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insight. Depth of passion and winning tenderness are wanting. The energy
which should be vital too often becomes mechanical. His point of view is usually or always that of the satirist:
My strict hand
And thus, even in the lower levels of comedy, where he is most at home, the critic frequently, consciously or unconsciously, mars the artist. Neither he nor the reader forgets himself. The process is seen, the intention is felt. Calculation strips him of that delicate and easy-flowing imitation which begets hallucination.
Still, if unable to construct characters, variety of learning, clearness of mind, and energy of soul, suffice to depict English manners and to render vice visible and odious. But he is loftier from another side. We have seen how charming, how elegant and refined, this same war-elephant may be when he enters the domain of pure poetry; as in the polished songs and other lyrical pieces sprinkled over his dramas, in the beautiful dream of the Shepherd, or the courtly Masques, which display the whole magnificence of the English Renaissance. His inequality - great excellences offset by great defects — is in strong contrast with the unebbing fulness and amplitude of the creative Shakespeare. Nevertheless, in his field, in his genus of the drama, he stands on the summit of his hill.
Character.—The most obvious qualities of his intellectual nature are weight and force; of his spiritual nature, earnestness and courage. In the classics, 'accurate and thorough; and on every subject, athirst. He is said to have carried books in his pocket while working at his trade, in order, during leisure moments, to refresh his memory upon favorite passages in the Latin and Greek poets. In method, he was careful and precise:
* For a man to write well, there are required three necessaries: - to read the best authors; observe the best speakers; and much exercise of his own style. In style, to coneider what ought to be written, and after what manner; he must first think, and excogitate his matter; then choose his words, and examine the weight of either. Then take care in placing and ranking both matter and words, that the composition be comely; and to do this with diligence and often. No matter how slow the style be at first, so it be labored and accurate; seek the best, and be not glad of the forward conceits, or first words that offer themselves to us, but judge of what we invent, and order what we approve.'
He had moral loftiness. Of all styles,' he said, “he most loved to be named Honest. To this add resolute self-assertion. The stage was to be improved and exalted. He would guide, not follow, the popular taste. Judge of his energy and purpose:
* With an armed and resolved hand,
And with a whip of steel,
Should I detect their hateful luxuries.' He writes correspondently,—as if with his fist. Conscience and vigor, aided by an intrepid self-confidence, commanded esteem, even veneration; his hard-won position strengthened his natural pride; and consciousness of power, with a severe sense of duty, rendered him censorious, magisterial. He thought Donne, ‘for not keeping of accent, deserved hanging’; and Decker was a rogue. He could instruct even Shakespeare. At the Mermaid, he was self-constituted autocrat. His hearers were schoolboys. While other dramatists said to the audience, Please to applaud this,' Ben said, 'Now you fools, we shall see if you
have sense enough to applaud this!” Egotistical, overbearing, of sour aspect, he was frank, social, generous, even prodigal. To the last he retained the riotous, defiant color of the brilliant dramatic world through which he fought his way. Like the rest, he lived freely, liberally, and saw the ins and the outs of lust. Drink, always a luxury, became his necessity. He was a frequent visitor of the Apollo, a club in the Old Devil Tavern; wrote rules for it – Leges Conviviales; and penned a welcome over the door to all who approved the 'true Phabian liquor.'
In a general view, he presents a singular antithesis,-a rugged, gross, and combative aspect, which is the ordinary one, and a fanciful, serene aspect, which is exceptional and separate, occupying, so to speak, a secluded corner in the general largeness. It might seem surprising that the burly giant could become so gracefully petit as he appears in previous quotations, and, preeminently in the following lightly tripping strophe:
Have yon scen but a bright lily grow
Before rude hands have touched it?
Have you marked but the fall o' the snow
Before the soil hath smutched it?
Or swan's down ever?
Or the nard in the fire?
Influence. It is believed that his social position was superior to Shakespeare's. With royalty he was familiar. Elizabeth and James admired and employed him. His society was courted by the time-worn and the youthful; and by an inner circle of devotees he was venerated. In his declining days, he was the acknowledged chief of his art, and during the Restoration his reputation as a critic was still second to none.
In his own age, his power was similar to that of his massive namesake, Samuel Johnson, in the succeeding century. Swift was to find suggestions in his Tale of the Tub. Milton was to go to his masques and odes for some of the elegancies of his own dignified muse. Dryden was to think, erroneously, “He did a little too much Romanize our tongue.' For reasons given, his readers are now, unhappily and unworthily, relatively few; but, as his good parts are enduring and imperishable, no fame is more secure.
To every soul that is taxed, to every youth that resolves to be eminent, he brings the assurance that manly resistance subdues the opposition of the world; the resolution to surmount an obstacle reduces it one half; before a fearless step, foes will slink away; around perseverance the Graces collect, and at its bidding the laurel comes.
Who is there that npon hearing the name of Lord Bacon does not instantly recognize everything of genius the most profound, everything of literature the most extensive, everything of discovery the most penetrating, everything of observation of human life the most distinguishing and refined ?- Burke.
Biography.-Born in London, in 1561; his father, Sir Nicholas, one of Elizabeth's most sagacious statesmen; his mother, the learned daughter of Sir Anthony Cooke; received his early education under his mother's eye, mixed freely with the wise
and great who were visitors at his home; at thirteen, entered Cambridge University, where his deepest impressions became an inveterate scorn for Aristotle and his followers; left before he was sixteen, without taking a degree, and was sent to France as an attaché of the English ambassador, to learn the arts of statecraft; designed to stay some years abroad, and was studying assiduously when his father's sudden death recalled him, making it incumbent to think how to live, instead of living only to think’; applied for office, but his abilities were too splendid, and a jealous uncle 'suppressed' him; took to law, and soon rose to eminence; at twenty-four, obtained a seat in the Commons; was appointed by the queen her counsel extraordinary, but, owing to the secret opposition of his kinsman, was not immediately raised to any
office of emolument; loved but lost a rich young widow, and at forty-five married a fair young bride; steadily advanced in fortune after the accession of James, till he reached the post to which he had long aspired — Lord High Chancellor; was accused of accepting bribes in his official capacity, was rudely stripped of all his dignities, sentenced to the Tower during the king's pleasure, and heavily fined; was restored to liberty within forty-eight hours, with a remission of his fine, but permitted to pass the remainder of his days in penury, obscurity, and disgrace, hunted by creditors and vexed by domestic disquiet; died after five years of dishonor, in consequence of a cold induced by an open-air experiment, on a snowy day, to ascertain whether flesh might not be preserved in snow as well as in salt; consoled, in his last hours, by the reflection that the experiment succeeded excellently well.
Intellectual Scheme.-With a just scorn for the trifles which were occupying the followers of Aristotle, Bacon early conceived the dream of converting knowledge from a speculative waste into “a rich storehouse for the glory of the Creator and the relief of man's estate.' It was the supreme effort of his life to embody this grand conception in the Instauratio Magna - the renewal of Science the Restoration, to man, of the empire of nature. The vast plan, for which many lives would not have sufficed, consisted, in its final form, of six divisions:
1. A survey of the sciences, a summary of all the possessions of the human mind, comprehending ‘not only the things already
invented and known, but also those omitted and wanted.' Here occurs the famous but inadequate distribution of learning into History, which uses the memory; Poetry, which employs the imagination; and Philosophy, which requires the reason. Here, in particular, occurs the short but beautiful paragraph which exhausts everything yet offered on the subject of the beau ideal:
• Therefore because the acts or wants of truc history have not that magnitude which satisfieth the mind of man, poesy seigneth 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 indneth them with more rareness, and niore unexpected and alternative variations. . . . And therefore it was ever thought to have some participation of divineness, because it doth raise and erect the mind by subiniting the show of things to the desires of the mind.'
2. Precepts for the interpretation of nature; "the science better and more perfect use of reason in the investigation of things, and of the true aids of the understanding '; 'a kind of logic, .. differing from the common logic . in three respects,—the end, the order of demonstrating, and the grounds of inquiry.' This, which is but a fragment of what he had promised, is known as the Novum Organum, the most admirable of his books, and the chief foundation of his fame. Its first portion enumerates the causes of error, the illusions to which man is subject:
Idols of the Tribe, to which all by common infirmity are liable; Idols of the Den, such as are peculiar to individuals;
Idols of the Forum, such as arise from the current usage of words;
Ilols of the Theatre, springing from Partisanship, Fashion, and Authority. Its second portion describes and exemplifies the rules for conducting investigations.
3. An extensive collection of facts and observations, the Natural History of any desired class of phenomena,-an immense chart of nature, furnishing the raw material for the application of the new method. But, in fact, an outline of the field to be explored, rather than an exploration; a sketch of what he would do; as, for instance, a complete account of comets, of meteors, of winds, of rain, hail, snow; the facts to be accurately related and distinctly arranged; their authenticity diligently ex