And let it be the prayer of our Epithalamium, that assistance to man may spring from this union, and a race of discoveries, which Edition: current; Page: [ 26 ] will contribute to his wants and vanquish his miseries. And this is the second part of the work. But as we propose not only to pave and show the way, but also to tread in it ourselves, we shall next exhibit the phenomena of the universe; that is, such experience of all kinds, and such a natural history, as may afford a foundation to philosophy.
For as no fine method of demonstration, or form of explaining nature, can preserve the mind from error, and support it from falling; so neither can it hence receive any matter of science. Those, therefore, who determine not to conjecture and guess, but to find out and know; not to invent fables and romances of worlds, but to look into, and dissect the nature of this real world, must consult only things themselves. Nor can any force of genius, thought, or argument, be substituted for this labor, search, and inspection; not even though all the wits of men were united: this, therefore, must either be had, or the business be deserted forever.
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But the conduct of mankind has hitherto been such, that it is no wonder nature has not opened herself to them. For the information of the senses is treacherous and deceitful; observation careless, irregular, and accidental; tradition idle, rumorous, and vain; practice narrow and servile; experience blind, stupid, vague, and broken; and natural history extremely light and empty: wretched materials for the understanding to fashion into philosophy and the sciences! Then comes in a preposterous subtilty of augmentation and sifting, as a last remedy, that mends not the matter one jot, nor separates the errors.
Whence there are absolutely no hopes of enlarging and promoting the sciences, without rebuilding them. The first materials for this purpose must be taken from a new kind of natural history. The understanding must also have fit subjects to work upon, as well as real helps to work with. But our history, no less than our logic, differs from the common in many respects; particularly, 1. In its end or office; 2. Its collection; 3. Its subtilty; 4. Its choice; and 5. Its appointment for what is to follow.
Our natural history is not designed so much to please by its variety, or benefit by gainful experiments, as to afford light to the discovery of causes, and hold out the breasts to philosophy; for though we principally regard works, and the active parts of the sciences, yet we wait for the time of harvest, and would not reap the blade for the ear.
We are well aware that axioms, rightly framed, will draw after them whole sheaves of works: but for that untimely and childish desire of seeing fruits of new works before the season, we absolutely condemn and reject it, as the golden apple that hinders the progress. With regard to its collection; we propose to show nature not only in a free state, as in the history of meteors, minerals, plants, and animals; but more particularly as she is bound, and tortured, pressed, formed, and turned out of her course by art and human industry.
Hence we would set down all opposite experiments of the mechanic and liberal arts, with many others not yet formed into arts; for the nature of things is better discovered by the torturings of art, than when they are left to themselves. Nor is it only a history of bodies that we would give; but also of their cardinal virtues, or fundamental qualities; as density, rarity, heat, cold, etc.
The kind of experiments to be procured for our history are much more subtile and simple than the common; abundance of them must be recovered from darkness, and are such as no one would have inquired after, that was not led by constant and certain tract to the discovery of causes; as being in themselves of no great use, and consequently not sought for their own sake, but with regard to works: like the letters of the alphabet with regard to discourse. In the choice of our narratives and experiments we hope to have shown more care than the other writers of natural history; as receiving nothing but upon ocular demonstration, or the strictest scrutiny of examination; and not heightening what is delivered to increase its miraculousness, but thoroughly purging it of superstition and fable.
Edition: current; Page: [ 28 ] Besides this, we reject, with a particular mark, all those boasted and received falsehoods, which by a strange neglect have prevailed for so many ages, that they may no longer molest the sciences. For as the idle tales of nurses do really corrupt the minds of children, we cannot too carefully guard the infancy of philosophy from all vanity and superstition. And when any new or more curious experiment is offered, though it may seem to us certain and well founded; yet we expressly add the manner wherein it was made; that, after it shall be understood how things appear to us, men may beware of any error adhering to them, and search after more infallible proofs.
English Literature, William J. Long
We, likewise, all along interpose our directions, scruples and cautions; and religiously guard against phantoms and illusions. Lastly, having well observed how far experiments and history distract the mind; and how difficult it is, especially for tender or prejudiced persons, to converse with nature from the beginning, we shall continually subjoin our observations, as so many first glances of natural history at philosophy; and this to give mankind some earnest, that they shall not be kept perpetually floating upon the waves of history; and that when they come to the work of the understanding, and the explanation of nature, they may find all things in greater readiness.
This will conclude the third part. After the understanding has been thus aided and fortified, we shall be prepared to enter upon philosophy itself. But in so difficult a task, there are certain things to be observed, as well for instruction as for present use. The first is to propose examples of inquiry and investigation, according to our own method, in certain subjects of the noblest kind, but greatly differing from each other, that a specimen may be had of every sort.
By these examples we mean not illustrations of rules and precepts, but perfect models, which will exemplify the second part of this work, and represent, as it were, to the eye, the whole progress of the mind, and the continued structure and order of invention, in the most chosen subjects, after the same manner as globes and machines Edition: current; Page: [ 29 ] facilitate the more abstruse and subtile demonstrations in mathematics.
We assign the fourth part of our work to these examples, which are nothing else than a particular application of the second part of our undertaking. The fifth part is only temporary, or of use but till the rest are finished; whence we look upon it as interest till the principal be paid; for we do not propose to travel hoodwinked, so as to take no notice of what may occur of use in the way. This part, therefore, will consist of such things as we have invented, experienced, or added, by the same common use of the understanding that others employ.
For as we have greater hopes from our constant conversation with nature than from our force of genius, the discoveries we shall thus make may serve as inns on the road, for the mind to repose in, during its progress to greater certainties. But this, without being at all disposed to abide by anything that is not discovered, or proved, by the true form of induction.
Nor need any one be shocked at this suspension of the judgment, in a doctrine which does not assert that nothing is knowable; but only that things cannot be known except in a certain order and method: while it allows particular degrees of certainty, for the sake of commodiousness and use, until the mind shall enter on the explanation of causes. Nor were those schools of philosophers, 5 who held positive truth to be unattainable, inferior to others who dogmatized at will. They did not, however, like us, prepare helps for the guidance of the senses and understanding, as we have done, but at once abolished all belief and authority, which is a totally different and almost opposite matter.
The sixth and last part of our work, to which all the rest are subservient, is to lay down that philosophy which shall flow from the just, pure and strict inquiry hitherto proposed. But to perfect this, is beyond both our abilities Edition: current; Page: [ 30 ] and our hopes, yet we shall lay the foundations of it, and recommend the superstructure to posterity. We design no contemptible beginning to the work; and anticipate that the fortune of mankind will lead it to such a termination as is not possible for the present race of men to conceive.
The point in view is not only the contemplative happiness, but the whole fortunes, and affairs, and powers, and works of men. For man being the minister and interpreter of nature, acts and understands so far as he has observed of the order, the works and mind of nature, and can proceed no further; for no power is able to loose or break the chain of causes, nor is nature to be conquered but by submission; whence those twin intentions, human knowledge and human power, are really coincident; and the greatest hindrance to works is the ignorance of causes.
The capital precept for the whole undertaking is this, that the eye of the mind be never taken off from things themselves, but receive their images truly as they are. And God forbid that ever we should offer the dreams of fancy for a model of the world; but rather in his kindness vouchsafe to us the means of writing a revelation and true vision of the traces and molds of the Creator in his creatures.
May thou, therefore, O Father, who gavest the light of vision as the first fruit of creation, and who hast spread over the fall of man the light of thy understanding as the accomplishment of thy works, guard and direct this work, which, issuing from thy goodness, seeks in return thy glory! When thou hadst surveyed the works which thy hands had wrought, all seemed good in thy sight, and thou restedst. But when man turned to the works of his hands, he found all vanity and vexation of spirit, and experienced no rest. If, however, we labor in thy works, thou wilt make us to partake of thy vision and sabbath; we, therefore, humbly beseech thee to strengthen our purpose, that thou mayest be willing to endow thy family of mankind with new gifts, through our hands, and the hands of those in whom thou shalt implant the same spirit.
AS UNDER the old law, most excellent king, there were daily sacrifices and free oblations 1 —the one arising out of ritual observance, and the other from a pious generosity, so I deem that all faithful subjects owe their kings a double tribute of affection and duty. In the first I hope I shall never be found deficient, but as regards the latter, though doubtful of the worthiness of my choice, I thought it more befitting to tender to your Majesty that service which rather refers to the excellence of your individual person than to the business of the State.
In bearing your Majesty in mind, as is frequently my custom and duty, I have been often struck with admiration, apart from your other gifts of virtue and fortune, at the surprising development of that part of your nature which philosophers call intellectual. In no person so much as your Majesty does this opinion appear more fully confirmed, your soul being apt to kindle at the intrusion of the slightest object; and even at the spark of a thought foreign to the purpose to burst into flame.
In like manner God has endowed your Majesty with a mind capable of grasping the largest subjects and comprehending the least, though such an instrument seems an impossibility in nature. Nor indeed would it be easy to find any monarch Edition: current; Page: [ 39 ] since the Christian era who could bear any comparison with your Majesty in the variety and depth of your erudition.
Let any one run over the whole line of kings, and he will agree with me. It indeed seems a great thing in a monarch, if he can find time to digest a compendium or imbibe the simple elements of science, or love and countenance learning; but that a king, and he a king born, should have drunk at the true fountain of knowledge, yea, rather, should have a fountain of learning in himself, is indeed little short of a miracle. Therefore, to return to our undertaking: no oblation seemed more suitable than some treatise relating to that purpose, the sum of which should consist of two parts—the first of the excellence of learning, and the merit of those who labor judiciously and with energy for its propagation and development.
The second, to point out what part of knowledge has been already labored and perfected, and what portions left unfinished or entirely neglected; in order, since I dare not positively advise your Majesty to adopt any particular course, that by a detailed representation of our wants, I may excite your Majesty to examine the treasures of your royal heart, and thence to extract, whatever to your magnanimity and wisdom may seem best fitted to enlarge the boundaries of knowledge.
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On the threshold of the first part it is advisable to sift the merits of knowledge, and clear it of the disgrace brought upon it by ignorance, whether disguised 1 in the zeal of divines, 2 the arrogance of politicians, or 3 the errors of men of letters. Some divines pretend, 1.
To this we answer, 1. It was not the pure knowledge of nature, by the light whereof man gave names to all the creatures in Paradise, agreeable to their natures, that occasioned the fall; but the proud knowledge of good and evil, with an intent in man to give law to himself, and depend no more upon God.
Nor can any quantity of natural knowledge puff up the mind; for nothing fills, much less distends the soul, but God. And if such be the extent of the mind, there is no danger of filling it with any quantity of knowledge. But it is merely from its quality when taken without the true corrective that knowledge has somewhat of venom or malignity. The corrective which renders it sovereign is charity, for according to St. For the excess of writing and reading books, the anxiety of spirit proceeding from knowledge, and the admonition that we be not seduced by vain philosophy; when these passages are rightly understood, they mark out the boundaries of human knowledge, so as to comprehend the universal nature of things.
These limitations are three: the first, that we should not place our felicity in knowledge, so as to forget mortality; the second, that we use knowledge so as to give ourselves ease and content, not distaste and repining; and the third, that we presume not by the contemplation of nature, to attain to the mysteries of God. And hence some learned men have, indeed, been heretical, while they sought to seize the secrets of the Deity borne on the waxen wings of the senses.
The reflections cast upon learning by politicians, are these. That it perverts their dispositions for government and politics; 3. That it makes them too curious and irresolute, by variety of reading; too peremptory or positive by strictness of rules; too immoderate and conceited by the greatness of instances; too unsociable and incapacitated for the times, by the dissimilitude of examples; or at least, 4.
That it diverts from action and business, and leads to a love of retirement; 5. That it introduces a relaxation in government, as every man is more ready to argue than obey; whence Cato the censor—when Carneades came ambassador to Rome, and the young Romans, allured with his eloquence, flocked about him—gave counsel in open senate, to grant him his despatch immediately, lest he should infect the minds of the youth, and insensibly occasion an alteration in the State. The same conceit is manifest in Virgil, who, preferring the honor of his country to that of his profession, challenged the arts of policy in the Romans, as something superior to letters, the pre-eminence in which, he freely assigns to the Grecians.
And we also observe that Anytus, the accuser of Socrates, charged him in his impeachment with destroying, in the minds of young men, by his rhetorical arts, all authority and reverence for the laws of the country. But these and the like imputations have rather a show of gravity, than any just ground; for experience shows that learning and arms have flourished in the same persons and ages. This concurrence of learning and arms, is yet more visible in times than in persons, as an age exceeds a man.
For in Egypt, Assyria, Persia, Greece, and Rome, the times most famous for arms are likewise most admired for learning; so that the greatest authors and philosophers, the greatest leaders and governors, have lived in the same ages. Nor can it well be otherwise; for as the fulness of human strength, both in body and mind, comes nearly at an age; so arms and learning, one whereof corresponds to the body, the other to the soul, have a near concurrence in point of time.
And that learning should rather prove detrimental than serviceable in the art of government, seems very improbable. It is wrong to trust the natural body to empirics, who commonly have a few receipts whereon they rely, but who know neither the causes of diseases, nor the constitutions of patients, nor the danger of accidents, nor the true methods of cure.
And so it must needs be dangerous to have the civil body of States managed by empirical statesmen, unless well mixed with others who are grounded in learning. On the contrary, it is almost without instance, that any government was unprosperous under learned governors.
For however common it has been with politicians to discredit learned men, by the name of pedants, yet it appears from history, that the governments of princes in minority have excelled the governments of princes in maturity, merely because the management was in learned hands. The State of Rome for the first five years, so much magnified, during the minority of Nero, was in the hands of Seneca, a pedant: so it was for ten years, during the minority of Gordianus the younger, with great applause in the hands of Misitheus, a pedant; and it was as happy before that, in the minority of Alexander Severus, under the rule of women, assisted by preceptors.
And to look Edition: current; Page: [ 45 ] into the government of the bishops of Rome, particularly that of Pius and Sextus Quintus, who were both at their entrance esteemed but pedantical friars, we shall find that such popes did greater things, and proceeded upon truer principles of state, than those who rose to the papacy from an education in civil affairs, and the courts of princes. For though men bred to learning are perhaps at a loss in points of convenience, and present accommodations, called 21 reasons of state, yet they are perfect in the plain grounds of religion, justice, honor, and moral virtue, which, if well pursued, there will be as little use of reasons of state, as of physic in a healthy constitution.
And lastly, the genius of any single man can no more equal learning, than a private purse hold way with the exchequer. As to the particular indispositions of the mind for politics and government, laid to the charge of learning, if they are allowed of any force, it must be remembered, that learning affords more remedies than it breeds diseases; for if, by a secret operation, it renders men perplexed and irresolute, on the other hand, by plain precept, it teaches when, and upon what grounds, to resolve, and how to carry things in suspense, without prejudice: if it makes men positive and stiff, it shows what things are in their nature demonstrative, what conjectural; and teaches the use of distinctions and exceptions, as well as the rigidness of principles and rules.
If it misleads, by the unsuitableness of examples, it shows the force of circumstances, the errors of comparisons, and the cautions of application; so that in all cases, it rectifies more effectually than it perverts: and these remedies it conveys into the mind much more effectually by the force and variety of examples. Let a man look into the errors of Clement the Seventh, so livelily described Edition: current; Page: [ 46 ] by Guicciardini; or into those of Cicero, described by himself in his epistles to Atticus, and he will fly from being irresolute: let him look into the errors of Phocion, and he will beware of obstinacy or inflexibility: let him read the fable of Ixion, 22 and it will keep him from conceitedness: let him look into the errors of the second Cato, and he will never tread opposite to the world.
For the pretence that learning disposes to retirement, privacy, and sloth; it were strange if what accustoms the mind to perpetual motion and agitation should induce indolence; whereas no kind of men love business, for its own sake, but the learned; while others love it for profit, as hirelings for the wages; others for honor; others because it bears them up in the eyes of men, and refreshes their reputations, which would otherwise fade; or because it reminds them of their fortune, and gives them opportunities of revenging and obliging; or because it exercises some faculty, wherein they delight, and so keeps them in good humor with themselves.
If it be objected, that learning takes up much time, which might be better employed, I answer that the most Edition: current; Page: [ 47 ] active or busy men have many vacant hours, while they expect the tides and returns of business; and then the question is, how those spaces of leisure shall be filled up, whether with pleasure or study? For the allegation that learning should undermine the reverence due to laws and government, it is a mere calumny, without shadow of truth; for to say that blind custom of obedience should be a safer obligation than duty, taught and understood, is to say that a blind man may tread surer by a guide than a man with his eyes open can by a light.
And, doubtless, learning makes the mind gentle and pliable to government, whereas ignorance renders it churlish and mutinous; and it is always found that the most barbarous, rude, and ignorant times have been most tumultuous, changeable, and seditious. As to the judgment of Cato the Censor, he was punished for his contempt of learning, in the kind wherein he offended, for when past threescore the humor took him to learn Greek, which shows that his former censure of the Grecian learning was rather an affected gravity than his inward sense.
And as to the persecution of Socrates, the time must be remembered in which it Edition: current; Page: [ 48 ] occurred, viz. Socrates, from being a criminal, started at once into a hero, his memory loaded with honors human and divine, and his discourses, which had been previously stigmatized as immoral and profane, were considered as the reformers of thought and manners.
John of Salisbury, Policraticus, Books 4, 5, 6
We come now to that sort of discredit which is brought upon learning by learned men themselves; and this proceeds either 1 from their fortune, 2 their manners, or 3 the nature of their studies. The disrepute of learning from the fortune or condition of the learned, regards either their indigence, retirement, or meanness of employ. And, indeed, as we truly say that blushing is the livery of virtue, though it may sometimes proceed from guilt, 30 so it holds true of poverty that it is the attendant of virtue, though sometimes it may proceed from mismanagement and accident.
As for retirement, it is a theme so common to extol a private life, not taxed with sensuality and sloth, for the liberty, the pleasure, and the freedom from indignity it affords, that every one praises it well, such an agreement it has to the nature and apprehensions of mankind. As for their meanness of employ, that most exposed to contempt is the education of youth, to which they are commonly allotted. But how unjust this reflection is to all who measure things, not by popular opinion, but by reason, will appear in the fact that men are more careful what they put into new vessels than into those already seasoned.
It is manifest that things in their weakest state usually demand our best attention and assistance. And to say the truth, how much soever the lives of pedants have been ridiculed upon the stage, as the emblem of tyranny, because the modern looseness or negligence has not duly regarded the choice of proper schoolmasters and tutors; yet the wisdom of the ancientest and best times always complained that States were too busy with laws and too remiss Edition: current; Page: [ 50 ] in point of education.
The manners of learned men belong rather to their individual persons than to their studies or pursuits. For my part I cannot find that any disgrace to learning can proceed from the habits of learned men, inherent in them as learned, unless peradventure that may be a fault which was attributed to Demosthenes, Cicero, the second Cato, and many others, that seeing the times they read of more pure than their own, pushed their servility too far in the reformation of manners, and to seek to impose, by austere precepts, the laws of ancient asceticism upon dissolute times.
These preceptors, said he, have stretched the lines and limits of duties beyond their natural boundaries, thinking that we might safely reform when we had reached the highest point of perfection. Nor can this be otherwise; for learning gives men a true sense of their frailty, the casualty of fortune, and the dignity of the soul and its office; whence they cannot think any greatness of fortune a worthy end of their living, and therefore live so as to give a clear and acceptable account to God and their superiors; while the corrupter sort of politicians, who are not by learning established in a love of duty, nor ever look abroad into universality, refer all things to themselves, and thrust their persons into the centre of the world, as if all lines should meet in them and their fortunes, without regarding in storms what becomes of the ship of the State, if they can save themselves in the cock-boat of their own fortune.
The eastern custom which forbids subjects to gaze upon princes, though in the outward ceremony barbarous, has a good moral; for men ought not, by cunning and studied observations, to penetrate and search into the hearts of kings, which the Scripture declares inscrutable. So Plato compared his master Socrates to the shop-pots of apothecaries painted Edition: current; Page: [ 53 ] on the outside with apes and owls and antiques, but contained within sovereign and precious remedies. But we have nothing to offer in excuse of those unworthy practices, whereby some professors have debased both themselves and learning, as the trencher philosophers, who, in the decline of the Roman State, were but a kind of solemn parasites.
And the ancient custom was, to dedicate them only to private and equal friends, or if to kings and great persons, it was to such as the subject suited. These and the like measures, therefore, deserve rather to be censured than defended. Yet the submission of learned men to those in power cannot be condemned. We proceed to the errors and vanities intermixed with the studies of learned men, wherein the design is not to countenance such errors, but, by a censure and separation thereof to justify what is sound and good; for it is the manner of men, especially the evil-minded, to depreciate what is excellent and virtuous, by taking advantage over what is corrupt and degenerate.
We reckon three principal vanities for which learning has been traduced. Those things are vain which are either false or frivolous, or deficient in truth or use; and those persons are vain who are either credulous of falsities or curious in things of little use. But curiosity consists either in matter or words, that is, either in taking pains about vain things, or too much labor about the delicacy of language.
There are, therefore, in reason as well as experience, three distempers of learning; viz. The first disease, which consists in a luxuriance of style, has been anciently esteemed at different times, but strangely prevailed about the time of Luther, who, finding how great a task he had undertaken against the degenerate traditions of the Church, and being unassisted by the opinions of his own age, was forced to awake antiquity to make a party for him; whence the ancient authors both in divinity and Edition: current; Page: [ 55 ] the humanities, that had long slept in libraries, began to be generally read.
This brought on a necessity of greater application to the original languages wherein those authors wrote, for the better understanding and application of their works. Hence also proceeded a delight in their manner of style and phrase, and an admiration of this kind of writing, which was much increased by the enmity now grown up against the schoolmen, who were generally of the contrary party, and whose writings were in a very different style and form, as taking the liberty to coin new and strange words, to avoid circumlocution and express their sentiments acutely, without regard to purity of diction and justness of phrase.
And again, because the great labor then was to win and persuade the people, eloquence and variety of discourse grew into request as most suitable for the pulpit, and best adapted to the capacity of the vulgar; so that these four causes concurring, viz. This soon grew to excess, insomuch that men studied more after words than matter, more after the choiceness of phrase, and the round and neat composition, sweet cadence of periods, the use of tropes and figures, than after weight of matter, dignity of subject, soundness of argument, life of invention, or depth of judgment.
Then grew into esteem the flowing and watery vein of Orosius, 51 the Portugal bishop; then did Sturmius bestow such infinite pains upon Cicero and Hermogenes; then did Car and Ascham, in their lectures and writings, almost deify Cicero and Demosthenes; then grew the learning of the schoolmen to be utterly despised as barbarous; and the whole bent of those times was rather upon fulness than weight. Here, therefore, is the first distemper of learning, when men study words and not matter; and though we have given an example of it from later times, yet such levities have and will be found more or less in all ages.
Yet the illustrating the obscurities of philosophy with sensible and plausible elocution is not hastily to be condemned; for hereof we have eminent examples in Xenophon, Cicero, Seneca, Plutarch, and Plato; 53 and the thing itself is of great use; for although it be some hindrance to the severe inquiry after truth, and the further progress in philosophy, that it should too early prove satisfactory to the mind, and quench the desire of further search, before a just period is made; yet when we have occasion for learning and knowledge in civil life, as for conference, counsel, persuasion, discourse, or the like, we find it ready prepared to our hands in the authors who have wrote in this way.
The luxuriant style was succeeded by another, which, though more chaste, has still its vanity, as turning wholly upon pointed expressions and short periods, so as to appear Edition: current; Page: [ 57 ] concise and round rather than diffusive; by which contrivance the whole looks more ingenious than it is.
Seneca used this kind of style profusely, but Tacitus and Pliny with greater moderation. It has also begun to render itself acceptable in our time. But to say the truth, its admirers are only the men of a middle genius, who think it adds a dignity to learning; while those of solid judgment justly reject it as a certain disease of learning, since it is no more than a jingle, or peculiar quaint affectation of words.
The second disease is worse in its nature than the former; for as the dignity of matter exceeds the beauty of words, so vanity in matter is worse than vanity in words; whence the precept of St. And indeed, as many solid substances putrefy, and turn into worms, so does sound knowledge often putrefy into a number of subtle, idle, and vermicular questions, that have a certain quickness of life, and spirit, but no strength of matter, or excellence of quality. This kind of degenerate learning chiefly reigned among the schoolmen; who, having subtle and strong capacities, abundance of leisure, and but small variety of reading, their minds being shut up in a few authors, as their bodies were in the cells of their monasteries, and thus kept ignorant both of the history of nature and times; they, with infinite agitation of wit, spun out of a small quantity of matter, those laborious webs of learning which are extant in their books.
For the human mind, if it acts upon matter, and contemplates the nature of things, and the works of God, operates according Edition: current; Page: [ 58 ] to the stuff, and is limited thereby; but if it works upon itself, as the spider does, then it has no end; but produces cobwebs of learning, admirable indeed for the fineness of the thread, but of no substance or profit. This unprofitable subtilty is of two kinds, and appears either in the subject, when that is fruitless speculation or controversy, or in the manner of treating it, which among them was this: Upon every particular position they framed objections, and to those objections solutions; which solutions were generally not confutations, but distinctions; whereas the strength of all sciences is like the strength of a fagot bound.
Yet such is the method of schoolmen, that rests not so much upon the evidence of truth from arguments, authorities, and examples, as upon particular confutations and solutions of every scruple and objection; which breeds one question, as fast as it solves another; just as in the above example, when the light is carried into one corner, it darknes the rest.
Whence the fable of Scylla seems a lively image of this kind of philosophy, who was transformed into a beautiful virgin upward, while barking monsters surrounded her below—. So the generalities of the schoolmen are for a while fair and Edition: current; Page: [ 59 ] proportionable; but to descend into their distinctions and decisions, they end in monstrous altercations and barking questions. Whence this kind of knowledge must necessarily fall under popular contempt; for the people are ever apt to contemn truth, upon account of the controversies raised about it; and so think those all in the wrong way, who never meet.
And thus much for the second disease of learning. The third disease, which regards deceit or falsehood, is the foulest; as destroying the essential form of knowledge, which is nothing but a representation of truth; for the truth of existence and the truth of knowledge are the same thing, or differ no more than the direct and reflected ray. This vice, therefore, branches into two; viz. For, as in the verse,. We see the inconvenience of the former in ecclesiastical history, which has too easily received and registered relations of miracles wrought by martyrs, hermits, monks, and their relics, shrines, chapels, and images.
So in natural history, there has not been much judgment employed, as appears from the writings of Pliny, Carban, Albertus, and many of the Arabians; which are full of fabulous matters; many of them not only untried, but notoriously false, to the great discredit of natural philosophy with grave and sober minds. But the produce and integrity of Aristotle is here worthy our observation, who, having compiled an exact history of animals, dashed it very sparingly with fable or fiction, throwing all strange reports which he thought worth recording in a book by themselves, 60 thus wisely intimating, that matter of truth which is the basis of solid experience, philosophy, and the sciences, should not be mixed with matter of doubtful credit; and yet that curiosities or prodigies, though seemingly incredible, are not to be suppressed or denied the registering.
Credulity in arts and opinions, is likewise of two kinds; viz. The sciences that sway the imagination more than the reason, are principally three; viz. For astrology pretends to discover the influence of the superior upon the inferior bodies; natural magic pretends to reduce natural philosophy from speculation to works; and chemistry pretends to separate the dissimilar parts, incorporated in natural mixtures, and to cleanse such bodies as are impure, throw out the heterogeneous parts, and perfect such as are immature. But the means supposed to produce these effects are, both in theory and practice, full of error and vanity, and besides, are seldom delivered with candor, but generally concealed by artifice and enigmatical expressions, referring to tradition, Edition: current; Page: [ 61 ] and using other devices to cloak imposture.
Yet alchemy may be compared to the man who told his sons, he had left them gold buried somewhere in his vineyard; where they, by digging, found no gold, but by turning up the mould about the roots of the vines, procured a plentiful vintage. So the search and endeavors to make gold have brought many useful inventions and instructive experiments to light. Credulity in respect of certain authors, and making them dictators instead of consuls, is a principal cause that the sciences are no further advanced.
For hence, though in mechanical arts, the first inventor falls short, time adds perfection; while in the sciences, the first author goes furthest, and time only abates or corrupts. Thus artillery, sailing, and printing, were grossly managed at the first, but received improvement by time; while the philosophy and the sciences of Aristotle, Plato, Democritus, Hippocrates, Euclid, and Archimedes, flourished most in the original authors, and degenerated with time.
The reason is, that in the mechanic arts, the capacities and industry of many are collected together; whereas in sciences, the capacities and industry of many have been spent upon the invention of some one man, who has commonly been thereby rather obscured than illustrated.
For as water ascends no higher than the level of the first spring, so knowledge derived from Aristotle will at most rise no higher again than the knowledge of Aristotle. And therefore, though a scholar must have faith in his master, yet a man well instructed must judge for himself; for learners owe to their Edition: current; Page: [ 62 ] masters only a temporary belief, and a suspension of their own judgment till they are fully instructed, and not an absolute resignation or perpetual captivity.
Let great authors, therefore, have their due, but so as not to defraud time, which is the author of authors, and the parent of truth. Besides the three diseases of learning above treated, there are some other peccant humors, which, falling under popular observation and reprehension, require to be particularly mentioned. The first is the affecting of two extremes; antiquity and novelty: wherein the children of time seem to imitate their father; for as he devours his children, so they endeavor to devour each other; while antiquity envies new improvements, and novelty is not content to add without defacing.
And to speak the truth antiquity, as we call it, is the young state of the world; for those times are ancient when the world is ancient; and not those we vulgarly account ancient by computing backward; so that the present time is the real antiquity. He pleasantly asks why the gods begot so many children in the first ages, but none in his days; and whether they were grown too old for generation, or were restrained by the Papian law, which prohibited old men from marrying?
But this happens much more frequently in intellectual matters, as we see in most of the propositions of Euclid, which, till demonstrated, seem strange, but when demonstrated, the mind receives them by a kind of affinity, as if we had known them before. Another error of the same nature is an imagination that of all ancient opinions or sects, the best has ever prevailed, and suppressed the rest; so that if a man begins a new search, he must happen upon somewhat formerly rejected; and by rejection, brought into oblivion; as if the multitude, or the wiser sort to please the multitude, would not often give way to what is light and popular, rather than maintain what is substantial and deep.
Another different error is, the over-early and peremptory reduction of knowledge into arts and methods, from which time the sciences are seldom improved; for as young men rarely grow in stature after their shape and limbs are fully formed, so knowledge, while it lies in aphorisms and observations, remains in a growing state; but when once fashioned into methods, though it may be further polished, illustrated, and fitted for use, it no longer increases in bulk and substance.
Another error is, that after the distribution of particular arts and sciences, men generally abandon the study of nature, or universal philosophy, which stops all further progress. For as no perfect view of a country can be taken upon a flat, so it is impossible to discover the remote and deep parts of any science by standing upon the level of the same science, or without ascending to a higher.
Another error proceeds from too great a reverence, and a kind of adoration paid to the human understanding; whence men have withdrawn themselves from the contemplation of nature and experience, and sported with their own reason and the fictions of fancy. Another error is, that men often infect their speculations and doctrines with some particular opinions they happen to be fond of, or the particular sciences whereto they have most applied, and thence give all other things a tincture that is utterly foreign to them.
Thus Plato mixed philosophy with theology; 66 Aristotle with logic; Proclus with mathematics; as these arts were a kind of elder and favorite children with them. Another error is, an impatience of doubting and a blind hurry of asserting without a mature suspension of judgment. For the two ways of contemplation are like the two ways of action so frequently mentioned by the ancients; the one plain and easy at first, but in the end impassable; the other rough and fatiguing in the entrance, but soon after fair and even: so in contemplation, if we begin with certainties, we shall end in doubts; but if we begin with doubts, and are patient in them, we shall end in certainties.
Another error lies in the manner of delivering knowledge, which is generally magisterial and peremptory, not ingenuous and open, but suited to gain belief without examination. And in compendious treatises for practice, this form should not be disallowed; but in the true delivering of knowledge, both extremes are to be avoided; viz. There are other errors in the scope that men propose to themselves: for whereas the more diligent professors of any science ought chiefly to endeavor the making some additions or improvements therein, they aspire only to certain second prizes; as to be a profound commentator, a sharp disputant, a methodical compiler, or abridger, whence the returns or revenues of knowledge are sometimes increased, but not the inheritance and stock.
But the greatest error of all is, mistaking the ultimate end of knowledge; for some men covet knowledge out of a natural curiosity and inquisitive temper; some to entertain the mind with variety and delight; some for ornament and reputation; some for victory and contention; many for lucre and a livelihood; and but few for employing the Divine gift of reason to the use and benefit of mankind. Thus some appear to seek in knowledge a couch for a Edition: current; Page: [ 66 ] searching spirit; others, a walk for a wandering mind; others, a tower of state; others, a fort, or commanding ground; and others, a shop for profit or sale, instead of a storehouse for the glory of the Creator and the endowment of human life.
But that which must dignify and exalt knowledge is the more intimate and strict conjunction of contemplation and action; a conjunction like that of Saturn, the planet of rest and contemplation; and Jupiter, the planet of civil society and action. But here, by use and action, we do not mean the applying of knowledge to lucre, for that diverts the advancement of knowledge, as the golden ball thrown before Atalanta, which, while she stoops to take up, the race is hindered.
Nor do we mean, as was said of Socrates, to call philosophy down from heaven to converse upon earth: 70 that is, to leave natural philosophy behind, and apply knowledge only to morality and policy: but as both heaven and earth contribute to the use and benefit of man, so the end ought to be, from both philosophies, to separate and reject vain and empty speculations, and preserve and increase all that is solid and fruitful.
We have now laid open by a kind of dissection the chief of those peccant humors which have not only retarded the advancement of learning, but tended to its traducement. It is, notwithstanding, far from our Edition: current; Page: [ 67 ] purpose to enter into fulsome laudations of learning, or to make a hymn to the Muses, though we are of opinion that it is long since their rites were celebrated; but our intent is to balance the dignity of knowledge in the scale with other things, and to estimate their true values according to universal testimony.
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Next, therefore, let us seek the dignity of knowledge in its original; that is, in the attributes and acts of God, so far as they are revealed to man, and may be observed with sobriety. But here we are not to seek it by the name of learning; for all learning is knowledge acquired, but all knowledge in God is original: we must, therefore, look for it under the name of wisdom or sapience, as the Scriptures call it.
In the work of creation we see a double emanation of virtue from God; the one relating more properly to power, the other to wisdom; the one expressed in making the matter, and the other in disposing the form. To proceed from God to spirits. We find, as far as credit may be given to the celestial hierarchy of the supposed Dionysius the Areopagite, the first place is given to the angels of love, termed Seraphim; the second, to the angels of light, called Cherubim; and the third and following places to thrones, principalities, and the rest, which are all angels of power and ministry; so that the angels of knowledge and illumination are placed before the angels of office and domination.
To descend from spiritual and intellectual, to sensible and material forms; we read the first created form was light, 74 which, in nature and corporeal things, hath a relation and correspondence to knowledge in spirits, and things incorporeal; so, in the distribution of days, we find the day wherein God rested and completed his works, was blessed above all the days wherein he wrought them. Again, the first acts which man performed in Paradise consisted of the two summary parts of knowledge, a view of the creature, and imposition of names.
In the first event after the fall, we find an image of the two states, the contemplative and the active, figured out in the persons of Abel and Cain, by the two simplest and most primitive trades, that of the shepherd and that of the husbandman; 77 where again, the favor of God went to the shepherd, and not to the tiller of the ground. So in the age before the flood, the sacred records mention the name of the inventors of music and workers in metal. Another hereupon observes a position of moral philosophy, that men abandoned to vice do not corrupt the manners of others, so much as those who are but half wicked.
And in many other places of the Jewish law, besides the theological sense, there are couched many philosophical matters. The book of Job 83 likewise will be found, if examined with care, pregnant with the secrets of natural philosophy. Nor did the dispensation of God vary in the times after our Saviour, who himself first showed his power to subdue ignorance, by conferring with the priests and doctors of the law, before he showed his power to subdue nature by miracles.
The Third BOOK OF OVID IMITATED.
And the coming of the Holy Spirit was chiefly expressed in the gift of tongues, which are but the conveyance of knowledge. So in the election of those instruments it pleased God to use for planting the faith, though at first he employed persons altogether unlearned, otherwise than by inspiration, the more evidently to declare his immediate working, and to humble all human wisdom or knowledge, yet in the next succession he sent out his divine truth into the world, attended with other parts of learning as with servants or handmaids; thus St.
Paul, who was the only learned among the apostles, had his pen most employed in the writings of the New Testament. Again, we find that many of the ancient bishops and fathers of the Church were well versed in all the learning of the heathens, insomuch that the edict of the Emperor Julian prohibiting Christians the schools and exercises, was accounted a more pernicious engine against the faith than all the sanguinary persecution of his predecessors. And of late years the Jesuits, partly of themselves and partly provoked by example, have greatly enlivened and strengthened the state of learning, and contributed to establish the Roman See.
And thus much for Divine testimony concerning the dignity and merits of learning. Next for human proofs. Deification was the highest honor among the heathens; that is, to obtain veneration as a god was the supreme respect which man could pay to man, especially when given, not by a formal act of state as it usually was to the Roman emperors, but from a voluntary, internal assent and acknowledgment.
This honor being so high, there was also constituted a middle kind, for human honors were inferior to honors heroical and divine. Edition: current; Page: [ 72 ] Antiquity observed this difference in their distribution, that whereas founders of states, lawgivers, extirpers of tyrants, fathers of the people, and other eminent persons in civil merit, were honored but with the titles of heroes, or demigods, such as Hercules, Theseus, Minos, Romulus, etc. Inventors, and authors of new arts or discoveries for the service of human life, were ever advanced among the gods, as in the case of Ceres, Bacchus, Mercury, Apollo, and others.
And this appears to have been done with great justice and judgment, for the merits of the former being generally confined within the circle of one age or nation, are but like fruitful showers, which serve only for a season and a small extent, while the others are like the benefits of the sun, permanent and universal. Again, the former are mixed with strife and contention, while the latter have the true character of the Divine presence, as coming in a gentle gale without noise or tumult.
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I commend to you these words, and hope that they inspire. What is the difference? Many ordinary readers assume that there is a single text for the plays: what Shakespeare wrote. In some cases, the plays have come down to us in multiple published versions, represented by various Quartos Qq and by the great collection put together by his colleagues in , called the First Folio F. Editors choose which version to use as their base text, and then amend that text with words, lines or speech prefixes from the other versions that, in their judgment, make for a better or more accurate text.
See The Tempest , 1. All Shakespeare editors at the time took the speech away from her and gave it to her father, Prospero. At any point in the text, you can hover your cursor over a bracket for more information. Henry V begins at the English court, where the young king is persuaded that he has a claim to the throne of France. When the French dauphin, or heir apparent, insults him by sending him tennis balls, Henry launches his military expedition to France.
Before departing, Henry learns that three of his nobles have betrayed him, and he orders their execution. Henry and his army lay siege to the French town of Harfleur, which surrenders. After a brief return to England, Henry comes back to France to claim his rights and to set up his marriage to Princess Katherine. From the Director of the Folger Shakespeare Library. Characters in the Play. Henry V, King of England. Thomas, Duke of Exeter , uncle to the King. Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester. Duke of York.
Earl of Warwick.