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so indefinite a system as that of Telesius could find much acceptance, and accordingly it is but seldom mentioned by scientific writers. Grassi, in the Libra Astronomica, seems to reproach Galileo with having taken some notion about comets from Cardan and Telesius ; remarking that their philosophy was sterile and unfruitful, and that they had left to posterity “libros non liberos.” To this Galileo answers that as for what Cardan and Telesius might have said on the matter in hand he had never read it, and it would seem as if he means to disclaim all knowledge of their writings. Though he protests against the argumentum ex consensu which Grassi brings against them, yet it is plain that he does so only to confute his opponent, and not. because he thought them worthy of a greater fame than they had received. Even among the large class of men who are content to acquiesce in general views and are not careful to inquire whether these views are accurate or ill defined, Telesius's popularity could not last long. For he had left nothing for his followers to do. All that could be said in favour of his fundamental idea he had said himself, and any attempt to develop it further could only show how insecure a foundation it was built

His works are however not undeserving of attention, even apart from the influence which they had on the opinions of Bacon. They show much of the peculiar character of mind which distinguishes southern from northern Italy, and which is yet more conspicuous in the writings of Campanella and of Vico: grave and melancholy earnestness, - a fondness for symbol and metaphor, and for wide-reaching but dreamy theories.

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i Published in 1618, with the pseudonym of Lotario Sarsi. It is incor. dorated in the new edition of Galileo's works, iv. p. 61.

The first two books of lis principal work, the De Rerum Natura, were published at Rome in 1565. The complete work was not published until 1586, only two years before his death. In 1590 a number of tracts, some of which had appeared in his lifetime, were published by Antonius Persius, one of his chief disciples, with a dedication to Patricius, which seems to claim him as at least half an adherent to the Telesian philosophy. For some account of Telesius's minor works I may refer to Spiriti's Scrittori Cosentini, or to what Salsi has said of them in Ginguené’s Histoire Littéraire de l'Italie.3

Of Lotter's work, De l'ita et Scriptis B. Telesië, Leipsic, 1733, I much regret that I only know what is said of it in the Acta Eruditorum for that vear. It appears to contain much information not easily to be found elsewhere.

The view which Bacon gives of the doctrines of Telesius seems to have been much used and trusted by the historians of philosophy, 4 — a natural result of the involved and obscure style in wliich they were originally propounded. Whether it is altogether an accurate representation of these doctrines may at least be doubted : it seems as if Bacon, in some matters of detail, mingles with what he finds in Telesius some fur. ther developments of his own. Perhaps he is in some

1 It was reprinted in 1588, along with the Contemplationes of Mocenicus and the Questiones Peripateticæ of Cæsalpinus. The volume containing these three works is entitled “ Tractationuin Philosophicarum tomus unus,” and is apparently not easily met with. It is this edition that I have been in the habit of using.

2 This dedication is prefixed to the tract “ De Mari."

8 The account of Telesius in Ginguené was written by Salsi. See Ginguenė, vii. p. 500.

4 See what Brucker says of Morhof and Sosellus, Hist. Crit. Phil. iv. 453.


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measure influenced by his jural habits of thought, and tries in all fairness and equity to put a favourable construction on that on which he sits in judgment. However this may be, I have certainly found it difficult to support all his statements by quotations from his author, and in some cases have noticed at least apparent discrepancies.

The tract ends abruptly with the discussion of the system of Telesius. A similar discussion of the atomic theory would have been of far greater interest, for Bacon's own opinions are much more closely connected with those of Democritus than with Telesius's, from whom he derived only isolated doctrines. The most important of these doctrines is that of the duality of the soul, of which and of its relation to the orthodox opinion I have elsewhere had occasion to speak.?





1 Bacon's own language suggests this impression. “Nos eniin," he declares, "in omnium inventis summâ cum fide et tanquam faventes versamur.” And that he does not conceive himself bound to minute accuracy in reproducing the opinions of the philosophers of whom he speaks, appears from several expressions: “Hujusmodi quædam de diversitate calorum a Telesio dicuntur;” “Hæc, aut iis meliora, cogitabant illi,” &c.

2 See General Preface, Vol. I. p. 102. — J. S.

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Quæ de Cupidine sive Amore ab antiquis memorata sunt, in eandem personam convenire non possunt; quinetiam ab ipsis ponuntur Cupidines duo, et longo sane intervallo discrepantes; cum unus ex iis deorum antiquissimus, alter natu minimus fuisse diceretur. Atque de antiquo illo nobis in præsentia sermo est. Narrant itaque Amorem illum omnium deorum fuisse antiquissimum, atque adeo omnium rerum, excepto Chao, quod ei coævum perhibetur. Atque Amor iste prorsus sine parente introducitur. Ipse autem cum Chao' mistus, et deos et res universas progenuit. A nonnullis tamen ovo prognatus 2 incubante Nocte traditus est. Ejus

1. Coelo in the original. For the grounds of the correction, see Preface, p. 274. – J. S.

2 Kellgren, De Ovo mundano (Helsingfors, 1849), has collected the passages on the egg cosmogony in the Institutes of Menu, the Putanas, and certain Commentaries He remarks that, so far as he is aware, no trace of the mythus occurs in the Vedas. It follows that he did not perceive any reference to it in the 129th hymn of the 10th book of the Rig Veda, with which he was certainly acquainted, as he has quoted a portion of Colebrook's translation of it. In this translation it is difficult to recognise even VOL. 1.


vero attributa ponuntur diversa, ut sit infans perpetuus, cæcus, nudus, alatus, sagittarius. Vis autem ejus præcipua et propria ad corpora unienda valet : etiam claves ætheris, maris, et terræ ei deferebantur. Fingitur quoque et celebratur alter Cupido minor, Veneris filius, in quem attributa antiquioris transferuntur, et propria multa adjiciuntur.

Fabula ista, cum sequenti de cælo, brevi parabolæ complexu proponere videtur doctrinam de principiis rerum et mundi originibus, non multum dissidentem ab ea philosophia quam Democritus exhibuit; nisi quod videatur aliquanto magis severa, et sobria et perpurgata. Ejus enim viri, licet acutissimi et diligentissimi, contemplationes gliscebant tamen, et modum tenere nesciæ erant, nec se satis stringebant aut sustinebant. Atque etiam hæc ipsa placita quæ in parabola delitescunt, quamvis paulo emendatiora, talia sunt qualia esse possunt illa quæ ab intellectu sibi permisso, nec ab experientia continenter et gradatim? sublevato, profecta videntur; nam illud vitium existimamus etiam prisca secula occupasse. In primis autem intelligendum est, quæ hic afferuntur conclusa et prolata esse ex authoritate rationis humanæ solummodo, et sensus fidem secuta: cujus jam pridem cessantia et deficientia oracula merito rejiciuntur, postquam meliora et certiora mortalibus ex parte verbi divini affulserint. Itaque Chaos illud, quod Cupidini coævum erat, massam sive conthe germ of the mythus, but in that which has since been given by Max Müller it seems more easy to do so. It would be interesting to ascertain how far the mythus was developed at the time at which the older portions of the Rig Veda were composed. The subject may be said to have a natural interest at Helsingfors, as the egg cosmogony exists among the Finns. For the hymn referred to see Colebrook's Miscellaneous Essays, i. p. 34., and Müller's Addenda to Bunsen's Hippolytus, p. 140.

gradatum in original. -- J. S.


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