« AnteriorContinuar »
Experiment solitary touching the general sympathy. of mens spirits.
1000. THE delight which men have in popularity, fame, honour, submission, and subjection of other mens minds, wills, or affections, although these things may be desired for other ends, seemeth to be a thing in itself, without contemplation of consequence, grateful and agreeable to the nature of man. This thing, surely, is not without some signification, as if all spirits and souls of men came forth out of one divine limbus; else why should men be so much affected with that which others think or say? The best temper of minds desireth good name and true honour: the lighter, popularity and applause: the more depraved, subjection and tyranny; as is seen in great conquerors and troublers of the world: and yet more in archheretics; for the introducing of new doctrines is likewise an affectation of tyranny over the understandings and beliefs of men.
THIS fable my lord devised, to the end that he might exhibit therein a model or description of a college, instituted for the interpreting of nature, and the producing of great and marvellous works, for the benefit of men; under the name of Solomon's house, or the College of the six days works. And even so far his lordship hath proceeded, as to finish that part. Certainly the model is more vast and high, than can possibly be imitated in all things; notwithstanding most things therein are within mens power to effect. His lordship thought also in this present fable, to have composed a frame of laws, or of the best state or mould of a commonwealth; but foreseeing it would be a long work, his desire of collecting the Natural History diverted him, which he preferred many degrees before it.
This work of the New Atlantis, as much as concerneth the English edition, his lordship designed for this place; in regard it hath so near affinity, in one part of it, with the preceding Natural History.
WE sailed from Peru, where we had continued by the space of one whole year, for China and Japan, by the South Sea, taking with us victuals for twelve months; and had good winds from the east, though soft and weak, for five months space and more. But then the wind came about, and settled in the west for many days, so as we could make little or no way, and were sometimes in purpose to turn back. But then again there arose strong and great winds from the south, with a point east, which carried us up, for all that we could do, towards the north: by which time our victuals failed us, though we had made good spare of them. So that finding ourselves in the midst of the greatest wilderness of waters in the world, without victual, we gave ourselves for lost men, and prepared for death. Yet we did lift up our hearts and voices to God above, who sheweth his wonders in the deep; beseeching him of his mercy, that as in the beginning he discovered the face of the deep, and brought forth dry land; so he would now discover land to us, that we might not perish. And it came to pass, that the next day about evening, we saw within a kenning before us, towards the north, as it were thick clouds, which did put us in some hope of land; knowing how that part of the South Sea was utterly unknown; and might have islands or continents, that hitherto were not come to light. Wherefore we bent our course thither, where we saw the appearance of land all that night; and in the dawning of the next day, we might plainly discern that it was a land, flat to our sight, and full of boscage, which made it shew the more dark. And after an hour and a half's sailing, we entered into a good haven, being the port of a fair city; not great indeed, but well built, and that gave a pleasant view from the sea: and we thinking
every minute long till we were on land, came close to the shore, and offered to land. But straightways we saw divers of the people with bastons in their hands, as it were, forbidding us to land; yet without any cries or fierceness, but only as warning us off by signs that they made. Whereupon being not a little discomforted, we were advising with ourselves what we should do. During which time there made forth to us a small boat, with about eight persons in it; whereof one of them had in his hand a tipstaff of a yellow cane, tipped at both ends with blue, who came aboard our ship, without any shew of distrust at all. And when he saw one of our number present himself somewhat afore the rest, he drew forth a little scroll of parchment, somewhat yellower than our parchment, and shining like the leaves of writingtables, but otherwise soft and flexible, and delivered it to our foremost man. In which scroll were written in ancient Hebrew, and in ancient Greek, and in good Latin of the school, and in Spanish, these words; "Land ye not, none of you, and provide to "be gone from this coast within sixteen days, except you have further time given you: mean while, if "you want fresh water, or victual, or help for your "sick, or that your ship needeth repair, write down "your wants, and you shall have that which belong"eth to mercy." This scroll was signed with a stamp of cherubims wings, not spread, but hanging downwards, and by them a cross. This being delivered, the officer returned, and left only a servant with us to receive our answer. Consulting hereupon amongst ourselves, we were much perplexed. The denial of landing, and hasty warning us away, troubled us much; on the other side, to find that the people had languages, and were so full of humanity, did comfort us not a little. And above all, the sign of the cross to that instrument was to us a great rejoicing, and as it were a certain presage of good. Our answer was in the Spanish tongue; "That for our ship, it was well; for we had rather met with calms "and contrary winds than any tempests. For our