning” (pruning) by study; and studies themselves do give forth directions too much at large (too generally and vaguely), except they be bounded in by experience. Craftyø (practical) men contemn studies, simple
(1) “The style of Bacon has an idiosyncracy which we might expect from his genius. It can rarely indeed happen, and only in men of secondary talents, that the language they use is not, by its very choice and allocation, as well as its meaning, the representative of an individuality that distinguishes their turn of thought. Bacon is elaborate, sententious, often witty, often metaphorical; nothing could be spared; his analogies are generally striking and novel; his style is clear, precise, forcible ; yet there is some degree of stiffness about it, and in mere language he is inferior to Raleigh."-Hallam, "Lit. of Europe,” iii. 150.
(2) This essay was evidently a favourite of Bacon's. It is the first (“On Studies ”) in the first edition, being then about half the length to which it grew at last. It was enlarged in 1612, and again in 1625, when, the year before his death, Bacon published the last and revised edition of his “Essayes."
(3) Delight. “ Pastymes" is the reading of the first edition, published in 1597.
(4) Studies serve, fc. Studies furnish us with pastime in retirement, ornament in society, and power over business in public life.
(5) Crafty, fr. A S. craft, strength, strength in a man's special vocation, skill; hence crafty is skilful or practical. Wiclif has, “a citee havynge fonndementis, whos craftiman and maker is God.” For craftiman, Chaucer uses craftesman. Craft is quoted along with cunning by Trench as instances of “degeneration." Neither originally implied anything more than “skill” and “knowledge," but now craft is skill used to circumvent; and cunning, to use Bacon's own expression
(ignorant) men admire them, and wise men use them; for they teach not their own use ; but that (i.e. the proper use of them) is a wisdom without them, and above them, won by observation. Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted ; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider. Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and “disgested;" that is, some books are to be read only in parts; others to be read, but not curiously (with elaborate care); and some few to be read wholly (through) and with diligence and attention. Some books also may be read by deputy, and extracts made of (from) them by others; but that would (should) be only in the less important arguments, and the meaner sort of books : else distilled books are like common distilled waters, flashy' (insipid, spiritless) things. Reading maketh a full man; conference (conversation, intercourse wi h others) a ready man; and writing an exact man. And therefore, if a man write little, he had need have a great memory; if he confer little (has little intercourse wi h others), he had need have a present wit (i.e. to supply his defect of experience); and if he read little, he bad need have much cunning, to seem to know that (what) he doth not. Histories make men wise; poets, witty; the mathematics, subtle; natural philosophy, deep; moral (moral philosophy or ethics), grave; logic and rhetoric able to contend. “Abeunt studia in mores” (the studies pass into the manners); nay, there is no stond (hindrance) or impediment in the wit, but may be wrought out (eradicated) by fit studies; like as diseases of the body may have appropriate exercises. Bowling (bowls) is good for the stone and reins (kidneys); shooting (archery) for the lungs and breast; gentle walking for the stomach; riding for the head, and the like. So, if a man's wit be wandering, let him study the mathematics; for in demonstrations if his wit (mind) be called away never (ever) so little, he must begin again. If his wit be not apt to distinguish or find difference, let him study
regarding it, is “a sinister crooked wisdom;" and in the present essay, he says" he had need of much cunning to seem to know that he doth not."
(1) Flashy, appearing like a flash, showy; hence, as appearing what it is not, vapid, insipid. This last must have been meant above, since in the Latin translation of the Essays, made under Bacon's direction, the words corresponding are “penitus insipidi.” This use of the word flashy is, however, rare.
(2) See note 5, p. 127.
(3) Stond, stand or stop; a word apparently confined to Bacon. He uses the same combination in another passage, “ The removing of the stonds and impediments of the mind."
the schoolmen, for they are “ Cymini sectores ” (splitters of cummin, hair splitters). If he be not apt to beat over matters, to call upon one thing to prove and illustrate another, let him study the lawyers' cases; so every defect of the mind may have a special receipt (remedy).
2. OF TRUTH."
(FROM THE SAME WORK.) “What is truth? ” said jesting Pilate ;and would not stay for an answer. Certainly there be that delight in giddiness, and count it a bondage to fix a belief; affecting (pretending to) freewill in thinking, as well as in acting. And though the sects of philosophers of that kind be gone, yet there remain certain discoursing (rambling) wits, which are of the same veins, though there be not so much blood in them as was in those of the ancients. But it is not only the difficulty and labour which men take (experience in the finding out of truth; nor again, that when it is found, it imposeth (lays a restraint) upon men's thoughts, that doth bring lies in favour; but a natural though corrupt love of the lie itself. One of the later school of the Grecians examineth the matter, and is at a stand (loss) to think what should be in it, that men should love lies, where neither they make for pleasure, as with poets, nor for advantage, as with the merchant; but for the lie's sake. But I cannot tell ; this same truth is a naked and open daylight, that doth not show the masks, and mummeries, and triumphs' (pageants) of the world, half so stately and daintily (delicately) as candlelights.
Truth may, perhaps, come to the price, 4 of a pearl that showeth best by day; but it will not rise to the price of a diamond or carbuncle, that showeth best in varied lights. A mixture of a lie doth ever add pleasure. Doth any man
(1) This essay first appeared in the revised edition of 1625.
(2) Whately well remarks, that “never was any one less in a jesting mood than Pilate on this occasion." When he said, “What is truth?” he meant, " What has truth to do with your being a king ?” Pilate took a low, but not a scoffing view of the question.
(3) Triumph, fr. Jat. triumphus, “a triomphal procession." The literal meaning of this word, as used in Latin and in our earlier authors, is now obsolete. We always use it now figuratively. “To gain a triumph ” once meant, to be allowed to have a grand public procession in one's holour. Now it means simply to come off first in a contest of any kind.
(4) Price. See note 3, p. 94.
doubt, that if there were taken out of men's minds vain opinions, flattering hopes, false valuations (estimates), imaginations as one would (unrestrained), and the like, but it would leave the minds of a number of men, poor shrunken things, full of melancholy, and indisposition, and unpleasing (distasteful) to themselves ? One of the fathers (Augustine), in great severity, called poesy “vinum dæmonum” (devil's wine), because it filleth the imagination, and yet it is but with the shadow of a lie. But it is not the lie that passeth through the mind, but the lie that sinketh in, and settleth in it, that doth the hurt, such as we spoke of before. But howsoever (although) these things are thus in men's depraved judgments and affections, yet truth, which only (alone) doth judge itself, teacheth that the inquiry (investigation) of truth, which is the love-making, or wooing of it; the knowledge of truth, which is the presence of it; and the belief of truth, which is the enjoying of it; is the soueraigne” good of human nature.'
The first creature (creation)2 of God, in the works of the days, was the light of the sense; the last was the light of reason; and his Sabbath-work, ever since, is the illumination of his Spirit.3 First he breathed light upon the face of the matter, or chaos; then he breathed light into the face of man; and still he breatheth and inspireth light into the face of his chosen. The poet (Lucretius) that beautified the sect (the Epicureans) that was otherwise inferior to the rest, saith yet excellently well, “It is a pleasure to stand upon the shore, and to see ships tost upon the sea; a pleasure to stand in the window of a castle, and to see a battle, and the adventures (events, vicissitudes) thereof below: but no pleasure is comparable to the standing upon the vantage-ground of truth (a hill not to be commanded, and where the air is always clear and serene), and to see the errors, and wanderings, and mists, and tempests in the vale below;" so (provided) always, that this prospect be with pity, and not with swelling or pride. Certainly it is heaven upon earth, to have a man's mind move in charity, rest in providence, and turn upon the poles of truth.
To pass from theological and philosophical truth, to the truth of civil (political) business; it will be acknowledged, even by
(1) The gradation is finely marked—the wooing, the attainment, the enjoyment, parallel with the investigation, the knowledge, the belief.
(2) Creature, fr. Lat. creatura, anything created, whether animate or inanimate In A.V., Rom. viii, 39, we have, “Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature (i.e. created thing, anything that can occur) shall be able," &c. (3) Mark the precision of the thought-material, intellectual, spiritual, light.
those that practise it not, that clear and round? (fair) dealing is the honour of man's nature; and that mixture of falsehood is like “allay” (alloy) in coin of gold and silver, which may make the metal work the better, but it embaseth it. For these winding and crooked courses are the goings of the serpent, which goeth basely upon the belly, and not upon the feet.
There is no vice that doth so cover a man with shame, as to be found false and perfidious. And therefore Montaigne saith prettily, when he inquired the reason why the word of the lie (the imputation of a lie) should be such a disgrace and such an odious charge ? Saith he, “If it be well weighed, to say that a man lieth, is as much as to say, that he is brave towards God, and a coward towards men.” For a lie faces God, and shrinks from man. Surely the wickedness of falsehood, and breach of faith, cannot possibly be so highly expressed, as in that it shall be the last peal to call the judgments of God upon the generations of men: it being foretold, that when “ Christ cometh,” he shall not “ find faith upon the earth.”
3. LEARNING INDUCES NOT SLOTHFULNESS. (FROM "THE TWO BOOKS OF THE PROFICIENCE AND ADVANCEMENT OF
LEARNING,” PUBLISHED IN 1605.) FOR (as for) the conceit? (notion) that learning should dispose men to leisure and privateness (privacy), and make men slothful, it were (would be) a strange thing, if that which accustometh the mind to a perpetual motion (animation) and agitation should induce slothfulness; whereas contrariwise (on the contrary) 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 an hireling that loves the work for the wages; or for honour, as because it beareth them up (elevates) in the eyes of men, and refresheth their reputation, which otherwise would wear (wane); 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, 2
(1) Round. “I will a round, unvarnished tale deliver” (“ Othello").
(2) Conceit, fr. Lat. conceptus, wh. fr. concipere, becoming in Fr. concevoir, * to lay hold of, or gather together," (1) with the hands, (2) with the senses, (3) with the mind; and, therefore, to embrace within the mind, to form an