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In 1695 they were reprinted at Amsterdam by H. Wetstenius in a separate volume ; with the title Francisci Baconi, foc., Opuscula historico-politica, Anglice olim conscripta, et nuper Latinitate donata à Simone Joanne Arnoldo, Ecclesiæ Sonnenbrugensis Inspectore.

J. S.

COGITATIONES

DE

NATURA RERUM.

PREFACE

TO THE

COGITATIONES DE NATURA RERUM.

This piece was printed by Gruter among the Impetus Philosophici ; from which we may probably conclude that it had not been transcribed into the volume of Scripta in Naturali et Universali Philosophia : 1 but that is all. There is nothing to determine the date of composition, unless it be the absence of any allusion to the new star in Ophiuchus in the place where the new star in Cassiopeia is mentioned. See note, $ x. The value of the argument will be more easily understood by comparing the passage in question with a passage of the same import in a work, obviously later, where both these stars are mentioned together. In both cases the question under discussion is the immutability of the heavens. In the Cogitationes de Naturâ Rerum, of which the date is unknown, we find, “... mutationes in regionibus coelestibus fieri, ex cometis quibusdam satis liquet ; iis dico qui certam et constantem configurationem cum stellis fixis servarunt; qualis fuit ille qui in Cassiopeâ nostrâ ætate apparuit." This star in Cassiopeia appeared in 1572. But another of the same kind, and no less remarkable, appeared in Sep

1 See above, p. 194.

1

tember 1604. It is said to have been brighter, when first seen, than Jupiter;and though its brightness diminished afterwards, it was distinctly visible for more than a year.

It attracted so much attention as to be made the subject of three lectures of a popular character, given by Galileo to crowded audiences ; and it is difficult to believe either that Bacon did not know of it (he being then 44 years old, and busy at the time with the Advancement of Learning, and quite understanding the significance of the phenomenon ;) or that, if he did, he could have forgotten to mention it when speaking of the other. Accordingly, in the Descriptio Globi Intellectualis, which we know to have been written about the year 1612, the passage whic

which I have just quoted appears in a new form. “ Id enim [sc. admirandas in cælo accidere mutationes atque insolentias] perspicitur in cometis sublimioribus, iis nimirum qui et figuram stellæ induerunt absque comâ, neque solum ex doctrinâ parallaxium supra · lunam collocati esse probantur, sed configurationem etiam certam et constantem cum stellis fixis habuerunt, et stationes suas servarunt, neque errones fuerunt; quales ætas nostra non semel vidit ; primo in Cassiopeâ, iterum non ita pridem in Ophiucho."

That when Bacon wrote the tenth Cogitatio he had not heard of the appearance of this second new star, may be assumed with considerable confidence. The only question is whether such a phenomenon could have been long known to the astronomers of his time, without his hearing of it ; of which I can only say that it seems unlikely, and that, in the absence of all

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1 Maestlin, quoted in the Life of Galileo, Library of Useful Knowledge

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