Page images



OF TRUTH (1625).

"What is truth?"* said jesting Pilate, and would not stay for an answer. Certainly there be that delight in giddiness, and count it a bondage to fix a belief; affecting free-will in thinking, as well as in acting. And though the sects of philosophers of that kind be gone, yet there remain certain discoursing wits which are of the same veins, though there be not so much blood in them as was in those of the ancients. But it is not only the difficulty and labor which men take in finding out of truth; nor again, that, when it is found, it imposeth upon men's thoughts, that doth bring lies in favor; but a natural, though corrupt love of the lie itself. One of the later schools of the Grecians examineth the matter, and is at a stand to think what should be in it, that men should love lies, where neither they make for pleasure, as with poets; nor for advantage, as with the merchant; but for the lie's sake. But I cannot tell: this same truth is a naked and open daylight, that doth not show the masques and mummeries, and triumphs of the world, half so stately and daintily as candle-lights. Truth may perhaps come to the price of a pearl, that showeth best by day; but it will not rise to the price of a diamond or carbuncle, that showeth best in varied lights. A mixture of a lie doth ever add pleasure. Doth any man doubt, that if there were taken out of men's minds vain opinions, flattering hopes, false valuations, imaginations as one would, and the like, but it would leave the

*What is truth? John xviii. 38.-Jesting (Lat. gestum, deed, fr. gerère, to accomplish; O. Fr. geste, exploit; 0. Eng, jest, story of an exploit, good story, joke). Was Pilate jesting Giddiness (A. S. gidig, dizzy; gyddian, to be giddy), instability. See homeliness, p. 33.Fix a belief, settle upon a belief.-Affecting, aiming at, making a show of-Discoursing (Lat. dis, in different directions; currère, to run), rambling, discursive, desultory.-Veins (Lat. vena, vein Fr. veine), tempers, tendencies of disposition.-Blood. Meaning?-Ancients, Democritus and other laughing philosophers."-Finding out of. Of should be omitted (or the word the inserted before finding).-What should be in it, the hidden cause.-Cannot tell. What?-Masques, plays or festive entertainments in which the company wear masks; masquerades; masks.-Mummeries (Ger. mummerei ; Fr. momerie, mummery), farcical shows, maskings, buffooneries.-Triumphs (Lat. triumphus, a magnificent procession with imposing ceremonies in honor of a victorious general at Rome), stately shows.-Daintily, delicately, elegantly. Either fr. Lat. dignus, worthy; or fr. W. dain, fine, delicate; or possibly fr. Lat. dens; W. dant; Ger. zahn; Gr. ò-dóvs, o-ôóvT-os, a tooth. See Grimm's Law.-Carbuncle (Lat. carbo, coal, carbon; carbunculus, a little coal), a beautiful red gem, that in the sunlight looks like burning coal.-Lie (A. S. lyge; Ger. lüge, lug).--But. After doubt that, but should be omitted.-Imaginations (of things) as one would (like to have them).

GRAMMATICAL EQUIVALENTS.-Few exercises are more useful in giving a command of language, cultivating both fluency and elegance of speech, than the practice of finding equivalent grammatical expressions. He who would become an extemporaneous speaker, can hardly bestow too much time upon it. Even those who have no higher ambition in a rhetorical direction than to converse or write readily and correctly, should make it a daily exercise. The teacher will do well to give a few minutes' drill in it, if practicable, as an accompaniment to the recitations in Grammar, Composition, Rhetoric, Logic, and English Literature. We give a few illustrations, but the instructor should take pains to supplement and continue the work by a multitude of similar exercises, and should always teach the pupil to choose wisely among the equivalents. For convenience, the expressions which we select for the pupil to translate into other language, are placed at the bottom of the successive pages of the extracts from Bacon.

Affecting free-will in thinking = aiming at freedom of thought = desiring to attain intellectual freedom endeavoring after intellectual liberty = striving to be free in thought = solicitous to be intellectually free, etc.

Discoursing wits discursive wits rambling wits = ingenious minds given to discourse subtle intellects fond of light speculation, e'c.

It imposeth upon men's thoughts it lays restraint upon men's thoughts upon men's thoughts = it puts bounds to the license of speculation, etc. Imaginations as one would unrestrained imaginations = unbridled fancies. Other equiva



it puts restrictions

minds of a number of men poor shrunken things, full of melancholy and indisposition, and unpleasing to themselves? One of the fathers, in great severity, called poesy* "vinum dæmonum," because it filleth the imagination, and yet it is but with the shadow of a lie. But it is not the lie that passeth through the mind, but the lie that sinketh in and settleth in it, that doth the hurt, such as we spake of before. But howsoever these things are thus in men's depraved judgments and affections, yet truth, which only doth judge itself, teacheth that the inquiry of truth, which is the love-making or wooing of it; the knowledge of truth, which is the presence of it; and the belief of truth, which is the enjoying of it; is the sovereign good of human nature. The first creature of God, in the works of the days, was the light of the sense; the last was the light of reason; and his sabbath work, ever since, is the illumination of his Spirit. First, he breatheth light upon the face of the matter, or chaos; then he breatheth light into the face of man; and still he breatheth and inspireth light into the face of his chosen. The poet that beautified the sect that was otherwise inferior to the rest, saith yet excellently well, "It is a pleasure to stand upon the shore, and to see ships tossed upon the sea: a pleasure to stand in the window of a castle, and to see a battle, and the adventures thereof below: but no pleasure is comparable to the standing upon the vantage ground of truth (a hill not to be commanded, and where the air is always clear and serene), and to see the errors, and wanderings, and mists, and tempests, in the vale below:" so always that this prospect be with pity, and not with swelling or pride. Certainly it is heaven upon earth to have a man's mind move in charity, rest in providence, and turn upon the poles of truth.

To pass from theological and philosophical truth to the truth of civil business, it will be acknowledged, even by those that practice it not, that clear and round dealing is the honor of man's nature, and that mixture of

It was

*Poesy, poetry. See posies, Index.-Vinum dæmonum, wine of devils. St. Augustine.-Shadow of a lie. Why so?-Howsoever, however, although. Inquiry of, inquiry after, search for.-Belief. Genuine belief issues in action. Creature, creation. -Of the days. See the account of the Creation, in Genesis. Note the beauty of this whole passage.-Poet that beautified, Lucretius, a profound Roman philosopher as well as poet. His great work, entitled De Natura Rerum, is considered by many scholars the greatest didactic poem in any language. He is said to have died by his own hand in 52 B. C. See Lucretius, in Class. Dict. The sect, the Epicureans. Epicurus, the celebrated philosopher, was born in Samos in 341 B. C., and died in 270. He taught that evdauóveta, "supreme mental bliss," is the end and should be the purpose of life. St. Paul encountered the Epicureans at Athens. Lucretius was one of their greatest ornaments.-Adventures (Lat. advenire, to come to (pass), to happen), hazards, bold exploits.-Vantage-ground (Lat. ab, from, ante, before; Fr. avant, before; avantage, forward position), advantageous position.-Commanded (in a military sense), held within control.-So always, on condition always, provided always.—Truth of civil business, truth exemplified in the business of society.-Round (Fr. rond;" Lat. rotundus, wheel-shaped, round; fr. rota, a wheel), candid, “fair and square."

Unpleasing = distasteful. Other equivalents?

The sovereign good of human nature man's highest welfare. Give six other equivalents. The first creature of God the first creation of God = the first of God's created works = the first object created by God God's first creation = God's earliest creation = the earliest work of Jehovah = the earliest manifestation of the creative power of Deity: the very beginning of God's handiwork the earliest production of the Omnipotent Hand = the

"Offspring of Heaven first-born," etc.

Saith excellently well saith very justly and fitly saith very happily makes the very appropriate and striking remarks. Give other grammatical equivalents.


See the adventures witness the fortunes. Other equivalents? So always that this prospect be provided always that this prospect be accompanied. Other equivalents? Clear and round dealing. Equivalents?


falsehood is like alloy in coin of gold and silver, which may make the metal work * the better, but it embaseth it. For these winding and crooked courses are the goings of the serpent, which goeth basely upon the belly, and not upon the feet. There is no vice that doth so cover a man with shame as to be found false and perfidious: and therefore Montaigne saith prettily, when he inquired the reason why the word of the lie should be such a disgrace, and such an odious charge, "If it be well weighed, to say that a man lieth, is as much as to say that he is brave towards God, and a coward towards men for a lie faces God, and shrinks from man." Surely the wickedness of falsehood and breach of faith cannot possibly be so highly expressed as in that it shall be the last peal to call the judgments of God upon the generations of men, it being foretold that when "Christ cometh" he shall not "find faith upon earth."

OF DEATH (1612; enlarged 1625).

Men fear death as children fear to go into the dark; and as that natural fear of children is increased with tales, so is the other. Certainly, the contemplation of death, as the wages of sin and passage to another world, is holy and religious; but the fear of it, as a tribute due unto nature, is weak. Yet in religious meditations there is sometimes mixture of vanity and of superstition. You shall read in some of the friars' books of mortification, that a man should think with himself what the pain is, if he have but his finger's end pressed, or tortured, and thereby imagine what the pains of death are when the whole body is corrupted and dissolved. When, many times, death passeth with less pain than the torture of a limb; for the most vital parts are not the quickest of sense: and by him that spake only as a philosopher and natural man, it was well said, "Pompa mortis magis terret quam mors ipsa." Groans, and convulsions, and a discolored face, and friends weeping, and blacks and obsequies, and the like, show death terrible.

It is worthy the observing, that there is no passion in the mind of man so weak, but it mates and masters the fear of death; and, therefore, death is no such terrible enemy when a man hath so many attendants about him that can win the combat of him. Revenge triumphs over death; love

Work. In what sense?-Embaseth (Fr. em, or en; Lat. in; Gr. Báσis, base; W. bas, shallow; Gr. Báoσwv, deeper), debaseth, lowers its value.-These. This word is superfluous.Montaigne (1533-1589), the earliest French essayist, distinguished for wit, subtlety, nice observation, and common sense. Montaigne quotes the saying in the text from Plutarch's Life of Lysander. As in that. Supply the omitted words.-Divide this essay into paragraphs. Point out the best sentences. Rewrite the whole in your own language, amplifying if necessary.

Of death. This essay is partly taken from Seneca's Letters. Who was he? See p. 91. -Fear to go, etc. Would fear darkness be better? Why?-Wages. "The wages of sin is death "-Friars' books. What books? See Index.--When many times, yet often.Quickest of sense. Meaning?-Pompa, etc. The parade (paraphernalia or array) of death terrifies more than death itself.-Blacks, black dresses, mourning drapery, etc. Obsequies (Lat. obsequia), funeral rites.-Worthy the observing. What form would be better?-But it mates, but it matches, sets itself against as equal, vies with.-Win the combat of him. Of whom? What defect in the English language in the matter of pronouns of the third person?

Embaseth it = vitiates it. Other equivalents?

Cannot be so highly expressed. Grammatical equivalents?
It mates it subdues it overcomes. Other equivalents?

slights it; honor aspireth to it; grief flieth to it; fear pre-occupateth it.* Nay, we read, after Otho the emperor had slain himself, pity, which is the ten derest of affections, provoked many to die out of mere compassion to their sovereign, and as the truest sort of followers. Nay, Seneca adds, niceness and satiety: "Cogita quamdiu eadem feceris; mori velle, non tantum fortis, aut miser, sed etiam fastidiosus potest." "A man would die, though he were neither valiant nor miserable, only upon a weariness to do the same thing so oft over and over." It is no less worthy to observe, how little alteration in good spirits the approaches of death make; for they appear to be the same men till the last instant. Augustus Cæsar died in a compliment: "Livia, conjugii nostri memor, vive et vale:" Tiberius, in dissimulation, as Tacitus saith of him, "Jam Tiberium vires et corpus, non dissimulatio, deserebant:" Vespasian, in a jest, . . . . . "Ut puto Deus fio:" Galba with a sentence, "Feri, si ex re sit populi Romani," holding forth his neck: Septimus Severus in despatch, "Adeste, si quid mihi restat agendum;" and the like. Certainly the Stoics bestowed too much cost upon death, and by their great preparations made it appear more fearful. Better, saith he, "qui finem vitæ extre

*Fear pre-occupateth, the fear of some greater evil lays hold of death as a refuge; i. e., fear impels to suicide.-We read [that].-Otho, eighth Roman emperor, born A. D. 31 or 32; committed suicide, A. D. 68, after a reign of ninety-five days. Vitellius had revolted against him and been proclaimed emperor by the legions in Germany. After three victories, Otho was defeated. In his last moments he expressed an affectionate concern for his faithful followers, some of whom chose to die with him rather than live without him.-Provoked (Lat. pro, forth; voco, I call), incited, induced. This word is repeatedly used in the Bible in this sense.-Niceness, fastidiousness.-Satiety, fulness beyond desire, ennui, disgust arising from the appetite being cloyed.-Cogita, etc. Think well how often you have done the same things over and over. One might wish to die, not only from bravery or misery, but even from ennui.--Worthy to, worth while to. Good spirits. By spirits does he mean souls, persons, men? Or does good spirits mean life, ardor, animation, courage, cheerfulness? If the latter, what is the antecedent of they, in they appear to be the same men?-Augustus died, A. D. 14, having reigned fortyfour years. What can you say of him and his times? See Class. Dict.-Livia, etc. Lwin, remembering our wedlock, live and farewell.--Vive et vale, live and farewell, or Life and health to you! the usual parting salutation among the Romans.-Tiberius, the successor of Augustus. Born B. C. 42; died A. D. 37, after a reign of twenty-three years. This great villain was remarkable for his dissimulation, though that was the least of his rascalities. Read his story in the classical dictionaries.-Jam Tiberium. At length his powers and bodily strength, not dissimitation, were abandoning Tiberius.--Vespasian, emperor of Rome A. D. 76, reigned nine years. It is a little remarkable, being a Roman emperor, that he died a natural death and was succeeded by his son.-Ut puto. "As I suppose, I am turning into a god."-Galba, successor of Nero and predecessor of Otho, became emperor A. D. 68, and was slain at the end of seven months, being seventy-two years of age. To quell the mutiny which Otho had stirred up, Galba caused himself to be carried in a litter into the forum; but on the appearance of a band of Otho's armed adherents, Galba's followers dropped the litter and fled. As the assassins rushed upon him, he presented his neck, coolly addressing them in the words quoted above.--Feri, si, etc. Strike, if it be for the advantage of the Roman people. Septimus Severus. After a reign of nearly eighteen years, this Roman emperor died at York, England, A. D. 211, at the age of sixtyfive. In despatch, in business fashion.-Adeste. Attend, if anything remains for me to do.-Stoics, so called from Stoa, a painted portico, the most famous in Athens. Here Zeno, who died B. C. 264, at the age of ninety-eight, taught his doctrines, and founded the sect of Stoics. They believed that a man should raise himself above pleasure, pain, fear, and all passion. They taught that virtue is the supreme good, and that death is no evil. On the latter point they laid so much stress, that Bacon affirms their eagerness to have had the contrary effect to what they had designed. See Index.--Better saith he. (Ile is emphatic) Juvenal, the celebrated Roman satirist, is meant; born A. D. 40, or thereabouts; died when a little over eighty years of age. He is severe against the Stoics. In his Tenth Satire we find the line which Bacon quotes: "Qui spatium [finem] vitæ extremum inter munera ponat,”

"who would count the last period of life among the boous" (of nature). The passage means, then, "Better than the dogmas of the Stoics is the sentiment of Juvenal, who would reckon death a boon." Boyd is mistaken in supposing that Bacon is careless in his style, and that here is an instance of it.

Fear pre-occupateth it = fear anticipates it. Other equivalents?

Pity provoked many = compassion excited many = tender sympathy induced a large num ber. Other equivalents?

mum inter munera, ponat naturæ." It is as natural to die as to be born; and to a little infant, perhaps, the one is as painful as the other. He that dies in an earnest pursuit is like one that is wounded in hot blood; who, for the time, scarce feels the hurt; and therefore a mind fixed and bent upon somewhat that is good, doth avert the dolors of death. But, above all, believe it, the sweetest canticle is, "Nunc dimittis," when a man hath obtained worthy ends and expectations. Death hath this also, that it openeth the gate to good fame, and extinguisheth envy: "Extinctus amabitur idem." t


It was a high speech of Seneca after the manner of the Stoics, that the good things which belong to prosperity are to be wished, but the good things that belong to adversity are to be admired: "Bona rerum secundarum optabilia, adversarum mirabilia.” Certainly, if miracles be the command over nature, they appear most in adversity. It is yet a higher speech of his than the other, much too high for a heathen, "It is true greatness to have in one the frailty of a man, and the security of a God: "___“ Vere magnum habere fragilitatem hominis, securitatem Dei." This would have done better in poesy, where transcendencies are more allowed; and the poets, indeed, have been busy with it. For it is in effect the thing which is figured in that strange fiction of the ancient poets, which seemeth not to be without mystery; nay, and to have some approach to the state of a Christian; "that Hercules, when he went to unbind Prometheus, by whom human nature is represented, sailed the length of the great ocean in an earthen pot or pitcher, lively describing Christian resolution, that saileth in the frail bark of the flesh through the waves of the world." But, to speak in a mean, the virtue of prosperity is temperance, the virtue of adversity is fortitude, which in morals is the more heroical virtue. Prosperity is the blessing of

* Dolors (Lat. dolor, pain; doleo, to feel pain), pangs. Nunc dimittis. Now lettest thou. This is the beginning of the Latin version of the aged Simeon's exclamation (Luke ii. 29) on beholding the infant Jesus. Here, as in all his quotations from the Scriptures in essays, Bacon gives the language of the Latin Vulgate, or equivalent words.--Extinctus, etc. When dead, the very one (that had been envied) will be loved.

High speech, a lofty, high-toned, remarkable, or excellent saying.-Seneca, a celebrated Roman Stoic philosopher, born in Corduba (Cordova, Spain, whence the word cordwainer comes) about the beginning of the Christian era.-Most in adversity. Most what ?— Transcendencies (Lat. transcendere, to climb over; from trans, beyond, and scandre, to climb), soarings, hyperboles.-Poets, Stesichorus, Apollodorus, and others.-Nay, and, not only so, but also.-Hercules, the most famous of Grecian heroes. See Class, Dict. for Hercules and Prometheus.-Lively, with liveliness.-Frail bark. So St. Paul, 2 Cor. iv. 7, "We have this treasure in earthen vessels."-In a mean, in a moderate tone, with moderation. -Virtue of prosperity. Meaning? Note the happy antitheses.

[ocr errors]

Avert the dolors of death avert the pains of death = render unfelt the agonies of the las hour. Other equivalent expressions?

† Divide this essay into suitable paragraphs. Explain why Bacon quotes Latin so profusely. Turn the essay into your own language, being careful to express ev ry thought fully and exactly. A high sprech sublime declaration = a remark of great dignity and elevation. ve other equivalent grammatical expressions.

hyperboles are

Transcendencies are more allowed -- lofty flights are more permissible more allowable. Other equivalent expressions?

To speak in a mean to speak in a medium tone to speak with moderation to use unadorned language, avoiding flights of fancy and exaggerations. Other grammatical equiva

lents ?

« PreviousContinue »