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another place : "On the wisdom for a man's bank. Cicero and Demosthenes were laborious in self."
composition, and their replies were, I doubt not, Barrow. I must repeat one noble sentence; for as much studied as their addresses. For it was a I fear, if you begin to read it, I may interrupt you, part of the orator to foresee the points of attack not being master of my mind when his comes to which his oration was exposed, and to prepare over it. “ Divide with reason between self-love the materials, and the arrangement of them, for and society; and be so true to thyself as thou be defending it. not false to others, especially to thy king and " It was well said by Themistocles to the king country. It is a poor centre of a man's actions, of Persia, that speech was like cloth of Arras," &c. himself: it is right earth; for that only stands Themistocles might as well have spoken of fast upon his own centre; whereas all things that velvet of Genoa and satin of Lyons. have affinity with the heavens, move upon the On Expense there is much said quite worthy centre of another, which they benefit.”
of Bacon's experience and prudence: but he lays What an imagination is Bacon's ! what splendid down one rule which I think I can demonstrate and ardent language! In what prose-writer of our to be injurious in its tendency. country, or of Rome, or of Greece, is there any- “ If a man will keep but of even hand, his thing equal or similar to it!
ordinary expenses ought to be but to the half of Newton. On Innovations I find the sentence his receipts; and if he think to wax rich, but to which I have heard oftener quoted than any in the the third part.” volume: “ Time is the greatest innovator."
Should all private gentlemen, and others who We take the axiom up without examination ; it are not gentlemen, but whose income is of the is doubtful and inconsiderate. Does it mean much same value, spend only the third part of it, the time or little time? By a great innovator we nation would be more nearly ruined within the must either signify an innovator in great matters, century, than it would be if every one of them or in many at once, or nearly at once. Now mortgaged his property to half its amount. Time is slow in innovation of any kind; and all A wiser saying comes soon afterward, where great innovations are violences, as it were, done to he speaks On the true greatness of kingdoms and Time, crowding into a small space what would in estates. ordinary cases occupy a larger. Time, without “No people overcharged with tribute is fit for other agents, would innovate little : for the por- empire.” tions of Time are all the same, and being so, their How happy, my dear sir, is our condition, in forces must be the same likewise.
having been ever both generous and thrifty, ready Barrow. That satisfies me.
at all times to succour the oppressed, and condeNewton. Truth and falsehood are the two great scending on this holy occasion to ask the counteinnovators, always at work, and sometimes the nance of none ! how happy, to have marched straight one uppermost and sometimes the other.
forward in the line of duty with no policy to Barrow. Let us engage ourselves in the service thwart, no penury to enfeeble, and no debt to of Truth, where the service is not perilous ; and burthen us ! Although our nobility is less magnilet us win Time to help us, for without him few ficent than in the reign of the Tudors, I do verily can not stand against many.
believe it is as free and independent; and its hosNewton. On Friendship there are some things pitality so conducive (as Bacon says) to martial which sit loose upon the subject. The utility greatness, is the same as ever, although the of it seems to be principally in the view of Bacon. quality of the guests be somewhat changed. Some positions are questionable.
Barrow. Isaac ! are you serious ? “ Certain it is that whosoever hath his mind Neuton. Dear sir, the subject animates me. fraught with many thoughts, his wits and under- Barrow. What sparkles is hardly more transstanding do clarify and break up in the commu- parent than what is turbid. Your animation, my nicating and discoursing with another; he tosseth friend, perplexed me. I perceive you are vehehis thoughts more easily; he marshalleth them mently moved by the glory of our country. more orderly; he seeth how they look when they Newton. As we derive a great advantage from are turned into words ; finally, he waxeth wiser the nature of our nobility, so do we derive an than himself, and that more by an hour's discourse equal one from the dispositions and occupations than by a day's meditation.”
of the people. How unfortunate would it be for This I conceive is applicable to one frame of us, if we had artisans cooped up like tame pigeons mind, but not to another of equal capacity and in unwholesome lofts, bending over the loom by elasticity. I admire the ingenuity of the thought, tallow-light, and refreshing their exhausted bodies and the wording of it, nevertheless I doubt at daybreak with ardent liquors! Indeed, in compaWhether it suits not better the mind of an acute rison with this, the use of slaves itself, which Bacon lawyer than of a contemplative philosopher. Never calls a great advantage, was almost a blessing. have I met with anyone whose thoughts are Barrow. Let us not speculate on either of these marshalled more orderly in conversation than in curses, which may not be felt as such when they composition : nor am I acquainted in the Uni- come upon us, for we shall be stunned and torversity with any gentleman of fluent speech, pefied by the greatness of our fall. whose ideas are not frequently left dry upon the What have you next ?
Newton. On Suspicion I find an Italian pro- Newton. He is inconsequent in his reasoning, verb, which the learned author has misconstrued. when he says, “ There is no excellent beauty that “Sospetto licenzia fede” he translates, “ Suspi- hath not some strangeness in the proportion. cion gives a passport to faith.” The meaning is A man can not tell whether Apelles or Albert (my visitor tells me), “Suspicion dismisses fide. Durer were the more trifler, whereof the one lity.” “Licenziare un servitore,” is, to dismiss a would make a personage by geometrical proporservant. That the person suspected is no longer tions; the other, by taking the best parts out of bound to fidelity, is the axiom of a nation, in divers faces to make one excellent.” which fidelity is readier to quit a man than Barrow. Whereof is of which, not of whom. suspicion is.
Newton. If “there is no excellent beauty that It cost me many hours of inquiry, to search hath not some strangeness in the proportion," then into the propriety of his thoughts Upon Ambi- A pelles was no trifler in taking the best parts of tion. He says, “It is counted by some a weak- divers faces, which would produce some strangeres ness in princes to have favourites; but it is of all in the proportion, unless he corrected it. others the best remedy against ambitious great
Barrow. True : Bacon's first remark, however, ones : for when the way of pleasuring and dis- is perfectly just and novel. What strikes us in pleasuring lieth by the favourite, it impossible beauty is that which we did not expect to find, any other should be overgreat."
from anything we had seen before : a new arrangeI hope, and am willing to believe, that my Lord ment of excellent parts. The same thing may be Chancellor Bacon was a true and loyal subject; said of genius ; the other great gift of the Diviyet one would almost be tempted to think in read- nity, not always so acceptable to his creatures ; ing him, that there must be a curse in hereditary but which however has this advantage, if you will princes, and that he had set his private mark allow it to be one, that, whereas beauty has most upon it when he praises their use of favourites, admirers at its first appearance, genius has most and supposes them surrounded by mean persons at its last, and begins to be commemorated in the and ambitious ones, by poisons and counter- period when the other is forgotten. poisons. Sejanus and Tigellinus, our Gavestons Newton. What you said of beauty, as striking and Mortimers, our Empsons and Dudleys, our us chiefly in being unexpected from anything Wolseys and Buckinghams, are like certain fumi- we had seen before, is applicable no less to gations to drive away rats, which indeed do drive ugliness. them out, but also make the house undesirable to Barrow. I am not giving a definition, but inhabit. He recommends “ the continual inter-recording an observation, which would be inexact change of favours and disgraces, whereby they without the remaining words “a new arrangement may not know what to expect, and be, as it were, of excellent parts." in a wood."
Newton. Our author errs more widely than Barrou. By the effect of this policy, we find before ; not, as before, in drawing a false concluthe countenances of the statesmen and courtiers sion. “Such personages," he continues to remark, who lived in his age, almost without exception, “I think would please nobody but the painter mean and suspicious. The greatest men look, in who made them : not but I think a painter may their portraits, as if they were waiting for a box make a better face than ever was; but he must on the ear, lowering their heads, raising their do it by a kind of felicity (as a musician that shoulders, and half-closing their eyes, for the maketh an excellent air in music), and not by reception of it.
rule.” Nothing of excellent is to be done by Newton. What he says Of nature in men, seems felicity. spoken by some one who saw through it from Barrow. Felicity and Excellence rarely meet, above : the same On Custom and Education. and hardly know one another. Here he speaks with more verity than consola- Newton. Certainly no musician ever composed tion, when he says,
“There be not two more for an excellent air otherwise than by rule: Felicity tunate properties, than to have a little of the fool is without it. and not too much of the honest: therefore ex. Barrow. Beauty does not seem to dazzle but to treme lovers of their country were never fortunate; deaden him. He reasons that the principal part neither can they be ; for when a man placeth his of beauty lies in decent motion, and asserts that thoughts without himself, he goeth not his own “No youthy person can be comely but hy pardon, way."
and by considering the youth as to make up the In the Essay On Youth and Age, what can comeliness.” Much of this reflection may bave be truer, what can be more novel or more been fashioned and cast by the age of the observer; eloquent, than this sentence?
much by the hour of the day: I think it must “Men of age object too much, consult too long, have been a rainy morning, when he had eaten adventure too little, repent too soon, and seldom unripe fruit for breakfast ! drive business home to the full period, but content Newton. Perhaps sour grapes. themselves with a mediocrity of success.
On Deformity I have transcribed a long senWhat he says Of Beauty is less considerate. tence: here he seems more at home.
Barrow. I do not wonder at it: Beauty is not Because there is in man an election touching stript in a Court of Chancery, as Fortune is. the frame of his mind, and a necessity in the
frame of his body, the stars of natural inclination | breedeth regard, as commonly with inferiors; or are sometimes obscured by the sun of discipline in tender cases, where a man's eye upon the counand virtue; therefore it is good to consider of tenance of him with whom he speaketh, may give deformity, not as a sign which is most deceiv- him a direction how far to go; and generally able, but as a cause which seldom faileth of the where a man will reserve to himself liberty, either to effect.”
disarow or to erpound.” Nothing can be truer in all its parts, or more Barrow. Bad enough : but surely he must apmagnificent in the whole.
pear to you anything rather than knave, when he Barrow. This short essay is worth many li recommends the employment of froward and absurd braries of good books. Several hundreds of men, be the business what it may. esteemed authors have not in them the substance Newton. He recommends them for business and spirit of the sentence you recited.
which doth not well bear out itself ; and in which, Newlon. On Building he says, “Houses are one would think, the wariest are the most wanted. built to live in, and not to look on."
Barrow. But, like men who have just tripped, Half of this is untrue. Sheds and hovels, the he walks the firmer and stouter instantly. The first habitations (at least the first artificial ones) remainder of the Essay is worthy of his perof men, were built to live in, and not to look on : spicacity. but houses are built for both: otherwise why give Newton. In the next, On Followers and Friends, directions for the proportions of porticoes, of I find the word espial used by him a second columns, of intercolumniations, and of whatever time, for a minister the French call espion. It else delights the beholder in architecture, and appears to me that it should denote, not the flatters the possessor? Is the beauty of cities no person but the action, as the same termination is honour to the inhabitants, no excitement to the used in trial. defence? External order in visible objects hath Barrow. Right. We want some words in comrelation and intercourse with internal propriety position as we want some side-dishes at table, less and decorousness. I doubt not but the beauty of for necessity than for decoration. On this prinAthens had much effect on the patriotism, and ciple, I should not quarrel with a writer who had some on the genius, of the Athenians. Part of used the verb originate ; on condition however the interest and animation men receive from that he used it as a neuter: none but a sugarHomer, lies in their conception of the magnificence slave would employ it actively. It may stand of Troy. Even the little rock of Ithaca rcars up opposite to terminate. its palaces sustained by pillars; and pillars are Bacon in the preceding sentence used glorious that portion of an edifice on which the attention for vain-glorious ; a latinism among the many of rests longest and most complacently. For we the age, and among the few of the author. Our have no other means of calculating so well the language bears gallicisms better than latinisms : grandeur of cdifices, as by the magnitude of the but whoever is resolved to write soberly must be support they need; and it is the only thing about contented with the number of each that was them which we measure in any way by our own. found among us in the time of the Reformation.
“Neither do I reckon it an ill seat only where Little is to be rejected of what was then in use, the air is unwholesome, but likewise where the and less of anything new is henceforward to be air is unequal : as you shall see many fine seats admitted. By which prudence and caution we set upon a knap of ground, environed with higher may in time have writers as elegant as the Italian hills round about it, whereby the heat of the sun and the French, whom already we exceed, as this is pent in, and the wind gathereth as in little volume proves, in vigour and invention. troughs,” &c.
Newton. He says further on, “It is true that
more thankful, and the rest more officious; because
the monarchal ; another form indeed where all is
genius; where something may accrue to us from “To deal in person is good when a man's face the gratitude of our fellow-citizens; and not every
thing drop and drivel from the frothy pulings of Neuton. In the first sentence On Ceremonics one swathed up in bandages never changed nor and Respects, are the words, " He that is only loosened; of one held always in the same arms, real had need have exceeding great parts of and with its face turned always in the same virtue.” This weighty and sorrowful truth does direction.'
not prevent me from questioning the expression, Barrow. Hold! hold! this is as bad as Bacon had need have. or Milton : nay, Cicero and Demosthenes, in the Barrow. The true words, which all authors blindness of their hearts, could scarcely have write amiss, are, ha' need of. Ha' need sounds spoken, to the nations they guided, with more like had need, and have sounds like of, in speakcontemptuous asperity of royal power.
ing quickly. Hence the wisest men have written Newton. I venerate it, as coming of God. the words improperly, by writing at once from the
Barrow. Hold again ! all things come from ear, without an appeal or reference to grammar. him : the hangman and the hanged are in the Newton. On Praise he says ingeniously, bat same predicament with the anointer and the not altogether truly, “ Fame is like a river, that! anointed.
beareth up things light and swollen, and drowns Newton. Sir, you remind me of an observation things weighty and solid." made in my father's house by the son of a repub- Barrow. This is true only of literary famne : lican, and who indeed was little better than one and the drowned things are brought to light himself. My father had upbraided him on his again, sometimes by the warmer season and irreverence to the Lord's anointed: he asked my sometimes by the stormier. father why he allowed his mind to be lime-twigged He uses suspect for suspicion : we retain ospert, and ruffled and discomposed by words; and whe- respect, retrospect, prospect : I know not whether ther he would feel the same awe in repeating the the chancellor's award in favour of suspect will be syllables, God's greased, as in repeating the sylla- repealed or acquiesced in. bles, God's anointed. If the Esquimaux heard Newton. In the next Essay, On Vain-glory, he them, said he, they would think the man no better says, “In fame of learning the flight will be slow reared than themselves, and worse dressed, as without some feathers of ostentation.” That is dressed by one less in practice.
hard, if true. Barrow. No men are so facetious as those whose Barrow. There must be a good deal of more minds are somewhat perverted. Truth enjoys ment and shuffling before there is any rising from good air and clear light, but no playground. Keep the ground: and those who have the longest your eyes upon Bacon : we may more safely look wings have the most difficulty in the first mounton him than on thrones. How wise is all the ing. In literature, as at foot-ball, strength and remainder of the Essay !
agility are insufficient of themselves : you must Newton. He says On Suitors, and truly, that have your side, or you may run till you are out " Private suits do putrefy the public good.” Soon of breath, and kick till you are out of shoes, and afterward, “ Some embrace suits which never never win the game. There must be some to mean to deal effectually in them.” This seems keep others off you, and some to prolong for you ordinary and flat; but the words are requisite to a the ball's rebound. But your figures, dear Isane, sentence founded (I fear) on a close observation will serve as tenterhooks to catch the fingers of of human nature, as courts render it. I noted those who would meddle with your letters. Do them as presenting an incorrectness and indeci- not however be ambitious of an early fame : such sion of language. Who is proper; not which ; is apt to shrivel and to drop under the tree. although which was used indiscriminately, as we Newton. The author continues the same subfind in the beginning of the Lord's Prayer :'ject in the next Essay, though under a different but in that place there could be no confusion. title. Of Honour and Reputation he says, “ Dis
Barrow. Among the few crudities and barbar- creet followers and servants help much to repuisms that yet oppressed our language in his tation.” Then he who has no servant, or an learned age, Bacon has this, “A man were better indiscreet one, must be content to be helped to rise in his suit.” Indeed he uses were better more little of it. than once; with the simple verb after it, and Barrow. Seeing that reputation is casual, that without to.
the wise may long want it, that the unwise may Neuton. On Studies he can not lose his road, soon acquire it, that a servant may further it, having trodden it so frequently, and having left that a spiteful man may obstruct it, that a passionhis mark upon so many objects all the way. ate man may maim it, and that whole gangs are Therefore it is no wonder that his genius points ready to waylay it as it mounts the hill, I would with a finger of fire to this subject.
not wish greatly to carry it about me, but rather He says On Faction, that “ Many a man's to place it in some safe spot, where few could find, strength is in opposition, and when that faileth and not many will look after it. But those wbo he groweth out of use.” He must have written discover it, will try in their hands its weight and from inspiration ; for in his age I find no person quality, and take especial care lest they injure it, to whom he can have alluded.
saying, “It is his, and his only; leave it to him Barrow. Perhaps not; yet the preceding may and wish him increase in it.” have furnished him with examples.
Newton. Where Bacon is occupied "in the
true marshalling of sovran honour," he gives the religion we mean the Church of Rome, we come third place to liberatores or salvatores. He wishes nearer the fact : for that religion, with patchings to speak in Latin ; one of these words belongs and repairings, with materials purloined from not to the language.
others, with piles driven under the foundation, Barrow. His Latin is always void of elegance and buttresses without that darken everything and grace; but he had the generosity to write in within, surmounted by pinnacles raised above it, that he might be useful the more extensively. the upper story, hath lasted long, and will remain We English are far below the Italians, French, while men are persuaded that wax and stockfish Germans, and Dutch, in our latinity: yet we can atone for their vices. The obstacle to our have Latin volumes written by our countrymen, acceptance of the meaning is, that it hath been each of which, in its matter, is fairly worth half convicted of many impostures in its claims and theirs. They, like certain fine gentlemen, seem miracles, that it continues to insist on them, and to found their ideas of elegance on slenderness, that it uses violence (which is forbidden by and in twenty or thirty of them we hardly find Christ) against those who stumble or doubt.' a thought or remark at all worthy of preservation. Barrow. Deafness is not to be healed by breakI remember but one sentence; which however, ing the head, nor blindness by pulling the eyes if Cicero had written it, would be recorded among out: it is time the doctors should try new exthe best he ever wrote. “Valuit nimirum male- periments : if they will not, it is time that the dicentiâ, gratâ cunctis, etiam iis qui neque sibi patients should try new doctors. maledici neque maledicere ipsi aliis velint.” Newton. A bad religion may be kept afoot by
Newton. Permit me to inquire, sir, by whom the same means as other kinds of bad governwas this strong and shrewd and truly Sallustian ment; by corruption and terror, by spies and sentence written ?
torturers. No doubt it will please God to see all Barrow. By Vavassor, a Jesuit.
things set to rights : but we must acknowledge It may be remarked, and perhaps you have that the best religion, like the best men, has done it, that the title itself of this Essay, The fared the worst. True Marshalling of Sorran Honour, is incorrect. Bacon says he “reckons martyrdoms among By marshalling he means the giving of rates or miracles, because they seem to exceed the strength degrees : now what is sovran has no rates or of human nature.” If they did seem to exceed degrees : he should have said “ of titles assumed the strength of human nature, this is no sufficient by sovran princes."
reason why they should be ranked with miracles : Newton. In the first sentence On Judicature, for martyrdoms have appertained to many relihe uses the singular and plural in designating the gions, if we may call voluntary death to prove a same body : either is admissible, but not both. misbeliever's sincerity a martyrdom, while we
“Else will it be like the authority claimed by know that miracles belong exclusively to the the Church of Rome, which, under pretext of Christian : and even in this faith there are deexposition of Scripture, doth not stick to add and grees of latitude and longitude which they were alter, and to pronounce that which they do not never known to pass, although, humanly speakfind, and, by show of antiquity, to introduce ing, they were much wanted. The Lithuanians, novelty."
and other north-eastern nations, were long before What ravity and wisdom is there in the they were reclaimed from paganism, for want of remark that, “One foul sentence doth more hurt miracles. God's good time had not come; and than many foul examples : for these do but corrupt he fell upon different expedients for their conthe stream, the other corrupteth the fountain." version.
The worst, and almost the only bad sentence On the Vicissitudes of Things we find mention in the volume, is the childish antithesis, “There of Plato's great year. I think you once told me, be, saith the Scripture, that turn judgment into Plato took more from others than he knew what wormwood . . and surely there be also that turn to do with. it into vinegar : for injustice maketh it bitter, Barrow. Instead of simplifying, he involves and and delays make it sour.”
confounds. On the Vicissitudes of Things he observes that Newton. I hope hereafter to study the heavenly " The true religion is built upon the rock, the bodies, with greater accuracy and on other prinrest are tossed upon the waves of Time.” My ciples than philosophers have done hitherto. The visitor said hereupon, 'I doubt whether this reasons of Bacon why “the northern tract of the magnificent figure has truth for its basis. If by world is the more martial region,” are unworthy true religion is meant the religion of our Saviour, of his perspicacity. First he assigns the stars of as practised by his apostles, they outlived it. the hemisphere; then the greatness of the contiThey complain that it never took firm possession nent; "whereas the south part is almost all even of their own auditors. Saint Peter himself sea ;” then, the cold of the northern parts, was reproved by his master for using his sword “which is that which, without aid of discipline, too vigorously, after all he had said against any doth make the bodies hardest and the courage use of it whatever: yet, so little good did the warmest.” The stars can have no effect whatever reproof, he fell immediately to betraying the on the courage or virtues of men, unless we call very man he had thus defended. But if by true the sun one of them, as the poets do. The heat