« AnteriorContinuar »
bow first to the citizens, they are in debt; if first "to us, they are in law."
7. King James was wont to be very earnest with the country gentlemen to go from London to their country houses. And sometimes he would say thus to them, "Gentlemen, at London you are like ships "at sea, which shew like nothing; but in your coun"try villages you are like ships in a river, which look "like great things."
8. Soon after the death of a great officer, who was judged no advancer of the king's matters, the king said to his solicitor Bacon, who was his kinsman, "Now tell me truly, what say you of your cousin " that is gone ?" Mr. Bacon answered, "Sir, since your majesty doth charge me, I'll e'en deal plainly "with you, and give you such a character of him, as "if I were to write his story. I do think he was no "fit counsellor to make your affairs better; but yet "he was fit to have kept them from growing worse." The king said, "On my so'l, man, in the first thou speakest like a true man, and in the latter, like a "kinsman."
9. King James, as he was a prince of great judgment, so he was a prince of a marvellous pleasant humour; and there now come into my mind two instances of it. As he was going through Lusen, by Greenwich, he asked what town it was? They said, Lusen. He asked a good while after, " "What town "is this we are now in?" They said still, 'twas Lusen. "On my so'l," said the king, "I will be king of Lusen."
10. In some other of his progresses, he asked how far it was to a town whose name I have forgotten. They said, Six miles. Half an hour after, he asked again. One said, Six miles and an half. The king alighted out of his coach, and crept under the shoulder of his led horse. And when some asked his majesty what he meant? "I must stalk," said he, " for yon"der town is shy, and flies me."
11. Count Gondomar sent a compliment to my lord St. Alban, wishing him a good Easter. My
lord thanked the messenger, and said, "He could not "at present requite the count better than in returning "him the like; that he wished his lordship a good "Passover."
12. My lord chancellor Elsmere, when he had read a petition which he disliked, would say, "What, you would have my hand to this now ?" And the party answering, "Yes;" he would say farther, Well, so you shall: nay, you shall have both my "hands to it." And so would, with both his hands,
tear it in pieces.
13. Sir Francis Bacon was wont to say of an angry man who suppressed his passion, "That he thought worse than he spake;" and of an angry man that would chide, "That he spoke worse than he thought."
14. He was wont also to say, "That power in an "ill man was like the power of a black witch; he "could do hurt, but no good with it." And he would add, "That the magicians could turn water “into blood, but could not turn the blood again to "water."
15. When Mr. Attorney Coke, in the exchequer, gave high words to Sir Francis Bacon, and stood much upon his higher place; Sir Francis said to him,
Attorney, the less you speak of your own greatness, "the more I shall think of it: and the more, the less."
16. Sir Francis Bacon coming into the earl of Arundel's garden, where there were a great number of ancient statues of naked men and women, made a stand, and, as astonished, cried out, "The resur"rection!"
17. Sir Francis Bacon, who was always for moderate counsels, when one was speaking of such a reformation of the Church of England, as would in effect make it no Church; said thus to him, "Sir, the "subject we talk of is the eye of England; and if "there be a speck or two in the eye, we endeavour to "take them off; but he were a strange oculist who "would pull out the eye."
18. The same Sir Francis Bacon was wont to
say, "That those who left useful studies for useless "scholastic speculations, were like the Olympic gamesters, who abstained from necessary labours, "that they might be fit for such as were not so."
19. He likewise often used this comparison : "The empirical philosophers are like to pismires; they only lay up and use their store. The rational"ists are like the spiders; they spin all out of their " own bowels. But give me a philosopher, who "like the bee hath a middle faculty, gathering from "abroad, but digesting that which is gathered by his "own virtue."
20. The lord St. Alban, who was not over-hasty to raise theories, but proceeded slowly by experiments, was wont to say to some philosophers, who would not go his pace, "Gentlemen, nature is a labyrinth, in "which the very haste you move with, will make "you lose your way."
21. The saine lord, when he spoke of the Dutchmen, used to say, "That we could not abandon "them for our safety, nor keep them for our profit." And sometimes he would express the same sense in this manner; " We hold the Belgic lion by the ears."
22. The same lord, when a gentleman seemed not much to approve of his liberality to his retinue, said to him, “Sir, I am all of a piece; if the head be lifted the inferior parts of the body must too."
23. The lord Bacon was wont to commend the advice of the plain old man at Buxton, that sold besoms: a proud lazy young fellow came to him for a besom upon trust; to whom the old man said, "Friend, "hast thou no money? borrow of thy back, and bor"row of thy belly, they'll ne'er ask thee again, I shall "be dunning thee every day."
24. Jack Weeks said of a great man, just then dead, who pretended to some religion, but was none of the best livers, "Well, I hope he is in heaven. Every "man thinks as he wishes; but if he be in heaven, "'twere pity it were known."
See the substance of this in Novum Organum; and Cogitata et l'isa.
SOME MADE, OTHERS COLLECTED BY THE LORD BACON; AND BY HIM PUT UNDER THE ABOVESAID TITLE.
COLLECTED OUT OF THE MIMI OF PUBLIUS, AND PUBLISHED IN THE REMAINS.
1. ALEATOR, quanto in arte est melior, tanto est nequior. A
gamester, the greater master he is in his art, the worse man he is.
2. Arcum, intensio frangit; animum, remissio. Much bending breaks the bow; much unbending, the mind.
3. Bis vincit, qui se vincit in victoria.
He conquers twice, who upon victory overcomes himself.
4. Cum vitia prosint, peccat, qui recte facit.
If vices were upon the whole matter profitable, the virtuous man would be the sinner. 5. Bene dormit, qui non sentit quod male dormiat. He sleeps well, who feels not that he sleeps ill. 6. Deliberare utilia, mora est tutissima.
To deliberate about useful things, is the safest delay.
7. Dolor decrescit, ubi quo crescat non habet. The flood of grief decreaseth, when it can swell no higher.
8. Etiam innocentes cogit mentiri dolor.
·10. Etiam capillus unus habet umbram suam. The smallest hair casts a shadow.
11. Fidem qui perdit, quo se servat in reliquum? He that has lost his faith, what has he left to ..live on?
12. Formosa facies muta commendatio est.
A beautiful face is a silent commendation. 13. Fortuna nimium quem fovet, stultum facit. Fortune makes him a fool, whom she makes her darling.
14. Fortuna obesse nulli contenta est semel. Fortune is not content to do a man but one ill turn.
15. Facit gratum fortuna, quam nemo videt. The fortune which nobody sees, makes a man happy and unenvied.
16. Heu! quam miserum est ab illo lædi, de quo non possis queri.
O! what a miserable thing it is to be hurt by such a one of whom it is in vain to complain.
17. Homo toties moritur quoties amittit suos. A man dies as often as he loses his friends. 18. Hæredis fletus sub persona risus est.
The tears of an heir are laughter under a vizard. 19. Jucundum nihil est, nisi quod reficit varietas. Nothing is pleasant, to which variety does not give a relish.
20. Invidiam ferre, aut fortis, aut felix potest. He may bear envy, who is either courageous or happy.
21. In malis sperare bonum, nisi innocens, nemo potest.
None but a virtuous man can hope well in ill circumstances.
22. In vindicando, criminosa est celeritas.
In taking revenge, the very haste we make is criminal.
23. In calamitoso risus etiam injuria est. When men are in calamity, if we do but laugh we offend.