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The Advancement of Learning by Francis Bacon

Part 2 out of 5

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not as Alexander the Great, but as Aristotle's scholar, hath carried
me too far.

(22) As for Julius Caesar, 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 reason.

(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 Caesar 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: Caesar 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 Caesar; 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 Caesar 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
Caesar, 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 Caesar 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 quam 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 Caesar?), 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 Graecia 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 verses:-

"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 Caesar 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 Caesar, 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 aequora 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 men.

(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, Caesar, 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
AEsop'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
praetulit 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

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 praeterire. 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

"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
Daedalus, 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 Caesar'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

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

(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 time.

(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 Caesar,
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 e 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 Graecia
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

(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 Graecia, from
Theseus to Philopoemen (what time the affairs of Graecia 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, Caesar,
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 AENeas, 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

(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 ventosity,

"Animi nil magnae 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 memoriae, piae memoriae, bonae memoriae, 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 serve.

(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 continually.

(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 caelum; 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 omitted.

(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 Caesar'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

(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 AEsop, 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, Coeo 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 them.

(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 attention.

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 inoequalibus aequalia addas, omnia
erunt inaequalia, 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, Quae 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, quoe 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
coelicolas, 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 quae 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 fantastical.

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 handled.

(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 did:-

"Felix terrarum praedo, non utile mundo
Editus exemplum, &c."


"Felix doctrinae praedo."

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 haec 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
terrae, et spiravit in faciem ejus spiraculum vitae, and not as of
all other creatures, Producant aquae, 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 formae. 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 a
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 Ossae 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 latae undique sunt sapientibus viae; 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 speculative.

(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 Caesar's Commentaries in truth of story; for it is manifest
that Caesar 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 sylvae,"

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

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